First off, I want to thank xxdevilishxx and the anonymous guest for the complements and feedback. I'm going to try harder delve into Victoria and Eric's thoughts, and attempt to write in a more polished style(I do say attempt, I may not succeed) .
This chapter will be an alternate version of the "In Sickness and in Health" (which I think aired much later than Erictoria) episode when Eric gets sick and Victoria pays him a visit. This chapter is less romantic than the last chapter, but I think it develops their relationship more.
The week Eric would fall sick would be the week his parents decided to visit his uncle Tony. Sitting in bed, he was burning up, sweating, and had a throbbing head ache. He wasn't sure if the head ache was from the sickness or the phone call he just got from Charlie. What's Up Warthogs was falling apart without him. Teddy was filling in as the co-host and was making everyone miserable. Charlie told him that Victoria was ready to rip Teddy's head off, and that he and Laney were considering helping her. How could they let Teddy be his replacement? Wasn't there anyone else? Knowing Teddy, he probably shooed the competition away with money.
Eric rubbed his temple, trying to offer himself some relief from his pounding head ache. He reached for a glass of water when he heard a soft knock on his door. "Come in" he called out. Victoria gently pushed the door open with her hips. She held a small pot in her hands. "Victoria?" he seemed surprised. "What are you doing here? And how did you get in?"
"You forgot to lock the front door. Again. You know, Eric, you should really pay more attention. What if it wasn't me, but some sort of criminal who came in?" She caught herself nagging. You're here to help him get better, she reminded herself. "Anyway, I came to see how you're doing." Still a tad confused Eric looked down at the pot she set on his dresser. "I even brought you my mom's famous chicken soup. An old Jagger family secret." she smiled.
Eric was heartened, "I love your mom's soup." Victoria smiled and looked down in response. She walked around his room a bit then sat down in his soccer ball chair. Swiveling around in the chair she pointed out "Wow, you're room hasn't changed since we were five. Still got your race car bed and ducky jammies." she giggled. "Remember when we were little and you use to interview me in this chair."
Eric's eyes glossed over with nostalgia. "And I remember you practicing your second grade class president speech in that chair."
"Never too early to get ahead." she replied being cheeky. "Remember in grade five you use to have me quiz you on sports stats so you could become a sports anchor." she giggled.
"Hey, it could still happen someday." He looked up at her reminiscent smile. "Remember in grade seven we would have mock debates."
"And I would always win."
"No, you would think that you always won. But I was right most of the time."
"Not true, Eric."
"Look, we still have mini debates every day."
"More like arguments." she grinned.
"That was a fun year." He paused for a moment. "But you stopped coming over after that."
He looked up once again and saw her smile fade. All Victoria could give him was a quiet "I know."
They sat in silence for a few minutes. Victoria decided to break the silence. "We miss you at AV club."
"I know. Charlie called me before you came. That reminds me, why is Teddy my replacement?" Eric seemed peeved over the fact.
Victoria felt her own head ache coming on. "Don't even get me started on Teddy. I just want you to get better so you can come back to the show."
"Seriously Victoria, how could you guys pick Teddy, of all people, to replace me?" Eric's annoyance grew. "Is it because he's insanely in love with you?"
"Well, can you blame him." she joked, trying to ease the tension.
"It's not funny Victoria! He's obsessed, and it's not cute or endearing, it's crazy! Why don't you just tell him to piss of? If you don't put him in his place now, he'll never back off! Gosh Victoria! For a smart girl you can be so stupid sometimes!" He regretted his words as soon as he saw her smile fall flat, for the second time today. His sudden raised voice caught her off guard. She knew that every single word came from a place of concern, but her pride told her to push back.
"Let's get one thing straight Ortiz. How I handle my relationships is none of your business. Got that? Now drink the soup my mom made for you and get better." She handed him the pot, then stood by his bed, arms crossed.
"Fine!" he snorted. Instead of using the spoon Victoria had set out, he drank the soup straight from the pot, spilling half of it on his shirt.
"Smooth, Eric. Just hold on a second I'll get a damp towel." She headed down the hallway and got the towel from the third door and the right. She knew every inch of his house like her own. She used to come over often when she was younger. Ever since seventh grade, her visits became sparse. She was relieved to find out she still knew where everything was.
Both were still fuming as she reentered the room and he was standing in the middle in of it. She walked over to him without a word. She gave him an annoyed glance before raising her hands to his neck. She unbuttoned the collar of his pajamas and slowly undid the others. As she reached the final button, Victoria raised her hands once more and smoothed the top off his shoulders and down his arms. She tossed the soiled shirt in the hamper by the closet and reached for the damp towel she had brought. Staring at his chest, she began wiping off the soup. She noticed how his chest rose and fell in a slightly uneven pattern. Victoria continued down his torso when she spotted a scar on his abdomen. Eric watched as she delicately traced the scar with her fingertips.
It was the last month of seventh grade and Victoria had somehow managed to convince Eric into accompanying her to her environment club meeting. She promised him hot girls. What a lie it was. He got girls with monobrows, braces, and unicorn t-shirts. Needless to say he was disappointed and said he would wait for her at the park a block away, then they could walk home together. They lived quite close to each other, only a few houses away.
It was late in the evening as Eric sat on the swings waiting for Victoria. He suddenly heard a scream from nearby and ran over to see the commotion.
"Just give me your damn money you little slut!" the manned yelled as he grabbed Victoria's backpack. Eric saw her and started to run her way. She continued her tug-of-war with the man, though her legs felt like cement. She couldn't bring herself to run away. Eric had reached her side when suddenly then man pulled strongly and yanked Victoria forward. She took the chance to bite his hand, forcing him to release her backpack. Eric stood in front of Victoria, pushing her, trying to force her to run. "You little bitch!" The man yelled out. He quickly turned around and grabbed something from his pocket. Eric finally got Victoria to start running, and followed suit when he felt a sharp pain along his abdomen. Eric had been cut. "Fucking cunt, get out of my way!" the man grunted.
"Hey, what's going on here?" a passerby called out.
"Shit!" With that, the man ran off.
End of flashback.
Victoria continued to outline the scar with her nail. Before she knew it, her fingers gently grazed up his chest. She let her hand rest there. She found the rise and fall of his chest soothing. In that time she hadn't dared look up at him. But she decided she would quickly grab a peek then continue wiping his chest. She cautiously raised her glance and was set to look back down as soon as she saw his face. But when her eyes landed on him she caught his intense gaze and stiffened up. She felt her hand slip off his torso, but his caught it, and placed it on the left side of his chest. He kept her hand there, with his over top hers. Victoria recognized that stare. It had been a few months but it was hotly burned in her memory. That was she same stare he gave her after they kissed in the studio.
Eric felt his body get warmer, unsure whether it was the sickness or Victoria's proximity. His eyes looked straight into Victoria's and suddenly it felt like all of the air in the room and vanished. Victoria pulled back and stared at her feet. She nervously walked past him, and to his closet where she retrieved him a clean shirt.
"Here, put this on." she said while continuing to stare at the ground. She reached out her hand to pass it to him. His fingers brushed her hand. Her breath caught and her gaze shot up at him. That intense stare was again reflected in his eyes, but tinged with sadness. They looked at each other for a moment. Then Eric pulled the shirt over his head.
"I should really get going." Victoria headed to the door. Just as she was about to leave she turned around and said "Eric, get better. We really did miss you. I missed you you." She walked out the door. A few seconds later she popped her head back in a chimed "Also, let me know if you want any more of that soup." She started to walk away again, only to pop back in a final time "Oh and lock your front door."
" Okay. And don't worry, I'll be back at What's Up Warthogs in no time. In the meanwhile try not to kill Teddy. As much of a pain he is, he's not worth going to jail for."
"I'll try to bear that in mind." she smiled.