Today is going to suck. David knew it as soon as he opened his eyes. The dread that filled his chest and the snot that filled his sinuses made him feel 100 pounds heavier and not at all interested in being awake. David let out a groan and buried his head further into his pillow. He was feeling off and really didn't have time to feel off. 'Maybe if I stay in bed no one will bother me…'David thought. And it might have worked if today wasn't Sunday and if he had any footage for tomorrow's upload but it was Sunday and he didn't have any footage. It was 1PM when the texts, calls, and prompts from Natalie started rolling in. David declined the calls, told Natalie to shut up, and started reading his texts with reluctance.
Jason: where r u?
Jason: r we still on for 11?
Carly: can Erin and I come over?
David tried to move, he really did but it's hard when your entire body is suddenly made of lead. He struggled for what seemed like hours as he panted, trying to get a full breath down his burning throat. Eventually managing to stumble out of bed and towards the shower.
As David let the water roll down his body, he noticed that the walls began to move slightly and his vision started to go in and out.
Before he knew it, he was on the ground of his shower. 'Maybe it would be a good idea to start taking my iron supplements again' he thought absently.
After a few minutes the soaking brunette feebly climbed out of the now cold shower and began to get dressed, leaning on his closet door frame for support.
Nearly an hour later David was ready to leave. He walked out of his room, grabbed his camera from the kitchen, and headed for his Tesla. He texted Carly to meet him at Jason's in an hour instead of coming over and pulled out of his driveway. He coughed and hit the gas.
"What the fuck Dave? You ever heard of an alarm clock before?"
David had just stumbled into the house and it was apparent that his excuse about 'oversleeping' wasn't going over too well. He couldn't find it in him to care though, he was more focused on his stomach which had started doing flips within him and the sweat racing down his back.
"Like you have anything better to do Old Man." He mentioned flippantly feeling himself began to gag.
Just as Jason started spouting his rebuttal David began to feel the sickening crawl of bile up his throat.
"Shit" was all David could manage to say before running to the nearest bathroom.
Luckily for Jason's carpet David managed to get there before spewing the contents of his stomach. David's vision blurred and spun, his ears rang, and the only thing he could focus on was gagging into his friend's toilet.
After a while David flushed the toilet of all his bile and wiped his mouth with some toilet paper. Of course in his rush David hadn't closed the door and there in the doorway was Jason, all hints of anger having vanished from his face.
"Dave, are you feeling okay?"
"I'm fine J."
"Please just drop it."
David stood from his spot on the floor with minimal wobbling and marched past Jason into the living room. He didn't have time for someone to care about him and especially not for Jason to care about him. Vomiting had settled his stomach for now and he was glad for it. It was time for him to stop being a bitch and do his job.
David got the bit he wanted with Jason, had filmed an Adam and Eve sponsorship with Carly and Erin, and was heading out the door when he bumped into Josh Peck.
"Hey Cub, where ya headed?"
"Let me drive ya."
"What about your car?"
"I took an Uber."
Usually David would question Josh just showing up and turning directly around to leave.
Usually David wouldn't let himself be this vulnerable around his idol.
Usually David would be more than reluctant to let somebody else drive since he loved driving so much but today… if he was completely honest, he wasn't sure he was feeling well enough to drive or do much of anything else.
"Okay Josh, you can drive."
David slouched in his seat, trying to keep warm from the sudden fever he must have developed. He began to shiver or more like convulse and he might have to admit he was feeling a tiny bit sick.
"What's going on Cub? You don't look so good."
David wanted to lie and say he was fine but it was a lot harder to lie to Josh than it was to lie to Jason.
"I don't feel good." David said and then he began to cry. Silent tears slid down his cheeks and he brushed them away as quickly as they came.
They pulled up to David's house and parked. Josh looked over and melted when he saw the tears rushing down his friend's face. Typically it was near impossible to get David to show this much emotion and that combined with his nearly inaudible hiccups broke Josh's heart.
"Oh Cub, hey hey hey it's okay."
"It's not, I'm being a baby." David choked out with a fractured voice.
Josh got out of the car and opened the door on David's side.
"Hey, don't insult babies I have one of those!"
David tried to smile at the joke but it probably looked more like distress than anything else and eventually he just looked up at the older man and tried his hardest (with no success) to get it together. He undid his seatbelts and went to stand but the world spun for what seemed like the 100th time today. He began to fall when Josh caught him by the shoulder.
"Woah, woah, woah, are you feeling dizzy?"
David tried desperately to respond but fell further into Josh's hold and went limp.
"Okay, Cub, okay." Josh scooped David's frail form into his arms and hauled the brunette straight to his room.
Josh sat in the living room while David slept. About an hour in Natalie and Taylor came through the front door holding what seemed like an entire grocery store in bags on their arms.
"Hey, Nat can I talk to you for a sec?" Josh asked as he took the bags out of her hands and set them on the counter.
"Okay, let's go to the office. Taylor, you got this?"
Taylor nodded happily and Natalie led Josh to the office.
Natalie closed the door behind her and sat on the bed.
"What's up?" She asked.
"Apparently Dave threw up at Jason's so J texted me to try and take him home. I picked him up and drove him here. He looks awful. I had to carry him in, he practically fainted when he tried to stand. Nat, he weighs like nothing, a guy his height shouldn't be that light."
Josh sat down next to Natalie who had a deep frown on her face.
"Of course that idiot tried to work even though he's obviously sick. Jesus Christ!"
"Okay I'll send Taylor home, Dave won't want to be sick around her and we won't get anything done. Josh do you mind helping out with David just for tonight?"
Josh agreed without hesitation. Natalie told Taylor to take the rest of the day off.
They let David sleep for another hour before going in to check on him. They both walked in and sat on either side of a huge mound of blankets that was David.
"Hey Cub wakey wakey."
David's head popped up with hair standing like multiple antennae at attention.
Josh sucked in a breath and both Natalie and David looked at him instantly.
"David what is that?" Josh asked with concern warping his voice.
David frowned and looked around the room. "What's what?"
If it hadn't been for the overwhelming concern Josh was experiencing he would have melted at David's groggy child like expression.
Natalie walked over to the side of the bed Josh was at and looked at the large black and green bruise cascading down their friend's neck to his arm. She gasped and reached out, touching David's injury. Without meaning to David flinched and brought his arm up to his eyes to inspect.
It took several moments for a realization to wash over David's face. He sighed and rolled his eyes.
"What's it from cub?" Josh's brow was pinched in worry as he read David's face.
"I haven't been taking my iron and I guess this cold really hit me. I passed out in the shower this morning." David shrugged as if it weren't a big deal.
"You take iron?" Josh asked with a cock of his head.
"He's supposed to" Natalie lightly knocked David behind the head. "He's been anemic since we were kids, he used to faint all the time."
"Not all the time." David muttered.
Natalie whipped out her phone and started rapidly typing.
"Whatcha doing Nat?" David leaned over to see his assistant's phone but seemed to lose his balance and knocked heads with her.
"I'm ordering you a pill organizer with an alarm." She stated while simultaneously grabbing David by the head and forcing him to lay back down.
Natalie stared at David in the eyes with a look that signified years of her telling him to take better care of himself.
"Dave why didn't you tell me you weren't feeling good? I could have helped you. You know that's literally what I'm here for."
David looked at her for a long second and then covered his eyes with his hands but not before several tears escaped. And for the second time today David silently sobbed in front of his friends.
"Oh God I'm such a fucking pussy!" David choked out. "I'm sorry guys, fuck, I'm sorry. You guys can go. I'm okay. I'm okay."
"Well, I'm not going anywhere and you obviously aren't okay." Natalie said with sad eyes as Josh got onto the bed to hug/ hold his friend who was so small at this moment.
David buried his face in Josh's hoodie and within minutes went limp in his hold.
Josh ran his hand through his friend's hair and looked at Natalie.
"Does he always get so upset when he's sick?" He whispered to her.
"I don't know.. he never really lets me help when he's sick but I do know that being sick kinda freaks him out."
Josh had a knowing expression as he glanced down at the sleeping boy.
"NATALIE!" David's bellow echoed down the halls of his house. Natalie rolled her eyes a sauntered towards David's room. She pushed the double doors open and that's when worry crashed over her.
There in the bed was David looking terrified and Josh who had obviously been asleep until he had yelled.
"Hey, hey what's going on?" Natalie spoke in the voice she used when David freaks out.
"I- fuck l-l- panic attack." David stuttered through his words.
"Okay, hey that's alright. You know this happens sometimes, you're okay." Natalie moved towards her best friend.
"I know, I know, I know, I know but my breathing breathing breathing-" David had to stop and suck a breath through his mouth. "My breathing tricks don't work if I can't breathe through my nose." David spit out.
Sympathy rolled through Natalie as she nodded. Poor Dave couldn't even use his coping skills. She nodded to Josh who was wide eyed. David did his best to hide his panic attacks from his friends but especially from Josh. Josh had no clue David had ever had a panic attack to begin with.
"Okay, Josh can you go run a really hot bath for Dave?" Natalie asked and Josh nodded, eager for a task.
"David, I need you to try and breathe through your mouth enough so that we can get you to the bath and then you can use your breathing technique." Natalie spoke with a sweet voice nearly like a mother.
David nodded frantically and slowed his panting. Natalie was proud of her friend, she remembered the first panic attack she was there to see and it had taken hours to get little Dave to breathe normally. They had both missed several periods because of it. He had come a long way.
Eventually David began to breathe mostly evenly and was sent to the bath where he could calm himself down further.
Josh sat on the white sectional in the living room, his face blank. Natalie followed to sit across from him.
"Does that.. happen a lot?" Josh nearly whispered.
"Not as much as it used to, he's gotten a lot better."
"You weren't kidding when you said being sick freaks him out."
Natalie had to chuckle slightly.
"No, I wasn't."
"What I'm confused about is, I was right there. Literally right next to him. Why did he call for you?"
"He always call for me if he can't handle it after 15 minutes. After the first time I found him all alone in 7th grade having a full blown panic attack I made him promise to come get me."
Josh shook his head.
"Did his parents know?"
"I don't know… probably not."
"God, if Max ever… God."
"Yeah, I know."
David had calmed down significantly and was sitting, bundled in blankets on the couch, watching a movie, and smelling like apples. Natalie was sitting at the breakfast table, about to pop a cheeto into her mouth when she had a thought.
"Dave, have you eaten today?"
David froze and then turned to give her his 1000 watt smile.
Josh hopped up and started getting out the supplies for a PB&J.
"Hey, I've been busy!" David defended himself.
Natalie rolled her eyes.
Within minutes Josh had set a plate with 3 perfectly made PB&Js in front of David.
"Thanks!" David exclaimed like a child before shoveling them all into his mouth within as little as two minutes.
Josh chuckled "think he was hungry?"
"Yeah, now we wait to see if his stomach fights back or not."
"Fucking gross Nat!" David shouted from his spot on the couch.
David was asleep on the couch, Josh was doing the dishes, and Natalie was sending emails from the beanbag when suddenly David rolled right off the couch.
"Aw fucking shit!" Came David's muffled voice from beneath the pile of blankets that had followed him.
"Woah, woah, woah cub are you okay?" Josh rushed over to help the younger one up.
"Yeah, yeah I think so. I caught my shoulder on the side of the table, though."
David lifted his t-shirt sleeve and revealed a small bleeding cut over top of his already bruised shoulder.
"Okay, I'll grab a band aid, David can you just stop doing things?" Natalie spoke as she started walking towards the first aid kit.
"Sorry?" David started to laugh but was quickly thrown into a coughing fit that Josh rubbed his back throughout.
"Shit man, I hate being sick."
"We all do Cub." Josh responded as Natalie walked back into the room with a jumbo band aid.
Natalie applied it to her friends cut, trying to press lightly given his bruising.
"Sorry, Dave! I tried to be gentle."
"No, not that, I still have to fucking edit the vlog for tomorrow!"
"No you don't." Josh interjected.
"Yes I do! Are you on crack?"
"No, I am not! It just so happens that I took your phone while you slept and posted on your story that you're going to upload way late."
".... Thanks man."