Tesla, Starry, and I sat and talked for a little while after Mom and Gramma left. Starry did a fair amount of the talking. It certainly helped distract me from the hunger.
“Gotta admit, Tess, Crimson’s nurse is right— if you’re gonna get your cutie mark, saving somepony’s life is definitely the way to go about it. Sucks that it had to happen that way, but it’s still pretty cool, huh?”
Tess shrugged and looked back at her flank. “Yeah, I guess so. Of course I’m excited about it, but I still kinda feel bad… It all happened so fast.” She glanced down at the floor and fell silent.
Starry cleared his throat and turned to me. “Um, so yeah, Crimson, I’m sorry I haven’t been here that much. I… it’s been kinda… well, weird for me.”
My brows rose at the comment. “Huh? How so?” Tess looked his way and made the same expression.
Starry sighed and scuffed the floor a few times, shifting his gaze between me and Tesla. “Well, ever since you two… like… opened up to each other, I’ve been trying to give you guys some space. I’ve missed hangin’ out with you both, but I… I kinda feel like a third wheel or something.”
Tesla and I looked at each other for a moment before we both smirked. I said, “Wait, last I heard from Tess, she said you were busy with a lot of painting…”
Tess nodded and continued, “Yeah! Have you been coming up with stuff to do so you have something to pass the time while you leave us alone?”
Starry shrugged. “Well, yes and no. I’ve been working on my paintings because I like making them, but I also made a separate list of ideas. That way, if I finished something sooner than I expected, I could move right on to another one and leave you two alone. I got into a rhythm at some point, and I just didn’t stop. That’s why I kept saying I was busy; when I got into a groove, I didn’t really wanna lose it.” He sighed wistfully. “Seeing you two on your birthday was really nice, Crimson. It’d been way too long.”
Tess and I both nodded in agreement. “Yeah. I know Tess sees you at school, but the three of us hadn’t really hung out together for awhile. This is only the second time in what— like, two months?”
Starry frowned and hung his head. “Probably, if not more.” He sighed. “I like painting, but you guys have no idea how much I’ve missed this. I mean, it sucks that your dad getting sick is what brought us together this time, but still…”
While Starry continued staring at the floor, Tess and I looked at each other again. I smirked at her, glanced at Starry, then patted the top of my sheets. Tess understood pretty quickly and smiled back at me. Sneaking behind Starry, she ducked underneath him and flipped him up onto my mattress. She followed him over the foot of the bed.
Landing unexpectedly on his rump on top of my bed, Starry asked, “Hey! What was that about?” Tess and I smiled at each other again, then simultaneously pulled him into a three-way hug.
I started, “Starry, we’ve been a trio for as long as I can remember. That doesn’t have to stop. You shouldn’t feel the need to leave us alone unless we ask you to.” I looked at Tess. “Right?”
Tess looked at him and simply said, “Right.”
Starry looked between the two of us and pulled us in for another hug. When I noticed a shimmer in his eye, he said, “Thanks, guys. I’m sorry about all this.”
I shrugged. “It’s okay, dude. Everypony has a phase of some kind at some point or another, or something.” At that moment, I heard Tesla give a loud sigh. I turned to her and asked, “Something wrong?”
Tess shook her head, then paused for a moment before she said, “No, not really. It’s just that…” Another pause. “Why is it that when Starry and I have come here to support you, you’re the one that seems to be making us feel better?”
After a lively debate with Starry and Tesla about who seemed to be making whom feel better, my stomach rumbled again. I knew I wasn’t allowed to eat, which bothered me, but it did remind Starry and Tess that they hadn’t had dinner either. Upon hearing that, I shooed them out, assuring them that if I needed anything I could call High Flyer. As if on cue, High Flyer knocked on my door and came into my room just as Starry and Tess walked out. He looked like he was holding something under his wing.
“Good timing! I kind of wanted to give this to you when it was quiet,” High Flyer said as he approached my bed.
“What is it?” I asked.
High Flyer took a quick breath and continued, “Well, if what I remember about stent insertion surgery is correct, when he gets out of recovery, I don’t think your father is going to be allowed out of his room for some time. While you were asleep during your dad’s surgery, I spoke with your mom. I’d seen her using her computer to chat with her students. Luckily for us, we have a couple of laptops here in the hospital that some of the older patients are allowed to use.” He opened his wing and set a computer on my bed. “I discovered that they can run the same video program your mom uses, so I installed the program and saved the information for your mother’s computer.”
My eyes lit up. “Does that mean…?”
High Flyer smiled. “If your mom is over in your dad’s room with her computer, and you’ve got this laptop here, you should be able to speak with your dad face-to-face, even if you can’t be in the same room together.”