rachel and alice

chapter 1

Alice stared down at the paperwork on her desk, absently twirling a pen in between her slender fingers. She was staring down her future, and the decision weighed heavily on her mind. The opportunity was a good one, and had a chance of helping her become more healthy. What could she lose? Her time? It wasn't as if she were healthy enough to work or do much of what she wanted anyway.

Footsteps sounded behind her, and Alice half-turned in her chair, watching as Rachel stepped over the connective tubing that ran from the home oxygen concentrator to the cannula in Alice's nose.

Alice turned back to stare down the paperwork, tapping the pen against the desk. Rachel's arms wrapped around Alice's shoulders, Rachel's chin resting against Alice's bony shoulder.

"Still thinking about it?"

"Yeah," Alice replied, tilting her head a little so their faces touched. The oxygen tube pressed into her skin, but she didn't mind too much. Ever since she'd put some first aid tape around the contact points, her skin had been less raw and irritated.

"I still think it's a good opportunity," Rachel said, kissing Alice on the cheek, then on the crook of her neck, "It can't hurt, right?"

"I know...it's just-" Alice sighed, frowning at the document, "I don't even know."

"Are you worried it won't work?"

"Well it is a drug trial. That's the whole point, they don't know if it'll work."

"Well, if it doesn't we'll have gotten a load of free food, and a decent pay cheque, for our troubles. It's not for nothing, even if you don't gain the weight you need to."

"I don't know why you're so gung-ho for this," Alice sighed, setting the pen down and rubbing at her eyes, "You're pretty chubby as is, and I know we've always talked about how nice you look with the extra pounds but..."

"But?" Rachel asked, moving to a nearby chair. She kept one hand entangled in Alice's, stroking the appendage with a thumb.

"But if this works like it's supposed to, you're going to end up huge. Are you sure you're still okay with that?"

"We don't know that, remember? Besides, I've always wondered what it would be like to be big. Besides, it doesn't matter if it works for me or not, remember? I'll be the control group. What matters is you."

"I know, I know. I just feel like I'm signing over my soul or something, you know? It's silly."

"It's not OSAP, at least," Rachel chuckled, the smile lighting up her brown eyes with a cheerful light.

Alice snorted, wincing as the cannula shifted from her preferred position. She adjusted it absentmindedly, well accustomed to the tickling sensation of the oxygen passing into her nasal cavity, "Thank the gods for that. You know what? Fuck it. Let's do it. I need to get some weight on me, and this seems to be the best way."

"Better than watching you try to eat more than one piece of toast in the morning, that's for sure," Rachel let go of Alice's hand, allowing her to pick up the pen again, "I hope this gets your body back into a healthier eating mode."

Alice signed the document with a flourish. She set the pen down, and folded up the paper to slide them into the envelope Rachel had prepared when she'd signed her own documentation.

Alice handed the envelope to Rachel, who licked the glue with a grimace. Pressing on the edges until she was sure it was sealed, Rachel smiled again, "There. I'll mail this on my way to work tomorrow. Call me during my break to remind me to send it off."

"Will do," Alice took out her phone, setting herself a reminder, "There. That way we hopefully won't forget."

Rachel chuckled, "Hopefully."

"If nothing else you can send it when you get off work. Not the biggest deal in the world."

"Yeah," Alice replied, "Go put it in your purse anyway. Are you almost ready for bed?"

"Nearly. I'll put this away, then I'm going to make lunch. You hungry at all while I'm in the kitchen anyway?"

"Not really," Alice sighed, "but I'll eat anyway."

Alice stood, making sure her tubing wasn't twisted or caught as she went. Her oxygen concentrator was tucked into a corner of the living room, and it's position, and long amounts of tubing, allowed her free range of every room in the house except for the garage and the attic. She hopped onto a bar stool tucked against the kitchen counter, and waited for Rachel to start cooking.

Rachel was a tanned woman, with dark eyes and darker hair. She had asian heritage of some kind, and even though Rachel had tried to trace her family tree, the exact country had eluded her. She wore thick-rimmed glasses that accentuated her features. She had short black hair, cut close to the scalp around the sides and back, but was longer at the top. She had added a little bit of volume to it, but still kept it slicked back. It looked nice, though Alice still sometimes missed braiding Rachel's hair when it had been long.

Rachel started to hum to herself as she worked. She made her lunch first, as it was easier to make. She was wearing a light blue, flowery, summer dress that clung tightly to her curves. Rachel had wide shoulders and wide hips and had always liked food. She wasn't fat by any means, she was simply plush. Curves to die for, all with the underlying muscle of someone who had been a caretaker for almost two years.

"What would you like, hun? I was thinking maybe a sandwich, or there's some leftover pasta sauce in the fridge. Could make some spaghetti and you could have the rest for lunch tomorrow."

"Whatever you want to do," Alice rested her chin in the palms of her hands, her elbows on the counter, "I'll eat it."

"Pasta then," Rachel put her lunchbox in the fridge and took out the tupperware container of marinara sauce, "That way you don't have to worry about cooking if you don't want to. Know you prefer cold pasta over warm."

"Thanks, babe. It's appreciated."

Rachel beamed, then began to prepare the pasta. As she worked, she stole glances at her wife, drinking in the contented expression on Alice's face. Alice had a long, thin face with a straight, narrow nose. Wide, pale eyes contrasted sharply with her dark brown eyes. She wasn't conventionally attractive, perhaps, but to Rachel she was one of the prettiest people on the planet. Even as emaciated as Alice had become over the last two years, she still looked okay. Not healthy by any means, but she was still recognizable as herself.

"Did you want me to put extra garlic in the pasta water?"

"Who did you marry, exactly?" Alice joked.

Rachel snorted, adding some garlic to the water, "I know but it's better to ask."

Alice chuckled weakly, putting her hands down on the table and interlacing her fingers together. She wore a baggy sweater with a comfortable pair of sweatpants. Comfort and layers were her specialty now, as she'd learned lots about trying to keep warm in the long Canadian winter months.

Alice's phone went off, and she pulled it out of the recesses of a deep pocket. She stared at it for a moment, before turning off the alarm, "I need to refill the humidifier on the concentrator. Be right back."

"Okay, take your time. Going to be another 20 minutes or so, so don't rush."

"As if I rush anything anymore," Alice said sarcastically, "My lungs won't let me."

"You get what I mean. Now shoo! The distilled water is in the cabinet beside the TV stand still. We don't need you drying out again."

"Yeah that nosebleeds were miserable," Alice slid off the stool, once again checking to make sure she wasn't caught on anything before moving on.

"I remember. You got blood all over your favourite sweater, remember?! I had to wash it out before it stained."

"It's a black sweater!" Alice called from the living room, her voice strained.

"The insides not!" Rachel protested, "Stop shouting!"

Rachel could hear indistinct mumbling from the living room, but Alice didn't reply at full volume. With all the scarring on her lungs, she could hurt herself if she did anything to strain her lungs too much. Gentle exercise was okay, and encouraged, but she still needed to be careful.

Rachel finished reheating the sauce and cooking the pasta by the time Alice returned, looking a little relieved.

"There we go, all set for a bit. That smells really nice."

"Thanks," Rachel replied, serving the spaghetti and the sauce, "Cheese?"

"Have I ever said no?"

Rachel smiled, sprinkling some parmesan over the plates of spaghetti, "I know, I know. Here."

It was a basic meal, but as Alice stirred up the sauce, pasta, and cheese, she felt some semblance of hunger. Not at all like when she'd been healthy, but it still counted, "Thanks babe."

Rachel smiled, sitting on the stool beside Alice. She grasped Alice's left hand with her right, gently caressing the hand as they ate, "It's not a problem."

"I love you."

"I love you, too."
4 chapters, created 5 years , updated 5 years
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