Heart's a Mess
Author:Scott, Kylie

“I was wiping off a blade with a cloth. Wasn’t paying enough attention. Stupid.” She fussed about in the open cabinet while he examined the bloodstained napkin. Ah shit, what a mess.

 

“It probably needs stitches.” He tried to look at it, but the blood made his head swim. He’d never been good around the stuff. It made him all sorts of squeamish. Instead he concentrated on her high, fancy hairdo and the pair of chopsticks she had sticking out of it. She wore a black kimono-type dress to match. Low-cut neckline, damn her. “I’ll just drive you to the hospital. That’ll be best. They’ll deal with it.”

 

“What? No, it’s fine.” Vi tore into an antiseptic wipe and started picking away the napkin.

 

He couldn’t look. The thought that she’d hurt herself, that that was her blood… Actually, the thought of any blood at all pretty much did it. He tried not to gag.

 

“Alex?”

 

“Mm?”

 

She tore off the last of the napkin and blood oozed from a slice below her pinkie finger’s second knuckle. “Are you all right? You’ve gone really pale.”

 

“I don’t like blood.”

 

“I see. Why don’t you go sit down?”

 

“Yeah. I might do that.” Happily, it was only a few steps to the lounge since it now sat in the middle of the room. Deep, even breaths and he’d be fine. He just couldn’t look at her. But really, there was nothing new in that. He heard a Band-Aid being ripped open. Little shuffling noises as she dealt with the wound. The buzzing in his head gradually calmed. His stomach settled. “You’re sure it isn’t deep? You don’t need stitches?”

 

“No, it’s fine. I really should have been watching what I was doing more carefully.”

 

He nodded, studied the floor. Had she been as preoccupied as him, then?

 

“Everything okay?” John asked from the doorway.

 

“Yes,” said Vi. “It’s fine. I’ll be right out.”

 

“Not with an open wound. We’re nearly finished for the night. Head home,” his brother said and then scowled at him. “Dude, the lounge now? Seriously?”

 

“It’s time for a change,” Alex said.

 

John just stared.

 

“It’s old!”

 

His elder brother turned and left with a sigh, but no further words. Thankfully.

 

Alex could feel her eyes on him. Not the most comfortable sensation. The smile he gave her felt plastic, fake. “All better?”

 

“Yes.” She looked around, eyes lingering on the space where the wooden chairs had been. Then the space where the lounge now sat, with him on it.

 

“Redecorating?” she enquired.

 

“Yep. I’ll give you a ride home.”

 

“I can drive,” she said. “Thanks.”

 

“You’ve just been injured in the workplace.”

 

“Alex, it’s a glorified paper cut. You’re the one who nearly fainted.”

 

“Please.”

 

She opened her mouth and then shut it with a snap. “Look, I don’t think us being alone together is a good idea. Surely you can see that. The cut’s tiny—”

 

“Hey,” Duncan strode in, oblivious. “John said you needed a hand moving the couch?”

 

“Ah, yeah. That’d be great,” said Alex. “Vi, just gimme a minute here, all right?”

 

Even her glare was cute.

 

He should probably just have “idiot” tattooed on his forehead and be done with it.

 

“Let me do this first,” he said. “Then we’ll check on your finger. If it’s stopped bleeding and you’re feeling fine then no problem. Okay?”

 

Eventually she nodded.

 

“Good.”

 

 

 

Normally, Violet would have enjoyed the sight of two pretty men stretching and straining, with muscles flexing. But these were two of her bosses. Seeing them in any sort of appreciative sexual light was bad-girl behavior. Still, the big old leather lounge had to weigh a ton. Alex and Duncan grunted and heaved and maneuvered it along the hallway then down a set of stairs into the basement.

 

“Shit,” Alex panted. “Vi, can you please get the doors open?”

 

“Umm…” She hesitated, standing behind them and their load. There wasn’t a lot of clearance room between the men, the lounge and the wall.

 

“Move over a bit,” Alex said. “Give her some space.”

 

They did so. Damn it. Her hefty hips weren’t going to squeeze through easily. This wouldn’t be pretty.

 

“Come on,” said Alex.

 

“Right.” She pressed herself against the wall and did her best to slide herself along. Her boobs stuck out and her butt caught on stuff but she managed to reach the far end. Finally. Without meeting Alex’s gaze.

 

The storeroom had two big old wooden doors with a barrel bolt up top and another down the bottom. It took some serious wriggling to get those bastards unlocked. Dust and stale air greeted her as she pushed the doors open and got out of the guys’ way.

 

“Light, please.” Alex nodded to a cord hanging down from an old-style lighting fixture in the middle of the room. She tugged on the string and the place lit up.

 

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