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“Fuuuuuck.” Eric groaned as he awoke. He knew it the second he regained consciousness. His nose was running like a fire hydrant. His sinuses held more pressure than a game-winning free throw. Despite being nestled in two blankets in his bed, he was shivering. He was sick.
With a dramatic grunt, he rolled over and sat up on the edge of his bed, blankets still wrapped around himself. He opened up his laptop and blearily went to his company’s HR site, and fist pumped when he saw how many sick days he had left. “Thank god,” He thought. “No way am I in any condition to leave my bed today.” He typed out a quick email to his bosses and team letting them know that he was staying home, and with a relieved sigh, lied back down in bed, knowing he wasn’t going to move for several more hours.
30 seconds later he sprinted for the bathroom, head pounding as he raced against the bile in his stomach. He won, but barely. His internal dialogue grumbled as he sat on the cold floor of his bathroom, wiping tears from his eyes.
“Good god, I have to chew my food better. I’m pretty sure there’s a full pasta noodle jammed in the back of my nostril. What is happening to me? This can’t just be a cold. I’m pretty sure this is the swine flu. Is that still around? If it’s not, I’m patient zero for some other crazy disease. They’ll probably name it after me. Eric flu. Ericfluenza. Hah. Even on death’s door, I’m hilarious. Fuck, I’m going to puke again. No. No. Hold it down. Swallow. Breathe. You’re stronger than the virus. Flex your abs. Shit, don’t flex your abs. Ok, I think it’s gone. Who gave me this fucking disease? I’m going to find whoever it was and fucking kill – TERRY. Goddamn it, you son of a bitch. You motherfucker, coming into work with your brat kids. I don’t care if it was take your kids to work day, you leave those walking germs home. God, I hate parents. It was that little fucker. Aiden? Brayden? Whatever his stupid name was, he touched all the shit on my desk. If he takes after his dad at all, I know his grubby fingers were up his nose seconds before, too. If this sickness doesn’t kill me I’m going to go to Terry’s cube and slap him right in the face. I don’t even care if it gets me –”
Eric’s long-winded internal rant was halted as he gripped the sides of his toilet seat and stuck his head in the bowl. A few minutes later, he managed to stand shakily. Balancing on legs like a newborn deer, he rummaged through his cabinet and swigged far too much NyQuil out of the bottle. He stumbled back to his room and collapsed on his bed, sweating from the exertion of walking fifteen feet. Slowly, he rolled over and found his phone. He didn’t care how pathetic he sounded, right now, he needed to be pampered.
Eric [9:18am]: Hey babe, when do you get off work today? I’m pretty sure I have the flu. Want to come keep me company whenever you’re free?
Alyssa [9:3am]: Aww I’m sorry babe. There’s something nasty going around. I actually have a half day today because the doctor is leaving for vacation this afternoon. I can come around with some soup and medicine in a bit for ya!
Eric [9:36am]: That would be amazing. You’re the best.
Eric closes his eyes as the NyQuil kicked in and breathed deeply. Maybe this day wouldn’t be so bad after all. He was feeling better already. He could stay in bed, watch some movies, and be cared for by his own private nurse. It would be a combo of his childhood sick days and his adult fantasies come to life. He was even considering forgiving Terry and his little brat for infecting him. For now, all he wanted to do was rest his eyes a little…
He woke to a pounding on his front door. “What the…” he croaked as blood rushed to his head. He walked into his living room, steadying himself against the wall, and yelled with a hoarse voice at the door. “Who is it?”
“It’s your girlfriend who’s been calling you for twenty minutes!” He heard a familiar, and annoyed, voice yell back. He opened the door hurriedly and saw Alyssa standing in the hall with a plastic bag and an exasperated smile on her face. He began apologizing immediately as she breezed past him into the apartment.
“Shit, I’m sorry. I totally passed out and didn’t hear my phone ringing. The NyQuil must have hit me harder than I thought. Thanks for coming though!”
He parted his dry lips into what he hoped was a charming smile as she placed the bag on his kitchen table. She looked at him and rolled her eyes before giving him a hug. “It’s ok. I’m glad you’re getting some rest. I brought over hot and sour soup from Lotus Palace and some extra Tamiflu from the stash the doc gave me when I got sick last year. It will knock out your symptoms, but you’re going to have to wait a few hour since you already took NyQuil. Have you been drinking a lot of water? You need to hydrate.”
Eric stared at her, mouth agape. He wasn’t sure if he was relieved that she wasn’t mad at him, impressed at her no-nonsense, take-charge attitude, or turned on by the fact that she was wearing tight-fitting scrubs, but he was shocked into silence. She laughed at his reaction and took his hand, leading him to the couch.
“Come here, zombie boy. Sit on the couch and find something on TV. I’ll get you a bowl of soup and some water.” She began walking away, but Eric tugged at her hand, pulling her back. “Thanks for coming over and taking care of me,” he said. His emotions were getting the best of him, and he knew he couldn’t stop what he was about to say even if he wanted to. Not that he wanted to. “I love you.”
Alyssa smiled excitedly and kissed him, hard. “I love you too. Lets get you feeling better.”.