Ava darted into every single room, ensuring each window was securely locked. She gingerly tiptoed into the bathroom, eyeing the bath which was still blood-stained, feeling physically sick as she recalled the memory of an unconscious Oscar lying slumped beside it. Ava decided upon cleaning the bathroom later when she had Oscar safely tucked up in bed. She walked outside, opening the passenger side of the car and stroked Oscar’s pale cheek. “Oscar I’m going to help you into bed now okay. I’d ask you if you wanted me to run you a bath, but due to the current state of the bathroom I’d rather not. It might scare you half to death!”

“It’s okay. I’d really like a bath. Is there a lot of blood?”

“A fair bit yes.”

“Will it come off?”

“Yeah of course. I’ll clean it” Ava felt slightly nauseous.

“Thanks and sorry.” Oscar smiled weakly.

Ava scrubbed at the smeared dried blood which had decorated the side of the bath like a slaughter house. It was indeed a scene of crime and Ava had just rinsed away the evidence. Still, she took no heed of the fact. Oscar was quietly seated upon the closed toilet lid wrapped once again in his dressing gown, attempting to avert his eyes, but could not. He sighed deeply.

“I should be doing that, it’s my blood after all. I have to admit, staring at it is making me feel a little queasy.”

“Don’t worry it’s nearly all gone now, there’s just this last little bit.”

“Okay.” At last the red specks were gone, Ava used the shower head to swill away the bleach. She turned on the hot tap and added bubble bath, watching the luxurious bubbles grow in size under the strong pressure of the water. Ava tested it for temperature.

“There, you can get in now.”

Oscar carefully lowered himself into the water, supporting his body on the thin sides. “Thanks. Ahh, yes that’s perfect. I need this bath so much.”

Ava laughed. “I’m so tempted to get in there with you.”

Oscar smiled. “Then why don’t you?”

Ava laughed “Are you serious?”

“Yeah! Join me.”  His eyes glinted, Oscar’s  mouth spreading into a wide Cheshire cat smile to reveal his white teeth. Ava slid out of her clothes, hanging them on the small hook behind the door and climbed into the bath beside Oscar who had already made a space for her.

“Thank goodness you’re so slim!” Oscar laughed.

“Well you’re hardly fatty Arbuckle are you!”

“I suppose. I really need to sleep.” Oscar sighed.

“I know baby. Rest your head on my shoulder.” Oscar did so, sensing her gentle breathing against his damp cheek. Ava smoothed his hair, taking careful attention not to touch the head wound.

“Hmmm that’s so relaxing.” He sighed, closing his eyes for what he thought to be a couple of minutes. “Hmm wha-  !” Oscar opened his eyes abruptly, after sensing a gentle tickling sensation upon his left arm.

“Ava what are you doing?”

“Washing you!” she smiled. “I plan exit this bath sometime tonight. The water is starting to get cold. We are never getting out of here if you keep falling asleep.”

“Sorry.”

“Shhh. I’m nearly done now. I just need to do your back.”

“Oh okay. How on earth did I sleep through that? ”

“No idea! Lean forwards now.”

Oscar obeyed, holding onto the while porcelain bath sides to support himself as Ava gently washed his pale skin. “Hmmm that’s lovely, so relaxing. It feels almost like a massage.”

“I’d love to give you a massage” Ava smiled. “It might help you to sleep better. Once you’re back in bed, there will be no more getting out for a day or so. I need to take care of you, like they said at the hospital you need to be careful and take it easy for a few days. Okay you’re done. Let’s get out now.”

“Yes boss.”

Ava pulled the plug and got out first before helping a rather shaky Oscar to do so himself. She wrapped him in a large bath towel and wrapped herself in her own dressing gown.

“It actually feels like you’re looking after me, like my Mum.” Oscar cleared his throat awkwardly. Ava held him to her fingers intertwining in his soft hair. She changed the subject hastily.

“I’m going to put you in my room. It’s bigger. I have a pile of work to do but that way I can look after you and do this assignment at the same time.  There’s no way I’m leaving you alone, just in case.”

Ava placed Oscar’s arm around her neck and led him into her bedroom. He slowly dried himself still feeling ever so slightly light-headed as he sat perched upon his bed. She handed him a pair of soft track suit bottoms, he slowly pulled them on and sat upon her bed. Ava pulled the duvet over him.

“There you are. Sleep now, you’re exhausted I can tell. I’ll unfortunately have to wake you in an hour or so just to check that you’re alright.”

“Yeah that’s fine.”

“Now get some sleep.” Ava kissed Oscar’s forehead, he soon drifted off into a deep sleep, plummeting into dreamland eventually ending up in a bizarrely augmented dream.

To be continued….

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