The next towels were easier. I was getting colder and so tired that my eyes started to shut and I dozed off. When the towel on my stomach was removed, the breeze on my skin made me shiver and woke me up.
“Just one more time, and then we’ll check if the fever has lowered.” He changed the towels again. I had stopped feeling awkward about the lack of clothes a long time ago: maybe between the cold towel or the scared look on Keith’s face.
My shivering never stopped. After Keith took all the towels from my body, I just wanted to curl up and sleep. The sheets were wet, though, as well as my clothes. Keith left for a minute and I opened one eye to see him standing at the door, frowning.
“What is it now?”
“I can’t find any clean sheets,” he answered. I wasn’t feeling good enough today to do laundry, so the other set was dirty.
“Come on. Try sitting up.” Keith opened one of my drawers.
“What are you doing?” It was where I kept my underwear. He ignored my protests and took some black cotton panties and a matching tank top and placed them on the bed.
“I’ll be in the hallway. Call me when you’re done—unless you want my help.” His smirk was weak, but I knew he was trying to make me smile. I shooed him out of my room with a wave of my hand and took my time changing out of my clothes. My body hurt, especially my ribs.
“I’m coming in,” Keith warned, as soon as I pulled the tank top down. “Can you get up?” I obeyed him, unsure of why he wanted me to get up if I didn’t have any clean sheets to change the bed with. My bedroom swung around me and I had to sit back down again. I was too weak to stand. Keith sighed and put his arms under me. I stiffened instantly, not just at the gesture, but also at my lack of clothing. He picked me up and left my room.
“What are you doing?”
“What do you think? I’m taking you to my room. The sheets are clean, I haven’t slept there this week, and they are dry, at least.” He winked while pushing open his bedroom door with his shoulder. I had been in his room once or twice to bring him his clean clothes, but I’d never taken the time to look around. I wouldn’t do so this time, either, as the only light on was from the lamp on his bedside table.
The space was clean and tidy. I imagined all his clutter was in the attic, where he spent most of his time.
I whimpered against his cold sheets. “Come on, scoot over,” he said, as soon as he laid me down. I did what he asked and the next thing I felt was his warm body against mine. I gasped at the contact, but scooted back against his chest. I tried to ignore the chuckle that came from him, which shook my body slightly.
His hand came to rest on my stomach for a second before he pulled my tank top up. I was prepared to turn and punch him in the face when I realized what he was trying to do. He lifted his own shirt and hugged my bare back. I sighed, trying not to moan. For the second time tonight, I wasn’t cold, as his body was warmer than mine.
“Just so we’re clear, in the morning, we go back to not caring much for the other, right?” I asked, more to try and clear the air. I felt him tense before answering me with a weird shrug.
“I guess,” he mumbled.
“Why do you hate me?” I whispered.