Someone to Watch Over You

Written by:
Linda Kay


BILL & TED characters are trademarks of Nelson 1991 Inc. The motion picture BILL & TED'S EXCELLENT ADVENTURE & © 1989 Nelson Films Inc. All Rights Reserved. The motion picture BILL & TED'S BOGUS JOURNEY © 1991 Orion Pictures Corporation. All Rights Reserved.

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Time can pass so quickly. A lifetime ago you were my little boy.... chocolate-covered face with small, dark eyes peering up as you tugged excitedly at my skirt. You always worked so hard to please me. The day you brought me roses and your father scolded you for cutting them from our garden. I had to agree, but he shouldn't have scolded. I never admitted it, but they meant so much more to me in that vase on the kitchen table.

You're a young man now. I should be worried.... a teenage life can be so difficult, especially on one as sensitive as you. But I know you'll be okay. I've known since you were seven. Sometimes I wonder if you even remember....

I don't know how I ever convinced your father I was perfectly capable of handling the added chore of a weekend guest. His immediate reaction was angry disapproval. I'll never forget the hurt look on your face. You wanted Bill to stay over so badly. And I couldn't help but feel sorry for your best friend as well. How many times had his parents taken off this year alone?

"It's out of the question! You know the conference in Chicago lasts all weekend! I have to be there, and I'm not leaving you with two wild boys! Not in your condition!"

How could I help but smile? He had the strangest way of expressing his love and concern for me, but it wasn't always logical. "Dear... you know I'll have to get used to handling two children pretty soon, anyway. Besides, they're not wild. Bill and Ted just like to have fun. They're children, after all."

You looked crushed by his resolute departure from the room, but a pat to the head and a warm smile brought that wonderful look of optimism back to your face.

We knew we'd win.

I'd no sooner opened the door than you dashed past me, racing to the rescue of the tiny blonde struggling diligently with an oversized suitcase. His mother's sportscar was at the curb, its engine still running. I believe she waved briefly before gunning the engine and speeding away. I doubt that woman and I ever shared more than four words.

You'd dutifully taken Bill's suitcase and pulled it clumsily up the front step into the house with Bill following close behind.

"Thanks for letting me stay with you, Mrs. Logan," Bill stated cheerfully. I took it sincerely, since I didn't think his mother was the type to instill manners before a visit.

"Well, we're glad to have you, Bill." I closed the door, then realized the sentiment had not been repeated. "Aren't we, dear?"

Your father must have appeared to children as a terrifying man, what with his uniform and militaristic stance. "You won't cause any problems, now will you, young man?"

"Oh, no sir!" Bill assured without fear or hesitation. "I won't be any trouble at all."

"I'm glad to hear it. Ted's mother is in the family way, you know, and she doesn't need any added stress."

I felt this statement only confused the boy, who probably had no idea what "in the family way" meant. "Ted, why don't you get Bill settled and I'll fix lunch?"

"Yah! C'mon, dude! We got a cot for you and everything!"

"Whoa, excellent!"

Together you pulled the suitcase down the hallway, bumping clumsily against the walls all the way to your room. I felt your father's arms around me and turned to see a truly worried look in his eyes.

"Are you sure you'll be all right here without me?"

"I don't want you to worry about me all weekend. Go enjoy the conference. I'll be fine."

After a soft kiss on my cheek he pulled back, gathering his overnight bag and flat briefcase. "It's against my better judgement...."

He stood, prepared to go, and actually smiled. "I'll be back Monday night." He walked to the hallway and called out loudly. "I'm going now, boys! Look after your mother for me, will you, Ted?"

"Sure, dad!" You raced down the hallway excitedly, and threw your tiny arms around him, hugging his legs tightly. I don't think you sensed his withdrawal as he gently pushed you away, rubbing your head vigorously in response to the affectionate action.

Bill ran down the hallway behind you, and for a moment I thought he might actually hug your father's legs, too... something I couldn't imagine him dealing with very well. Instead, he screeched to a halt and saluted your father in the most respectable way a seven year old knows how. "Catch you later, Mr. Logan, sir!"

We waved him goodbye from the doorway as it started to drizzle. A cold breeze was coming up, and I remember hoping Bill's mother had the sense to pack some warm clothes for him.

I'll never forget how excited you were when I allowed you to eat your sandwiches in your room. As I cleaned the kitchen, loud music and laughing kept me company. It warmed me so much to feel the tiny life inside and think about how the sound of more than one child in the house would soon be with me all the time. Maybe it was old fashioned, but I really did love being a mother.

It was raining steadily by late afternoon, and already you and Bill were restless and wanting to go outside. As any concerned mother, I resisted your pleads at first, but the minute there was a break in the rain I gave my permission. I barely caught sight of your raincoats as you darted through the kitchen into the back yard to carry out your boat races or whatever it is you used to do out there in the mud and water.

I was surprised to see almost two hours had passed when the sound of heavy drops hitting the aluminum rain gutters urged me to call you inside. I stood at the back door to make sure that wet garments would not force me to clean the kitchen floor again. Bill stepped easily out of the black galoshes, and I thought how terrible it was that his mother couldn't even buy him the right sized clothes. Then I saw your unprotected, soaking wet tennis shoes and understood.

"Ted 'Theodore' Logan! What do you mean, going outside without your boots?"

"But Mom, Bill didn't have any boots, so I lent him mine."

You try so hard to protect your children, repeatedly warning them and keeping after them, and yet things get by you and you want to unleash your exasperation upon the unwitting youth. But your explanation got to me. How could I possibly punish an act of selflessness?

"Get out of those shoes and dry your feet this instant," was all I could offer.

That night I let you watch television after dinner for a while. With the nip in the air, hot chocolate seemed the perfect treat to serve. I even made sure you each got two large marshmallows. I guess, deep down, I wanted to make this a very special weekend for the both of you.... one you'd never forget.

I was surprised when I was able to go to bed and actually fall asleep. I had anticipated several trips to your room to tell you to quiet down, but after a short amount of talking your room had fallen silent. I'd noticed you'd seemed tired that evening, and assumed the day had proved to be exhausting.

The room was dark when I awoke, but I was vaguely aware of a dim light from the hallway and a small figure standing next to my bed, shaking me gently.

"Mrs. Logan?"

It took me a moment to place the voice, which I was not used to hearing in those circumstances, but as sleep left me I remembered the events of the day. "What is it, Bill?"

I mumbled groggily.

"Ted's sick."

This statement awoke me further, and I struggled to sit up against my added weight. "What kind of sick?"

"I dunno. He just says he doesn't feel good. And he doesn't look so good, either."

There was an unnerving sense of worry in Bill's voice, and while normally I wouldn't be overly concerned with a child's interpretation of "sick" I became somewhat apprehensive. I swung my legs out of bed, swinging my toes to locate my slippers. "I'll be right there."

Bill hurried from the room, and I slowly got to my feet and padded along the hallway to your room. Upon entering, I saw you lying on your back in bed, the covers pulled up to your chin. The soft nightlight I'd placed in the room earlier that day for Bill's benefit filled the room with an odd, orange glow, adding to the strangeness of the scene. Bill was leaning against the bed, waiting for me to approach.

I sat on the edge of the bed and reached out, placing a hand on the covers. "What's the matter, honey?"

Up until that moment you'd kept your eyes closed in a look of discomfort. Slowly the long lashes parted and those black, soulful eyes groggily looked up at me. "Don't feel good," was all you could mumble before breaking into a series of hacking coughs.

The hoarseness of your usually soft voice and the deepness of the coughing took me aback immediately, and I quickly moved my hand to your forehead to confirm what I'd feared; you were burning up with fever.

"Whatsa matter with him?" Bill asked worriedly.

"He's definitely got a fever," I reported, trying to keep my voice monotone. I was determined not to show my concern in front of Bill, who was obviously already worried enough.

"Is he gonna be okay?" Bill asked, leaning in closer.

"Oh, I think so." I was amazed at the confidence I managed to put in that statement when I really didn't feel it. "I think he just caught a cold.... probably from being out in the rain." I realized too late that observation was probably better left unsaid, as a look of extreme guilt came over the round face in across from me. "Or he might have caught it at school," I quickly added.

You coughed again, pulling the blankets up to cover your mouth. This act made me realize I now faced a problem. I couldn't, in good conscious, let Bill stay in the same room with you. I didn't want to think of facing that insensitive woman accusing me of not being a good mother. And from the sound of your cough I immediately thought of the humidifier sitting in the hall closet, and realized the care you required would keep Bill awake all night.

The bed shook again with another series of coughs, and I gently patted your head. "It's okay, just relax. I'm going to get Bill settled in the other room and then I'll put the humidifier in here."

"I wanna stay with Ted," Bill protested with a slight whine in his voice.

"I know. But I think it would be best if you slept in the living room. Get what you need and I'll move the cot for you."

I expected more argument, but Bill simply leaned over to you and, without a word, you gave him a tired look of approval. Bill obediently turned to the cot and gathered up his pillow and sleeping bag, carrying them out of the room. Even though it was awkward, I managed to semi-fold the cot and move it into the living room.

I soon had Bill settled in his makeshift bed, although he was still restless. I couldn't help but feel sorry for him. Knowing how long a cold of this sort could linger, the rest of his weekend visit could easily prove to be very boring for him, and I wondered if I had overestimated my ability to handle two boys at the same time.

"Try to get some sleep," I said softly. "Ted will be fine."

"You'll check on him?" There was genuine worry in his voice.

"I'll sit up with him for a while.... until he can fall asleep."

Even in the dark I could make out the look of amazement on Bill's face at this statement. I turned and walked to the hall closet, sighing with some sadness as I thought about the reason behind his surprise.

The next two hours became a tired blur of cold compresses, temperature checks and the steady hum of the humidifier. Much to my relief, your temperature dropped slightly and your breathing eased somewhat so the coughing fits were further apart. After a dose of cough medicine and an application of Vap-o-rub, you drifted from that restless doze to a good sleep and I felt confident enough to return to my own room and lie down for the evening.

As I stepped into the hallway, the sight of something dark and out of the ordinary from the corner of my eye startled me until I spun around and studied it more carefully, realizing Bill had moved his sleeping bag and was now lying in the hallway outside your room. Somehow I knew he wasn't asleep.

"He's sleeping soundly now. Go to sleep, Bill."

The dark form moved as the boy rolled over within the bag, apparently getting comfortable to go to sleep. My instinct urged me to tell him to move back to the living room where he'd be more comfortable, but I couldn't bring myself to say anything. I knew it wouldn't do any good anyway.

I awoke early the next morning with the usual nausea and soreness, but pushed myself out of bed despite this and threw my robe on to check on you, hoping to find the fever had stayed down.

It took me a moment to realize the empty hallway was something unusual, having seen it that way every day for so many years. The sleeping bag was gone and Bill was no where in sight. I slowly opened the door to your room, halfway expecting to see Bill inside, but you were alone, sleeping soundly in the middle of your bed. I managed to quickly feel your forehead and was thankful to find it not as warm as before. Apart from a slight rasp in your breathing and a slight flush in your cheeks I wouldn't have guessed you'd been so ill that night.

Leaving the room, I again wondered where Bill had gotten to. As I entered the living room I saw the cot, unsuccessfully folded but out of the way nonetheless, set against the wall and the sleeping bag and pillow in the corner beside it. I continued into the kitchen and found him sitting at the small table, eating a bowl of cereal. While the cereal box was still sitting out, the usual mess I'd have expected was nowhere to be seen.

"I got myself some cereal. Is that okay?"

"That's fine, Bill." I put on a pot of hot water for tea, for myself and for you, in case you felt like some, talking as I worked. "Did you sleep okay last night?"

"Yeah," Bill yawned. "Did Ted sleep okay?"

"I think so. His fever's gone down." A look of hope crossed the small boy's face, so I quickly added, "I don't think he'll be well enough to play today, though. But I'm sure we can find something to do."

"What'll Ted do?"

I looked over my shoulder, somewhat surprised by this reaction. Here I expected an unhappy little boy complaining about being stuck at his friend's house while he was sick. I'd never encountered such a young person having so much concern over another. "He'll probably sleep most of the day, I hope. Get over this cold."

"Oh yah." He lifted the bowl to his mouth to gulp down the last of the milk, then I heard the spoon clatter in the empty bowl and looked down to see him next to me, trying to lift the dish into the sink.

"Here, let me. Why don't you go watch t.v. for a while?"

"Okay, Mrs. Logan." The tiny feet scurried into the living room and pretty soon I had the familiar sounds of Scooby Doo to keep me company as I drank my tea and ate a warmed muffin.

The cup of tea I brought you when you'd didn't go unappreciated, and I was glad to see you drink the entire cup amidst sniffles and coughs. I was unplugging the humidifier when you pointed to the doorway and hoarsely asked, "Did Bill get some tea, too?"

I looked up to see Bill sitting just outside the doorway, peering in. "Does Bill want some tea?" I asked.

"Naw, it's okay," Bill replied.

"Dude, I'm totally sorry about getting sick. You must be so bored."

"Don't worry 'bout it. I was watching t.v."

"Go ahead, dude. I'm tired anyways."

"Okay, I'll catch you later." His sneakers squeaked all the way back to the living room.

I turned around to take the empty cup from you, realizing our tradition was for me to bring the TV into the bedroom for you to watch. "Ted, about the TV...."

"You'll leave it out there for Bill?"

"I think so. Until you feel a little better anyway."

"Good." You rolled over to go back to sleep and I left the room, proud at how considerate you were being.

As the day progressed, Bill voluntarily helped around the house with various chores such as a little dusting and drying the dishes. When I had the time between chores I managed to play a couple of board games with him and fix him lunch, which he ate in front of the television to some grade-B horror movie. Quite often I heard him get up and walk down the hallway, a routine that became so frequent I doubted my first assumptions that he was going to the bathroom. I soon figured out that he would sneak to your room and look in quietly to see if you were still sleeping. More often than not he would come right back, but every so often he would stay down there a while, and I could hear the two of you talking and playing twenty questions, which you usually got in just a few guesses, although your understanding of what items were animals, vegetables or minerals left much to be desired.

Before I knew it, early evening had rolled around. I was so happy to see you eat a good amount of soup and crackers. After cleaning the dishes from our meals, I sat down at the kitchen table to rest my aching legs.

The sound of the television set died away and after a moment Bill appeared in the doorway, looking up at me in a friendly manner. "Nothing good's on," he reported.

"That's not unusual," I agreed. "Come sit with me for a while."

He accepted the invitation eagerly, pulling out a chair and sitting down. "Thanks for letting me stay over."

"I'm just sorry Ted got sick. It hasn't been much fun for you today."

"It's okay. It's better than goin' to my grandma's house."

"You don't like your grandmother?"

Bill twisted his face for a second. "She's okay. 'Cept she likes to kiss and stuff."

I laughed. "Grandma's do tend to do that."

"Yah." He looked at me questioningly for a long time, like there was something he wanted to ask but didn't know how to say it.

"Is something the matter, Bill?"

He tilted his head somewhat. "What's it like? I mean, having a baby inside ya like that?"

I had to laugh slightly. "It's kind of strange but kind of wonderful, too. I can feel it moving and kicking sometimes."

The blue eyes opened wide. "Really? You can feel it move around in there?"

"Uh huh. Do you want to feel?"

The expression widened even more. "How?"

I motioned for him to get up, which he did with a little hesitation. I took his hand and placed it on my abdomen. For several anxious moments we waited until I felt a small kick and Bill stepped back in reaction.

"Whoooaaaa!!! No way!" He looked up at me with a smile, then stepped forward and leaned over to listen. "Is it gonna be a boy or a girl?"

"We're not sure yet."

"I hope it's a boy."

"If it's a boy, we're going to name him Deacon."

Bill pulled his head back and nodded. "That's cool." He looked up at me in awe. "Wow.... you're a neat mom."

I didn't know how to react. My heart went out to this poor boy who never longed for anything.... except perhaps a mother's love. I reached down and patted his head. "Well, Bill, you are one very special little boy. Ted's lucky to have you as a friend."

Bill smiled so broadly it warmed my heart.

"Would you like some hot chocolate?"

"Excellent!"

I took that as a yes.

By the next morning, you were sitting up in bed and wanting some company, so I allowed Bill to spend time in your room playing checkers and listening to records. I couldn't believe the entire weekend had passed without one complaint from our houseguest, considering the circumstances. And when his mother came to pick him up, I'll never forget the way he hugged me goodbye, as if he wished he could stay with us forever. When your father got home, he was just glad to see the house hadn't been demolished. I never did try to explain it to him.... somehow I knew he wouldn't understand.

It was many years later when an oncoming pair of headlights tore me away from everything I ever loved. Now as I look down, I see you standing there over my resting place, looking so hurt and confused. But at least you're not standing there alone.

And it comforts me to know that, no matter what, at least one caring person will always be there to look out for you.

THE END