The Scars We Wear

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“Yes, you can call my cell, Angel,” Dyanne instructed her assistant over the phone as she headed out of the city. “But, only if it’s important. I’m only going to be away for the week, five days, then I’ll be back in the office on Wednesday,” she paused for a moment to shift her attention on the traffic merging onto the highway, then continued. “I need you to follow up on the TopShop shoot. Please have the test shots in my office when I get back, and don’t forget about Monica’s test with Helmut. She’ll need a car to his studio if her mother can’t make it.”Only after Angel reassured her that the office would run smoothly while she was away did Dyanne finally disconnect. Taking a deep breath, then slowly exhaling, Dyanne felt the stress easing away already. With each mile she put between herself and her office in downtown Chicago, she felt renewed.“This is so refreshing! Why haven’t I done this before?” she said out loud to herself, and although the question was rhetorical, she answered herself, “Because I wouldn’t be where I am today if I did. I wouldn’t have the ‘best boutique agency in Chicago,” she said, quoting a recent article in the local fashion magazine highlighting her business savvy and successful model agency.Turning up the volume on the radio, Dyanne lost herself in the music and sense of freedom. She sang along as she drove out on the open road with no deadlines to meet, no clients to schmooze, or wanna-be models to coddle. As free as she felt at the moment, Dyanne would never give up the business, especially after all her hard work, especially after all the naysayers four years ago. The professional modeling world laughed at the former model turned business woman when she decided to base her agency in her hometown, Chicago.The midwest, they scoffed, is for cow pastures and cornfields, not couture.Dyanne knew she had her work cut out for her with markets like Los Angeles and New York to compete with. Most unsigned models moved to those big cosmopolitan cities to make it in the business, not Chicago, but she loved the city where she was born and raised, and ultimately discovered. After signing as a model with an exclusive agency at the age of seventeen, she had traveled the world, wore the finest designer garments while strutting down the most coveted runways and featured in high end glossies. Youthful genetics kept her in the business past her prime even when most models aged out, but then Dyanne started to think in long term goals.She had been driving for over four hours now, towards a quaint little bed and breakfast lake house in northern Wisconsin. A light dusting of snow had began to fall. Nothing to make the roads too dangerous yet, just enough to create a serene and scenic drive as she winded through the back roads. As she sang along with the radio, she barely heard her phone ringing.Turning down the volume on the radio, she answered the phone using her hands-free device.“Hey,” she answered to the broken voice on the other end, “Hello? I’m sorry you’re breaking up…Angel, is that you? Angel?”The signal bars flickered from two bars to one then none.“Great!” she said sarcastically as the call dropped.Immediately, the phone rang again. She grabbed the phone from the console and held it to her ear, “Hello? Oh, Angel, sorry about earlier, I’m losing signal out here. Yeah, yeah, I’m doing great.” She then listened as Angel informed her that most of the TopShop shoot was unusable and they’ll need to reshoot. “What? Angel, I’m sorry, you’re breaking up, again. Hello? Angel?”Dyanne had her eyes off the road for only two seconds to check the signal, when she looked up, a huge antlered deer stood in the middle of the road.“Shit!” she muttered dropping the phone to grab the steering wheel with both hands to swerve  around the frightened animal. She did so successfully, but then lost control of the wheel, sliding down the shallow ditch on the side of the road. The car stopped abruptly when it hit the inner slope causing the airbag to deploy and Dyanne to bang her head forcibly against it.Dyanne didn’t know how long she had been out when she finally came to.“Oow,” she moaned as she tried sitting back in the seat to get her bearings. That’s when she heard a muffled voice followed by a sharp tapping sound. She turned to look out the driver side window where she saw a bearded white man wearing a heavy denim jacket with a black hoodie pulled up over his head. He motioned for her to unlock the door.Having grown up in the inner city with hard earned street smarts, Dyanne was skeptical about opening the door to a complete stranger. Instead she rolled the window down a few inches.“Ma’am, are you alright?” the guy asked, deeply concerned.“Yeah, I’m okay. I just…” Dyanne tried to touch her forehead and suddenly felt dizzy.“You’re bleeding,” he noticed a small gash across her forehead.“What?” Dyanne asked staring blankly before she passed out again..oOo.Rom acted fast. Reaching in Escort Pendik through the window, he unlocked the door, unbuckled her seatbelt then carried her to his truck. After securing her into the passenger’s seat, he grabbed a warm blanket from the cab of his truck to tightly wrapped around her. He made sure her car was locked and secure before getting back in the driver’s seat of his truck.For a moment, he just sat there not knowing what he was doing. Rom’s instincts and training had gotten the better of him and now he sat with an unknown, unconscious woman in his truck. He mentally punched himself in the face for playing the hero. This was the last thing he needed in his life, but seeing the wound on her forehead was still bleeding, he shifted into drive.As he started down the road, he carefully weighed his options. The nearest hospital was at least ninety minutes away and while the roads were clear now, by the time that he drove there, heavier snowfall would have the roads impassable. He didn’t want to be stuck in town with this unconscious stranger with questions he couldn’t answer. His other option, his place was only twenty minutes up the back roads and he had an adequate first aid kit. With his training, he could bandage her up and look after her until she came to.He turned to look at his driving partner, Wally, a snowy grey husky mix who sat between himself and the woman. “Looks like we’re going to have company tonight,” he said as he pulled off the shoulder and headed home..oOo.For the second time today, Dyanne woke up not knowing how long she had blackd out. This time, she didn’t know where she was either. She opened her eyes and realized she was indoors, but not in a hospital. She looked around at her surroundings and realized she was lying on a couch. She slowly sat up and swung her feet to the floor. Looking around, she saw that she was in a small house or cabin.“Ah, you’re finally awake,” Rom said as he walked into the room holding a steaming mug. He placed the mug on the wooden coffee table before her as he settled in the chair across from her. She vaguely remembered his bearded face staring at her through the window of her car. She remembered being cautious of opening her door to the stranger.“Who are you? Where am I?” Dyanne asked trying to free herself of the blanket tightly wound around her.“You shouldn’t try to move too much,” he warned her. “Here, drink this,” Rom placed the warm mug into her hands.“Why? What happened? What’s going on?” she asked concerned.“You don’t remember? You had an accident. Looks like you bumped your head pretty bad. I bandaged you up, but I think you might have a concussion.”Dyanne looked down into the steamy dark liquid skeptically. She gave the strong aroma a suspicious stiff.“What? If I wanted to harm you, I had plenty of time to do so while you were passed out,” he admitted to her.“Maybe you wanted me awake and aware of the painful death I was facing at your hands,” she said savoring the warmth of the mug in her hands despite her hesitation.“Why would I go through the trouble of calling a tow truck to get your car out of the ditch? I did not put anything in the coffee. Now drink it before you pass out again!” he commanded impatiently.Dyanne tipped the mug to her lips and took a small sip. She immediately contorted her face in disgust, “You were right. You didn’t put anything in it. No sweetener or cream, ew!”Rom jumped up and went into the kitchen right off the living room. He came back with a canister of sugar and a half full gallon of milk.“Well, actually I prefer Splenda with two splashes of soy milk,” she requested.“This is all I have, princess. Take it or leave it,” Rom said with a tight smile.“I guess it will do.”Dyanne watched as he dumped a teaspoon of sugar into her mug followed by two splashes of milk. She stopped his hand before he added more.Rom couldn’t help rolling his eyes as he returned the items to the kitchen. He entertained the thought that she was more pleasant to deal with when she was unconscious. Immediately, he felt bad for such a thought. He didn’t want to wish harm on anyone, not even a spoiled urbanite such as his unexpected guest.Dyanne took a sip of her coffee then grimaced. “A slight improvement,” she nodded as she sat the mug back down on the coffee table.  When he sat across from her again she asked, “So, maybe you’re not a psycho serial killer because you saved my life. Could you be my knight in shining armor, or is it flannel armor?” she teased him based on the blue plaid flannel shirt that he wore.He shook his head, uncomfortable with the title, “No, I’m not anyone’s knight.”“Then who are you?” she asked curious as she stared at him. Although her initial impression was cautious of the stranger, upon further inspection she saw that he was quite a handsome man under the beard.“You can call me Rom,” he said without explanation.Dyanne smiled, “Well, Rom, I’m Beykoz escort Dyanne. Thanks for saving me.”“I didn’t really save you. You weren’t in much danger, just that the weather is starting to turn, and I didn’t want you to be stranded out there on the road,” he admitted, then asked curiously, “Where were you heading to anyway?”“A little bed and breakfast up in Elston,” Dyanne reached for the mug of coffee again, not for want of taste, but the warmth was soothing. After a short sip, she asked, “Where exactly are we?”“In my home,” Rom simply said.Dyanne looked around the room, it was a small boxy room sparsely furnished save the basic couch, chair, coffee table and a small table in the corner. The only thing of interest was a wall of leather bound books and randomly arranged wood carved figurines of woodland creatures. “I’m guessing you live alone because your taste of decor is just as bleak as this coffee.”“Well, Martha Stewart was too busy to stop by and help me feng shui the place,” he snapped back sarcastically.“Sorry, I didn’t mean to offend you. It’s just, well, obviously there’s isn’t a woman in the house. You’re not married?” Dyanne asked just a bit curious.“Can I assume then that you live alone? And you’re not married?”“And why would you assume that?”“Well, obviously,” he mocked her, “What man would let his woman drive alone to the middle of nowhere by herself?” he said, then added, “Unless, you’re meeting up with him at the b&b?”“No, I’m not meeting anyone,” she admitted, then explained “I’ve been working non-stop and needed a break from work. Just some time to myself, you know. So, just how far from Elston are we anyway?”“About another two or three hours drive.”“Oh, great! I bet I can still make it for my reservation before it gets dark,” she stood up quickly causing herself to wobble and lose balance. Rom moved quickly as he reached out to grab her waist, steadying her as he gently sat her back down on the couch.“Whoa! Easy there. I don’t think you’re driving anywhere today.”“I’m fine,” Dyanne said with his strong arm firmly wrapped around her waist. She couldn’t help thinking that in another time or place, his hold on her would be welcomed. Dyanne quickly turned away from him and that thought as he pulled his hands away. “Um, I’ll just take this coffee to go and I bet I won’t fall asleep for another forty-eight hours or so.”“How do you expect to get to Elston? Your car’s in a ditch on the side of the road. The tow truck won’t be able to get it out until tomorrow morning.”“You can drive me to Elston. You said it’s not that far. I’ll just call to have my car driven to me in Elston first thing in the morning. Speaking of calls, where’s my phone? Where’s my bags?”After explaining that he had her bags in his truck, Rom went to retrieve them. Along in the cabin, Dyanne slowly stood up, testing her strength before she wandered about the cozy room. Wally followed her every step as she examined the shelves with leather bound books and small intricately carved woodland animal figurines, ranging from foxes, bears, deers, and rabbits.“He’s harmless, is he?” Dyanne asked the dog. “I mean, he did save me and nurse my wound. He collects animal figurines and he has a sweetie like you. How bad of a person could he be?”The dog just wagged his tail in response, then an icy cold breeze announced Rom as he came through the door lightly dusted with fresh snow. He carried a large Louis Vuitton overnight bag and purse.“It’s really starting to come down out there,” he said locking the door behind himself. He shook the snow off as Wally immediately came over to inspect her luggage. Rom gave him a vigorous scratch behind the ears then sent him off.Dyanne picked up her purse, digging inside in search for her phone. She came out empty handed, “Where’s my phone?” she asked then realized that she was on the phone right before the accident.“Sorry, I don’t get good service out here anyway. I do have a landline if you need to make a call,” he offered.Dyanne also realized that he’d only brought in her overnight bag, which contained just her toiletries and makeup. “Are the other bags still in your truck?” she asked.“That’s all there was.”Dyanne groaned, “No, I had two more bags. They were in the trunk of my car.”“I just grabbed what I saw. I figured you had personal stuff in your purse that shouldn’t be left on the side of the road, so I grabbed that and then I saw this bag in the backseat.”“So, my other two bags are still in my car, that’s in a ditch in the middle of nowhere?”“It could be worst. You could still be in that ditch,” Rom pointed out.He couldn’t believe how ungrateful she was behaving. Rom cursed himself for being such a good Samaritan, it had always caused him more problems that he really didn’t need.Seeing the scowl on Rom’s face, Dyanne softened her tone. “I guess I should be more thankful, huh? You did rescue me,” Dyanne forced a smile. “I mean, Cevizli escort bayan it’s just one night. I can get my things in the morning before driving to Elston. We can stop by my car and get my phone and luggage.”Rom agreed, although he had his doubts about them successfully leaving his driveway with the rate the snow was coming down. “Let me show you where you can clean up.” He led her back to the small bathroom that was next to the only bedroom in the small cabin.Dyanne reminded herself to be gracious, as she smiled politely before closing the door between them. She fumbled with the knob for a second, surprised to see that the door didn’t have any locks. Alarmed, she pulled the door open again to see her host walking away.“What? Is something wrong?” he asked turning towards her.“Um, yeah. There are no locks on this door,” she said concerned.“I thought we agreed I’m not a psycho killer,” Rom teased, then noticed her skeptical look. “Don’t worry. You’re actually probably safer here than anywhere else.”With a nervous laugh, Dyanne said, “Yeah, because you’re my knight in flannel armor.”Rom shook his head at the idea of playing knight for her, “I’m not a hero, but I am a decent guy. You’ll have privacy, I promise.”Although Dyanne had only known Rom for a few minutes, she believed him to be a man who kept his promises. This time, her smile was genuine as she took in his tall frame filling up the tiny hallway. She looked into his deep dark eyes and for a moment saw troubled emotions.“I don’t know why I do, but I trust you,” she said before closing the door again.Alone in the bathroom, Dyanne leaned against the door for a minute. Not to keep him out, but to keep herself together. The trauma of the accident coupled with being laid up in a cabin with a dangerously handsome stranger was making her feel things she hadn’t felt in a while. In her younger years, as an international model, she was fast and loose with men. As she matured and grew more focused on the business end of the industry, she’d also grown more cautious about the men she allowed into her life. Dyanne imagined her younger self meeting a guy like Rom and the thought brought a big smile to her face.That smile faded when she finally took a look in the mirror. Rom did a good job of bandaging her up, but when she removed the bandage, she saw the nasty two-inch gash across her right brow.“Oh my god!” she muttered to herself in the mirror. She raised her hand to the bruised and swollen area then winced. Pouting, she wondered how big of a scar it would leave behind.As soon as she was back in Chicago, she would make plans with her stylist to cut bangs in her dark tresses, hoping that would be enough until she healed. Long term, she was thinking of finding a good plastic surgeon. So far, at the age of thirty-five, she’d prided herself for not succumbing to any type of cosmetic surgery, especially to her face. In her business, it was a rarity, but she prized natural and healthy beauty over the overly thin and plastic-featured standards of others.She opened her toiletry bag and began refreshing herself. When she felt halfway decent, she left the bathroom. She was suddenly hit with intense hunger pangs that was only increased by the delicious aroma filling the small cabin. She followed the smells to the kitchen where she saw Rom standing over the stove stirring a bubbling pot.“Feeling better?” he asked from over his shoulder as she approached.“As best as I can,” she said as she peeked over his shoulder. “Mm, that smells really good. What are you making?”“Venison meatballs and spaghetti. I figured you might be hungry,” he said.“I am,” Dyanne rubbed her stomach.“Should be ready soon,” he said.After the bathroom door lock situation, Dyanne shouldn’t have been surprised that Rom didn’t have a full set of dishes or silverware. He served her pasta on the only plate he owned while he took his in the only bowl that he owned. They sat at the tiny table in the living room designated as the dining room.Wally padded over to Dyanne and begged for a meatball.“Ignore him, he’ll go away,” Rom instructed her. “But he’s so cute. How could I resist that handsome face?” she said as she forked over a juicy meatball to the dog. Content with his meal, Wally sat at her feet, wagging his tail while Rom rolled his eyes.After a few minutes of silence over the meal, Dyanne spoke, “It’s so quiet here.”“Peaceful,” he corrected her.“I guess,” she shrugged. “I mean, there’s probably isn’t anyone around here for miles. Just you, Wally, and now, me.”Rom didn’t respond as he just continued eating his meal.“So, you’re not a killer, but you live out here hidden from the rest of the world.”A thought jumped into her head that she hadn’t considered before. She stared at him, studying his face and features. The lower half of his face was covered with his full dark beard and mustache, thick yet well maintained. Even so, Dyanne could tell that he had a strong jawline and chin. His lips, framed by the facial hair were full, yet always set in a thin tight scowl. His long slightly crooked nose had telltale signs of being broken at least once. Again, his dark mysterious eyes stirred her, she couldn’t tell if it was menace or sadness behind the darkness.

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