Monday, May 16, 2011

Murphy and Me XXXVII

[Happy Tuesday, Heather Ann.]

It was the Tuesday after our Saturday rain game against Hamilton that I started to feel like shit. First it was the sniffles, followed by a cough that had me sounding more like a sick seal than a human. I fired off an email to my placement teaching telling her I was ill (and therefore not coming, no matter how many hours in the hole I was) and barely dragged my ass to my seminar. It was a one absence only seminar and therefore my ass needed to be there.

And being there physically? Sure as shit not the same as being present and accounted for mentally.

As my ass - and the rest of the body it was attached to - was having a difficult time staying upright, there was no way acting class was feasible. It was difficult to breathe through clogged nostrils standing still, let along acting as a squirrel. Yeah, our professor was a little out there.

After a conversation (or parts of it, as I tried to hack up a lung shortly after 'hello') with my coach, I was looking at a free Tuesday and was going to spend it passed out and snuggling in my lovely dorm bed. Preferably wrapped around Edgar.

Couldn't be wrapped around Murph as he didn't need to get sick. Didn't need to risk getting Dev, Liam, and Colby sick, either. But as Murph would want to check on me later - and he still flinched at the idea of my unlocked door on a trip to the bathroom - he would need my keys to actually get in the room.

Oblivious to the fact it was nine in the morning, I knocked on the door to the fishbowl. Dev didn't even crawl outta bed to answer it.

"Ollie?" he blinked sleepily at me.

I hacked up my kidney into the crook of my arm. We both flinched. "Can you get Murph?"

"How 'bout I get you a doctor first?" he mumbled, sliding off the bed. I held the door open with one hand, utterly miserable.

"Ol?" Murph was there in an instant, rubbing at his jaw. If my head hadn't been so damn fuzzy, the sight of my boyfriend with no shirt would have made me stare and drool. His hand touched my forehead and then recoiled. "Damn, you're hot."

"Such a sweet talker." I really needed to lay down. "Will you come check on me later?"

"Absolutely." He was offended I asked - like it was a given. "Leave your...Nope. I'll come with you now."

Barefoot and bare chested, Murph followed me up the stairs. Opened my door. Tucked me into bed after turning his back so I could change at a snail's pace.

Don't remember him leaving, but remember the sound of the lock going. A nap seemed like the right thing to shoot for.

Bushes lined the path. Green bushes. And all through the bushes little Amish people would pop up, almost like Whack-a-Mole.

Then there was clear blue sky above me as I lay on the August-warmed asphalt, having just walked into the side mirror of a truck.

Purple fireworks went off and everything started to spin, blending together.

Down and down fell the bed, the stamps, Amish hats, and side mirrors...

My feet were against something that moved every now and then and a warm, heavy weight on my calf. Opened my eyes, blinked a couple of times, and the wall came into focus. So did Edgar and what looked like Smokey. But what was Smokey doing up here?

I shifted, craning around to look at the other end of the bed and found Murph sitting with one elbow on the dresser and his nose in a European history textbook. He looked at me when I pushed my toes against his hard thigh.

"Hey," he said, laying the book down on his other leg. "How do you feel?"

Pulled the comforter up to my nose and blinked, trying to convince my stomach there was need to evacuate. Hopefully it would listen.

Murph squeezed my calf and then went back to rubbing it. "You want another blanket?"

Nope. Just...This was fine. I shook my head and rolled over. The trashcan was between the desk and the closet, like normal. Only it really needed to be by the bed as, while I only paid twenty bucks for my indoor/outdoor carpet, I didn't want to buy another one.

"I think Liam's coming up shortly," he said, hand now on my knee, thumb rubbing hypnotically over my kneecap. The bubbling in my gut settled marginally. "He's bringing some cold meds. Nothing with ibuprofen in it since your system doesn't like."

Well remembered from Lord knows when, Murph. Well remembered.

If Liam also had anything resembling food, things were going to go south in a hurry. Or was it north? Either way, it wasn't going to be pretty.

As my boyfriend is freakin' fabulous in general, I smiled at him, settling again.

Until Liam opened the door and the scent of soup wafted through the room.

I somehow stumbled out from under the covers without breaking myself, shoved past Liam and sprinted down the hall to the bathroom in bare feet. Normally I'd freak at that. As there were other important things - like puking - to worry about, I let it go and careened into the handicapped stall, barely making it to the bowl before heaving.

Couldn't remember the last time I'd upchucked but I did remember one very important thing - it sucked.

Murph barged into the stall seconds later, pushing a leg between mine and wrapping an arm around my clavicle to make sure I stayed upright while bringing up what felt like nineteen years worth of food, stomach included. The sound of the bathroom door closing seemed dim in comparison to the horrific sounds coming from the handicapped stall which made me realize Liam must have followed us in and was guarding the door.

Gasping for breath and swallowing frantically in hopes I wouldn't start dry heaving, the tiny part of my brain not focused on the immediate issue was screaming I'd wind up with some unnatural foot fungus from being barefoot so close to a communal toilet.

Which started another round of stomach spasms and dry heaves.

When it passed, Murph was kissing the top of my head and murmuring utter nonsense. Nonsense was good. Focusing on his voice was good. Relaxing was even better.

Liam must have entered the stall at some point as he was somewhere to my left and telling me to breathe. Which was useful information.

I stood, balanced mostly by over two hundred pounds of football player and wanting desperately to rinse. Liam, bless him, must have been a mind-reader in a past life and handed me a glass - one from my room - of water. I rinsed, spit, and leaned against Murph's broad chest, ready to sleep again.

"Sorry about that," Liam said quietly.

"Not your fault." It wasn't, either. He was trying to do something nice and it had sort of...backfired. Or maybe exploded grossly was more appropriate.

From the gurgle my belly just made, no more talk of exploding anything.

"You wanna rinse one more time?"

I shook my head mutely. Murph eased his leg out and then swung me up against his chest. I was so damn miserable I didn't protest to being carried like a child. Liam flushed and then held doors for us all the way back to my corner single. It was a little chilly - the window was open, presumably to get rid of the soup stench. Murph set me on the bed, practically force-fed me meds, and then tucked me back in. Liam, from the sound of it, had settled into my moon chair, grumbling at the wireless, or lack thereof. Murph repositioned the trashcan, shucked his shoes and crawled up with me. My body made room for him automatically and practically melted when he started rubbing my back.

"Dev doesn't even puke that much when he's drunk," Murph said conversationally after a few minutes.

"I'm special," I muttered, settling back against him when he wrapped an arm around me and my covers.

"Not a party trick I'd share at the President's house," Liam chimed in, typing away.

Thank you, peanut gallery.

"Least she has one."

Missed Liam's retort by getting sucked into that void of exhaustion, medication, and utter relaxation. Hope the dreams were better this go 'round.

Well, this was different. One moment I was in Jackson and the next I was on my old back porch next to Ronon Dex from Stargate: Atlantis. At least the sky was blue.

"What are we doing?"

"There's Wraith in the trees."

Which seemed perfectly normal when he said it like that. Until life-sucking space vampires came hurtling down from the treeline. I yelped like an idiot and all but fell off the porch, sprinting toward my own house.

And almost got hit by a classic Cadillac driven by a man in a leather kilt - who looked a lot like Colby - halfway across the road. Hands on the hood, I stared.

"Get in."


"Get in."

"I don't know who the hell you are!" Might look like Colby but probably wasn't. Could be Evil Colby.

In the end, the horde of space vampires tramping through the backyard made the choice fairly straightforward. I was in the passenger seat before really thinking about it and the Colby-Not Colby gunned it down the road.

"Might wanna sleep," he said, flipping on the radio. "It's a fairly long drive."

Which was code for close eyes for what felt like five minutes and open them somewhere completely different. A big different. A clearing, horses, and a Murph who looked like an extra from an episode of
Xena: Warrior Princess kind of different. Sword and leather shirt included, free of charge. I stared openly.

"We must ride," he said, grabbing my hand and pulling me toward a horse the size of a small shed. The Cadillac was nowhere in sight.

"But you don't know how to ride - "

Murph was already hoisting me up into the saddle. For a boy who didn't like heights, he was about to be surprised. He swung easily into the saddle and away we went, me protesting - loudly - that neither of us knew what the hell we were doing.

The tree branch came from nowhere.

I jerked awake, ramming my elbow back into something warm and relatively soft. Whatever it was gave a grunt and poked me hard in the ribcage. Murph. Only my boyfriend would poke me after first elbowing him in the diaphragm.

Meant to say "What time is it?" but something must have not totally computed because it came out a garbled mess that didn't resemble anything close to English.

There was some rooting around under the pillow, followed by a sigh. "One-thirty.

Really? Felt like I'd been down for the count for days. "Oh."

"How's your belly?"

No longer wanting to throw up everything it had ever ingested. "Better."

"Do you think it's up for some food?"

I shrugged, turning over and burying my nose in the warm juncture of Murph's neck and shoulder. Could so go back to sleep like this. The boy was a freaking furnace on legs, no doubt about that. He slung his arm around my waist, rubbing a broad hand up and down my spine.

"Liam left the soup."

Oh. God. Liam. Liam who had brought me the soup trying to be nice and had wound up in the handicapped stall with me and his twin when I did my drunk freshman impersonation. He wasn't a sympathy puker, thankfully, but it wasn't very nice of me. Would be the equivalent of me bring him a sandwich or something and Liam running for the nearest toilet.

Though....Maybe these were extenuating circumstances....

"And he understands you weren't feeling well earlier." Murph eased himself into a sitting position and slowly brought me with him while I tried to figure out if my boyfriend had recently developed ESP.

"Microwave's at the other end of the hallway." I leaned against the wall, blinking owlishly as Murph slid off the bed and knelt to open the mini fridge. Someone must have stuck the soup in there after my disappearance. "Is he offended?"

He sat up, cracking his head on the underside of the bed frame, soup container in hand. "What? No. No, Liam's not offended." He stood. "He's not offended that you blew chunks over the smell of food."

Well then. That settles that.

He tucked the comforter around my hips better, kissed me on the forehead, and went to reheat lunch. Smokey sat next to Edgar and eyed me. There was a very big significance in the fact that Smokey was out of the fishbowl. The only conclusion that came to mind was that I had the sweetest boyfriend not only in the known universe, but in all the ones unknown, too.

Murph came back in looking toward the shelf with my stolen Saga-ware, found a spoon, and gave the contents a stir. Handed it to me and climbed up next to me again. "It's chicken noodle but we'd figured you just wouldn't eat the noodles 'cause they're not wheat." His thigh was warm against mine, even through all the layers separating us.

"I have weird dreams when I'm sick," I said after a while and dear God, had I been gnawing on gravel in my sleep?

"How weird?"

"Amish and Stargate: Atlantis weird." Pause. "With some Xena thrown in for good measure."

He slipped an arm behind me, pulling me close. "Weird. I don't dream when I'm sick."

"Lucky duck." Sick dreams were either hysterical or terrifying. So far, I was two for two in the hysterical category. "Do you have class today?"

"At three." He held up his book from the dresser. How he'd found space to put it there to begin with was beyond me. "Brought my reading with me."

Today was a day where Ollie wasn't going to be productive at all. Also a day to refer to myself in the third person, too. Incidentally, it was probably also time for another nap.

I slid out of bed onto wooden legs to take care of my empty soup container, needing to get up and around the small room. Murph shifted, curling up behind me when I crawled back under the covers and got situated. Rolled over and stuffed myself against him. Something unknotted in my chest; my throat tightened for a different reason and I sniffed, covering it up with the fact that I already had a stuffy nose.

This, this right here, was new to me. New, exciting and so damn sweet it made my heart just to beat. Holding me while I hurled, staying with me, bringing me soup and meds and just caring...This made my eyes burn.

Because Bobby had never done this for me. Not. One. Time.

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"The difference between life and the movies is that a script has to make sense, and life doesn't."

-Joseph L. Mankiewicz