Day 26: diamond
“If we get married, I’m getting you a diamond-tip drill bit, instead of a ring.”
Just goes to show you even asshole ex-boyfriends, like stopped clocks, can get some things right.
(This is not a drabble. It is however the only thing I have been able to come up with for “diamond” so there it is.)
Day 27: letters
Sara is good at finding hiding spots. For stolen pre-dawn meetings, but even more for folded and refolded scraps of whatever paper she can find: the backs of mis-filled loading forms, torn paper from sugar sacks, out-of-date crew schedules. Her pinched handwriting fills every inch, and then Sara folds the thing up small, tucked in on itself into a tiny little package and jam it in broken window ledges, under loose bricks, behind peeling siding.
Matt tells Rokia where to go, skeptical about the secrecy as always, laughing it off as one of Sara’s games. And today it’s an old spot, an apartment building near the El with peeling paint and conveniently rotten mortar.
It’s a longer note today, must’ve been a boring run for Sara to have this much time. Rokia finally gets a chance to read it after the girls are in bed, and she spreads the paper on the table and leans close.
Inhales, first, the smell of diesel smoke and grease and a hint of manure and sweat, then takes in the note, stories about a fuel spill in Nine that sounds too convenient to be accidental, jokes about finding a cowboy boyfriend in Ten or a sweet sugar-mama in Eleven, hints and clues hidden everywhere and Rokia will spend the rest of the week turning everything over in her head to find the clues.
But for now it’s late, and she’s tired, so she climbs the stairs to her room. Opens the chest against the wall and sets the note inside with the others. Washes her face, brushes her teeth, climbs into bed alone and wishes that just for once she didn’t have to.
Day 28: promise
They don’t make promises. Never have. Life’s too uncertain for promises. But the night before the Reaping Rokia hears a noise outside and when she goes to the window Sara’s trying to climb the downspout.
Rokia opens the window and hisses at Sara, “What the fuck are you doing?”
Sara looks up, and Rokia expected Sara’s usual grin but no, her lips are pressed together. “Wasn’t sure you’d let me in,” she says, “but fuck you if you think you’re leaving for the Capitol without seeing me.”
Rokia blinks. “I’ll let you in,” she says, closes the window and goes to the door.
This is stupid. It’s unbelievably reckless. But Sara pushes past her into the house, stands with her arms crossed over her chest just inside the door.
“Promise me,” she says. “Promise me you’ll do everything you can to get out.”
“Sara, it’s not my call,” Rokia says. They’ve been over this. Rokia has a job to do, and nobody knows what’ll happen to any of them, in the end.
“Promise.” Sara says, eyes flashing, mouth hard, her fingers digging into her upper arms.
Rokia sighs, looks away over Sara’s shoulder and out the window. Looks back into Sara’s eyes, warm and brown and familiar and scared, behind everything.
“I’ll try,” Rokia says, soft.
“I promise,” Rokia says, locking eyes with Sara.
Sara uncrosses her arms and wraps Rokia in a hug, hard, then steps away before Rokia has a chance to react.
“Be careful,” Rokia says, as Sara turns to leave. Sara doesn’t turn back, just nods, opens the door, and disappears into the night.