This is a work of fiction.
Over the next few days, Mercy gets worse, and then she starts to get better.
I spend the time bringing her water and then soup, cleaning, and working on paintings.
I don’t ask her about Eva. I also don’t ask her if she wants to call anybody. I’ve seen a phone charging on the nightstand, so if she wants to call somebody, she can.
It’s the second Tuesday since she’s been here, and I’m starting to think that maybe I’m not going to get sick after all.
I’m just getting out of the shower, when I hear her scream.
There’s no time for me to dress, so I wrap my towel around myself, and bolt into the kitchen.
Mercy is standing there, pale and shaking.
“What happened? Are there spiders in here or something?”
I blush as I realize how unfriendly my remark sounded.
“Sorry. What’s wrong?”
She points to one of the cupboards.
“I wanted to surprise you. You know, to clean up a bit to . . . thank you for helping me . . . so I looked in the cupboards for cleaning supplies. But I found dog food in there.”
“I don’t have a dog. A man down the street offered me a puppy, and I bought food, not realizing I would have to wait, but it’s still too soon for me to get one. Come and sit down and I’ll get you a glass of water.”
She gives me a faint smile, and I go to the cupboard to get a glass.
As I reach for it, the towel slips off of me, and now I’m completely naked.
“Sorry! I’ll go get dressed.”
“It’s okay. You have a nice body.”
I almost choke on a surprised laugh.
I’ve never been naked in front of a girl before.
I’m too shy to give you the details, but let’s just say that Mercy and me have a great morning.