Using his unconscious state to my advantage, I placed the sticks on either side of his injured leg, evening the ends up with his heel. Once the sticks were in place, I unrolled the bandage and began the job of wrapping his leg. My finger made the job awkward, but I worked to keep the wrapping tight so his leg would have maximum stabilization. I left the area of the leg exposed where the bone stuck out. Wrapping it would do him more harm than good. By the time I finished, I had worked up quite a sweat. I tore off a piece of his raincoat that was hanging by a thread and draped it over his leg so it would keep the wrapping dry. Standing up stiffly, I looked down at his unconscious body for a second. That was the best I could do for him, I thought. As for myself, I still didn’t feel all that great. I walked several feet into the woods and vomited up the water I had consumed earlier.
Mason was still unconscious when I made my way back to his side. I fought the temptation to curl up next to him and join him in slumber, but it was time to start phase two of my plan. Getting us under some kind of shelter was a must. During my hunt for sticks earlier, I spotted what looked like a small cave where a large section of rock was protruding from the side of the mountain. It would be a perfect location. The problem would be getting Mason there.
I wrapped my good hand with a piece of denim I had torn away from Mason’s jeans and began to break away the branches the surrounded his head. The rain made my work twice as hard since the branches were slippery, but at least the denim protected my hand from any rough edges. I worked diligently until I had cleared a sufficient path out of the bush.
"What are you doing, beach bunny?" Mason asked in a strained voice, startling me.
I turned to see him curiously studying me.
"Getting you to that dry bed you asked for," I joked. “You scared the crap out of me.”
"Sorry. That's sweet of you, but I don't see you being able to move me," he said seriously.
"Yeah, well, I didn't think I could do your leg and I did that," I said, sarcastically.
He let out a small laugh. "I'm not questioning your drive, but I'm no lightweight. How do you plan on moving all one hundred eighty pounds of me?" he asked.
"Well, if you must know, I'm dragging your ass."
He raised his eyebrows at me doubtfully, but didn't argue further.
"You ready?" I asked, standing up by his head. "Or do you plan on waiting for the bus."
"I'm all yours, beach bunny."
I reached down and grasped the hood of the raincoat that he was on, being careful to keep my injured finger out of the way. My grip was awkward, but still allowed me to get a good hold of the material with my hand.
"Ready?" I asked, looking down at him.
"Yes, ma'am," he said, bracing his good foot against the ground so he could help.
Pulling with all the strength I had, I managed to move him several inches before I had to take a break. He watched me with concern as I tried to regain my air supply. The thin mountain air definitely wasn’t helping. Once I had regained my breathing to a more manageable level, I began tugging the material again, using all of my weight to propel him up out of the bush. The momentum threw me off and I stumbled to the ground. I braced my fall with my left hand without thinking and cursed as excruciating pain rocketed throughout my arm.
"Kimberly?" Mason called from behind me.
"I'm fine," I gasped, waiting for the pain to subside as I kneeled on the ground.
"Let me see it," he pleaded.
Turning around, I held my finger out so he could inspect it. I had ignored it the majority of the day, treating it as more of a pain in the ass than anything else, but as he studied it, I took in the dark shade of black and blue that now made up the color on my middle digit.
"We need to brace this," he said softly, holding my injured hand tenderly in his.
"It'll be fine. I want to get you into the shelter first and then we can worry about my dumb finger," I mumbled, embarrassed over the big deal he was making over my small break in light of his massive injury.
"You're not moving me until we brace it," he said stubbornly, leaving no room for argument.
"Fine, but you're the one who's getting soaking wet," I quipped, snapping a branch into two pieces for him.
"I need the gauze too, Einstein," he teased, looking tickled about my grumpiness.
"No shit, Sherlock," I shot back, already digging out the first aid box for the small roll of gauze tape I had seen.
He smirked at my snippy comeback. "Help me sit up," he said.
"Yes, your highness. Do you want me to fetch you some wine and cheese while I'm at it?"