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Diego

Chyler’s voice is a little raw, a little stuffy, trembling on the edges. Some of her words burst out accidentally when she speaks, as if her throat’s still tight and she hasn’t quite got control of her diaphragm.

“You want to come over later?” Diego asks, keeping it light and easy.

“Yeah,” she says, “I’ll–I’ll get a cab.” There’s a tired giggle in her words. She’s been sobbing. Or laughing. Or both.

“You want to eat? I can put some noodles on.”

“No,” she says, “not hungry.”

She will be, Diego thinks. He picks down garlic, basil, sage and thyme.

Chyler

“Are you okay?”

Kai and Ayane are waiting by the door, concerned. Kai pretty clearly has to go: she’s trying to not to hop from foot to foot. “Yeah!” says Jason, muffled. “Sorry, just a minute!”

“What else can you say to that?” mutters Chyler over a euchre hand.

Agnes cracks a grin, and Hector cracks up. It’s lost on Chyler.

“Like you can just go ‘No, actually,'” she says, in a Jasonesque baritone. “‘Having some difficulty. Think you could come on in and help?'”

Hector’s off his chair, and Agnes covers her eyes. Chyler barely notices. Her hand really sucks.

Chyler

“Eighteen days,” says August firmly. “To the minute.”

“Lord, honey, a year,” drawls Willie. “Or better yet, don’t.”

“Ooh, the same thing happened with me!” exclaims Laura. “And then that Friday, Ben… um, went into a coma.”

“A fortnight!” says Jason happily. “Actually I just wanted to say ‘fortnight.'”

“I don’t know,” says Hector, “A couple days?”

“Two weeks,” says Ayane. “Four weeks. No, two weeks.”

“It’s cool,” says Diego sagely. “Seriously, babe, I don’t mind. What was the question?”

“Five days,” says Agnes.

“A month,” says Tom.

“Just ask him, Chyler,” groans Emily, “honestly, can we talk about something else?”

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