Disclaimer: The author does not own any publicly recognizable entities herein. No copyright infringement is intended.

Betad by kitchmill. mistakes my own.

Preread by Hoodie


Got another one for ya.

I actually wrote this for the Straight Thru the Heart contest way back when. Hood judged and actually picked it. No, we did not cheat lol

It was thee worst month of my life, not being able to talk to her about it. And she was pissed cause she thought I didn't enter :D

Anyway, I'm turning it into another drabble cause I want to write something and nothing else is coming to me.

Ten ... Nine ... Eight …"

The muffled voices of people counting from behind their doors keep me company as I move quickly down the street. My heels click against the sidewalk, echoing footsteps from behind me, and I turn to make sure no one is following me. Not that I can tell since half the block is made up of busted street lights.

"Did she say twenty-six or twenty-eight?" I ask no one in particular because no one's there. "No, wait. It was thirty-two, wasn't it? Hell. I don't know."

My phone died right around the time I hit the corner of Chestnut and High. I wish I were high when another gust of cold wind flies up my skirt. Shivering, I cross the street, stopping right in the middle of the road when a moan comes from behind one of the parked cars.

"Hello? Is someone there?" Another moan. "Look, if you're planning on attacking me, I'd advise against it." Looking side to side, I noisily dig around in my purse. "I've got a new can of pepper spray and I'm not afraid to use it." Key point being that it's new.

Another moan comes out of the darkness before cheers erupt from inside the surrounding warm houses. I creep closer to look around the back of the car where I find a man sitting on the curb, his head in his hands.

"Hey, are you okay?"

With my finger firmly in place on the pepper spray, I move closer until I'm standing right beside the guy.

"Excuse me. Hey …" I reach down and touch his shoulder, and he jerks away, looking up at me in fear.

"Oh, wow." I automatically cringe, unable to help it when I see the condition of the guy's face. He's obviously been in a fight by the looks of that busted lip. His eyes are swollen shut. But what really worries me is the bloody gash on his forehead.

"Dude, that looks pretty bad. We should probably get you to a hospital."

He shakes his head and mumbles something unintelligible. I pull out my phone, forgetting it's dead, and roll my eyes.

"Look, buddy, I can't just leave you here. It's cold and you're bleeding. Not to mention, you can't see." Mumbling something again, he looks up at me and I think I see a twinkle of green. "Uh huh, sure. Just please, tell me you have a phone. Mine's dead and I can't in good conscience leave you here. I just can't. So, come on." I hold out my hand. "Hand it over."

After a second, he reluctantly does as I say and I call an ambulance. Sitting down beside him, I quickly give up on having a conversation since I can't understand anything he says anyway. Instead I opt to look him over from copper-colored head to converse-covered toe. His hairline and the front of his shirt are caked in blood. His face is covered in bruises, but I can tell he had once been good-looking and probably will be again, which makes me feel a little less bad for him.

I stare at my shoes for the remainder of the wait, which seems to take forever. A few people peek out windows when the ambulance finally arrives, unnecessarily blaring its siren.

Standing, I brush off my backside before bending in an attempt to help up my helpless victim. Unable to really see me, he stands quicker, causing his shoulder to bump my nose. For a moment I'm overwhelmed by the smell of his cologne until he mumbles what I think is an apology.

"It's no problem. I'm fine."

Balancing on my shoulder, he digs around in his back pocket and pulls out his wallet to hand to the responder.

Why didn't I think of that?

The responder sifts through his wallet, pulls out an I. D. and reads it aloud.

"Edward Anthony Masen."