Everything was quiet. That was Piper’s favorite part of waking up early. It meant that everyone else was still asleep, and she could look at the world completely unobserved. Almost like Piper had frozen time, and now the whole world was hers for the taking.
It was especially nice after nights like last night. She’d had fun with everyone at her house, marathon-ing movies and going toe to toe on random entertainment trivia that would get none of them any further in their lives. But even though her apartment was packed with sleeping party guests on every comfortable surface, it was quiet and still. Almost too still. After a night like that, she wasn’t usually the first one up.
Piper did a quick head count and found that Candace, her friend and fellow quiet early bird wasn’t in the living room where everyone had crashed for the night. Piper tried to calm the ball of unease in her chest. They had all been drinking last night—had piper not noticed Candace go? If she’d gone—where did Candace go and did she arrive safely? Piper peaked out the window to see that Candace’s car was still out there—so at least she hadn’t driven anywhere. But it wasn’t out of the realm of possibilities that Candace had wandered off for a walk and fallen asleep somewhere outside.
Vince. Piper had one desperate last thought of her roommate. Vince wasn’t drinking much last night, so if Candace decided she wanted to go home, maybe he offered her a ride. If he didn’t take her home, he’d still make an excellent addition to the search party rapidly forming in her head. She knocked urgently (but quietly—no point in waking everyone else up just yet) on Vince’s bedroom door. It seemed to take forever, but then the door opened slightly to reveal a sliver of bed head, bleary-eyed, thankfully wearing at least his boxers, early morning Vince, who greeted her with a “shh!” and a “What?!”
“I’m a little worried,” Piper confessed.
“Why are you a little worried?” Vince leaned his head against the door frame, closing his eyes again already.
“Because I can’t seem to find Candace, but her car is still here. I’m worried that she had too much to drink and wandered off somewhere.”
For a second, Piper thought Vince looked guilty, but it went back to sleepy just as quickly. “Candace didn’t have too much to drink. She’s fine.”
“Did you take her home when I wasn’t paying attention?” Piper pressed.
Vince hesitated for a second. “No.”
“Then how do you know she’s fine.” Piper set her hands on her hips and was prepared to not walk away without an adequate answer. She took the safety of her friends very seriously.
Vince opened his eyes, looked her over, and seemed to realize this. He sighed, turned to look back into his room, and then took a small step back away from the door. Piper could see his bed, and sitting on it was a bare shouldered Candace, clutching a sheet to her chest, offering Piper a timid smile. “Sorry to worry you,” Candace offered.
“Oh. No. Don’t, uh, er…Don’t worry about it.” Piper rubbed and hand nervously on the back of her neck. “Congrats, uh, I guess,” she added because she didn’t know what else to say.
Vince raised an eyebrow. “Thanks? If you don’t mind. I’m going to shut the door now.” Piper nodded like an idiot as he swung the door slowly shut, not stopping until the latch clicked into place.
She stared at the shut door for a couple of minutes longer before heading back to the kitchen to make a strong cup of coffee. She had a feeling that today she was going to need it.