Some time later...
Sonata Dusk breezed through the front door of the Sentry household, carrying several large plastic bags. "I'm home!" she called. "I brought tacos!"
"Again?" Flash said as he wandered in, studying his phone. "Don't you ever get tired of—"
"Just kidding," Sonata said with a giggle. "I got takeout from that Cat Cafe place that just opened up! You know, the one with that pretty Chineighse waitress with the huge titties you like?" She laughed at Flash's blush and strangled sound as she headed for the kitchen, where she began unpacking boxes of Chineighse takeout.
Vance and River wandered in from elsewhere in the house. "Thanks for picking up dinner, Sonata," River said. "I had a rough day, I'm too tired to cook."
"Oh, it's no problem," Sonata said. She stretched and grimaced, rubbing her back. "Though I think I might have to change my shift schedule. I'm really tired tonight."
"Rough shift?" Flash asked.
"No worse than usual," Sonata said with a shrug and a wince. "Just...tired. Achy. Kinda feel swollen." She finished setting out cartons, then sat down with a weary sigh.
River frowned as she filled glasses with ice and glanced over at Sonata. "You don't look so good," she said. "Maybe you should go to bed early tonight, have a lie-in tomorrow."
"Yeah, might be a good idea," Sonata agreed.
It was a common scene ever since Sonata had moved in. What was originally going to be a couple of nights had become a prolonged arrangement: Sonata had gotten a job at Los Tacos Hermanos, but wasn't earning enough to rent her own place and had no references, so Flash's parents had agreed to "rent" her the guest bedroom indefinitely. In turn, she'd become part of the household, helping with chores and livening up family meals and outings. Adagio and Aria had, as Sunset predicted, skipped town.
As for Flash, his "relationship" with Sonata was more good friends or cousins; they enjoyed spending time together and doing stuff together, but they'd quickly discovered there was no spark between them. Sonata had decided to make it her life's mission to find Flash a perfect girlfriend—but to his consternation, that "life's mission" turned out to mean "tease Flash mercilessly about any girl whose tits she caught him checking out".
As she broke open a steamed pork bun, Sonata looked around the table. "You know, I just wanna thank you guys," she said sincerely. "I mean it. You guys are great. I'm really lucky I ran into Flash that night."
"Well, that certainly was one of the craziest weekends we've ever had," Vance said, "but now that we've gotten to know you, we're happy to have you staying with us for as long as you need."
"Thanks," Sonata said warmly, smiling broadly.
After dinner, River insisted Sonata turn in early. Sonata headed to the bathroom to take care of her nightly ablutions. As she was brushing her teeth, a wave of dizziness washed over her. Once she finished brushing, she frowned at her reflection. Biting her lip, she dug around under her makeup bag for something she'd tucked away out of sight.
Fifteen minutes later, as Flash was heading to his room to finish up some homework, he noticed Sonata sitting on her bed, staring blankly at her feet. He knocked on the open door and leaned in. "Hey, you okay?" he asked.
Sonata looked up at her, then looked away sheepishly. "Umm..." She played with her hair. "Y-yeah, I..." She shook her head. "I'll tell you later. You've got that nasty history test to study for. Don't worry about me."
Flash frowned. "You sure?"
"Yeah, I'm sure." She smiled brightly. As Flash left, though, the smile fell. Sonata wrung the hem of her shirt, then glanced at her phone. Hesitantly, she reached for it. She tapped Sunset's contact, took a deep breath, then held it up to her ear.
"H-hey, Sunset? I...umm..."