“How did it happen, again?”
I shrug, my hands reaching for her shoulders as a very worried Mackenzie lifts me up bridal style from her passenger’s seat and carries me to the front door. “Maybe going out running in the forest when the ground’s all slippery from yesterday’s downpour wasn’t my best decision ever, that’s all”
My attempt at irony doesn’t ease the worry in her face as she fumbles with the keys. I try again, without sarcasm this time. “Really, Mac, I’ll be fine. It doesn’t even hurt anymore right now… And I suspect it might be thanks to a certain someone” I smile and gently touch her cheek, my gaze full of love.
“Thanks to Diego, you mean. That, and Ibuprofen” Mackenzie sighs, finally in, and closes the door behind us. The next stop is her couch, where she lays me down so slowly and carefully one might as well think that I’m made of glass.
“It’s just a sprained ankle, babe” I watch Mac as she arranges two pillows at the end of the chaise longue of the couch and guides me in a position where my injured ankle is kept elevated. My hand reaches for hers as soon as it comes within my range again, tugging. “I’m sure you’ve seen much worse…” She really has. I still can’t forget the fear I’ve felt when Gwen attacked her, and I kick the thought out of my mind before she can notice the pain coming from it.
“We’ll need to put ice on there. I saw how bruised it was before Diego bandaged your foot” With an apologetic smile, Mackenzie slips out of my grasp and walks to the other room. She comes back within a matter of seconds, holding an ice bag.
She kneels in front of me and proceeds to press the bag on my ankle with expert hands. I almost forgot that given her athlete past, this type of injury must be something she’s already been through, possibly more than once, and worse than this.
As though sensing my thoughts, Mac confirms my suspicions.
“I have a pair of crutches, broke my leg back in my softball days. I will give them to you” She smiles and starts massaging my foot while pressing the ice with the other hand, her touch incredibly gentle.
“Thank you” I smile back at her, feeling grateful and relaxed. The sprain isn’t that bad, so I should be able to walk soon; but having Mackenzie caring after me like this is heavenly. She does it every time I need her comfort: whether it is simply a bad day, period pain, a small injury like this or something more serious, Mac is always there to help me.
I melt under her touch, head falling back against the seat, arms resting at my sides and eyelids feeling heavier and heavier. The pleasant tingles caused by her massage are making me feel suddenly sleepy, but I’m not against that; quite the opposite.
“Can you kiss it better, babe? It will heal faster…” I mumble with a satisfied hum, my eyes finally closing. The last thing I hear before dozing off is her low, rumbling chuckle, and the last thing I feel is the soft press of her lips on my ankle.
I wake up to gentle fingers combing through my hair, my right cheek pressed onto something warm which I immediately recognize as Mackenzie’s shoulder. I register another, unknown source of warmth laying on my stomach; I open my eyes to realize it’s a heating pad. Now fully awake, I stretch out my limbs and curl up on the side, my legs ending up in Mac’s lap as I hug her. She hugs back and places a kiss on the top of my head, then moves one hand to check that the pad is still on my lower belly and that my ankle is out of her reach, in order to avoid accidentally bumping into it.
“You got your period today, didn’t you?” She asks, a faint note of embarrassment in her voice – probably for knowing such a thing even though I didn’t mention it to her. Sometimes I forget what both her ability and our bond are able to do… and to tell. I wonder how it feels like to be her, when everything is enhanced and you’re able to feel the smallest changes around you. I’ll never forget the time when she was mysteriously aware that I’d just had a little fun under the shower, even though she was in a different room with the door closed.
“Last night, yes” I say quietly, my voice still sleepy. It’s the main reason why I decided to go for a run in the morning in the first place: having always heard of the benefits of being active during periods, I decided to try and see myself.
Mackenzie clears her throat. “Anyway… I know that you already took pain killers for your ankle, but I figured that a heating pad would be of help, just in case”
I raise my head to look at her expression and the moment I meet her eyes, my tired face lights up in a beaming smile. I could tell her how cute she is one billion times, and it still wouldn’t be enough. The way she looks after me and shows her protectiveness even through the smallest things will never stop making my heart swell with affection and realize how lucky I am, having found such a great love in a small town I’ve spent my entire life hating.
It’s still so strange when I think about it.
“Thanks, baby” I clutch at her shoulders, giving myself some leverage to reach her lips and kiss her. It’s a slow, sweet kiss, the ones that turn your legs to jelly and leave you breathless. “I love you.”
Mackenzie smiles, a soft pink coloring her cheeks; but she holds my gaze and rests her forehead against mine, pure warmth radiating from her bronze skin. “I love you, too.”
We stay like this for some time, sharing the beauty of that simple touch and the meaning underneath.
We eat pizza while watching a documentary together under the blankets. Mac keeps asking me how I feel, and every single time I reassure her that I’m fine – more than fine, really.
I don’t feel pain when she’s with me.
When the documentary is over, Mackenzie checks that I’m still awake and gives me an encouraging smile. “Time for another icing round” She pats on my shoulder and lifts the blanket just enough for her to stand up and leave it wrapped comfortably around me.
I groan at the loss of physical contact and she chuckles.
“Come on, babe. Bear with this and I promise I’ll be with you for the rest of the night” She offers me her hand with a warm smile. “Deal?”
I look at her hand and grab it; but instead of shaking it, I bring it to my lips to kiss her knuckles. “Deal.”
She kneels in front of me and repeats the icing process again, with patience and skill, and I do my best not to relax too much and fall asleep again: if she’s with me, I want to be able to enjoy every moment of it.
When it’s over, Mackenzie puts the bag away and comes closer. She picks me up in her arms, making sure that the blanket is still around me, and starts walking us to the door with some extra care for edges and corners. “Let’s get you some fresh air. Then, as I promised… I won’t let you go, all night”
She carries me outside and sits on her porch swing, making me stay in her lap. There’s crescent moon today, and the sky is so clear I can see the constellations of stars gleaming brightly as if trying to compete with the bigger, silvery satellite.
Mackenzie runs her hands up and down my back to warm me up. “Are you cold? I can bring another blanket”, she asks with a gentle voice.
To Havenfall she’s the Sheriff, authoritative and even intimidating at times. To me she’s Mac, impossibly sweet and protective, as if she’s been holding all that love for so much time and was just waiting for the right person to pour it on.
That one, lucky person happening to be me.
“I’m good.” I grab her face with both hands and give her a tender, chaste kiss on the lips. Mac reciprocates, smiling into it; and when it’s over, she makes me lay my head on her shoulder to start stroking my hair again.
My body leans into the touch. “Hmmm… If I wasn’t feeling so guilty at the idea of wasting your time, I’d wish I could twist my ankle once a week or so”
I hear the vibrations of a light chuckle rumbling through her chest. “First of all, you’re not wasting my time. You’re my girlfriend, and taking care of you is my duty. Just like you did when I needed you-”
“That banshee… I will never forgive her” I find myself almost growling at the thought, and the menace steaming from my tone is serious enough that Mackenzie remains silent, her fingers massaging my scalp even better than before – an attempt at calming me down.
“…I’m just saying, you don’t need to hurt yourself to have my attention” She plays it off as a joke, but I can read the truth in her statement. “Whenever you want to cuddle… Just ask me. Okay?”
I nod with determination. “I will, but only if you do the same”
“Good.” She kisses the top of my head. “Now… Look at that. Isn’t it the Aquarius?” She points a finger at the sky above, and I squint to have a better look.
“It is! Good eye, babe!”
We spend the rest of the evening like this: talking about everything that comes in our minds, joking, remembering, kissing. Everything feels so natural, so right with her.
I can feel our bond getting stronger as the days go by.
Nobody could ever break it, I’m sure.