I continued to cough painfully as a laid in the bed. “Dad!” I called. “Dad!”
I heard the blond run up the stairs and come through the door. “Yes Sweetheart?” he asked, his green eyes looking at me worriedly and his thick brows knit together.
“Dad, aren’t there more cough drops or something?” I asked, my voice rough from coughing.
“Right,” he stated. “Alfred, where are the cough drops? Your sister needs them!”
“Those were cough drops?” I heard him ask. “I thought they were mints! No wonder they tasted so bitter!”
I banged my head on the bed and groaned. “I’ll get some myself,” I mumbled as I started to leave the bed, but dad pushed me back.
“Your mother said that you need rest.” he reminded me.
I chuckled a little, ending it with a cough. “If it’s so important,” I stated. “then why did he leave me to die!”
Dad just looked at me. “You’re not dying,” he said flatly. “And, he has a job to go to. We still need money, so we can afford the equipment for you and still put food on the table.”
“You have a job too,” I reminded. “You, Alfred, Matthew, and Peter have the same job as him, being a country.” I pointed out.
“I’m sure the countries of America, Canada, and England would be fine without us for some time,” he stated. “But the country of France can’t.”
“What about Sealand?” I asked as he gave me yet another look.
“Sealand isn’t even a country.” he stated as he took the thermometer my “mother” left on the bedside table and popped it in my mouth. I pouted my lips to where I saw the thermometer go up and up until it beeped to indicate that it reached my temperature. He took the stick back and looked at it worriedly. “Forty-one degrees.” he recorded.
I looked at him. “No way am I that cold! That thermometer is so off! That’s near freezing, and I’m burning!” I yelled as I entered another coughing fit.
He just gave me a look and returned to the thermometer. “Your brothers are just confusing you. Everything in Europe is Celsius, and this is over a hundred degrees Ferinhight.” he explained as he smacked my back lightly.
Before I go too far in the story, let me just talk about my family for a little bit. My father is the personification of England (human name: Arthur), and all he does all day is scold my oldest brother and fuss over me for reasons I still have yet to find. My “mother” is the personification of France (human name: Francis). The reason I call him my mother is that he’s just so…feminine. He also fusses over me, and that level skyrockets when I get a medical condition of some sort. There was this one time when I broke my leg and…wait…off topic. Alfred and Matthew are twins and my older brothers. If they didn’t get different haircuts, I could never tell them apart, but, as you most likely figured out, Matthew took all the brains when they were born (and the coolest eye color). Then there’s Peter, my little brother. He’s tried for most of his life to be independent of my parents (mostly my dad). He’s more a rebel than anything. If mom and dad tell him to do one thing, he’ll do the exact opposite. Back to me.
I groaned as I laid back down. “Hey, dad,” I mumbled tiredly. When I got his attention, I started, “can you do me a favor and beat up Alfred for me? I really need those cou- *coughcough* cough drops.”
“I’ll run down to the store and get more cough drops.” he promised. “And I’ll punish your brother later.” he added. “Boys!” he called as my brothers filed in. “Because Alfred ate all the cough drops,” he paused to give Alfred a you-will-be-punished look. “I have to run to the store to get more. You three are to care for your sister until I get back.” He then looked at all three of them, eyeing Alfred, then Peter before turning to Matthew. “You’re in charge.”
“What?!” Alfred exploded. “But I was born first! Even if it was just a few minutes, I was still born first!”
“You’re the reason I need to leave in the first place.” dad corrected. “I’ll be right back.” he promised as he walked out.
I looked in the direction he left fearfully. “Dad…dad…DAD!” I called. “Don’t leave me!” I cried as Matthew smiled down at me.
“Alright,” he started. “we’re going to have fun, right?” he asked.
Alfred glared at him. “I hate you.”
Peter looked around confused. “So, we’re basically babysitting Big Sis?” My older brothers nodded. “Awesome!” my little brother exclaimed. “Independence day, here I come!”
“Wow, look at the time,” I stated desperately, eyeing my clock. “I need to get some more rest.” I rolled over and pretended to snore, praying they’d leave.
“Well,” Matthew started. “I’ll go and make some soup for when you wake up. Why not you help me Peter?” he asked.
“But I wanna babysit my big sister!” he complained.
“Alfred will keep an eye on her.”
“WHAT?!” My big brother and I yelled in unison as we overlapped each other with reasons on why it’s not a good idea.
“I’m meeting Gilbert at the skate park in half an hour!”
“You honestly think he’ll give me any rest?”
“She’s the one who got me in trouble with Iggy!”
“He’s the reason I’m coughing my lungs out!”
“It’ll be fine.” Matthew insisted. “You’re both Kirklands. You both could just talk, keep each other company.”
“We don’t agree on anything.” we both stated as we crossed our arms.
“I’m a Kirkland!” Peter exclaimed. “I can do it!”
My smarter brother knelt to my little brother and explained, “You’re too hyper. You’ll only make her more tired, and I’m a Bonnefoy, and Francis taught me everything that should go in a soup when treating the flu.”
“You’re kidding, right?” I asked my brother. “You do realize that I can be left alone in here.”
“Yes,” he answered. “but I don’t think it’s a very good idea to leave you, that’s why Alfred is staying here.” With that being said, I just slumped in acceptance as Matthew and Peter left to make the soup.
After the door had shut, Alfred and I exchanged glances in an awkward silence. “So,” I started. “what’s it like being an actual country?” He just eyed me. “I’m the only human in this house, so I have no idea.”
“Only human.” he repeated under his breath. “That’s why Iggy worries about you too much, you’re only human.” he grumbled. I was never sure why, but Alfred never even liked me. I think he ate the cough drops, knowing they’re cough drops, just because I needed them. If it weren’t for Matthew, I would’ve left before Peter came along just because Alfred would’ve driven me away.
I couldn’t take the curiosity anymore. “Alfred,” I started. “Why do you hate me?”
“Hate you?” he asked. “I don’t hate you…much.”
“Because you always have Iggy’s and Francis’s attention.” he explained. “It’s always sister this, sister that, you, you, all about you! That’s all I hear from them anymore. Not even Peter gets as much attention, and he’s the baby of the family. You know why you have all the attention from Iggy and Francis?” I shook my head. “Because you’re the weakest. You’re not going to last as long as us. You said it yourself; you’re the only human.”
I looked even more confused. “I don’t want to die knowing you hate me for being a human.” I stated.
He just chuckled. “You’re not dying.”
“Maybe not now,” I stated. “but one of these days, I’ll be on my death bed, and the last thing you’ll say would be ‘I hate you’ and you’ll still think that you’d have an eternity to apologize. You might live forever, but my life it too short for words like ‘hate’.”
He looked at me apologetically for the first time since I can’t even remember as Matthew came in with a little bed table tray thing with a bowl of soup, a spoon, and hot tea all steaming from the containers. I smiled at my brothers as the plate was placed carefully in my lap. “Eat up.” my Canadian sibling instructed. “You need the vitamins.”
“Why is the tea hot?” I asked.
“It soothes a sore throat.” he stated. “And in the soup, there are carrots, celery sticks, peas, chicken, and chicken broth for flavor.” he listed.
After eating, I was prepared to go to sleep when Alfred stopped at my door. “…Lonely.” he stated. When I looked at him confused, he smiled. “Being a country is really lonely. Nothing stays the same, and nothing changes at the same time.” I smiled as he switched off my light and shut my door. “Love ya little sis.”