"The least I can do," he said, indicating his own injury.
"Well, let’s get this show on the road. I'm sick of this never-ending rain," I said, grasping his jacket in my hand to start dragging him along again. He helped out as best as he could, propelling himself forward by kicking off against the ground with his good foot every time I tugged. It took more than a half an hour to drag him the two hundred yards since I was forced to take several breaks.
"You couldn't have found a closer tree for us to hunker down under," Mason teased after my fourth break. I could tell he was concerned about me, but more importantly, I could tell he was in a lot of pain.
"Oh, you'll be thanking me soon enough," I huffed as I started the slow climb up to the shelter I had picked. My forward motion up the incline was painstakingly slow and my arms screamed at me from exertion. Finally, I stopped just short of our destination and Mason was able to crane his neck around so he could see our temporary shelter.
"Very nice, beach bunny," he said in a weak, pain-filled voice as he took in the deep indention in the mountain where we'd finally be able to escape the steady drizzle of rain that had yet to stop.
"I'm going to make sure the ground is rock-free and such so you can have that comfy bed I promised you," I lied as I cautiously entered the small cave. What I really wanted was to make sure we weren't intruding on some wild animal’s shelter. I switched on the flashlight as I walked under the huge granite rock that was jutting out from the mountain. I scanned the small space that was roughly the size of a large walk-in closet. I was pleased that the ground was dry and relatively flat. Grateful we wouldn't have to share our shelter with a bear or anything, I returned to Mason's side.
"I'm going to drag you into the mouth of the cave there until I can get you settled in," I told him, grasping the hood of his raincoat in my hands. My high of finding us a dry place gave me the adrenaline I needed to muscle him into position.
"Man, you'd give Wonder Woman a run for her money," Mason said to me, opening his eyes.
"Told you I could do it," I said, gasping for air.
I waited several minutes before heading out again. I searched until I found a pine tree branch with all its needles intact that would help me sweep some of the loose rocks out of the way. I also gathered several branches. My plan was to let them dry out and maybe eventually start a fire.
I returned back to our shelter and cleared the spot where I planned to lay Mason. Several minutes later, I stepped back to admire my work in the dim light. After spending almost twenty-four hours out in the elements, the small rugged space felt as welcoming as a five-star hotel.
I moved to Mason's side and saw that he was dozing again. Being careful not to wake him, I scooted him across the dirt floor until I had him where I wanted him.
"You're my hero, beach bunny," he said before drifting back off to sleep.
I watched him sleep several minutes before my own eyelids began to droop, but I shook it off. I knew the next important task was to remove as many of our wet clothes as possible. We wanted to try and avoid hypothermia. Since only the legs of my pants were wet, I left them on. I removed my raincoat and laid it wet-side down on the ground to sit on top of it. Next, I removed my sopping tennis shoes and then my socks. My feet protested and ached as my frozen limbs began to thaw slightly now that they weren't encased in wet material. It felt like hundreds of small needles were pricking at my skin. “That’s gross,” I said to myself, looking at how white and prunish they were. Using my one good hand, I began to vigorously massage them one at a time, trying to get some circulation going.
Once they were sufficiently thawed out, I moved to Mason's feet, relieved to find that his boots seemed to be waterproof. “Lucky dog,” I stated. Only the top section of the socks that peeked out over the edges of the boot were wet, so I gently peeled them back and looped them back over the boot so they were no longer touching his flesh. His raincoat, although torn, had kept him relatively dry underneath, but both of his legs were soaking wet from being exposed to the elements. There was no way I was pulling his jeans off over the makeshift leg brace I had fashioned earlier, but there was a large tear in his jeans above his thigh. I slid my hand through the hole, thinking maybe I could use it as a starter and tear the jeans the rest of the way down his leg.
"Um, beach bunny, are you trying to seduce me?" Mason asked, opening his eyes to look at me.
"Har har, you're a crack up," I said, suddenly aware of the lean thigh muscles resting under my hands.
"I'm just saying, you're going about removing my pants the wrong way," he teased.
"Well, Mr. I'm-A-Perv-Even-With-A-Broken-Limb, I'm trying to save you from hypothermia, so maybe you can help me by lifting your leg so I can finish tearing the material in the back."
He complied, but was still smiling slightly as I continued to tug at the material. It wasn't until I reached his inner thigh that I started to blush, knowing exactly what he was thinking in that perv brain of his.
He let out a groan and I stopped tugging at the material, thinking I had hurt him.
"Are you okay?" I asked, leaning over him.
"Could you kiss me or something so I don't feel so perverted?" he asked.
I couldn't help my laugh of relief. Still, I had to admit, the way he was looking at me was pretty hot.
"Really? Even with an exposed fracture you're thinking of something like that?" I chastised.
"It's not like everything's broke," he said, sounding mortified.
Still laughing, I leaned over and gently kissed his forehead. "There, does that help?" I asked, pulling back slightly.
"Not even close," he said, snaking his hand up into my hair. He dragged me in close, pulling me to his lips.
After a moment, I pulled back. "All right hot stuff, let me finish my work," I said sternly as my hands moved back to his thigh. Knowing he was turned on made me hyperaware of where I placed my hands. The material was hanging by a thread and I gave one more tug to finish the tear. With his thigh now exposed, I couldn't help running my hand down his leg to tease him a little more.
"You're seriously playing with fire, beach bunny," he said.