I woke up and my body hurt.
My shoulder was throbbing, I held it with my good hand as I laid in the big guest bedroom and just tried to massage it so it would be better. My wrist only hurt when I moved it, so I didn’t, leaving it in the sling. My head didn’t hurt anymore, that was a good thing.
At least until I sat up, and I started to get a little dizzy. I sat there, waiting for things to settle down, then I looked for the bathroom. I really needed to go.
I got up slowly and went over to the door, flicking on the light. The bathroom wasn’t huge, but it was nice; a shower, toilet and six-foot vanity with dual sinks. My pills were by the sink, I took two with a glass of water. I slowly did my business, then went over to wash up. I found a new toothbrush and opened the package, a travel size Crest was next to it. I put some on the toothbrush, then when I went to put the cap on my shoulder had a sharp pain, and I dropped it.
It rolled under the vanity, out of sight. I cursed a little, then got down on my knees. I moved my head down to look for it, balancing on my good hand, when I heard them, the sound coming up through the central heating register under the vanity. “How can she not recognize him?” Abby.
“We don’t know. It doesn’t matter, John is sure Jessie is his. He won’t let her go.” Peter.
“He can’t do anything now, he’s in jail, the idiot. I can’t believe he hurt her, even unintentionally.”
“I know, he lost control. It’s been known to happen.” That’s what Patrick had said, he lost control, he didn’t mean it. “It’s only going to get worse until he finally can mate with her.”
“She knows nothing of our kind, how is he supposed to convince her that he can be trusted? Much less follow him back to Scotland and be his woman?” Abby sounded distressed by all this.
“He’ll probably knock her out, throw her over his shoulder and haul her back to his hut in the Scottish Highlands, handcuffing her to the bed until she is his in every way,” Peter said with a laugh. “He won’t take no for an answer, he can’t. He will have her.” Holy shit. My savior, the guy I thought was safe, was a obsessive stalker dude.
“I’m going to check on her, she should be waking soon.” I heard her footsteps on the wood floor.
Grabbing the cap, I got back up and started to brush my teeth. As soon as I finished, there was a knock on my door. “Come in,” I said.
Abby opened the door, carrying a few clothes in her hands. “I brought you a few clothes, I had one of the girls pick them up this morning.” I looked at the clothes, a pair of jean shorts, a print blouse of wildflowers, and new underwear and socks. I checked the tags, my size. “I checked your sizes last night, sorry.”
“It’s fine, I didn’t want to wear my Hooters uniform around your house.”
“Are you feeling all right?”
“Much better, thank you.” I looked at my sling. “Could you help me dress?”
“Of course, honey.” She helped me work the bra and blouse over the sling, then the panties and shorts. “If you’re up to it, I saved you some lunch.”
I looked at her, I really needed to get home, but I was starving. I hadn’t eaten anything since six last night. “All right, but I need to go home after that. I have a lot of things to take care of, and they had done so much already. I followed her down to the large, open plan kitchen with its stainless appliances, cherry and maple cabinets and dark green granite countertops. “I love your kitchen, this granite is amazing,” I said as I traced the colors swirling in it.
“Thank you, I fell in love with it and just HAD to have it. Poor Peter, he about shit himself when he got the estimate. There are five price levels, but this was in the ‘if you have to ask you can’t afford it’ group.”
I laughed with her, I couldn’t imagine having such a nice home. I would be lucky to find a room with three or four other girls. “It’s beautiful.”
“Thank you.” She put a plate down, it had a chicken wrap sandwich and chips on it. I took a bite and moaned in pleasure, it was wonderful. She set a glass of milk in front of me and sat on a barstool across the island from me. “Patrick told me you have to move out of your house,” she said softly.
“It was my mother’s house, she took out a reverse mortgage to pay her medical bills, and now that she’s gone…” I wiped a tear as she reached across and patted my hand. “I have to be out in just over three weeks. I need to find a place.”
“I think I can help there,” she said. “Our neighbor owns some investment properties, and one of his tenants just got transferred last month and had to move. She still has six months left on her lease, but if I could find another tenant for her, she can save three months rent.”
“I don’t know if I can swing my own place,” I said.
“Nonsense, it’s away from the city and it’s cozy and affordable. You could stay there the first six months for the price of three.” She gave me a rent amount, I was shocked; I was planning to spend nearly that much for a room. “At least take a look at it, it’s not far from here and Patrick can show you when he’s done working.”
“All right.” I felt comfortable around Abby, I resolved to do something to thank her family for all their time. “When will Patrick be home from work?”
“Oh, he works from home,” she said. “Would you like to see what he does?”
I nodded, and she quickly cleaned up the mess. My shoes were by the front door with all the others, and I put them on as she lead me outside. We went across the road, down a driveway towards what looked like a big pole barn. I could hear dogs, lots of dogs. “Does he raise dogs?”
“Sometimes, but mostly he’s a trainer. He and his father are prominent trainers of police, rescue and protection dogs here in the United States. He’s quite good at his job.”
The barking got louder as I approached. I saw Peter and Patrick in a caged area out front, Patrick was dressed in heavy padding as Peter led a large, black German Shepherd-like dog around in a heel. “That’s a big dang dog,” I said.
“We find the larger dogs are more intimidating, and better suited to the guard and protection work we specialize in. Most of the police still use German Shepherds, they are a better size for tracking and pursuit. Our clients want something that will stay close and protect them against anything,” she told me as we reached the fence. I watched as Patrick pulled a wooden knife out of his belt and approached Peter, holding it in front of him.
The next part was a blur. Peter said a command, and let the leash go. The dog leaped up, his teeth grabbing Patrick’s padded wrist and forced the knife to be dropped. His weight knocked him to his knee, and the dog continued to attack until Peter said another command. The dog instantly let go, then returned to his side and sat down. “Wow,” I said. “They are VERY well trained.”
“Indeed. It takes about a year of daily work to get them to this point. Razor there, he’s about to graduate. He’ll fetch fifty thousand dollars, he’s already been purchased by an executive in Colorado.”
Wow. That was as much as it cost to send me to college for four years! I was watching them, Peter led Razor back inside and Patrick started pulling off all the padding he was wearing. “Patrick, would you mind giving Jessie a tour? And when you’re done, can you take her to look at the old Petersen cabin?”
“Sure, Mom. She can help me socialize the pups,” he said with a smile. He hung the pads up on hooks in a shed, then came out of the fenced area. “You’re looking better, Jessie. Arm feeling all right?”
“Yes, thank you. Still sore, but nothing like last night.” He led me into the big building, showing me the kennel areas and inside training areas, before bringing me into a room with some couches, a television, and a recliner. “Wait here,” he said. A few minutes later, I heard high-pitched yipping as six puppies followed him into the room, intent on the treats he held in his hand. He sat on the floor in front of the couch, and the dogs started piling on him in order to get to his hands. I couldn’t resist the puppies, I slid down next to him and soon the five-pound puppies were playing with me as well. “We do breed promising bloodlines together, but not all the dogs have the right temperament for the training we need to do. We give the others some basic obedience training and sell them. It is important they are socialized, meeting new people and playing in a home environment, so you’re actually helping me by playing with them.”
“They’re so dang cute,” I said as I picked one up and brought him to my face, his little pink tongue licked my nose as he wiggled to get closer.
“They are. I love my job.” We played with them for another thirty minutes, then he took them outside to a fenced area where they were encouraged to go to the bathroom. I smelled like puppy by the time he put them away. “Ready to go?”
“Sure,” I said.
“Your keys?” I looked at him like he was crazy. “Those pain pills are strong, you shouldn’t be driving when you are taking them. I’ll drive your car, and my Dad will pick you up at your house later.” I didn’t want to, it was embarrassing… these guys drove nice cars, not a beat-up Ford Focus.
“Don’t scratch my baby,” I said as seriously as I could before I busted out laughing. “You should have seen your face!”
“I was trying to figure out how you’d tell,” he teased as he opened the passenger door for me. Ten minutes later, we had turned off a county road onto a gravel drive and stopped in front of a small cabin. Built of logs, it was like a dream to me.
“Wow, I can’t afford this,” I said.
“Come take a look,” he said as he walked up the three stairs to the front door. The front had a good overhang, and the deck had a hammock and some padded chairs with a table. The door opened to an open-plan design, with a small kitchen and living area ahead. “The bedroom is back here,” he said. It was fully furnished, and the full-size bed and dresser filled much of the room. In the back was a bathroom with an old clawfoot tub/shower, toilet and vanity. It didn’t escape my notice that the tub had a big window by it. “This property has three acres of woods, so you won’t see anything but wildlife around. There isn’t natural gas, there is a propane tank out back, utilities including gas are included in the rental. No cable TV, but there is a satellite dish If you want to hook it up.” There was a small TV on the dresser, and a larger one was in the main area.
It was perfect. “Are you sure? The rent seems low for a place like this.”
He just smiled. “We’re out in the country, rents are much lower here, and you’re getting a deal. You’re a good person, Jessie, we could tell that immediately. You are helping Mr. Larsen out, since now he doesn’t have to go through the hassle of finding a new tenant, and you’re helping the old one out too. Just say you’ll take it and I’ll make sure the paperwork is ready.”
I looked around, it was like a dream for me. A few photos, some decorations, and it would be perfect. I’d find a way to swing the rent, I’d work two jobs if I had to. “I’ll take it,” I said as I hugged him.
He didn’t hug me back, but that was all right.