Kris slid in behind the steering wheel of Brie's car and prepared for the drive home. Driving made him nervous, especially since he didn't have his full licence, but he was thankful they didn't have that far to go.
The drive was silent except for the slight moans and groans coming from the sleeping beauty in the passenger seat. They were about two blocks from home when he heard,
"Kris, I'm going to throw up."
"I'll pull over, hang on."
"Now, I'm going to get sick now!"
Brie had the door open even before the car had come to a complete stop. Kris threw the car in park and ran around to the passenger side. Brie was already doubled over on the ground getting sick. Kris felt helpless watching his best friend pay for her stupid choices, so he did the only thing he could think of; he got down on the ground beside her and held her chestnut curls and rubbed her back until she was done.
"Oh God, just kill me now," she said sitting on the ground with her knees pulled up to her chest so she could rest her throbbing head on them.
"It's only going to get worse mon amour," Kris said still fussing with her hair.
"Thanks a lot."
"Come on, I'm taking you home."
They got back in the car for the short ride back. He pulled her car into his driveway.
"Kris, my house is over there," Brie slurred.
"And I'm not letting you face your parents this way, they'll kill you. Maman is staying the night at Claude's house, you can stay with me. God knows someone needs to take care of you."
"Fuck you Coconut! I can take care of myself just fine!" she yelled startling him.
"You're doing a stellar job so far," he retorted.
"You're an asshole."
"Brielle, I don't want to fight with you; just come inside and get cleaned up, you smell," he said gently.
"I do not! Do I?"
"Well, like what?"
"You smell like a cross between a brewery, puke, and gym socks."
"Exactly, let go," he said taking her hand like he had a million times before and led her into his house.
"I'll go turn the shower on for you," he said as he helped her sit on the bed. When he returned she was gone.
"Brie?" he called. "Brie where are you?"
"I'm right heeeeeere," was all he heard. He followed her voice and found her out in the family room. She was leaning up against the fireplace mantel looking at the pictures of them. Her shirt was in her hand.
"Do you remember when this was taken?" she asked running her fingers over one of the frames.
"Of course I do," he said quietly walking towards her. "That was my first day of school."
"And this one?"
"My very first time on skates. I was so scared of falling. You promised you wouldn't let go of my hand...and you didn't. You held my hand the whole time."
"I'll always hold your hand Kristopher," Brie said barely above a whisper. "What about this one?"
"That was that hockey tournament in Quebec City when we came in first."
"Oh, that's right. And you were MVP, I remember now. I hugged you just after you got your trophy and your mom took the picture. You were so cute!"
"Hardly!" Kris responded turning a slight shade of pink.
"Oh my god! Is that from Winter formal?" she said snatching the picture of the mantel.
Brie took a deep breath in and closed her eyes. "You always did look good in a suit," she said before placing the picture back in its resting place. She stumbled forward a bit. Kris instinctively reached out to catch her. His arm snaked around her bare waist sending shivers through her body.
"You're welcome. Let's get you in the shower."
"Wait. Not yet," she said, not letting him move.
They stood in silence looking at the pictures. Brie could feel the tears start to well up in her eyes.
"God, Kris. Our whole lives are documented on this mantel. Every single important moment is right her. We're together in every single picture. And now..."
Brie stopped herself before the first tear fell.
"And now what Cherie?"
"And now...I'm going to be sick," she replied taking off towards the bathroom.
Kris once again held her hair and rubbed her back.
"I seriously want to die right now," she said resting her head on the toilet seat.
"Remember this the next time you get the brilliant idea to drink," he said.
"I really don't need the lecture right now dad," she sneered.
"Come on, you'll feel better once you get in the shower," Kris said helping her up to her feet. She stumbled once again.
"Clearly I can't leave you alone. God, Brie you're a mess."
"Shut up Kris! Are you going to help me or not?"
"Hold on to my shoulders," he ordered. She did as she was told.
Kris undid the button of her jeans and shimmied them down past her hips and supported her as she stepped out of them. Brie shuddered at the warmth of his hands sliding smoothly over her curves. Kris stood up. All that remained was her bra and underwear.
"Can you handle the rest on your own? he asked.
"Hmm? Oh yeah sure, I got this," she said and started to fumble with the clasp on her bra.
"Damn thing," she muttered.
"I can't get the damn clasp."
"Here, let me help. Turn around."
"Kristopher! I really don't think you need to see me naked!"
"For Christ sake Brie, you're like my sister! It's not like there's anything sexual about it; now turn around."
He didn't know whether his comment was to reassure her or himself, but it did the trick because Brie turned her back to him.
Kris' words stung and the hands that had just moments ago sent shivers through her body now felt like daggers stinging her skin.
He turned around so she could get in the shower, but refused to leave the room. Brie was still unsteady on her feet and he was worried she would fall and hit her head.
The room was silent except for the sound of the water hitting the porcelain tub. Kris sat with his head in his hands, replaying the events of the night in his head. His thoughts kept taking him back to his conversation with Jeanette. Was she right? Did Brie really like that creep and just didn't tell him? He was pulled from his thoughts by soft humming coming from inside the shower. He listened to the tune for a moment and then the words started. He recognized it as a lullaby she used to sing to her dolls when they were little. He closed his eyes and smiled, remembering back to a time when everything was so simple.
He heard the water shut off and she called out to see if he was still there.
"Hand me a towel would ya?" she said.
He handed the big, white fluffy towel through the shower curtain and waited.
"I think I got it from here Kris, thanks." Just as the words left her mouth, she slipped on the slippery tub and fell forward banging her knee on the side of the tub.
"Yeah," Kris laughed. "You got it alright! If it's all the same to you, I think I'll stick around."
"But nothing. Let me help you out."
"Fine." Brie wrapped the towel around her and pulled the curtain open, holding her hand out for him to take.
"There was that so hard?"
"No. I just..."
"You are just to stubborn to admit when you need help. Let's go get you something to wear."
She followed him into his room and he started to rummage through his drawers to find
her some shorts and a t-shirt. With the clothes in his hands, he turned around to give them to her and felt his breath catch in his throat again. Brie had her back to him and had her leg up on the bed drying it off. The towel had fallen slightly and was open, revealing her bare back and side. He watched as she ran the towel over her side and down her hip, drying off the bare side of her buttock that he had previously been admiring.
"Find anything yet?" her question snapped him out of la la land.
"Umm, ahh, yeah, here," he said handing them to her. "I'll go get us some water," he quickly said before bolting from the room.
When he returned with two glasses of water, she was dressed in his clothes and was towel drying her chestnut locks.
"Here," he said placing her glass on the nightstand, right beside the same picture of them from the winter formal that his mom had on the mantel. "Take these," he said handing her two aspirin. "Maybe it'll help your head in the morning if you take them now."
"Thanks," she replied smiling sweetly at her best friend.
"And I know you're always cold, so I brought you another blanket."
Brie crawled in bed and snuggled in under the covers.
"Goodnight Brie," Kris said, turning and heading for the door.
"Where are you going?"
"I'm going to go sleep in maman's room."
"Do you have to? I mean this is your room, you could just...stay."
He pondered the offer for a moment and when he didn't say anything right away Brie spoke again.
"I really don't want to be alone right now," she said without looking up at him.
Kris undressed down to his boxers and climbed in bed next to her. This was by no means the first time they laid in the same bed; they'd done so a million times before, but this time felt...different. He laid on his side facing her and pulled the blankets up around her chin and smoothed them over her shoulder before rolling over onto his back. Her eyes were already closed. He laid there with his hands folded under his head just listening to her breathe. She rolled over onto her side and right into him. Her head was now on his arm, and her hand was on his chest. A moment later her leg was draped gently over his. She let out a content sigh and quickly fell into a pattern of deep breathing that let him know she was asleep.
Kris pulled his hand out from under his head so he could caress her hair.
"Oh cherie," he whispered. "Why did you do this to yourself?" He kissed her forehead and very quietly said, "bonne nuit mon cherie. Je t'aime." Exhaustion took over his body and his eyes fluttered shut.
Brie was restless for a moment until she found 'her spot' and almost inaudibly the words "I love you Coconut," slipped out.