Her Loyal Seal(3)By: Caitlyn O Leary
The cartel pulled the Hidalgos out of their home where they were having dinner, and brought them to the ass end of nowhere. It looked like everyone but Lydia had clothes that could weather the trek. She was in a shredded dress, shredded nylons and no shoes.
Clint ducked down and pulled out a T-Shirt from his backpack. He would’ve given her fatigues but the cotton material would rest more softly against her back. He found a chair and shoved it right side up and guided her to sit down now that Darius was done applying the salve on her back.
“Lydia, you’re holding up the front of your dress. When Darius bandages your wrists it will fall. Let’s get you into this shirt, okay?”
She looked up dazed.
“What’s your name?”
“I’m sorry Ma’am. I’m Senior Chief Petty Officer Clint Archer. I’m a Navy SEAL. I’m part of team Midnight Delta. We’re going to get you out of this hellhole.”
She looked at him as she held the remains of her dress to her breasts.
“Call me Clint,” he said in his most gentle voice. “I’m just going to put this over your head and pull it down, then you can put your arms through. How does that sound?”
She sighed in relief. “It sounds really good Clint.”
He was careful to keep the back of the shirt from touching her wounds until the very end. He pulled out the mounds of black curls from the opening for her head. She winced when the shirt and the hair finally rested against her back, and as she struggled to get her hands through the openings for her arms.
“Let me help.” He reached in and guided her limbs through, amazed at the softness of her skin. God, she was trembling so hard. She wasn’t going to stay conscious for long. He looked around the shack and saw Mason giving him a hard look. They had to hurry.
Darius had gauze ready to wrap around her wrists.
“Give me your hands Lydia,” Clint requested.
She squeezed tightly as Darius quickly administered to the wounds on her wrists. Quiet tears rolled down her face.
“All done, Ms. Hidalgo.”
Clint let go of her hands and pulled socks out of his backpack and pulled them onto her small feet.
“Let’s get you settled up on my back.”
Lydia wasn’t a tall woman, maybe five feet, five inches and a little on the curvy side, in other words, a perfect armful. She wouldn’t be a hardship to carry, but it was going to be tougher when she became a dead weight, and there wasn’t a doubt in his mind she would be before sundown.
Clint turned and crouched down so Lydia could maneuver onto his back. She wiggled a bit so she could get a better grip, then she wrapped her arms around his neck.
“Lydia, I need you to grip my shoulders, better yet, put one arm underneath one arm and link it with the hand coming over my other shoulder. I can’t have you blocking my airway.”
“I’m sorry. I should have thought of that myself.”
“Why? Have you ridden piggyback through the jungle before?”
“No, but it was on my bucket list,” she said through gritted teeth.
Clint chuckled as he hiked her up a little bit higher, and then Darius came around front holding some rope. He heard her swift intake of breath and wished he could spare her this.
“Remember, I’m giving you my back-up knife so you can get out of this.”
“Actually, I’m going to tie it so all she has to do is yank and it will give way.” Clint watched Darius’s swift and sure movements. He tied the cords so it was above her elbows and wouldn’t slide down to her wrists.
“Ms. Hidalgo, here is the end of the rope, if you pull this, you’ll be free in an instant.”
“Thank you.” Clint wished he could see her expression. Darius nodded.
“Okay, we need to get going.” Darius swung Clint’s backpack up with his, and they left the shack.
Clint tried to carry on a conversation with Lydia, anything to keep her awake, but she was too tired. When he had to climb over tree trunks she groaned in pain. Those were the worst moments, and he hated them. He looked ahead and saw the other members of the family at different levels of energy.
Finn was watching over the father, and Drake was helping the mother. Drake was second in command and the biggest member of the SEAL team. He probably should have been carrying Lydia, but everybody realized Clint made up his mind to take care of her. Therefore Drake had Mrs. Hidalgo in case she needed to be carried next.