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30/Three Steps Ahead

The intruder moved with measured pace to tie back his coal colored knots. With his features unencumbered, I collapsed stunned. Amber’s slack jaw told me she saw it too. Beyond the age lines and scars marring his face, a stubborn jaw and narrow nose mirrored my own. Golden eyes crinkled in a knowing way. With each blink the mirage didn’t fade. I had never known my father or even seen pictures, but without a doubt we were blood.

“Davis?” My voice shook with uncertainty. The world grew as I shrank to the floor. My knees made a rough decent to the floor, at least it was carpeted.

Amber, still in shock, made no move as he moved toward us. His hand grasped her phone and in one breath it was in pieces. His muscles didn’t strain under the smartphone’s might, nor did they flex as he picked Amber’s struggling form up. In two brisk strides she was shoved in the coat closet next to the front door.

Her voice was muffled. “Let me out or I’ll scream!”

An arm chair was within his grasp without too much strain for him to move his foot away from the door. The green overstuffed chair was a perfect fit under the knob, the groves in the tile a natural stop. A perfect fit. Amber belted out a scream worthy of a horror movie, the tail end scraped against her raw throat.

I opened my mouth to protest but a single finger silenced me in the same instant. Seconds ticked in the silence from the clock on the wall, the third was accompanied by a loud thump against the door. It didn’t budge, but that didn’t deter Amber. “One more kick and you will sprain your ankle.” His statement made her pause but didn’t stop her from kicking the door one last time. Amber cried out in pain, just as he predicted. So this is what Michael meant by once you saw Davis predict the smallest acts in time, it was difficult to deny his abilities. Was I destined to become like him, always prepared and three steps ahead? Nash had mentioned Davis worked in strange ways, hindsight the only clarity to the alpha’s actions.

Amber screamed for Michael and pounded her fists against the door and wall. Her fighting spirit ignited my own courage. “He won’t be waking up for a while.” Davis’s words silenced Amber and paralyzed my raised fist.

A low threatening tone was stifled by the door. “What did you do to my master?”

With confidence Davis turned away, unperturbed by her question. His calloused hands lead me to the counter. I fixated on the blank notepad and pen he clearly wanted me to use. The werewolf articulated in a clear tone so Amber could still hear. “Have you ever heard of Inmortuae somno?” He didn’t wait for our reply. “He never should’ve taken that easy meal coming in to town.”

My eyes widened in horror at the notepad, I was avoiding his direct gaze. With panicked gasps and a trembling frame, I realized what he meant. Michael needed to quench his thirst before meeting my mother. Before arriving to town a woman attracted his attention, stumbling around and dazed under arch welcoming visitors. Michael pulled the car over in the shade of the arch and fed.

I worried my lip between my teeth, anxiety built as I realized the notepad was a test I was set to fail. My mind was blank to what I should do. Nothing I wrote to warn Nash or Michael, assuming he ever woke up, would be enough. Davis was prepared beyond anything I could predict. If I didn’t write anything, would I be playing into his expectations? It took three attempts to pick up the pen, even secure in my grasp I wasn’t sure I could write anything legible. What could I write to Nash that Davis wouldn’t already know?

“Quickly dear, we’re leaving soon.” Davis looked over my shoulder with blatant interest. Maybe he didn’t know what I would write, or maybe he was just making sure I would write what he prophesied I would. At my delay he added, “Your mother is waiting for you.”

I rounded on him, wrath tinting my vision. “You better not have drugged her too or I’ll-”

Davis rolled his eyes heavenward and guided my hand back to the notepad. “I would never do that to my mate. Now write your warning and let’s leave.”

“Warning?” I echoed back.

“In my vision one possibility you wrote was, ‘Seth has a silver dagger hidden.’ the other was ‘Don’t fight Seth on your own.’ I didn’t see a vision of Seth and Nash fighting, but if it’s important enough for you to demand me of me then now is your chance to write it.” I shook off his hold and deftly wrote a combined sentence of both warnings. Davis muttered with complete intrigue, “Interesting.” He was right; if he had tried to force me to go with him, I would’ve fought him to leave Nash a note.

“There, now take me to my mom.” I demanded with faux courage.

“Very interesting.” Davis tapped his scarred chin with contemplation clouding his vision. “I did the right thing after all.”

“Doubtful.” My cynical reply was whip like, and effective from the wince he tried to hide.

“Stab me with the pen and you’ll realize how much stronger I am, Jessica.” His tone bode ill as I eyed the pen thinking just that. Davis’s grasp tightened around my upper arm and tugged us to the garage. Amber had given up and sat in solace. I felt bad for her but would’ve traded places in an instant if I could. Amber, in all her demur, at least had high heels to stab the bastard with and the attitude to back up a murder. I felt powerless in his hold; he had my mom after all.

With a single warning that he’d catch me, Davis settled me in the front seat of my mom’s SUV. In four long strides he was in the driver’s seat. The ignition startled me from my thoughts of escape. The garage door groaned to life and we backed out of the drive. I sat in silence with my arms crossed like a petulant child, which I guess was true. Davis broke the tension first. “Your mom came willingly. You can ask her yourself when we get there.”

The cold shoulder was my rebuttal until one question blistered my tongue. “Where were you all this time?” So many questions were attached to the most pressing one. Why fake your own death? Why did you stay away from mom and I? Why didn’t you warn my mom?

His chest heaved in a long sigh. “I’ve been very busy ensuring our future.”

I was quick to get out, “Maybe yours.”

“You really are a spitfire like your mom.” Davis chuckled. “Look, Jessica, when I met your mom I had no idea how to control my visions.” He looked to me knowingly. “Yours have just begun and look at the difference years of practice makes.” My glare was a response enough, he wasn’t fooling me. Dead-beat dad was still a dead-beat dad. “After you were conceived, I had a dream unlike any other. It was your future, mine and your mothers, and Nash’s as well. You were at the center with two very opposite destinies affecting everyone you love.” Begrudgingly, he had caught my attention and I acknowledged him. “I didn’t realize until the second time I had that vision, my choice would seal your destiny.”

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