We had stopped throwing jelly at each other but the atmosphere was still buzzing. Louis and Jamie were talking excitedly in one corner, laughing hysterically, almost obnoxiously at something they both found hilarious. Even before the accident, Jamie and Louis have always thrived messing with each other, playing pranks on each other till one of them called for a truce, which rarely ever happened.
It was almost as if they were picking where they left off. I almost envied that.
Nevertheless, I was grateful to have her back, regardless of her condition.
With a sincere smile on my face, I headed to the kitchen to get myself a beer. Good thing Louis always had a few bottles in stock. Content with a cold beer in hand, I returned to my seat and decided to watch some football on the telly.
After a while, Jamie got up from the corner where she'd been chatting with Lou and sat on the armrest of the sofa I was sitting on, taking my hand and placing it on her lap, her fingers laced with mine. She kissed the back of my hand, smiling when I looked up at her. I pulled her down to sit on my lap, her sweet strawberry scent of shampoo that lingered in her hair entering my nostrils. She kissed my cheek lightly, trying not to distract me from watching the match that was on. But just her being around me was distracting enough.
"Hello," I greeted playfully, wrapping an arm around her waist.
She swung her legs around so that she was still sitting on my lap, but side-ways, her legs outstretched on the sofa, her arms positioned around my neck. She planted a kiss on my forehead and then a kiss on the tip of my nose. I responded by placing a kiss on her lips. Lou had slipped into the kitchen, probably to set up the table,leaving Jamie and I with some privacy which I fully intended to take advantage of.
The corners of her mouth stretched widely across her face, revealing her teeth.
"I'm still hungry, but we could always eat later," I hinted.
She rested her forehead on my shoulder, I could feel her warm breaths as she laughed quietly. She nuzzled into the crook of my neck, leaving a trail of kisses until she finally found my lips.
"That sounds like an offer that is almost impossible to resist," she whispered against my lips. My skin was still tingling from her kisses.
"Almost?" I asked, hoarsely.
She pressed her lips to mine again, gently nibbling on the lower lip before pulling away.
"It'd be rude of us to leave, especially after Lou's invited us over for a meal," she reminded me.
"Lou will understand."
"We'll have longer when we're home alone, at night," she winked.
"Okay," I relented, pecking her on the lips one more time, trying to stop myself from fantasizing what would happen later tonight. I couldn't stop smiling from Jamie referring to the flat as 'home'.
"I'm going to the toilet."
I nodded, letting her hand go as she got up from my lap.
"Hey Lou, can I use your toilet?" I heard her ask.
"Yeah,sure. You can use the one in any room."
Barely a few minutes passed when she returned, a worried look on her face.
"What is it?" I questioned, sitting up straight.
She leaned down to whisper into my ear,"there's a girl in the bed."
I stood up, curious and let her lead the way, pulling me by my hand. She stopped at one of the doors and waited till I stepped in the room before following behind me, still holding onto my hand.
"There's no one there," I observed.
"What?" she asked, confused,stepping around to stand beside me. She still had a grip on my hand. She pointed to the bed. "But she was right there!" she whispered loudly. "Look at the bed, it's unmade!"
"Well she can't have disappeared into thin air."
Jamie pulled me along as she approached the bed, investigating it. There wasn't anything on the bedside table. Usually, if someone was using a room, there would be something to show that they were there. A piece of clothing, an empty glass...something. But there was nothing here.
Jamie groaned when she couldn't find anything conclusive.
I started to wonder if Jamie really had seen someone in here or if her imagination was running too wild.
"Hey," someone coughed from the side of the room.
Instinctively, my muscles tensed. Jamie cursed, startled, and gripped my upper arm while her other hand still held onto hand. I'd shifted in front of her as a barrier in case the person posed danger.
However, when I saw who it was, I relaxed, chuckling. Jamie's grip loosened slightly as she peered around me to see who it was.
"Jesus, El, you scared the shit out of us."
Lou, who must've heard the commotion, came rushing into the room. "What's going on?" He went to stand by El's side and El leaned into him as he put her arm over her shoulders.
"Sorry," Eleanor answered, her voice raspy. She had her arms crossed, it looked as if she was doing that to keep herself warm. "I had to go to the toilet, I didn't hear you come in."
"Ohhhh." Jamie grinned sheepishly. "Sorry for disturbing you. I didn't know anyone was in here. I needed to go to the toilet and Lou said I could use any room."
"El here in in quarantine," he joked, earning a smile from us." She caught a really bad cold and she didn't want to stay in her dorm room and get her roommate sick so I let her stay over here until she gets better." El didn't look too well as Lou wrapped his arms around her and hugged her as she rested her forehead on his shoulder.,clearly not feeling well enough for a prolonged conversation.
He guided her back to the bed where he tucked her in and kissed her forehead as she laid down. "I'll get you some chicken soup."
"Thanks," she mumbled sleepily. She shifted in bed so that her back was turned to us, already sound asleep as the rest of us exited the room to leave her with some peace and quiet.
"I am so sorry," Jamie apologized profusely, as soon as the door was closed.
"No worries, babe," he replied cheerfully. "I was the one who forgot to tell ya about El."
Suddenly, she shoved his arm,playfully. Lou pouted. "What was that for?"
"For not telling us someone was here while we played 'jelly war'," Jamie scolded,cross.
"Don't worry! She sleeps like a log when she's ill."
"That's not the point," she rolled her eyes
"Mate, are you sure it's alright for us to be here? We could still have lunch at Nando's." I said.
Before he could respond, a loud,racking cough followed by the shattering of glass from the room we'd just come out of. Louis went running in, instantly at her side.
"What's wrong?" he asked, his voice full of concern. He moved the hair out of her face and held her face in his hands, checking every inch of her face, followed by her palms, then fingers before he turned them over and checked again..
"I just, don't feel good. I'm sorry," she apologised, looking miserable.
"Hey, at least you got Louis to do some cleaning for once," I joked, trying to make her feel better. She tried her best to smile but it turned into a sort of grimace. She did not look like her usual self at all.
"I think you should take her to the hospital," Jamie suggested from behind me, passing Eleanor another glass of water she must've taken from the kitchen.
"The waiting hours aren't worth it," Louis mumbled, at a loss of what to do.
"It's better than waiting around, not knowing what's wrong."
"She's right," I agreed with Jamie. They'll see how bad Eleanor's doing and push her to be consulted faster."
"Yeah, yeah you're right. Looks like you kids are gonna need some Nando's after all," he said,smiling nervously as he slowly pulled Eleanor to her feet, allowing her to lean on him to support her weight.
"No worries. You bring her to the car. We'll drive you both there," I offered.
"Thanks." He held my shoulder, squeezing it, as a sign of gratitude.
"I'll pack some stuff for her," Jamie chipped in, hurrying to pack the essentials. Girls knew how to do that sort of thing.
We drove off pretty quickly. Louis was too worried to talk about anything, he'd kiss Eleanor's forehead anytime she mumbled in her sleep. I looked in the rear view mirror regularly to see how they were doing and as I did so, I felt a warm hand wrapping over mine.
I turned my eyes on Jamie, who smiled at me. "It's going to be okay," she assured Louis, although I was sure she meant it for me too. I sure hope she was right, for Louis' sake.