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“We can’t do anything unless we know where she is,” Serena said later that afternoon. “Or until we have a better indication as to the nature of the spell that she’s using.” The three other women if Elayne’s circle had assembled at the small event center they used to do a majority of the cooking for the catering business. They were there partly because that was where the dinner party was going to be held and partly because the kitchen had a speakerphone that allowed all of them to hear each other at once.

Everyone was assembled in Denver as well. Evan and Raoul had been brought up to speed as to what had happened at the pool and both thought they needed to do whatever possible to stop the girl, even if that meant bringing the police into it. That suggestion was quickly dismissed because it would be impossible to explain the situation to them.

The two groups had been on the phone for nearly a half an hour. Elayne had begun the conversation by telling her friends what had happened. They then discussed the possibilities of how to proceed and decided that Elayne’s original assumption was the most likely scenario.

“I agree,” Raoul said. Thankfully Scott and Elayne’s hotel room was also equipped with a speakerphone so that everyone could participate on their end as well.

“What does the rest of the tour schedule look like?” Serena’s husband, Richard, asked. Being a long time member of the police force meant that he usually kept a level head when others went off half-cocked and Elayne was glad to have his input.

“Well we’re heading to Casper, Wyoming the day after tomorrow,” Scott answered. “And Boise after that. Anything past that and I’d have to look at the itinerary.”

“So you’re basically heading west,” Richard commented.

“Yes,” Evan interjected. “This leg of the tour will end in Los Angeles in two weeks.”

“Where do you go after that?” Amy asked.

“Europe,” Evan answered. “We have about a week off before we head out, though.”

“Are you guys thinking what I’m thinking?” Elayne asked, a light just going off in her head. Two weeks sounded like ample time for the girl to ready whatever spells she needed for her final culmination if all the moon phases lined up. That, and the fact that she had no trouble finding whatever ingredients she needed.

“I think that it’s likely that she could be using the time to get ready for the LA date,” Amy agreed.

“But what if she’s ready before that?” Ronnie asked, saying something for the first time since the call had been placed. “What if you’re wrong?”

“That’s a chance we’ll have to take, Ronnie,” Elayne soothed as she went to where he sat and knelt beside him. “Unfortunately she has all the advantages in this game. We can only guess and hope that we make the right decision.”

He nodded quietly then hung his head so that he stared at the floor in defeat. Elayne knew that he was having a hard time with all this. He looked up to Scott like he was his big brother and she knew that Scott’s opinion meant a great deal to Ronnie. It was only normal that he would be scared when Scott was in danger like this.

Scott sensed Ronnie’s worry as well and he went to his friend’s side, put a hand on his shoulder and gave him a gentle squeeze. “Everything’s going to be okay,” he stated simply as his eyes locked with Elayne’s and she saw his uncertainty there for the first time and she reached out to take his other hand.

“Our schedule is pretty quiet in two weeks,” Serena said on the other end of the line. “I think that I can rebook everything, but we’ll really have to suck up to Mrs. Jones afterward. You know how she is.” Eliza Jones was one of their regular customers, but she wasn’t easy to live with. She never balked at any price they set for a given party she wanted them to cater, but she was always in the way and usually found fault in something.

“Do you want to met us in LA then?” Elayne asked.

“I’ll look into making the arrangements tomorrow,” Amy replied. “Then I’ll let you know when to expect us.”

“Don’t bother to make hotel reservations,” Scott told her. “My house has plenty of room for all of you and your kids to stay. It’s the least I can do with all the help you’re giving me.”

Elayne was grateful for his offer and she knew that the others would be as well. From what Amy had told her so far, the binding ritual that they had been planning would take much preparation as well and they would need all the privacy that they could get.

“Thank you for the offer, Scott,” Richard said.

“Would it be alright if we got into town a few days before you?” Serena asked. “That will give us some time to get ready for your arrival.”

“Sure. I’ll call my housekeeper and let her know to expect you,” Scott replied.

Amy, Serena and Connie talked for a few more minutes about what to expect with the binding spell and Elayne promised that she would call with more details tomorrow. Twenty minutes later, Scott and Elayne were alone once again and they decided to order dinner from room service and stay in for the night, rather than go out like they had planned.

Elayne was feeling jumpier than she had been all day. When Scott tried to pull her to him she jerked back so quickly that she nearly fell over in the effort to get away from him. “Honey, you’ve got to calm down,” he told her as he reached out for her once again and this time she let him fold her into his embrace.

“I’m sorry,” she said weakly as she felt tears form in her eyes. “I don’t want anything to happen to you.” Her face was buried in his neck and Scott could feel her shoulders shake as she cried.

“Shh,” he told her as his hands ran up and down her back in an attempt to sooth her. “We’ll get through this.”

Elayne was embarrassed by her lack of strength. Scott was the one in danger and here she was crying like she was the target and not him. Taking a deep breath, she lifted her head and wiped her face with her fingers. “I know you’re right,” she said and tried to smile. “I’m sorry to be such a baby.”

“You’re not a baby,” he said as he hooked a finger under her chin and lifted her face to his. “You’re beautiful and I’m so glad that you’re on my side.” He lowered his lips to hers and began a gentle assault on her mouth that made it hard for her to breathe with any sort of normalcy. His hand wound its way into her dark hair and his fingers intertwined with her long brown locks so that he held her there. His other hand had been at her waist and he moved it lower to her buttocks and he pulled her lower body closer so that she knew without a doubt how glad he was to have her there.

Elayne returned his kiss hungrily as her hands tried to make contact with the skin at his waist. Unfortunately, his shirt was tucked into the waistband of his jeans and she was having a hard time concentrating on his lips and trying to pull the shirt out at the same time. Scott chuckled against her lips when he heard her grunt in protest and pulled back enough to pull the shirt over his head.

“Better?” he asked as he dropped kisses along her jawbone, leisurely making his way to her ear.

“Mmm hmm.” She lightly ran her palms up his arms then linked her fingers behind his neck so that she could guide his lips back to hers.

Clothing soon became a nuisance that needed to be dealt with and the quicker the better. They pulled apart long enough to shed a few pieces, but the lure of the other’s lips soon called them back again and they clawed the rest of the garments away as they kissed eagerly.

I love you, Elayne called out to him silently. It took every once of willpower that she had not to say the words out loud. She had a feeling that she had scared him when she said the words to him before and she didn’t want to spoil what time they had left.

They moved as one to the bed. With a quick, fluid motion, Scott swept the blankets back and together they sank down to the mattress, kissing each other madly. In his own way Scott had heard her declaration and he knew that he felt the same way for Elayne.

“Come here,” Elayne beckoned as she settled back against the pillows, taking Scott’s hand and pulling him so that he lay on top of her.

“Anytime,” he replied with a grin as his head lowered and he captured a nipple between his lips. His long hair tickled her chest as he moved his head over her and Elayne squirmed with delight under him. That, coupled with the sensations his mouth was creating was quickly making her need for him too great to bear. Her hands went to his hips and she tried to pull them closer to hers so that she could bring him inside her.

Scott understood her need because it mirrored the burning that had taken up residence in his abdomen. He lifted his head and his gaze locked with hers as he guided his way to her opening. He watched in wonder as her blue eyes clouded over with desire and he suddenly realized just how much he loved her.

Elayne’s eyelids dropped in anticipation of the senses that were about to fill her when Scott entered her, but his voice stopped them from closing all the way. “Look at me,” he said with a great deal of strain in his voice. In that instant he knew that he had to tell her how he felt. In this perfect moment as they were about to share the most intimate thing that a man and woman could share, Scott knew he was ready to take the next step.

Elayne’s brow wrinkled with concern. “What is it?” she asked as her palms came to rest on his back. At the same moment Scott entered her with tantalizing slowness and the concern fled her features and desire came back.

“I love you,” Scott told her simply with all the emotion he could put in his voice. As the realization of his words registered in Elayne’s mind, he began to move inside her and any coherent reasoning left her as ecstasy took over. They moved together as one, knowing each other’s body like only a lover could. Gasps of pleasure and moans of delight were the only things heard as they danced this timeless rhythm.

“I love you…I love you, too,” Elayne told him as waves of pleasure racked her body. Her heart soared with the knowledge that he finally felt free enough to admit that he loved her, but she knew that there were hurdles for them to clear yet. She felt Scott as he reached his climax and she smoothed back his sweat-drenched hair from his face as he rode the wave.

They fell asleep locked in each others arms, knowing that they were safe for the moment, but that tomorrow would eventually come and with it the threat that loomed over them. It would be the last decent nights sleep that Elayne would get until they reached Los Angeles.




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