Sara and The Wolf
Sara meets Dan while searching for a friend who disappeared from Seattle the year before. They develop a relationship and face a challenge.
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.
8. Chapter 8
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Some time later Sara felt Dan lift her and gently tuck her into her bed. He sat stroking her hair back from her face for a minute and then she felt his weight leave the mattress. She was so wrung out she didn’t even open her eyes until she heard the door quietly open and shut again.. When she opened her eyes she saw the note on hotel stationery sitting next to her cell phone in the light of the bedside lamp. It was short.
Call me. Yours, Dan
She smiled at the two words that were both an answer and a request. She saw that his name and number were programmed into the speed dial on her phone. She turned off the light, tucked the note under her pillow and went to sleep thinking about this incredible man who always seemed to be there for her and knew what she needed before she even asked.
When she woke up it was already well into morning. Sara felt really good, she was grateful to find that she wasn’t as sore as she thought she might be, just a bit around her shoulders from keeping her arms up in good dancing form. She took her time about getting ready and was pleased to find that she wanted to look good for herself as well as for Dan. Bits of herself she hadn’t realized she was missing were starting to fall back into place.
While straightening her things she found the sock under the bed and tossed it into her laundry bag. The clothes reminded her that the night before Dan had been dressed in his t-shirt and running shorts, she guessed he had been out running, it was strange how he had come to her room just then but something her Dad used to say came to her “There are no coincidences.” She would just be grateful that he had come when he did.
She picked up her phone and felt the warm tingles all up her spine as she pressed the button for Dan’s number. He answered after only one ring.
“Hi.” She said suddenly feeling shy.
“Hi yourself.” His voice was warm and Sara felt reassured that he hadn’t been put off by her emotional outburst of the night before.
“Thank you.” She said it with feeling.
“You’re welcome.” There was a pause, “Are you alright?”
“I am, I don’t know how you knew to come…” she let the words trail off hoping she didn’t sound ungrateful.
“I was out running and I saw your light was still on, then I heard you…” his voice choked a little and Sara was surprised once again by the openness and feeling this man showed her.
“I’m sorry.” She said, wishing she hadn’t poured out so much of her suffering on Dan.
“Don’t Sara.” He said it almost sternly, then his voice softened. “Don’t apologize to me. I can’t begin to understand what you have gone through but I want to understand you. I love you, I love everything about you and I want to take every bit of the bad that comes with all the good.”
“I love you too Dan.” She felt a rush of warm feeling towards this man.
“Good.” His tone was suddenly light again. “So, can I take you to lunch and maybe for a walk on the beach?”
“I’d love that.”
“I love you.”
“I love you too. I’ll see you in a little while then…”
“I’ll be there in twenty minutes.”
There were a few moments of silence and then Sara asked, “Dan, are you still there?”
“Yes.” He replied.
“I don’t want to hang up..”
Dan’s rich laughter made Sara grin at her own juvenile behavior.
“Well, how rude!” she said in her best mockingly prim British governess accent, making Dan laugh all the harder. “I love you!” she said fiercely and then pushed the button to disconnect the call.
A few minutes later Sara was out on the sidewalk in front of the motel, too excited to wait inside for Dan to come get her; she jumped into his truck as soon as he pulled to the curb and opened the door. They went through a drive through for hamburgers and took their lunch to the beach to eat. Their mood was decidedly playful and they chased each other and raced the waves as they rolled in. Sara loved that Dan let her catch him even though she knew very well that he was faster then she was. When she was completely out of breath she had to stop him and laughingly beg for mercy as he scooper her up and carried her out a few feet in the surf and pretended he intended to throw her in. They ended up kissing on a blanket and getting into a tickling fight. It was a chilly gray day so very few people came by their section of the beach and they let themselves act ridiculous in the sheer joy of being in each others company with no one around. They played at building sand castles and ended up chasing each other again until Sara was worn out and Dan flopped down next to her on the blanket so she could use his shoulder for a pillow.
Dan was silent for a while and Sara thought he might have gone to sleep. She pushed herself up on one elbow to see his face. His eyes were closed so she ran her fingers along his face, over his eyebrows and along his cheekbones down his nose to his lips where he caught her fingers and pressed them to his mouth. She leaned back into his shoulder, letting him keep the captive hand pressed to his chest where his fingers traced patterns on the back of her hand.
Sara was enjoying the moment but something about the way Dan was distractedly tracing the same lines over and over let her know he was lost somewhere in thought.
“Penny for your thoughts.”
Dan slid his arm out from under her shoulders and rolled so he was on one elbow looking down at her. “I was thinking about how much I love you and I was thinking that if you trust me enough to let me see the way you felt last night and then how you were today… Well, then I should trust you with something as well.”
Sara gave Dan a quizzical look. She wasn’t sure where this was going but Dan was right, she did trust him, he hadn’t let her down yet and somehow she knew he wouldn’t disappoint her or hurt her if there was any way he could avoid it.
Dan got to his feet and pulled Sara to hers, “Come on, there’s something I want to show you.”
Sara got the distinct impression that Dan was suddenly very nervous, she bit her lip feeling a bit anxious herself. Suddenly she was startled by loud deep barking and growling coming from the tree line and she jumped at the sound, her heart racing she spun around dreading seeing whatever large dog was making the angry sounds. She couldn’t see movement anywhere but Dan seemed intent on a spot back within the shadows of the trees.
“Sara, stay here, I’ve got to go check on that.”
Dan was gone before Sara could protest and she sank on rubbery knees back onto the blanket wrapping her arms around herself and watching Dan lope away in that incredible ground eating pace that had him up the beach and into the trees before she knew what had happened. The barking had stopped as suddenly as it had started. The silence was even more nerve wracking than the noise. Only the sound of the surf and the cries of seagulls broke the stillness. Sara suddenly wished that the empty beach was a bit more crowded, other people around would have been reassuring.
After more than a few minutes Dan had not yet returned and Sara was really getting nervous. She guessed it had been close to ten or fifteen minutes. Dan was a big man and she thought he could probably take care of himself but she couldn’t take sitting and waiting any longer. She walked towards the trees, picking up a chunk of wood in a shaking hand she called for Dan in a distressingly shaky voice. She had only taken a few more steps towards the trees when she saw him emerge suddenly from a spot she knew she had just been looking at without seeing him. She dropped the wood and laughed with relief at her imagination playing tricks on her but sobered when she saw his tense and serious expression.
“Dan, what’s wrong?” she called as she ran towards him across the scrubby ground.
“Nothing, don’t worry, it was nothing.”
His face was still dark and his forehead was creased in frustration so Sara didn’t push the subject. She stopped a few feet away from him and tilted her head to look up at his tense face. “Do we need to leave? I can go get the blanket…” she hadn’t seen him like this and it worried her.
“No,” he looked at her as if really seeing her again and his face smoothed, “let’s not let this ruin what’s left of the afternoon.”
They walked together holding hands back to the blanket and sank onto it together. Sara sat with her legs crossed and pulled Dan’s head down into her lap so she could see his face and trace it again with her fingers. The lighthearted mood of earlier had fled and while Dan was by no means being inattentive she could tell he was deep in thought again. She left him to his thoughts and sat watching the sea and sky until the sun began to set somewhere behind the overcast horizon.
“Oh bother!” she suddenly exclaimed as she tried to shift position and found both her legs had gone completely to sleep.
Dan flipped over onto his hands and knees at her exclamation and the sudden rush of blood to her legs caused pins and needles to shoot all through them. She started to laugh at her predicament and gasped out “my legs, I can’t feel my legs!” Then fell over backward in another fit of giggles as she tried to straighten out her protesting limbs.
Jumping to his feet Dan assumed a superhero pose and loudly proclaimed “Aha! A damsel in distress! I shall rescue the fair maiden!”
He effortlessly scooped Sara up into his arms bringing on another fit of giggles from the “fair maiden”. When he stooped close to the ground with her and said out of the side of his mouth “Fair maiden, would you kindly grab the blanket as I have my arms full.” It was all Sara could do to snag the edge of the blanket and toss it around his shoulders like a cape before another fit of giggles got them both started again.
They had come a long way down the beach from where the truck was parked and as soon as the feeling began to return to her extremities Sara said “Dan, I can walk.”
“I know, but I like this better.” He bent his head and kissed her.
Sara decided there was an advantage to the lovely sensation of being carried along and sliding her hands around his neck and running her fingers through his hair she kissed him back, thoroughly. The somber mood was broken and it seemed like only a minute before Dan was lifting her easily over the side of the truck and settling her on the cushions in the bed. Sara was amazed at his grace and ease as he vaulted over the side of the truck in an easy leap and then sat down next to her wrapping her in his arms. With all the clouds there wasn’t much of a sunset to watch but they wouldn’t have caught much of it anyway. They made out like teenagers. There were a few moments when Sara wished that Dan wasn’t such a gentleman about it but she also loved that he had old fashioned values that made him such a good person.
After a while she turned in his arms and leaned back against his chest. It had gotten very dark and with no moon she felt anchored by Dan’s embrace.
“I don’t want this to end.” She had said it softly to herself but Dan somehow heard her over the sounds of the wind and the ocean at night.
“It doesn’t have to as long as you’re with me.” There was a touch of something sad in his voice that Sara couldn’t place but his hold on her tightened and she let her concern go.
“Dan,” she paused and took a deep breath thinking life’s too short.
Sara continued in a rush, “…Have you ever thought about getting married?”
There, she’d said it, she bit her lip and winced knowing she had just dropped the proverbial bomb. She suddenly wished there was enough light to be able to turn and see his face. He didn’t say anything for what seemed like forever and then slowly said, “Sara, I can honestly say I have never felt anything like what I feel for you with anyone else.” His voice was intense with emotion. Sara let out a breath she hadn’t realized she had been holding. “I have never found anyone I wanted so much to spend a lifetime with.”
They sat there in silence for a long time before driving back to Sara’s motel. They had one more goodnight kiss in front of the door before Dan got back in his truck and drove away.
Sara was showered and ready for bed in record time because tonight she had someone she needed to call.
The phone only rang once before he picked up. “Hello, this is Dan.”
“Hi Dan, this is Sara, how have you been?”
He chuckled, “I’ve never been better. I spent an incredible day with the most wonderful woman. Would you like to hear about it?”
“That sounds fascinating but maybe later, I have some really great news that I just wanted to share with you.”
“Wow, great news huh? Well go ahead, I’m all ears.”
“I met someone.”
“Really?” The smile in his voice came across clearly. “Is he everything you ever wanted?”
“Oh, well, no.” Sara picked up the note Dan had left her the night before. “He has terrible handwriting.”
“That is awful!” Dan’s mock horror made Sara laugh. “So are you going to break it off?”
“I thought about it, but since that’s the only thing about him that isn’t absolutely perfect I decided to give him another chance.”
“That’s very magnanimous of you.”
“Yes, I thought so as well. There’s only one point I’m unclear on in the relationship.”
“Oh? What’s that?”
“Well, I’m not sure if we’re engaged exactly or not, I think we might be, but I don’t know if I should start telling everyone I know yet, so you have to keep this just between the two of us.”
“Just between us. Right. Ummm… Oh, I know, do you have a ring yet?”
“Well then you’re definitely not officially engaged. A man has to do it right, an official proposal includes a ring and a speech. I read that somewhere. If this guy hasn’t gone through the formal process you should probably keep him at a distance until he gets his act together. You’re too good for anything less than a full commitment.”
Sara let out a deep theatrical sigh. “Do you think I have a chance at getting that kind of a commitment?”
“It all depends, are you madly in love with him?”
“Yes, definitely, madly just about covers it.”
“Well then, since you are madly in love with him and he would have to be crazy to not love you back just as madly, I don’t think commitment will be an issue. The paperwork might though…”
“Oh yes, once you’ve had him committed there’s all that paperwork to get them to release the poor crazed soul so you can marry him.” Dan hooted with laughter.
Sara groaned, “That’s terrible, I may have to add bad jokes to the list right under bad penmanship. Okay, enough about my relationship, you said something about an incredibly wonderful woman you spent the day with, tell me all about it.”
Sara fell asleep a few minutes later listening to Dan quietly describing the afternoon they had together in his low soothing voice. When Dan heard her breathing get slow and regular he whispered “goodnight Sara, sweet dreams.”