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Angelina seemed to be recovering quickly; within minutes, she was sitting up in bed chattering animatedly.

“–and then I hid in this old pipe, and she had these lizard heads with these big teeth that were really scary, and she was reaching them down the pipe, but first she lifted the pipe and dropped it and that’s how I hit my face, and then–“

Chelsea nodded, trying her best to keep up with what Angelina was saying. She didn’t completely follow the story, but whatever had happened to Angelina sounded terrifying. Chelsea had seen the severed head of whatever had attacked Angelina lying in the street beside her, and its teeth had looked like saw blades.

“–but then, all of a sudden, it was like I was a giant smoothie and I thought I died, but I’m alive, and you’re here, and I actually found you!”

Angelina wrapped her arms around Chelsea’s waist, pulling her into a hug that would have caused her to lose her footing if she hadn’t managed to grab a bedpost for support. Her face flushing a little, she hesitated, then returned the hug.

Belfry fluttered off her shoulder and alighted on one of the bedposts.

Angelina released Chelsea so suddenly, she nearly flung her backward. Chelsea grabbed the bedpost again. For a moment, she wondered if she’d crossed a boundary by returning the hug.

“I’m so sorry!” said Angelina. “I forgot I was all dirty from the pipe, and I got dirt all over your clothes!”

“It’s okay,” said Chelsea. “I don’t mind, I–“

She stopped, noticing the small spots of crimson Angelina had left on her shirt.

“Angelina, you’re bleeding. Are you sure you’re okay?”

“Yeah, I just got bit by the giant monster–it’s okay! I was super dizzy, and I couldn’t move, and I thought I was dead, but I feel fine now!”

Huh. That wasn’t very reassuring.

Chelsea picked up the first aid kit she’d laid on the dresser.

“I found this in a bathroom cabinet. I know you feel fine, but maybe I should look at your, um, giant monster bite anyway. Where did it bite you?”

“Uh, it was like… everywhere? Its head was really big, so its mouth was also really big, and its teeth hit kind of…” Angelina pointed to spots on her hips and ribs. “Here, here, here, and here.”

Oh, no. That made things awkward. Angelina probably needed to have someone look at the bites, but they were all under her clothing. Chelsea couldn’t exactly ask her to take her clothes off without it potentially being taken the wrong way.

But what if the bites were serious? What if they were life-threatening?

“Um, so, Angelina…” Chelsea began. “Uh…”

What was the least creepy way to phrase it? It wasn’t like she could just say ‘take your clothes off’. She would need to think carefully about how to–

Oh, wait, Angelina was already pulling her T-shirt off and throwing it onto the floor. Okay, then.

The top rows of cuts was just below Angelina’s bra band. Chelsea looked down at them, examining the wounds from a distance and hoping Angelina would know she wasn’t ogling her breasts or something.

The injuries looked like puncture marks made by something massive, with pink and red bruises forming where the skin hadn’t broken. They looked painful, but the cuts didn’t look deep, and the bleeding had almost stopped. Chelsea felt a swell of relief.

“Does it look bad?” said Angelina. “I can’t see.”

Chelsea smiled reassuringly.

“It doesn’t look serious,” she said.

Angelina pursed her lips in a pout.

“It feels serious.”

Chelsea felt a rush of concern that must have shown on her face, because Angelina quickly added, “No, no, no, it’s not serious. It’s not. I was being dramatic. I was just whining because it hurts.”

“You’re not whining,” said Chelsea. “You just got attacked by a huge monster. You must have been terrified. You’re allowed to complain.”

Angelina pushed the covers off her legs and began to shimmy out of her jeans, and Chelsea looked away, her face feeling hot again. The jeans fell to the floor in a heap at the foot of the bed.

“Sorry,” said Angelina. “I just wanted to look at the other bite marks. The ones on my hips hurt too.”

“No need to apologize,” said Chelsea.

She turned to Belfry, who was doing a dance in place on the bedpost. Good, she could focus on that instead of the half-naked girl sitting in front of her.

“It’s not bleeding,” said Angelina. “It’s really red, though, and it hurts so bad.”

“Oh, well, um, is the skin broken?” said Chelsea.

“No, not on my hips. But it is up here.”

Chelsea could only see Angelina out of the corner of her eyes, but assumed she was gesturing to the bite marks on her ribs.

Chelsea laid the first aid kit on the bed next to Angelina’s legs and opened it. She pulled out a tube of antibiotic ointment and a handful of bandages and handed them to Angelina.

“Here. There’s no water in this house to wash your bites, so you’ll want to put this on it and then bandage it up,” said Chelsea.

“Thanks, but I–” Angelina stopped suddenly. “Are you okay? Your face is really red.”

“What? I–yes, I’m fine,” said Chelsea. “It’s just–“

“Just what?”

Just that usually when Chelsea was with a cute girl who was in bed in her underwear, it was under much better circumstances.

“Just that… I’m a little overheated,” she lied.

Angelina cocked her head.

“Really? It’s so cold in here!”

Angelina reached for the covers, pulling them up to her chin and mercifully protecting her modesty again.

“I bet there’s something warm you can wear in the closet,” said Chelsea. “I’ll go find you something. I’ll be right back.”

Chelsea suppressed a sigh of relief as she turned toward the closet. This was perfect; now Angelina would have some privacy to tend to her wounds, and Chelsea would be able to escape the minefield that was an attractive straight girl obliviously stripping in front of her.

“Could you help me do the bandages and stuff first?” said Angelina. “I can’t see all the cuts.”

Damn it. So close.

“Um, well, I–“

She knew she didn’t have a choice, that she shouldn’t even be thinking about how awkward and embarrassing this was when her friend was hurt and needed her. She would need to deal with her embarrassment for Angelina’s sake, to suck it up, tread carefully, and hope that she didn’t inadvertently do anything to make Angelina uncomfortable or jeopardize their friendship.

Chelsea glanced at Belfry, who continued his little dance on the bedpost.

Wait. Angelina needed help with her bandages, but that didn’t mean Chelsea had to help her.

“Maybe Belfry can help you,” said Chelsea. “That way I can find you something nice and warm while he patches you up.”

Belfry’s ears perked up at the sound of his name. Angelina looked up, noticing Belfry for the first time, and let out a piercing squeal.

“It’s soooooo cute! What is it?! Was it here this whole time–“

Startled by the sudden, loud excitement, Belfry fluttered off the bedpost and toward Chelsea, clinging to her shirt.

“Oh no,” said Angelina. “I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to scare it.”

“Belfry, va bene,” said Chelsea. “Angelina is un aminca.

Chelsea felt Belfry relax as he turned to examine Angelina.

“Buongiorno signorina,” said Belfry.

“It talks?” Angelina’s eyes widened with delight. “It talks in Italian?”

Angelina said something to Belfry in Italian. Belfry’s ears perked up upon hearing his native language, and he let got of Chelsea’s shirt and glided toward Angelina, perching on her knee. He responded with something Chelsea didn’t understand, and Angelina looked at Chelsea, beaming.

Angelina handed the ointment and bandages to Belfry. Chelsea watched for a moment to make sure Belfry knew what he was doing; then headed into the closet, leaving Belfry and Angelina to chat happily in the bedroom.

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