Quiet Words in Loud Places (Piano Man chapter 7)

On a grey Sunday morning, I woke up with a heavy head. Almost like a hangover. Not that I had done anything special the night before. Though I remembered a feeling of illness coming over me, whilst watching a programme on the television together with Tim.

He had spent so much time with me over the past few weeks, it was starting to seem like we were surgically attached to each other. Not that I minded in the least bit. His charm had completely won me over and it seemed like he had put a spell on me, one that had me floating on air ever so slightly whenever he was near. And the smile he put on my face was unbelievable.

But this morning, lying on my bed with my head throbbing in time with my heartbeat, a smile was further away than ever.

I couldn’t be sick, right? I couldn’t, I just knew I couldn’t.

Unfortunately, my body told me otherwise. As I tried to stand up from my bed, I felt a sudden rush of blood towards my head. I fell back onto the mattress and sighed. Sick. I couldn’t believe it.

I closed my eyes and fell asleep again.

It continued like that for 2 days, and every day, I felt worse. I could barely make out sounds, other than my mobile phone chiming in the background. Tim must have been worried. But, strangely enough, I didn’t want him there. I wanted to fight this myself, as I had done for so long.

I had to fight for everything. For David’s sake.

The third day, I heard vague noises. Cries of what possibly could have been my name. Someone sitting on my bed.

I was sure they had come to kill me. Either that, or I was having a fever dream. I couldn’t move though.

I felt a hand on my forehead.

“Jem?”

“Ugh….”

“Oh dear, precious Jem… you seem to have a fever.”

I moaned in pain. Even though I knew who was sitting next to me, it didn’t register.

“Tim…?”

“Jem, my darling, do you have any pain killers? Anything that can douse that nasty fever?”

“Leave me be… Can do it alone.”

He chuckled. “Oh dear me, even when she’s sick, she’s feisty. Give me a moment.”

He left the bed, and came back whistling a ditty. I became aware of him placing a damp washcloth on my forehead. It did feel good, but I still didn’t want him to help. He helped me sit up and ordered me to take the pill he had in his hand and down it with a large glass of water, which I did.

Afterwards, he crawled back on the bed, next to me.

“Go away…” I muttered. “I can take care of myself.”

“I will not go away. You, my darling, need all the help you can get. Let me call you a doctor.”

“No.”

“Alright, I’ll call Doctor No, but don’t be surprised if he’s got evil on the brain.” he said, chuckling to himself.

And I must admit, it did make me giggle. But the giggling hurt. Tim caressed my damp forehead and whispered that I needed a doctor.

“I need to fight this alone.”

“But you don’t. Why would you ever need to go though something alone? Let me call you a doctor, Jem.”

“David..” I whispered, surprised to find my eyes tearing up.

“Is that your doctor?”

“No… The picture. The picture on the nightstand.”

Tim raised himself to take a look at the picture beside me. It was a good one. Me and David, happy together.

“Did you love him?” he asked, wiping the tears from my eyes.

“Makes no difference. He’s dead now. Gone. He gave me his ring, and now he’s gone.”

“Were you engaged to him?”

He petted my acheing head, holding my hand like he had done that day in St. James Park. It relaxed me.

“We were forever… And now we’re not.”

“But you’ll always be forever. There’s always a piece of him inside you. And he’s probably thinking about you.”

“D’you think?”

“Oh yeah. In fact, I bet that’s all he does. Sit in his luxury bedroom in heaven, thinking about how you’re doing.”

He kissed my cheek. “And I bet he’d want you to move on. Enjoy life, live free, not giving a shit about what people think. Now, get some sleep and I’ll call your doctor.”

I smiled dazedly. “That was nice.” I slurred.

“What was nice?”

“Kiss. I want a lot of kisses. Kissing’s nice.”

I fell asleep soon after.

A few hours later, my eyes fluttered open, only briefly.

“Jem?”

I could hear someone calling my name. Was it Tim?

I opened my eyes properly, trying to focus. Tim was standing over me, caressing my arm. “Mmm?”

“Do you want to be kissed?”

I don’t know what caused it. But it must have been the fever that made me say yes.

My eyes fell shut again, whilst Tim leaned in closer and pressed his lips to mine. He kissed me deeply, the intensity of it making the hairs on the back of my neck stand up. A kiss. The first kiss I had in two years.

His lips were soft. His tongue warm and wet and keen on exploring. It felt amazing and tantalizing and dizzying and all that was good in the world. I entwined my fingers in his hair, losing myself completely.

When he pulled away, I smiled. It felt like my cold heart was starting to melt.

“The doctor will be here soon. Do you want me to go so you can get some more sleep?”

“Stay.” I whispered softly. “Please.”

He smiled brightly, and without another word, he crawled back next to me in bed, cuddling up to me. He whispered an apology for getting so close, for kissing me, but I reassured him that it wasn’t needed.

The sounds of the street outside my window were invading my room, but I paid no attention and whispered a thank you in Tim’s ear.

“You shouldn’t fight alone, Jem. Never.” he said, offering me his chest to lie on.

I fell asleep again.

It’s the quiet words that do it. The quiet words in the loud places register the most and mean much more.

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1 Comment

  1. I am still adoring this story. The build-up to this chapter, these kisses, was lovely…

    xx Dee

    Reply

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