Giselle locked the front door to the shop and headed for her car. Will Benson has some nerve thinking he knows how I feel about marriage! Preoccupied, she lost her footing on the icy path to the car. Down she went, slipping over the tiny ridge and careening down the hill. As the hill was steep, she picked up speed, heading smack dab for a pine tree.
Frantically groping for a hold on the ice, twigs embedded in the ice and pieces of stone-hard snow tore up her gloves and her hands. Raising her foot to cushion the impact, instead her leg collapsed, slamming her knee into the trunk then her head. She saw stars.
Blood spurted from a big rip in her pants. She lay back against the ice, groggy.
Muriel Benson put down her cell phone. “No answer.” She checked her watch. “Not like Giselle to be late.”
“Who?” Will asked idly, drinking a beer and staring into the fireplace at his folk’s house.
“Giselle. Do me a favor. Drive over there and check on her, will ya?”
“You invited her here for Christmas dinner?” He shot up out of his chair.
“It’s Christmas, Will. The poor girl is all alone.”
“Whose fault is that?” He shot back.
“You need some lessons in charity, son,” his father piped up from behind his newspaper. “Thought we raised you different.”
“Can I come, Dad?” Bobby put down his Spiderman toy.
“All right, all right. Come on squirt,” Will ruffled Bobby’s hair and picked up the car keys.
They drove by Giselle’s house but it was dark and her car wasn’t there. Will headed for the shop. He pulled in next to her car and tried the front door but it was locked.
As he was figuring out how to get around back without killing himself on the slick path, Bobby hollered out. “There she is!”
He pointed to the bottom or the hill. Will squinted in the pale moonlight, saw someone on the ground and heard a weak cry. Grabbing Bobby’s hand, he secured his son in the car, then drove closer to her.
“Stay here, Bobby,” he commanded, punching the flashers button on the dashboard . “Giselle! Giselle is that you?” He called through cupped hands. The body tried to stand up but couldn’t. He rushed over, dumped her over his shoulder and carried her to the car.
“She’s almost frozen,” he murmured, throwing the car in gear. Bobby started to cry.
“Is she gonna die?”
“Don’t think so, buddy.” Will carried her into the house and laid her down on his bed. He stripped off her boots and jacket.“Oh my God! What happened?” Muriel asked, as she placed a blanket around the shivering girl’s shoulders.
“Found her at the bottom of a hill.” Will gently removed the torn gloves from her bloody hands. She stared at him, pale and frightened.
“You’ll be okay. I’m going to fix you up.” He turned to his mother. “First aid stuff. Hurry.”
Tears streamed down Giselle’s face. Will placed her in his lap and held her tight, stroking her hair. “You’re safe now, I’m here,” he whispered.