Ruby reached into the bowl and pulled out a chocolate. It was a delicious-looking chocolate ball, and as the conversation flowed around her, she popped it into her mouth and bit down.
The regret was instant, as the chocolate ball cracked. Inside, she knew now, was a nut of some kind. Almond, perhaps, or peanut. Either way, she was allergic, and she spit the chocolate out.
It was too late – the nut was in her mouth, in her saliva, and she could feel her throat starting to close. She stood and hurried to the door, where her purse was hanging.
Everyone was looking at her, worried. “Nut,” she croaked out, as her throat continued to swell shut. She dug through her purse, found the pen. She took off the cap, pulled on the back, and jabbed it into her leg, sending a shot of epinephrine into her blood stream. She could breathe again, but knew she needed to head to the hospital.
Cheryl appeared at her side. “Oh, are you allergic to nuts? I’m so sorry, Ruby!”
Ruby waved her away. “It’s okay. Just need to head out, sorry. Thanks for the invite. Need to get looked at.” Ruby pulled on her boots and gave a half-hearted wave goodbye. She was in her car a moment later, taking off for the emergency room, hoping her throat didn’t re-close before she got there.