Nikki's stomach ached a little from emptiness as she started down the mountainside an hour later. There was still plenty of melt-water in her cooler after washing her face, but something nudged her not to use the rest of it. She chewed some sugarless gum that promised to whiten her teeth, and hoped it would be enough to trick her stomach into thinking she was eating. Just a little over half an hour to Harper's Point city limits. If she was desperately hungry by then, maybe the town was big enough to have a drive-thru where she could get a breakfast sandwich. Even a carton of milk or orange juice would help her. She smiled at the mist shredding in swirls as it seeped across the road in front of her, and could almost hear Vincent lecturing her on taking care of her body. How could she be on the alert, ready to look after Brooklyn and performing at her peak if she was hungry?
This would certainly teach her to plan ahead, to have stores of food for emergencies, even if they were just packets of crackers or a jar of peanut butter. She needed to carry a gallon jug of water with her at all times, even if she never had need to camp by the side of the road in the future. When she got home, she would probably find out Vincent or Joan or Elizabeth had given her just that sort of advice, but she hadn't listened or had forgotten. If she had stayed at the hotel last night as planned, she wouldn't be facing this sort of inconvenience, would she? Yet that was the point, wasn't it? Planning for emergencies. Now she understood how Su-Ma felt, berating herself every once in a while for messing up the little details.
Well, she could certainly do something about preventing a lecture from Brooklyn when she showed up with a growling, loud stomach.
"How about it?" she said, glancing in the rearview mirror at Gray. "Double sausage biscuits, the first place we find, in and out. You get the sausage, I get the biscuits. Sound like a deal?"
Gray woofed and bobbed his head, making her laugh.