Here There Be Monstersbyterowl©
I have seen monsters. And I'm not referring to the ones that you would see on the late night "B" movies either. Humans can be monstrous in their own right. I was a ward of the state, you see. I never knew my parents. Had they given me away on purpose? Were they dead? I had no memory of them at all. From the first that I could remember, I was being shifted from foster home to foster home until I was adopted that is. It was not any better being adopted mind you. The family that took me in when I was four only did so because the father wanted a toy. If the mother knew, I'll never know. All I remember was hating the nights and surviving until I was old enough to run away. We moved around a lot during the time I was with them. The father was in the military so I saw a bit of the world. I certainly was glad to get away though! What I did not understand was that there were more than just human monsters in the world. This is my story.
It had been some time since I had managed to work my way off the streets those many years back. Now, I had my RN and a job at the local hospital. I was even married. Too bad that I had never learned the "right type of man" to marry. The only man I knew was my "father" and naturally this man was not a good role-model. My husband was not any better.
Regularly I wound up with bruises, scrapes, even fractured or broken bones from our "disagreements". Last night was no different. Michael had been handsome and sweet when I first met him, but after we married, all of that, I learned, was just a cover. He was mean, cruel, and sadistic. Michael also chose every opportunity to remind me of this. He chose to go by Mike to all his friends and even tried to get me to call him by this name, but to me he was always Michael. He was never friendly to me.
I had come home from work one night, late. Michael was in a wonderful mood. He was upset about something I had or had not done. I honestly cannot remember which. The beating started right away. Bruises blossomed where he hit and though I protested and put up a fight, it just egged him on. He hit harder and the snapping of bones could be hard. Finally, unable to put up a fight any longer, I let myself fake a faint, and lay on the floor. I never let him see me cry. That would be seen as weak and he hated weak. Finally, he left, to drink more, or wherever he would go. After he was gone for thirty minutes or more, I finally got up and slowly made my way to the fridge.
I always kept some "tonic" in there that managed to make me feel better after a fight like this. Barely able to move, I reached into the fridge and grabbed it, taking a swig, I swallowed. It stung on the way down and then I took another drink once again grimacing at the pain of it. Looking around, I grabbed the bottle of Tylenol on the counter and took two of the pills out, grabbing some water this time, I swallowed them down as well. Turning then, I went to the couch in the living room and crashed there for the night. I would be up at dawn and back out for work.
The sun's rays woke me the next morning when they first peeked through the blinds. I quickly pushed my aching body up from the couch and rubbed my bleary eyes. I would shower and change at the hospital. I could grab new scrubs there. I ran to my room quickly and quietly. Michael was not there. I grabbed a long-sleeved shirt to cover the bruises on my arms that had not had time to fade from the tonic. Why that stuff worked so well, I would never know. Most of the pain was down to a dull ache now. Once I had the shirt, I went back to the kitchen and grabbed the Tylenol bottle and headed out of the house. On the way to the car, I decided to stop at Starbucks on the way to work. I could use the caffeine this morning and it would be a nice pick-me up.
I rushed into the Starbucks, fully intending to get my drink and head quickly into work. Little did I know that my life was about to change. Almost immediately upon entering the establishment, I ran into someone, mumbling my apologies, not even bothering to look up, I shifted, trying to move around the person intent on the counter. This was not to be; however, they had a firm grip on my arms.
"Whoa, you're going to fall, if you don't slow down a moment. Why in such a hurry now?"
The voice was friendly, soothing almost, and decidedly male. It was enough to shift me out of my reverie and make me look up at the person who had spoken. The most gentle and yet intense brown eyes looked back at me. I wanted to look away almost immediately, but it was as if I couldn't. So, I stared, mouth agape as I looked at the tall, handsome man who stood before me. He was not a striking man, and yet there was something about him that held my gaze. He stood at almost six feet, a muscular build, the kind that spoke of days outdoors. There was the easy way he carried himself that spoke of confidence in himself and who he was. Finally, I realized I was staring and blushing, looked away.
"I'm sorry. I was just in a hurry to get something to drink before heading to work, that's all."
"Oh, well, I didn't mean to keep you there. I see you must be late for your shift at the hospital or something?"
"How did you..." I began, then I blushed even a deeper crimson when I realized I was in scrubs still. "Oh, yeah, I am in my uniform, huh?"
His chuckle was deep and actually brought a smile to my lips. "Yes, you are. You work at Wakefield Hospital then? Which ward?"
"I'm in the pediatric unit actually."
He shook his head and grinned widely as he followed me toward the counter where I was getting ready to order my drink. "Guess I should have known that considering Snoopy is all over your scrubs there. Do the kids like him adorning your shirt and everything?"
He really was intent on talking to me, though I had no idea why. But, he wasn't being overly personal, so I continued the conversation. "Yeah, sometimes I can actually keep their mind off the pain of a procedure, like an IV stick or the like. It can be helpful."
He suddenly smacked his forehead and said, "Where are my manners?" Holding out his hand in an offer of shaking mine he said, "The name is Jonathan, Jonathan Wakefield."
I was about to order my drink, but his name brought my head quickly around to stare at him again. His name didn't seem to surprise anyone else, but it was news to me. It took me a moment to answer him, but I finally took his offered hand and said, "Terri...Terri Mitchell."
The lady behind the counter gave us a moment for the introduction, considering the local celebrity and all, then asked me what I wanted. I ordered my usual venti chai latte with six pumps of chai, soy milk and no water. As I went to pay for it, Jonathan insisted he would pay for it since he had bumped into me and then also told the barista to get whatever I wanted to eat from the case as well. I protested, but he was having none of it. Finally I gave in and asked for a slice of their raspberry loaf and thanked him for his generosity.
As we waited for my order at the other end of the line, Jonathan stood close by, seemingly watching me. I was somewhat nervous. I had never had anyone buy me anything like this since Michael and that had been a few years ago now. Of course, that relationship had turned out swimmingly.
Sensing my unease, Jonathan asked, "Are you on a late shift tonight?"
"Actually, I was planning to work a double."
There, that way he won't come looking for me or anything like that. I don't care if his name IS Wakefield and he IS the great, great, great, grandson of the man who founded the hospital, he's not going to find me roaming around late at night. I'm not stupid enough to fall for the same kind of guy twice, no sir! Michael is more than enough for me to handle. Suddenly, I groaned.
"What's the matter?"
Jonathan leaned in close, too close for my liking in fact. He was close enough that he could have kissed me had he wanted to. His face was next to mine. He could have rested his chin on my shoulder and his nose almost touched my neck with how close he got. I immediately pulled back, alarmed at the suddenness of him being right there.
"I...I was just realizing that I have a ...a long night ahead of me. That's all."
My order came up at that moment. I held back a sigh of relief, but I was secretly glad that I could get my tea and head into work.
Taking it, I looked back to the man that I certainly wouldn't forget, but at the same time I hoped I never saw again. Holding up the tea to him I nodded my head in a gesture of thanks and turned heading out of the Starbucks toward my car. I glanced back once to make sure he wasn't following me and breathed an even bigger sigh of relief when I saw that he wasn't.
"Whew. You got lucky there, girl!"
Jonathan pulled his phone out on the way to his car. Once inside he dialed a few numbers and put it on Bluetooth through his car. Waiting for the man on the other end to pick up, he started the engine and pulled out of the Starbucks driveway. It wasn't long before he heard the guy on the other end answer.
"Find out everything you can on a Terri Mitchell."
"Sure, boss. New girl or something?"
"You could say that..."
"I'm pretty sure I've found my mate."
"Well, that's good news, Alpha!"
"Yeah, though she doesn't know anything about us, so I'll have to take it slow."
"Still, that you found her after so long is great!"
"I know, Andy. I know."
Jonathan continued his drive as he hung up the phone, his mind on the girl with long black hair whose scent reminded him of cherry blossoms and jasmine. She was shorter than him, though not too short, probably around five foot and three inches. Her skin was very pale, fair in comparison to his. It was almost as if she had worked very hard to keep from the sun; no freckles even. Already he wanted to learn more about her. He would have to find a way to get her to trust him.