~Chapter Twenty-One - Doctor Annie~

Cole’s POV-

"Ouch."


I winced as Annie dabbed more cotton and antiseptic on the cut above my eyebrow, her face set into a perfect mask of concentration, her unblemished skin crinkled.


She snorted. "Wimp."


"Excuse me?"


She rolled her eyes, adjusted the sleeves of her black shirt and grabbed a new ball of cotton wool, dabbing it with more of the foul-smelling, painful antiseptic and continuing on resolutely with her task, despite my twitching and cries of protest.


"You claim to be the 'Bad Boy' of Alderidge High, and yet you can't handle a little anaesthetic cream? I've seen cheerleaders handle this better than you."


I frowned at her comment, but I had to admit that I kind of liked the way she teased me. I didn't get it very often - most girls were too afraid - and I kinda liked the air and confidence with which she held herself. It was new and intoxicating.


Right now I was sitting on her kitchen bench next to a first aid kit, and a glass bowl filled to the brim with bloody cotton pads. It was quite dark in here, and quiet. There was no-one else in the house, which was a daunting fact within itself.


"So, you're good at this kind of stuff?" I asked, gesturing to the first aid kit with a smooth and almost imperceptible nod of my head. There was something in her eyes, like this intense focus, that told me she was in her element right now, cleaning cuts and fixing people up.


She nodded. "Yeah, I wanna be a doctor."


I winced as she dabbed antiseptic onto a new cut on my jaw, her fingers cold and gentle when they came into contact with my skin. "Blood doesn't freak you out?"


She laughed, and the musical sound filled the room, bringing a smile onto my face. The noise was contagious. "No, I'm not weak-stomached like Grace. I'm pretty good at handling blood and dissections."


"How long have you wanted to be a doctor?"


"Since I was eleven. I've been studying since I was fourteen, though."


"So you know about my mother?" The words slipped out before I had the chance to think, and she froze momentarily, before calmly continuing to wipe. She had managed to regain her composure quicker than I had expected.

"Yeah, I studied her case. I'm sorry."


"Sorry for asking," I muttered, my cheeks reddening. God, I knew how to ruin a moment, didn't I?


"No problem."


She continued in silence for a while, before she started covering my cuts with bandages and Band-Aids. She worked quickly and efficiently and neatly.


"Hey, Annie?" I asked quietly.


"Mhm?"


"What do you think of me?" I asked before I could stop myself. The question had been bugging me for a while, until eventually the curiosity had become too much, and I had to ask.


"In what way?" she questioned, seeming perplexed. She didn't meet my eyes.


"I mean, do you think of me as a bad person?"

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