A New Assignment Pt. 06bysammi_jo©
Being alone on the holidays is still hard to get used to. I have no living family and no close friends. Usually, my goal is to work as many shifts as possible so that I am too exhausted to think about missing my loved ones and realizing how very alone I am in this world. This year was no different.
The hospital was all decorated complete with a tree in the lobby. Someone had created a stocking for each one of us. They were green or red and had our names written on them in silver glitter. They were strung across a wall just above a fake mantel and fireplace. It was really quite cute and more than any of the other places I have worked at ever did.
Christmas Eve and the following day were both quiet. I made rounds and spent time with a few of the friendlier patients. When the silence and boredom finally got to me, I decided to call some friends and wish them a happy holiday. I know it was lame but it was better than sitting at the desk in the center of an empty ER.
Flipping through my contact list, the first person I consider calling is Angie. Since moving here I lost track of time and had not followed up with her to thank her for this opportunity. Plus, hearing her voice always cheered me up and believe me, I needed it.
"Hey girl!" Angie yelled into the phone after just one ring.
"Hey yourself. Merry Christmas!" I said using the happiest tone I could muster.
"What's wrong?" she asked. "Do you not like the job?"
"No. No. The job is great. I really wanted to thank you for thinking of me and getting this all set up. I just get lonely around the holidays. That's all. How are things with you?"
"Oh busy. You know the drill. My contact did tell me that you have made quite an impression there. They are very pleased with your work and dedication. I knew you'd be perfect for the job." Angie gushed.
"Thanks again. Yeah, it's been real interesting. It takes some time to get used to seeing so many muscular men and tough as nails women. Most of them want me to stitch them up without any anesthetic. It's crazy. They don't even flinch."
Angie laughed as I rambled on like a kid on the first day of school. I told her about some of the trauma I had seen and some of the psych cases that had been presented. The whole discussion was all about the hospital. I never once mentioned the Colonel or anything outside of work. When I figured I had probably bored Angie to death, I ended the call with the promise that we would talk again soon.
After our call I sit and try to clear my mind. The only thing I can think about it the feel of the Colonel's lips against mine or the sound of his deep sexy voice. I grin to myself that I even miss him man-handling...but just a little.
I still don't know what to do about him. How can I date someone who is possibly in need of a psychiatric evaluation. Part of me wants to flee and part of me really wants him to prove me wrong.
Before I can talk myself out of it, I dial his number and press the call button on my phone. My heart beat picks up immediately and my hands are starting to sweat. You would think I was a teen calling a boy for the first time.
"Sam?" He sounds both surprised and hopeful
"Hi. Merry Christmas." I try to sound calm and collected and even casual but of course my voice gives away my nervousness by cracking slightly.
"Merry Christmas Love." His voice sounds so silky and steady.
I wait for him to say more, but there is only silence. Well this is awkward I think.
"Um, well I don't want to bother whatever you're doing, just wanted to um wish you a Merry Christmas. So um Merry Christmas." Damn my nerves making me sound like a bumbling idiot.
"You already said that Sam." He chuckles on the other end of the phone and I can picture his face and sparkling eyes.
"I miss you." I rush out quietly hoping that he might not have heard me. That was not supposed to be said out loud.
"You do?" He asks. His voice is neutral not giving away any emotion. I have no idea if I have blown my window of opportunity.
"Look Sam, I told you I would be here when you are ready. I don't want to push you, but honey when you tell me you miss me, I want to rush over there and kiss your sweet lips."
I gasp surprised by his honesty. My mind is racing with conflicting thoughts about how to proceed.
"Sam, why don't we try dating and see how it goes?" He offers slowly after several minutes of awkward silence.
"Ok." I whisper still unsure if I can do this. "I have to go. I guess I will talk to you later. Bye Taylor."
"Bye Sam. And thanks for calling." He replies quietly.
The next few days I see him a few times at the hospital in passing. He always seems to be around but not exactly near me where it would be polite to talk or even say hi. We have a few casual conversations on the phone and each call feels less and less awkward.
I spend New Years alone and surprisingly not working. I even tried to trade shifts with someone so I could work, but no one took me up on my offer. Wearing comfortable silk pajamas, I veg in front of the tv surrounded by my favorite junk food. I watch one movie after another and eat myself into a sugar coma.
My phone rings the day after New Years, Monday afternoon, while I was enjoying the silence of a break during my shift at the hospital. The caller id tells me it is the Colonel. He invites me out for a date for Thursday. He must be reading some dating book that tells him that three days notice is the minimum required lead time. Instead of giving him a hard time, I reward his attempt at dating manners and accept.
An hour before the Colonel is due to arrive I'm still throwing clothes all over my room trying to find the perfect outfit. I am nervous and anxious which are not common emotions for me. The word "date" is not in my vocabulary. I have sworn off dating partially for this reason. It drives me crazy. I get too nervous and then I can't enjoy myself.
The Colonel had told me that the attire is casual dining. What does that mean?! I am trying to find something attractive and maybe even a little flirty even though I have not decided how I feel about this whole wolf situation.
Then there is the transportation. If he is picking me up, there is a 99.9% chance I will end up on the back of his motorcycle again. That is all I have ever seen him drive other than my Jeep. And there's a thought, he could drive my Jeep. So that again changes my idea of what I want to wear. My final decision is to wear a pleaded black skirt that is shorter than I would like with a black sweater and a silver fashion scarf. I finish off the look with black velvet flats and my hair in a simple up-do.
My door bell rings exactly on-time as I expected. I open the door and am speechless. The Colonel is wearing a black suit and a silver tie. How did he know what I was wearing?
He smiles awkwardly and asks me "Did you probe to see what I was wearing?" My speechlessness disappears as I break into a laugh.
"No. I was actually wondering how you knew I was wearing black and silver."
He laughs then too. "It must be our bond strengthening. I told you that this was all new to me too. You look beautiful by the way, as always."
He leans in and kisses my cheek softly. I want to ask him all kinds of questions about this bond he mentions but I decide to just go with it for now and enjoy the evening. I reach for my coat and we head out the door. Sitting in my driveway is a shiny black Jaguar and I don't mean the animal kind. I am grateful it is not the motorcycle but in awe of the expensive sedan. The Colonel opens my door and helps me in. The smell of the leather is permeating and I take some deep breathes to get my fill.
"Nice car." I say as he climbs in the driver's seat.
"Thanks. I have a few vehicles but I usually drive the Harley, as you know."
His eyes stay straight ahead never leaving the road. I let my eyes wander around the car noticing all the details of the console and then I find myself staring right at the Colonel. He is perfection. I can't find one physical flaw and I am looking pretty hard.
"So we are going tonight?" I ask trying to change my focus.
"We are going to my house." I am still very new to the area but I know we are heading away from the base.
He looks at me briefly and answers my silent reservation "My real home. The one I own. It is not on the base."
I have no reply. Every conversation we have leaves me questioning how much I really know about this man. I would have thought it was at least 50% before but now I am leaning toward 10%.
Pulling up a windy road, the Colonel stops the car at the dead end which is directly in front of one of the biggest houses I have ever seen. It looks like a castle or something from the movies. The front door is large and comes to a peak at the top. It is made of dark wood with a small peep door directly in the center. We walk inside and the floors are all stone as are the walls and stairs. I count at least 10 doors off the main foyer. Or does one call it a lobby? I swear this is as big as a resort.
The Colonel takes my jacket and leads me through the maze of doors until we are in a room with a long wood dining table and several matching ornate chairs. There are two place settings at one end and candles. He pulls out my chair and I sit. He leaves the room momentarily and returns with two covered dishes. We dine on the best steak and sweet potato fries I have ever eaten in my life.
After our meal, we retire to another room which includes a large central fireplace in front of a big picture window overlooking great scenery. The stars are bright in the clear sky. Everything is perfect. We enjoy some wine and talk about random things. I am pleasantly surprised by the enjoyable conversation. Taylor can be quite charming when he wants. He was relaxed and even smiled frequently. This is the type of man that I could easily fall in love with. He has a sense of humor and manners.
Taylor tells me that he was raised in Portland, OR. His mom had been nine months pregnant and about to deliver when she was attacked by a wolf. Another wolf came upon them and killed the attacking wolf. The surviving wolf changed into his human form and tried to use the blood from the dead wolf to save the mother and child. The mother died but the child was saved and thus was a wolf from birth.
That child was Taylor and the wolf that found and saved him, Riley, became the only father he ever knew. Riley is also the Alpha 1 or head wolf for all of the North America wolves. There are no other known cases like Taylor's and it makes him a stronger wolf than all others who are changed when bitten.
I want to avoid talking about any wolf topics, but since he brought it up, I ask him again to see his wolf. His reaction is the same as the first time I asked (he cringes).
"I can't make an informed decision until I see all the facts. Seeing your wolf is the missing piece." I explain.
"You really will not decide unless I give in." he mutters sadly.
"Please Taylor." I beg. "It is important to me that I see all of who you really are. Before I thought you were the biggest most beautiful jerk I have ever met. You frustrated me and gave me butterflies at the same time. Since I told you I needed time, you were patient. The you offer to court me. Tonight you romance me and we spend a lovely evening together. I NEED to see the whole package, not just what you want to show me. Does that make any sense?"
"I understand." He says solemnly. "The next full moon is in three days. Will you allow me to pass by your window as I leave to join the pack? That way when you are repulsed you will safe in your home."
I can feel his sadness and hurt. I don't like it. We are sitting next to each other on the couch and I reach over touching his hand. My first instinct is to send him comfort, but I want his true comfort not the false one I create.
Instead I speak, "Don't be afraid. Have faith in your wolf. I realize you probably are not used to being vulnerable, but my goal is not to hurt you."
He looks into my eyes "I have not been vulnerable in hundreds of years. In fact I have not been in a relationship in about 200 years. I have not kissed anyone in that time. I have never had a relationship with a human. I have not kissed a human....ever."
The extent of his vulnerability hits me like a two ton brick. Now I understand his hesitation, his caution. I try to ease his discomfort by turning his chin toward me and softly kiss him. I want to cry. His pain is my pain.
In the moment, I blurt out "I have never kissed a wolf before either...if that makes you feel better."
It was a poor attempt at humor, but he chuckles and draws me in his embrace. A shiver runs down my body and he mistakes it as me being cold. He pulls a soft blanket from the back of the couch to cover us and we sit there looking out into the world. In his arms I can feel his true comfort. We are both just enjoying the moment and not thinking about what lies ahead.
I sense a jolt of electricity just a second before he jumps up and leaves the room. I stay on the couch under the blanket and try to feel what is happening. There is too much interference and I can get no mental reception. Suddenly, I feel the Colonel send me a mental message "There is trouble with a pack member. I have to take care of this. Lock the door after me and do not leave until I return. It shouldn't be long."
I run to the front door. It takes too much time trying to figure out the maze that finally gets me to my desired destination. The front door is closed and he is gone. There are pieces of materials that look like the clothes that the Colonel was wearing. I open the door and see the tail of a wolf just as it passes behind a bush and out of site.
Before I can move, I hear several loud howls. I slam the door quickly and lock it. I race back into the window room and cover myself with the blanket. I want to cry but the tears won't come. I am overwhelmed with anger. This has to be residual emotions from Taylor's wolf. I reach out with my senses to see what is available. I can sense Taylor's mind briefly before he yells at me and shuts me out completely. That was rude! I am half tempted to leave. Then I remember he drove me here and I am not exactly sure where "here" really is.
An empty bottle of wine is sitting on the table in the window room. After I was left alone, I walked around the house. I found the kitchen and a second bottle of wine which I then preceded in finishing alone. Next I headed upstairs. It took me awhile but I eventually found the master bedroom. It was bigger than my whole house. I showered and changed into one of Taylor's pressed dress shirts. It was almost longer than my skirt was but it smelled like him. I curled up in his bed and sleep.
Sunlight shining on my face woke me with a groan. My head is killing me. I open my eyes and close them quickly.
"Are you still mad at me love?" Taylor says way too cheerfully. He is lying under the covers of the bed next to me. I can feel his warmth radiating.
"Yes!" I grunt, not even pointing out the fact that he asked a question which he never does.
"It was pack business. I had to go."
This wolf stuff is getting out of hand. He really believes in what he is telling me and I am even almost convinced. My brain just can't accept it without evidence. Whether it's true or not doesn't matter to my hurting head. I acted like a child and today I would pay the price with a mega hangover. Still, I wasn't ready to admit my defeat.
"I drank your wine." I whimper.
"Yes, I see that. I assume it was enjoyable." His tone now sounds arrogant like he was glad I am hung over and being punished for my behavior. "I do approve of your sleepwear though." He adds with further spite.
I open my eyes again and glare at him. He touches my cheek and smiles at me.
"You are beautiful in the morning. I do greatly enjoy seeing you in my bed, especially first thing to start my day."
"I hate you." I grunt.
He laughs. "Do not."
He waits for my reply, but my head hurts too much to continue this banter. He asks another question, "Are you mad at me for rushing out on our date or because you missed seeing my wolf?"
Again I do not respond. He traces my lips with his finger and then moves along my jaw line, down my neck, and across my shoulder. It tickles ever so little and I feel a tingle down the path his finger traveled. I want to be mad at him. I want to hate him and leave and not have to deal with any of this wolf crap. At the same time, I want him to kiss me, to devour me. I want nothing more than to spend the rest of my life with him in this bed. How can both emotions exist at the same time?
"Fine!" I shout, hurting my head. "You're sexy as hell and I am pissed that you left me here for hours alone. But I am more mad that you yelled at me and shut me out of your head. And I'm mad that I have a hangover today. Are you happy?"
"Actually I am very happy....words that rarely cross my lips." He rolls over (so he is very close) and kisses me.
I wrap my bare leg around his hip. He is wearing only a pair of boxer-briefs and it turns me on. He moves his hand up the shirt that I borrowed last night and gently caresses my skin. I can feel his excitement as I let out a soft moan. We kiss more passionately.
"STOP!" he growls without warning. He rolls over on his back and is breathing fast. I have to catch my breath as well as I release my hold and look at him, wondering what is wrong. His eyes are closed. His hand is rubbing his head.
"Are you ok?" I ask cautiously.
"Oh, I am more than ok. We need to stop. I need to regain control."
"Let me see your eyes Taylor." I whisper.
"No!" he replies in anger.
"Taylor! Let me see your eyes." I repeat firmly as I roll on my side and prop my head on my hand.
He gives in to my request and opens his eyes, but refuses to look at me. I lean over so I can see them. His vibrant emerald green eyes have been replaced with golden topaz suns. It is quite beautiful. I feel no shock, no repulsion.
"You are perfection." I say gently in his ear. He looks at me quizzically. "Your eyes do not scare me." I reassure him. "I have no desire to jump and run out of here screaming my head off." I joke.
A few moments later he rolls back to face me. His emeralds have returned and his breathing is back to normal. He brushes a few stray hairs behind my ear. I want to pick up where we left off, but restrain myself.
"You are incredible." He smiles. "You are so brave to be willing to learn about my reality."
As if on cue, his phone rings. He reaches for his bedside table and pulls the phone up to his ear.
"I understand." He clicks the phone off and starts to rise out of bed.
"Time to go?" I ask. I try to hide my disappointment, but we both know that we have lives outside of this fantasy world and it is time to be getting back.
I sit up still clutching the sheet and blanket I slept under.
"You can take a shower in the master bath. Your clothes are clean and hung in there for you." He directs.
"Where are you going?" I ask.
"I have a shower in the master closet, or at least my master closet. The other master closet, over there (he points across the room), is empty waiting for my mate to arrive." He purrs and heads toward his closet.
We are both showered and dressed ready to leave within thirty minutes. The Colonel is dressed in his full official military uniform complete with countless merits on his left shoulder. His shoes are shined to where I can see my reflection. I am afraid to touch anything for fear of wrinkling him. He leans and kisses my cheek. I take his outstretched arm as he leads me downstairs and out the door.
He drives me home in a military issued humvee. I would love to get my hands on it and drive through some rough terrain. I can already imagine the mud and muck splashing around. That would be a fun time!