One Page Story – Fever

He was not well. Feverish. But it was subsiding. She sat next to him, draping his forehead with iced cloths. The delirium, the rheum in his eyes was starting to dissipate. He was coming to his senses.

It was late and he was awake. He lay on the futon into the hallway so they could talk without waking everyone else up. He slid to a side and motioned for her to get in next to him, under the piles of blankets she had placed on him to keep him warm as his body fought off the invaders in his blood.

She hesitated.

He said to her, “I won’t DO anything I promise”.

She looked at him with sadness and said, “That’s not why I hesitate. Everything that has happened up until now has happened under the umbrella of friendship. All the hugging, touching, all the looking. Lying down next to you now, just lying down next to you today, is going to be crossing the boundaries of friendship in my mind. It’s going to be the stepping outside of the line drawn between friendship and no-mans-land. A relationship without a label, without a name. And I’m thinking to myself, if I go there with you, and I lie down next to you, it means something. It means I’m willing to step outside these bounds with you. And I need you to know. If I step out and it doesn’t end well or if it doesn’t lead to a place with another label, I will never be able to look myself in the eye. I will loose all respect for myself”.

She lay facing him on the tiny futon. They lay there, looking into each other’s eyes.