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Slip Ups and Lift Ups

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The perfect shot had set itself up perfectly before Haley that cool winter morning. It was very early, and most people were still in bed. Haley herself would normally rather die than be up before the sun, especially on a bitterly frigid winter day, but sometimes an artist has to make sacrifices to get results. Today’s result, she was hoping, would be a gorgeous shot of the sunrise over the snowy mountains in the valley, casting a beautiful, gentle, pink glow of light over the soft white snow. 

Yes, the atmosphere truly was beautiful, and Haley almost didn’t regret waking up at the crack of dawn to try and capture such a wonderful scene for her album.

Almost.

Now, Haley was no amateur photographer. If she was going to do this, she was going to do it right, and sometimes that means taking several shots from different angles until finding the perfect composition. Sometimes that means standing up on a pile of rocks to try and get a better angle. 

Sometimes, the search for perfection causes one to slip on the icy winter rocks and take a nasty tumble into the snow. 

Sometimes, the results are painful.

“Ow, shit,” Haley muttered to herself as she tried to sit back up and get her bearings straight. The strap around her neck saved her camera from taking much, if any damage, but a quick flex of her ankles told her she would be having a hell of a time trying to make it to the clinic on her own. 

Pain seared through her left ankle and foot, and Haley winced, looking around to see if there were any branches to lean on that might help her inevitable limp to the clinic.

“Haley? Y’alright over there?” A young woman’s voice called out.

Haley whipped her head around and glanced upward, meeting eyes with the town’s newest farmer.

Well, she wasn’t exactly new anymore, having moved in back in the spring, but she was basically still new to Haley. Sure, the farmer was friendly enough- she sometimes even shared some of her homemade baked goods with Haley and the other townsfolk- but it’s not like they were best friends or anything. 

But, as much as her pride wished the farmer hadn’t just witnessed her embarrassingly clumsy tumble, Haley felt relief that someone was around to help her.

“Do you think I would willingly lay down in the snow if something wasn’t wrong?” Haley internally cringed at the cut of her own words. Sometimes she just couldn’t stop from saying the first thing that came to mind, and the throbbing pain in her ankle was not helping her mood. 

Thankfully, the farmer just laughed. “Yeah, you’ve got a point there, I suppose! Need a hand?”

Haley hesitated, staring up at the farmer’s now outstretched, calloused hands. Someone certainly needed a manicure.

“Um.... I can’t exactly stand.”

The farmer’s eyes widened as she surveyed the situation a second time. After a moment, she crouched down beside Haley, slipping her arms underneath Haley’s back and under her knees. “Alrighty then; hang on tight!”

Before Haley could protest or even ask what was going on, she felt her body effortlessly lifted up, and the next thing she knew, the town farmer was carrying Haley bridal style all the way to the clinic. 

 

“Oh, goodness, what happened?” Harvey rushed around the counter to help the farmer through the doors of the clinic and back to the patient bed, where she gently set Haley down. 

“I, uh... I was talking some photos when I slipped on the ice and fell over. I can’t put any weight on this ankle,” Haley gestured to the injury, flushing slightly as she recounted the story. Rookie mistake, not checking to be sure she was on stable ground before aiming the camera.

After a few tests and questions, Harvey excused himself to retrieve ice, a brace, and some crutches.

The farmer glanced over at Haley, eyeing her camera. “...Get any good shots before the fall?”

Haley arched an eyebrow, wondering how much of this was actual interest rather than making uncomfortable small talk to fill the silence while the doctor was out of the room. Nevertheless, she switched on the camera and began scrolling through the pictures. 

“I managed to take a few... They’re alright, I suppose, but I didn’t really capture quite what I was looking for.” She sighed, “I was so close, too. Nothing good comes from waking up early.”

The farmer grinned a little. “Well, if I hadn’t have been out doing my morning woodcutting, I wouldn’t have found you!” She stepped around to take a look at the camera. “Besides, I’m no photographer, but I’d say those are some pretty nice lookin’ pictures!”

Haley focused on the camera, trying to ignore the blush she felt creeping up her face. “I mean, I guess to an untrained eye, they probably look alright. Still, if I hadn’t have gotten up so early for this, you would not have needed to come ‘rescue’ me, anyway!” She turned off the camera and set it beside her. “This picture just wasn’t meant to be.”

“Well, I dunno about that...” The farmer scrunched her eyebrows for a moment, before breaking out into another smile. “Oh, what if I give you a hand next time?”

“What?”

“I mean, after your ankle’s healed up enough to stand again, of course. But, if I come along, I can hold ya steady for extra support? Ooh, I bet you’d even fit on my shoulders-”

Haley found herself overcome with mental images of the tall farmer girl’s strong, toned arms wrapped around Haley’s slender figure. Her face grew hot as she snapped back into reality and shook those fantasies away.

“W-well, it might not be so bad to have a little company...” Haley coughed a little and straightened her shoulders. “...Can I rely on you to catch me, if I fall?”

The farmer’s smile widened as she reached out and gave Haley’s hand a gentle squeeze. “You can always count on me.”