What's That Sound
This Isn't The 1800s
Your Average Girl
Don't Make Me Go
Dress-Up Game
Alone With the Enemy
Some Strange Magic
You Only Live Once
What Are You?
A Wrong Turn
A Deal's a Deal
The Secret Inside
Helicopter, Helicopter
Mind Your Manners
A Maze and Delight
The Lost Seed
A Secret Escape
Getting Hot Inside
Seriously, What The
Got a Bad Feeling
Let's Try Something
Breathing is Overrated
In the Meantime
Nice Day for a Drive
Can't Turn Back
Let's Try Something
The next morning, I was attempting to make good on being home sick by forcing myself through about a million pages of particularly dull reading homework when I heard a noise outside the window. I glanced over to see Chance perched on the balcony rail, legs swinging casually over the side.

"Hey," he said when I opened the door. Grinning, he asked, "How you feeling?"

"Better," I said, and it was mostly true, at least. The fever had subsided maybe a little anyway.

But despite Chance's typical casual confidence, something seemed different about him, and it didn't take me long to place what. The heck--he was holding his left arm folded against his chest like it was in pain.

Nodding towards it, I said, "What happened?"

Maybe he hadn't realized how obvious he was being, because his smile faded for an instant as he straightened his arm out, saying, "What?"

No, I could tell by the way he was now trying too hard to be nonchalant that something was wrong.

And maybe... "You come here for my help?"

Uh, yeah. Help. Thinking about it made me blush. You know, because I was thinking of help in terms of the way he'd kissed me the first time. Maybe he was finally going to make good on our deal.

I mean, hey, wouldn't hear me complaining.

At last he smiled in defeat, jumping down. "Looks like you got me. Match last night didn't go so hot. But," he added quickly, shaking his head, "But it was a dumb idea, coming here. Look at you. You're still sick."

Which could only mean one thing. He really had been thinking of asking for my help. And if my energy could heal him--if that meant he was gonna kiss me again, anyway--I wasn't opposed to the idea.

"Really. I'm fine," I said, standing straighter to prove it. "Let me see."

He made a face like he was trying to suppress another grin and said, "I'm telling you, it ain't pretty." And slid his jacket part way off to reveal a long gash spiralling around his arm.

Wait. On closer inspection, it was more like a burn, blistered and red all the way up until it disappeared under his shirt sleeve.

I recoiled but caught myself, stifling a gasp.

"Hurts like hell, too," Chance said, grimacing as he looked away. He started to pull the jacket back on, but I stopped him.

"No one else is home." Moving towards the door, I said, "Wait inside. I'll get something to clean that up with."

When I'd returned with a bottle of antiseptic and the biggest bandages I could find--which, mind you, were barely big enough to wrap a finger with--Chance was standing next to my desk, examining the textbook I'd been trying to read.

I held up the box of bandaids, saying, "I think we're going to have to invest in some gauze next time. This is all we've got."

But he was still focused on the book, saying, "You like this stuff?"

I snorted, "About as much as a date with Mercurius." When Chance raised his eyebrows, I clarified, blushing, "No. It's homework." Then, "Give me your arm."

But instead of doing as I asked, he caught my wrist. The box of bandages fell to the floor as he grabbed my other hand, pinning me to the wall.

With lips so close I could feel his breath on my neck, he whispered, "How about we try something else, instead."


- - -

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© Hopeful Romantic ,
книга «Just a Kiss».
Breathing is Overrated
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