"I suspected it all along. I knew you thought I was hot," he teased, opening his eyes.
"Whatever helps you sleep at night, honey."
He chuckled softly before grimacing in pain again. "You ready for this?" he asked.
I wanted to tell the truth and say "hell no," but I nodded my head instead.
"It'll be a cakewalk," I said with false bravado.
"That's my girl," he said, looking at me proudly.
His trust in me was almost my undoing as I fought a new wave of panic. Who was I fooling? I wasn't a nurse. Hell, I hated to even watch doctor-related TV shows since they always made me squeamish. I’d take a horror movie any day because at least I knew all the blood and gore was fake.
Fighting back my panic, I lined up the supplies I would need. "I have to clean the wound first," I said, not looking at him as I handed the water bottle to him with shaky hands so he could unscrew the cap for me.
"Can you do this with your broken finger?" he asked, concerned.
"I plan on using my good hand as much as possible," I said, trying to keep my voice from shaking as I prepared to pour the water over his leg.
"Kimberly," he said.
"Yeah?" I asked, finally looking at him.
"You got this," he said with the confidence I was lacking.
"I got this," I repeated, and then silently chanted it to myself over and over again as I kneeled in front of his leg. I turned the bottle slowly so only a little would pour out at a time. The clear liquid ran over his injury, washing away the majority of the blood and gore.
Mason let out a string of muffled curses that I willed myself to tune out as I continued to clean as much of the debris as I could from the oozing wound. When the bottle was empty, I leaned in close and saw the water had done a sufficient job. I tore one of the alcohol wipe packages open with my teeth and gently swabbed the ragged skin around the injury with it. Mason sucked in a gasping breath as I finished wiping down the injury. Without glancing at him, I reached down to tear away the denim that was holding on by only a few strands. Though I tried to limit jarring the leg as much as I could, I heard Mason release another string of curse words.
"Sorry," I mumbled, feeling wretched at the pain I was causing him.
"It's all good," he repeated in a voice that was lacking the same confidence from a few minutes ago.
I let out a small laugh. "How badly do you want to hit me?" I joked, finally looking at his ghost white face.
"Hit you? I want to kiss you," he said, humorlessly.
"Ha, yeah right."
"I'm not kidding. You don't think I know how tough this is for you. Hell, I'd have a hard time with it. You're my freaking hero right about now," he said through pale lips.
"We'll see how you feel after this next part," I teased, trying to keep the mood light, his words did touch me though.
"You got this," he repeated, closing his eyes as he clutched the raincoat that was bunched up around him.
Returning my focus to the task at hand, I rolled the bowling ball-size rock I had found and placed it as close to his left heel as I could get. The odd angle of his leg made it impossible to wrap the injury without the help of something to lift it off the ground for me. Grabbing his heel gently in my hands, I tried lifting his leg as carefully as possible.
"STOP," Mason yelled in a strangled voice.
I paused and waited for him to recover. "Ready?" I asked after several seconds had passed.
"No, wait, yes," he said, gritting his teeth.
Without giving him a chance to change his mind, I pivoted the leg over to rest on the rock.
Mason screamed again and then went silent. I grimaced when I saw he had passed out, but quickly realized it was probab
ly for the best.