Exhaustion, and her ordeal, made her fall asleep. The room was warm from both the fire and heat, and she was asleep as soon as her head hit the pillow.
Her dreams were anything but restful, full of frightening images she did not understand. Would she be plagued by these dreams for the rest of her life, she wondered. Had the spell really worked? Would there be a karmic punishment for what she had done? Her waking in the cemetery could have been someone's idea of a cruel joke, couldn't it, but why had she seen only his footprints?
But he had rescued her, it was him, the one she had come back for. Was this going to work, would she be able to give him her message and go home, or was she now stuck in time?
She began to feel like she was being sucked down a vortex, and no matter how hard she fought, she was drawn deeper and deeper. Just when it seemed her efforts would be useless, she was wakened by the sound of a door closing.
She sat up, and saw him standing in the doorway holding two Styrofoam containers, balancing two cups of coffee on top.
When he asked, "Did I wake you?", she replied, "Yes, but I don't mind. I was having kind of a scary dream."
"Well, those do no one no good. Here, let me put this pillow behind you," and propped an extra pillow behind her back, "I brought cream and sugar for the coffee. I was going to get orange juice, but I forgot." He handed her a container and a cup of hot, steaming coffee. "There should be silverware here, I'll go check so don't get up."
"I'm not used to being waited on," she smiled, it was funny watching him fuss around the little kitchen. She felt relaxed, able now to put aside the fears she'd experienced in the cemetery.
He was better looking than he was in his pictures, she decided, and if he was carrying a little extra weight, he carried it well. The dark hair, the sexy brown eyes, and the luscious mouth were making her hungry for something besides food.
He found the silverware, then came and sat next to her as they ate in companionable silence. So happy and content did she feel that she resented it when she heard a knock at the door
He stood up, and opened the door, letting in the tall redhead and greeting her with a hug.
"This is Pattie, an old friend of mine," he said, "She owns this place. She's got some stuff that will probably fit and keep you warmer than the clothes I found you in. She's looking for some shoes, too. Say hello, Pattie."
The woman smiled, as might a lover or an old friend, or both. "I'm Pattie Barton. I've known Drew for a long time. And you're?"
"Berengaria Benson, call me 'Bennie', please, Berengaria is too much of a mouthful. The best thing I can say about my name is that when my mom would call me, I'd know it was me she wanted. At least I wasn't lost among the Caitlyns', Courtneys', and Britneys'."
"Berengaria, hmm, I like that. I'm going to call you Berengaria," said Drew, and that settled that.
As he prepared to leave, he took her head gently in his hands and kissed the top of her shiny white hair. "I'll be seeing you in a few days, this should get you buy until then." He shoved a roll of money in her hand, "Pattie will let me know if you need anything before then." He disappeared through the doorway, and she watched until she heard his Caddy drive away.
"You've made a conquest, you know," Pattie smiled to make her point.
"Really, I wouldn't have thought so, he was just helping me out, wasn't he?"
"Well, he's paid for you to stay here a month, and he did a good job of talking me down to a bargain basement price. He told me he's going to look for a place for you, so I guess that means he wants to keep you around. And you did have a 'heart in the eyes' look on your face when he left, so I guess the feeling's mutual."
Bennie hugged herself tightly, "That obvious, huh? I think he had me when he carried me out of the cemetery." She put her face in her hands, "How did I get into this?" she wailed.
"The same way we all do," Pattie answered, "Tell you what, I'm going to order a pizza for dinner, and we can sit, drink beer, and eat pizza, and I'll tell you everything I know about Andrew Killian."
"That sounds good, only I don't drink beer, so make mine a coke. And thank you, for all you've done for me. I'm in bad need of a friend right now."
"You've got it," answered Pattie, "I've been there myself."
The pizza Pattie ordered that night was large and full of every topping available. The two women kept the conversation on a superficial level as they sat and listened to music. Pattie had a wealth of stories from her days when she followed the bands, and shared intimate details she probably shouldn't that kept Bennie laughing.
"God, I envy you, your life, your courage to live your life the way you wanted," she said, "I spent so much time being a good girl until I realized how stifled I felt. I had some savings from an insurance settlement, so I quit my job, sold the house I never really wanted, and started writing. It's always been uncertain, but I sell a few things and there and somehow manage to support myself. It really beats nursing. I only have to answer to my publisher, not a hospital." She sighed and was quiet for a moment, "I should have done it a long time ago."
"Okay," said Pattie, "enough small talk, when are you going to ask me what you really want to ask me?"
"You mean, what is Drew like? I was sort of waiting for you to bring it up."
Pattie took a long pull on her beer. "He's not what you'd expect for someone in his business. First of all, he's very generous, not full of himself. He's kind, very sweet, affectionate, flirtatious, hates to say no, even though he'd be better off if he did. He'll look out for you, keep the world from hurting you if he can."
"And he's married, right? What does he want with me?"
"Honey, he's human, as well as a musician. Marriages suffer in this business if the wife isn't willing to look the other way. He'll do his best to keep you away from her, he won't flaunt you in her face. You'll have to accept the fact that she travels with him whenever she can, but I'm sure he'll bring you with him when it's possible, you'll just have to be very discreet. He doesn't stray very often, but when he does it's a matter of the heart. If you're wondering if it will be worth it being with him, I'd say yes, but that will depend on you."
"I wasn't looking for this, you know, but I'm attracted to him in a big way. I don't want to say no, but a married man, that's kind of scary. If we can make each other happy, maybe it will be worth it. I don't want to give up before I give it a try, but I can't help feeling I'm going to be punished for this."
Pattie laughed, and opened another beer.
The next morning, she knocked on Pattie's door, afraid that eight a.m. might be too early for the redhead to be up. Instead, Pattie opened the door and invited her in for coffee.
"I know it's early, and I'm afraid I'm imposing, but I'd like to get some stuff I need, like a toothbrush and toothpaste, and some clothes. I don't know if there's bus service here or not, but since I have money now, can I take you to breakfast in exchange for a ride downtown?"
"Bus service is lousy here, hon, so sure, I'll give you a ride. I know you'd like to get out of those sweats. I think Drew actually counted on that. I know how to get the most for your money here, I'm not a rich band wife, or girlfriend. Let me grab my coat and keys, and we'll get going."
True to her word, she did know the best places. After breakfast, she took Bennie to a thrift store that specialized in higher quality merchandise. She insisted that Bennie get a dress or two and nice shoes, as well as the sweaters and jeans she wanted.
"Get the high heeled boots, they'll go with the two dresses you picked out. Trust me, he'll take you someplace nice occasionally. And get some makeup, in addition to the other toiletries you need. Don't be afraid to let him know he's lucky to have you. You're striking, you know, with that white hair and your green eyes. He's going to want to show you off, he will just have to be careful where he does it."
When she got back to her cabin, she put her things away, realizing that she appreciated her small wardrobe more than she did her closet full of clothes at home, or was it home now? What had happened to her old life? Was her body still in front of her altar, or had her existence been erased? Was she now dependent on Drew for her survival? Or was this just a dream?
Not that day, or the next, but the day after, he made his appearance. "Hi hon," he said and gathered her into a bear hug, squeezing her tightly. He held her at arm's length, "You look nice, why don't you let me take you to dinner. You got a dress you can put on?"
Patty gave her an "I told you so" look.
"Okay, that sounds nice, I'd like to go to dinner with you. And yes, I do have a dress."
He swatted her gently on her bottom, a gesture that was too familiar, but the behavior seemed to be a part of him. "Pack up some stuff for overnight."
She looked at him, realizing the relationship had begun, however premature it seemed to her. "Okay, I'll change and put some stuff I need in my pack. Be right back."
Pattie watched as Drew's eyes followed her. "Do you know what you're doing, Drew? You don't even know her, and she hasn't had a chance to find out what you're like."
He sat down and lit a cigarette. "Don't worry, there's something different about her. For some reason, I feel like I want to take care of her. And I'll be careful, I know what this would do to…"
"Yes, I do know, believe me. I like her, she seems really sweet and genuine. I think she's a little scared of you, so please be careful. You break her heart and I'll kill you."
Bennie came back, wearing the black dress with the red and gold belt that she had brought that day, her pack slung over her arm. "All right, I'm ready, do I look okay?"
"You look beautiful," he said and meant it. He helped her on with the long black coat she had purchased. "Let's get going, we've got a long drive ahead. Don't worry, Pattie, I'll take good care of her. We'll be back tomorrow." He led her to his Caddy and opened the door. "Get in," he instructed, "At least now I know you're okay, when I first found you I wasn't so sure."
"I'm not so sure I'm all right myself," she murmured, and began to fumble with her seat belt.
"You don't need that," he told her as he got in, "I'll be your seat belt." He held out his arm and she slid over next to him.
"Sure you won't get a ticket?"
"It's dark, no one can see." He started up the Cadillac and pulled out of the parking lot.
He drove fast, too fast, and sometimes she had to close her eyes. "Where are you taking me?" she asked him, but he shook his head.
"Spoils the surprise if I tell you so don't try to guess." She settled for this unsatisfactory answer and closing her eyes tried not to think. His shoulder was comfortable, the car warm and he kept his arm tightly around her waist. When he turned on the radio, she surprised both of them when she began to sing along with a song she knew.
He squeezed her, "You're not bad, you know, you just need to learn how to sing out. Believe in yourself." She looked at him and smiled.
She was half asleep when he nudged her awake. "Here we are, have you ever been to Albany?"
"No, really? Are we far from Woodstock?"
"A ways, but not as far as you might think. We're in time for our reservations, and then we'll check into the hotel after dinner.
He parked the car in front of the restaurant, and guided her through the door. The waiter seated them in a booth, dark, candle lit, and private. He brought a bottle of wine to the table, and Drew smiled at her. "A present, I had a feeling you wouldn't want to order an expensive wine, so I've ordered it for us." He had also chosen their dinner, a good prime rib, salad nicoise and baby peas.
For dessert they had chocolate cheese cake, and though it was good, she wondered if the dinner had been an indication of how much he liked to be in control. If it became a problem, she would say something, she decided. For right now, she decided to enjoy the surprise-and being spoiled.
He poured the last of the wine into their glasses, and held up his in a toast. "When I first saw you, I thought an angel had come to rest on my son's grave."
"But what you got instead was me," she smiled and clinked her glass against his.
The hotel he had chosen was more expensive than she expected. She almost felt guilty when she put her pack in the closet. He didn't mind though, he held out his arms and she went into them, deciding to give herself over.
His kisses were intense, powerful, and took her breath away. She hesitated for a moment when he unzipped her dress and pushed it off her shoulders, but when he carried her to the bed she recovered enough of her courage to finish undressing and help take off his clothes.
She pushed him gently away. "I'm scared, Drew, this is a little overwhelming."
He looked at her, and smiled, "Don't be," he said, "You're exactly where you're supposed to be-right here with me."
She knew she was shivering when he took her, naked into his arms, and was gentle with her at first. She relaxed and gave herself over to him, enjoying the feeling of his strong arms and being skin to skin.
When they finished, he gathered her in his arms, and she slept all night, feeling safe and relaxed. He began to make love to her in the morning before she was fully awake, and she found herself responding to him, holding him tightly.
They gazed into each other's eyes as they ate breakfast, then left the hotel hand in hand. This time he didn't have to ask her to sit next to him, and if she wished he'd drive more slowly, it was because she didn't want the drive to end.
When they returned to her motel, he drove straight to her cabin, not bothering to greet Pattie. He locked the door behind her and commanded her to come to him.
At first she was reluctant, "Hey, we did it last night at the hotel, we did it in the morning, we did it in the shower. I deserve a rest don't you think?"
"You can rest later," he replied, and her dress seemed to float off her shoulders.
"You really are a tom cat," she said.
"Hmm, tom cat? That sounds about right." He smiled and peeled off the rest of her clothes. "You keep this tom cat happy, and he'll have no complaints."
"I'm not gonna have much luck if I want to tell you no, am I? She put her arms around his neck.
"Probably not, so why don't you just get in the habit of saying yes?" and she was now too far gone to argue.