Author: JTime PM
Taylor is days shy of being discharged from the hospital when a new patient--a girl named Madison--arrives with sealed charts and a mystery illness. He soon realizes her illness is more serious than she lets on and he's quickly falling for her. *ON HOLD*Rated: Fiction T - English - Romance/Drama - Chapters: 3 - Words: 11,539 - Reviews: 8 - Favs: 5 - Follows: 12 - Updated: 09-06-09 - Published: 08-16-09 - id: 2709907
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
A/N: Sorry for the delay, readers! Here's the third chapter of Love Sick! Expect the fourth soon.
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Whether or not Taylor had come by her room in hopes of finding her was something Madison couldn't be certain of but by the time the clock on her room wall struck eleven-thirty, she pushed aside her covers-- by then, well-rested from her nap earlier-- and found herself itching to get outside and into the fresh air of the night. There was one problem: patients were simply not allowed out of the hospital walls after eight. Madison, however, would have none of it. She cracked open her door to check for any medical staff and thankfully, saw none currently on hand on her floor. Then, with the quietest of movement, she crept down the hallway toward Taylor's room and gently pushed his door open to peek inside. She was greeted with the sight of him asleep under his covers, the sound of his breathing audible from where she stood. Holding back a laugh, she slipped inside and hurried over to his bedside, shaking his arm gently as she whispered, "Taylor, wake up."
The feeling was incorporated into his dream and at first he sighed and rolled onto his back from his side, next shaking his head a little as he let his eyes flutter open as she persisted. "W-wha..?" he began, having not been disturbed from sleep during the entire length of his stay at the hospital. All medication had been given intravenously and now that he was healthy, it was unnecessary other than some Tylenol when he woke up. Madison was slow to come into view and when she did, he drew back in the slightest bit to eye her in surprise. "Madison..?" he questioned in disbelief with furrowing features. "What are you doing here?" he questioned groggily.
His brows rose in disbelief and he licked his lips as he began to push himself up to sit and attempt to wake himself up. "Sneak out?" he whispered. He knew he shouldn't attempt such a thing after his recovery and since he still had no idea why Madison was being hospitalized he could only assume it would be a bad idea for her as well. "We can't..." he replied almost apologetically as he pushed his hair back and blinked slowly.
Madison's smile began to deflate before she offered a simple disappointed yet dismissive shrug. "Fine," she whispered, turning from his bedside to start back for his door. "Then I'll just go without you. Figured you'd want to get out for a little while."
"Wait, wait, you can't go alone..." he groaned, rolling out of bed to stand in the same scrub bottoms and t-shirt he'd had on all day. "You want to go walk around the roof or something?" he offered, wiling to go with if it meant something closer and safer but could satisfy her equally.
"I asked one of the nurses before," she whispered, shaking her head, "she said the roof gets locked at night. I'm going out," she told him definitively and left his room to return to her own to grab herself a sweatshirt and her sneakers.
He was reluctant to follow but felt somewhat responsible due to the fact that he was the only one aware of her plans to leave. He wasn't going to rat her out, but he could just let her go alone. "Okay, just wait..." he sighed, grabbing a sweatshirt as he stepped into his shoes and quietly slipped out of the room after her.
Madison left her room, dressed in her sneakers and a sweatshirt just in time to see Taylor approaching in the hall and a wide smile returned to her lips. Yet the unexpected sound of a third set of footsteps made her tense for a moment, her eyes darting aside toward the other end of the open area of the nurse's station. "Quick!" she whispered and reached out for his hand to grab it before hurrying down the hallway to where she recalled the stairs to be.
Allowing himself to be dragged, though leaning back against her pull, Taylor found he wouldn't even mind being caught. Once they were safely out of sight, he turned his hand in hers to grab her wrist and tug her just a bit closer and keep her from pulling him any longer. "Just for the record this isn't a good idea."
She had turned back to him with the same wide smile, her pulse racing from nearly being caught, yet when he spoke, her shoulders sank a bit and she lowered her stare to the floor between them.
It was as if her defeated expression was practiced. He rolled his eyes and smiled weakly, his hand coming up to her back to gently turn and push her toward the stairs. "Get moving. One hour," he stated next.
Her smile returned, thankfully this time, and she nodded easily in agreement. An hour was all she wanted! Without a word, she turned to begin heading down the stairs, hurrying a bit as they descended all the way to the ground level and out the side exit where they wouldn't be seen. Soon, they were walking across the grassy field that led out to the residential streets of the town and breathing in deeply, she held her arms out to stretch, staring up at the warm night sky. "What do you want to do? We can do anything. We can walk to the mountain... to the beach..." she looked back over her shoulder at him for an answer.
Due to the smallness of the town he was well aware they could do either with plenty of time in that hour to enjoy either scenery. He felt slightly uncomfortable due to how clueless he was about her illness and he found himself reluctant to agree to either of her suggestions. "What about that fast food suggestion? What if we grab a bite to eat and sit by the water?"
Madison came to a stop and turned slightly with an accepting nod to wait for him to catch up. It wasn't long before they'd stopped to pick up two burger meals-- a welcome change to hospital food and the usual food that Madison had been eating at home under doctor's orders-- and the two were seated on the concrete storm wall, their burgers seated on their wrappers in their laps and their sneakers abandoned, feet in the sand. They were only a good twenty feet from the water but at that time of year, the water would be too cold to get too close to. "I bet no one's even noticed we're gone," she mumbled, staring out at the faint waves that rolled onto shore.
It was a possibility due to how late it was and Taylor could only hope she was right. "Kayley would be so angry," he sighed, chewing on a french fry as he shifted on the wall. "...It's your first day and we're already breaking the rules."
Madison easily launched into teasing him, burger in hand as she laughed, "...do you like her?" she grinned, though her question was half out of selfish reasons. She took a bite as she watched him with a smile, gently kicking her leg aside to nudge his with her foot.
"What?" he laughed, blushing at her accusation. His developing crush was nothing to take seriously and he shook his head with a shrug as he kept them bunched and lowered his stare to bring the straw of his drink to his lips.
The blush she saw on his cheeks, even in the limited light, made her laugh a bit more and she leaned forward slightly to see his face better with an accusing yet playful stare. "You're blushiiiing," she teased in a sing-song voice, though reached out to easily snatch away one of his fries.
He reached for it and grabbed her wrist instead as he narrowed his eyes. "Am not!" he protested, pulling her wrist closer and leaning over to bite the piece of french fry he could from her fingertips. He gently released her even as he continued to glare. "I'm not, okay? It's the lights."
Madison continued to laugh, shouting through it and turning her face away as she let him bite at the french fry, and once he let go of her wrist, she returned her attention to him with a smile, eying what remained of the fry she held. "Uh-huh, sure," she mocked playfully, tossing the remaining end of the fry at him. She was finding him impossibly fun to be around.
What amused him about Madison was that despite her calling him on the small crush he had on Kayley, he was blushing because he liked her--Madison. Not only because she was the first girl his age he'd seen in a few weeks, but because she was pretty and fun. The fact that she got him up in the middle of the night to sneak out could easily be seen as a bad thing, but it was something impulsive and fun that Taylor wouldn't have done on his own. That spontaneity was something that was missing from his life and he found himself not caring of what repercussions faced them if they returned to an angry orderly or whatnot.
A few moments of silent staring and smiling passed between them before Madison sat up a bit and cleared her throat quietly, returning her attention to her food. Her smile was persistent, even as she reached for her burger again and as she took a bite, a thought came to mind. "So if you're pretty much all better, why is your mom keeping you here?" she asked, glancing aside at him curiously. He had said he mom would rather he stay at the hospital... or something to that effect, yet he hadn't said why.
Though he did his best to keep his smile, it was quickly fading. He wasn't going to lie, but it wasn't the best topic to bring up. "Well... I guess she just can't help it. My dad was hospitalized for a while and after they released him he had a relapse the next week and died. --It was all really sudden." He swirled his cup, feeling the liquid move around within the cup as he kept his attention on it idly. "She just can't help but worry something like that'll happen to me, you know?"
Her jaw slowed as she paused in chewing, his response causing her to grow uneasily silent. I shouldn't have... she realized weakly, knowing her curious inquiry was a bad move. She swallowed the bite quickly and set aside her burger, surprising even herself as she reached out to suddenly pull him gently closer and into a hug with her arms around his neck. She understood... far more than he knew.
At first he weakly smiled along with a blush, one hand on the wall at his side and the other holding the soda a few inches from her back. "Um..." he began, offering an awkward laugh before he sighed. "It's okay. Really. It was a long time ago." He lowered his hand, resting the soda cup on his knee and feeling the condensation drip through the thin fabric of the scrub pants he wore. "--But thanks," he said next as his hand came up from the wall to place on her elbow gently. He really did appreciate the sentiment.
It was only after she'd acted that she realized how awkward her action might have been and for a few moments, she lingered close before finally managing to pull back to watch his face. It took a few more seconds before she drew away completely yet it was a sudden gesture as she turned her face away and began to cough a few times.
He watched her with dipping brows, suddenly uneasy with their decision to leave the hospital. He was clueless as to how sick she actually was and if anything happened to her he knew he'd never forgive himself. "Let's head back," he stated, at least being polite in the sense that he didn't demand she confess her illness to him. He hopped down to the sand, taking her drink from the wall and holding it out for her in case it might help.
She covered her mouth for a moment, shaking her head as she looked up at him from where she sat. The cough subsided and she eyed him with a short laugh, "No. No, I'm fine," she assured him, reaching for her drink to take it from him and take a long sip. "Thanks, but I'm fine. C'mon... you said an hour--" she began, smiling hopefully, "It's only been like, a half hour."
"We'll take a while walking back," he replied, not budging in the least in his decision to return to the hospital. He had no idea what he could be risking by keeping her out and her secrecy was only aiding in his decision. "C'mon," he encouraged, reaching out to take her hand.
"But--" Madison began, her stare one of protest but she soon sighed and reached for his hand anyway, getting to her feet and reaching for the remaining half of her burger. "...didn't even get to finish my food," she mumbled, taking a bite.
"Bring it with you," he sighed, releasing her hand as he reached for her small sack and roll the bag so it was easier to reach into. He dumped all their fries into the one and held it, offering it to her to reach into with an accomplished smile. "See? I can hold this and your drink and you can eat as we head back." He tossed his half-full drink into the nearby garbage pail in an effort to show her he was serious.
Madison gave him a flat stare, yet sighed upon obviously giving in. "You're suddenly no fun," she teased as she crouched to pull her sneakers closer before standing to shove her feet back into them, ignoring the sand that remained on her bare feet. "Okay," she announced reluctantly, nodding for them to begin walking.
Dressed and ready, the two began walking slowly back to the hospital though Taylor would have none of Madison's defeated attitude. "If you weren't such a sore loser, you'd pout less," he pointed out with a playfully careless shrug. "Just because you suck at Uno doesn't give you the right to be mean to me. Even after I let you drag me out..."
"Take that back!" Madison laughed in disbelief, reaching up with her free hand to tuck her hair back behind one ear, her jaw dropped exaggeratedly low. She lifted the last remaining bite of her burger and ate it, reaching for her drink that he still held before swiping it out of his hand. "It's not my fault that you're no fun," she shot back after a sip, her smile widening as she began to walk a bit faster ahead of him.
"You're the one that wants to stay out," he pointed out with a laugh, easily causing her to slow from the quicker pace she'd acquired. When she reluctantly returned to his side he raised his brows and grabbed the drink to have some as well, but paused awkwardly as he thought better of himself. He was just getting over being sick and she... he still wasn't sure what she had. Opting not to share her drink or the fries, he held them for her instead, lowering both items to his sides in silence.
"It's not contagious," she assured quietly with a weak smile, prompted by his awkward pause. "I'll take them," she offered, reaching out to take them as she felt her chest forming a knot deep within it.
"Stop, don't," he was quick to reply with, keeping a hold on both the drink and the bag as he felt his entire body flush in embarrassment. He stopped, causing her to do so in turn because she'd been taking them from him and he stared ahead at her with no intention of releasing them. "I'm sorry," he stated seriously. "Now I know."
Madison's smile slowly began to fade until she was left with an almost sad stare. "Now you know..?" she questioned, unsure of the meaning behind his comment. Her hands still kept a hold on parts of her drink and the bag of fries but she found that she couldn't lift her now-dropped stare.
He repeated what she'd said in an almost apologetic mumble. "Now I know it's not contagious." With that he brought the drink to his lips to take a small sip and merely convey that he wasn't being polite-- he believed her.
Her hand fell away as she felt the cup lifting and she finally looked up to watch him take a sip. She tried to smile and managed to do so albeit weakly and she nodded for them to start walking again.
"You're a tough one to please," he observed quietly. He reached out to loop his hand around her wrist lightly, saying nothing more as he held it gently for a moment or two as they walked, allowing it to fall a few moments later.
Madison smiled a bit more to herself, her cheeks warming from the gentle hold he had on her wrist for just a few moments. "Am not," she argued amidst a short laugh, yet unexpectedly, her laugh turned into a cough and she suddenly felt dizzy. Her eyes fluttered briefly before slipping closed and without warning, she slumped toward him slightly, consciousness fading too fast for her to even tell Taylor she felt strange.
At first he thought her to be playfully nudging him, yet the fact that she was again coughing made him question it. As he turned to her and realized her eyes were closed and something was wrong, his hands instinctively dropped the items he held and bent his knees slightly to catch her as she fell into him. "M--Madison..?" he questioned worriedly, his breath catching in his throat as he tensed entirely. Shit... Shit this is bad... "Madison?"
Her body was still and limp in his arms but it lasted, thankfully, for only a quarter of a minute before her eyes slipped open and she realized she was leaning heavily against something. Weakly, she reached for Taylor's arm to hold onto the sleeve of his sweatshirt, her head still spinning even as Taylor supported her completely.