(Excerpt from Claimed)
I woke up properly at 6.33 PM or so my watch said, as I straightened and looked out the window. I still saw mountains, forest and highway in the bright ‘twilight’ of the Alaskan summer. The sun didn’t set until late here, and when we were camping, the sunlight up until 11 PM; threw my sleeping pattern out of whack.
“We’ll be in Anchorage in just under an hour,” Flint greeted.
“I slept for that long?” I sounded surprised.
“You’re very tired and your blood sugar is still a little low.” He sounded understanding.
But I wondered how he would know about blood sugar levels, or even mine?
“Do you have a relative who’s a diabetic?” I asked.
“Then how do you know so much about it?”
Flint smilingly shrugged, “I smell it.”
“You smell it?” I gave a peculiar look.
Then he changed the subject, “do you have somewhere to stay tonight?”
“Um yeah, I have a reservation at the Sheraton.” I told him, but then I paused. “Oh oh.”
“I did have a reservation at the Sheraton, but it was for a room booked under Steve’s name.” I frowned. “I wonder…?”
“Hmm?” He watched me take my mobile phone out of my bag.
“Yes, finally! I have reception again!” I cheered then I talked on the phone. “Yeah hi, can you please put me through to the Sheraton Hotel in Anchorage? Thanks.” Pause. “Hi, is this the Sheraton Hotel in Anchorage? Great! Um, I had a reservation tonight under the name of Steve Gingall, but I won’t be checking in with him. Is it possible to have a room of my own, charged to my credit card? You’re completely booked up?”
Flint watched my face fall, as he listened in.
“Right. Right. Right.” My expression turned grim, before brightening. “Oh really? Could you please double check? Uh huh. Uh huh. Oh you do? That’s great! I don’t care, just book it in the name of Jessica Tandy. Yep. Uh huh. Well, check-in will probably be in an hour. Yep, OK bye.”
Then I found my driver was half watching the road, and the other half was on me.
“You have a room?” He guessed.
“Phew! They were all booked up, but then they had a last minute cancellation. Yay! Oh Flint, this is good news! Tonight I’ll be sleeping in a comfortable bed, after a long hot shower, and ordering up a banquet from room service!”
“That is good news, as it’s just what you were hoping for.” He smiled.
“So what are you doing tonight?” I queried. “Are you staying with friends in Anchorage?”
“No, I’ll be driving home tonight.” He answered.
His reply hit me hard in the face, like a plank of wood. Immediately, I felt like an idiot! That’s me taken care of, but what about him?
“Oh no Flint!” I cried out. “You can’t do that! Look, I’ll call the hotel back and see if they’ve had another cancellation -”
“You don’t have to do that.”
“Let me pay for your accommodation!” I raised the phone to my ear. “It’s the least I can do.”
“Jessica, please.” He kept one hand on the wheel, as he used his other to gently take the phone away. “I want to drive back home tonight.”
“I don’t like to be away from tribal lands for too long,” he shrugged.
“Because they’re my home.”
“But you’ve already driven four and a half hours, out of your way for me.” I said guiltily.
“It wasn’t out of my way.”
“Yes it was! I’m just some strange girl that stumbled into your bar, who nearly went into shock because of low blood sugar and a shitty camping trip…” I felt ridiculous as my eyes watered, “…and I must have looked like some social reject, with the crappy boyfriend. You took pity on me and drove me all the way to Anchorage!”
“I was concerned about your health,” he admitted, “but you smell much better, after the food and the nap.”
“I smell better?” My eyebrows rose. “Look Flint, let me repay you by shouting you a room in a nice hotel -”
“Jessica,” he growled out, as he gently cupped my face with one hand. It was so large and warm, somehow it warmed me all over. He looked away from the road, just long enough to pierce my light blue eyes with his dark brown ones. “I liked driving you to Anchorage. I’m happy that I got to spend four hours with the beautiful girl who stumbled into the bar, where I play pool. I watched your face while you slept, and I put my jacket over you to keep you warm. If you lived all the way in Barrow, I still would have seen you home.”
Then I don’t know what made me act this way, but I held his huge hand in my smaller two, as I kissed his palm.~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~