Jed and the Prados joined me in the living room for dinner. I drank more juice and ate a tortilla and a little bit of nearly plain chicken, which Laney said it pained her to serve to anyone.
“It’s okay,” I promised. “Better to eat this than something spicy and end up puking.”
She smiled and agreed.
Jonah and Jamey began warming up to me, and I teased them and joked with them after dinner while they played Mario Kart with Jed. Not long after they started playing, I got really tired again, and I fell asleep.
Jed woke me up and the room was empty. The house was oddly quiet.
“Where is everyone?” I asked.
“In bed,” Jed said. “It’s almost ten o’clock.”
“Oh, wow,” I said, shifting a little. My back kind of hurt.
“I can help you get ready to go to bed, and we can empty your drains and stuff.”
“Okay,” I agreed. I got up and made my way to the bathroom. Only when I saw myself in the mirror did I realize that I was walking like a hunchback. “This is weird,” I said, looking at myself.
“How so?” Jed asked, looking around.
“I think my toothbrush and stuff is in that bag there,” I said, pointing to the shelf above the toilet. “Dad put it there. But just me as a hunchback. I look funny.”
“You look good, Cam. I’m sure you’ll straighten out soon.”
“Thanks.” I wanted to tell him that him saying I looked good meant a lot, but I wasn’t sure that it was appropriate.
I tried to brush my own teeth, but even bowing my head so that I didn’t have to lift my upper arms at all didn’t work. The motion just made my chest hurt and I wanted to cry.
“I got it, Cam, it’s okay,” Jed said, taking my toothbrush from me. “I was expecting this part.”
Jed was super gentle brushing my teeth, but I blushed the whole time. After I spit and he got me water to rinse my mouth out with, he helped me go to the bathroom again. When I was done and my pants were back on, Jed helped me empty my drains. I gagged a little multiple times, but Jed dutifully wrote down the necessary information and emptied the fluid.
When we were done, I got situated on the couch again with my neck pillow, my husband pillow, and all the pillows I kept around to put under my butt or behind my back if needed. Jed leaned the chair back a little farther for me and covered me with a blanket.
“I’m going to bring my sleeping pad down here.”
“You don’t have to,” I said.
“I want to. What if you need to go to the bathroom or you need a painkiller?”
“I can reach the painkillers,” I said.
“I’m sleeping down here.”
I rolled my eyes, and he walked away. I patted my compression vest tentatively. My chest was getting itchier and I was kind of hot. I wiggled until my feet were sticking out the end of the blanket. Jed came back down with his pillow, blanket, and sleeping pad. “Want to watch anything to help you fall asleep?” he asked while he got situated on the floor.
“That sounds good,” I said. I wasn’t tired since I had napped so recently. “Don’t be afraid to fall asleep.”
“We’ll see what happens,” he said, smiling at me.
I grabbed the remote, which was on the couch next to me, and found something to watch. Jed joined me on the couch so he could see better. I resisted the urge to look at him.
Man, this was turning into a big crush all over again.