"Don't tell me the moon is shining; show me the glint of light on broken glass." Anton Chekhov


Wednesday, June 5, 2013

27. Links In The Chain

     Lily had a vague sensation of floating, dimly realized she was being lifted, held in strong arms for a moment, then gently lowered to the sofa.  Her head felt fuzzy, her thoughts muddled and confused, but the queasy rolling of her stomach concerned her most. Had she gotten some weird strain of flu? Her heart raced as the Halloween party came into focus, clearing some of the fog from her mind. What if it was food poisoning? There were so many people at the party, this could be a disaster! When she moaned, the two voices talking above her abruptly stopped. Two voices?

     “Lily?” At the sound of one she recognized, a maelstrom of pictures, thoughts and emotions began to swirl through her mind. What was happening?  What had he done to her? In the flickering images she saw herself--though not the self she was now--but a different self at other times, older times.  And through it all, as the past rolled behind her eyelids, he was there.  Always there.  Daniel Valentine.

     “Here.”  Now the other voice, gruff, deep, then a murmured thank you, and a cool, wet cloth was carefully laid over her forehead. Lily kept her eyes closed. Once she opened them, acknowledged that this was real, there would be no going back, no pretending this was a nightmare or mistaken identity; she wouldn't be able to deny that her life had just blown apart.

     “I'm sorry, Lily,” Daniel whispered near her ear, “so sorry. I didn’t mean to hurt you. I didn’t know the book would do…whatever that was. I need to explain how—”

     “Why don’t you explain to me while we wait for her to regain her senses?”

     “Taurin, I knew if anyone was coming for me, it would be you, but I can’t deal with that right now. I have to tell Lily—” Daniel’s voice broke. Lily heard him swallow, then he said, with an unmistakable menace, “I must speak with Lily, I have to protect her, and I will fight you, Taurin, with everything I am if you try to take me before I can do that.”

     Feeling the growing tension in the silence that followed Daniel’s words, Lily opened her eyes before things could get any worse.  She didn’t know who this Taurin guy was, but until she knew what was going on, nobody was going anywhere. The first thing she saw was Daniel, kneeling on the floor next to the sofa, one hand gripping the edge of the coffee table, the other in a fist next to her hip as if he were about to rise to his feet. His head was turned away as the two men scowled at each other, but when the stranger's gaze dropped and met hers, Daniel's head swung back around.

     Eyes roaming over her face, Daniel was more than pleased to see Lily was awake, alert…and it seemed very angry. Glaring, she snatched the cloth off her forehead and made as if to sit up. Before she could move however, he held her in place by running the back of his hand down her cheek as he softly murmured, “God, Lily, I was so scared.” Leaning over, stealing just a tiny moment in time, he touched his forehead to hers, his relief that she wasn’t hurt, or worse, making his head swim.

     Lily knew this man. He was familiar and comforting and oh, how she wanted to just let him take care of—

     “Get off me,” she barked, pushing at his shoulder. Daniel moved to the coffee table and sat facing her, unwilling to go too far. Lily sat up, shot him another irate look, then raised her head to glare at the other man, who looked like some kind of ancient warrior. “Who are you?”

     With an elegant bow, Taurin introduced himself. “Taurin Galatius, my lady, at your service.” At Lily’s snort, he grinned broadly. “You appear to be recovering well from your ordeal,” he remarked.

     Before Lily could respond, she noticed her front door, which was not only wide open, but had a distinctive crack in the wood around the knob and lock mechanism. Eyes narrowed, she hissed, “What happened to my door?”

     Taurin walked into the little foyer and quietly closed it. “It will need to be repaired, but look,” he said helpfully, “it still latches.”

     Lily fought the urge to just walk out of the room, crawl into bed and pull the covers over her head, hoping her life would be back to normal when she woke up in the morning. She looked from one man to the other, then said calmly, “Would one of you please hand me the phone?”

     Taurin took it out of the charging station and gave it to her. “I hope you’re not thinking about calling the cops,” Daniel said quietly, “because that would definitely require some serious explaining.”

     Ignoring him, Lily punched 1 on her speed dial. Two rings, three.  If she needed anyone right now, it was Katy.


     Dom was still standing at the window, his thoughts murderous, when two small arms encircled him. He smiled, the darkness receding.  For now.  Turning, he pulled Katy up into his arms, and after she’d wrapped her legs around his waist, he nuzzled into her delicious, intoxicating neck before gently biting the sweet spot where her shoulder began to curve.

     “Did you miss me, Red?” he murmured against her skin.

     “The bed got cold.” She kissed him. “You said you would be right back.” She pouted.
     Sucking the pouting bottom lip into his mouth, Dom began to walk toward the bedroom, but before they had made it across the living room, they were both startled at the overwhelmingly loud rendition of the William Tell overture that blasted into the quiet, early morning silence.  It took Dom a moment to realize what it was.

     Katy unwound her legs and slid down his body. “That’s Lily,” she said, walking quickly toward the phone. “Why would she be calling this late?”

     As she answered, Dom stood close, curling his hand around the back of her neck, not just for the contact, but to hear the conversation. Knowing the Hound was here and his father was no doubt on the way, it was imperative he stayed ahead in the game.

     “Lily? What’s happened? Is something wrong at the store? Are you sick? Is it your par—”

     “I need you to come,” Lily interrupted, not sounding like herself at all.

     “What is it?” Katy was already moving toward the bedroom, Dom at her heels.

     “I’ll explain when you get here, but I need you. Now.”

     Katy heard something odd in the background. “Is someone there?" Stopping so suddenly Dom almost ran her over, Katy cocked her head, listening intently. “Lil, why am I hearing two guys arguing?” Her voice dropped and with a tight whisper, she asked, “Lily, I’ll be there in ten minutes.  Should I call the police?”

     “No!” Lily cried.  Taking a deep breath, she said quietly, “No, I don't think that will help at all.  I'm fine, really.  I just need you to—”

     There was a sudden burst of noise that Katy thought sounded like Lily’s front door had just crashed open, then Lily shrieked, the two guys yelled, and the phone went dead.

     Staring wide-eyed at Dominic, Katy’s voice trembled. “Oh god, oh god, Dom.” He tried to gather her close, but amazingly was thrust aside as Katy ran into her bedroom, threw on whatever clothes were handy, and was heading toward the door while Dom stood naked at the threshold of her bedroom, still wondering how such a tiny woman had managed to shove him out of her way.

     As Katy reached for the doorknob, Dom shouted, “Stop!” Katy turned in surprise as he said brusquely, “Stay right there. Do. Not. Move.” Dancing with impatience, she opened her mouth to argue, but he said roughly, “You will not leave this apartment without me. There are…things that prowl the night. You will wait for me, Katy!”

     “Okay, but please, Dom, hurry,” Katy begged. As he rushed into the bedroom, she quickly braided her hair, heart pounding with anxiety and fear, though in a matter of moments, Dom was back. He yanked her against him, gave her a possessive kiss, then took her hand and they raced down the stairs.


  1. I think the things that prowl the night are a little busy with the plot advancement of the next part to bother with Jude...excuse me, Dom's, girlfriend. Just saying ;p.

    1. I'm sorry...what? Jude who? You ass, now I have that blasted song running through my head again. ;DD

      Poor DOM, he just can't help being all possessive and manly because he knows exactly what prowls.

      First twist coming...in fact just crashed through Lily's front door. Totally surprised me. I love that about writing when the characters just take over.

    2. [Insert evil cackle here...] Just be exceedingly grateful I didn't mention the whole Jude thing during your sex scene. You might've been making remarks about my parentage ;p.

      My parents were married...eventually...

      About your characters; my friend, the gypsy, once warned me [my] characters might not do what was expected, but ain't that half the fun of it?

      Looking forward, as always, to the next part...

    3. Actually I deleted several comments about your apparent obsession with Jude, and yeah, I'm pretty sure your lack of legitimacy WAS mentioned... ;D

      Part of writing for me is going with the flow. Sounds like hippy-speak, but when I've tried to steer the plot contrary to where it wants to go? Epic fail. Much more exciting to roll with it.

      Shouldn't be too long...[bwah hahaha]