Love in the Air
I walked in to talk to the admissions people in the emergency room, leaving my contact information and a request to be updated by the attending when Mia’s scans were done. I told her I was starved and missed lunch, so she told me of a local place I hadn’t tried yet. As soon as I mentioned the name, Snake was down with it.
We parked a block away from OMC Smokehouse, and as soon as I smelled the wood smoke I was hungry. With all the werewolves around, barbecue pork was a staple at the Clubhouse, and we ate a lot of it. Twenty minutes later, the two of us were digging in to a sampler with brisket, pulled pork and ribs.
The sides were good as well, they had fries made with duck fat (amazeballs) and a potato salad made with bacon and blue cheese. Snake was in heaven, trying all the new flavors and getting ideas for his own dishes. The food and beer relaxed us both, and when my phone went off an hour later it surprised me a little.
I answered the phone and talked briefly with the ER attending. It was good news, the MRI showed no breaks or brain injuries, and her shoulder was severely bruised, but nothing broken. He said they were keeping her overnight for observation because she had signs of a concussion. All in all, for a woman who slid at speed into a guardrail, she had come out relatively unscathed.
Snake’s body visibly relaxed as I gave him the news. He had it bad; for a woman he’d barely met, he felt a real pull to her. “Can we swing by the hospital and see her before we get hotel rooms,” he asked.
“I don’t see why not. Abaddon followed the wrecker to the Harley dealer, he said he’d bring her stuff to her tonight.”
His eyes lit up, and he waved the waitress over and placed a to-go order, a spread at least as big as the one we just finished. “I’m sure she’s hungry, and Abaddon won’t have eaten,” he said. “Getting the sample means I’m more likely to find something she likes.”
“You just met this woman at the accident scene,” I told him. “What if she isn’t interested?”
He took my hand. “She knows you, if you put in a good word for me it won’t seem so creepy when I ask her out,” I said. I just rolled my eyes. “Come on, you’re the one who was pushing me to date again. Sure, the circumstances of our meeting aren’t ideal, but the LAST time I met someone at an accident site we ended up married, so how bad an idea could it be?”
“FINE,” I said, “I’ll talk to her and introduce you, but then you’re on your own. If you get all creepy and stalker-ish, she’s going to bail and I’ll have to kick your ass,” I said.
“I’ll behave,” he promised. We finished our drinks and waited for the big bag of to-go to arrive, and Snake paid the rather large bill. I felt like I was waddling back to the rig, we’d eaten so much, and I let out a very un-lady-like belch when I sat back in the seat. He just laughed at me and put it in gear.
We went to the main hospital, and I checked in at the desk and got her room number. Snake took the food up the waiting room, noses following him as he went, while I went to the nurse’s station. Showing them my identification, I reviewed her chart then walked down the hall to her room. She was sitting up in bed, Sportscenter on the television, and she was picking at a plate of dinner that she’d barely touched. I knocked on the door and her face lit up as she recognized me. “Doctor Meghan!”
I walked over and she pulled me into a quick hug with her left arm, her right was in a sling to keep the strain off the shoulder. “I’m glad to see the tests turned out well, you gave us a real scare back there.”
“I was lucky, and even luckier you guys were right behind me,” she said. “My Doctor says that I’ll be released in the morning if there aren’t any significant concussion symptoms.”
“It’s a great outcome, and you can thank your gear for that. Your helmet saved your life.”
Her eyes misted over a little, she knew how close she had come. “I know.” She looked past me to the doorway. “Where’s your partner? He’s so hot, please tell me you’re not together.”
I just laughed. “No, I’ve known him since I was a baby. He’s been in the motorcycle club I grew up in, he runs the Clubhouse kitchen. He could be a chef on his own, but he likes working there,” I told her. I could see her interest flash as she found out what he did. “He is single, he was widowed eighteen years ago when their daughter was just a baby. It’s taken him a long time to get over it, but now that his daughter is getting serious with a man, he’s thinking about dating again. He’s a really good man, he deserves to be happy.”
She was thinking about it. “Why do you call him Snake?”
Panic. Sheer panic. “Umm… he likes snakes, he has a huge tattoo of one on his back.” Quick, change subject. “I know he’s interested in you, he was grilling me about you over dinner.”
“Yes, how’d you know?”
“You smell like it and you still have a little sauce on your face.” She looked down at her ‘meal.’ “I’d rather starve than eat this cardboard.”
“Well, I’ll see what I can do. I need to get going, but would you mind if Snake came and visited you for a bit?”
“PLEASE. Just don’t tell him what I said about him,” she said as she blushed. “I’m just glad he’s been out of the dating pool, I’ve been out just as long. Fifteen years of marriage down the tubes because he can’t stop banging waitresses behind my back.”
“I’ll send him in. Good luck, Mia. If you have any questions, here’s my card. Maybe we can go riding sometime, I can show you some of the routes I like around here.” She took the card with a smile, and I walked out and down the hall. “You’re up, Snake. And bringing barbecue… let’s just say it’s the best idea you’ve had since Island Nights at the Clubhouse.”
He gave me a quick hug. “Do you need a ride to the hotel?”
“I’ll wait for Abaddon, he can give me a ride. I want to see if my friend is working tonight. Have him text me when he’s ready to go, I’ll be in the doctor’s lounge.” With that, I left him, giggling a little at how nervous he was. He looked like a high school kid getting ready to ask a girl to Prom.
I grabbed the bag of food and walked down the hall to her room; the door was part open, so I knocked on it. “Mia?”
She smiled when she saw me, and she was practically bouncing when she saw and smelled what I was carrying. “Snake! You brought me food?”
“I figured you’d like something other than hospital fare, and Abaddon is coming here from the Harley dealer. Whatever you don’t want, I’m sure he will eat.”
“Thank you, Snake. You guys are lifesavers, really.”
I just blushed a little. “It’s my pleasure. Doc owns a medical transport company, I just drive to help her out once in a while. My wife was a doctor, so I’ve been around hospitals for a long time. I just can’t call what they serve ‘food,’ it offends my sensibilities.” I cleared off her bed table and used the desk in the room to lay out the spread. Since she had to stay in bed and could only use her non-dominant hand, I told her what the options were and made her a plate. I was happy to find out that not only was she not one of these salad-eating chicks, she liked her food. There wasn’t a whole lot of conversation as she tucked into her meal, just quick comments about the flavors and what she liked and didn’t like.
She was just finishing up when there was a knock on the door. “Abaddon?”
“I am,” he said as he came in. He was holding a backpack with a few things in it. “So, the news isn’t very good. This is what I was able to save out of your saddlebags,” he said.
“Thank God, they cut all my clothes and riding gear off of me when I got here,” she said. “I told them I’d take them off but the wouldn’t let me move. At least now I have underwear, jeans and a shirt,” she said.
“As for the bike, I’d say it’s totaled, but you’ll have to wait for the insurance claim. The dealer will get an estimate for repairs tomorrow.”
I felt for her, having your pride and joy totaled just sucked. “It was only two months old,” she said as tears started to form.
“I’m sorry. Have you seen Meghan? We need to go.”
“Wait, have you eaten?” Mia gestured towards the food boxes. “We’re done, and there’s lots left over.”
“Thank you,” he said. I helped him put everything back in the bag.
“Meghan’s in the doctor’s lounge, she said to text her when you’re ready,” I told him.
“I’ll get out of your way,” he whispered to me. “Mia, it was a pleasure meeting you, I’m glad you came through this so well. Maybe we’ll see each other again?”
“I’d like that,” she said. “Meghan already invited me to ride with her sometime, at least when I can ride again.” She gave the big guy a quick hug, and then turned back to me when he left. “I’m so glad you guys were there for me, you’ve done so much,” she said.
“Hey, we’re not even charging you,” I said. “Meghan said it’s too much paperwork.”
She smiled at that. “So, what happens now?”
I pulled my chair a little closer to her, reaching for her hand which she allowed me to take. “As crazy as it sounds, I’d like to get to know you better.” I gave her a little squeeze. “When I first saw you, I thought you were amazing. The smile on your face, your hair flying in the wind, there was something about you. When I first looked into your eyes, I saw something I wanted to be close to. Nothing that I have seen or felt since then has changed that.”
“I don’t even know you,” she said.
“I’d like to change that,” I said. “I have a few days free, and I’ll have my motorcycle here tonight. Let me show you around for a while. Give me, give us a chance.” I looked at her hand. “I’m sorry, I haven’t done this for a while. A long while.”
“Meghan told me your wife died when your daughter was a baby.” I nodded. “Tell me about her?”
I did. I told her about Vivian and Eve, about the club, my love of riding, and my cooking. She talked of her divorce, her restaurant, and her plans for the future. With every passing moment, I could feel I had a chance at love again.
I went down to the cafeteria, finding a table where I could sit and eat the food before we left. Snake hooked me up, the BBQ was good, it just needed a quick reheat. While I ate, I thought about what I was going to do. Seeing Snake smitten again after so many years made me envious. For two decades, I’d held to my vow to Luna to find and protect the Promised One. I’d given up my name, my life, I’d given up any chance of finding a choice mate of my own. In a few days, the curse would be broken and the vow would be fulfilled, and I had no idea what I was going to do next.
The Knights were my life now, but there had to be more. I was tired of being alone, tired of having no one in my life. I was a forty-year-old virgin, and I was running out of time to tell her what I thought about her. I’d hidden, hell I’d buried my feelings for her as I watched her grow into an amazing woman.
One conversation could make or break things forever.
I washed the sauce off my hands and face, the whole time thinking about whether this was the right time to tell her how I felt. I couldn’t recall the last time I was alone with her, she made my heart race and my palms sweat. What if she thought I was like a family member to her? What if she had no interest in me? Luna, what if she didn’t want anything to do with a werewolf, knowing that we’d never be able to have children?
Not to mention what would happen when Gabriel and her parents found out.
I texted her that I was ready, and she told me she’d meet me at the main entrance. My heart leapt as the elevator opened and she stepped out, when she smiled I me I thought I’d burst. She walked right up to me and wrapped her arms around my waist, pulling herself tight to me in a hug. My hands went down onto her back, gently squeezing her, as my body reacted to her presence.
If she noticed the bulge, she didn’t say anything. “Thank you for giving me a ride,” she said softly.
“It’s my pleasure,” I told her. “Do you know where you want to stay?” I held out my arm and she put her hand in it as we walked towards the motorcycle lot.
“I want a view of the water, something outside town and quiet,” I said. “Maybe a cabin so I don’t have to hear people next door.” I grabbed my helmet and handed her the one I’d taken from the ambulance, along with her leather jacket and gloves. It was a cool evening.
“It’s busy, I don’t know where we’ll find a vacancy,” I said as I straddled my Harley. She got on behind me, her hands reaching around and under my jacket, spreading her fingers on my stomach.
“I don’t mind riding, I’m not ready for bed just yet,” she said softly.
I reached for the key and started it up, pulling out of the lot and heading north out of town along the lakeshore. We drove for an hour, not finding any vacancies, before I stopped on a scenic overlook. “Take a walk with me?”
“I’d love to.” We got off and I took her hand, leading her along the trail that went along the cliff. I found a bench with a view of the moonlit waters, and pulled her down to sit by me. “Abaddon?”
“Steven. My name is Steven,” I said as I turned towards her. “When you join the Knights, you leave your old life behind and are reborn. Soon, my vow will be complete, and I will no longer be held by the restrictions it placed on me.”
She put her hand on my cheek. “What does that mean?”
I put my hands on her face, cupping it as I looked into her eyes. “It means that after all these years of watching you, of loving you without letting on, I can finally confess how I feel about you. I love you, Meghan. Please, give me a chance to be your man, to make you happy.”
She started to cry, not exactly the reaction I was hoping for. I pulled her to my chest, her face buried in my shirt as she let her emotions go. I looked out over the water, trying to memorize this moment in case it was as close as I would ever get to her.
I felt her crying slow, then she lifted off my chest. “You love me?”
“Since you stood in front of the club with your hands on your hips and told Viper he was an idiot to sell the ambulance and the medical gear,” I said. “You’d make a wonderful werewolf if it was possible. You are strong, you will do anything for your family, and you have a spirit unlike any woman I’ve seen before.”
She looked into my eyes, her hands traveling up my chest until they were behind my neck. Her head tilted slightly, her mouth opened, her tongue flicking over her lips in a way that set me aflame with desire. Her scent strengthened, her arousal evident as I leaned down towards her. Our lips stopped an inch apart, I looked into her eyes, then I pulled her close to me as we kissed.
Werewolves talk of mates, of the tingles, of the scent that is like no other, and I remembered that feeling back when I met my own. This was different, but it was amazing in its own way. I’d never kissed someone before, I didn’t know what I was doing, but she didn’t seem to mind. Hands moved, lips touched, tongues explored, and when we finally broke apart we were both breathless. “I’ve always had a crush on you, Steven,” she whispered as she buried her face in my chest again. “I just figured I would never have a chance, you never showed any interest in me.”
I picked her up, placing her in my lap, her thigh pressing down on my rather obvious erection. “I couldn’t,” I said, “but in a few days…”
“Finish your vow,” she told me. “When you are done, we will go to your Alpha and my parents. We’ve waited this long, we can wait a few more days.”
“You want me?”
She giggled. “I bet you can smell how much I want you, Abaddon. I sure as hell can feel how much you want me. I have my own vow, it was to remain pure until my wedding night. As much as I want you right now, I can’t do that.” She looked up at me. “When you are no longer Abaddon, come to me as Steven and ask me properly for a date.”
“Count on it.”
“You were an amazing first kiss,” she whispered.
“You were too.” We stayed until my arms couldn’t keep her warm, then we found a resort with cabins and got a room late. There was only one room, and only one bed. I let her shower first, then take the bed while I took a very cold shower. I wouldn’t take advantage of her, she deserved everything to be done right. After I dried off, I shifted into my big wolf and laid at the end of the big bed, my head laying on her stomach.
She would be mine, and I would protect her and love her until our time was done.