Authors: Carys Weldon
He looked me up and down, probably assessing my age, and then--bastard--turned his back and walked out, flipping over his shoulder, “Yeah. I’ll bet you are too old for my shit.”
I padded after him. I wanted to protest. I felt suddenly...unwanted. Blocked out.
Chaos yanked open a sliding door of a closet and reached for clothes. Even his jeans were hung up. I knew a woman did that for him. That made me straighten my spine, get a little sense, maybe. He’d been toying with me? Having a little fun? It was obviously over. I felt tremendously stupid. (Yeah,
I would have liked to stand there and watch him dress, but more than that, I knew I had to get out--before he realized that I wanted to stay. I threw up a wall in my head, and told myself over and over again, “Right, I don’t want any part of Chaos.” A mantra, trying to convince myself more than him probably, I let it loop over and over again in my head while I scrambled around for my clothes.
Found everything but my panties and bra. Okay, I found my miniskirt and top, my heels, and my jacket. That was enough. And my purse. I had myself together in no time flat, kept my back to Mr. Fuck You, Too.
The homeys were moving around down there, at the other end. Damn. I’d have to go past them to get to the elevator. There’s a joke. My mind ran through a ton of Ho cracks. I hated the gauntlet that I guessed would come, had to steel myself for that.
I wasted time digging in my purse, running a brush through my hair, though I roughed it up with my hands after that. I prolonged my departure, I don’t know why. It wasn’t the homey goons. I could handle that. I didn’t like leaving things as they were. And he was avoiding me, too, it looked like, had disappeared back into the bathroom. I knew I should run then.
But I hate being a coward. That’s not really my nature. So, I waited for him to come out. Waited forever. Waited so long that I started to think about going in and telling him what I thought about him, and all his practicing. Got downright pissed, actually.
I sent him a thought.
If you can read my mind, you bastard, come out and say goodbye. The least you could do is call me a cab.
I could call my own cab. I could hail one on the street for that matter. I could walk home. Hell, I needed a good, hard run in fresh air. I couldn’t breathe in there.
There was no excuse for staying. He’d made it quite clear that we were done.
When no answer came, I felt a little devastated. I expected a
Get lost, bitch,
or something. But I got nada. And, eventually, I couldn’t stall any more. Feeling totally used, terribly let down, unbelievably depressed, I squared my shoulders and headed for the door.
The minute one of his boys thought to open his mouth, I shut him down fast. Looking him in the eye, I warned, “Don’t be stupid. You see me being happy?” I raised my lips, gave him a little hint of the teeth, a glimpse of the crinos me. In a split second, my nose and jaw extended, pearly fangs gleamed and then were gone, and I was me again.
There’s a flash for ya. Yeah. I got respect.
As I climbed on the lift, I heard them snicker to themselves. “Ain’t often a bitch leaves here without a smile. Wonder what that shit’s all about.” A whole lot of that sort of talk.
The gate started to close and I looked up at the ceiling of the elevator, an open steel cage. Glass panels alternated with metal in a haphazard pattern in the factory style warehouse. We were on the top floor. Briefly, I wondered how long Chaos had lived there, and how many other garou were in the building, on the other floors, how many floors there were. I didn’t really want to know--just trying not to think about him.
Again, I repeated to myself
I don’t need any more Chaos.
But you know, I was feeling real depressed, heartsick and part of me, the part that wasn’t admitting squat, knew that I’d fallen for him. If that ain’t about the dumbest thing ever. Fall for the biggest playa in the league.
The cage made some noise like it needed oiled. Old gears in a cranky set-up. I sagged against the back wall, closed my eyes, thanking Gaia I’d been able to get out relatively unscathed, refusing to get introspective while he was still within breathing range.
Of course, that moment of relief was short-lived.
I heard growling, furious roaring, actually, and I smelled fear, a lot of it--goons?--and opened my eyes in time to see Chaos slam a hand on the lift stop button--right before the doors closed. Making them open again.
So what if he looked fucking hot? Good enough to eat? He also looked mad enough to kill.
He didn’t say a word. At least, not straight up. No. He stared at me, though, and that said plenty.
Apparently, he’s not used to women walking out on him. Not until he dismisses them. How the hell was I supposed to know? I thought I had been.
See, that’s the thing about Chaos and me. He thought I ‘got’ him. He thought I was playing him, like I had a better grip on my brain and my heart than I really did. It took me a long time to figure that out.
I had no clue to the rules he operated by. I mean, sure, I played the playas all the time. That was my suicide day entertainment. But I’d never gamed in an arena like Chaos played in.
Don’t get me wrong, I was always moving up the ladder, looking for a bigger player to play, but I don’t know what kind of ape-shit thinking had been in my brain when I saw him coming and didn’t walk away. That was definitely a death wish speaking out.
And don’t think I didn’t rack my brain trying to remember that pickup scene. I wondered, what the hell? How come I was blacking that out?
But that didn’t really matter at the moment. Picture me trying to act cool with Chaos staring me down like he wanted to strangle me. It took him a minute to get his lips around some words.
do you think you’re going?”
Call it the death wish speaking. I batted my eyes, boldly acting innocent. “Where
do you think I’m going?”
There was not one sound coming from the apartment behind him. I know those guys were afraid to breathe. I’m telling you, when Chaos gets his deadly tension going, you know not to move. But I didn’t really care if he killed me.
Those moments I’d waited for him to come out of the bathroom, I’d already died. I was numb inside. I wasn’t up to any games.
My eyes flashed. Liquid red, I bet. Probably matched the lipstick I’d put on. Black eyes tend to do that when you’re absolutely bucking up death’s door.
Let me go. Drag me back inside. Walk me out.
I saw it warring within him. It felt like an eternity.
There was nothing
that had anything to do with saving face for his followers. He already had their respect, wasn’t worried about losing it. It had more to do with what was going on inside of him, I think. I felt it more than anything. And that confusion he was feeling transmitted itself to me. Or maybe it spoke to the disordered mess in my own head.
That silence was like a living thing. It stretched. It broke. But our eye contact never did. Finally, I guess, he got a little control together. He didn’t smile. I remember the distinct feeling that I was trapped again in one of Chaos’ little games of self-exploration. Smoothly, he settled his shoulder against the opening of the lift, crossed one foot over the other, and looked like he planned to lean there all day...watching me.
It was a good thing I was leaning against the wall. I didn’t have any strength in me all of a sudden. I let out a heavy breath and tipped my head back, watching him under closed lids. Ages we stood there.
Finally, he rubbed his lips together and asked, “You hungry?”
Yeah, I was hungry. I hadn’t eaten since I don’t know when. Plus, I was hungry for him to put his arms around me. But I didn’t like that. It made me surly.
“I was going home.” It came out a little haughty.
“Is that right?”
I ran my tongue over my upper teeth, below my lips, and said matter-of-factly, “Yeah.”
We were both still posing, and I was trying desperately to keep my mind blank, not to think about how sexy he was, or like I said, how much I wanted to roll up into his arms and let him hold me. Funny, how you can be tough for so long, way too long, and not realize how desperately you just want someone to take care of you. I knew instinctively that if anyone could take care of me, it was him. But I
want to let him in.
It made me a little sad. Bleak. There was no future with the man. He was on a one-way road. As an alpha player, his days were numbered. There was always somebody clawing up the doggie ladder, looking for a top spot.
So, I could go for longevity, walk away--if he’d let me--or steal the good moments that I could before he discarded me, or got killed, or we both got killed. I could see it all flashing before my eyes while I stood there in that lift. Live or die.
and die early, or eke out more days like I’d been living.
I reached up, ran a hand through my hair and asked, “What did you have in mind?”
He growled then, and stepped into the elevator. It didn’t matter that he had his boys behind him. I never even thought about them. Garou don’t care about that sort of thing. It was all between him and me.
So he kissed me again. And I had visions in my head of it going a lot further than that. Practically saw a repeat of the bathroom scene. And I wanted him to do it with me standing up, like that, in front of his posse. Stake a public claim, ya know? Not like they didn’t know we’d already slept together.
But he didn’t.
Oh, he kissed me good and plenty. He felt me up real well, too. Damn near had me wetting down my legs for him. Totally had my skirt pushed up so he could finger me, got me moaning like a bitch in heat.
And I know he was ready to go. He pressed his pelvis into me, letting me feel the hot rod between us. So, I know what he wanted.
Why he didn’t take it right then and there, I have no idea. But he sure played up the want. Had me panting big time.
Reaching back, he hit the down button without looking. So, we went, what? Four floors? Five? Six? Seven? While he kissed my brains out, I felt like the world was falling out from underneath me.
But I didn’t want to be saved.
At the bottom, he pulled himself away from me, tugged my skirt back into place, pulled my shirt down to a respectable neatness, and took me by the hand, leading me out of the lift. Looking from side to side, he shrugged and drew me along.
It was overcast, looked like it was gonna rain any second. Even a bit drizzly. The kind of mist that you can’t hardly see, but leaves you wet pretty quick?
We didn’t walk fast. And, to tell you the truth, it felt weird. Surreal, maybe. I mean, here we were--strolling--along a dark neighborhood. Like teenagers.
Maybe it was so his posse would have time to catch up. It didn’t take them long. I felt them, smelled them, before I caught glimpse of them. Kind’ve made me roll my shoulders. Wondered if he’d been walking slow for that reason alone.
But who knows what was in his mind?
I remember glancing up at him, looking at his handsome profile, and wondering what I’d done to get his undivided attention. It was obvious he wasn’t letting me go. And damned if I could remember what I might’ve done to impress him.
Out of the blue, he turned to me, made me stop walking. He glanced up the street one way, and then back towards his boys. “Look. There is no place, really, where we can talk without someone hearing us.”
So, okay, I didn’t say anything to that. What could I say? What did he want to say that he didn’t want people to hear?
Roughly, he rummaged through his hair with his free hand. Yeah, he had a finger grip on mine still. He scratched the back of his neck, too. Then he said seriously, “I’ve been watching you for a long time.”
What could I say to that? Kind’ve made me nervous, like I needed more of that.
I hadn’t stopped tingling from the moment he stepped into the elevator. Felt like I was all hyped up on something, the way my blood seemed to be rushing through me. Total energy, wired, ready to run. Way too much metabolism bottling up with nowhere to go, no outlet in sight.
I’ll come clean, though. I’d been watching him for a lifetime. What girl wouldn’t have been? You’d have to be blind not to. And even then, if you were truly blind you could sniff a whiff of him and swoon anyway. It was no use to pretend I hadn’t noticed his game. I’d just steered clear.
Waiting for him to speak his mind, I wondered idly where his twin brother, Leer, was. Guess that slipped in from his thoughts.
He said a second later, “I can’t think without Leer hearing me. You know that.”
That mind link thing was too invasive, pissed me off to no end. “So don’t think,” I said. It wasn’t a brilliant line, but he seemed to think it was a good idea.
His mind was always racing. Always thinking ahead. He said, “The minute he knows I’m with you, he’ll be sniffing up your--”
I put a couple of fingers to his lips. “Shh. Stop thinking about it. Can’t you just enjoy the moment?”