"I still think you should go to a hospital for this one, it's hot and swollen … and it looks like it started bleeding again, if it gets infected you could be in all sorts of problems" he says.
"No hospital!" she insists, "The blood's probably from this morning, I forgot about it and …"
She feels him shrug, "Your call, I went down to the pharmacy and picked up the strongest antiseptic spray they had. This will probably sting, but at least we'll know it's reasonably effective. Ready?"
She grits her teeth and nods. She flinches as the spray first lands on the wound, more a reaction to the cold than anything, then the spray bites and she grabs at the counter in front of her, trying to keep her groan of pain inside her throat, knuckles white as she puts all the stress she can into her fingers. It takes a few moments for the stinging to abate sufficiently for her to unclamp her fingers from the marble's edge and allow a gasp to escape her lips. She wipes her brow with her hand and turns to look at him. "You like …. making me …. suffer don't you?"
He smiles back at her, preoccupation still overriding his sense of humour and she has to wonder why he even cares. It only takes him a few moments to apply fresh gauze and tape it in in place. He runs his fingers over the rest of her back, checking that the plasters on the rest of her cuts are ok and she can't help the shiver his touch sends through her body. His fingers pause a second, but he says nothing and lets them skitter over the rest of her wounds. "Want some more anti-inflammatory on the bruising?" he asks.
"Sure it's not just an attempt to see more skin?" she jokes, determined to keep this light. His eyes and his smile and his hands are distracting her too much and she still doesn't know where she stands with him, so funny is safe.
He grins, "We'll wait till your wounds heal for that" and there's a sense of truth behind his words that hits her right then, making the colour rise up her neck as she turns her face away.
"Turn around and don't look" She waits till he has his back to her and slips her right arm and shoulder out of the T-shirt, thankful that its size makes the task relatively easy. Once she's freed them she discreetly tucks it round her front and when satisfied says "Ok"
Her shoulder is a mottled mess of blues and greens and yellows and the stiffness down her back tells her that that is probably the same. His hands land gently on her skin and she has to look away, concentrating on the patterns of light and shade at the kitchen windows in order to keep her mind off the sensations his hands are producing as they move across her shoulder blades, down her ribs and back up to her upper arm. The cooling sensation of the gel is comforting though not distracting enough where his hands are concerned. She's not sure if she's relieved or sorry when he pulls them away and heads to the sink to wash them.
She slips her arm back into the T-shirt and pulls it down so that she is once more covered. Looking up she catches him watching her from the sink. "What?"
"I just thought that maybe you should call your place of work? Let them know you won't be in today?"
Now she's angry and climbing off the kitchen stool, being looked after is one thing, being told what to do is something else. "And what makes you think I won't be … going in today, I mean!"
He takes a step forward, leans on the opposite side of the island and with no humour in his voice says, "Three things. One, you owe me. Two, by the time you get your bike back head home to change and get to work your shift will be over. Three, I think you need to keep off the streets for the next few days … and that's without the added problem of your back and shoulder".
She glares at him, but she also knows he's right on all points. She stands there stiff and unbending for the best part of twenty seconds, then lets out a sigh of resignation and lets her shoulders drop. "You're right … and I'm sorry for being such a …" She's lost for words and he offers her …
There's an involuntary chuckle from her and she agrees "Yeah, sorry for being a pain"
"That's ok …" he grins back at her, "… I'm a pretty good pain myself usually"
He sees her looking around and "Lost something?"
She nods, biting her lip in a way that has him wanting to place his finger on her mouth and pull the trapped lip free …. or maybe just kiss it free. "Yeah … my backpack? It has my phone and stuff".
He frowns a moment and then his brow clears "Probably still in the car, down in the garage. I'll go get it for you in a bit, but here, use mine to let them know you won't be in today … or tomorrow?" the last being more of a tentative question rather than a suggestion.
She takes his phone from him, gazing into his blue eyes and trying to gauge his intentions, which so far has been a fruitless task.
She's surprised to see the University Messenger Services number already up on the screen and throws a look his way. But then she shouldn't be surprised she supposes. He'd somehow tracked her down last night, so her job had probably had something to do with it. Hitting the dial button she moves towards the window, absently looking down at the street below as she tells Corrine that she's come off her bike and won't be in today, she pauses looking over her shoulder at the writer who is leaning on the kitchen island and watching her, maybe tomorrow as well she adds, she'll let her know.
She cuts the call, moves back to the kitchen and hands him the phone. "So, what now?"
"How about I arrange to get your bike brought here so you can leave when you want to, I'll also bring your stuff up from the car and if you want to use the shower or whatever I'll put your clothes … well, what's left of them, through the machine. Then we sit down and talk. I'll tell you my story and you answer some questions …"
"And if I don't want to answer them … or certain ones?"
"Your choice. All I'm asking for is the chance … the chance for you to listen to what I have to say, and the chance for me to get some answers. No other strings attached" he adds holding up his hands in a sort of surrender pose.