Happy Birthday

Julianna's point of view

I woke up and looked around the room. Yet another day that I had to go to work and then spend the evening alone. Great, just great. I thought that making a movie would be fun, but noo, it was absolutely horrible. None of the cast members were still speaking to me and I felt totally isolated.
Wanna know the worst part?
Tomorrow was my birthday and I knew that I would be spending it alone. My parents and Annie couldn't fly out because mom had some huge case she was working on and dad was buried with work in the hospital. Jess couldn't fly out because her semester in college was coming to an end and that meant that finals were near the horizon.
So how horrible was my life? And better yet, what did I do to deserve it?
I swung my legs over my bed and dragged myself into the bathroom.
After I had taken a shower and brushed my teeth, I reluctantly got dressed and glanced at my watch. Six-thirty. I had a good half hour before I had to come out.
"Ow," I said and winced at the sudden pain in my throat.
That was a bit weird. I did not have time to get sick. I went over to my mirror to check out my throat. Well, it looked normal, wasn't red or anything. Then again, it could be my imagination, or my right gland was slightly bigger than my left.
Oh well, nothing to worry about, I decided. I very rarely got sick and never seriously. Whatever it was, I was sure it would go away in a day or so.


"Happy birthday to me," I grumbled as I got out of bed. I felt horrible to say the least. My throat felt like it was on fire and my head was spinning. Well, at least it was a Saturday and I didn't have to go to the set.
I rummaged around in my medicine cabinet till I found a thermometer.
99.8 it read a couple of minutes later.
Great, just great.
I decided to go and take another look at my throat.
"Ew," I said when I saw it. It was a deep crimson color and my right gland was swollen to twice as big as my left. "Yuck," I added.
Oh well, it's not like I was planning on enjoying my birthday anyway.
I went back to my bed and lay down, trying to make the room stop spinning. The idea of breakfast only made me feel worse so I decided to just stay in bed the entire day and not move.
I grabbed the remote control and turned on my TV. Yeah, I had a huge headache but somehow watching TV always made me forget about all my aches and pains when I was sick. I flipped through the channels. Infomercial, some dumb show, an even dumber movie, another infomercial, oh yay, a Backstreet Boys video, ugh. I turned off the TV and stared into the ceiling. What the hell was the point of having cable when there was nothing to watch?


I winced as another jolt of pain went through my throat. Man this sucked.
I didn't even have any medicine that might help me cause I didn't plan on getting sick so therefore I didn't buy any. I didn't even have something as simple as Tylenol for crying out loud.
Then my doorbell sounded.
Oh great, the only day that I can barely drag my ass out of bed someone decides to come visit. Where the hell was that person two months ago? If it would be one of those door-to-door salesmen, I was fully prepared to slam the door in his face.
I walked to the door slowly, holding on to walls and furniture since my head was still spinning.
I opened the door and saw the person who was like last on my Top One Thousand People I Would Expect To See At The Door list. Hell, he wasn't even on the list.
"Nick?" I loudly whispered. Hey, it was the best I could do. I would've yelled but then I would've probably passed out from the pain.
"Hey," he said and grinned. Oh sure, he was grinning; he wasn't in pain.
"What are you doing here?" I asked and stepped aside so he could come in.
"Just visiting you, are you okay?" he asked in a concerned tone.
"I'm sick, so you probably shouldn't be here, I might be contagious," I replied.
Nick's concern was written all over his face. "What are you sick with?" he asked.
I shrugged. "The flu I guess."
"You guess?"
"What hurts?"
"My throat, my head's spinning, and my fever is like 100.3." Yeah, my fever decided to be a pain in the ass and go up higher by then.
"You should be in bed," said Nick.
Duh, that's what I was doing before someone came.
I nodded and went to my room. Nick followed.
"Do you have any medicine or anything?" he asked looking around.
"Nope, I figure I'll just drink tea, rest, and this will be gone by Monday," I replied while climbing into my bed and under the covers. I was cold. Another wonderful side effect of the stinking fever.
Nick shook his head. "I highly doubt it," he said.
"What, are you a doctor?" I asked sarcastically.
"No, but you really don't look too good," he replied.
"Oh thanks, you too," I shot back. Yes, I become very irritable when sick.
Nick ignored my comment. "I'll be back in ten minutes," he said and looked around my room searching for something.
"What are you looking for?" I asked.
"Your keys," said Nick still looking around.
He was kidding right? Ha! As if I would give him my keys, only cause we agreed to be civil to one another two months ago didn't mean a thing. For all I knew, he became a psychotic killer in those two months. No way was I giving him keys to my house.
"Yeah, sure Nick," I said and turned away from him. "Don't let the door hit you on your way out. On the other hand, let it," I added.
Nick, instead of leaving like I told him, walked around to the other side of my bed and stood in front of me. "You need medicine, you're in no condition to go get it, so I'm going to go to the store and buy it. I don't want you to get out of bed just to open the door for me so it would be easier for me to take your keys and open the door myself," he explained.
I looked at him and another jolt of pain shot through me. This one worse than the last. I winced and turned away from him again.
"They're on the kitchen table," I said quietly.
"Thanks. As I said, I'll be back in ten minutes," he said and exited my room.
Okay, you're probably wondering why I was being so, what's the word I'm looking for, bitchy to Nick. Well, I'm one of those people who doesn't like to depend on anyone else and I don't like anyone to see me in pain. I deal with things by myself without having anyone help me. I wasn't willing to admit that I needed Nick's help. Nick's help of all the people in this world. Man, my life was strange.
Nick came back ten minutes later and walked into my room holding a bottle of some medicine and a small bag. I looked at him and the bottle suspiciously. What, did he think I was gonna drink that? Yeah right. I prefer swallowing pills cause the liquid crap usually tastes like, well, crap, and I mean that literally. Speaking from experience here.
"Here you go, drink this," he said pouring some of the liquid into the cup that came with it.
I eyed the cup. "No way," I refused and clamped my hands over my mouth.
"Stop acting like a two year old," scolded Nick.
I took my hands off of my mouth long enough to say, "I am not!" and then clamped them over my mouth once again. Okay fine, that statement only proved that I was indeed acting like a child, but I had every right! If he ever tasted that stuff he'd know why I was refusing to drink it.
"Come on, you feel horrible and the pharmacist said that this stuff will make you sleep and you'll feel better," said Nick and brought the cup closer to my face.
I pulled away from it and as close as possible to my headboard, still keeping my hands tightly clamped over my mouth.
"Jul, you're not helping," said Nick frustratingly. He then sighed and poured the stuff back in the bottle. He took out a box of DayQuil. "Will you take these? They're pills," he said.
I nodded and removed my hands from my mouth.
"Good, at least something," said Nick. He left my room and returned with a glass of water. "Here you go," he said handing me two pills and the water. I drank them but it hurt so much. Did they have to make those pills so huge? Someone, meaning me, with swollen glands might have a hard time swallowing those giants.
"Thanks," I said softly.
"You're welcome," he responded with a smile.
"Why are you being so nice to me? I wasn't exactly nice to you when you got here."
"I figure it this way, we agreed to be civil and I kinda feel bad for not visiting you sooner cause I knew you were in Florida. I've known for the entire two months you've been here. But then the guys and I had to go and do promotional stuff and before I knew it, two months passed and I felt like I should come over and see you, maybe we could even be friends," he replied and smiled slightly.
I looked down at my comforter. Friend, haven't heard that word in a while. I didn't know how much I missed it either.
"What? Are you in pain? What's wrong?" asked Nick alarmed.
Yeah pain, only not the kind he was talking about.
"I'm okay," I managed to say. I was holding tears back. It was just so unfair. No one on the set was speaking to me. It was my birthday and I was sick.
"Then what's wrong?" he asked gently and sat down next to me on my bed.
"You don't wanna know," I said quietly and shook my head. Ooh, bad idea. There goes that head-spinning thing again.
"I asked, that means I want to know," said Nick and looked at me.
I wanted to tell him so badly. Probably because of the lack of human contact I've had for the past couple of months. "Okay, I don't exactly have a lot of friends here," I admitted.
Nick looked surprised. "What about the people you work with?"
"They all hate me," I said shrugging. "The two other female leads just happen to be your fans and still fully believe that I was cheating on you with Lance even after we had the press conference. They said that, in their opinion, you were trying to be so nice and to conceal your own hurt by holding a press conference and not telling everyone what a horrible person I was. As for the male leads, well, they simply hate me cause I refused to go out with them. Since the movie is basically all about the five of us, there aren't many other people on the set except for the extras and the staff. The extras aren't there long enough for me to become friends with them and the staff have no time to talk, they're always busy," I explained. I looked at Nick; he looked sympathetic and surprised. "You wanna know how many visitors I've had in the last two months that I've lived here excluding you?" I asked. Nick nodded silently. "None."
"Jul, I am so sorry, I had no idea, if I had known, I would've definitely visited you sooner," he said, his voice apologetic.
I shook my head. "It's not your fault and you have nothing to apologize for. I'm just glad that you came today; it was very nice of you. I can definitely use a friend," I said.
"You've got one, right here," he said and pointed at himself.
I smiled. My phone rang and I picked it up. "Hello?" I said softly, not wanting to irritate my throat any further.
"JUL!" came Jess's excited voice. "HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!" she yelled into the phone, so loud that I had to bring it away from my ear to avoid going deaf. Jess had a tendency to get a tad overexcited on someone's birthday. Could you tell?
"Thanks Jess," I said laughing slightly.
"I wish you all the best things in this world and may your life be filled with love and happiness for all eternity," said Jess and I smiled.
"You sound like a Hallmark card," I told her.
"Where do you think I'm reading it from?" she asked laughing.
It felt great to hear a familiar voice. Then again, my parents, Annie, Alex, Tom, and a few other people from my show had already called earlier that day, about an hour before Nick arrived. But I was still glad to hear my best friend's voice.
"That makes sense," I said and let out a chuckle. "How are your finals?"
"Don't ask. Is everything okay? You sound a bit off," asked Jess concerned.
"I'm just a bit sick," I told her. No sense in worrying her.
"A bit?" asked Nick loudly and raising his eyebrows while looking at me.
"Who was that?" demanded Jess. She obviously heard him through the phone.
I shot a glare in Nick's direction. "That was, um, Nick," I said.
"NICK?? Nick who?" exclaimed Jess. "How is it that I not know about this? You're dating a guy named Nick and you didn't tell me?? I'm insulted!"
"Jess, calm down. I'm not dating him; he came over today out of the blue. And by Nick, I meant Nick Carter," I explained.
There was a silence on the line. I guess Jess didn't expect this any more than I expected Nick to show up on my doorstep.
"Oh," she finally said. "Does he know it's your birthday?" she asked.
"No he doesn't know," I told her.
"What do I not know?" asked Nick, butting into the conversation once again.
"Nick shut up for a minute," I told him and then turned my attention back to Jess. "I didn't tell him cause there's no reason to." My voice by then became very quiet because talking was really painful for me.
"Okay, but I'm gonna bug you for every detail later," warned Jess. "I gotta go study for my finals and finish my philosophy paper. Happy Birthday again," she said.
"Thanks Jess, I'm really glad you called," I told her honestly.
"You're welcome, feel better Jul."
"I'll try."
"Bye." I hung up the phone and glared at Nick. "Was it really necessary for you to butt into the conversation?" I asked, my tone accusatory.
"Well, you were talking about me, so yes, it was necessary. So what didn't you tell me?" he asked.
I sighed. I didn't want to talk anymore. I just wanted to sleep. My throat was killing me. "Fine, I'll tell you, but you have to promise that you'll leave me alone to sleep after I do," I told him.
"I promise," said Nick solemnly.
"It's my twentieth birthday today," I said. "Now leave me alone," I added.
"Happy Birthday," said Nick quietly and smiled.
I smiled back. "Thank you."
Nick grinned again, then got up, and left the room like he promised.
I rolled over onto my left side and tried to ignore the pain in my throat and head and try to go to sleep. I succeeded in doing so about twenty minutes later.

Nick's point of view

I was sitting in Julianna's living room not sure of what to do. It was really unfair that she was having such a lousy birthday. I knew that we weren't exactly friends, but I figured that doing something nice for her would cheer her up a little.
I got up off the couch and left quietly, making sure to take her keys with me. I knew she'd be sleeping for a couple of hours because I could see how tired she was, so I had plenty of time.
Once I arrived at a toy store, I went over to the stuffed animals section and tried to pick out the cutest one. I figured that teddy bears are highly overrated and I wanted to get her something different. I spotted an adorable white kitten about twelve inches long. It looked so cute. I didn't know why, but I was sure she would love it. Afterwards, I headed on over to a flower shop and picked up a dozen white roses. I read somewhere that white roses represented friendship, so I knew I made the right choice.
Being done with my purchases, I went back to Julianna's house. I peeked into her room and saw that she was still asleep. I found a vase in the living room and placed the roses in there and then put them carefully on her nightstand next to her bed. I placed the kitten next to them. I exited her room as silently as possible, not wanting to wake her.
Ten minutes later I thought I heard her call out my name.
I stuck my head into her room and saw that she was awake and was holding the kitten and looking at the roses. She raised her head to look at me when I opened the door. I saw tears brimming her eyes.
"What's wrong?" I asked coming up to her.
"You bought these?" she gestured towards the gifts.
"Yeah, I wanted to try to make your birthday a bit nicer," I replied. "Did it work?"
"It did, I actually have a kitten back home. One just like this cute little thing. Her name is Whitie," said Julianna.
Ooh, now I understood the tears. She missed her kitten and her home.
"You had to leave your kitten back home?" I asked softly.
Julianna nodded. "Yeah, I wouldn't be home everyday until seven at least and there would be no one to feed her here. I left her with my parents and my little sister."
"That really sucks. I know how you feel though. I always have to leave my pugs in Florida every time I have to go on tour or something. I really miss them while I'm away," I told her.
"You have dogs?" she asked.
I nodded. "Yep, and they're the most adorable things in the world," I said grinning. "When you'll get better, I'll introduce you to them," I added.
"Cool," she said and closed her eyes. I could see that she was in pain again. The pills weren't helping much.
"Why don't you sleep a while longer?" I suggested.
Julianna nodded in agreement. "But Nick?" she said opening her eyes.
"Um, can you please stay?" she asked timidly.
I smiled. "Of course, I'll be in the living room," I replied and got up.
"Thank you," she said and closed her eyes once again.
"You're welcome," I said quietly and left the room. I eased the door closed and sat down in one of the plush chairs. I then took a quick glance at my watch and saw that it was already eight o'clock in the evening. I yawned, surprisingly, and turned on the TV, making sure to keep the volume low.
I left her house around eleven o'clock but not before making sure that she was asleep.

Julianna's point of view

I hated being sick so much. I haven't felt this bad since I was nine and had a horrible case of pneumonia. I was hot, then cold, then sweating, then shivering. My head was pounding every time I moved it and my throat hurt so much I couldn't speak or eat or drink. I was getting worse, to say the least. I looked at my alarm clock, nine in the morning. Only? It felt like it was so much more. Then again, that could be due to the fact that I woke up at three and couldn't go back to sleep. I didn't know what time Nick had left the previous day but I was very thankful that he had stayed the entire day with me, as well as the day before that. He was a pretty good person, when he didn't hate my guts that is. I really believed that we could be friends.
My phone rang and I frowned because I couldn't answer it. My answering machine picked it up after four rings but I couldn't hear anything cause the machine was in the living room. About a minute later, to my complete surprise, Nick stuck his head into my room.
"Jul? You awake?" he called out softly.
I nodded and shot a confused look in his direction.
Nick laughed softly. "I fell asleep on your couch yesterday evening," he said.
Oh, that explained it. I was glad that he did though; I didn't want to be alone when I felt so horrible.
"How are you feeling?" asked Nick, coming near me and sitting down on my bed.
I gestured towards my throat and contorted my face in pain.
"Hurts a lot?" he asked. I nodded.
I mouthed "I can't speak" and Nick nodded in understanding.
"You want something warm to drink?"
I shook my head. I couldn't even imagine swallowing something when my throat hurt so much.
"When did you wake up?" asked Nick.
I held up three fingers.
Nick's eyes widened in surprise. "At three a.m.?" he exclaimed. "Oh man," he added shaking his head. He placed his hand on my forehead. His hand was cool. "You've got a fever," he observed and grabbed the thermometer from my nightstand. "Here." Nick gave it to me and I put it in my mouth. A couple of minutes later I took it out and Nick looked at it and frowned. "Jul, your fever is up to 102.9, that's not good at all," he said and looked at me with concern in his eyes.
I shrugged and then another jolt of pain shot through my throat. It was so bad that tears came to my eyes. I couldn't take much more of it, my throat hurt so much it was unbearable. I turned away from Nick so he wouldn't see the tears in my eyes. I didn't want him to know how much I hurt.

Nick's point of view

Julianna turned away from me and I couldn't understand why.
"Jul?" I said softly. She kept her back turned to me. I got up from her bed and walked around to the other side. I crouched near the bed so I could be on the same level as her face. "What's wrong?" I asked looking at her. I then saw the tears in her eyes, the mask of pain on her face, and the way she was holding her throat.
I couldn't bear to see her in so much pain, especially when it was this bad. Her medicine wasn't helping, she was getting worse, and her fever was rising. I didn't know what to do but I knew that she didn't just have the flu.
"Hey," I said and gently stroked her arm. "Do you think you can sit up?" I asked. Julianna nodded and then proceeded to do so.
Okay, I knew I wasn't a doctor but I wanted to see why her throat was causing her so much pain. "Open your mouth as wide as you can," I instructed. She did so and I peered inside. I grimaced at what I saw. Both of her glands were swollen to twice normal size, they were covered entirely in these white circles, and her throat was such a deep red color, I couldn't even begin to describe it.
Julianna closed her mouth and lay back down. I could see tears shining in her eyes at the apparent pain in her throat.
I wanted to help her so much but I didn't know how.
"Why don't you go to a doctor?" I asked.
She shook her head.
"How are you going to get better if you don't know what you're sick with?"
"It's the flu, just let it run its course," she said so quietly I barely heard her.
"Jul, what kind of a flu is this? I've never seen or had one that had such a severe effect on a person's throat!" I exclaimed.
"I'll be fine," she said and turned away from me.
I sat there for ten minutes not knowing what to say. When her breathing became steady and deep, I knew she was asleep. So I got up and went to the living room. I took out my phone and quickly made an appointment for her with my own doctor. If Julianna wasn't going to take care of herself, I would.

chapter 10 chapter 12