Hey, y'all. The main reason I haven't uploaded this yet is because I couldn't think of what to title it, so I just had to settle with this. Yes, it sounds like a marriage thing but it'll hopefully make sense in the next chapter, if I can remember to use it. If not, whatever. This will probably end up being a two-shot but who knows? Hopefully it's in character enough. :) Oh, and just for the record, the movie Evan watches is called the Hitcher. Enjoy.
Disclaimer: If I really owned RP, would I be here thinking up clever disclaimers? Nah, didn't think so.
It's a quarter to eight when Evan R. Lawson first awakes from his slumber. He stretches his cramped legs out across the bed and shuts his blue eyes before they even have a chance to adjust. Surprisingly enough, it's not the little light pouring in through the window that's molesting his tired eyes. It's the feeling of the entire room spinning. He releases something crossed between a sigh and a laugh - though he doesn't find anything funny - and asks himself where the hell in the world he was last night. If he had been at a party and stumbled home drunk, the whole nausea thing would make a lot more sense. But no, his brain racks a memory of him feeling a little bit like crap for no apparent reason the previous night and heading to bed early.
He comes to the conclusion that he's sick. Especially since despite having slept like a baby for a few hours longer than usual, he's still just as tired as ever. His body is aching with a sore that seemingly came out of nowhere and the chills are telling him that his body temperature is probably uneven. This is great, he thinks sardonically to himself. This is really great. Not like he really has time to be sick or anything. He is the CFO of HankMed, afterall. And if he recalls correctly, the day is packed with like 50,000 different appointments - a few of them with people who are possible new clients. He can't miss that, which is why he's angry at himself for letting this happen. But then again it couldn't possibly be his fault, since he does hang around a lot of sick people, and he's really been working his butt off to get HankMed's financial department up to where it was before he'd gone and lost all of the money to his estranged father. It's not like a day off is going to make much a difference, right? And like his brother's physician assistant had once said, he's not much other than a distraction in the field and he doesn't feel like getting in their way today. Divya and Hank can still make the appointments and if he needs to crunch numbers, he can do so from home.
But then his eyes pop open in an instant at the thought of his brother being aware of him and his ailment, whatever it is, and he practically throws himself off the bed. He fights the sudden sense of vertigo and sneaks a glance at the digital clock on his nighstand. Hank is probably just finishing up his breakfast, and waiting for Divya to arrive so they can head over to the first destination on that big, overwhelming list that comes with running a successful concierge medical business. That really doesn't give Evan much time at all considering it's not like his older brother to not say goodbye before leaving, and even less time because Hank probably thinks Evan is tagging along as usual (he is the most convincing when it comes to rounding up new clients, afterall) and wants him out of bed and dressed and preferably fed before they leave so that they're not late, and there's no whining about if he doesn't get any food he's going to die. So yeah, that's really not much time at all.
Evan groans aloud as he stubs his toe against the bed in his attempted getaway, but recovers quickly enough and continues to make haste. He hopes that Hank hasn't heard his yelp - because now that he thinks of it, it really was more of a yelp than anything else - and makes his way over to the door. He does want Hank to hear him up, though, so he doesn't feel the need to come pull him out of bed himself. But he doesn't want his brother to think anything's wrong, because now that he thinks of it, there isn't much wrong with him at all. He's just caught a little bug, which is seriously no big deal. The only real surprise is that it's taken this long for him to catch something. But regardless of that spinny-room feeling and the slight, uncomfortable pressure right under his belly button, he's good to go.
He takes only one step out of his room and right on cue, he hears his brother's voice calling to him from downstairs. "Evan! You up?"
"Up and about." Is his answer. Short, sweet, and to the point, but that might only be because he doesn't feel like saying much else. He doesn't know why, but he feels like he's dying. And in reality, it's not all that bad what he's feeling (that's what he just told himself a second ago) but he's always been one to over-react with this type of thing and he really doesn't like the way his stomach is tossing and turning and if he doesn't crawl back into bed he might just have to take a nap right outside the door.
"Hurry up and get dressed. Divya's on her way."
Evan leans against the doorway and winces. How is he going to get out of this? Fairly easily, he thinks. But the hard part is to find a way out without making his brother suspicious. He clears his throat and forces his brain to create a plausible excuse of some sort and hopes to God it works. "Actually, Hank...I was thinking of just staying behind and working on some spreadsheets..."
It's really not a bad excuse at all, but it comes out more like a question and he's sure he's about to be caught. But all Hank does is move closer to the stairway to try and take a curious peek at his brother, "Ev?"
Evan frowns to himself and walks over to the railing, setting his hands on it tightly so he doesn't just collapse then and there. He's trying to come off as totally fine, and he knows doing that would not seem convincing at all. He mimicks his brother's questioning look and shrugs. "What?"
"I thought you wanted to work your Lawson charm over those people to get new clients?"
Evan visibly relaxes at his brother's question, and nods. "Yeah. The good thing about this is that the Lawson charm runs in the family, and I've passed it on to you."
"How's that even possible? I'm older than you are."
"Okay, Henry? We don't need to question the Lawson charm, okay? Just go with it."
Hank tries his best to hide just how much that amuses him, but fails. He rolls his eyes to cover it up and shoots a smirk in Evan's direction. "Fine, I'll go with it. You sure you don't want to come, though? I thought you were looking forward to meeting another one of your man-crushes."
"I think I'll just pass on this one. From what I hear, he's not that pleasant to be around. I'll let you and the Divs handle it. Besides, I've got some CFO-like stuff to take care of..."
"How very thoughtful of you." Hank replies.
Evan pretends he doesn't hear the sarcasm that's just dripping from his brother's words and smiles. "You're very welcome."
Hank nods and they fall into an awkward silence. Evan isn't sure how Hank does it, or if he's even doing it right now, but he usually knows when he's trying to get out of something for another reason than mentioned. He has this creepy sensor in the back of his head that goes off and beeps wildly until he investigates, and more times than not (and we're talking like one hundred percent of the time) Hank is right to suspect. So whenever Evan lies to his brother - which is pretty much never - he can't help but squirm because it feels like Hank knows. And it's possible he doesn't, but with him looking all ridiculous and uncomfortable like that, anyone would take that as evidence of his internal conflict and the truth usually comes soon after that.
So you can't really blame Evan for looking like this - all pale and nervous and cautious and stuff. But some of that might just be because he feels like crap and if it weren't for his brother watching him, he would just let himself tumble to the floor because he's in pain and he wants to throw up what little his stomach currently owns. And it's obvious by his older brother's accusing and confused expression that Hank is already growing suspicious of him. Of course he brought this upon himself and it's duty to get himself out of the danger zone before Hank decides there's something worthy of snooping for.
"What?" Hank repeats, matching his tone.
Hank raises an eyebrow at his brother and asks, "Is there something?"
"No." He wants to sound like he's totally sure but it's a little hard to pull off the whole serious thing when his brother is looking at him like that. He wavers and for a second contemplates just coming clean about how he feels just so that his brother isn't incredibly furious when he finds out later (which he will, because he always does), but before Hank can even question him again, they're both distracted by the new voice in the house.
The older Lawson turns his attention to the voice's owner and smiles. "Hey, Divya."
Evan takes the moment to let out a breath and smile to himself. Saved by the Divya. He watches as the Indian woman he knows so well approaches his brother, and looks up in his direction with curiosity. "Evan."
"Miss Katdare." He greets.
Her lips twitch into a smile and she turns to face her boss. "Are we ready to go?" She adjusts the bag on her shoulder and Hank gives her a nod in response. Ah, the ever eager physician assistant...Evan muses, Thank God she exists because he's not sure how much longer he can keep the charade going and he's actually not enjoying pulling it.
"Yeah, let me just grab my bag." Hank says, reaching for his brown, old-fashioned bag full of medical goodies. As soon as he's got it, he's glancing back up at Evan and asking, "Last chance. Sure you don't want to come?"
And he's not kidding this time. He seriously doesn't want to go. Even though he's passing up a chance to meet with a man who is a financial god and sends shivers down his spine because he's so rich and successful and he can learn so much from him. But it's not like he hasn't met other successful people before(this is the Hamptons) and he knows that sooner or later he'll come across another famous investor and maybe then they can have a nice chit chat about the finer things in life and how the stocks are doing or something. Because right now, all he plans on doing is just getting back into bed and sleeping this sickness - and he isn't sure what the hell this is - out of him.
"Alright then. We'll be going." Hank says, motioning to Divya. She smiles at him again and they're making their way out the door before Evan can even realize Hank has said something else. "Have fun doing your spreadsheets."
"Spreadshee- oh, right. Yeah. I will definately have fun with those, Henry. Don't you worry 'bout that." God, he sounds like an idiot. He curses himself for almost blowing his cover and waves a hand goodbye at his brother and co-worker. He catches that last suspicious look Hank gives him as he shuts the door behind him and knows that if he doesn't get better in the next eight or so hours, his brother is going to be asking questions. He really hopes that's enough time, but by the way the bile is starting to make itself comfy, he knows he's barely lucky enough to be in the clear when it's about time to toss all the nothing-ness up. "Jesus..."
He lets go of the rail he's been so tightly grasping and trudges to his room with a grimace. Somehow he knows this is only going to get worse. But he's been sick before and if this is anything like one of those previous times, then he can tough it out on his own. Sure, wishing and hoping that he'll be fine by the time his brother gets home is a stretch, and he's probably going to get another one of those big brother lectures because if he's sick, Hank could have stayed home to take care of him and blah blah blah, he doesn't even care anymore. His brother is a doctor and he has absolutely no doubt that he could help him, but the whole over-reacting part is what Evan doesn't find tasteful (not that he really likes the being sick part, either) and he'd rather just take that chance of getting even a tiny bit better while taking care of himself like a big boy before he runs to his brother for help because he knows the basics and there's a possibility this thing will pass. He probably just ate something bad yesterday and has a little case of food poisoning or something. No big deal. He's had it before. No reason to get anyone worried over nothing.
He locks target on his bed and collapses into it as soon as it's in reach. Never before has being in this bed felt so good. Well, except for that time when he got reunited with it after coming home from a hectic weekend on Grant Island, but that's pretty much immaterial at this point. He lies there on his stomach, gripping the covers with his hands but unsure whether he even wants them on or off of him. He's got those damn fever chills and he doesn't think he'll ever be able to make a decision. So he just releases them and decides to worry about that later. Right now, the only thing on his mind is finding his way back to dream land so he can continue where he left off - at a beach with a pretty girl whose name has at the moment slipped his mind. He buries his face into the mess of pillows and tricks his mind into thinking he's actually comfortable so they can just get on with the sleeping. And it works. Within a minute and a half, he's out as if he'd never woken up in the first place...
On a dream beach with a girl named Lisa, who wants to give him a boat just because she thinks it matches his shoes. He thinks that's a brilliant idea and points out that her sports car matches one of the jackets he owns. No, he doesn't want to wake up ever again.
But he does a few hours later and he's feeling a little worse for wear. Or a lot worse for wear, if you're looking for the truth. He's sweating and he's almost as confused as his body is. He wants to know why it feels like someone has stabbed a knife into his stomach and why it takes him so long to realize he's already hopped out of bed and is making his way to the bathroom to throw up the nothing he's had for breakfast. He barely reaches the toilet in time and afterwards, he doesn't know what to do except sink to the floor and just try to put himself back together because it really feels like he's coughed up a kidney, and despite never going to medical school, he knows coughing organs up is not healthy at all.
He spits out as much of the awfulness he can and weakly reaches over and flushes it away. He begins to remember why he never liked staying home sick before (and he's talking really sick, not just pretending to be) and especially not with a stomach flu because these things are the worst of the worst when it comes to comfort levels and he doesn't think he can even get himself up anymore. Or he can, he just doesn't feel like it, because as much as he wants to be back in bed and just resting, he has a hunch that this won't be the first time his body expels whatever the hell it's expelling, and he doesn't want to be running back and forth between bathroom and bedroom when it does.
God, feeling this bad should be a crime or something, he thinks. He waits there for a moment as his stomach evens itself out and then pushes himself up with what little strength he's got left from all the retching his body just did. He holds himself up with a hand pressed against the counter top and switches the water on as quickly as possible, so he can wash the horrific taste out of his mouth before it makes him sick again. As he rinses his mouth, he finally notices just how much pain the whole vomiting thing brings to his right side. In fact, come to think of it, his stomach has been hurting him since the very beginning of this all. But the only difference is that the pain has shifted a little and it's only about ten times worse. He doesn't know what to think about that, since he's terrible with medical terminology and he couldn't tell a kidney from his bladder or even what side any of those other organs belong, so he deems it as nothing in particular and forces himself to try to just forget about it. What he needs is a little food since it's around lunch time and he still hasn't eaten anything at all. Once he's satisfied that he's rinsed his mouth out as well as possible, he shuts the water off and exits without bothering to shut the door.
He doesn't know how long it takes him to get downstairs, but the progress he's made is so slow and painful he almost begins to reconsider everything. But at least if he's down here he can watch some television and relax on the couch and get himself something to drink and things like that. So once he's finally made it to the kitchen, he's feeling proud of himself and accomplished and all this other good stuff that takes his mind off the whole dying thing for just a second. But a satisfying second it surely is. And it passes just as quickly as it begins. He maneuvers himself around the island and towards the fridge where he just knows something good and tasty is waiting for him. But he finds nothing that particularly excites his taste buds, and suddenly remembers that sick people like soup and he's definately sick, therefore the menu is pretty much set out for him. He reaches into the pantry and pulls out the only can of Campbell's chicken noodle soup they've got left (and he's really lucky that they've got one at all) and dives for the can-opener because underneath all that mysterious pain he's been feeling, is a hungry, hungry stomach that is begging to be fed.
And of course, eating is going to make him feel better, right? Because the body needs food for energy or something like that, and after he's all fed and everything, he won't feel as weak as he does right now and then he'll be able to walk around without a problem and will be one pret-ty happy camper. He looks forward to feeling better soon and empties the can into a pot that's conveniently been left out on the stove just for him. As soon as the stove is on and his soup is on its way to being heated and delicious, he sits himself on the couch and turns the television on. He surfs through the channels for a few minutes, not entirely sure of what he even wants to watch, when he lands on what appears to be a movie. There's a young couple in a car, driving in the rain with a man who Evan assumes they are giving a ride. Something's obviously not right, because the couple looks beyond nervous and that guy looks beyond creepy. And just as expected, the guy turns out to be some psycho who wants to kill them both. Evan's not entirely sure what they name of this movie is but he wishes he could've seen it from the beginning, because it definately looks like it has potential.
He watches intently as he serves himself some soup. The smell and thought enough that he's about to get something in his stomach makes him feel better, but it isn't by much at all. As soon as he's got a spoon, he's digging in. And he's glad to say he was right about feeling better after eating because he really is, although his side is still aching like a bitch, and he's still feeling a little nauseous. But other than that, yeah, he's good. The only real difference is that now his stomach isn't completely empty and when he throws up, he'll actually have something to throw up. But he supposes that makes all the difference, good or bad.
By the time the movie is nearing the end and he's about ready to crumble to the floor because this pain is just killing him and he really needs to get to the bathroom before he pukes all over the kitchen floor, there's a knock at the door. He knows he could have and should have been back in bed by now but he keeps trying to reassure himself that he's okay, and doesn't need to call for help because he can live through a little stomach bug like this. Yet he knows that he's doing a terrible job and probably looks like he's dying. But now that he's got company, he tries to push that all past him and see who the visitor is. He walks around the island, running his hand across it, and spots Jill. He's as shocked to see her here as she is him still in his pajamas. He flashes her a smile and she returns the favor, as he opens the door.
"Hey, Evan..." Her voice trails off and he figures she, being a doctor and all, can tell that he's feeling like crap because he probably doesn't look too good, and she's trained to read that kind of stuff in people. "Are you okay?"
He leans his body against the door frame and lies, "What? Oh, yeah. Totally fine. Just..." He pauses to let the pain pass, "-feeling a little under the weather..."
She's afraid he's going to collapse right that very second, and reaches a hand out towards him. "You should really sit down..." She moves to help him over to the couch, with the door left wide open. She sits him down and looks him over with both worry and concern. Nobody would have to be a doctor to tell that something's wrong.
As soon as he sits, he fights a wince and mumbles, "Ah, thanks."
"Should I call Hank?"
"NO!" He suddenly shouts. She recoils in surprise and he forces himself to stay calm and try again, "I mean no. Thank you, but Henry has a little tendency to...over-react...with this kind of stuff, and..."
"Really now?" She thinks there's totally a reason to over-react because it doesn't take a genius to tell that he's in pain, and if she's learned anything from working in a hospital, it's that severe pain often points to something bad. She knows that Evan's smart enough to know that, but she also knows that he refuses to believe this is something totally serious because that means going to the hospital, or calling Hank and a whole bunch of other stuff that he just isn't looking forward to.
"Yeah. My brother's the reason you're here, right?"
She almost smiles at his attempt to change the subject, and nods. "He is, but I take it he's not home?" She knows Hank would never leave Evan in this debilitating state. She removes her purse from her shoulder and drops it on the couch cushion beside him.
"You take it correctly. He's with the Div."
"The Div?" She asks with an amused smirk.
"Yeah, the Div." There's a moment of silence until he clarifies, "D-Divya..."
Jill nods and stifles a laugh. "Yeah, I think I got that." She watches as he gives her a small smile, and tries to get back on topic. "Does...Hank know you're sick?"
"No." He knows it's stupid that he didn't tell his brother, but in his defense, he wasn't all that bad this morning, anyway. At least not as bad as he is now. He decides to mention that to her so she doesn't scold him or something, "Granted, I wasn't feeling as crappy when he left this morning...So, no. He doesn't know. I-I didn't tell him." She nods and before she can even reply, he's rambling again. "But it's just a bug. R-right? I mean, everyone gets them every now and then. If I even slightly resemble anything other than totally perfect, Hank practically ties me up and force feeds me chicken soup..."
"I get it," Jill mumbles in response. She presses the back of her hand to his forehead in an uncharacteristic maternal urge, and pulls it back in surprise. She doesn't even notice the way he turns a shade of red in embarassment. "You're burning up."
"...it would have taken me like two hours to convince Hank that I was okay enough for him to leave. I mean, I couldn't tell him anything because he has a job to do, you know? And I'll tell you, there's a crazy schedule today and Divya can't handle all that by herself..."
"What did you expect to do when he comes home and finds you like this?"
"I was thinking of fasting...that way I'd have room for all that chicken soup that's in my future. Well, that, and I haven't been too hungry, anyway. But I did eat some, because I know eating something keeps you from starving to the death, and that's really the last thing I need to do." He stops when he sees her expression, and adds, "It's probably the flu, right?"
"I really think you should call Hank," she pauses and watches him for a moment and the way his hand has kind of been cradling his side. "Does your stomach hurt?"
"Only when I walk...or move...or cough...or," there's a sigh lost somewhere in his words, "-breathe."
"Where does it hurt?" She asks, in full doctor mode.
"Where doesn't it hurt?" He jokes, just as she moves in closer. She places a hand on his shoulder and silently orders him to lean back. He obliges. She kindly pushes his hand away and suddenly, presses her hand to his side. It's obvious by his vocalization that he's in pain. "Yeah. Mostly there..."
Just as she expected, "I think you may have appendicitis."
"Here," She takes a seat beside him on the couch - her purse getting tossed aside - and asks, "I need to check for rebound tenderness." He looks confused but again she doesn't address it. "Does it hurt more when I press on it or when I release it?" She presses lightly on his side and again, he's seething in pain.
"Ow! I don't know. It hurts either way. So I would really appreciate it if you would stop doing that..."
"Evan. Can we focus here? This is kind of important."
"Well, it's a little hard to focus. But that might be from all of the nausea..."
She pulls her hand away but doesn't take her eyes off of him, "Have you been throwing up?"
"Only once, like an hour and a half ago."
"We gotta get you to a hospital," She tells him, as she stands. Evan watches her with wide eyes as she grabs her purse and slings it over her shoulder.
"Wh-wh-what?" He sounds panicked.
"Come on. I'll call Hank on the way."
His breathing picks up and his hands reach for his side again. He doesn't like the idea. This is exactly why he didn't want anyone to know. And yeah, sure, he's glad that she's here because a few more minutes of this by himself and he would've called someone anyway. But he really doesn't want to go to the hospital, and she can see that in his eyes and in his expression. That's what her tone of voice is for - the one that she's seen Hank use with his brother many, many times. Because he needs to go, regardless of if he wants it or not.
"Why are we going to the hospital?"
"You need to have an emergency appendectomy." She motions for him to stand, but when he doesn't, she reaches for his arm and helps pull him to his feet.
"Yeah, but it's totally common. I had my appendix taken out when I was sixteen." She starts to walk him towards the door but he stands his ground." You'll be fine."
"And-and what happens if I don't go?"
"Your appendix could burst and you could die."
That's all the motivation he needs. "Oh, God...Okay, uh...Sh-should I...should I grab something or what? Some clothes, maybe?"
She shakes her head and motions for him to move it, again. "No time. Besides, it's not like you're gonna be there for an entire week or anything."
He nods, but still doesn't allow her to escort him out. "I don't have shoes on."
She looks down and notices he's right. "Where are they?" He directs her to the other side of the couch, where he left them the day before. She quickly rushes over and scoops them up, and returns to her spot beside him. "Got 'em. You can put them on in the car." With a hand on his shoulder, she guides him out of the guesthouse. She shuts the door behind them, and helps him over to her vehicle.
"How long?" He asks her.
"How long what?"
"How long am I gonna be in the hospital?" They're both very much relieved that the car is only a few feet away.
She sighs, "Well, depends. Some people stay for just a day, some people leave after a few. It all just depends." As they arrive at the car, she unlocks it and opens the passenger door for him. He slides into the seat, hardly hiding his pained expression, and she shuts the door. She comes to the driver's side just as he puts his seatbelt on, and passes him his shoes. He thanks her with a nod, but doesn't move to put them on. She pulls her seatbelt over her quickly, and reaches into her purse to pull her phone out.
"So, there's no chance I'll be home in time tonight, to watch Burn Notice?"
She smiles at that, "I'll have Hank record it for you."