I stared back down at the hot coffee in front of me. The morning sun streaming through the kitchen windows illuminated the steam wisps rising off, and my reflection faintly stared back.
Birds sang outside the window, hunting for the little buzzing gnats. The sizzle of fried eggs in butter. Johnny humming some old rock song, stirring to make a scramble in the skillet. “You like herbs?” he paused, turning behind to look at me.
I nodded. He smiled and turned back to the stove. “Hey I was thinking, uh, maybe after breakfast we could go to the lake? You can swim, right? Or if you wanna chill we could just find a boat and like, I dunno, fish or something?” he chattered over the gas fire, moving to get a plate.
My stare traveled around the room again. White dining chairs, wood. White rectangle dining table, IKEA? The walls were white too, although the sunshine gave everything a yellow hue. A pretty glass ornament tinkling by the window, putting colorful dots on the wall. Cold marble floor, grey and light blue. Where were my guns? Dark green cabinets on the wall. A red dish cabinet by the door to the room on the left. My chest hurts.
I raised my hand, and slapped myself so hard I nearly fell off the chair.
“OH MY GOD?!” Johnny dropped his spatula and rushed over. “Sarah?!” he cupped my face in his hands, dropping to his knees in front of me.
“This is a dream right? This is a dream? Coffee? Cakes? No guns on the table? You’re cooking me fucking breakfast? A-a-a lake? We have a house? P-please say no,” I choked and sobbed, clutching at his hands.
I hyperventilated. The pain in my chest was like a heart attack. Oh God, if this was a dream, why wasn’t I waking up yet? I always wake up when I felt like death.
Johnny shushed me desperately, pressing his forehead to mine. I saw a pretty floral apron down his front amid my tears. And despite my freak out, I started to laugh confusedly.
“It’s not a dream. It’s not. Remember, we settled here yesterday? The whole colony. Ken’s in a house by the lake. We’re just on the rise, closer to the hill. The rest are around,” he tried to calm me down, rubbing my ears with his thumbs. “Breathe, honey, breathe. In through the nose, out through yer mouth.”
My nose was clogged with cry-snot, but I tried anyway. Johnny pulled a chair near and slid up into it, giving me room. His hands clasped in his lap so tightly his knuckles paled.
I remember. We arrived here late in the evening. Parked our vehicles away in the clearing further up the hill. Benji said something about this place being an abandoned community for the dam. The massive relocation when the wars and sickness broke out. They got to run away. Got to hide away behind the strongholds of the dam. We were a little too slow.
But this place was safe enough, for the time being. The revived had a little challenge crossing that bridge we blew up on the way here. Sure, they would eventually make their way across; but damn it we were taking this moment to finally rest. I don’t remember falling asleep.
The sound of a cup sliding across the table brought me back. The smell of coffee. I wiped my face and stared at Johnny’s fingers around the cup.
“I had this dream so often. I was starting to believe it wasn’t gonna come true,” I rubbed the back of my neck, sniffling.
Johnny made a sound in his throat. I looked up to see a stupid grin on his face. “So, you’ve had dreams of me, making you eggs, wearing this,” he gestured to the apron.
I snorted. “The apron’s a surprise,” I chuckled, wiping away the tears that still streamed from my eyes. Johnny laughed and pushed some hair away from my face, pulling me close to kiss my head.
“I know. A moment’s peace and everything rushes to catch up, right? I couldn’t really sleep last night. I think you legit passed out,” his voice softened with concern.
I took a sip of the coffee as we both contemplated the serene silence we almost forgot existed. The savory sweet drink went down warm in my throat, waking my stomach up. “Where’d this come from?” I raised the mug. “Here,” he shrugged, gesturing to the cabinets. “They took the more expensive stuff, but left the cheap office-rush crap behind. Lucky us,” he grinned again. I frowned. “I don’t get it. How come this place isn’t stripped like all the rest?” I leaned back in my chair.
“Well, we wouldn’t have found this place in a panic, if you know what I mean. And besides, that coffee was like, behind some cleaning stuff. Loose shelf.”
I smiled at the stroke of good luck. Johnny stretched back, moaning at the ceiling.
“SHIT!” he shot up and ran to his abandoned cooking. The smell of the coffee gave way to burning egg.
“Damn it!” he plopped the eggs onto a plate, away from the skillet. “It’s okay. I like them really well done,” I laughed, bouncing up onto the table.
He sighed and switched the stove off, placing the skillet into the nearby sink. “Hey,” he straightened, giving me a funny look.
“Mmm hmm?” I took another sip of coffee.
“If you’re still dreaming,” he tried to suppress a bad case of laughter, “wanna make it a wet dream?”
I choked so hard on the coffee it sprayed all over the chair I was previously sitting on. The spluttering didn’t stop as I tried to breathe with coffee still in my nose.
“Whoa whoa whoa whoa whoa!” Johnny rescued the cup from spilling any more precious drink from my convulsing hands.
“What, The HELL?” I pinched my nose in pain, staring at him in disbelief.
“What? I know your sense of humor,” he grinned.
He turned away to set the cup down on the kitchen counter, I grabbed on of the apron’s ribbons and pulled him to me.
“What, you serious?” he giggled incredulously as I wrapped my arms around his neck.
I stared into his brown eyes, gleaming almost translucent in the sun. “I love you,” I whispered.
Johnny’s smile faded slightly, but the happiness didn’t leave his face. His gaze fluttered between my eyes and lips. He bit his lip shyly. “And I love you,” he whispered, his arms wrapping around my waist.
Our kiss started off tender and soft, almost as if we were ridiculously shy. He tasted the coffee in my mouth and breathed its scent in, sucking it off my lips. I couldn’t breathe again, but at the same time I breathed him in, drawing him close with my mouth. I felt dizzy. I needed to lie down.
My hands grasped in his hair, and I leaned back, pulling him with me. His hands grasped at my back and neck, and he moved with me. I felt like I was about to pass out, but the taste of him electrified me, kept me fully awake. The table creaked beneath us, and for a moment the image of it breaking under us flashed in my mind. I laughed, and he laughed too. His kiss became deeper, and I pulled him closer.
“INTERRUPTING!” Ken’s voice rang out loud and clear from the kitchen doorway.
“AHHHHHH!” I dislodged my face from Johnny’s and screamed at him, annoyed like all hell. Ken was standing stock straight, his arms folded and his eyes squeezed shut despite him looking up right at the ceiling. Johnny sighed and drooped into the curve of my neck, laughing softly. He gave me a quick kiss and straightened. “You can open your eyes now,” he went back to plating the scrambled eggs.
I crossed my legs and glared at Ken, folding my arms as well. He opened one eye to assess the situation, before blinking rapidly bringing his head to a normal degree. His cheeks puffed with air, and he couldn’t look me in the eye properly. Good, because if he did, I would spear his eye out with a fork.