Disgust and anger swell inside of me as I’m forced to watch from across the table, my mother shamelessly flirting with Christian. I can’t believe I was dragged into this or even allowed myself to bend to her pitiful act. She claims she wanted me to meet him, to get to know him, but I already knew his kind. He’s the man who preys on women for their gullible hearts. He’s the man who uses flirtatious charm and a debonair appearance to claim a love so deep and passionate into a woman’s fragile heart, only it is hollow and phony. He’s the leach to her bank account. He’s the controller of her friends and family. He’s the snake that slithers with power and bravado as he destroys everything in his path. He’s the devil.
“So, Grace,” Christian sips on his glass of wine while eyeing me from afar. “What passes your time these days?”
Besides impure thoughts of savoring your death? I thought to myself before plastering a soft smile onto my face. “I work and go to school. That’s about it.”
“No boyfriends?” One of his thick, trimmed brows perks while a smirk slicks across his mouth. I gently clench my jaw, trying not to make it noticeable.
“Nope.” I keep it fake and sweet as I suppress my true feelings. I don’t have time for boyfriends, and even if I did, why is it his concern? Why jump to that question? Why not ask about what I’m majoring in?
“Well, you are very beautiful. I can’t believe a woman like yourself is all alone. With your mother’s good looks and everything.” He turns his eyes to hers, smiling as he softly braces her chin with his hands. My mom melts helplessly into his palm, her eyes glazed over in blind love. Oh yuck.
My father’s death took a devastating toll on my mother. She isn’t who she once was. When he died, her entire demeanor changed. Her soul changed. She went from a perky and perfect housewife to a slutty alcoholic who binges on men and cheap whiskey. Any man who shows her affection, she milks it till he runs away, shattering her heart. She turns to vodka for comfort and expects me to walk behind her like a nanny chasing a child. It breaks my heart honestly.
I look away to conceal the fuming rage igniting warmth in my face. I wanted this night to be over with. I want to be in bed, curled up watching a good series on Netflix. I want to do anything, go anywhere, that isn’t with my mother and it. My mother soon dismisses herself to use the restroom. Silence is our only exchange as my mother disappeared.
“Would you care for any deserts?” A waiter asks, patiently waiting for a response with his hands folded over one another in front of him. He wasn’t the same waiter we had serving us tonight which is odd because Luigi’s staff usually never switches waiters.
I could tell he was different. His thin white button-down shirt clings to his bulging biceps, exposing some of a mysterious tattoo on his shoulder. My eyes wandered all over him in curiosity and wonder. His jawline perfectly framed the strong features on his face. Immense colors of yellow thread through the brown hues buried in his eyes. They were like pools of honey that I could swim in for hours. The longer I stared at him, the more it settled in me who he was--what he was. A wolf.
Even though legally they’ve been added to the nondiscrimination list, society stills fight with the idea of these powerful beast roaming freely. My dad was an advocate for an anti-werewolf campaign. Up until his death, while I was in high school, he programmed me to fear the wolves and run away. But I never could bring myself to live up to the standard he set. It was the opposite. I’m enchanted by them. Their power, their way of life. No matter how inquisitive I am about them, society held its own standards. They were looked down on and known as beasts of satan.
“Not from you, dirty bitch.” Christian scoffs, snarling at the waiter. My eyes widen in shock and anger. Did he just say that?
The waiter clenched his jaw and tried to look away, but I caught a glimpse of his eyes. The cheerful chamber of honey in his eyes flickered back and forth, fighting with black rage. I could see his emotions violently churn from Christian’s vile words.
Christian folds his legs over one another, leans back, and uses the armrest on his chair to prop his elbows up. A sinister pride dances around his Christian’s dark brown eyes. A pride I wanted to stomp out like a light under my heels.
“Excuse me? You cannot speak to him like that!” I raise my voice as the most disgusting glare phases onto my face.
“Oh drop it. His kind should have died years ago.” He remains calm, dusting himself off as if he’s brushing off the waiter's presence--my presence as well.
His comment astounds me. Surely a tall, cunning and a built businessman like himself would realize that making cruel comments such as that would wreck his public appearance? Society is walking on the fragile ground after the acceptance of the wolves, and making slanderous remarks will only taint his reputation as an elite.
I look into the waiter’s eyes, giving him a sorrowful glance as I see him still fight the beast within him. Did he want to see death today? Did he want to find out what ′his kind′ can do? Evidently he does.
“I think...” The waiter’s jaw clenched even tighter as he forced the words out of his mouth. “I should leave.” As he turns to leave, Christian spoke once more.
“Please do. And take all of the filthy mutts you’ve bred with you.” A snarky smirk curves the side of his mouth ever so slightly seconds before the waiter spun back around, ready to lunge and tear him to pieces. A soulless black glazed over his eyes while large canines made their presence known. He reached for Christian, but nearby waiters grabbed him by the arms and try to hurl him away. The enraged waiter growls and fights their grip, trying to sink his teeth into Christian’s rotten throat. If it were up to me, I’d let him.
The restaurant took a deadly silent turn as everyone watched the staff members hauling off one of their very own. Christian didn’t seem affected by his outburst. Matter of fact, he enjoyed it.
“Do you have a brain?” I turn my eyes back to the illiterate moron dressed in Italian-made suits.
“Excuse me?” His eyes hardened as he glared my way.
“He did nothing but offer you food! That was beyond uncalled for! Why can’t you be respectful and kind to him, even though he is different?!” I snapped.
“You know nothing of those beasts, Grace. They’re volatile creatures who deserve to be put down like the rabid dogs they are.”
“The only volatile beast here is you, Christian.” My eyes widen in rage as his words register in my brain.
“You better watch those pretty little lips of yours.” Christian narrows his eyes on me, but I wouldn’t back down.
“You better watch your fragile ego.” I pushed my chair back, standing up. I’ve had enough for one night. I’ve had enough arguing, enough of being fake. I’m exhausted. I knew this whole ordeal was a bad idea the minute my mother hinted it to me on the phone yesterday.
As I turn to walk away, a firm hand grips my wrist and yanks me back. My body involuntarily spins around. Christian hovers in my face, rage brimming in his dirt brown eyes. His nostrils flare and his breath is rapidly fanning my face. My heart stopped. His lips were pursed so tight, they were hardly visible. Veins bulge out of his forehead and beads of animosity collectively drip in his eyes as he stared me down. Fear wormed its way into my chest, but I pushed it aside and yank my hand free. I quickly grab my phone off the table and race for the door. I can feel all of their eyes pressing on me. The customers. The staff. But I didn’t care. I needed to get out of here.
I keep my eyes pinned to the floor, not caring to look at anyone. My eyes begin to fill up with tears as the events of today begin to unload through my mind. Everything is beginning to blur as tears threaten to release down my reddened cheeks. As I push the glass doors open, I don’t even bother to look at my surroundings. All of a sudden, my whole body felt like I just ran into a brick wall.
“Ow!” I yelp. The nerves in my face tingle in pain as a numbing sensation begin to overcome my body. As soon as the yelp passes my lips, I realize I accidentally bumped into someone.
“I’m-I’m...” I open my mouth to speak, but before I can finish my sentence, a dark male voice cuts me off.
“Watch where you’re going, princess.” My eyes flutter open and my gaze is met with hard searing green eyes, glaring into the depths of my soul. His captivating eyes flickered violently from black to green with a powerful rage. Sharp canines peak from under his perfectly filled lips. I force down a deep, hard gulp as it registers in my mind the eyes I stare so deeply into are the eyes of a werewolf.
“Shit.” A breathless mutter rolls out of my lungs as our gaze deepens. It’s one thing to have respect for them, it’s another to come face-to-face with one so big, so powerful. I chew on my bottom lip, fear creeping up my leg like a soul-sucking vine.
“Why are you so scared? Where is the fire and rage I just saw in there with you yelling at that douche about our kind?” The man standing before me, towering over me, radiates a sense of power. All of the anger and rage dissipated when I stared into the beautiful jungle circling in his eyes. My heart began to speed up with every step he took towards me.
The front entrance door flings open with a furious rage and a gust of wind from inside grazes our flesh. Out of the corner of my eye, a figure lunges for me. Before the figure could touch me, he snaked his arm around my waist and spun me behind his tall, massive frame. The air in my lungs disappeared as I stood there breathless from the warmth in his touch and power in his arms. I peeked from behind him to see Christian straightening himself out. The wolf lets out a guttural growl as he eyes Christian cautiously.
“Let her go.” Christian spits, reaching around the wolf for my arm. But he pushes me even further behind him.
“And who are you?” His glare turns harder. Christian’s eyes flicker to the wolf and a devilish grin sneaks across his moronic face.
“I’m her boyfriend.” He reclaims a confident and calm demeanor. My eyes widened with horror and shock from the words he just spoke. I know he said it to get a rise out of me, but this is an ultimate low. If my mother didn’t have any more red flags to notice, that is a huge indicator.
“The hell you are!” The wolf’s eyes darkened. I softly graze my fingertips on his forearm, nervous to touch him. His skin was so warm and felt so amazing under mine. The wolf stopped everything. His tightly-wound fists relaxed and his breathing stabilized. A smirk weasels across his lips before he laces his hand around my arm and throws me at Christian.
He stalks towards us and leans into Christian’s face. “Enjoy her presence while you can. She will come to her senses and when she does, I will be there.”
“And what does that mean?” Christian digs his fingers into my sides as he tries to match power with the wolf. I bit my lip as I felt his cruel fingers slowly dig like daggers into my flesh. The wolf chuckled with a dashing smirk, refusing to say anymore. He glances at me once more with a wink, then disappears into the building.
Christian snaked a hand around the front of my neck and pulled me close to him. “Listen, you little bitch. I will not be humiliated in front of my peers. Especially by a beast-loving slut like yourself. I expect to see you at home.”
As the door opens, he releases me from his grasp. My mother’s voice calls for him to pay the bill. As he walks away I feel his hands smoothly graze my butt before rejoining my mother. At home? What does he mean by at home?