Peggy rolled over, staring out the window. She sighed and blew her nose. She was beginning to drift off to sleep when she heard someone fidgeting with her doorknob. She fought to sit up, reaching for the gun in her nightstand. Her arms shook slightly as she held it out towards the doorway.
A blonde head bounced into the room. Peggy sagged back against the pillows, dropping her gun back into the drawer.
“Hello, Angie,” she croaked.
“Peg! I didn’t think you were home,” Angie hurried to explain. “I just dropped by to return your shoes. You left them behind in my room last night.”
Peggy made a sound in between a sigh and a wheeze. It deepened into a cough and she struggled to sit up. “Thank you, Angie,” she managed.
“Oh, gosh, English, are you all right? You sound awful.”
Peggy waved her handkerchief. “I’m all right, Angie. It's just a cold.”
“Oh, English.” Angie dropped Peggy’s shoes on the ground and rushed over.
A moment later Peggy was up, pinning Angie’s wrists behind her.
“Peggy, what the hell?” Angie asked over her shoulder. “I was only trying to see if you had a fever.”
Peggy’s shoulders sagged. She let go of Angie’s wrist and stepped back. She wiped her nose before crossing her arms over her chest. “I’m sorry.”
“No kidding!” Angie turned to face Peggy. “Peg, you just grabbed me with no warning. I was just trying to check if you have a fever.”
“I said, I’m sorry, Angie,” Peggy muttered. She sighed. “I’m sorry.”
“Oh God,” Angie said. “I didn't mean to yell at you, English.”
“No, no, I deserved it,” Peggy said to her feet.
“You didn’t,” Angie insisted. She reached out and wrapped her arms around Peggy.
Peggy stiffened. “Angie, I’m ill. Standing in such close proximity to a person with illness is not going to cure me. And it is certainly not going to improve yours.”
“I don’t care,” Angie said. “I’m gonna hug you if I want, and I’m gonna take care of you.”
“Angie, you don’t--”
“Peg, I want to.”
Peggy paused, searching the wall for answers. “All right.” She shifted, hugging Angie back.
“Good.” Angie rubbed Peggy’s back, then released her. She moved around Peggy to straighten the blankets and pull back the covers.
“Hop in,” she instructed.
Peggy crawled in, pulling her blankets around her. Angie finished tucking her in, fluffing the pillows behind her head. Angie hesitated, then kissed Peggy on the forehead. Peggy smiled, closing her eyes.
“I’m going to make tea,” Angie said softly. “Have you eaten yet, Peg?”
Peggy shook her head. “I haven’t, but you needn’t stay. I am capable of looking after myself.”
Angie smirked, the smile teasing its way out of her mouth. “No offense, English, but I doubt that. Anyways, I don’t go in to work until three today, so I’m yours till then.”
“Now stay in bed and I’ll fix something up for you,” Angie ordered. Peggy raised her eyebrows, but obeyed. She blew her nose again, watching Angie bustle about in the kitchenette. She looked lovely with the morning sunshine bouncing off her hair. She grinned impulsively at Peggy every so often. Peggy smiled back.
While the water boiled, Angie slipped out of the room. She brought back a tray.
Peggy sat up, coughing, and Angie placed the tray on her lap. “Thank you,” she said hoarsely.
“Any time, English,” Angie beamed. She went round and sat on the other side of the bed, tucking her legs beneath her.
After eating the toast and the fruit that Angie had brought, Peggy took a sip of tea, cradling the porcelain cup in her hands. “Angie, this was lovely.”
She shook her head. “Aw, never mind it, Peg. It’s what friends are for.”
“Well, you are a marvelous friend.”
Angie bit her lip, then scooted forward to throw her arms around Peggy. The tray bounced with her movement. “You’re not so bad, yourself, English,” she said fiercely.
Peggy laughed, phlegm turning it into a cough. Peggy placed her hand on her chest, trying to restore her breathing. Peggy said at last, “I barely measure up.”
“Maybe you’re no happy-go-lucky bundle of sunshine, Peg,” Angie said. She busied herself with the tray. “But I never met a better woman.”
She stood, hurrying to take the dishes away. Peggy watched her, considering. Angie turned to go, saying, “Sleep well, English.”
Peggy croaked, “Angie.” She cleared her throat and tried again. “Angie.”
“Would you be willing to stay with me? I could probably use a little company.”
A soft smile touched Angie’s face. “Sure, English.” She walked over to Peggy’s bed, taking off her own shoes, and climbed next to Peggy. Peggy settled her head in Angie’s lap and fell asleep to Angie’s soft singing.