45 A Cold
Thursday morning, Meaghan barely stirred when her alarm went off. Her limbs felt like lead, and a tickle in her throat warned her that she probably was coming down with something.
After multiple attempts she was sitting up, but the dizziness that accompanied it made her feel slightly nauseous. Her face felt hot, too. Realizing the futility of going to work in this state, she called the office.
"Hello!" Somehow Maya's perkiness made her feel even worse.
"Hi, Maya. It's Meaghan. I'm too sick to work today. Can you let everyone know?"
Her voice instantly became concerned. "Anything we can do for you, Meg?"
"No no, I'm just going to stay in bed today. If something comes up that's important, though, call me."
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At least she had her laptop and could work a little from home if needed.
"Okay, Meg. I hope you feel better," Maya replied.
~ ~ ~
After a hot bath and some medicine, Meaghan felt marginally better. Straightening the house left her feeling exhausted, so she sat down on the couch, a box of tissues within reach and a thermos of hot tea on the end table. She glanced around the room until her eyes rested on her computer bag.
Maybe this is a good time to go over Ivoire's files again, she thought.
She heaved herself off the well-sprung cushions and shuffled to the bag. She sat back down on the couch with an audible sigh, plugged in the power cord to the wall outlet, and booted up the computer.
While sipping the hot, strong tea, her cell phone went off, and she smiled when she saw who it was.
"How are you feeling? Do you need anything? Should I come over?" Rickie barked the questions out, his concern underlying the bossy tone.
"I'm fine, Rickie. I'm just resting a bit right now. It's just a slight fever, and I'm sure I'll feel better soon."
Rickie's voice became gentler. "I don't like you being alone when you're not feeling well. Should I have Sethe keep you company?"
"I'm fine," Meaghan insisted, "I'm going to read a little, have some tea, and rest some more."
A quiet beep showed the computer was ready. "If I need anything, I will call you. I promise."
"Are you sure there's nothing I can do that would make you feel better?" Rickie's tone became intimate, and Meaghan squirmed at the image that suddenly popped into her mind; lying on Rickie's chest, hearing his heartbeat against her ear while he stroked her hair.
She took a sip of tea to ease her suddenly-dry throat.
"N…nothing comes to mind," Meaghan said. A low chuckle greeted this, and Meaghan knew he caught her stammer.
"Call me later, Meggie. I want to know you are still doing okay." After she promised, he disconnected, and Meaghan fanned her face, feeling hotter than the fever warranted.
Once her unruly heart slowed, she plugged in the thumb drive and began looking over the files, trying to find whatever data Ivoire had tried so desperately to send her.