Sara gently stroked the top of Michael's head as he slept soundly on the couch. His brow was furrowed and his face exhausted. His breathing was shallow and steady.
She was so very grateful and still in disbelief they had been exonerated, yet she was still eager to start their new life together. Michael's illness had plagued their freedom together so far.
She was startled out of her thoughts by a soft knock on the door. She instinctively tensed up. It would be a long time before she wouldn't be nervous about knocks at the door. She tried to slip away without waking Michael from his deep sleep.
A grin spread over her face as she checked the peephole. "Linc!" she softly exclaimed as she opened the door. "Hey" he greeted her, with a smile and a hug. "Look at you!" he said with surprise as he looked down at her growing belly, now 6 months pregnant.
She smiled again and stepped out of the door, closing it softly. "How is the scuba shop?" she asked. "Living the dream" he said, appearing genuinely happy. He had been away for six weeks, establishing the new business like he had dreamed, but it wasn't the same without Michael.
"So, ah, how is he doing?" Lincoln asked. She nodded, expressionless. "Okay, I guess. It's too early to know if the treatment is working, but as far as I can tell he is responding well." "Well that's good news...?" Lincoln queried, detected her less than optimistic tone.
She sighed. "It's just, it's really affecting him. The treatment is making him so weak." She felt the familiar burn of tears welling up and took a deep breath and composed herself. "There's just not much I can do for him. His immune system is so compromised that he's constantly coming down with things. He's running a fever again today. He's fighting hard. Some days are better than others." After a long pause, she invited Lincoln in.
Michael had had woken up with the noise and his face lit up to see his brother. He pulled himself into a sitting position with a great deal of effort. "How you doing, bro?" Lincoln asked, looking at him with concerned eyes. Michael reassured him, "I'm fine." They continued to talk about LJ, the shop, Sofia, Sara's pregnancy and everything except Michael being sick. He seemed genuinely glad to have a visitor to take his mind off things.
After a couple of hours of constant chat, Lincoln could see that Michael was becoming exhausted and took his cue to leave, promising to come back in the coming days again.
Sara, herself getting tired given her pregnancy, joined Michael in the lounge and started massaging his shoulders from behind. She felt his body shake as he suddenly inhaled and sneezed, "hehh- hachoo! Hat-choo!" "Bless you" Sarah replied, continuing to rub his shoulders. "Ha-chooo!" came another sneeze followed by an exhausted sigh from Michael, as she felt his forehead and gently pressed his body back down to a laying position without a word.
By the time she returned to him with some Tylenol and water, he was fast asleep again.