Someone Like You

Someone Like You by Elaine Coffman

Book: Someone Like You by Elaine Coffman Read Free Book Online
Authors: Elaine Coffman
led the mare into the barn and stood with her back against the corner of a stall so she would be out of his way. She watched Reed as he talked to the mare in a soothing voice. With a confident air, he ran his hands over her, checking the savage cut across her chest. “These are deep. She’s losing a lot of blood. They’ll need stitching, and fast.”
    He turned to Susannah. “If you’re going to stay, I’ll put you to work. Hold her steady and keep her calm. I’ll be back in a minute.”
    Susannah went over and took hold the halter. “Where are you going?” she asked.
    “To get something to sew her with. She’s losing too much blood.”
    He was back very soon and said, “Get me a bucket of water and some coal tar from the tack room.”
    Scarcely aware of what she was doing, Susannah brought the things he needed, then held the mare steady, calming her with softly spoken words and strokes to her head. Her attention was riveted on Reed as she watched him bathe the lacerations, his hands moving over the wounds with assurance. When he began to stitch the cuts, he was as competent as any physician she had ever seen. In fact, better. She had never seen such small, neat stitches.
    She couldn’t help wondering where he’d acquired that skill. “You do that like you’ve done it before.”
    He seemed amused. “Anyone who has spent much time around livestock has done this a few times.”
    That was true, of course, but still, there was something about his professional manner, his competence and ease, that made him seem much more experienced than the average rancher or farmer. She found herself watching his hands. It was distracting, for she could not help imagining how those same hands might feel if they were touching her with such gentle thoroughness. The thought was frightening, yet she could not put it out of her mind. She watched him cover the neat stitches with coal tar.
    “What are you doing that for?”
    “It will keep the blowflies off the cut so they can’t lay eggs. The last thing we need is for this cut to fill up with worms.”
    She understood that. In the summertime blowflies were a terrible nuisance. The least cut or scratch on any of the livestock would become infested with worms if exposed to open air.
    “You are very good at this. Have you ever had to sew up a person?”
    He turned his head so swiftly to look at her that Susannah was caught off guard. The look in his eyes was fierce. For a moment she tried to think if she had said something to offend him.
    “Why would you ask me a thing like that?”
    She shrugged. “I was just wondering, that’s all. It seems that with the traveling you must have done, you might have encountered a situation where someone needed similar attention.”
    “Why would you be wondering about something like that?”
    “I was just curious to know if there was any difference between sewing up an animal and a human being.”
    He turned back to the mare. “Flesh is flesh whether it’s human or animal. There isn’t much difference between the two—although animals are generally better patients.”
    She thought of Aunt Dahlia as a patient and smiled, but said nothing, content for now merely to watch. The scare was over and Rosebud looked as if she would be all right.
    Suddenly, Susannah realized that Reed was not wearing a shirt. She knew he’d been digging holes, and she had seen his shirt hanging on a nearby fence post. He sure was lanky, she thought. He had a hollow belly that seemed to skip his waist as it blended downward into slim hips. His arms were taut, his chest smoothly muscled and tanned, as if he went without a shirt quite often.
    He was so sure of himself, so capable. She had watched him that day in town when the crowd was riled up and seemingly eager to turn itself into a lynch mob. He had stood up for himself with confidence and dignity. He wasn’t loud or tough, but he wasn’t the kind to back down either. He was a man to be admired, and it occurred to

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