Delilah stood there for a few minutes. Replaying what had just happened several times over in her head.
How had that happened? Why did she react like that? And what was that feeling? That feeling was . . .good.
Her hand rose to her throat, covering where he had kissed all along her skin and she traced the path he took. Her finger tips grazed where his lips had marked her skin, his kisses ghosting over her flesh.
Gasping, she ran to the bath room. Oh, she hoped he hadn’t done that.
She whirled in front of the mirror, placed the can of peaches on the counter, and moved her hair to see her neck. To her surprise, and delight, there were no marks on her skin. No bruises or red marks. She could squeal.
She hated it when men left mark on women. Even though the women had said that they had enjoyed it, she thought it was too personal to be shown proudly. Like on the neck or arms, it seemed like the men wanted to show the world that they had had that women, like they were trophies.
Taking her eyes away from her neck, she looked up at herself. She saw her cheeks still flushed form his kisses and she watched as her cheeks flooded with red. That was the first time a man had kissed her that she had enjoyed.
Sighing, she took the can back into her hand and began to eat the last of them as she turned back to the door.
Only to see Conor standing there. His shoulder leaning on the door frame and his eyes following her, a blanket thrown over his left shoulder.
Stopping mid step and half way through lifting a peach to her mouth, she looked at him. “How long have you been there?”
“Long enough,” he smiled and stood straight. “Might wanna put that in your mouth before it falls.”
Almost as if on cue, the peach cut in half at were the fork was holding it. She caught the piece that fell off and quickly finished off the piece on the fork.
Looking up, Conor held a smile on his face and, again, she felt her face warm up.
‘Gods, how many times will this man make me blush?’ she thought as she walked past him.
“So when we gonna leave?” She asked as she finished off the peaches and threw them away in a waste basket in a corner.
“In a few.” He walked closer, and he set the blanket on the couch. “You must understand something before we leave though. You are probably being searched for. If I’m not mistaken, there is also a bounty on your head. So when we start going, keep your head down, and never let my hand go.” He searched her eyes, “do you understand?”
“Yes, I understand.” She answered.
He nodded and looked her up and down, she was about to ask him why he was when he cursed.
“What?” She asked, kind of startled by his outburst.
“I don’t have any shoes that could fit you. Can you run barefoot? Because we’ll need to move quickly.”
“Yeah, I prefer barefoot. I can get better footing.” She explained, thinking it was sweet of him to think of her feet getting hurt on the asphalt.
“Okay, can you stand the sun long enough to stay in it for a few minutes?” He asked as he took the blanket in hand again, this time unfolding it. It was a plain beign comforter, at least she wouldn’t be cold.
“I don’t know, I’ve never been in the sun. Of what I can remember, anyway.” She explained, wringing her hands together.
He looked at her side ways, “you’ll explain that later. Right now, come here.”
She complied and walked forward. The blanket had been doubled up, but enough to wrap around her body and put a little bit over her head. She grabbed the two parts of the blanket and turned to look at him.
“Good, now we can go.” He walked to the door and opened it for Berach, who was sitting obediently by the door. “You know what to do.”
The canine leapt up and through the door. He went down one side of the hall and then back down the other. When he returned, he looked up at Conor and he nodded. Walking to her, Conor held out his hand.
“It won’t be clear very long. We have to hurry.”
As she watched, Berach ran to Conor and the wolf disappeared in his back. She heard Conor suck in a breath but that was the only show of any pain. Wanting to question him about it, she didn’t realize she had spaced out.
“Come on, honey. We don’t have forever.” He curled his fingers impatiently. He looked jumpy.
Nodding, coming back to herself, she used one hand to hold the blanket together and took put her hand in his. Knowing she was jumping head long into new territory. Giddiness filled her as Conor started down the hallway, her in tow.
He didn’t lead her to stairs that led down, instead he lead her to some that went up.
“These led to the roof top. We’ll need to go down a fire escape, and then we’ll be on the ground. Okay?” He led her up the stairs before she could answer, but she again thought it sweet he thought to tell her.
He pushed open the door and she saw her first sunrise.
She walked forward unknowingly, while Conor went to do something with the door.
The sky was still dark on her left, but as she followed the sky to the right it became lighter as her eyes got closer to the sun. The sun hadn’t risen yet, but the light that reached before it was. The rays caused a sort of dusky mist to form at the horizon, a light blue hue following that, climbing up the sky.
“Sorry, honey. Gotta go.”
That was the only warning she had as Conor grasped her hand and pulled her towards the edge of the roof. She looked around and saw the top of a ladder not but ten feet away.
“Um, Conor. . .”
“No time, sweetheart.” He turned to her when they reached the edge of the roof and scoped her up in his arms.
She immediately wrapped her arms around his neck and hugged herself to him as he stepped onto the cement edging. Hoping he wasn’t going to do what she thought, she looked up at him.
“Trust me.” He smiled, for the first time it was a full smile. And it made her heart stop.
Before she could say anything, he stepped off the roof. Stepped! Like there would be a ledge to stair case there.
She almost screamed, almost. She knew that he was doing it to get her out of here as fast as possible, but she couldn’t believe he was stepping off a three-story building!
It was only a second that she felt gravity’s pull, the wind grasping at her hair, the blanket flapping against both of them. But she liked it. When they landed, she wanted to do it again. Like a little girl when she rides her first horse.
She was even more surprised when he didn’t even grunt or show any signs of exhaustion. His legs bent as he absorbed the impact and he bent to allow her legs to touch the ground.
“Pull the blanket up and over you’re head. Now we have to be quick and quiet.” He let her slip through his hands as she stood up. He wasn’t even out of breath.
She nodded and pulled the blanket up to cover her head. Satisfied, he grasped her hand and led her down the ally.
Even at this time, the street was alive with people. She hadn’t thought she would be afraid, but she was. She had never seen so many people.
Licking her lips nervously, she just bent her head and tried not to attract attention, like he said. As he pushed through the people, she felt his hand grip hers even tighter. She just kept her head down and tried to keep up, using their combined hands to propel her through the throng of people.
He led down the sidewalk. But as they got to a intersection, he crossed straight across the street. She had only seen two motorcycles pass by, and those had been police. But they didn’t even give her a glance. He stopped when he got the corner he was walking to and looked around.
He kept her hand with his as he looked, then squeezed lightly and he was off again.
This time she had to practically run to keep up with him, but she wasn’t going to let her be a burden. She would follow at what ever pace was necessary, even if she had to full out sprint.
The sidewalk that they were now on had less people, but that just meant that they would be easier to spot. Conor didn’t seem to mind that he bumped into people, for as soon as he looked at them they didn’t reply, just kept on walking.
She smiled, smart people. She wouldn’t want to mess him either.
As they continued Delilah realized that people didn’t even give her a glance. It was like his huge bulk was covering her entire body from view.
She saw him look back at her and then he veered sharply to the left and into an ally. He took her down a little ways and then stopped.
“Catch you’re breath.” He said as he walked back to the opening and looked around.
She took the opportunity and did as he said. She hadn’t known she was breathing hard. She wasn’t use to the humid of being outside, and though she may have exercised, she didn’t run.
He returned and looked at her, she was bent at the waist, her bum leaning on the brink building behind her, her hands resting on her knees and her chest heaving.
“I’m sorry.” She huffed. “I’m not use to this.”
“It’s okay. We are making better timing than I could hope. The dock is only a few blocks away. You can rest for a few more minutes then we have to get going.” He crossed his arms over his chest and waitied.
Looking up at him, he wasn’t even breathing hard. His breaths were even, not even a shudder. Listening closer, his heart was only slightly faster than usual.
“You’re a soldier.” She burst out, not even knowing where the comment came from.
She saw the shock in his eyes. He hadn’t expected her to see that he was in excellent shape and his body bulged with muscle only using weapons could give a man.
“You have good eyes.” He sighed, “I should have guessed you would tell.”
“Not only eyes.” She stood. Walking closer, the hand he had been grasping free. She reach out and poked at his arms. “Muscles only a warrior could have.” She then poked right where his lungs are, above where his arms rested. “And you’re lungs don’t even have to heave. You’re heart beat is only slightly faster than as if you was resting. And not even a bead of sweat.”
His eye brows rose into his hair line and she got her first fill of his face.
His reddish-brown hair fell right at his nape, curled at his forehead, like they were taunting her to touch them. His green eyes held amusement, but she also saw a hint of caution. She had surprised him too much her evaluation.
Conor’s chin was rough and sharp, not even a hint of a beard. His skin was tanned and scarless. She had expected to see one mark on his body, but she guessed being a shifter, he healed faster then she thought. His cheek bones rounded, but sharp. His brow wasn’t thick nor thin, the perfect amount.
With non-humans the facial features with the cheek bones were usual with full blooded clans. As the blood became more diluted, the more their ‘royal’ looks became more human. Rounded cheeks and thinned body. They would be lucky to have any gifts or, in a shifter’s case, a animal.
She had done it again. She had just thought something she had no idea about. She had just evaluated his body, his heritage and possibly his bloodline. She knew that if she kept it up, she would eventually scare herself, and even him. Hell, she was already scaring herself.
“How did you-”
A bell sounded down the path they were taking and he looked startled. He sent her a glance that spoke ‘we’ll talk about this later’, and he took her hand, that was suspended in midair and he was leading her again.
She looked around this time, knowing that even fewer people would be down the street.
As she looked on ward, she saw that land slopped downward to a wooden dock. There was five piers jutting from the cement and only two had boats in them.
But only one had people getting on board. There wasn’t a line, for most of the people were on.
“Last call for the 5:25 ferry!” A man shouted and she felt a burst of energy.
She was free! She was free! In all her life she had lost hope that she would escape the fate of so many women in the whore house. Scared of what would happen to her, her fate in some else’s hands. She had lived her life scared.
Now, she was only a few yards away from her freedom. And she had Conor to thank for it. She wised to make amend, but that would take a lifetime. He had given her something priceless, her life back.
She didn’t see that they were already on the boat, her inward celebration taking her from the world, she watched as Conor lead them down some stairs and into the lower levels.
Delilah could sing, he hadn’t known it, but she hated it when people looked at her. And the boat was way too crowded, she was surprised the boat was still afloat.
He stopped in a small mess hall and sat down on a small bench. But she couldn’t sit. She was too excited.
“Are you okay?” He asked, a few seconds later as she started pacing, trying to get rid of some of the extra energy.
“I’m better than okay.” She knew she spoke a little too loud and she ad a grin plastered on her face, but she could care less.
He laughed and again he had a full smile on his face, like he enjoyed seeing her smile.
“You’re gonna attract unwanted attention.” He laughed, but the warning sounded only half hollow.
“I could care less!” She stopped pacing and faced him. “Well, I could care. But I don’t right now, because I’m so happy!” She talked a little fast and she laughed when she saw the look of appall on his face.
“Calm down or you’re gonna waste what little energy you have.” He laughed and she could dance to it. She liked his laugh.
She heard his words and she almost immediately stopped. He was right, but she wanted to run around and laugh. It had been a long time since she had actually laughed.
Delilah sighed and walked over to him. Though he was sitting, he was still inches over her, making her seem like a child. But he was just huge!
“Oh, thank you, Conor!” She threw her arms around his neck and hugged him before she could think. “You have no idea how happy I am. You have given me my freedom! I will forever be in your debt.”
It was then she realized she was hugging a man and she wasn’t afraid. And his arms were wrapped around her, hugging her back. She felt a blush rise and she pulled back enough to look away.
It was only because Conor was kind and a gentleman she could hug him. He didn’t scare her; he didn’t want to harm her.
“You are welcome, Delilah.” He laughed and allowed her to pull back even more. She liked how he spoke her name, he rolled her name and she heard the slightest hint of what was his accent.
She looked at him and saw that she was standing between his legs, her shins resting on the hard plank he sat on.
Close. . .too close.
He smiled again and he put his arms on her waist and pulled the blanket off, unaware of her inner turmoil.
“You can rest now, it’ll be at least a week venture to my home, and that is by boat. The we have to get horses and ride the rest of the way.” He held open the blanket, fully unfolded and welcoming.
She did hesitate but she folded herself into the blanket, that feel way past her feet, pooling at the ground. She looked at him and then climbed beside him.
“I’m not gonna harm you, lass.” He patted his thigh lightly. “You can rest your head here, I guarantee that it’ll be more comfortable.”
“What about you?” She asked, using on if her hands to keep her up as she questioned him.
He shocked her when he leaned down and lightly rested his hand under her chin and rose her face to look at him fully. His eyes bounced between hers and she felt another blush come up, but not as bad ass the first ones. She was getting use to his touch, she realized.
He bent down and she felt his lips as a whisper against her soft skin and another spark shot between them.
Like last time, she wanted to lean into him. To render herself to him and his lips. Let him touch her. It was nothing like she had felt ever before. Subconsciously, she heard him say something, but she wasn’t paying attention.
“I can’t rest, I have to look out for you. Remember.” His words bounded through her and she opened her eyes to see him pulling back and he winked.
She was going to say that that was unnecessary but she yawned as she felt the tiredness hit fully.
Not caring, she laid her head on his thigh and reveled in the strong muscle under her. And she relaxed.
‘Yes, he would protect her. He would care for her.’ She thought as she fell into the most peaceful sleep she’s ever had.