CHAPTER 7: Ancient History
The next day I woke up in the afternoon, and I found Dunstan by my side yet again. I literally had no idea what possessed him to stay with me because he was a complete and total stranger. The more I thought about it the more ridiculous it sounded, even to myself. I watched him as he walked across my room grabbing things for me and asking questions This Dunstan guy was unlike anyone I’d ever met in my life, and there was something about him that was so familiar.
As I watched Dunstan from my uncomfortable hospital bed, the phone next to me rang, he grabbed it to answer.
“Hello… yup this is the right room… umhmmm… yep Washington Tower… Room 482.” He looked at me and smiled a lazy smile.
“Seems you’re going to have another visitor today.”
“That’s surprising, considering I don’t know anybody here.” I said and he chuckled
“Yea, well welcome to Colorado I suppose.”
I grabbed the remote and started flipping through the channels eventually ending up on Anthony Bourdain.
“You’re unbelievable.” I said, not particularly realizing that I did so aloud. He laughed.
“In what way?” He questioned. I felt my face go red, but I supposed I had to say something.
“I mean I don’t even know you, but you save my life and then you stick around to take care of me. I have no idea who you are. I don’t know anything about you or where your from. I don’t know if you like peanut butter or the color blue. And I have no idea why you’re here being so incredibly nice to me. I’m starting to think that I’m hallucinating and that you’re some strange figment of my imagination and that maybe I’m losing my mind. Though I don’t think I could’ve invented you in my subconscious…” He cut me off.
“Whoa, easy. I think you’ve watched way to many movies.”
He let his words sink in as he sat next to me, forcing me to look directly into his eyes, and what I saw there was an intensity that was a bit intimidating, there was something behind his eyes that I couldn‘t explain, like a cool fire.
“When I saw the accident, I had no idea who was in the truck, but from where I was… it didn’t look too good. I ran as fast as I could down to the accident, not knowing what to expect. And there you were… there was so much blood and then when I pulled you out you said something to me that I totally wasn‘t expecting. You looked at me with such clarity, and asked me where I’d been all along. I don’t know much about life, but in that moment I knew what I needed to do then, more than ever before in my entire life. So I’m gonna stick around for a little while longer, if you don’t mind.” It wasn’t a question, it was a statement.
I stared at him incredulously. Had I really said what he said I did, if so I was completely off my rocker. I felt him reach over and grip my hand, I returned a small smile at him.
Suddenly the door burst open and Jarek walked into the room. He looked at Dunstan’s hand in mine and then he glanced at Dunstan. Jarek’s eyes narrowed ever so slightly and I looked between them. There was tension in the air, and I wanted to throw the blanket over my face and make everything disappear.
“What are you doing here?” Jarek asked Dunstan.
“I could ask the same about you.” Said Dunstan with equal venom as he stood to face Jarek. They were both angry and I was getting extremely uncomfortable. I cleared my throat and Jarek shook himself of his of his anger, turning and giving me a tight smile.
“Hey Cass, how’re you feeling.”
“Pretty good considering.”
Jarek looked unsettlingly at Dunstan again and I thought I saw a spark of anger flash between them. He pulled a bouquet of sterling roses from behind his back and presented them to me. I had to admit they were utterly beautiful, and totally out of season, they must have cost a pretty penny. I looked at Dunstan and Jarek’s gaze followed as he nodded his head towards the door.
“I guess I’m gonna get some coffee, you want any Cass?”
“No. Thank you.” I responded, not looking at him, “I’m fine.”
The door shut with a final thud and I was snapped back into reality, looking into Jarek’s handsome face. Jarek took a seat on my bed and I pushed myself higher up on the bed so I wasn’t laying down so much anymore.
“I take it you two know each other.” I said and Jarek let out a sardonic laugh. “Yea, I guess you could say that.” “So, what happened between you two?” He just sighed, and I felt bad for asking.
“You know what, never mind it’s none of my business. Forgive me for asking.” I said looking away from Jarek.
“No, it’s alright. He a…. stole my girlfriend.”
“He did what?” I practically yelled. “Yea it was a long time ago, but long story short… the girl I loved chose him instead.” I shook my head in disbelief.
“Wow, that blows. I’m so sorry Jarek.”
I looked down, even more ashamed that I had gotten an answer. But he just put his hand up to my face, moving his finger along my jaw line to tilt up towards his. I met his eyes and I saw only the beautiful chocolate and gold of his irises. I thought about the red fire in them, that I had seen before, but it didn’t frighten me anymore. What I saw was a deep rooted pain mixed with unflinching honesty now.
“I’m not, I wouldn’t be sitting here talking to you if things had turned out differently.”
“That’s true I suppose.” I said with a laugh.
“And I wouldn’t be able to do this.”
I didn’t get to finish my question because he did it again. He leaned forward and swept his lips across the column of my throat, and I felt a lush heat tingle across my skin. Every bad feeling I had about him disappeared when he pulled back and stared into my eyes. They were changing into that red again, but I saw in them a fire, a burning longing that was intense and piercing. He leaned forward once and again and I closed my eyes as we kissed for a second time. It wasn’t like the first time.
I wasn’t hypnotized, I wasn't coerced, I was fully aware, albeit in a hospital bed recovering remarkably well from an accident that should have killed me. And I wanted to do this. I tasted the soft sweet mint of his lips and I sighed. I felt a smile touch his lips and I opened my eyes again, expecting to see the fire. He pulled his lips away and rested his forehead against my own.
“Wow.” Was all he said, and I felt my cheeks heat up in embarrassment.
“Why are you blushing.” He teased, running his thumb across my pink cheeks.
“I… I…. ahhhh…”
“Don’t be embarrassed, you’re beautiful.” I laughed then.
“Seriously, I’m in a hospital bed.” I motioned down to my night gown and the hospital blankets.
“Exactly, you make Intensive Care look sexy.”
“Ha ha, very funny.” I said rolling my eyes.
“Honestly you’ve got this hospital chic thing down to a science.”
He laughed and it sounded, earthy and languid, totally uncontrolled and natural. We spent the next hour joking and laughing about just how fashionable I was in my hospital clothes. And I forgot all about the fire in his eyes and pain and loss that I had seen there. I thought about the unease I had felt around him at first, but just dismissed. I knew that there was something more to Jarek Weston, but now I was determined to find out just what, exactly, that was.
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Cass Conaway has always been different, so when she finally has the opportunity to move to a different state, she's more than ecstatic. Little does she know that the unassuming town of Aspen, Colorado will give her the answers that she's always bee...