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No Matter the Time, II...an Alternate Love Story
She was laying against him, her head on his shoulder. He was snoring softly, they had taken another trip Around the World. He insisted that she take a warm bath immediately after, once again holding a hot, wet cloth against her body to ease the soreness. He was so gentle, and kind, and generous…she held her hand up, could see the diamond sparkle in the dim light that peeked around the closed curtains on the window…very generous! He was fun to be with, made her feel like the most beautiful, special woman in the world…how had she gotten so lucky? She snuggled against him, felt his arm tighten around her. She pressed her lips to his chest, then closed her eyes and drifted to sleep.
A A A A A A
The ringing of the phone woke him. He accepted the wake-up call, though he was not willing to get out of bed just yet. The thought of getting on the plane in seven hours tore at his heart, tied his stomach in knots. It was only for a week, maybe not even that long. He gently kissed her forehead. He wanted to make love to her, one more time before he had to go. He had to smile, they had been in bed more than out of it since coming to this room after dinner on Tuesday. He couldn’t get enough of her…holding her, smelling her, tasting her…feeling her. Never before had he been so…needy. Not even with Sha’re. That love had been sweet, almost innocent. Casey brought out needs in him that he didn’t even know existed.
She opened her eyes, looked up into deep blue ones. "‘Morning, lover," she said sleepily.
She frowned. Oh no. It couldn’t be! It wasn’t due for two more days! "I’ll be right back," she whispered.
Daniel smiled, watched her walk into the bathroom. He was on his feet in a flash when he heard her cry out. "Casey? What’s wrong? Are you all right?" He thought he heard a sniffle. Oh, god, he had hurt her last night…how badly? He panicked. "Babe, talk to me!"
"It’s not fair!" she wailed from behind the closed door. "Could you hand me my purse, please? She refused to open the door any farther than what it took to get her oversized purse to her.
"Casey, what’s wrong?" he demanded.
"It’s…I…oh, hell. I guess the upside is I know I’m not pregnant," she said.
Not pregnant? What the hell…oh. He smiled. Relief flooded over him. "It’s okay, babe, really."
She came out of the bathroom, her eyes still wet, just a bit puffy from crying. "I wanted to make love once more before you left," she said, dropping her eyes and blushing slightly.
He wrapped his arms around her. "Come back to bed, let me just hold you. That’s all I need," he said. Okay, that wasn’t all he needed, but it would do.
"I can…you know…if you want me to," she said shyly.
The thought of one of her amazing blowjobs made his cock stir. No, he wouldn’t do that to her. It would be great for him, but leave her…unfulfilled. "Thanks for the offer, babe. As tempting as it is, I can survive until I get back next week."
She hugged him tightly. "I’m going to miss you like crazy," she whispered.
"Me, too, babe," he replied in kind.
They took a shower together, gently washing one another, then went to the nearby IHOP for breakfast. Casey was quiet, doing nothing more than pushing her food around her plate.
"Casey, you have to eat," he said softly.
"I can eat…later." She turned her head as tears welled up in her eyes.
He took a small notebook from the pocket of his sports jacket, wrote out three numbers. "Babe, this is the number to the apartment, this is my cell, and this is for General Hammond. If you need to get a message to me for any reason, just call him. He’ll see that it gets to me."
She nodded, took the paper and studied it for a minute. "You’ll call me as soon as you get home?"
"The second I’m in the door."
She nodded again. She took the notebook from him, carefully wrote down the number to the apartment.
"Love you, Casey," he said gently.
She smiled. "Love you, too, Daniel."
The sky was overcast, thick heavy clouds of various shades of gray filled the sky. Which matched her mood perfectly. She gathered the few things in the room that she had brought, watching him pack his bag. She stared at the ring on her finger. No man would put out that kind of money for a ring and then just walk away. Especially not Daniel. He loved her. She could feel it, could see it in his eyes. But the fear refused to be totally subdued.
"I’ll be back some time next week," he said quietly, as if he were reading her mind. She would still want him, then, right? She had a ring on her finger, he had seen the love in her eyes, could feel it when he held her.
"I’ll be here, waiting for you," she replied softly.
"Think about what kind of wedding you want. We’ll get married as soon as we can," he said.
She nodded. "Okay. Daniel…if…if you decide that you…if you change your mind…"
He looked over at her, saw the fear in her eyes. He crossed the room and pulled her into his embrace. "Never. I’ll never change my mind. You own me, Casey, heart, mind, body and soul. I’ll be back, and when I leave the next time, you’re coming with me."
She let his arms comfort her, his words caress her heavy heart. She buried her face against his neck.
He had to check in early, so they left for the airport. Casey insisted that he drive, and turned the radio on, found a station she liked, and sang softly with the songs that she knew.
She walked to the gate with him, his arm around her shoulders, hers around his waist. They sat together, not speaking, just holding onto one another’s hands. When his flight was called, her heart nearly broke. "I’ll miss you."
"I’ll miss you too, babe," he replied. "Love you."
He kissed her, then gave his ticket to the agent who stood in front of the jetway. He was halfway down the narrow corridor when he turned around and came back. He nodded at the agent, grabbed Casey, kissed her one last time. "I’ll be back, I promise. Just be ready to go, babe. I love you."
"I’ll be ready. I love you," she whispered.
He held her for a moment longer, unconcerned about the people moving past them, not noticing the indulgent smiles. He kissed her forehead, then, squeezing her fingers one last time, boarded the plane.
Casey watched until the plane was taxiing to the runway, where she would no longer be able to see it. She waited, watched several flights take off, knew immediately when his plane left the ground.
"It’s hard to send them on those business trips, isn’t it?" asked an older woman, in her late forties perhaps.
Casey wiped a tear from her cheek. "Yes, it is."
"Well, the best part of any trip is when they come home," the woman said. She was gathering her purse and jacket.
The thought put a smile on her face. "Yeah, it is."
"How long will he be gone?"
"Well, that’s not so bad, is it?" The woman smiled at her. "I’ll probably see you here next week then."
The smile widened. "I’ll be here."
She drove home, her heart and mind full of so many thoughts and emotions it was hard to focus on any particular one. The only thing she knew for certain was that she loved Daniel more than she had ever thought possible.
A A A A A A
He watched the ground disappear, his heart constricting in his chest. He hadn’t realized it would be so hard to leave her. He had been in Tacoma for less that forty-eight hours, yet in that time he had found the woman who was his Destiny, fallen in love with her, and made her totally and forever his. He smiled when he touched his neck. He had three hickeys now, she had five. There was something to be said about marking one another like that…besides how much fun it was, both the giving and the receiving. He had noticed that the flight attendant had stopped flirting with him when she noticed the bruises. His smile widened. Yep, there was something to be said about hickeys.
The flight was long, and boring. He had neglected to take his book from his suitcase. He tried to sleep, but dreams filled with deep green eyes, long blonde silk, and a beautiful willing body forced him to remain awake. His body responded too ardently to the images that danced behind his eyes.
He drove home in the dark, stopping long enough to get something to eat. He gathered his mail before going up to his apartment. He flipped on the light, stood looking around. Not much longer, his mind told him. He wouldn’t be coming home to a cold, dark, lonely set of rooms much longer. Soon she would be here, filling his life with her love and laughter and sunshine. He ignored the flashing lights on the answering machine and dialed her number.
He closed his eyes and let the sound of her sweet voice surround him. "Hi, babe."
Her excitement brought a smile to his face. "Love you."
"Love you, too."
"Babe, I have to get up really early, and I have some preliminary work I need to get done," he said.
"I just wanted to let you know I’m home…and that I miss you."
"I miss you too."
"I’ll talk to you when I get back."
"I love you, Casey."
"I love you too, Daniel."
"Talk to you later then."
"Later. Be careful. Bye."
He hung up slowly, the smile still on his lips. Even through the phone he had felt it; had felt her love reach through and caress him. He listened to the messages, both from Jack, reminding him of the mission briefing, and also of some research that needed to be finished before they left. With a sigh he turned on the light in the small bedroom that served as his office, sat down at his desk, and began to work.
A A A A A A
She hung up the phone, a smile on her face. He loved her. Somehow she knew it beyond the shadow of a doubt. It had been in his voice. She hugged herself, then giggled. She was absolutely, head-over-heels in love and it felt wonderful! She looked around the room, her eyes noting all that belonged to her. She needed to get boxes in the morning, so that she could get her packing done. She yawned. It had been late when they had finally gone to sleep last night, or rather in the wee hours of the morning. She had spent the afternoon sorting through the emotions that had been raging in her since opening that door and finding her Destiny standing there, looking at her with those incredible eyes. She laid back against the arm of the sofa, closed her eyes, images of what they had done dancing in her head. She drifted off, her dreams filled with blue eyes and a shy smile, strong arms and long, warm fingers.
She woke with a start, hearing Kelley moving around in the kitchen. The redhead was making tea. She grinned. Kelley made tea when she was ready for a long talk.
"Good! You’re awake! I want details, girlfriend!" Kelley said, bringing two mugs of mint tea into the room with her.
Casey sat up and accepted the mug. "Thanks. Okay, where do you want me to start?"
"Try the beginning," Kelley grinned.
"Okay, he knocked on the door…gave me…"she looked down. "Kelley, you can’t tell anybody about this part," she said.
"I swear it, Case."
The blonde nodded, and explained about the letter, showed it to her roommate.
"Wow." Kelley said.
"So then what?"
"Well, he was really kind of nervous, it was so cute, he invited me to dinner, we went to the Olive Garden, and then to his room."
"Cut to the good part," Kelley interrupted.
Casey grinned. "He took me Around the World."
Kelley’s eyes grew wide. "Oh. My. God! Did it hurt? Was it awful at first?"
The young blonde frowned for a moment. "No, it wasn’t awful. He…he made me come right away when he…went down on me…then, he made me…ready for him. Oh, Kelley, it was…it was unbelievable! Um…look, I know that you’re a virgin and all, but you know more about men…is this big?" she asked, using her hands to demonstrate.
"My god, Casey, it’s a wonder he didn’t rip you in two! And you did anal too? My god! It must have hurt like hell!"
She shook her head. "It didn’t. Oh, it hurt for just a few seconds when he first went in, but after that, it was…"
"It was…" Kelley encouraged.
"It was great!"
"Well, I don’t know how a woman as slender and narrow hipped as you could take all of that," Kelley said in her ‘wisdom’.
"Kells, I swear it was like I was made for him…it was just so…right!"
"So…how many times did you orgasm?"
Casey knit her brow in concentration. "I’m not sure…I kind of lost count the very first night…it seemed like that’s all I was doing after he…you know…made love to me the first time. Oh, Kells, he was so sweet and gentle, and so worried when there was a little bit of blood, and he made me take a bath, well, he took it with me, and he got the washcloths really hot and held them against me."
The redhead nodded. "Sounds like he took good care of you. So…when you went down on him…"
"Hey, I owe you a thank you. For making me practice on all those huge cucumbers," she said in response to the question in the other woman’s brown eyes. Both women giggled. "It was…it was amazing. I mean, I had total control…and when he…came…god, it was great! I gave him that pleasure, I drove him out of his mind…what a power trip," she giggled again.
"Casey, I have never seen you as happy as you are now. I wish you all the best, girlfriend. Find out if he has any brothers, will you?"
"Sorry, he’s an only child, and an orphan. He was raised in foster homes. He didn’t say much about his childhood…I’m guessing it was as…unpleasant…as mine," she said.
"Well, maybe he’s got friends," Kelley joked. She knowingly steered away from Casey’s childhood. They had been friends long enough that she knew all of the horror stories, and knew that Casey neither wanted, nor needed, to go down that road.
She laughed. "Daniel wants to get married as soon as possible when we get back to Colorado. Are you going to be able to come out? I really want you there."
"Girlfriend, for this I’ll take out a loan!" the redhead assured her.
"Now, about what you’re going to take…"
The young women made out a list of what Casey owned, and began to divide it up, knowing that she would be moving into an apartment with many of the things she already had.
A A A A A A
Casey tossed against her pillow.
"Okay, Daniel, do your thing," a gray-haired man in camouflage type clothes was saying.
Daniel looked at the large, dark haired man in front of him, who began speaking in a language she couldn’t understand. The man pointed to what looked like a podium. On it were several large…crystals…in several colors. Daniel touched the blue one, and the room exploded into a fireball.
She sat up with a cry, her heart pounding in her chest, her skin damp with sweat. She ran her hand through her hair. A nightmare. Just a nightmare. She laid back down, tried to go back to sleep. Forty-five minutes later, she sat up again, heart pounding so hard it hurt. She couldn’t shake the feeling that this was important…life and death important.
She looked at the clock. Two a.m. Three in Colorado. She had to tell him, warn him. She was as sure of that as she was that the sun would be rising in three hours or so. Trembling fingers dialed the phone. It rang several times. Her heart began to pound harder. Okay, if she couldn’t get him at the apartment, she’d call his-
"Hullo?" His voice was muffled, full of sleep.
"Daniel…I…" her voice cracked. She took a deep breath, tried to calm herself.
In Colorado, Daniel had sat upright on the bed. "Case? Babe, what’s wrong?"
"Please, I know this doesn’t make any sense, but please, please listen to me!" she pleaded.
His heart was beginning to drop into his stomach. She had called to tell him not to come back. "It’s okay, babe, I’m listening."
"Daniel, I keep having this nightmare…I see you, and some other people…the only one I can see clearly is a man with gray hair…and you’re all dressed in military clothes…you know, the ones with all the funky brown and beige colors…"
"Desert fatigues," he said, frowning. "Go on."
"Well, there’s this really big guy with dark hair, only I don’t think he’s real, and he points to this…this podium thing…and there are all these crystals on it, and you touch the blue one, and the room explodes…please, Daniel, don’t touch the blue one…promise me you won’t touch the blue one!" The words poured out of her, she was nearly hysterical by the time she finished.
"Shh…Casey, it’s okay. Honey, calm down. Take a deep breath," he said. His heart was back in his chest where it belonged, beating hard, but whole.
She was crying now. "I just found you, damn it, don’t you dare get yourself killed!"
He had to smile at her words. "I don’t plan on it. Casey, it was a nightmare. But I promise, I won’t touch any blue crystals."
"Cross my heart."
"Okay. Love you."
"Love you, too. Are you okay now?"
"Yeah, I think so."
"Okay. Get some sleep, babe. I’ll call you just as soon as I get back."
"Okay. Love you. Miss you."
"Miss you, babe. Love you. ‘Night."
"‘Night." She put the phone down. The terror, the dire need to impart her warning was now passed. She crawled back into bed, and feel into exhausted sleep.
Fifteen hundred miles away Daniel hung up the phone, a frown on his face. He was convinced that she had only had a nightmare…but the mention of a man with gray hair…and that all of them were wearing BDUs…He wouldn’t say anything, for now. But if there were any crystals on this mission, he wasn’t touching the blue one.
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