He turned his attention back to the movie they had been watching and stroked Sarah’s back absentmindedly, he knew it relaxed her.
Sarah woke up when the movie ended, the screen had turned black and credits started rolling. Carefully she moved off of Richie and sat up against her pillows.
“Sleep well?” Richie asked.
Sarah simply nodded. “It’s hot in here.”
“I think you got a fever.” He carefully placed his hand on her forehead, feeling the heat. “You do.”
“Hmmm.” Was all Sarah said as she pulled the sheets up to her chin.
“Think you should try eating again?” It was afternoon and Sarah had already skipped lunch.
“No.” Sarah answered immediately, not interested in food at all.
“You have to eat something.”
Before Richie could answer there was a knock on the door.
“Yeah?” He asked instead.
The door opened and Noah walked in.
“Everything alright?” Noah asked them.
Sarah turned around in bed, towards her son. “Of course, what’s wrong?”
“Nothing’s wrong, just thought I’d come say hi and apologize for giving you flu.” He walked over to Sarah’s side of the bed and sat on the bit of space next to Sarah.
Sarah smiled back at him, there were so many ways she could have caught her flu, he didn't need to apologize for that.
After a few minutes Richie got up and left the room. He knew Sarah’s sons by now, Noah always told Sarah everything that was going on in his life, just to get it off his mind or to ask for advice and Richie decided he should let them talk in private.
He found his way to his office, a few doors down the hall and sat down in his chair, starting his computer. He went on to check and answer the new emails he had gotten during the last few days. Lately his mailbox always had something that needed to be answered.
He could hear his daughter’s voice come from the ground floor and got up from his chair.
Making his way a little faster, he opened the door to his office and walked over to the stairs.
“Dad! Oh.” She said when she noticed him.
“I didn’t know where you were.”
“No need to yell, Sarah could be sleeping. What’s up?”
“Just wanted to ask if we can go out tomorrow.”
“Who’s we?” Richie asked.
“Me, Caleb and Noah.”
“Tomorrow? Tomorrow is Sunday, you have school Monday.”
“Yeah I know but we really want to watch this movie and it’s sold out for tonight but if we go tomorrow… It finishes at 9 pm.” Ava explained.
“Yeah.” She answered hopeful.
“Yes.” Ava answered even more hopeful.
“Alright.” He said.
A few hours later Richie stood in the kitchen, preparing dinner. So far Sarah still hadn’t eaten, to his disappointment. He was determined to make her some dinner and make sure she ate at least a little bit of it.
He set the table on his own and called the kids before going upstairs to tell Sarah dinner was ready.
Sarah followed him to the kitchen and sat down in her seat, noticing a cup of chicken soup and a few slices of toast already there. She didn’t want to but picked up her spoon anyway and took a small bite of soup.
Richie watched her closely, making sure she was eating and kept eating. She needed it.
Only two hours later they were back in their bedroom, Sarah was walking back over to the bed after brushing her teeth in the bathroom. She still felt sick.
“Sorry.” Richie apologized, he made her eat after all.
“Not your fault.”
“Kinda is.” He said.
“Not your fault I’m sick.”
He guessed she was right about that but didn’t say anything and tucked her back into bed, hoping she would be better soon.
“You should take Monday off work.” Richie suggested.
“I don’t know.”
“If you’re still sick, you should.”
“But we don’t know if I’ll be sick Monday.” Sarah pointed out carefully. She knew she couldn’t go to work, especially since she worked at a hospital, if she was sick but she preferred going to work. She was only working two days this week after all.
“We’ll see tomorrow then.” Richie decided, already having a feeling she wouldn’t be better tomorrow either.
A few minutes later there was another knock at their door.
Again, Richie asked, “Yeah?”
This time Caleb opened the door and stayed in the doorway.
Richie watched him with a questioning look.
“Uh… Was just wondering… Since it’s Saturday…”
Richie immediately knew what he meant. “Oh yeah.” He sat up next to Sarah then turned to her. “You don’t mind?”
“I’d love to listen.” She gave a weak smile.
Richie smiled back. “Thanks” Then turned back to Caleb. “Got your stuff?”
“Yeah.” Caleb reached for something against the wall in the hall and walked in the room.
Richie gave Sarah a quick kiss, said “I love you.” And got off the bed to walk over to the two comfy chairs in the corner of the room where Caleb was already getting his guitar out of its case.
So far Richie had taught Caleb some guitar skills every Saturday, even though it was almost 9 pm, he still wanted to help him out. In fact, he couldn’t believe he had forgotten. He always played guitar with Caleb on Saturdays, even last week when Richie had suggested for Caleb to take it easy to prevent his cold to develop in a flu too. Winter illnesses had definitely made their way into the house.
Saturdays he spent a few hours playing guitar with his stepson, he had become accustomed to it. Either he taught him to play a song or helped him with something Caleb had trouble with. It helped them to create a bond together, with Noah he had to do that in a different way.
“The song goes faster than that…” Richie carefully pointed out.
“I know,” Caleb sighed irritated, “but when I play faster I mess up the chords.”
“Practice on your placing your fingers faster then.”
“Everything worthwhile is.”
Caleb sighed and started the song over.
When their guitar lesson finished, they both noticed Sarah was already sleeping. Caleb quickly said good night and left, carrying his guitar.
The next day went much the same. Sarah hardly left the bed and slept almost the entire day, Richie tried to prepare food for her but whatever he tried, i t ended up in the trash can or the toilet.
After dinner he finally decided, Sarah had to take the day off tomorrow and see a doctor. She wasn’t getting better, even a simple glass of water didn’t stay down. He knew if she wouldn’t be able to keep anything down soon, she could end up in the hospital and that was something he wanted to avoid.
Sarah was already in the living room while Richie cleaned up the kitchen and the kids got ready. He listened to them talk. They were leaving in a few minutes and were talking excitedly about the movie they wanted to watch.
Then something Noah said caught his attention.
“What?” He asked Noah.
“What?” Noah asked back, confused.
“What did you just say about History class tomorrow?”
“Well?” Richie pressed on.
Noah hesitated, he really didn’t want to tell.
Ava and Caleb were both staring at him, having perfectly heard what Noah had said.
“So?” Richie asked again.
“I… I still need to start studying for tomorrow’s history test.” He confessed quickly.
“You better go do that.”
“Dad, the movie…” Ava interrupted.
“Noah’s not going anymore, you and Caleb can.”
“But…” Noah tried but was ignored.
“Better get going and back by 9.30.” He told Ava and Caleb, pointing to the clock on the wall.
A little unsure they both left the kitchen.
Not until he heard the door close did Richie speak to Noah again. “Shouldn’t you be studying?”
“You need to study.” Richie said strictly.
“You should have done your homework on Friday. Go study.” Richie ordered.
“You’re not my dad!” Noah shouted angrily.
“I’m the best dad you’ve had!”
Noah’s face turned blank.