DICLAIMER: GARGOYLES BELONG TO DISNEY, NOT ME. (BUMMER)
"Gregory?" Elisa stepped backwards from the familiar stranger. "Where is Goliath? What do you mean he's 'elsewhere?"
"Elisa, I am here. It's me. Demona has Dominique. Puck has Owen. Goliath is not a common human name and would draw unnecessary attention. Gregory is not an unusual name amongst your people."
"Okay, you have a point." Tenseness melted as a sigh of relief caused her shoulders to slump. "Don't do that to me, Big Guy. You had me scared for a moment."
"I'm sorry." His contrite entreaty combined with soulful onyx eyes was Elisa's weakness. She flashed him a smile and brought two fingers to his lips to hush him.
"No big deal, Go-eregory." She slurred the two names into one fettered mush. She let her eyes travel slowly over his frame from head to toe. "Mmm...mmm...mmm...Skylaris does good work."
'I take it you approve?" His voice rumbled with sensuality. Elisa thought that her knees would buckle were it not for his powerful arms around her. It felt strange for him to hold her without wings and a tail, but she quickly brushed aside the whimsical thought.
'I'm not complaining." Elisa licked her lips as if savoring a rich dessert. Her eyes traveled from his broad shoulders, his chiseled chest, down his tight abdominals and stopped at his loincloth. "The loincloth has got to go."
"What?" Gregory blushed beneath his deep tan. "Elisa! I didn't think that you were so eager-"
"That's NOT what I mean." Now it was her turn to flush crimson. "You can't run around New York City in at night in a loincloth unless you're Tarzan."
"I think that I need some other clothing." Goliath motioned to his loincloth. His hands went for the buckle of his belt. A ghostly smile tugged at his lips. "Elisa, I could remove it ..."
"No, don't you dare!" She held her hand to stop him. She then realized that his expression was a smile. Gol...no...Gregroy had just exhibited very dry humor. He seemed far less stoic and taciturn than her lavender leviathan. "We just need to get you outfitted. Hey, Salem has a Wal-Mart. It's open twenty-four seven."
She turned to let him swoop her into his arms. He stood there and looked rather perplexed. "Elisa, how do we get there from here? I have no wings to glide."
"You have a point." This was one complication she hadn't anticipated. He had bare feet and that meant he wasn't prepared for a long-distance trek. She withdrew her wallet from her inside jacket pocket and rifled through it's contents. She had forty dollars and a credit card. "Cab fare."
"My life is in your hands, Elisa." Goliath whispered in her hair as he drew her close. His lightly callused palm gently guided her jaw so that her parted lips were millimeters from full sensuous lips. "I know life awaits us, Love. I only want one thing."
Elisa's blood pressure went up by several points. "What did you have in mind?"
"You." Gregory's warm, full lips moved forward slightly to drink in Elisa's sweetness. Surprised, she gasped. This gave him the opening he needed to claim her mouth for the kissing. Instead of feeling the smooth, slender tongue of a Gargoyle tasting her, she felt a rough, blunt human tongue gingerly teasing and shyly probing.
He didn't attempt to conquer or consume. Gregory's diffident approached affected Elisa more than she anticipated. She expected him to fall upon her in typical Gargoyle fashion and undo her with unrestrained passion. Yet, here Gregory stood in little more than a scrap of wool covering his essentials. He appeared tentative about kissing her. As a Gargoyle, he did it fiercely and well. As a human, Elisa was touched by his loving gentleness.
Liquid warmth languidly flowed through her as acclimated herself to this definite difference in Gregory's demeanor. The dark edge of her passions became softer under his sweet caresses. She felt nervous and vulnerable before this strange and striking man. "Hey, they arrest people for what we're almost doing in public, Gregory."
"I am speechless." He wrapped his arms around himself and shivered.
"You're cold. No Gargoyle wings to shield you." She replied with sympathy. "Let's get you some clothes and we'll see what comes next."
Hailing a cab wasn't difficult at 10:30 in Salem Center, New York. The driver gave Gregory a scrutinizing glare. He was an absolute grouch. "Humph. Where to?"
"Wal-Mart." Elisa gave him the destination. She saw him glaring hard at Gregory in the backseat. "We just came from a costume party."
"Yeah, who you supposed to be?" He barked at her.
"Uh...." She was at a loss for an answer. "I didn't go in costume."
"Whaddabout you?" The cab driver focused his attention on Gregory.
He looked at Elisa. She shrugged. His brows rose in bewilderment. A calm confidence covered his handsome face. "I went as Tarzan."
"Call of the wild, huh, buddy?" The cab driver chuckled. "Who's the little lady, she your Jane?"
"Something like that." Gregory nodded at the driver's reflection in the rearview mirror. His dark gaze went from the driver to the detective that sat too far away. He said nothing but crooked one finger and motioned Elisa to move closer. She edged closer to him and found it hard to keep her hands folded in her lap. Gregory took one of hers and brushed the back with his lips.
"Ah!" Elisa's sudden intake of breath caused a flush of warmth within Gregory. He turned her palm to his lips and planted another tender butterfly kiss on her palm.
"I've wanted to kiss you like that for a very long time." Gregory entwined her fingers in his. His eyes never left hers. He rested his brow against hers in a very Gargoyle display of affection that Elisa found very comforting. This Gregory was disconcerting to her senses. He was a stranger.
She found herself simply content to snuggle next to him with his arm around her for the rest of the cab ride to Wal-Mart. She thought she heard the driver sneer 'get a hotel room' but chose not to listen. An aura of euphoria surrounded Elisa as she snuggled contentedly in the arms of her ...significant other.
"Are you sure you're really Goliath?" She voiced her doubts aloud.
"I am Goliath, make no mistake of that, Elisa." She thought she heard the beginnings of a growl. "This is not my true form, but I have never left you."
She breathed much more easily for the remained of the ride.
One hour later and $280 dollars spent, Gregory and Elisa left Wal-Mart with four shirts, three pairs of blue jeans, and a pair of boots, a jacket, socks and boxers. Gregory made the comment that he had seen several underwear commercials and they looked uncomfortable. Boxers reminded him more of his tried-and-true loincloth. That elicited a giggle from the usual gruff detective. Elisa discovered another fascinating fact about Gregory: he loved to shop.
It was almost midnight and the moon was high above them in the mid-September sky. A large rumble erupted from Gregory's stomach. His black brows flew up in alarm when he heard the uncouth sound. Elisa chuckled. "Don't worry, Big Guy. That sound means you're just hungry."
"Uh..." Came his slow reply. "Yes, so it would seem that I am hungry."
"There's a Village Inn across the Highway. Let's catch a bite to eat and then we'll take it from there." Elisa realized how much about his humanity was unknown to Gregory. He had lived amongst them and made alliances with them. Yet, now being one was strange and bizarre to the male normally in control of his environment.
They made their way to the restaurant when a manager named Phil asked if they preferred smoking or "non."
"We would prefer to sit in an area that isn't on fire." Gregory nodded to the flawlessly groomed host.
They were seated and brought their water. Dorian handed them two menus and left them with silverware. "I'm Dorian. I'll be your server this evening. If you need anything, please let me know."
Goliath opened the menu and carefully studied it's contents. [How will I be able to eat all the food they have pictured here? Even Broadway couldn't consume this much!]
"Elisa, I am hungry. But, all the food mentioned here is more than we need." His worried response caused her to chortle.
"Goliath, they don't bring all that food to us. All you need to do is pick one entrée. It will list what's served with it. Just let Dorian know when he comes around."
"I understand." There were too many things to choose from for his liking. He preferred the delicious dinners that Broadway often cooked for the clan. They were hearty meals consisting of good meat, potatoes and vegetables. Sometimes, the young Gargoyle made strange, exotic dishes that left something to be desired ...usually more quantity. He needed to let the clan know of his whereabouts so that they didn't worry.
"Elisa, I will need to notify the clan soon that I will not be home this evening." He leaned forward. He stretched his legs and accidentally kicked her. She let out a sharp squeal of pain and gave him a harsh glare. "I'm sorry."
"Don't be." Elisa fought the temptation to let loose a blue streak of curses inside Village Inn. When the pain subsided, an impish inspiration came to mind. She let the toe of her boot carefully find the muscles of Gregory's thigh.
His eyes widened and onyx surprise collided with midnight mischief. The leather toe of her boot made a slow path up the inseam of his jeans until she found the tight seam of his jeans. She gently pressed and watch with knowing satisfaction as Gregory abruptly sat upright with a flustered look on his face. "Elisa, wh-what are you doing?"
"Something that I'd never thought I'd do with you: play footsie in a restaurant." She leaned forward. "I never thought we have moments like this to share."
'Nor I, Love." He covered her hand with his. "We have been blessed."
An articulate voice cut into their romantic reverie. "Are you ready to order?"
Elisa pulled her hand away and returned her attention to the menu. "Yeah, I'd like the Village Inn breakfast."
"How would you like your eggs?"
"Would you care for bacon or sausage?"
"Bacon. Extra crisp." She smiled at the manager and gave him a glance that meant that she didn't want anything less than crunchy.
"And would you like pancakes, toast, or biscuits this evening?" Dorian scribbled frantically on his notepad.
"Pancakes with extra maple syrup and butter."
"Anything to drink?"
"And for you, Sir?" The young manager reminded Gregory very much of Owen Burnett with his short blonde hair, wire-rimmed glasses and perfectly matched slacks, shirt and tie. He wondered momentarily if a Child Of Oberon lurked inside the young man.
Gregory looked cautiously at the menu. He had observed Elisa order what she called an "entrée". He rubbed his slightly stubbled chin in silent contemplation. He recognized what Broadway cooked on occasion. "I'll have the T-Bone steak dinner."
Elisa choked on her coffee.
"Elisa, is something wrong?" Gregory's desire for safety remained no matter his form.
"N-no." She stammered. She hoped that he didn't cause her to file for bankruptcy. Big Guy, I'm going to have to explain about the concept of money and not spending it all at once. "Go ahead and order."
"How would you like your steak?"
He turned to Elisa and shook his head and shrugged not understanding Dorian's question. "Gregory, how would you like your steak cooked?"
"Over an open fire is best like a barbeque or grilled as Broadway often does."
"No. Do you want it rare or well done? Cooked all the way?"
"I certainly want it cooked." He said slowly trying to understand. "But, Broadway often leaves it pink in the middle.
"He'd like it medium rare." She told the manager.
"How would you like your potato?"
"Cooked, please." Gregory felt better about his ordering his own foot.
"No, Gregory." She laid a gentle hand on his forearm. "Would you like mashed potatoes, baked, or French Fries?"
"Baked." Ordering food was a complicated ritual for humans. Gargoyles simply ate what was prepared and were thankful for it. Gregory hadn't realized that there were such complex customs for ordering food. Was this why humans always seemed so chaotic and distracted? Now, I understand why if there is this much to remember simply about obtaining a meal.
"Would you care for soup or salad?"
That question Gregory understood. 'What is the soup?"
Gregory fought hard not to make a face. Once Broadway had cooked enough Clam chowder that it lasted the clan an entire week. The clock tower had reeked of fish for three weeks. He was not eager to sample it again. "Salad."
"Dressing?" Dorian tapped his notepad with his pen.
"Uh...it doesn't matter." He looked uncertainly at Elisa. "What do you recommend?"
Dorian took their order to the kitchen. Gregory observed Elisa as she unrolled the napkin and sat it in her lap. He thought it wise to do the same. He scratched his chin and realized he hated stubble. "Are all human interactions so complicated?"
"It must seem like it." She understood that it must seem alien to him. "It's part of the human existence to make everything complicated."
"Jalepenia." He sighed in exasperation. That single word brought relief to Elisa. It was the first familiar thing she'd heard from Gregory in over an hour.
He eyed the three metal objects that had been wrapped in the napkin. He knew them to be eating utensils. He picked up the first one and eyed it. He did the same with the other two. Gregory felt embarrassment and shame because of his ignorance. How do I use these things?
"Gregory, it's not difficult." Elisa had always been good at knowing his innermost thoughts. How he wished he knew hers at that moment. Simply being near her like this in public was once considered a dream beyond imagining. Now, they sat across from one another as other human couples did. I wish not to bring her embarrassment.
She spent the next few minutes explaining how each utensil was used in dining. She demonstrated how to hold each piece. She briefly explained the basics of good "table manners" and etiquette for dining. Gregory nodded in understanding and found this perception of the world to be complex and unsettling.
Gregory learned quickly and enjoyed eating the meal. He decided that Village Inn cooking wasn't nearly as good as Broadway's. He found coffee bitter and asked for hot tea. He and Elisa discussed what they wanted to do, what to see and where to go over the course of the next month. She watched the man across from her fidget uncomfortably for the third time.
"Big Guy, what's wrong?" She asked quietly. "Are you all right?"
"Well...yes. But, I am finding that I need to..uh, relieve myself." The look of terse discomfort and his choice of words brought Elisa understanding. She pointed across the restaurant to two doors.
"Go in the one that says 'Men."" How do Gargoyles well ...take care of business? Her cheeks flamed at the very odd question. What do they do? Scratch and use the litter box?
Goliath nodded curtly and quickly rose from his seat. He almost ran a mad dash across the dining room to the rest rooms. Elisa marveled how different he seemed as a human. When Puck had altered them both to other forms, neither had time to truly contemplate the consequences. Now, little things like table etiquette and bathrooms presented large obstacles to the handsome man she was coming to know.
Several minutes went by when Dorian stopped at her table. "Ms. Maza?"
"Uh, yes?" Elisa didn't recall giving the manager her name.
"Gregory needs your...assistance." She thought she heard a maniacal little giggle hiding in that voice. "He's rather...caught up at the moment."
She wasn't sure what the manager was alluding to: she only knew that Gregory was in some kind of trouble. She mumbled a quick thank you and quickly made her way to the rest rooms. She looked both ways and saw that no one was watching. Elisa carefully opened the Men's room door slightly and knocked.
"Yes, Elisa." He muttered as if in great pain. "Jalepenia, woman! This metal demon BIT me."
"What do you mean?" She asked warily.
"I mean that the jagged teeth of this damned metal seem have seen fit to sink into my ..manhood and refuse to let go and it hurts like the bowls of Hades."
A giggle escaped the Detective. "Do you mean you've caught your....uh....you know... in your ZIPPER?"
"Did I not just say that?" Came the growl from the last stall. "Elisa, I can not undo this. Please...will you help me?"
"You're joking, right?"
"I have never been more serious or more in pain in my life." He left no doubt that he spoke the truth about both points.
She laid her head against the wooden door in utter disbelief. "Skylaris said that this change wouldn't be without cost."
She gingerly entered the rest room. Elisa figured it was going to be a long night.
Elisa realized that she and Gregory were stranded in Salem Center, New York without any way of getting back to New York. They left the restaurant and made their way down the deserted streets of the small upstate town. Hand in hand they walked. The autumn chill of the late night found it's way past her jacket and she shivered. Gregory instantly noticed and wrapped his jacket around his shoulders.
Even now, he's the natural protector. Elisa laid her head on his chest as he brought his arm around her. She studied him in her mind's eye. At Six foot four and 220 pounds, he was a forced with which to be reckoned. He towered head and shoulders above her and now seemed more accessible. She missed the wings and the tail to embrace her fully. Every centimeter of his sculpted physique was finely honed muscle.
"We need to get home, Goliath." She spoke softly as to not break the spell.
"I know. Perhaps we could find lodging for the night?" He pressed a kiss to the top of her head. "I have never slept in a bed. I'd like to sleep with you, Elisa."
The double insinuation caused Elisa to purse her lips as though she had just sucked on a lemon. She knew that fatigue was would hit them both come sunrise. She rummaged through her wallet and found that she had fifteen dollars left remaining in cash. A welcome sight greeted them at the end of the street. 'Ingleborough's Bed and Breakfast' seemed a welcome sight.
She appreciated the quiet tranquility of this golden hamlet of Salem Center. It was a community not to far from the City. It allowed time away from the hustle and bustle of urban life. They had a police force. A job wouldn't be hard to find in this rural community. Real estate prices surely were lower than in Manhattan. It was a nice small-town community in which to get married, start a family....
"Elisa?" A voice broke into the sanctity of her thoughts. She turned to Gregory.
"I can't call you Gregory." She sighed. "It's like I'm talking to a stranger. You say you're Goliath, just let me call you that."
"I thought you wanted to be with me as a human." A dark veil of neutrality passed over his fingers. "I hoped a human name would help bring your dream come true."
"I know, Big Guy." She cupped his strong stubbled cheek with her hand. "To me, you're still Goliath. A name is just a label most of the time. But, I can't love a Gregory. I'm in love with a big guy named Goliath."
"Then Goliath it is." He nodded shortly. "Do you prefer me this way; as human?"
"I haven't honestly had time to decide." She shrugged helplessly. "I'm still getting used to it. What about you?"
"I find it disconcerting." Goliath bit his lip and looked skyward. "How can I be by your side if I know nothing of being human? Without you, I can't order food or clothe myself. How can I be a worthy mate if you must be a rookery guard guiding me in the simplest of tasks?"
His gargantuan pride remained in place she discovered. She pressed two fingers to his lips and shushed him. "Sweetheart, don't worry. We have thirty days to learn. Remember when Puck changed me into a Gargoyle and you taught me how to use my wings? It's the same thing all over again. We'll take it all in one slow, wonderful moment at a time."
"You make it sound too easy, Love." His grim reply did little to lighten his mood. "Still, I am looking forward to many of the things we've discussed such as sharing a sunrise...."
"Going for ice cream during the day." She couldn't help by smile as the picture crossed her mind.
"Making love to you..." He murmered as he pressed his lips against her hair. "Sweetly and gently without fear of hurting you. That is what I have longed for these many nights."
Tremors of barely contained desire caused Elisa to stop in the middle of the sidewalk. "You know, Goliath, that we don't have to make it back to New York tonight. You could call the others and let them know we're here."
"Yes...." He nodded knowingly.
"Well, well, well..." A snide voice interrupted their tete-a-tete. "What's a nice guy like you doin' with some sweet thing like this? How much she chargin' you?"
Elisa turned to see three young men in their late teens or early twenties leaning nonchalantly against a storefront window. The one speaking to them sported a rather large black swastika tattooed in the center of his forehead. His worn leather jacket had a patch sporting the letters "KKK" on the side arm. The two others behind the young man also wore similar jackets and sported bald heads.
"She is not charging me anything." Goliath stared coldly at the young man. "I advise you to apologize to my lady and go on about your way."
"Nah, this is too much fun." He snickered. "Hey, guys. Whattdaya say we have some fun? Here's the game, people." The ruffian turned his attention back to Elisa and Goliath. "You give me your money and we don't mess you up."
"We have no money." Goliath declared. "Don't make me angry. You wouldn't like it when I'm angry."
"Who do ya think you are? The flamin' Hulk?" The man nearest them laughed from the background. He suddenly let forth a punch that landed squarely in Goliath's abdomen. The gentle giant doubled over in pain and that gave the thug a second opportunity to bring his knee squarely into Goliath's face.
The other two rushed Elisa. One succeeded in grabbing her arm while the other one met with a solid punch to his nose. She grabbed her first assailant by the arm and crouched in a defensive position. With training abound, Elisa executed a perfect flip of her attacker that sent him flying several feet. His bald brow connected solidly with a fire hydrant leaving him incapacitated and stunned.
The other one rose to his feet and found himself staring down the barrel of Elisa's sidearm. "Okay, asshole, call your buddy off my friend or you'll be Swiss cheese. Got it?"
He stood there stunned. Her eyes locked on him and her finger released the safety on her gun. When he hesitated, she lowered the gun to a more vital part of his masculinity. "I'm just looking for a reason to make you sing soprano. Now, call your buddy off my friend."
"A-a-a-ll right." The young ruffian turned his attention to Goliath's assailant. "Hey, man! Back off! The Bitch has a gun."
"Aw, c'mon. We can take 'er." He slowly advanced a few steps toward Elisa. A roar of rage filled the air and a crushing blow from a huge right hand sent the skinhead into oblivion. Goliath watched the young thug pool into a crumpled, unconscious heap at his feet.
"Not tonight, you won't." He glared at the one standing between he and Elisa. "Take your friends and go before we call the police."
"All right, man. No sweat." The one flashed Goliath a cheesy smile of submission. He managed to drag his unconscious friend to his feet. "We're outta here."
The thug and his accomplice scurried into the dark like two rats in the night. Elisa waited several seconds before re-cocking the safety on her gun and replacing it in her arm holster. She rushed over to Goliath. The view that met her eyes made her gasp in shot.
He sported a bloody nose and a bruised cheek. "Goliath, what did they do to you? Are you all right?"
"I will be fine." He managed to say.
"Let's stay in Salem Center tonight and we'll take a look at that."
Elisa decided not to call the police. The thugs had run off and one remained in the street. Her first concern was tending to Goliath's injuries. They received strange looks from the innkeeper of the Bed and Breakfast. Elisa made a quick trip to the drug store for first aid supplies while Goliath held an icepack to his nose for almost an hour. She applied the salve and ointment to his cuts and bruises and hoped that his nose wasn't broken.
"I am sorry, Elisa." Goliath said quietly. "I failed you."
She stared at the bruised, beaten man lying on the bed. "What are you talking about? How have you failed me?"
"I was unable to protect you." He turned his head away from her to stare at the wall of their room. "I couldn't do what even a normal man could do for his woman."
"Goliath, that's not true." She turned his jaw gently to face her. "You were wonderful. That jerk just caught you by surprise. It happens. You didn't let me down."
"You're saying that to be kind. I am not the man you imagined me to be, am I? He closed his eyes to hide his shame from his Heart's desire.
"Not even close." She agreed. "You're better than the fantasy. You kicked his can, Big Guy once you got your bearings. Trust me, you were just fine."
"Here." She rummaged through the drug store bag for some pain-reliever. She placed them in the palm of his hand. "Take these, this will cause the swelling to go down. Just make sure you take them with water."
She rose from her spot and walked to the bathroom. She returned with a glass of water. "Here, Big Guy. Don't chew the pills, just take a sip of water and swallow it all."
Goliath did so without argument. He watched silently as Elisa made her way to the end of the bed. Her eyes stayed with him as he watched her intently. She pushed up the cuff of his jeans so that his boots were exposed. She purposely unlaced each boot and set them neatly at the end of the bed. She removed his socks and stuffed them in each boot. The significance of her actions weren't lost on Goliath.
"Elisa...my love, don't." He urged her. Two large hands lay on her shoulders to stay her tender administrations. "You aren't my servant."
"No, I'm just the woman who loves you with all my heart."
Goliath's physical pain competed for existence with the abounding joy thrumming in his veins from her simple, sincere reply. She leaned forward and brought her lips to his cheek. She slowly pressed her warm kiss to his skin for what seemed a wonderful eternity. As she pulled away, Goliath wrapped his arms around her and pulled her so that every sweet, svelte curvature of her body fitted perfectly with the hard planes that defined him as male.
"Elisa..." He trembled with the rising emotions swelling within him. He nervously licked his lips. "Oh, god."
Long, ebony tresses draped around her features like a dark halo. She supported her wait on her forearms. She inched her way upwards so that her lips were only a breath. Elisa's midnight eyes grew dark with a long-repressed desire. She dipped her head slowly and carefully so not to frighten him. His injuries might not allow her to kiss him so she gave him the chance to pull back if he wanted.
"Shut up and kiss me, Goliath." She murmured against his cheek. "I love you."
"And I love you for now and always." Goliath's lips rose to meet hers. He took hold of her in a protective embrace and rolled over so that she was shielded beneath his powerful frame. "My Love...Elisa."
They held each other close as they faced the Eastern horizon. The sky was a sparkling mosaic of rose and amber with hints or blue at the edges. Goliath marveled at the beauty of the morning splendor. They watched in silence as a bright, fiery orb rose slowly over the horizon to greet them. Elisa fearfully watched to see if Goliath would become stone in her embrace.
"Breathtaking." He whispered. "When we were in Norway on Avalon's skiff, the sun was never this wonderful. I never thought that I would see a sunrise with you."
"There are plenty more where that came from." She replied in quiet awe at the pristine beauty held in the air of the autumn morning.
And the star known as Venus danced behind them in the Western sky. Love looked down upon them smiled.
TO BE CONTINUED>>>>>