I had barely slid onto the barstool when the man behind the bar asked, “What can I getcha?”
“Jameson rocks please,” I said with a small smile.
“What pretty eyes you have,” he commented as he held my gaze and reached for a glass and I thought, “Isn’t that my line?”
I looked down, feeling my cheeks flush and said a quiet, “Thank you.” A glass appeared before me and I reached for my bag but he stopped me with his words.
“On the house for such a pretty lass.”
My eyes jumped to his and this time I saw the wolf in his grin. He didn’t scare me though, not this pup.
“Hell of a way to run a business,” I said but I toasted him and took a sip.
He wandered away to serve other customers and I relaxed, enjoyed my drink, watched the news on the screen behind the bar. Before too long my glass is empty and I’m debating the wisdom of a second. Then the wolf is back with a fresh drink and he’s showing a lot of teeth as I look at him with a question in my eyes.
“The gentleman over there would like to buy you a drink,” he said before I can ask and I followed his head tilt, my heart in my throat.
Surely I would have noticed if Big Bad came in? Then my breath escaped in a rush and my shoulders slumped for a moment. I’m confused though because that’s a bear and I’m not a blonde. He drops his chin in a little nod and I nodded back, even managed a smile in thanks. Then I looked away, looked down at the paper before me. It’s blank. No whispers on the wind today, no words I didn’t write.
There’s a shift in the air beside me and I glanced to the side to find the bear sliding onto the stool beside me.
“Hey,” he said in his deep gruff voice.
“Thanks for the drink,” I acknowledged as I lifted the glass.
“I haven’t seen you here before?”
“First time,” I agreed and looked down at my paper again. My pulse stutters and I try not to gasp but my breathing is uneven.
“You okay?” the bear leans too close and looks down at the paper. “Boo? You trying to scare me?” His laugh is low and sexy and I can see why the blondes would fall under his spell.
Not me though. I heard it then, the low howl. I looked at the bear and he’s mid laugh as time seemed to slow. A wind whirls around fluttering the paper under my hand and I turned to face the doorway. He’s standing there, in shadows so I can’t see his face, but I know him. I didn’t look away as I lifted the glass and threw back the shot of liquor, let it burn down my throat, warm me inside.
“I have to go.” Did I say it or just think it? The bear looked at me in surprise so I said it. “I have to go. He’s so angry,” I added on a whisper and took a step away, towards the other door.
“Miss? Are you okay?” The pup sounded concerned and I spared him a glance and a quick nod. Then I looked back at the doorway and it’s empty so I ran.