** Continuation of November 5th, 2010 post. Please click here for Chapter 7.
“You’re certain she isn’t a demon?” A male voice with an accent that I couldn’t place cut through the fog in my head as my mind began to wake up. The rest of me hadn’t caught up yet and for the split second it took for my body to join the awake party I thought I might be in heaven.
“No. She’s human, for the most part, with a demon inside.” Dr. Martals. This voice I knew well and clearly, if she was here – I wasn’t dead. Damn. Wait. Hold the phone. With a demon inside? Mofo was still along for the ride? Oh jeebus cripes someone help a sister out. “Touch her and see for yourself. She’s in a coma, Rae. The woman is as harmless as a baby.”
The part of me that wasn’t freaking out about still having Shadekar along for the ride wanted to laugh at the exasperated tone in Celine’s voice when she told whoever this Rae person was to touch me. I knew that tone well since she’d directed it at me, several times over the years.
“Fine. You say she isn’t evil and I’ll take your word for it.” I recognized Celine’s satisfied noise and grinned inwardly until the next set of words reached my ears. “Is she safe to be moved or do you want me to heal her before you do so?” Stranger say what? Heal me? Every nerve and synapse in my brain was firing on full as I tried to figure out what the hell was going on.
I called on every reserve of energy I had and opened my eyes only to slam them shut again when they came into contact with a pair of blue ones the color of the sky after a summer storm.
I could hear Shade cursing in the back of my mind after having seen the man Dr. Martals called Rae and wondered why he was freaking out. “Does Rae freak you out a bit? What’s so special about the new guy that’s got Mister I’m-big-and-bad quaking in his…Well, you don’t have any boots.” Surprisingly, I didn’t get an answer. For once, Chatty Cathy was silent and I opened my eyes again to gaze at the person, creature, whatever that had accomplished what I’d tried to do for years.
“Ardy, sweetie? Can you hear me?” My gaze shifted to Dr. Martals and I gave her a blink of recognition. “Oh good. This is my friend Rae from the sanctuary I told you about. I know you’re probably confused and in pain but we really don’t have time to explain. There have been some unsavory characters hanging about and we need to move you to the Abbey before they come back. Rae’s going to put you back to sleep and when you wake up again you’ll be settled in your new room.”
Even if I’d been able to formulate a reply fast enough it would have been too slow to beat the touch of Rae’s hand on my foot and the wave of fatigue that blanketed me and drove me back into the oblivion of comatose sleep once more. The last things to register in my mind were the sound of Shade screaming and a male gasp of recognition as the blackness enveloped me.
Brody had gone through the satchel when he’d returned home and had been heartbroken at the contents of it. A few pieces of extremely well worn clothing, toiletries in a large zippered plastic freezer bag and a notebook with a pen stuck in the spiral coils of its spine were all that he found. The first few things told him that Ardeur had been living on the run but the notebook told him just how bad things had been for her as he cracked it open and began to sift through the pages.
The first entry was a date seven years earlier and he read the words, incredulous at the tale that unfolded in rounded girlish lettering. Page after page of loneliness, desperation and courage in the face of every possible kind of adversity he could imagine. The random mentions of his name throughout the pages brought a smile to his lips each time he saw it spelled out in her round, loopy scrawl. She hadn’t forgotten him either despite all of the shit life had dealt her.
He’d gotten through roughly nine months of entries when his breath hitched at the words on the next page. April 24, 2005. Today is Brody’s 21st birthday… Son of a bitch. She had been six years old the last time they’d seen each other but she had remembered his birthday fifteen years later and celebrated it without him.
Unfolding his six foot four inch frame from the chair he’d been sitting in, Brody moved to put the book down on his coffee table when a rectangle of paper slipped from the pages and floated to the floor. Strong agile fingers picked up the card and turned it over. Dr. Celine Martals, M.D. It gave the address to a clinic a few blocks over and a phone number.
He looked at himself in the mirror across the room and smiled triumphantly, dimples flashing on either side of his mouth. The staff at the hospital had been keeping a close eye on anyone who tried to visit Ardeur and he hadn’t been able to pay her a visit, let alone find out how she was doing. Now, he had the name of a doctor she’d clearly been to see and maybe a way to find out how she was doing.
Grabbing his coat on the way to the door, Brody headed out to the hospital for one more shot at paying his childhood friend a visit.
“She’ll be angry when she wakes up. I sense a shitload of confusion from her, Remiele and the demon isn’t happy either. He recognizes, and fears me.”
“I understand. Wake the girl and let’s have at it then.”
Rae laid his big left hand on the much smaller right one of the woman in the bed and let an infinitesimal burst of energy rush from his hand to hers. He stood back next to his sister and watched while the small glow of power flowed up the right arm, through torso and limbs until; finally, it covered the woman from head to toe.
My eyes flew open in a panic and I was off the bed, crouched in a defensive position before I knew what was going on.
The tall man I recognized as Rae from the hospital room was standing next to the most beautiful woman I’d ever seen in my life. They made a striking couple but I’d learned early on that looks were deceiving. Rae stood tall at what I approximated was six foot four inches with cropped blue black hair that he wore messy and hanging over his stormy blue eyes. His nose was straight over a soft, full mouth with just a hint of a pout to the lower lip. I was sure that if he stepped in front of her, he would have completely eclipsed his companion with the sheer size of him. He could have passed for any of the frat boys I’d seen on the streets in his jeans, polo shirt and loafers.
My gaze shifted to the model beautiful woman with the jet black curls in the pink knit dress and stilettos. Every inch of her screamed super model but the soft, benevolent expression on her face told me that she wasn’t. I looked up into her eyes and realized then that they were the same storm tossed blue as Rae’s. Another careful examination of her features proved what I’d begun to suspect. A smaller, more feminine version of the straight nose and full mouth with a delicate, creamier complexion compared to her brother’s more tanned, swarthy skin.
“You’re brother and sister?” They nodded to confirm my suspicion. “Okay. Brother and sister what? I know you can’t be human because Shade is quiet and he is never quiet unless something bad for him is around.”
Rae stepped forward and held up his hand in what I assumed he meant to be a calming gesture but earned him a raised eyebrow instead. “Your demon is quiet, Ardeur because we’ve been supplementing your shielding while you were asleep. He’ll be back to continue tormenting you shortly I’m sure.”
I was on the cusp of giving him a peevish look when it suddenly dawned on me that I was standing, under my own power and pain free after being mowed down by a speeding BMW. All thoughts of what kind of creatures my two visitors might be fled my mind as I examined myself for injuries. “How long was I out for?”
The raven haired beauty stepped forward with caution. “You were in the hospital for three days before Celine called us to come fetch you and you’ve been here, at the Abbey, for a few hours while we got you settled and healed.” She held out a slim, elegant hand and waited for me to take it in greeting. “I am Remiele and, to answer your question, my brothers and I are angels.”
Remiele’s last word caught my attention and suddenly I knew why Shadekar had freaked out at the sight of Rae and was keeping mum in his corner of my head. My eyes lit up and I gave the two angels the biggest, happiest smile I could manage. “Thank god.”
A bark of surprised laughter drew my attention back to Rae and I cocked an eyebrow at him in question. He scratched the edge of his jaw and threw me a sheepish look. “While I’m sure the Shepherd would be happy that you are thankful to him, you could probably have left out the curse word and he would have been just as appreciative.”
“Jeebus cripes. I can’t curse here?” My eyes swept the non-descript room which contained nothing more than a dresser, a double bed flanked by a wooden night table on one side and a chair on the other. “Where is here? Where’s Celine?”
The floor beneath our feet was highly polished oak and Remiele’s stilettos oddly made very little noise as she crossed the room and pulled the heavy drapes aside for me to see out of the large mullioned windows. I joined her and looked out to see a courtyard with beautiful landscaping below us surrounded by several bricked buildings. “Welcome to Mount Angel Abbey. You are in the part of the abbey that the Benedictine monks have allotted to us as a safe house for people, such as yourself, who need someplace to go to escape. As for Celine’s whereabouts – she’s at her clinic in town. You won’t see her again.”
“Dr. Martals is our liaison and sends those in need in our direction. She doesn’t come here so that people, such as your pursuers, don’t find us.”
My eyes turned back up to look at the beautiful angels before I stepped back and let the curtain fall back into place. “People such as myself. Are there other people here now?”
An exchange of glances was made between the two angels before Rae finally spoke with a small shake of his head. “The one you’re looking for isn’t here.” He held up his hand when I moved to interrupt him and continued, “Celine told us of the one you seek while you slept. You must have trusted her very much to share that bit of your life with her.”
A low grumble from my stomach saved me from having to respond or acknowledge the comment about my trusting Celine.
They’d said I’d been asleep for three days which meant I hadn’t eaten in four, no, five days. When you barely tipped the scales at a hundred and ten pounds, five days with no food in your belly was not a good thing.
“Are you hungry?” Remiele grinned at my sarcastic look and motioned for me to follow her and Rae out of the room. “Of course you are. You were unconscious for three days and you probably haven’t eaten since lunch on the day of your accident.” She continued talking and missed my muttering about it having been five days since I’d eaten last. Rae, however, didn’t miss it and gave me a sharp look which I responded to with a shrug.
He hung back and shortened his strides to match mine while his sister strode on ahead to the kitchen. I looked up at Rae from my considerably lower vantage point and blinked at him as we walked. “It’s not the first time I go this long without food and it probably won’t be the last time either.”
Rae’s hand came down to rest on my arm and he stepped in front of me effectively stopping my progress toward the kitchen. “You will not go hungry here, Ardeur. If you’re hungry you can help yourself to anything we have in the kitchen or ask and one of us will be happy to cook for you.” The protest from my stomach was louder this time and the look I gave him spoke volumes. “Alright. I’ll take you to the kitchen and feed the grumble in your belly. Then you can tell me what Celine didn’t.”
I returned to my room two hours later, several pounds heavier for all I’d eaten without having given up any of my secrets despite Rae and Remiele’s best efforts to pull what information they could from me. Someone had turned on the bedside lamp and turned down the bed while I was gone and I made a mental note to speak with Rae the following day about this practice. No one was to enter my room when I was not there. My things, meager as they were, were mine and I could not afford to have any of them taken.
Trust issues much? Me? Not at all.
The lack of light from the hospital room doorway was the first indication that something was up as Brody strode down the hall toward the room at the end. When the charge nurse didn’t jump up from behind the desk and run after him to stop his progress he scented the air and realized why they were leaving him to make his way to Ardeur’s room. She wasn’t there. The bed was stripped and any sign of Ardy or her tangerine smell were gone.
He growled out a curse and spun on the heel of his boot back toward the nurse’s station. Sunglasses covered his eyes and the telltale amber glow as his wolf paced just below the surface. “Where is she? The blonde in the end room. Where was she moved to?”
The young redhead, clearly fresh out of nursing school, nearly jumped out of her skin at the menacing growl that rumbled from Brody’s chest. She swallowed her nerve and stared at him wide eyed. “Dr. Martals had her moved this morning. Said she was taking her to a private clinic. They left a few hours ago.”
Brody couldn’t smell the acrid scent of a lie on her and gave her a terse nod before marching back out of the hospital to the gunmetal black mustang that he’d rented as soon as he’d been discharged from the military. Tires screeched on the pavement as he pulled out of the parking lot and drove the nine miles back to Tigard and Dr. Martals’ clinic.
A tone sounded inside the clinic when Brody pushed the door open and stepped in to the waiting room which was surprisingly empty for the time of day. He found the nurse behind the double layers of glass and flashed his charmers smile before he pulled off his sunglasses and walked over to the counter. Brody hitched Ardeur’s satchel back up over his shoulder and glanced over to the doorway that led back to the exam rooms when he heard an indrawn breath of surprise.
A petite brunette in a white coat strode over and wrapped her hand around the strap of the bag. “Where did you get that? Where did you find that bag?”
A smooth, dark eyebrow cocked upward as Brody looked down at the woman. “Dr. Martals, I assume?” The brunette nodded and he relaxed a fraction. “Can we go to your office and talk? I need to know if Ardeur is okay.”
“Come with me. Julie, hold my calls for the next hour please?”
Brody waited until the doctor had closed the office door and sat down behind her desk before folding himself down into one of the chairs across from her. He placed Ardeur’s bag on the chair next to his and turned his attention to the woman who was patiently waiting for him to settle himself. “Ardy never mentioned that you are a werewolf.”
Her words snapped him to full attention and Brody scented the air. “Psychic.” The doctor nodded and he gave a short bark of laughter. “Shouldn’t surprise me that a necromancer would find a psychic for a doctor. As for the other, she didn’t know. I didn’t go through my first shift until six years after she disappeared.”
He rubbed the back of his neck with his left hand and then laid it on Ardy’s bag as if it needed protecting. “Is she okay? They said at the hospital that you had her moved to a private clinic.”
Celine took in the protective posture and the obvious concern for her friend and patient. “Get comfortable, Brody, I have a story to tell you and then you can decide if you want to go find Ardeur or leave and go on with your life.”
Come back on November 7th, 2010 for a look at Chapter 9 of Possession is Nine Tenths – Ardeur.
Copyright © 2010 Danielle Gavan
All rights reserved. This is a work of fiction. All names, characters, locations, and incidents are products of the author’s imagination, or have been used fictionally. Any resemblance to actual persons living or dead, locales, or events is entirely coincidental. No portion of this work may be transmitted or reproduced in any form, or by any means, without permission in writing from the author.