Alden started to work with Collin on expanding his home. Molly was pregnant with their third child, now, and the two bedroom cabin they'd built when they got married to wasn't cutting it anymore.
He was using a skill saw to cut through a four-by-four beam when Delia ran past the construction site in a bathing suit, Lilly giggling away in her arms.
"Ouch! Shit!" He looked down.
The beam was sprayed with blood and the tip of his left pinky finger was missing.
Collin came running to him.
"What happened?" He asked frantically as pulled off his t-shirt and wrapped it tightly around Alden's hand.
"My hand slipped," he lied.
He didn't want to admit to Collin that his eyes had wandered away from the saw and towards his fifteen-year-old daughter in a swimsuit.
"Alright, you got it? I'm gonna try to find the tip of your finger. We've gotta be quick. Delia?"
She came running from around the side of the house. She was drenched in water from playing in sprinklers with her little sister.
"Oh my god, Alden are you okay?!" She rushed to his side and put her hands gently on his arm.
"He sliced a part of his finger off," Collin explained dryly. "Get him in the garage and I'll meet you there as soon as I find the part that got cut off."
She guided Alden to the garage, which Collin had turned into a makeshift clinic.
"Why he lets you handle sharp things I will never understand," Delia griped at Alden as she helped over to a bench and sat down next to him. "How did it happen?"
"I lost focus," he said sheepishly and felt his face flush.
"That's not like you," she frowned. "You're the most thorough and focused person I know. You're almost sickeningly accurate."
"You and Lilly ran by and... It looked like you were having fun. I got distracted," he said.
She shook her head.
"You have never wanted to join Lilly in the sprinklers. She gets muddy and you hate it. You complain every time. Elevate your hand more."
He had subconsciously let his arm drop on his lap. His finger wasn't hurting anymore and he'd actually forgotten about it. Maybe it was shock. Maybe it was because he could stop watching the water drip from the curls in her hair onto her very angular shoulder.
"Why are you staring at me? What's wrong?"
She had a point. She had been his best friend - practically like his sister - for twelve years and she had never commanded his attention like this before. She wasn't even trying. What was wrong with him?
Collin opened the door at that moment and rushed over to Alden. He unwrapped his hand, then gasped.
Alden had a complete finger. Now wound. No cut. Just a bloody hand. Collin looked down at the severed section of finger in his hand, then looked back at Alden's hand.
"Is this a joke?" Delia asked, a hint of disgust in her voice.
"No, part of his finger was definitely severed," Collin said and pulled Alden off the bench by the wrist.
He dragged Alden over to his microscope and put his attached finger underneath, then he placed the severed fingertip right next to it.
He peered into the microscope.
"The fingerprints are identical," he said and looked at Alden's face with mild horror and acute curiosity.
"How did you lose a finger and grow it back in less than and hour?"
Alden just shook his head.
"Go wash up and head into the house," Collin said. "I've got some tests to run."