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Marshmallows and Cream

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I yawned and stretched, lacing my fingers together and pushing my palms toward the ceiling, reaching into it until my back popped a couple times.

"Abby, stop moving!" Claudia frowned at me over the top of her sketchpad. "You promised you'd let me draw you."

"And you said it wouldn't take very long!" I argued, but couldn't wipe the grin off my face. She was so cute when she got all indignant about her art and models who moved too much.

Claudia's hair was in two pigtails high on her head, bouncy things with sparkly ribbons and bright colors streaked through the black. She wasn't wearing any make-up, which was rare for her, but I thought she was even prettier without it.

She knew how I felt. Maybe she'd washed it off just for me. I smiled wider at that.

Claudia set aside her sketchpad and leaned over until she could reach under her bed. She dug around for a second, then pulled out a little neon rainbow colored bouncy ball and tossed it to me underhand.

"Play with that, but don't move much. I'm almost done." She grabbed her sketchpad again and went back to work. I started bouncing the ball of the wall, careful not to lose control and have to reach too far.

Sure enough, about ten minutes later, not long at all though sitting still made it feel like forever, she was done. She bounced lightly on the edge of the bed and held up the sketchpad to show me. In the drawing, I was all casual cool, stretched along her floor, except it wasn't really the floor of her room. The background wasn't clear yet, she'd make it more detailed in the painting, but I thought probably it was the beach, from the soft swell of the ground beneath the me in the picture.

"Nice," I told her and she beamed, flipped the sketchpad closed, and tossed it onto her desk.

"Want a snack?"

I nodded hard. I'd come straight from basketball practice, and even though it wasn't really my sport, I worked hard to stay in shape for soccer. I was starving.

She patted the seat next to her and dug under the bed again. Her tank tops pulled up, showing off the bare skin of her back. I thought about kissing her there, but I really was hungry and besides, Janine was in town for her semester break and I still felt a little weird fooling around with other people in the house. My house was almost always empty.

Claudia handed me a bag of M&Ms, holiday colors, red and green. At least I knew they were fresh. Unless she had them left over from last December. I eyed the bag askance for a moment, then tore it open. Starving. Didn't care.

She flopped next to me and our bodies pressed together at shoulder and hips and thigh. I shoved a handful of M&Ms into my mouth and chomped on them while Claudia opened a bag of chocolate-coated marshmallows.

"That's a bit overkill," I mumbled around my mouthful. She beamed at me and popped a whole one into her mouth.

"You ready to go skiing?" she asked after we'd eaten in silence for a couple minutes.

"I'm going to beat your ass," I promised her. "Black diamond trails, here I come."

"Yeah, right." She rolled her eyes and nudged her elbow into my arm. "You'll be lucky if you get to the intermediate trails, you big slacker. Just cause you're ready for soccer doesn't mean you're ready to ski. I, however, have been training for this."

"Oh yeah?" I jabbed the bag of marshmallows. "What's this, carbo-loading?"

"Totally." She popped another into her mouth and chewed as loudly as she could. "Want to try it?"

I made a face, sticking out my tongue and crossing my eyes. "Yeah, right. That looks disgusting."

"Whatever! It's like a smore without the graham cracker and it's delicious." She elbowed me again, harder. "And it looks a hell of a lot better than your fried peanut butter and banana sandwiches."

"Hey now, if it's good enough for Elvis, it's good enough for me. Don't you be insulting the King, baby."

"Or what? What can you do to me?" She grinned; there was chocolate smeared on her teeth. "Wait, never mind, you'll start singing. I know I don't want that!"

"Hunka hunka burning love," I crooned, making sure to hit all the wrong notes.

She shrieked and scrambled away from me. I threw myself after her, digging my fingers into her side, tickling her while she beat at my hands. By the time we collapsed against each other, she had laughter-tears in the corners of her eyes and I was gasping for breath. Not a bad, asthma gasping, either, just a fun, I've been playing around with my girlfriend who steals my breath type thing.

"I give, I give," Claudia giggled, then rubbed her leg, right above her knee. She stretched it out and we resettled ourselves so we were stretched out next to each other. I looped my arm over her stomach and gave her a squeeze.

"How's your leg?" I asked.

She shrugged, her body moving against mine, and I cuddled closer to her side. "It's okay, I guess. I'm going to see the acupuncturist before we leave. She really helped last time." She popped another marshmallow into her mouth.

I bit my lip, but it wasn't enough to stop the pun. "Yeah, I've always heard that her acupuncture was a jab well done."

Claudia snorted and spewed marshmallow bits into the air.

"Gross!" I jerked out of the way so it wouldn't land on my hand, but I laughed anyway.

"It's your fault." She grabbed a dirty t-shirt off the floor and wiped her hands and mouth, then scrubbed bits of marshmallow out of her comforter. "That pun was horrible!"

"Oh, come on, you know I need to practice. After all, I entered nine puns in that contest and then entered one more, hoping they'd win, but no pun in ten did."

She choked and elbowed me, hard. "Do not get started on your puns. I'm warning you, Abby, don't do it!"

"Or what? What will you do?" I waggled my eyebrows at her. "However will you shut me up?"

"I won't kiss you for a week," she threatened.

"Yeah, right. You can't even make it a day without kissing me."

Claudia opened her mouth, then snapped it shut again and flashed me a rueful, sweet smile. "Yeah, you're right. I can't." She snuggled up against me and pulled my arm back around her.

"Good." And then, her family being home be damned, I curled into her and kissed her, tasting sweetness and marshmallow on her tongue.