Jake was quietly snoring by the time Rae finished changing, found herself a blanket and settled herself in the big over sized chair with the slice of cake Toni had brought up for her. Toni understood Rae’s love of chocolate and made sure that she hadn’t missed out on Toni’s famous chocolate cake with mocha frosting and fresh raspberries. It was delicious. Rae was beyond tired by the time she finished eating it but now Jake’s multiple cell phones were vibrating incessantly. She contemplated wrapping them in a towel so she could sleep but when she picked the first one up she could tell that some of the messages were from his mother, who was clearly worried when she didn’t hear back from him. When Jake woke up briefly to shift around in the strange bed, Rae helped him sit up so he could take a few more sips of water. Rae cautiously asked if she should call his mother back and let her know that he wasn’t dead in a ditch. He nodded in the affirmative and gratefully gave her the security codes for his phones before passing out again.
This lead to several interesting hours for Rae.
His mother was puzzled at first when Rae called from Jake’s phone but was lovely once Rae explained the situation. Rae gave Jake’s mother her own cell phone number so she could call for regular updates.
Rae fielded several phone calls from Jake’s manager who decided that Rae must be Jake’s new assistant and would not let her go until she promised to write down several complicated message. She sighed, grabbed a notebook out of her bag and wrote as instructed. She kept trying to explain that Jake was in no shape to make any decisions about anything tonight but his manager was insistent.
Rae made the mistake of answering a call on Jake’s cell phone from his girlfriend Alexandra who was furious and accused Rae of being a slut and a homewrecker. Rae rolled her eyes and considered hanging up the phone. Finally, Alexandra decided that she did believe that Rae was just some random American woman monitoring to make sure that Jake didn’t need go to the Emergency Room for IV fluids. This was almost worse, as Alexandra now seemed to assume that they were buds and wanted to tell her significantly more about her relationship with Jake and their sex life than Rae had wanted to hear.
Rae responded to worried texts from Jake’s friends Harry, Taylor, and Daniel. With each subsequent encounter Rae was getting smoother at explaining who she was and why she was monitoring his phone. Harry was charming and quite concerned about his friend. He insisted on trading cell phone numbers with Rae in case Jake’s battery went dead. It turned out that Taylor and Rae had a couple mutual acquaintances from the Philadelphia area. Daniel was very funny and also insisted on exchanging phone numbers with Rae. Rae decided that she was not obligated to answer any of the other texts unless someone seemed direly concerned about Jake’s welfare and she finally fell asleep awkwardly in the chair with her legs and feet on the ottoman around 2:30 am with the reading lamp still on. Only to be awoken at 4:30 am by the sound of Jake being violently sick again.
Rae managed to untangle herself from the blanket, launch herself off the chair and over to the side of the bed where Jake was now holding the bucket Ivan had left in his lap. He looked about as pathetic as she had ever seen anyone look. If possible he was paler than before, his hair was matted with sweat and he was clutching the bucket as if his life depended on it. Well, if he was sick on Toni’s new carpet, his life might depend on it Rae thought sleepily to herself.
“You okay?” Rae asked, realizing that clearly he was not okay.
“Actually, I need to use the loo. I have no idea where it is or whether I can make it on my own.”
“It’s cool. We’ve got this.” She sat on the side of the bed while he gingerly put the bucket on the floor and swung his legs to the floor. She helped him slip his arm around her shoulders and put her arm around his waist and helped him off the bed. Her first panicked thought was that they were going to both face plant into the floor when for a shaky moment, it was not clear that his legs were going to hold his weight and she was worried he was going to take her down with him. She was relieved when he got his sea legs and said “Here goes nothing.” Rae thought again how surreal this whole night had been while she helped Jake to the bathroom. She took a stock of his condition when they made it to the door and sighed internally.
“Jake, I am a little concerned about your safety alone in the bathroom. How do you want to do this?” Rae got the distinct impression that he was so sick and miserable at this point he didn’t care who she was or what she saw him do in the bathroom. She got him as close to the toilet as she could before backing out the bathroom and told him she was going leave the bathroom door partially open so she could hear him if he needed help. He waved her back out into the hallway where she felt like she was sleeping standing up against the wall. Ivan stuck his head out of his bedroom door to see what was going on and must have decided that Rae had it under control because he waved sleepily and went back in.
She tried hard not to listen to Jake take care of his biological business and eventually he called out hoarsely that he was done. Thankfully, he was upright with the sleep shorts pulled all the way up, using a hand to balance himself against the wall when she came in and they made their way slowly back to the guest room. She helped him hold the water bottle while he swished water around his mouth and then spit it into the bucket. She was able to get him to take a couple sips of water before he fell weakly against the pillows.
Rae tried to stretch the kink out of her back that she had gotten sleeping in the chair.
“Chair doesn’t look very comfortable,” Jake observed.
“You are welcome to half the bed. I promise that if I need to throw up again I will roll to the other side.”
Rae contemplated the inviting looking bed and then the narrow chair and the ottoman that kept drifting away from it. “I don’t think your girlfriend would approve.”
“Alexandra is my problem. I am way too sick to be anything but a gentleman and if you had wanted to take advantage of me, you have had ample opportunity already. You look exhausted. Take half the bed.”
It was not a hard decision. She asked him if he needed anything else. She felt his forehead and decided to get him a cold, wet towel for his forehead. Half asleep and not thinking, she kissed Jake’s forehead before placing the towel. When she realized what she had done, she froze, deeply embarrassed. Jake mumbled, “Thanks mom,” without ever opening his eyes. She shrugged her shoulders, walked around to the other side of the bed, turned off the reading lamp and climbed into bed next to him. In minutes Rae was sound asleep.