It’s like déjà vu all over again. I’m standing outside of the bar and he’s walking towards me. He’s alone and worry and guilt flood me. Where are the others? Where’s Dulcie? Why did I let her leave with him? I know what he is, I should have said no, made her stay and finish her shift.
I stormed up to him and shoved him in the chest. “Where’s Dulcie! What have you done to her?”
“Whoa!” he grabbed my arms as he stumbled back a step, taking me with him. Somehow he turned and I found myself with my back against the wall, his body blocking the light in front of me. “What the fuck Poppy?”
He was annoyed? Good! I was beyond though. I gripped his shoulders and lifted to my toes, wanting to get as into his face as I could. “I know what you are, I know you what you do,” I warned. “Now where’s Dulcie?”
“Last I saw Dulcie she was grinding on a hipster,” he snapped going nose to nose with me.
His words took some of the wind out of my sails and I stammered out, “Well… good!” I was suddenly aware how close we were. His hands were wrapped around my upper arms, my hands were on his shoulders, our faces were so close together our breath mingled. I tried to ease away and he smiled and shook his head slowly.
“Oh no you don’t,” he growled. “Just what did you mean? You know what I am?”
“I ah…” His eyes glowed gold for a heartbeat then he blinked and they were normal again but my mouth was dry with fear, the wolf was at my throat. What had I been thinking confronting him like this? “You’re a man,” I whispered. “I meant you’re a man.”
“And just what is it you think men do Poppy?” his voice dropped to match mine, no less menacing for being so quiet.
“What?” I couldn’t think. Being so close to him was disturbing and not just in a bad way. There was no doubting I was scared but mingled with that fear was excitement and, if I was being honest with myself, lust.
He made a noise in his throat, a low rolling growl that had me trembling. “No answer Poppy? Maybe you want me to show you what men do to curious little girls like you?”
Yes, that was exactly what I wanted. But I wasn’t a little girl for him to toy with and I hated the fact that he wanted to toy, with Poppy, not me. Anger burned away the fear and I tilted my head back to meet his eyes.
“I’m not like Dulcie.” I smiled sweetly as I let go of his shoulders and gave his chest a gentle push. “I’m not a little girl for you to play with.”
He released my arms but didn’t step back. His smile wasn’t at all sweet as he said, “Well darlin’, Dulcie’s not my type anyway, and who said I was playing?”
My what big teeth he had as he smiled at me.
“Well just what are you doing here?” I challenged recklessly.
His eyes raked over me and he lifted a hand towards my hair, just hovered it there, not touching.
“What are you doing here?” he countered.
“I work here,” I stated the obvious.
“No darlin’. Here right now, with me. Shouldn’t you be running?”
The word echoed in my head and I knew he was right but did he know? Did he know me? My heart started to beat out a warning.
Not run, run home? I relaxed and smirked up at him. Some big bad wolf he was.
“Well maybe I do want to play,” I said with a casual shrug. “So I’ll leave you to whatever you’re here for, not playing, and go find myself some fun.”
I went to step by him and he moved with me, blocking me. I stepped to the other side and he did too. Once more for good measure and I stopped and laughed. “I thought you weren’t looking for fun but now you want to dance.”
“I said I wasn’t playing darlin’, but I’m always up for a little fun.” He tilted his head to the side and slicked his tongue over his lower lip as he stared at me. “What did you have in mind?”
Run, the little voice in my head whispered but I didn’t listen. I felt powerful, fierce, beautiful. I had his attention and he wanted to play. With Poppy, that voice whispered and I ignored it again.
“I feel like dancing.” I stepped into his body and slid one hand onto his shoulder, held the the other one up and waited.
His eyes narrowed on me and he took a deep breath before shaking his head at me. Without a word he captured my hand in his and slid an arm around my waist, pulling me tight against him. Then he started to hum a tune as he danced with me right there in the shadows.
Run, the voice whispered, as I slid my hand up to his neck, brushed my fingers through his hair. Run, it said louder as I pressed closer against him, feeling him hard and urgent against my stomach. Run, it yelled as he ducked his head and his lips brushed my ear and he started to sing to me.
Was he casting a spell? I felt like he was as his chest rumbled against mine, his voice seduced me, made me feel safe in his arms when I knew I couldn’t be.
He was The Wolf, and I was Red. If he caught me, he could do nothing less than destroy me. But what if I caught him? Could we be together without destroying each other? Could there be something besides devastation in our future?
He sang, “I’m your man,” and I wished it were true.