As Nathan sat beside Emma silently watching her sleep, he was grateful he’d placed the tracking device on her car.  Although he hadn’t arrived in time to save her from trouble, he was also annoyed she’d moved without his assistance.

The situation was more involved than the police had anticipated.  This young woman lost her life at the hands of two gunmen with intent to kill.  They wouldn’t stop there especially when they became aware that Emma was poking her pretty little nose into their business, asking questions.

Whether they were hired or worked the situation on their own, didn’t matter to Nathan.  Emma was now in the thick of it, her life was at risk and he’d make sure nothing else happened to her, come hell or high water.  That was a guarantee.  If it required crossing a line, he’d do so without hesitation.

If Emma had wakened at that moment, she would have been surprised at the ferocity, intent, the fury and the mix of fear and frustration that lit his eyes and curled his beautiful lips.  Perhaps she’d have seen him as a fearsome warrior or perhaps if she’d looked deeper, witnessed a man capable of murder.

When she woke after a fitful night of ‘nurse ratchet’ poking and prodding, she was only too willing to go home, crawl into her own bed, and sleep peacefully.

When the doctor arrived at 8:30 for his morning rounds, he proclaimed she could leave home under the proviso that someone stay with her, watch her, and if she developed any  unusual symptoms or incurred any additional pain, she was to return immediately.  While the concussion wasn’t severe, it was worse than an average blow to the head.

Nathan stepped up to the plate immediately, and once she was dressed, whisked her off to his home, where she would be surrounded by capable valiant men who would guard her with their lives.

“Nathan, this isn’t necessary.  I’m fine at home, among my own things, where I can wander as I choose, feel comfortable?”

“What can I do to make you more comfortable Emma?” He brushed the back of his fingertips across her cheek.

“I don’t know.  Just, it’s nice to curl up in my own sheets, my own bedding, feel comforted by the sameness of it all I guess.”

“I can have someone run to your home and pack up every sheet and blanket you own if that is your wish.”  His eyes held absolute promise.

Sighing, Emma leaned against him.  “No, that won’t be necessary.  I feel a little disquieted I guess.  I’ve never been involved in anything that caused me physical pain.  I’m not used to the edgy feeling of not fear exactly, not concern either since I’m sure it was an accident and it was no harm no foul.  It was me, in the wrong place at the wrong time.”

“Perhaps your right, perhaps that is all it was; still, humour me, will you, please?  Accept my hospitality until you’re feeling better.  I’d feel better about it because I know I can protect you should the need arise.”

Emma looked up into his eyes, humbled by the complete compassion and affection she spotted there.  She stopped short of ‘love’ for it was too soon to think along those lines, wasn’t it?

“Ok, I’ll need my laptop and notes.  I need to call my boss and explain.  Harold’s going to be concerned either way.  I’ll reassure him and let him know I’ll work from home.  He has my number so he’ll call my cell.  It would worry him if I explained why you want me here.  I’d rather allay those concerns on his behalf because knowing Harold, he’ll take it on, and he’ll blame himself and the guilt will eat him up.”

“I’ll go immediately, Emma, make a list, I’ll get it and bring it back.  Clothes, jackets, sweaters, the whole works.  I promise I won’t forget your laptop.”

His arm still wrapped protectively about her, he led her to the bedroom they’d shared on both occasions she’d stayed over and she gently settled herself into a sitting position and he fixed the pillows accordingly.  “I don’t want you overdoing it, promise me, Emma.”

“Promise.”  She kissed the back of his hand that had gently stroked her forehead. She  then compiled a list, unsure how long she’d be staying, and Nathan had a tray brought in and set on the side table including a small juice jug, water and of course, coffee.

“I know how you enjoy your coffee when you wake.  The pot is  thermal, so it will stay hot but should you require anything, just call, Jim’ll be outside and he’ll hear you.”

“Now I feel silly.”

“Your anything but silly, my lovely.”  with that he stood, and headed to the door.  “I’ll be back.” His imitation of Arnold fell short, but it endeared him to her all the more.

“Alright, my big strong handsome warrior.  I shall await your return.”  His smile was mixed with delight and relief.  As he walked away, he thought, ‘my warrior princess’. For she  was so strong, so determined, so fair and so just.  Maybe it was a little overly sentimental, fanciful even and for him, it came as a complete surprise, but it was a pleasant one.  Pleasant, indeed!

Page 46                                                                                          Page 44



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Nathan 46

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