tagRomanceThe Link Pt. 03: The Huntress

The Link Pt. 03: The Huntress

byDreamCloud©

Author's Note: If you haven't read the first two installments of this story, you will be severely confused. I dislike when writers rehash old topics and I promised myself I would never do it. Thank you, Paul. Your editing help and insight worked well with my ignorance.

Chapter 1 - Teegan



"Stop calling me ma'am," I told Jason. His military bearing did little to sway me to accept the title.

"Yes, ma'am," Jason responded with a smile. I could feel Caleb laughing through the link. He knew the word made me uncomfortable. I was neither old nor deserving of respect. It's something you called a grandmother. Jason was maybe ten years my senior. His short red hair looked as if it was meant for a uniform, though he had told me he hadn't worn one in years. Ex-army ranger with six years of service. I sighed, knowing it would take some time for me to get used to the word, or change his ways.

The car pulled through a special gate at the airport, one I didn't know existed. A guard, probably TSA, checked the driver's ID against some list on a tablet. A brief exchange of words and we were waved through without inspection. I was surprised by the trust. It was an international airport.

"Don't we go through a security check?" Caleb asked as he watched the guard closing the gate after we had passed.

"No, sir," Jason said, turning in the front seat to face us. I felt Caleb's surprise at the 'sir' moniker. It made me smile to know that our head of security unintentionally insulted us equally. "We have been pre-cleared. This portion of the airport doesn't have access to normal passenger traffic."

"We have a special charter or something?" Caleb asked. He was as impressed as I was with the efficiency of the operation.

"Nope, we're using Miss Fuller's plane," Jason said smiling at me. It was the same smile he had when I bonded with him at the hospital.

"Teegan, please." I tried again to lower the undeserved respect. "What to do you mean, mine?" The bond exposed my security as dedicated, and I knew it had to do with my past. Someone with a lot of money was making sure Caleb and I survived. Neither of us doubted the authenticity of the protection. We welcomed it after the sniper and the maniac at the hospital.

"That," Jason replied, pointing out the windshield, "is yours, ma'am." I ignored the honorific this time. My eyes were entranced by the sleek white jet that our SUV was approaching. There were steps embedded in the door that were open to the ground. Two large jet engines cradled the tail behind a dozen portal windows. The wing tips were upturned to the sky, and the pointed nose bowed toward the ground, giving it the appearance of a fast bird of prey.

"Damn," Caleb breathed.

"Mine?"

"Yes, ma'am," Jason said with a chuckle. "Mr. Watterson will explain everything when we get to Portland."

"Portland?"

"Oregon, ma'am," Jason replied. The SUV pulled to a stop next to the plane. Jason stopped us from getting out, ordering us kindly to wait for the driver and him to exit first. They quickly surveyed the area then opened the door closest to the planes gangway. Caleb exited first, looking around for threats. He was as spooked as I was after the incident at the hospital. His hand was waiting for me as I stepped from the car. A feeling of privilege, like I was some wealthy supermodel, sat uncomfortably in my stomach. Bodyguards and help exiting the car were so foreign and undeserved, though the protection did make me feel better.

"It feels weird," Caleb whispered as we shared our feelings through the link. I acknowledged his words silently through the bond. Jason walked next to me, on the other side from Caleb. The driver took up a position behind me. They were shielding me with their bodies. I didn't like the idea that they believed my life was more important than theirs. They could have families depending on them. I wasn't the ma'am they thought I was.

The interior of the plane was more luxurious than most people's homes. Three sets of large tan leather chairs turned into each other on one side of the plane. The tables between the seats were made of highly polished wood with an artistic swirling grain. Along the other side was a leather couch that could seat ten or more. The flooring looked like it was made from a single slab of marble. At the rear of the plane, a large flat panel was mounted on the wall.

"This is yours?" Caleb asked, not really wanting an answer.

"Good morning, Miss Fuller." A man dressed in black pants and a white polo shirt greeted me warmly then nodded at Caleb, "Mr. McGuire." He waved his hand toward the large leather seats. "If you could please choose your seats, I'll notify the captain that we're ready to take off." His smile was practiced and very welcoming.

"Thank you," I said, unable to decline an offer given so perfectly. I chose a seat facing front, Caleb the one across the table from me, looking toward the rear.

"My name is Thomas," the man said, reaching across me to pull the hidden belt buckle forward. I found its mate on the other side, and he allowed me to finish the connection. Caleb duplicated the process on his chair. "If there is anything you need," Thomas said, looking at Caleb, then back toward me, "it is my job to make it happen. Once we're airborne, I'll be happy to take you on a tour. Perhaps you would like to freshen up and maybe have some breakfast." I smiled when I felt Caleb's stomach growl.

"Breakfast would be wonderful," I said, trying to match Thomas's friendliness.

"Of course," Thomas said, "I'll bring you both a menu as soon as the Captain announces that we've leveled off." He headed toward the front of the plane and Jason walked past me, toward the seats behind, with a smirk on his face. I guess I looked a little overwhelmed at the situation.

"I like your plane," Caleb whispered.

"I'm only borrowing it," I replied as quietly as I could.

"Welcome aboard Miss Fuller," A deep female voice called over a PA system with no visible speakers. "I've been given priority clearance for takeoff. Please sit back and enjoy the flight." There was no tray table announcement nor anything about floatation devices. The plane began moving, heading toward the runway, without anyone checking to see if I was still buckled. We certainly weren't flying coach.

Five minutes later, we were climbing towards the clouds. My body molded into the seat, which was infinitely more comfortable than any other planes I had ever been in before. If I closed my eyes, I could easily have fallen asleep cradled in the leathery warmth. Caleb was smiling inside and out, enjoying the luxury and relieved we were off the ground, where the crazies couldn't get us. I was happy that his anger was gone. He sent me a burst of love, letting me know that the anger was only for defense, my protection.

"I don't think it should be used as a weapon," I said to Caleb, the context clear only to him.

"You used it," Caleb pointed out.

"That guy shot Zane," I reminded him. Memories of my brother on the ground, blood leaking from his body, were still fresh. My eyes began to cloud up as I remembered tearing that man's mind apart. He was evil, but still, I left him as nothing but a shell holding organs in place.

"I saw what was in his mind," Caleb said, "I won't let anyone get that close again." I felt his strength fill me, wrapped in love I couldn't ignore. I reached forward, across the table, and Caleb grasped my hand.

"Promise me we won't let it consume us," I added. The anger was so easy and powerful. I hated its necessity.

"Never," Caleb said with that smile meant only for me. "There are much better uses for our bond." Visions flooded me, most of them involved me without clothes. I closed my eyes and let his impressions of the better woman strengthen me. I loved how he saw me in his mind. I'll never measure up, but to him I already did.

"I love how you see me," I whispered as the warmth filled places only he has been. I opened my eyes to find him looking at me with the desire I felt. There was a perfect synchronicity to our feelings. The PA brought us back to reality.

"We have reached our cruising altitude," the Captain announced, "It should be a smooth flight of about four hours. Feel free to move about the cabin." Thomas was on his feet before the message was complete.

"The menus," Thomas said as he handed us each a small leather bound notebook. "Would you like some coffee, tea, or juice to get you started?"

"Tea, please," I said as I opened the menu to find two sleeved cardboard sheets with lists of breakfast items.

"Juice sounds good," Caleb responded.

"Orange, grapefruit, or apple?"

"Orange would be great," Caleb responded, and Thomas headed off to the back of the plane.

"This is like a restaurant," I observed, feeling Caleb's surprise as well. There were so many items on the menu it was hard to choose.

"Who's paying for all this?" Caleb asked. I heard Jason suppress a laugh from behind me.

"What's so funny?" I asked Jason as I struggled to turn in my seat to see him. He rose and showed me where the switch was that released the swivel on my chair.

"You, Miss Fuller, are paying for all this," Jason said with a smile. He was enjoying our confusion.

"Well, I hope they'll take an IOU," I pointed out. The fact that there were no prices on the menu began to concern me. Jason's laugh was belly deep. "I'm glad you're having fun with it," I added without a smile.

"I'm sorry, ma'am," Jason said, though his smile said he wasn't, "I suppose I'm having a bit of fun at your expense." I glared at him, forcing him to continue. "When I say this is yours, I mean it is all yours. Every nut and bolt on this plane are yours. You pay the salaries of everyone aboard." He let that sink in. Caleb and I felt like we were sitting on the edge of some monstrous cliff, our legs dangling over the edge, a hair's breadth from going over.

"I don't understand," I admitted.

"Mr. Watterson should be the one to explain," Jason said, "But I can see that waiting until tonight will be a strain. I'm not privy to all the details, but in a nutshell, you are the sole beneficiary of Douglas Corbett's estate. Well, empire actually."

My stomach felt as if I had gone off the cliff. I remembered what Mom and Dad said about Douglas Corbett; the insane man who funded my creation, kidnapped Mom and me after I was taken from his control. I had him pictured as some Nazi trying build a master race as if I could be the mother of such a thing.

"She's what?" Caleb asked.

"Corbett?" I added. Caleb was falling off the same cliff.

"Your juice, sir," Thomas interrupted, moving around Jason to put a tall glass in front of Caleb. "Your tea will be ready in a moment, ma'am" he informed me and returned toward the back of the plane. Ma'am was the correct term for the person signing your paycheck. I still didn't like the sound of it. I put one hand over the other to stop the nervous shaking that had started.

"It's best if Mr. Watterson explains the details," Jason continued, "I've been charged with making sure you get there to hear them. Currently, I am the head of security, serving at your pleasure, ma'am." He smiled deeply when he emphasized the honorific. He was having fun with me.

"So, I can fire you?" I asked.

"I am your employee, ma'am" Jason confirmed. His smile didn't shrink. There was a lot of confidence in his demeanor. I was jealous of it and wondered who really worked for whom.

"Then I can order you to call me Teegan," I said, attempting to find his boundaries.

"It would pain me to comply," Jason said, nodding his head.

"Ma'am makes her feel odd," Caleb negotiated, knowing my apprehensions intimately.

"Miss Fuller works," Jason said. There was a twinkle in his eye, almost a flirt. For a split second, I imagined him with his shirt off. That was all it took to lose what leverage I had for all those times that Caleb's mind drifted. Caleb latched onto the thought, and I flooded him with love, trying to douse the image. We sparred silently, and I smiled at the humor of it. It's not like anyone would ever be a threat to what Caleb and I had.

"Miss Fuller will work for now," I gave in. "Where is the restroom?"

"Your bathroom is in the back, Miss Fuller," Jason said, pointing to where Thomas had disappeared. I walked behind the wall where the flat panel resided and found myself in the kitchen. Thomas was preparing a silver tray for my tea, complete with fancy cream and sugar dispensers.

"Bathroom?"

"Through your bedroom, Miss Fuller," Thomas replied, pointing to the door behind the kitchen. I opened the door and caught my breath. There was a bed that ran along one side of the plane, white satin sheets and a beautiful plush comforter that called to me. The far wall housed another door and a painting of the ocean. The walls were paneled with a soft tan wood with intricate designs carved into the trim. Reading lamps were mounted over the bed. I had to walk by a small desk on the left side to get to the bathroom. The dresser was made from a darker wood like the desk but looked as if it was coordinated by a pro. More style than I was used to.

I sighed when I saw the bathroom. Marble tiles surrounded a tub that grew from the wall. A gold faucet emerged from a large ceramic seashell sink, shooting high then curving downward like an elegant swan. Everything gleaming, cleaner than anyone deserved. I sat on the toilet and let the stress swallow me up. It was all too much.

"A little overwhelming," Caleb whispered from the other side of the door. I felt him coming and knew his concern for me. I opened the door, and he was in my arms. No kissing, just holding. It was what we both needed after a few days of hell.

"What if I don't want all this?" I asked. Zane had gotten shot because of me. I deserved nothing.

"What if all this wants you?" Caleb returned. The flat of his hand was caressing my back, forcing the world away and forming a little bubble of us in the chaos. I pulled him tighter to me, wanting things to return to the way they were, in the days before Zane was shot. "I wouldn't mind undoing the last couple of days myself," Caleb put a voice to our shared thoughts.

"I feel like we don't have any control," I whispered. "Things are happening, and we're just reacting like someone has mapped out some unavoidable fate for us."

"Maybe there is a plan," Caleb said, "at least it let me find you." I lifted my head and pushed Caleb against the wall as I stood. I may be helpless in the sea of time, but I could take the love I was offered. My kisses were forceful, and I could feel how they affected Caleb. His visions of me, strong and beautiful, were what I needed. The way he held back, letting me control our little bout of passion, was exactly what I needed. I leaned back with a confident smile.

"You're mine," I demanded.

"Anytime you need me," Caleb added. His smile was growing as visions of joining the mile high club filled his mind. My body was reacting to his thoughts at an alarming rate.

"Breakfast, bath, and then bed," I ordered.

"Yes, ma'am," Caleb laughed. I smacked his shoulder, then let him kiss me. Problems are so much easier to deal with when there are two.

Chapter 2 - Teegan



"Breakfast was excellent, Thomas," I said. The words sounded strange coming out of my mouth, like I was born to wealth and complimenting a servant. I hadn't meant it to come out like that. The omelet was excellent, and the bacon had a perfect mix of crisp and chewy.

"I'm glad you enjoyed it, Miss Fuller," Thomas replied. His smile seemed honest. Hopefully, he understood I meant it nicely and not authoritatively as it sounded. Caleb laughed silently inside at my discomfort. I gave him a look which only drew forth his outward smile, weakening my glare. Thomas cleared the dishes, oblivious to our internal discussions.

"I could get used to this," Caleb said to me, leaning back in his chair like he owned the place.

"What about your dreams?" I asked, hoping that wealth didn't breed apathy.

"I think all of this puts them back on track," Caleb replied. "In fact, your dreams no longer have to wait for mine. The money problem is solved." I could feel his building comfort with the situation.

"My dreams are your dreams," I told him. "I have no idea why I'm on this planet. I just know it's a lot more fun with you." I sent him some memories of our naked play from the past week. I loved how it made him smile. My body reacted deliciously to the return volley from his mind.

"Jason," I said, spinning my chair around to face him. I needed a few answers before I gave into the lust that was building. I could feel Caleb sigh at the delay. "How did you know I would be attacked this morning?"

"We didn't, Miss Fuller," Jason replied, "we were reacting to the earlier attempt. I was told not to confront you inside the hospital so we set up a perimeter and waited."

"Do you know the man who attacked?"

"No," Jason said, shaking his head, "Rob is trying to find that out. He stayed behind to explain to the police and see what he could find out."

"Rob?"

"The other man that was with me. The one who took the target down," Jason answered. "I'm sure he's still explaining the self-defense aspect of his actions." Jason smiled with more than a little pride. "I'm glad he was in good form this morning."

"Could he be in trouble?" I asked. I didn't want anyone ruining themselves for me.

"Maybe in the short run, but he has a permit to carry, and the assailant didn't leave him any choice."

"I can afford a lawyer, can't I?" I asked, suddenly worried that Rob might be in more trouble than he could manage.

"You probably have a hundred on retainer," Jason said, with humor. His smile disappeared when he saw the expression on my face. "I'm sure Mr. Watterson is already working on it. Rob knows we won't abandon him."

"Who is Mr. Watterson," Caleb asked.

"Victor Watterson runs things in Miss Fuller's stead," Jason replied to Caleb. "He was Mr. Corbett's personal assistant and confidant. I guess the last person to see him alive." Jason looked from Caleb to me. "I understand he knew you as a baby. He's the one who told me to ask for your trust."

"I know about Corbett," I said, "but no one mentioned Mr. Watterson," I looked back at Caleb who shrugged. We were in a too deep to worry about it now.

"He thinks you're an angel," Jason added, smiling, "and I must say, I agree."

"I assure you I have no wings," I responded, wanting to be rid of the such an undeserved title. I would have preferred ma'am.

"That thing you do," Jason continued, "it's like all the problems in the world disappear and a supreme clarity takes over. How do you do it?"

"She was born with it," Caleb replied for me. He knew I didn't want to discuss it like it was some kind of gift.

"I think I need to lie down for awhile," I said, putting an end to the subject. I tried not to smile as Caleb's heartbeat increased. I was there again, in his mind. That perfect woman without a flaw of any kind. My body heated, which caused Caleb's to respond as well. A lovely unstoppable cycle.

"Of course," Jason said, then his eyebrows raised when Caleb rose with me. I was going to give him a look, but he turned away, seemingly ignoring the issue. I took Caleb's hand and led him past Thomas who was cleaning up in the small kitchen. Thomas didn't even bat an eye, washing a pan as if we weren't even there. I guessed discretion came with the plane.

"We didn't bring anything," I panicked when Caleb closed the door. My insides were already excited about what we intended, and I had forgotten we left without stopping at home. Caleb's kiss muffled my next statement, squelching my thoughts about condoms. I let my body take me into him, pulling him closer as our love intertwined inside. I broke out of my cloud, forcing reality to take hold.

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