“Can I get you any—”
“Just go, Amelia.” He flushed the toilet.
There was something about a person being sick and helpless that made you see the child in them. Despite Justin’s trying to act tough, he seemed virtually helpless in that moment.
“Are you sure I can’t get you—”
“Leave!” My body shook as he screamed.
As another round of vomiting commenced, I reluctantly went back downstairs.
After several minutes, I could hear him returning to his bedroom. I stayed downstairs for about an hour. Things were unusually quiet. On a normal day, he’d be moving around in his room, so I knew he’d either fallen asleep or was lying down. Being the paranoid person that I was, I started to imagine that maybe he’d passed out from dehydration. He hadn’t come down to get a drink of water. Given all that he’d thrown up, that was dangerous.
I sucked it up and marched up the stairs. Lightly knocking on his door, I didn’t bother to wait for him to respond before entering. “Justin?”
He was lying on his side, his head against the pillow, and his eyes were open. He just stared at me blankly, but his eyes seemed glassy.
“Are you okay?”
Without seeking permission, I approached and placed my hand on his forehead. It felt hot to the touch. “You’re burning up. We need to take your temperature.”
I ran to the bathroom and fished through the medicine cabinet for a thermometer before returning to Justin.
“Put this in your mouth.”
He chuckled. “That’s normally my line.”
Rolling my eyes, I demanded, “Just do it.” I was slightly relieved that he was actually joking around with me.
Amazingly, he didn’t fight me on taking his temperature. The thermometer beeped, and it showed that he had a significant fever.
“It’s one-hundred and two point five. Were you supposed to play tonight?”
“Mmm hmm,” he moaned.
“I’m calling Salvatore, telling him you can’t make it.”
“Don’t. I might see how I feel in an hour.”
“There is no way you are going to be able to perform like this.”
“I’ll call him in an hour,” he insisted.
Justin’s phone buzzed, and he reached over to check it before placing it back on the nightstand.
“Was that Jade?”
“Does she know you’re sick?”
“Does she have rehearsals tonight?”
“Is she coming?”
“No. Why would she come all the way here because I have a fever?”
I didn’t have an answer. I just knew that if my boyfriend were this sick, I would want to be with him. Maybe he’d downplayed it.
“What can I get you?”
“Nothing. Privacy. That’s what you can get me.”
“I’m getting you something to drink. I don’t care what you say. You’ll get dehydrated.”
“Make it a stiff one if you’re gonna continue playing nurse,” he yelled after me.
I went downstairs and returned with a bottle of water and a small towel.
Handing him the bottle and two Tylenol, I said, “Here. Drink up.” Justin swallowed the pills and took a sip before eyeing the wash cloth.
“What the hell are you going to do with that thing?”
“It’s a wet cloth.” I placed it on his forehead. “It will bring down the fever.”
He moved my hand off of him. “I can take care of myself, Amelia.”
Ignoring his comment, I simply said, “I’ll call Salvatore. Get some sleep.”
After another bout of vomiting, Justin turned in for the night. Even though I’d left some extra waters with him, I worried that maybe he wasn’t drinking anything. So, I decided to check in on him one more time before I went to sleep.
He was awake and sitting up on the bed and looked really pale.
“How are you feeling?”
“We should take your temperature again.”
This time when I pulled the thermometer out of his mouth, my heart nearly stopped. “Oh my God. It says one-hundred four point five. Justin, that’s dangerous. We need to get you to the emergency room.”
“I’m not going to the hospital.”
“This is not up for debate.”
Grabbing my phone, I immediately started searching the Internet for information on adult fevers. “It says here that a fever over one-hundred and five can be deadly. You could get brain damage.”
“That’s a little extreme. Don’t you think?”
“I don’t care if it’s extreme. You need to get seen.”
“I’m not going.”
“Then I’ll stay here all night until you agree to go.”
“Emergency rooms skeeve me out.”
“Would you rather be dead?”
“Hmm. It’s a toss-up between that and being stuck in this room with you yelling in my ear.”
“That’s real nice.”
“Why are you involving yourself in this, Amelia?”
“I don’t care how you feel about me, alright? I care about you. I always have, and I always will, and I don’t want anything to happen to you.”
After a long pause, he closed his eyes, and let out a deep breath. “Alright. I’ll fucking go.”
Justin was shivering during the dark ride to Newport Hospital. Before we left the house, I’d texted Jade and promised to keep her updated throughout the night.
When we arrived, we lucked out that the emergency room was pretty quiet. They took Justin right into one of the small curtained-off treatment areas in the back. No one—including Justin—protested my going back there with him.
They hooked him up to an IV and gave him Motrin. Over the course of an hour, they also ran a battery of blood tests.
A new doctor who had just come on shift entered the room.
“How are you feeling Mr. Banks?”
“Like crap.” Justin squinted his eyes to get a closer look at the doctor’s hospital I.D. “Is your name seriously Dr. Danger?”
The doctor rolled his eyes. “It’s actually pronounced like hanger. Dan-ger.”
“Do they know what’s going on with him, Doc?”
He held out his hand. “Call me Will. Please.”
I took it. “Amelia…”
He smiled, sort of giving me a flirtatious vibe. “Well, we think it’s a combination of things going on here. An unidentifiable bacterial infection that caused a high fever and vomiting in addition to dehydration. We’ve ruled out more serious issues.” He looked at Justin. “You’re very lucky your girlfriend brought you in. Fevers of that level can be quite dangerous in adults.”
Justin glanced over at me briefly before he turned to Dr. Danger again. “How long am I gonna be sick?”
“It’s probably going to last a few days, but we’d like to keep you overnight for observation because of the severity of your fever and to get some more fluids and vitamins into you.”
“I have to sleep here?”
“Yes. We’ll move you into a more comfortable room.”
Justin frowned. “Can I object?”
“I’m afraid not. I’m sure your girlfriend will keep you company.”