“Now that I think about it, how did Robert work it out?”
“He didn’t take your blood, did he?” Alex whispered quietly.
“No, don’t be silly.”
“What did happen then?”
“He kissed me,” Beth murmured.
“He kissed me,” she repeated.
“When was this?”
“Why was he with you this morning?” Alex asked slowly.
“Well, I invited him in last night. I guess I was scared of being alone.” Oh dear, Beth thought, more lies. “I’ve been talking with him for the past three days.”
“Regularly?” Alex was more shocked than annoyed.
“That would explain how he relaxed when you spoke to him last night.”
“Does that bother you?” Beth asked, trying to gauge how Alex was feeling.
“Not really, except that you’ve put yourself in danger. He trusts you. That much is obvious when I’ve seen you together, as rare as that has been.”
“I trust him.”
“Well clearly; you let him carry you home. And I assume he stayed with you during the night.”
“You went looking for him in the woods on Friday night, didn’t you?”
“I should have known you’d ignore me.”
“Sorry,” Beth said quietly as they got in the line for the next class.
They were going in before Alex could reply. Beth liked their Spanish lessons, mainly because Alex himself was Spanish and gave her all the answers and vocabulary words.
When the lesson was over, everyone filed out of the room. Alex took her hand and dropped it immediately.
“Beth, you’re boiling hot,” he said, shocked.
“I feel a bit cold,” Beth said.
“You’re scorching. Do you want to go to the nurse?”
Beth shook her head. “No. Let’s just wait and see.”
As the day went on, Beth’s throat began to hurt, and she started to cough quite badly. Her arms began to ache from writing all day. Her eyes began to water too. Alex was really worried.
“Beth, I really think you should go and see a doctor,” he said again as they left school.
“No, I’ll be fine,” she replied firmly.
He sighed, defeated. Then Beth coughed. And felt blood on her hand. She tried to wipe it on her jeans before Alex noticed, but, of course, he could smell it.
“Beth, we’re going to the doctor now,” Alex said decidedly.
“No, we’re not. Alex, please. It’ll be okay.”
“Beth, I’ve seen this before. Have you heard of the 1918 influenza pandemic? I was there, Beth,” he whispered. “Men, women and children died. And you seem to be worse than them.”