We finished up breakfast and I headed upstairs to get dressed and make a call. At least some good would come out of the whole situation. I would get to see Molly and Ian. They had become two of my best friends. They had kept me relatively sane during my time at the lab and the council. It wasn’t an easy feat. I pulled on a pair of shorts and a t-shirt and picked up the phone.
“Hello?” Molly’s voice sounded sleepy. I looked at the clock again and knew it was late enough in the morning that she should be awake.
“Hey, Molly. It’s Izzy. Did I wake you up?”
“What? No. Well, okay. Yeah, you woke me up. But it’s cool. What’s going on? Are there some wedding plans we have forgotten? I thought my dress appointment wasn’t until next week.” She mumbled sleepily.
“The wedding is postponed indefinitely.” I said.
“WHAT? What did that low down good for nothing bastard do to you Izzy? I will come down there and beat the crap out of him myself. There is nowhere he can hide!” Molly was fully awake now.
“No, it is nothing like that. We are fine. Kennan is still as perfect as ever. Something bad is coming. I keep having nightmares so I finally called Isadora this morning and she requested that we come to the council. By requested I mean demanded. So, I was wondering if we could come and crash with you guys in Chicago for a day before we head up to the council. We are going to leave here today from the looks of Kennan shoving everything into bags right now.” I sighed in Kennan’s direction.
Kennan was in the middle of imitating a tornado swirling through our bedroom. He shoved everything he could find that we might need into two suitcases. I was surprised he had not packed scuba gear. After the way he had prepared for our last unexpected jaunt it would not shock me. The last time we had made a trip like this I had been kidnapped and forced to wear hiking clothes that I had not purchased for myself. I shook my head at him and tuned back into what Molly was saying.
“That’s fine. Just, you know, expect some changes to the house.” She said hesitantly.
“Molly, it is your house. You know you can do whatever you want to it.” I said confused. Why was she concerned that I would be upset?
“Yeah, well. When you get here you will understand why I made the changed. If Ian was not my Guardian I would have killed him already. Just so you know. Well, enough of that. Will we see you guys tonight or in the morning?”
“Probably in the morning. It is too long of a drive to get there by tonight. Even if we drive all night we will just get there in the morning. Plus, she said we had until the end of the week to get there. So I am voting for taking all of the time we can. I am not ready to be thrown back into the fray just yet. I was getting comfortable in my domestic bliss. Bah, okay enough whining. We will see you guys tomorrow morning sometime. Love you babe.”
“Love you too girl. Call me when you are close so that I can wake up his crankiness.” Molly said before hanging up.
I got up and headed over to peer into the suitcase Kennan was still shoving stuff in. There was all manner of clothing from workout clothes to hiking apparel. I wasn’t sure where we would be hiking in Illinois. Cornfields did not exactly lend themselves to hiking expeditions. I looked up at Kennan with a raised brow.
“What? I like to be prepared. I don’t know how long we will be gone. I’m not even sure where we will be going. Don’t judge me woman.” Kennan threw a balled up pair of socks at me before he went back to shoving more in the bags. I laughed and headed into the bathroom to finish getting myself ready.
When I was finally put together, I took my bag of toiletries and put them in my suitcase. I looked through what was packed briefly to make sure my sweater was there. I had a feeling I would need my security blanket in the days to come. After double checking the contents, I zipped the infernal thing up. I so did not want to be doing this. Ugh. I headed toward the stairs with my bag in tow when Kennan intercepted. My knight in shining armor.
“Allow me my dear.” He said with a gallant bow. I wanted to fight. Women’s independence and all that, but honestly the thing was too heavy for me to carry. I’d always thought I packed to much crap when I went somewhere. It paled in comparison to what Kennan could shove into a suitcase. Sheesh.
I followed him down to the car staring back at my sad dead garden. Kennan was right, I really couldn’t grow anything to save my life. I sighed as I hauled myself into Kennan’s old beat up SUV. The muggy heat inside felt like I had stepped straight into a sauna. Luckily it was cooler in Illinois this time of year. I sat with the door open waiting for Kennan to load his suitcase so that we could leave.
As I waited I pondered everything that I was leaving behind, the sense of security that had surrounded me the past months, the plans for my future, all to be left right alongside the dead garden. The symbolism was a bit much for me. I really needed to start looking ahead and not back. There was a reason Isadora had called me in.
“Ready?” Kennan asked as he reached over and grabbed my hand. I looked back at the old farmhouse once more before closing my door.
“Ready as I will ever be. Where are we stopping tonight?” I asked as I looked up into his eyes.
“How about Nashville. I hear they have an accurate replica of the Parthenon. I would like to see it. I wonder if their statue of Athena is a close facsimile.”
I just nodded in agreement. Sometimes I forgot how old he was. He had told me he had seen the Roman Empire rise and fall but that he was older than even that. I could not imagine living for that long. It seemed like it would get boring after a while. I was dreading having to live to be three hundred. That seemed unnatural.
“Hey Kennan, why can’t we get a new car?” I asked looking around the old beat up SUV.
“Because this girl is reliable and she has character. Don’t you hurt her feelings, Red. I may just have to leave you on the side of the road.” He said giving me one of his lopsided smiles.
“It isn’t like you don’t have the money to get a decent vehicle.” I mumbled. Comfortable seats and a decent stereo system would be nice.
“I heard that. If we survive whatever mayhem is coming our way I will let you pick out our next vehicle. Not that you will be able to drive it.” He finished dashing my other hopes.
“I drove up in Washington and was just fine. When are you going to lift this ridiculous no driving ban?” I groused.
“When you stop having visions that could end up getting both of us killed.” He said with a raised brow.
I knew that logically it made sense for me not to drive. It would be terribly difficult to fill out an insurance claim for an accident caused by a vision. Cause of accident: Magically transported to a different disaster in my head. I was pretty sure even full coverage didn’t cover that. I sighed and settled into the seat for the long drive.
At least on this trip I would get to see the countryside. Our last cross country jaunt I was drugged and bound half of the trip. I wondered where this new adventure would be taking us. If only I could control my visions, maybe then I could conjure up some information. This whole flying blind thing was for the birds. Not that those metaphors make much sense together.
“Izzy, what are you thinking about?” Kennan pulled me from my mindless rambling.
“I was mixing metaphors poorly again. Flying blind is for the birds.” I giggled. It really was a funny thing to envision. A bunch of blind birds flying into one another.
“You are ridiculous. So, are you going to tell me what Isadora said other than get your butts up here?”
“She got on me for not calling sooner about the nightmares. I know, you don’t have to say I told you so. She also said you need to block my nog for tonight. No dreams for me. I am to be well rested when I arrive. I have a feeling I am not going to like what she says in our meeting. This whole thing is making me feel icky.” I said trying to shake it off.
“Icky? What are you a kindergartner? Do I have cooties?” Kennan snickered.
“You do, in fact, have cooties. I just happen to like your particular type of cootie! Icky is just the best word I could come up with. You want to paper rock scissors to see who has radio control?” I challenged. Being a Seer had some advantages. I had figured out how to predict what his moves would be and I won almost every time. I couldn’t let him know the truth or the jig would be up.
“Fine. With one stipulation, if you win none of your depressing slow music. It is a long drive and you woke me up early.”
“Eleven, Kennan. I woke you up at eleven. In no world is that early. How did you survive your early years when you had to be up with the sun?”
“I didn’t have you keeping me up all night.” He said with a sly smile.
“Don’t act like you don’t like it. Now stop stalling. Paper, rock, scissors time!”
“Best out of three?” He asked with a sparkle in his eye.
“Fine.” I grumbled. It looked like he might have caught on after all. I could only do one prediction at a time. There was no way I would be able to tell what he was going to get on all three.
“Alright on three. One, two, three.” I got paper and he got rock. “I win the first round.” Just like I knew I would.
“Ready?” He asked. “One, two, three.” He got rock and I put out scissors. “I win.” He preened.
“Alright, last time determines the winner.” I said trying to work up my Sseer mojo. It seemed to be on hiatus though and refused to give me anything other than a vague fog. “One, two, three.” I landed paper and Kennan had stupid scissors.
“I knew you were a cheater! See, you only ever win when we go one round. You are such a cheater face.” Kennan said as he poked me in the ribs.
I looked at him and stuck my tongue out. I refused to verbally acknowledge his accusations. Suddenly the sounds of oldies filled the car. It was going to be a long ride.
“Really babe? Can’t you at least switch it to country? That I can handle, this is just plain mean.” I griped.
“Suck it up buttercup. You lost. I will torture you in any way I please.” He laughed.
I thought up some seriously delicious ways in which he could torture me. They did not seem feasible in our current mobile circumstances. Well, maybe feasible, but highly illegal. I sighed and rubbed my hand down my face. That was the second time today I had let my libido override my brain. I needed to get a handle on it or I would be in the middle of some sort of serious situation with my mind on what Kennan kept under his clothes.
“How far are we from Nashville?” I asked with a heated look.
“Entirely too far, but we need to make it there. So stop distracting me with your wily ways. I shall not succumb to your seduction.”
“That sounded like a challenge to me. It is ever so far, I think that I have the time to make you change your mind.”
“Seriously, Izzy. I will pull this car over on the side of this road and have my wicked way with you. Then Isadora will be all mad that we missed our deadline. Molly will send out the National Guard in search of you. Ian will get all upset that his Seer is upset. It will be a disaster. So stop distracting me. If you had won radio rights would you be doing this?” Kennan asked suspiciously.
“Maybe.” I said with a snicker.
“Woman, you drive me insane.”
“The feeling is mutual K.O.” I leaned over and kissed his scruffy cheek. I couldn’t wait until we got to Nashville. The Parthenon be durned, I wanted to get me a piece of that man.
The next few hours passed with very little excitement. The country roads passed by and we made it to the interstate. Montgomery and Huntsville were both rather hectic. I was glad that Kennan was driving and not me. I hated driving in cities. I never drove when I lived in Chicago. I always used transit or my bike to get around. I supposed I had never really had to do much of it. According to Kennan I would not be doing much of it now either. Stupid Guardian with his stupid Guardian rules. Oh well, it saved me from having to drive through city traffic.
We crossed the Tennessee border and I was taken aback at its beauty. It had been night the last time we drove through and I had not gotten to see anything but the inky outline of trees. The rolling hills and farms were so picturesque I was wondering why I had not chosen to move here instead. We made our way up I-65 with me constantly pointing something out.
The trees were beginning to change colors into brilliant reds and oranges. Down where we lived the leaves just said ‘I quit’ and fell off of the trees. It was so hot they never really changed colors. I sat silently in awe of it all as the sun began to set. We arrived in Nashville early in the evening and Kennan drove us straight downtown. I was surprised by how small it was compared to other cities I had seen. Seattle and Chicago made Nashville seem downright homey. I looked up at the tall buildings and wondered where Kennan was taking me.
We pulled up outside some swanky hotel and got out. I didn’t bother looking at the name. I had more important things on my mind. Like climbing my future husband. We made our way in the lobby and he got our keys from the front desk. I wondered when he had had time to book the room. I thought back to the morning and realized he had probably done it as soon as I called Isadora. The sneak. I just rolled my eyes and followed him to the elevator.
Once inside he pushed me against the wall and ravaged my mouth with his own. I was breathing heavily by the time we surfaced on our floor.
“That was an awesome distraction. Could you do that for all future elevator rides?” I asked as it dawned on me that I had not panicked at all while in the elevator. My fear of closed spaces was not getting any better.
“I didn’t do it for that, but any excuse to kiss you is fine by me.” He said as he brushed my hair behind my ear. He slid the keycard into the slot and rushed me inside.
Before the door had fully closed I was wrapped around him. I kissed him deeply as if it were the last time I would ever feel his lips on mine again. Ever since his almost demise I found I could not merely kiss him. Every time it was like it might be the last.
Kennan consumed me. We became one as our clothes magically melted to the floor in a blur of hands and lips. He trailed kisses down my body leaving me writhing and breathless. I needed more of him. I would never get enough. I grabbed him and pulled him up my body so that I could crush my lips against his. He moved inside of me making me cry out. I was lost to him.
We spent the next hour devouring one another until we were both breathless and boneless. I lay next to him panting.
“This is why I sleep until eleven woman. You destroy me.” He said through breaths.
“Not my fault.” I barely uttered.
“We should go get some food. I think there may be a PF Chang’s down by the Parthenon. You interested?” He asked as he started to get off of the bed.
“Do you really need to ask?” I said as I hurriedly reassembled my clothing. PF Chang’s was my favorite Chinese food in the entire world. Their double pan fried noodles were next to heaven in my book.
“I suppose I really didn’t need to ask.” He said with a smirk as he started to put his shirt back on. I walked over to him and rubbed my hands over the ridges of his abdomen. His tattoos standing in stark contrast to his skin. I wanted to devour him once more.
“You keep touching me like that and we won’t be going anywhere.” He growled. My stomach responded with its own growl.
“Fine, but only because my stomach wants to eat itself right now. I will get back to that later.”
We headed out and made our way down to the Vanderbilt campus side of town. I realized on the way that Nashville was bigger than it seemed it just didn’t have an over abundance of skyscrapers. Just as Kennan had promised PF Chang’s sat directly across the street from Centennial Park and the Parthenon. We pulled into the parking garage and made our way down to the restaurant. My stomach growled the whole time.
Dinner was delicious. I spent the entire time shoveling food into my mouth like it was my last meal. I was convinced Kennan was going to leave me one day just based on my horrible tendency to inhale my food. I looked up at him sheepishly as he laughed.
“You never cease to amaze me at what you can consume. How you stay so small is a wonder.” Kennan snickered as he got back to his massive pile of food.
“I am only small to you because you are so freakishly large.” I snickered.
“These people don’t think so.” He said with a sly grin.
“Yeah, because you used your guardian mojo on their brains. For all I know you have made me appear to be a seven foot Amazonian.” I snickered. It would be really funny to try that sometime.
We finished our meal and headed over to the park. Unfortunately we got there too late for Kennan to see the statue of Athena. It looked as though we would have to come back and see it again. Not that I minded. Nashville was a gorgeous city that was filled with uncommonly nice people. We meandered around the columns as Kennan told me about the real Parthenon and how it exploded when a weapons cache caught fire.
We walked around the lake and sat in a swing overlooking the water. The ducks floated by aimlessly. I allowed the peace of the moment to wrap around me. I knew that this was probably the last peaceful evening I would have for a long time to come. After an hour or so I started to yawn and Kennan called it a night.
When we made it back to the hotel I was too tired to keep my promise of ravaging him. Instead he put a block on my dreams and we climbed into the bed. The king bed was hardly big enough. I had to curl into his body just to have some room. Not that I minded. Being wrapped up in Kennan’s arms was my absolute favorite place to be. He was my home and my safety.
“I love you. More than anything else in this world.” I whispered as I sank into sleep. I felt Kennan’s lips brush my forehead as the last of my awareness slipped away.