Seeing as how Sam now had five days off, she decided to take Elias up on his offer to install her new windshield. Besides… she really did want to see him.
Despite the medical boot, he was able to make his way around the garage effectively. Sam brought lunch just as Elias finished the installation. When she offered to pay for the work, he only shook his head and laughed. The two of them then proceeded upstairs where Elias showered. He came out in sweatpants, shirtless. Sam had un-bagged their burgers, and before Elias could take a seat she walked over and handed one to him, gazing up into his eyes as she did so.
After all that had happened, she found herself needing… something. A kind of affirmation, perhaps. A reassurance that she was still vital; that the world on some level still functioned the way it was supposed to; that she still functioned as she was supposed to; a normal human being with desires and wants and a yearning to connect in the most intimate way with a man she found increasingly irresistible.
Her look told Elias all he needed to know.
He set the burger on the table, pulled her into his arms, and kissed her slowly, deeply. That kiss intensified; heat spread from Sam’s core, throughout her body to the surface of her skin. The world, with all of its unanswered questions and all its disappointment and all its grim, unimaginable aberrations… began to melt away.
Elias lifted her in his arms and carried her to the bed, where the two of them shed their clothing and, in a heated frenzy, their remaining inhibitions.
Later, as the sun sank lazily into the western sky, in the aftermath of their abandon they lay exhausted.
Elias was on his stomach, eyeing Sam contentedly as she traced her fingers over the pocket watch-universe tattoo on his back.
“Why 6:15?” she asked.
“The watch on your back. The hands are at 6:15.”
“Oh. It was a number that kept coming to me in dreams. Over and over again. I took it as a sign. A number tied to my destiny, my fate.”
“Fate…” Sam was quiet for a minute. Debating. Knowing what her next statement might lead to. She proceeded anyway. “Do you really think fate dictates that the victims of the Hell Hounds will be… I don’t know, servants of Satan? Minions?”
“Lapdogs?” Elias offered. That was the closest thing to a joke she had heard from him.
“I mean it,” Sam said. “How do the wolves choose the people they bite? They don’t get the mark until after they’re bitten, right? So how could the Infernum Cane know that their victims are evil? Or destined to be evil?”
Sam thought about the homeless woman, about her wide, fearful eyes after Sam had threatened her.
“What I done to you?”
Elias rolled onto his side, holding Sam’s gaze. “I think for some… it’s their destiny to be Infernum Cane. Just as it was my destiny to become Angeli Bellum. I grew up orphaned. On the streets. One night as a teenager I stumbled onto a turning ground. It was a full moon. The Order saved me. They raised me and trained me. That was no accident. This is my calling. I think it’s your calling, too. Your destiny. All part of God’s Great Mystery.”
Sam decided she might as well just come out and say it.
“I don’t believe in God.”
Elias’ eyes remained on Sam, but he offered no reply. The silence thickened. Finally he said “you’ve seen one of them turn, right in front of you. You’ve seen the mark they all bear. Surely you believe in their existence. If something so inconceivable as werewolves can exist, is it such a stretch to believe in God and the Fallen One?”
Sam sat up and exhaled heavily. “I don’t know… I don’t know anything right now.”
And it was true. But that had to change. She had to know something. She had to find answers…
“I’m leaving,” she said. “For a few days.”
“What?” Elias asked, rearing up. “Where?”
She had to know if Sutter Cane Memorial was the hospital from her childhood. From her dreams. It wouldn’t do to just sit and let “fate” take its course. It was time to exert some control over her destiny.
“I’m going to Montana,” she said.