The wind tumbles the descending snow about, coating everything visible with a beautiful and shimmering monochrome cover, making the ground impossible to differ from the pure white sky. There is no one outside of their snug homes to soil the virgin snow…except for you.
You trudge through the powdery snow, leaving a tell-tale trail behind you with each step you take. The bitter cold stings your partially exposed face like little needles poking at your skin and your gloved hand takes the bullet as you cling onto a large black tote. But you continue forth on the path that looks quite different from it normally would seem. You’re making your merry way to your best friend’s home, having heard that he’s caught a cold or something of that sort.
A sudden gust of wind nearly pushes you back the way you came, but you still continue forward. And soon, you see his cozy estate loom like a lump against the knee-high snow. Ice crystals cascade down from nearly every hanging like menacing teeth, and the brightened window by a light makes two eyes glow high above. The house looks as if it was alive. Excitedly, you pick up the pace, plowing snow out of the way with your legs.
You gently turn the knob, as he promised to have the door unlocked for your arrival. It opens with a soft click, and you’re inside. “Arthur, I’m here!” You call out to the air, pushing the door closed and locking it tight, then peeling off your winter clothing and hanging it in the closet. You practically fly up the stairs and into his bedroom, where he rests. His eyes snap open and land on your warmly smiling face.
“You got here fast,” he says quietly and chuckles a little. But his amusement quickly vanishes as he begins to wheeze and cough.
You place the back on your hand onto his forehead.
“You’ve got a terrible fever.”
Arthur nods a little with an expression of self-pity. “I don’t think you should be around me,” he says groggily, “I think it’s the flu I’ve got. I don’t want you to get sick, too.”
“Nonsense,” You draw back your hand, reaching down into your bag for a thermometer. Your fingers close around the frigid plastic device. “I’m going to stay right here until you feel better, got it?”
As you expect for him to, he opens his mouth to protest and whine, but gets no words out because you push the thermometer under his tongue. He takes it obediently and looks away.
“Good boy,” You pat his head lightly and sit down on the edge of his bed, beside his legs that are wrapped under the covers.
A few moments pass in silence as you occasionally glance over at Arthur to find him gazing up at the ceiling absent-mindedly. But a strong gale outside the walls make the windows clatter, breaking the mood prematurely for your taste.
The thermometer beeps and you remove it from him.
“I don’t think I’ll have to tell you what it is…” you laugh nervously and toss the thermometer. “But it’s pretty bad.”
Arthur’s face changes tint; from pale to pink as he listens to your words.
“That thing must be shot from the—“he coughs and you stop him right there, speaking over his feeble voice.
“Shush, you need to rest. Don’t look at me like that; I’m here to help you. Now, would you like some soup?”
Arthur blinks a few times, looking at you in bewilderment, before giving an answer.
You nod and stand. “I’ll make you some.”
Strolling down the wooden stairs and into the moderately sized kitchen with red and white checked tile floors, you flip on the light and make your way to the cupboard in search of something to warm him all the way to his toes. You immediately spot pea soup and tomato soup. You pull out both cans and observe them thoughtfully, trying to decide which he would prefer without bothering him anymore than you feel necessary.
You decide on the tomato soup.
You carefully balance the bowl of tomato soup and the fine cup of Earl Grey (just the way he fancies it) on the silver tray as you climb the stairs. Upon reaching the top, you quietly enter his room again. He now lays on his side miserably, back to you.
“Hey, I made you tomato soup,” You say brightly, trying to shed some light on this dark and gloomy atmosphere. Arthur groans an incomprehensible response, so you set the tray down on his bedside table and walk around to make eye contact with him.
His face is now a sickly green. He sniffles and groans. You kneel beside the bed, looking at him worriedly.
“I made you tea, too,” You say sweetly, pushing his blonde bangs off of his burning forehead. Arthur looks at you warily.
“You’re a sweet one, aren’t you?” he says so softly you almost don’t hear him. A small smile comes across his face which is lined with discomfort and maybe even pain. He forces himself to sit upright, pushing his back against the countless pillows he has mounted on his bed.
You gingerly remove the cup of tea from the tray and set it on the table, before placing the tray on his lap.
“Thank you so much, love.” He says in that same soft voice as he watches you retake your seat at the foot of the bed.
“You’re welcome,” You observe as he brings the spoon up to his lips and blows on the scalding red liquid. You turn your sights to the window to find that the snow has ceased.
“Do you know how you got sick, Arthur?” You ask mildly.
“I think I got it from Frog Face. He kept rubbing against me while he was sick at the meeting last week, stupid wanker.”
You can’t help but smile again, hearing Arthur’s voice not as weak and feeble, but sharp and accented as it normally is, yet still not quite the same. “Is he still sick?”
“I don’t believe he is,” Arthur coughs harshly, which goes on for a few seconds. Then he continues to sluggishly devour the soup.
Another comfortable silence presses down on the two of you; Arthur continues to (while still keeping his manors) hungrily absorb the soup and you look at the various things around his bedroom. The sounds of the wind whistling through the window, Arthur’s soft clanking of dishes, his steady breathing, the way the sink infinitely drips in a bathroom somewhere in a house (that is never heard when the usual hustle and bustle goes on) and the rustling of his bed dressings as he shifts around, all join this peaceful silence, creating something natural and melodic, something over looked when time normally passes by. However, it is Arthur’s turn to interrupt the silence this time.
“So, love, I’ve been meaning to ask you something,” he sets the bowl and try aside onto the table.
You look at him. “Yes, what is it?”
His gaze falls to the blue covers. “It’s about Francis…I don’t mean to pry, but, are you two seeing each other?” His voice is deliberately hushed now. You frown slightly at the question.
Francis was a close friend of yours, not your lover. It certainly would be a strange relationship for you to say the least. Arthur coughs more violently this time, making you jump.
“You shouldn’t push yourself just yet, okay?” You gently lay him back down. Arthur shakes his head and grips your arm tightly, making you look down into his eyes. They’re endless, deep, and unnervingly beautiful.
“Are you, love?” He asks. His eyes now look quite pained and hurt.
“No,” you say with a forced, tiny smile. “We’re just friends, that is all.”
Arthur meekly lets go of you and averts his gaze to the ceiling. “Yes, of course, how foolish of me…”
You sit at the bedside.
“Francis told me that you two were more than friends…I was simply going to advise you to be watchful of him...”
“That’s kind of you,” you gently feel Arthur’s forehead once again, checking to see if he’s getting better. To your surprise, he takes your wrist and pulls your hand down to his scalding cheek.
You wordlessly watch him, staring into his eyes and wondering if it was his illness that is causing him to behave so strangely. Arthur focuses on you, his gaze quite longing. He opens his mouth to say something, but he closes it.
He forces himself up again while pulling you even closer to him. You’re pulled forward over so that your face is centimeters from his. He stares at you, seeming to try and say something. The way he eyes you greedily, the way he touches you. You understand where his words fail.
You close that small gap between you two, softly pushing your lips against his (which are surprisingly soft). The kiss, though passionate, is brief. Arthur’s sick condition makes him draw away abruptly and cough into his sleeve. The fit is much harsher than the previous ones.
You ask, “Are you alright?”
Arthur looks thoroughly embarrassed as he lowers his arm, still he replies, “I’m quite alright, love.”
Putting a hand to your boiling face, you say absently, “Um…about that…”your voice sort of breaks off because you’re unsure of what to say.
“Do you understand how I feel…?” His voice is careful, low and even a little scared.
You nod, “I do…and I feel the same way.” Your heart is beating so hard you are surprised that he can’t hear it.
Arthur smiles fondly at you. “I was hoping so.”
And you smile back at him, taking his clammy hand in your own and saying, “You probably shouldn’t push your body, you know?”
“Yes, I understand.”
“Say, Arthur, would you like me to fluff your pillows for you?”
“That would be most appreciated, love.”
Love. The way he says the word makes shivers run down your spine, but in a good way. You brush that off and assist him, puffing each pillow to his desire and when you finish, he lays back again.
“It’s nothing. Now, you should get some rest,” You tell him and gently kiss his cheek.
And when you draw away, his face is even more colorful than it was before.
“I suppose you’re right…” he agrees and kicks away the covers.
“Would you like some water?”
“No, I’m fine, thank you…But I love you.”
“I love you too.”
Arthur closes his eyes with a look of content across his young, handsome face. You sit down in the chair by his bedside and crack open one of your favorite books. You aren’t planning on returning home until Arthur is back to being an absolutely invincible British gentleman.