I actually kind of wrote this two days ago. And then forgot it. But now I remembered! BD

CHAPTER STATS

Word Count (excluding A/N): 1369

Date Updated: 2-11-11

Current Review Count: 190


"Hey, man, I heard you got snowed in on that island for an extra day," Riley said, walking up to Vaughn as the cowboy was walking off the pier at the city. "You missed your boat to the Valley, then, huh?"

"Yeah," Vaughn grunted, feeling strangely inclined to answer his coworker. Riley laughed.

"Well, how was the extra day? Did anything happen with her?"

Vaughn sighed as they turned a corner, heading towards Vaughn's apartment building. Riley sure seemed interested in his and Chelsea's relationship. He inwardly cringed—it was weird, saying that he and Chelsea had a "relationship". The word seemed to imply something else, something that wasn't there…

"Well?" Riley's voice snapped Vaughn back into reality. He noticed that they were already inside the building and climbing stairs to Vaughn's floor.

"Nothin' much," Vaughn muttered, switching his bag from one hand to the other. He briefly entertained the thought of telling Riley that Chelsea now knew about Vaughn's past. Riley would freak out, he was sure. He'd probably make up some crap about how Vaughn was slowly opening up and that that girl was healing him or something.

Vaughn couldn't help it—he rolled his eyes. Even the thought of Riley's little psychological diagnoses had him mildly irritated.

"'Nothing much'? Aw, c'mon, Vaughn. Something had to have happened."

"You're right." Vaughn stopped outside the door to his apartment and turned to face his eager friend. As much as he knew he'd regret this, the reaction Riley was bound to have would probably be worth it. "I told 'er."

Riley fell silent for all of two seconds before exploding. "You what?"

"I told 'er."

"Told her… that?"

"Yeah," Vaughn nodded, trying not to smirk at Riley's bewildered face. So worth it.

"Seriously?"

Vaughn nodded.

"Woah," Riley exhaled, still not quite believing the cowboy. He raised an eyebrow, curious. "So, what did she say?"

Vaughn opened the door to his apartment and stepped in. "Exactly what she was supposed to."

Riley gaped after Vaughn as the door closed. "So what did she say?"

Ooo

Chelsea's head whipped forward as a sneeze suddenly surfaced from her. Julia raised her eyebrows, handing the sniffling farmer a tissue from the counter of the animal shop.

"You alright?"

"Yeah," Chelsea nodded, accepting the tissue with a grateful smile and wiping her nose. "Just a little cold or something. It'll go away."

"It won't if you don't rest," Julia warned, standing up and walking into the kitchen to put a kettle on. "Do you think you got it during the storm?"

"Probably," Chelsea sighed, trying to ignore the dull pounding in the back of her head. "But it's already Monday. The storm was three days ago—you'd think my symptoms would've shown up before now."

"Maybe they have and you've been ignoring them," Julia said, placing the water-filled teapot on the stove and turning it on. Chelsea huffed as she folded her arms across her chest.

"I wouldn't ignore them," she said, twirling around on her stool. Julia rolled her eyes.

"You totally would. You're the type of person who can't stand being sick. Am I right?"

Chelsea sighed. Was she really that predictable? "Yeah, well, that doesn't mean I'm purposefully neglecting my health."

"Then you'll promise me to stay in bed at home for the next few days?"

"But what about Starry Night?" Chelsea frowned, remembering the holiday and its closing proximity. She didn't particularly want to be stuck in bed while everyone else was eating with friends, family, and loved ones. Chelsea saw Julia hesitate, but the blonde still didn't seem like she'd change her mind.

"Starry Night's in four days," she said, reaching in the cupboard for something, "If you really rest, that should be plenty of time to get better."

"I doubt it," Chelsea muttered under her breath, thinking about the ever-frigid temperature of her house. Julia didn't see to hear her.

"Speaking of Starry Night," Julia started, rejoining Chelsea at the counter in the shop, "I was hoping that Elliot would ask me to eat with him… but he hasn't said a word. Do you think he doesn't see me like that, or…?"

"Naw, Jules," Chelsea said, waving her hand, "He's just shy. I'll bet you anything that he likes you as more than a friend. He's just too scared to say anything."

"Really?" Julia blushed, giggling. Chelsea couldn't help but smile at her lovesick friend. People really did seem out of it when they were in love. "So what should I do?"

"I don't know," Chelsea shrugged, leaning back and sniffling slightly. "Do I really seem like the person to go to for romantic advice? Honestly, I've never even had a boyfriend before."

"You haven't?" Julia asked, seeming genuinely surprised—much to Chelsea's displeasure. "That's surprising."

"Why?" Chelsea asked, a light frown settling on her face. "DO I seem like the kind of girl who's had dozens of boyfriends or something?"

"Oh, no, no," Julia shook her head, smiling slightly, "I didn't mean it like that. It's just that you're so nice and stuff. Usually nice girls with pretty faces have had at least one relationship."

"I'm only nineteen," Chelsea protested, an irrational shame suddenly flushing her face. She felt like some sort of prude or something. "And there weren't really any guys where I grew up. None my age, at least. They were all too young or too old for me."

"You don't need to make excuses or anything," Julia laughed, making Chelsea flush harder. "It's totally fine. Just surprising. Especially considering how well you get along with some of the guys here…"

"What do you mean?" Chelsea asked, narrowing her eyes. She finally got a grip on her face and cooled it off to a normal color.

"I mean the way you seem to connect so well with a certain cowboy we both know," Julia smirked. Chelsea cringed as she lost control and her face heated up to a lovely lobster-red.

"What do you mean?" She asked, feigning nonchalance. Julia laughed at the farmer's expression.

"He talks to you, Chels. He doesn't talk to anyone else except for Ma—and that's only when he has to. And you should've seen the look on his face when he found out that you'd wandered out into that blizzard. It was like he'd seen a ghost. A ghost that he wanted to murder."

"O…kay?" Chelsea swallowed, coughing slightly as her throat tightened up. She was sure that her face couldn't get any more red. Had he really been that worried about her? Even if he was, she surely wasn't the only one he cared that much about. Julia was exaggerating. She had to be.

"Chels," Julia started with a hushed voice, leaning forward slightly. Chelsea looked over at her, startled by the sudden seriousness in her friend's eyes. "I really think he l—"

The kettle on the stove started squealing, blocking whatever Julia was saying from reaching Chelsea's ears. Julia sighed and raced over to turn off the burner. Chelsea watched as she grabbed a mug from the cabinet and poured some water in it, followed by a couple spoons of lemon juice from the fridge and a hearty pouring of honey. Chelsea eyed the steaming mug curiously as Julia brought it back over.

"What's that?" Chelsea asked, nodding towards the cup of light yellow liquid. Julia set it down in front of the cold-stricken farmer.

"My mom's cold remedy," she said, sitting leaning against the counter. "She always makes this whenever I catch a cold. It clears your nose and helps your throat. Come on over here whenever and I'll make you some more—it's just about the only recipe that I can't screw up."

"Thanks," Chelsea said, picking up the mug. She let the warm porcelain heat her hands as she breathed in the steam. It smelled like honey. She took a sip and nearly gagged. "Ugh—it's so bitter!"

"That's the lemon in it," Julia grinned. "But the aftertaste isn't that bad. How's your throat now?"

"…Better."

"See? It works. Drink up." Julia said, motioning to the nearly-full mug. Chelsea grimaced.

"Do I have to?"

"Do you want to be better by Starry Night?"

"…Fine."


I am very pleased that Chelsea ended up being sick when I got sick. I am still sick, in fact. Missed three days of school - we still have class here, since it's like 80 degrees outside and not snowing. Anyways, I want to update again this weekend for that promised double-update. Chelsea's got a bug and I want to write about it before mine goes away xP

And that drink that Julia made Chelsea really works. Just sayin'. 1 1/2 tablespoons of lemon juice and honey to taste into a mug of boiling water and BAM - throat and nose relief for up to two hours.

I have some makeup work to do. I hope you enjoyed this chapter! Is there a cold going around where you guys are, too?