Sick Day, Part One
She jumped a little when she heard his key in the lock, yanking her hand out of her panties and leaning forward to click the tabs closed as quickly and quietly as she could. It hadn’t been that long already, had it? She checked the clock–12:30. No, he must have just come home for lunch. Since when did he come home for lunch? She grabbed the quilt off the back of the couch, pulled it over herself, and tried to look tired.
“Still asleep?” he called softly from the entryway, but before she answered he was rounding the corner from the entryway and smiling when he saw her face. She offered a little wan smile of her own and stretched out her arm. “I was trying to nap on the couch,” she improvised, “but I wasn’t sleepy enough. You didn’t have to come home!”
“What, and leave you to suffer through a sick day all alone?” He walked over and squeezed her hand, just as she glanced down at the computer screen and noticed that–oh shit–she’d forgotten she had a window minimized. A window she’d intended to come back to. With evidence that would definitely, definitely give her away.
He kissed the part in her hair and touched her forehead. “Hmm, you do still feel a little feverish,” he murmured, and looked carefully at her face. “And flushed. But you’re damp, too.” She tried to control her reaction to that word as he brushed his thumb over her cheeks and temples. “See? So maybe your fever is breaking.”
“Yeah, I feel a little better,” she managed, trying to keep her eyes off the incriminating laptop screen. Why hadn’t she just shut it? Dumb!
“Did you take an Advil already?” He said. “I can fix you something to eat. Comfort food. Peanut butter and banana sandwich, maybe.” He smiled again, and she nodded, attempting to express frailty, innocence, affection and exhaustion at the same time. When he went in the kitchen she could close the window and be home free. Any second now.
But when he got up, he reached down and picked up the laptop, and she swallowed a sound of startled protest.
“No wonder you couldn’t sleep, if you were staring at a screen,” he chuckled. “Checking your email, huh? I know it’s hard to control that impulse.” He started to lean down and set it on the coffee table. She held her breath. “Hmm.” He paused; she bit her lip. “And… checking tumblr too, I see.”
FUCK. How did he always know what she was trying to hide? “Oh, is that still open?” she mumbled. “I must have forgotten…”
“Still open and still quite active,” he said dryly. “As is this chat room, I see. And a couple of your favorite stories.” He turned back, his mouth quirked, a tiny glint of dangerous amusement dancing in his eyes. “Well. So not feeling too sick to play after all, are we?”
She couldn’t meet his gaze.
“So now I begin to understand your flush,” he said thoughtfully. “And the dampness of your brow. And elsewhere…?” He gathered her blanket and pulled it down her body; embarrassed, she drew herself up into a little ball, but his strong, cool fingers pulled her legs down and open, exposing the evidence of her morning activities. “Yes. I see.”
“I was just–” she started to protest, but couldn’t actually think of what she wanted to follow that up with. “Trying to doze off?”
“Mm hmm. I count at least three infractions. First: shirking, taking a sick day when in fact I don’t think you were ever feeling sick at all.” He watched for a sign of protest; everything she thought of to say sounded so weak and transparent, and the blush was creeping up her ears to her hairline. “Second: playing with yourself without permission. Third: lying to me about both of the above. Am I wrong?”
Pulse pounding, throat tight, she said “I really did feel bad. This morning. I wasn’t lying.”
“But you’re better now, yes? And you lied about it after the fact, which renders that irrelevant.” He stood, pulling off his blazer, unbuttoning and rolling up his sleeves. “I think, young lady, that we’re going to have to establish how you feel in a more concrete manner…”