To Catch A Cheetah
It was six o’clock when the train finally rolled into Philadelphia’s Penn Station, and Chase almost wished that they didn’t have to get up. He hated to break the spell that had come over him when Delilah had snuggled into his chest and drifted off to sleep, her soft breath fluttering against his skin through the fabric of his shirt, her lips slightly parted as she slept the sleep of the truly exhausted. The dark circles under her eyes were still there, but the lines of stress in her delicate face had magically evaporated.
The train suddenly stopped, and as people started getting to their feet, he knew he had to move soon in case someone accidentally, or not so accidentally, grabbed one of their bags. “It’s time to get up, sweetheart,” he murmured into Delilah’s brown hair, gently shaking her shoulder.
She stirred, letting out a soft moan that heated his blood. Her strawberries and cream scent was intoxicating enough as it was, and the little sound she made was nearly enough to push him to the edge of his control. “We’re here?”
“We’re here.” He stood up, then stepped around her, and retrieved their bags. “Let’s get moving,” he instructed. “We’ve got to fuel up before the next leg of our trip.”
He took Delilah by the elbow and led her off the platform, and up the escalators, then stopped by a hot dog vendor, and grabbed a few to go. Delilah ate quietly as they made their way to the bus station.
Since it was now the end of the workday, the bus was pretty crowded, so Chase and Delilah had to squeeze in, their bags pressed as close to their bodies as possible. “Maybe it’s just me,” Delilah murmured into Chase’s ear, “But this route we’re taking seems a lot more complicated than it has to be.”
“It’s definitely not the most direct route,” Chase responded as he tried not to get distracted by Delilah’s breasts pressing up against his chest, a tall order since the dress she was wearing was low cut and showed off her perky tits to full advantage. “But it’s definitely necessary. The harder we are to follow, the better.”
“I guess that makes sense,” Delilah sighed, resting her forehead against his shoulder. “But it’s making it a lot harder for me to pretend we’re on some grand adventure.”
Chase chuckled and patted her back through her denim jacket. He was struck by the urge to slide his hand underneath the jacket to see if the skin on her back was as silky smooth as he remembered, but he refrained. He needed to focus on the seriousness of the situation. “It’ll get easier, trust me.”
“God, I sure hope so.”
Fourteen minutes later, they got off 30th Street Station, a tall, square concrete building with Romanesque columns standing guard in a row across the entrance. Chase paid for their tickets, this time to North Carolina, and Delilah’s face brightened when he handed her the ticket.
“Charlotte?” she said as they made their way to the platform. “I’ve always wanted to visit North Carolina.”
“Yeah, well you’re about to get your wish,” Chase said, “but we won’t be there long, so try to drink in as much of the sights as you can.”
Delilah frowned, coming to a complete stop. “Are you saying this is another pit stop?”
Chase tugged her impatiently by the elbow, wanting to get onto the train. “In a word, yes.”
Delilah sighed as he led her to the private compartment, he’d reserved for them. “I wish you would tell me where we’re going to end up,” she said plaintively.
“Yeah, well, the less you know for now, the better. We’re not out of the woods yet.”
Chase got Delilah settled into the compartment with their baggage, checked to make sure she still had her weapons, then went to scope out the rest of the train. Satisfied that no other shifters were on board, he came back a few minutes later to find Delilah spread out across her seat, staring up at the ceiling with a blank expression. She sat up as he slid the door shut behind them, and rubbed her eyes, looking a bit more refreshed than she had when they’d boarded the train from NYC, but not by much.
“You look like you could use some more food,” Chase said as he took the seat across from her. He pulled out a bratwurst from his inside jacket pocket and handed it to her. “Eat.”
Delilah waved the food away. “I’m not hungry.”
“Look, I know you’re scared and nervous and probably not feeling that great right now,” Chase said, “but it’s important that you keep up your strength, and from the looks of things you weren’t particularly well-rested or nourished when we… ran into each other, today.”
Delilah snorted, some of her old humor returning. “That’s one way of putting it, I guess.” She took the food from him, and Chase relaxed a little as he watched her unwrap the bratwurst and take a small bite. He’d been worried that she would refuse, but it seemed that though she was a tad stubborn at times, she was still willing to follow his lead, for the most part.
“So, I figure we should talk about what the plan is,” Chase said as the train started moving slowly down the track. “We are going to be on the train for around twelve hours, so we may as well hash out the particulars.”
“Am I going to get a fake ID?” Delilah blurted out. “Like you?”
“Yes, we’ll get you set up with something at the first opportunity. In the meanwhile, though, if anyone asks, you’re Alice Wexler, and I’m Sam Dawson.”
Delilah smiled. “Alice and Sam, huh? Just like old times.”
The blood in his head rushed straight to his groin as Chase suddenly flashed back to that night of wildly passionate sex. He remembered how Delilah had gotten down on her hands and knees and raised her perfect, pale ass into the air, tossing a come hither look over her shoulder at him. She’d then lowered her head to the ground and slipped her hand between her legs to play with her pussy, driving him mad with lust…
Chase cleared his throat, banishing the erotic memory. “Sorry,” he muttered, then cleared his throat. “Just… remembering.”
“Oh.” Delilah’s cheeks colored, and she looked away. “I… I’ve thought about it, too.”
They were both silent for a long moment, Chase struggling between wanting to ask her exactly what she’d thought about it, and getting back to the task at hand. In the end, he decided to vie away from the topic of sex – there were more important things to think about and there would be plenty of time for that discussion once they were safe.
“Anyway,” Chase continued, “Let me do the talking if we’re questioned by any authorities since I’m the one who actually has documentation to back up my story right now. Our story is that you and I are newly engaged and that we’re on a month-long vacation traveling around the United States, finding ourselves and having the time of our lives.”
Delilah glanced up at the duffle bags stored above them. “And what exactly are you going to say about the boatload of weapons we have?”
Chase shrugged. “I’ll just tell them that my brother is an arms collector, and he asked me to pick these up.”
Delilah scowled at him. “That’s not a very good cover story.”
“Yeah, well the whole idea is not to draw attention to ourselves in the first place,” Chase replied. “And if we stick to the route, and you follow my lead, there shouldn’t be any reason for the police to take a second glance at us.”
“I guess that makes sense,” Delilah murmured. She stared at the floor, her hands clasped in her lap. “I just wish I had your confidence,” she whispered, and Chase’s sensitive ears picked up on a slight tremor in her voice.
“Hey, hey.” Chase moved to sit next to her. He put his arm around her shoulder, drawing her against him. “You’re doing great, sweetheart. I don’t know anyone, man or woman, who could hold up to this situation as well as you are. I’m amazed by you.”
Delilah lifted her gaze to his, her eyes shining with tears. “Yeah?”
“Yeah.” He brushed the backs of his fingers across the edge of her cheekbone, marveling at her delicate beauty. “You’re going to get through this, baby,” he murmured, trying not to get too drawn in by her delicious scent and beguiling features. “We’ll get through it together.”
“I’m sure you’re right,” she whispered. “It’s just… hard.” Her lips were barely an inch from his face, and Chase sucked in a breath as her breast brushed against his right pectoral muscle. Unable to resist the magnetic pull between them, he closed the gap between their lips, slanting his mouth over hers as he kissed her for the first time in almost five years.
Delilah gasped, her mouth opening to his like a blossoming flower, and he dove in greedily, stroking his tongue against hers, greedily drinking in her sweet taste as his hands slid beneath her denim jacket to stroke her back just as he’d been wanting to. Her skin, silky smooth beneath is touch, felt even better than he’d remembered, and he wanted more, more, more…
A sharp rap on the door snapped them out of their lusty fervor, and they sprang away from each other, breathing hard as they braced themselves on opposite sides of the compartment. Chase took a few breaths to steady himself, then got up and opened the door.
“Tickets, please?” the conductor on the other side asked politely, though his supercilious smile told them he had a good idea of what had been going on behind the sliding door. Chase resisted the urge to smash his fist into the old man’s smug face, and instead produced the tickets. The man checked them, marked them with his silver hole puncher, then returned the tickets, and moved on.
Chase closed the door behind him, then turned to find Delilah staring at him, her cheeks still slightly flushed. “Sorry about that,” she said quietly, self-consciously adjusting her jacket. “I don’t know what came over me.”
Chase chuckled, as he returned to the seat across from her. “You don’t have anything to apologize for,” he said. “I’m the one who kissed you. And enjoyed the hell out of it, too.”
“Maybe,” she said, smiling a little, “But I wanted you to, and that probably had a lot to do with you making the first move.”
Chase grinned. “That wouldn’t be the first time a man and a woman have kissed because they both wanted to,” he teased, and then checked his watch. “But seriously, we should probably get some sleep now. It’s been a long day, and we’ve still got a way to travel tomorrow.” He grabbed the pillows from the wire rack, propping one behind Delilah’s head. “Pleasant dreams, sweetheart.”
“Pleasant dreams,” she replied with a smile, then closed her eyes. Within minutes she was fast asleep.
Chase laid back, his hands clasping behind his head. He watched Delilah’s beautifully peaceful face before slipping into a catnap, allowing himself to rest while his senses stayed on high alert. It would be a long time before he was going to be able to get in a good night’s sleep, but as long as he kept her safe, he didn’t care.