Fenris had always considered himself a lone wolf among the pack when it came to the club life. Though now that his best friend had found an ol’ lady of his own, he had started entertaining the idea for himself. He never took stock in the old adage ‘be careful what you wish for’ but then Aspen was suddenly standing in front of him with those big, hard-to-resist green eyes and he was smitten.
Aspen’s life had been turned upside down and inside out through a series of unbelievable and unfortunate events – and the hits just kept on coming. She wasn’t sure if her luck was turning or getting worse when she woke up in the badass biker’s bed, but Fenris knew…
She was just at the apex of the curve in the road her life had taken.
I woke up, my head just splitting, and I didn’t know where I was. I sat up in unfamiliar clothes in an unfamiliar bed and looked around.
It was creepy in here. The walls were rustic, rough-hewn boards on three sides, the wall behind me, at the head of the very large bed, stone. The bed itself was similarly rough-hewn logs, stripped of their bark and was not only high up off the ground, but was covered in what looked like animal furs.
An animal skull hung above the bed, vines twining through the eye sockets and around the horns, and I shuddered. On the bedside table was a tall glass of water and two round white tablets, beneath them, a note.
I picked it up with shaking fingers, letting the pills slide to the nightstand’s surface, and read the neat printing in big block letters…
Don’t Panic! You’re safe.
Where are you?
You’re at the bouncer’s house. Your friend ditched you and we couldn’t call anyone for you.
Where are your…
Clothes? In the dryer in the closet across the hallway. (You threw up. A lot.)
Phone? No idea. Maybe with your friend, maybe back at the bar. We’ll look for it.
Jewelry? Bedside drawer.
ID? Also, the bedside drawer with your debit card. Found both in your jeans pocket.
There’s fresh water and two Tylenol on the bedside table. Start there. There are clean towels in the bathroom if you want a shower, which you might. I don’t think I got all the puke out of your hair.
When you come downstairs, we can give you a ride, call you a cab or an Uber – whatever you’d like. If no one is up when you get up, there’s food in the fridge, Netflix on the TV in the living room, and the dogs love to be played with and loved on.
Main thing is, you’re okay.
See you downstairs. I go by Fenris.
“Huh.” I blinked several times, read and re-read the note as if there were more answers to be found in it.
She jumped slightly when I smacked the arm of the faucet up, the cold spray a slight shock against my fingers as it soaked the washcloth I held under it. I wrung the square of rough cloth out, folded it in into a padded quarter of its original size and raised it up. She leaned back, and I gave her a look. I admit, it was stern at first, but it wasn’t my goal to scare her into submitting – I was trying to help, in my own heavy-handed way and shit, I didn’t want to make things worse.
“It’s cool,” I said and tried to keep my tone in check.
She stilled, and I carefully washed her face with the cool cloth as though she were a child.
She broke the silence first, leaning back when she’d had enough, grasping my wrist gently to pull my hand away, putting the other with its perfect, long nails, against the cloth to push it down along with my hand.
“I’m sorry,” she murmured, and her voice was distressed.
“It’s not a problem,” I said neutrally, then asked a little more gently, “You want to tell me what that was all about?”
She stared at me mutely for several seconds and I could tell that, yes, yes, she did want to tell me, that she needed to tell someone, but she finally bit her lips together and stayed quiet.
“It’s alright, you don’t need to. Just thought it might help to get it off your chest.”
At the word chest, she crossed her arms over hers, tucking her hands beneath her arms, and I smiled and chuckled.
“You’re a strange woman, Aspen,” I said.
“How did you know my name?” she asked.
“Driver’s license,” I answered, shaking out the washcloth, folding it in half once, and laying it over the faucet’s neck to drip into the sink – if it was going to drip.
“Oh,” she said softly, looking away.
Text Copyright © 2020 A.J. Downey
This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, businesses, places, event, and incidents are either the products of the author’s imagination or used in a fictitious manner. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events is purely coincidental.
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