One week – and Jeremy’s season was over.
It had barely been a week since Jeremy got pulled out of the Knicks’ game against the Pistons. When Jeremy did not return courtside during the second half of the match, it scared Jess to the core. She remembered a young Jeremy in high school who broke his ankle.
He had sent a quick message that their therapists had treated him and decided to let him rest for the rest of the game. It calmed her – until Jeremy admitted a few days later that the pain in his left knee never really went away despite the rest he got and therapy.
Jeremy was told not to tell anything to the media until they’ve gotten the results from the MRI. The media was already speculating how bad his injury was and if it was the end of his short career in the NBA.
“I let the team down – my friends, the fans,” Jeremy said the evening after he was told the results of the MRI scan. It had been a long day. Jeremy had to face the press with the news.
“How do you figure that?” Jess asked him as they lay in bed. She worried about him – how a set-back like this affected him. He was staying with Jess that night – at least no reporters were standing outside her building waiting to talk with him.
“I don’t know,” he said. “Coach Woody has to re-structure our plays – again. We’ve all been through so many injuries and changes. Did you notice those fans who flashed signs? They were there to see me play.”
Jess knew this had to come at one point.
“So, when are you going to think about yourself?” she asked. “I mean, you sound like you’re more concerned about everyone else but yourself at the moment.”
Jeremy was quiet. He didn’t really want to think about himself – and the decision he needed to do.
Jess held him in an embrace meant to express her support.
“Your parents are coming tomorrow. We’ll all be here, Jeremy. You will not be alone – no matter what decision you take,” she promised him. “Just decide with your well-being and future in mind.”
He relaxed in her company and he needed her support right now. Besides his family, Jess is the only person in New York that he completely trusted and cared for. “I know,” he sighed. “I probably would have been totally out of it if you hadn’t been around.”
He looks so fragile sleeping, Jess thought. The doctors said he was going to be okay. There’d be rehab for a while, but he was young and healthy, so he should soon be back on his feet.
The doctors told Jeremy’s family that this was a minor surgery. What if something had gone wrong? She’d never have been able to tell him how much he meant to her – how much she loved him.
“I love you, Jer. I should have told you that again and again,” Jess whispered as she kissed the hand she held between her own palms.
“Yes, you should have,” Jeremy whispered back, ” and I love you, too.”
He had been slowly waking up for the past few minutes and was conscious of the scent of lavender – of Jess. Hearing her quiet heartfelt words touched him so much. It was wonderful to finally hear those words from her.
When he slowly opened his eyes and looked to the side of the bed where Jess sat, Jeremy saw that she had tears on her face. He tried to brush them away, but his hands were unsteady.
“Sorry,” he murmured.
“For what?” Jess asked and used her hand to wipe her face.
“For making you cry,” he said.
“No, I was just worried,” Jess replied.
He tried to smile and sit up on the bed. The sudden dizziness overwhelmed him.
“Easy now, Superman,” Jess said. She stood to support Jeremy and softly pushed him back to lie down. He was bare-chested and her warm touch sent tingles up Jeremy’s spine. “If this was what needed to be done for you to start caressing me, I would have undergone any surgery sooner,” he said with a foolish grin on his face.
Jessica laughed. Oh my gosh, he is still drugged, she thought.
“I love you, so anything that comes out of you right now will be forgiven,” she said with a smile.
“You tempt me, Jess,” Jeremy sighed.
“Oh poor, Jeremy,” Jess said. She leant in to give him a kiss – to express how relieved she is that he is okay. Jeremy kissed her with passion – a bit much – so Jess had to pull back.
“I wasn’t done,” Jeremy complained.
“Yes, you were,” Jess said matter-of-factly.
“Oh, okay,” he accepted, but pulled her towards him. His intent was clear – he wanted her beside him on the bed.
“Just until you sleep, Jeremy,” Jess agreed and lay down beside him.
“I love you,” Jeremy murmured, his head resting on Jess’ shoulder.
“I love you, too,” she whispered.
Jess did not budge when Jeremy wrapped an arm around her waist. She took a deep breath and listened to his breathing – the steady strum of it relaxing her. It’s been a long day for them both. He’s fine.
They both fell asleep within minutes –wrapped in a peaceful embrace. That was how Jeremy’s family found them.
“Shouldn’t we wake them up?” Josh asked his mom.
Shirley Lin shook her head and smiled. “Not , not just yet.”
They had always been Jessica and Jeremy since they were kids – inseparable and had been best friends since they could crawl. Shirley loved Jessica like a daughter. Who wouldn’t be proud to know such a bright, caring and strong woman? And who wouldn’t want her as a daughter-in-law?
Shirley sighed. When Jess and Jeremy started to spend so much time together last summer, Jess’ mom Erica and she were overjoyed. They watched as Jess and Jeremy’s relationship changed from being best friends to something more. They might not know it, but such things did not escape their mothers’ watchful eyes.
Then something happened – Jess was suddenly in Hong Kong and Jeremy was in Cali.
Erica and Shirley had vowed not to meddle, but it had been hard just waiting for these two to finally figure out how they fit together.
They fit together, Shirley thought while she looked at how peaceful they slept. They look happy. She’d only seen Jeremy really happy when he is on a basketball court, with the family or with Jess.
Jessica could hear voices and she woke up.
Jeremy’s family’s here, she panicked. What she must look like – all curled up next to a bare-chested Jeremy – who had an arm around her waist, so she couldn’t really quickly untangle herself from him.
Jess could feel her face warm up.
“Sorry,” she started to apologize.
“No need, sweetie,” Shirley said. The poor girl was embarrassed. “We’re just happy you could keep him company until we could come back.”
Jessica tried to twist herself from Jeremy’s hold, but ended up waking him instead. He murmured, “No, don’t go.”
“Jer, your family’s here,” Jess whispered.
Jeremy slowly opened his eyes and smiled.
“Hi,” he said and still had not let Jessica go.
“Let Jess go, Jeremy,” Shirley said with a smile.
“I don’t want to,” Jeremy answered with a pout.
“I think he’s still a bit drugged,” Jess said.
“No, he’s just being himself,” Josh said, grinning.
Jess looked at Jeremy closely and there was an impish smile on his sleepy face. She decided to concentrate on something else than the look he was giving her right now.
“Was there anything I could do for you?” Jess asked the Lins. They went out for a walk and to buy dinner and stuff to read while Jeremy slept after the surgery.
“Nothing, Jess,” Gie-Min answered.
“You look tired,” Josh said. “Should I drive you home?”
“No.” The answer both came from Jess and Jeremy.
Shirley smiled for herself. So they don’t want to be apart. I should call Erica.
Jeremy was slowly recovering from the anesthesia. He was awake enough to check his Facebook account – and read all the well-wishes from his fans.
“Wow, really lots of Linsane fans out there,” Joseph commented with a laugh.
“Oh, shut up, Joe,” Jeremy said. “I have really cool fans.”
Jessica had taken a picture of Jeremy a few minutes ago. He looked so dopey – it was so cute. The picture ended up on his Twitter and Facebook.
“I’m bored,” Jeremy said. “I want to do a Q&A with the fans,” he proclaimed.
His brothers were laughing. “You’re still drugged and you want to do a Q&A?”
“You guys can be my hands and filter,” Jeremy said. “I don’t think I’ll be able to use the IPad just yet.”
Jessica was shaking her head – but it was typically Jeremy to throw a loop like this. So within an hour, Jeremy had received thousands of questions from fans. There were the typical questions about his likes and dislikes. He received at least 50 marriage proposals from the same girl, a prom invitation or two and questions about him having a girlfriend or not.
“No I don’t have a girlfriend at the moment…” Jeremy answered and looked at Jess. Joseph paused from typing. “The girl I love is giving me a hard time about it,” he added.
Jess quickly said, “You can’t mention that last line.”
“Of course not,” Joe replied, grinning.
“Okay,” Jeremy merely smiled.
Jess could suddenly see him turn a bit pale. Expecting the worst, she grabbed one of the plastic bags that had contained different magazines. Jeremy threw up, his head supported by Jess.
When he was done, Jeremy groaned, “You shouldn’t see me like this, Jess.”
Shirley Lin saw Jess gently wipe Jeremy in the mouth with a paper napkin.
“Try keeping me away,” Jess whispered, looking at Jeremy straight in the eyes.
“Okay,” Josh said. “Enough with the Q&A. You need your rest.”
“I just typed that he threw up – Q&A over,” Joe said laughing.
“Great,” Jeremy winced, “Now everybody knows.”
Shirley watched Jess carefully wipe Jeremy’s face with a cold compress and gave him some water to drink. Jeremy sighed and closed his eyes when Jess pulled the blanket over him. The sight of Jess running her hand on Jeremy’s face tugged at Shirley’s heart. I really need to call Erica, she decided.