Pain like she would never wish on her worst enemy shot from the top of her head to the soles of her feet. Her brain couldn't even categorize it all. She hurt on the inside and the outside from injuries that her body had never experienced. She was thankful despite all of it, thankful to be alive.
Jan tried to sit up, but she couldn't. It hurt to move. She tried again. Pain made her eyes close, but she fought through it. Her left arm was trapped in the ground. It must have been extended when she hit. Most arms would have shattered into a thousand pieces, but not hers. It had burrowed straight down, but not without damage. Jan finally gritted her teeth and pulled her body upward. The blood had dried hard and acted like glue adhering dirt and leaves to the side of her face and head. She didn't know how much blood she had lost, but her head swam as she began to sit upright. She let out a thin yelp of pain as her arm started to slide from the channel it had created straight down. Jan nearly cried when she saw that her elbow was bent the wrong way. Beneath the dirt of the swamp was a solid layer of limestone. The force of Jan's arm had cracked the bedrock, but in the process her super hard bones and super strong ligaments had succumbed.
Jan cradled her arm, her body was shaking and tears streamed down her smeared face. She forced herself to hold her arm out from her body. She knew what she had to do, but it would take strength. She needed it now. With all that had happened, it wasn't hard for Jan to stoke the rage that was the core of her power. She felt it fill her muscles with super human strength. She would need it for what she had to do. She couldn't think about it. She just had to do it. She took her right hand and wrapped it around her left wrist. She took a firm grip, a grip so firm that it would have reduced a man's bones to powder. She let the power flow through her, then she jerked hard. The booming sound of Jan's resetting elbow was even louder than her long anguished scream, but it was done. Jan bent her left arm naturally a couple of times. She could feel her body healing although she was still in great pain. As the rush of it all settled and Jan's racing heart started to slow, she felt a strange sensation on her lower leg.
"You've got to be kidding me", she mumbled as she viewed a python that had already swallowed half of her right leg working to swallow more. She would have noticed it earlier, but this feeling had just melted into all the other pain she was feeling. Looking at the foreign invading snake work up her leg got her angry, really really angry. She leaned forward and took the snake around its trunk. The snake was so huge that even Jan's big hands couldn't wrap all the way around it. Her forearms hardened and Jan's face twisted in effort as she squeezed the snake as hard as she could. The tough body of the snake had no chance against Jan's super human strength. Blood began to leak between Jan's fingers then it squirted from the snake's body as Jan's fingers crushed the snake flat. With a violent yank Jan tore the snake apart, throwing its rear away into a nearby body of water. She took two fingers and worked them into the dead snake's mouth. Her arm hardened as she peeled this snake's body off of her leg. Its bodily fluids leaked onto her leg and the ground, but Jan wasn't squeamish. She was just glad to have it off of her.
She finally got unsteadily to her feet and looked around. Her shoes were gone, but that was the least of her troubles although she liked those shoes. She turned in a slow circle, trying in vain to block out the pain of her headache and all the rest of her injuries. With pain so complete, Jan couldn't even admire the wilderness around her. She just wanted to get out of here.
While she was turning, she saw her purse sticking from beneath the trunk of a recently fallen cypress tree. The tree was off the ground at a slight angle and her purse must have slid under it. Jan got to her knees and looked at the small pocket of space that her purse rested in under the large trunk of the cypress. With a glance she saw that the wallet holding her id and credit cards was still inside. That was actually good news. She slowly reached her still tender left arm out to grab hold of the purse that had very nicely complimented her cocktail dress before both had been ruined. Jan's fingertips touched the strap, but her shoulder also touched the tree. She had no way of knowing that it was perched precariously on a mound of peat. The massive trunk rolled forward and only Jan's quick reflexes kept her already injured arm from being caught beneath the tree as it rolled to the ground trapping her purse and its contents.
Jan's forehead sank to the soft soil as she lamented her personal situation. She finally sat on the ground and looked at the entire forty foot long trunk wondering how much it weighed. She got to her feet and worked her fingers under the tree. It wasn't so hard because her fingers just dug furrows through the dirt. When her hands were under the trunk, Jan let loose the power that fueled her strength. As big as this tree was, she was more than strong enough to move it. She could feel the strength coursing through her body. The always impressive muscles of her long athletic body flexed with inhuman clarity and power. Her calves burst with pure strength as her feet sank into the dank soil. Her knees shook as the first hints of striations formed on the heads of her quads. Her back and shoulders got into the action as well. Jan's left arm hurt like it was being torn off, and all of her muscles were sore and cramping like never in her life, but she kept at it. Her face was a mask of pure strain as the dense tree trunk rose from the suction of the mud beneath it. Jan's breath came in short pants as she leaned into the effort.
The tree rose higher, and Jan power up her arms to get it higher still. Her legs were straightening, but her arms were lagging behind. She took a deep breath and held it before pulling up harder. Jan's super peaked biceps got harder and denser and stronger. She was curling the weight of the entire tree with just the power in her biceps. She was almost there.
"Ahh!!!", Jan yelled as she tried to straighten her legs and push the tree over away from her. She was just high enough to clear the small mound of peat that had held the tree before. The pain in her left arm was beyond excruciating, but Jan's tolerance of pain had always been more than human. She could take the pain, but her body was simply too broken to sustain this effort for long.
Jan began to shake all over, and without warning she felt a sizzle and pop in her head. Her muscles went slack and the tree fell to the ground. Jan splashed down in a puddle holding her head with both of her muddy hands. She tried to keep very still as the world spun around her for several seconds. When it was over Jan saw that her nose had bled. With the near fainting spell passed, she looked at the tree sitting in the same place where it had been before she'd started. Part of her wanted to leave the purse and its contents there trapped for decades beneath the slowly decaying trunk of a type of tree that rotted like mountains erode. She crawled next to the tree that suddenly looked like it weighed as much as a mountain. With all that had happened since the night before, Jan broke down and cried with her head lying on the thick trunk. Just like most other moisture, her tears simply rolled off the cypress' trunk. Jan wasn't the type of person who felt sorry for herself, but as she mentally listed her problems this morning, she couldn't really think of a silver lining to this situation. She was sad and blindingly angry at the same time. If Martin DeBraya had been standing in front of her, she would have literally torn him to pieces… if she could have maintained use of her super strength for that long. She could feel the heat and rage of her power running unchecked through her as she cried and banged her fists against the unyielding trunk of the tree, but it didn't make her feel better. She'd had her super strength back for several weeks now, but what good it was doing her. It hadn't helped her when she had been pushed from a helicopter by a normal man. It hadn't helped her when she hit the ground and now it couldn't even help her get her purse. Then as her right hand hit the trunk one last time, she heard a loud CRACK!
Jan blinked away tears to see that she's broken the trunk right across its width with her repeated jackhammer like blows. She would have chuckled if her right arm hadn't now been hurting nearly as badly as her left. She went to the other side of the tree and dug her feet into the mud hoping to find something solid as she gathered her strength and pushed. She prayed that she had enough in her to do what she planned. The muscles in Jan's long, perfectly sculpted legs flexed in their grime covered glory for the split second it took to push the top half of the tree off of her purse. The half of tree moved with relative ease since she'd pushed it with all she had in the tank.
Jan doubled over after the effort and forced down several deep breaths before she managed to open her eyes and look at her purse. It lay there untouched by the trunk of the tree itself. She picked it up and saw that everything in it was there and intact. She took one step and noticed her phone sitting near the top of the tree that she'd just broken in half and moved. It had smashed into a dozen pieces when it hit the ground, but Jan gathered the pieces and put them in her purse. She was sure Alisha would be able to salvage her numbers and contacts off of it.
With everything recovered, except her shoes, Jan squinted at the sky until she realized that she was facing east. That wasn't much help since she had no idea where she was, or which way she should go. She started walking south east, but she wasn't making much progress. The swamp was thick. The ground was rugged, and her feet often got stuck in the soft mud. She had only gone a few hundred yards from where she'd landed when she came to the shore of a shallow lake. She put her purse on bank and waded into it. The cool water was a shock to her sore muscles, but in a good way. When she was a ways out, she dunked her head under the surface and washed as much mud and muck off as she could. It was refreshing and when she was somewhat clean of blood and other fluids, she started towards the shore. She stopped and turned when she heard some splashing.
A man in a canoe was heading her way. He canoed the glades at least a couple of times a week. He had seen all sorts of things on his trips into the swamp, but he'd never seen anything like this before. He frowned as he rounded a clump of trees and saw a tall beautiful woman silhouetted by the early morning sun. He had never seen a shape to match hers, long, lean, graceful and sexy. She was standing in the lake wearing a dress. All sorts of questions entered his mind, but he didn't even know which of those questions to ask. It didn't matter. Jan moved towards him and flagged him down.
Jan saw the man and knew that this might be her way out. She just hoped that he didn't paddle away from the strange woman standing in the lake as fast as he could. She shouldn't have worried about that.
He came up on the woman and only when he was close did he notice her obvious injuries and that her dress which looked so nice from a distance was actually torn and ripped. This young woman needed help, and he'd been raised to always help where he could.
"Sir", Jan began. Her voice was hoarse and small compared to normal. "Could you help me find a phone?" She had a joke on the tip of her tongue to break the ice, but she had no humor in her at the moment.
The man agreed to help her without much convincing. After retrieving her purse, he helped her into his canoe and off they went. Jan just hoped that he was an honest Good Samaritan. She was in no shape to fight anybody right now. She shook off bad thoughts. She wasn't angry with anybody other than Martin DeBraya. She turned to her left and looked at the man as he paddled them through the still waters of the pristine lake. He looked to be in his late 30's or early 40's with dark hair cut short under his baseball cap. He had a strong stocky build that hinted that he was used to living an outdoorsman's life. "I'm Jan", she announced.
"Wayne", he said and never stopped paddling. "How'd you get way out here, Jan? There aren't any roads. Did you fall out of the sky?"
Jan managed her first smile of the day. "Good guess."
He chuckled, thinking that she didn't want to talk about what had obviously been a bad night. Wayne worked the paddle like a pro and looked at the beauty of the nature around him. It kept him from staring at Jan. Even through the bruising and injuries, she was stunning. Wayne wondered who could do this to a young woman like her. He finally stopped paddling and pulled the canoe onto the bank behind a worn looking building. He helped his passenger to dry land. She was still unsteady on her feet, so she had to lean against him to get her balance once she stepped onto the ground. He was surprised by the feel of her body when her arm tensed under his grasp. Just beneath her skin was a core had hard unyielding muscle like he'd never felt on a woman before.
"This is my grandfather's place", he said. "Please come inside. He has a phone and a place for you to clean up if you want."
"That would be great", Jan told him as she worked her way up the stairs into the building. She was so tired, and every joint in her body protested the slightest movement. Once inside, she found out that the building housed a store that sold authentic Seminole crafts. Wayne's grandfather came from the front of the store. He paused in the doorway and looked at Jan. She had taken a seat near the entrance, too tired to go much further than that. The old man was shorter than Wayne, with long snow white hair and bowed legs. He wasn't stooped by age though. Instead he stood tall and proud as one of the few unconquered people of North America. The vest he wore was adorned with beads of all colors and shapes. He shimmered as he came up to her. The closer he got the narrower his eyes became like he was looking into a light. That passed when he reached out and shook her hand.
"You are safe here", were the first words out of the old man's mouth.
For some reason that made Jan feel better. She exhaled and looked at the old man more closely. He wore his years well, but the lines on his face told a story. Every fold and wrinkle came with a story about hard earned wisdom and knowledge. Jan was usually strong, commanding, and nearly invulnerable. He was far past his physical prime, but as she looked into his dark eyes she knew the truth of what he had said. So long as she was there, nothing would come against her.
"Sir, can I use your phone?"
He smiled. "Call me Otis. And of course you can."
He lead Jan behind his counter and pulled the phone off the shelf. She picked up the receiver then hesitated. Who should she call? She decided to call the home number. It only rang once before a desperate voice answered, "Hello."
"Taylor", Jan began, suddenly unable to hold back the tear that had been welling in her left eye. It was good to hear a familiar voice.
"Jan! Are you okay?"
Jan opened her mouth to scream that no she wasn't okay. She wanted to tell her cousin that she'd been dropped from a helicopter and that her body hurt all over, but she couldn't tell her cousin that. Instead she said in a weary voice, "I'm at a store outside the reservation. Just come get me." Jan got more precise directions from Wayne.
"I'm on my way", Taylor exclaimed once she knew where to go. She hung up before Jan could say anything else. She rolled her eyes. She wondered how much grief she was going to get from Taylor who would probably go on about how great a time she'd had in Miami.
Wayne walked back into the room holding an armful of folded cloths. "We have a shower in the back if you care to use it."
"Oh, thank you so much."
Wayne extended the cloths towards her. "These belong to my daughter. She's a freshman at Miami. She's tall, not quite as tall as you, but these should fit."
Jan accepted the clothes. It had been a long time since she'd had to receive charity from anybody. "I can't thank you enough", she said to Wayne as he went back outside to do some work.
The hot water of the shower felt great on her skin, but Jan's body hurt deep inside. All of the sudden she felt nauseous and it caused her to double over in pain. She leaned out of the shower over the toilet and wretched. Her stomach content was mixed with dark nearly black blood. She coughed and gagged as more dried blood was forced from her lungs. She wiped her face and slowly got back in the shower.
After her shower Jan got dressed in the denim shorts, a yellow t-shirt, and some brand new thong sandals from the store. She walked out of the washroom to find Otis sitting at a table waiting on her with two steaming cups of tea. "I thought you might be thirsty."
She was. Ever since she'd come from the swamp she'd been thirsty like she'd been in a desert. She sat down and took the hot cup. She wasn't sure what kind of tea it was, but it rolled down her throat and soothed her stomach. "This is great. Thank you."
Otis inclined his head but didn't say a word. He drank his tea and Jan drank hers. They sat in silence, enjoying the view of the lake from the back window until Jan struck up conversation. She knew that it was at least a couple of hours from Palm Beach to where she was, so she wasn't expecting Taylor to arrive any time soon. In the time they spoke, Jan learned more about the history of Florida than in all of her years in school. Their talk was too brief because about an hour after she'd hung up the phone, Jan heard Taylor's high powered Porsche pull to the front of the building.
"Man that was fast", Jan observed mostly to herself. Taylor must have broken a land speed record to get here. Jan had long since finished off the tea. She set the cup on the table and tried to gather herself to see Taylor. She was sure Taylor would comment on her appearance in a non-flattering way. Jan rounded the corner just as Taylor quickly pulled open the door. It was Jan who was more jarred by Taylor's appearance. Her hair was a mess. Her eyes were puffy, moist, and red. Her face was streaked with tears both dried and recent. Her astonishing beauty was hidden beneath the weight of her emotions and brooding guilt, but the look of foreboding worry melted from Taylor's anxious face as soon as she saw Jan standing in the doorway. She thought a quick prayer of thanks then rushed across the store and threw her arms around her cousin. Jan winced at the embrace. Every part of her body hurt. She was trying to put on a brave face, but it would take time even for her body to repair this much damage.
"I was worried about you", Taylor spoke in Jan's ear. That had been an understatement. When Jan hadn't come back home, and when about fifty calls to her phone had gone unanswered, Taylor had been inconsolable. No one had been able to convince Taylor that she hadn't made the worst mistake of her life by letting Jan go with Martin DeBraya. Heather had never seen her sister like that, but then Jan had called. It was like a cloud had been lifted from the household. Heather and Brice had been trying to explain to Taylor that Jan had probably had a few too many drinks, but Taylor had said that it was worse than that. She had been right.
"I'm fine, or I'll be fine", Jan told her but there wasn't much behind her words. Taylor had lots of questions, but Jan was in no shape to answer them. She pulled back reluctantly and wiped her face with a handkerchief from her pocket. Jan looked worse for wear, but at least she was in one piece. That was good enough for her, for now. Taylor saw Otis standing nearby and extended her hand. "I'm Taylor."
He got the strange look that Jan had seen earlier. This time he was looking at both of them. It went away when he shook Taylor's hand. "Call me Otis, and it's good to take care of your relatives and look after them the way that you do. If everybody cared as much as you do, think of how the world would be different."
Taylor didn't know what to say about that. "Thank you for helping Jan.", she said.
Just then Wayne walked inside from the work he'd been doing in the back. He paused when he saw Taylor and Jan standing next to each other. He got the same look that his grandfather'd had. Otis nodded approvingly at his grandson even if he had been a little slow to understand.
Jan explained how Wayne and Otis had helped her. Taylor thanked them and offered to give them money for their trouble, but Otis wouldn't hear of it. "We had the fortune of being able to help in some small way."
Taylor looked around the store and her eye caught a bracelet in the display case. "Well at least let me buy something."
Otis grinned. "What would you like?" Taylor pointed to the wonderfully crafted bracelet and Otis pulled it out of the display case carefully. "This is $50."
"Okay", Taylor said and pulled out some money from her pocket. She slipped the bracelet on her wrist as she and Jan walked out of the door.
Wayne went to the table to get the two tea cups to be washed. He lifted the one Jan had been drinking to his nose then ran his finger around the inside. "You gave her something?"
"I had to", Otis told his grandson. "She needed something to clear the mist and fog from her brain. She's a smart young woman, and she can't afford to be blinded by her situation. She'll sleep because she needs rest, and when she wakes up she'll be thinking clearly."
Wayne nodded at his grandfather's wisdom. "But what about the bracelet? That thing's been in the case since I was a child. You always say it's not for sale, but then you sell it like you couldn't wait to get rid of it."
"Did you ever think that perhaps I was waiting on the correct person to sell it to?" Otis chuckled and went to the register to put up the money Taylor had paid. She'd handed it to him wrapped up with $20 bills on the outside. When he unwrapped the spindle he saw two $100 bills in the middle. He smiled again and closed the drawer.
Taylor was angry for most of the drive away from the reservation and towards the house. She was relieved however and drove back at a sane pace. There was no need in pushing it now. Jan was right next to her, and she was safe. Taylor wanted to know what had happened the night before. It was easy to see that Jan wasn't right. She was drawn both physically and emotionally. That wasn't like Jan, and it was making Taylor more upset thinking about what had to have happened to make Jan like this. She felt like the top of her head was going to pop off until she heard Jan's weak voice ask, "Hey could you stop over there? I'm really thirsty." Jan knew that she must have lost a lot of blood because she always became extremely thirsty after she'd lost more than a few pints.
It took a moment for Taylor to drag herself into reality, but she turned into the drive-in. She pulled into the parking slot and looked over at Jan, who was having trouble keeping her eyes open. "What do you want?"
"I don't care. Just make it cold, wet, and big."
Taylor pushed the button and ordered two. It was still early, but she needed something to cool her down. She sort of wished that these drinks were a little more on the adult side. Jan was falling asleep while waiting for the drinks to come out. Taylor tried to think about the positives while she waited. After a few seconds she noticed the loud music blaring at the end of the row. At first she thought it was a car passing by, but no those guys were parked in a drop top mid 90's Camaro playing their tunes as loud as their crappy after market system could manage. They both looked to be in their early 20's and generally up to no good.
"Oh man they're back", one of the carhops said to another. "Go get Jerry."
Taylor tried to not pay attention to any of it, but obviously this wasn't the first time these guys had come here. While she was waiting, Taylor ordered herself some food to go along with the drinks. She'd asked Jan, but her cousin didn't want anything solid. Just the drinks. Taylor watched the carhops avoid the guys in the Camaro. The guys would reach for them and slap their butts, or blatantly rub against their breasts. The two guys pushed the ordering button over and over again just to try to order one of everything from the menu. The staff at the drive-in tried to put up with them until the passenger actually dragged a carhop into the car. She squealed and kicked as the two men took their chance to grope her properly. The manager Jerry came out and rushed up to the car. Jerry was about thirty pounds heavier than he had been in his prime, if he'd ever really had a prime. He was sweating despite the cool morning. His uniform had missed at least a couple of washes, but he came to his employee's defense.
"Let her go!", he yelled.
The two guys laughed at him, but in the process the carhop managed to pull herself out of their vehicle. She went to Jerry who pulled her behind him. "You guys get out of here now!", Jerry ordered, trying his best to sound like an authority.
They laughed again and the passenger jumped out of the car. His pants sagged. His t-shirt was oversized. His hat was on sideways and his swagger was completely manufactured. It scared the manager though. "Or what? What the fuck you gonna do chubby?" He laughed again and pushed Jerry back a couple of steps. "That's right you ain't gonna do shit."
"I'm gonna call the cops", Jerry retorted.
That made both men laugh. "We'll leave before the pigs get here", the driver said once he'd jumped from the car. "We'd leave, but we'd come back and wait for you. You won't like what we do when we catch you." The passenger pulled out a switch blade and pushed the trigger. The manager and the carhop jumped when the blade snapped into place. The color drained from their faces and they backed away not knowing what to do. "You want to be a hero today", the driver mocked. Then the passenger stepped to Jerry and gave him a shove hard enough to send the manager down to the pavement.
Taylor had seen enough. Head's turned with she got out of her car. It wasn't everyday that a smoking hot six foot tall blonde got out of a Porsche. She walked right up to the passenger and snatched the knife from his hand. He was too shocked at first to even react. She pushed the blade back into the handle and slipped the knife into her pocket. She stepped between the two hooligans and the manager. "I don't know what pissy beer you've been drinking or what trailer park you climbed out of, but you two better get going before I beat you like your mothers should have." Her tone was so condescending that both men turned red in the face. They looked at each other not sure how to react. She had taken control just that quickly. Neither of them could have voiced that, but they both felt it. The initiative was with her, and instinctively they knew that they had to get it back.
They looked her up and down taking in every inch of her perfect body. Neither had seen a woman to match her, not in a magazine, or on the net, and certainly not in person. They began to grin as their eyes rose, but when they looked at her stunning face there was a moment of pause. Her eyes were burning like two atomic bombs had gone off behind her azure irises. Only then did they notice how this woman dominated the space making them seem like little boys in comparison. The driver got his wits first. He wasn't about to get punked out by some bitch.
"Give my boy back his knife before you get fucked up."
Taylor laughed at him then turned to the passenger. "Fuck up? By you two? Please."
The driver got angry and stepped quickly to Taylor's face. He pressed against her, trying to force her back, but instead she stood her ground. He felt her body harden as she resisted his force with force. He leaned in more and Taylor had to lean in too in order to keep her balance. They were nose to nose. He was as angry as a bull as he looked into her stormy blue eyes. "You talk massive shit, bitch. Think you can back it up?!", he hissed, imagining busting her face in while he spoke.
"Why don't you stop talkin and find out."
Sitting in the car Jan opened her eyes and blinked a couple of times before noticing that Taylor wasn't next to her. She forced herself up quickly and looked out the window as some guy threw a hard punch right at her cousin's head. Jan was shocked and puzzled at first, but that changed to fear as the punch flew at Taylor's unprotected head. He was doing everything all wrong. Taylor was going to destroy this guy. No sooner had that the thought formed in her mind than Jan saw her cousin lean back, allowing the man's punch to fly past her face before she unleashed a punch of her own. Like a flash of lightning and as hard as an anvil her punch hit the driver right in the mouth. He staggered back towards his Camaro. His hands went instantly to his mouth as he tried to stem the steady flow of blood from his busted lips.
The ensuing fight was short, spirited, and very one sided. While the driver was staggered and bleeding, his friend tried to avenge him. The passenger ran at Taylor from the side and threw a haymaker like he wanted to knock her head clean off. Instead she ducked. He did manage to hit some unruly hairs that hadn't gone down fast enough. While she was crouched, she loaded up her right arm and sent it forward like a missile right to the center of this guy's stomach. The whooshing painful sound of all the air rushing from his lungs was actually kind of sad, but his dry heaving on the pavement a moment later was pretty funny. With two punches Taylor had taken down these self-proclaimed tough guys.
The driver wasn't finished yet. He shook off the pain of his busted lip and came at Taylor like a football player. She pirouetted and let him pass like a matador would do a bull. When he went by her, she raised her leg and kicked him right in the ass. He fell forward knocking over some chairs set up by the front of the drive-in. The patrons laughed as he struggled to get to his feet. Taylor turned to the passenger who had gotten to a knee.
"I'm gonna kill you!! You fucking cunt!", he yelled.
"You should watch your mouth", Taylor told him in her most superior sounding manner. "Your mother should have taught you better manners."
"AHHH!!!", the passenger yelled and lunged at Taylor with bad intentions on his mind. Taylor let him come to within arm's reach. He threw a big punch that would have been off target had she stayed still. He threw two more anger fueled punches, shouting obscenities with each miss. Finally Taylor drew her arm back. It was easy to see the stored power in her hardening shoulder and back muscles before she unleashed it on the passenger's face. She hadn't closed her fist though. Her open hand was the size of the entire side of his face and she'd made contact like Babe Ruth on a lazy pitch. The sound echoed across the entire parking lot. His head spun like a top and his body followed. He corkscrewed to the ground. His hand went to his burning and throbbing face. From the ground he looked up with Taylor with a tear in his eye. She smiled at him, and a red seething rage went through him. He came at her with all he had.
His friend had recovered from his fall and came at her too. She sidestepped the attempted blow to the back of her head from the driver and sent a backhand punch to his jaw. The passenger tried to hit her twice with big punches. Taylor had great body control and she suckered him in closer and closer until at the right time her right arm shot forward from her hip. SMACK!!! Right against the other side of the passenger's face. He stumbled no longer able to keep the tears from running from his eyes. She drew back and slapped him again and again and again from the left and the right, from below and above so many times and so hard that by the time he collapsed to the pavement his face was bruised and swollen from her open handed blows. He was balling openly now. "Please please don't hit me again!", he cried like a six year old.
Taylor turned her attention to the driver, just in time. He had managed to get a chair loose from the chain and he held it over his head trying to bash Taylor with it. He saw her face twist in annoyance, but only for a split second. The next thing he saw was stars when Taylor punched him in the exact same spot she'd hit him before. He lost his balance and the chair fell harmlessly to the ground. She stalked him, and buried a fist into his guts deep before a crushing overhand left put the driver down to one knee. A right hand knocked him next to his buddy. He put his hands up in a weak defense and a final surrender. Taylor didn't pay attention. She stepped forward and punched him again. This blow wasn't nearly as hard as the rest, but it was solid. He cried out, but she hit him again. "No more please", the driver mumbled through rapidly swelling lips.
Taylor sighed and squatted down near them. Both men flinched when she reached towards them, but instead of hitting them, she pointed her fingers. "Now if you want me to stop smacking you", she said to the passenger. "And to stop punching you in the mouth", she said to the driver. "Then apologize to the people you've been tormenting."
"We're sorry", both of them said quickly.
"Are either of you ever going to come here again?", she asked like a teacher to unruly kids.
"No no, we're sorry. We won't come back. Ever."
Taylor looked over her shoulder at the manager and the carhop who stood smiling from ear to ear even if they were still slightly shocked as well.
"And now, it's time for you to go." She took them by the shirts and straightened her legs. Then both men got a good look at the power of the arms that had been hitting them. Taylor's biceps rose from the sleek athletic contour of her arm forcing their way to a hard peak. From so close they watched the fibers of her muscles gather and bunch into that peak that rose up like a mountain on her otherwise sleek arm. They would have been awed by her triceps too, but they weren't getting most of the load this time. Instead they were wide eyed and aroused by Taylor's perfect hunk of bicep. Small veins and arteries pulsed under her smooth skin.
Their butts were off the ground when the first hints of striations sliced across her thickening biceps. The muscle caps on her deltoids danced like a ballet as they took the weight of the two men. Both men nearly lost their faculties when they realized that despite the beating that this gorgeous woman had given them, that she had been toying around. Her muscles were just now getting slightly pumped. Neither of them had even made her sweat. She could have beaten them into hamburger if she'd wanted to. Her muscles revealed themselves as she came to her full height. Their eyes were almost out of their heads as she finally got them to their feet. Like a goddess of myth, Taylor stood over them as they got into the car.
While the driver turned the ignition Taylor reached into her back pocket and pulled out money folded once. She counted out some bills and tossed them into the car. The guys didn't know what to make of the money. "You guys buy some bandages and get yourselves cleaned up. Now go."
Taylor watched them leave before she turned around and started towards her car. The entire staff at the drive-in started clapping and some of the patrons did too. Taylor grinned and went to her car. When she got there, her order was waiting. She reached into her pocket again, but Jerry shook his head. "No. This one's on the house."
Taylor settled into her car, greeted by a frown on Jan's face. Taylor ignored it and handed her cousin the large drink that she'd wanted. Taylor took a bite of her sandwich before starting her car and pulling into traffic.
"What was that about?", Jan asked. "Just felt like beating up two guys who couldn't have laid a hand on you?"
"Yeah kinda", Taylor admitted and lifted a stray piece of lettuce from her blouse and tossed it out the window. "Those guys were asking for an ass whipping, and I needed to let off some steam." She paused and thought back to how worried she had been about Jan the night before. She didn't want Jan to know just how worried she had been, so after a sigh she continued, "It seemed like a perfect situation to me. Why would I want to let something that go to waste?"
Jan shook her head. "I can't believe you're talking like this. You shouldn't just beat people up because you can."
"And why not? Those guys had it coming, might as well have come from me. I paid them for their trouble."
"Oh and that makes it all okay? You gave them some money and now that washes your hands?"
Taylor looked over at Jan for a second before realizing that her cousin was serious. "I can't believe that you of all people are trying to lecture me about beating the shit out of people, Miss Jan 'I will fight at the drop of a hat' Caufield. Those two guys should be glad that I kicked their asses and not you. You probably would have sent them to the hospital."
"No I wouldn't have. Who knows, I might have even tried to reason with them."
Taylor looked at Jan and laughed so hard that she nearly spit out a french fry. "Would you have reasoned with a left hook or a right cross?"
"Oh shut up!", Jan complained.
Taylor continued laughing. "Or maybe you would have kicked them into submission. Reasoned with them! I can't believe you'd even say that. I know that I have more money than patience, but you're way worse than me. With you, those guys wouldn't have had a chance."
That made Jan chuckle. Taylor heard her blow bubbles into her drink. Taylor kept going. "Yeah Jan, you would have beat the hell out of them for sure, and be honest, you wouldn't have given them a dollar to buy a bandage even if you had a pocket full of money."
Jan leaned back in the seat and laughed. "Stop it!"
"Yeah, you know I'm telling the truth. They looked like scared children when I was through with them, but if you'd been the one giving the beating they would have looked like human crash test dummies. And just to show off after you were finished, you would have picked them up and dumped them upside down in the Camaro before dusting your hands and walking off."
Jan was laughing and nodding now. She could actually imagine herself doing something like that. Taylor knew her too well. "Okay, you win just don't make me laugh anymore. It hurts."
The sounds of humor died down in the car and after a couple of miles the smile had fallen from Taylor face completely. She glanced over at Jan and she wasn't able to stop herself this time. "Are you going to tell me what happened to you last night?"
Jan had finished her drink, but she slurped the melting ice water from the bottom of the cup. "I had a really bad night and ended up in the middle of the swamp."
Taylor's fingers gripped the wheel tightly. Jan felt the tension returning to her cousin's body. She finally got herself under control enough to ask, "Did they assault you… sexually?"
Taylor inwardly cringed at asking that question because she feared the answer. She wouldn't have been able to control herself if the answer was yes, but Jan answered, "No, it wasn't like that at all."
A tear stung Taylor's eye as she turned to look at Jan. "Would you tell me the truth?", she asked, trying to hold back a sob.
Jan took Taylor's hand. "I always tell you the truth. And it's not your fault what happened last night. I'm an adult and I can make my own bad decisions without anybody's help." She smiled and gave Taylor's hand a squeeze. Taylor squeezed back. "I'll be okay", Jan said. "Granted I won't take anymore helicopter rides with Martin DeBraya or his people, but I just need some rest. I'll be good as new."
Taylor didn't like Jan's evasive answers, but they would do for now. Jan was safe, and that was all that really mattered to her at the moment. Even finding out what had happened was put on the back burner.
Jan felt Taylor relax, but she also felt a twinge of guilt for not being able to tell Taylor the entire truth. Maybe this would be the time to do it. Maybe this was the time to tell her that she wasn't like other people, and that she had special abilities that made her different. Jan was a pretty courageous person, but not this brave. Telling Taylor would mean telling her entire family. She had Sara and Alisha for backup if that time came, but she wanted her mother, father, and brother there too. As she rode in the car, Jan made up her mind. When the rest of the Caufield Clan came down, she was going to tell the truth and stop hiding it from the people she loved. For better or for worse, Jan was going to come clean.
When Taylor pulled into the driveway, Jan had to force herself to wake up and walk into the house. She managed a smile for the people who had been worried about her, but she didn't linger. She went straight to her room and crashed on the bed. She was so tired she didn't even bother to get under the covers. A little while later her cousins came in to check on her. She was lying there in the canary yellow t-shit and denim shorts that she'd gotten from Wayne.
"We can't leave her like that", Heather said after looking at her for a moment. "She must have had a really hard night." She rapped her knuckles against her brother's chest a couple of times. "Here come help me." Brice and Heather lifted Jan up gently while Taylor pulled down the bed and covered her cousin after they'd laid her back down. They closed the blinds and carefully shut the door.
The three siblings looked at each other and Brice sighed. Something was going to happen. He knew his sisters well, and he could read them both like books even if no else really could. Brice knew that both Taylor and Heather had their reasons for not liking Martin DeBraya, and now they had a reason to show him just how much they didn't like him.
"What are you two going to do?", Brice asked after crossing his arms across his massive chest.
"I don't know a lot", Taylor replied without looking at her brother. She was staring off as she spoke. "Jan won't tell me what happened. She didn't react like it had been sexual, so I don't think they raped her, but whatever they did deserves some looking into."
"I agree", Heather said simply and started for Taylor's room. They always plotted and planned in there. Taylor was the oldest so she took control, but her room also had more chairs.
The three of them were in there for about half an hour before Heather exited and went to Brian's room down the hall. She knocked and of course he let her in. He was surprised at the look on her face, like something was weighing on her mind. Heather was usually the most carefree looking of the lot, not today. Brian had slept through the goings on the night before. He didn't even know that Jan had been missing. He thought that all of them had been partying in Miami. He was still basking in the mental images of Heather flexing her heart out for his camera. He was planning on working on those photos this morning. "Did you come to do some morning time posing for me?", Brian asked to lighten things.
It didn't work. Heather didn't even crack a smile. "No, but I did come to ask you a question about your camera. Do you have a telephoto lens?"
Brian sat up and reached to his camera bag, which was right next to the bed. "Of course I do. I have a true telephoto, but I have some other long focus lenses too." He pulled out the zip up bag that held those lenses. Each of them separately cost as much as a nice consumer camera.
"Can I borrow them and your camera?", Heather asked. She looked at Brian directly and he looked back. That camera gear was his most prized possession, but as he looked into those ultra blue eyes he didn't see a trace of irony or jest. She was serious.
"Sure you can borrow it", Brian agreed, perhaps against his better judgment. "Here let me show you how to use it." He spent the next five minutes explaining how to mount the lenses properly and to focus and change the zoom and how to adjust the shutter speed. Finally Heather waved her hands to stop him.
"Never mind." She took a deep breath filling her lungs and causing her impressive chest to swell. "Brian, you seem like the kind of guy who can keep a secret."
Brian's thoughts went instantly to Jan. He was keeping a huge secret about Jan from her own family, and despite his guilt at doing that, he wasn't going to tell. He broke eye contact with Heather and looked at the sheets on the bed. "Yeah, I might be better at keeping secrets than I am at taking photos."
That got a smile out of Heather. She took him by the chin and raised his head up. "In that case you should do fine. Get dressed. Bring your camera and stuff."
"Where're we going?"
"You'll see. Now hurry up."
Brian jumped out of bed started putting on clothes. By then Heather was back in the hall. Taylor stood against the wall with her arms folded. "Where's the camera?", she asked when she saw her sister empty handed. "Did he say no?"
"Of course not, but I can't work that damn camera. It's not a Polaroid. We're taking him with us. He's getting dressed."
Taylor frowned. "Are you serious? That just limits what we can do."
"I know that, but we need those pictures or the whole thing falls apart and we don't have time to wait for the rest of the people get down here. By then it would be too late. Besides this way we won't have any extra explaining to do if everything goes south."
Taylor knew that Heather was right, but she didn't like it. She rolled her eyes and went back into her room. Heather followed. They had to tell Brice what they planned to do. It wasn't long before Taylor, Heather, and Brian left. "You keep an eye on Jan", Taylor told her little brother before they drove off. "We're going to have a little fun."
Be on the look out
for the the exciting conclusion!! Coming very soon!!
|Power and Fury: The Early Days pt.1||The Femme Soldiers Attack||The Terror Gallery pt.2||Power
and Fury: Full Circle pt.2
Double Cousins 2
|Power and Fury: The Early Days pt. 2||The Strength Serum||The Femme Soldier: Strength Conquers All||Power
and Fury: Killer
on the Road
Double Cousins 3
|Power and Fury: Just Warming Up||Power and Fury: Power Problems||The Femme Rampage||Power
and Fury: Down on the Farm
||The Femme Soldiers: New Recruits|
|Power and Fury: Itching for a Fight||The Femme Revolution||Power and Fury: Pushed to the Edge||Power
and Fury: Steel Embrace
|Power and Fury: The Heist||The Femme Revolution Pt. 2||Power
and Fury: Sara's Bad Day
and Fury: Steel Embrace 2
|The Femme Soldiers||The Terror Gallery pt. 1||Power
and Fury: Full Circle
and Fury: Double Cousins
There are plenty of others where this story came
from. Please check out the bookshelf for all the past chapters of
Power and Fury and my other series.
comments and critisisms welcome: firstname.lastname@example.org