Be Patient

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The universe must hate you. The universe must want you to die, because you woke up in the wee hours of Saturday morning with an urgent need to puke.

This wasn't just regular nausea or food poisoning either. No, you were sicker than a dog. You had a cough that rattled your entire frame and full body aches. Your nose was dripping like a leaky faucet and your throat hurt. Worst of all was the fatigue and fever.

God, the fever! Your hands and feet felt frigidly cold while the rest of you felt like it was on fire. The old mercury thermometer you found in the medicine closet read thirty-eight degrees Celsius exactly.

All you wanted to do was crawl back into bed and never come out. But you couldn't. At the very least, you had to call up and cancel.

"Hello? Aina?" It wasn't even six AM but Minoru didn't sound like she was still in bed. Her voice was crisp and clear as an autumn breeze.

"Hey, Minoru... I can't come over today. I'm really sick."

"Oh!" She said, sounding pleasantly surprised. You thought she was thrilled to avoid spending time with you, but the next words out of her mouth were, "Oh, that's fine. Come over any time before ten AM. Bring some extra clothes. You can sleep over."

You wanted to cry. A sleepover with Minoru sounded heavenly. As much as that would further your relationship, vomiting all over her house would likely strain it.

"I'd love to, but I really, really can't. I'm sorry."

There was a long silence over the line before she spoke again, low and sure into the receiver. "If you don't come over today, then don't bother talking to me anymore." Then she hung up.

You tried texting her, calling her back, promising next weekend... All your attempts were ignored. Her ultimatum accompanied the ringing in your ears.

Fuck your life.

...

You ended up packing your backpack and heading out the second your stomach stopped doing flips. You left a note to your, or, rather, Aina's, parents on your way out the door. Minoru said before ten. That included seven.

If she wanted you that badly, she could have you. You were totally going to cough on every surface and get her sick out of spite, though. Maybe the shared misery would bring you closer together.

She lived in a much nicer neighborhood than you, although it was further away from school. It was somewhat of a long walk. You had to stop twice on the way there to throw up in the bushes.

Her house was huge, a modest mansion really. The moment you rang the doorbell, the door swung open to reveal Minoru.

It was weird to see her out of uniform. She wore a flowy blush-colored dress with a short- and puffy-sleeved white blouse underneath. Her collar was secured with a matching pink ribbon tied in an oversized bow. Her white Mary Janes were polished to a shine.

The first thing she did after opening the door was touch your cheek with the back of her fingers. You didn't know what to do with yourself, so you just coughed at the sight of her fervent eyes and blinding smile.

"You are sick! You have a fever," Minoru exclaimed.

Yeah, duh. I said I was. What, did you not believe me? You thought with a sulky frown. She dropped her hand before you could bat it away. Sickness made you spiteful.

"Where are my manners? Come in, come in. I'll show you to my room."

Her bedroom was stunning, like something out of a fairytale. The only thing it was lacking was any kind of personal touch. There were no photos or posters up on the wall, no knick knacks or any signs of life really. As if it were more for display than use.

The piece of resistance was undoubtedly the massive canopy bed in the middle of the room. Fluffy, white pillows sprouted off it like barnacles. The box spring was so tall it reminded you of something out of The Princess and the Pea.

Minoru tossed the excess pillows to the floor, pulled back the covers, and motioned for you to sit in bed.

Confused but too tired to protest, you slid into the satin sheets. You had to fight the urge to moan. The mattress was soft as a cloud, the sheets smooth as buttercream.

She tucked you in up to your chin before grabbing the pale green mug sitting on the nightstand. "I made you some herbal tea with honey and lemon. Is your throat sore?" You weakly nodded. "It should help with that, as well as that cough."

You struggled to sit up amongst the snowdrift of pillows and blankets. Strangely enough, though, she didn't wait for you to straighten yourself up.

Instead, Minoru cradled the back of your head as if you were a baby and pressed the edge of the mug to the seam of your lips. Your lips fell open in shock, and suddenly she was tipping the mug upward.

Your throat struggled to keep up with the pace at which she was pouring tea down it, but you managed with minimum spillage and she set the cup aside. Your deadened taste buds only registered a lingering warmth and bittersweetness.

"Good girl," she crooned, practically glowing. "Now why don't you take a nap? I'll make you something to eat when you wake up."

Then she left, switching off the light switch on her way out and bathing you in darkness. You were left in the dark, opening and closing your mouth like a fish.

What the hell just happened?

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