Poor Sick Shane

“Shane!” Alyssa called out and half jogged to catch up to the teen. Shane glanced from left to right to see who would be watching and Alyssa distantly wondered who she feared would care about the two of them talking in the hall. Not that it mattered- to Alyssa, at least. Any moment speaking to Shane was worth whatever rumors would start circulating after this encounter. People were going to talk and she realized just how much she didn’t care anymore. If Jamie had a problem than it was Jamie’s problem to handle not Alyssa’s. Shane’s eyes were watching as she approached and she couldn’t help but smile at how awesome that felt. Her smile, however, faltered when she noticed the way Shane was standing, unstable as if she couldn’t quite keep herself up right. “Are you okay?” She said once she was within hearing distance, the worry evident in her voice.

“Yeah,” Shane replied with a few sniff and nodded. When her headache went from a distant reminder to full on throbbing, she instantly regretted the gestured and massaged her temple. When she noticed what she was doing, she quickly put her hand down and tried to focus on what Alyssa was saying. She loved her voice, even when she was worrying about nothing. “Cold or something. It’ll pass.”

Alyssa wasn’t nearly convinced. “It doesn’t look like a cold. You look really sick.”

“I’m fine, okay,” she said as sternly as she could muster. Truthfully, she felt like shit and knew she probably looked like it. She just couldn’t muster the energy to care very much about her apperance this morning. She didn’t really care but ever since Alyssa came to school she found herself caring just a little bit. Alyssa gave her a questiong stare and Shane realized she had missed something Alyssa had said. “Sorry, what was that?”

“I said you should go to the nurse or something.”

“Aly, I said I was fine. Why do you always make such a big deal about things?”

Alyssa’s eyes narrowed dangerously but she refused to say what she really wanted to say. “I know you’re just trying to piss me off so I’ll get off this whole sick think. Sorry but not going to work.”

“Gosh, you know me so well,” she said sarcastically but there was some truth in her words. Alyssa did seem to know things about her that others didn’t or couldn’t figure out. Like how she was feeling. She was always so spot on. It was puzzling and Shane wished she could figure out how she did it so correctly. Alyssa’s annoyed frowned shifted to concern and then suddenly she started to blur. Blinking, Shane attempted to clear the image but was having trouble.

“Are you okay, Shane? Shane?”

“Sorry. I’m just having a hard time…” Shane blinked again, her voice close to a whisper, as if she was talking to herself now. “Seeing you. Which is so weird. You’re the only thing I enjoy seeing.”

Alyssa’s eyebrows rose as a blush started its way from her neck to her cheeks. Shane had to be out of it or something because she was talking kind of crazy. Even if it was a pleasant kind of crazy. Shane leaned a little towards the right then and Alyssa reflectively reached out to catch her, just in case. It caused a few people around them to glance their way but Alyssa ignored them. “This is nuts. You’re about to pass out.”

“Don’t be ridiculous. I’m fine, Aly. Just leave it.” She attempted to walk away but she couldn’t quite get her feet to move quickly enough. She expected to hit the ground but Alyssa’s arms where on her shoulders now, keeping her in place despite their obvious size difference.

Panic rose in Alyssa as she tried her best to steady Shane. Shane’s gaze looked far away, as if she was concentrating on something behind Alyssa and she seemed to be having trouble catching her breath. “That’s it, you need a hospital”

“No!” Shane practically shouted, trying to break free of Ayssa’s grasp but Alyssa was stronger. Which didn’t make sense. When she could finally catch her breath, she looked up and tried to focus on Alyssa’s face. “No. No hospital. I’ll be fine. I just need to get to class.”

The crowds were thinning now, indicating that class was about to begin, but Alyssa couldn’t leave Shane like this. She was more afraid of going to a hospital than passing out. “Fine, no hospitals but you should at least go home. There’s no way you can make it through the day like this.”

“No!” Shane struggled harder to get away this time but had to brace herself against a locker to prevent herself from falling. Once her head stopped spinning she would walk away. “Just leave me alone, like everyone else.”

“I’m not everyone else. I’m not leaving you like this.” Alyssa deliberated in her head for a moment, trying to find a solution that would suit the both of them. She wasn’t leaving her, that must she knew. And she knew that Shane seemed almost frighten at the prospect of going home. So what was left? “Fine. But unles you come home with me right now, I’m going to find a teacher.”

“What?” Clearly Shane had heard wrong. God, this cold was something else. “Just give me a few seconds okay. I know I’ll be okay.”

“One or the other,” Alyssa said sternly, waiting for Shane to argue. She looked like she was having trouble breathing again and she leaned more heavily on the locker. That was all Alyssa needed. She wrapped one arm around Shane’s waist and pulled her close. “Put your arm around my shoulder. We’re getting you out of here.” Shane didn’t protest, allowing Alyssa to lead her to a classroom and then she carefully put Shane against another locker. “Be right back. Don’t go anywhere.”

“Couldn’t if I wanted to.”

Alyssa ducked her head into the class, noticing that class hadn’t started yet and then she went over to where Danni sat, chatting with a familiar light skin tomboy but Alyssa couldn’t remember where she knew her from. They didn’t have a class together. But when she noticed Alyssa approaching, her left brow rose in interest. “Hey, Danni.”

Danni looked pleasantly surprised but her enthusiastic greeting was interrupted by the disconcerting expression on Alyssa’s face. “Is everything okay? Did something happen?”

Alyssa shook her head and moved closer to whisper. “I need you car. Can I borrow it?”

Danni searched her troubled eyes. “Sure, yeah. Whatever you need.” She dug into her pocket to retrieve the keys and placed them in Alyssa’s waiting palm. “Is there something wrong?”

Alyssa was aware of Danni’s curious friend silently watching them and Alyssa knew she was probably being rude but that didn’t matter. “I’ll explain later. Thank you, so much. I’ll bring it back after school, okay?”

“No, don’t worry about it. I’ll catch a ride with Dill and Chase.” She glanced at her friend who nodded in affirmative. “I”ll get the keys in class tomorrow.”

“Thanks, Danni. You’re awesome.” She gave her a brief peck on the cheek. Alyssa waved goodbye and then hurried to Shane. She found her sitting on the floor with her back against the locker, her knees up and her head bowed as she inhaled and exhaled deeply, as if she needed to concentrate just to breathe. Kneeling to help her up, she offered her hand. “Come on, we’re getting you out of here.”

Accepting the aid, Shane pulled herself up and then allowed Alyssa to hold her around the waist again, pressing their bodies together. Her head throbbed a little and everything around her was going in a circle but the strawberry scent of Alyssa seemed to anchor her somehow. The warmth of Alyssa’s body was so soothing. “You really don’t have to do this, Aly. I could’ve made it to second period.”

“I doubt it. You can’t even stand up on your own.”

“That’s besides the point.”

Alyssa could hear the smile in Shane’s voice and glanced at her to see if she was, but Shane looked a little dazed. As quickly as possible, she led them out the back entrance of the school where the student parking lot was located and then searched for Danni’s car. She and Jamie usually parked in the same general area, so it wasn’t too difficult spotting her old silver Toyota Corolla. She unlocked the passenger side door with the key and then helped Shane climb in, but not without a few mumbled complaints about Alyssa overreacting.

“God, you are so damn stubborn,” Alyssa said once she was settled behind the wheel. Danni was a good deal taller than her so she had to adjust the seat to reach the peddle. Once she felt comfortable, she started it and then looked over at Shane. “You can barely breathe but you can definitely complain just fine.”

“Because I am just fine. Damn women and their crazyness.” Shane closed her eyes and leaned her back against the seat with a sigh. Alyssa wasn’t far off. She was having a difficult time catching her breathe but that didn’t mean she wasn’t fine. When a cold hand touched her on the forehead, she was surprised that she didn’t jump. Alyssa’s hand any where on her just felt too good, even when Shane wasn’t expecting it.

“You are so hot.”

Shane opened her eyes at that and tilted her head so that she could see Alyssa. “What?”

“You’re burning up,” Alyssa clarified with a slight blush. Reluctantly she removed her hand and swore she could hear Shane’s grumbled protest before putting her hand on the gear shift and turning in her seat to reverse. It didn’t take long to get to her place but it seemed long enough for Shane to get in a slight nap. Alyssa tried not to startle her by shaking her as lightly as possible but Shane still jumped. “I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to frighten you.”

“I don’t like to be woken up,” Shane explained, reaching to remove her seatbelt. Alyssa was out of the car and assisting her before Shane could get herself out of the car. The nap hadn’t helped her headache and even though her vision was still blurry she could at least stare at the ground without it moving, which she took as a good sign. She didn’t pay much attention as Alyssa opened the door and started herding them towards the stairs until she was inside Alyssa’s room. It definitely wasn’t what Shane would have expected. A queen sized bed with a red and white stripped comforter and solid red and white pillows sat in the farthest corner near the window. Next to it was a tall, dark brown dresser with picture frames and little nic-nacks that Shane couldn’t quite make out. She made a mental note to check out the pictures before she left. Against the opposite wall from the the bed was a small book case filled with books, a computer desk with a large black laptop and leather computer chair and a a tall CD stand filled with DVDs and a black iHome with the time, each piece of furnature the same color as the dresser. Her eyes went to the large flatscreen television that rested atop the book case and the videogame systems it was flanked by. She wouldn’t have guessed Alyssa for a videogame player.

On each wall was something. The poster of a female soccer player above her bed, a square black painting with some quote written in white letters on the wall with the window; framed pictutes covering the wall beside that one with a cowboy hat made of straw and a whiteboard calender with something scribbled on it. The wall with the shelved CD stand was the same wall with the door and had another poster of the same soccer player but in a different pose, a long rectangulr painting also black with white lettering but with a longer quote and a large dream catcher with three wolves painted on it. Shane wondered why it wasn’t above her bed but didn’t ask. As they started for the bed, Shane noticed a small hallway that led to two doors; the one against the wall she assumed one led to a closet while the other to the bathroom. The entire room smelt like Alyssa and it relaxed her considerably.

“You doing okay?” Alyssa asked, carefully helping Shane sit on the bed. Then she unzipped Shane’s hoodie and helped her shrug out of it. “You’re staring off into space. Where did you go?”

“Admiring your room. Why do you have all the game systems?”

“That’s for Jamie and Danni. They usually come over and play while I write or read.”

Shane frowned at that. “How do you get anything done? Those two are such shit talkers.”

“Not without difficulty; believe me. But they’re good company.”

Nodding, Shane allowed herself to be pushed back until she was laying down and didn’t fuss when Alyssa started taking off her shoes. She was too busy trying to picture what it was like hanging out in Alyssa’s room after school or on the weekends. It must be amazing, relaxing and not worrying about anything while Alyssa sat just a few inches away, lost in the fantasy world of her own creation while Shane focused on her own thing. Total contentment. Total peace. The moments they spent at the park late at night, talking about whatever came to Alyssa’s mind or doing homework together in the library were always enjoyable but as she imagined Jamie and Danni making themselves at home in Alyssa room, she found herself irrationally jealous. They had the whole world and she doubted that they even realized it. Her headache was throbbing fiercely behind her eyes now so she closed them and she frowned, trying to fight it.

Alyssa noticed her stillness and stood up, hovering over her to get a good look at her expression. “You okay?”

“Headache,” Shane said through clenched teeth. A few unwanted coughs made the throbbing that much worse and she groan. “God, I hate being sick.”

“I’ll see what meds we have. Cam likes to stock up for times like this.”

Alyssa disappeared from Shane’s view and without her so near she finally realized how cold she was. She tried to control herself but she couldn’t help but shiver at the sudden chill. “God, I feel like shit.”

“I heard that,” Alyssa said a second later, coming into Shane’s view. She held a glass of water in one hand and a couple of pills in different sizes and colors in the other. She laughed when Shane eyed her suspiciously. “Mucinix for the sniffing, IB Profin for the headache and benzonatate for the coughing.”

“You’d think they would find a way to put all of that into one super pill or something.”

“Tell me about it.” She set everything on the computer desk, fished something out of her pocket and then sat near Shane. “Mind opening up so I can check your temperature?” She leaned on her free hand so she could hoover over Shane to stop her from straining herself to look at Alyssa. The sight of Shane so ashen and pale tugged at Alyssa’s heart. Shane opened her mouth slightly and accepted the thermometer. While she waited, Alyssa placed her hand on Shane’s forehead again, her hand drifting to cup Shane’s cheek and her expression soften. “You really do look a little like shit, hon. I feel so bad.”

“Not your fault,” Shane mumbled around the thermometer. “I’m bad luck.”

“You’re not bad luck,” Alyssa said fiercely. “You’re the best luck I’ve ever had.”

It beeped and Shane took it out before Alyssa could and tried to read it. “Am I alive?”

Alyssa took it from her, read it and frowned. “With a very hot fever. 102. Holy shit, Shane. Maybe we should take you to a hospital.”

“Over my dead body,” Shane said seriously. She started to get up. “You said no hospitals. I’m out of here.”

“Oh, relax.” Alyssa gently pushed her back down, keeping her hands firmly on Shane’s shoulders in case she tried again. “I was just thinking outloud. I just don’t know much about taking care of someone. Usually I’m the one being babied by my brothers.”

“I’m just not going to any hospitals.”

Alyssa rolled her eyes at the obvious warning. She stared down, into Shane’s eyes. They still didn’t seem as focused as she would’ve liked. Shane’s gaze was usually so intense. Like at any moment she was going to say something profound or life affirming. At the moment, she looked very obviously sick. Slowly, Alyssa moved so that she was no longer pinning Shane down. “Fine, whatever. I’m going to go make you some soup and then you can take your meds and get some rest, okay? Will you be alright up here alone for a second?”

Shane looked uncertained but she said yes anyway. Its not that she was afraid to be alone. She was always alone. She just didn’t like the idea of being away from Alyssa. She was so needy when she was sick. “Sure. I’m not five.”

“Here. Take the remote. I have Netflix. Or cable, if you prefer. Just hit this button to change screens.” She explained what the other buttons did as well. After a lot of explaining, most of it probably unnecessary, Alyssa stood but hesitated. For some reason, she was having a hard time getting going. A few seconds away was hard enough but leaving her alone up here for a few minutes sounded like a bad idea. What if she tried to get up and ended up tripping or passing out? Her brow furrowed more. “Just stay put, okay? Don’t try and do anything. I will be back before you know it.”

“I’ll be here,” Shane promised and then waved Alyssa away. She was in the same weird position with her legs dangling off the bed so she shifted until she could fit her whole body on the bed and reached for a pillow to rest her head on. She waited until Alyssa was gone before pushing the power button on the tv and switching to a station she knew would have cartoons and curling into a ball. She was surrounded by the scent of Alyssa and she inhaled deeply and signed contentedly. Feeling like shit was totally worth it is she got to have this sense of peacefulness.

She must’ve dozed off again. When she opened her eyes, Alyssa was setting a tray of something on her computer desk. “Something smells good,” she said. There was a soft throw around her that she didn’t remember grabbing and she moved it a side.

“Don’t get out of bed. Just sit up.”

Knowing better than to argue, Shane did as she was told and sat up, ignoring the slight swirling of the room and braced her back against the wall with a few pillows for support. “How long was I out?”

“Half hour, I think. Danni called to make sure everything was okay.” Alyssa placed the tray over Shane’s lap. “Chicken noodle. Hope you like it?”

“So, that was her car you stole.”

“Borrowed,” Alyssa clarrified. “As if I would steal a car.”

“You skipped school.”

“Yeah. Really not the same thing,” she said, rolling her eyes. Shane hadn’t touched her food, though Alyssa could tell that she wanted to and she panicked. “Oh, God. You don’t like it, do you?”

“No, its fine. Really.”

“Then why aren’t you eating?”

“You really didn’t have to feed me, you know. You’ve already done enough.”

Alyssa frowned, confused. “Its going to make you feel better, I promise. Food and lots of sleep.”

Shane glanced up and saw the seriousness in Alyssa’s expression. Sighing, she reached for the spoon. “So the meds are just for show, huh? I knew it.”

“And medicine. Unless you like coughing and sneezing and having all that crap in your nose and feeling like your head is about to explode.”

“Point taken.” Shane took a few bites just for show, trying to conceal just how good it actually tasted. Alyssa only watched for a few seconds and then she went over to her closet and started going through it as if she was looking for something. It didn’t take her long to finish and she was slirping down the rest when Alyssa appeared with a bundle of something in her arms. “What’s that for?”

“These will probably be more comfortable for you. They belong to my brother Jake but he isn’t missing them these days.”

“I’ll be okay in this.”

“It’ll get all wrinkled and I know you don’t want to have to explain that to anyone.”

“Okay but that’s going to require me to get up. Which – I’m no sure I’m allowed to do.”

There was a sly grin on Shane’s face and Alyssa resisted the urge to throw the bundle of clothes at her. As she placed them on the bed instead and retrieved the tray, she admitted to herself how good it was to see Shane smile again. She could still see the hint of pain in her eyes from the headache she probably still had but her eyes were a lot more focused now. “Change and take the meds. I’m going to put this in the dish washer and grab myself a snack.”

“No soup for you, huh? Only us sick folks.”

“I’m actually not that big a fan of soup. When I’m sick, I just want oatmeal and orange juice. Its kind of weird.” Shrugging, she motioned for the door. “You get dressed so you can lay down and get some rest. I’ll be right back.”