“Oh,oh,” I mumbled to Mum and dad when Erik came down to breakfast looking well awful and literally dragging his feet. “What’s wrong, little buddy?”
“My node id all thufft up and my throad is sore,” Erik mumbled, plopping down in his seat.
Mum immediately came round the table and put her cheek on Erik’s forehead. “You stay put, honey, and I’ll get the thermometer.” She said as she dashed from the kitchen only to return a moment later. “Under the tongue and no talking,” She added, slipping the digital thermometer into Erik’s mouth.
“37.4º (99.3º USA),” Mum said after the thermometer beeped and she read the numbers. “Drink your orange juice, Sweetie. You’re staying home from school today.”
“I can’t, Mumb!” Erik whined. “I don’t wand to miss anythink!”
“Listen to your Mum, Erik Christian.” Dad said calmly.
“Awwwww!” Erik grumbled.
“If you go to school and your cold gets worse, little buddy,” I reasoned, “You might miss more than one or two days. If you stay home and let Mum pamper you all day, you might be well enough faster rather than later.”
“Now you march back up to your room and get back into your jams and into bed, honey.” Mum instructed. “I’ll bring you some hot tea with honey in a bit.”
Erik got up and glumly climbed the stairs.
“How do you feel, Amar?” Mum asked, feeling my forehead.
“I feel fine, Mum.” I said. “I just don’t want to catch what Erik has, is all, so I hope you can get him better quickly.”
“If anyone can, your Mum can, Amar.” Dad winked at me.
“Where’s Erik?” Parker came up to me with a worried look in his eyes as I was walking into my Base.
“Erik’s at home sick, Parker. He woke with a pretty nasty cold and a slight fever this morning.” I said, looking at Parker’s suddenly woeful look. “Can you write down his assignments from today so I can give them to him when I go home?”
“Sure, Amar,” Parker sighed. “I’ll write him a get well card too. I hope he gets better soon.”
“Thanks, Parker.” I said, giving him a hug. “He’ll be back to school before you know it.”
“How are the two lovebirds?” I asked Carl as he joined Ben, David, and I as we walked to Chapel.
“Driving Rick and I bloody nuts!” Carl rolled his eyes.
“If they’re not in my room giggling and carrying on, they’re in Rick’s room giggling and carrying on!” Carl said.
“Are you going to ask the Dorm Master to room with Rick?” Ben asked.
“I already did and he said no,” Carl grunted. “But I found out Shayne and Lars asked him earlier, so he got a bit pissered. He said lads can’t just be up and changing roommates and rooms on a whim. I think he was in a bad mood last night anyhow, so maybe Rick and I can ask him when he’s feeling a bit more chipper. And maybe someone with an understanding heart can talk to the newlyweds.”
“I’ll see what I can do, Carl.” I snickered.
Shayne came up to me after lunch and gave me a big hug before planting a wet kiss on my cheek.
“Thanks SO much, Amar!” He said, floating next to me as we walked.
“Where’s Lars?” I asked, looking around and not seeing him.
“He’s having a serious talk with his roommate, Rick.” Shayne said. “I guess Rick was kind of pissered that we were distracting him last night. But Lars said he’d meet me later in the Media Centre.”
“You know Carl was also a bit pissered last night at the two of you.” I said as we ended up walking to the Media Centre. “I think you and Lars need to take a few deep breaths and take things down a few notches. I know this is all brand new to you two, but you also have to think of everyone else around you, Shayne.”
“I wish Lars and me could be like Ben and you, Amar.” Shayne sighed as he plopped next to me on the large sofa in the cubby. “You and Ben are so natural.”
“That’s because we breath normally, Shayne – we don’t pant when we’re around each other, especially not in public.” I winked at him. “And you also need to go slow. This is all new to Lars, and I don’t want to see either of you hurt.”
“I guess we did kind of take that plunge kind of quickly, didn’t we?” Shayne pondered. “But at least I’m not in love with Carl anymore.”
“You were never in love with Carl, Shayne.” I said bluntly. “You were however completely infatuated by him. Do you know the difference between infatuation and love?”
“I’m not quite sure,” He mumbled.
“When you’re infatuated with someone, for example, Carl,” I began, “It’s like you are possessed by an unreasoning passion and attraction. That can tend to cause someone, like yourself, to act well foolish as if you were really in love with someone like Carl. You behaved like you were crazy in love with him, when in fact you really weren’t because it was all one way, coming from you. I think your feelings are far different with Lars – as are his feelings for you. Does that help you understand better?”
“I guess I pretty much knew I could never go further with Carl than just that one little kiss.” Shayne whispered. “I wished I could, but deep down I knew I couldn’t.”
“Wishful yearning, Shayne,” I put my arm around his shoulder. “That’s called being wistful.”
“But it’s not that way with Lars, Amar.” He smiled at me. “Unlike Carl, I know I can go further with Lars.”
“But just – go – slow, Shayne,” I said. “Don’t force your love on each other. Let it happen between you and Lars naturally, and I promise it will be beautiful.”
“THERE you are!” Lars said, putting his hands on his hips when he suddenly appeared in front of us.
“I’ll leave you two alone,” I said, giving Shayne a quick kiss on the cheek before I got up and gave Lars one as well. “Remember, GO SLOW!” I gave my final warning to Shayne leaving the two with a wink.
“How are you doing, little buddy?” I said as I sat on the edge of Erik’s bed and looked at my miserable-looking brother.
“I’mb sick, Amar,” Erik mumbled as he snuggled under his covers. “My chest hurds and my throat hurds.”
“Awww, I’m so sorry, little buddy,” I said, kissing his forehead.
Mum had set up a vaporizer in his room, and the nostril-opening smell suddenly reminded me of something well special. That’s when I ran downstairs to the kitchen as Mum was preparing dinner and a side pot of soup for Erik!
“Mum!” I said breathlessly. “Remember when I was younger and we lived back in Maidstone? Do you have any of that Eucalyptus Oil so I can draw Erik a bath?”
“I don’t think so, honey,” Mum said. “Besides, Erik or you don’t have a tub in your loo anymore.”
“But you and dad have one in YOUR loo!” I smirked.
“Check the back of the linen closet in the hall, Amar.” Mum said. “And if you find some oil, don’t make the water too hot.” I heard her add as I ran back upstairs.
“I’ve nebber used Mum and dad’s loo before, Amar.” Erik said as he sat starkers on the side of the large tub as I drew the bath with steamy water. “They won’t commb in, will they?”
“Relax, little buddy,” I snickered. “It’s not like they haven’t seen you starkers before. But don’t worry, they won’t come in.”
I poured a bit of the potent eucalyptus oil into the water, and instantly the loo filled with wonderful memories and odours from my childhood. Then I swished the water around with my hand to mix it up before I helped Erik step into the deep bathtub.
“My eggs bedder not get hard boiled, Amar!” He said, sucking in a low squeal as he gently eased himself down into the steaming water.
“Trust me, little buddy,” I said. “After you soak in here for a half hour, you will feel SO much better. Mum always cured my colds and chest congestions with this treatment.”
“Mmmm,” Erik hummed softly. “I feel bedder awready, Amar.”