Chapter 15 - Seeking Shelter
Tomas pumped on the brakes, Laurie’s body jerked violently forward, her hand holding on for dear life against the dashboard and the car came into a screeching stop.
The storm was far worst than they had hoped, Tomas thought, shocked as he watched one of the many perfectly spaced and groomed abundance olive trees hit the pavement only a few meters infront of them. The harsh wind blew the pistils of the small white flowers into the air and they floated and danced like fireflies in the headlights.
It was both beautiful and at the same time scary. If he hadn’t stopped when he did... a small breath of relief escaped his thin lips. Thank goodness he had stopped.
“What do we do now Tomas?” Laurie asked staring at the blocked path.
Tomas blinked, his mind slowly come into the present.
Laurie, he thought, his eyes snapped to her side of the car. “Are you alright?“He quiered, voice rasped with worry.
Her arms tightened around the grey pup, she smiled up at him and nodded her head but Tomas could tell that she was trying to put up a strong front. Her lips quivered at the sides, she was scared and it was perfectly understandable.
There was absolutely no way that they were going to make it all the way up to the mansion in this type of weather. It wasn’t safe and it wouldn’t be wise of him to risk it.
The smartest thing to do was to seek shelter and warmth before they both drowned or die of hypothermia.
“We’re going to have to walk.” Tomas said, unbuckling his seat belt.
Laurie casted a worried look outside then back to him, “Out there? Tomas are you it’s safe? Maybe we should just wait it out right here.” She suggested, it made more sense than going back out there.
Tomas stilled, his eyes flashed of something somewhat amusing. It was the second time that she had call him Tomas and she probably had no idea that she had done so. He strangely rather like the sound of her voice with his name bouncing off of her tongue. It was serene.
“No,” Tomas shook, reaching over to her side, unbuckling her seat belt as well.
“We’re surrounded by trees. It’s not safe.“He told her the reached at the back seat, grabbing on to a spare raincoat.
“Here.” He said trusting the fabric towards her, “There’s an old cabin not too far from here. I used to go there when I was little. We can wait out the storm there.”
Laurie nodded. He was right and he did know the place so it was useless to urge when they wouldn’t even be sitting here in the first place if it wasn’t for her.
“Alright.” Laurie replied accepting the coat, then quickly pulled it on.
The first gush of of wind as she stepped out of the car rippled through her yellow sleeveless cotton dress. Tomas was out on by her side with a black flashlight within seconds, he caught hold of her hand and began to lead the way through the side bushes of wild berries.
They have walking for a good mile, atleast that what Laurie thought as Tomas placed his hands around her waist and lifted her up and over boulder of rocks that had rolled down from a small cliff evident from the effects of the storm. She heard him hiss a curse when he placed her back down and she breast brushed against his chest.
She stifled a laugh then quickly allowed it to fade when he gave her a daring look.
“Is it still far a head?” She asked determined to keep a casual conversation. It was better than walking silently with him brooding over how all this was her fault.
Tomas’ brow creased. Was she seriously making small talks? Now? When he was angry at her for not wanting to walk infront of him. She was causing him a great deal of frustration, having to stop and checking to see whether she was okay then continue on this death trap in the dark trying to find a place that he hasn’t been to for years.
“It’s not.” He said over his shoulders, swatting at the over grown ferns that he didn’t remember ever being there before.
She almost bumped into him when he pulled into an abrupt stop.
“Here,“Tomas finally said, holding out his arms to her, “Give me the ugly mutt.”
Laurie shoulders slouched but her hands remained firmly tucked around the creature.
“You’re not going to throw him away, are you?” She asked, regarding him under suspicious lids.
Tomas sighed impatiently. “No, I’ll carry him so you can see where you are going if you’re so determined to walk behind me. I’m the one with the flashlight incase you’ve forgotten.”
She blinked, the rain water was blinding her and with the pup in her hands it was quite impossible to wipe it away.
“Promise?” She asked, her eyes holding desperately on to his.
She knew that she was being ridiculous but it also didn’t mean that he was bluffing.
“Dios mio!” He muttered harshly under his breath. “I promise Ms.Slade. Now hurry up before we both catch a cold.”
Laurie gave him a brief nod then apprehensively handed the dog over to him.
“We’ve only got a few more steps to go. Stay close.” He told, then continued down his path.
Tomas walked swiftly, his long strides covering the ground so rapidly it took Laurie all her time to keep up until they finally reached a flat plot of land and Tomas stopped. The flashlight in his hand shone on the well kept garden of roses just a few feet away from the cabin.
A cabin? Laurie thought shaking her head at how bitten down Tomas had described it.
It wasn’t as old as he had said and obviously not as ancient as Laurie had imagined.
It was small and it was made of wood but it looked more like a cottage than a cabin. It also looked like somebody has been paying a great deal attention on keeping it well maintained. As they reached the small porch, Tomas placed the puppy back into Laurie’s hands and bent down towards an old clay pot.
He got up and smiled, revealing a small silver key. It was after it he had only left it there yesterday but when in fact this was always the one place that he used to hide it.
“I thought you said that it was an old cabin?“Laurie stated as her eyes wandered over the seemingly newly polished wood.
“It was. My mother must had it renovated. I remember it being smaller that this too.” Tomas replied turning in the key.
Laurie stood in the doorway in awe as Tomas ventured inside and flipped on the lights.
This was no old cabin, she thought to herself, swallowing down at the sight before her.
There were lamps hanging from the ceiling, a small portrait of the island of Sicili hanging above the fireplace and living was cosy, simple yet elegant decor of wooden furnitures and white rug place not too far from the fireplace. It was simply breath taking.
“Come inside and close the door.” Tomas said as he began to rid himself of the drenched yellow coat, then he dissappeared into one of the two rooms at the far end of the living room.
Laurie stepped inside and placed the shivering pup on the floor then closed the door. Everything looked new and expensive and she was afraid to move, afraid that she might stain the floor with mud and the water that was running down her back and to her feet.
“Here.” Tomas called out to her, emerging out with a white fluffy towel. “Take off your clothes before you die of cold.” He said walking over to her.
Laurie glanced down at herself then back up at him as he handed her the towel, her eyes wandered down to his bare shoulders and further down to his bare chest. His wet pants were the only fabric keeping him half modest and her from completely from running back outside.
“Here?” She asked, her face burning with colours.
Tomas’ brows creased lightly over her words, then his lips curved into an amused grin. “Only if you want too but we do have a bathroom that way.” He said then pointed in the direction of the same room that he had just came out of.
“Oh?” She murmured, averting his blues eyes that danced with delight of her embarrassment.
“Can I have another one for him?” She quiered, gesturing down towards the puppy who had crawled itself in ball next to her feet.
Tomas sighed looking down at mutt. She was still putting that creature above her own need. It puzzled him and at the same time made him want to discard her clothes himself and dry her off, then, only then would he attend to her ugly beast.
But instead he knelt down and grabbed the grey dog then said, “Go dry yourself off. I’ll take care of your mutt.”
Tomas had turned on the heat. Laurie smiled at herself in the bathroom mirror as she grabbed a hand full of her hair and twisted it allowing the rain water to glide down her arm and into the sink.
At least they were safe now she thought at the first sound of thunder. She discarded her clothes into the hamper next to the small shower.
A shower. It was exactly what she needed to warm herself up. She stepped inside and allowed the warm water from the overhead to wash away all traces of this horrible night.
Tomas had fixed a small sleeping nest with towels for Laurie’s pup and now the horrendous creature slept without a worry in the world a feet feet away from the fireplace.
He got up stood up with the bathrobe that he had found in the bedroom and marched over to the bathroom. It was a good thing that his mother had renovated the place or else they would both be snuggling naked trying to find warmth, he thought.
Naked. Although it was something that he wished to have happened, the though of laying naked even if it was for the sake of survival did spark a little fire in his veins.
Laurie was a very beautiful woman and gentle and caring character made her even more so pleasant by the minute. It would be a lie if he said that he wasn’t attracted to her. Because he was, fiercely so.
Nevertheless she was his employee and he was in not habit of mixing business with pleasure. It could only end one way and that would be her, getting hurt.
He gave the door a brief knock before pulling at its handle.
“Tomas,” Laurie gasped in shock when her eyes landed on Tomas, her towel was hanging on the sink just a few feet away from where she now stood on the bath mat.
“I don’t have any clothes on.” She blabbered, trying to cover her breasts and private between her thighs with her hands.
Tomas stood absorbing her naked glory. He should turn away, walk out but he damn legs wouldn’t burge.
The steam from the shower was floating around her slender figure, water droplets sliding down her shoulders and disappeared into the valley of her breasts.
He could feel the blood in his loins as it turned hot.
Dear lord, was this punishment for him calling that pup ugly?
“I can see that.” He rasped, fighting for self control.