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Chapter 9

"Guys," I said through chattering teeth. "I'm c-cold." Brian gave his cousin one final glare, then wrapped me in another blanket.

Seeing his actions ,suddenly, set me into a flashback. . . .

"Oh, Nick, can't you stop coughing for one minute?" AJ hissed. "I'm trying to sleep!"

"Let him be, AJ," Brian said in my defense.

Kevin sat up. "Nick, why don't you go sit in the front of the bus and watch tv or something."

AJ seconded the idea. "Yeah, go watch some lameass cartoon."

"That's not fair!" Brian yelled. "Nick's sick! He needs to stay in bed. If AJ's so dog-gone tired he can go up front!"

AJ grabbed his pillow. "All right!"

Kevin sighed. "Brian, why don't you go get some cough syrup and see if that helps..."

I came back to the modern situation. That early issue was actually quite easy to handle. Surly, this would be, too.

Howie joined the conversation. "You know, Kevin, Brian might be right. I mean, he doesn't really look well."

"Relax, Howie."

Howie sighed. "We've gone through this kind of thing before. Don't you remember? It was when we were all staying in that home in Sweden while we recorded. It was 1994, and Brian had been sick with the flu. . . ."

"Kevin, I don't feel well," I informed him as I drug myself to his room. Kevin impatiently buttoned his pajama top. "Nick, stop whining and complaining. You're just jealous because Brian didn't have to record in the studio today: since he has the flu."

"No, I'm not, Kevin, I really don't feel good."

"Well, you're cheeks are a little red." Finally! Maybe now he believed me. "But you were outside just a few minutes ago, and it's winter, you know. Your cheeks are bound to get red."

I shook my head and returned to my room. Where I found Brian asleep. I changed into my pajamas and lied down. Hoping sleep would make me feel better. This a certain Kentuckian didn't believe me.

Then next morning I found myself waking up to Brian's persistent coughing. I sat up slowly trying to avoid my dizziness. "Sorry," he mumbled.

"It's okay." I assured him. "How are you feeling?"

"Pretty lousy, but I'm sure I'll be fine in another day or two."

"That's good," I sighed rubbing my stomach.

"What's wrong?" he asked.

"Just a bit dizzy, that's all."

"You gonna' be okay?"

I whispered, "Yes." Well, at least Brian was a true friend. Even though, he was ill, he still made time to care. Carefully, I stood up. "I'll go get you some breakfast."

"What do you want for breakfast?" Kevin asked as I stumbled into the kitchen.

"Nothing, I'm just getting Bri his."

Kevin scooped the oatmeal into a bowl. "You need to eat."

"I don't feel so hot."

He placed the gooey creation on the table, and patted a chair. "Have a seat, you'll feel better after you eat."

"I don't want to," I said quickly.

"Nick, get off it. I know you're just faking to get attention. However, I do believe you could be feeling puney from skipping dinner last night."

Howie and AJ entered. They sat across from me. Kevin set a bowl before each of them. I raised my head. "I need to take Rok his meal."

"I'll take it," Kev informed me as he forced me into my seat. "You are not leaving this room until you eat!"

Howie gave me a sympathetic smile. "You better do as he says."

I stared at the lumpy grool before me. Suddenly, I felt an overwhelming wave of nausea. And the dizziness was now intense. I rested my head against the cool table.

AJ turned to Howie. "I think Kevin's wrong. He's not fakin'."

Howie nodded and knelt down beside me. "What is it?"

"My stomach, it's churning. And I feel dizzy."

He pressed his palm to my brow. "You've got a fever. Look, I'm sorry Kevin didn't believe you. He probably thought it was another one of your pranks."

"It's not," I croaked.

Kevin returned. "What's going on?"

"Nicky really is sick, Kev."

"I can see that." He stroked my hair back. "Let's get him to his room. He'll feel better there."

Howie pulled me to my feet. Suddenly, I felt my body fall against him as he quickly braced me.

Kevin lifted up my chin. "What is it?"

"Mmmm....." I mumbled. My head was spinning and my stomach terribly uneasy. I felt a thick, warm liquid developing in the back of my throat and numerous heaves came over me. I fell to my knees still coughing. I lifted my head, only to lower it in shame. I had vomited all over Kevin.

Kevin shook his head in disgust: then sighed. "Nick, I'm sorry I didn't believe you." He glanced down at himself. "Very sorry."

Needless to say, that was the last time Kevin ever doubted my complaints.

Chapter 10