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Smells like strawberries

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Stacie was awoken in the early hours of the morning to the sound of a phone vibrating on her desk. She noticed Aubrey’s shadowy figure across from her in the moonlit room, contemplating whether to answer.
The blonde wasn’t meant to have fallen asleep in Stacie’s room but the board games and cuddling had lulled her into a peaceful state where she just drifted off; Stacie did the exact same, not even minding the slightly cramped conditions of her bed.
“Who is it baby?” Stacie’s voice croaked into life and travelled across the room, causing a jump from the older Bella who was previously unaware of the conscious brunette.
In the darkness, it was impossible to tell Aubrey’s expression, but from her voice alone Stacie could tell there was something wrong. “It’s my dad, there’s no reason for him to call at this hour.” She replied with confusion twisted in her words, hesitant with her reasoning.
“Well, pick it up then!” Stacie urged, making a gesture though heart-heartedly as she was reminded that it was nearly impossible for the older woman to see her.
Staring at the phone for another moment, Aubrey slowly picked it up before snapping it straight to her ear, her voice instantly turning even more formal, which before Stacie thought to be impossible.
“Hello father, how are yo-…yes, I’m fine. Barden is great actually, I just - …Oh, okay. That’s great! How’s mom? Tell her I’ll talk to her soon. What was it you wanted? It’s really la- Wait, what do you mean? Daniel? But he’s completely fine, I talked to him yesterday…” Aubrey’s was now facing the moonlight and it was very obvious when her eyes widened. She looked pale as she dropped her phone and collapsed on the floor, passed out.
Instantaneously, Stacie was at her side, literally jumping from her bed to aid her girlfriend. She grabbed the phone and began to talk to who she assumed was her father.
“Hello, Mr.Posen?” The brunette said, unsure of how to appropriately phrase her words. There was a sigh on the other end of the phone and hushed whispers before a voice; presumably Mr.Posen’s, spoke.
“Hello…who is this and why are you with my daughter?”
“I’m Stacie.”
“Stacie? Right Stacie, why are you with my daughter? I thought her flatmate was named Chloe, you know, the redheaded strange girl who’s a little queer looking?”
The younger woman shook her head at the snide remark, holding back any harsh comments that could ruin any chance she had of getting along with this old man. She stroked Aubrey’s hair as she continued the conversation, hoping her girlfriend would arouse soon.
“No err; I’m just a…friend. She stayed over mine for the night and I was awoken by her phone. Good thing too, she’s out cold, poor thing.”
There was an unmistakable snort from her father. “Hmph, always putting on a show. Unlike her brothers…or should I now say brother.” There was a pause in the conversation as Stacie was unable to respond, taking in what the man had just said. The brunette didn’t know Aubrey’s brother but the loss of him affected her deeply for some reason. She simply stared down at the phone, until finally the gentleman snapped causing her jump back to reality with a hiccupped breath.
“Stacie, are you there?” Mr.Posen’s tone was impatient.
“I err- yes. Yes I am. Sorry, I just…Daniel, that was his name? I’m ever so sorry for your loss, sir”
Mr.Posen sniffed “Thank you. There was nothing neither you nor Aubrey could’ve done. Daniel was promising, though his character was not very uplifting; never took to the bright side of things. Couldn’t really appreciate all I had done for him…” There was a long sigh, as if this stone hearted man had actually cracked for a moment. But within another moment, the emotionless, icy tone had returned “I need to speak with Aubrey.”
“Well you can’t.” Stacie replied sternly “She’s sort of…unconscious.”
Mr.Posen seemingly scoffed but his response was more humane than Stacie anticipated “Well, wait until she’s awake and get her to call me back. I’m trusting you Miss-“He paused, waiting for the gap to be filled.
“-Conrad. Stacie Conrad” The brunette iterated.
“Well, Miss Conrad. Get her to call me back.” And with that, the line went dead. Stacie dropped the phone, staring in disbelief that she had just talked to the man that was Aubrey’s father, albeit the conversation was a little rushed. She didn’t find him particularly pleasant and now she realised why they had never met; he was of very high expectations.
Ignoring the cell phone, Stacie turned her attention to the unconscious woman on her floor. After Stacie stopped stroking the blonde’s hair to focus on the conversation, she had stirred a little so she wasn’t far from awaking. Stacie was sure that Aubrey might be a little disorientated, so she took the opportunity to turn on the lights and move a pillow beneath the older woman’s head.
After that, she waited. She needed the time to prepare what she would say to once Aubrey was conscious again; having to confirm her brother’s death was something that even Stacie felt unconfident about. The tall brunette suddenly felt small, as if the world was about to come crashing down on her and her girlfriend, without mercy at that. She knew Aubrey would take it professionally, but she was still human and couldn’t keep all that emotion down.
The next thing that dawned on Stacie was the high chance of the blonde puking from the shock, so she grabbed the small trashcan she kept by her bed and put it to one side, easily in reach of Aubrey’s grasp.
Though it probably took minutes for Aubrey’s eyes to flutter open, it felt like a couple hours to the brunette who was secretly dreading seeing her girlfriend’s usually intuitive and intelligent eyes degrade into sadness.
It happened almost immediately, at first the older woman looked alert and almost relieved to be awake but then the recent memories hit her and her expression instantly dropped into a scowl. She turned her head to Stacie, whom was sat with her lips tight.
“Daniel?” Was the only utterance that escaped Aubrey’s lips; though it was more of a word that floated between her breaths, barely audible, even in the deathly silence of the early morning.
Stacie simply shook her head, embracing Aubrey quickly as the stinging tears began to stream down the blonde’s face along with her breathing becoming increasingly erratic. Aubrey sobbed heavily onto the brunette’s shoulder which only caused Stacie to grip tighter onto the material of the t-shirt she had lent the other woman. The hiccupped breaths that Aubrey managed to take shook the two violently and in an attempt to calm the grieving woman, Stacie began to rub her hand in a circular motion on Aubrey’s back, cooing and shushing until the sobbing was almost silent, though it didn’t stop completely. The thing is, when someone cries loudly it is for attention, when it is quiet, it means they can’t stop. It was something Stacie knew all too well, so she was more than willing to sit there with Aubrey until she couldn’t cry anymore.
It wasn’t something Stacie felt like she was meant to do out of mere kindness, no. It was something that Stacie had to do simply because she loved Aubrey and it was her duty to be there for her.
“It’s okay ‘Bree, shhh, I’m here, you’re fine.” Stacie whispered soothingly among other things into the blonde’s ear before an uncomfortable silence filled the room, suffocating them both with only the occasionally sharp breath from Aubrey as she failed to recover from her crying gracefully and with her usual high maintenance composure.
“Aubrey, you’ve got to talk to me. I know it seems hard, but please…If you can’t talk to me, then I don’t know if calling your father back will be possible.” Stacie stated softly, gripping the older woman by the shoulders and staring intently into her glazed over eyes, lost with grief.
Aubrey nodded slowly and gulped a large breath. She managed for a moment to stop the crying from her eyes and even possibly look ‘okay’, but it was all a façade; her face crumpled and she bit her lip as fresh tears trailed down her cheek. She tried talking, but in between her stuttered breath, it came out a little awkward and sore “Stacie“ -hiccup “I can’t“ -hiccup “believe he’s” -hiccup “gone” was the only sentence she could utter before falling back onto the brunette whom appropriately wrapped her arms around her girlfriend and simply embraced her.
It seemed that Mr.Posen had gotten impatient; Aubrey’s cell began to ring, despite instructions for them to call him, not the other way around.
Stacie reached for the cell but was stopped; instead Aubrey picked it up, her hands trembling. She clicked the answer key and held it to her ear. “Hello…” Her voice her whispery and weak, like she had a cold.
Aubrey became resigned and stone faced as she talked to her father; like her emotion was a weakness that he disapproved of. “Yes…I-I understand. Okay” were among the monotonous, nearly most regimental responses that Aubrey elicited from her lips. It was clear she wasn’t paying attention to the voice on the other side of the line, but instead trying to listen past it; the disappointment in her father’s voice. Almost disappointed in the fact that it was her high achieving brother that had passed and maybe, just maybe, he would’ve preferred her dead instead.
A few moments later, Aubrey pulled the phone away from her ear and dropped it to the side, the call obviously over. She sat with a blank expression.
“Aubrey?” Stacie asked, waving her hand slightly in front of the blonde’s face.
No response.
“Babe?” It was more of a whimper than question.
Silence.
Stacie had no choice but to silently pull Aubrey to her feet and get her back into bed, despite how terrified she was at the sudden shut down of her girlfriend. The brunette cuddled up to the older woman, who simply led limply, neither rejecting nor accepting the embrace but just floating in the middle. Though she wished to comfort and console, the will to sleep overcame Stacie and eventually she fell asleep but not before hearing the sound of gentle sobs from the body next to her to which she responded to by wrapping her arms tightly around the blonde; offering the only comfort she could at the time, seeing as talking was out of the question.
Stacie’s heavy eyes soon fell, the image of Aubrey’s breakdown ransacking her dreams.