Trace of Ink
By Zale_Valrez
Date: June 2, 2022
Ch. 17Fever

Chapter 16: Fever
"Oh! I do, fantastic. And look! It's nine pm here when you're supposed to be home at six." He flashed a fake smile that made him more sarcastic. "Get in," Fera was far from afraid, she only raised her eyebrow and got in while not letting Nick's hand go.
"Children, let me remind you that it is not safe to play at night, especially you Fairly." He glared at her through his rare view mirror. He started the engine and drove off. While Nick felt her annoyance, he regularly glance at her and the man who was driving. Different theories flashed in his head like he might be her brother or relative.
"You're not my father, Fred." She lost her mood when he called her Fairly, Nick wasn't dumb not to realize it was her name. Nick bit his tongue to lessen the awkward feeling.
"Cause he's dead and I am left to a hard-headed daughter, I was fucking tired from work an-"
"Enough!" she cut him off. They both knew that it wasn't safe for them to talk about it in front of Nick. He might find some information he wasn't supposed to know. Fred on the other hand purposely did that to warn Fera. He aims to make her realize what mess she was getting into, growing close to Nick wasn't safe for her. She was realizing it was what Fred want.
However, Nick fell into deep thoughts and choose to keep quiet. And Fera's happiness was quickly replaced with annoyance and pain. After a quiet ride, she got out and stormed to her apartment. Frederick was following her and it was Nick who got out last. He closed the door and climb up to their floor. He saw Fred enter her apartment before entering his.
"Take a bath," he ordered while he went to her kitchen.
"I"m not a kid," she remark as she got into her bathroom.
"Well, that's not what I saw." He replied before she could shut the door. He cooked her dinner and prepared it. Once Fera got out and finished taking a bath, he was already eating.
"Eat up," he authoritatively spoke and Fera rolled her eyes in reply. She hate being told what to do and Fred knew it and he was doing it purposely.
"What are you doing here?" He made her fried rice and fried fish. She started eating with him with a frowned face.
"I too didn't know, as far as I remember I was lying on my bed ready to go when Lora told me that she couldn't reach your phone so I called you and you weren't answering, I was hell out worried about what happened and had gone search the whole barrio only to found you in the park playing under the rain like a child."
"And how am I supposed to reply?" she stuck a full spoon of rice in her mouth. He noticed her raspy voice and stared at her.
"You might say, I'm sorry I won't do it again?"
"Ha ha ha, what a joke." Her sarcastic remark never bother him, all his concern was the situation she was in. His face turned into a serious expression, he put his spoon and fork down and wiped his lips using a table napkin.
"You seemed so happy with him," his voice was oddly calm no hint of sarcasm and annoyance. She stopped and drop her spoon, she refuse to speak a word and stared at her plate. She leaned on her chair and crossed her arm, sending him a don't you dare gesture.
"I have never seen you that happy, you like him." She lift her gaze to him and watched him drink his water. "I know you, but be careful, falling in love stab harder than any kind of pain." He wiped his mouth and looked straight at her. "Do it your way, but I won't be saving your ass if you ever mess up." He spoke and stood up, he went straight to her door, and before opening the door he stopped. "I am not saying you don't deserve to be happy, you deserve all the happiness, but are you ready for the commitment this requires?"
"Fred why are you so manipulative?" a broken voice came out and he turned to her.
"Am I? Why don't you ask yourself why?" he said and left Fera alone. She turned to her plate, " he might poison me," she whispered and pouted yet a tear fell. She gripped her wooden table and let her emotion escape.
"I only want to be happy."
She lost her appetite and went to her room, she sat down at her study table. She grabbed some tissue and sneeze. She wandered her gaze around the corner and found her paintings hanging on her wall. Her dark paintings on her white walls reflected how sorrowful she was, even her poems screamed with pain.
From laughing hard as she could on top of her lungs to crying silently alone in her room. "Can't I be happy for a whole long day?" she mentally ranted. She knew every word that Fred had spoken was true. She couldn't let this happen, she might lose her peace. The peace she asked for, she needs time to break away from that fabricated haven she was in. She lives full of pretensions. And growing close to someone was a threat, they might find her real identity, her life was full of controversy and trouble.
The moment she lay on her bed, it was a familiar feeling filled her heart. It was the usual heavy and suffocating pain. The dark aura had returned to her room. She was home again.
HEADACHE MONISHED HER, as she opened her eyes. It was bright and the sun was up. Instead of getting up she cover herself with a blanket and closed her eyes once again. Her throat was hurting as her head. She couldn't bring herself to move even an inch. While her skin was burning hot. Her drowse had taken over once again and she obligingly accepted it.
"Fera!" a faint voice called her out followed by a loud knock, she cringe her browse and opened her left eye. Someone was knocking aggressively but she just couldn't afford to stand. She gripped her blanket more and buried herself in her bed, she was shaking hard and her whole system was not feeling well.
After a few moments she heard some steps approaching, she thought that someone had broken into her apartment yet she stayed in her position. Soon she heard some metal tickling and the sound of her door going open.
"Fera, dear?" a melodic motherly voice resounded, she felt it got near and some warm thing touched her forehead. "Jesus! You are burning hot," she heard it speak. "Go get warm water," she said and it was followed by rush steps, "Don't forget to grab a hand towel."
"Okay," a low voice answered.
"Fera, dear are you awake?" a soft voice came from the left side of her bed. Soft touches were planted on her skin, and she responded with a low moan. "Nick! Where are you?" she called out. Nick entered the room with the warm water and a hand towel. And Mama Tes started wiping her arm, face, and body with that towel damp with the warm water.
She stuck a thermometer in her armpit. After wiping her body she checked the thermometer, the fine feeling made her fall asleep again, while the other two in the room were worried.
"40 degrees celsius, what did this lady do yesterday?" Mama Tes asked. "I'll cook for her to get better, please look after her for a while," and Nick instantly nodded. He took a chair next to Fera's bed and watched her sleep. Mama Tes didn't miss the worried look on Nick's face before heading to her kitchen.

"I'M SORRY, I FORGOT THAT you might end up like this." He whispered in her ear. Guilt had taken over his system. While he was watching her peacefully sleeping, he remember the conversation of her with the guy named Fred. Her name was Fairly according to him, why would she use the name, Fera? And who was that man to her?
Those questions kept bothering his thoughts. "Is she hiding something?" As a curious person like Nick, it was difficult for him to set aside those questions.

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