Falling.... Hook, Line, and Sinker.

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He came back to her in just five minutes.

She seemed relieved to see him.

She really must be in a lot of pain.

“I think those painkillers are starting to work. It doesn’t hurt as much now, as it did.”

“Good! That’s what I was aiming for.”

He talked to her again, explaining what he intended to do. He wanted there to be no misunderstanding between them. Men and women seemed to have such a difficult time understanding each other, with a hundred, easily misunderstood, nuances.

“I’m going to pick you up and carry you up there. I doubt the planks will hold the two of us and our combined weight, so I’ll pick you off this jetty from beside it, and carry you. You can bring that noodle in your good hand, if you can manage that please. We’ll; need it, at first, until I get that hook out of your back.”

She wouldn’t argue with him, just glad that he’d come back as soon as he had and could now see to her.

He slung the bits of Bikini, with their long ties, over his shoulder, then dropped into the water beside her, feeling the water rise to his knees, hoping none of the hooks had dropped to that side of the jetty. He hadn’t seen any. She was ideally positioned to be picked up now.

“Let me do everything for you. Just relax. Don’t try to help me. Stop me, if you feel any new pain.” She understood.

He pulled at her upper arm on the far side of her body, sliding his right arm under her back, just below the position of that hook, and did the same with his left arm under her knees as he lifted her toward him and carried her out of the water. Her breasts were almost in his face.

“Tell me if you feel any sudden pains… if anything hurts more than it already does.”

She was light, and soft against him. His shirt had moved to one side, and her naked breast was pushing directly into him. It was firm. Interesting. Unnerving. He kept his thoughts to himself. He didn’t seem to be causing her any more pain.

If anyone saw them…. The pity of it was, that this would be another photograph to remember, but he couldn’t get it, or any of the others he would dearly love to capture of her, carrying her like this, with all that would be exposed in different places for an outside observer to see.

She carried the noodle in her uninjured hand, with the other hand still trapped on her abdomen by the hooks. One or two of those hooks, in awkward places (the ones between her legs), might work deeper, with the movement of him carrying her, but he had no choice about it. He wasn’t going to delve between her legs on that open jetty.

He was strong to have picked her up so easily. He was well muscled too. She’d seen his abs and his arms and shoulders. He worked out, like she did. The Kayak would do that for him. She closed her eyes rather than have him read any more of her mixed-up thoughts.

He’d left the door open to the house and had prepared the kitchen table for her with a blanket, cushions, and a sheet. He hadn’t wasted any time when he’d got into the house that first time.

Despite that analgesic, she was still in a lot of pain, and the movement hadn’t help with that. She no longer cared about being naked, only wanting the pain to stop. She didn’t complain about anything. Nothing like the woman he’d remembered… a different woman altogether. Pain could do that. As well as those pain killers.

He left his shirt covering her for her peace of mind, as well as for his. It would soon get as hot inside the small house, as it was outside, but at least they’d be out of the sun. He’d leave the door and windows wide open to take advantage of any breeze that came along.

He laid various things out from his medical bag where he could reach them.

She never took her eyes off him, and he could feel that. It puzzled him, but there were a lot of things that puzzled him when it came to her.

He returned her glance from time to time and smiled at her encouragingly. He had a lot of questions to ask her… personal questions…. Very personal questions, but they would have to wait.

“I’ll give you a tetanus shot first, then I’ll clean around you, at each hook, and inject a little Lidocaine—a local anesthetic—and we’ll get started on the awkward ones. I’ll put lidocaine into a few of them to get them ready, if the first ones go quickly.” That local anesthetic soon wore off. They would all be awkward, but he couldn’t tell her that. He’d have to do the one in her back first, and then those in her scalp.

This was going to take longer than he’d hoped, and he’d better keep an eye on her afterward for an hour or so.

“That one in your back should be the first one.” He wouldn’t tell her that that might be the deepest one. She might need a stitch to close the wound, after that. Play it all by ear. “There is another, just at the back of your head, in the hair. They’ll have to come out before you can lay back properly.”

He kept talking. Maybe he was talking too much.

“As I said, I’ll deaden the pain with a local injection (he repeated himself to try and reassure her), but I don’t want to do any damage either, so I’ll go slowly. Most should come out, easily. You shouldn’t feel anything other than slight pressure, or a pull. If you can hold yourself still by holding onto the edge of the table, away from me, I’ll get started on that first one.”

She did as he asked, as he lifted and pushed her away from him, careful not to move her hand, stuck onto her abdomen. “It will pull a little, but you shouldn’t feel any pain. At least they are not so deep into you that I have to push them through and snip the barbs off.”

Maybe he shouldn’t be telling her that.

She didn’t like the sound of that.

She heard him spraying something on her, felt a pinprick, heard the snip of his cutter, feeling something moving as he did that. She even felt that one pulling at her, but she felt no obvious pain outside of her own mind.

She heard the hook rattle into another one of those steel trays.

She felt him cleaning around it with some fluid he’d poured into another small metal tray, and then felt him put in a suture; following that with a plaster to keep everything out of it while it began the healing process. He told her everything he was doing. It helped.

“One down.” Lots to go.

She looked at the kitchen clock. Three o’clock. It had taken him five minutes for that one. He’d be here for at least two hours at this rate.

She relaxed. As much of an ordeal as it would be for her, it would give her time to think, and to find out about him. She knew what she’d both felt, and seen. She would put up with the discomfort of what he was doing. She’d have questions to ask, and things to say, too.

What would he say if he knew she wasn’t Megan? If she told him who she really was… how would that go?

He wouldn’t remember her, of course, even though she’d spent so much time with his mother... even sleeping at his house...living there, while he’d been away at university. He knew a lot of things about her, but he’d never met her. If he didn’t recognise her, so much the better but it didn’t seem right to be misleading him like this. It would all come out eventually, of course, when he did, eventually meet her after this.

He’d matured well.

He took the ones out of the hair at the back of her head next; squirting something into both places. Now she could lie back down, albeit slowly, letting out a long, slow, sigh of relief.

He let her come back slowly, noticing that his shirt had dropped over her other arm, leaving her exposed again. She didn’t seem to notice. She wasn’t fighting to get it back to cover her, and she was easy to look at, so he wouldn’t fight with it either.

He was having to reassess his earlier impressions of her; those of a year ago. She was a conundrum.

He gave her another pill. It would be better if she was less conscious of him pulling her around like this. He watched her drink.

Was she crying?

He saw how moist her eyes were. He hoped he hadn’t hurt her. His heart went out to her. He’d have to decide when to give her a break, and he would suggest a cup of tea or a coffee in the microwave, while they talked. He’d get a few more of those hooks out, first.

They definitely needed to talk. He suddenly had a lot of questions to ask her.

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