Bonus Scene: Expectation, a bonus Kellan scene for Savage Vandal
Congratulations on hitting 500 reviews on Savage Vandal and thank you very much. Seriously, just thank you. I love these characters, but I’m blown away by your affection for them too and how much they have come to mean to everyone. I thought for this bonus scene, I’d do a little rewind to Kellan’s “first” meeting with Emersyn when she arrived in Braxton Harbor. Enjoy!
The flight landed only fifteen minutes behind schedule. I kept one eye on the board and the other on my surroundings. It wasn’t like I had reason to come to the airport often. With the exception of one summer job and the time Milo had wanted to drive to see his sister, I’d never left Braxton Harbor. Those trips didn’t really count, one was for work and technically one was for business. Family business, but still business.
Waiting gave me plenty of time to study the passengers exiting through the automatic doors. Without a ticket, you couldn’t get back there. Some came out in business wear. Others were dressed in sweats and t-shirts. There were plenty of travelers wearing jeans and sweatshirts. Every one of them had a story.
Was this a vacation for them? Business, for sure, for a few of them. Were they coming home? Where had they gone? One of the reasons joining the army tempted me so much once upon a time. I’d get to leave. See the world. Be somewhere else.
Be someone else.
I shook off the malaise and depressing thoughts. This wasn’t about bloodlines or family legacy. Well, at least not mine. Milo’s, on the other hand, would be strolling through those doors any minute and I would be closer to her than I had been ever. The ride we’d given her when she’d been drunk and likely roofied didn’t count.
In all honesty, I doubted she remembered Milo, much less me. Totally fine. We got her to her hotel, safe and sound. The doors swept apart to let out another wave of passengers. I didn’t catch sight of her right off. Her slighter build proved harder to see behind the other passengers. She didn’t stay with the pack though.
Dressed in dark leggings, an oversized sweater, and furry boots, she looked like a pixie playing dress-up in borrowed clothing that was too big for her. Her hair was pulled up into a single ponytail that bobbed as she walked. Instead of pulling at her features and making them severe, the hairstyle just made her look painfully young.
She glanced around carefully as she slowed. Belatedly, I lifted the sign I’d brought with me. A single placard that read Sharpe. Walking up to her without introduction would probably be weird, so I waited for her to notice me.
Slipping her arms through the straps of her backpack, she did another scan. I swore I could almost feel the caress of her eyes as she passed me and the zing when she locked on to the sign. Without hesitation, she strode straight to me.
Lithe and slender, she moved with purpose and the oversized sweater dwarfing her couldn’t minimize the attitude swirling around her. It hadn’t been but a few years since the last time I saw her in person, how the hell had she grown up and managed to still strike me as painfully young at the same time?
“Hello,” she said. “I’m Emersyn Sharpe.” The soft contralto was like a caress all its own. My dick straightened like he’d been called to salute. Fucking thing had no sense. Hadn’t since the first time I’d gotten hard staring at Callie Timmins.
Yep, all brawn, no brains. That was my dick.
Really not the time or the place.
I offered my hand. “I’m your driver, Kestrel. If you want to point me to your luggage. I’ll collect it for you.”
“Actually,” she said. “I’ve already requested the airline send it directly to the hotel. Is your car close?”
Apprehension wrapped around my spine. “Close enough. Are you ready to go?” While she didn’t look behind her, I glanced past her. She wasn’t nervous but there was something off about her.
“That would be great,” she told me. “I do need to see your driver’s and hack license.”
The directness surprised me, but it also impressed me. Tucking the placard under my arm, I reached into my jacket pocket and pulled out the folio wallet that had both my driver’s license and my hack license. Granted, the second was only a few days old, but it wouldn’t raise any eyebrows.
She studied both cards intently, then pulled out her phone and took a picture of them. Curiosity flooded me. Flicking her gaze up at me, she smiled. “You can never be too careful. And thank you.”
“You’re welcome. Can I carry your bag for you?”
“I’m good,” she told me, before pocketing her phone. “Where to, Kestrel?”
“This way.” I shifted as we walked and kept one arm slightly behind her without touching. I also drifted a step behind and over. In this case, if she didn’t want to be seen or to linger, then I’d make sure of both. While she hadn’t offered up any other reasons, I still kept an eye out all the way to the car.
The fact she let out a deep sigh of relief as she sat down had every alarm bell ringing. What had her so worried?
She didn’t sit right behind me, and that was fine. It meant I could glance back at her more easily. I waited until we were out of the parking garage. “You’re staying at the Beauregard, correct?” That was the hotel information the service had given me.
“No,” she said. “There’s been a change of plans. I am going to be staying at Harbor North Hotel.” That was several miles from the other hotel. “It’s on…”
“I know where it is.” I had to change lanes because we’d need to get on a different road once we were out of the airport. “I’ll get you there.”
“Thank you,” she said, then slumped back into the seat and turned her head to look out the window. It was a gray and dreary day with rain spitting. It was also chilly.
The desire to ask her how she was burned on the tip of my tongue, but I was the driver. Not a friend. Not a brother to her brother that she didn’t know existed. I was a stranger. I had a job. My only job for the next few days, be available to get her around and shadow her so no one bothered her.
The ebb and flow of traffic meant we ran into delays. Her phone rang and she lifted to stare at the screen. Then she silenced it. When it rang again, she turned it off.
“You’re probably gonna get a call in a minute,” she told me. “The chaperone is going to want to know where I am. She’ll have gotten your number from the service.”
“Chaperone?” Wasn’t she over eighteen now?
“Don’t ask, it’s about as horrible as it sounds. But I’m not a minor anymore and I don’t want her to know where I’m going. I don’t want anyone to know where I’m going.”
“No problem, Miss Sharpe.” I smiled at her. “No problem at all.”
Sure enough, my phone rang. It wasn’t one of the guys so I sent it straight to voicemail. Like her phone before it rang again and again until I just silenced the phone.
“You’re not going to get into trouble are you?” The barest hint of concern for a stranger.
“No,” I promised her. And if I did, well bring it. I could handle whatever they wanted to throw at me. “Customer’s always right.”
Another flicker of that smile and then it grew. “Thank you.”
“Not a problem.” Then because I couldn’t ignore the faint grumbling of her stomach especially since we were stuck in a backup getting through the interchange, I asked, “Can I stop somewhere to get you something to eat?”
“I’d kill for a cheeseburger,” she admitted. “Like legitimately kill.”
“Well, you won’t have to go that far. If anyone needs killing, I’ll take care of it and we’ll get you a cheeseburger.”
She laughed. That was my intent.
“Now tell me,” I continued. “Do you have a preference?”
Burger. Death. Whatever. I was good. She was nothing like I expected, but I was going to enjoy the next few days. If I had anything to say about it, so would she.