we rattle this scene
“We need your help. The dinosaur in quadrant C has just escaped.”
He furrowed his eyebrows over his unfairly blue eyes. “The huge dinosaur?”
“That’s the one, yes.”
Sometimes, Tatiana Penvrane really hated her job.
Today was one of those days. Yes, being in charge of the largest (and only) theme park for dinosaurs in the world certainly was rewarding in its own ways, but not when the largest and most deadly one broke out of its cage. This was alarming in its own right, but what was even worse was who she had to see to fix it.
Benjamin Gray. The infuriating man who trained raptors and had the absolutely audacity to wink at her when he saw her approaching, her gait unsteady in her heels on the grassy ground.
“What can I do for you today, Tatiana?” he grinned as she approached.
“Miss Penvrane,” she corrected him primly, “We need your help. The dinosaur in quadrant C has just escaped.”
He furrowed his eyebrows over his unfairly blue eyes. “The huge dinosaur?”
“That’s the one, yes.”
“You let it out?”
“Yes,” Tatiana snapped, “That’s exactly what I did. I unlocked the cage of the most dangerous dinosaur, gave it a map, and told it to go terrorize the park-goers.” When he gaped at her, she sighed. “I’m kidding. No, it somehow broke out on its own, and now it’s heading straight for the resort.”
“So what do you want me to do?” He leaned over the front of his motorbike questioningly.
“You have some skill with your velociraptors,” Tatiana admitted, and then immediately wished that she hadn’t when she saw his lips curve up into a smug grin, “I was hoping that maybe you could use some similar techniques to guide it back to its cage, or at least have some insight on dinosaur behavior that we might be able to use.”
“You were hoping?” Benjamin returned, lifting an eyebrow at her.
“The administration was. They were the ones who sent me here,” she added quickly just for the satisfaction of wiping that smirk off of his face, but it did no such thing.
Instead, he took a seat on his bike and then waited. When she made no move, he sighed and extended a hand toward her. “Come on. You know where she is, right?”
“I am not getting on that with you,” she decided haughtily.
Benjamin sighed and ran a hand through his blonde curls. “Well, would you rather walk, Miss Penvrane?”
She paused and considered this and then her shoes before she exhaled in defeat and took his hand, climbing onto the motorbike behind him. “I resent this.”
“Yeah, I’m sure you do. Hold on to me if you get scared.”
“I’m not going to –“ the bike started and sped forward unexpectedly, and Tatiana let out a screech and wrapped her arms around his waist tightly in surprise. She didn’t even need to look at him to know that he was smirking again, but she stubbornly settled herself against his back and tried to retain what she had left of her dignity.
It sufficed to say that things had not gone according to plan. Somewhere in attempting to track down the dinosaur, they’d managed not only to find it, but get chased by it as well. Currently, the pair was hiding in the forest, covered in leaves, half-crushed berries smeared on their faces to divert the dinosaur’s attention from smelling them.
She was standing, her back against the rough bark of a tree while he stood pressed in front of her, chest to chest, leaning slightly over her shoulder to see around the tree. There was no real reason for them to stand this close – but Tatiana had to confess to herself that she liked it. A little. (A lot.)
His breath was warm on her ear as he half twisted to her, pressing her tighter against the tree. “I think it’s gone the other way.” The woman began to ease herself out but he tensed again, glancing past her. “There’s something else coming.”
She paused and heard the unmistakable sound of wings headed their way; noting the heavy flapping sounds that marked the pterodactyls. Tatiana tried to contain herself as much as possible, blend into the tree as if she could camouflage. She pulled Benjamin closer to her, her fingers hooking into the fabric of his shirt as she tugged him toward herself and the tree. They were so close now that his curls hung around the top of her head, their foreheads nearly touching. He could count every one of her eyelashes if he’d wanted to.
But this was dispelled as soon as the flapping of wings intensified and she acted quickly, knocking into him headfirst so that he tumbled backward, just out of the path of the pterodactyl that soared toward them.
Benjamin got his bearings first. He grabbed a tree branch beside him on the ground and yelled toward her, “RUN.” The dinosaur swerved toward him and he swung at it with the branch, but the creature was just out of his reach.
Tatiana didn’t listen to him; in fact, she hadn’t moved. As he swung out again, the pterodactyl was encouraged and came toward them faster. The brunette screamed and rolled just out of its path, but when it was within a foot of her, she snatched her shoe off of her foot and thrust the heel of it into the pterodactyl’s eye roughly. It gave a final, agonized screech, before it twitched and lay still, crashing on the ground with a loud thump.
Benjamin helped her up, both of them breathing heavily as they stared at the lifeless figure of the creature. “Are you alright?” he managed after a few seconds, turning his pale gaze in wonder at her.
Tatiana nodded numbly. “I’m fine. I just want my shoe back.” She paused and reconsidered having to pry it out of the creature’s eye. “Er, never mind.” The woman looked down at her bare foot and sighed before limping back to the motorcycle. “Come on, let’s get going.”
With only one shoe on, it seemed Benjamin took pity on her, for he lifted her onto the motorcycle first before settling in front of her. This time, she didn’t even complain.
They were finally evacuating the park; the guests had all left, but now, the employees were leaving as well. Her chocolate locks wild and tangled, Tatiana whirled around to Benjamin as soon as she heard the news through the radio systems. “You’ve got to go,” she said at once.
There was no pause. “No, this is my park. I can’t abandon ship now when that dinosaur is still out there,” Tatiana affirmed.
Benjamin nodded, and then shrugged out of his jacket. “Right, then.”
The woman gaped at him. “What are you doing?”
“Staying,” he answered simply as he rolled up his sleeves. There was a pause and he reddened slightly as he noticed her hazel gaze on him. “My raptors – I can’t leave them,” he added in explanation.
She smiled suddenly, her gaze weary but her lips genuine. “I suspect you have an ulterior motive, Benjamin.”
He didn’t deny it, only shooting her a sideways smile and adding, “Maybe I do, Miss Penvrane.”
But by now, her mind was already whirring, catching onto a phrase that he said. “How many raptors do you have?”
Benjamin seemed to anticipate where her question was heading and he shook his head grimly. “The four of them can’t take her down. We need more teeth.”
Something else clicked. Tatiana nodded slowly and then turned on her bare feet, running in the opposite direction. “Set your raptors on her!” she called back to the fair-haired man, who yelled back something in concern that was lost on her retreating back.
Perhaps her running attracted the dinosaur’s attention, but it didn’t matter, for soon Benj’s raptors were attacking the larger dinosaur, giving the woman a chance to snatch up a flare as she dashed toward the cage of the T-Rex. It was a shot in the dark – almost literally – but she hoped with all her heart that it would work as the containment doors swung open and the faint light of her lit flare illuminated the T-Rex toward her.
Tatiana turned and ran faster than she ever had run in her entire life as the dinosaur charged after her before she tossed the flare toward the dinosaur that they were trying to capture. Benjamin was nearby, and she all but barreled into him as they ducked below the remains of a souvenir shop, crouched behind the counter with their arms against each other. She could feel his heart beating in a wild rhythm to the same beat as hers, but she closed her eyes and kept her head low, not daring to look up.
The fight seemed to last forever, but in reality, it must have taken minutes at most. All that she could see and feel right now was her damp dark hair sticking to her neck, the man’s arms around her, her fingers bunched in the fabric of his shirt again as she shook but tried to stay steady.
And finally, it was over.
The T-Rex, with nothing else to do, lumbered lazily back toward its home. The raptors screeched and seemed to ignore their hiding commander before speeding off elsewhere, but this was barely a problem.
When Tatiana heaved a shaky sigh, Benjamin finally lifted his head and took a wobbly step up to glance over the register toward where the dinosaurs had been fighting, where now lay only the body of the terrible beast that had plagued them the entire day.
“Is it over?” Tatiana whispered, still on the ground.
Without warning, Benjamin ducked down and swiftly planted a kiss on the top of her head, his lips pressed briefly to her forehead before he nodded. “We’re safe,” he murmured in return, and she finally allowed herself to relax in a heap on the ground.
At some point later, they too were airlifted out of the park and into what looked almost to be a refugee camp, surrounded by thousands of people, loud and complaining and demanding to know what had happened.
Tatiana had tried to tell them, but after some arguing with the officials – and even more on Benjamin’s part – they’d resigned themselves to sitting side by side on the ground, covered in blankets (for shock, their medic had insisted when she’d come by to briefly assess them).
For a while, they were too numb to speak, Benjamin missing his raptors, Tatiana mourning the loss of the park that she’d overseen for years as if it was her own child. At last, she managed to ask the question on both of their minds that had remained silent until now. “So, what next?”
Benjamin looked pensive and pretended to consider it. “I suppose,” he started slowly, “that we should stay together. For survival, of course, Miss Penvrane.”
“Of course,” the brunette murmured back before she amended, “Not Miss Penvrane. It’s Tatiana.”
She didn’t need to look at him to know that he was smiling as he linked their hands together and she threaded her fingers through his.