She knows she’s sick from the moment she opens her eyes. The familiar feeling of her insides contracting as the foul taste of bile rise up her throat has her scrambling from the warm bed and into the tiny bathroom. She barely makes it in time before the contents of her stomach lands in the toilet bowl as she hunches over. Her fingers turn white from gripping the porcelain tightly and Aubrey hopes her hair is out of the way because she doesn’t have the energy to check.
She hadn’t been drinking much the night before but she feels the taste of vodka and junk food mix in her mouth and if she wasn’t throwing up already, that would have done it.
Aubrey doesn’t get sick. In fact, she keeps a constricted diet of eating right, regular exercise of running and hot yoga for the main reason to not get sick. She has so much on her plate with school work and the Bellas that Aubrey really can’t afford to stay in bed all week. The Bellas are all counting on her as Captain to lead them to victory after her epic fail and dammit, if Aubrey won’t deliver.
But as another wave of nausea wrecks through her body, Aubrey knows it is not her usual stress vomiting.
She feels weak and her arms shake as they try to keep her from falling head first into the toilet. The harsh light in the bathroom doesn’t easy her pounding headache and Aubrey wants nothing more than to crawl back into her – Chloe’s – soft bed and sleep until the sun comes up. She will allow herself the morning to rest but at 4 pm she needs to be at Bella rehearsals. No exception.
A shiver rips through her body as she finally stops heaving and Aubrey presses her forehead onto the cool toilet seat to just breath. Her legs quiver underneath her and the tears are unstoppable as they roll down her cheeks. She hasn’t felt this sick in a long time.
Just as she tries to gather her strength to stand up, soft footsteps approach the open door (Aubrey didn’t have time to properly close it) and Aubrey turns her head sideways to squint at the sleepy redhead stop at the doorway.
“What’s going on?” Chloe mumbles groggily, opening her mouth to let out a huge yawn. Aubrey inhales a shaky breath and tries to stand up but she doesn’t get far.
“Wow. Okay. You’re sick.” Suddenly, Chloe sounds more awake as she rushes forward to gently grab Aubrey under the armpits and help her to sit against the bathtub. “Here, sweetie.”
Aubrey doesn’t have the energy to protest as she falls limply on the floor, pulling her knees up to rest her forehead on them and concentrates on not throwing up more. There’s nothing is left in her stomach so the thought of throwing up bile again makes her shiver.
“You’re okay for a minute?” Chloe asks gently, lifting her head by her cheeks press a sweet kiss on her sweaty forehead before standing up. “I’m gonna be right back.”
Aubrey only manages a weak groan and doesn’t watch Chloe leave the bathroom. Everything’s spinning so fast that Aubrey squeezes her eyes shut and prays it ends soon. Chloe’s only gone for two minutes – or it could be twenty, Aubrey isn’t sure – but she feels cold hands gently grip her biceps and she raises her head to look at the redhead. She must look miserable because Chloe’s eyes are full of concern and worry as she helps her sit up more and drops a white pill in her hand.
“Here, take this. I’m gonna get you some water.”
Aubrey just looks at the medicine until Chloe gives her a glass of water from the sink and swallows it painfully. She doesn’t realize how dry her lips are until she downs the water quickly, feeling like she could breath again for the first time since waking up.
Aubrey whips her head up to catch Chloe almost falling on her ass while trying to stand back up. “You’re still drunk.”
Chloe’s rights herself out and huffs out a laugh. “It’s 5 in the morning and we didn’t get home until 2. Of course, I’m still drunk.” She turns around and sits down beside Aubrey on the floor and her hand lands on Aubrey’s thigh where they squeeze. “Are you gonna throw up again?”
“I don’t know, Chloe. I’m not exactly in control here.” Aubrey barks out and immediately feels bad at blowing up on Chloe. She’s just trying to help and it’s not Chloe’s fault she’s sick. She hangs her head. “I’m sorry. I just don’t know what to do.”
Chloe sighs in sympathy and moves her arm around her shoulder to pull Aubrey closer and push her head on Chloe’s shoulder. Aubrey will blame her sickness later as to why she snuggles deeper into Chloe’s arms and tries to get as comfortable as she can get on the hard floor. Chloe rests her cheek on the top of her head and giggles.
“You are so drunk right now.” Aubrey remarks with a faint giggle of her own, her fingers bunching up Chloe’s tank-top.
“Only on you, baby.” Chloe whispers playfully before she pauses, “And maybe on tequila. Yes, lots of tequila.”
Aubrey bits her bottom lip slightly in thought and buries her nose in Chloe’s collar bone. “I like it when you call me that.”
“Yeah?” The redhead asks with a smile as her fingertips draw aimless figures along Aubrey’s spine, slowly lulling the blonde into slumber. Aubrey nods her head gently.
“I like it when you call me Bree, too.” She admits softly. She’s feels exhausted and although, she doesn’t feel nauseas anymore, her headache is still pounding painfully so she doesn’t have the energy to filter her words. She doesn’t let people in easily and tries to keep them at arm’s length to protect herself but Chloe is different. She has always been different. “I’ve never had a nickname before.”
Over the years, Chloe has heard the many stories of Aubrey’s childhood. How strict her father was on her and her two brothers growing up and how she had a hard time finding friends while constantly moving because her father was stationed to different bases all the time.
The redhead stays silent but Aubrey breaths out a quiet breath when Chloe presses a smile into her hair and lingers.
“How come I don’t have a nickname? You always call me Chloe.”
“That’s your name, isn’t it?”
“Well, Aubrey, I want a nickname.” The strong emphasis on her full name is not lost on Aubrey as Chloe pulls her tighter to her.
The blonde presses a smirk into the crock of her neck and shrugs. “Fine. What do you want me to call you?”
“Oh kinky.” Chloe teases way too easily and Aubrey slaps her stomach lightly making her laugh. “Fine, fine. How about tiger?”
Aubrey wrenches herself away with a strength she didn’t know she had and looks at Chloe with a ridiculous expression on her face.
“Yo – What?” Aubrey barely chokes out the words. It’s scaring her that Chloe is not laughing at all.
Aubrey gasp at her before she shakes her head vigorously. “I am not calling you tiger! No way!”
Chloe tilts her head to the side. “Fine. Miss Piggy?”
Aubrey continuous to gap at her while Chloe simply raises an eyebrow.
“Snickerdoodle? Fun dip? No? Come on, I’m giving you my best material here. Okay, how about bubblegum?”
Aubrey’s squints her eyes hard while looking into Chloe’s ocean blue eyes and doesn’t waver until the redhead’s mouth starts to lift up slowly at the corners and pretty soon Chloe is laughing so hard, she almost lays down on the floor. Aubrey curls her lips and brings her hand back to slaps Chloe’s shoulder to show she is not amused.
“You’re such a dork. I thought you were serious!” Aubrey cries out but her smile can’t contain itself. “I almost left you.”
Chloe continues to laugh to the point of wiping tears away that started to spill down her cheeks before she reaches out for Aubrey. “You are so easy.” She grabs Aubrey by the waist and tugs her to her, kissing her all over her face excluding her mouth because, hello, vomit breath.
“Are you feeling better?” Chloe whispers when their giggles die down and silence falls over them again. Aubrey finally realizes Chloe tried to distract her from feeling miserable and her heart swell with love for the redhead. Chloe always took care of her.
She actually stills to think about her answer. Her stomach settled slightly but she feels weak and her muscles ache all the same. “A little.” She mumbles back in a small voice before she whines. “I can’t be sick. We have Bella practice.”
“Oh no.” Chloe shuts down the idea fast. “There’s no practice. I’m gonna text the girls to cancel in the morning, well, later today,” she says, remembering the time of the day, “and we are going to be lazy all day.”
Aubrey tries to whine again (she’s gonna blame her sickness on that one too) but Chloe interrupts her and stands up.
“Come on, I want to cuddle.” She holds out her hand toward the blonde, her ocean blue eyes sparkling and Aubrey feels herself falling for her all over again.
She won’t ever admit it out loud but when she wakes hours later with red hair on her face and soft skin pressed against hers, she’s glad Chloe canceled practice because she’s not leaving this bed. Maybe ever.