It had been three days since I’d met the wolf’s supposed brother and he’d written down the name for me. Three days since I stopped seeing him everywhere too. I had watched Rand leaving with two other men and one of them had paused and looked at me. I’d seen his lips moving, swore I heard a whisper in my ear, “Soon darlin’.” Then someone had called for a drink and when I looked at them, it was them, not him.
Rand and the men with him had left by the time I looked back but I had a name. I didn’t know whose name it was really. Rand hadn’t explained why the name Tate had given me had been so amusing, nor had he told me what his last name was. His and presumably Tate’s. I typed the name into a search engine and I found him. Or at least a link to a video of him, from him to me…
I stared at the still video for a few minutes before I clicked the play icon then the black screen changed to show Tate’s smiling face.
“So, you found me,” he said, his voice unbearably smug and I was tempted to stop watching. “Well I assume it’s you.” He leaned closer to the camera, his smile fading. “Let’s check shall we?” He dipped his head and I looked down, noticing a text box below the video. “What’s my favourite colour darlin’?”
The video stopped then and I stared at the cursor blinking in the box. How was I meant to know his favourite colour? Did he think I was a mind reader? I jumped as the video started again, showing his smirking face as he said, ” Come on darlin’, it’s not that difficult. You of all people should know.”
Me? The sound of his voice, a soft cascade of words, echoed in my mind “…her hair is red as a ruby glowing in the moonlight.”
“Well that’s kind of obvious,” I muttered as I typed in ‘red’.
The video restarted. “Well this is promising.” He tapped his lip and nodded slowly while frowning out at me. “One more, to be sure to be sure as they say at home.” He flashed a grin then was right back to frowning. “If it’s really you, you’ll know this. Name the song we danced to.”
The video faded to black with that cursor blinking in the box below as I hesitated. I didn’t know what would happen when I typed in the answer. Another video or… what? Panic ripped through me and I slammed down the screen of the laptop. What if it initiated a live chat session? What if he had already been watching me? That could happen, I’d read about it. People being spied on through their own devices. I touched a shaky hand to the ring I was still wearing, grateful I’d already put it on for the day.
I got up and made myself a cup of tea, grabbed a pad of paper and started to make a list. Moving was tiresome but it was time, past time really. I looked at the list of things I would need to pack to store or get rid of and was slightly appalled at myself. How had I gone from travelling light to having a home.
“Ridiculous,” I muttered to myself as I got up and went to the backpack that was propped by the front door. It was always partially packed and ready to go. I took it back to the table to unpack and check what was in there, see what I would need to add and ended up staring at the paper. My list was gone. In its place was the title of the song we had danced to, the words I needed to type to see what happened next.
In the time it had taken me to drink my tea and write that list I had come to the realisation that if he had been watching me, if he had the technical ability to trace me that way, it would already be too late. He would know where I was and he would be here or close by, waiting for me to run. So instead of doing what I was tempted to so and run, run, run! I was planning, calmly, coolly.
So I opened the laptop to find that cursor blinking at me and I typed in the answer. His face appeared again, smirking, satisfied, as he nodded. “Good girl.”
“I am not,” I muttered childishly and poked my tongue out at the screen, but there was no reaction which assured the paranoid part of me this was a recording, not a live feed.
The video played on. “So you cared enough to look for me darlin’? I can’t tell you how happy that makes me.” He smiled and it was all big teeth and his eyes glowed and I gasped. “Now don’t go getting scared and running away.” His eyes flicked to the side, almost like he could see the backpack on the table but that was impossible. “Here’s what we’re going to do.” His golden eyes seemed to lock with mine as I awaited his instructions. “This… game, is yours to run darlin’. I’m going to give you my contact details and you can do what you want with them. Call, text, email.” He shrugged, his smile was almost kind. “I just want to hear from you, any way you like. Balls in your court.”
I blinked, his words slowly sinking in. He was going to let me run the game? I shook my head in disbelief feeling confused and off kilter. “But…” I muttered, not even sure what I was protesting.
“Get a pen darlin’,” he instructed from the screen and I scrambled to obey. His face disappeared and numbers appeared, an email address. I wrote them down quickly as they started to blur and bleed into a black smear that eventually filled the screen.
I stared at the digits, the letters, wondered what I’d do with them. I could still run but… he said it was my game. I guess I could play a while…