You woke up the next morning to the feeling of something burning against your shoulder. You gasped as you quickly sat upright, rubbing your shoulder with one hand to cool it down. You looked around, trying to make sense of what happened to your room. There were shoeboxes, bags, and several other things scattered on the floor next to your open closet door.
You sighed before you rubbed sleep from your eyes with one hand. That was actually the first time in months you got over three hours of sleep, and you wanted nothing more than to curl up under the covers and fall asleep again.
However, what confused you the most was the presence of someone else in your bed. Slowly, you turned your head to the side and almost gasped when you saw Matthew sleeping next to you. As if it came in a giant wave, all of the memories of yesterday entered your head. You smiled as you continued watching him sleep, thinking about how adorable he looked. However, you felt a small twinge of concern grow inside you when you noticed that Matthew was breathing heavily and raggedly through his mouth.
You remembered that he had a fever when you first met him. Suddenly, you wondered if the burning sensation you felt in your shoulder when you woke up was actually Matthew's forehead pressed against yours. That seemed like a likely possibility.
You groaned before you carefully climbed out of bed, trying not to disturb Matthew from his sleep. As you brushed your teeth and took a shower, you wondered about how you were going to treat his cold. Of course, you always knew how to treat your own colds whenever you got them, but as for a baby…you weren't so sure. You didn't dare try using your medicine on him. You figured that some warm soup might've been able to help.
After you got out of the bathroom and began preparing your breakfast as well as Matthew's soup, you were aware of a tiny wail coming from the bedroom. You turned your head towards the kitchen door, holding your breath. Sure enough, that same wail came again a few seconds later.
You sighed as you left the soup to heat on the stove before you exited the kitchen and entered your room. There you saw Matthew, clinging desperately onto the covers, tears falling freely down his face.
"Matthew!" you said as you approached him and sat down on the bed next to him. He looked up at you depressingly as you wiped tears away from his face. "What's wrong? Did you have a bad dream?"
Matthew sniffed before replied. "Ma…ma…I thought you left me…"
You frowned as you began stroking his soft hair. "Why would you think that?"
He crawled up onto your lap and buried his face in your shirt. "I woke up and you weren't there. I thought you were gone and left me all alone…" A small whimper escaped him as he began crying into your shirt.
"Oh…" you murmured before you wrapped your arms around Matthew and lifted him so that he was able to bury his face in your shoulder. You continued cradling him slowly as you gently massaged his back. "Matthew, I promise I would never leave you. I wouldn't have taken you home after I found you in the woods if I was just going to abandon you the next morning."
Matthew sniffed again before he weakly lifted his head from your shirt and met your reassuring gaze. "R-Really?"
You smiled, once again feelings your heart melt at his cuteness. You kissed his forehead. "Of course. I would never be that cruel as to leave an innocent, sick baby all by himself, would I?"
"N-No…" Matthew murmured before he dropped his gaze to his hands.
"Exactly," you said as you ruffled his hair. You grasped him by his sides and set him back down on the bed. When he looked up at you, you asked him, "Would you like something to eat, Mattie?"
In response, Matthew shook his head, grasped the covers, and pulled them close to his chest. "N-No…I'm not really hungry…"
You sighed. You never had an appetite when you were sick. But this was a baby that needed food no matter what. You frowned. "How are you feeling?"
Matthew wiped his nose with his sleeve. "I-I can't breathe through my nose at all, my head feels funny, my throat tickles when I breathe, and I'm cold…."
You leaned towards him so that both of your faces were just inches away from each other. "I'll tell you what, Mattie. If you want to get better, you're going to have to eat something, even if you're not hungry. I made some soup just for you that will help you feel better. Do you want to get rid of your sickness?"
Matthew wiped his nose with his sleeve again before he slowly nodded.
"Then you need to eat the soup," you said to him firmly.
"Okay, Mama…" Matthew murmured before he buried himself under the covers and poked his head out to look at you expectantly.
You smiled as you ruffled his hair, thankful that he was so calm and obedient, even when he was sick. "Good boy. I'll be right back."
Thankfully the soup was already heated up when you arrived in the kitchen. You poured some of it into a bowl before you carefully carried it back to your bedroom. When you arrived, you found Matthew curled up under the covers, his eyes only half open.
You smiled before you set the bowl of soup down on the nightstand next to the bed and walked up to the window. You opened it, instantly feeling yourself relax when you felt cool air beat against your face.
You approached the bed and gently sat down on the edge. You took the bowl on the nightstand and put it in your lap before you turned to face Matthew, who looked like he was just about to fall asleep. You smiled before you gently nudged him.
"Wake up, Mattie," you said softly. "I brought soup for you."
Matthew looked up at you before he let out a tiny yawn and rubbed his eyes before he sat up in bed. You looked down at the bowl of soup in your lap and grasped the spoon, taking a spoonful and directing it towards Matthew.
"Open wide," you gently said to him, and he obediently did so, allowing you to place the spoon in his mouth for him to eat the soup.
The whole feeding went by without any problems until Matthew said, "Mama, I'm full…"
You frowned before you looked down at the bowl in your lap. There was still a good amount of the soup left, and you didn't want it to go to waste. You looked back up at Matthew, who had switched from his sitting position and was now lying down again, his head rested on the pillow. "Are you sure you can't eat any more?"
He gave a weak shake of his head before he slowly closed his eyes. "I'm tired…"
You smiled before you set the bowl back down on your nightstand and leaned towards Matthew before you kissed his forehead. "I know. So how about you go to sleep and I'll wake you up again for some more soup later on?"
"Okay, Mama…" Matthew said quietly, and you watched as his breathing slowly evened and he drifted off to sleep. You continued to watch him, thinking about how your life was going to change now that you were going to take care of a child. You hadn't done any of the work that was required by your boss today, but you didn't mind at all. Somehow, taking care of Matthew gave you a sense of calm. He was just so adorable…he didn't give you any trouble at all! He didn't throw tantrums, he didn't cause a mess, he didn't complain, and he always did everything that you asked him to. Part of the reason you never even wanted to have kids was because they were always going to be so fussy. Well, you were wrong. Taking care of Matthew was like nothing you had ever expected.
You were interrupted from your train of thoughts when the phone rang from the living room. You cursed at the noise, hoping that it wouldn't have disturbed Matthew. Quickly and quietly, you walked out of the bedroom and softly shut the door behind you before you walked down to the living room.
You dodged past papers that were scattered on the floor as well as trying not to step on several pens before you finally reached the phone located on your coffee table.
"Hello?" you said as soon as you picked it up and turned it on.
"_____!" you were able to recognize the annoyed voice of England. "Where were you?"
You tilted your head to one side in confusion. "What do you mean where was I?" you asked in the same tone as his.
You heard England groan through the phone. "_____, did you not know that there was a world meeting today?"
You blinked, your eyes filling with surprise. "There was?"
England sighed. "_____, you have been notified about this meeting for the past several weeks. What have you been doing that caused you to skip it?"
For the next few seconds, you were silent. You had completely forgotten about the meeting despite all the notices in advance. You guessed that taking care of Matthew caused you to become forgetful of things that happen in your daily life. But if you told England that you were taking care of a child, he probably wasn't going to believe you.
"Um…" your gaze drifted off to a half empty cup of coffee on the edge of the coffee table. "What if I told you that I forgot there was a meeting today because my mind is so focused on taking care of a sick baby that I found in the woods in the middle of the night?"
England sighed again. "_____, you know better than to make up excuses. It is your responsibility as a country to attend a conference whenever you are required to."
You rolled your eyes in exasperation. "Okay, England. I promise I'll try not to skip another meeting again."
"You better," England said, and he hung up without giving you the chance to say goodbye.
You sighed before you put the phone back down in its original spot, feeling a hint of amusement grow inside you and cause you to become surprised. Usually when you were informed that you had skipped a meeting, you would've been pulling your hair, banging on the walls, scattering papers all over the floor in frustration. But now, you seemed a little relieved, and you wondered why.
As you walked away from the living room and entered your room once again, you were delighted to find that Matthew was still asleep. You silently approached him and carefully sat down on the edge of the bed before you began stroking his soft hair.
You weren't even aware when Matthew's eyes slowly fluttered open. "Ma…ma? Who were you talking to?" he asked quietly.
You looked down at him, surprised that he had woken up. You smiled before you kissed his forehead. "A…friend of mine. Don't worry, everything is fine. Just go back to sleep."
Matthew did as he was told, and as soon as his breathing was even and you knew that he was asleep, you resumed quietly watching him. Seeing him sleeping there so calmly made you feel calm, and you had no idea why. Maybe his emotions were contagious. But either way, you were glad that having him live with you made your life easier. You were no longer as stressed as you used to be, and cared a lot less about doing work or going to meetings.
All you cared about was Matthew, and how much he was able to change your life in less than a day.