The glass tube chinked against her teeth as she spat out the thermometer.
‘Goddamn it Ricky, I have told you not to take my temperature, OK?’ She said slightly breathless, clearly pissed off.
The glass thermometer had bounced off the dainty pine bedside table and smashed into thousands of pieces scattered across the floor like diamond heist gone wrong.
Concern flashed into Ricky’s bloodshot, brown eyes quickly replaced by anger.
‘What the hell is wrong with you? You’re ill, again. You are red hot.’
There was still a trace of genuine worry; he remembered the first fever about a year ago. That was when things were still good between them. When had loved her little eccentricities, how she would put her fingers in her ears if someone was talking about a film she wanted to see singing ‘la la la’ at the top of her voice. He puffed out a smile at the memories, which disappeared as he exhaled and his mind returned to the room.
‘I’m feeling better now, just a bit of a fever.’ She smiled but her eyes narrowed, barely perceptible, in suspicion. Why did he try to take her temperature while she was asleep?
She ran her fingers through her hair, pulling out the knots, taking deep breaths, she still felt ill, still skirting the outside of the fever dreamworld, where fears grasp every corner of your mind and the danger is never far from your back. Gradually her edginess subsided and she rose from the bed to the bathroom to splash cold water on her face and the back of her neck. Looking into the mirror she could see her face as clearly as ever before but she felt a million miles away from the person staring back from her.
Ricky paused on the bed and watched her walk away, through the doorframe; she paused and touched her hand to the wall, momentarily steadying herself. She cut a hell of a figure, high, round ass, slim waist. Lately though there had been an edge to her, she often drifted off into her own silent world and the blank look on her face annoyed him now. And when her mind was in this world, there was something desperate about her, a sort of anxious energy just below her skin, frantically frying to burst out. And the fevers of course, coming more and more often now, he was angry at the thought there might be something wrong with her that she was keeping from him. He flopped the corner of the duvet back into place and headed downstairs, forgetting about the shattered glass on the bare wood floor.