ConroyAlmondJoy: Hey!
ConroyAlmondJoy: You're still up??

LeahBear: Couldn't sleep.

ConroyAlmondJoy: It's 3 a.m.

LeahBear: ...

ConroyAlmondJoy: You wanna talk about it?

LeahBear: No, thanks. I'm good.

ConroyAlmondJoy: Are you sick?

LeahBear: Sick?

ConroyAlmondJoy: You know. Swine flu or something.

LeahBear: Actually, yeah. I am feeling sick.

ConroyAlmondJoy: :P What do you have? Wait, I drank out of your water bottle today at track practice! Now I've got what you've got!

LeahBear: Yes. I'm infecting the world with my plague. (evil grin)

ConroyAlmondJoy: Super villain.
ConroyAlmondJoy: Seriously, what's wrong?
ConroyAlmondJoy: WAIT!

LeahBear: What?

ConroyAlmondJoy: Is it a girl thing?

LeahBear: Actually, it's a guy thing.

ConroyAlmondJoy: Huh?
ConroyAlmondJoy: Is it mono?

LeahBear: No. But I am exhausted.

ConroyAlmondJoy: Then go to bed!

LeahBear: Can't sleep.

ConroyAlmondJoy: Then eat something.

LeahBear: Can't eat. I'm never hungry.

ConroyAlmondJoy: ...?
ConroyAlmondJoy: Never hungry?

LeahBear: I know. Your teenage boy mind can't fathom it.

ConroyAlmondJoy: Should I be worried?

LeahBear: No.

ConroyAlmondJoy: Hey...my mom just bought some chicken noodle soup.

LeahBear: Why?

ConroyAlmondJoy: David said he had a fever.

LeahBear: Aw, poor guy. Is he okay?

ConroyAlmondJoy: He's fine. He was faking it to get out of gym class.

LeahBear: He's definitely your brother.

ConroyAlmondJoy: So I'll bring you the soup tomorrow!

LeahBear: Bring it?

ConroyAlmondJoy: You know, drop it off at your house.

LeahBear: Or you could stay a while.

ConroyAlmondJoy: ?

LeahBear: If you want. My dad just got Red Dead Redemption.

ConroyAlmondJoy: Dude!! I wanna play!

LeahBear: You should come over.

ConroyAlmondJoy: I will. It's a date.

LeahBear: Ha. :) Feeling better already.

ConroyAlmondJoy: I have that effect on people.

LeahBear: I'm actually really tired. Can I go to bed?

ConroyAlmondJoy: I guess...
ConroyAlmondJoy: Get well soon!

LeahBear: Aye aye, Captain.

ConroyAlmondJoy: I hate it when you're sick. You sure you don't wanna talk some more?


ConroyAlmondJoy has signed off.

Leah drummed her fingers along the keyboard and read and re-read the conversation. Her throat felt tight and her heart hammered; her forehead was clammy and dizziness washed over her.

You should come over.

I will. It's a date.

A date.

She smiled.

Is it a girl thing?

Actually, it's a guy thing.


Not mono. Leah looked over the IM window one more time before minimizing it, and traced the initials on she'd drawn on the mouse pad. L plus C.

It was way more serious than mono, and would last longer too. It was sweaty palms and a racing heart and a knot in her stomach the size of Toronto. It would probably never go away.

She'd caught the love bug.