Theo slowly folded the blanket over, uncovering Sophie’s disgruntled expression with her brows slightly furrowed together. Strands of hair stuck to her sweating face, she breathed through her mouth heavily, her chest heaving up and down.
With the small portion of moonlight that seeped through window curtains, illuminating Sophie’s face, Theo could make out her frantic eyes moving behind closed eyelids.
He gently placed his hand over her moistened forehead, recoiling it back almost immediately the moment their skin made contact.
“Shit, you’re burning up again.”
He gently tried to scoop her up in a better position, seeing how uncomfortable she was curled up into a ball, latching onto a pillow, with the towel on her forehead leaving a wet spot on the same pillow she was clutching.
Her constant squirming the past hour did not go unnoticed by him, he made sure to check up on her every few minutes, regularly taking her temperature and changing the wet towel folded over her forehead.
He tried to wake her up, only to receive incoherent noises coming from her.
“The beds, we need twelve beds,” She mumbled lowly but seeing how inaudibly she had said it made Theo second-guess what he had heard.
“We’ll buy them tomorrow,” He coaxed her, pulling her up into a seating position.
“No, we need them now,” She pulled herself up drowsily, holding Theo’s arm to support herself, and leaning her head against the headboard, her eyes still half-closed.
He gently stroked her hair, successfully calming her down as he continued to pour sweet words into her ear. “It’s fine, it’s just a feverish dream, Fifi.”
A loud, scratching sound resounded throughout the silent room as Theo dragged the basin filled with water from the bedside table.
Weirdly enough, the scratching sound meshed perfectly with the sounds of droplets from what Sophie could only make out as Theo squeezing a towel into the basin, she slowly blinked herself back into sleep accompanied with the calming sounds, echoing endlessly on her mind.
She could feel herself succumbing into a peaceful sleep, no feverish thoughts over how many pillows and beds would fill their room, when suddenly, like a flicker of a light bulb switching on, her skin made in contact with an unimaginably, piercing cold.
She jumped from her place, pulling herself out of what could have been a dreamless sleep. She recoiled her arm that made in contact with the freezing towel Theo held in his hands.
“It’s alright, it’s just me,” He whispered calmly, returning to what he was previously doing, and smothering her with that damned towel, sending goosebumps down her arms.
He continued to wipe her fevered skin, despite numerous whines and cries from her.
“Theo, I feel fine. Just stop, it’s cold,” She said in a raspy voice as courtesy from all the persistent coughing that had had her exhausted all day.
“You’re not fine, you can barely talk,” He frowned. “And I told you not to put the blankets over your head.”
“It was cold.”
He grabbed the thermometer beside him and pushed it into her mouth, not even waiting more than a minute when it dinged loudly.
“One-Oh-Four, Eighteen. I feel fine, my ass,” He dipped the towel back into the freezing water, wiping her body, starting with her face, then her neck, and chest.
She looked at his focused impression, how gentle and kind he was being with her. With a flat look, Sophie didn’t want him getting ideas. “Hey Theo, remember that time-”
He groaned, irritated as if he’d encountered that start of the sentence one too many times. “Yes, I remember that time when I didn’t finish our school project that happened over seven years ago.” He said dryly, slightly narrowing his eyes, resembling somewhat of a glare.
“Good. Even though you’re being nice to me, I still don’t forgive you for that,”
“Just so you know,” She added with a smile.
“I tried to pay you for that,” He grumbled.
“You were seven years late. All you had to do was assemble a toy car, how hard could it be?” She huffed a breath. “And that way you wouldn’t have needed to pay.”
She plopped the wet towel over her face, pressing it to her face with her hands as it slowly grew warm. She knitted her eyebrows together at the sudden loss of Theo’s touch. “Why’d you stop?”
She kept her face under the wet towel, flipping it over to take advantage of the other side’s coolth. Her body slowly grew warm and uncomfortable.
“The water’s warm, I’ll get cold water,”
“No,” She lengthened the words out, wiping her sweat-infused face with the towel.
He sighed, “Do you want me to get you an Advil?”
“Yes please,” She barely uttered out, suddenly feeling drowsy.
She held her arms out inaudibly telling him to carry her. He does so and lifts her up without a hassle.
They headed for the kitchen, with Sophie carrying the basin over her and leaning her head on his chest.
“Were still not done talking about my toy car.” She mumbled quietly.
“I think we are,” He said, trying to dodge another argument about that stupid toy car.
“I want one on our wedding. I won’t marry you without one,” She blinked innocently up at him.
He sighed, “I don’t get why you’re still not over this. I tried to pay you.”
“You paid me seven years late! My dad berated me every day to get you to pay your part of the project.”
“I am this close to letting go of you right now if you talk about that damned car one more time, my arms are the only ones keeping you from falling,” He loosened his hold on me, making me tighten my hold on his neck.
“You won’t do that,” I snuggled closer to him, brushing my cheek across his chest.
“You love me too much.”
“I mean how can you not?” She said haughtily, “I’m basically the sugar, the spice, and everything nice that’s happened in your life.”
“You got spice right,” He narrowed his eyes at her, “You were a little shit.”
She giggled as a memory of a young, red, and crying Theo resurfaced. She remembered that day vividly, she had tricked Theo into eating a chili pepper, as long as she ate one as well, except she faked eating it leading to horrifying puddles of Theo’s vomit.
“You were the little shit,” She giggled more, “I was taller than you were.”
“I really hate you sometimes,” He had a frown imminent on his face, but Sophie smiled and shook her head. She placed herself in between the crook of his neck, her breathing making the little hairs on his nape stand up. “Still better than hating me all the time.”
“But you still love me, right?” He asked her worriedly.
“Mhm,” She buried her nose in his hair, resulting in more goosebumps coming from him as her hot skin came in contact with his.
“You’re turning hot.”
She didn’t respond and laid quietly in his arms, eyes closed, taking comfort from the sounds of his footsteps creaking against the hardwood floor. Unexpectedly, he comes into an abrupt halt, followed by a switch clicking. She groaned at the sudden brightness overtaking her senses, her eyes blinked furiously before getting used to the light and opening her eyes.
He set her down on a chair, opening several cabinets looking for an Advil, whilst he waits for the basin to fill. She gaped at Theo, amazed with how patient and gentle he was with her. His shirt was wet with several spots fully clinging to his skin, his shorts slowly slipping from his hips, and his eyes were filled with dark bags underneath from staying up taking care of Sophie.
He peeled a banana, placing it in a plate and cutting it into seven equal pieces, before embedding an Advil into one of them. He threw the towel into the basin and carried the plate with one hand and the basin on his left.
He placed the plate in front of her, squeezing again into the towel he held for her forehead to cool down. Sophie was slack jawed, the man she was staring at before her, was nothing like the boy she’d met years ago.
She couldn’t believe that this was the same guy that used to steal her food, rummage through her bags, and talk so loud that she could’ve sworn her eardrums had burst.
You would think that Sophie’s cousins or relatives would be the last people she would ever wed with. But no, she couldn’t believe that this man before her was the same man she vowed to never love, let alone speak with.
“Stop staring,” He told her as he wiped her face with the glacial towel he held, but she couldn’t care less, all she felt were Theo’s warm fingers grasping her cheeks.
She gave him a sweet, saccharine smile and kissed his jaw.
He grumbled, not looking pleased. “I told you not to get yourself sick.”
She smiled at him with one thought lingering on her mind; ‘I was definitely sickly in love’.