The cut really isn't as bad as it looked at first. It's ugly, but not particularly deep. No brain showing after all. Bella cleans it out and pats it dry while her patient hisses at her, then paints the whole thing with a bottle of iodine of indeterminate age and provenance. When ...she's done, she covers the cut with a pad of gauze and some white tape, washes and dries her hands, and steps back to survey her work.
“I think you'll live.”
“I fell off my bike. Out in front of the shop.” Red spots stand out on the guy's cheeks. “There was a cat, on the sidewalk, and-”
“You're not really supposed to ride your bike on the sidewalk.”
“Yes, I know that, but-”
“You didn't hit the cat, did you?”
“No, I didn't, but-”
“Where's your bike? If you left it outside, I'm sorry to tell you it's probably already been stolen. The kids in this neighborhood are vicious little bastards and they operate outside of any accepted moral framework.”
“My name's Edward,” the guy blurts out, “I locked my bike to the 'No Parking' sign before I came in, I didn't hit the cat, and I was only on the sidewalk because I nearly got run down by a catering truck in the street. I just moved here and I'm still learning my way around town. I live out on Hill Road, the old place on the pond. I like biking,” he finishes in a rush, “It's relaxing.”
Bella stares at the guy with the hair, recently downgraded to the guy with the gaping head wound and now upgraded to Edward. “Okay,” she says, when she's sure the flood of information has stopped. “I have a spare shirt you can borrow.”
Edward says, “Sweet,” and smiles up at her. “You don't have to though.”
“You look like an extra from Saw III,” she says, but she can't help but smile back; that's the kind of face the guy has. “Can't have you scaring off all my customers. Just give me a minute.” She closes the door to give Edward some privacy, goes back into her office and fishes a t-shirt with the store's logo out of the bottom drawer of the file cabinet. It's deep red, short-sleeved, and it's going to look great on him.
When she knocks on the bathroom door, Edward opens it and asks, “Hey, what's your name?” He's naked from the waist up, and looks like an ad for sunshine and clean living.
Bella's forced to re-evaluate. The shirt is going to look fucking amazing.