Like most accidents, it happened suddenly and without warning. Mere moments after waking, Walt found himself sprawled on his back at the bottom of the staircase. With only three steps to go, his heart skipped as his bare foot slipped and he fell. The loud thud of his body hitting the ground, his vehement shout of "Ah shit!" as he fell, or a combination of both, woke Vic.
Walt closed his eyes and listened to the soft patter of her feet. "Walt, are you alright?" she asked. Her voice, hoarse and slurred with sleep, made his heart beat a little faster. In answer he grunted and raised a hand in a thumbs up. His hand dropped to his side as he heard Vic trudge down the stairs. She sat down on the step behind him. Walt moaned softly when she gently lifted his head to cradle on her lap.
"You know. . ." Vic trailed off to press her lips to Walt's forehead. "Most people going downstairs hold onto this little thing called the handrail." She leaned down to kiss him again, in effort to soften the sting of her sarcasm. Walt's lips met hers enthusiastically. Vic held his head in her hands and probed the roof of his mouth with her tongue.
She broke away and laughed softly. Walt opened his eyes and took in the sight. Vic's eyes closed as she continued to laugh, her cheeks reddened. As she laughed, her body shook and jostled him. Walt hissed at the sudden pain in his head. Vic stopped laughing and stroked his temples with her thumbs in circular motions until the pain diminished.
"I finally got my Mary Jane moment," she said triumphantly. When Walt's eyebrows scrunched in confusion, Vic smiled. "There was a scene in Spider-Man when the girl he loved - Mary Jane - kissed him upside down."
She paused and traced Walt's lips with her fingers. "I was just about to graduate from the academy, and was dating a frat-hole named Nick. I wanted to kiss him like that, but he wasn't interested. He was only interested in one thing, and because I was such a good Catholic girl back then, he didn't get it."
She sighed and rolled her eyes. Nominally, she was still Catholic, though good was perhaps the last word she would use to describe it. The stiff, rote rituals of the faith she was reared in had long since ceased to appeal to her.
Her once ardent faith had cooled to apathetic agnosticism by the time Walt had hired her. Over the years of living in Durant, her exposure to occurrences she could only describe as miraculous, coupled with a growing familiarity with Cheyenne spirituality, Vic gradually became a believer.
A believer in what, though, she couldn't specify. Honor, loyalty, love. The words that came closest to describing what she believed in were abstract and subjective. The words that best described her relationship with Walt.
Vic didn't realize that she had begun to cry until Walt reached up and touched her cheek. His fingers gently brushed the tears that trickled down her face. "Vic. . . are you alright?" he asked, his voice a halting echo of hers.
Vic smiled and kissed him again, wordlessly.