Dancing Slowly in an Empty Room – The Stock Show, the Aftermath, Silver and Conrad, Saige and Samuel Continue to Get Closer
Conrad woke up to the snowy flickering TV screen and the sound of static. He raised his head and looked at Silver, who was laying on her side, her body pressed against his and her hands pressed together under her cheek. She always looked so innocent when she was sleeping and now she appeared to be sleeping soundly. He watched her for a few minutes, thinking back to when they were together and how they fell asleep like this almost every night. He smiled, remembering the way she’d laughed the first time she watched Drawn Together with him. He rested his head on hers, his free hand on her hip and closed his eyes. She’d probably been the shortest relationship he’d ever had, lasting only a week. But it had been a hell of a week. When it was over, the anger and bitterness had lasted a hell of a lot longer than the relationship. He’d loved her and she hadn’t even known it until it was over because they hadn’t lasted long enough for him to tell her.
Conrad took a breath and leaned over her, reaching for the remote, stopping when Silver turned over in his arms so he didn’t wake her up. He waited for her to settle back into sleep again only to find himself looking into her sleepy eyes. She smiled lazily up at him and he smiled back. Conrad forgot about the remote, moving his hand back to her hip as he leaned in and kissed her. She responded, wrapping herself around him and Conrad fell back into her as easily as he ever did.
Samuel walked into the apartment after checking on the horses one last time for the night, being careful to tread quietly so he didn’t disturb anyone. As he passed the spare bedroom that served as an office, he could hear the murmured voices of Aiden and Ava. He couldn’t make out what they were saying, but he knew them well enough to know they were talking about their future, that Aiden was probably saying all the things he couldn’t or wouldn’t say to her when other people were around. Genja had taken Kendra back to his hotel room and Bree was sleeping in the guest house along with Seth and Lia. In the living room, he could see Silver’s silhouette framed by the snowy TV in the background. She was sitting up, her head thrown back, long hair cascading behind her and her body moving slowly in an easily recognizable dance. The couch blocked his view of Conrad until he sat up and wrapped his arms around her. Silver looked down at him and smiled. She took Conrad’s face in her hands and kissed him deeply in a gesture so intimate, Samuel felt like he was intruding. He slipped quickly into his room where he found Heather waiting for him.
A little while later, when the apartment was deathly still, Samuel knew everyone was finally asleep. He slipped out of bed, pulled on his jeans and went back into the living room where he found Conrad and Silver spooning on the couch. He wasn’t sure, but he thought he could see the slightest of smiles on their faces. Taking a moment, he covered their nakedness with a blanket and then walked out onto the back deck, leaving the doors open wide behind him.
Samuel leaned against the rail, his hands gripping it, barefoot and bare-chested, and looked out over the moonlit pasture below, his thoughts turning to the previous night’s events as he watched the sun begin it’s slow ascent over the horizon.
He thought about what Saige had said to him and the way it had affected him, the way she’d looked at him when she said it. He thought about the conversation with Taryn in the kitchen and what she’d said about the implications of the world tilting. He didn’t like it, but he had to admit she might not be entirely wrong. He just refused to believe she was entirely right. And the only reason he was willing to give any credence to it whatsoever was because of the way he’d reacted to what Genja had pulled with Saige. It had more than pissed him off. It had pushed him to a place where loyalty was a commodity and reason was on the endangered species list. And Genja had known, that son of a bitch. He’d known Samuel was going to come after him. That’s why he made them empty their guns; to cover his ass in case Samuel shot first and asked questions later. And for his part, Samuel had played right into it. Right in front of god and everyone. He should’ve known it was a set up when Genja relented so easily.
Samuel shook his head. He had no business protecting her. He had no business being around her at all. There was nothing there for him. He could be her friend, but she had friends and more than enough of them. And not a damn one of them could’ve protected her from someone like Genja. Hell. They couldn’t even protect her from herself. And here *his* friends had come along and taken matters into their own hands. When they were done with her, she wouldn’t need to be protected anymore. She wouldn’t need *him* anymore. And by then, maybe, it would be time to move on and he could do that without feeling obligated to stay, without guilt. He could move on and forget this place and everyone in it. Everyone but David and Taryn anyway.
Samuel watched the sky a little bit longer, then went in to make his coffee and get Achilles ready for his new morning routine before hitting the batting cages and heading to the stock show.