“You don’t look so good today, beautiful.” Phelix greeted Molly as she came out of the building on Wednesday. He went to give her their normal soft kiss but Molly turned her head down and away from him. As it was, Molly wasn’t exactly feeling well today. He settled for placing the kiss on her forehead.
“I got a bit of a headache.” Molly admitted. She really didn’t want him to worry about her.
Phelix gave her an incredulous look, but let the fib slide.
Truthfully, Molly felt horrible. She just wanted to go home and lay down.
Reaching out, Phelix pulled her in against him.
Molly relaxed in his arms taking some comfort in his warmth.
“Is there anything I can do for you?” He asked, nuzzling her hair.
“Not really.” Molly answered. She’d woken up this morning with body aches and the beginning signs of a cold. A healthy dose of vitamin C and Echinacea had gotten her on her feet, but all she really wanted was some rest. Right now she was getting by on some daytime cold medicine that was making her a loopy. “Let’s just go get something to eat.”
Nodding, Phelix tucked her under his arm so they could walk. “Maybe you should go home.” He suggested. “Some rest might make you feel better.”
Molly sighed, knowing he was right. A case of the chills had set in making her suspect that she was starting to run a fever, but there was a huge pile of files she had to get through today. “I’ll be okay.” Molly waved his concern away. “I just need some food.” She sighed heavily. “I still have a lot of stuff to do before the end of the week.”
Phelix nodded. “But it’s not going to do you any good to go on your trip sick.” He pointed out.
Molly nearly smacked herself in the forehead as she remembered her sister’s upcoming trip. Mandy was supposed to leave tomorrow. “It will be all right.” Molly reassured him. “I just need to get some rest before I go.”
“All right.” Phelix reluctantly agreed and sat her down at a table. “Wait here while I get you something.” He disappeared to the counter before Molly could remind him that she was supposed to be getting lunch today.
Another heavy breath slipped from her when he set the bowl of vegetable soup down. “Thanks.” She would have much rather had a large bowl of chicken soup, but this would do for now. “I promise that I’ll get lunch next time.”
Phelix rubbed her shoulder a little. “Don’t worry about it, beautiful.” He sat down in the seat next to her. “I don’t mind.”
Molly closed her eyes and nodded.
“Just eat your soup.”
Picking up her spoon, she stirred around the liquid. Lifting the first bite to her mouth, she paused as the smell hit her and turned her stomach. She dropped the spoon back into her bowl untasted. “I don’t think I can do this.” Molly said trying to suppress the nausea swelling inside her. She pushed the bowl back away from her and hung her head.
Phelix wrapped his arm around her drawing her over against him. “It’s okay, baby.” He cooed soothingly.
Molly twisted until her face was tucked into the crook of his neck.
He held her for a moment before slipping his free hand up to her forehead.
His cool hand felt good against her skin.
Concern crossed his face as he flipped his hand over and rested the back against her cheek. “Come on.” Standing up, he pulled Molly to her feet before touching his food. “You’ve got a fever. I’m taking you home.”
Molly looked at the two meals left untouched on the table. “But your lunch…”
“It’s not important.” He said, guiding her away from the table and back out into the street. “Getting you home is.”
His gentle touch steered her back down the street and into her building. “I don’t want to worry you.” She tried to get out of his hold when he entered the building, but he refused to let her loose.
Ignoring her protests, Phelix hit the button on the elevator and waited for the car.
Giving in to him, Molly leaned against him and closed her eyes trusting that he would take care of her. She would have to explain things to her coworkers later. They were already teasing her about the hot guy that had been taken her to lunch lately. At lease it was lunch time and most of the girls would be out of the office.
“What floor?” Phelix asked as they got into the elevator.
Reaching out, Molly poked the button for the administrative section.
Phelix leaned against the wall and held her against him as they rode up. His hand slid up and down Molly’s back soothing her aches as they waited. When the door opened up he helped her out into the hall.
Molly pointed to the left and Phelix led her down to the billing office.
“Molly!” One of the girls looked up from her desk and gasped as soon as Phelix helped Molly through the door. “Are you all right?”
Phelix shook his head and found a chair to set the sick woman in. “No. She’s not.” He hooked the trash can out from under the desk and set it close to Molly in case she needed it. Her normal rosy complexion had gone rather pale and slightly green. “Is your boss around?” Phelix turned back to Molly’s coworker.
“Yeah, let me get him.” The woman glanced at Molly leaning on the table and scurried off to get help.
“It’ll be okay.” Phelix rubbed the back of Molly’s neck as they waited for her boss.
The headache and upset stomach made paying attention to anything else difficult, but she was sure she had heard her coworker use her real name. She would have to come up with a plausible excuse for that one soon, but it could wait until the pounding in her head stopped.
“Molly, are you all right girl?”
Molly cringed as her boss used her real name too.
Mr. Baker stopped and looked down at his sick employee.
Shaking her head very gently, she opened her mouth to answer, but did not get an opportunity.
“She’s running a fever and needs to go home.” Phelix informed the office manager.
Mr. Baker looked at Phelix. Recognition crossed his face. “Fairlane?” He asked as he realized who was standing in his office.
Phelix nodded confirming the man’s suspicion.
“Of course. If you think she needs to go home.”
It was surprising, how little it had taken to convince her boss to let her leave early, he was usually such a hard ass about finishing work before leaving. Molly glanced up at him wondering if she really looked that bad.
“Molly,” Mr. Baker turned his attention to her, “is there someone that we can call to come get you?”
“That wouldn’t be necessary.” Phelix refused the offer for her. “I’ll make sure she gets home.”
“I don’t want to bother you with this.” Mr. Baker tried to refuse on Molly’s behalf. “I know how busy you are.”
“It’s not a bother.” Phelix reassured her boss and picked up one of the phones on the desk. He punched a few buttons and waited for the line to pick up. “Hey Heather, it’s me. Something has come up at lunch and I’m going to be a little late getting back.” He paused listening to a voice that Molly couldn’t hear. “Yes, I know I have appointments, but this is important. It won’t take long.” He paused again. “Thanks Heather.” Phelix dropped the phone back to the cradle and turned his attention to Molly. “Come on.” He pulled on her gently trying to get her moving.
Molly moaned a little but sat up.
“Here’s her purse.” Molly’s coworker handed the bag over to Phelix.
He nodded his thanks and coaxed Molly back to her feet.
“Let me know if she’ll be out tomorrow.” Mr. Bake said as he followed them to the door of the office.
“I will.” Phelix answered as they left.
Molly leaned on him heavily. The world was moving in funny directions now that she was standing up.
“Come on, beautiful, you can do this.” He encouraged her to keep moving.
Nodding, Molly tried to stand up a little straighter. It didn’t work very well.
Phelix pulled her over to lean on him when they got back into elevator to go down.
“Why does my boss know you?” Molly asked as her addled mind turned the entire scene over in her head.
“I told you that I have friends here.” Phelix said as he rubbed her upper back.
Molly nodded accepting his reasoning without question. He had mentioned something about having a doctor friend in the building. “You really don’t have to take me home.” She protested. “I can call my sis…” She paused before she could give her secret away. “I could call someone to come get me.”
Phelix patted her on the back. “I would feel better seeing you safely home.”
Unable to think of any other reason to refuse, Molly nodded in agreement.
Guiding her out of the building, Phelix waved down a cab. He loaded her into it and gave the driver her address.
Molly sighed and shook her head. She usually took the subway to get home. It was much easier than trying to keep a car in the city.
“Just relax.” Phelix forced her to lean her head over onto him. “I’ll have you home shortly.”
Nodding again, Molly closed her eyes and listened to his heartbeat. She had almost fallen asleep by the time he had gotten her back to her apartment building.
Phelix prodded her gently so she would get out of the car. “Come on.”
“I can get it from here.” Molly said as she turned towards her building. “I know you need to get back to work.”
Phelix shut the door of the cab and sent him off. “You are in no condition to take care of yourself right now.” He placed his hand on Molly’s shoulder to keep her from wobbling. “I’ll see you safely to bed.” He insisted. To Molly’s surprise, he picked her.
Her head spun and she let out a groan at the sudden movement. Leaning her head over on to Phelix’s shoulder, she let him take her up to her apartment. She half expected him to take her into her sister’s place, so she was slightly surprised when he sat her on her own couch. How he had gotten her keys out of her bag while he held her was beyond her at the moment. Molly let her mind work on that as she kicked off her shoes and got more comfortable. She listened to Phelix rummage around in the kitchen for a minute before coming back with a glass of water and a few pills.
“I know you haven’t eaten anything, but here.” He held the gel capsules out for her.
Molly shook her head and leaned sideways against the couch. She didn’t think her stomach would take them.
“I know you don’t feel good, but please.” Phelix pleaded with her.
A small whimper slipped from her, but she sat up and held her hand out for the pills.
“That’s my girl.” Phelix placed the two green tablets into her hand.
Molly looked at them disgusted for a moment before popping them into her mouth. She took the glass of water from his hand and chased them down.
Taking the glass back, Phelix kissed her on the side of the head before moving away again.
Shivering, Molly leaned over against the couch again. The water had hit her stomach and was starting to churn. She swallowed hard trying to keep it down. A weak smiled slipped across her face as her scattered mind came up with an amusing thought. This was probably the same bug that had kept her sister from her date with Phelix a week ago. Mandy had been very insistent that she didn’t want Phelix to know she was sick. She was afraid that he would come over and see her while she looked so horrible. Had Mandy know that Phelix would have been so tender, she might have called him over and things would have been very different.
The irony of the situation pulled a light chuckle from her and she immediately regretted it as her stomach rolled. Slapping her hand over her mouth, Molly bolted from the couch towards the bathroom as her body rejected the water and pills. She had just made it to the toilet as the first convulsion pushed the contents of her stomach up. Fingers pull her hair back away from her face as the first bout of retching subsided. A gentle hand rubbed her back as Phelix held her hair out of danger’s way. Tears prickled at her eyes as her stomach spasms drove her into dry heaves. “I’m sorry.” Molly cried as she leaned her head over onto her arm. Embarrassment pushed more tears from her eyes.
“It’s all right.” Phelix soothed her. He rubbed her back a little more before reaching up and grabbing the hand towel from the wall. Twisting on the water in the sink, he soaked one end of the cloth in cold water.
Leaning over on to the cooler edge of the tube, Molly let Phelix wipe her face off.
He pressed a glass to her lips. “Just rinse your mouth out.”
Nodding, Molly sat up a little and sipped at the water. She swished it around and spit it out before reaching up to flush away the mess.
Phelix slipped a hand under her arm and helped her off the floor. “Let’s get you to bed.”
She leaned on him heavily as he guided her into her bedroom.
Holding Molly away from the bed, he folded back the covers. Phelix sat her on the edge of the bed and looked around the modestly furnished room. Other than the queen sized bed, Molly had a matching dresser and side table, but nothing else. “Do you have something to sleep in?” He asked and went to her dresser. Pulling the top drawer open, he looked in. His eyes fell on the stacks of her unmentionables and he quickly shut the drawer.
“Third drawer.” Molly instructed pointing to the lower drawer of her dresser.
Phelix moved down and pulled the drawer open. On one side were several skimpy nightgowns made of soft flowing fabrics and the other contained more useful sleepwear. His fingers caressed a black silk piece of material with many straps before moving to something made of blue cotton. He lifted the sleep shirt from the drawer and shook it out to evaluate its potential. It was far from sexy, but it would work wonderfully in Molly sickened condition. “Let’s get you changed.” Phelix brought the shirt over to the bed.
Molly’s fingers worked loose the buttons on her shirt. She stopped just before pulling it off and looked up at her companion. She really didn’t want to change in front of him, but she couldn’t think of a good way to ask him to leave. He’d already seen her naked and he’d just held her hair back as she barfed. Molly chuckled sourly at her situation. At this point, she didn’t have any dignity left to preserve. Giving in to the situation, she pulled her blouse off and dropped it to the floor. Her bra quickly followed her shirt. There was no way she was going to keep that thing on when she felt so horrible. Molly stood up to strip out of her skirt, but Phelix held the shirt up so Molly could slip it on first. She smiled weakly at him and held her hands up so he could slip the loose top down over her head. His fingers trailed along her back as he guided the material over her bare skin.
“Even sick, you’re still beautiful.” Phelix smiled and ran his hand over the skin on Molly’s upper arm that the sleeveless sleep shirt had left bare.
“Flatterer.” Molly teased drawing a light chuckle from Phelix.
“Only when it’s deserved.” He smiled back earning a more sincere grin from the sick woman.
It took just a second for Molly to work the zipped on her skirt, freeing her from the confining clothing. She dropped that to the floor with the rest of her clothing. For a moment, she thought about taking off her stockings but decided that they weren’t uncomfortable enough to bother with. Molly sat back down on the bed and twisted into it.
Phelix pulled the covers over her so that she would stay warm. “I really hate this, but I can’t stay.” He sighed as he tucked Molly in. “I’ll get you some water and a pan, but is there anything else that you need before I leave?”
Molly thought about this for a moment. “My phone.” She said. She was definitely going to have to call Mandy to let her know what was going on.
Agreeing, Phelix went to get the things she would need. When he came back, he placed the trash can close where Molly could get to it quickly. Dialing a number on her phone, he let it ring once before hanging up. He placed the phone into her hand and pulled the covers back over her. “That’s a number where you can reach me if you need something.” He said, rubbing her hair back from her face. “Call me if you need me.”
Molly nodded, slightly confused. Didn’t Mandy already have his phone number?
Leaning over, he kissed her temple. “I have to go now. Get some rest. I’ll be back to check on you later, beautiful.” Phelix patted her hip one last time before leaving.
Staring at the door he had just barely closed, Molly tried to sort through her rumpled thoughts. Too many things swirled through her mind for her to rest properly. Almost all of them dealt with the man that had just tucked her in. Yes, he said he knew people in her building, but how come her boss knew him by sight? He hadn’t mentioned anything about her coworker or boss calling her by her real name? Why had he punched his number into her phone? Didn’t Mandy already have it? Molly quickly dropped a text to her sister letting her know about the illness and that Mandy needed to come see her as soon as she got off. She tucked the phone up under her chin and thought about one last thing before letting sleep take her away. How was he going to get back in to check on her? The apartment doors automatically locked when it shut. Mandy had a hard time with this when they first moved in. In the first month, she had locked herself out six times leading to the twins swapping keys. Had Mandy given Phelix a key to her apartment, and if so, why had he brought her up that extra floor to hers? What he going to stop by this evening and try her sister’s key to find that it didn’t work? How much of a problem was this going to cause for them? Molly pushed the worries away and wiggled deeper into her covers and went to sleep. She would worry about those things later.