"Mom!" I panicked, searching frantically for my nightshirt that was laying somewhere on the floor. Sam was stepping quickly back into his jeans, pulling them up with a jump.
I found my shirt screwed up into a ball over by the window. My heart was hammering in my chest as I threw it over my head and thrust both my arms through the holes, just in time.
I had barely enough time to run my fingers through my hair to smooth the 'just had sex' look away, when Jack and Mom came through the door, without even so much as a knock.
"There you guys are!" Mom placed a hand on her hip, casually. "I thought you'd gone out? The house was so quiet!" She smiled, shaking her head with a chuckle.
I cringed, instantly feeling guilty. The last thing I wanted was to cause any trouble between Mom and Jack. It was a bit late now.
I got the impression that Jack didn't like the idea of me and his son being alone in the bedroom. Especially whilst I was dressed in my nightwear. This situation did not look appropriate, not one bit.
Don't get me wrong, I don't regret what Sam and I did, it felt natural. But I can't help the feeling that pursuing any sort of relationship with him would be gravely disapproved by both Jack and my mom. That sucked because I really like him.
I felt my inner conscience argue my corner, ′You're both adults, so what if your parents are together?′ My mind was conflicted. I didn't want anyone to get hurt by this.
Jack had frozen rigid in the doorway, his face contorted as if he smelled something bad and was looking at Sam with a wide-eyed, horror-stricken look on his face. The scene in front of him was nothing to what he would have seen if he had arrived home five minutes earlier.
And to think...I fantasized about being caught!
At least Sam was fully dressed and I was in a nightshirt. I shuddered at the thought of Mom and Jack catching us both naked in the throes of passion. How humiliating would that have been? To make matters worse, I could feel Sam's seed beginning to seep out and started to trickle down my inner thigh.
"Helen, you silly goose!" Mom cooed with affection. "You have your shirt on inside out!" She shook her head with amusement.
I looked down at my shirt, noticing that the tag at the side was on the outside. I slapped my palm to my forehead.
"Oh God! I'm such a klutz." I tried to laugh it off as a stupid mistake. Inside my head, I was crying with embarrassment. Curled up in a ball screaming 'why!' If it was possible to die of shame, I'd be dead right now.
Jack and Sam were standing, staring each other down. It all seemed really intense. I noticed the muscles on Sam's arms flex, only to realize he was standing with his fists clenched at both sides.
"Son, can I have a private word?" Jack's expression hardly changed as he grit out the words. It didn't sound like he was asking, it was more like demanding.
Mom picked up on the change in the atmosphere too, as she jerked her head towards the door, hinting for me to follow.
Jack stepped to the side, allowing us to get past him. He didn't look me in the eye when I walk past, although, I noticed him inhale as if smelling the air. Hurt and disappointed stained his face, his shoulders slumped and his eyes closed in defeat. Could he tell what we just did? I scurried past, glad to get myself away from the awkward situation.
Mom followed me into my bedroom. I cringed with embarrassment. I didn't want to stand here having a girly chat while I had sperm running down my legs. I needed a shower, badly.
"So, you met Sam? When did he get here?" If she had any hint about what was going on in Sam's room, then she didn't show it. She seemed completely oblivious. I was eternally grateful for that.
"I was making myself a coffee," I said honestly. "Then Sam startled me whilst I was singing to the radio."
Mom snorted, covering her mouth with her hand, clearly finding that funny.
"Then, he showed me the view of the mountains from his room." I shrugged, looking away. I couldn't look her in the eye while I lied. I felt like a massive hypocrite, too. I chastised her for marrying a man she barely knew, and there was me having sex with a guy I'd only known for two minutes. Maybe Mom and I weren't so different after all?
Mom's lips curled down at the sides whilst she nodded. She seemed to have bought my excuse as a feasible explanation.
"So, are you going to go hiking this week?" She chirped with enthusiasm.
"He hasn't exactly offered to go with me yet, I was getting round to asking him, and that's when you guys came back," I replied, trying to sound nonchalant. "Besides, I haven't got my own camping equipment." I walked over to my closet and started rummaging for some clean clothes.
I felt the need to point out that I wanted my own tent. The last thing I wanted was to let her see how enthusiastic I was to share one with Sam. We would be busted before this thing we had going on got a chance to blossom into something more.
"Mom, where are the clean towels kept?" I stood there cross-legged and flustered.
"Oh, the door next to the bathroom is the closet where we keep the towels and fresh linen," she directed, pointing the way. "I'm going to prepare the vegetables for lunch, so when your done come down and give me a hand." She tapped me on the arm as she left the room.
I closed my eyes, feeling like a complete shit for jeopardizing her new life like this. Maybe it's me. Maybe I'm just downright bad. Maybe I'm the one that ruins everything.
I tiptoed carefully towards the towel closet, not wanting to make a noise on the floorboards or give any kind of indication to Jack or Sam that I was outside the room.
I couldn't help but overhear the hushed voices from behind Sam's bedroom door, even though Jack closed it behind me and Mom. I held my breath as I strained to listen. I could make out Sam's voice answering back at Jack in a more aggressive tone.
"She isn't even your mate! Mom was your mate! So now you're telling me that I can't be with my actual mate because you are technically married to her mother?" Sam whisper shouted.
"Son, that's not what I'm saying! This is just an unfortunate coincidence," Jack responded, trying his best to reason with him.
"Well then, what are you saying?" Sam spat.
"I'm saying, keep your distance for now. We both have a lot of explaining to do, Son!" Jack sounded like he was pleading with him. Like he was trying to put Sam off from doing something stupid.
"I've got an even better idea. You keep your distance from me! I'm not staying here, I'm taking Helen, and we're leaving. I'll take her up to my cabin. Then you can get on and do whatever the hell you want!"
"You can't do that, Sam. You're not thinking clearly!" Jack sounded frustrated and desperate. Whatever was going on in there didn't sound as if it was going too well.
"You need to move out of my way, Dad," Sam warned.
I decided that it wouldn't be a great idea for me to be caught on the landing, eavesdropping. So I grabbed a towel and darted into the bathroom.
I closed the door behind me, internally groaning when I discovered that the door had no lock on it.
I turned on the shower and dipped inside, closing the glass panel behind me. The jets of water were soft and inviting as they caressed my aching muscles. I could still feel the dull throb between my thighs where Sam had not so long ago been deep inside me.
The thought suddenly filled me with another wave of desire that would need to be sated.
The exotic scent of my coconut shampoo and body wash filled the room. I hummed with delight as my body began to feel refreshed again.
I brushed my teeth in the shower for convenience, and applied conditioner to my hair. Once I was thoroughly clean and groomed, I turned off the tap to shut off the water.
Wringing out the excess water in my hair, I jumped in shock at the forceful knock on the glass panel.
"Who's there?" I couldn't quite make out the silhouette behind the steamed up, frosted glass.
"Helen, hurry up, we're leaving." Sam was waiting on the other side of the glass, sounding agitated.
"Huh?" I replied, stunned. "Um, could you pass me that towel, please?"
I held out my hand. Sam passed me the towel and I quickly wrapped it around my body before stepping out into the cool air. Sam looked me up and down approvingly. As I brushed past I noticed him shudder.
"Is everything OK, Sam?" I asked with concern.
He looked down at me with those piercing grey eyes; his jaw was pulsing as he figured out what he was going to say.
I leaned up and pressed my lips against his. He instantly responded, gripping my towel and causing it to drop and pool around my feet.
My fingers dove into his hair as his arms snaked around my back, pulling my damp body against his. I parted my lips to allow his tongue access to explore my mouth once again.
Our parents were beyond these walls and we could be busted at any minute. Jack had figured it out but Mom still remained very much in the dark. I got the impression that he wouldn't tell her through fear of Sam spilling whatever secret he was hiding from Mom.
Our kiss grew more and more passionate, snatching ragged breaths between in between as we devoured each other. I pulled away first, causing him to growl.
"Why did you stop?" He asked, frustrated.
"Sam?" I pulled away, noticing the change take place in his eyes. His eyes were Onyx black again. "Sam, your eyes!" I stepped back, shocked. I hadn't imagined it earlier. I brushed it off before because it was during sex, but I was more certain now that I had heard him do it again. He actually growled like an animal.
His face edged closer towards me. "Are you afraid of me, Helen?" His voice was deep and raspy. I should have been afraid of him, I knew I should be. The weird thing was, the only feelings I felt around him were safety and desire.
I also felt as if I could truly love him, mind, body, and soul.
Nobody had ever made me feel that way before. I shook my head slowly, cupping his face in my hands and bringing his lips back down to mine so that I could show him my feelings, instead.
"Does it look like I'm afraid?" I murmured, softly.
We both smiled against each other's lips before he ended the kiss with soft pecks. He pulled me into a deep embrace, resting his chin on the top of my head.
"We can't stay here, Helen," he whispered, sadly.
I pulled away, untangling myself from his arms. "Why?" I questioned him, shrugging my shoulders. "Is it because of our parents?" I already knew the answer to this question.
It was because of them and the fact that they would never accept us in any other relationship other than step-siblings. I had been right all along.
He nodded slowly, the pain and anguish swirling like a storm in his eyes.
"Give me a minute to get dressed and we can talk about this." I reached down and scooped up my towel, wrapping it back around me. "You." I pointed at his chest. "Get in the shower because you stink. I'll bring you a clean towel." I shot him a small smile as I dipped out of the room, only to come back a few seconds later carrying a folded towel.
I hurried into my bedroom to throw on my clothes. I had no intentions of leaving my mom after not seeing her for months.
Whatever the problem was between Sam and Jack, they would have to sort it out between themselves and move on.
I rummaged around in my drawer for some clean underwear, pulling out a sky blue, matching bra and panties set.
I heard the bathroom door close which was an indication that Sam was finished in the shower. I finished getting dressed in a hurry before switching on my hairdryer. I ran the brush through my long hair as I hovered the dryer back and forth. I hadn't noticed that Sam had come into my room and slumped down on my bed until I turned around, giving a shocked gasp.
"Jesus, don't you know how to knock?" I put a hand over my pounding heart.
He cringed apologetically. "Sorry, I did knock but you had your thing going on." He pointed to the hair dryer in my hand.
I smirked. It occurred to me that manly-man Sam didn't know what it was called. I wrapped the cord back around the handle and placed it back down on my vanity cabinet.
I pulled out the small padded stool and sat down to look into the mirror, taking out my makeup bag.
Sam made a 'tsk' sound as he slumped on my bed. "You don't need to put on that stuff, your skin is beautiful without it, you know."
I rolled my eyes at him through the mirror's reflection, noticing that he was sprawled out with his head on my pillow, both his hands placed comfortably behind his head.
His impressive biceps bulged prominently, making him look effortlessly sexy in his tight, fitted t-shirt. It was impossible not to admire him, god damn it.
"Well, because I'm a blonde, you can hardly tell that I have any eyelashes and eyebrows unless I use makeup to enhance them," I explained, not that he understood.
"Are you done yet?" He made such a big deal, huffing and whining about waiting for me as if I took ages to get ready.
"Well, not everybody can look so effortlessly gorgeous like you." I slapped him on his hard chest as I walked past, causing a smart remark from him.
"Kinky, I like it." He grinned.
Just as I was about to leave the room, I suddenly changed my mind, turning in front of the closed door to confront him.
"What was wrong before?" I asked him outright.
His eyes bulged as I caught him off guard.
"Had an argument with my dad." His lips formed a tight, straight line and I could tell that he was angry about whatever it was.
I heard him mention his mom during their argument and I'm guessing that talking about her was a no-fly zone.
"He knew something happened between us and he's none too impressed about it," he said in a matter of fact way.
He stood up, nuzzling his face into my neck, kissing and sucking lightly on my skin, thankfully not hard enough to leave a mark.
I couldn't believe he actually openly admitted it to his dad like that. I had to applaud him for being so blatant. Maybe that was just a male thing. One thing I knew was, if a girl got caught by her parents, having sex, then damn, that was too bad, But if you were suspected of having sex, then you deny it. You take that shit to the grave with you.
"Why did you tell him?" I asked in complete bewilderment, shrugging him off with both palms raised at my sides.
Why the hell did he come clean about it, anyway? Surely, he knew there would be consequences.
"He could tell. I didn't have to tell him anything. He could smell it." He watched my face contort into an expression of pure horror, and smirked.
I felt utterly mortified. I repeated his last world slowly, showcasing my disgust, both on my face and by the tone of my voice. "He. Could. Smell. It?" My mind was screaming out 'what the actual fuck?'
Sam scrubbed a hand over his face. Yes, he was clearly frustrated with his dad but I got the impression there was much more to it than that. He mentioned something earlier that our union meant more to him than just sex. This went a lot deeper than just some argument with his dad, I was sure of it.
"Look, Sam, maybe he's right?" I began to say.
The words that came out of my mouth felt like acid on my tongue. It made me feel physically sick to even think them, let alone speak them out loud. "Maybe this was a mistake?" I instantly regretted my words the second I spoke.
Sam flinched back as if I'd just slapped him across the face. Before I could even process what was happening, my back was slammed hard into the door and I screamed at the sudden movement. The impact of me hitting the door didn't hurt but it still scared the shit out of me.
"Don't say it," Sam begged me with his words and by the frightened look in his eyes.
Heavy footsteps thundered up the stairs, no doubt to find out what all the noise was about. Sam's eyes had changed back to Onyx black again, but this time they were frantic.
My fear was genuine. The anxiety was radiating off him in waves, making him look truly terrifying. "You're mine! Be careful what you say next, because you can't take it back once you refuse me."
There was a loud pounding from the other side of the door that vibrated through the wood and against my back.
I recognized Jack's voice instantly. "Sam, open the door! Let me in. Helen, honey, are you OK in there?"
Sam's eyes momentarily left mine to glance at the door behind me, then landed back onto me again. An animalistic growl left his throat. One thing I knew for sure was that definitely wasn't a human sound.
"Sam...c'mon, Son, open the damn door!" Jack pleaded.
My body was shaking with fear. I'd heard him growl a few times now and his eyes kept switching from grey to black like something out of a horror movie.
I swallowed hard before I plucked up enough courage to say what was on my mind. "Sam," I murmured, my voice weak and tremulous. "What are you?"
My heart hammered inside my chest so hard that I could hear the echo of my pulse pounding in my ears.
Sam winced as if I'd thrown a bucket of ice cold water over him. Releasing my shoulders, he stalked over to the far end of the room, clutching handfuls of hair with both hands. His wide shoulders rose and fell with each heave of breath that he sucked in and exhaled.
"Sam, please talk to me? What's going on?" I begged.
He wasn't answering me. The silence was frightful. I decided that I would be safer on the other side of the door with Jack because whatever was going on with Sam, one thing was certain, he wasn't in control of himself anymore.
I rolled my shoulders, trying to ease the ache I felt in them from being held so aggressively. Then, I turned quickly to open the door, allowing a very panic-stricken Jack to burst into the room, pulling me behind him.
"Helen, thank God you're OK!" He said, turning to check me over for any damage. "What the hell was all that about?" He glowered at Sam.
Sam turned slowly, looking broken and spent. "You got what you wanted, Dad. Because of you, she doesn't want to be with me. Enjoy your happiness because you've just cost me mine." He barged past me and Jack, bolting down the stairs and out through the front door.
"Sam!" I cried out, feeling the jolt of fear in my heart. "I didn't mean it!" I went to go after him but Jack stopped me.
"Let him go, Helen. He needs to cool off and calm down." He looked close to tears himself. His eyes were swamped with guilt and sorrow. Sam's words had cut through him like a sharp blade to the heart.
I felt my own heart shatter as the front door slammed, then the sound of an engine roared to life out front. I couldn't move from where I was standing, feeling physically sick at this point. I could taste the bile creeping up my throat.
Hot tears threatened to spill from my eyes and every part of me hurt. I wanted nothing more than to run after him, to take back everything that I just said but I knew it was too late, he'd gone.
I didn't have any way of contacting him, nor did I have the faintest idea about where he may be headed. Jack rubbed the top of my arm in an effort to comfort me.
"You know, I'm no good at this kind of stuff. I never had a daughter," he spoke awkwardly.
I appreciated the gesture, so I returned him a strained smile that was gone in a flash.
"Thanks, Jack." My bottom lip trembled. "I'm so sorry," I sobbed, ashamed of myself. "This is all my fault."
"Hey, look at me," Jack commanded soothingly, He had to bend slightly to my level so that he could look me in the eye. "None of this is your fault, you hear?" He let out a heavy sigh. "Look, there are certain things that just happen for a reason and if anyone should be sorry, then it's me." He looked like he meant it, every word that came out of his mouth seemed genuine and remorseful.
"Will he come back?" I was scared to know the answer in case it was no, but I had to ask regardless.
Jack looked as if he couldn't say for sure. "I really don't know the answer to that, Helen. I hope in all honesty that he will. Then maybe I could straighten a few things out with him since it was me who overreacted," he said, earnestly.
"How do you mean?" I sobbed between forming words.
"Well, because some things are just meant to be. It's like nature or fate, if you're able to understand that?" Jack's words began to soothe me. The more he started to explain, the more I could relate to the things that he was saying.
"I really should've handled it better with Sam, instead of blowing up at him. I just thought he'd disrespected you until he told me how he felt." He gave a reasonable explanation and I could understand where he was coming from.
"I suppose if I hadn't met Elena, then you and Sam may never have met. See, everything happens for a reason." He nudged my chin with his knuckle.
"Thanks, Jack." I felt better knowing that he wasn't mad. He actually would've supported us if we had decided to start a relationship. But all that seemed unlikely now that Sam had gone.
"C'mon, dry your face before your mom sees." He walked further into my room and retrieved the damp towel I had used after my shower, handing it to me so that I could wipe my eyes. I then followed Jack down the stairs with a heavy heart, knowing I'd have to put on a show in front of Mom.
She took one look at me when I entered the kitchen and her face fell. "What in God's name happened up there?" She rushed over to us and pulled me into a hug. "Baby, tell me?" Her hand stroked the back of my head.
I struggled to breathe let alone speak as my face had been crushed against her shoulder. "Burned myself on my hair straightener," I lied.
"Oh God, Helen. You inherited the klutz gene from me. I'm so sorry honey." Mom smoothed the back of my hair, giggling affectionately.
Jack passed us in the kitchen to retrieve a bottle of water from the fridge. "Yep, but we managed to fix it with a cold compress, so no permanent damage, hey, Helen?" He reinforced my lie with another lie.
I mumbled, "Mmhm." Hating how much I'd deceived her today, already.
Mom released me from her vice-like grip before turning to Jack. "Where did Sam go, honey? Doesn't he want any lunch?"
Jack shrugged. "Said he was going out with some friends and that he'll probably grab something while out."
I stared through the window in silence, knowing differently. Sam wasn't coming back any time soon and I was the reason why. We sat down and ate lunch together in silence. I forced myself to eat something, even though the sight of food made me feel nauseous.
Jack kept glancing over, frowning with concern. I wasn't sure how much longer I could keep up this charade. I needed to let the hell out of here and grab some air.
"Mom, are there any trails around here that even an idiot could follow and not get lost?" I asked, hoping she'd know.
Jack smirked, amused by my sudden comment. There was no point sugar coating it-- me and the outdoors did not mix well.
"Um, Jack, honey?" She placed her hand on top of his. "That's your area of expertise with you being a ranger and all."
I wasn't surprised by that news. I could definitely see him doing something like that. He looked the outdoors type, like the sort of guy who could sleep under the stars and live off the land.
"I can take you to the ranger station after we finish up lunch and get one of the other rangers to give you a tour, if you like?" He replied. "I would do it myself but your mom and I have dinner plans later, unless you wanna come with us and we can do the tour tomorrow. It'd be no problem making a change to the reservation?"
I didn't want to be the third wheel, even though they'd never make me feel like I was, I really wanted to get some air and hopefully start my project.
"Although that sounds awesome, I really have to complete my art project. It's about capturing nature in its rarest form." I winced. "I'd love to go out and be wined and dined. I'll take a rain check on that thanks, guys." I give them a look to show them I'm serious, too.
Jack leaned back in his seat. "Elena, honey, that was delicious as usual. Leave the dishes for me to do when I get back from taking Helen." She smiled and they exchanged a kiss as I made myself very scarce back up the stairs to grab my sketchbook and paints.
I wasn't sure if it was going to get chilly later, so I pulled a hoodie from the drawer and tied it around my waist.
"Here, take some water and some energy bars with you." Mom dropped them into my backpack.
"Thanks, Mom, have fun tonight!" I gave her a kiss on the cheek, then ran to catch up with Jack who was already waiting for me outside.
I had a weird feeling about going into the woods. The thought of having a tour guide only eased my mind a little. I had an uneasy feeling that something significant was going to happen out there, but I couldn't for the life of me figure out what it might be.