Penny stood at the stove, stirring chicken noodle soup. Chris was in a high char with a coloring book, a crayon in each hand as he colored the ocean scene. It was one if the few things able to keep him occupied for more than an hour while she helped Becky.
"Be good Chris." Penny ran her fingers through his hair, a quiet grunt the only acknowledgment he heard or felt her.
The soup was still steaming when Penny brought it to Becky. The woman slowly pushed herself up, book tumbling off the bed.
"Great," Becky sighed, wiping the sweat from her brow. "Probably lost my place."
Penny set the tray on Becky's lap and felt her forehead. "You don't feel as hot, but let me take your temperature before you eat." She glanced at the book before she reached for the thermometer. "Do you want me to help you find your place?"
"No." Becky pulled the pillow up so it rested between her shoulders and the wooden headrest. "To be fair, I'm not sure where I left off. And I can barely read anyway."
"Are you having trouble with your vision?" Penny chipped Becky's face, pressing the thermometer against her left cheek. "Is it blurry, or-"
"I can see just fine." Becky put her hands on Penny's wrists and pulled at them. The pressure on her cheeks lifted. "Its just... I have a hard time comprehending things."
"Phew." Penny relaxed as she slipped a sleeve over the thermometer tip. "Sick brain is normal. Open." When Becky obliged Penny stuck it under Becky's tongue. "Would you find it more enjoyable if I read to you?" With her lips around the thermometer she didn't give a response.
Penny grabbed the book, studying the cover. Snack dab in the middle was the popular way to depict a Martian, or at least, half of one. The other half of the body looked like any average Joe, well, anyone with a permanent scowl.
"Did the alien bug catch you too?"
Beep beep. Becky pulled the thermometer out before Penny.
“Haven’t quite broken the fever yet.” Becky sighed.
Penny took the thermometer and stood up with the book tucked under her arm. “That’s okay, we are making progress.”
“Thanks Penny.” Becky pulled the tray closer as Chris started crying. “I know it’s a lot between Chris and I.”
“It’s fine.” Penny tossed the sleeve and set the book and thermometer back on Becky’s nightstand. “I think the hardest part is I just started to wean Chris. And he’s not impressed with the baby food he’s tried to far.” Penny chuckled. “I’ll try to get a video of the faces he makes while eating. It cracks me up, and then my laughter offends him every time.”
“Ray would love to see it too.” Becky slurped up some soup.
“I’ll bet. Let me know when you’re done. I have a baby to feed.”
Word count: 486