The Awakening Page 2

She stopped dead suddenly, seeing a form before her in the fog. She held her breath, praying it wasn't going to be another bum.

"Hey! There you are."

It was him. The guy from the bar. Charming, magnetic, seductive. He was standing at the end of the block, right in front of one of the few trees in the area. There was something strange about him, but she didn't quite know what…

"Hey!" she called back. Limping on her one heel, she started for him. A frown knit her brow as she studied him, and tried to figure out what was different about him. "I thought you left."

"I thought you had left!" he replied softly. His voice… it was like silk. He stood so still, and yet it seemed he emitted so much energy and power. "I had hoped to see you again," he told her.

She smiled, thinking that the cemetery, with its stones, eerie in the blue fog, was behind her now. Just as the bum was who had reached out and touched her.

And the night… it lay ahead with a sudden awesome and new mystery.

"Theresa… come on. Come to me, Theresa!"

Well, of course, I'm coming to you, gorgeous! she thought, smiling inwardly.

And she was.

Her one heel clicked on the pavement. A pathetic sound. The fog was to her chest, swirling madly. She was so close to him. Together, they could brave it.

She could see his smile. The flash of his teeth, she was so close.

She saw what was different about him. It was what he was wearing, on such a night… it was weird.

But on such a man, what did it matter?

She came closer, feeling more intoxicated than she ever had due to the influence of liquor. Maybe there were a few remnants of the cosmopolitans she had been drinking that stayed to warm her bloodstream, to make her feel as if her heart jumped with excitement with every movement that brought her closer.

It seemed that even the strange blue fog was a part of his magic…

She came to a halt, standing directly in front of him. "I can't believe I've found you again," she murmured.

"Fate," he said softly. "Destiny. Great things are to come."

The sound was still so seductive. As were his eyes.

She couldn't have moved if she wanted to. And yet…

There was something… off. Something not quite right.

Fate. Destiny. Oh, yes. And yet…

She didn't even know exactly why she knew, or what she knew, or what exactly it was that she saw… or felt… except that it was…

She struggled to understand.

"Come with me."


"Serve me!"

"Oh, yes!"

He moved…

Ah, the seduction of it all. The danger. Something forbidden, and thus, ever so tempting, and still…

It seemed she was simply swallowed into the depth of the night.

And the blanket of the swirling blue fog.


Someone nudged Finn, none too gently. Blinking, he opened his eyes.

"Hey, let's see some identification."

The police officer standing in front of him was reaching out. Finn automatically reached for his back pocket, so disoriented that he was moving by rote. Where the hell was he? Then he realized he was on the street, sleeping against a building.

For a moment he was afraid he wouldn't find his wallet in his pocket. He had no memory of how he had gotten here—wherever that was. The last thing he could recall was… ordering a beer and a hamburger.

To his relief, he found his wallet, in his back pocket, right where it should have been.

"New Orleans, huh?" the officer said.


"What did you do—pass out here on the sidewalk?"

Finn shook his head, standing, praying that he wasn't going to be arrested.

"I…" He hesitated, then decided to tell the truth. "I was trying to drive straight through to Maine. But when I saw the signs for Boston, I figured I had to stop and get something to eat. I think I was simply so tired that I came out, leaned against the wall… and nodded off. But I'm not drunk, nor was I drunk. I had one beer—hours ago, now, I think." He glanced at his watch. "Yes, hours ago. I'll take any blood test or breathalizer you want."

The officer was somewhere in his forties, Finn reckoned. Steady brown eyes, slightly graying hair, and a stocky build.

He handed Finn back his wallet. "You're on your way to Maine?"

"My wife is up there. Her family was originally from Massachusetts; they moved up to Maine her first year of college."

"How come you're in such a hurry?"

Finn hesitated again, then shrugged. "We had some misunderstandings. She left me. I'm going to get her back."

"Misunderstandings? "

He didn't really have to explain his marriage to a cop, but then, the cop had just awakened him from sleeping on the sidewalk. "Pride, maybe. She believed some things that weren't true. I was angry. You know, I didn't intend to be any pushover, and I was too damned self-righteous to give her any explanations."

"So you're rushing up to Maine… you're lucky you weren't hit by a pickpocket, but then… you're a pretty big guy, tall and wiry, and the way you tensed when I nudged you, I take it you've done some fighting yourself. Still, a badass with a gun can take down a black belt any day."

"I know. Look, I swear, when I decided I was going to get her back, come hell or high water, I really didn't think I needed to stop for sleep. Now, I know better."

The cop grinned.

"Maine and Louisiana are pretty damned far apart, and you bet your ass, you have to sleep. But, good for you. Go get your wife. You two work it out. Too many people call it quits these days at the first sign of trouble. Me and my wife Laura, we've been together twenty-five years. She left me once."

"What did you do?"

"I went after her. You got money on you?"

"Yes. And credit cards."

"Well, you didn't look like a vagrant from the start, even using the concrete as a mattress, and you sure as hell aren't dressed like a vagrant, and you sound honest. You've got a job?"

Finn hesitated again. "I'm a musician." The officer's brow went up and Finn said wearily. "A good musician, and yes, I do make money, a steady income, at my music."

The fellow grinned. "I wasn't going to jail you for being a musician. But you'd better get yourself to a hotel, huh?"

"Yes, I will."

"Head out of the city a bit; I don't need any of your blood. Hell, I've been at this way too long. I know a drunk when I see one, and you just look beat. I'm going to let you get on your way, but don't drive like a maniac. Maine is still a long way away."

"Thanks. Thanks, a lot. I've never done anything like this before in my life, I swear," Finn said. "I just shouldn't have been driving so hard."

"I'd better not hear that you've been in an accident."

"You won't," Finn swore.

"Go on, then. Drive carefully."

"Yes, I will. Thank you."

The officer gave him a little salute. Finn smiled and returned it, then turned to find his car. There was an awkward moment. He didn't know where the hell his car was.

"Parking is a bitch, huh?"

"Yeah, but I have a place right on the street, somewhere," Finn said.

"Want me to drive you around?"

"No, thanks again. It's got to be right around here."

"All right. A little walk in the crisp air will do you good."

Finn nodded, glad to see the officer stepping back into his car, which was double-parked in the street.

Finn started to walk, tense, afraid the cop would follow him all over the city.

But he hadn't really gone all that far. In ten minutes, he'd found his car. He slid into the driver's seat and headed for the highway. He wound up on US1 instead of I-95. A few minutes later, he saw a hotel on a little hill. Hell, it was almost morning. Checkout was noon. Still, he determined, waking on the street had been too damned scary. He was going to sleep.

He crashed into the bed, not bothering to take off his clothes. Within minutes, he was sound asleep again.

In the morning, the world was bright. He was glad of the hotel. Glad to shower and change. And glad, because Maine might still be something of a drive, but by the evening, he would reach Megan. Then, all he had to do was convince her of the truth. He loved her more than life itself. He needed her. And she needed him.

He knew she loved him, as well. Knew that she felt there was incredible passion in their lives, that there was a lot worth working for. The best way to get her back would be…

What the hell was he going to say?

He stopped along the way for lunch, mulling the question over all the while.

In fact, he practiced thoughts and words all the way up the coast.

He reached her folks' house, ready with his words. But Megan was on the lawn, sitting in the tree swing, and she wasn't able to move quickly enough when she realized it was him. She stood for a moment, blond hair shimmering in the moonlight that had risen, blue eyes like that of a doe caught by the sudden head beams of a car.

The words fled from him. He just strode toward where she stood, still, that mesmerized deer. He took her into his arms. She was stiff for a long moment…

Then seemed to melt against him.

"You drove here? All the way? For me?"

"I came to get you," he said gruffly.

"What if I were to say no?"

"I don't intend to let you. Megan, I have a lot to say."

"Me, too, Finn… but… there's time to talk. Later." She moved even closer against him, a compact ball of tension and heat. The simple adjustment of her flesh against him was like being doused in liquid fire.

The length of him quickened with a shudder. His voice barely rasped out.

"Your folks?"

"Gone for the weekend," she whispered back.

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