~8~

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I can't really say much for the happenings of Tuesday and most of Wednesday. Dr. Sean made me stay in bed for most of both days. When I argued that the twins were coming in today for their language lesson I thought that he'd have to let me go, but he surprised me by saying, in Japanese of all things, that he would be thrilled to cover for me.

"Are you hungry?" Luke asks, breaking me out of my sulking. "I've got some cheesy pasta ready, and Doc said that you could try eating if you're willing."

I pout at him and beg, "Please let me eat in the dining room." I'm desperate to get out of Kota's bed, and I think that Luke might just give in, so I push. "I promise not to tell North about the bag of gummy-worms I saw you eating earlier."

I feel so pathetic, stooping to blackmail.

He eyes me warily and nods. "I guess, but promise me that you'll tell me if you start to feel ill again, okay?"

I can feel my face light up, and I grin. "Thank you, Luke!" I shove the covers back and jump out of bed.

I wobble and Luke places a steadying hand on my waist. "Whoa there, Sugar. Take it slow." He smirks at me. "I know that my cooking is good, but I promise that it'll wait the extra few minutes."

I chuckle and step away from him. "I just needed a second, silly. See," I do a little pirouette with ease and dance down the hallway, "I'm fine!"

I really do feel better. Luke joins me at the table and we share the delicious meal he'd prepared, and I'm delighted to find zucchini and cauliflower in the pasta dish. He has to step away to take a call, and I hear him say, "Don't worry, bro. I'll cover for you at the diner. Stay with the target."

He doesn't say anything about it when he comes back, so neither do I. We joke about North while we split a large chocolate brownie, and I'm on my last bite when Sean breezes in and plops down in a chair across from me.

"I don't know how you do this, Pookie!" He drops his head forward and bangs it lightly on the table. "I swear, I spent half of the lesson trying to keep them from hitting one another, and I had to bribe them with teaching them swear words in order to get them to behave."

"You didn't!" I gasp. I'm going to be in so much trouble!

"I did, but don't worry. They're tame ones that shouldn't really offend anyone, but I had to do something!" He looks up and smiles. "I've got to say, I'm impressed with what you've already taught them though. They were much further along than I would have expected at this stage. How do you make the little monsters listen?" He runs his hands through his sandy curls. "At least you look like you're feeling better."

I fold my arms across my chest, angry with the way he handled the twins. "They're respectful for me, Sean. I didn't have any problems with them. And yes, I'm feeling better."

Luke slides a plate of food in front of Sean. "Think about it, Doc. How would you have behaved if you had a teacher that looked like Sang when you were fourteen?"

They both stare at me making me feel squirmy in my lower abdomen. I flush and Luke's mouth opens slightly on a quick inhale. Sean's pupils dilate, and he slowly licks his lips. I look away, embarrassed to be the subject of their scrutiny.

"You're right, I'd have been a model student, hot for teacher and all."

Wait, what?

I feel the blush on my face ratchet up from rosy to blistering, and I take refuge in a too large gulp of water that has me sputtering.

It breaks the tension, and when I catch my breath, we're all back to joking with each other.

I offer to clean up, but Sean vetoes the idea. "Listen to me, I am a doctor, you know!" He wags his finger in my face sternly, but there's a glimmer in his eye. "I'll let you sit on the couch if you promise to be good, but I absolutely draw the line at any sort of cleaning!" He shudders and Luke laughs. He offers me his elbow, suddenly every bit the southern gentleman, and escorts me to the living room.

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