Two slices of fresh, soft bread, a thin spread of garlic aioli on both slices, four slices of salami, no peppercorn, and caramelized onions was Penny's favorite sandwich.
She made two of them, bringing the plates to the dining room where Becky was waiting, twirling her hair.
"Here you go." Penny spoke softly, yet Becky still jumped in her seat.
"Thanks Penny." Becky's head drooped as she pulled the plate closer to herself.
"Now, how have you been?"
"It's..." Becky sighed. "It's been rough. Ray's gotten paranoid, and sleep deprived."
"That is a horrible combination." Penny sat next to Becky and placed a hand on her shoulder. Becky took a bite of the sandwich, teeth ripping the salami as the warm tangy onions flooded the back of her tongue. "Is it because of something that that happened while he was on vacation?" Becky nodded. "Has he talked to you-" Penny was interrupted by Becky waving her hand.
"Yeah. We've talked about it." Becky sighed. "It's not like he's paranoid for no reason. Ray has every right to be worried, but suddenly he's afraid his regular precautions won't be enough and he's staying up late to think up more, and then he's tired, and then he's afraid of making more mistakes while he's tired and-"
"Take a breath Becky."
Becky sucked in a huge gulp of air. And then another while Penny's hand rested on her shoulder.
"Can you tell me more details about what he is afraid of?" Becky shook her head. "Thought so. But I think you need to insist he rests."
"I've been trying." Becky put her hands out, shaking an invisible Raymundo. "But he doesn't listen. Insisting he is fine, avoiding the straightest paths in case of being followed, talking in code, like how much more can we take. He is... He is..." Becky pressed her fingers hard against her temples. "He is driving me crazy, but if I don't play along, I'm afraid he'll leave."
Penny rubbed Becky's back as she spoke. "You don't have to go along with his paranoia. And if he leaves you because of it, maybe you're better off without him."
"Maybe..." Becky picked up her sandwich and took another huge bite.
“Well, just don’t let his issues drag you down is all I’m saying.” Penny squeezed Hannah’s shoulder one last time before reaching for her own sandwich.
Word count: 396