More Than Friendship Material Pt. 02byStory_Spinner©
(We've had a huge amount of response from many readers and that makes us happy. Sorry for the delay in posted more -- but because of popular demand, here is some more to the story. This is a lot shorter than our last posting...you may blame me for that. I had really and truly accidentally posted that much...and after a few good replies, I just left it. So think of this as a teaser. LOL!)
Liz woke up the next morning with a crick in her neck. She stretched and groaned, blinking to clear her vision. She hated taking sleeping pills, but they had done the trick. She frowned slightly, wondering if she had dreamt seeing Hollie and vaguely remembering the odd dream she had about Todd. Strange. Nothing like drug induced comas to make your mind go a little loopy.
Getting up, she dragged her tired butt into the bathroom and showered again, then carefully went through the motions of getting ready. She had spent too many sloppy days and was tired of looking slumpy. So, Liz took her time after showering and lotioning to put on her makeup. She then blow dried her hair straight, letting the glossy locks frame her face and fall past her shoulders.
Looking reasonably human again and put together, Liz slipped on a simple black skirt that fell short of her knees and a red tank along with some decorative sandals that showed off her pedicure. She wanted to see Todd and wondered what the girls were up to. Grabbing a granola bar, she flipped open her phone and sent the girls a couple of text messages, hoping to hear what everyone was up to before she decided what she was going to be up to.
Todd woke up early himself, when his nurse came to give him his next dose of medicine and to change his dressings.
'Well, sleepyhead" she said cheerfully, that 14 hours of sleep probably did you a world of good."
"Good lord, was I asleep that long?"
"Yep," she confirmed, " but don't worry, that's common with the medication you've been on. So, which one is the cheer captain and who's on the bleachers?"
Todd looked perplexed. "Huh?"
"You sang in your sleep all night according to the other nurses, and you kept repeating that line. Either something was on your mind, or you're a huge Taylor Swift fan."
"Oh, she was on the TV before I went to sleep I guess. Do you know what's for breakfast this morning?"
'Turkey sausage and oatmeal I think."
Todd winced. "Thank the lord the girls brought cereal," he thought. Apparently Ben had been by and left a note. He wouldn't be up yet, so Todd decided to call later. Liz would probably be up by now, though. Todd dialed her cell, but got voice mail. "Figures," he thought, as he left a message. "Hey Liz.. Hope you're having a good day. I should be getting out tomorrow I think, but feel free to come by later. AND BRING FOOD."
At some point, probably after he was off the drugs for the most part, there needed to be a conversation with Liz about this whole paradigm shift (where did that come from? I'm starting to talk like Liz) to their relationship. He wasn't looking forward to that, mainly since he didn't even know how he felt about it. Suddenly, he thought of someone he could talk to and dialed his phone.
"X-Mart. We never close," Allen's voice answered.
"Hey Allen. It's Todd. How's it going?"
"Going Ok. You ok?"
'Yeah, I'm getting there. I just wanted to say again how much I appreciate all you did the other night. You were a lifesaver - literally."
"No problem. Glad to help."
Todd smiled, wondering if he could think of a question to make Allen say more than 5 words. "Hey, I was wondering. What did you mean when you told the girls that the computer wouldn't work without power?"
"Computers need electricity."
"I know that Allen. I mean what did a computer have to do with what was going on?"
"Those dudes were filming the girls on a computer," Allen answered.
'Nine words," Todd thought. "Even Allen must have thought that was serious shit." Todd grew angry at the further intended violation of the women he cared about. "Those assholes. Thanks again, man. How did you know about that?"
"Heard them talking about it through the walls. Pissed me off. I have sisters."
'Well thanks again. I owe you big time. See you when I get out. Later Allen."
The turkey sausage arrived as Todd hung up. The girls had seemed OK yesterday. He hoped things had gone easily at the police station. Taking a cautious bite of the pseudo-meat, Todd sighed and flipped on the TV again.
No one responded to her texts, which was mildly frustrating, but Liz couldn't blame them. They were probably all still snoozing, off to practice or working. Slipping her phone into her purse, she made her way to the coffee shop, hoping to grab a word with her boss before visiting Todd who was probably starving.
Duke was one of the most reasonable men she had ever met. He was always calm and collected, always fair to his employees and everyone respected him. Liz was surprised to see his face turn an odd shade of red when she told him exactly what was going on and why she needed a few days, not only for herself to help Todd. "Jesus, Liz. I can't believe it! What assholes!"
She sat there staring a moment and nodded, "Yeah, but we were lucky. In the end, Todd was the one that got the worst of it. He's in the hospital for a few days. They beat him up pretty good."
Duke shook his head, "Men like that shouldn't be allowed to go free. You take your time, Liz. You've been a great worker. Take a few days, grab some breakfast for your friend and just keep me posted."
She smiled and thanked him, even more surprised when he gave her a big bear hug and sent her on her way. Shaking her head and bemused by it all, she skirted past her co workers who all wished her well and grabbed a box of pastries and some coffee and headed out to visit Todd.
Hollie was really tired, but feeling good. The first part of the plan seemed to have gone OK, and even though she had gotten home late and had to lift weights at 6:30a.m., she had done well on her chemistry quiz. Pulling out her phone to call Mary and Todd, she noticed a couple of texts from Liz. Glad she's back from la-la land. Wonder if she remembers anything from last night, she thought. Hollie fired off a quick response saying that she'd call later and they could plan their "date." Then she called Todd who picked up in mid hum. Was that Taylor Swift?
"Hey Hollie. Sup?" he asked
"Same old same old, baby, but after the past couple of days, that's not so bad. How are you feeling?"
"Better. Still a little loopy, but I'm well rested. Not well fed though. Can't wait to get out of here."
"That's good hun. I'll try to come by and see you this afternoon, OK?"
"Sounds good. I should be done with the tests they have scheduled by two or so. Fair warning, though, I tend to crash after they give me my afternoon meds. Ben was here yesterday, and I didn't even know it."
Hollie smiled at this news. That would help things tremendously if it happened again. "OK. If you're asleep, I'll ravage you later."
'I'm not in ravaging shape," Todd laughed. "Hopefully soon enough, though. Hey, Liz is here with food. I'll see you soon."
Liz's stomach quivered with nerves as she popped into Todd's room and smiled, listening to him end a phone conversation. He gazed at the box she held eagerly, his eyes shifting from her face to the box and back again. "Whatcha got?"
She grinned, feeling herself relax a little. "Gee...you look half starved. What have they done to you!?" She teased, holding the box just out of reach. "I could work this to my advantage, you know? But...I'm not that mean. Duke at the coffee shop told me to feed you, so here you go. I got a little of everything."
She set the box down carefully and gently on his lap and sat back in one of the uncomfortable hospital seats and watched him dig through his goodies. "So what else is going on? Going to be out Tuesday for sure? Do you need anything from home for tonight?"
"Unless I hear differently from this afternoon's tests or I have a relapse, I'll be out of here. Thank God. You up to playing nursemaid for a bit?" Todd asked. "We have some uniforms for that at Pervland."
Liz blushed and was about to respond when Todd's phone sounded again. "It's Ben," he said. "I missed him when he was here yesterday. Do you mind waiting?"
"Nah. He was actually here when I came by yesterday. Go ahead,", Liz replied.
Todd answered the phone. "Yo loser. What's going on?"
"Nothin' bro. How they hangin'? Or have they fallen off yet? That'll save those women who have the misfortune of wanting you for some reason."
Todd looked over briefly at Liz. "Yes, Ben. Liz is here right now. She said y'all had a passionate tryst in my room while I was unconscious yesterday."
While Liz threw a bagel at Todd. Ben broke up laughing. "SHHHHH. Mary can't find out, but it's too late now dude. Propose to her if you want, but now Liz is ruined for all other men."
"Ben says hi." Todd said to Liz, ignoring Ben's efforts to get him in trouble. "How's Mary?"
"She's working on some secret school project. I don't really understand it, so I'm staying out of her way. I have to work today, but I'll try to swing by later. Otherwise, I'll see you tomorrow."
"Cool. Thanks man."
With Ben off the phone, Todd dug into his food again, cheeks bulging. "I was thinking maybe I'll run by the video store, grab some movies, some junk food and force you to stay in bed."
"Yeah, that'll be hard to do." He joked, "Just buy plenty of frozen peas. I'll be happy with that."
She grinned, despite feeling bad for him. "I'm sorry hun. I'll put that on my list. I guess I have a few things to do after all. I'll also grab you a clean set of clothes."
"Loose shorts, nothing tight."
She pretended to take notes and giggled. "OK. I'll get what you need. Speaking of which, looks like a nurse is headed in here, so I'm going to jet. Sure the girls and Ben will visit later."
He nodded, smiling up at her. Bending over him, she placed a little kiss on his forehead. "Be a good boy for the ladies."
"Always." He winked and she waved, leaving him in the capable hands of the staff.
Around lunchtime, Hollie stopped by Mary and Ben's place. Earlier, she had gone through Todd's yearbooks and marked the pages where he and Liz showed up. She had also gone through the box of pictures from Liz's closet, selected some that showed her friends, mostly together but a few separately. Everything that seemed to form a 'this is your life Liz and Todd" was piled in a box and taken over to Mary, who then dutifully scanned and cropped them to a usable fashion.
"Todd said he usually crashes after his mid-afternoon meds," Hollie informed her conspirator. "Are you going to be able to help me this afternoon?"
"Yup. And I got that audio edited from last night. Want a copy of your lip lock, stud?" Mary asked with a wink.
Hollie laughed."One does what one must, but I don't think I need it. If it was on video, maybe."
"You sure you don't want me to play Liz? We look more alike."
"That would make sense, but if this blows up, I want to take the fall-out. You will be in their life regardless of what happens with me, Mary."
Mary shook her head. "I wish I knew why you're putting yourself out there like this. You know you could end up getting hurt, girl."
'I know, but I'd rather get hurt helping people I care about, than hurt people at all." Hollie's eyes started to well up, and Mary hugged the little blonde.
"Whatever happens, Hollie, I'm gonna make sure that everyone know that you're the best kind of people."
"Thanks Lucy," Hollie smiled. "Guess you'll have some 'splaining to do."
Liz left Todd feeling a little better. She was glad he was in good spirits and eager to get home. She even contemplated the idea of getting a naughty nurses outfit, just to get a reaction out of him, but decided that probably wasn't the best of ideas considering he had asked for frozen peas. Poor guy.
She hit the local store and got him a couple of bags of peas, grabbed some junk food, and stocked up on their sodas. When that was done, she made a trip to the movie store to rent some action and horror flicks to keep him entertained and even splurged on a bucket of goodies - popcorn, chocolate, etc. Maybe he'd gain a few pounds while unable to fend for himself and look less attractive. She grinned at the thought. Probably wouldn't work anyway.
Paying for her things, she Liz returned home and slipped into his bedroom after putting the groceries away. She set up his DVD player and TV, put the bucket of goods next to his movies and then packed him a small bag for the morning.
With everything neat, tidy and fresh smelling, she decided to grab a book and sink into her own world for a while. She was sure that Hollie would call at some point to set up their dinner date and then she could crash and pick up Todd in the morning.
While she relaxed, Todd went through another round of tests. The boys seemed to be shrinking back to normal and at least weren't hurting as much. As for the concussions, the doctors were confident that they weren't going to be a big concern, so long as there wasn't any more head trauma any time soon. With Kevin's sorry ass in jail, that shouldn't be a problem. When he was taken back to his room, Todd asked the nurse for a copy of the papers from today. He figured that if there was any coverage of the Kevin incident, it would be there today. Things had happened too late Sunday to be likely written up yesterday. The nurse dropped off a copy and the lunch, such as it was, showed up not too long afterward. Glad Liz brought that food earlier. God, this stuff sucks.
Meanwhile, Hollie finished helping Mary with the project, and the pair shared a frozen pizza while the worked. "Oh crap," Hollie said, "I was supposed to call Liz back and set up whatever it is we're doing tonight."
"She texted me and I didn't respond yet either. We suck."
"Yes, and people are happy because of it," Hollie grinned.
Mary pulled out her phone and fired off a message to Liz. "Hey girlie. Busy with school stuff. Holler l8r. U and Hollie have fun."
"There," she said, "that ought to get me off the hook."
"Cool. I'm gonna head over to see Todd. I want to talk to him before he crashes too. I'll call when things are a go."
"Thanks chica. Love you," Mary said.
"I love you too," Hollie answered. She gathered her things and headed to her car, while punching Liz on speed dial.
She was half way dozing, her book resting on her chest when her phone rang. Jerking back awake, she fumbled with her phone. "Hey..."
"Hey giiiirl! Did I wake you?" Hollie chirped on the line.
Liz yawned, "I fell asleep reading, sorry. Been a crazy couple of days and those pills always make me a lil groggy."
Hollie laughed, knowing full well what those pills were capable of. "I'm on my way to see Todd, I thought afterward we could hook up and get some dinner."
Liz stretched, "Yeah, cool. I saw him earlier, he's doing better, but ready to come home. I got movies, snacks and goodies for when I pick him up in the morning. But I am starved, so hurry it up. I get cranky when I'm hungry."
Hollie laughed loudly, "OK. I'll be quick! Promise. See you soon!"
Todd was watching a reply of Sportscenter when his nurse brought the afternoon pills. 'Here you are, Mr. Farmer. Time for your medication." the perky brunette said.
"Thanks." Todd replied he downed the capsules and reclined, making sure to watch the nurse as she left. She was probably late 30s, older than he usually went for. But, she was nice, helpful, and had a fabulous, uptown rack. Cougar hunting probably had some advantages. The nurse made him think of his joke to Liz about the slutty costumes that they had at X-Mart. He started picturing her in one, then Hollie, then Mary, then his nurse, then a revolving scene of the 4. Little Todd and the twins weren't quite ready for that kind of thinking though, and he winced. Not as bad as yesterday, but still bad enough. Todd hoped Hollie and whoever else planned to visit would hurry up and get there. Once he'd been medicated and ate, he could fight sleep but not for long. He flipped the channels and found himself on CMT again. There was that song he'd been singing and he hated country music What the hell was up with that.
'Hey handsome. You awake?" Hollie knocked on the hospital room door, bearing a pizza and a big grin.
"Hey Hollie," Todd smiled back."Glad you made it. Just in time to catch me before I go on my latest drug trip."
"Great. Got any for me?" she joked."
"No, but ask me tomorrow. I'm blowing this Popsicle stand."
"I heard," Hollie answered. "Liz has already set you up for the homecoming."
"Fantastic. I kidded her about wearing one of the X-mart nurse outfits, but she didn't honor that with a response," Todd said with a mock leer. "How about you?"
"Tell you what" Hollie said with a wink. "If she wears one, I'll wear one."
"OW!" Todd exclaimed. "Sorry. The grapefruits still work but they're tender."
"Poor baby. I'll go easier on them. Do you want a copy of that album? I have it at home." Hollie pointed at the TV. "I didn't picture you as a fan, but you must like it. You were humming it earlier."
"Huh? Oh, that. No, but people keep asking me. But what is important is that box you're carrying."
"Oh this thing," Hollie answered. "Some little bird told me that you like pizza with jalapenos and anchovies. I guess someone has to."
"MMMMMM, gimme. Before I'm too asleep to enjoy it."
Oh so happy with his warm, favorite kind of pizza, Todd scarfed down half of it quickly, before the effects of the pills hit full force and he started to doze off. "Hollie. Thanks for the pie, but I'm about to crater. Can you take it back to the apartment so I have it tomorrow?"
'Sure thing, sweetie. I'll hang around till you go to sleep so I can tuck you in."
Todd smiled and murmured something that sounded like another thank you. One thing's for sure, she thought. They may not always know how to deal with their feelings but they sure know where to get the good drugs. Pulling Todd's blanket up around him, she settled down in the chair by his bed. At least this time she wouldn't have to be sneaking around. Once Todd's breathing got deeper, she called Mary. "Hey girl! Todd's sacked out. You ready?"
"Ready Ethel," Mary replied. 'Starting the video now."
"K. I'll put it on speaker."
Hollie put the phone up beside Todd, and again the sounds of the pleasant trip to the lake played. Soon, Todd was smiling to himself just as Liz had the previous night. A nurse stuck her head in and looked at the scene quizzically. Hollie stepped out of the room with her, and explained "It helps him sleep to have something playing in the background." The nurse shrugged and went on. Hollie returned to the chair. Then she leaned closer and whispered "Todd, it's Liz." It took a couple of tries, but eventually Todd responded.
"Umm hey Lizzzy. Did you bring more fooodd?"
"There's cereal for when you wake up, " Hollie continued with a smile. " We sure had fun on that trip to the lake didn't we."
"Yeahh. It was fun. I saw you naaakeddd"
That's new, "I didn't know that. Did you like it?"
" . You were changing, it was just for a minute. Liz? Can I ask you something?"
"You can always ask me anything Todd. I'll always be honest with you."
"Do you love meee?" He slurred out sleepily.
"Of course I love you."
"I love you too. Are you in love with me?"
"Yes. Is that OK with you? I don't want it to bother you."
"Ss'okay, Liz. I'm glad you told me."
"I'm glad too." Hollie had another thought. "Todd, do you remember kissing me at the dance."