“And the winner of this year’s Fourth of July gold medal is… Jen!”
Wanda slips the ribbon over my head, letting the gold-foil wrapped chocolate medal drop onto my chest, then carefully lifts my hair so everything sits properly. Afterward she gives me a kiss on each cheek. Once she pulls back Eric splits the difference; when my mouth is my own again I speak.
“So what’s the medal for?”
Wanda answers, “Awesomeness in the face of crazy fans and being a really really good friend.”
“And for letting me see you naked.”
I smile at Eric and he blushes deep red. Wanda looks slightly disgusted. She still has a little trouble with that part of the relationship; it’s not that she disapproves, it’s just that a couple of times now I’ve gone to bed with Eric and woken up with her.
“Look Jen, about that…”
“No need to apologize again, Wanda. I know your relationship with your brother is, uh,” I cringe at the word, “complicated. Having me around makes it even more so. How about we don’t discuss it and have dinner instead.”
Eric jumps up, “Great!” He runs to the kitchen and returns proudly bearing a plate loaded with taco fixings, spices and squeeze bottles. He sets it down on the coffee table and looks at me like an eager puppy.
Wanda says, “You’re the guest, Jen, you go first. What would you like?”
I point out several things and Eric tosses them into a bowl. Eventually he stuffs the sticky mess of lettuce, cheese, meat and veggies into a tortilla shell. He picks up an unmarked squeeze bottle.
“Would you like some hot sauce?”
“Let me taste it first.” I do that now, ever since the guacamole incident. He squirts a drop on my finger and I touch it to my tongue.
“Are you okay?” He quickly offers me a small glass of milk and I down it between gasps. It mostly settles the burning sensation.
“Eric likes it that way. He left part of a taco out in the park one time and the birds were breathing fire for a week.”
“So, why tacos?”
Wanda talks as she points out ingredients to Eric.
“You remember the museum story, how the guard rescued us from our abusing ‘aunt’ and ‘uncle’? Well, we wanted to thank her afterwards, so Eric and I offered to take her out for a fourth-of-July dinner. She chose tacos and ice cream, I think mostly for our budget. We’ve done it ever since.”
“What about Cinco de mayo, then?”
“Eric barbecues steaks. We have to do it some time.”
Dinner, like everything with these two, is a bit surreal. After the tacos, Eric brings out ice cream and makes each of us a custom sundae. He puts hot sauce on his, which would have been fine if not for the after-dinner kiss. They take turns feeding me little spoons of ice cream until I can breathe again.
After that we go out on the balcony and all snuggle up together to watch the fireworks display.