Feedback: I crave it
Ownership: I own all
Summary:A lost love rekindled. Can they make it work? Or will something interfere with the young man's plans?
The day was bright and sunny; blue skies without a trace of clouds. On the quiet street, a nervous young man began to climb the stairs of a white house.
He looked down the porch to see someone laying on the swing, a large dog beneath it. Swallowing his fear, the man walked up to the person and stood.
Tatiana was enjoying the sun’s rays and listening to the music by Saliva when a shadow blocked her light. Without opening her eyes, she sighed and said, “Tammy, move. You’re blocking my light.” The shadow remained. “Move!” No change. Finally she opened her eyes to see a familiar boy standing above her.
“Uh, hi,” he coughed. “I was wondering if you could help me. I’m looking for Tatiana Blade. I was told she lives here.”
“Sure. Come on in. She’s not here, but we can call her,” she offered. She picked up the small dog lying against her. “Draco, stay,” she said, addressing the large Rottweiler.
Inside the house, she let the dachshund run to greet the guest.
“We can call her from in here,” she said pointing to the living room. She and the boy settled on the couch while she dialed the number. “Here. You talk. I have to get something from the kitchen.” She stood and left him to make his call. In the kitchen, she pulled her cell phone from her pocket and answered it.
“You called me.”
“Oh, hi. It’s Adom.”
“Adom! Where are you?”
“Actually, I’m at your house,” he said sheepishly.
“Oh? Who let you in?” she asked, trying not to laugh.
“I guess a friend of yours.”
“What does she look like?”
Adom fumbled for words. “Uh, short light brown hair. Tanned. Couldn’t tell you what color eyes. She had sunglasses on.”
She began to make her way from the kitchen. Leaning against the doorframe leading to the living room, she said loudly, “They’re hazel.” Adom turned and dropped the phone back on the cradle.
“Tatiana?” he asked incredulously.
“The one and the same.”
He jumped up, ran over and hugged her tightly. “I’ve missed you,” he whispered in her ear. She pulled back, tears in her eyes.
“Not as much as I missed you.”
The cell phone began to ring again. As Tatiana turned to take care of it, Adom stared at what was his again.
She had grown maybe an inch or two. The cutoff shorts hitched high showed incredibly toned legs. The blue flannel shirt draped her torso. The sleeves were ripped off, exposing defined and tanned arms. A silver chain graced her neck. Six earrings flashed in the light.
She snapped off the phone. “Ok, that was my mom. She needs me to go to the store and pick up a few more things. Wanna come?”
Adom shrugged. “Sure. But can I change first?” He looked down at his uniform. “I have a change of clothes in the car,” he explained.
“Sure. Guest room is down the hall and on the right.” As her boyfriend of three years went out to his truck, Tatiana ducked upstairs to freshen up and grab her keys.
When she came back down, she was taken away. Adom had changed into a pair of board shorts and a light blue tank top. He must have grown at least four inches, making her five foot six frame a midget to his six foot frame.
Finished with her gawking, Tatiana entered the living room to collect her mini dog, Peanut, and put him away. Then she let her bigger dog inside.
“Nice dog,” Adom commented.
“Thanks. I got him as a graduation present. Come on. Let’s go.”
The garage was pitch black. Holding Adom’s hand, Tatiana led him to her car. After he was in, she opened her door, let Draco into the backseat, and got in.
“Dad was fixing my car,” she explained, turning on the vehicle. Sum 41 blared through the speakers, drowning out Adom’s reply. “Oops. Sorry.” With the garage door now opened, Tatiana backed out.
“You got a Spyder!” Adom exclaimed.
“Yep,” she smiled.
The ride to the store was uneventful and yet so busy with the two talking. Once there, Tatiana commanded Draco to stay. She and Adom walked into the store.
“Ok, we have to do this fast so hang on.”
They zipped up and down the aisles. People said hello to the girl as they went by. In the meat section, a college boy noticed her.
“Tatiana, hi,” he shouted over the noise.
“Did you get those psychology notes?”
Sheck gave her thumbs up and went back to work. As they left that area, Tatiana explained to Adom. “He’s in my psych class.”
“Ah, I see.”
As they stood in line, Tatiana impatiently shifted her weight from foot to foot. The bagger girl smiled at her and asked if she had seen Sheck. Nodding, Tatiana paid for the groceries and headed out.
Draco was sitting in the front seat, waiting for their arrival. “So, what’s going on?” Adom asked as they loaded the backseat.
“Draco, floor. Oh, some party for a friend of the family.”
They were almost home. Stopping at a red light, a car full of sixteen-year-old boys pulled up and began to whistle at Tatiana. A devilish thought entered her head. Just before Adom got fed up, Tatiana leaned over, turned his face to hers and gave him a long, deep, firm kiss, eliciting whoops from the boys. As the light turned green, she pealed out and left them in the dust.
“Wow. Was that to show off or welcome me back?” Adom gasped.
At home, Adom and Tatiana put the groceries on the table and began to put them away. “Baby, leave the hamburgers out. I have to get those cooked,” she instructed.
“Want me to do it?”
She smiled. “No. I got it.” As he walked by to put away some bags, Adom thumped her on the butt and got one in return.
“Oh, crap!” Tatiana gasped.
“Come on. I have to go pick up Chadwick from practice.”
At the soccer field, we waited. Fortunately practice ran late. “Yeah. Tristan went to stay the summer at his friend’s house in Georgia. Be right back,” she promised, getting out with Draco. She leaned back in the car and gave Adom another heart pounding kiss.
“Wow. I like this,” he teased. Tatiana only raised an eyebrow and winked.
Chadwick was waiting for her at the gate. “Hey. Ready?” she asked.
“Hi Drake. Yeah.” As they neared her car, Chadwick noticed the passenger. “Who’s that?” he asked. Adom got out of the car.
“Watch and remember,” Tatiana said mysteriously. She walked over to the stranger and put her arms around his neck. The boy lifted her up. Tatiana wrapped her legs around his waist and they kissed.
Chadwick’s eyes widened. “Adom!” he exclaimed. Flushing, Tatiana was lowered to the ground.
“Hey kiddo,” Adom panted.
“I hope Mike doesn’t bring his dumb dog to the party,” Chadwick said.
“He is. You know what that means,” his sister answered.
“Who’s Mike and what’s going to happen?” Adom asked curiously.
”Mike’s the guy we’re having a party for and he has a nasty ugly poodle. Draco and Princess fight all the time,” she replied.
Chadwick went up stairs to chair out of his uniform. Adom and Tatiana went to the kitchen to finish preparing the meal . Tatiana made her man sit while she took care of everything. Several minutes after she had begun, the house monitor crackled to life.
“Mom said she’s going to be a few minutes late. Play hostess,” Chadwick’s voice buzzed over the line. Tatiana groaned as she washed the tomatoes. Adom came up behind her and wrapped his arms around her waist, his hands in her pockets.
“What’s wrong?” he murmured, placing soft kisses along her neck.
“I can’t stand Mike. He’s sixteen and has had a crush on me for the past two years. He’s tried everything to get me to like him. His mom is a snob. I like his dad. And,” she concluded as the doorbell rang, “if you don’t hurry up and kiss me, I’m going to explode.”
“Oh, demanding are we?” Adom teased. Tatiana grabbed his head and gave him a quick kiss.
“Go upstairs with Chad. I don’t want Mike to know you’re here.”
Tatiana forced a smile on her face and opened the door. “Mary, Frank…Mike. Come in. My parents aren’t home yet, but they’ll be here soon.”
“Thank you. Do you need any help?” Frank asked happily.
Tatiana took the dishes from Mary and gave her husband a genuine smile. “I left the meat for you, Frank. You’re the master at the grill.” Frank rubbed his hands together and headed out back. Mary tried not to look bored as she glanced around.
“Do you need any help?” she asked.
“No. You can go out back and relax,” Tatiana said through gritted teeth.
“Be a dear and bring me some iced tea.” Mary breezed out in her fog, leaving Tatiana with her pimply-faced son.
Tatiana turned to go back into the kitchen, Mike came in tow. “Hey Tiana. Miss me?” he sneered.
“Mike, I missed my mid-terms more than I missed you. Take Princess outside,” Tatiana ordered. The large black cotton ball growled low in her chest. “Out.” As Mike walked by, he placed a rough smack to her butt.
“You know you like that,” he grinned.
Adom was sitting on the stairs. He had seen Mike and couldn’t wait to murder the little puke. Once the boy was gone, Tatiana looked up at him and blew him a kiss. “Upstairs,” she mouthed. Reluctantly, he made his way up.
The garage door opened and in walked Tatiana’s dad. “Daddy, take a shower and play host. I have to go shower. Mike touched me. Oh, by the way, Adom’s here,” Tatiana said, still cutting vegetables.
“Ok. Fine with me,” her father said as he went to clean up.
Once relieved of her duties, Tatiana headed upstairs. She bypassed Chadwick’s room and went straight to her room. She locked the door and began to strip down for the shower. In her private bathroom, she stood under the water and cried. She was so happy her love was back. Realizing she was taking forever, Tatiana washed and got out. She changed into a pair of black capris and a silver tank top. She added her diamond studs to her ears and her rings to the ensemble. Tying on her black sneakers, she unlocked the door to find her boyfriend sitting on the top stair.
“Adom, you ok?” she asked.
“Yeah. Just thinking,” he smiled weakly. Tatiana smiled softly.
“You think too much.” She gave his hand a squeeze and went downstairs.
Her mother had come home while Tatiana was upstairs. She made her way to her mother, ignoring Mike’s catcalls. Her mother was talking to Mary about work.
“Excuse me. Mom?” she interjected. “I need to see you inside for a second.” As she opened the door, Draco slipped out.
“Mom, Adom’s here,” Tatiana rushed.
“Yes. My boyfriend, Adom.”
“So?” she shrugged.
“No…he’s here,” Tatiana stressed.
Her eyes narrowed. “Where?”
“With Chad. Upstairs.”
“Fine.” She turned and left Tatiana with a victorious feeling.
“Tatiana, come get Draco,” her dad yelled.
Tatiana opened the sliding door and found the two dogs facing off. She stormed past Mike as he cackled loudly. Without thinking, she reached out to grab Draco’s collar. Instantly, Princess locked her jaws on Tatiana’s hand. Wrenching free, she placed a well-aimed kick on the offending canine’s snout.
“Hey!” Mike jumped up.
“Next time,” Tatiana growled, “I will be kicking you too.”
Once inside with Draco, Tatiana leaned on the door. Blood dripped from her hand. Groaning in pain, she got to the sink and began to wash the wound.
Chadwick and Adom came down to steal food and found Tatiana leaning over the sink. “Chad, go get the alcohol and some gauzes,” she panted. Chad rushed out of the room as Adom rushed over.
“Baby, what happened?” he asked, his voice filled with concern.
“Princess bit me. Thanks.” Tatiana took the bottle from Chad. “Sweetie, I need you to hold my arm steady,” she ordered, moving behind Adom, her hand still under the water. “Chad, I need you to turn the water off and douse both sides of my hand.” Tatiana closed her eyes, gritted her teeth and grabbed her lover’s shirt as Chad thoroughly cleansed her wounds, after which she bandaged.
Chad went outside while Adom and Tatiana sat on the couch to watch some TV. During a commercial, Tatiana closed her eyes and rested her head against the cushions. She was concentrating on the throbbing pain in her hand and didn’t notice Adom getting down on his knees in front of her until he put his hand on her knee.
“Baby, I know that we’ve had it rough these past few years, but you’ve always been right there for me. Now, it’s my turn to be there for you. I love you more than life itself. So, will you marry me?” Adom produced a gorgeous diamond ring.
Her eyes watered and her good hand flew to her mouth. “I…Adom…yes!” she stammered. They stood and embraced.
“Let’s go tell your parents,” he whispered excitedly.
The two rushed outside. “Hey guys, guess what!” Tatiana exclaimed. “We’re getting married!” Silence. Then Tatiana’s mom began to cry. Frank began clapping and her father hugged her. Mary even started to sniffle, but Mike slouched down in his chair and glowered.
The congratulations continued as the guest family left. Adom was invited to stay the night, in the guest room, of course. He went upstairs to talk to Chadwick while Tatiana and her parents cleaned. “Mom, dad, don’t tell anyone. I want to.” Her parents smiled and nodded.
When the cleaning was done, Tatiana went upstairs. She found Adom on the computer in the family room.
“Chad said I could use it. He was going to bed,” Adom confessed.
“Sweetheart, it’s ok,” she grinned as she picked up the phone.
“Who are you calling?” her love asked, coming to sit by her on the futon couch.
“Some old friends.” She dialed the first number and got an answering machine. “Clady! Girl you need to call me. Soon!” Tatiana said rapidly and hung up. She leaned against her beau’s chest and dialed the next number. Again, an answering machine picked up. “Barb! Call me! ASAP!” Adom snickered softly. “Shut up. Hello? Alana?” she said. “Listen, can you, Adena, and Bridget come up in about two weeks? No, you can e-mail me the answer. Ok. Great. Hope to see you then. Yeah. Take care. Bye!” She half-turned, stared into Adom’s eyes and smiled.
“What?” he asked.
“I love you.”
“I love you too.”
She leaned in and gave him another kiss before standing. “I’m going to bed. I’ll see you in the morning. Stay up as long as you want, but stay out of my room. Good night. Sweet dreams.”
Clady, Barbara, Adena, Alana, and Bridget all sat on the couch. Tatiana stood in the doorway, laughing at the stories the girls were telling. “Guys! I want to get a picture of this. Hang on,” she said excitedly.
She ran upstairs where Adom and Chadwick were playing on the computer. “Hey stud,” she breathed on Adom’s lips.
“Whatcha up to?” he asked.
“Well, I need Chad to take come pictures on the digital . One where the girls are on the couch. Me and you behind them. They still don’t know you’re here.”
“No Adom. A close-up on my ring.” She pulled the ring out of her shirt and slipped it on.
Chad took the picture of the ring while still upstairs. Downstairs, he positioned the girls just right. Adom was waiting for the signal to come in. The girls sat on the couch and Tatiana stood behind them.
“Ok, hang on. Let me focus this,” Chad clued. Adom stepped into the room, wrapped his arms around Tatiana and smiled. “Great! Don’t move!” Adom slipped back out. Chad handed his sister the camera and left.
“Ok, hold on. What’s this?” Bridget questioned as she pointed to the ring picture.
Tatiana flipped to the next picture. “Who’s that?” Alana demanded.
Adom stepped into the room. “Guys, re-meet Adom. We’re getting married.”
Squeals erupted and soon hugging ensued. “This calls for a celebration. Dinner’s on me,” Barbara stated. “Where should we go?”
“There’s Meg’s Mixing Pot. International pro she is.”
They all went out to the vehicles. Adom volunteered to take Barbara and Alana. Tatiana took the rest of her friends.
On the way there, Adena leaned forward. “You really love him?”
“Well, yeah. More than life itself. Why?”
Adena shrugged nonchalantly. “No reason.”
As the group pulled into the lot, Tatiana’s cell phone rang. “You guys go ahead. It’s business. Hello?”
“Mrs. Stone, how can I help you?” Tatiana waved the girls inside, which left her and Adom alone. She pulled out her appointment book upon identifying the caller and began to write. Adom wrapped his arms around her waist and kissed her neck.
“Yeah. Birthday party? Seven fourteen year old girls. You know the price usually runs about eight fifty each,” she said leaning against Adom. “Ok. I’ll call my boss and see if I can get him to lower the price. Sit tight.” Tatiana hung up the phone. Reaching into her glove box, she pulled out an earpiece and microphone for her phone. She hooked the set up and faced Adom. After dialing the number, Tatiana proceeded to indulge herself with her boyfriend. In mid-kiss, the line picked up.
“Q-ball? Hey. Mrs. Stone wants a party for seven. No. Fourteen. Yeah, they want guides. Down to one hundred? You sure? Ok, yeah. Good idea. Ciao.” She began to dial another number. “One more call and then we can go in. Promise.”
Adom wiggled his eyebrows. “We could just stay out here and hang for awhile.”
“Adom! As tempting as that sounds, very tempting, we can’t. Hello? Mrs. Stone? Mr. Quincy said he could drop the price to one hundred dollars, per person. One hundred more for guides. Ok, we’ll see you on the third. Bye.” Hanging up, Tatiana threw her arms around Adom’s neck and kissed him.
“Are you guys coming?” Barbara exclaimed loudly.
“Yes!” Tatiana sighed, disappointed for the interruption. Inside when they sat down, the other girls began to snicker.
“What?” Adom asked, confused.
Tatiana calmly pulled out her Palm Pilot. “They’re just jealous.”
“So, ‘Tiana, was it good for you?” Clady sneered.
She leaned forward on the table. “Only I know.”
After the meal on the way home, Tatiana got a call from Adom. “Baby, I just got called back to the base. I’m gonna drop the girls off and then leave.”
“Ok. See ya at home.”
At the house, the girls said good-bye to Adom while Tatiana stood at his door.
“Be careful. Call me when you can,” she said. Rising on her tiptoes, she gave him a kiss.
“Have fun,” he winked as he backed up.
They waved bye and he left.
The girls sat in Tristan’s room watching Adena and Alana pack.
“What is it exactly that you do?” Barbara asked Tatiana.
“Which day? No, just kidding. I’m a guide, teacher, and stable hand for this guy.”
“How do you do all this and school?”
“Oh, Quincy has a big enough staff that college kids can take the time off for school.”
“And why haven’t you been to work in at least a week?” Alana inquired.
“Actually I’ve been out for three weeks because I had finals a week after I got sick. I have to go in tomorrow at ten.”
“Man! Too bad we’re leaving at seven and nine,” Clady moaned.
“Yeah. Sucks huh?” Tatiana laughed.
After seeing her friends onto their respective flight, Tatiana headed home to change into more comfortable work clothes. Doing such, she raced to the job which she loved dearly.
She punched in and headed back toward the tack room in the stable. There she picked up a lead rope and a grooming pail. Tatiana whistled cheerfully as she waltzed down the aisle, petting horses’ noses as they looked out inquisitively.
Finally she stopped outside the stall of her favorite horse, Triple It Now, affectionately known as Triple. He was named such for the three solid white dots on the side of his neck despite his chocolate brown coat and black mane and tail.
Leading the horse out, talking to him the whole time, Tatiana cross-tied Triple to an unoccupied stall and proceeded to groom him. Across the aisle, Triple’s brother, Try As You Might, known as Try, was also being pampered.
“So what are your plans for today?” Try’s groomer asked.
“I wanted to try some jumps and then go for a trail ride. How about you?”
Devon shrugged. “Washout Waterfalls and Devil’s Drop are nice this time of year.”
Tatiana thought about this for a moment. “Yeah, good idea. I might join ya.”
However, as she made her way out to the practice ring, she noticed her schedule was quite full. Two morning classes, a trail, two afternoon classes and three hours of stable duty. She sighed, looking at Triple and said, “You ready for work?” Triple pranced in place and tossed his head. “Of course you are. Let’s go.”
The morning classes were rather boring. Tatiana taught a handful of children how to saddle a dummy horse. Things were more humorous than progressive. After that, she and a fellow worker led a more experienced group on a semi-adventurous trail ride. Her final two classes were a little more interesting. Each class was composed of no more than three students. Both were designed for a jumping event. Success all around. Tatiana could tell the Triple enjoyed himself, despite the fact that he was not a jumper.
As she made her way to the stable, Devon and two of Quincy’s newer stable hands, Starlyn and Damon, approached her.
“Girl, these guys say that Triple isn’t nearly as fast as their horses,” Devon snickered.
She glanced at her challengers’ horses, Comet and Lightning. Both animals had the long legs of a runner, but not the stamina. Devon and Tatiana both knew this.
“Ok, let’s prove it,” Tatiana turned Triple to the track and set a starting point. “Ok, here’s the deal: to the clubhouse turn. Dev, you be referee. Got it?”
Starlyn and Damon grinned. “Eat my dirt,” Damon teased.
“You first,” Tatiana muttered and lowered her goggles.
She sized up her competition out of the corner of her eye. Comet, a two-year-old filly, was a dull gray color with a black mane and tail. Lightning, Comet’s brother, was coal black with a single jagged gray stripe running along his length.
Both horses were tall and muscular. Their parents were champion runners. Long legs and deep chests, both attributes associated with distance runners, accompanied the siblings.
Devon dropped his hand. The once lazy challengers shot off at a full gallop. For two furlongs Comet held the lead. By the fourth furlong, Triple had caught up and was beginning to pull away.
In the end, Triple won. Tatiana pulled him to a stop, a grin on her face.
“Whoo!” Starlyn shouted. “That was fun.”
“Good run, Tatiana,” Damon congratulated.
She patted Triple’s neck affectionately and left, waving over her shoulder.
In the barn, another employee named Megan, told Tatiana that Quincy was looking for her. She quickly, but thoroughly, took care of her horses and went to see what her boss wanted.
“You wanted me, Q-ball?” she asked, stepping into the office.
“Yeah. I saw you racing out there today. You know I don’t approve of that, but after seeing you guys handle those horses. I’ve decided that maybe I could enter some of my horses.” Tatiana’s jaw dropped. “I’ve already talked to a trainer. I’m meeting him tomorrow. And I want you, Starlyn, Tipper, and Dex to be my riders. What do you say?”
“Yeah,” Tatiana exclaimed.
Quincy sighed, “Good. So after this party, we’ll talk to the trainer.”
The next morning, she awoke early. As she passed her computer, Tatiana logged in. After her shower, she found a message from Bridget letting her know that she was home and asking if Tatiana had heard from Adom. That was when she realized she hadn’t.
In the stable, she found a stranger browsing up and down the aisle, inspecting the horses.
“Hi, can I help you?” Tatiana asked, leading Triple out of his stall. p>
“Depends. I’m Paul, the trainer Quincy hired.”
“Oh, hi. Yeah. I’m Tatiana, one of the riders. I would stay longer, but I have to get ready for a group. Will you be around later?” At Paul’s nod, Tatiana smiled and left.
Once the party was over, all the horses taken care of and all the tack cleaned, Tatiana made her way to Quincy’s office, where she found Tipper, Dex, and Starlyn talking to Quincy and Paul.
“Hey guys. Sorry I’m late.” Tatiana sat down on the leather couch and waited.
“Quite alright. We were just discussing backgrounds,” Paul smiled. “What’s yours? Race-wise.”
“Aside from my little stunt yesterday, none.”
“Ok, we’ll work on that. How did your horse react?”
“He was really enjoying himself. I could barely slow him down.”
Paul thought for a moment, then nodded. “I’ll take these files home and look over them. By looking at the bloodlines, I’ll be able to choose candidates for the races.” The trainer picked up the crate, nodded good bye and left.
To burn off some of her energy, Tatiana went down to the gym and worked out for a few hours. However, she was still buzzing, so she decided a hot bath would sooth her jangled nerves.
At the house, Tatiana found several messages waiting for her upstairs on her machine. They’ll be there when I get out she thought and headed for her bathroom. An hour or so later, the girl emerged, calm and tired. Without even dressing, she sprawled across her bed and promptly fell asleep.
When she finally awoke, the sun was just touching the horizon. Tatiana rose stiffly to her feet and began to hunt up something to throw on. She was about to head downstairs when she remembered her answering machine. The first few messages were from friends looking to make weekend plans. Then Adom’s voice came over the line. Instantly she knew something was wrong.
“Hey, Tatiana. Listen, I just got stationed in South Carolina. I know we’ve done long distance before, but this time it’s different. I can’t handle it. I’m sorry. I’ll understand if you never want to see me again. I wouldn’t blame ya. I gotta go. Take care.”
Tatiana sat in stunned silence and then tears began to fall. For several minutes all she could do was cry. Yet, then she got to thinking and she got mad. Of all the excuses he had to pull, this was the lamest. She stormed down the stairs and almost ran smack into Tristan.
“Tristan! You’re home!”
“Yeah. What’s wrong?” her younger brother asked.
“Long story. Come on. I’ll explain it upstairs.”
Six months later
He stood on the same steps and stared at the door, trying to conjure up that image. The picture was fuzzy and distorted. Giving up, Adom knocked on the door. When it opened, Adom recognized the boy instantly.
“Tristan, hey man. How’s it going? It’s me, Adom.”
Tristan’s eyes narrowed. “What?”
“Well, the door’s still open so…”
“Get to the point.”
“She’s at work. You’re only going to mess things up.”
Adom blew out a breath. “Either you tell me how to get to her office or I’ll wait until she gets home. Your choice.”
Tristan sneered. “Come on. I’ll show you the way.”
The boys rode in silence.
“Look, I did what I had to. Cut me some slack will ya?” Adom growled.
“Cut you some slack? After you ripped my sister’s heart out, not once but twice? I told her she was an idiot for taking you back the first time, but she loves you.” Noting the driver’s silence, Tristan plowed ahead. “One month after you walked, she disappeared for two months. When she finally came back, she was happy. Then she moved out and in with one of her co-workers and we’ve never seen her happier. We’re here.
Adom got out and followed Tristan into the back of a building. “Where are we?” he asked.
“At Tatiana’s office. Follow me.”
The two boys made their way down the long hall. Tristan motioned for Adom to wait where he was while he disappeared into a door. Ratcheting noise, loud blaring music, and metal on metal belched from the hole. Seconds later, Tristan returned.
“What’s down there?”
“The pit,” Tristan shrugged.
“Did you find your sister?”
“Tatiana is in the break room. Her shift just ended.”
They rounded the corner to a large room filled with sounds and flesh. A big screen TV was blaring a football game. People, standing and sitting, were cheering accordingly.
He recognized her despite her changes. She was tanner and more defined. Her hair was capped close to her ears. A black dragon was tattooed across the back of her neck. A grungy white tank top flirted with the black coveralls that were stripped down to the waist. Beat-up sneakers were bouncing off the floor as she cheered on her team.
“TOUCHDOWN!” a man yelled.
Tatiana cheered loudly and fiercely hugged the guy next to her. Adom watched as his ex collected money from several guys, giving them kisses on their cheeks in return. Finally he could take no more and turned to wait outside the room.
Suddenly there she was. Standing in front of him. He felt as if the world had shifted out from beneath him.
“Well, well, the prodigal son returns,” Tatiana said sarcastically. “If you’re looking for someone to hurt, you’re all out of luck here.”
“Tiana, can we talk?” Adom asked.
“You’ll have to wait. I need a shower.” With that she stalked off.
Thirty minutes later, she reappeared, clean and temper under control. Adom was sitting outside the break room, silent and eyes closed. She had to cringe at the squeeze on her heart when she saw him again.
Her low scoop neck black shirt was tucked into her stonewashed jeans. Adorning her feet were black half boots. The entire outfit’s purpose was to show off the curves that she had worked so hard to get.
“Let’s go,” she announced.
“Tristan went home,” Adom informed her.
A young man with dark red hair stepped up behind her and tapped on her shoulder. “A lochan?” he asked.
Tatiana nodded and held up three fingers. The guy nodded and left. Motioning for Adom to follow, Tatiana made her way into the dark to the pond.
“Tatiana,” he started.
She held up a hand. “No. I’ve been waiting to say this. You weren’t there for me. Doesn’t seem like you ever were. And to think that I loved you. I kept taking you back. Why? I haven’t figured that part out yet.” A series of thunderous roars split the air behind the boy. “I didn’t let you talk. But,” she said, accepting a black leather jacket and helmet from a biker. “I have to go. If you want to pursue this, I’ll be at work around nine. Meet me in the pit.”
Adom watched as she straddled the red Honda CBR 600F, wrapped her arms around the driver and sped off.
The next day Tatiana was up early. She was already hard at work on one of the five Kawasaki motorcycles when Riley, her boyfriend’s older brother, pecked her on the cheek.
“Beannached beag pithuar,” he crooned.
She straightened and smiled. “Riley! Beannached. Ciamar a tha thu?”
The Irishman shrugged. “Tha mi gu math. Sibh?”
Riley gave her a hug and spotted Adom in the doorway. Feimaidh mi falbh.”
Turning she saw the boy. “Leibh. Mach bhur beag pithuar dean aige teth?”
Riley chuckled heartily. “Leig a an.”
She hugged Riley once more before rounding on Adom. “Come on. I have work to do. You can talk while I work.”
They walked back to the quieter part of the pit to talk. Tatiana slipped behind the desk, motioning Adom to take a seat on the stool. Just as the boy opened his mouth, the phone rang.
“One sec. Good morning. Irish Pride. This is Tatiana. How can I help you?”
Taking the time to study his loss, Adom etched the girl into his mind. Today her hair was held back by a green bandana Six diamonds flashed on her ears. Silver glinted on her neck as a silver chain was wrapped snugly around.
Adom discreetly lowered his eyes to her body. She wore a dark blue bra top and black wind pants which not only showed her figure but pointed out the fine points.
The boy blamed his reaction to the girl as being purely male. Just because he felt something didn’t mean he actually meant it.
“She’s beautiful isn’t she?” a man’s voice said quietly behind him.
Adom masked his jump by turning. There stood a very muscular man with dark red hair and blue eyes. “Yeah. I’m Adom.”
“Kelly. Nice to meet you. You here about a bike?”
Adom shook his head. “Actually, Tatiana and I go way back.”
“Ah. Then you know about the louse that broke her heart. Fortunately she’s strong. Came to us about three months ago and blew us away with her skills. Then she started dating my brother Tane. I don’t know what we’d do without her,” Kelly grinned.
Adom winced. “I’m the louse that broke her heart.”
Kelly’s eyes dimmed, and then brightened dangerously. “I have to go. Nice meeting you. Beannached.”
Adom turned to see Tatiana watching him, humor dancing in her eyes.
“I think I just signed my death warrant,” he said.
“Yeah. If you think Kelly’s bad, wait ‘til you meet Kerrin and Kerry. So,” she propped her feet up and laced her fingers behind her head. “Talk.”
“I left because I couldn’t handle it. It’s done.”
She beat down the pain. “Why don’t you hang around awhile? It gets interesting. Unless you need to go?”
An hour went by as Adom talked about his job while Tatiana did hers. A lanky boy with black hair ran up from behind her and smacked Tatiana across the back of her head. Instantly she took off after him. Jumping on his back cause the two to fall. The boy tucked and rolled while Tatiana landed hard against a tool bench.
Adom ran from behind the desk. Behind him was Kelly. Out from the pit came Riley. “Tiana, you ok?” Adom asked.
She sat up, laughing. “Not quite fast enough Kerrin.” Kelly and Riley shook their heads and went back to work. Tatiana hauled herself up off the floor and helped up her assailant.
“Kerrin meet Adom. Adom, Kerrin.”
“Pleasure. You ok, beag pithuar?” Kerrin asked, running his hand through his shaggy hair.
“Yeah. I’m good.”
Kerrin started to say something but was drowned out by a roaring that came from a motorcycle as it flew in.
“Kerry!” Kerrin exclaimed. “Must you always make a show?”
The girl stuck out her tongue at her brother. “Tane’s really excited about something. I lost him two traffic lights back.”
“Did he say what?”
“I tried, but he said to wait. Oh.” Kerry stood next to Tatiana and continued. “I saw Aiden and Ragenne Cleary. Ragenne is carrying rather well. Aiden is going to be such a great da.”
Adom watched at Tatiana shifted slightly.
“Tane just rode up. I’m gonna go talk to him.”
Tatiana strode out of the garage. Kerry sighed. “That girl is not happy.”
“Aye. She masks her feelings well but all she wants is a good man and a few tots.”
“Can’t Tane give that to her?”
“Maybe. He’s not one to settle down. She could be hurt again.”
Adom stared out the doorway, Kerry’s words ringing in his ears.
The shop closed for the night. There was a party/game scheduled at Kerry’s place. Adom was invited to join. Tane ended being overly excited about some new interest shown in his company overseas. This was cause was some celebration as it could lead to more branches being opened.
“So, does Tatiana ride one of these things?” the boy asked, motioning to the motorcycles.
“Hey, now these aren’t just ‘things’. We are looking at,” Riley pointed to his sister’s bike, “a Ducati ST4. Kerrin’s sporting a Suzuki GSX 600F Katana. Kelly is riding a Kawasaki ZX-6R Ninja. Tane love his Bimota YB11. I won’t part with my Yamaha FJ R1300.”
“And I’ll kill anyone who messes with my Benelli Tornado,” Tatiana said, wheeling out a green and silver bike.
Tane wrapped his arms across the girl’s shoulders and nuzzled her neck. “Aw, you wouldn’t kill me would you?” he crooned.
Tatiana smirked. “You’ll live but with some scars. Let’s go.”
Adom watched as Kelly, Riley, Kerry and Kerrin rode off. His attention shifted when Tane leaned into Tatiana and received a heart pounding kiss much like the ones he used to get.
“A gra agam ort,” Tane stated. He gave Adom a nod and left.
Tatiana sighed happily. “Ok, you ready?” When Adom was safely in his truck, the pair left.
Adom pulled in behind Tatiana. The yard was filled with motorcycles and cars. Loud music blared from open windows. The front door burst open with a violent thud. A large Siberian husky leapt out, barking fiercely. Soon he was accompanied by Draco and a large German Shepherd.
“Draco! Ice! Devlin! Shut up!” Tatiana ordered. Adom tensed as the three giants raced toward the two. Seconds before they leapt, Tatiana did a quick hand signal and the animals sat quietly at her feet, their muscles rippling.
“Come inside. They aren’t gonna hurt you. Well, Ice might, but,” Tatiana shrugged, “you’ll live.”
Inside the giant house, Tatiana disappeared among the crowd of dancers, the dogs following close behind. Adom caught a glimpse of her as she slipped up the stairs. He lost her when he was approached by Riley who was requesting a game of air hockey.
After an hour or so, Adom was looking for a breath of fresh air. He slipped into the kitchen, looking for a way out and found Tatiana and Kerry hanging out.
“Hey guys. How’s it going?” he asked.
Kerry smiled. “Marvelous. So Adom, what’s your history?” Adom swallowed hard. She laughed. “No worries. I just am wondering about your job and such.”
“Oh, well ok. I work for GamTech. I am a computer tech. GamTech’s different branches call me out to look over their systems or to train new employees.”
“And you’re on vacation?”
“Yeah. A month.”
“Wow. Interesting. Never heard of a company giving more than a week.”
“Well, I was training some new employees and it went over on my vacation. They give two weeks so, I was given two more weeks.”
Kerry yawned. “Don’t mind me. I’ll just make my way out to the game. Ciao.”
Adom turned to Tatiana. “So what’s your story? Why are you here?”
She smiled as she gave her attention to a glass she was drying. “Long or short version?”
“Well, after you left, I started hanging out at a few clubs. Ran into Kerry and became fast buds. Then about two weeks after that, she invited me to Ireland to go visit her family. So, of course I said yes. Went to Ireland and fell in love with it. When we got home, Riley offered me a job and to move in with his sister. And since I had grown so attach to all five of them, we banded together and bought this warehouse. We’ve been here ever since.”
“And what about your horse thing?”
“Oh, that. Well, I saw Quincy’s new trainer beating one of the horses. When I told Q-ball, he just dismissed it. So I quit right then and there. Shortly after that, I filed an animal cruelty to animals report but there was no follow-up.”
He studied her. He seemed to be doing that a lot lately, he noticed. She had a circle of Chinese symbols around her left ankle. Black shorts graced her at mid-thigh. A red tank top declaring her the queen of the universe hugged her body. A silver arm band high on her bicep had a Celtic knot in the center. Her hair was held back with silver barrettes.
“So, what’s with the new language?” he inquired. At Tatiana’s blank look, he explained. “I know some Spanish and French, but what you’ve been speaking today wasn’t either.”
Tatiana tossed him a smile. “That’s Gaelic. The boys taught it to me.”
There was an uncomfortable pause in the conversation. “Well…” Adom trailed off.
“It’s ok. I’m heading to bed anyways. Don’t drink the bottled water. It tastes weird. Enjoy the party.”
Tatiana closed out the party noise and looked about her room. The outer wall was entirely of smoky glass cubes. The color on the other walls was a deep royal blue. In gold paint, Egyptian hieroglyphics told the story of the gods on the far wall. Irish legends were written in silver along another wall.
A queen-sized bed jutted out from the only wall with no writing on it. A television sat on a stand, loaded with movies and DVDs. Her desk/bookcase station left of her bed held her books , computer, trophies and pictures.
Feeling like she was being watched, the girl pulled the thick black curtains across her glass wall. She changed her clothes, turned on her stereo and climbed into bed. As soft sounds of pipes and flutes filtered through the speakers, Tatiana drifted away, never seeing the shadow moving about her room.
Adom drove up the next morning to find two cop cars sitting in the driveway. He rushed in, fearing and thinking the worst. The boy grabbed the first person he saw, which turned out to be Riley.
“What’s going on?” he demanded.
Riley shrugged the boy off. “Someone tore up Tatiana’s room last night. She’s upstairs talking to the cops.” Adom charged up the stairs to find the girl talking to the police.
“Yeah. Nothing was taken. Just find this guy. None of the people from the party would have done this, no matter how drunk.”
“And you mentioned that you had a water that tasted weird. Where did that go?” the older police officer asked.
“I emptied it down the drain. Sorry.”
The police finished up and left the girl to stand in the midst of a small war zone. “Hey. Sorry to catch you like this,” Adom smiled weakly.
“It’s cool. Let’s go downstairs. I’ll take care of this later.”
“Oh, last night, Kerry let me borrow this tape.”
“Just put it in her room.” Tatiana pointed to the room next to hers as she descended.
The girl walked into the kitchen to find the Irish folk sitting around the bar. A young blonde accompanied them.
“Tatiana, this is Malory, Adom’s girlfriend,” Riley said, his eyes warning her to behave.
“Welcome Malory. How long have you been dating Adom?” Tatiana asked, sliding onto the stool next to Tane. Her boyfriend squeezed her knee for support.
“We met online about seven months ago. He said he was involved with someone but wanted out. Then he was transferred to my city. By then he was free and we started dating immediately.”
“How sweet.” A movement at the door caught everyone’s attention.
“Adom!” Malory exclaimed.
Tatiana stood up, brushing off her friends’ glances. “Well, I must go. Nice meeting you Malory. Beannachd.” With an evil look speared at Adom, Tatiana stormed out.
She was pushing out her Kawasaki ZZ-R600 when Adom caught up with her.
“Um, no. You’ve humiliated me three times now. And then you have the audacity to bring the girl into my house. A girl, I might add, that told me you wanted out…a month before you ended our relationship. Congratulations. I’m outta your life. Don’t expect much more of me.” As tears filled her eyes, Tatiana jammed the helmet over her head and took off.