When Kath sat foot in Jacob’s room, she found him laying right next to his bed. His face was red and his breath labored. She came to him and helped him up the best she could. His mother didn’t even bother to ask anything this time.
Unsure on his feet like a newborn lamb, Jacob moved to his bed and fell in. He crawled under his covers for a second and then uncovered himself. Soon, goosebumps broke the smoothness of his skin and he hid himself under his heavy blankets once more. Like this, he looked like a weird caterpillar and Kath grinned. Her mission was finally accomplished.
After all the effort she had put in to protect and support her friend, she felt all her energy had been drained. She sat at the edge of the bed and her hand searched Jacob’s forehead.
-“Do you have any cold compress anywhere?” She asked quietly.
-“Not sure… Just go in the bathroom and check.” Jacob growled, his voice groggy and raspy.
Kath got up and went to the bathroom. She searched but found no cold compress and, instead, settled with just a small towel soaked in cold water and fever medicine.
-“There.” She said, placing the towel on Jacob’s forehead.”I got you medicine but I don’t have any water.”
Jacob sat up, shrugged and downed the pill. He grimaced for a second and then fell back to his caterpillar form. Kath grinned and ruffled his hair.
-“Now, you can sleep, right?” She whispered more to herself than to him. “Why couldn’t you sleep anyway?”
-“Because of you.” The sound of his voice made her jump. “You made me worry so I couldn’t rest.”
-“H-h-how so?” Kath blurted, suddenly embarrassed.
-“Since Valentine’s, you were rather distant. I thought I’d done something bad again.” He said in a quiet voice, almost choking on his words.
-“Whah~ How could you think something like that!? You didn’t do anything~”
-“Your note made me happy” He cut her off. “But then you distanced yourself and it felt like a lie. You know if I loose you, there’s no point for me to have friends anymore. Jeremy and I, were not the same anymore. You’re the only one I can count on.” He hesitated. “Sorry, the fever makes me reckless and I say useless things…”
-“I should go and let you sleep.” She stopped him.”What about the front door? Shouldn’t it be locked?”
-“There’s no need.” Jacob answered, his voice much heavier.
-“Okay then, sleep well. I’ll call tomorrow to know if you survived.” She said as she got on her feet.
Kath got out and closed the door behind her. She tiptoed until she was outside and gave a sigh of relief. “I made it out.” She thought. “I hope he’ll be fine.” She hurried to her own home and went to sleep as well but her dreams turbulent and tiresome and when she woke up the next day, she still felt tired.
As promised, she called to know if Jacob was fine. The phone rang for a while before someone picked up.
-“Hello?” Jacob answered in his usual voice.
-“So you survived after all?” Kath said, a smile on her lips.
-“Thanks to you, I didn’t sleep on the floor.” He answered groggily.
-“How are you doing today?” She asked curiously.
-“The fever went down a bit but I’ll need some more sleep.” He said in a sigh.
-“Are you going to school on Monday?” She inquired.
-“I’ll try.” He said slowly then paused. “If not, I’ll text you.”
-“Okay.” She said in a little voice. There was happiness in her tone. “Jay?”
-“You know… I still have to talk to you…” Her voice was hesitant.
-“Right. We’ll do that once I’ve recovered.” Jacob sounded more sleepy than before.
-“Okay, let’s do just that. Sleep well, okay?”
Kath hung up, feeling both nervous and happy.
On the other hand, Jacob felt anxious and tired. He had said bothersome things the day prior and he knew that Kath wouldn’t forget them so easily. He feared to see her again at school the next day. She’d seen way too much of him while he was sick. He didn’t mind while the fever kept him from feeling shame but now he felt really bad. He rolled in his bed and hugged his pillow, closing his eyes just a second. When he opened them up again, it was dark in his room and he felt like he hadn’t drank for 3 whole days. The clock read 7 pm. and Jacob rubbed his eyes before going downstairs to eat whatever he could find, then he showered and slept some more.