|photo credit: Cheryl Ruffing|
"Let go of me." Alexis whispered, jerking away too quickly and crying out as she landed on her wounded shoulder.
Will knelt to help her up with a sigh. "I need to look at your arm."
She felt his grip around her, his warm breath on her skin, his cold blue eyes looking into her, knowing what never should, and yet, ignorant of so much. Her head swam and her legs wobbled. Everything came back to her. All that had occurred, whipping through her head and inflicting deep, searing cuts. She had confessed her feelings only hours before. The first true thing she'd ever said to him.
Now, with nothing but calculating coldness in his gaze, he reached out and began to tear the blood-stained dress from her shoulders.
"Hey!" Adam rushed in from where he'd been watching by the door. His nostrils flared as he charged Will and threw him against the wall with so much force that it shook and a shower of dirt fell from the roof. "Back away, mate."
"She's wounded and, besides Robin, I'm the only man in this camp with medical experience. But if you know how to clean, bind and set a broken arm, then by all means, be my guest." Will returned sharply, stepping aside with a sarcastic tilt of his head. His eyes were ice and his teeth were clenched. He was not going to take anything from anyone tonight.
Adam looked at the girl and gulped. "Please," She mouthed in desperation. His palms began to glisten with sweat. "You do it. But I'm watching." His voice shook as he took his place by the entrance.
He couldn't look at Alexis's disappointed, haggard face as she battled with the sharpening pain, the frayed emotions, and the subtle terror claiming her body.
"Thanks." Will rolled his eyes and continued his work. He gently tugged down on the sleeve, but stopped when he saw the thin drop of blood rolling down her chin as she bit her lip against the pain. "Adam, make yourself useful and bring me the water and bandages."
Waiting until they were alone, Will pulled a long, thin knife from the sheath on his belt. Alexis choked on a gasp and felt her eyes widen. "Don't worry. I'm not going to hurt you." He explained, the same chilly irritation in his voice. Gently, he slipped the blade beneath her sleeve and quickly cut it away, till the whole bruised, scarred arm hung naked at her side.
"That's the only dress I have!" Alexis cried, blushing a she hurriedly pulled the fabric closer to her chest.
"Well, you'll have to find something else to wear." He replied brusquely, peeling away the stiff red bandage as she cringed. Beneath was a deep, throbbing, infected gash. He breathed in quickly through his teeth, feeling his face twist in sympathy. "You've lived alone all that time like this?"
"I tried to clean it once or twice, but I couldn't reach, and it hurt too much." Alexis explained, guessing by Will's tone that her condition was not ideal.
By now, Adam had returned, bearing the requested items. "Here." He murmured, pushing them into Will's hands and staring at the ground. "They, um, need me out there." And without another word, he turned and left, his face grown pale.
Start at the beginning: Chapter 1 Part 1