Less than an hour later, Melissa stood in the door way of Chris and Natalie’s room. “The other’s are out, distracting Hailey I bet, she has that appointment tomorrow,…
“Raina…Gabe doesn’t want to die. If that’s what you’re worried about, you can stop fretting.”
Gabe leaned into her touch, his face drawn and covered in sweat.
“How can I not worry about it?” Rai replied.
Melissa smiled and continued. “Just relax sugar.”
“Because he needs you.”
From the doorway came a tired, “I do, Rai.”
Some of the lines of pain lessened, but not all. He was burning hot.
Rai bit her lip. Now she was the busted one.
Melissa sighed. “Gotta get that fever down…”
Gabe walked toward her slowly, kneeling down in front of Rai and taking her hand in both of his, “Rai, you’ve been crying?”
He shivered, unaware.
“You’re supposed to be resting,” Rai replied, avoiding the question.
“I’ll be right back, okay sugar?” said Melissa.
“And you’re supposed to answer me, Rai,” Gabe replied softly, cupping her cheek in his hand.
A tiny nod.
“It was only a few nights,” Rai replied softly.
Melissa disappeared into the bathroom.
Gabe ran his thumb over her cheekbone, “Why?”
Gabe’s breathing was still shallow when she returned.
Rai frowned. “Just…I’m going crazy, Gabe.”
Melissa returned with a plastic tub of cold water, and a washcloth. She began to carefully wipe away some of the sweat Gabe seemed to be soaked in.
“Why do you say that?”
Gabe leaned into the cool touch gratefully.
“Seeing you suffering like this, and not being able to do anything about it, it’s driving me nuts.”
Melissa smiled. “Hopefully this will cool you down a bit.”
Gabe leaned up and kissed her gently, “Shh, shh…Rai…no…”
Gabe made a small, relieved noise.
“You shouldn’t have to worry about me…”
“We worry about each other because we love each other, Rai,” Gabe replied, kissing her forehead.
Another soft, relieved noise.
“You’ve got enough to worry about though,” Rai replied.
“You just relax,” said Melissa.
“And I will always worry about you, no matter what happens,” Gabe answered, “You’re number one in my mind. You and Hails.”
Gabe curled toward her, desperate for human contact.
“I’ll make you a deal,” said Rai after a moment or two. “You start telling me the truth about how you feel, or if you need help, and I’ll tell you the truth about being upset from now on.”
Melissa sat the water and cloth on the table by the bed, and slowly slid into the bed, holding Gabe close.
Gabe leaned up to kiss her softly, “Deal, Rai.”
He clung to her desperately, holding on, literally, for dear life.
“I love you,” said Rai after she kissed Gabe in return. “No more secrets, I promise.”
“You’re okay now, Gabe,” said Melissa. “You’re not alone anymore, I’ve got you.”
“I promise, too.”
“Hurts…” he muttered.
“You feelin’ any better now?” Rai asked, accent slipping through. “Compared to earlier I mean.
“I know honey,” said Melissa gently. “I know.”