Three time zones later, we touched down at PDX. Nervously wringing my hands together, we walked toward baggage claims. Fortunately, we were able to recover our luggage from its earlier flight. I opened the suitcase with my dad's books and my notebooks. Everything was safe and secure, and I breathed out a sigh of relief.
When we got to the parking garage, my relief left me. I was watchful of anything that moved. Monroe held my hand tightly as he vigilantly looked around corners as well. His pale yellow VW was visible in the distance, and I relaxed, letting out another sigh. We put our luggage inside, and Monroe and I buckled up.
"So, I guess I'm taking you to your place then," Monroe said, pulling out of the garage.
I leaned back into the car seat. "We could go to your place instead."
"Yeah, but your car's at your house." He raised an eyebrow. "How will you get back home tonight?"
"You could take me to work in the morning," I turned toward him with a coy grin, "if that's okay with you?"
"You don't have to ask me twice!" Monroe smiled wide under his beard. "So, what happened to boats cascading slowly and whatnot?"
"Maybe I wanna do some colliding tonight." My smile told him exactly what kind of colliding I had in mind. His devilish grin told me that could be arranged.
He toned down his grin. "As long and you're comfortable with moving faster, I'm all for it."
"Life is too short, Monroe," I said. "Carpe diem."
"Or in our case, carpe noctum," Monroe replied with a laugh. "Either way, I'm going to be carpe-ing something tonight."
This week had proven how short life really was with my dad, and how close I'd come to losing my life with the Reapers. Life was too short to shut out Monroe because I was afraid. There were much worse things to be afraid of. I'd broken open those chains, and there was no more holding back. Well, except for the crazy 'L' word. I wanted to say it when my mind was on board with my heart. It wasn't going to be frivolously uttered. Not this time.
I needed music, so I turned on the radio to KINK 101.9. John Mayer's 'Your Body is a Wonderland' was playing.
"We got the afternoon,
You got this room for two.
One thing I've left to do,
Your body is a wonderland.
Your body is a wonder, I'll use my hands.
Your body is a wonderland…"
"So, is that what you meant by 'take me to Wonderland,' 'cause I kinda like that version of Wonderland, if you ask me." He gave me a sly grin and Mr. Wolf was pawing at his cage. "You can take me there any day."
"How often do you think we'll be venturing out into the woods?" I asked casually. How much of Mr. Wolf was I going to see once Monroe resumed his Wieder regimen again? I was going to miss him, just a little. Okay, more than a little. My recklessness still wanted a red riding cloak, but I told it 'no.' I was done playing Red for a while.
"Not for too much longer, he replied. "Spring is almost here." That didn't make sense to me, since it might actually be warmer in the spring and feel more comfortable without clothes. I shrugged it off. "I'd like to try a run this week though, if you're up to it." Mr. Wolf flashed me his trademark grin.
"I'm sure I can work it into my schedule," I replied, biting my lip.
I switched to classical for the rest of the car ride. Schubert's 'Serenade' played softly in the VW. My eyes scanned the overcast sky and the snowy capped Mount Hood in the distance. I was happy to be back in Portland.
I pulled out my phone. I was still getting the occasional warning text message from my circle of Wesen friends. I was even getting anonymous texts from Wesen I'd never met. Did someone add me to the Wesen crisis hotline? Mixed in with the texts was one from Chloe. She wanted to know if I was back yet. I replied to her text that our flight got delayed, and we were currently driving home. It was as close to the truth as I was going to tell her right now. There was also a text from Natalie. She said she missed me and wanted to make sure I was still doing okay. I texted her back that I'd see her soon. I was going to need a ton of yoga therapy this week.
After texting, I scrolled through my Kindle book.
"Reading again, huh?" Monroe's smile crept back up on his lips.
"Maybe I ought to download Gone with the Wind. It's been a while since I've read it, and it doesn't seem like I'm going to get to watch the movie with you anytime soon." I grinned at him as he rolled his eyes. "Fun fact…" I continued smiling. "Each of Margaret Mitchell's prominent twelve characters in Gone with the Wind were based on the twelve signs of the zodiac."
"Hmm…" Monroe didn't sound too impressed."Seems silly to have characters represent zodiac signs, if you ask me."
"Well, I find it quite interesting."
"I'm sure you would." He grinned at me while shaking his head. "You're reading on that phone quite a bit. I thought you told me you had a penchant for paper."
"Maybe I didn't give it a fair chance. It's a woman's prerogative to change her mind, after all," I added with a wink.
Monroe smiled. "Oh, how fickle is woman."
Laughing, I replied, "If you keep quoting Gone With the Wind, I swear I'm going to tie you down, and we'll watch that movie whether you like it or not."
"Well, then perhaps I need to tie you down and…" Monroe shot me a look. "Wow. Well, that was fast!"
"What was?" I asked while trying to keep my teeth off my lip, failing miserably.
A flash of red passed across his eyes as he tapped the side of his nose. "You know what."
I dropped my gaze quickly, sucking in a short breath. "Umm, let's not get any new ideas." It was only a flicker of lust, but those few drops in the confines of the VW were enough. Darn him and his perceptive nose. I really should've stuck with Mr. Darcy instead of Mr. Grey. That silly book was going to get me in trouble.
"What? You don't think we oughta…?" Monroe's cell rang, and I breathed out a sigh.
"Nick," he said, scowling as he looked at his phone display.
"He must have sensed you were back in Portland," I said. "Duty calls." Thank you, Nick.
"Kinda jet-lagged here, dude," Monroe said as he answered the phone. "What's up?"
While Monroe talked to Nick, I found Gone with the Wind on the Kindle and downloaded that plus a few songs from iTunes as I tried not to eavesdrop on the conversation. I did, however, listen out for any mention of the events in the parking garage. Monroe never said a word about it.
"Are you going to talk to Nick about all this?" I hesitantly asked after he hung up.
"No…" Monroe shook his head as he spoke. "Nick doesn't always tell me everything about his Grimm work, so I don't have to tell him everything about ours." He glanced over at me with sincere expression. "Renée, this isn't my secret to share, and I know I let things slip with Nick already and, you know, that wasn't all that fair to you." He pressed his lips and turned his eyes back to the road. "However, I really hope you'll come to your senses and tell Nick, so he can help you. If Reapers are aware of you, then we may not have a choice but to talk to him, I'll be honest." He let out a sigh.
"Thank you, Monroe," I simply said as we pulled into his driveway. Wow. I'd expected him to go all Alpha and demand we go see Nick as soon as we got back. Monroe was indirectly letting me know he respected my choices, and I appreciated him for it.
We silently sat in the car for a moment while the engine chirped like a cricket. I took the time to collect my thoughts. The movie reel of the last two weeks was one heck of a blockbuster. The loss of my dad was going to be worse now that I was back in Portland. I hated leaving Louisville, and I hated leaving my mom behind with all those memories in that big, empty house.
Learning about my identity was top priority on my list. There were so many questions that still needed answers, and there was a lot of work to do to get all the answers I was seeking. I was gonna need help, which meant I was gonna need Nick Burkhardt. While I appreciated Monroe keeping my secret, he was practically screaming on the inside for me to tell Nick the truth. I'd talk to Nick this weekend. How I was going let him in on my secret was beyond me, but at least it wasn't going to involve a red sweater.
As we walked into Monroe's house, I paused as my eyes rested on the entryway. My thoughts went to the Blutbad that had died there. I held my neck with my hand. Monroe didn't need to suffer any more losses. Keeping my head was also a priority.
Monroe helped me with my suitcases, and I looked longingly at his gold couch. I was tired, and the couch was inviting, but after what had happened at the airport, I wasn't going to get much sleep tonight. Pulling out my MP3 player, I hooked it up to Monroe's stereo and played the song I'd downloaded on the drive to his house. Bob Dylan began to sing, and I smiled at Monroe, mouthing the words.
"Throw my ticket out the window.
Throw my suitcase out there too.
Throw my troubles out the door.
I don't need them anymore,
'Cause tonight I'll be staying here with you.
You cast your spell and I went under,
I find it so difficult to leave.
Throw my troubles out the door.
I don't need them anymore,
'Cause tonight I'll be staying here with you..."
Monroe smiled again, his eyes a radiant ruby red, filled with contentment. He rushed toward me, taking my face in his hands and kissed me while Mr. Dylan continued to sing for us. When I was with Monroe everything felt right. What we had wasn't even close to a fairy tale, but that wasn't what I wanted anymore. Sure, Mr. Wolf and Red had had a fun night in the woods, but it was make-believe. We lived in the real world. I believed in us, and that was as real as it got. It was nowhere near perfect, but what was? There was no such thing as a perfect ending or happily ever after. All we could ask for was to be happy in the here and now. As I stood there with Monroe, I was pretty darn happy.
Monroe let me go, and I headed over toward the couch. Maybe reclining for a few minutes would do me some good.
He grabbed me by the wrist before I got very far. "Oh, I'm not done with you yet, Renée." Mr. Wolf's trademark grin emerged. "We have plans in the bedroom, and I do believe it's time for round two!" Monroe pulled me toward him, dipping me back. Those crimson red eyes of his pierced mine and had me hypnotized once more in an instant. I was smitten and completely his. That wasn't part of the game anymore, either. He kissed me, and that surge, that wave, that woge of recklessness entered my veins.
Monroe's phone rang, and I pouted as he lifted me forward. He pulled the cell out of his pocket and looked at the screen. "Nick again," he growled. Monroe pushed the off button and put the phone back in his pocket.
"What if it was important?" I asked.
"Frankly, my dear, I don't give a damn," he replied as he grinned wildly. And with that, Monroe whisked me up and carried me up the stairs to his bedroom like Rhett did to Scarlett. While I didn't believe in fairy tales, a gal needed romance every once in a while, and Monroe sure knew how to deliver! With his red eyes full of lust, he let out a howl just to remind me what I'd gotten myself into.
My recklessness said that I was gonna get the ride of my life. I agreed wholeheartedly. Whether there were fifty shades of Monroe or even more, I was looking forward to experiencing each and every one.
To Be Continued…
If You Want to Destroy My Sweater
A/N: So Renée and Monroe are spending the night together, yay!
I was trying to find a great song for Renée to symbolize staying with Monroe and ran across this great Bob Dylan one appropriately called, "Tonight I'll Be Staying Here With You." I had narrowed my choice to three, but this one won, hands down. Go youtube it. You know the drill!
Much like Gone With the Wind, I was crafty and added all twelve signs of the zodiac in my story, too. Some signs I mentioned directly, others were mixed in with hints of their sign. I've talked about GWTW so much, I feel like I need to go re-read it. LOL!
THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU!
Firstly, I gotta thank the creators of GRIMM! I LOVE THIS FRIGGIN' FANDOM! I can't say it enough! This show is wonderful and it completes me. LOL!
Secondly, my editor, Snapdragon213! With her grammar skills and guidance she has kept me in check with everything from punctuation to prose! You rock my socks, and thank you from the bottom of my heart! (:
Thirdly, I gotta thank my husband for not killing me due to my writing obsession. LOL! I love and adore you, oh hubby of mine! *smooch*
And last, but definitely not least, I want to thank my readers SO MUCH for going on this journey with me! You guys just make my day, and I am loving this creative writing thing! I realize this story was little less fluffy than Sweaters Are a Girl's Best Friend, but it needed to be, so I could keep the plot moving forward. The next one is going to be the same way, so I hope you continue on this journey with me into the next story when it's available.
***If you like what I'm doing, please favorite this story, follow, and review!***
I adore every comment, and I appreciate you guys for the kind words and encouragement! I can't believe I hit 200 comments! Like, that's just crazy! Also, a few of you have been sending me songs, and I LOVE THAT! So if you run across some meaningful lyrics and think it reminds you of Renée, send it my way. Who knows, it might end up in the next story.
THANK YOU AGAIN FOR READING!
(I'm going to go celebrate the end of story #2 with a nice glass of merlot wine!)