It was three o'clock am, and Niky hadn't came back yet.
Joe Dalton and his brothers were really worried.
"What's going on, Joe?" asked Jack "She was supposed to be home two hours ago!"
"Yeah" William added "When she gets home this time, she's in big trouble!" he said, rolling up the sleeve of his pijama's jacket
"I don't know" said Joe, answering to the first "But you're right, William, I'm sick and tired of her doing what she wants. I think our little sister needs a good lesson..."
"I hope she's allright..." Averell sighed.
After a few minutes, they heard someone knocking at the door.
"Here she is!" Joe exclaimed angry.
He rushed to stand up but Jack stopped him.
"Calm down, Joe" he said, knowing how his older brother was when he was mad "Let us handle it, you're too angry!"
William rushed to the door, his sleeves still rolled up, ready for his job, and opened it.
"You blew it this time, kid!" he said, sternly "You are in serious trouble now...!"
He shut up, as he saw his sister wasn't standing in front of him as he expected. In fact, she was lying limply in Cristian's arm.
"Niky!" the man exclaimed "What happened?" he asked the boy.
He entered the house.
Willliam's brothers entered the hall and saw the scene, they run to them.
"Averell, take Niky to her room and put her in bed" Joe ordered his brother
Averell took his little sister in his arms, carefully
"Why in bed, Joe?" he asked
"Because" Joe said, taking one of Niky's hands in his "she needs to rest, and stay warm. Now hurry up!"
Averell nodded and carried the girl upstairs.
The three men watched him, then turned to the boy.
"What happened?" Joe asked, tense.
Cristian cleared his throat
"We were out with our friends when she suddently felt sick..." he said "She said her neck was hurting terribly..."
"Her neck?" Joe repeated
The boy nodded "Yes...she's been having problem with it the entire week, she told me it hurt as heck..."
The three men looked at eachother "How come she hadn't tell us anything?"
"You know her..." Cristian said "She probably was afraid you'd take her to the hospital..."
"What happened next?" asked Jack
"I took her to the hospital!" Cristian said, hiding a smile "The doctor said she had her neck glands inflamed because of an infection and gave her a strong antibiotics... That's why she's sleeping now..."
He searched in his pocket and put out a box of pills.
"She has to take one of these pills after breakfast, lunch and dinner for two weeks, then see the doctor again to see if she's allright...She could have fever during this period, but the doc said it's normal and so we shouldn't worry" he said, handling them the box.
Joe took it and nodded. "Thanks, Cristian, you can go home now" he said "don't worry for your friend, we'll take care of her"
The boy nodded, they said goodnight and he left.
Joe and his brothers got upstairs in his room and sat next to his bed, waiting for their sister to wake up.
The next morning, Niky woke up. She breathed in deeply and slowly opened her eyes. She rose her head and looked around.
She saw Jack, asleep on a chair, with his arms crossed on the bed, and his head resting on them.
She slowly got close to him and delicately brushed his cheeck with her finger.
He started and woke up. He turned to the girl
"Niky!" he exclaimed, hugging her tight "Are you allright, sweetie?"
The girl hugged him back, then softly pulled away
"What have happened?"
"You felt sick. Cristian took you to the hospital, then he took you back home..." he explained "Why hadn't you tell us that you were feeling sick?"
She blushed and looked down "I'm sorry...I...thought it was just a minor thing...I didn't want to make you worry for nothing..."
"Nothing?!" he exclaimed "Niky, you had to go to the hospital!"
"I~I know, Jack..." she moaned "But I really thought it was nothing... I mean...I thought maybe I just got too much cold, or something..."
Her brother shoot her a stern look, then he sighed
"Never mind, Niky... Let's just make sure you'll get better soon..." he said, smiling, and hugged her again.
Then, William and Averell entered the room. As they saw Niky was awake, they both jumped on the bed to hug her.
She told them the story, and apologized to them.
Then she looked around "Where's Joe?"
"He's asleep, Niky" said William
"That's right, he stayed with you all night, Niky, then Jack took his place so he could rest a bit"
"He was so worried, why don't you go and show him you're feeling better?" proposed Averell.
The girl nodded and slipped out of bed.
She entered Joe's room, walked to his bed and watched him sleeping for a while. As she saw he was shivering for the cold, she took a blanket out from the wardrobe and put it on his body, to warm it up.
Then she got next to her brother and kissed the tip of his nose delicately.
He slowly opened his eyes, which got wide when he saw his sister.
Niky..." he moaned, and hugged the girl tight to himself "Oh, Niky..." he said "I was so scared...! How are you, my dear?"
"I'm feeling much better, really!" she answered "I'm so sorry I scared you, I thought I was feeling sick because I had taken too much cold, I'm so sorry, Joe...!"
Her brother smiled "Don't worry, Niky... It's allright"
Then he moved on his left, to create some room for her on the bed, and pulled back the covers
"Come here, sweetie, let's take some good rest..."
Niky smiled and climbed on the bed. She nestled next to her older brother and hugged him, leaning her head on his chest.
He fixed the blankets and wrapped his arms around her, protectively
She smiled, as he kissed her forehead. She nestled closer to him and closed her eyes