Stories Hub / Romance / The Link Pt. 03: The Huntress

The Link Pt. 03: The Huntress

by DreamCloud 10/08/16

Author's Note: If you haven't read the first two installments of this story, you will be severely confused. I dislike when writers rehash old topics and I promised myself I would never do it. Thank you, Paul. Your editing help and insight worked well with my ignorance.

Chapter 1 - Teegan



"Stop calling me ma'am," I told Jason. His military bearing did little to sway me to accept the title.

"Yes, ma'am," Jason responded with a smile. I could feel Caleb laughing through the link. He knew the word made me uncomfortable. I was neither old nor deserving of respect. It's something you called a grandmother. Jason was maybe ten years my senior. His short red hair looked as if it was meant for a uniform, though he had told me he hadn't worn one in years. Ex-army ranger with six years of service. I sighed, knowing it would take some time for me to get used to the word, or change his ways.

The car pulled through a special gate at the airport, one I didn't know existed. A guard, probably TSA, checked the driver's ID against some list on a tablet. A brief exchange of words and we were waved through without inspection. I was surprised by the trust. It was an international airport.

"Don't we go through a security check?" Caleb asked as he watched the guard closing the gate after we had passed.

"No, sir," Jason said, turning in the front seat to face us. I felt Caleb's surprise at the 'sir' moniker. It made me smile to know that our head of security unintentionally insulted us equally. "We have been pre-cleared. This portion of the airport doesn't have access to normal passenger traffic."

"We have a special charter or something?" Caleb asked. He was as impressed as I was with the efficiency of the operation.

"Nope, we're using Miss Fuller's plane," Jason said smiling at me. It was the same smile he had when I bonded with him at the hospital.

"Teegan, please." I tried again to lower the undeserved respect. "What to do you mean, mine?" The bond exposed my security as dedicated, and I knew it had to do with my past. Someone with a lot of money was making sure Caleb and I survived. Neither of us doubted the authenticity of the protection. We welcomed it after the sniper and the maniac at the hospital.

"That," Jason replied, pointing out the windshield, "is yours, ma'am." I ignored the honorific this time. My eyes were entranced by the sleek white jet that our SUV was approaching. There were steps embedded in the door that were open to the ground. Two large jet engines cradled the tail behind a dozen portal windows. The wing tips were upturned to the sky, and the pointed nose bowed toward the ground, giving it the appearance of a fast bird of prey.

"Damn," Caleb breathed.

"Mine?"

"Yes, ma'am," Jason said with a chuckle. "Mr. Watterson will explain everything when we get to Portland."

"Portland?"

"Oregon, ma'am," Jason replied. The SUV pulled to a stop next to the plane. Jason stopped us from getting out, ordering us kindly to wait for the driver and him to exit first. They quickly surveyed the area then opened the door closest to the planes gangway. Caleb exited first, looking around for threats. He was as spooked as I was after the incident at the hospital. His hand was waiting for me as I stepped from the car. A feeling of privilege, like I was some wealthy supermodel, sat uncomfortably in my stomach. Bodyguards and help exiting the car were so foreign and undeserved, though the protection did make me feel better.

"It feels weird," Caleb whispered as we shared our feelings through the link. I acknowledged his words silently through the bond. Jason walked next to me, on the other side from Caleb. The driver took up a position behind me. They were shielding me with their bodies. I didn't like the idea that they believed my life was more important than theirs. They could have families depending on them. I wasn't the ma'am they thought I was.

The interior of the plane was more luxurious than most people's homes. Three sets of large tan leather chairs turned into each other on one side of the plane. The tables between the seats were made of highly polished wood with an artistic swirling grain. Along the other side was a leather couch that could seat ten or more. The flooring looked like it was made from a single slab of marble. At the rear of the plane, a large flat panel was mounted on the wall.

"This is yours?" Caleb asked, not really wanting an answer.

"Good morning, Miss Fuller." A man dressed in black pants and a white polo shirt greeted me warmly then nodded at Caleb, "Mr. McGuire." He waved his hand toward the large leather seats. "If you could please choose your seats, I'll notify the captain that we're ready to take off." His smile was practiced and very welcoming.

"Thank you," I said, unable to decline an offer given so perfectly. I chose a seat facing front, Caleb the one across the table from me, looking toward the rear.

"My name is Thomas," the man said, reaching across me to pull the hidden belt buckle forward. I found its mate on the other side, and he allowed me to finish the connection. Caleb duplicated the process on his chair. "If there is anything you need," Thomas said, looking at Caleb, then back toward me, "it is my job to make it happen. Once we're airborne, I'll be happy to take you on a tour. Perhaps you would like to freshen up and maybe have some breakfast." I smiled when I felt Caleb's stomach growl.

"Breakfast would be wonderful," I said, trying to match Thomas's friendliness.

"Of course," Thomas said, "I'll bring you both a menu as soon as the Captain announces that we've leveled off." He headed toward the front of the plane and Jason walked past me, toward the seats behind, with a smirk on his face. I guess I looked a little overwhelmed at the situation.

"I like your plane," Caleb whispered.

"I'm only borrowing it," I replied as quietly as I could.

"Welcome aboard Miss Fuller," A deep female voice called over a PA system with no visible speakers. "I've been given priority clearance for takeoff. Please sit back and enjoy the flight." There was no tray table announcement nor anything about floatation devices. The plane began moving, heading toward the runway, without anyone checking to see if I was still buckled. We certainly weren't flying coach.

Five minutes later, we were climbing towards the clouds. My body molded into the seat, which was infinitely more comfortable than any other planes I had ever been in before. If I closed my eyes, I could easily have fallen asleep cradled in the leathery warmth. Caleb was smiling inside and out, enjoying the luxury and relieved we were off the ground, where the crazies couldn't get us. I was happy that his anger was gone. He sent me a burst of love, letting me know that the anger was only for defense, my protection.

"I don't think it should be used as a weapon," I said to Caleb, the context clear only to him.

"You used it," Caleb pointed out.

"That guy shot Zane," I reminded him. Memories of my brother on the ground, blood leaking from his body, were still fresh. My eyes began to cloud up as I remembered tearing that man's mind apart. He was evil, but still, I left him as nothing but a shell holding organs in place.

"I saw what was in his mind," Caleb said, "I won't let anyone get that close again." I felt his strength fill me, wrapped in love I couldn't ignore. I reached forward, across the table, and Caleb grasped my hand.

"Promise me we won't let it consume us," I added. The anger was so easy and powerful. I hated its necessity.

"Never," Caleb said with that smile meant only for me. "There are much better uses for our bond." Visions flooded me, most of them involved me without clothes. I closed my eyes and let his impressions of the better woman strengthen me. I loved how he saw me in his mind. I'll never measure up, but to him I already did.

"I love how you see me," I whispered as the warmth filled places only he has been. I opened my eyes to find him looking at me with the desire I felt. There was a perfect synchronicity to our feelings. The PA brought us back to reality.

"We have reached our cruising altitude," the Captain announced, "It should be a smooth flight of about four hours. Feel free to move about the cabin." Thomas was on his feet before the message was complete.

"The menus," Thomas said as he handed us each a small leather bound notebook. "Would you like some coffee, tea, or juice to get you started?"

"Tea, please," I said as I opened the menu to find two sleeved cardboard sheets with lists of breakfast items.

"Juice sounds good," Caleb responded.

"Orange, grapefruit, or apple?"

"Orange would be great," Caleb responded, and Thomas headed off to the back of the plane.

"This is like a restaurant," I observed, feeling Caleb's surprise as well. There were so many items on the menu it was hard to choose.

"Who's paying for all this?" Caleb asked. I heard Jason suppress a laugh from behind me.

"What's so funny?" I asked Jason as I struggled to turn in my seat to see him. He rose and showed me where the switch was that released the swivel on my chair.

"You, Miss Fuller, are paying for all this," Jason said with a smile. He was enjoying our confusion.

"Well, I hope they'll take an IOU," I pointed out. The fact that there were no prices on the menu began to concern me. Jason's laugh was belly deep. "I'm glad you're having fun with it," I added without a smile.

"I'm sorry, ma'am," Jason said, though his smile said he wasn't, "I suppose I'm having a bit of fun at your expense." I glared at him, forcing him to continue. "When I say this is yours, I mean it is all yours. Every nut and bolt on this plane are yours. You pay the salaries of everyone aboard." He let that sink in. Caleb and I felt like we were sitting on the edge of some monstrous cliff, our legs dangling over the edge, a hair's breadth from going over.

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