“Here we go, guys,” Nate said. “You helped us move, so now stuff yourselves with pizza. It’s the American way!”
“Cheaper than movers,” Allan said, helping himself to the first piece.
Kevin had been happy to help Nate and Emily move; Nate had been one of the first to volunteer when Kevin moved the previous year, so it had been a favor he had been glad to repay. He had been ready to pitch in wherever needed, and had found himself in the bedroom picking up boxes.
And then he picked up that box.
Kevin felt guilty about what happened, even though, rationally, he knew nothing had been his fault. Nate and Emily should have put that box aside to take themselves. And they damn well should have made sure the bottom wouldn’t fall out when it was picked up, releasing quite an… array of items that were better left unseen.
The only thing that could have made the situation worse would have been for Emily to come into the room at that exact moment, which is exactly what had happened. Kevin didn’t know how long he stood there, holding a suddenly empty box with no bottom, Emily staring at him, and then at the “special” debris surrounding him on the floor.
All he knew was that neither had been able to look the other in the eye for the rest of the move.