Timeline: Mid-December, 2007
Selene was practically bouncing with nerves. She’d gone for a run in the forest to try and get rid of her worry and anxiety, but it didn’t work as well as she’d hoped. She found herself outside Michael’s door.
After a moment of staring at it, she lifted her hand and knocked.
Michael was just finishing drying off from his shower when someone knocked on his door. Wrapping the towel around his waist, Michael went to answer his door.
Michael opened his door, and smiled when he saw Selene standing there.
He held the door open for her to walk in, and said, “Well, this is a nice surprise. I was going to give you a call when I got done with my shower. But since your here, I do have something for you.”
As Selene looked at him after he closed the door, she noticed two new scabbed over wounds. One on his left shoulder, and the other on his chest.
“What happened?” Selene asked, her worry obvious in her voice and on her face. She reached out, her fingers barely skimming his two injuries.
Michael placed his hand over hers as she touched the scar on his chest. And with a slight smile he said, “Well you know those urban myths about how big the rats get in the sewers. Let’s just say that I was looking this one in the eyes while I was fighting it.”
Michael pulled Selene into a hug, holding her close. “It’s nothing to worry about, I will heal.”
She relaxed against him and nuzzled the side of his neck. “I’m so glad you’re back.” Selene lifted her head to look at him. “Did you kill it?”
“Yes I killed it and more, but that isn’t really important now. All that matters now is that you are here.” Michael leaned in and kissed Selene with passion.
After a minute or two, Michael broke the kiss to say, “I did pick you up a couple of things before coming home. Would you like your first gift now or later?”
“Later.” Selene took hold of the towel, gave it a tug, then tossed it away.
As the towel landed, Michael passionately kissed Selene again. While he was doing that, Michael was also working on undressing Selene.
Selene helped as she maneuvered them towards the bed. With a hungry grin, she gently pushed him so he fell back on the bed and showed him exactly how glad she was he’d returned to her in one piece.
Sometime later, Michael was lying on his back with Selene cuddled up beside him. Her head on his chest, Michael asked, “Would you like one of the surprises I got for you from New York? Or, should I wait til Christmas?”
“Which would you rather do?” she asked, making a satisfied little noise and snuggled closer.
“Well my sweet, I will need my arm back so I can get it,” Michael said as he moved to get out of the bed. He walked over to his closet, and upon opening the door, reached up and pulled down a gift wrapped box tied with a red ribbon.
As Selene sat up on the bed, Michael set the gift across her legs. He then climbed on the bed, lying on his side to watch her open her gift.
“This is a big box.” Her eyes widened and she moved to sit cross legged to better balance the box in her lap. She picked it up and gave it a little shake. Michael saw her nostrils flare for a moment, and then she looked at him, her head tilted slightly to one side. “You got me something made of leather?”
“Well… it is not all leather,” he smirked, “but you will have to open it to find out.”
Selene just snorted at him, and carefully unwrapped the package. She slipped the lid off and set it aside. When she folded back the white tissue paper she looked over at Michael in surprise. “Oh, you shouldn’t have!”
She lifted the little red dress from the box, its silky fabric swirling in gentle waves. “And shoes!” Her eyes widened. “And lingerie and stockings.” The box overturned onto the floor as Selene practically leaped onto Michael to show her appreciation.
Michael fell to his back as Selene lept on him. He folded his arms around her, holding her close. Michael smiled at her excitment of the dress. “I am glad you love it, because I was hoping that you would wear it to dinner tomorrow evening. I have made reservations for two at a place in Concord. I figured on maybe dinner, wine, and some dancing. If you feel up to it.”
“I… Sure. Let’s do it.” She kissed him again, then slipped out of his arms to look at her gift again. Picking up the dress, she held it against herself and looked down at herself with a huge smile.
Michael watched with enjoyment, as Selene held the dress up to herself. He slowly got out of the bed, and came up close behind Selene. Wrapping his arms around her waist, Michael leaned in and tenderly kissed her on the nape of neck.
“I can’t wait to see you in this,” Michael said before kissing her again on the neck.
Selene closed her eyes and leaned her head back on his shoulder, exposing the side of her neck. “Me either.” She brushed then lightly butted her rear against his groin.
Selene could feel Michael getting excited again. He then slowly kissed his way up Selene’s neck, as he pulled her closer to him. Michael slowly moved his right hand up across her flat stomach, lightly tickling as he went. His hand stopped when he reached her left breast, cupping it, he captured her nipple between two fingers.
“Are you sure you’re up for this?” Her voice was low and husky.
Michael’s hot breath blew across her ear as he said, “With you, I am up for anything.”
The days dragged by very slowly, until the night of their date arrived. Selene was waiting for him in the front hall, wearing a slightly shabby coat over his gift, her feet dressed in the elegant red leather heels. She’d done something with her hair, a simple style, and she wore just a little bit of make-up to enhance her looks.
Michael walked into the room wearing a charcoal pinstripe suit with gray shirt and silk tie. He had a long, black wool coat draped over his arm, “Well the carriage will be here shortly to take us to the hub, where the car is waiting.”
Michael looked at the coat that Selene was wearing with a slight look of concern. “Here my dear, wear my coat this evening, it will keep you warmer.”
Selene frowned slightly, but accepted the coat.
When the carriage arrived to the hub, Michael offered his arm to Selene. He then walked up to a new black Dodge Charger, and opened the passenger side door for Selene to get in. Michael walked around and got in the drivers side, the engine roared to life as he started the car. As Michael pulled the car out on the highway, he looked at Selene, smiled and said, “I hope you like Italian, cause I heard this place is very good.”
“I like just about every kind of food,” Selene said. “I’m not picky. What’s the restaurant called?”
“Angelina’s Ristorante Italiano is where we are headed to. It’s a small, intimate place. I hope you enjoy it,” Michael said.
“So you keep saying.” She looked at him, her head slightly tilted to one side. “Why have you gone through so much trouble?”
“This isn’t any trouble,” Michael said. I just wanted to give my girlfriend a couple of gifts, and take her out to a nice dinner.”
“Okay.” Selene sat quietly for a moment, and doubts started to niggle in her head. “Tell me about what happened when you went to New York?”
Michael glanced over at Selene, then said as he looked back to the road, “Well… do you want the long or the short version?”
Michael was thoughtful for the moment before saying, “We went there to do a favor for someone Lyla knows. She asked that we pick up a package for her, cause she couldn’t make it there in time to get it. So since she helped us find Lyla when she was taken, we did this for her.”
Michael paused, before he continued, “So when we got to New York we checked into a hotel, got some rest before heading out to do the pick up. The address for the pick up ended up being a bar in the Bronx. When we got there Lyla sensed the presence of being in another pack’s territory.
“So we were cautious as we entered the bar, I went in first. And as the rest of us entered, there was that classic movie experience, were everyone that was in the bar stopped what they were doing, and looked at the strangers who entered their personal space.
“There was the mortal bartender plus the pack of five werewolves. And the wolves were not happy when Lyla walked in, so there ended up being a pissing match, so to speak, as Lyla fought at least three members of the pack. Their leader was just sitting back watching with amusment, until Ramiel stopped forward and stopped the fight.”
Michael contiues, “When the fight stopped, Lyla had beat one to the point of him backing out, and put up a good fight against the other two. Ramiel stepped up the their leader, a stocky guy with gray hair, tattoos, and an eye patch. Ramiel explained that we were there to pick up a package not to fight. That is when there leader, Jack, told us that the package was stolen.
“He showed us were he kept the pack, which was in some rundown building in the basement. The place he put the package was in some broken place in the wall, tucked behind the brick. Daniel stepped forward and did a reading, to see what happend in the past, in regards to the package.
“And before he would say anything, he asked Ramiel he wanted a thank you for what he did. So Ramiel and Daniel went back and forth in a pissing match, which caused us to look bad in front of the other pack. That is when I stepped forward and told them to put their dicks away, cause we had better things to do than argue amongst ourselves.”
A soft, angry growl came from Selene, but she remained otherwise quiet.
Michael looked at Selene briefly, and asked, “What was that little growl for?”
“He put you in danger.”
“I didn’t feel that I was in danger, but I was annoyed. If I didn’t feel that we needed Daniel to help in finding the Dark Man, I would have shot him and left him for dead,” Michael said that last remark rather coldly, as if killing Daniel wouldn’t really bother him.
“Are you so sure you need him?”
Michael took a deep breath before he said, “No I am not sure we need him. But right now he is the one who is having the visions, about the Dark Man and other nasty things. So until I or someone else gets these visions or feelings that lead us to the Dark Man. I guess he shall live, for now.”
Selene nodded. “What happened next?”
Michael continues with what happened, “Eventually both Ramiel and Daniel got their shit together, and Daniel finally told us what he saw. Daniel told us that what he saw looked like a werewolf but with a long tail that had no hair. After hearing that Jack said he knew what that was, I can’t remember what name he called it, but in essence it was a wererat.
“At that point he got his pack together, and told us they were working on trying to drive them out. Jack also said he could lead part way there, so that we could get the package back.”
“Now comes the fun part,” Michael chuckles. “Jack leads us down into the sewers, at which point Daniel complains that he is going to ruin his $1000.00 suit. Either Ramiel or I, tell him to suck it up and follow, or stay behind, he ends up coming along.
“It takes us awhile, but Ranger, one of the wolves with us, stops at a crossroads in the sewer. He tells us that the scent that he was following splits, and heads off in many directions. Then we all hear something, it sounds something like a rushing sound, like a stampede of somesort.
“At that point, Jack and his pack head off toward the source of the noise. Jack points down another tunnel, and tells us that is probably where we need to go. I draw my weapon, and take point followed by Ramiel, Lyla and then Daniel. Upon coming across a broken out openning in the sewer wall, that leads into a chamber, we see what we are after sitting on a pile of other trinkets and stuff.”
“It was a trap, wasn’t it?”
“I wouldn’t say it was a trap, but I believe that the rats sensed our presence, and came to attack. It was a nice turn of luck that the tunnel we went down lead to the package. But as I entered the room, I did spot in a dark alcove, a pair of red beady eyes looking back at me. At that point, I brought my weapon up and fired a double tap right between the eyes. Normally that would take down anyone. but the creature rushed out and started attacking.”
Selene felt a surge of pride, and for a moment she wished they weren’t in the car. She wanted to see and touch his scars again. “What was it?” she asked, trying to corral her wayward thoughts.
“It was human, at least in shape, but underneath the skin it looked like a mass of something writhing. When I fired again, where I hit it, tore the skin away, and you could see rats, lot and lots of rats. It was kind of like the movie ‘Men in Black’, were the bug was in the Edgar suit, it was a bunch of rats in a human suit.”
She hid a smile, pleased that he was speaking of this things in such a matter of fact way. “It must have been quite a fight. How many of them were there?”
Michael thought for a moment, calculating the number of enemies. Then replied, “It ended up being four that were the writhing humans, and then there were three that were actual wererats. And those are the ones that we had a difficult time with. The wounds that I received were from one of them.”
“Have you talked to Ironclaw or Grey about these things? It could be very valuable information for them.”
“I haven’t had the opportunity to do that, but I will take the time to let them know what I saw.”
“Lyla will tell them what she saw and knows, but a second opinion of it can be helpful.” Selene looked down at her new dress in the gap between the edges of the coat. “How did you manage to get the right sizes for everything?”
“Well… I had some help with that. I asked Lyla, I told her what I was wanting to get you, and she helped with the size,” Michael said.
She just sat there and looked at him.
Michael could feel the look from the other seat. “What? Was that wrong of me? I didn’t think asking a female friend for help in picking out a suprise gift for my girlfriend was a problem.”
“Did anything happen that you’ve forgotten to tell me about?”
“Like what?” Michael asked. “The fight, or something else?” Michael was starting to feel a little uncomfortalble with where this was going.
Michael went quiet, looking ahead on the road, he spotted a rest area. He pulled off, and parked the car, undid his seat belt and turned toward Selene. Taking a deep, cleansing breath Michael spoke, “OK, I have a confession to make, and I am embarrassed that it happened.”
Michael took another deep breath, and looking Selene in the eyes, he continued. “When we were in New York, in our hotel room, as we were cleaning up before going out, Lyla was coming on to me. Well, I was refusing her advances, but she just kept coming. I ended up getting cornered by Lyla, and as she was inching closer to me, Ramiel came in and distracted her.”
Selene, her gaze never leaving his, she undid her own seatbelt and slid towards him as if to attack. Instead, she took his face in her hands and kissed him him fiercely. Just as quickly, she released him and returned to her own seat to buckle herself back in. She then smoothed her dress as if nothing had happened.
Michael sat there a moment, a little surpirsed at what just happened. When he was himself again, he said, “Well, that wasn’t the response I was quite expecting. I thought you might be angry with me about happened.”
“I know Lyla’s nature, and I knew she’d eventually try something. Very few men could resist her.” She smiled at him, truly happy. “If you had just gone along, that would have been different. But you tried to resist her. That is what is important.” Selene settled back into her seat, content.
Michael sat back into his seat, buckled up, and headed back out onto the highway. It didn’t take long before they were back up to cruising speed. After several more miles, they were nearing Concord, and the exit they needed to get to the restaurant.
Michael asked Selene, “I put the directions to the restaurant in the glove compartment, could you get them for me?”
As Selene opened up the glove compartment, she saw the printed out directions sitting on top. When she pulled them out, she noticed a small, gift wrapped box. The box was wrapped in red paper, and tied with a gold ribbon, the box itself was only 3″ by 5″ in size.
She looked at the box, then at Michael, then closed the glove box before handing him the paper.
Michael took the paper from Selene, he took a brief look before making his way to the off-ramp.
With a sly look toward Selene, he asked, “Would you like it know, or after dessert?”
“I dunno,” she said with a shrug, looking out the window to hide the expression on her face. “Which would you rather do?”
“We’ll wait then,” Michael said with a smile.
A few moments later, they were parked, Michael leaned over to get the box out of the glove compartment. Michael then got out, walked around, and opened the car door for Selene. He offered his hand as she got out of the car.
They walked arm in arm toward the restuarant, as they approached, they were illuminated by the red glow of the neon sigh. Being the perfect gentleman, Michael held the door open for Selene.
She walked inside and held the interior door open for him.
When they entered, they were greated by the lovely hostess. Michael took the coat that Selene was wearing and hung it up. Then stepping up to the hostess, he said, “We have reservations for two, under Michael Temple.”
The hostess looked at her ledger, nodded, grabbed two menus, and said, “Right this way.” Michael and Selene were escorted to their table, where Michael held out the chair for Selene to sit down.
She sat, obviously unused to the attention she was getting.
Michael sat down next to Selene, at the table for two. Then the hostess handed them the menus, and said, “Your waiter will be with you shortly.” Then she turned and went back to the front of the restaurant.
After the hostess had left, Michael turned toward Selene, and held her hand in his. Michael then said, “Selene, I don’t know where our relationship is going. But you have made me one of the happiest men in the world, just being with me.” Michael then pulls out the gift and sets it down if front of Selene. “Go ahead and open it.”
She took the box, unwrapped and opened it and found a jewelry box inside. She removed that and lifted the lid to discover a diamond heart pendant, set in a white metal. Selene looked at him, eyes wide.
Michael looked Selene, a big smile on his face. “I see I left you speechless. Would you like some help with that?”
Selene nodded. “Is that white gold?”
Michael took the necklace, undid the clasp, and steped behind Selene. As he drapped it about her neck, he said, “Actually it is platinum.” After he reclasped it, he leaned down and kissed Selene on the check. He then returned to his seat, and smiled as he looked at Selene.
Michael saw the waiter approaching, and waved him off. He turned back to Selene, “Why, you ask. Well I guess the simple answer is, because I want to. I have no ulterior motive, to giving you these gifts, the clothes, the necklace. I just wanted to lavish gifts on the one person I deeply care about.”
“But why so expensive? I mean, I’m afraid of losing it.”
“I was never concerned with price when I picked it out. I just thought that it would look lovely drapped around your beautiful neck. Don’t worry about losing it, I do have it insured. Plus we can put it someplace safe if you are still worried about it.”
Selene smiled and took Michael’s hand. She gave it a squeeze. “Thank you.”
“All the thanks I need is to see that beautiful smile of yours everyday,” Michael said with a smile.