Julia heard a panicky voice yell out “Grab him!” as she saw a blur of black and white fur dash past her legs. She lunged towards the escaping dog and missed, tripping instead on a rise in the pavement and falling heavily to the ground with an “Ooof” and a thud. She was lying sprawled inelegantly across the concrete, half frozen with embarrassment, half too scared to move in case she was hurt, when something warm slurped her cheek. Gingerly rolling over, Julia saw a ridiculously fluffy puppy and reached out, drawing it onto her chest.
“Are you okay?” a man’s voice called. She saw a pair of bare feet come to a stop beside her and heard puffing like someone was trying to catch their breath.
Julia pushed a strand of her auburn hair out of her eyes and gaze upwards following the direction of the voice. She squinted into the glare of the clear blue sky until a handsome man’s face came into view and blocked out the sun.
“I am so sorry,” he said, “Are you okay? Can you move?”
Julia wasn’t exactly sure, but she nodded anyway.
“I opened the door and whoosh, he was gone,” he continued as he bent down and helped her to her feet. “Thank you so much for grabbing him.”
She nodded again; feeling slightly dazed and still clinging to the pup.
“Ooo, ouch,” the man said, wincing as he pointed to her leg. “Can I sort that out for you? I’m just around the corner.”
She followed his eyes to an angry, bloodied graze on her knee. Until that moment, she hadn’t even noticed that she was injured, but now that she had seen the wound, her knee began to sting and throb.
“You can trust me,” he added. “I’m a nurse.”
And as he smiled, she saw an adorable set of dimples appear in his cheeks.
Julia wasn’t sure if it was the shock of the fall or the dimples, but she suddenly felt woozy and rocked back on her heels.
“Whoa,” he said, reaching out with a steadying hand. “Let’s get you sat down and patched up.” He slipped his arm around her waist. “I’m Luke.”
She leaned into the security of his body. “Julia,” she said.
“Nice to meet you Julia. That troublemaker you’re holding is Wilbur.”
“Hi Wilbur,” she said, and she nuzzled his soft fur.
Julia was sitting on a chair in Luke’s kitchen with Wilbur on her lap looking up at her like he knew it was all his fault. She watched as a trickle of blood dribbled down her shin towards her sock. She was thankful she didn’t put on the skirt she was thinking about wearing that day, instead choosing a pair of shorts. At least as she lay spreadeagle on the footpath, she thought, she hadn’t been accidentally flashing anyone.
“Okay, let’s take a look at that knee,” Luke said as he walked into the room, squatted in front of her and opened-up his first aid kit.
While Luke checked out Julia’s wound, Julia checked out Luke. He was a bit of a knockout. Tall and pretty, with sparkling blue eyes and lashes Julia would kill for. His brown hair was short and spiky, and he was wearing a chest hugging, white t-shirt and what Julia suddenly realised was his underwear; tight, black boxer-briefs that left absolutely nothing to the imagination. She blushed and looked away, but not before Luke noticed and glanced down.
“Oh my god. I’m sorry. I didn’t even…”
Julia shook her head. “No. I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to…”
“I ran out the door without…”
“No, really. I shouldn’t have…”
They stared at each other in silence for a moment, then started to laugh.
Luke stuck the final strip of tape to the gauze on Julia’s knee. “I think you’ll live,” he said, as he stood and smoothed out the front of his jeans. “So… Wilbur was thinking he’d like to make it up to you, and… um…buy you a coffee.”
“I would love that, Wilbur,” Julia said, looking at Luke.
“Wilbur also hopes you don’t think he’s an idiot.” Luke said, looking a Julia.
“No. Not at all. In fact, I think we could become…good friends,” she said, as she ruffled Wilbur’s fur.
“Man, I sure hope so,” Luke said, and flashed her another dimply smile.
Julia felt woozy again, but this time, she knew exactly why.
© Amy Hutton 2020