Kieran lay in bed, staring at the clock. The blue digits stared back, etching “8:14” into his mind, staying with him as he blinked. I should probably get up.
He sat up, peeling his blankets off and turning himself so that he sat on the edge of the mattress. His head was quiet and lazy, full of disconnected murmur. He stretched his arms and yawned, then stumbled out of the room. His feet found their way to the couch, where he plunged into the cushions. Goddamn, I am still really tired.
He stared off in no particular direction, vision unfocused and unimportant. His thoughts slowly processed information: It’s morning. I’m tired. I’m really tired. I’m supposed to be awake. Are there eggs in the fridge? I could go for some eggs right now. I’m supposed to do something today. I’m still really tired.
His vacant stare continued to pierce some ambiguous space between the TV and the window. No thoughts sustained themselves for more than a few seconds. He yawned, again.
“SULLIVAN!” a muffled voice shouted, knocking rapidly on the door. Ughh… no. I’m not awake. I’m asleep.
The knocking continued, and Kieran dragged himself out of his seat and towards the door, opening it.
“Hi,” Liadan started, quickly. “I really need your help.”
He stared at her for a moment, delayed in reaction.
“My parents are running a marathon and I just lost some people who were going to help out and I really need your help,” she rushed.
“Hang on. I’m not awake. What did you say?”
“Can you help run a water table for a marathon my family’s in charge of?”
“You’re doing a marathon in February?”
“It’s for charity.”
“I dunno, I’m kind of… not awake, like I said. I gotta do something today.”
“I need to find a new job.”
“I’ll relieve you of a month’s rent.”
“I don-- what?” Kieran said. What did she just say?
“I really need the help. I got Finn, but everyone else has work…”
“You’ll do it?” she asked, visibly excited.
“Thankyouthankyouthankyouthankyou!” Liadan chanted, hugging Kieran. What the hell…
“Come outside when you’re ready!” Liadan said, and sped off. Kieran stood still at the door. I should… go get ready.
He stuffed some bread in the toaster, and went to go get dressed. He muttered sleepily to himself about how stupid it was to be awake so early as he pulled his shirt over his head. When he finished dressing, he went into the kitchen and grabbed his toast, quickly eating it. He downed a glass of water, then went out the door.
Kieran walked out to the sidewalk, still groggy and yawning. Finn, Bianca, and Liadan all stood beside a car.
“Alright, now that Sullivan’s finally here, let’s get going.”
“Shut up,” Kieran muttered. He could barely see from all of the light reflecting off of the snow.
“Okay, here is your station,” Liadan said, pointing at a table on the side of the road. “The marathon starts in about an hour and a half. But they won’t get to you for a little while after that. Basically, you’re just filling up as many cups as you can until the runners start coming. Then you’re going to pass off the drinks to them. All of the supplies are there. If you need to, you can stack the cups with these cardboard sheets on top…”
They checked out the supplies.
“…now, if you have any questions, I will be at the finish line. So you’ll have to call me or text me. All set?”
“Yeah.” “Yes.” “Yep!”
“Good. Thanks again!” Liadan said, and headed to her car, waving.
“So… let’s get started,” Finn said. “How about… one person passes the cups, the next fills them, and the last places them on the table?”
“I’ll place the cups on the table!” Bianca said.
“Okay, then, I’ll pass off cups to you, Kieran?” Finn asked.
They started filling the cups, and quickly covered a sizable portion of the table.
“How many runners are there?” Finn asked.
“Four-hundred… eighty… somewhere around there,” Bianca said.
“We should have plenty by the time it starts,” Kieran said.
By the time the runners arrived, the table was covered with cups. They each stood in front of the tables, passing off cups repeatedly, until the crowd dwindled. They fell back in their seats, and waited for the remainder of the runners.
“That was pretty intense.”
A few more runners came by, and they continued the routine. The table still held a large number of cups.
“If it’s okay, and you guys think you can handle what’s left, do you mind if I go to the finish line?” Bianca asked.
“Yeah, sure! We’ve got it,” Finn said.
“…alright,” Kieran said.
“Okay! Great. Good luck! I‘ll send you a message when it‘s over, and we‘ll come by to pick you guys up,” she said.
Kieran and Finn sat in their chairs, the wind blowing at the trees.
“So, hey, good thing it was a bit warmer today than usual,” Finn said.
“I was surprised you came to help; I figured you would be busy.”
“Well, Liadan made me an offer.”
“No rent this month.”
“Seriously? That’s awesome.”
“Yeah. I feel like a jerk,” Kieran said. He regretted saying it immediately.
“Ehh… like I’m taking advantage, or something.”
“Don’t worry about it. She can handle losing a month’s rent, plus, I think she wanted to help you.”
“That… doesn’t really make me feel any better about it.”
“…I don’t want people to help me.”
“Everyone needs help sometime.”
“I’m not…” Kieran started. “…forget it.”
“Well, I’m not going to let you refuse my help when you really need it, alright?” Finn said, laughing.
Grace in Wonderland Splash - Thumbs: Final: Feedback from 2D lead Julia Yurstev And others from SEMC
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