Meet Me in the Woods

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Chapter 20

The song for the chapter is Enchanted by Taylor Swift

The rain turns to ice and a winter storm moves in quickly. I become worried as the snow builds up rapidly on the ground. Everyone makes their way home but I am not sure I can get to my father in this weather.

Nik convinces me that the fastest way home is to let him shift and ride him home. The thought embarrasses me and he laughs at my modesty. He says it’s not a big deal. I roll my eyes.

“Come on, Ellie. It’s getting dangerous out here. Let me get you home. If we don’t go now you might be stuck here and your father needs to hear what Raven said to you.”

“Okay, fine!” He laughs.

“Relax. I am happy to have you ride me. In fact I’d be even happier if we were in our bed, naked while you did.”

“Nik! Someone will here you.” My face is scarlet from the crude remark.

He shifts and bends down. I climb up as gently as I can. When I settle on his back he let’s out a satisfied sigh and I nudge him. He cackles and I can’t help but smile. He takes off through the snow and his giant paws leave deep indentions. At this point the snow is already inches deep. I snuggle into his warm fur and shield my eyes from the bitter wind. I definitely should have worn pants.

When we make it to the clearing gramps meets us there. He has a blanket and wraps me up while Nik puts his clothes back on. We notice a silver SUV in the driveway and Nik growls.

“Calm down would you? We have visitors and I think you’ll be interested in what they have to say.” Nik glares at the cabin and we walk hand in hand.

My family sits in the living room and my father is in his wheelchair next to mom. They hold hands and I hear them laughing with a couple I don’t recognize.

The man is tall with chocolate skin. He has a genuine smile on his face when he sees us. He’s seems like the type of person who makes you feel right at home even if he doesn’t know you. The woman next to him has dark curls that reach her shoulders and hazel eyes. She is almost as tall as the man and they both look like models.

She smiles at me and I tentatively smile back. Nik just glares at them both which they pay no mind to. Gramps leads us to the living room and dad holds a question in his eyes that I don’t want to answer in front of these strangers.

“It’s okay, Elliana. They know.”

“You told them?” Nik asks angrily.

“Nikan, this is Raza and Mackenzie. They are both doctors who travel across the states to reservations and tribes. They have come with some intriguing news.” Mom says brightly. Her red hair is pulled back and her freckles aren’t hidden by make up making her look young again.

“How do you know them?” I ask curiously.

“Raza found me when I went from doctor to doctor looking for an answer to the sickness. He saw my charts and began to tell me he had seen this before. We’ve been friends for years.” The man smiles at father kindly.

“Your father called me to tell me goodbye and I came as quickly as I could. You see, my wife and I knew a man named Amell. He was the chief of a tribe in the Dakotas. He was a great man and brought one of his shifters to me. We weren’t able to stop the madness that took over some from the loss of a mate but we have figured out a way to slow down the physical sickness.”

“Sounds too good to be true.” Nik tells him and I have to agree.

“It has taken many years for us to figure it out. I’ve only just recently perfected the formula. We have traveled to tribes all over the states and given them care. Many of those tribes are only known to Native Americans.”

“So what’s in it for you?” Nik raises a thick brow in suspicion. Raza smiles sadly.

“I get to help sick people.”

“Aren’t you a Good Samaritan.” Nik rolls his eyes and I elbow him. His rude remarks won’t help us get answers.

“His mother was the mate of Amell. She died of Heartbreak when he was killed in combat.” Mackenzie says bitterly as she eyes Nik. Nik finally has nothing else to say.

“I’m sorry.” I say and he smiles melancholy.

“Since her death I’ve spent every day trying to use my medical skills to find a cure. Mac and I finally found a way to slow the physical sickness but we’ve yet to cure the madness.”

“We’ve come to give you more time Greyson.” Mackenzie says and mom and I look at each other with hope.

“I-I’m not sure if I want it.” Mom tries not to look disappointed but I see the pain in her eyes before they flicker to the floor.

“Daddy, please. Give us at least Christmas to be with you. I’m not ready to say goodbye, especially now when a cure is known.”

“It’s not exactly a cure, but it will give you time.” Raza says gently.

Nik stares into nothingness and I realize someone is calling to his mind. He takes me into the kitchen for privacy.

“Look, I have to go help get supplies to everyone. The storm is going to keep us shut in awhile. The good news is it’ll give me time to talk to my father about this and lone wolves will keep out for now. I’ll be back tonight. I don’t like the idea of you here with people I don’t know. Especially when they’ve come with some magical cure.” He rolls his eyes. It does seem to good to be true but I can’t help but hope for my father and for the shifters. I wish Robert were here still. They could have helped him.

“I love you, Ellie. I’ll be back soon.” He kisses me fervently and wraps his hands around my waist. He pushes me against the counter and I fist my hands into his button down shirt.

“I love you. Be safe and come back to me.” He smiles and runs out into the freezing cold.

After a few hours of getting to know them better I feel like they are to be trusted. I can’t help but feel they are sincere. Raza grew up on a reservation and they are clearly passionate about medicine. As everyone gets ready for bed dad and I talk.

“Did you feel her?”

“She spoke to me dad. So clearly. It was beautiful, really. She said she has heard you calling to her and that she’s watching over me. She said she needs you to wait because I need to convince the council to let you be buried next to her and you have to have a tribal ceremony to find her spirit.”

He is speechless for a moment and then his eyes fill with pain.

“They’ll never agree.” He says sadly.

“Look, the storm is going to delay the ceremony which makes Nik chief. I need you to take that cure, or whatever it is, while I convince them to let you have peace with your mate. Will you do that if not for me then for Raven?”

“I will do it.” I sigh in relief.

Nik comes to me in the middle of the night. The clock on the wall reads 2:05 am. He undresses and slides under the quilt with me. I snuggle into his warm chest.

“How are you so warm after being in that storm all this time?”

“Shifter perks.” I feel him grin as he tucks my head into his chest.

“Get some sleep Nik. You need to rest.” I say but he’s already snoring loud as a bear. I laugh gently and kiss his bare skin. I love this man more than anything and I can’t wait to be his in every way possible.

“I love you, Nikan.” I whisper. He stirs and hugs me tighter as we fall into a blissful sleep. I’m reminded as I drift that even on the most painful days love will get us through.
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