When she came around, Ricky was sat at the side of her hospital bed. She had on a hospital nightgown and the itchy blue blanket was tucked regimentally under her arms. She felt as though she was waking from a long night of unrest, but no worse than that.
Ricky sprang out of the chair and kissed her fluttering eyelids and her forehead, which was now a normal temperature.
‘I’ll be right back’ He blurted through attempts to hold back his tears before going to fetch a doctor, or a nurse, it just felt the right thing to do.
The doctor shone a light in her eyes, took her temperature, pulse and blood pressure.
‘Remarkable really.’ He flicked a last cursory glance over her chart before placing it back at the foot of the bed.
‘Young lady, last night your temperature, and we did double check, appeared to be forty degrees. You should be dead. Now are you absolutely positive that you have no muscle aches?’
‘Well I really don’t know what to say.’ He shrugged, the middle-aged doctor was baffled. ‘ You had a bad fever last night, like I said your temperature was sky high. You appeared to be having dreams or hallucinations, but that is common. We can’t find anything in the initial blood tests, or on examining you but we will be running more tests. If you really feel fine, your free to go but get straight back here, immediately, at the first sign of anything, especially a temperature.’
The doctor shook her hand and then left, Ricky looked at her as if imploring her to do she knew not what, then jogged off after the doctor. She could hear their hushed tones outside her door but she was too busy trying to piece together how she’d ended up here to pay any attention. She remembered being in the car with Sep but there was nothing after that.
Ricky came back in, tears still threatened to fall from his big, brown, puppy dog eyes, Christina had never seen him look so sad.
‘What is it, is there something the doctor didn’t tell me?’ She asked, alarmed.
‘No, it’s like he said, you seem fine.’
‘Then why are you so unhappy about it?’ she asked sarcastically.
‘I wanted some answers, I wanted to know what’s wrong with you Christina.’
They drove home in silence, each one alone with their thoughts despite the physical closeness. It was late afternoon when they got home and Ricky prepared a glass of milk and a wedge of angel cake for Christina. He sat on the sofa with her while they both stared at and yet ignored the chat show on the TV. Christina had managed to excavate the memory of the car sliding and Sep saying she looked unwell but after that was like a hole where she should have been carrying yesterdays thoughts.
‘Christina.’ Ricky interrupted her digging. She realised she had been sitting curled on the sofa biting her nails and frowning with unfocused eyes. She must have looked the very picture of Sanity to him!
He didn’t want to ask. He wanted everything to be ok. But maybe now he had figured out why she was so distant all the time. Why she always sleepily rolled away from him in bed.
‘What were you doing with this guy?’
She frowned again and made one last effort to think hard and remember but it failed.
‘I don’t really know Ricky, I think he was giving me a lift, because of the snow.’
‘But the hospital said you weren’t admitted until after eight.’ There was an edge of accusation in his voice now. ‘That’s three hours after you finish work.’ And he didn’t even know about them being sent home early because of the snow.
‘I just… really don’t know’ Christina sighed.
She can’t even be bothered to make something up, he thought. And more than that she is staring into space again. Is there even anyone in there anymore? He was losing patience with this whole situation.
‘Why are you being such a bitch? If there is something going on, just tell me, it would explain a lot.’ Venom poured from his mouth with each word and Christina didn’t even care enough to respond, she was numb and withdrawn.
She wished she had Sep’s number, so she could call him and ask him what happened, she got up to find her mobile. Flopping back down on the sofa she keyed through her recent calls list scanning for Sandy. It was then that she saw the phone call to her new employer, the conversation she’d had where he’d offered her the job came flooding back.
‘Ricky…’ she called getting back up to find him wherever he was in the flat. He needed to know this right away, his opinion of her was low enough without her holding anything else back.
‘So where does your new lover fit into this little move to the country?’ He spat at her.
She wanted to convince him, cajole and persuade him but this move was just too damned important for his jealous games. She felt her temper flare, she slapped her hand down on the table and started to advance upon him pointing until she was jabbing her finger at his chest with each new sentence, telling him exactly where he could shove his accusations. She ranted until her throat became hoarse, never letting him get more than a few words in before she shot him down. She could always outwit him.
The more angry she got, the more she could feel other emotions heightening, it was hard to distinguish between violent and more intimate desires. She was feeling increasingly frenzied, like a kettle just before it whistles.
‘Fuck you’ he protested as she called him a pathetic jealous man.
Her arm swung from way down by her side and she delivered a powerful slap straight across his face. The sound of flesh whacking against flesh drove her wilder still and consumed by passion she popped her backside up on the kitchen worktop and swung her legs open and closed suggestively.
‘Well come prove me wrong then sugar, show me who’s the daddy!’
Damn she looked so good with all that fire in her belly. He couldn’t help but comply.