Love An Eagle

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Chapter 7

Cara and Wamblee rode in silence.

He drove them out of town, down a long winding dirt road. At the end of the road was a small cabin style house. Around it was a few trees, but it was mostly wide-open area. There was also a wooden fence off to the left, and a big white barn. Next to the barn inside the fence were a couple of horses.

It was almost dark, so she couldn’t really make out many details, but what she could make out was lovely.

Cutting the engine, Wamblee sat silently for a moment.

Cara had noticed he did this often and figured it was just the way he was. She didn’t push him to speak though, just waited until he was ready.

“This is my home, the one I bought when I returned. No one has seen this place until now. You are the only one I’ve ever brought here. It isn’t a big house, but I have the acreage to build on later if I need it,” he told her. He took a deep breath, then continued, “My father is an important man within the tribe, he is the Ithanchan, meaning “Chief” in the language of the Lakhóta people. He has never been quiet about his expectations for me.”

“Lakhóta, I thought you were Sioux?” she asked him, puzzled.

She grew up in this town and around the tribe, but she really didn’t know much about them at all and that was quickly becoming obvious.

He turned and looked at her for a moment. He then said, “Back in the beginning, we were the Nadowe Su, which in the Algonquin language means “Little Rattle”. That phrase, they say, comes from the sound a snake makes before it strikes. It is told that French trappers and traders are the ones who changed the “Su” to Sioux and dropped the Nadowe.”

“So, you became the Sioux,” she murmured.

“Yes, we are the Sioux Nation, but as a tribe, we are Lakhóta, which means ‘allies or friends’,” he explained before adding, “Lakhóta come from the dialect in which we speak. Then there is the Dakota, and the Nakota,” he finished.

She gave a slight nod and he went back to staring out the windshield.

“My father decided when I was younger that I showed many signs of being a great pejuta wacasa, (pronounced: phejúta wichasha) or what most people call a medicine man. I didn’t want to be a traditional healer though, and my father wasn’t happy when I went to school to be a “white man’s doctor”. He wanted me to be the tribal doctor instead. The only one who ever really encouraged me in my endeavors was Unci,” he continued.

“I don’t understand? If your father is the Chief, shouldn’t you be next in line for that?” She asked.

“No, not necessarily. Being a Ithanchan isn’t always about your lineage. If that was the way it worked, it would be my older brother who would become Ithanchan, although because he doesn’t want it, it could have been passed down to me, if that was the way it worked. It’s more about your strength in leadership though. As far as my father is concerned, my brother has that, I do not. Also, when I left to go to school, I would have forfeited any right I might have to lead the tribe as the Ithanchan if it had been on the table,” he told her. “My second cousin will become the next Ithanchan I’m sure.”

“Oh.”

He turned in his seat facing her then. “The thing is Cara, there is more to me than just being a Lakhóta Indian or even a doctor, but perhaps I should feed you before we get into that.”

Her stomach took that moment to growl and she felt her face heat up. “Sorry, I usually have something almost as soon as I get home.”

He chuckled. “It’s fine, I should have fed you first anyway.”

He then got out of the truck and walked around to her side. Opening her door, he helped her out and led her inside the house. He led her straight down the hall and through a door.

Looking around she saw they were now in the kitchen. “Do you cook?”

He held out a kitchen chair and waited for her to be seated before saying, “Yes. When I left home, it was cook or starve. Most of my money was going toward my schooling, so I couldn’t afford to eat out. As I’ve said, my father wasn’t pleased, so he refused to help. Unci helped when she could, but I felt guilty taking money from her,” he told her as he pulled things from the cabinets and the refrigerator. “So, I got a job at a small diner busing tables. The old man who owned the place took pity on me and taught me a few things about cooking.”

“Nice. I can cook a little, but Monica is very territorial when it comes to the kitchen,” she told him.

He looked back at her as he placed a boiler of water on the stove. “What about your mom, didn’t she teach you to cook?”

She watched as he turned back to what he was doing and how efficient he was at it.

“Not really. Nothing but cookies and maybe cupcakes,” she told him. “Mom died when I was twelve and my interest then wasn’t learning to cook.”

“Oh? So, what was your interest in?”

“Ah…you know, the usual,” she murmured, red faced. “Clothes, shoes, purses…”

“Boys?” he asked even as he looked over his shoulder at her.

“Well, one boy at that time, but that crush was over pretty quick. I kept to myself after him mostly, until I was about sixteen. Even then, my crushes never went anywhere,” she admitted.

She watched him turn the stove burner down and turning, he leaned against the counter. Crossing his arms, he asked, “Let me guess, your sister?”

She snorted. “Always, but how did you know?”

“I hear more than I let on at work. I heard you and Peggy talking about your sister. I got the idea from what was said, she makes life hard for you,” he said as he turned back to his pot to stir it.

“She does,” she agreed. “It wasn’t always that way though. It mostly started after mom was gone. I think because dad was always working, and she was older, she took it upon herself to be “boss”. I didn’t take that well and the fighting started. As we aged, it became worse.”

Taking the pot off the stove, he dumped the contents into two bowls, added spoons and placed them on the table. From the cabinet, he grabbed a package of crackers, from the refrigerator, he grabbed two bottles of water. Then he sat down.

“I hope soup is alright, and I have nothing to drink but water…”

“It’s fine,” she told him, taking up her spoon. “It’s late enough that anything heavy would keep me up anyway, and I like water.”

Just as they had at lunch, they ate in silence.

When they were finished he stood and put out his hand. She took it and he led her into a room off the kitchen.

She looked around and realized it was a family room of sorts with huge windows taking up most of the left-hand wall. On the wall in front of her was a fire place, but what caught her eyes was the painting above it. It was a painting of a golden eagle in flight and was breathtaking.

“Oh, Wamblee! That painting is gorgeous,” she said. “I actually saw a real golden eagle recently. He’s a handsome fellow.”

He led her over to the couch and had her sit. He then crouched in front of her and took her hands. “You remember I said there was more to me then just being a doctor and Lakhóta?”

She nodded.

“I’d like to talk about that now.”

She gave another nod, wondering where this was going.

He took a deep breath, slightly closing his eyes. Then opening them fully, he held her gaze. “I told you how I believe you are mine. Now I want to try and explain this a bit more. I am not fully human, I am what is called a shifter in the world of the supernatural. My very being holds within it the spirit of an eagle. I can free this spirit and take on his form. It is the very golden eagle that is in that painting,” he said as he pointed over the fireplace. “Many of my people carry the spirit of an eagle, and some, that of another animal.”

Cara sat, stunned, not knowing whether to laugh at him, or run away. Yet even as her heart raced, it wasn’t in fear, not really. Deep down inside her she knew, had always felt as if there was something different about him. It wasn’t something she had wanted to admit because it made her feel weird, but still the feeling had always been there.

Take his eyes, his eyes that even now almost flashed. One moment they were the dark almost black as were the eyes of most of his people, then they would turn almost golden brown, as if there was something there!

Was it the eyes of this eagle spirit he spoke of?

She glanced up at the painting, squinting in thought. Not just any eagle, no, he claimed his spirit bird was a GOLDEN eagle…could it be…her golden eagle?

Looking back at him, she found him silently studying her.

“The eagle…?” she questioned him.

He gave a slight smile. “Yes, it is the same one you have met. He saw you from high above the trees and was curious, he did not mean to cause your fall.”

Her mouth dropped open, then quickly shutting it she closed her eyes, taking a breath. Even as she almost accepted it, she felt logic rise to deny the possibility.

Opening her eyes, she said, “No, it isn’t possible. A man cannot turn himself into a bird, not even one as large as an eagle!”

“But he can, Cara. Just as he can turn into a wolf, a bear, a mountain goat, even a snake if the Wakan Tanka (Great Mystery) wills it. My people know not why the shifter was created, only that it was. We don’t question the Wakan Tanka’s reason for it, we just enjoy the freedom it allows us.”

“Freedom? How is it a freedom when it could end with you in a lab being cut into pieces to find out how it works?” She questioned him incredulously.

“There are more of us than you might think, and some of them are in high places, we protect our own,” he told her. “Look, I know this is a lot to take in, so perhaps I should take you home and let you….”

“No, wait,” she said, not wanting to leave. Yes, she was confused, but she still had strong feeling for him, and she wanted to know everything. “It is a lot, and it’s confusing…yet deep down it’s like I know it to be true. My logical mind denies it, yet my heart…my heart wants to accept it, accept you. It’s so far out of my realm of knowledge though,” she finished in a whisper.

“Would it help if I were to transform into my bird spirit form? Would it take away some of the confusion to actually see what I’m telling you?” he asked. “I know you have met my eagle, have held and stroked him, but to see me become him…? Would this help?”

“Maybe,” she whispered, still unsure, yet needing to know if it were true.

He nodded and moved back away from her a bit. He then proceeded to remove his shirt and unfasten his pants.

“What…?”

“When I transform, the pants will slip off my smaller form if they are unfastened. I remove my shirt because my eagle doesn’t like it when it ends up covering his head. He tends to retaliate and shred them for me,” he informed her.

Cara couldn’t help but giggle as she could almost envision what he was saying in her head.

She then watched as he took a deep breath, closing his eyes. His lips moved, almost as if he was speaking, yet no sound came out. Next, she felt a ripple of electricity in the air and a strange light appeared around him. Then, suddenly where Wamblee had been crouched, stood her golden eagle.

The eagle turned one golden brown eye to her and made a chirping, bark like sound as if in greeting.

Cara smiled and slid off the couch onto the floor. Though she was in shock that what Wamblee had told her was true, she was also thrilled to see the golden eagle she had considered to be hers from the moment she’d seen him.

“Hello handsome,” she said softly.

He walked up to her and rubbed his head on her knee.

Slowly bringing her hand up, she soothed it down his back.

“I guess it’s true then, you are Wamblee’s spirit bird. Half human, half bird I guess,” she murmured softly. “I knew you came to me easily, let me pet you, but I never expected this.”

He jumped up onto her leg then and rubbed his head along her neck.

Cara gave a soft sigh. It was odd to think that this wild bird was also a man. It boggled her mind, yet it explained why she had been so drawn to the man and the bird. From the beginning, she had been drawn to both in a way she’d never been to anyone or anything.

After seeing the eagle one time she had dubbed him “hers”. The first day after she’d started working with Wamblee, she’d wanted to act like a possessive wife when she’d seen Becky flirting with him. It was all crazy, yet in a weird way it made sense to her. It also brought her back to him saying they were soulmates.

The eagle hopped off her leg after a few moments and backed away. As she watched, he once more became a man, a completely naked man!

Her breath caught as she looked at his naked body. He was a work of art, well, in her eyes anyway, not that she had anything to compare it to!

“I have seen you naked in my dreams,” she whispered, “yet it was always dark, and I find I missed a lot.”

“Ah…about that, I should admit something to you,” he said looking a bit sheepish.

She cocked her head, “Oh?”

“Those weren’t dreams, they were real,” he told her.

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