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Sara and The Wolf

Summary:
Sara meets Dan while searching for a friend who disappeared from Seattle the year before. They develop a relationship and face a challenge.


Notes:
There are 10 chapters. The whole thing is written and I'll keep posting it... I originally wrote this for my sister. She liked it but said it wasn't as good as the original. I agree, but it sure was fun to do.


7. Chapter 7

Rating 0/5   Word Count 3433   Review this Chapter

Sara woke up feeling great. The tingly sensation from the night before was still there. She was falling for Dan and she knew he liked her back. She was excited to start the day. She was making a habit of getting up early but Dan seemed to be an early riser so she thought he might but up as well. She got showered and dressed and went into the kitchen to see if the pattern held true. It did. Only this time Dan looked great and her heart felt like it skipped a few beats when she saw him. She had to suppress a giggle at her reaction to the cliche of a man in uniform. He was wearing his park service uniform and drinking a glass of orange juice over the sink.

“It’s true what they say about a man in uniform…” she couldn’t believe that had come out of her mouth, she shrugged and grinned at his answering laugh. “She looked into his beautiful brown eyes and said what she knew she really wanted to, “Dan, since the first date is over, if you still want to… I want to too.” It made her heart race to see his reaction. His face lit up like it was Christmas.

He put the glass down on the counter, “Come with me,” he said, taking her hand and leading her out the back door. It was still early enough that the mist hadn’t burned off and the back yard was shining damply with the gray light of early morning. They hurried across the back yard and into the trees behind the house, almost skipping along together across the wet grass and into the dripping trees. They were both giggling like kids. Just out of sight of the house Dan pulled Sara in close to him and held her for a moment while she caught her breath. He wasn’t breathing hard at all but she could hear his heart racing to match the pace of her own.

Dans arms slid down around Sara’s waist and she put her arms up around his neck. She had to stand on her toes, he was so tall. Somehow their lips met. It was a great kiss, one of those foot popping, lady swooning, gentleman sweeping her up in his arms and striding off across the moors kind of kisses. Sara forgot to breathe for a minute and had to come up for a breath.

“I love holding you and I love kissing you.” Dan held her tightly against him as he spoke. “If I wasn’t going to be late for work I’d stay out here with you and spend the day like this.”

“When will you be back?” Sara didn’t want to sound possessive but the anticipation of seeing him again after work was already thrilling her.

“Tomorrow night, sometime late.”

Sara grinned, “I’ll see you then.”

They kissed again once quickly and then with her hand tucked in his arm they walked back towards the house, they parted at the edge of the back lawn. Dan got in his truck and drove away and Sara watched him until he was out of sight in the fog, then she went in to the house trying to think of ways to fill a very long two day of waiting.

By the end of the day Sara had her car back from the mechanic, had done her laundry, had helped Dan’s mom with the garden, and finished reading part of her book. She checked online for directions to a store that sold evening wear and found one an hour away. She didn’t know what had become of her dancing shoes but figured she could find something suitable. She would go to a chain retail store and buy a couple of CD’s, a portable player, and some batteries. She would have liked to have come up with a large wood floor but figured she would have to rely on Dan for the place for their dance lessons to happen. She allowed herself to get excited about the planning and knew it would be a great evening even if the dancing didn’t go well.

The next morning she was up early again and on her way out the door. She spent the day shopping, something she really hadn’t done much of or enjoyed for a long time. She still found herself looking for Anna around every corner but she knew that Anna would want her to see this through to wherever it led. She would be so excited for her. Sara smiled as she realized she was thinking about Anna and feeling good for the first time in a long time. It was like shopping for the prom together years ago, she could almost pretend that Anna was right next to her pushing through dress racks and humming along with the store music.

Sara found a dress that was just what she was looking for. It was dark green velvety material. It had a high neckline and a skirt full enough to really move in. The material was a bit stretchy so it would fit her nicely and still allow her the freedom to dance in it. She bought a pair of heels that had ankle straps. The heels were a bit higher than she had wanted but they did have the advantage of being the right height from which to kiss Dan easily.

After getting her shopping finished it was late afternoon. Sara drove back to Dan’s home and parked out front. As she was reaching to turn off the ignition a thought struck her and she put her car in reverse and got back on the road. She and Dan were dating, they were officially dating, she wasn’t sick anymore and Dan didn’t need to sleep on a couch instead of his own bed. Sara could imagine the disappointment on her mother's face if she were to try to explain how she was living with her boyfriend but not really living with him. She pulled into the motel parking lot and reserved a room through the next week. Next she stopped at a florist and got a bouquet of flowers and a thank you card for Dan’s mother.

She went back to Dan’s house for her things and explained to Dan’s mother why she was leaving. She added the part that she had been bursting to tell someone since her realization in the car. She was falling in love with Dan and she didn’t want to take any chances of messing it up. She stayed for dinner and helped clean up, afterwards, she wrote a note to Dan and left it on the bedroom door. Then, she went back to the motel. She was tired from a day spent running around but too keyed up with expectation to really relax. It took her a long time to fall asleep.

Sara woke up early again. She worked on her computer until she heard the cleaning cart on the sidewalk outside her door then she left to get some breakfast. With nothing else to occupy her free time Sara had finished multiple credits of online coursework over the last year. All that was left was going to her advisement office to register for graduation. She had always planned to finish college; it was kind of a let down to actually be finished. Her goals had been met and she wasn’t actually any different. There wasn’t anything new to really look forward to except for Dan, and Sara wasn’t sure that having all her eggs in one basket was a good investment. She had learned to rely on herself when she didn’t have anyone else to rely on but it scared her to be that alone. Her recent illness had reinforced that point to her. It was hard having no one to depend on; but having someone meant there was a risk of losing them. Sara ate her breakfast and thought about taking things one day at a time. She wanted to be able to just let things go and trust to fate but she hated not having a plan. She fished a notebook out of her purse and thought about her goals. She wasn’t sure about further education, she didn’t need to work if she didn’t want to, she couldn’t help thinking about marriage and kids now that she was actually seeing someone but after just one date there were no guarantees there.

Sara decided to push forward with plans to stay in the area for at least a couple of months. By that time she would have a better idea of where she stood with Dan. She bought a newspaper and checked there and online for month to month leases or rooms for rent. She also looked through the help-wanteds. She couldn’t let all her future plans hinge on Dan but she could put something in to motion for the time being. She had been looking for a reason to stop living like a gypsy, Dan had given it to her. It was Einstein who said something about doing the same thing over and over hoping for different results was being the definition of insanity. The last few days had changed her outlook on everything, she wasn’t desperately searching for something anymore and she actually had hope of finding what she really wanted. She went back to the hotel with a sense that she might not have purpose yet but she could find it.

When she got back to her room there was a message waiting that she had a delivery in the office. The delivery turned out to be a dozen roses, dark red and fragrant. Sara loved how they filled the motel room with their perfume and covered up the funny smell that motels always had. There was a card with them it said simply “I’ll pick you up at 6. Yours, Dan.” Sara had to laugh, his handwriting was terrible, thus far this was the only fault the man seemed to posses so she knew she could forgive it.

The anticipation of their second date was really getting to Sara. She was having a hard time keeping from getting distracted. She decided to take a long bath and then get ready for her date. She still had a couple of hours but it would give her something to do. By twenty minutes to six, she felt like she was completely forgetting something but didn’t have a clue what it was. She was a bundle of nerves. She really wanted everything to go well but she was afraid she wouldn’t be able to have a good time if she couldn’t relax about trying to teach Dan to dance and just enjoy his company instead.

It was almost six when Sara heard him knock. She realized then that what she had forgotten were the shoes in their box in the back seat of her car. She only had her walking shoes in the room. She knew she would look silly with her hair all done up, and her elegant dress and a pair of dirty sneakers.

“Oh, bother!” her mother had taught her never to swear but she felt like breaking that rule. She shoved her feet into the sneakers and pulled the motel door open just an inch.

“Dan, you have to shut your eyes.”

She saw him smile, “Can I help you with something?” he said, and tried to move so he could see in the open slit.

“Please, Dan just do it.” She was begging but she had wanted this to be perfect.

As soon as his eyes were closed she pulled the door open, grabbed her skirt up and ran to her car. She snatched the shoes from the backseat, slammed the car door shut, and ran back into the motel room.

“Can I open…?”

“No!” she interrupted him, “Wait!”

She thumped down onto the edge of the bed and kicked her shoes off into the corner. She put the heels on as quickly as she could and took the few quick steps to the door.

“Okay, now.” She said, a little out of breath.

He opened his eyes and she watched as his face lit up with delight. His gaze traveled from her head to her feet.

“You look amazing.”

“So do you.” Sara admired the figure Dan cut in his suit.

“Dan pulled a single long stemmed red rose from behind his back and handed it to her. “I was going to surprise you with this when you opened the door, but I actually like your surprise better. It was the shoes, wasn’t it?”

“Did you peek?”

“No, but when you ran past I didn’t hear your heels, which by the way, are an excellent height.” He drew Sara to him for another wonderful kiss. “Maybe you can wear them more often.” He kissed her again.

Sara was feeling a bit dizzy and she didn’t think it was from the height of the shoes. Dan smelled good, like aftershave and something woodsy. He was so solid and warm. She pulled her thoughts together and pushed away from him long enough to grab her bag and shut the motel door.

“If you don’t mind, lets take my car, there are some things in there we’ll need. You can drive,” she handed him her car keys. “We need someplace with some space and preferably a wood floor.”

“Okay, I think I know a place.”

Dan drove them to a warehouse outside of town. It was a building the park service used to store equipment in during the winter. It was empty at one end and when Sara saw it she laughed with delight and gave Dan a hug. They brought in the things they needed and Sara started the music and the lessons. There was a remote to the CD player that Sara held in her hand for a few minutes as she walked Dan through the basics of frame and counting the beat but then when they went to take a dance position together she didn’t have a place to put it. Dan took it from her and put it in his jacket pocket. For the next two hours it became a game for them, her trying to catch him moving the remote around and fishing through his jacket pockets and him doing his best to keep her guessing.

Dan was a quick study and by the end of their lesson he was leading them through a waltz and a foxtrot easily. They had to stop in fits of giggles when Sara tried to teach him some of the tango and he insisted on dancing with her rose in his teeth. Sara was amazed at their progress. They had worked together so easily and while they hadn’t really done anything fast paced she was slowing down and was feeling very warm. Part of it was just the exertion but mostly it was from the way he really focused all his attention on her. Besides that, he was just really warm. Her new shoes were feeling tighter and she knew she would be sore in the morning. Dan wasn’t even breathing hard but his stomach had started to growl.

They collected their things and turned out the lights. Sara sank gratefully into the seat of her car and rolled the window down just a little as they drove to let the crisp evening air cool her face. Dan drove them to the same restaurant they had eaten at a few nights before and they had their first official dance as they waited for their food to be served. As they finished dancing there was a round of applause from the people who had been watching them. Dan laughed a deep throaty laugh and twirled Sara around, she blushed furiously as he bowed and she curtsied and she took his arm as he escorted her off the dance floor. She hadn’t realized so many people were watching them.

He held her chair for her and then sat down next to her. “So far, I love holding you, I love kissing you, and I love dancing with you.” His grin softened into a smile as he looked intently into her eyes. “Sara Finch, I love you.”

Sara felt the last of the blush drain from her face. She bit her lip and looked down at her hands that had suddenly started twisting her napkin. She had been thinking about this for only a few days now, but she was pretty sure that all the dizzy giddiness of a schoolgirl crush was just the beginning of something deep and strong. She felt a warm feeling rush from the top of her head to her feet and she knew it was what she wanted and that it was right.

Sara looked up into Dan’s serious and slightly worried eyes and softly said “I love you too.”

Dan’s instant smile was huge. He leaned in and gave her a long deep kiss. Sara was grateful for the dimmed lighting and privacy of their corner table and hoped that the candlelight didn’t reveal that she was once again blushing. She felt so close to this wonderful man. He kept telling her over and over how amazing and beautiful she was but she knew he was really the one who was unbelievably wonderful and incredibly handsome. She couldn’t believe how lucky she was to have met him.

They sat there with their heads bent together talking about everything and nothing with each other until the restaurant began closing. Afterwards, Dan drove her back to the motel parking lot where they sat in the car and talked until Sara couldn’t suppress her yawns any longer. Dan walked Sara to her door and gave her another long kiss goodnight. She watched him get into his truck and drive away before shutting the door. She hummed to herself as she took a long shower and changed into her pajama pants and a t-shirt, then finished getting ready for bed. The night had been perfect, every bit of it. She felt deliciously happy and giddy as she relived the many perfect moments of the evening in her mind. She suddenly had the urge to call someone and tell them how happy she was. She picked up her cell phone and then the bubble of happiness burst. She sat down heavily on the bed as tears began to roll down her face.

She didn’t have anyone to tell. She hadn’t missed her mother or Anna this bad in a long time. They were always in the back of her thoughts but the sudden pain at realizing they weren’t there to share this with her wrenched at her heart. She sat and cried not caring that tears were dripping off her chin onto her shirt and her cell phone. She choked out a sob and she heard herself calling quietly for her mother like a little lost child.

A soft knock on the door startled Sara and she bit back her tears thinking maybe one of the neighbors had heard her and come to check on her. She knew she hadn't made much noise but motel walls were notoriously thin.

“Sara,” it was Dan’s voice, “Sara, open the door please.” Dan’s tone was insistent and urging.

Sara looked around quickly for something to wipe her face with and ended up grabbing a clean sock from her bag and wiping her face on it before throwing it under the bed on her way to the door. She pulled the door open wishing she could hide the evidence of her puffy face as easily.

Dan was through the door in an instant, and crushed her to his chest in his powerful embrace. “Sara, Sara,” he murmured into her hair, resting his chin on the top of her head, “what’s wrong love?”

Sara felt another fresh sob escape from her but it was muffled by Dan’s chest. He loosened his hold on her and she tried to put what she was feeling into words but was crying too hard to get it all out.

“I’m just, I was … , I am so happy.” The irony of what she had just said struck her and a laugh escaped with the next sob. “I picked up the phone to call …” she couldn’t finish the sentence. “They aren’t there…” she trailed off, her sobs quieting into darker grief. She clung to him, shutting her eyes tightly and clinging to his solid comforting presence as she soaked his shirt with her tears. He half carried her to the bed and sat rocking her in his arms as she spent herself out and fell asleep.