Author's note: I'll try to write more of this later. This is what little I could accomplish despite being ill and having the attention span of a goldfish. Devotional writing is sometimes more difficult then journaling and sometimes it is easier. Today, it falls on the difficult side of the ledger.
“I feel awful,” I grumbled, pulling the blanket tighter about myself. The cold just made me miserable. It was only aggravated by the weather being raw and unpleasant. Sitting on the wide settee with the tartan blanket that had been in his family for generations, I was in a sulk. He looked at me and smiled.
“You're the most beautiful woman in the room,” he soothed. I looked over and discovered a tray with a hot cup of tea in his hands. He had some how divined that it was precisely what I was in the mood for.
“I'm the only woman in the room,” I retorted and he laughed as he set the tray upon the little table that was at my elbow.
“Then you have no rivals to worry about,” he responded. I couldn't help the derisive snort as I reached for the tea. His large hand moved with a surgeon's deftness, sweeping the cup away from my grasp with out spilling a single drop. “Nope,” he chided, “Temperature first. Hot beverage next.” I rolled my eyes and restrained the snarky comment that came to mind. He held the thermometer out and gave me an expectant look. With a sigh, I opened my mouth and then closed it upon the device. As I waited for it to give the inevitable conclusion that I was indeed feverish, I watched him set the tea cup down upon the tray and rearrange the small assortment of toast, biscuits, and fruit upon the tray.
“Now, let's see what we have, shall we?” he said as the thermometer chirped. I opened my mouth and he took the device. A small frown curved his lips. As cranky as I felt, I couldn't help the small twinge of guilt at the fact that he lost his pleasant smile that he had earlier. “You're almost due for your next dosage. Drink up, then we'll get you off to bed.”
“I'm sick and tired of sleeping in bed all damn day,” I snapped. He fixed me with a stern look over the top of his glasses. “That's all I've been doing for the last two days. I'd like to spend some time doing something other then sleep,” I continued, realizing after the fact that my words came out more like a whine then I had intended. He adjusted the blanket over my lap, making a point of tucking the end over my chilly toes.
My nurse-maid gave me his best glare. Arms crossed over his chest and stern disapproval written all over his face, he silently made it quite clear that I had no chance of winning this argument. “Drink your tea,” he said mildly, “Then medicine and bed for you.” Sullenly, I took up the steaming cup and sipped. I found myself quite unable to help the sigh of pleasure as the honey laden beverage soothed the ache in my chest with its warmth.
I leaned my head back against the back of the settee and closed my eyes. I was bored. I was restless. Most of all, I felt guilty for the fact that he wound up taking a day off from work to tend to me. Here we were, two o'clock in the afternoon, and I was still in my flannel pajamas. A pregnant silence filled the room and I opened my eyes to look at him. “Drink up,” he said, gesturing towards the cup. I took another sip and glared at my feet.
Feverish and wrapped in a woolen blanket, I still felt like my toes were ice. “Feet?” he asked. I nodded. He moved the blanket off them and began to rub them between his hands. “You truly are beautiful, no matter how ill you feel, you know,” he said gently. I scoffed. His warm hands massaged my soles as he looked appreciatively at my toes. “Every last, little toe,” he said, lightly running his finger tips over the tips of my toes. I moved to pull my foot away when he gripped my ankle. “I'm not done yet,” he said firmly, “Finish your tea.”
I arched an inquisitive eyebrow as his hands moved to my ankles. Lightly, he dragged a single nail down the back of my left ankle. I yelped and nearly spilled the tea into my lap. His gaze flicked from my foot to my face. Something implacable lurked there and I took a hasty, inelegant gulp of tea to avoid gaping at him. The barest hint of a smirk twitched his lips. Allowing me a few more moments to take a few more swigs of the rapidly cooling tea, he watched me like a cat would a mouse.
Deciding that it would be wiser to set the cup aside before asking him what on earth he was thinking, I turned my attention from his ominous stillness to the table at my elbow. The moment that my hand was well away from the cup, he dragged his nails from the heel of my left foot up to just above the ball. I yelped and tried to pull my foot away out of reflex. The smirk emerged as he repositioned himself to hold my ankle tightly against his side.