AJ was jerked awake from his medicated slumber and groaned softly. He slowly sat up, crawled out of bed, put his glasses on, and went into the bathroom. He regretted it immediately when he realized how exhausting that walk is when you have no energy to begin with. AJ quickly did his business and shuffled back to bed. He switched on the bedside lamp to take more medicine so he could sleep again.
Kim rolled over and squinted at the light. "Hey, baby. What are you doing up?"
"I had to go to the bathroom. I'm just gonna take more meds, you can go back to sleep," he said tiredly.
Kim wiped the sleep from her eyes and sat up in bed. "Well, if you're up, I need to be up with you. How're you feeling? And none of this 'it's just the flu' stuff," she said in a serious tone.
"I feel like shit, plus, feeling like I got hit by a Mack truck," he replied as he coughed into his fist, wincing a bit as he did so. Bernie, who slept on the floor at the foot of the bed, stretched and came over to AJ, nudging against his leg, whining softly.
"Hey Bernie, how you doing. boy?" AJ said as he pet him. He turned his attention back to Kim.
"Do you feel any worse?"
"Maybe a little bit. My head is killing me and I'm so exhausted. It's like someone sucked the life force right out of me."
"How's your cough?"
"About the same."
"Alright. What's your temp?"
"I don't know, hold on. Ah'shoo!" He sneezed into the crook of his elbow.
"Thanks—ah'SHOO!" That seemed to make the pounding in his head worse.
"Bless you, Alex."
"Ugh. Thanks." He sniffled. AJ put the thermometer in his ear, took his temperature and put it back on the nightstand. "103.2," he said miserably.
Kim just looked at him. "I hate seeing you like this, I would trade places with you if I could. You need to stay healthy so you can continue touring."
"I know. I remember back in '97 before our first US album came out and we were touring, Nick and I both got strep throat several times within a few months. It was hell. I had to take nighttime cold medicine so I could sleep. I was beyond exhausted and my voice was shot, it was so 'go, go, go' that our immune systems just went to shit. There's only so much that a body can handle."
"I know, baby. That's why you've gotta take it easy for awhile so nothing gets canceled or rescheduled, same with Brian."
"How's he doing?" AJ asked as he took more Tylenol and NyQuil.
"Nick talked to him and he said that he was able to get Tamiflu but is going to have to rest for three or four days and let it run its course."
"That's good, 'cause this really sucks—" He broke off into a coughing fit.
Kim slid over next to him and rubbed his back as he coughed, feeling his body tense up as they jerked him forward. They finally stopped and he took a drink of water.
"God, that was annoying," he breathed.
"Okay, well, get back in bed and let's get some sleep, okay?"
"Fine by me. Bernie, go lay down," AJ said as he switched the light off and got comfortable.
"I'm too hot," he said as he propped his pillows up so he could breathe better.
"Alright, I'll leave you some if you get cold again. Get some rest, babe, love you," she said as she kissed his cheek.
"I love you, too. 'Night."
"Hey, baby, how'd you sleep?" Kim asked as she walked into the room because AJ texted her while she was downstairs.
"It was okay, I can't believe I was asleep for almost twelve hours."
"I can, you were out like a light. Snoring up a storm though." she joked.
"Cut me some slack, I'm sick, remember?" he said as he sat up. "How's Jordan?"
"He's okay, a little bummed that you can't play with him. He still doesn't quite understand that you can get him sick."
AJ sighed. "I feel bad, I'm supposed to be enjoying my time at home, not be confined to my bed stricken down with a virus."
"I know, baby. There will always be other opportunities. At least we're gonna be with you and the Boys for awhile, it'll be fun," Kim said to try cheer him up. "Are you hungry?"
"A little bit."
"Good, you need to stay hydrated and keep your electrolytes balanced. What do you want?"
"Do we have any Gatorade?" AJ asked.
Kim thought for a moment. "I think so, I'll be right back. Fruit punch?"
"Uh huh. 'SHOO!"
"Bless you," she offered as she left the room and went downstairs.
"Bless you!" she called while walking into their kitchen. She heard AJ groan loudly in response and chuckled lightly. She went to the refrigerator and grabbed a Gatorade, then went back upstairs to the bedroom.
"I'll take that groan as a 'thank you'." Kim said as she walked in on AJ blowing his nose.
"Heh, yeah. Thanks." he said as he balled up the used tissue and tossed it in the trash can. "Two points."
Kim chuckled. "You're welcome, here you go."
AJ accepted the bottle, opened it, and took a drink. "So what have you been doing all day?"
"Not much. Your mom called earlier. I told her you were sick and she's a bit worried."
He sighed. "There's no need for it. I'll be fine in a few days."
Kim shook her head. "She's just concerned that you won't be well enough to go back on the road this week."
AJ rolled his eyes and took another sip of Gatorade. "It's the flu, I'm not dying."
"I know that, Alex, but, she's your mother and she's just looking out for you."
"Yeah, yeah. I performed sick plenty of times when she was on tour with us back in the day. Hell, we all did. If it comes down to me having to suck it up and take one for the team, I will."
"Well, let's just call that the 'worst-case scenario' okay? I wouldn't worry about it."
"Thank you. You should really go talk some sense into my mom, she must think I'm on my deathbed based on what you're telling me."
"Oh, Alex...you really are something aren't you?"
"Yep, and you love me for it." He flashed a cheeky grin.
"Awww...I've missed that smile of yours." Kim gave him a peck on the cheek and checked his fever.
She frowned a little. "You still feel really warm, babe. Wanna take your temperature?"
He sighed. "Can you do it? I'm too achy to move."
"Sure." Kim reached over to the nightstand, picked up the thermometer, and put it in his ear. It beeped a few seconds later and she read the result.
"What's the verdict?" AJ asked.
"102.9, it's down half a degree from yesterday. That's good," Kim said as she set it back down.
"Yep," AJ paused as he looked down. "I don't want any more," he stated, referring to the Gatorade.
"Alright." She closed it and put it next to the thermometer. "How's your headache?"
"Its still there, but not as bad as last night."
"Good. Do you wanna go back to sleep now?"
"Uh huh." He coughed a few times and sighed tiredly.
"Okay, time for another dose of cough syrup." Kim said as she poured it and gave it to AJ.
"On second thought, hand me my Gatorade," he said. She did and he swallowed the medicine and washed it down with his drink. AJ repeated the process with the NyQuil and Tylenol and laid back down as he suddenly felt the chills come again. "Ugh, when I can s-s-stay awake longer than f-f-fifteen minutes at a time, remind me to kill Brian."
"I'm glad to see that you still haven't lost your sense of humor," she said as she chuckled.
"H-H-How do know I'm not being s-s-serious right now?"
"Because you're a lover, not a fighter and you hate confronting people," Kim smirked.
"Whatever." He swallowed. "I'm s-s-so cold, Kim."
Kim looked upon her sick, shivering husband and covered him with the extra blanket that was on the bed. "Shhh. You're alright, try to sleep, okay, baby?" She lightly stroked his cheek and started to walk out of the room.
AJ waited until his teeth stopped chattering before he spoke. "No, stay," he whispered.
"What, Alex?" Kim asked as she turned around and walked back to him.
"Stay with me until I fall asleep. Please," he whispered again.
"Of course, sweetheart. I love you," she said as she began stroking his hot cheek again.
"Love you too Kim..." he said a bit drowsily.
AJ fell asleep within five minutes and was snoring lightly. His cell phone buzzed on the nightstand and Kim quickly answered the alert so he wouldn't wake up. He must have been checking his messages while he was awake. It was a text from Chris: What's up? Wanna go out tonight? You're driving. ;)
Kim replied, This is Kim. Alex has the flu and is sleeping now. No partying for him for a few days.
Chris responded saying, Oh, that sucks. Hope he feels better soon. Thanks.
Kim didn't reply that time and instead turned AJ's phone off to conserve the battery and so it wouldn't wake him up. She went into the bathroom and washed her hands, then quietly left the room to let him sleep.
Kim went downstairs to see what was Jordan doing. She found him sitting on the couch in the living room watching TV.
"Hey, J, whatcha watching?" she asked as she sat down next to him.
Jordan turned to look at her. "Mommy?"
"Is Daddy ever gonna get better?"
Kim couldn't help but feel her heart breaking for her little boy. He didn't realize that AJ had only been sick for two days but he was feeling lonely without him around and she felt the same way, even though he was right upstairs.
"Come here, Jordan. Let mommy tell you something," she said as he scooted close to her and she put her arm around him. "Daddy's pretty sick right now, but he's gonna be okay. He just needs to sleep a whole lot so he can feel better. Mommy would never let anything bad happen to Daddy, I promise. Okay?"
He smiled a little bit. "Okay."
"That's my boy. Now, do you wanna watch a movie? You pick."
Kim rolled her eyes playfully. "The Incredibles again?"
Jordan nodded excitedly.
"Alright, I guess we can watch it."
"Yay!" Jordan got the movie from the shelf and Kim switched the TV from Cable to DVD and opened the DVD player door with the remote. He put the disk in, closed it, and Kim waited for the main menu to come up before she pressed play.
The two of them had a good time laughing at the movie and just being together. When it was over, Kim decided to make an uncharacteristically early dinner since AJ wouldn't be awake to eat it anyway. She went to the kitchen and got started but couldn't help it when her thoughts ended up being about her 'pretty sick' husband upstairs. She decided to go check on him so she could have some peace of mind knowing that he was right where she left him.
Kim went upstairs and into their bedroom to find AJ in the same condition as before other than the fact that he was snoring louder, probably because his sinuses were congested again. She smiled lightly knowing that he would much rather be sick in the comfort of his own home than in some hotel anywhere in the world, no matter how fancy or expensive, and she loved that about him.