Chapter 7

A Little Cold

I woke up to a pounding headache the next morning. I laid there for a while, unable to fall asleep. Most of it I blamed on my stuffy nose. I heard a knock on the door and I mumbled for them to come in. They must've understood me because I heard the door open.

"Lori? Are you okay?" Danna asked quietly, cracking the door just enough to stick her head through.

"Lori, you're normally awake by nine, why aren't you out of bed yet, sleepy head?" She smiled, pushing the door farther open. Danna gave her a look of slight annoyance, then entered my room. She felt my forehead.

"Lori! You're burning up!" Danna said. Nathan came in, concerned.

"What's wrong?"

"Feel her head." Danna told him. Nathan placed his hand on my head and I sighed at the coolness of it.

"Wow. Lori you need to stay in bed. I think it's just a cold, but I'll get Jenna to make you some soup, she's a wonder in the kitchen." He smiled.

"We'll have Nick check up on you throughout the day, okay?" Danna said.

"Why him?" I asked, drowsily.

"Because all of us will be gone."

"Alright," I mumbled and pulled the covers closer to my chin. I closed my eyes and heard the three of them exit my room. A few seconds later, the door opened slightly. Light footsteps followed. Someone brushed a few strands of my hair from my face. I heard the person place something on the nightstand and walked toward the door. I squinted my eyes and saw that it was Nick. After he closed the door I looked at the nightstand and saw a note. I reached over and opened it.

"Hey Lori,

The girls, Nate, Kevin, Frank, and I are going to be outside for a little while. Jenna said she'd stay in the house if you needed her and Carol left for a class about half an hour ago. DO NOT GET OUT OF BED. We'll come up around lunch time to take your temperature and see you're feeling. Sweet Dreams.

Goodnight.

-Lacey, Danna, Frank, Nathan, Nick, & Kevin."

I smiled to myself and laid the note back on the nightstand. I slowly drifted off to sleep.

~*~

"Nick!" I sat up in my bed, sweat pouring down my cheek. My breathing was heavy and Nick stood in the doorway with a tray.

"Lori? Are you okay?" Nick asked with a worried look on his face. It took me a moment to find my voice.

"Yeah…yeah." I said, looking down at my blankets and putting a hand to my forehead.

"Right…and I saw a pig fly while we were watering the roses." He said, giving me a doubtful look. "What happened?"

"I just…had a bad dream that's all." I forced a smile to my face.

"What about?" He said as he set down the tray on the nightstand and pulled up a chair beside my bed.

"It was dark and you and Kevin were fighting. He went to hit you and…I woke up." I said, not meeting his gaze, instead I studied my hands as they played with the edges of my blanket.

"It was just a dream. Now, how about some chicken noodle soup?" he said. I smiled and took a sip of the soup.

"This is really good!" I said, my eyes opening wide.

"Homemade by Jenna, just for you." He smiled.

"Well give my compliments to the chef!" I smiled and took another sip of the soup.

"I will. I'll let you eat in piece. If you need anything just let one of us know." He walked out and closed the door behind him, leaving me in the silence for a brief moment.

"Lori! Girl! You missed it!" Lacey barged in the door, followed by Danna.

"What she means to say is 'How are you feeling?'" Danna stepped in front of Lacey and sat in the chair that had been previously occupied by Nick.

"I'm fine. Now what'd I miss?"

"Kevin and Nick were tearin' at each other's heads!" Lacey's eyes were wide with excitement. Danna rolled her eyes. There was a key difference in their personalities; Danna preferred watching documentaries and Lacey would rather watch two buff men punch each other's lights out.

"What over?" I ate another spoonful of my soup.

"You! Duh!" I immediately spit out the soup I had been about to swallow and started coughing.

"WHAT!" Danna patted my back.

"Yup. Apparently, he saw Kevin give you a goodnight kiss last night…" She said coyly. "He seemed kinda upset over it if you ask me." She examined her green acrylic nails. My face went hot.

"So why did he kiss you?" Lacey asked.

"Lacey!" Danna glared.

"What? I'm curious."

"Curiosity killed the cat."

"I guess it's good I'm not a cat then." Danna rolled her eyes. "So?" Lacey turned back to me.

"Kevin…he told me that he thought…he thinks he's falling in love with me." For a moment, I briefly thought I heard crickets chirp.

"He WHAT?!" Lacey shouted. "What'd you say? What'd you do? Did he ask you out?" she babbled on some more.

"Lacey." Danna said calmly, but Lacey babbled on.

"Lacey." Danna said, a little more irritated, but Lacey kept right on babbling.

"LACEY!" Danna yelled. Lacey stared at Danna like a deer caught in the headlights.

"Huh?"

"Lacey, dear, it's not that big of a deal."

"Not that big of a deal? How can you say that!" She turned to me. "what happened afterwards?"

"Nothing! He kissed my cheek and left." It took a little bit of time to convince Lacey that nothing had happened. After all the excitement I took a nap until dinner time.

~*~

"AAAHHHH!" I shot up, my eyes wide in horror, sweat rolling down my temple.

"Lori?" Nick and the others filtered in my room one by one to check on me. The tears began streaming down my face, my body began to shake. Danna came over and hugged me to her. She was always the motherly one. When I calmed down I leaned away from her.

"Can I talk to you two? Alone?" I asked Kevin and Nick. The others filtered out as quickly as they came.

"What happened?" Kevin asked. Tears filled my eyes.

"Don't leave me." I said, taking both their hands in mine.

"I wouldn't dream of it Lori." Nick said softly. Kevin leaned in close to me and I sensed a glare from Nick.

"I'm here for you, Lori." He said. "But, you'll have to make a decision sometime…You can't choose us both."

"I know." I whispered. "I just need time."

"Three weeks." Kevin said. He stood, glared at his cousin, and then left. Nick stood up and walked to the balcony.

"Nick! Wait!" I stood and walked after him. He stopped and I wrapped my arms around him. He placed his hand over my fist.

"I'll wait as long as you need me to." He turned around, and leaned his forehead to touch mine. "Your fever's gone." He stated. I stared into his deep eyes, and the next thing I know, my lips touched his.

~*~

It was later that evening I found myself on the balcony watching the sunset behind the clouds. The sky was darkening, not only because of the oncoming night, but because of the oncoming rain also. I pulled the white knit shawl closer around me, and took in a deep breath, the humid air filling my lungs. I closed my eyes, and felt two arms wrap around me.

"Hey." The voice said.

"Hey." I said with a smile. Nick rested his chin on my shoulder as the sun dipped beyond the horizon.

"I love you, Lori." The sky opened up, and the rain began to pour, but for the first time in my life, I ignored it. "We should get inside. You just got over being sick, we don't want you sick the rest of the trip." He took my hand in his and led me back inside.

We walked toward his room since it was closer. He began sifting through laundry.

"I know there are some towels here somewhere." I watched him intently. The way his brows furrowed while he searched; and the way his muscles tensed and relaxed as he moved things around. "Here we are." He pulled out two towels and tossed one to me. I wrapped it around me and tried to warm up. "I hope you're having a good time." I knew he was trying to make conversation.

"Yeah, it's been great." I smiled. "It's really peaceful and quiet." He didn't say anything, and neither did I. He walked back to his closet and pulled out a pair of pants and a shirt. He pulled of his wet shirt, and it was painfully obvious, he wasn't ashamed of what he had, or that I was in the room with him. My face grew hot. He turned to face me.

"Why are you blushing? It's not like you haven't seen me in boxers before." He did have a point. He grinned as he looked at me. "You know when white gets wet it's see through right?" My eyes widened and I wrapped the towel around me tighter. I turned around so that my back was to him. He laughed a little bit and I felt his arms wrap around me again. "Isn't it better I told you than if I just continued to stare?"

"Doesn't change the fact that you're a pervert." I heard his musical laugh again and it made me weak in the knees.

"Well, I think it's time you go to bed. I don't want you to relapse from that nasty cold you had." He said. We walked down the hallway to my room and I leaned against the door and faced him.

"Good night." I said.

"Goodnight."

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