Disclaimer: All publicly recognizable characters, settings, etc. are the property of their respective owners. The original characters and plot are the property of the author. The author is in no way associated with the owners, creators, or producers of any media franchise. No copyright infringement is intended.
“Sam.” Tara whispered as she stopped screaming.
“Let me drive.” Sam motioned with his head for Tara to finished moving over the center console into the passenger seat.
She complied and Sam got in slamming the door against the cold, even shifters are susceptible to below freezing temperature when naked.
Putting the car in drive Sam headed out to the main road and turned toward Tara’s apartment complex.
After warming up for a minute Sam turned his head to glance at Tara. He’d never seen her sit so still, or stays so quite…ever.
“Tara.” He called out to her softly, but she didn’t respond.
Sam reached over and placed a warm hand on Tara’s shoulder. She sharply turned her head and stared through him.
“Can you hand me that blanket in the back?” He asked before turning his eyes back to the road.
Tara glanced down just long enough for it to register that he was unclothed before reaching back for the small throw she kept in her tiny back seat.
“Thank you.” Sam took the green throw from Tara who still hadn’t spoken.She might go in to shock.
“Tara?” Sam called again trying to get her to speak. “What day is it?”
“Tu…Tuesday.” She whispered.
“That’s right. What city are we in?”
Tara looked out the window for the answer and lay her head against the headrest.
“Tara. Tara, what city are we in?” Sam looked at her wishing Tara’s apartment was closer.
“Good Tara. I just need you to hang on a few more minutes.”
Sam knew Tara was holding it in, but as soon as she had the chance she’s absolutely lose it.
Finally after the longest five minutes they’d ever shared Sam pulled in the complex and took a right to head to Tara’s apartment.
Once they parked Sam took the keys out of the ignition and handed them to Tara who stared at them.
“You just put this one in the lock and turn it.” Sam informed her.
“I know how to open a door Sam.” Tara shook her head. “How do you know where I live?”
Sam stared into Tara’s eyes for a few minutes not certain where to begin. One answer would only lead to more questions. And it was too cold out here for that.
Holding Tara’s gaze Sam leaned closer and closer until his face was mere inches from hers. He could feel her sweet breath against his lips as he reached for the door handle and opened it. The freezing air was sharp as it hit his face and stirred Tara’s hair.
“Wait for me inside.”
A nervous panic began to creep onto Tara’s face.
“It’s alright. Nothing’s out there.” Sam placed his hand on her cheek to reassure her.
Tara took a deep breath to steady herself and grabbed the keys from Sam’s hand. Turning her head toward her front door she seemed to judge the distance and decided that she’d be inside before a misfortune could befall her…again.
Pushing the door open Tara sprinted for the front door, jammed the key in, and turned the lock in record time. Once the front door was open the car door slammed. Tara turned in the doorway expecting to see Sam walking towards her. Instead a collie trotted towards her holding the green throw in his mouth.
Sam stood in front of Tara for several seconds before it dawned upon her to move into the living room so that he could enter the apartment and they could shut the cold out for good.
Sam walked into the room and turned away from Tara. Taking a deep breath he cleared his mind and shifted back into himself. Removing the throw from his mouth he wrapped it around his waist and faced Tara, who stood there calmly.Still waters run deep.
The shifter took a few steps towards her which seemed to break her trance.
“I’ll get you something to wear.” Tara announced and left the room for a minute.
After Sam put the sweat pants and t-shirt on he sat on one side of the couch and looked up at Tara who was winning the award for most likely to stand still staring into space the longest.
“Tara,” Sam reached for her. “Come sit with me.”
Silently she walked over to the couch and perched on the end opposite Sam and looked straight ahead. Sam sighed and took Tara’s feet off the ground and placed them in his lap.
“You mad at me?” He shrugged.
“Are you mad at me?”
“No. Mad at you? Sam, you saved my life. At least, I think you saved my life.”
“I probably did. Didn’t exactly get a chance to ask him what he wanted with you.”
“So…” Tara ran her hand up and down her legs gathering strength. “He’s dead.”
It was half a statement and half a question.
“Yeah.” Sam nodded and leaned back into the couch placing a hand on Tara’s ankle.
Tara crossed her arms and closed her eyes trying to stop herself from trembling, but a tear escaped her eyes.
“Fuck.” She gasped trying to breath.
Sam knew this was coming and he was prepared. Gathering Tara up in his arms Sam soothed her and rubbed her back.
“Just breathe baby. It’s ok.”
“It’s not ok.” Tara yelled jumping up off the couch.
“There’s a fucking werewolf after me and I don’t know why. I moved to get away from all that shit and it fucking followed me.”
“I don’t think that’s what happened.” Sam stood watching Tara pace.
“Then what happed Sam? What?”
Sam sighed.”I don’t know.” He shrugged hating not being able to give her the answers.
“Fuck.” Tara spun on her heels and went to the kitchen to get a bottle of whiskey and two glasses.
Sam followed her and arrived just in time to stop the bottle from slipping out of her hands and hitting the floor.
“It’s alright. I got it.” Sam grabbed the glasses off the counter. “Go sit down.”
Tara walked to the couch and sat anxiously waiting for Sam to pour the whiskey. He handed her a much needed glass.
Tara took it like a shot and passed it back to Sam for a refill. Sam filled it and passed it back. Tara sipped on this one more slowly.
“So you gonna tell me how you know where I live? And where I work for that matter?”
Sam poured himself a drink.
“Someone from Belk called me for a reference. It was pretty easy from there.”
“So you knew this whole time?”
“Is this the first time you came here?”
“No. I wasn’t stalking you. Just wanted to make sure you’re ok. You’re all alone here.”
Tara sipped on her whiskey until the glass was empty. “Am I ok?”
Sam shook his head and poured her another glass. “I don’t think anyone can answer that but you.”
Sam watched Tara roll the empty glass between her two palms as she stared at it expecting the answers to life’s question to pour out of it. She looked so sad and desperate for a change. He hated seeing her this way, it made him feel helpless. She’d moved away to find her happiness and now she was more miserable that ever – all in one evening.
“You know what you need.” Sam interjected into her thoughts.
“Nope.” Tara shrugged studying the empty glass.
“A bath.” Sam smiled.
“Excuse me.” Tara looked up at him attempting not to be offended.
Sam chuckled as the old Tara flashed for a second. “It’ll relax you.”
Tara shook her head and began to protest. “Sam…”
“Trust me.” Sam smiled looking deep into Tara’s eyes trying to calm her soul. “I’ll run the water.”
Getting off the couch Sam walked to the bathroom.
“I never said yes.” Tara pretended to protest, but Sam knew that Tara didn’t mind him taking care of her tonight.
Once Tara was settled in the tub, surrounded my every candle Sam could muster up, with bubbles covering the majority of her body, Sam came back into the bathroom. He sat beside the Tara with his back against the side of the tub and sighed.
“Long day.” She asked putting her hair into a ponytail so it wouldn’t get wet.
“Yeah.” The shifter breathed running his hands through his hair.
“You were right you know.” Tara smiled leaning on the side of the tub so she could be closer to him.
Sam turned his head so he faced her. “Now I don’t think I’ve ever heard you say that…to anyone.”
Tara playfully splashed him with water and giggled.
“I’m serious Sam. And not just about the bath. About everything.” Tara inched closer to her past lover. “That’s why I came here.”
“Oh really.” Sam studied Tara’s lips. “I thought maybe it was because I told you I was a shifter.”
Tara’s deep brown eyes closed and he shook her head ever so slightly. A few tendrils escaped her pony tail.
“I was afraid you might misunderstand.” She sighed. “You’re not the problem Sam…I am.”
“It’s not you, it’s me.” He scoffed.
“Yeah.” Tara replied feeling a little defensive. “That’s why I’m here, to work on that.”
“I don’t see where there’s anything to work on.” Sam reasoned.
“Well I do.” Tara argued. “Everyone else has their shit together. They’re out there finding their happiness and standing on their own two feet. I know I can do the same if I give myself a chance.”
Sam turned so he was facing Tara and rested his arm on the rim of the tub.
“Tara Mae you are one of the strongest women I’ve ever met.”
“Always being ready for a fight isn’t strong Sam. I feel like I have a rain cloud over me and a target on my back. Do you know how many time I asked myself ‘why me’? Why did Maryann pick me? Why did I have to watch Eggs die? Why did Franklin terrorize me? Why did one who took Eggs away from me have to be Jason? And there is a small, a very small part of me that feels that if Sookie had just stayed away from Bill like we told her none of this shit would have happened.”
“Tara that’s not fair. It is isn’t Sookie’s fault.”
“Damn it I know that Sam. I just wanted to press the damn reset button and forget the last six months of my life.”
That wounded Sam. Their entire relationship was in the last six months of her life. Besides, Maryann didn’t go after Tara because of Sookie. It was because of him. Because she knew that it would hurt Sam to see someone he had feelings for in Maryann’s clutches and falling in love with another man.
“I’m sorry Tara.”
“Please stop apologizing Sam.” Tara leaned her head back against the cool shower wall. “I’m the one runnin’ off at the mouth not thinkin’ before I speak.”
Sam smiled, “Well I wouldn’t have you any other way.”
“Sure.” Tara chuckled, eyes smiling. “Bad attitude and all.”
“Like I said, we’re not so different.”
“Well I won’t hold it against you.”
“Better not.” He winked at her causing her to blush. Sam pretended not to notice as he dipped his fingers in the water, it was still warm.
“I’ve missed you Sam.” Tara confessed. “I called you a couple of times, but…”
“I knew it was you. Figured you’d talk when you were ready.”
“I’m trying to decided if you following me around this whole time is make you a stalker or sexy.”
“I’m gonna put my vote in for sexy.” Sam dipped his hand into the water and formed a cup. He brought water over to Tara’s shoulder and released it, watching it slide down her smooth ebony skin. He’d missed that skin.
“I like your hair.”
Tara smiled and looked away. “Thanks. I…wanted a change.”
“It's beautiful.” He told her.
“It’s just different.”
“Hey, will you let me give you a complement.” Sam tried to look Tara in the eye, but she was still looking away. He placed his hand under her chin and gently turned her head so she was facing him and her chocolate eyes stared into his baby blues. Once their eyes met he released her chin and ran his fingers through her hair, her real hair for the first time. “You are so beautiful.”
His eyes traveled from her eyes to her lips and back again. He wanted to taste those sweet lips he’d been missing for three long months, but he finally reached up and kissed her forehead instead. Tara needed to know that this wasn’t about sex for him. He needed her to know that what he felt for her was real. That was the only way she’d return to him.
Without another word Sam placed a towel on the covered toilet seat and left Tara alone in the bathroom to dry off.
After several minutes Tara walked into the living room in her pajamas to find Sam making up the couch.
“What are you doing?”
Sam stopped. “You don’t mind if I crash her? I thought it might be safer and it late.”
“Of course not Sam.” She smiled. “I meant why you are sleeping on that lumpy ass couch. The bed is a queen.”
“Well I didn’t want to assume… I mean I'm not trying to.”
“I know, I know.” Tara smiled and reached out her hand. “I’ll never get any sleep if I can’t see you anyway.”
Sam walked toward Tara until he could reach out and touch her extended hand.
“You sure? I mean, sometimes I bark in my sleep.”
“I think I can handle it.” She laughed as she turned and led him to the bedroom.
They both climbed under the sheets incredibly tired. Sam reached over and turned out the light.
The shifter laid there awake for a few minutes. It never occurred t him when he got in the car to check on Tara this afternoon that he’d end up even speaking to her, let alone fighting a werewolf for her and spending the night in her bed. He smiled wondering what tomorrow would bring.”
“Will you been here when I wake up?” Tara asked moving closer to Sam and resting her cheek on his chest.
Sam wrapped his arm securely around his love and planted a kiss in her fragrant hair.
“Will you?” He joked.
Tara playfully swatted him and giggled before they both drifted off to sleep.