Alexander heard her words and raised his head to look at her as he replied, “I don’t know.”
Soon after he spoke, he coughed aloud twice. Coupled with his pale-white facial expression, this contributed to his overall haggard appearance and spoke volumes about how sickly he was.
Tsk! How pitiful…
Sophia raised her eyebrows as she recalled the matter involving the thermometer and replied, “Your temperature has been measured.”
Almost as if he had just remembered as well, Alexander reached over to remove the thermometer from his armpit and handed it straight to her.
Although Sophia didn’t intend to look at the measurement, she had no choice but to receive it now that he had handed it to her like that.
The thermometer’s glass casing still carried residual traces of Alexander’s body heat and was warm to the touch. Sophia frowned slightly before she carefully raised her head to look at the mercury level and announced, “Thirty-nine point six degrees.”
He grunted in response as he rested his hand momentarily against his forehead in confirmation of her reading.
He had already been burning up when he left home earlier. As such, it wasn’t much of a surprise to him that his temperature had risen to this extent at this point.
Sophia wiped the thermometer and kept it away carefully before she glanced at him impassively and said, “You should head to the hospital.”
“I don’t want to,” he replied as he raised his head to look at her with a strange obstinacy.
“Well, that’s your problem then,” replied Sophia with a slight chuckle of annoyance.
She couldn’t understand why this man in his thirties was still behaving like a kid when he was obviously ill.
“Have some oatmeal,” instructed Sophia before she reached out to grab his phone and added, “Let me use your phone for a moment.”
Alexander watched as she took the phone and walked away from him, but he didn’t touch his oatmeal. He knew what Sophia had taken his phone to do. As she had blocked his and Samuel’s numbers on her own phone, she was undoubtedly planning to use his phone to call Samuel and have the latter come over to pick him up.
Indeed, his guess was right. The second Sophia took his phone, she immediately placed a call to contact Samuel.
She still remembered his number clearly and didn’t need to rely on any saved contacts in Alexander’s contact list to place the call.
For his part, Samuel picked up fairly quickly and asked, “Alex?”
“It’s me, Mr. Schild,” replied Sophia.
Samuel hurriedly got the people around him to stop talking the second he heard Sophia’s voice. Then, in this renewed silence free of background chatter, he asked, “Why are you the one on the phone, Sophia? Where’s Alexander? Surely he hasn’t fainted from his illness?”
“Thirty-nine point six degrees. I’ll have no choice but to call the ambulance if you don’t turn up, Mr. Schild,” she replied.
“Oh! So that’s all you’re hung up about. He’s physically strong, so that little fever doesn’t amount to much. In all your infinite kindness, why don’t you let him stay the night? I’m sure he’ll be fully recovered the next day!” exclaimed Samuel.
However, she scoffed lightly and replied, “Are you saying that you won’t come to pick him up, Mr. Schild?”
“I’m a little tied up at the moment, so I really can’t find the time to head over. I’ll have to trouble you for a night. Don’t worry! I’ll be over first thing in the morning to pick him up. I’ll be a scoundrel if I don’t honor my word. That’s all for now. I’m a little busy here, so I’ll be hanging up first,” stated Samuel.
With that, he proceeded to end the call without giving Sophia the chance to protest any further.
After all, no amount of words would change the fact that no one would be coming over to get Alexander. Samuel was sure a mere fever wouldn’t get the better of Alexander or even put the latter at risk of death in the first place.
Sophia glanced at her phone and saw that the call had unequivocally ended. She couldn’t help but turn back to look at Alexander as he lay on the couch helplessly.
At that moment, she decided that he was fairly pitiful himself in the sick state he was in and without anyone to care for him.
That said, she also knew she wasn’t a saint. Although she was willing to let him into her house, that was already the full extent of all that she was willing and able to do for him.
She handed the phone back to Alexander and stated, “Samuel’s not coming to get you.”
He frowned slightly and uttered, “I’ll take my leave after I get a little more rest.”
Sophia grunted in acknowledgment before she turned smoothly and headed straight up to the upper level.
That left Alexander as the only warm body that remained in the expansive living room on the second floor. He looked toward the direction that Sophia had disappeared in before he wryly bit his lip in self-mockery.
He was well aware from the beginning that she wouldn’t care about him at all.
Elsewhere, just as Samuel hung up the call, one of the men next to him asked in surprise, “Isn’t that a rather high fever already? Are you sure you aren’t going to get him?”
Samuel eyed the man for a moment before he replied, “What do you know? I’m creating an opportunity for Alex! Otherwise, with the way he usually is, I’m pretty sure he would still be all alone even by the time Sophia has grandkids!”
As he spoke, he paused for a moment as he caressed his poker cards and continued, “Come on now. Let’s stop waiting around. Whose turn was it next?”
To hell with picking Alexander up. Isn’t my game of poker more fun than that?
Usually, a stormy night would have been one of the best nights to sleep in. However, that night was a marked exception for Sophia.
Perhaps it was because she knew there was someone else present in the house, but Sophia found that she couldn’t fall asleep no matter how much she tossed and turned in bed.
It had already been more than a good two hours since she had left Alexander behind, and she had no idea if he was still around. If he hadn’t left, there was a fairly high chance that his temperature would have risen to forty degrees by then. She knew that the fever could very well rob him of his mental faculties if he continued to lay on her couch like that.
She reflected for a moment and realized she couldn’t live with herself if he suffered from mental impairments due to her negligence. She turned the matter over in her mind several times before she sat up in bed and said, “Genie, get the lights.”
The next moment, the lights flickered on, and the room was suddenly illuminated with a flash of brilliant white light.
She casually grabbed a woolen sweater and put it on before heading down the stairs.
The expansive living room was completely devoid of sound. If it weren’t for the fact that she made an effort to pad all the way over to the couch, she could have easily assumed that Alexander had long taken his leave.
The bowl of oatmeal that sat on the table was still covered. She couldn’t tell if Alexander ate at all.
However, she found him still rested on the couch where she had left him earlier. Both his eyes were firmly shut, and he looked as if he had fallen asleep.
The ashen-white expression he had on his face just two hours ago had faded and been replaced by an angry red flush.
She wrinkled her brows and frowned in thought before she finally rested her palm on his forehead to get a sensing of his temperature.
The scorching heat she felt at that moment was more than enough for her to recoil as she cursed softly. She was about to retract her hand when he suddenly reached out and grabbed hold of her fingers.
He gripped her tightly in his grasp, and the heat that emanated from him was terrifying.
He gripped her tightly in his grasp, and the heat that emanated from him was terrifying.
She tried to pry her fingers free but realized she couldn’t do so no matter how hard she tried.
“Alexander?” she asked softly as she frowned in worry.
Despite his movement and her call, Alexander still didn’t wake up. His brows were furrowed, and his parched lips twitched a little.
“Alexander?” she repeated. However, this time, no sooner had she spoken did he suddenly yank hard on her arm. Sophia was caught completely off guard and fell forward straight into his embrace.
His entire body was burning up like a furnace. Sophia placed her other hand against his chest and gently pushed against it to raise herself up. Just as she thought of increasing the distance between them, she heard him mutter in a low voice, “Don’t leave me, Sophia.”
She understood what he was getting at and froze for a moment.
Nonetheless, she quickly snapped back to her senses and yanked hard with her arm to extract her trapped arm from his grasp. Following this, she lifted herself off of him and backed away as she exclaimed, “Wake up, Alexander!”
She called his name again, but he didn’t wake up. In her frustration, she strode into the bathroom and soaked a towel in cold water before she returned and placed it directly on his forehead.
With that done, she went off to find medication for his fever, but it was challenging for her to feed him the medication in his unconscious state.
She stood by the side for a few seconds as she wondered if it would be better for her to wake him up nonetheless.
Sophia strode back to the couch and sat by his side. She shook his shoulder with her hand and called him several times. Despite her efforts, he remained fast asleep.
Sophia had no choice but to raise her arm and slap him on the face. Almost as if he felt the pain, Alexander suddenly twitched in response.
He leaned to the side and smoothly slid straight down to rest on Sophia’s shoulder. Taken by surprise, she instantly stiffened in response.
Even though they had been married for a good three years, this was the first time they had been this intimate.
The entire living room was dead silent, and it was easy for Sophia to pick up on his labored breathing. Somehow, Sophia’s heart started to beat along the same rhythm as well.
“Alexander?” she asked.
Once again, she slapped him with her hand, but he finally regained consciousness this time. As his eyes gradually opened and took in his surroundings, he looked at her and said, “Sophia.”
“You lost consciousness while burning up with a high fever. Have some medication first,” she stated.
He straightened up and received the medication from her before he brought it to his lips. His thin lips parted slightly, and he opened his mouth.
“Water,” he croaked.
He extended his arm and grabbed the cup of water from her before he angled his head backward and swallowed the pills.
After he downed a mouthful of water, he instantly became more alert and asked, “What time is it?”
“Half past eleven,” she replied.
“Am I getting in the way of your rest?” he asked.
Sophia eyed him for a moment before she exposed him directly and stated, “If you truly didn’t want to bother me, you should have gotten Samuel to come to pick you up.”
She had long seen through the game that they had been playing.