Friday, May 31, 2013
~ Chapter 15 ~
Landon jumped in and rushed to where she had been. Plunging his hands beneath the water he felt for her. Come on damn it Red, I know you are here. He frantically moved every witch way for her. Landon closed his eyes tight. Okay look, you are I have not had many conversations over the years but I am begging you to help me find her. Please do not take her. He waiting for some kind of acknowledgment or sign but there was nothing but the sounds of mumbles of men around him and splashing of water. A bargain. That's usually what people offer up when they need your divine intervention or a miracle, right? Okay then. Pausing for a moment Landon promised the first thing that came to mind that he felt guilty about and swore he would try to never do it again.
A sudden snap as if someone had broken a twig in on the silent forest floor caused his eyes to fly open and he gazed straight ahead of him at the bank.
“Devon,” he yelled. Landon ran over to a large tree laying against the bank half in the water. He reached down and within seconds made contact with her dress. “I have her.” He said to Devon as he came up to him from behind. “We haven't much time.”
“Don't let go of her,” Devon said before he sank into the stream next to him. Ten seconds later he emerged and said, “She is tangled in the branches. I can't free her alone.”
Landon began to rip at her clothing which was not getting him anywhere. “The material is wet and won't give.”
Devon called out for Quentin. “We need a knife quickly.”
Quentin handed Devon one and pulled out another one from his pocket. Both went to work on Brook's dress under the black rushing water.
Landon held onto her hand with both of his. With every passing second it felt like an hour to him. You do know when I asked you to help me find her I meant for her to be alive. He gazed up and narrowed his eyes at the endless night's sky. Is that so much to ask? To take a woman's life who her herself does nothing other than give of herself to others without as much as expecting a thank you in return. What could you possibly gain by depriving this world of her smile, her kindness, her heart for mankind? A slight squeeze griped his hands and his gaze shot down towards the swirling water.
Devon surfaced. “She needs air, Landon.”
He took in a deep breath and went down. His lips made contact with Brook's. Covering his mouth over her mouth he slowly exhaled into her hoping she was getting something without taking in any water. Brook's pale skin shinned like a light in the dim space between them. He stayed down with her as long as he could. Finally he had to surface for air but as soon as he came up he went back down to give Brook more air.
As their lips met again he was glad to feel her other arm now free as she wrapped it around his neck. Just hold on Red you are almost free.
Landon softly touched her cheek with the palm of his hand. Brook closed her big blue eyes. I have never wanted to feel someone's touch more in my life than I do right now. Not just someone's, his. She felt his lips leave her mouth and then he tried to release her hand. No don't let go. Please don't leave me.
He gazed down to see Brook's other hand grasp at his arm. Landon went back down and kissed her lips tenderly with a softness she had never felt before. It was than in that moment she knew he would not let her die under there.
Rubbing her cheek with his thumb he did his best to show her he was not willing to let her go. I'm not going anywhere, Red. I wish I could comfort you with words but as of now that is impossible. Look in my eyes and see what I am trying to say to you.
Brook's grip eased and he stood up and quickly removed his coat hanging it on a branch next to him. Going back under for what he hoped was one last time he gave her another breathe. As he did Brook's body floated up towards him and she took in a deep massive inhale when hitting the surface.
Standing in waist deep water Landon took his coat and covered her nearly naked body. He drew her to him an held her within his arms. She squeezed his shirt in her hands as she struggled to regulate her breathing.
“Take your time,” he whispered.
Brook shook her head no. “Where? Where is he?” she managed to ask.
“Honestly I'm not sure. I was too focused of finding you.” Landon reached you to her face and with his finger pulled away the clinging wet hair from her eyes. “You are safe now and do not need to worry about anything else other than catching your breath, Red.”
She was comforted at the moment by his words. “You saved my life Landon, thank you,” she said. Brook's eyes locked with his. He wasn't smiling anymore. To her he seemed troubled by her gratefulness.
Landon abruptly released her and looked around. “We should head back to the estate and get you into some clothing.” He motioned to Devon to come over to them. As Devon approached he took Brook's hand and placed it on Devon's arm. “Will you aid Brook up the bank?”
“Oh course I will,” Devon replied and then smiled at Brook.
She watched Landon walk away up the bank. What just happened? Why is he suddenly so cold to me? What the hell did I do?
“Are you alright?” Devon asked as he guided her towards a low spot of land. There was no mistaking her tense posture or death grip on his arm. “Brook?”
“Yes I am okay.” She flashed a half smile but did not look to him. “Thank you for helping to save me, Devon.”
He pattered her hand with his other hand. “Ah, just trying to return the many favors you have helped me with these last few months.”
This made Brook giggle softly. “Well I would say that this far exceeds all favors past, present, or future, Devon on your part. I do not recall ever saving your life,” she said.
Devon chuckled. “Brook, you were there for me when I did not even know I needed you. It was you who helped me to realize how much I loved Sarah.”
She looked to Devon then asked, “If I ask you something will you answer honestly?”
“Yes,” he said with suspicion.
“What is going on with Sarah?” Brook asked. “She is not herself at times and it seems to me to be getting worse.”
Devon shook his head slowly as he gazed at the path in front of them. “It is her memory from the head injury. Every week she is losing more of it. The doctors do not know what else to do about it.” He then fell silent.
Brook wasn't sure if she should press the issue any longer. She had no background experience with head injuries other than bumps and knocks she attended to from the locals at the pub. Her father was a kind man but not mild tempered in the least when pushed.
Devon broke the silence. “I fear I will lose her forever,” he whispered.
“Brook paused and turned to him. “Perhaps you should try less conventional treatments.”
Devon shook his head. “No, no way. Sarah could end up worse than she already is. I won't risk it.”
“Yes but you said yourself she is declining every week before your eyes. Something has to be done, Devon. She isn't aware she is losing memory is she?”
“No.” Devon said in a soft voice. “Sarah remembers she forgets things but lately she has no idea when she is regressing or after wards. It is odd because she will all of the sudden be back in the present with me like nothing had ever happened.”
Landon walked at a good fifteen paces behind Brook and Devon. His jacket Brook was wearing barely covered her bottom. The only clothing that wasn't cut away from her was her camisole and even that suffered from the entanglement leaving it with gaping holes. Two men walking behind him spoke in low tones to one another and Landon was positive it was in regards to Brook's long bare legs.
These two better shut it before they are chewing on their own teeth. He watched her creamy skin move in the light of the torches. To him they were almost as alluring as her lips, almost. With bare feet she walked delicately. Every step seemed to whisper to him, “Follow me”. Even through his coat he could see the movement of her hips swaying in the most feminine way. It was clearly not only drawing his attention.
“I wish I could have been one of the lucky chaps to cut away her coverings,” the man said.
The other laughed aloud. “You and me both!” I would've felt my way up to her-
Landon stood face to face with the man. “Oh please do go on because as soon as you finish your last filthy word I'm going to make sure you will never talk again. Do you think it's possible to swallow without a tongue?”
“Let's have a little chat shall we gentleman.” Quentin said as he placed a hand on each of the man’s shoulders. He stood behind the two men and smiled at Landon. “I was quite honestly wondering how long you were going to listen to them.”
Landon's glare did not move from the man in front of him. “Not long enough I suppose.”
The man shrugged. “I could continue,” the man said with a grin.
Quentin slowly closed his eyes and backed up. “I tried to help you two idiots.”
Landon struck the man before he had a chance to blink. He fell backwards and did not get back up.
“I got it from here, my friend.” Quentin said as he held the other man with one firm hand by the back of his collar.
Landon turned and began walking towards Brook and Devon who luckily did not notice the exchange. “Devon,” he said as he came up closer.
They turned to see Landon unbuttoning his shirt. “I will escort her the remainder of the way.
Devon looked behind Landon to Quentin seventy steps back. “Yes, well I shall see if Quentin needs company than.”
“What are you doing?” Brook asked.
He pulled her over off the path behind a huge oak tree. “You need to put this on.”
“Landon your coat in suffice I believe.” She watched him pull his shirt out of his pants while he was looking in every direction. “You are acting odd.”
His gaze flew to her and he just stared at her. The moment grew tense and heavy between them. Brook did not know what had provoked this behavior but she wasn't going to stand for it. Saving my life or not he is not going to order me around.
Brook turned from him to walk away and he took hold of her arm. “Put this on, Brook.”
“Let go of my arm.” She stated and yanked it out of his grip.
“Take off the coat and put this on, Red. We'll stand here all night until you do.”
His tone was low and she was not sure what to make of it. “I do not understand what has come over you but I do not care for it. Now, I am walking back to the estate and if you choose to stand her with your shirt in your hand than do so...alone.”
Brook again turned from him and Landon abruptly yanked her into his arms and at the same time slid the coat off her body wrapping the shirt around her just as fast. He took several steps back with the coat in one hand he pointed to her with the other and said, “You might want to button that up.”
Brook turned away from him without a word. Who does he think he is demanding I do something because he says so.
Bet you didn't see that one coming did you Red? I've never met such a stubborn woman in my life.
After a few moments she started to walk away. Landon smiled at his clever maneuver and the fact that he had out witted her.
Brook glanced over her shoulder at him and then let the white over sized shirt fall from her body to the ground. "I won't be needing this but thank you."
“Are you crazy,” Landon said loudly. She was completely exposed and calmly walking away from him. He picked up the shirt and wrapped it around her waist from behind. Her naked skin was firmly up against him and he felt the sudden throbbing of his erection. Tying the sleeves in a double tight knot he said, “Woman, you are asking for trouble. Do you realize I just knocked a man out not too long ago for talking about your parts that you are so carelessly now showing off to the world?” He placed the coat over her shoulders and released her forward. “I can't fight off twenty or so men because you decide you want to be a little Irish redhead that resembles a mule.”
Brook's mouth dropped open. What did he just call me? She stood there as Landon passed by her. “Well who asked you to anyways, Lord Fields?”
His hands clenched but he kept walking. Foolish woman.