A pretty girl like her probably wants someone closer to her age. And someone who’s more of an extrovert too. I’m the type who’s happy keeping to himself, doing my work and being a homebody. I go out for groceries and other supplies once in a while, and not much more than that.
Today, though? I’m going for it. Damn all my concerns, I have to respect myself, as well as her, enough to ask. Take her to a nice dinner if she’ll let me to see if there’s more than physical attraction at play.
If I don’t make a move, I’m going to go crazy tormenting myself over her. She’s in my dreams every damn night and it’s making me a tad concerned for my mental health.
Seeing her struggle with those milk bottles as she trudges through the snow makes me want to go lend a hand. I throw on my coat, knowing it’s cold as all hell out there, and open the door.
Only to realize that she’s a whole lot faster than I am as I open the outer door and swing it right into her face.
She goes spinning from the collision, flying into the snowbank covering my front lawn. The crate of bottles falls out of her hands and clatters onto the ground, milk spilling out of the broken glass. She limply moves for a second before going still.
This is a terrible first impression, I have to admit.
“Are you alright?” I ask.
There’s no response. That’s bad. Did I knock her out completely?
I hoist her up, knowing whatever the problem is, leaving her out here in an increasingly bad snowstorm isn’t going to help her. Over my shoulder, I take her into my home, closing my door behind me. I lie her down on my sofa, and stoke my fire. Her teeth are chattering despite her unconsciousness, so I cover her with some of my blankets. Thick wool blankets that my mother left me, perfect for staying warm on cold days like this.
She lies there as I watch her, and if I didn’t know better, I’d say she was sleeping serenely. She’s even more beautiful seeing her here, in my home and on my couch.
Fortunately, her unconsciousness doesn’t last long. She starts to blink and groan, looking around to try to determine where she is before her curious eyes finally settle on me. “Where... where am I?”
“Cookie, you are right where you belong.”
She stares at me, even more confused than before. “...Huh? What are you talking about?”
I scratch my head. I spoke from my heart a bit too quickly, I realize. I’m not usually this awkward, but Cookie does things to me that I can’t begin to understand. I clear my throat, trying to recover my dignity. “I apologize. I meant to say you’re in my home, and you’re welcome here as long as you want to be here.”
Still looking dizzy and groggy, she goes to stand up, but immediately gasps in pain and collapses down onto the couch, reaching for her ankle. “Ow... what happened?”
“You took one hell of a fall, Cookie.” At least I don’t have to feel too awkward about knowing her name, her father told it to me when I was signing up for the milk delivery, and Linesworth is one of those towns small enough that everyone knows everyone anyway.
“My ankle hurts, my hands hurt, everything hurts. I’m only twenty, I’m not supposed to be hurt this bad by a simple fall.”
“You’d be surprised. Come on, let me clean you up. You shouldn’t be moving so hastily, since I’m sure you hit your head.”
She swallows. She’s nervous as hell, but I don’t think it’s fear about me, about being here. She knows who I am too, after all. She averts her eyes, not making contact.
“I have a first aid kit. Let’s get you patched up and I’ll help you from there.”
A quick jaunt over to my bathroom and I’m back with my kit. I got plenty of basic first aid training as part of my deployment. I’m no medic, but everyone should know the basics and how to patch up the most minor and common of injuries. For Cookie, this includes bandages for the cuts on her hands, and some wrapping for her ankle. From my guess it’s just a sprain. A bit of time off of it is all she needs.
I can’t do much for her bonking her head. Ibuprofen is all I can offer.
We are both pretty silent through it all. She doesn’t know what to say to me, and I don’t know what to say either. It feels crass to ask her for a date when I’m wrapping her ankle, given I feel responsible for her injuries in the first place.
“I’ve done what I can,” I say, closing the first aid kit back up. “You’ll need to take it easy for a bit. Not the best Christmas gift one can give, I’ll admit.”