She is a mess. Her hair is in scarecrow knots, her skin is blotchy and red, her throat stings. And don’t get her started on her stomach. She has forsaken every idea of food besides crackers and all drinks but water. It all tastes horrible once you have the oh-so-wonderful experience of having it come back up.
She moans into the pillow, turning on her bed, trying to find the perfect position. But there are no perfect freaking positions after two days of clutching the toilet like it’s her best friend and savior. She groans loudly instantly regretting upsetting her raw throat.
“Your neighbors are going to start thinking they are in the middle of The Exorcist,” Lee says as he opens the door, chuckling at his joke.
Hardy har har. Liz rolls her eyes and flips him off under the covers. Not having the energy pull her limb from under the cover.
He comes into her room, a knowing smirk on his handsome face. She’s never thought that seeing his face could make her nauseous but her stomach wanting to spit out the sip of water begs to differ.
“Did you just give me the middle finger?”
“What?” She plays innocent but his eyes say he’s on to her.
Liz almost chokes on her own spit. It’s been difficult keeping her reactions in check around him as it is but now being sick… She doesn’t have the strength to deal with his directness and cheekiness. “I’m not admitting anything.”
“Well,” He points at where her hand was a second ago. “You’re either really happy to see me and got an erection, or you’re flipping me off.”
“My brain hurts just thinking about decoding your words.”
“Fair enough. How are you feeling?” He comes closer and sits on the bed, tucking a leg underneath him, while the other one is touching the floor. His brow is creased in concern, but his eyes are still bright and mischievous.
“Like I could eat a twelve-course meal and climb the Kilimanjaro,” she replies dryly.
“Oh so you want to go back to that place and try the frog legs?” he jokes, his fingers flexing over the cover.
She jumps up and out of the bed, like she’s been catapulted, running for the bathroom. Hunched over the toilet, brought to her knees by the food poisoning, she throws up the water and crackers she managed to get down.
After convulsing for a few moments, she sits back, resting her forehead against her arms.
He stands in the door, leaning against the doorjamb. Worry is etched on his face, his mouth in a straight line. “I’m so sorry. I thought you were better.”
She sighs and gets up to wash out her mouth. Again. “It’s okay. You couldn’t have known I’m not a sicko like you and wouldn’t want to eat frog legs. Or have them mentioned after puking my guts out the entire night.” She doesn’t lift her head to witness the smile on his face. Everything hurts. Even her hair roots.
Empathy settles on his face as he opens his arms for her to walk into them. Liz lays her heavy head on his chest, exhaling. She inhales his scent, letting herself feel a slight relief. Even if it’s on borrowed time. One of Lee’s hands runs up and down her hair, as his other hand, the fingers spread wide, is settled on her lower back. Mmm, she moans internally.
It starts feeling way too good and the longer she lets it go on, the harder it will be to rein her hope of him and her. She pulls back, pushing a gentle smile on her face when she looks him in the eye. “So have you come here just to torture me?” She moves past him and climbs back into bed. God, I’m such a delight. How could he not enjoy my company?
His megawatt smile is back as his eyes beam at her. “I’ve come to check up on you and seeing the abysmal state you’re in, I’m going to make you my mom’s secret tummy medicine and then we’re going to watch a movie.”
Her heart feels like it’s competing in a hurdle race. Being too tired to breathe works in her favor so she can’t show the elation on her face. “But I can’t eat anything. And even when feeling great, I can’t stomach your cooking.”
“Oh, there’s that fire. You’re not dead yet,” Lee says in mock celebration. “You just look like you are.”
She chuckles but stops when her stomach protests in pain. “Even to half-dead ears, you still don’t sound as funny as you think.”
“Let’s make a bet. If you throw my concoction up, I’ll be your slave for a day. We can do whatever, wherever you want.”
She must be running a high fever again because she’s imagining him lacing those words with insinuations. I’ve lost my mind and my stomach.
She gulps, her stomach husky when she say, “Sure.”