Par Jo Lee
A ray of sun shone on Laurent’s face, waking him from the blissful, tiring sleep he was indulging in. In the bathroom, he saw Ayara looking at him through the reflection of the mirror as she meticulously applied her makeup. She was wearing a short jeans jumper that flattered her figure.
“Good morning, Gorgeous”
“Good morning!” Lau replied sleepily.
He didn’t recall falling asleep here however after all of the sexual exhaustion from last night, he didn’t doubt for a second passing out right after the second – or was it third – round. Ayara turned around to exit the washroom and greet Lau with a kiss. The sweet move took him by surprise, especially taking into consideration the fact that they hadn’t even kissed last night. Thinking back on the events that unfolded, they got right to business, without any of the sentimentality and foreplay. Going three weeks without sex, kissing was the last thing on his mind when she stripped before him yet her doing so now just felt weird and unwelcome. The physical attraction was there, the sexual chemistry was debatable since she almost always did all the work but he wasn’t drawn emotionally to her. However, when she leaned for another kiss, hungrier this time, tasting his mouth and savouring his tongue, any doubts he had evaporated and overturned into lust. She got into bed and Lau knew he was in for a delectable wakeup call.
Jen woke up 15 minutes earlier than her alarm and was grumpy when she couldn’t go back to sleep. She desperately wished she could stay in bed for the entire day, having spent the majority of her afternoon and evening playing tour guide and catching up with Em. She tried calling Larry when she left Em’s hotel last night however she didn’t know the calling code for Belgium so she texted back a simple, sweet text hoping if he was still awake he’d see it and call her. By the time she arrived home and showered, she practically had to will her body to make it into bed.
Looking out of her window, the sky was filled with grey clouds and the air was fresh for a summer day. She reached for her phone, dialing Genevieve’s number. She was tired beyond belief and felt nauseous within the proximity of the slightest hint of smell. She almost passed out from a cramp yesterday during her walk with Em. The pain just ceased her lower stomach causing her to stop right in her tracks. Even with her menstruation, she never got cramps that bad. After the second ring, Genevieve picked up with the usual chaotic noise in the background.
“Hi Genevieve. I’m feeling sick so I’m going to stay home today.” Jen said.
“Oh no! Are you okay?”
“Yeah, I think I’m getting the flu or something. Are you going to be okay today?”
“Yes, yes. No problem. Come back when you are better. Okie?” Genevieve replied with a caring tone.
Jen laid back down and tried to fall asleep again. The cool air was comfortable against her burning skin. Without touching her forehead, she was sure she had a fever – she could feel the sudden increase in her temperature. She knew she was being silly for being so optimistic, she’d been thinking about it since the airport yet she couldn’t bring herself to do it, unsure if she was really ready to know the truth.
Larry wanted to sleep in since he had the room to himself. Lau still wasn’t home and there was no practice today. It was their leisure day and he had every intention of taking advantage of it. He checked the time and felt reassured when he saw that it was barely 9. They got home pretty late last night, Larry remembered as images of a scantily-clad and drunk background dancer tried to come up to his room with him. Being a little too sober, he just laughed it off before getting in and completely passing out. Reaching for his phone, he re-read Jen`s text before pressing the Call button.
After going to her voicemail, he tried calling again. She picked up sleepily.
“Hey…” Jen said when she checked the caller id.
“Hello. You’re sleeping?” Larry was surprised she was still in bed, let alone at home.
“Yeah, I’m not feeling good.”
“What’s wrong?” He inquired. She sounded okay besides the sleepiness in her voice.
“I have a fever.”
“Who’s taking care of you?” Larry was concerned. If she really had a fever, it could worsen at any minute.
“Myself. I’m okay. I just need to rest. Enough about me! How are you? How’s the tour?”
“Maybe you should go to a hospital Jen. You’re all alone in your apartment and no one knows you’re sick. It’s not good.” He scolded unvoluntarily.
“No no. Actually, I have a friend in town. I can call him and maybe he can stop by with some medicine. I’m not alone.”
“It’s a long story. We used to date a long time ago and now he’s here to visit so I’m showing him around. Or at least I will be when I feel better.”
Larry grew silent once Jen elaborated that she would be hanging out with an ex. He wasn’t sure how he felt about the situation but it made him very uncomfortable and suddenly at loss for words. He couldn’t reprimand her — she had the liberty to hang out with whomever she wanted.
“Why are you so quiet?”
“I’m just thinking, that’s all.”
Jen did want to ask how Lau was doing but felt weird doing so. After all if she really cared, she could just ask him directly.
“When are you back?”
“We do London tomorrow. Then Paris on Sunday so maybe in 3 days.”
“Wow. That’s pretty cool. It feels like you’ve been gone for so long but it’s only been 3 days.”
“You want anything from Belgium or London?” He asked, in an attempt to steer the conversation back into a happy mood.
“No no….Actually, in London can you buy me an English book? I haven’t read one in so long and it would be nice to read in English.”
“Okay, what’s the book called?”
“Oh, umm any book is fine. Fiction.”
“So how do I know which one to get?”
“Don’t worry about it. As long as it’s Fiction, I’ll like it.”
“Okay.” Larry replied uncertain. He didn’t even know what type of books she was into.
“I’m going to go back to bed. It was nice talking to you.”
“Yeah. If you need something, call me… or call my mom.”
“I’ll be fine…Thanks. Umm, I’ll see you in a few days then.”
“Bye Larry.” Pressing the End button, she called Em right after to let him know she was out for any excursions he had planned today. He insisted to come by once he found out she was sick but she refused to let him. She still didn’t know why he was really here and the last thing she needed was to be throwing up in his presence, ruining his vacation. In the meanwhile, she’d force herself out of bed to go out and get some food. And while out, she pauses in front of the pharmacy’s display and thinks briefly before entering. As she marched up to the counter, she wills herself to find the courage to ask the pharmacist for a pregnancy test. And when she hands her one, she looks at it quizzically and worried before handing in the money for it. The same old sassy pharmacist eyes her with a look that says it all. This girl is so young and irresponsible…she doesn’t know what she got herself into. She looks frail with dark undereye circles that say she hasn’t slept much, and a dull face that reeks of a fever. She doesn’t need the test to tell but Jen does.
Upon getting home, Jen calls her mom while waiting for the test results. She’s in bed, talking to her mother and listening to her words of wisdom. Once the call is over, she falls asleep and stays asleep for the entire day, skipping breakfast, lunch and dinner as the night descends with light rain tapping against her window.