"On second thought, Claire," Skye ran to walk beside her. "I think I'll walk you home."
Claire turned around to face him and frowned. "Don't kid around." She wondered what was wrong with this guy. First, he kisses her without warning, then, he offers to walk her home. Was he crazy?
Skye looked at her and studied her stance. He folded his arms across his chest and spoke. "You're limping. If I don't walk you home, you're probably going to trip more than once between here and your house." He saw the shift in Claire's expression. She doubted "Don't worry, I won't do anything to you." He saw Claire raise an eyebrow at him. "I swear."
Claire frowned at him and continued walking over to the bridge as if Skye wasn't there. As she walked on the soil leading to the small bridge, her foot got caught on a root that was sticking out. Her knees gave way as a wave of pain rushed from her foot. She let out a soft cry. Before she hit the ground, the back of her shirt was pulled up. Skye, still holding onto her shirt, lifted her left arm and slung it over his shoulders. Letting go of the shirt, he then proceeded to wrap his other arm around her waist. "Damn it!" She said under her breath. Her left foot already hurt, but now, her right foot was hurt as well.
"You are such a klutz." Skye murmured as they walked across the bridge. Claire pinched the hand on her waist. "I am not a klutz!" she said. Skye raised an eyebrow at her as he snickered. "Says the girl who tripped twice and twisted an ankle under fifteen minutes."
Claire kept quiet. She wanted to retort, but what he said was true, and she was already too tired and embarrassed.
"So, where is your house?" Skye asked. He looked at the area they were passing. "Wow, is this a farm? Hmm, let me guess, that's your house over there." He released Claire's hand which he had been holding in order to be sure her arm would not fall from his shoulders, and pointed to a house at the far end of the lot.
"Yes, this is a farm. Haven't you ever been to one? And yes, that's my house." she said while gripping onto Skye's shirt. Her arm was beginning to fall off as Skye was much taller than her.
Skye grabbed her hand again. "Good to hear I'm right. I doubt you'd have passed here if you didn't live here. That would be trespassing, right?" He looked at her and repositioned her arm over his shoulders.
"What kind of logic is that?" She looked at him and their eyes locked. "A friend could have very much owned this lot and I was just passing here because it was shorter than the other path."
Skye smirked as he spoke sarcastically. "Yes, that's what friends do. Passing through a friend's farm unannounced is definitely a very common friendship thing."
When they reached her house, Claire took her keys from her pocket and unlocked her door. She opened it and slipped her hand off of Skye's shoulder. She twisted away from him and entered her house. Ciel ran to her, his tail wagging rapidly. When she stepped with her right foot, she cringed and held the doorknob tightly. Skye saw it.
"Thank you very much for assisting me back home." She attempted to close her door but Skye refused to leave. He put his hand on the door, stopping her from closing the door entirely.
"Wait." he said. Claire peeked out the door and looked straight at his eyes. She sighed and opened the door instead. "Fine. Come in."
He entered her house and she closed the door gently. Ciel walked to Skye and sniffed him. He decided that the stranger was safe, so he wagged his tail and jumped at Skye, asking to be carried. Claire limped to her bed and sat down. "Do you want a drink? Food? When do you plan on leaving?"
"A first aid kit" Skye answered. Claire attempted to stand, so Skye put his hands on her shoulders, stopping her. Claire sat back down and pointed to her bathroom. "Go in the bathroom. It's in the medicine cabinet above the sink." He walked to the bathroom and took her bandage and her ice bag. He went back to her and asked, "Do you have ice or cold water?"
Claire nodded her head. "You can get the ice from the freezer." Skye took the ice bag and got some ice from the freezer which he then placed inside the bag. He then walked over to her and knelt in front of her. "If you don't mind," he said as he gently lifted her right foot. Claire quickly tried to lower her foot, but Skye's grip on it was firm.
Claire's face turned red. Here was this guy she had just met, in her house, kneeling in front of her, and lifting her foot. "W—what are you doing?" she asked with a rather high-pitched voice. She cleared her throat, even more embarrassed by the sound that escaped her lips.
Skye gently removed her shoes, followed by her socks. He rolled her pants up to just below her knee and placed the ice bag on her ankle.
"OH, NO, NO, NO, NO, NO! You don't have to do this. I can take care of myself. I've had sprains before. I tell you, I really can do it. You really, really don't have to do this." she pleaded to him. What was with this guy?
Skye shifted the ice pack around her foot several times. "Hey, do you have any extra pillows?"
"What for?" Claire quickly responded. She definitely did not want this guy sleeping here as well.
Skye changed his position and sat straight on the floor. "You need to keep your foot up as much as possible." He looked up at Claire. Her cheeks were still red and her hands kept twitching. "What were you thinking?"
Claire shook her head vigorously. "N—nothing. The only pillows I have with me are these ones on my bed."
"That will work." said Skye. "Use the three for your foot, then."
Claire nodded. "Yes, thank you." She twiddled with her fingers. "Umm...Skye, why are you doing this for me?"
"You helped me, so I helped you." he said. "I really was kind of down and seeing as this was Aja's hometown, no one would listen to my side really. But, I was wrong. Although I found it weird that you were following me." Claire turned even redder as she heard him speak. "And now, I can cross off 'romantically kiss someone you just met, like those in the movies' from my bucket list." Claire covered her face as he spoke. "Tell me, why did you trip? And, why were you limping?"
Claire slowly dropped her hands from her face. "I fell because my leg was still asleep when I stood up and I couldn't feel it so I just fell forward. I limped afterward because I think I stepped on something or I stepped with a wrong angle and my foot just suddenly hurt. It felt like a nerve was hit or something like that. By the time you helped me, it was feeling much better, but it was my other foot which already began to hurt."
"I see." Skye slowly stood up. "Could you please lean against your wall?"
Claire pushed herself back against the wall. Skye sat on the edge of her bed, almost perpendicular to her, and placed her foot on his lap. He took the bandage and asked her to hold onto it. He then asked her to hold on to the ice bag and took the bandage. He wrapped her ankle with the bandage. "Do you have a cooler or anything similar which we could put near you so that your ice doesn't melt?"
"No, I don't. I left it with my grandfather."
"Hmmm...what should we do?" Skye asked her as he replaced the ice bag on her injured foot.
"Don't worry about me. It's alright. I can manage from here onwards."
Skye stood up and analyzed Claire. Other than she was obviously in pain and embarrassed, she seemed relatively fine. "Is there anything you need to do before you sleep?"
Claire balanced the ice bag on her foot as she thought about the things she still needed to do. Ciel had already positioned himself beside the bed and slept. Claire nodded as she spoke, "I still have to feed my dog. Poor thing, Ciel must be so hungry right now." She looked at her dog and smiled to herself. "I myself need to eat. And then, I'd have to change my clothes. There those are the main things I need to do before sleeping."
"So, what do you feed your dog?"
Claire attempted to stand again but Skye gently pushed her back. She frowned and sighed. "I usually give him his favorite brand of dog food. But, I ran out this morning, so I was planning on giving him the same thing I was planning on eating. Whatever that would be."
Skye stepped away from Claire and walked to her kitchen. "What are you having for dinner?" he asked.
"I was supposed to cook curry for myself, but I obviously can't do that anymore."
At hearing the word 'curry', Skye perked up and grinned at Claire. "Did you say 'curry'? I can cook that. I love curry!" He walked over to the refrigerator, then spoke, "If you don't mind, I'll use your kitchen and some of your ingredients." Claire shook her head and motioned him to 'go on'. "The curry powder is there on the counter, beside the refrigerator. There's pork, chicken, and beef in the freezer. You can choose whichever you want to cook. If you can, could you please fry chicken separately for my dog? I'm sure you can see the pans hanging above the sink."
"Gotcha." Skye took a pan and set it on the stove. He then took the cutting board and some carrots and potatoes. He took some beef from the freezer, then paused, holding the meat in his hands. He faced Claire. "Is it alright if I eat here as well?" She nodded. He then proceeded thawing the beef in the microwave. He washed rice while waiting for the beef to finish thawing. He then placed the small pot with clean rice in the rice cooker and switched it to cook the rice. The microwave beeped and he took the beef. He continued cooking until the rice, the curry, and the fried chicken were finished.
He took a plate and placed rice in it. He then poured some of the curry on it. He took another plate and did the same thing. He set the plates on the table, then looked at Claire. "Would you rather eat here on the table or there on your bed?"
"I'd rather eat there. I'm too much of a klutz, like you said." Claire jokingly rolled her eyes and pushed herself forward. Skye helped her up and walked her to the chair near the bed. He helped her sit down. He took two glasses from the cupboard and a pitcher of water from the refrigerator. He set them beside the plates and poured water on each. They started eating their meal.
Claire smelled the curry before she took a bite. She slowly chewed her food, savoring the flavor of the curry. "This tastes wonderful! You're an excellent cook. Is that your job?"
Skye's eyes widened at the question. Claire noticed this and quickly apologized. "Oh, no. It's nothing. I used to be a cook in this, uh, establishment but they made me a..." he took a short pause, then contniued, "...waiter." He smiled at her. "Tell me more about yourself."
"Well," Claire cleared her throat and took a sip of water. "I studied agriculture, because of my grandparents. I used to live in the city, but moved here because of the huge lot perfect for farming. At first, I was disappointed, but as you can see, my farm is much better. But," she paused and frowned. "I have to transfer again. My grandfather wants me to live with him before he dies. At least it's another farm."
"I see. I guess this will be the first and last time we see each other. It was nice meeting you." Skye smiled at Claire as he spoke. "If you ever chance to see me, feel free to call out to me. Could I do the same for you?"
Claire smiled and nodded. They continued eating their meal while still talking with one another. After they ate, Skye prepared Ciel's food, and with Claire's help, gave it to the dog. He then washed the dishes. Before he left, he handed Claire her clothes and helped her position herself on her bed. After Skye left, Claire changed her clothes, while still on her bed, and carried her dog up her bed, then, she went to sleep.