Chapter 1: Roadside Assistance
Disclaimer: These characters belong to Charlaine Harris. I'm just having fun playing with a different pair for a while.
*Um* If you just got alerted to this as a fic for A Christmas Carol...well...it's a long story about FFnet being a piece of crap...I'll edit as soon as it lets me. I swear.
Hi! Good to see everyone! So...I was going to write this nice A/N about what I've been doing since HE finished posting...but really - all I've been doing is catching up on reading and continuing to write. Oh, and becoming seriously obsessed with Sons of Anarchy. OMFG. But I digress...
Here's my latest endeavor...A Tray and Amelia story that I hope you will give a chance. I think you'll really like them. I'm kind of smitten...and EtheHunter and A Redhead Thing are fighting over Tray...Big thanks to those ladies for pre-reading and betaing.
OH - and I started playing around with banner making! Here's the banner I made for this fic! http:/img863(dot)imageshack(dot)us/i/oppositesbanner3(dot)jpg/
Anyway...thanks in advance for reading. I'll shut up.
Sometimes, the most important moments in our lives are ones we aren't expecting or prepared for; they take us by surprise and leave us shaken. Most of the time, the magnitude of these surprises is self-evident, but occasionally, it's not until the dust settles that we really comprehend the significance...
"After all of this, if they decide on a C-section, I will kill you, Tray Dawson."
"Oh, baby, you don't mean that." He wiped her forehead with a cool damp cloth. "You're doing so good. Just a little longer."
The nurse chimed in, "Amelia, you're doing great. The baby is just taking his time to come out is all. He likes it in there all warm and cozy."
She cried out as another contraction hit, tightening her midsection and shooting pain through her body. "Then give me an ice bath or something and get him the fuck out."
"Shh. Take some deep breaths, baby. It's okay."
"Deep breaths? Deep fucking breaths? Look at me! I'm tiny, well I was tiny before I managed to mate with a man-beast! It's not supposed to work like that! You don't see Great Danes and Chihuahua's making babies."
He laughed despite himself, and she shot him a look that could kill. She was fiery, that was for sure, and he loved it about her. His even temper normally worked quite well to calm her down, but not at this point, after hours in the delivery room.
"Your family gives birth to giants. I have no idea how that is physically possible." Her voice broke, and she sobbed. "My life was not supposed to be like this."
"I know, baby. It's okay."
He leaned forward to give her a half hug as she lay upon the hospital bed, propped up with her feet in the stirrups. He thanked god they'd pulled a sheet over her legs that covered up whatever it was the doctor was doing down below. He didn't need to see that; he had a feeling that could fuck a man up.
She groaned as the next contraction rolled through, then muttered, "I was supposed to marry an oil baron."
The nurse put her hand on his arm. "I'm sorry, Mr. Dawson, that's just the pain talking. She doesn't really mean it."
He threw his head back and laughed. "Oh, she does. She's been telling me that when she gets upset since the night we met."
Almost Three Years Earlier -
Amelia Broadway stormed into her father's home office. It was after 9 p.m., yet she knew he would still be there behind his heavy cherry desk with his sleeves rolled up, and his collar open.
"How could you?"
He sighed loudly but never looked up from the documents before him.
"I said, how could you?"
He straightened up and looked over the edge of his reading glasses at her. "I heard you the first time, young lady." He spoke with a heavy drawl, the word 'I' stretching out to sound like 'ah.' "Can't you see that I'm busy? I don't have time for your dithering this evening."
She fumed, blinking her eyes and clenching her teeth. "Daddy, why did you send me to dinner with William Compton?"
He sighed. "He's a nice man. The Comptons are a good family. They've been in the shipping business as long as men have been pulling shrimp out of the Gulf. You could do worse."
She'd been eating dinner with William at The Grill Room, upstairs in the Windsor Court Hotel, when she sighed, setting down her fork. "I'm not really sure this is working out."
They had hardly said two words to each other since they'd ordered dinner. William seemed very straight-laced, and although she'd been raised to be a good southern girl, she was more of a hellion than a belle at heart.
He smiled, shyly. "You're not really my type."
"Excuse me?" She wondered what he was trying to imply.
He chuckled and looked around quickly before leaning forward. "Miss Broadway, I'm not attracted to women."
She looked at him blankly for a second before she understood what he meant. "Then what the hell are we doing here?"
He smiled, putting his chin in his hand. "I cannot remain a bachelor forever. The heir to the Compton fortune needs to marry and have children. I don't pretend not to realize that."
"But you are willing to pretend to be someone's husband?"
"That's a bit harsh. I'm just looking for an understanding wife. I would be a husband in every other sense of the word, and I'm willing to procreate."
She swallowed the rest of her wine in one gulp, unable to speak, and then she slowly set her glass on the table. She took a deep breath and realized that even though William was a jackass, he was an unfortunate victim of his family's machinations just as much as she was. They finished dinner talking about common friends in the country club scene, and she excused herself before dessert to go confront her father.
"Daddy, William is gay."
"I don't care who he has sex with if ya'll join our families together. Can you imagine? Compton tankers shipping Carmichael oil. It's genius."
"Do you hear yourself? You want me to marry a gay man so you can make more money?"
He sighed and took his glasses off, tossing them on his desk. "If you would get serious about finding a husband I wouldn't have to set you up with anyone at all. And it's not just about the money. I need a grandchild from good stock to carry on the family name, and you're not getting any younger."
"What? I'm not going to live forever!" He slapped the table with his hand. "I don't care if ya'll speak a word to each other after ya'll say "I do." Ya'll don't even have to fuck to get me a grandchild. I'll pay to have his seed put in you."
She stood there, shocked at his words. Her father had always been a hard hearted son-of-a-bitch, but this was a bit much even for him. She opened her mouth to tell him exactly where he could put William Compton's seed, but she was so angry that she couldn't form the words. She turned on her heel and stalked through his ostentatious home and out to her car. She dropped the little convertible into gear and drove, letting the car eat up the miles as she replayed the evening over and over in her head.
Tray Dawson was working late, trying to finish the job on a muffler for his cousin Selah. She was a single mom, and he'd loaned her a car to drive, but he knew she wanted her minivan back; it just made things easier for her and she didn't like feeling dependent on anyone.
When he was done, he sat down to look over some paperwork at his desk, and the phone rang. He sighed. Owning his own business had its perks but also meant when the phone rang at 11:30 at night, he was the one that had to respond to the call.
Amelia laid her head on the steering wheel and waited. The 'Check Engine' light had flashed as she passed the exit for Ruston and then a little while later, the power steering cut off. She had managed to coast off the side of the road and put the hazard lights on before calling the toll free number for road-side assistance. They said they would send an approved tow truck to take her to an approved mechanic. She sighed, hoping that all of that approval also meant that the tow company was near-by.
Thirty minutes later a tow truck pulled up in front of her and parked on the side of the road. She watched a giant of a man with thick dark hair climb out of the truck. He walked towards her, dressed in jeans and a tight black t-shirt. When he was even with the car, he smiled kindly at her through the window, and she noticed he had interesting bluish-green eyes that stood out with his dark hair.
After a few seconds, he startled her, motioning for her to roll down the window, since she hadn't yet. She pushed the button and the window slid down, while she raised an eyebrow at him and trying to regain control of herself.
"Are you Miss Broadway? I'm Tray Dawson. If you'll hop out of the car, I'll get you hooked up and towed to my shop."
She daintily stepped out of the car, muttering that she didn't hop. Slinging her large purse over her shoulder, she stood in the middle of the deserted road, waiting.
He took in her high heels and expensive looking purple dress but was struck by the waves of long dark hair that fell over her shoulders. Clearing his throat, he made himself focus on the task at hand. "You might want to step to the curb, ma'am, or you can wait in the car. We'll be on the road in no time."
"You do know to be careful with the car? Miata's have a low clearance."
"I do, ma'am. I don't see a lot of these, but I've worked on my share and towed them as well. You're in good hands."
She huffed and went to sit in the cab of the truck. It was dark and late, and there were bugs circling in the spotlight shining from his truck so he could see what he was doing. She was mad at her father for being a complete asshole, and she was mad at herself for managing to drive herself into the middle of nowhere without even realizing it.
He finished securing the car and joined her in the truck. Turning the key, he started the engine and began to drive them to his shop without so much as a word. In the first few minutes, he thought once or twice about starting a conversation with her, but, although she was hot, the woman looked like a major bitch, and she hadn't given him any indication that she wasn't, with her snotty question about towing her little sports car. Did he know to be careful with it? No honey, I'm going to be a Neanderthal and just crank the thing up as high as I can so I drag the ass of the car on the pavement the whole way into town. He made a disgusted sound without really meaning to and caught her glancing at him sideways, her eyes dark and tired.
"Sorry. Long night."
"Well, I'm sure you're getting paid well to be on call or something."
He grinned at her. "Did you miss the part where I said we were going to my shop? Or the name on the truck that says Dawson's? That's me, honey. I'm not getting anything extra for this."
"Oh," she said quietly, but she didn't apologize. She was tired and upset, and suddenly she just wanted to go home.
A few minutes later they pulled into the driveway of his shop, and he pulled up in front of the building, putting the truck in park.
"You can hop out here and wait inside. There's coffee on. I'll get the car unloaded, and then I'll run you to wherever you've made arrangements to stay tonight, or we can wait for someone to pick you up."
She looked at him blankly for a second and then nodded, trying not to let him see that she hadn't thought that far ahead. She let herself into his office and began searching for a hotel on her iPhone. She was almost two hours away from anyone she knew so getting a ride wasn't an option. She was mentally cursing herself for getting so upset with her father that she'd just driven off with no destination in mind.
Her iPhone was taking forever because she barely had two bars of reception, and she was starting to panic a little, thinking there might not be anywhere for her to go in this god-forsaken town that she didn't even know the name of. She was searching the internet for things near Ruston since that was the last exit she'd seen. Dawson came in and interrupted her thoughts.
"Alright. What's the plan, Miss Broadway? Do you need a ride somewhere or is someone coming to get you?"
She swallowed her pride and began politely kissing his ass. "It's Amelia. And, I sort of am stuck here."
"Is there a hotel in town? Nothing is coming up on my phone. I'm from New Orleans, and I don't suspect anyone is driving over here at this time of night to get me."
He snorted at her. "Sounds like you've got a problem."
She looked at him, with his stern expression, and started laughing. Then the laughter became tears and before she knew what she was doing she was sobbing.
"Oh, hey. Lady. Miss Broadway, I mean, Amelia. Look, we'll figure something out. Um. Can I get you a tissue or something? Shit. Please stop crying."
She hiccupped, but the tears wouldn't stop. "I'm sorry. You wouldn't believe the shitty night that I've had. It was just all too much. I mean, he was gay! Can you believe that?" A bubble of laughter escaped but didn't replace the tears as she looked up at him, her eyes overflowing. He had no idea what had happened, but his heart broke a little when she whispered, "He didn't even care."
He sat down in the chair next to her and cautiously put a hand on her back. "I don't know what you're talking about, but it can't be that bad." He couldn't believe he was doing it, but he heard himself say, "Come on back to the house with me. We'll find you something to drink, some coffee, a shot, whatever you want, and you can sleep in my guest room. Don't worry about finding somewhere. There's no hotel within twenty-five miles, so you might as well stay here."
She hesitated for a second. "Are you sure?"
"Miss Broadway, there's really no place else for you to go at this hour, and I have a guest room."
She nodded and wiped her eyes. He helped her up and led her behind the shop to his house. It was set back in the trees, with wind chimes on the front porch making a light tinkling sound, and it was much nicer than she expected, but she didn't want to tell him that.
They went into the living room, and she took a seat on his couch, looking around at his tidy and comfortable home.
"Would you like a drink?" His voice was deep and loud in the quiet night.
"Yes," she nodded. "I think I'll take you up on the shot."
He grabbed a bottle of Jack Daniel's from the kitchen and raised an eyebrow to ask her if it was okay. When she nodded, he poured two glasses, then brought the bottle to the coffee table and took a seat across from her in a wing chair. They sat quietly, neither sure what to say. Eventually, she closed her eyes and leaned her head back on the couch. When she lifted her head, she exhaled and spoke.
"I'm supposed to marry an oil baron."
"Okay." He had no idea what to say to that.
"I always thought it was about money, but apparently it's about breeding too."
"Okay," he repeated.
"Tonight my father set me up with a man who was openly gay, just to try to make a connection between our families. I went to talk to him about it, and he didn't care. He said he'd pay to have me inseminated by a gay man to have his grandchild! Can you believe that? I couldn't listen to anything else. I just left."
He nodded. "That's kind of nuts." He couldn't imagine what kind of man her father was. Who would say something like that at all, let alone to their daughter?
"Yeah," she snorted. "Fuck my life, right?" She leaned her head back on the couch and closed her eyes again.
After a few minutes of quiet, he wasn't sure if she had fallen asleep. He didn't want to startle her, but quietly he asked, "What do you want?"
Her head snapped up, but she looked at him with tired eyes.
"Your father wants money and a grandchild. What do you want?"
"I want to be happy. And being rich wouldn't hurt," she laughed half-heartedly.
"The two of those don't always go together."
"I suppose they don't." She sighed, then furrowed her brow. " Are you happy?"
He smiled sadly at her and hesitated to answer.
"Oh, I'm sorry. That's too personal," she apologized, realizing she had gone to far.
"No, it's okay. I wish I had a family. My parents are dead. I just have a mess of cousins and aunts and uncles, but it's not the same. I was married for a year, but it didn't work out."
"Wow. What happened?"
"I married this girl, Marnie, right out of high school. I thought we wanted the same things, but it turned out she just wanted out of her parents' house. She didn't want to work, and her idea of being a housewife meant trashing the place for me to clean up. We'd been married just under a year when my cousin Crystal told me to call in sick and follow her one day. I found out she'd been cheating on me while I was at work for months."
He nodded. "That's a good way to describe it."
"How long has it been?"
"Nine years," he sighed.
She cocked her head, trying to understand his sigh. "Do you miss her?"
"No." He laughed. "I miss what I never had, if that makes sense. You know, having someone to come home to and share things with? That's what my parents had, and it's what I expected when I got married, but it never happened."
"So, you're lonely?"
He shrugged, trying to brush off her question. "Do you want a family?"
It was her turn to shrug. "I don't want to be alone."
"Amen to that," he said as he clinked their glasses and threw back the remainder of his glass of Jack.
For almost three hours, into the wee hours of the night, they talked about family, high school, best friends, favorite bands and movies, and much to his surprise, cars. They felt comfortable with each other and told each other more than they normally would have without realizing it.
They had somehow begun comparing stories about their friends' bachelor and bachelorette parties. She was telling about a last minute trip to Vegas with some sorority sisters and paused to yawn.
"Aw, hell. What was I saying?"
He laughed. "You were telling me about running through the airport in Atlanta, dragging a garment-bag behind you to catch a flight."
"Yeah," she said, yawning again.
He stopped her before she continued, putting a hand on her arm. "Come on. You're exhausted." He stood and reached for her hand. "Let me show you the bathroom, and I'll get you a t-shirt or something to sleep in."
"I guess you're right." She nodded with a laugh and let him pull her up before following him through the house.
"I don't have an extra toothbrush, so you'll have to use your finger. Here are some clean towels, and the guest room is right next door." He spoke quietly, as if he was talking to himself, but she listened when he continued, "I'll take a look at your car in the morning, and we'll figure out what to do with you. Okay?"
"Okay," she replied equally as quietly, sounding so sad he couldn't take it anymore.
He gathered her gently into his arms and kissed her forehead. "Goodnight, Miss Broadway. It will all look better in the morning."
"I hope you're right."
He gave her a final squeeze, trying not to cross any boundaries, but still let her know that he felt for her, then let her go and went to his own room.
Thanks so much for reading. I hope you take a minute to let me know what you think! I'm planning to post on Tuesdays...hopefully FFnet will cooperate with that plan.
Oh, in case you were thinking - I thought Tray had brown eyes...Or I thought Amelia had a pixie hair cut... I see those two as Gerard Butler and Kate Beckinsale (see the banner linked at the top) - so I used their eye color and hair length... Sorry if you were confused. Also, how can you not love GB's eyes? YUM.