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ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.
Oh God, I feel like I'm dying. This has got to be the worst case of the flu anyone has ever had. At least mother was able to come get William before things got too bad. Now, he's got her to take care of him, and I've got no one.
'I want my mommy.'
Hours later, I'm worse instead of better. I'm wearing a pair of fleece warm-ups while lying under three blankets, and I'm still freezing to death. Just thirty minutes ago, I was sweating bullets. How can things change so quickly?
My bowling ball sized head barely lifts off the pillow as I hear a faint knocking at the door. I somehow manage to pull the covers back and rise to a sitting position. Closing my eyes to keep the room from spinning like a top, I take a few deep breaths.
Finally, I'm able to stand and walk sideways to the door of my bedroom. I steady myself against the frame before I make the attempt to navigate the den to the apartment door. Once again, I take the sideways route and eventually make it to the door. I have to wonder how John Wayne was able to hit any of the marks in his movies walking like this.
The pounding of the door gets louder so I struggle with the deadbolt and the chain, and after several failed attempts, I manage to open the door only to find ..
"Santa Claus?" I say in disbelief worried that I can now add hallucinations to my list of flu symptoms.
"Yes, Virginia. There is a Santa Claus," are the last words I hear before I slide to the floor.
When I awaken, I am lying in my bed, and Monica is sitting in the chair next to me wearing a t-shirt and a pair of boxers. She has her feet up on the bed and is engrossed in a book.
I would hope that if I were still hallucinating that she would at least be naked.
"Dana?" My imaginary Monica says.
Deciding it would be rude not to answer the figment of my imagination, I reply, "Yes?"
The vision stands and places her hand on my fevered forehead. Holy shit, I felt that. I'm not sick; I'm nuts. I struggle against the covers, but the non-person holds me down with both hands.
"Dana, relax. It's okay. You passed out in the hallway, and I carried you back here. Everything's okay," her voice says in a soothing tone.
I instantly relax as she moves her hand up to stroke my hair. She continues to speak softly as I slowly drift off to sleep.
The next time I open my eyes, Monica isn't there, and I can't help but feel disappointed. I miss my imaginary Monica; she made me feel safe.
"Hey, how are you feeling now?"
Yea, she's back! I immediately smile at the beautiful woman walking toward me, and she smiles back in return.
When she sits on the bed next to me, I decide to take full advantage of this particular hallucination so I reach up and pull her down to my lips.
Oh, she tastes so good. As the kiss begins to deepen, our tongues tentatively come out to play until we are both vying for the lead position, but I have to admit defeat when my weakness finally gets the best of me. Damn this flu.
With eyes closed, I slowly lie back on the bed panting heavily. When I suddenly realize I am tasting coffee and that there is only one way that could happen, my eyes snap open, and I turn to find a smirking Monica.
Oh my God. It's really her, the real Monica. I just kissed the real Monica.
Grabbing the covers, I pull them over my face only to have them jerked back by a smiling Monica.
"Dana. Don't be embarrassed. I've wanted to kiss you for the longest time. I had a feeling you weren't exactly yourself, and I admit to taking advantage of the situation. I apologize for that, but not for kissing you," Monica softly offers.
"Um, Monica? I truly thought you were some sort of figment of my imagination when I kissed you, but I did know it was you I was kissing. I mean, not the real you, but I knew I was kissing Monica Reyes. Does that make sense?" I reply with a seemingly incoherent response.
Smiling, she answers, "Yes, Dana. That makes perfect sense."
"Good. Now, do you think you could lie down with me? I feel better when you are near," I ask in a soft tone.
Standing, she lifts the covers and crawls next to me. I slide close to her and put my head on her shoulder as she puts her arms around me drawing me into her side.
"Sleep, Dana. I'll be here when you wake," Monica whispers in my ear before kissing the top of my head.
As I close my eyes, I notice the red suit sitting in the corner of the room, and I vaguely remember Monica telling me she was going to play Santa Claus for the children in the local hospital.
Oh yes, Virginia. There truly is a Santa Claus.
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