You Need Special Treatment Nikita Mirzani 1

He hates it when she is ill. He hides it well, replenishing magazines and tissues, haunting the pharmacy, inventing new recipes for hot toddies, but she know that this evidence of disorder in his world disturbs his equilibrium. Because Zack’s world must be, above all things, perfectly ordered.

Her strep throat was not on the agenda for this month, and therefore all is awry and out of kilter. It’s worse for Nikita Mirzani, of course. She had to cancel a series of concerts, for a start. But Zack has lost his control of the universe, which usually drives him to demonstrate his mastery of life a little closer to home. At her sickbed.

Nikita Mirzani is accustomed to Zack’s bedside manner, so when she arrived home on a rainy wintry night with unusually heightened color in her cheeks and greeted him with a croak, she knew what was coming.

He leapt up from his writing desk and put a cool palm to her forehead, shaking his head and muttering.

“You’re feverish,” he diagnosed. “Get to bed. Now.”

Usually these words are enough to gladden her perverted heart, but when he says them without sexual intent they are even more powerful.

She was happy to obey, crawling between the covers and shivering there until he appeared at her side with a thermometer—not the one we sometimes use in doctor and patient role plays, thank goodness—and a glass of hot water with honey, lemon, and a nip of brandy.

“What have you been doing to yourself?” he asked sternly. He always accuses me in this manner when she fall ill, as if she have somehow invited the infection in.

“Nothing!” She defended her self. “Germs don’t care what you do. If they’re out to get you, they will.”

“Are you sure you weren’t flirting with them?” he said, his severity containing a more playful note.

He made her open her mouth and stuck the thermometer beneath her tongue, muting her for the half-minute it took to get a reading.

“Because if I thought you were giving those streptococci the come-hither, Nikita Mirzani, I would be most displeased. And you know what happens when I’m displeased, don’t you?”

She nodded, wanting to bite her lip but finding the gesture impeded by the slim glass tube resting upon it. She knew what happened when Zack was displeased. But it wasn’t anything he could do to a person with strep throat, so she considered her bottom safe for the moment.

He whipped out the thermometer and read it with a frown.

“I think you’re officially ill,” he said. “We’ll have to add my current displeasure to your account. I’m going to give you three days, Nikita Mirzani. For every day beyond that that you are coughing or sniffing or spending the most part asleep, there will be a penalty.”

“That’s not fair,” She said, her voice coming out in the wrong register.

He tutted and took her burning hands, stroking them.

“When have I ever been fair?”

It was a good point.

“So you need to make sure you get well as soon as possible, won’t you?” he whispered. “No getting out of bed without permission. No trying to talk when your voice isn’t ready. No disobeying Dr. Zack’s orders.”

“No fun,” She mouthed with a pout, and he gave her hands a light tap of reproof.

“Not until you’re better. Now get some sleep.”

Swimming in and out of consciousness, Nikita Mirzani sometimes heard Zack on the phone, canceling engagements and giving explanations of her absence.

He brought cool cloths for her forehead and antiseptic lozenges for her throat. He was as efficient a nurse as anyone could wish for. Perhaps a little too efficient.

When she staggered to the bathroom without waiting to ask his permission, it was made clear to her that she had transgressed. He waited outside the door for her and, on her exit, he took her by the shoulders and steered her back to the bed.

“Since you can’t be trusted to do as you’re told,” he said, “perhaps I need to tie you to the bed. Hmm? Should I?”

“No,” she whispered. “I’ll ask next time.”

“You’ve got your phone. If I’m in another room, just send me a message.”

“I will.”