Show Me Your Soul

What happens if life throws you off track? What if someone asks you to trust him, even though you know nothing about him? Would you trust him?
Cecily Martesse is a normal student in her second year at college. Just when the next normal semester starts, she meets Ace - a handsome boy that throws her life upside down. Compelled by his words, his voice, his behavior, she finds herself getting dragged into a world full of secrets, unfaithfulness and deceit.
Just when she hears some devastating news about her brother, she has to face things she never knew she could endure.
A story about love, trust and friendship. Rated Mature for adult language and hot love scenes.

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5. Pneumonia

 

CECILY

 

On Friday, I felt like shit. My throat was itchy and my body changed every ten minutes from too cold or too hot. Cleary, I’m going to be sick the next days. Great. But maybe it’ll go away the next day and it’s just a false alarm.

As I went to the next lecture with the girls, I heard a familiar voice from behind. Marc’s voice.

What the hell is he doing here?

I watched him talking to Josh, Eric and Aro and wondered how I could slip between them to the staircase.

Okay, this hasn’t to be a nightmare. He didn’t see me, so maybe–

“Oh Cecily, look who’s here!”, Josh shouted.

Dammit, Josh! Slowly turning around, I caught a glimpse at Marc. It has been a long time since I had seen his face but he was still the same. His dark blue eyes, full lips and delicate features were still the same. He is not a very tall man yet his height had been enough to intimidate me every time in anatomy – his height and broad shoulders that were even more prominent thanks to his muscular chest.

I smiled and greeted him briefly. He smiled back and his eyes were as pervasive as back then when he asked me structures or functions in anatomy that I couldn’t answer.

“What brings you here, Marc?”, I asked.

“Oh, I’m getting my teeth bleached by David’s girlfriend, Caroline.”

“Oh, David’s girlfriend is still here?”

“Yup, but not for much longer. After the exam ball in three weeks, she’ll be a diplomate dentist.” He sounded proud of his best friend’s girlfriend.

“That’s great.”

After a little small talk, we parted and went to the amphitheater. Eric grinned widely and kept teasing me with having turned red when I saw him, which was clearly not true.

As I sat down, I watched Ace entering the hall. Although his hair was tousled, it looked strangely appealing to run one’s hand in it and feel its softness between those thick curls that hung so… okay, wake up from your daydream, Cecily!

He was looking tired; a hint of dark circles formed under his eyes and his yawns were coming regularly.

The moment our last conversation crossed my mind, I quickly looked away. If he keeps being rude to me then I certainly won’t give him the satisfaction to treat me ungallantly and expects me to be okay with it. 

He passed me, sitting in the row right behind me.

The professor came in, starting to babble about microbiology while I took notes at the beginning but then drifted to my usual drawing habit. And even that got exhausting after a while, so I just leaned back and closed my eyes.

Until someone poked my shoulder. Turning around, I saw Ace gazing at me. The moment I saw his face, I focused on whatever Professor Lowman was telling.

He poked me a second time with his pencil. I’m so not going to turn around.

Apparently, he didn’t get the message because he just kept poking. He is just too stubborn! But I’m even stubborner.

After a while he stopped, finally. Now he must have understood the message.

But then my hair fell on my shoulders released from my hairgrip.

What the–? Oh… Ace. I touched my head and my hairgrip was gone, he must have taken it to get my attention. As if I’m going to give him the satisfaction to turn around!

When the lecture finished, I turned around to get it back, but he was already gone. How fast was he? Oh, he must have taken the back door. He is just a–

Sighing, I asked Ruby for a hair tie. I can’t let my hair loose while treating a patient.

 

I didn’t see him at lunch and after treating Mrs. Miller, most of the students were already gone in weekend mode. My throat felt itchier and itchier, so every swallow ached. Whatever. I can handle a little cold, I even write exams with fever or travel with coughing.

Cassy and Anna already went home to prepare for their presentation and Ruby was picked up by her aunt to celebrate her mother’s birthday out of town.

As I got changed and packed my things together, I released my hair from the tie, letting them warm up my ears.

Achoo! I sneezed as the wind blew against my face.

“Bless you, you baby.”

Oh no. Ace was behind me and… smiling? He seemed almost kind and sympathetic. Yeah well, screw that façade.

“Give me my hairgrip back”, I said without preamble.

He tilted his head to his side. “Why are you ignoring me?” Why? Why?! He can’t be serious.

“Because”, I started, “You are driving me crazy with your moods. One second, you’re joking and almost a nice guy, the next you’re creeping me out and the next you’re totally rude! I don’t want to do anything with a person that has multiple personalities, so now I am telling you: stay away from me.” I was raging, but it was exactly what I was thinking. This guy pisses me off.

He put on his poker-faced expression and once again I had no idea what he was thinking right now. “You can’t stay away from me.”

“Watch me.” I wanted to go home, but exactly that moment Marc came out of the door. He saw me and came to us. “Oh hi again. Have you just finished?”

“Hey. Yes, I had a patient until now.” Oh man, this was so awkward. I just wanted to go to my bed as fast as possible. My head keeps feeling heavier while my body as if it was on fire.

“Yeah, you look kind of pale, are you okay?” He seemed concerned. I can’t blame him, last time he had seen me pale I collapsed in his arms.

“No, I’m fine”, I tried to give him a ‘don’t worry, I’m not going to faint’-smile. “Just tired.” He examined me for one second and let his gaze wander to Ace. He, however, was watching him hawk-like, but I guess Marc didn’t notice it. Or at least didn’t show it because he introduced himself and shook his hand.

“Marc?”, said Ace. “Oh, I’ve heard a lot about you.” He smiled innocently. Bastard. If he makes allusions to anything with Marc and me, I’m so going to kill him – after wishing the ground would open and swallow me up.

Marc looked wide-eyed. “Really? I hope only good stuff. From whom?”

I turned my gaze to Ace feeling like a robot. Okay, I need to tell him telepathically that he cannot – under no circumstances – say that it was me who was talking about him. Firstly, because that would be a lie; it was Josh and Eric who told him about Marc. And secondly, because I would really faint from feeling too embarrassed.

But Ace could do what he wanted, he is cruel and doesn’t owe me anything. Maybe he will tease me because I didn’t turn around during the lecture?

Seeing my pleading, wide eyes, he surely had a grain of compassion in his dark soul. “It was Josh and Eric.”

“Oh, cool. I saw them this morning. Okay, I need to go now. Nice meeting you, Ace and seeing you again, Cecily. Bye.”

And with that he walked away. I sensed every muscle in my body relax as he crossed the street.

“Wow, you’re clearly in love with him.”, Ace said.

“No, I’m not–!” I started coughing. My throat seemed to tear apart. I breathed heavily as my cough stopped. I have no energy for that right now.

“I–!”

I stopped talking since Ace put his hand on my forehead, feeling surprisingly cold against it.

“You’re very warm.”, he said and touched my cheek with his other hand. Okay, now I felt twice as much of the heat in my whole body.

I shook his hands away. “I’m fine. Mind your own business.”

Ha!

And with that I turned around and started running to the bus station which is farer away than the subway, but at least I would not encounter Ace again.

Arriving there, my lungs felt like bursting open. Added to this, it started to rain as I walked home from the bus station. Great, now, I’m going to get sick for sure.

 

And I got sick, indeed. Saturday morning was bad. I woke up with coughing and my nose ran all day. My temperature was slightly increased, but it felt endurable. Reading in my textbooks for our presentation until 1 a.m., I gathered as much information about the retrospective clinical study that evaluates the efficiency of expansion with Invisalign as possible.

After a while, my eyelids felt as if ten pounds were attached to them and I couldn’t pull myself together, so I drifted into a dreamless sleep.

The next day was worse, my eyelids were sticky, my throat still burning and my coughs really bad. Mom insisted I should see the doctor, but I didn’t want to. It was just the flu, not tuberculosis. A little tea and some Aspirin would heal me.

 

Okay, that clearly didn’t work out, because on Monday, it was the worst.

My fever was higher than the other day, but I didn’t tell anyone. I tried not to cough in front of anybody because it sounded like my lungs were coming out – and it felt exactly that way, too. My head felt heavy, so I took another Aspirin. I just had to endure it until 1 p.m., and after our presentation I’ll go home. We were group A, so after our group come’s – ugh, I remember – Karen and Ace. Well, then I’ll definitively go after ours.

I don’t know how I could participate during the clinical chemistry course in the morning but I have no idea what the professors had been talking about.

“Cecy, you look awful. You sure, you can do this today? Maybe Philipps can reschedule ours”, Ruby asked. She looked worried as her brown eyes were scanning me.

I cleared my throat, my voice still sounding raspy. “Don’t worry. I’m fine.”

But the heat was killing me. I was wearing my lab coat under my white dentist t-shirt but even that was too hot. I need to cool down before the presentation starts.

“I’ll be right back, I’ll just be outside and taking some fresh air.”

 

The hallway and foyer were dead empty. Everyone surely went eating, the only sound I heard were the honking cars outside or the siren coming from an ambulance that was heading to the hospital.

Walking through the front door, the cold air dance around my face; the breeze peeling off the heat from my face and my hands.

It felt very pleasant.

As I opened my eyes, the cars and trees around me seemed to spin around. Oh-oh. My head felt heavier than ever and my knees suddenly like rubber. Oh no, I need to sit down.

Taking some steps at the front door to sit on the porch, I sensed my legs giving up under the weight of my upper body.

I don’t remember anything what happened afterwards. Just that everything was dark and I landed on the cold, hard asphalt.

 

***

ACE

 

I skipped the first two lectures today, but Josh promised me to write my name on the list. I so had no desire for Professor Lowman’s fucking lecture about some bacteria and whatsoever.

Our group’s presentation was at two – after Cec.

Fuck, why do I keep calling her Cec? Her name was just Cecily. Cecily. Cecily.

Yet Cec seems more tempting. I liked the sound of the sizzling “c” at the end. Similar to the word sass. And she was sassy. Feisty like a kitten sometimes.

Nah, I just liked to tease her, that’s all.

Great thing I wasn’t in the first group; I could sleep during their presentation. Although I’d like to see her presenting the subject. Maybe I could ask some questions she surely wouldn’t have an answer to. Fuck, I was getting obsessed with teasing her…

Turning left to the front entrance, my eyes caught something on the ground. No, not a something, a someone. It was Cec.

I started to run faster.

Putting my palms against her cheek, I noted her burning skin.

“Hey, Cec. Wake up. Wake up.”

She didn’t respond. Fuck. She wasn’t wearing a lab coat and her scrubs were soaked wet. Stupid little girl. She had been sick since Friday; why did she go outside with only a shirt on?

She opened her eyes and mumbled something incomprehensible.

“What?”

Her face twisted when she cleared her throat and suppressed her coughs. Even breathing must hurt her lungs.

I cursed under my breath as someone came through the door.

I looked up and saw Anna’s pale face as she headed to us. “Oh my God. What happened?”

“Don’t know, I found her collapsed.” A sudden idea crossed my mind as I got up and took off my coat.

“Here take off her shirt and put my coat on. I’ll take her to the hospital. Tell Philipps and Karen that I can’t make it probably, sorry.”

Anna nodded. That was something good about her: In times like this, she doesn’t ask many questions and stays calm.

Lucky for me that I put on a thick sweater this morning. Anna started to take off her shirt and I contemplated on looking at her or not. She was not my type and had nothing I’d not seen before, so why the fuck am I so tempted to risk a peek?

If she knew that I’d watched her getting stripped, she’d kill me, the thought alone making me grin.

When she finished, I lifted her up. She was so light, her tiny limbs hung over my arms. Good, that the hospital was just here.

Running carefully to not shake her too much, she started to cough again. Oh, that sounded bad, but at least she was awake.

She called my name, her voice raspy. Her tiny fingers were clenched against my chest.

“You need to stay awake, Cec. You’re going to be fine.”

I turned left, heading to the entrance to the ER. Seeing some paramedics with a stretcher, I walked to them. “Hey! I need some help. She collapsed a couple minutes ago. She’s sick, I think a pneumonia.” I laid her on the stretcher and got with them to a room full of people and patients only separated by curtains.

A doctor and a nurse immediately came and checked her vital parameters.

She answered numbly to some questions the doctors asked her.

“I’m sorry, who are you?”, a nurse asked me.

“I’m uh… a–” Good question, what exactly am I to her?

“He’s a friend of mine”, Cec said quietly.

I blinked several times. Friends was the last thing we were.

The old lady gave me a stern look. “Okay, uh, but you can’t stay here, honey.”

“No, I want him here–” Cec was alarmed as she touched my fingers with the tips of hers.

Reflexively, I took her hand while she started coughing.

“Okay, okay fine. But we need to remove this coat. She needs antibiotics and electrolytes intravenously, and some wet bandages over her extremities.” She looked a little stressed out. “Miss, you need to unzip your coat while I get the bandages and take off your shoes and socks.” She turned her gaze to me. “I’m sorry, but we’re short-handed right now, could you help her?” And with that she left us and went getting those bandages.

 

***

CECILY

 

My head was still heavy but at least not spinning anymore. Okay, apparently I underestimated my flu a little bit.

Ace was staring at me poker-faced. Oh right, the nurse said something about unzipping my coat.

“You don’t need to help me, I got that.”, I said but as I tried to sit up straight, my body was trembling. In a millisecond, Ace’s arm was under my waist stabilizing my upper body.

“Yeah, I can see that. You push yourself way too far, you baby.”

I had no energy or smartass answer for that, so I just unzipped my coat wishing for the first time in my life I had worn an undershirt, because laying in Ace’s arm in my black bra was really, really embarrassing. He seemed tense as he placed his cold, hand on my bare back while the other was removing the coat from my arms.

I had never thought that the first guy that would ever see me in my bra was someone I hated while me being sick and probably the most unattractive being on this planet right now.

Yet his gentleness was surprising me: he put my head back on the pillow, every move tender and careful. Yet his face remained concentrated; as if he was in pain, as if my skin hurt him. Turning away from me, he fetched his phone and typed something.

Once he was done, he lifted my leg a little and pulled my foot out of my shoe. My heart slammed against my chest and my only thought was: oh my God, what kind of socks did I wear today? He removed my socks carefully and examined my feet for a second. Thank God, I shaved my legs lately!

I looked at the curtains to my right, embarrassment written all over my rosy face. “Thanks.”

He cocked his head to the side and smiled boyishly. “Wow, you really have dwarf feet. What’s your shoe size? 2?”, he smirked. Oh man, Ace was back being… Ace.

“Ha-ha. It’s 5.5. And my feet are just adequate to my height. It would be quite weird if I had 9 like a clown.”

He chuckled. “Yeah, that’s right.”

Once the small, chubby nurse came back with some wet, cold bandages and placed them on my skin, I felt the heat decreasing with every passing second.

“So, honey, the doctors will come soon to check on you. When the antibiotics are completely in your system, we’ll see how you’re doing. Maybe you can get released in a couple of hours. But someone needs to be here when you go home. Maybe one of your family members?”

“Should I call your parents, Cec?”

I shook my head. “No, I can do that, I just uh… need your phone, please.”

Without hesitation, he handed me his phone and I dialed Mom’s number. I calmed her down as best as I could and listened to her reproachful speech with a couple “Oui’s” and “Uh-huh’s”. She seemed appeased when she heard that I’m fine and that a friend of mine had brought me to the hospital.

“She’s coming”, I said as I hung up.

“You speak French with your Mom?”

“Yes, we come originally from France. I was born in Paris, but my parents moved to Los Angeles when I was four.”

He arched his eyebrows, mumbling something under his breath as his smirk turned into a leering glance.

“What?”, I asked.

“Nothing”, he said and looked at the front door, his tense back to me.

Could it be–?

“Ace Aurenglade, could it be that you are somehow nervous?”, I said grinning, followed by coughing. Well, it was worth it since he turned around. Placing his hand next to my head, he looked at me directly in the eyes.

“Please”, he smirked and let his eyes wander over my chest, breast, belly and then back at my eyes. “I’m used to the sight.”

My tiny, little hair on my neck stood up. I have never felt so naked in front of anyone! Appalled, I gave him a stern look while trying to cover my skin with my arms. Not that it did very much. “You pig.”

My insult didn’t affect him the bit, in fact, he just laughed. Crossing his palms behind the back of his head, he just kept leering me.

Thank God, the nurse came back; I was feeling a little cold and Ace’s stare isn’t helpful at all.

“Honey, you don’t have another shirt, do you? Your body’s cold now and you need to be covered”, she said as she removed the bandages.

Ace took off his sweater without hesitation, handing it me silently. Fortunately, he had a t-shirt underneath. Or unfortunately?

I banned the thought from my head and shyly put the sweater on. I felt better than before, so I didn’t need his help this time.

It was like I was inside an Ace-cloud: The sweater was soft and comfy. If my nose hadn’t been full with snot I would’ve smelled his typical scent: soap, cedar and eucalyptus, maybe even the oranges he likes to eat.

I laid back on the bed and felt my eyes becoming heavier. Oh, but there was something I needed to know…

“Uh Ace, how did I get out of my shirt in the first place?”

He narrowed his eyes, biting his lip. “What do you think?”

Okay, now my eyes were wide open. It was one thing that he helped me get out of the coat but it was a totally different thing if he stripped me while I was unconscious.

He snorted, “Don’t worry, you baby. Anna was there, too and she did it.” He cocked his head to the side. “Which doesn’t mean I didn’t risk a peak.”

“You ass–!”, I started, ending up coughing loudly.

“Easy there, I was joking. Maybe.”

Damn, if I hadn’t been sick I would so kick his ass right now. At least verbally.

Feeling a slight pang inside my chest, I chose to ignore it.

“Shouldn’t you go to Karen! She sure is worried about you!” Oh my God, now that I mentioned that skank, I had totally forgotten about my presentation and Ruby! “Oh God, please text Ruby! Tell her I’m sorry and that she should tell Philipps that–”

“Calm down, Cec. Don’t bug your head with the presentation. Anna wrote me that Ruby did everything alone and that Philipps considered this. You’ll get another date and another topic and another partner… probably me, because I didn’t go to that presentation either.”

Okay, now my mind was spinning… the presentation… rescheduled… with him together?? “Okay…”

I relaxed a bit, knowing that Ruby did well on that presentation although I endangered our testing. I felt so ashamed; I just hope she’s not mad at me. I closed my eyes; every eyelid movement became heavier and harder to make.

I felt Ace’s stare a couple minutes until everything around me faded away and I finally relaxed completely.

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