I pounded on the door again, trying to keep the humor out of my voice.
"Bun, baby open the damn door."
"Go away, Bas!" she growled.
She'd called, in tears, telling me that she'd gotten the chicken pox from Heather's son, Tevin. When I offered to come over, she refused.
"I've already had them," I'd told her. But her insistence on me staying away was more for vanity reasons.
"I don't want you to see me like this," she'd whined. "I look awful."
That didn't deter me from staying away.
Whether my woman knew it or not, she needed me. She was just too damn stubborn, trying to be tough ass, 'Cut-Throat' Carmen trying to take care of herself. But it was hard as hell to be cut throat when your body was covered in a rash that itched like nobody's business.
I turned to find Donatello at his door and smiled. Over the last few months of dating Carmen, I'd gotten to know Donatello a lot more. We'd had dinner at his house several times and we'd even gone to see his opera again. I behaved myself the second time we went – at the opera anyway.
"Hey, Donnie," I said.
"Is everything all right?" he asked.
"Our girl's got the chicken pox," I said. "And she refuses to open the door and let me in."
Donatello chuckled as he headed toward me.
"Well then lucky for you... I have a key," he said, sifting through his key ring. "She gave me one so I can water her plants whenever she goes out of town on business."
Donatello unlocked the door to Carmen's apartment and I thanked him, patting him on the shoulder before grabbing the shopping bags I'd brought with me and going into the house.
"Carmen!" I chastised, once I closed the door.
She was on the couch, wincing as she scratched her arms.
"You know you're not supposed to be doing that," I said, walking over to her.
"And you're not supposed to be here," she said, giving me some major side eye. "I'm taking my damn key back from Donnie."
"No you're not," I replied with a grin. I placed the bags down near the couch and sat down on the coffee table, facing Carmen.
"Shit, Bun," I said, brushing the back of my hand against her forehead. "You're burning up, baby."
I stood and grabbed one of the bags I'd brought with me and headed for her bathroom.
I filled the tub with cold water and then emptied a packet of oatmeal bath treatment I'd bought. Once the tub was full, I went back into the living room and scooped Carmen off of the couch.
"Come on Bun," I said, carrying her to the room. I placed her down on her feet and stripped her out of her clothes before picking her up again and easing her into the tub.
She let out a sigh of relief and laid her head back against the bath pillow. I could tell the oatmeal was soothing against her skin.
"Better?" I asked.
"So much better," she moaned. She opened her eyes and titled her head to look my way. "Thank you."
"Even though you didn't want me to come in," I teased.
"And see me like... this. I'm hideous, Bas."
"You're beautiful, Bun. Scabs and all."
She splashed some of the water at me and I jumped out of the way, laughing.
"You know, you could still leave."
I shook my head, squatting down beside her and brushing her hair off of her forehead.. "Nah, I'm not going anywhere."
"What about the bookstore?"
"Rye's got it," I said shrugging. "Getting you better is my main concern right now."
She smiled and sank further into the water, letting out another sigh.
Half an hour later, I helped her out of the tub, and lathered her body with an oatmeal paste I'd made. I got the recipe from Charlotte, who'd gone through the whole chicken pox ordeal with both of my nieces.
"I have to take the medicine my doctor prescribed me," Carmen said, as she got into the bed.
"I've got it," I said, grabbing it, along with a bottle of water off of the nightstand. I handed her the pills and water and she quickly took them. When she was done she laid back down, her eyes filled with fatigue.
"Get some rest, Bun," I said, and she nodded. In no time, she'd drifted off and I went into the living room.
I turned on the TV, aimlessly clicking through the channels. Who would have ever thought that I'd be taking care of a woman like this, I thought to myself with a shake of my head.
My phone rang and I picked it up off of the coffee table and answered it.
"How's she doing?" my sister asked.
"She still has a fever, but she says her skin is feeling better now that she's taken an oatmeal bath and has that paste on. Thanks again for the recipe."
"Not a problem little bro," she said. "I can't talk long. I'm taking Ava to soccer practice."
"Kiss my niece for me," I said, and then hung up.
I went back to channel surfing and eventually I ended up dozing off on the couch. By the time I woke up, it was dark out.
I stretched and then got up and went to check on Carmen. Her fever hadn't gone down much and that worried me slightly. Contracting chicken pox as an adult was sometimes more severe than when gets got it. But I prayed that wasn't the case for Carmen.
I ran her another oatmeal bath and carried her to the tub. I also gave her some ibuprofen to help get her fever down. I hated seeing her sick.
Thankfully, her fever broke a couple of days later. I had to stay on her ass about scratching, but the oatmeal baths and paste help relieve that quite a bit.
"Are you sure you're going to be okay?" I asked, as she walked me to the door. I'd run out of fresh clothes and since she was on the mend, she insisted that I go home, as well as swing by the bookstore and see how things were going.
"I'll be fine, Bas," she said. "I'm feeling so much better thanks to you."
I nodded and she rose on her tip toes to kiss me, then hesitated. I wiped away her apprehension when I pulled her into my arms and pressed my lips to hers. I hadn't kissed her in like a week. It had nearly driven me insane.
She sighed against my mouth and I pulled away slowly.
"I'll be back later on this evening to check on you," I promised, as I opened the door and she nodded, giving me that pretty little smile, before I took off.