Russell never felt worse in his life. He'd gotten stomach flu two times when he was younger, but this was the worst he ever had it. He could barely hold himself up the last time he walked out from the bathroom late that night. The whole day he awoke from strange dreams along with constantly running into the bathroom.
Carl was there for Russell every single moment. He began to get used to this, feeling more like a parents just taking care of Russell.
Tears ran from Russell's eyes, he felt so grateful to Carl who had given up his planned day to spend at Shady Oaks to care of him. He was doing everything to try and make him feel better, even lifting his head from the pillows to give him a drink of water and lightly sponging his warm body.
Russell heard the door open and the voice of Rosemary echoes around the house as he was just going to sleep. "... they had the greatest band ever and..."
Carl shooshed Rosemary.
"Rosemary please, Russell is sleeping. He's had stomach upset all day."
"He had stomach flu?" Carl told her that Russell was sick but never what he was sick with. Rosemary began rushing down the hallway to Russell's room. "Carl you must be so exhausted why didn't you call? Poor little scout, he must be miserable."
Carl stopped her from opening the door. "Rosemary, please you can see him in the morning. Russell is trying to sleep."
Russell went to sleep, not even caring is she came into the room or not. He slept all through the night until the sun poked through the drapes the next morning.
It was early 7 AM, the time he usually got up for school. He sat up but fell back into the pillows instantly. He felt too weak and exhausted just to move. His stomach felt better but he felt sweaty and sick.
He could faintly make out Carl's voice in the kitchen talking on the phone with his school, telling them he wouldn't be in school today. Russell was relieved he didn't have to go, not wanting to relive the moment or go feeling this way.
His water was on the desk. His mouth felt so dry that it felt as if it was in desert. He tried to reach the water but slumped into his pillows. He sighed, too exhausted.
Russell dosed off, awakening to a wet wash cloth being moved across his sweaty head. Russell slowly opened his eyes, half awake as Carl gave him a light sponge bath. Russell held a thermometer in his mouth as he peaked at the clock seeing it was close to 10:00.
"Well your temperatures down, that's good. Feeling any better?"
"I guess. My stomach is better but I feel sweaty and exhausted." Russell couldn't remember if Carl called the school or not. It seemed like a dream. Even though it was just a few hours ago when he was talking on the phone it felt like a decade since everything happened. "I don't have to go to school right?"
"No honey, you can stay home and rest." Carl grabbed the cup on his desk. "Here have some tea."
"Tea?" Russell sat himself up a bit. "I thought grown ups only drank that stuff."
"It's still good for when you're sick. Drink it."
Russell took the cup, holding it tightly as he sipped it. "It tastes sweet."
Carl smiled, making Russell tiredly smile back.
Carl began moving the covers back and took Russell in his arms. "Take your pillow and we'll set you up on the couch." Russell never got to rest on the couch when he was sick. "I can actually rest on the couch?" Russell asked putting his head to Carl's shoulder. "Mmm hmm, you can rest here," Carl lied him into the pillow and pulled a blanket up. "Sleep, but not too much TV."
Russell watched the TV, nibbling a piece of toast and learning how to smile again. Rosemary was out trying to retrieve her car. Russell began regaining his strength and beginning to feel better, but hopefully not better tomorrow. If he was Carl might make him go to school. He just had to be home schooled the rest of his life.
By 1:45 Russell was bored. He tried to fall asleep but the TV distracted him. He was tired of sitting and if he weren't exhausted he'd get up and walk around.
Carl came out into the living room. "Let's check your temperature."
Russell held the thermometer in his mouth as Carl checked his head. "Your heads not warm and you aren't sweaty anymore." Russell prayed for just a small fever that could get him out from going to school tomorrow.
"Well you don't have a fever anymore. You'll be fine. Enough to go back to school tomorrow." Carl said as Russell groaned and rolled his eyes. "Oh great." he answered sarcastically.
"Hmm I can tell you're better you're acting grouchy." Carl said putting the thermometer back in it's case. Russell had to think of a way to get out from going to school. Would everyone tease him, calling him names, like Russell Barfricksen? He loved school until this had to happen. The way all his friends looked at him, it was hatred and what they were saying to him.
"Mr. Fredricksen do I have to go to school for the rest of my life?"
"Yes, you do Russell. Besides isn't their a vocab test tomorrow?"
"But do I seriously have to go tomorrow? I don't want to go back."
Carl turned to Russell, tears setting in his eyes probably from how exhausted he was. "Russell, sweetie, you're just exhausted," Carl lightly pushed Russell down to the pillow, turned off the TV so it wouldn't distract him and smoothed his hair. "You're better Russell. Look I know the feeling of how a person doesn't want to go back to school after feeling this way but you're better. You can get through the day tomorrow can't you? You have the whole weekend to rest after."
Tears came spilling out. "Yes I know I'm better Mr. Fredricksen but you don't know what happened!"
Carl blinked, looking concerned. "What are you talking about?"
"While in school! It was terrible Mr. Fredricksen," Russell sniffled. "I threw up on the floor in front of my whole class!"
"Aww Russell, it was just an accident, everyone knows that. But why didn't you ask Mrs. Carmody to go to the nurse? And you could have asked me to stay home yesterday morning." Carl spoke.
"How could I?" He asked.
"What do you mean?" Carl asked confused
"You've been talking for months about what was going on at Shady Oaks and you wanted to go. I didn't want you to be mad at me!"
"Mad at you for what?" Carl asked him.
"For ruining your day! I didn't want you to hate me if I ruined your day!" Russell sobbed.
Carl reached for a tissue and give it to Russell to blow his nose.
"Russell, never in the world will I ever hate you. You could have asked me to stay home yesterday morning and I would have understood. I'm sorry you thought that."
Russell wiped his tears away. He was so tired and upset that he looked miserable. "Come here."
Carl hugged him tightly and shooshed him until the little boy was finally asleep. "You know what Russell, I saw how pale you looked when we drove away. I couldn't get you out of my head while I was at Shady Oaks. I don't even remember the songs that were played because I was thinking so much about you. In fact I would have rather spent the day with you when that call finally came in."
Russell snoozed in Carl's arms.
Carl moved him to his lap and snuggled him as he slept but felt guilty, not paying any attention to Russell and now he was way too embarrassed to go back to school. He had to think of way to get him to go back.
His eyes soon closed also as he slept along with Russell.