Although Fiddlestix and Deacon had a confrontation, they know they must work together. She asks to speak to him privately, as leaders. Once he’s calmed down, he comes to get her. Much subdued, he invites her to go for a walk. She goes with him, leaving Kaz with Harmony, who soon leaves with Jasper to plan their next attack.
Kaz sat quietly at his table, suddenly at loose ends. Several of the Shine Clan women eyed him curiously. Used to the men of their clan, they found the outsider interesting. The most brazen approached him, sitting across the table from him.
“Howdy,” she said quietly. “My name’s Betsy. What’s yours?”
She made conversation very easy and following her to her quarters even more so. Kaz quite decidedly enjoyed Betsy’s style of Southern Hospitality.
Deacon Scott walked beside Fiddlestix, his arm barely touching hers. He’d said nothing since leaving the dining room five minutes earlier. He walked her to an isolated part of the underground bunker. The door opened and she found herself quite unexpectedly, outside. After examining the place, she realized they were still inside, but that the cavern had been landscaped and lit as if they were in the woods. There were birds and small animals making noises in the trees and bushes. A few deer grazed nearby. A gaggle of geese swam in the pond a few feet away. He showed her to a cast iron bench, sitting after she settled herself. Picking some grass, he fiddled with it for a moment, then cast it from him.
“It’s an illusion,” told her quietly. “The geese and deer, squirrels and all. But the plants and water are real. It gives us a place to come and relax.”
She nodded, gazing around her with longing. One didn’t see this kind of untouched beauty anymore. “It’s beautiful,” she sighed. “Even if it’s not real.”
For the first time since meeting him, he smiled. A distant expression filled his eyes. He hesitated, as if he wanted to say something, but didn’t know how. Instead of playing a game, he was genuinely at a loss of words.
Fiddlestix decided to break the silence surrounding them. “I think we got off on the wrong foot, General Scott.”
Deacon’s smile flashed again. “Still not used to that. My father was General Scott. I’m just plain old Deacon.”
“Hardly plain,” she blurted. Stopping suddenly, she blushed and looked away. Smooth, Hannah, she castigated herself. Really great. Let the man know you have the hots for him, why don’t you? Tip your hand early. Dumb ass!
“Why, Master Sergeant Braun, was that a compliment?”
“Maybe,” she teased, still not looking at him.
“I agree. We did. I guess I took those insults you hurled my way a little too personally.”
“I had to get your attention,” she said in her defense. “It was all I could think of, short of stripping myself naked and dangling from the trees by my tits.”
“That would have worked better,” he eyed her more like a man than a warrior. “I wouldn’t have been so pissed off then.”
“True. But would you have been able to concentrate?”
“What do you think?” He grinned, holding out his hand. “Let’s start over. I’m Deacon Scott, and you are?”
“Hannah Braun, also known as Fiddlestix.” She took his hand.
“Pleased to meet you, Hannah Braun.” He raised her hand to his lips, kissing it.
“And I you, Deacon Scott.”
Hardly able to stop himself, Deacon leaned forward to kiss her. She made him giddy. He wasn’t used to that. He was always in tight control, so much so that he never let his guard down. She’d gotten in under his guard, taken him totally by surprise, infiltrated his personal security, circumventing his defenses. The funny thing was, she hadn’t even tried. His lips brushed air as she moved out of his way, neatly avoiding his clumsy embrace. Suddenly embarrassed, he sat back, trying to pretend none of it had happened. Fortunately, she let him.
“So, tell me about our problem. Right now, things are quiet. That makes me suspicious.”
“Have you got them under surveillance?”
“Yes. They aren’t moving. They’re just sitting in one of the tunnels they took. There’s this little blue light flashing on their necks. They’ve been like that for the last hour, since y’all got here.”
“Oh, shit. Why didn’t you tell me this before?”
© 2017 Dellani Oakes