Chapter Thirteen-The Storm is Over

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1. “...To really love a woman Let her hold you - til ya know how she needs to be touched You've gotta breathe her - really taste her Til you can feel her in your…
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  • 1. “...To really love a woman Let her hold you - til ya know how she needs to be touched You've gotta breathe her - really taste her Til you can feel her in your blood N' when you can see your unborn children in her eyes You know you really love a woman...” Bryan Adams
  • 2. Day 06 of the countdown Storm’s Place He was so angry he wanted to do damage to someone…anyone…anything. He could feel himself lose control with each passing minute. The angry glares from across the room were not helping his mood. He felt himself sink into a dark hole…the same hole he sunk into when Emma died. He paced his living room like a caged animal, his whole body taut with pent up anger, frustration and fear. He was petrified of losing Victoria. “She’ll come home. She loves you. She said so herself. Pull yourself together…” He chanted over and over again and hoped for Providence…some divine intervention to bring Victoria back to him. Oh he wished he could go back to the start… when he first met her. He would do so many things differently…
  • 3. Somewhere in Statham Island…. She was driving way above the speed limit but she did not care. She was looking for trouble…from anyone…from anything. She came to a stop in front of a traffic light. It was green and all clear for her to go, but she waited. She heard car honks blaring behind her and saw the other drivers overtake her. Just when the light turned red, she rammed her foot on her accelerator forcefully and sped forward, missing a garbage-collection truck by inches… She let out a manic laugh and threw her head back. Soon her laugh turned to loud sobs as it dawned on her, just how lucky she was… a few more inches or a few miscalculated seconds she would have ended up a mangled wreck underneath the truck.
  • 4. Storm’s Place “Maybe we should call her?” Cassie suggested sadly. She felt safe and warm in Hugo’s arms. Her sister sat on the far end of the couch, seemingly deep in thought (an unusual state for Daniella). “Let’s give her time to cool off,” Hugo said in hushed tones. They were all feeling dizzy from Storm’s incessant pacing. He had not uttered a word since he walked in after Victoria drove off. Everyone in the room could feel his rage and no one wanted to be on its receiving end.
  • 5. “What if she doesn’t come home? Then what? What am I going to do? I can’t get married without her. She’s my best friend!” Kendra wailed on her fiancé’s shoulder. Her nose was red from all the crying and her eyes were swollen. “Shhhhh, it’s okay. She’ll come home. I promise. She’s just angry right now!” Dean consoled her, brushing her hair softly. He, too, was violently angry and if Kendra was not in the room he would have gone haywire on his older brother. This is exactly what he did not want - seeing Kendra so upset and beside herself with worry.
  • 6. “You should get going! The flight’s leaving soon. If you leave now you’ll make it!” Storm said mechanically from his lone position. Everyone felt better now that he was not circling them like a wild animal. He watched apathetically as his brother coddled his overly dramatic fiancée … It was so like his future sister in law to make things about her even when they were not! “What about you?” Dean asked over Kendra’s shoulder. She was still sobbing and wailing uncontrollably. “I’m not leaving without Victoria!” Storm roared with a dangerous glint in his eyes.
  • 7. Somewhere in Statham Island She was crying so hard she could not see the road ahead. So she pulled over and tried to steady her shaking hands. “Damn you Chace! Damn you!” She screamed at the empty silence. She closed her eyes and remembered her bittersweet moment with Storm at the beach a little over an hour ago…She did not want to remember, but she promised him she would, no matter what happened, even when she felt she could not find her way back to him. Suddenly she knew what she had to do…She hoped it was not too late. It all stopped now! No more running and hiding. Every time things went wrong in her life she ran. But not this time…
  • 8. Storm’s place “What are you up to now Storm?” Dean asked suspiciously when the four of them were alone. He knew his brother very well, sometimes better than Storm knew himself.
  • 9. “That does not concern you!” Storm replied coldly. “Come with us…We’ll send for Victoria when we get to Twikki Island,” Drake suggested and regretted it moments later. “Are you out of your mind? I am not leaving Victoria in this state!” Storm growled, a deep angry scowl on his face.
  • 10. “Do what you got to do man!” Hugo said supportively. “Yeah! Just handle your business and when we come back, we want that spitfire of a red head under control,” Drake murmured light heartedly. “We’ll meet up in Twikki Island… Victoria will come home soon and we’ll take the next flight out,” Storm assured them confidently, his mind already working overdrive and making plans of his own.
  • 11. A feeling of relief washed over him when he was finally left alone in his empty house. It was getting dark outside and still no sign of Victoria. He took a shower, had a change of clothing and put both his and Victoria’s overnight bags in the trunk of his Ford Explorer. And he waited.
  • 12. He would not take her to Twikki Island. Instead he would take her to his cabin in Howick Hills. He needed to be alone with her, away from everyone’s influences. It was vital for their relationship’s survival that he create a safe space where both of them could thrash out their issues, fall apart, and then reassemble each other, and his cabin was just the place he had in mind.
  • 13. As the clock ticked on he grew more anxious. But still he waited for his love to come home. He was banking on the fact that she left her hand bag with her house keys at his place. Eventually she would have to come back to get her things and that was when he would pounce on her. Convincing her would be difficult but he had to try. He let her go so many times before when there were still unresolved issues between them. This time he would not. He would fight for their relationship and he just hoped he had enough strength for both of them.
  • 14. The house was bathed in darkness. A sad sinking feeling settled in her tummy. She was too late. They were all gone. They left without her. So much for her friends’ support! “I get cheated on, betrayed, lied to and I end up left behind!” Victoria cursed crossly. She hoped the house was not locked. She could not get to Twikki Island now, but if she could get her house keys, she would go back to her place and wait for everyone to return in two days.
  • 15. She breathed a huge sigh of relief when she tried the front door and it opened easily without the alarm going off. She was about to head for her room and grab her things when she heard a soft groan coming from the couch. “Creeping in the shadows now, Victoria?” Storm drawled sleepily. Apparently he had fallen asleep while waiting for her. His whole body felt stiff from his uncomfortable position.
  • 16. Her heart rate quickened and she was tongue tied. She was not expecting to see him. She really thought he had gone. “Storm, what’s going on? I thought you’d left!” Victoria whispered breathlessly. What she felt for him was crazy. Even when she was so angry with him, he still took her breath away.
  • 17. “Earlier you asked me to stay with you forever, so here I am,” He mumbled, covering the distance between them effortlessly. Victoria struggled to breathe, his masculinity overpowered her senses and she felt a little out of place. “What are you doing back here?” He asked after a while of silence. “I…was…I realized how every time things fall apart in my life I run away and leave loose ends. Not this time,” she blurted and flinched a little when she saw a hurt look in his eyes. So, I am a loose end now! Storm thought sadly.
  • 18. “I was hoping I’d find you here---” Victoria murmured, searching his face for a sign that he was feeling just as scared as she was, but she was met with detached self assurance. “Come with me…let’s not go to Twikki Island. We need to be alone and talk things through. Just give me two days and I’ll prove to you I’m the same man you fell in love with. I made a stupid mistake, but don’t let that one thing change our future,” he implored.
  • 19. “Okay…two days, it is” she agreed, her voice barely audible. Storm’s face broke into a smile; finally the angels were fighting on his side. There was hope after all. “You won’t regret this,” he promised. “I hope so,” she retorted and left the room to go freshen up and get her hand bag.
  • 20. “I’m ready when you are,” Victoria announced fifteen minutes later. He was back in his position on the couch. For what seemed like eternity he gazed up at her and wondered how he could destroy something so perfect, so precious. She was devastatingly beautiful, even without make up. He was grateful to her for giving him a second chance. He knew the next two days were going to be brutal for both of them, but he hoped they would get through it and come out stronger. If they got through the next two days without killing each other, they would be fine!
  • 21. He miscalculated the space between them, and when he rose suddenly from the couch his lips were almost touching hers. Tension rippled between them as Storm stared at the curve of her mouth. A flicker of desire sparkled in their eyes as they both remembered their magical moment at the beach. Victoria stared at his Adam’s apple and sighed softly, anticipating his kiss. He heard her soft sigh and it took a lot in him to not throw her over his shoulder and take her to his bed. He bent his head slightly to kiss her, but she moved away, breaking the spell between them. “I’m not ready to make nice yet!” Victoria snapped stepping away from him.
  • 22. “Thank you!” Storm said unexpectedly, pulling away from his drive way. “For what?” She asked, a little confused by this sudden change in him. She could deal with Storm being an ass, but when he was so attentive, caring, and wonderful she did not know what to do, because she started expecting too much from him only to be disappointed. “For coming with me and giving us another chance,” he replied, still not taking his eyes off her. “Two days Storm. That’s all I agreed to,” she reminded him. She closed her eyes and rested her head. Storm took it as sign that she did not want to talk anymore, so he kept quiet and concentrated on the road. She was completely drained and soon after they left Statham Island, she fell asleep.
  • 23. “No! Julian, please…I’m sorry! Please don’t hurt my baby,” She gasped uncontrollably, struggling to breathe. “This is not happening,” she told herself over and over. The dank musty dungeon smell assaulted her nostrils and she could smell him. Evilness and cruelty seeped through his pores. She felt his cold green eyes piercing her as he came closer. She saw him lift the gun and point it at her. “No...Julian, my baby! Please!”
  • 24. Victoria’s horrified screams pierced the peaceful silence in the car. Storm hit the brake paddle hard and both of them were pushed forward as the car came to a violent stop. “Victoria, wake up. Open your eyes…hey, it’s just a dream…wake up,” Storm soothed her, brushing her hair back. Her forehead felt clammy and she was burning up. He wondered if she was sick or something. Then he remembered earlier how she almost fainted. He thought of taking her to a doctor, but it was very late now and they were in the middle of nowhere. “Tomorrow, if she’s still feeling sick I’ll take her,” Storm vowed silently. She pried her eyes open and burst into uncontrollable tears.
  • 25. “Julian…he,” She stammered, shaking violently. They were outside the car now and he was holding her tightly, trying to stop her shudders. “It’s okay…it’s just a dream. He’s dead. He won’t ever hurt you again,” Storm consoled her. He had thought she was over the Julian saga, but evidently not. He wondered if she had this nightmare often. It was scary seeing her in such a panic. Even in her dream state, she looked petrified and vulnerable, and if it was possible to kill Julian again, he would have.
  • 26. He did not know how his protective embrace turned into a full on kiss. But he poured all his emotions into kissing her. He was not good with words or talking, and the only thing he did very well was show her how much he loved her through his actions, be it kissing her or making love to her. Through kissing her, he told her how much he loved her, he assured her she never had to feel alone or scared again, and he promised her he would make things right between them.
  • 27. Somewhere in Howick Hills It was almost midnight when they arrived at his cabin. Victoria went back to a fitful sleep for the remainder of their trip. Now, he sat in the car watching her sleep and he did not have the heart to wake her up. So he gently lifted her from her seat and carried her inside. The temperature had dropped slightly. He immediately felt the huge difference between here and Statham Island. There was timelessness in Howick Hills and he liked being isolated from the rest of the world. For a long time after Emma died, this was his home. He spent months holed up here with the river behind his cabin for company.
  • 28. He laid her on the bed and put on her PJs for her. She moaned softly in her sleep as she felt his hands. He smiled at the knowledge that even in her sleep she reacted to his touch so warmly. He lay beside her and counted to a hundred with his eyes closed, hoping for sleep. He was restless so he stayed up and listened to her snore. Seeing her petrified earlier when she had that nightmare about Julian disturbed him deeply. She snored and whimpered sadly in her sleep, and he moved closer to her, and wrapped his arms around her.
  • 29. Day 05 She woke up to sunlight streaming through the window. She was confused and startled as she tried to remember where she was. Then the events of the past twenty four hours came back to her…Storm…She looked over at his rumpled side of the bed and a feeling of loss came over as she realized he was not there.
  • 30. Having brushed her teeth and washed her face, on bare feet, she padded to the open plan lounge, kitchen and dining area to find him. She heard the floorboards creak with each movement she made. Instantly she fell in love with this small cabin. It was old, but modernly furnished. It was also cozy, and it made her feel safe. “Storm? Where are you? Storm?” She called out to the empty house.
  • 31. She started to panic a little, but then she saw the solitary red rose on the dining table and the note next to it. She sat down and read the note from him. “I’ve gone to get a few things. Will be back in a little while. In the meantime, hang on to the rose to remind you of my love for you!” Tears pricked the corners of her eyes and she blinked them away. Why…why did he have to be so attentive and sweet? She was still so angry with him, but now he was making it difficult for her to stay mad at him.
  • 32. She was yawning loudly when Storm came through the front door thirty minutes later with a grocery bag in his hands. She covered her mouth self consciously and mumbled an embarrassed, “Sorry,” Her mom always told her it was rude to yawn in front of people. “Hey,” he greeted her softly, closing the door with his foot.
  • 33. “Where have you been?” She snapped rudely. “Didn’t you get my note?” He asked, surprised at the amount of venom in her words. “I did, and the rose too! What are we doing here Storm? What are you playing at?” She hissed angrily. She was back to her angry self again, he noted. Damn, this was going to be harder than he had anticipated.
  • 34. She was looking for a fight and he would not entertain her. He dropped off the grocery bag on the kitchen counter and moved towards the bathroom door. “I’ll run you a bath,” Storm told her, ignoring her scowl. “I can run my own bath you know!” She retorted. She did not understand what was happening to her. One minute she was in love with him and convinced they would get through this, the next, he rubbed her up the wrong way! “Stop your pettiness!” Storm rasped angrily, his self control crumbling a little. “It’s still too early for your bad attitude!” Victoria was left reeling. She seethed inwardly. How dare he call her petty? And bad attitude…what was that about?
  • 35. Maybe he was a little harsh with her. Maybe he should go out there and apologize? “No…she WAS acting petty,” he convinced himself he was not wrong. He felt the water to make sure it was the right temperature. He sprinkled some bath salts and the bubble bath liquid he got from the general store in town. It smelt nice; no wonder women liked this sort of thing, he mused. The lady at the Howick Hills general store assured him he would not go wrong with rose petals and bath salts. The scented candles were supposed to improve a person’s mood and Storm hoped they would do wonders for Victoria.
  • 36. “Ahhh…this is nice!” Victoria sighed almost happily. She dropped her tired body into the hot foamy bathtub. Maybe when she was done here she should go to him and apologize. He was really trying hard to make things okay between them. But a red rose and a bubble bath would not fix the innumerable issues between them, and if he believed that, then he was seriously delusional. But still, this was nice. She could not remember the last time someone gave her a rose, left her a love note, and ran her a bubble bath all in one day!
  • 37. “You’ll beg her for forgiveness and you’ll tell her you love her until she believes you.” Storm went over Hugo's and Drakes’ advice as he mixed ingredients for the omelet he was making for breakfast. He had called his brother and cousins while he was out grocery shopping to let them know he and Victoria were not coming to Twikki Island. Their advice seemed simple enough…how hard could it be to convince someone you love her?
  • 38. For the first time, Victoria noticed the rose petals on the floor around the bathtub and she saw the scented candles. Wow, Storm had really outdone himself. Rose petals and scented candles? She had never taken him for the romantic type. He was always broody and distant. Even when they cohabited for three weeks, he had never done anything remotely romantic for her. His gifts were always practical, like buying her an easel so she could paint, or installing the alarm system at her apartment after Julian almost killed her. He always gave bits and pieces of himself and she had to piece everything together to make a whole, or something resembling a whole. He never gave himself to her completely and most of the time she felt like an outsider looking in, but she loved him anyway, hoping her love was enough for both of them, but in the end, it had proven not to be and she left for Little Creek.
  • 39. He was not the romantic or emotional type. He was always the pragmatic, logical and clinical one at work. His job demanded that of him. He could not afford to get caught up in emotions because then a lot of people who depended on him got hurt. So his coldness, logic and pragmatic ways filtered to his personal relationships; until he met Victoria. She made him feel things he had never felt before and it scared him. “Crap!” He swore furiously when he saw he had burned the omelet. “Oh well, let’s hope she’s too hungry to even taste it’s burnt.”
  • 40. The tension from earlier did not suddenly disappear like they both hoped it would. Feelings of rage, anger, and betrayal came off Victoria in dizzying waves. Remorse, guilt, and sadness emanated from Storm. The dangerous combination of their emotions mixing a
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