The wind was being very mean to the thin-limbed trees battering the windows of the home of one Mr. Arthur Kirkland. You pulled your hoodie sleeves up to your knuckles, with a firm hold on a small brass key. The place was quiet so that the creaking of the door hinges stuck fast in your mind. There was one sole lamp light, coming from the living room just around the corner. As you toed off your shoes, a fluster of coughing broke the stillness. You heard a groan and a creak of leather and tiptoed quietly into the room, against the wall and so out of sight of the coughing man in the recliner.
"H-hhaa--tsch! Ugh, god..."
"AAH!" He flinched violently, a box of tissues tumbling from his lap. "Wh--what are you doing here!"
"Um, I'm your girlfriend?" You picked up the box and placed it daintily on the table beside him, and ruffled his knotty blond hair. "Poor baby. The sub said you were out sick. Why didn't you tell me?"
"I-I sort of fell asleep," he rasped, "after phoning for a substitute. Huhk--tschu! Sstchu! God fuh--" His hand clasped around his throat and he looked mournfully past you with tired, circled eyes and a puffy red nose. He breathed through gently-parted and illness-chapped lips. "I'm so sorry, dear."
"So why are you over here and not in bed?"
"Hm? Oh...I...don't know...nnh, yes, I was...going to watch the telly but I fell asleep." He blushed. Suddenly, one of his hands flew to his temple, palm pressing into it intensely, and he groaned in misery.
"Sweetheart, haven't you been able to make any tea for yourself? Honey..." you cooed, with a hand pushing back hair from his damp forehead. "I'll make you tea, m'kay?"
"Thank you," he whispered, closing his eyes again.
After putting on the tea, you sifted through the kitchen drawers and found a thermometer, knocking on the living room wall to gently rouse the dozer. "Tea's not ready yet but I want to take your temperature."
"Wh--no, I'm fine," he insisted, but you sat on his lap, kisses his lips apart and tucked the tip of the thermometer under his tongue. "Nmf! No' fair!" he grumbled, glaring. You put a finger to your lips and tapped his cheek, climbing off only once he had folded his arms and resigned to playing doctor.
"Arthur," you said upon removing the thermometer, "You have a terrible fever and you need to go lie in bed and go sleep."
"I've been sleeping all day!"
"Not very restfully, I'd bed. Have you eaten at all?"
You blessed him and pulled on his hands, insisting him to his feet. "Go to bed and I'll bring you tea and you'll sleep more and I'll bring you food. Resting on an empty stomach is all for naught."
"To bed, mister."
And so he dubiously obeyed, sneezing all the way, while you returned to the tea. You brought him the tea and a kiss upon the forehead, went back to prepare some soup, and returned to find him asleep atop the covers. Smiling, you set the plate of crackers and soup on the bedside table and crawled up onto the mattress beside him. His breathing seemed easier, brow relaxed from lack of headache.
"You sweet thing," you whispered to his cheek, brushing a kiss. "Look what you've done to me. I lie at your side not out of lust but for care and my heart could not be more content. Wanna know a secret? I wasn't angry that you weren't at school or that you didn't call. I was worried. I counted down the minutes until I could see you alive and well. And how foolish I felt, for of course it could me nothing more serious than a cold, but still how dare any intensity of illness kissthe face of my sweetheart." You kissed his cheek gently, wrapping your arms around one of his. "I...think I...love you."
You hugged tighter, ducking your head. "You weren't supposed to hear that...I thought you were asleep."
"I'm glad I wasn't," he whispered. "I've been waiting weeks to hear you say that. K-kkhhk! Hsstchu! TsschHHK-khCHU! Gohhhd..." Sniffle. "Dod't you have hobework or sobefig? Wha' tibe is it?"
"Relax, I've got time. Here, eat."
"Oh, thadk you, dear!" He sat up, accepting the soup, and kissed your shoulder. "But really, if you have homework you should--"
"What are you, my teacher?" You both chuckled. "I actually have an essay due in history tomorrow and I haven't revised my rough draft, so..."
"Ooh, let me see! I'll help you."
"No, you need to eat and to rest up--"
"To hell with resting. I've done enough of it for today. I'll eat, yes, but you bring me your d--kh--sstch! HaAATsch! Draft...ugh...please, dear, give me work to do."
"All right, all right. I just don't want you to overwork yourself."
"I'm not ghh--going tss-to--aaashch! Bring it to me now please and a red pen oh god I need work to do right now so I don't feel like a useless flop..."
"Right, dear," you said, kissing his forehead before going for your backpack.