Interlude Chapter 1
I wearily opened one eye to find bright sunshine pouring through my window and onto my face. I stretched my arms over my head and came in contact with a wooden headboard.
I sat up straight, grabbing and holding the sheet close to my form. "Where am I?" I asked aloud.
"Chicago," came a voice from my right.
I glanced over instinctively. "Ben?" I said once I saw who it was.
"In the flesh," he replied in his Canadian tone.
Suddenly images of last night filled my brain. It was just after the trial ended -- which was the longest night of my life -- and I was fearing for my life despite my verdict of innocent. Ben had offered to help me break all of my ties then fly to Chicago with him. When we had gotten to his small apartment in the Canadian Consulate, I immediately ran to the bathroom for a shower. The trial had left me feeling dirty, sub-vampire, as if I wasn't worthy of my not guilty verdict. I had put on one of Ben's shirts. Him being as tall as he is, the shirt fell to midthigh. Then I had sat down on the floor (of the bathroom, yes) and began to cry, the seriousness of the trial finally hitting me full-force. Ben had heard me sobbing and had barged in to see if I was okay. He had held me until I had stopped crying. It had felt good to just be held, as if I were someone special, as if someone really cared.
"Did you sleep well?" he asked as he set two mugs on a small table on the opposite side of the bed.
"Fine," I replied blushing. After I had stopped crying, I had stayed in Ben's arms. I hadn't wanted to let him go, now or ever. Finally he had picked me up and put me in his bed, saying that he would sleep in the hallway. I had refused to let him, wanting to stay with him. He had sat down next to me on the bed and softly asked, "Are you sure?"
"Yes," I had whispered back.
I snapped back to the present as Ben sat down on the bed.
"I think we should talk about last night," he commented then brushed an imaginary piece of lint off of his jeans.
"W-what about it?" I stammered.
"I feel bad about taking advantage of you when you were so vulnerable."
"I was the one who had asked you to stay. You did not, and I repeat did not, take advantage of me. I enjoyed every second of it," I said, my eyes beginning to tear up. "And don't you dare tell me you regretted it."
"No!" Ben interjected. "I did not regret it. How could I of? I've wanted to make love to you ever since I first saw you standing in the airport those months ago."
"Really?" I gasped in surprise. I had never known. I had been blatantly obvious with my attraction for him, yes, but he had never once let on that he was attracted to me as well. Besides the fact that I was with Ramus at the time...
"Yes. I would not say it unless I meant it. Remember Mounties can't lie."
I laughed. "Too true."
"Did you really enjoy it?" Ben inquired in a nervous tone. He sounded so unsure of himself that I reached out and hugged him close.
"You really couldn't tell?" I asked with a smile. "Yes, I really enjoyed it. I love you, Ben. I think I always have."
"Do you?" he queried as he pulled back slightly. "Do you really?"
"Yes. I wouldn't say it unless I meant it," I confessed then smiled. "Remember? Those who love Mounties can't lie."
Ben laughed, delight written in every feature. Every beautiful feature.
"I love you, too, Hope. I love you, too."