Chapter 38: Slow Recovery
This is a shorter chapter as I needed to do this before Donna shows up.
Jared forgot to turn his alarm off and the shock of the noise after such little sleep jerked the coach awake from a deep sleep. The noise was bothersome, but it was Jensen’s surprised cry that had startled the man. Reaching over to his bedside table, the younger man turned off the alarm and reached over to comfort the confused man next to him.
“Hey, Jen. Sshhh. It’s okay. Your skin is cool. Do you feel nauseated?”
“No,” the hoarse voice replied.
“How about the rest of you? Are you hurting anywhere?”
Jensen leaned into the larger man and tried to curl up in his arms instead of answering. Jared grinned and pulled him in tighter.
“I’m going to take that as a no,” he whispered as he felt the steady, slow breathing of the shorter man drifting back into a restful sleep. Sighing softly, the coach closed his eyes, letting exhaustion pull him back into sleep.
At 10:00 in the morning the smell of coffee wafted in the air. Jensen’s nose sniffed and his green eyes slowly opened. He tried to focus on where he was. There was no one in the room with him. Room? Jared’s. He smiled. Moving carefully, the professor tried to get out of bed. His entire body trembled from weakness.
The scratching at the lower part of the door alerted him to his dog on the other side. “Jared,” he asked in a raspy voice. Gus whined. “Gus? Jared?” The dog whimpered and was gone. Jensen lay back against the pillows and sighed.
Ten minutes later a knock was heard and the door opened. Sherry entered, carrying a tray. She smiled when she saw that the young man was awake.
“I hope you’re hungry. I fixed what Dr. Turner recommended for today.”
“Coffee,” came a hopeful question.
“No, I’m sorry, but that’s a good sign. I have herbal tea, some apple juice, and oatmeal.”
Sherry set the tray on the dresser and helped Jensen walk towards the bathroom and left him there. She waited until he was finished and helped him back into bed. The young man leaned against the plumped up pillows, and Jared’s mom placed the tray on his lap.
Jensen ate as much as he could but did not finish the meal. Sherry removed the tray and gave the professor his medicine.
“Why don’t you take a nap and, if you feel up to it, we’ll fix you up on the couch so you can be with the family today.”
“That would be nice,” came the soft reply.
Jared came in to check on the recovering man around 1:00. He leaned over onto the bed and nuzzled the sleeping professor, softly nibbling the sensitive neck. A slight moan emanated from the man, and the coach smiled and nibbled a little harder.
“Jar? I won’t be able to explain a bite mark at this point in time,” came the hoarse response.
Jared laughed, knowing his love was getting better. He walked over to the chair and removed the sweatpants and tee-shirt laying there. He nuzzled the drowsy man another time and ducked a light swat aimed at his head.
“Let’s get you dressed, and I’ll help you walk into the living room. How’s that sound?”
A groan was heard, but Jensen turned over and attempted to sit up.
“Let me help you,” his love offered softly. The older man reached up, and Jared helped him sit on the side of the bed. The two walked to the bathroom where Jared helped the man get a spit bath. They walked back to the bed, the shorter man wheezing slightly.
After getting the professor dressed, the coach leaned down and picked him up. He felt the other man stiffen but held on tight.
“You could barely catch your breath from exhaustion. I have no problem holding you in my arms, Jen.”
The late afternoon went by smoothly. Dr. Turner stopped by and told them that the invalid was recovering smoothly. Jensen was told to take it slow.
The family played games while the older man listened as he lay on the couch.
They had soup and sandwiches later for supper. Jensen had the soup and a few saltines. As they ate dinner, Sherry mentioned Donna and MacKenzie’s visit for the next day.
Jared watched the panic appear in his love’s eyes and leaned in to pull him close.
“It’s okay, Jen. You will be in your room or mine, and you won’t see them. It’s for Thanksgiving.”
“She won’t go for that, Jar. I don’t even know why she has agreed to this. I don’t want to see her…” the older man said in panic. “I’m not well enough to deal with her again. Please, Jar.”
“Of course not. I’ll tell her he’s not well enough to receive visitors,” Sherry said softly but firmly.
Jensen started to doze off, so Jared stood up to take him back to the bedroom. The coach looked at his mom, “I will be going back to work tomorrow. I’ve missed enough already.”
“Of course, honey,” the woman answered, interrupted by a terrified Jensen.
“No….no….no!!! You can’t leave me here with her!”
“She’s not going to be near you, Jen. It will be all right,” Jared answered as soothingly as he could.
“You know how she is, Jar. Please!”
“I’ve got to go, Hon. You have family here to protect you. I promise.”
Jared took the older man into his arms, looked at his mom and nodded. He carried Jensen into his own bedroom. He climbed into the man’s bed with him, and the two dozed off after the professor had managed to calm down.