Gerard proves to be a difficult patient.
On the trip back to the bed he almost stumbled when he suddenly thought that perhaps Holly had taken the girls to her loft. As desperately as he wanted to go out and investigate the silence he didn’t have the strength. He lowered himself heavily to the bed and hung his head.
“Okay, you girls start to put the groceries in the fridge and I’m gonna check on Sickie.” Holly said as she shrugged off her jacket.
When she reached the bedroom she was surprised to see Gerard sitting on the side of the bed. “Hey, what are you doing up?”
He slowly lifted his head. “I thought everyone had left me.”
It was hard for her not to laugh at his dramatic tone but she knew he was truly feeling terrible. “We just ran into town to grab a few things.” She lifted the pharmacy bag she was holding. “I talked to the pharmacist and he says lots of people are sick with this flu. Got some meds that will help.”
“Nothings gonna help.” He answered miserably. “I feel like shit.”
“And you will for a few more days.” Holly told him as she opened the bag. “Oh and hope you don’t mind but I used your car. Didn’t want to fiddle with moving B’s booster seat.”
“Course not.” He muttered.
Holly opened the box of cold and flu medicine then removed two pills from the bottle. “Here you go.” She said holding out her hand. “Take these and then will try to get some food into your tummy.”
Gerard couldn’t help it, he glared at her. “My tummy don’t want any food.”
“But your tummy needs food.” Holly said ignoring his sour disposition. “We’ll try some dry toast and tea.”
He took the pills from her outstretched hand. Swallowing them with a sip of water from the glass by the bed he noticed his hands were shaky.
“Yep.” Holly noticed he’d see his hands shake. “John said this flu really zaps your strength.”
He looked up. “John?”
“Oh.” He ran his hand through his stringy hair. “Fuck, I need a shower.”
“Yep you do.” Holly grinned, “But you don’t have the strength to take one.”
He realized she was right, just making it to the bathroom had exhausted him.
“Oh, I talked to Lindsey.” Holly said as she pulled the blankets off his bed to straighten them. “Her grandpa is gonna be fine. They are gonna stay a few day’s so she’ll pick up B the day after tomorrow.”
“That’s good to hear.I like her grandpa.” Gerard said moving slightly so Holly could yank the sheet that was under him. Her works suddenly sunk in. “Who’s they?”
Holly was confused a minute then she recalled what she’d said. “Oh, they. That’s Lindsey and Jake. He went with her.” She watched Gerard’s reaction closely realizing she wasn’t sure how he felt about his ex wife’s boyfriend.
Gerard looked up at her. “What?”
“Oh nothing.” She started working on fixing the blankets.
He forced his mind to think. “Oh you’re wondering if I’m okay with Jake?”
“He makes her happy.” He said softly. “I want her to be happy.”
“She asked how you were doing.” Holly said moving to fluff his pillows.
“Did you tell her I was dying?” He muttered as he twisted his body into position to lay back down.
Holly rolled her eyes. “No I failed to mention that. Besides I told you there would be no dying on my watch. Now flop back down and rest until I get your toast and tea.”
“Don’t want it.” He said as she pulled the blankets over his body.
“Didn’t ask if you did.” Holly moved towards the door.
“Bossy.” He whispered under his breath.
“I heard that.” Holly laughed without turning around.
Holly was pleased to see the girls had unloaded the grocery bags and put things away. “Thanks girls. You both are excellent helpers.” She told them.
“How’s daddy?” Molly asked.
“Wanna see him.” Bandit suddenly piped up.
“Well since he’s sick, Honey.” Holly tried to explain.
“Wanna see him.” Bandit said again her bottom lip starting to tremble.
Holly squatted down to hug her. “How about this? You and Molly can stand at the bedroom door and say hi?”
“Okay then.” Holly stood trying to ignore the pain that shot through her back. Sleeping last night in the chair had been a mistake. “Let’s go.” She put her arms around both girl’s shoulders to lead them down the hallway.
Gerard heard the steps as they grew closer. Propping himself up on his elbow he smiled when the girls came into view. “Hey girls.” He smiled.
“They wanted to see for themselves that you’re okay.” Holly laughed.
“Daddy better?” Bandit asked her voice very serious.
“Just a little sick.” He tried to downplay how truly bad he felt.
"But mommy’s taking care of you.” Molly put in quickly. “Mommy’s really good at that.”
Gerard and Holly’s eyes met. “Yeah, she is. She’s taking good care of me and you guy’s, right?”
Both little girls nodded.
Holly grinned. “Okay girls. Got to let Sickie get some rest.”
“Sickie?” Gerard repeated.
Molly laughed. “Yep, you’re Sickie.”
Gerard leaned back against his pillows. “Yeah, that name fits.” His head was starting to pound again.
“Come on guys.” Holly said to the girls. “Let’s pop in that movie we rented.”
“Okay.” Bandit nodded happily.
Molly however was still looking at her dad. “Daddy?”
“We love you.”
“Yeah, wuv you.” Bandit echoed.
“I love you guys too.” He answered as his eyes closed. He had drifted off to sleep just as Holly bustled back in holding a tray.
“Okay Sickie here’s your toast and tea.”
He opened his eyes but made no move to get up.
“Gee, I know it’s hard but you really need to try to get some food in your stomach.” Holly said softy.
“I really don’t want any.” He sighed. “I just know it won’t stay down.”
“Well if it doesn’t that’s okay.” Holly said looking down at him. “But it’s important to try.”
“No it’s not okay.” He said suddenly feeling angry. “It ain’t okay for you to keep cleaning up my puke. This is fuckin’ embarrassing.”
Holly carefully sat the small tray down on the nightstand. “Oh, so my patient is cranky today.”
He glared at her.
“Come on.” She pulled the pillow out from under his head. “Sit up.”
It took all his strength to lift his body. Once he had scooted back slightly Holly placed one pillow behind his back and one on his lap. “Okay.” She said as she set the tray in front of him. “Just a few bites of toast and a bit of tea and I’ll leave you alone.”
“Don’t want you to leave me alone.” He muttered.
“Could have fooled me.” Holly laughed.
“You don’t understand.” Gerard said trying to ignore the fact that even the smell of toast was making his stomach flip. “This ain’t how it’s supposed to be.”
Holly gave him a confused look. “How what’s supposed to be?”
“Never mind.” He picked up the toast and forced himself to take a small bite.
“Gerard.” Her voice was stern. “Explain what you just said.”
He tried to think as he chewed. “I wanted things to be different for us. But here you are taking care of me again. Ain’t right.”
Holly sighed. “I’m just taking care of you because you’re sick.”
“I don’t want to be sick.” Even he realized as the words left his mouth that he sounded like a child whining.
“Well no one does.” Holly said smiling slightly. “But that’s just how it is. Now take another bite.”
“Shit how long is this gonna last?”
“John said most people feel really bad for three days then they start to feel better.”
“And you feel okay?” He asked looking at her closely and knowing it would be just like Holly to hide the fact she felt bad.
Holly nodded, “I feel fine. And thank God so far both girls feel fine too.”
“Yeah, God I wouldn’t want them to get this.”
They both heard Molly calling out for her mom that her cell was ringing.
“Be back in a minute.” Holly said turning for the door.
When she returned a few minutes later the tray had been shoved across the bed and Gerard’s head was hanging over the trashcan. He looked up slightly when he heard her drawn near. “Sorry.” He muttered miserably.
Holly lifted the tray happy to see the tea hadn’t spilled. She took it to the kitchen then returned. By this time Gerard had set the trashcan back down and was lying with his eyes open. She quickly took the trashcan to the bathroom, cleaned it then returned it to the same spot by the bed. She’s also had grabbed a washcloth to wipe his face.
“I tried.” He whispered.
“I know.” Holly said soothingly as she ran the cool cloth over his face then lips. She was worried he was not even keeping liquids down.
“Who called?” He asked.
Holly wasn’t going to mention the call but since he’d asked she answered. “Uh that was Jake.”
“Yeah.” Holly nodded. “Lindsey is sick. So they won’t be back as planned.”
“Oh shit. Poor Linds.” He sighed.
Holly didn’t want him to worry. “Hey she’s got people who love her taking good care of her.”
Gerard looked into her eyes. “Do I?”
Holly stared at him.
He closed his eyes. “Sorry that was a stupid thing to ask.” He whispered.
The question had completely unnerved Holly. She took the washcloth back to the bathroom and when she neared the bed again his eyes were closed. She turned and left without a word.
Holly had just made tuna sandwiches for the girls when Christa called.
"Hey, how’s it going today?”
“B more sandwich less potato chips.” Holly said before answering Christa. “Uh, it’s going fine. How’s Ray?”
Christa sighed, “Sick as a dog. His friend Chuck game over this morning to help out. Ray really wants me to try to stay away from him as much as I can. He don’t want me or Tara to get this.”
Holly wanted to ease her friend’s worries. “You know right now your immune system is really good since you’re breast feeding. Bet you don’t get it.”
Christa smiled, “Yeah, that’s what I’m hoping too. I tried to tell Ray that but he’s still worried. So how Gee?”
“He hasn’t been able to keep anything down.” Holly sighed.
Christa heard a child’s voice saying something but couldn’t make out the words.
“That’s a good idea.” Holly answered the child. She turned her attention back to the call. “Sorry, that was Molly. She just reminded me that there are Popsicles in the fridge.”
“Okay” Christa was confused.
Holly laughed. “Once when Molly was sick and couldn’t keep anything down the doctor said to give her a Popsicle. It does have some nutrition and it’s a great way to get liquids.”
“Oh.” Christa said slowly. “Yeah, that’s true.” Suddenly she laughed, “So you’re gonna give Gee a Popsicle?”
Again she heard a child’s voice.
“B just told me that his favorite flavor is the purple ones. So yeah, next time he’s awake he gets a grape Popsicle.” Holly said.
“He’s lucky to have you there, Holly.” Christa said softly.
“It’s no big deal.” Holly said quickly not wanting anyone to read more into the situation then there was.
Christa understood her attitude. “So you excited about Friday night?"
Holly sighed, “Not really. I was supposed to finish two more wind chimes before the auction. Don’t look like I’m going to have time now.” She explained about Lindsey being sick.
“Oh so you’re gonna stay there?”
“I can’t leave until he can take care of himself and even then I don’t think he’ll be up to watching Bandit.” Holly answered as she continued to keep an eye on the girls.
“Wish I could help you.” Christa sighed.
“But you’ve got your hands full.” Holly laughed. “Just worry about taking care of Ray. I got this covered.”
“You know both Mikey and Alicia are sick too, right?”
“Yep.” Holly answered shaking her head no at Bandit who was once again reaching for the chip bag. Bandit frowned but minded Holly.
“Well let’s just hope the rest of us stay healthy.” Christa saw Chuck walk down the hall. “Gotta go. Talk to ya later.”
Holly said goodbye then disconnected. “Okay, finish up lunch and if you promise to stay bundled up you guys can go outside to swing.”
This suggestion was met with cheers.
An hour later the girls where tired and ready to go inside. Holly picked up her stuff off the patio table then followed them in.
“Who would like some cocoa?”
“Me.” Bandit answered slipping off her coat.
“Me.” Molly nodded as she too shed her heavy jacket.
“Okay, Dora should be on so you two get settled in front of the TV. I’m gonna check Sickie then get the cocoa.”
When she reached his room Gerard was sitting up frowning. “Where have you been?”
“Outside with the girls.” She answered walking towards the bed. She reached out to touch his forehead.
“Shit, your hands are cold.” He muttered. “You know you should have told me where you were going. I woke up and no one was here again.”
Holly tired to ignore his testy mood. “You just woke up.”
He glared at her. “You don’t know that. You were outside playing.”
She couldn’t help it, she laughed. “I was outside playing? Really?”
He continued to glare.
“Gee.” Holly tried to be patient. “You just woke up. If you’d needed me I would have known.”
“Oh really?” He said folding his arms.
“Yeah, really.” She pointed over to the baby monitor she’s placed beside the bed on the other nightstand before taking the girls outside. “I was listening to you moan and snore the whole time we were outside.”
Gerard was surprised. “Where the hell did you find that?”
“Downstairs closet.” Holly answered. “Had to put new batteries in it but it still works great.”
“Oh that’s just wonderful. I’m reduced to being the one needing a baby monitor.” He fell back against his pillows.
“Well you’re kinda acting like a baby.” Holly teased.
He closed his eyes but remained silent.
“Okay, I’ll be back in a few minutes.” She explained moving towards the door. “I have to make the girls some cocoa.”
“Whatever.” He whispered feeling so tired of being sick.
His eyes were open and he was staring at the ceiling when she returned.
“Sit up.” Holly said as she walked in.
He answered without looking at her. “I can’t eat anything.”
“Look.” Holly sighed, “You have to keep fluids going into your system. Try this.” She held out the grape Popsicle.
He looked at her like she’d lost her mind. “A Popsicle?”
“Worked for Molly when she was sick.” Holly said as she stood waiting for him as he struggled to sit up. “Matter of fact she’s the one who reminded me. Oh and Bandit said purple was your favorite.”
He smiled slightly. “She’s right, it is.” Slowly he took it from her hand.
“Now just suck on it slowly.” Holly said once more straightening his covers. She was shocked when she looked up and saw he was grinning. “What?”
“Oh nothing.” He continued to grin.
Holly realized what she’d said. “Oh good Lord. You must be feeling a bit better if your mind went there.”
“Hey I’m a guy. You said suck and slowly together in a sentence. We can’t help it, that’s just how our minds work.” As he said this he purposely placed the Popsicle in his mouth removing the long cylinder shape slowly. He saw Holly’s eyes widen.
She stared at him a moment then rolled her eyes. “Nice. I’m sure that show would please a guy but it ain’t doing anything for me.”
He laughed then using his tongue flicked just the lip of the frozen treat.
“Enough.” Holly laughed. “Finish that then try to get some rest.”
“But I feel better.” He was tired of being alone. “I want to get up.”
“Too bad.” Holly grew serious. “Look you feel better right now because the meds are working. Believe me if you don’t take them in about an hour you’ll feel terrible again. You need to get as much sleep as you can.”
He bit the end off the Popsicle angrily.
Holly burst into laughter. “Gee, don’t take it out on the Popsicle.”
“I’m tired of being in here all alone.” He frowned.
She sighed, “I know. Want me to get your tablet and you can watch a movie?”
“Yeah, I guess.” He grumbled.
By the time Holly got back he’d finished his Popsicle and was propped up with all the pillows behind his back.
“Here you go.” She handed the tablet to him. “Now I’m gonna go figure out what I’m making for dinner. Just call out if you need me.”
“Gonna listen through the monitor?” He asked.
“No.” Holly laughed, “I’m pretty sure I can hear you without it. I’ll just be in the kitchen.”
He smiled liking the idea she was going to be in his kitchen. He liked her being anywhere in his house. “Okay. Thanks.”
Holly was wondering why he was smiling so much but shrugged then headed towards the kitchen.
Hours later it was starting to grow dark when Holly heard Gerard call for her. She got up from the sofa where she had been seated with a little girl on each side.
"Hey.” She said walking in and seeing Gerard was awake. He’d fallen asleep right after Holly had given him more medicine. “How are your feeling?”
“What time is it?” He asked feeling groggy.
“Almost time for me to put the girls to bed.” Holly answered as she moved to feel his forehead. “Damn, your fever is back.”
He nodded. “Yeah, one minute I’m hot the next I’m cold. But I really have to use the bathroom.”
She flipped back his blankets. “Okay, here we go.” She took hold of his arm once he was in a sitting position. Slowly they made their way across the room. Holly waited just outside the door then once he reemerged she helped him back to the bed.
"Shit, I look like death warmed over.” He muttered.
“Looked at yourself in the mirror, did you?”
He sighed, “Yeah. Aren’t I supposed to be getting better?”
“Actually you are. You kept your Popsicle down and you’ve not had a temperature all day until now.” She explained as she helped him back into bed. “I’m thinking tomorrow morning you’ll probably be well enough to take a shower. That will make you feel better.”
He lowered his head to the pillow. “Yeah, probably.”
“It will.” Holly said encouragingly. “A shower, fresh jammies and clean sheets. That will definitely make you feel better.” She covered his body with the blankets then stood. However a sharp pain in her back made her flinch.
“Hey, how’s your back?” He asked.
“Just a little stiff.” She answered quickly. “No big deal.”
“You slept in that chair last night, didn’t you?’ It was something he’d been wondering about all day.
Holly didn’t lie. “Well I hadn’t found the monitor yet and I was afraid if you woke up and were really sick I wouldn’t hear you. But tonight I’ll sleep on the sofa.” She took a step back. “Now I’ve got to get the girls to bed. Promised I’d read them a story. I’ll check on you before I got to sleep.”
“Okay.” He snuggled down further in his covers. “Thanks Holly.”
She sighed, “Stop saying that.”
“Can’t” He whispered.
Soon he head his daughters footsteps moving into their bedroom. A few minutes later he head Holly’s soft voice as she read a bedtime story. He tried to picture the scene in his mind. Holly would be sitting in the rocker with both girls on her lap. That thought made him feel a little better. He didn’t realize he’d drifted off to sleep until he head Holly nearing the bed.
“They asleep?” He whispered.
She smiled. “Yeah, I sat with them until hey both nodded off.” She walked over to the bathroom to turn on the light then she closed the door leaving it open just a crack. “Okay I’ll leave it like this but call me if you need to get up okay?”
“Yeah, okay.” He answered. He saw she’d changed into a long tee and sweats. “What are you wearing?” He asked.
Holly moved closer so he could see before she switched off the bedside lamp. “One of your tees and a pair of your sweats.” She held up the tee. “Uh, good thing these have a string to tighten them or they’d fall off.”
“That wouldn’t be so bad.” He muttered before he could stop himself.
Holly ignored the comment. “Okay, well goodnight. Remember the monitor is right there if you need anything.”
She was to the door when he called out.
He wished he could see her better but could only make out her outline. “Uh, wish I was the one taking care of you.” As soon as he said it he moaned, “Shit, that didn’t come out right. I don’t mean I wish you were sick. Fuck, I wouldn’t wish this shit on anyone.”
Her soft giggle made him smile.
“I get what you mean, Gee.” She answered softly. “Now get to sleep and we’ll get you all freshened up in the morning if you’re up to it.”
He closed his eyes but groaned inwardly. When she’d said that he’d suddenly had an image of Holly giving him a shower. Shit, I must be getting better he thought. Cause damn, that thought was something he was definitely ‘up’ to.