The first thing she felt was pain. Oh, the pain. It coarse through her throat and head, suffocating all other impressions. Mindy felt her dry throat bringing up another cough. And another. It seemed to never end. Her head was booming from the pressure, and she felt her ears pop momentarily.
Sitting up, Mindy leaned against the bed's headboard. Her mind swam as it tried to remember where she was. Dizzily, she looked over at her alarm clock. It was four in the morning.
Mindy coughed again, the vile taste of blood reaching her tongue. She panicked. There was blood. She was coughing up blood.
"Tom?" She croaked.
She didn't remember if he had gone home or not. Now Mindy was regretting taking those antibiotic pills. She never liked pills. How had Tom made her take them?
Reaching over, she dialed his number. She forgot all about the time. Adrenaline coursed through her veins as she listened impatiently to the ringing.
"Hello?" Came his drowsy, beautiful voice.
Relief and relaxation flooded through her, making her shoulders flow down from her ears. "Tom,"
Her voice was still hoarse, and Mindy knew that Tom would be able to tell that she was in pain. In fact, she didn't even have to ask. The next thing he said made it all better.
"I will be right over,"
Mindy nodded but before she could realize that Tom couldn't see her, she was coughing again.
"Hold in there," Tom encouraged hurriedly.
Mindy sighed and Tom hung up. Reaching to put the phone down, Mindy leaned back into the bed frame. Her throat ached with the sensation that she had been rubbed down with sand paper. Mindy massaged her neck softly, groaning as she felt how swollen her throat felt.
She heard her wheezing breath come out but couldn't believe it was her own. What happened to the tough-as-nails girl she used to be? The one that wouldn't ask for help from anyone, especially a man? Oh my gosh. She was relying on a man.
Mindy shook her head, clearing it. Tom was a good man. He was nice, positive, and was there to help. Not because she needed it - because he wanted to help. And that was all she needed right then and there.
Mindy heard a knock at the door. It was quiet, and if she had coughed at that moment she wouldn't have heard it. But she knew immediately that it was him.
Practically jumping from bed, Mindy got up and unlocked the door, opening it for Tom. He stepped in, the dim light of the living room lamp highlighting his features.
He was wearing black sweats and a white tank-top like shirt. His defined muscles stood out and his worried face studied me. He took Mindy by the arms, looking over her face and throat.
"Tom," She laughed at his concern, but it turned into a cough.
The metallic taste of blood touched Mindy's tongue again, making her shiver. Tom's grip tightened when he saw a little drizzle of it fall off the corner of her mouth. Mindy sensed his tension and touched his arms lightly.
He seemed to relax, and Mindy led him to the couch. "Are you okay?"
Mindy nodded, afraid that if she talked she would cough again.
Tom sat next to her, placing his head in her lap. Mindy knew that he was aware that she could be contagious, but he never once acted like he cared. Mindy cringed at how close he was to her - he could get sick. But she was also flattered that he cared enough to stay close anyway.
"You could get sick," Mindy croaked, reminding him once again.
He looked up at her. "Does it look like I care?"
Mindy felt herself blush, and felt the sudden urge to lean down and kiss him. But that would make it all easier for him to get sick. While she was debating, Tom stretched out.
His muscled body took up about the whole couch, his feet hanging off the arm of the couch. His head was in Mindy's lap, making her feel warm inside. His curly blonde hair was a mess on his head.
Grinning up at her, Tom reached for Mindy's chin. "You're so adorable when you're thinking,"
Mindy felt her blush intensify. "What?"
Tom rolled his eyes, fingers skimming Mindy's jawline absently. He drew circular patterns over her skin, making her feel tired.
"How many times are you going to fall asleep on your couch? Are you afraid of sleeping on your bed?" Tom asked.
Mindy felt herself grin stupidly. "No, but I the only reason I've been sleeping at all are because of those dumb pills,"
"At least you're sleeping," Tom pointed out.
Mindy nodded, closing her eyes. She felt the soreness of her throat ebb away as Tom distracted her. It was painful to think that she had at least six more weeks of this pain left. There was no way she as going to get through this.
"Hey, you still here?" Tom asked in a whisper.
"Yeah," Mindy answered with a yawn.
Tom laughed. "Let's get you to bed,"
Mindy didn't complain as Tom lifted her up from the couch, carrying her over to her bed. He propped her head up with multiple pillows, making sure that Mindy wasn't going to wake up coughing again.
Mindy felt Tom leaving, and panic flooded through her. "Don't!"
Tom looked back at her. "Don't what?"
Mindy felt herself redden uncomfortably. "Don't go,"
Tom nodded, scratching at the back of his neck. "What do you want me to do?"
Mindy swallowed quickly. "Lie down? You don't have to - if you have work tomorrow.... but just don't leave me."
Tom nodded again, slipping under the covers on the other side of Mindy. "This good?"
Mindy nodded, closing her eyes. She could just barely feel Tom's presence, but she knew that he was there. And that was all she needed to know. Slowly she drifted off to sleep - again.
Author Notes: Was that a little too sappy? Sorry, this is the first ongoing book I've written, and I'm not quite sure how the sequence of events should be going.