I shook my head--a mistake, for lightheaded as I was, I became instantly dizzy. I collapsed in my chair and leaned my head back against the cushion. "I have to get out of the house. I'm going insane. If I don't see the sun at least once today, I'm liable to pluck out all the hair on my head."
She went across the room and flung open the heavy curtains, letting in the bright afternoon light. "There you go, some sun. You're not going out there, though. You're getting flat and I'm going to take care of you."
"The last time you tried to take care of me, you set the kitchen on fire."
"Only the curtains. Next time I won't try to put a grease fire out in the sink."
I coughed twice, and glass shredded the inside of my throat. I swallowed, and once I could speak again, I said, "There won't be a next time. You are not making fried food in my house again."
She grabbed my car keys from the coffee table. "Fine, whatever. I'll just go out and get you some sick food. Ice cream. Soda. Beef jerky. I know you like that when you don't feel good. Weird, but whatever. You're the sick one."
"What I want is to go outside."
She shook her head. "Not going to happen, at least not until tomorrow. I know I can't get you to stay home from work--you'd go in even if you were bleeding from the eyes--but I can keep you inside today at least."
"I just want to get out of the house," I whined.
"Look," she said. "It's the stress. It's finally caught up with you. I'll bet you haven't been eating well, have you? Burgers? Shit like that?"
"And how much did you sleep last night? Five hours?"
"Three," I said. "But it was a NyQuil sleep. Very hard."
"Three hours of sleep and nothing but cholesterol for blood. No wonder you're so fucked up right now. You just stay in that chair," she said, and pointed at the television, "and watch whatever that crap is on the SciFi Channel..."
"Something with a giant octopus," I said.
"... and you don't get your ass out of that chair unless it's to vomit or the house is on fire. Even then, it had better be this room that's burning, or I'm going to yell at you."
"Fucking Nurse Ratchet, that's you."
"Don't try busting out, Chief, or you're so going to get your ass beat." She headed for the front door, stopped and turned back to me. "I'm serious. You'd better be in that chair when I get back, or I'm going to be super pissed."
"I might be dead before you get back."
"Whatever. As long as your corpse is still propped up, I won't have to desecrate it."
"You're too kind."
"Yeah, whatever. It's love. And pity. Mostly pity." She opened the door. "No moving, buster. I'm serious."
I waved her on. "Go, leave. Abandon me to my virus. I hope there's something left of me besides a puddle of fluid and teeth by the time you get back."
"I'll make a necklace of your teeth and Shop Vac the rest."
"You always know just what to say, Muse."
"Piss off, crybaby," she said. "It's love." She blew me a kiss and slammed the door shut behind her.