When he returned with three suitcases full of items from her list along with others he’d added, he found Emma tucked up sound asleep. She looked even more beautiful, so peaceful in sleep that he left the luggage outside the door with instructions that no one was to disturb her and when she was awake, to take care of her things.
He returned to the living room and paced. He sent an undercover operative savvy with the streets of Seattle and with contacts in ‘all the right places’ to look into the incident and find answers. They were there, one had to look under rocks and in the shadows. This wasn’t an ordinary murder. Not that any murder could be considered ‘normal’ in any event, but this smacked of a threat against Emma. She might not see it that way, but the both the cops and he himself did.
When she woke an hour later, he heard her stir and returned to the bedroom to find her sitting on the edge of the bed. “Hello, lovely. How are you feeling?”
“My head isn’t pounding, except when I move too quickly, which I seem to forget until reminded, but I feel good considering.” She decided to stand and groaned. “Oooh, it seems I must have a few bruises too.”
“You may be more comfortable in less restrictive clothing for a day or so, Emma. Here, let me take a look.” Nathan assisted her out of her clothes and into a comfortable relaxed nightgown he’d bought for her.
“Indeed, very colourful. You have a rather big and ugly bruise along the middle of your back and above your elbows.”
“Not welcome, but considering my flight pattern, understandable.”
“Thank you for the nightgown and robe, they are beautiful and comfy.”
“I wasn’t sure you’d stay, but I wanted to offer you something loose-fitting for the moment. Not particularly stylish, but …”
“Interested in some coffee?”
Gently pulling the robe closed, she tied it loosely, “I am. I wouldn’t mind a scone or something light. I forgot about eating.”
Nathan guided her into the living room and settled her on the chesterfield with a few pillows to prop her up. When she was comfortable, he went and retrieved some freshly made coffee and a danish. “Sorry, lovely, no scones, but I do have a delectable raspberry danish. If that will suffice until dinner.”
Nathan sat across from her. Noticing her arched brows, he explained, “I’d love to hold you more than anything, but your body’s a little fragile and might protest too much at the moment.”
“That’s very sweet, Nathan. Normally I’d argue and protest, but at the moment, I feel compelled to agree with you.”
“I called Harold, skirted around the situation and let him know I was fine, a freak fall due to clumsiness (a little white lie) but under the circumstances, a worthy one. I know Harold. He has a heart of gold. I’ll tell him, later. He’d call me off the story and it’s important that I find out what happened to that lovely young woman. I’m more invested than ever. If you are right and someone thought to scare me off, they were dead wrong!”
The steely look in her eye said more than words. She was angry, and if they thought a scare tactic would work, they thought wrong. It only proved to push her directly at them, and directly into their path.
“I’ll say this once, Emma since I see you’re determined to continue. I would agree with your editor and I’d pull you off the case. No one wants you injured or dead over a story, tragic though it may be.”
“I appreciate the concern, Nathan, I do. I am not about to back off this story. She deserves answers. Her killers brought to justice. If it weren’t me, then it would be someone else. Who better than me, when I have you alongside me?” With that, she took a healthy bite of her raspberry danish and smiled.
So be it, he thought. Her decision stood, and so did his.