Blood and concrete

Cedar Creek 
To his credit, he’d made it to the public park’s picnic ground like he knew he would. Luke knew, but anyone on the outside looking in might call a feat into question. He’d started miles further down the road, having walked a respectable distance for a man swaying so much on his feet. His clothes were full of pine needles and dirty, the stains on his knees and elbows indications that he’d fallen along the way. One of the sleeves of his jacket was torn, exposing a laceration to his forearm that worked deep into the flesh, and was in need of tending but did not seem to be bleeding any longer. The same couldn’t be said for the wound on his head; above his temple in a fresh bruise was a deep cut that oozed dark blood.

Head wounds always bled like crazy, he reasoned, and he wasn’t dizzy he was just tired from a long day of being hung over, and dealing with idiots. He’d wanted a nap more than anything, but he wasn’t about to lay down in the gutter so he’d sought out the nearby public park instead and took a seat on the bench of a neglected picnic table. There was a subtle trail of blood splattering the sidewalk where he’d traversed, and the spectacle he made had apparently drawn the attention of the locals.

Luke had failed to notice until the flash of emergency lights drew his attention. He turned to squint after the vehicle, unsure at the time of what it could mean. Perhaps the blow he’d taken to his head had struck him harder than he thought, or perhaps he couldn’t comprehend that anyone would call am ambulance for the sake of his sorry ass, but the sight of someone piling out of the truck off the street was baffling.

The disorientated man lifted his knuckle to the corner of his eye to wipe away the blood there, and he squinted against it while he pushed himself with his other hand off the table top and to unsteady feet. Of course he didn’t move anywhere, only stood leaning heavily against the table while he peered against the harsh lamp lights of night and tried to get his bearings. “Move along, nothing to see here,” he announced in a glum greeting, having only just then suspected that the ambulance might be there for him.

Christ almighty; he didn’t need an ambulance, he needed whiskey and a couch to crawl onto.

They had been parked on a side street for no less then 10 minutes before she had managed to find herself a local mom & pop shop who was more then happy to fix her up a delicious bundle of food to go, the classic steak and fries should be a staple in everyone's daily life. Alex was going to have to make a note of where this little place was because the old man sure as hell knew how to grill up a good slab of meat, too bad she was only going to get to enjoy half of it. When the call came in over the radio there was little doubt of who was going to pick it up, they may have been on break but the call came in nice and close to their location.

The caller hadn't given dispatch much info to go on so that meant full lights and siren's with an expectation of the worst but as they pulled up onto the street there was no sign of carnage, flicking the sirens off they rolled down the pavement until a civilian flagged them down and pointed to the little picnic table where a lone figure sat.

While her partner parked the ambulance she grabbed her gear bag from the side door and put her focus on the guy who had unsteadily gotten himself to his feet as she got near, as far as she could tell his arm would need some attention before they left the scene but it was the blood on his head that earned more concern as it most likely accounted for his staggering. Setting the duffle bag down on the picnic table she put on a pair of gloves and then was able to turn her full attention to Luke.

"Looks like you had a rough evening, you have quite the bump on your head. Can I help with that? I just need you to sit down."

Head injuries where tricky and came with the ever present risk of a hostile patient but he seemed calm enough, dazed but calm.

"What's your name?"

The young woman was close enough for him to make out clearly, were it not for the blood irritating his eye and making him squint. Another rub with his fist hoped to clear his vision, but it was a process. He missed much of her opening piece, and quickly gave up on trying to discern what was said and instead gathered information on what he could see clearly.

She was obviously trying to help him in a medical capacity, which was far and beyond the more critical help he was in need of. It was going to take more than a cotton swab to fix all this, and the idea made him laugh lowly. The belted amusement made him rock back, but he didn’t quite sit down. He chose to stand firm as he could, because he secondarily noticed that she was quite pretty, and apparently asking after his name.

“Luke.” He smiled at her, as if they were in much more intimate circumstances than trying to treat a head wound. When he batted the question back to her, his whole demeanor reflected the same endeared slant, “What’s your name?” It had been a while since a young woman had approached him with such a question, and he’d be damned if he let a minor inconvenience stop him from pouncing on opportunity.

Alex wasn't too surprised when her requests seemed to be just out of his area of understanding, concussions could do that and much more so she added that to her list of possible problems and unfortunately for him that meant a ride in the ambulance. She didn't completely pass off all of his confusion as just a symptom of that head injury though, she saw the way he really was trying to pay attention mixed with what he had managed to respond to.

"Luke. I'm Alexis, I'm going to help you. Okay?"

She spoke directly and with as clear pronunciation as she could to try and mitigate what was left of her Russian accent to see if that helped, his demeanour beyond the fact that he was dazed didn't phase her so much and if it meant that it kept him calm and focused then so be it. Carefully she gestured towards the bench seat of the picnic table as she reached for some gauze but as a second though, she spoke while he couldn't see her face just so she could determine if he could hear at all.

"How did you get into this mess?"

If he didn't register her voice at all they could be dealing with a whole new barrel of possibilities unless of course this was his normal, if that was the case she was just going to have to help him get that sight cleared up quick so she could communicate with him easier.

She gave him her name and his face bloomed in delight. Normally whenever he hit rock bottom he ended up finding a shovel to dig himself in deeper, but this time he’s been lifted out of the gutter and into the great big blue. I must have died back there, and this is my own personal valkyrie, he thought. Thank you, Jesus.

Of course if he was really dead, his skull wouldn’t still be ringing.

When she turned away his smile dropped out of sight. But before he could fall into concern he noted the way she gestured to the bench, paired with her apparent mutual interest. He chuckled, "Woah Allie, slow down." There was a flush to his cheeks, as if there wasn’t enough blood poured out of his face. "You could at least ask me for coffee." Not that he’d say ‘no’ if she didn’t, but he’d take what he could get.

"Ah, shit."

It reads in the distance like an exposé: red and blue strobed, bright and skeletal in the thronging black. She trusts her instincts enough to pick up pace through the park—sloppy and glass-ankled on those fucking patent leather stilts she'd made her bitch throughout the night. The line walked is jagged, bowed like a broken neck, yet unyielding in its confidence. This is compulsory: no one ever sees her sweat. Not when she's this good at tracking the needle-slip waywardness of him through their haystack fucking town.

Not that it's all that difficult, if we're really being honest.

This asshole sure loves parks [she thinks; she laughs], and the freckled strip of blood playing Yellow Brick Road beneath her loose, unintentional sway is nothing but a fundamental cog in the creaky machine of Luke's life. He's predictable, but unmanageable, which is a violence all its own.

Her blood pumps thin and warm, body not yet lamenting whatever drunken decisions had led to this point. There's still a good handful of hours between now and the moment she'll recall having spat some tequila-barbed threat into the nightmarish scar of a face sat beside them at the bar. Helping to inspire the fury of a man who'd have lost her interest within the very next breath, yet clearly found compensation enough within the punchable sculpt of Luke's pretty little face just a few minutes later.

By that time, she'd have been long gone.

(But whatever, she's here now.)

A grin splits her lips, red as his, as the weight of the situation refuses to call her shoulders home.

"The fuck happened to you, dummy?"

Without so much as a second spared for Luke to answer, Juliet's attention's transplanted to Alexis. She already knows Luke's nice and cotton-brained and that ain't gonna get them anywhere.

She repeats, but this time in the right direction, "The fuck happened to him?"

The way his whole face lit up at the mere mention of her giving him a name earned him (in the very least) a grin but it was for reasons he probably wouldn't be able to decipher in his current state, he seemed at this point to be more of a happy teddy bear then a guy who had somehow gotten himself into trouble. It was a charming personality trait but unfortunately for him, his efforts where being wasted on her but at least for now she could play along a little to keep him relaxed.

"Coffee hmm? How about you let me fix you up first, then we'll see."

It would have been beyond 'unusual' for a woman of Alexis size to be able to man handle him into sitting on his ass and she certainly didn't want to agitate him so she patiently waited to see if he would come to the conclusion that sitting was better. His life wasn't in any immediate risk anyway so she had time.

His lack of reaction as she had asked him what had happened prompted a further need of investigation but before much more could be done for it, the faint sound of footsteps alerted to the approaching presence of the other woman. The rather obvious swagger to the walk raised some concern that this call was going to get a little more interesting so she paused briefly to watch just to make sure the second human wasn't going to end up as a danger to the patient but it took very little time to realize that she might actually know Luke.

"No idea, rough night. He belong to you?"

Luke had yet to mention in any form of what had happened to him but if Alex had to guess, he had either gone down a sharp incline the hard and fast way or had tangled with a not-so-friendly forest creature. It was anyone's guess until she could get the guy to sit down and get a better look without having to worry about him losing his balance.

 A familiar face approached from the side, and for a split second he smiled when he recognized her. It was a thoughtless expression, for the moment he considered her presence and its implications, he felt threatened. Luke tried to catch her eye, and attempted further to discreetly sign a warning, [GIRL, FIRST I SAW] She could keep her grubby paws off.
 By the time he looked back to the “girl”, he’d missed what she’d said. Damn.
 Luke abruptly thrust himself in between the two, facing the paramedic. He’d intended to bump Juliet, but not to stagger as he had, catching himself against her coat to keep his balance."Listen Alicia." He’s still not sure if that’s right, but she’s bound to react to something eventually. "This is nothing. Just a little scrape. Scalps bleed easy." He knew: he hit his head a lot.

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