George sprinted across the sand and knelt in front of James, who hovered nervously over the still body of George's brother.
“What is it?” George asked, trying to keep his nerves from spiking his blood pressure. This was not the time for hysterics.
“Feel his forehead,” James whispered, then leaned away as if attempting to get away from a sick person's cough. The overhead shade trees cast rhythmic shadows across his face, making it swirl with worry. The sound of the tide crashed around them.
George extended his arm, but paused just before placing his palm to Simon's head. From behind him, Summer queried, “Fever?”
To brace himself George set his jaw and expelled some air from his lungs, then he touched his brother's forehead, only to snatch it back as he'd just brushed against a hot iron. His eyes were wide orbs of terror and his mouth hung slack. It was a look that neither James nor Summer had ever witnessed on George's face and it shook them considerably. Summer was about to ask when George finally croaked, “He's burning up!”
James immediately looked to Summer, who backed up a step and shrugged, “What do you want me to do? I'm not even Pre-Med. That makes me NO MED. I'm sorry, guys.”
But then George's agonized face turned up toward hers, his eyelashes wet in the sunshine. Here he was not the the big jock hero, the town's most beloved young citizen, the man who seemed to take the entire Stock Market by the horns and wrestle it into submission by willpower alone. Summer saw before her a man who was very much afraid of losing the only family he had in the world. To him, she was a brain surgeon.
“Let me see,” she bustled the men aside and dropped to one knee as she gently placed the back of her hand to the unconscious Simon's forehead. She nearly pulled back as George had done. Simon's skin was hot to the touch. Not just because it had been under the sun, but because fever had taken control of his body and was ravaging his immune system; he was burning up.
She acted without thought and curled her arms under Simon's prone body. Despite being just over five feet tall and barely a hundred pounds, she pulled Simon close to her chest and got to her feet in one desperate move as well as any Olympic clean and jerk maneuver.
“Help me carry him to the water,” she grunted, and the three of them brought Simon to the edge of the lazy waves which lapped at the shoreline and laid him in the water. Summer made sure his head stayed above water by resting it on her knees but kept the rest of him submerged in hopes the water temp would help cool him.
“You think it'll help?” George asked.
“This ain't the cold Atlantic that I'm used to,” she grimaced as Simon's outstretched body rose and fell with every wave swell, “but it's the only thing we got to bring his temperature down.”