Ryan rolled over his mattress, letting one arm snake to the other side of the bed. Sensing the absence of a familiar form, he opened his eyes to find that Rylie was not lying next to him. He lifted his head to see if she was anywhere in their bedroom, but there was no sign of her. The cat-shaped clock on their wall read 10a.m. Ryan woke up with a start when he saw the time; he rarely slept in.
"Ryle?" He groaned her name. Ryan could feel the muscles in his body ached from just pulling himself to sit on the bed. Missions rarely left him unscathed. Even if he came home injury-free, his tired body strained from the rigorous work he had undergone. It was pleasant to watch his wife being overwhelmed with joy that he did not need any bandages, but it did not deter her from giving him a physical check-up. Rylie sighed knowingly when she found the two bruises; one on his left shoulder, the other on his knee. Not wanting to hear her doleful concern, Ryan caressed her cheek and told her that he would be fine as long as she was around. After he rolled her slowly onto their bed well it's enough to say that they had a satiating night.
"Ryle," Ryan called out her name hoarsely, but not much louder than before. He stood up from the bed and noticed that Rylie had set up a breakfast tray on their square walnut table set for two, a romantic piece of furniture that was given by Nicky and Dawn as their wedding gift. The tray was laden with homemade Danish and a mug of coffee that was getting cold.
Ignoring the food, Ryan put on a pair of pants and headed outside of his bedroom. The house felt empty, even though it was alive with plenty of personal touches since their purchase two months ago. As Ryan went through rooms to find Rylie, he could not help but admired the effort she had gone through to make the house feel like home. Their achievements and small mementos were placed strategically in different corners of each room, and the the recently painted guestroom still reeked of the nights Ryan and Rylie spent online choosing colors - mainly Rylie describing each hue, and Ryan nodding away. Ryan made a mental note to appear more helpful next time.
A sudden noise coming from the guest bathroom startled Ryan's thoughts. He walked towards it to knock, but the door had slowly begun to slide open.
"Ryle?" Ryan was surprised to find her sitting on the bathroom floor, her back against the wall. When she saw him, she hurriedly stood up and pushed her ponytail behind her shoulders.
"Ryan - oh!" Rylie almost stumbled on her own feet, but Ryan caught her sides and steadied her. She shook him off. "How long have been in here? Did you hear anything?"
Ryan was caught by surprise. "That you flushed after using the restroom?"
"Nevermind then. When did you wake up?"
"Just now." He looked at Ryle in confusion. She appeared pale, with beads of sweat clinging to her dewy forehead. "Ryle, what's wrong?"
Rylie sighed. "I'm a little ill - I've been throwing up this morning. It's been so irritating." She pulled a bottle from the sink and drank some water.
"Why are you sick? Are you - " Ryan paused for a little. "Are we - ?"
Rylie looked at him oddly. "What? What are you - oh! Oooh, no - I'm sorry - no it's not, I'm not, pregnant or anything." Rylie felt herself blushed hopelessly. "It's just indigestion, I had a really heavy breakfast really quickly at the hospital this morning and - that's that."
Ryan felt a wave of both relief and disappointment swept over him, but he said no more about the subject. "Well, are you feeling better?"
"No, it's actually been getting worse. I was about to grab my kit in our bathroom -"
"You should have woken me up."
"I didn't want to. I can tell you haven't gotten enough sleep, so I snuck in here to do my business -"
"I still should have been told -"
"-and I gave you a sleeping pill last night."
Ryan paused. "You did?"
"Yeah, don't get mad or anything. I know you hardly get enough rest at work with Zack on your back."
Ryan didn't know how to defy her when she knew the truth. "Why didn't you use our restroom? All your meds are there."
"I'm about to go, I can already feel the nausea at the back of my throat.." Before Rylie could finish what she said, Ryan had lifted her up and carried her through the halls of their house. Rylie made a sound close to a giggle. "This would be more romantic if I do not feel like I need to puke all the time."
Ryan smiled gently at her and lowered her on their bed. "I'll get you a bag, and your kit."
"Thanks sweetie," Rylie sat up and leaned her head against the headboard. "Look inside the med cabinet, can you get me the bottle that says metoclopramide on it?"
It took some time for Ryan to finally manage to read through the small print on each generic-branded bottles to find what Rylie wanted. He brought the small vial of clear liquid along with Rylie's kit box next to the bed.
"'bout time," Rylie said in a matter-of-fact tone. "Sorry, the nausea is getting worse. I need to find -" Rylie fumbled through her kit and took out a small drawer containing syringes. She chose a small one and pick out a needle that was still in sterile packaging.
"Okay," Rylie said to Ryan, "Wear gloves and put the syringe with the needle, carefully." Ryan awkwardly did as he was told as Rylie prepared an alcohol swab. "Done? Alright, suck out 3 cc from the vial."
"I'll do it. Can you get me a tourniquet from the kit?" Rylie put on gloves and took the syringe from Ryan. She jabbed the needle through the rubber lid of the vial and took up a measured amount.
"What's a 'turnicate'?" Ryan interrupted her.
Rylie was tapping the syringe gently to let out bubbles. "It's a, mm - just find a large rubber band in there." When Ryan handed her what she needed, Rylie strapped it on her lower arm tightly. She took the alcohol swab and spread it on the crook of her arm. Rylie then carefully inserted the needle into a visible vein, pulling out a little blood before pushing the contents in. When she finished, she taped the alcohol swab over the area of injection and released the rubber band from her arm.
"That's a tourniquet." Rylie said, holding it up. "It's to temporarily block blood from flowing so I can find a vein."
Ryan shook his head mockingly. "What can I do without you?"
"Well," Rylie said, smiling slightly, as she tidied up the area. "You can go to the hospital. I believe that's what normal people do." She added teasingly.
"Why didn't we go then?"
"Oh, it's quicker here, since I have all the stuff. Plus, I told the hospital we're on an abroad vacation." She added with a smirk.
Ryan raised an eyebrow.
"I had to do it," Rylie answered the unvocalized question. "I wanted four days with a real excuse for them not to call me." Rylie could see Ryan's eyes crinkled in amusement.
"How are you feeling now?" he said.
"It's getting better, slowly. I don't like injecting myself. Makes me feel like I'm shooting up."
Ryan chuckled silently. There was something attractive about her luminescent spirit that Ryan would never tire of. Silently, he reached forward to caress her pale cheek. "I think you need some rest."
Rylie grinned. "What exactly are you implying?" Rylie asked playfully as she moved furtively into their bed.
"I'll cook for us."
"Oh." Rylie felt her insides lurching at the thought. "Sweetie, as thoughtful as that is, I'm not in the mood. The last time I ate, it got me here."
"You always cook for me."
"Yeah, that's how I distract you from your broken bones. I need something else." Rylie smiled and pulled his hand towards her.
Ryan acquiesced at the request. He gently brought himself next to her and wrapped one arm around her waist. They immediately leaned against each other, and Ryan felt his stubble grazed over Rylie's damp forehead. He kissed her long, light-colored hair. "I'm sorry you're sick." He murmured.
"Don't be, I'm already feeling better," Rylie said, snuggling closer to Ryan. "Its nice to have you looking after me."
"I'm only doing what you asked me to."
"You're still a huge help; it feels worse when I'm alone."
Ryan felt a pang of disappointment. He pulled Rylie's warm body closer towards his. After a few minutes of silence, Rylie looked up to see Ryan staring into a distant corner. "You okay?" she asked.
"Yeah," Ryan nodded and looked back into her avid sky-blue eyes. "Do you want to watch a movie or something?"
Ten minutes later, with a movie turned on and enough water to keep hydrating Rylie for the next five hours, the two sat on their bed, Ryan's arms wrapped around his wife. As they watched the movie together, Ryan's mind was elsewhere. He silently vowed to fulfill his promise to Rylie that he made sometime ago: to change their lives so they could finally lived as a normal married couple. It was time.