The moment of waking up came with the sleepy confusion of where she was. The first thing Loreena saw was not the frilly curtains of her own bed, or the faces on the posters that decorated the walls. Instead of light yellow silk, the wallpapers were plain white and windows held only blinds instead of long, heavy draperies.
Blinking her eyes, Loreena sat up and took in her surroundings. The room was best described as plain and it did not hold much furniture beyond the bed, a night stand, and a massive drawer that looked antique. On a chair next to it was a pile of crumpled clothes. Near the night stand, a large and unsteady pile of books sat – classics from Hemingway to Tolstoy, well-bound hardcovers with zero interference from frailer paperback editions.
The place next to her was empty, though the outline of his head was pressed into the pillow. With fingers trembling just so slightly Loreena touched the place where he had rested next to her, and she breathed deep in and out. Last night had been... it almost seemed like a dream now. Two times he had reached for her again, and each time she had welcomed him, hoping that the night might never end. But eventually she had passed out in his arms, content and comforted against the cares of the world. There were no regrets – just thankfulness. Elijah had been there when she most needed him, just as she knew he would. And she was glad they had taken the next step in their relationship.
The memory of the reason she was here threatened to take over, and quickly she pushed it back. She did not want to dwell on it now, not on this first morning. So she quickly got up and fished her panties from the floor. As her clothes were probably still damp, she pulled on one of Elijah's t-shirts, which he had left on the chair. Being enveloped in his smell made her feel safe and sound, and unafraid of what was to happen now.
A radio was on somewhere, and knowing not where else to look Loreena followed the sound of music. It summoned her down the hallway she had seen last night, and then to the spacious area at the end of it. There was a kitchenette adjoined to the living room, from which one could see the unkempt backyard. She could smell coffee and cooking grease, and it made her stomach growl in anticipation. Then Elijah's voice invited her – he was singing along the voice in the radio.
Take my hand
We're off to never-never land..."
Well, it certainly did feel like he had lead her to never-never land. Or, maybe Wonderland. She quite felt like Alice, falling down into a rabbit hole and finding a world that was indeed wonderful and yet made no sense.
But then she came around the corner to the kitchenette and saw her Peter Pan – that is, if Peter Pan were a six feet six tall man, inclined to make pancakes while wearing nothing but black boxer briefs. There he stood, singing to himself while handling the pan, his long blond mane tied into a messy ponytail as morning's light gilded his skin and hair. Between his shoulder blades, she saw a tattoo depicting the same device as on his leather jacket, and his right arm was covered in images from shoulder to wrist. Staring at this man, she felt like she could scarcely breathe: she ever seen anything more beautiful?
Loreena did not speak as he approached him, but the slight shift of his posture revealed he was aware of her presence. But he said nothing either, not until she had wrapped arms about his waist from behind.
"Morning. Slept well?" he asked, glancing at her over his shoulder with a charming half-smile on his face. It sent butterflies into a mad flight in her belly, and for a moment she considered ensnaring him back to bed.
"Like the dead", she answered instead. She tiptoed to kiss him, but he stood that much taller that from this angle she was only able to reach his cheek. But then Elijah turned and pulled her close, and she loved how he felt against her, separated only by the thin fabric of t-shirt...
The smell of burning grease snapped them out of it, and hurriedly Elijah turned to move the pan from the stove.
"Damn, woman, distracting me like that... I might burn down the house by accident", he told her, feigning displeasure. But she laughed and took seat by the small table serving as the dining area. Elijah lifted the coffee pot and looked at her quizzically, "Want some?"
"Yes please", she said and smiled, and soon she had a cup of coffee and some pancakes before her. The dishes holding the liquid and food looked to have seen a long and not entirely nonviolent life, but she was quite certain she had never tasted pancakes more delicious. Apparently, it was an old family recipe.
"I didn't know you could cook", she said when she was spreading syrup on her second pancake. Elijah smiled at her over his mug of coffee, which was missing its handle.
"Yeah. Had to learn this stuff when our folks died. Someone had to make sure Evey got something decent to eat, and Uncle can't cook to save his life", Elijah replied. Her mouth full of pancake, Loreena thought of this for a moment. Not that it was a very surprising thing to hear – if she had learned something about her boyfriend, it was that he took care of people close to him. Yet on the other hand, it was somewhat unexpected in a tough biker. Who'd have thought there would be such gentleness in a guy like him?
"You and her must be very close", Loreena said, pushing back her thoughts. Elijah nodded ever so slightly.
"You think it's weird, don't you? Most people seem to, and I don't blame them. Our lives are pretty different... she never was much into the club stuff. She wanted to make herself a life outside of it, though she participates sometimes for my sake and Uncle's", he said slowly, his eyes drifting away. He looked to be deeply engrossed by some memories she could only imagine.
"What about you? Did you ever want a different life?" she asked him after a while. Quickly he looked at her again.
"Not really. Being in the club, side by side with my uncle and cousin, was all I ever wanted", he simply answered. He fell silent and a strange look came to his features. "Up until now, at least."
He reached his hand over the table, intertwining his fingers with hers. The touch made her heart expand, and each beat send a wave of warmth through her. How was it possible to feel so giddily happy when she had just lost her home and the approval of her family?
She smiled at him as he kissed her fingers and was quickly coming up with ways to fill the day, until Elijah spoke again.
"I've got a meeting back at the clubhouse. It's probably going to take most of the day, but you're welcome to make yourself at home here", he said, cutting the wings of her schemes abruptly. Disappointed, she thought whether she could make him stay somehow; however, she knew all too well it was not an option. Elijah did not owe it to her to stay and coddle her, no matter how much she wanted his company right now. He had his own life, and just because hers had turned upside down she couldn't ask him to cast everything aside.
"You'll be all right?" he asked her, perhaps sensing what was on her mind. A slight crease appeared on his brow, "I know this place isn't much, but you're welcome to use it as your own."
"I'll be fine", Loreena said and tried to smile the best she could. "You'll be back tonight, won't you?"
"Of course", Elijah promised. He got up from his seat and came around the table; she got up on her feet as well, and was then pulled against him once more. The kiss he gave her was slow and deep and it made her quite frustrated, knowing he'd be gone all day.
"You're sure you'll be fine alone?" he asked her with some concern. "Want me to call somebody?"
"Really, I'll be okay. Don't worry about me", she reassured him. "Just be back as quick as you can."
A wicked little smile touched his face. Damn, was the man delicious when he looked so devilish!
"Yeah. I'll do that. Got plenty of reason..." he murmured against her lips, his mouth searing hers with sweet agony...
It was a wonder they were able to break apart, or that she could let him go and get dressed. When Elijah had kissed her at the door for one last time, he strode out and left her frustrated and needy. Still trembling from the affections, she listened to the roar of his engine, and then the damned man was gone. Loreena breathed deeply and leaned her forehead against the cool surface of the wall, thinking of the night that could not arrive too soon.
The house was quiet now. It felt empty without Elijah around, as though his presence had somehow occupied the rooms and kept the place alive. He didn't have much furniture beyond the most basic things, but like Evey had said, there were lots and lots of books. Some looked old, some new. In the living room only there were two shelves full of books, and the rest were piled on the floor. Elijah seemed to only use the living room, the kitchenette, and the master bedroom – there were two empty ones, which she guessed had probably been his and Evey's when their parents had still lived. If he had any pictures of them, none were on display. Maybe the memory of their faces was too painful... she remembered Elijah's uncle had told her they had got killed years ago, but it only occurred to her now she didn't know what had been the manner of their death.
Loreena frowned. Why did I feel like she shouldn't ask, even if she was his girlfriend?
She shook her head, deciding this was much too morbid to think of right now. Not to mention, such musings were bound to take her to yesterday, and there was only one thing about last night she wanted to think about right now.
Deciding she was in the need of a shower, Loreena returned to the master bedroom again. With a sly little smile, she couldn't help but hope he might have been here to share it with her...
My God, woman, she thought to herself, just one night with him and you become completely wanton.
When she had showered and dug through her bag for some clean clothes, she finally checked on her phone. It had died some time during the night, which at least explained why she hadn't heard it ringing. Surely by now the rest of her family would know what had happened... surely they cared enough to try and contact her.
Once she had found a free power socket and the device was charging, Loreena turned it on. Indeed, she had received a dozen calls and twice as many messages, but something kept her from opening any of them. Quietly she stared at the list of the names of people who had tried to contact her: Dad, Tony, Elliot, Fran... even Alice had tried to reach her. But what should she do now? What did they think of this? Maybe they agreed with Mom, and had just tried to call her to individually disown her...
There was a lump in her throat now, throbbing and growing ever larger. Even if she did pick up these calls, what could she tell them? She wasn't sorry she had walked out, and she wasn't sorry she was in this house. Maybe they'd try to make her come back, tell her to apologise to Mom. They wouldn't understand, would they?
She sighed and dropped the phone on the floor next to the power socket. Pulling her knees against her chest, she thought of what would happen next... what she was going to do. She still had a job and she had Elijah. He wouldn't turn on her – not when her commitment to him had caused her to lose her home. He understood loyalty, that much she knew.
Loreena rubbed her forehead with her hands, wishing there might have been some way she could fix this. But the realisation had started to grow on her, and she knew now what she had ignored when she had first let herself fall victim to Elijah's charming smiles. This was a world that could not co-exist with the one she had been born into – she could not have it both ways.
However, at least now she knew what she wanted, what she'd choose. For how could she possibly not pick the one person who accepted and wanted her simply as who she was?
Like he had promised, Elijah returned late that night.
Loreena had spent the day distracting herself with his books and ignoring the flashing screen of her phone as her family tried to contact her. She had decided she was not ready to face them yet, or to explain any of this – at least, not beyond texting Tony that she was alright. It was clear she couldn't hide forever... but for the time being she would.
She met him at the door, having heard the sound of his engine as he approached. No words were exchanged except for a hasty greeting, and then she was in his arms again. The raw hunger in his touch and kiss revealed she was not the only one who had spent the day yearning and aching. And as soon as Elijah had kicked off his boots and let his leather jacket fall on the floor, he picked her up and carried her to the bedroom.
Some hours later, when midnight was nearing but they weren't asleep yet, she spoke at last.
"What happens now?" she asked him softly. Though her words held her uncertainty, she did not feel afraid. How could she, when she was pressed against his warm body, and she felt safe and loved?
"I don't know", Elijah said at length. She could feel his eyes on her, but she didn't shift her head from its place on his shoulder. He let out a small sigh and the hold of his arms about her tightened. He murmured, "You can stay here as long as you like."
"Thank you. For everything", Loreena murmured, lifting her eyes at last to look at him. He met her gaze very solemnly.
"Well, I'm the reason you got kicked out", he said, his voice low and heavy.
"My own choice got me kicked out", she told him, even managed to smile somewhat. The look in his eyes softened and Elijah reached to kiss her again, lingering close to her, holding her tight against his side.
When the kiss ended, he stayed very near to her. As he spoke, his breath gently brushed against her lips, "I'll try to be deserving of being chosen by you, babe."
"You already are."
A/N: Here's an update at last! Hope you enjoy it. :) I'm trying not to abandon this story wholly, but I can't promise very regular updates. Well, here's to hoping I'll be able to write more when King and Lioness is done!
The song Elijah sings is Enter Sandman by Metallica. It seemed like a appropriate song for that particular moment. And to be honest, Elijah (and Éomer) has always seemed to me like a guy who would like heavier music.
Thanks for reading and reviewing!
hattifnatt - That remains to be seen! They certainly are eager to reach her, but she's not ready to face them yet.
NanamiYatsumaki - You too, though it's been months already! :)
Harmonii - Yes, you don't see stuff like this, not on this site at least. And who can say no to Éomer on a motorbike? Not I, at least! :D I'm not abandoning this fic yet, but like I said in A/N, I can't update this regularly at this time.
malfoy lea - I'm trying! :D
I don't think Loreena's mom is changing her mind any time soon. I think she's pretty stubborn - not really the kind of person who will easily admit they're in the wrong. But we'll see how things go from here, and we'll see the rest of Elijah's gang. :)
Anonymous - Here you go! :)