A VALENTINE PROMISE
Tears streamed down her face. Sheila crouched beneath the table, watching as the unforgiving north wind blew off the once strong roof of her holiday apartment in San Francisco.
'Help me! Someone please help me...' she wailed frantically as her head turned in the direction of a loud bang.
Grghggh!!! The glass windows on one side of the wall shot out of the hinges. Sheila jumped out of her hiding place.
A quick glance along the street set her teeth on edge. The once crowded romantic, holiday destination was now a deserted wasteland.
Down the road, she could make out the orange coloured, high visibilty outer wear of the rescue team. Why didn't the weather people warn of this fast acting destructive
'Save me!' she heard someone yell before the world went black!
Sheila's bleary eyes fought to stay open. Several distorted faces swam across her blurry vision. 'She'll come round. There are so many people to pick up...' she heard a male voice say. Eventually, her eyes drifted wide open.
She struggled to sit up. Her head felt weighty, threatening to fall off her neck.Her elbow felt disconnected from her body.
'Ouch!' she screamed when she tried to move her arm. 'If I were you, I'd lie down very still.'
She moved her head an inch to the right to see who the impatient but sexily
He was sitting on the tent floor several paces away. His dark moustache and beard looked coolly tended. And his low cut hair had sharp, clean edges. He must have had a good clean before the bad weather dropped by.
In his fancy red shirt and blue jeans, he must have been having a good time, her head concluded. She dragged her eyes away from his annoyingly piercing stare. Her brain registered the truth that he had unforgettable features. Well, tough luck! This isn't a tea party.
Voices droned on as more people were brought into the large tent. Some cried out in
'My daughter! Please find my child...she's still in the house somewhere...' one distraught mother begged the big, black member of the rescue team who has a scar on his right arm..
'Will do our best to find her,' he asurred the woman as a fellow victim, wearing blue dungaries and white tshirt, holding a single fleece blanket wrapped her in a tight embrace.
Right now, while she could still breathe, she wished the British government will send in a rescue helicopter to pick her up to safety. Her red passport must count for something, surely?
'Do you want to sit up?' a fellow victim asked her. She blinked repeatedly as the pain in her elbow climbed up a notch. Without waiting for her reply, the slightly bulky man in grey sweat shirt and pants lifted her up to sitting position.
'Thank you very much,' she murmured, raking up a grin that turned into a grimace. 'Are you alright?' the brooding voice belonging to the dark man with piercing eyes soaked up her pain, filling her heart with a staccato sound. How did he get so close, so fast? she wondered, shoving the adrenalin rush to the sewers.
'Yes! I'm fine and having a good time here!' she forced out through gritted teeth.
'I think she's had a rough ride, mate. Let her be,' the middle age man who had assisted her advised. Squatting to face her, the dark man looked at her as if she needed to have her head examined.
Her uninterested gaze landed on his fully tattoed manly arms. Niggly heat flared in her chest, slowly streaming down to her belly button.
'Here, let me help!' Before she could stop him, he lifted her up, carried her across the length of the tent, setup a makeshift back rest, touched his lips across hers and placed her down.
Pain shot through her left arm, but the spark of desire ignited on contact with his hot lips and steely flesh grilled her stomach walls, making her throat dry up.
For one silly moment, she thought of kissing him back. Just to check out his fine moustache, she reasoned carelessly. 'Am I supposed to say thank you for adding to my woes and taking such liberties? How dare you? Why don't you go and help other victims and leave me in peace?'
A woman clutching her son to her bosom beside them smiled at her, shaking her
But she wouldn't waste her precious strength fighting someone she will never see again. Her eyes quickly noted that his face had sharp angles and the fact that he didn't smile often.
'When this storm is over, we'll go our different ways. It's my life. You know nothing about me to jump to such baseless conclusions. The truth is, right now, in this place, I don't give a toss about what you think.'
His teeth flared, his piercing, dark eyes scanning her like a dead fly on the wall. 'You two have to be nice to each other. Many others are lost and could be dead. You're lucky to be alive. Be kind to one another,' the woman with the boy in her arms scolded mildly. 'I'm simply grateful to God my son and I are alive.'
Sheila glared at the man in front of her. The woman smiled, extending her hand, 'By the way, my name is Beth. This is my son, his name is Carlos.' Beth kissed her son's head, her arms tightening around the boy.
Then, she saw him, his head bowed, helping a small child. 'My name is Jaiye Taiwo, JT if you like. I came here on holiday and this is how it all ends...' Sheila's head snapped around to catch his words.'What's your name?' the young boy asked from the crook of his mother's elbow.
Sheila didn't want to socialize, not in this miserable situation. Her world as she knew it was falling apart and people were being mundane. 'My name is Sheila,' she answered after a long pause. Jaiye sat on the floor oposite her, wiping red stains off his jeans.
'Where do you come from?' Carlos asked. She turned towards the young boy. She wanted to tell him to buzz off, but his innocent eyes held a silent plea.
'I come from Brazil, but I live in London.' His eyes widened with interest and his mother's smile widened in approval.
'What do you do in London?' Oh dear! How's she going to stop this line of questioning? 'I have a store where I sell fancy clothes, shoes and bags.' The boy's eyes held hers, nodding as if he understood it all.
Carlos is very talkative. He will soon take you...' 'Mama!' her son screeched. His mum laughed, letting her son sit on the small patch between her and Sheila. The boy placed his head on his knee, staring at Jaiye, whose gaze never left Sheila's.
'I want to see London,' Carlos said wishfully. 'Someday, we will travel to London.' His mother promised.
'How old are you?' Sheila asked, hoping that by turning her attention to Carlos, Jaiye will leave her alone. 'I think you're six!' Jaiye responded, jumping into their conversation. Two pairs of eyes reached the man in front of her. A kick wrenched her gut open at the silly notion he might actually be hot on her heels. As unlikely as it sounds, she felt a quickening tap below her rib. In a place like this?
Turning to him, her knee brushed his. Palpable heat swept through her, pushing her forward into his waiting arms. He caught her easily, holding on to her waist a tad too long. She all but melted in his firm grip, as a host of rib cracking fireworks shot up her thighs. 'How did you know?' Carlos asked excitedly, his eyes bulging innocently, totally ignorant of the rising tension. Jaiye shrugged. 'You look like a six year old.'
The little boy grinned, revealing two teeth missing from his bottom gum.'What do you do?' Sheila found herself asking. Desire was taking hold of her good sense. What business is it of hers if he runs a night club or if he's jobless?' His expression softened, a hint of interest lighting his deep set eyes.
'I run a cab service in London.' He turned his attention away from her. 'Do you live here in San Francisco?' Jaiye asked the boy's mother. Annoyance, or is it interest trickling to her chest? If only her elbow didn't hurt so badly, she would have walked away from him. He's just so arrogant!
'Yes. We live locally. We were selling fancy footwear when the weather turned on us. This is the first storm. Looking at the clouds, I know there are a few more to come in the next few days.' Fear raced through Sheila. 'You've got to be joking!
'Hold on tight, Beth. Hold on...' Beth's finger slipped as the rushing waters yanked her down the dreary slope. Lightning sparks resounded, threatening to blow off the ear drums of the fear stricken victims viciously kicked out from the massive tent, by the fast moving flood waters.
Sheila squeezed her eyes shut at the pain lacerating her injured arm. Stamping down the fear of losing her life, she wished in her heart for a miracle. For the sake of catching one more glimpse of that big headed dark man, she wanted to survive.
She curled her left ankle around one felled branch, tugging Beth with her good arm until she escaped the muddy slide. 'Thank you,' Beth groaned in agony, pulling off the piece of wood obstructing her final leap to temporary safety.
'Did you see Carlos?' Beth asked, wiping tears from her wet face. Sheila nodded.
Strangely, the will to survive strengthened her injured limb as adrenalin flashed across her brain. What if the dark man has been washed far off, along with Carlos and many others? Dread attacked her guts.
'The flood split the tent open, carrying us several hundred miles away. How do I know if my son is alive?' Sheila rubbed the woman's shoulder. 'You can't think like that, Beth.' Sheila stood up, gently placing one bare, mud covered feet in front of the other on the uneven, debris covered, non-existent lane.
'Beth, we have a reason to live. Let's go find them.' A weary smile rolled off Beth's rounded face. 'Thank God you've changed your mind about JT.' Sheila raised her leg, moving cautiously over the pile of cracked roofing sheets blocking the path. 'Well, I want to see tomorrow for sure.
He drove me so mad. In his absence, I'm beginning to think of the world as a boring place.' When the crease lines on Beth's forehead thinned out, she hid a grin. Her distracing technique had worked. They walked for miles.
Dirty, wet and tired, both women stood, hands akimbo on the top of the rubble that used to be a cafe. The uprooted, broken black and white sign post leaned helplessly against the fallen metal gate. Sheila's head swung upwards to look at the pale blue sky above, unspoiled by the devastation surrounding the North coast. 'If I lose Carlos, my life is over!'
Tears pooled and burst free from Beth's tear washed eyes. Try as she may, Sheila couldn't keep her terror. She burst into tears. What's the point in pretending that being blown apart from the man who put a small spark in her chest within half a day isn't terrifying? 'I'm sorry, Beth. But I pray God keeps Carlos and Jaiye alive for our sakes.' Beth sniffed, wiping her nose with the back of her hand.
With their drooping heads bowed, both women held hands. 'All there's to see across the land is flattened houses, heaps of debris and the flood washed earth.' 'See that?' Beth pointed across the distance. 'Night fall is here and there's a star twinkling in the sky.
Jaiye cradled the young head on his shoulder. 'The sun is out, Carlos. It's Valentine's day.' His mouth formed into a fresh smile. Carlos looked up, his eyes twinkling with renewed hope. 'What is Valentine?' He asked, rubbing his puffy eyes.
'It's a day celebrated by men and women who are in love.' A mischievous gleam filtered into his young companion's face. 'I know who can be your Valentine today.' The spicy tongue woman whose presence brought sparkle into that dreary shelter filled his mind with a renewed sense of hope.
'Sheila can play your Valentine,' he said confidently. 'When we find her and your
'Hey! see...see...' Carlos screamed, racing to the hotel front door, pointing excitedly to the people getting down from the four wheel drive.
'It's your Valentine! and my mother!' People chuckled at the little boy's outburst. Jaiye felt a tight squeeze around his chest as relief and an overwhelming emotion quickened his feet towards the door.
They had only been together for about four hours in all, before the treacherous gale force ripped their safe haven apart, sending the mindless flood that threw the occupants in different directions.
Caked mud latched unto her fine, bare toes. His mind filled rapidly with the image of her naked beauty soaking in his bath tub, while he took his fill of her. Time stood for eternity as both of them stood facing each other on the hotel's porch, completely unaware of the stir among the watching audience. 'If I say, I love you, Sheila...will you believe me?'
His heart almost dropped out of his chest when her face tightened up into a frown. As he watched, tense and disheartened, she brought her hand from behind her. A single stem, red rose flower appeared in her hand. She placed it under his nostrils. 'Be my Valentine, JT. I don't believe you, but I love you...' She rushed into his arms.
He claimed her mouth in a soul winning kiss, his tongue sweeping boldly into the roof of her mouth. She opened her mouth willingly, her tongue stoking the heat, demanding and giving back. 'I've had a rough ride with love before now. But in the midst of the swinging flood and callous wind, you're the reason I wanted to stay alive. I love you, JT.'
**** END ****
Flirty & Feisty Romance
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