Tassta pushed the door open, flipped the light switch on, and scanned the small living room. Clean white stone walls, a plush, red sofa with two black leather chairs and a small round black coffee table. Sparse furnishings, things brought in from raids on houses destroyed by earthquakes. The dwelling had a couple of stylish silver lamps in the living room and a few black frames on the walls with no pictures, just white empty space where the stone walls peeked through. She pushed the creaking gurney in through the small living room to the dark bedroom. She flipped the light switch, and the flower-shaped, fluorescent lighting in the corners of the room lit up softly, lighting the whole room with a subdued white hue.
She looked down at Griffin, noted his skin seemed to glow in the fluorescent light. She bent down, got in real close to his face, stared at his golden-tipped eyelashes, and then ran her hand over his warm forehead. She pressed his thick, pale blond hair back to take a closer look at his eyebrows. White with golden tips, just like his eyelashes. How beautiful. She held Griffin’s hand gently, and stared at the white hairs on his arm, and then laid his arm back on the gurney.
She locked the gurney in place, stepped back, and wondered how she was going to get Griffin into bed. It was a hard job getting a full-grown man off a gurney and onto a bed, but Tassta had a strategy she’d learned from Dean. She positioned herself by his head and grabbed the sheet ends tight, and with one huge pull and a little swing, Griffin’s head and torso flew to the bed. She threw the sheet ends down and went to the other end of the gurney. She took a few deep breaths and then grabbed the sheet ends, pulled up, and swung hard. Griffin’s feet and lower body landed with a thud to the bed.
“Wow, you’re really heavy,” she muttered, positioning Griffin on the bed. How can he be so heavy? He’s not that big. She took a dark blue blanket off a nearby chair and threw it over him, covering his body. Her hands moved quickly, and soon she’d tucked him in comfortably. She turned to get a pillow from the chair next to the bed, and when she turned back to the bed, Griffin’s eyes were open, and he stared at her. She held the pillow in her hand, startled that he watched her so intently. You need to sleep, Griffin.
“I don’t want to sleep. I want to leave. I need to leave.” Griffin tried to get up. He pushed the blanket back and attempted to get out of the bed. He managed to move up to his elbows, his eyes crossed, and he fell back to the bed with a thud.
“You’re not going anywhere tonight,” Tassta muttered.
Griffin’s eyes fluttered open, and he frowned. “My people need supplies. They need protection. They need me.”
Tassta put a finger to his lips, hushed him softly while she pushed the blanket back up to his chest with her other hand. She moved back and threw a pillow to the chair next to the bed. “You can go back to your people once you’re better. Right now, you need to rest, or you’re no good to anyone.”
Griffin grabbed Tassta’s hand and squeezed it tightly. “Thank you.” His deep voice echoed in the small room. He shifted to get comfortable under the blanket and then smiled warmly at Tassta, all the while holding her hand. He hadn’t been in an actual bed in a while, and it felt good, too good. He could get lost beneath the sheets in this wondrous world of the Brotherhood. His weakened body relaxed, and his mind drifted as he scanned the area of the small semi-dark room. He was worried about the people he lived with underground and their need for medical supplies. Yet, Tassta was right. He was injured, and he needed to rest. Anyway, he didn’t mind the company, and the scenery wasn’t bad either.
Tassta smiled despite herself. There in the soft fluorescent lighting of the room, she saw what she figured no one else did, the little boy in the man that was Griffin Storm, and she found a soft spot in her heart that wasn’t there before. He’s still holding my hand. Oh, my God. I’m still holding his hand. She pulled away quickly and brushed her black jumpsuit off casually. “Don’t worry. I’ll be here if you need anything tonight.” She sat in a cozy red cushioned chair next to the bed. She plumped her pillow, grabbed the white sheet off the gurney, and then covered herself for the night. She’d done it a few times before. Only now, it felt different. She felt she needed to be there when Griffin woke up, needed to see him in the morning and ask him about his life. She was curious about how he came to be at the warehouse.
And the people he spoke of, the people that needed him. Who were they and what kind of control did they have over Griffin Storm? Most importantly, Tassta wondered if he was married. Tassta knew she wouldn’t get a wink of sleep as question after question flew through her mind. She sat back and stared at the albino man sleeping under the navy blue blanket, secretly knowing that he would answer her questions in the morning. Though, it wouldn’t come quick enough.
Griffin’s eyes clicked open. It was morning; he could feel it in his bones. He glanced upwards at the white stone ceiling, turned to his right, then his left, and his gaze settled on a familiar figure. Thank God, I wasn’t dreaming. He smiled softly and stared at the beautiful young black woman sleeping in the chair next to his bed. He watched Tassta and noted that her lips were naturally pink and her nose was small and straight, the nostrils flaring slightly each time she took a breath in her sleep. Her high cheekbones accentuated her deep-set eyes, and every once in a while, a tiny whimper left her lips, and she’d stir slightly.
Griffin’s eyebrows crunched inward on his head, and he smiled to himself, wondering what she was dreaming. She transfixed him. She was a conundrum to him. Young and brave, smart and beautiful, he’d never met a woman like her. He stared at her small frame and wondered what she looked like when she released her ponytail from the tight, pink hair band and the tiny pink barrette. He wondered how lovely she looked once the long, black silk curtain of sensuous hair fell over her perfect caramel-colored shoulders and back. He smiled to himself and pulled his blanket up, then tried to get up without disturbing her, but she shifted, and he knew she was awake.
“Hello, Sleeping Beauty.” Griffin’s deep voice resonated throughout the room. He looked around the room. Am I that loud? He turned about, sat up slowly, and his right hand went to his head. “Ouch!” He grimaced. Oh no. This isn’t good. I have a huge knot on the back of my head. His hand moved across the mound slowly, pressing ever so gently on the base of his skull. He frowned, put his hand down, and sat back in the bed.
YOU CAN FIND
(BOOK 1 OF THE
BY KIRSTEN CAMPBELL AT: