For the story so far
I climbed up the stairs, mentally rung out. Upstairs there was a sitting area with another wall mounted screen flush with the walls. It showed what I assumed was some sort of security system activated. There was a console rivaling an international space station. All the lights were green. I guessed that the green meant everything was fine in Sam land. To the left, there were three bedrooms and a bathroom. I glimpsed the timber framing in one room, exposed plasterboard in another and the third showed the smooth lines of plaster. The bathroom was beautifully tiled and the grout needed washing off. That is what Sam and I had worked on today. We were meant to undercoat the plastered bedroom after dinner but I was shattered. My house, why?
To the right was Samuel’s room. I knew the room and I loved it. The neutral tones allowed the windows to star. There was also the en-suite, wardrobe, and a fourth room. That room smelled of fresh paint.
I wandered into Sam’s room and stood in his expansive walk-in wardrobe. Sam’s clothes took up such a small proportion of his wardrobe, I couldn’t help but smile. Lord knows why he had built such a large walk-in wardrobe. In about five years, I would have it filled, if it was mine, but then a girl had to have some vices. I looked out the large windows. They almost filled the wall, top to bottom, east to west. The view was of grand mountains, in winter the tops of the mountains would be covered in snow. Now the mountains were dark grey, the sun casting a wash of oranges, apricots, pinks, and blues as it set. It was amazing.
I felt an uncharacteristic longing to be able to sit there with a glass of wine, a child at my feet and watch a storm across the mountains. I could see myself in a few years watching this view with a glass of wine and a couple of children playing like Matt and I used to. I shook the image out of my head. You couldn’t hold onto lives. They left. Everyone left; because they wanted to or they because they had to. A tear slid down my face. I was past grieving for my parents. I wiped the tear away.
Sam paused in the doorway to his room. The sunset was spectacular. Silhouetted against it was Indy. She looked fragile. Her profile was a broken flower. Damn it. Now he yearned to hold her. She’d helped him all afternoon. It did not bother her to get dirty, she was strong too. Her independence, happily showing itself in productive ways. He’d really enjoyed himself, listening as she prattled on about something she called a feature tree that he should plant in front of the house. And now, she needed him. Matt and the brotherhood be damned. He stepped forward, loudly for him, not wanting to startle her.
Footsteps sounded behind me on the bare floorboards and I felt warm strong arms wrapped around me.
“I bet you didn’t realize what an amazing view I had,” Sam muttered softly. He smelt of grout.
“No, I just assumed you lived in the forests.”
“On the edge of them, that’s why the house is so far from the road. There is a pretty steep slope away from this side of the house. I felled most of the house trees from there and got this amazing view. The slope stabilization work that I had to do was pretty major but I managed to convince the powers that be that by removing the trees, I was reducing the fire risk. It’s planted with low growing, fire retardant shrubs. In the event of a fire, it should act as a natural fire break. I’ve also got a bit of an irrigation system that I installed. You look tired.”
Sam nuzzled my neck and my shoulders sunk down. I turned around so that I could kiss him. I wasn’t going to wait for him anymore. He got in first. Guess he had given up on some of his hang-ups. Samuel was gentle. He explored my ears and neck.
“You are so beautiful,” he murmured.
“Me,” I questioned, I was in sweats and a baggy t-shirt. I had clumps of grout all over me and somehow I managed to have a streak of blue paint.
“Indiana, you are so fierce but at times like this, you show your vulnerabilities. I can see it in the way you hold yourself.”
“Settle down, Indy. It’s a good thing. A guy like me, we want to be needed and you spend your days not needing anyone. I’ve known too few women who are as capable as you. I certainly have known no females out of the military that are willing to grout a bathroom.”
“You must not know that many women,” I responded. I am not sure I wanted to be seen as capable by a man who just kissed me.
“Back in the day I mostly knew women who hung out at bars in an attempt to pick up us poor soldiers.” Sam allowed. “The women I dated were in the forces too. Turns out I’m not very good with females that I am sleeping with willingly going into dangerous situations.”
“Lucky for you I don’t get myself in dangerous situations anymore.”
Sam froze but did not respond verbally.
“Matt said there was some damage to your house. The road is projected to be open tomorrow soon after sun up. Did you want to go and survey the damage?” Sam asked me.
“Ummm,” he seemed to be sniffing my hair.
“If you don’t like dating women who put themselves in dangerous situations, how are you going to handle the fact that I work in a parole office,” I asked, my heart thumping. I had purposefully used the word dating. “Only you strike me as having a bit of a controlling streak.” I grinned, attempting humour.
“Me, a control freak, who’d have guessed,” he withdrew his hands in mock protest. “I will be fine,” he insisted.
“You,” I taunted, “You’ve never really approved of anything I do.”
“I approve of the way you dress and I love your shoes,” Samuel grinned.
“Look, Sam,” I pushed him back gently. He stepped backwards but captured my hands. “This thing between us,”
“There is no thing,” he interrupted me, “you just said we were dating. We are dating. I am pretty happy with that. So we don’t have a thing. We have a relationship.”
I put my finger over his lips to shush him. It worked. My finger sucked into his mouth.
“You and I both know that you treat me like an annoying pest. Your best friend’s little sister who is always getting into scrapes. I’m not having a relationship built on that,” I stated.
Where was this person coming from? I sounded confident. Maybe all that play acting was paying off. Normally I would have just not answered his calls. I would have chickened out.
“Do you like working in a parole office,” he asked.
“Not particularly, but I am in some way helping kids and young adults that need the odd break.”
“If you don’t like the job why don’t you change it,” he stated being the epitome of logic.
I felt a bit ridiculous now. This was too new, I wasn’t used to sharing with anyone. Instead of answering, I pulled my hands back and walked into the en-suite for a quick shower and clean up.