When I come to, I'm still in the store room, lying on the floor to be exact, and a little dizzy. The floor, I remember in an instant, is covered in dirt and grime and germs and liver-killing bacteria, and I bolt up into a sitting position, only to be stopped by a hand pressed firmly on my chest.
She scowls and glares at me with a feral growl set on her pink lips. "You don't move until I finish bandaging you up, buster." She pinches my collarbone when I attempt to fight back. I surrender and slowly lower myself to the ground, but not entirely laying on the floor, painfully hovering a couple centimeters by arching my back.
I turn away from the blood clotted cotton pads and shredded latex glove beside my left shoulder and breathe slowly and calmly so I don't faint again. She works silently, wrapping my thumb excessively in bandages until finally she ties off the ends in a bow and smiles at her handiwork.
I could have done it myself, I want to interject, but I'd be lying. I wouldn't have been able to deal with the blood, much less stay conscious to get myself to a hospital. She turns to me with a frown and sigh before she helps me stand up. She bends over the first aid kit and collects the bloodied cotton pads, placing them in a paper bag. I arch my back into place and stretch my right hand, slowly flexing the thumb.
"It's just a cut, nothing that needs stitches," she states.
It's a relief, however, I really want to rip off the bandage to sanitize the wound myself, but I will my hands to my side and away from each other.
Should I apologize or thank her? I hesitate as she snaps the kit close and stands up.
"I'm sorry for bothering you with all my questions," she says, walking past me as she heads to the door, "I'm going to tell Mr. Anthony that the first aid kit has run out of cotton pads."
I'm surprised by the apology. I should be the one apologizing for my rude behavior. "Ah," I say, for lack of a better word, "I'm mysophobic."
She turns around to face me, a confused frown on her face. She stares at me for a moment before asking, "Is that why you wear latex gloves?" When I nod, she smiles again, and suddenly I'm wary. "So you're OCD?"
I pause. Me, obsessive compulsive? "Definitely not. A perfectionist, I am."
My statement raises an eyebrow from under an askew lock that makes up for a fringe. "OCD and in denial. Makes sense." She must have sensed my objection because she bursts into laughter and I notice that she's gum-free.
"Believe what you want," I reply, a tad bit miffed. She stifles her laughter behind the hand that clutches the paper bag. "Um, thank you, for bandaging me up and I'm sorry for my behavior."
She nods, her laughter suppressed by a smile still present on her face and lighting up her brown eyes. "I'll only accept your apology if you tell me how you became OCD." She pauses and stifles a giggle. "I mean, a perfectionist. That should be an interesting story." She finds herself a box to sit on and dumps the first aid kit and paper bag beside her. She sweeps her hand over a box on her other side, patting it with a smile aimed at me. "Come on. It's story time. Cough up the details."