She knew she did not wake up in her own bed before she opened her eyes. The pain throbbing through her right leg clued her into that. When she did open her eyes, she found herself back inside the little log house, tucked into the cozy bed in the loft and covered with the beautiful quilt.
Well, all of her, except her right leg. It was propped up using a cooking pot covered with a pillow, and swaddled in what felt like a pound of gauze. She saw that her pedicure managed to survive the ordeal but her foot was swelling and turning a gruesome shade of purple.
She sat up to look around and found no one else in the place. On the table were her torn and bloodied Levi’s next to a large animal trap – also bloody. Her face suddenly reddened. What panties did I put on yesterday morning? She hoped they weren’t old worn granny-panties. Oh crap! Yes they were granny-panties because she wore those on Monday’s. Monday was bad enough without adding uncomfortable underwear to it.
Her blouse and bra had not been removed. Frankly, she wouldn’t have minded if her bra vanished. Eight hours were her tolerance level for brassieres. It had been over 24-hours now.
And where the Hell was everybody? Somebody rescued and doctored her last night. Where were they now? Maybe, they’re at the local donut shop fetching breakfast. Although it would be more likely they were in the barn gathering fresh eggs.
“Man, I’ve got to pee,” she said to the empty room.
When it got really urgent, she decided to find somewhere to relieve herself.
“Some hospital this is,” she sighed, ”not even a nurse call-button.”
Gingerly, she maneuvered to the edge of the bed. With both feet together she could tell how swollen the right foot was. Anticipating horrible shooting pain, added to what she considered the constant pain, she squinted her eyes shut and put a teeny bit of weight on it.
Not as bad as she expected, but that was without any of her weight on it. Maybe it wasn’t broken, just cut. Feeling braver, she tried to get off the bed.
“Just where do you think you’re goin’?” The voice came from behind, startling her. She sat down on the edge of the bed again and looked behind her. She couldn’t answer his question because she immediately forgot what it was.
When she didn’t answer, he asked, “Do you speak English?” At least she could nod her head ‘yes’ to this question.
She could not breathe in enough air. Or swallow. Her heart pounded so hard that she could hear it pumping blood through her veins. She felt brain-dead.
It wasn’t only his deep voice that was masculine. He had a ruggedly handsome face, no “pretty boy” looks on this sun-browned cowboy. When he took off his hat she saw that his hair was on the long and shaggy side, but it was clean. His shoulder and arm muscles filled out his worn shirt nicely. And, Lord have mercy, the man had the most devastating eyes. When he smiled, she saw that he had a dimple.
He was perfect.
She had the feeling that she had seen him before. But where, was a mystery. She would remember the perfect man – wouldn’t she?
“Do you need something?” he asked. He came up to the loft and felt her forehead with the back of his hand. His frown confirmed her suspicion she had a fever.
He shook his head and shrugged. In his puzzlement he was even cuter than before. If that was even possible.
Without any warning he scooped her up and carried her outside. Like she was a rag doll that didn’t weigh anything. Her weight, too much for her liking, didn’t make him break a sweat. Ever so gently, he put her down on the outhouse’s ‘porch’ and opened the door for her. Then he gave her a cowbell.
“Ring this when you’re finished and I’ll come back.”
“Thank you,” she said, while thinking you’ve got to be kidding me.
Expecting to be grossed out, she was surprised at how clean the outhouse was. Way nicer than any port-a-potty she ever used. There was a Sears & Roebuck catalog on a shelf left of the hole. Most of the pages had been torn out. Her grandma told her about using catalogs or dried corn cobs for toilet paper. Now, here she was, her spoiled butt used to Charmin, having to scrape herself with the tractor section. She better not get a paper cut on her hoo-hah.
She felt like an idiot ringing the cowbell. He came out of the barn and scooped her up into his arms again. The way he held her against his chest, and put her arms around his neck to hold on – was so fine. She wished he would stay inside the house with her. Maybe he was the strong, silent type.
When he got her leg propped and the rest of her tucked in, he told her that he wanted to take a look at the wound.
“You should just look at the ceiling, or out the window,” he told her. “It’s not sight for a lady to see.” He gently began unwinding the gauze from her leg. She watched him.
“I’m not a lady, really.”
“OK, but I warned you.”
When she saw her leg she tried to stop the tears leaking out of her eyes, but couldn’t. Her legs were one of her best features – until now. The entire leg had hideous bruises and looked like Dr. Frankenstein had sewed it back on. There were a multitude of huge black stitches, in a circle around her leg, about four inches from the top of her ankle. She could not look anymore.
“Don’t worry hon,” he said, handing her a handkerchief that was in his back pocket. “The stiches have pulled a bit because of the swelling.”
He called her hon!
“Could you bring me some ice?” she asked. He just looked at her. “To help the swelling and the pain,” she explained.
“Sorry, but we don’t get ice up here unless it snows.”
“I sent for the Doc to have a look, so we might as well leave it unwrapped.”
“I hope he brings some pain meds.”
“You know, the hard stuff. Codeine. Demerol. Oxycodone.“
By his expression, the chance of any pain relief was nil. That was too damned depressing to think about.
“You should get more rest,” he told her. “Doc should be here soon.”
She was a bit woozy. She closed her eyes and tried to sleep, but she was too wound up. However, she was dozing when the doctor arrived.
“Doc” was just how she imagined him. An older gentleman, with graying hair and a thick mustache. He was on the portly side, but not chubby, and his eyes twinkled when he smiled.
As if she weren’t in the room, Doc and Mr. Perfect discussed her injuries, and the stitches he did. The conversation became interesting when they stepped out of the loft and lowered their voices to a whisper. Mr. Perfect told Doc that she just couldn’t stay here – he was too busy this season to play nursemaid to a dim-witted city girl. And there’s something really wrong with her brain.
Enough of this crap.
“I may be a city girl, but I’m not dim-witted enough to stay where I’m not wanted.”
“Speaking of where you’re wanted,” Mr. Perfect challenged her, “Why the Hell were you roaming, or should I say trespassing, in the forest at night?”
“She challenged him right back. “What are you trying to catch with those big-assed traps – besides women, I mean?”
Doc nearly choked on his coffee.
“Look, I don’t want to be a burden,” she interrupted, pulling herself up in a sitting position. “I’ll just be on my way” She scooted off the bed and stood up. The pain that shot up her right-leg and took her breath away. She fell over sideways. Neither of her legs could hold her up. Dammit.
With all the dignity she could muster, she climbed up the bed and stood again – this time not putting pressure on her wounded leg, and steadying herself with the bedpost.
“Of course, I’ll need to borrow a pair of pants,” she said, looking directly at the guy who ruined hers.
“I’ll be happy to give you a pair of my pants,” he said, “and a ride back to wherever you came from.”
“I came from here, actually, on this very spot,” she told him.
“You came from my house?”
“No, I came from my house, which somehow turned into your house when I walked through my door.”
She knew how ridiculous it sounded, and wished she’d kept her mouth shut. But there wasn’t anywhere he could take her back to.
Then Doc joined in the conversation.
“Listen – my clinic is fully booked with patients. I can’t take her there. She needs to stay off her feet, keep the wound elevated, and swab it with the medicine I will give to you. You already set up a bed for her -“
“Just wait right there,” Mr. Perfect interrupted, “That happens to be my one and only bed.”
What a big baby! She thought but did not say. After all he may be taking care of her.