Kiss Me, I’m Irish











{November 7, 2008}   Panther Dreams – Chapter One

(My Original Blog Post: http://sarahcburkett.com/2008/11/07/panther-dreams-chapter-one/)
This was the day that Adrienne Karahalios always dreaded. Bill paying day, checkbook balancing day, invoice-checking day. Who’s brilliant idea was it to make that day always fall on the first day of the month? Seriously? There had to be a better way of spending the first day of every month when you own a business, other than this. Well, at least she only really had to do it once a month. It might be boring as hell, but at least it was usually a good excuse for locking out the world. It gave her less time to think about Osias Kallas and what the heck he was doing back in New Orleans after swearing never to return.
Adri shook her head, her black hair curling slightly in the humidity as she did so. Even with the air conditioner on full-blast, the room was stuffy. She leaned back in her leather office chair, comfy thing that it was, and took a deep breath. She shrugged off her light gray short-sleeved jacket blazer, revealing the pale cream, lace-covered camisole tank underneath. She smoothed her hands down her mid-thigh length matching skirt, making sure it wasn’t riding up again. The heat caused it to creep up sometimes, flashing a little more than Adrienne preferred.
It was great to be back in New Orleans, back with her friends, and the ones who became part of her family, but Osias returning was throwing a wrench in her life, her plans, everything. She closed her icy-blue eyes and tried to block out the thoughts of Osias. She needed to get this paperwork done so she could get back to the fun part of running her boutique: the customers and the thrill of a sale.
Unfortunately, what she wished for and what happened were not the same. Her mind drifted back, as always, to a time when she thought she and Osias might have a chance at something, maybe even being the true mates for the other. His eyes were the color of caramel on a hot summer day. His hair was a glossy black that always seemed to shine. His height of six-foot-seven-inches was impressive, and his muscles were sculpted to that frame, making him one hot and fine piece of male were-panther.
She had thought, at one time, he could be “the one”, the one the Fates declared to be hers for hers and his lifetime. She had dreamed of it, since they were children. She’d tried, at one time, to seduce him, but he’d told her, in no uncertain terms, that he would not risk their friendship. He’d turned away from her, and left New Orleans.
As always, when she thought of Osias, tears formed in Adrienne’s eyes. “Fuck,” she muttered, as she wiped at her eyes. “He will not do this to me again,” she thought to herself. “He’s not worth it, and I’m done with him.” She was perfectly fine with lying to herself on this one important issue.
She sat straight in her chair, and continued on with her paperwork, ignoring the stragglers of tears still slowly running down her cheek.

Osias Kallas walked into Sanctuary with grim determination. He knew he wasn’t going to have a welcome reception. The bears were definitely more of a fan of Adrienne’s than they were of him. He was willing to take his chances because he wanted to make things right with Adrienne. He was tired of tap-dancing around her and everyone she was connected to. Shit, Valerius Magnus had better luck with Zarek before he was granted god powers at his wedding reception.
He stopped as he reached the bar. Dev was tending, as was usual. He casually sat down and scanned the bar. Aimee was waiting a table of several humans. Acheron, the Dark Hunter that for some reason got along with the bears and most anyone, minus Daimons, was sitting in a corner booth with Simi, his demon-companion-thing, and Tory, his new bride. There were a few others that he recognized, but couldn’t quite recall their names.
“What the hell are you doing here,” a feminine voice with a slight French accent, asked sharply. He twisted his head around to see Nicolette “Mama Bear” Peltier, the “head” female bear, and owner of Sanctuary. She definitely was not happy to be seeing Osias in her bar, most likely to be seeing him in New Orleans period.
“Hello, Nicolette. Lovely to see you,” Osias replied, with a slight edge to his voice. He knew he had to deal with Nicolette and the rest of the Peltier clan if he ever had a chance of getting back on Adri’s good side, but that did not mean he had to like any part of it.
“Do not cop that attitude with me, Boy,” Nicolette bit back. There was definitely a menacing quality to her voice as she said the words. “Why are you here, and when are you leaving?”
Osias just rolled his eyes at Nicolette’s antagonism. “Why and when are really none of your business.”
Nicolette growled a distinctive bear growl. “Boy, you better not be here to start shit. I do not want to watch a girl I count as a daughter fall to pieces again. She deserves more and better than you.”
Osias sighed and looked directly at Nicolette. “I’m not here to hurt her, I swear. I’m here to try and fix what I broke. I know I’m the one who has to come crawling, trust me.” Though it burned him to have to admit it to Nicolette, he wanted her to know that much, if nothing else.
Nicolette took a deep breath, and sat down heavily on the barstool next to Osias. “Well, at least you have the guts, balls, whatever, to admit that.”
Before he could respond, Dev and Aimee both noticed he was there and headed towards him. Dev made it first, with Aimee arriving shortly thereafter.
Dev grabbed Osias by the collar of his shirt and pulled him over the bar. With his face practically pressed to Osias, Dev growled out, “I don’t give a shit about the rules for Sanctuary. I’ll risk the wrath of Savitar. You need to get the fuck out of here, NOW.”
Nicolette placed her hand on Dev’s, and told him, “Dev, let him go. Don’t even think of bringing Savitar into this. That last thing I need is him involved in something here again. You remember what happened with Wren.” Dev dropped his hand from Osias, and Osias sat himself back down.
Aimee rolled her eyes at her mother. “You dare to defend him? You dare to defend him after seeing how Adrienne collapsed the last time. I’ve never seen her so torn apart before in my life, not since she lost her mother.”
Osias stared at Aimee with his mouth agape. Aimee looked at him, pure hate in her eyes, with regret mixed in. It was obvious that she hadn’t meant for him to know that about Adrienne, but it was too late to take it back. He shook his head in disbelief. He refused to believe that he had any sort of hold on Adrienne, anything like that, period. She’d never once shown or hinted that she cared like that for him. Something just wasn’t right.
“Don’t think I’m lying to you, Panther. You know me better than that. You know while I have the capability to lie, I sure as hell wouldn’t waste my time on hurting you by doing it. You are a rat bastard, and you know it. You do not deserve even a glimpse view of Adrienne.”
Aimee quickly turned around and headed toward the Peltier House, refusing to have anything else to do with Osias. Most likely that was for the best, as while Aimee looked dainty and waif-y, she was anything but that. Most of the men watched, with drool practically running out, as she walked away, were and human, Daimon and whoever. Well, that is until they caught the death glares from her brothers and other males in her life. Yeah, not smart to even attempt to try and get on the good side of Aimee Peltier. The risk of ending up as a skin on the wall was way too great.
Osias looked at Dev and Nicolette. “Anyone else want to attempt to rip me a new one by reminding me how much I hurt Adrienne. Maybe someone wants to hear why the fuck I decided to even attempt to try and come back. Maybe, just maybe?”
Dev growled, and looked over at his mother. “You might be willing to listen to this asshole bullshit, but I’ve got better things to do. Personally, I’d rather attempt to walk to the moon or some stupid shit like that than even be sharing air with this little punk.” With that very vivid picture, he walked to the other end of the bar, muttering under his breath about stupid assholes and females being too forgiving.
Nicolette shook her head at her son. He had always been a more than a little hot-headed and less than forgiving. “While I may find my son’s comments a little amusing, it does not mean that I do not agree with him. He might be under the misguided assumption that I’m ‘forgiving’ you, but that’s not the case. It’s not a case of forgiving, nor forgetting. It is not my place to make that choice. Adrienne has to make that decision for herself. I am, though, offering you a chance to speak your mind. To get your thoughts in order before you talk to her. I will not risk you saying something stupid and hurting her more than you have already.”
Osias sighed a long-suffering sigh, and shoved his hand through his hair. “What is the freaking deal with everyone assuming that I’m here to hurt her again. I never meant to hurt her in the first place. That was the last thing I ever wanted to do, ever! She was, and I hope she will become again, the best friend I have ever had or could ever hope to have. She is one of the most amazing people I have ever met. She’s got the biggest heart and kindest soul. To hurt her is like cutting out a part of myself.”
Nicolette smiled at him. “If that’s truly how you feel, and you know we’d know, as well as Adrienne, if you were lying, that’s what you need to tell her. If I were here, I’d still kick your ass out the door, but, alas, I am not, so you’ll have to find out for yourself.”
She reached over and patted his hand. “I would wish you luck, but I have a feeling that even luck will not help you with Adrienne. She is definitely not going to be happy with me for even offering you this advice, but I will give it to you anyway. What you need to do is grovel. I don’t mean down on the knees, begging. I mean being honest and sincere with the apology, and be willing to accept whatever she wishes to dole out to you. You hurt her badly. You hurt her more than a man, animal or not, has a right to do. No one should ever have to endure that sort of pain. And be warned, if you hurt her again, I will hunt you down personally and skin you, Savitar or no Savitar.”
“The last thing I want to do is hurt her again. Like I said, I never once meant to hurt her. I would rather chop off a limb or something than cause her any sort of pain.”
“That’s bullshit, and you know it, you sack of pieces of shit,” he heard a voice say behind him. The voice that haunted his dreams, that seemed to follow him through the years he was away. He spun around on the barstool and it was as if time had stood still.
Adrienne stood almost directly behind him, well, in front, as the case may be. Her gorgeous pale blue eyes were as sharp as diamonds, and she looked ready to kill. Besides looking murderous, she also looked absolutely amazing. Her black hair was pulled up into a basic ponytail with tendrils curling around her face, making her eyes even more striking. Her long legs were encased in a pair of dark wash denim jeans that looked to be made just for her. She wore a basic polo shirt in black with pink stripes that hugged her chest, with a few of the buttons undone, showing Osias, and any male in the room, ample cleavage that begged a man to taste.
He growled a growl that would have usually made Adrienne back up, if she wasn’t so pissed off. Instead it just seemed to make her even more angry at him, if that was even possible. “You need to take that shit somewhere else. You have no rights to even attempt to get jealous.”
Osias got off the barstool and stood almost chest to chest with Adrienne. Given he was at least six inches taller than Adrienne, she was forced to crane her head back or else be forced to stare at his chest. Impressive it might be, that was the last thing she wanted to do at this point in time.
Dev and Aimee were prepared to come to her rescue, but Nicolette held them back. This was something that needed to happen, something both Osias and Adrienne need to go through. There were things they needed to get off their chests and voice. While both would most likely prefer it to be done somewhere more private, the time had come and it was on.
“Jealous? You think I’m jealous? Are you out of your mind? Why would I be jealous?”
Adrienne scoffed. “Oh, that’s right. Thank you oh so much for reminding me. You never really would have a reason to be jealous. You never considered anything happening, and if you did, the idea obviously turned your stomach. God knows you turned tail and ran fast enough when I suggested it.”
Osias growled a feral growl. He reached up and threaded his fingers in her hair. He pulled her up flush against him. He ground his lips to hers, pouring every emotion that was in his heart into it. He gentled the kiss and used his free hand to rest at the small of her back, pressing her closer to him.
Adrienne’s arms reached up to curve around his neck, holding fast and hard. She opened her mouth when she felt his tongue requesting entry. She sighed audibly as their bodies instinctively pressed closer.
The Howlers struck up a new song, “Savin’ Me”, an amazing Nickelback cover, the same one that Acheron sang to his bride. Osias never even noticed the music, just the lyrics, and realized how perfectly that they fit how he felt for Adrienne. Figures now would be when he realized it, but it was worth the lateness. Adrienne was definitely saving him, in more ways than one. To make her realize that, acknowledge it, and accept it, though, was going to be harder than he could ever even imagine.
Osias barely heard the throat being cleared near him, but he did feel the tapping on his shoulder. Gently pulling his mouth from Adrienne’s, he looked over at the tapper, a violent look in his eyes, along with the obvious desire Adrienne aroused.
He saw Dev with a half-grin on his face. Adrienne immediately dropped her arms from Osias and tried to pull away. Osias arms held strong. She didn’t fight the hold, and it was obvious to those that knew her that while she might not be fighting, and that the arms did make her more than a little happy, she hadn’t completely and totally forgiven Osias for what he’d done. Not by a long shot.
“What do you want, Dev?” Osias asked, icily. He was seriously not happy being interrupted with Adrienne. He would have preferred to have drug her off to some deserted island and continued proving to her, once and for all, that the thought of being with her, in any fashion, definitely did not turn his stomach. Far from it, in fact. The idea of being loved by her drove him insane and that was why he had had to leave New Orleans all those years ago.
Dev snorted at the attitude. The bear couldn’t really blame the panther for it either. If it was him, he’d be the exact same way, maybe even a little more violent. Actually, much more violent. He did bear the heart of animal, after all.
“Just wanted to let you know that you’ve got the attention of the crowd, and we’d prefer to do without the show. Try a closet or, you know, somewhere private.”
Dev looked at Adrienne with a soft look in his eyes, and cupped her cheek. Wistfully, he told her, “He hurts you, he’s dead. He makes you happy, and I’ll wish I could kill him, but you know, I’d rather not deal with Aimee and Mama. For some reason, they think that would hurt you.” He’d added the last part with a smile, but with a sad, almost forlorn look in his eyes.
Adrienne pulled herself out of Osias’s arms, jerkily. She started to shake as if someone had poured cold water on her. Dev saw the look in her eye, hid a grin and made fast work to the other side of the bar. There was about to be another throw down and this time, it was doubtful that Osias would walk away with anything besides his ears ringing.
Osias looked at Adrienne with a cocky grin on his face. No matter what Adrienne tried to say, there was absolutely no denying that she had enjoyed the kiss, and that she still wanted him.
“You stupid rat bastard! You think that will convince me that you’re not jealous. How moronic are you really? My gods, I must be the stupidest creature to ever walk the face of this planet. To think that I’d ever want something to do with you again has to mean that I’ve lost whatever little mind I had left. Fuck you, Osias! Fuck you and the horse you rode in on. Get lost, get bent, get whatever, just leave me out of it.”
Osias held back a laugh. Adrienne was always good at using words to her advantage. Instead, he looked at her, right in her eyes, and said, “zaz echaza, Adrienne.”
He did laugh when she swung at him, at least until the dodge meant that he missed the second flying fist that came right at his abdomen. He made an “oomph” sound, as pain spread through his stomach area.
“Holy fuck, Adrienne. All I said was that I miss you and you deck me. What the fuck, girl?”
“You should be glad that’s all I did, you sorry sack of shit. You tell me you miss me after you ran out on me? You’re lucky I didn’t lop off your dick, or your head, or whatever. You sure as hell deserve it.” She glared at him.
“AHH!!” she shrieked loud enough to draw the attention of a few patrons. She ignored them as she tossed her hands up in the air and walked out the door. Once she was sure he didn’t follow, and that no one was around, she flashed herself to her house.

Osias took a deep breath as he watched Adrienne leave the bar. He looked over at a male patron who was watching raptly, and jokingly said, “Well, damn, that could have gone better, couldn’t it?”The man laughed and went back to his conversation with the other man at his table, as Osias had planned. Osias walked out of the bar, and headed down the street. Instead of just transporting himself to his hotel room, he decided to walk. A nice easy way to clear his head, and try and figure out his next move.

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