As I opened the front door to leave, Dane grabbed my arm gently. “Look, I don’t know anything about your life or the people you grew up around, but we tend to do things a little differently around here.
I offered you a place to stay; that means I don’t expect any kind of payment.” His voice was so gentle when he spoke to me. I stood frozen in place; why was he being so nice to me? No one did anything for free, not anymore, so what was he expecting from me? I tried to discreetly wipe away a few stray tears, to no avail.
God, what was with me! I swear I have been on the verge of crying ever since I met this man! I’m not one to cry in front of people, especially men. Dane slowly turned me around to face him, “Talk to me, please.” He asked quietly as he, once again, wiped my tears away. I shook my head, “Why in the hell are you being so nice to me? You don’t even know me?”
He smiled, “I like to think I’m a nice person, and as I told you earlier…you are my mate…so there is absolutely nothing I wouldn’t do for you.” I groaned internally as his fingers left a trail of sparks across my face. His smile was so mesmerizing.
Then I snapped back to reality… mate… that damn word again. “Okay, look, I need to know what that means.” I looked at him, trying to focus on anything except his scent that seemed to swirl around me.
He sighed, “Okay, how about this—you stay the night here, and in the morning, me and momma will come and talk to you over breakfast? If you decide to leave, I will take you to your car, though I hope you will decide to stay.” I nodded in agreement as I walked back over to the couch and plopped down, letting my bag fall onto the floor beside my feet.
“Make yourself at home. The kitchen is stocked, and you help yourself to anything you find here. If there is anything you need, just flash the porch light, and I’ll be right over. Okay?” he stared at me, well, more like stared into my soul and beyond. I could get lost in his eyes. I smiled, thanking him as he walked out and shut the front door.
After a few moments, I decided to explore the house. Each room was just as stunning as the living room. This place was huge, and it was so quiet out here. I usually enjoyed the silence, but this was too quiet.
There were four guest bedrooms and a master bedroom, and a total of three bathrooms, counting the master. I grabbed my bag from the living room and walked into the master bathroom. It had the most enormous jacuzzi bathtub I have ever seen.
At least six adults could fit in it comfortably. The floor and walls were covered in shiny white tile with a hint of grey. The grey almost looked like smoke swirls drifting across them. I sat my bag down on top of the grey marble counters as I looked around in awe.
As I turned on the bathtub faucet, I found that someone had placed new shampoo bottles, conditioner, bubble bath, bath oil, bath salts, and lotions in a basket next to the tub.
They must refill this after each guest to have it ready for the next person. I pulled the bubble bath out and put a good-sized squirt into the bathtub. Soon the whole room smelt like warm apples with a faint hint of cinnamon and vanilla.
I swear I heard growling outside the bathroom window as I lay in the bath soaking. I held my breath as fear started taking over. It fell silent again, and I wasn’t sure if I really even heard anything. Just as I was beginning to relax again, a loud growl erupted, even louder than the first one. I jumped, deciding my bath was over, and quickly dressed and made my way out into the bedroom.
I sighed as I fell back onto the king-sized bed. I curled up between the grey silk sheets and the grey and white fluffy comforter. This bed was so soft it felt like I had just laid down on a damn cloud. I loved it, and so did my aching body.
I was starving, but I didn’t want to move for two reasons; one, this bed was beyond comfortable, and second, I was kind of scared after hearing the growling outside. A howl in the distance brought me out of my thoughts.
Okay, comfortable or not, I can not be here. I’ll admit I’m easily scared and, yes, I might be scared of the dark too. I know, stupid, right, but it’s true. I lay, hiding under the blankets, trying to decide what to do.
Should I flip on the porch light and insist he takes me to my car or just try sleeping in the living room with the lights on? At least if something decided to try and come in to eat me, I could try to escape out the front door.
I sat up and wrapped the comforter and sheet around my body, and grabbed a pillow before running as fast as I could down the hall back into the living room. I quickly turned on the lights and laid down on the couch, curling back up in the blankets.
The sofa was not as comfortable as the bed, but it was still nice. It was way better than the old mattress I slept on at my old apartment. Just as I started to doze off, I heard some shuffling outside near the front porch.
Okay, that’s it. I have to go. I am not built for living in the middle of nowhere. Fully alert and completely freaked out, I ran to the light switch and started flashing the porch light off and on. I have no idea how late it is, but, my luck, Dane is already asleep, and I will be stuck hiding in a closet till morning.
I flashed the porch light a few times before sitting down and waiting. Unfortunately, this gave my mind way too much time to come up with explanations for just about everything. Within seconds, I had myself convinced a rabid coyote was trying to get into the house to devour me. I felt like my heart was going to beat out of my chest.
The more I thought about my heart rate being so high I started to hyperventilate. Well, at least if I pass out from lack of oxygen, I won’t know when the rabid coyote kills me, I thought to myself.
A loud banging on the door made me scream right before the whole thing came flying off its hinges. Dane came running in, scanning the room until he found me. Relief flooded through me when I realized it was him and not some wild animal here to finish me off.
He rushed over to me, his eyes full of worry, “What happened? Are you okay?” he questioned as he tried to look me over. His hand brushed a few strands of hair from my face, and I leaned into his touch. Safe. That’s what I feel now. I could feel my heart rate slowing down and my breathing becoming steadier. Dane sat looking at me silently as his hand caressed the side of my face.
I opened my eyes, meeting his gaze, and felt so stupid all of a sudden. Oh my god, this man was probably asleep, and I woke him up because I was scared of what? Some wild animals outside!? Jeez, I probably look so pathetic right now.
“Are you okay?” he asked me again. I could feel the blood rush to my cheeks as embarrassment flooded through me, “I’m sorry. I’m so sorry. It’s just that it is so dark and quiet out here, and then I was taking a bath, and I swear I heard something growl outside the bathroom window…not once but twice… and then I went to sleep on the couch, and I could hear something walking around on the front porch and then my mind just kind of ran away, and I just freaked out.” I cast my eyes down, unable to look at him anymore, waiting for him to laugh at me. But he never did.
I looked up at him and was a little surprised to find he looked furious. God, he’s pissed. “I’m sorry,” I started apologizing as tears burned my eyes, “I just…it’s been a long few weeks…I’m sorry for bothering you.” I turned, trying to hide my face from him; I knew I should have just hidden in the closet till morning. Then I realized I had just said that out loud as he gently grabbed my face, forcing me to look at him.
“I’m not mad at you. You said you heard growling outside the bathroom window while you were taking a bath?” he asked me through gritted teeth. I nodded my head, still embarrassed about this whole ordeal. He seemed to zone out for a minute before he smiled at me, “Were you really thinking about hiding in a closet until morning?” I knew my cheeks burned a bright red now, “Okay, I didn’t mean to say that out loud, but yes, I was going to! I thought a rabid coyote was trying to get in to eat me!!” I tried to explain myself, but it did sound kind of ridiculous when I said it out loud. We both bust out laughing at my admission. “Would it make you feel better if I stayed out here with you?” he asked softly.