The nurse looked at him skeptically. "You're his father."
Randy nodded. "Yes, I am. Could you help him now please?" The nurse sighed and started walking. Randy rolled his eyes and followed. The nurse sat down in front of a computer and started typing.
"OK, sir, his full name please?"
"Ryan James McGill."
"Date of birth?"
Randy was racking his brain. 'Did Beth tell me?' The skeptical look resurfaced on the nurse's face, but she was caught off guard by a new voice.
"His birthday is January 4, 1999." Alex told her.
"And you are?" The nurse asked.
"His mother." She asked a few more questions and led Randy and Alex to a room to wait for a doctor. Once seated, Alex turned to Randy. "What crawled up her ass?"
"She knows I lied to her." Alex took RJ from Randy and gave him a questioning look.
"What did you say?"
"That I'm his father." A surge of emotions ran through Alex, but she remained calm.
"No harm no foul." Randy was about to question that when the doctor came in.
"Hi, I'm Doctor Marsden. What's the problem tonight?" Alex tried to sit RJ up and explain what was going on.
"He has a fever, he's been unresponsive, his gr...his," she said, pointing to Randy, "mother watched him today and said that he was listless, not acting like himself."
The doctor made a few notes on RJ's chart. "And when did you notice the symptoms got worse?"
"I put him to bed around 12. I woke up a while later with a strange feeling that something was wrong. I checked on him and noticed that he was burning up."
Dr. Marsden gave a small smile. "Mother's intuition." He stood and leaned into the hall calling for a guerney. "We'll run some tests, but I think he'll be fine. I'll be back in a bit."
"He seemed fine yesterday." Randy put his arm around her and softly kissed her forehead. They sat in silence for awhile until the doctor came back.
"Ryan has a nasty case of the flu, and is extremely dehydrated. He'll need to stay overnight, but he should be able to go home in the morning. If either of you start to feel bad in the next couple days, drink orange juice, take tylenol, and get plenty of rest. Ryan can return to school at the beginning of next week, I'll get you a slip for that. The nurses should be able to handle any questions you might have, and I'll check in with you before I leave for the night. I'll assume you're staying?" Alex nodded and murmured a thanks as the doctor left. A nurse came in, changed RJ's IV bag, and handed some papers to Alex.
"These are just the results of the tests, which were all negative. They'll be taking Ryan upstairs to pediatrics as soon as possible." She smiled reassuringly at Alex and Randy before walking back out.
Now that they knew everything would be okay, the tension in the room slowly dissipated. Randy couldn't resist the opportunity to tease Alex. "Overreact much Al?"
"Not where RJ is concerned."
"OK, but do you remember the time you thought I had mono because I took a nap two days in a row?"
"It was going around."
"Or when you said Becky had asthma because she couldn't catch her breath at track practice?"
"And what about when you were sure I had an incurable disease because I couldn't stop itching?"
"And it was the chicken pox!"
Alex finally gave in to herself and put her hand across Randy's mouth to shut him up. He started to mumble something and she pointed towards RJ. "He's awake." She removed her hand and sat on RJ's bed. "Hi sweetie."
"Hi Mommy," he croaked. She handed him some water, and he took a big drink. "I wanna go home now."
"I'm sorry baby, not until the morning." Randy came around to the other side and sat down.
RJ gave him a pitiful look. "Hi Randy." Alex gave a small laugh.
"Someone must be feeling better if they can pout like that." A nurse came in to take RJ upstairs, so Alex and Randy decided to go to the all-night cafeteria while he was being settled. As they sat down, Alex gave Randy an irritated look. "You know, we were six when that whole chicken pox thing happened. Anyone could have mistakened it for an incurable disease. So there."
Randy had to laugh. "Whoa, thought you were going to stick your tongue out with that one."
"I am way more mature than that."
"I am." They ate in silence and went back upstairs a little while later. "Randy, if you want to go home I can get someone to pick us up in the morning."
He looked a bit offended. "Al, I wouldn't abandon you here."
She shook her head. "I know, I just thought you might be tired, that's all."
"It's fine Al. Besides, I was hoping to con you into going with me to my doctors appointment next week, so I was going to spend the rest of the night figuring out how to."
"You could just ask, you know. But as long as I don't have to work, I'll go. Which doctor?"
"The one for my arm. But I don't know, I have this slight ache in my side, so I could have appendicitis, and an urge to sneeze, so maybe a cold..." Alex sighed. It was going to be a long night.