Sam sat eating her dinner under an awning watching the sun set. She had just finished her salad when she heard someone come up beside her.
“Would you mind if I sat with you?” he asked.
Sam looked up to see the man who had rescued her hat from the wind. He was nice looking, and about her age. There was also something familiar about him that she just couldn’t put her finger on.
“No, not at all. Please join me,” she said. “I’m Sam.”
“Lewis. Nice to meet you,” he said.
“Thank you again for rescuing my hat this afternoon. Have to admit though that the damned bandana means more to me than the hat,” she said.
“Oh?” asked Lewis as the waiter brought him a dinner salad.
“It belonged to a dear friend of mine who passed a few months ago,” Sam said.
“I understand,” said Lewis. “Bloody hell! The old man must have been nearly 120!” he thought. “A lover?”
“No, just a very dear man who was rather misunderstood,” said Sam.
“How was he misunderstood if you don’t mind me asking,” said Lewis.
“Well, I need to explain a few things first,” said Sam between bites of seafood pasta. “I run a B&B up in the mountains. One afternoon, this older gentleman showed up asking if he could have a long term agreement with me for a room. We talked and I agreed. You see, I think he expected he would die rather soon. He spent most his time up in the mountains and only came home late in the evenings,” said Sam.
“Okay, so what happened that changed things?” asked Lewis. He’d ordered his meal and the waiter had motioned that he’d be right back. He was listening very closely to what Sam was and wasn’t saying.
“Well, for one, he didn’t die. By then, I was use to his comings and goings and so I just continued to let him rent the ground floor room. Wasn’t like anyone was using it,” Sam explained. She had this feeling that she knew the man sitting across from her, but couldn’t shake it or explain it.
“That was nice of you,” said Lewis. “So this man became a friend and then what?”
“Well, I had a couple visiting and she fell and broke her nose and twisted her ankle. While she was convalescing, they got to know the old man who would sit with her when her mate… um husband couldn’t,” said Sam. “Shit!”
“That was nice of the old man. Why didn’t the couple just go home?” he asked. “And she just slipped up and now is frustrated with herself. Hmmm…” he thought.
“Well, their house was being worked on and there really wasn’t anywhere to go,” said Sam.
“And after this couple did go home? What happened then?” Lewis asked. He poured Sam another glass of wine from the carafe on the table. “Please don’t stop talking!”
“Well, he began to decline very rapidly and he died in my arms. The paramedics got all upset because I wouldn’t let them haul the old man off to the hospital. They made a real stink of things. The young couple who’d become friends came up to help me with all the details. They had really liked the old man. When we went through his stuff we discovered that he was a relative of the woman,” said Sam.
“Now that is extraordinary!” said Lewis. “I have cousins?!” he thought.
“Yes it was. It was a little rough after he died, what with the paramedics making such a fuss. The young couple and another couple who are friends of theirs helped me run the B&B. In fact, the second couple have gone in as partners with me,” said Sam.
“Now that is some turn of events. Are you comfortable having two near strangers running your business?” asked Lewis.
“Well, I was a bit nervous at first. However, the two of them have been of such help and I don’t mind a bit,” said Sam. “And that’s the absolute truth even though I didn’t realize it fully until just now. Funny that. And why on earth do I feel like I know this man?” she thought.
“And you’re so comfortable, that you’ve gone on this grand vacation?” he asked.
“Yes. I haven’t been away from the B&B in thirty-seven years. Angie and George are very good at handling the B&B. Figured it was time I saw a bit of the world,” said Sam. “Now, I’ve done all the talking, tell me a bit about yourself.”
“Well. um… I’m a businessman from Canada. Logging, paper products and such. And I have to admit something. I feel a bit of a bastard. Um… Oh hell. You’ll either believe me or you won’t,” he said. “I haven’t been totally truthful.”
“Lewis, what’s going on? What do you mean I’ll believe you or I won’t?” asked Sam trying to figure out if he was a nutcase or if she was in danger.
“I… oh hell. Pardon my language, but the last thing I expected out here in the middle of the Pacific was to pick up a hat with that scent on it,” he said. “Here’s hoping she knew what Buster really was,” he thought with trepidation.
Sam looked at Lewis and blinked. “Scent?”
“Your hat. That bandana. Buster wore that bandana didn’t he?” Lewis asked feeling totally exposed and ready for her to scream any second. He really didn’t know of a better way to try and explain things without revealing too much. He just wasn’t good at this sort of thing.
“Buster? You know it was Buster’s?” Sam asked going pale under her newly acquired tan.
“Yes. How could I not know my great grandfather’s scent?” Lewis said quietly hoping that her question meant that she did know what Buster was and wouldn’t scream.
Sam just sat there dumbfounded. Then she took a better look at Lewis. She realized why he looked familiar. He looked like Buster in those photos. She also wasn’t sure which one of them was more scared. “Lewis, if you hadn’t used the name Buster, I would have thought you some kind of scam artist. However, not once this evening have I mentioned his name or nickname,” she said.
“No, you didn’t. You were very careful to not say his name,” said Lewis.
“There’s also only one way you’d recognize a scent after all that time. And yes, I know,” said Sam.
Lewis drew a deep breath and relaxed just a little. “I’m sorry for not being more open with you, but I was curious and nervous all at the same time. You have no idea of how difficult life can be for us at times,” he said.
“Lewis you don’t know the half of it. Let’s get away from all these people and I’ll tell you what really happened. Oh, and about your cousins Ginny, George, Luc and their partners,” said Sam. She motioned for the waiter, signed her check and the two of them gook their glasses of wine and headed out to the beach to talk.
“Who was on the phone?” asked Angie.
“That was Sam,” said George as he crawled back into bed. They’d been making love when the phone rang.
“Oh? What did she have to say? Everything all right?” asked Angie.
“Yeah. Everything is very alright. She’s met a man, and they are headed for New Zealand together,” said George.
“Wait a minute. She met a man and is going on the rest of her vacation with him and you aren’t twitching? What in the hell is going on?” asked Angie as she sat on his chest and grabbed his shoulders like she could actually affect some change by shaking him.
“Hold on! Don’t kill the messenger! His name is Lewis and they’ve hit it off well and have been talking pretty much for the last forty-eight hours,” said George dragging it out.
“What?! Come on George! Who is this guy?” asked Angie. “And what are his motives for chatting up our Sam for that long a period of time?”
“Angie, his name is Lewis Davy. He’s Buster’s great grandson and he recognized Buster’s scent on Sam’s hat bandana,” said George waiting for all the implications to settle in.
Angie finally heard everything George had said. “Oh. My. God.” was all she said.
“Now, when she calls next, she said she’d give us more details. From what I understand though, when she comes back in a month, we’ll have a new cousin to get acquainted with,” said George.
“Okay,” said Angie as her brain twisted and turned.
Ginny was running the front desk. ‘Solda was helping Meg nearly full time at the house and Bitty had run off with some guy she’d met at the picnic and not been home since. She expected Bitty to turn up pregnant when she did come home.
“Patrick, could you give me a hand?” she asked. The client list had grown after the court case and with Meg pregnant, Patrick had been taking her workload of clients.
“What do you need?” Patrick asked as he came out of the back offices.
“I need a schedule for our techs and a hiring strategy because Luc has been gone more and more as the babies get closer to their arrival,” she said. She wasn’t upset over any of this, but it was getting difficult to find enough people to do the work. Luc worked at home in the mornings to be with Meg and did jobs in the afternoon. Kevin was stretched thin and Cal and Peter seemed to live in the warehouse. They’d also given up an bought Buttercup and Fezzik outright from the security firm. When the dogs had gone back, they’d been sullen and refused to work. The handler had tried everything and just turned up one day at the office with the dogs in tow. He’d explained what was going on and Luc, Cal and Peter had gone out to the van.
The minute the dogs heard the men’s voices, they went ballistic. They were so happy, that the tail wagging rocked the van. When the two dogs were finally let out, they literally crooned. Luc settled on $1000 per dog. Everyone, especially Buttercup and Fezzik were happy at long last.
“Let’s go to lunch and see what we can work out,” said Patrick.
“Lamb burgers?” asked Ginny.
“Is there anything else worth eating?” teased Patrick as they headed out the door.
An hour after their lunch, they had a plan. Using the families list that Luc and Dr. Jeff kept, they put out a call for all under employed computer techs. If they were lucky, they’d have a pool to choose from in a few days time.
Ginny had just gotten back in the office when the phone rang. Ginny picked it up as Patrick passed her heading to his office. She blew him a kiss.
“Hello, Alpha Wolf Tech, how can I help you?” she said in her best office voice. “Oh hi Angie, what’s going on?” Twenty minutes later, she hung up the phone and walked down to Patrick’s office. She leaned against the door with a stunned look on her face.
“You’ll never believe what Angie just told me,” she said.
“What?” asked Patrick looking at Ginny who was leaning up against the door frame looking stunned.
“Well, Sam called last night,” Ginny started as she sat down in a chair opposite Patrick’s desk.
Meg woke up feeling odd. She wasn’t sure what was going on, but the babies felt like they were running laps. She tried to get comfortable, but it didn’t matter which way she turned, it didn’t feel good. In the end, she gave up and went to take a shower. Standing in the warm water helped. The babies settled down. Meg got out and dried off. She felt like a whale and she was just over eight months.
“Luc, could you come here?” she called knowing that he was working in the dining room.
“Just a second Meg,” he called as he put the phone down. Angie had just called him and told him the most amazing news. He wanted to share it with Meg, but he needed to see what she needed first. Luc walked into the bedroom to find Meg standing there with a towel around her body, and a puddle at her feet. “Oh God!”
“I just took a shower and then all of a sudden, I wet myself, but…” was as far as she got. Luc helped her to the bed and grabbed the phone.
“Jeff, I think her waters broke,” Luc said. He nodded as he listened to the doctor, and then hung up the phone.
“Jeff said to dress as comfy as you could and then we’re to head to the hospital,” said Jeff.
“I have a nightie right over there,” said Meg. She pointed to a creamy lace and blue silk gown.
Luc grabbed it and helped her put it on. She slipped her feet into thongs and Luc grabbed some towels for her to sit on in the car.
Luc got Meg into the Subaru and headed out. “You feeling okay?” he asked.
“Achy. And the babies have gone from moving a lot to really quiet,” she said.
“Okay. We’ll be there in about fifteen minutes,” he said.
It took twenty. Luc was growling by the time they got there. He swore that they hit every red light. He helped Meg out of the car and into the hospital. He tossed the keys at a kid working valet and followed Meg and a nurse.
Jeff caught up with them as they headed up to a room. Meg got onto an examination bed and Jeff and the nurse checked her out while Luc paced. Jeff caught his eye and then looked over towards a chair. Luc sat.
“Okay Meg, I guess these babies decided to arrive a little early. Your waters did break and while you aren’t feeling any labor pains right now, you may very soon. Get comfortable and we’ll monitor you from time to time,” said Jeff.
“Am I going to have the babies naturally?” Meg asked.
“I don’t see why not. They’re in place and everything looks fine. If you want any painkillers, just holler,” he said and smiled as the nurses came in to attach monitors and bring in extra pillows.
“Honey, you just relax. Birthing babies is hard work. Rewarding, but hard work. Sleep while you can and if you’re uncomfortable, move around until you are. If you want a soak, we have a birthing pool,” said one nurse.
“Thanks. I’m just nervous,” said Meg.
“We all are,” said the second nurse. “Especially the dads.”
Meg looked over at Luc who was tapping his fingers on his leg trying to sit still.
“Luc, call Ginny and Angie. Let them know what’s happening and cancel your appointments for the afternoon,” she said.
“Oh. Yeah. Forgot all about that,” said Luc. “I’ll be just a second.” He stood up and left the room to make his calls.
Meg got settled in and then tried to rest. She wasn’t really sleepy, but she knew this was far from over.
Ginny picked up the phone. “Alpha Wolf…” was as far as she got before Luc’s voice and message interrupted her. “Oh! Oh god! Oh my!” said Ginny. “Yes, we’ll take care of things! Love to you both!” she said and hung up the phone. She ran down to Patrick’s office.
Patrick wondered what was going on that had Ginny running. “Gin, what’s the matter?” he asked.
“Nothing! The babies are coming!” she said much louder than she meant.
Patrick smiled. “Guess we’d better take care of things and clear the deck then,” he said. “Did you get a chance to tell Luc about Sam?”
“Yes, but I don’t know if he had time to tell Meg. Apparently her waters broke about the same time we hung up,” said Ginny.
“Oh. Okay. This is one hell of a day then,” said Patrick.
“I agree. Now where is that list of techs?” she asked.
Luc called Angie and let her know the news. Angie promised to call Sam and let her know. He walked back into the room in a daze. His pups were coming. He felt elated and confused all at the same time. Meg was trying to nap, so he decided to relax in the chair. It was a big sturdy one, so he wasn’t too worried as he felt himself shift as he too fell asleep.
“Pups!” Wolf wanted to howl with joy. He walked over and sniffed his mate. She was asleep and the pups were quiet. He walked out of the room and checked the hall for danger. He didn’t find any, but this wasn’t his den. Not his territory. He nosed his way back into the room and curled up on the floor. “Pups!” he thought again as he went to sleep.