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At least logically.
“If it’d have come up on my other side, we’d have been boned,” Hoax said just as my name was called.
“Down here!” I yelled, my heart still beating a mile a minute.
Picking up the flashlight, I aimed it in the direction of the voice and looked upward to find a man leaning over the guardrail staring down at us.
He obviously couldn’t see us since my light was shining him straight in the face, but he at least knew where we were.
“Okay, darlin’,” the man called back. “We’ll be down there in a minute.”
“You’ll need a backboard!” I called out. “Oh, and a gun. A bolt cutter of some sort that’ll get you through rebar, and possibly a neck brace!” The last muttered words were for Hoax’s ears only. “And a vomit bag. God, I hate snakes.”
Hoax laughed…or started to. That laugh turned into a groan when he jostled the rebar that was currently in his side.
“That was the club president,” Hoax said gruffly. “Bayou.”
I grunted. “Good. Before I got here, I called Linc and told his ass he better get the boys here fast.”
Speaking of, I looked back down to my pocket, only then realizing that it was partially covered with muddy water.
“Well, damn,” I muttered, looking at the now black phone. “Guess I’ll have to go get me another one tomorrow.”
Hoax grunted in affirmation. “Me, too.”
I smiled and moved to the side, hearing the men that’d come with Bayou tromping down the same trail I’d taken on my way down here.
Only, they did it much more expertly than I did.
I got to see because the lights at the top of the hill were suddenly blinding.
I tried to look up, but they were so bright that it was impossible to see.
They must carry emergency lighting on the trucks just in case something like this happened.
The snake continued to thrash, and I felt a shiver dance down my spine. “Can you drown snakes?”
Hoax, considering that question, dunked the snake under the water. “I don’t know. Let’s find out.”
And that was what he was doing when not only Bayou but also Linc, as well a woman who must have been on the fire department, came sliding down beside us.
Bayou came down on one side of me, and Linc started to come down on the other. I stopped him before he could set his knee on the snake by lifting my hand up to point toward the reptile.
Which also happened to be right where his dick was.
We both stopped there for a long second. The way he was semi-squatted down in those goddamn knit shorts he loved to torture me in, that made his junk swing free. And it was more than evident that Linc didn’t have a single thing on under the shorts.
“Here I am impaled by a goddamn piece of rebar, drowning a snake, and bleeding from a head wound, and you’re allowing her to feel your twig and berries up instead of helping me.” Hoax groaned.
There was also a smile on his face that clearly showed just how amused he was with the situation.
“Drowning a snake?” both Bayou and Linc said at the same time, glancing toward where I had been trying to point.
Still, Linc didn’t remove my hand.
It was quite obvious that he was enjoying the touch.
Why did I know that without him specifically saying so aloud?
What with his dick getting hard and all, it was more than obvious.
“Why are you not wearing underwear?” I finally asked, removing my hand with the utmost reluctance.
“Focus, children,” Bayou drawled.
“Because you woke me up, and I sleep naked,” Linc explained, ignoring Bayou.
He still wasn’t really paying attention to the thrashing snake barely being held underneath the water, either.
“It’s okay,” Hoax teased. “I’m only getting a nice mud facial over here. I can wait.”
The female firefighter—or at least I assumed she was a firefighter—scoffed.
That was when I turned to her to see her glare firmly on me, bouncing between where I was, and where my hand was still hovering.
The thrashing in the water finally halted, and I shined my flashlight at the water, causing Linc to curse.
“What the fuck?”
“See, I saved you and your testicles,” I added helpfully.
“Was that what the gun was for?” Bayou asked, ignoring the dying snake and getting a good look at the piece of rebar that was in Hoax’s side.
“Yes,” I answered, leaning over Hoax to get a better look myself. “I think if you cut it here,” I pointed to where I was suggesting. “It should be enough to allow the backboard to slide under him without causing the rebar to shift, or at least not shift much.”
The rebar kind of looked like a fish hook piercing into Hoax’s side. I was guessing that he must have landed on it before he fell into the ravine, and as he rolled down the side, the rebar already partially embedded in him, it must have curved into the hook shape as the momentum took him down the side of the ravine. Unfortunately, enough of it was still sticking out that it would be impossible to move him without jostling the rebar and causing him more internal damage and pain.
“Yeah, that’s what I was thinking, too,” Bayou confirmed. “Good eyes.”
“He has a broken arm,” I said, continuing with my list of injuries. “If y’all take care of the rebar and the head wound, I can secure his arm for transport.”
So that was what we did.
Linc took over dressing the head wound, the woman and Bayou worked on the piece of rebar, and I secured his arm. All the while, Hoax didn’t utter a single sound of pain.
“You ready, Hoaxie?” I teased, looking at him with a teasing expression.
Hoax grimaced but nodded once. “As long as you never call me ‘Hoaxie’ again.”
I bit my lip to keep my smile inside, then tilted my head and said, “Hoaxster?”
Hoax shook his head again.
While I was teasing him, Bayou and Linc got him onto the backboard.
It was then that another round of sirens sounded, signaling the arrival of the medic. Finally.
They must not have been at their station for this kind of response time.
“Finally,” Linc muttered, mirroring my thoughts.
“We’re going to strap you down good and get you into the basket,” Bayou explained what he was going to do. “Then we’re gonna heft your fat ass up.”
Hoax flipped him off. “I’m not fat.”
Hoax most definitely was not fat. He was ripped like Linc was…like Bayou was.
What the hell did they put in the water here?
I stood up, my legs screaming in pain from having been crouched down like that for over twenty minutes. “Let’s do this. Who do you want up there?”
Bayou grunted. “Linc and I’ll both have to go up there. Are you two ladies okay with staying down here with Hoax just a little while longer?”
I poked Hoax in the chin. “The Hoaxmeister and me are BFFs. We’ll be okay.”
The snake was now dead…I thought.
Yet Hoax still held him in a death grip under the water just in case.
The woman beside me scoffed again, and I would’ve tossed her a look over my shoulder and glared had we not been in the middle of something extremely important.
“Brielle…” Hoax grumbled. “You need to get rid of the attitude. She’s just trying to lighten the mood.”
I looked over at the woman out of the corner of my eye and wondered what, exactly, she had a problem with.
It would appear that this problem was with me, but I didn’t know what I had done to her.
Maybe it was just my presence?
Linc and Bayou were halfway up the steep incline, and I watched as Linc limberly climbed up the muddy slope as if he did something like that every day of his life.
I knew for a fact when I got up there later, it would be a slippery death trap that could likely have me risking life and limb.
I turned back to the woman and offered her my hand. “My name is Conleigh.”