Sage Eagle came back and climbed back into the driver’s seat. “Me and my squaw!” he seethed. “That’s like saying him and his bitch!”
Phoenix couldn’t answer.
His hand took hers. “Are you okay?” he asked.
“Let’s just get out of here,” Phoenix begged, shaking. Even though Frank was gone now, she couldn’t keep the fear from overtaking her.
He looked at her a few times as they drove, but she couldn’t say anything. Frank spoiled everything – he always had.
“Sounds like they’re going to go to a casino next. I hope they lose everything!” Sage Eagle joked, but Phoenix still couldn’t answer.
He looked at her, concern clear in his eyes. She tried to smile, but she couldn’t. She needed to know that she would be okay… and safe from Frank, who had clearly not stopped looking for her and now he knew that she was somewhere near Rawlins – thanks to the paperwork already served.
Just outside of Rawlins, Sage Eagle broke the silence. “He implied he’d rape you. Did he do that to you?”
“Yes,” she replied quietly, the tears flooding her eyes. She felt so ashamed – worse than when Jade Wolf had tried to take advantage of her.
“Kwitta!” he cried, pulling the van off the road into a nearby park. He turned off the engine. “I didn’t know… Did you think I…?”
Phoenix shook her head quickly. “No… I know it just happened between us, but that happened out of mutual desire.”
“Good,” he replied, sounding relieved. “I don’t want to hurt you.”
“What Frank did was very different…,” Phoenix replied. She described the final night she was at home with him – when she realized that she had to leave. She sobbed as she related the situation.
She hardly noticed Sage Eagle’s arms around her, holding her close, rocking her soothingly.
“What he did was wrong. He was no partner! Tell me how to make things better.”
“Just love me,” she replied, wanting her dream to be real. Nothing else would matter then.
He took her mouth again, kissing her harder, more desperately again. He guided her backwards again and quickly pulled her pants off. He pushed her thighs open and pumped back into her, harder than before. Her legs went around him as quickly as she could, happily accepting his gift of passion and love, except this time, he’d forgotten the little foil packet from the glove compartment. Phoenix didn’t dare remind him, she wanted him – all of him. If that meant an extra mouth to feed in nine months, she’d happily pay the price.
“I think I have a problem,” Sage Eagle said, as he withdrew.
“What?” She wondered if he remembered the neglected prophylactic with regret.
“I can’t keep away from you now,” he admitted.
“We’d better get dressed before someone wants to know why we’re parked here – and better get that fish home...”
“Yes,” Phoenix said, getting up with him, but engaging him in another kiss.
They were relatively quiet going back to Swan Valley. She sat snug against Sage Eagle and kept thinking about their lovemaking – it was better than thinking about Frank. Would she become pregnant? Did he love her enough to marry her? Except she was still married to Frank by law. What next?
He must have been thinking something along the same lines because he held her hand more often than not. “Your earthship is done,” he said as they turned off onto the drive to Swan Valley.
“Yes. Thank you for your part in that. I’m forever in your debt.”
“I don’t want you in my debt,” he replied, holding her hand again. “I want you in my life.”
“I’m staying in Ba’a O’ng,” she reminded him.
“I just thought… maybe you’d like me to be in your earthship too...”
Phoenix wasn’t sure what he was suggesting. She hoped that maybe he wanted to live with her. But she didn’t want to say that – far too scary.
“Back there at the park, I forgot to put on a condom. Did you notice?”
“Yes,” she replied guiltily.
“And you didn’t say anything. Are you taking anything?”
“Which means you gave yourself to me completely. You risked everything – even having a brown-skinned baby. MY brown-skinned baby,” he said, putting his arm around her and holding her closer, if that was possible.
“Yes,” Phoenix replied, hoping he wasn’t angry.
“Jade Wolf implied that you might have refused him because of his race.”
“No!” she protested. “I refused him because of what Freya told me… I mean, Fair Tortoise… and I shouldn’t have said anything!”
“What?” he asked, stopping the van again, just before the welcome sign.
Phoenix sighed. “I feel bad now – she told me not to tell anyone else.”
“I would be grateful if you told me – as the future chieftain.”
She sighed again and shared some of what Freya had told her – about how she knew she was infertile as well as the twins she’d adopted.
“I should drive him out of Ba’a O’ng!” Sage Eagle exasperated. “But Dancing Bear says his karma will be upon him soon. For the sake of all young women, I hope she’s right!”
“She usually is.”
“So, today, you said nothing… and if you conceive?”
“I’m not afraid to be a single mother again.”
He nodded. “There was a time, you know, when such things meant one had to get married, but this isn’t that time. But...”
“I don’t want you to feel obligated,” she said quickly.
“It would be my baby too, you know.”
“Of course. I would never cut you out.”
“Coonagwi, I want to marry you. I would like to live with you in your earthship and share your bed every night. I would give you brown-skinned babies until you told me that you’d had enough!”
“Really?” she asked, looking at Sage Eagle, hardly believing what she’d heard.
“Really!”He got out and pulled her out after him. He knelt before her and looked up, his eyes of liquid chocolate irresistible. Phoenix’s breath caught as she understood what was happening. “My Coonagwi, who had to rebirth herself from the ashes of ruin. Marry me.”
She nodded her head, the tears dribbling down her cheeks as he stood and held her against him.
“Obviously, you have to finish your divorce first, but...”
“Dancing Bear said that spiritually, I was never married. I love you, Sage Eagle.”
“I love you, my Phoenix. I will kiss those tears away,” he promised, kissing her cheeks. “I think we’d better hurry. I want to try out your bedroom!”
Phoenix smiled. “Our bedroom, if you like.”
“In many ways, we married today,” he explained as they drove the final stretch of their journey. “We married in Rawlins, then more completely at the park. If the gods bless us, we will have a little January present to celebrate our union with.”
“I hope so, Kwina!” she replied knowing that she wanted it too.
Back to the prologue
Available to purchase at Books2Read. Print version will be available soon.
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Previous Swan Valley Stories:
- Native Concession either in ebook form or [print]( . (June 2014, approximately 9 months before Phoenix.)
Swan Valley is a fictitious American Indian reservation located in the Great Divide Basin of Wyoming, USA. The Neme'o'ng (Swan People) are based on the idea of blending the Shoshoni and Arapaho peoples - as might have happened if they were stranded in a desolate area as a small band of misfits. I have developed their language from the same ideas.
Please read my note on romance, teenage intimate relationships and underage sex. I apologize if my understanding conflicts with your sense of morality, but I'm only looking at things realistically, not ideologically. I hope you enjoy reading as much as I enjoy writing!
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