Scales and Scars

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We walked mostly in silence. Tadeas seemed to have a strange energy rolling off his body. I was lost in my thoughts trying to figure him out. Every now and then my eyes would drift over to him as if he wasn’t really there.

“I am just up the road. I can make it from here. Thanks.” I said quickly picking up my pace again.

“I don’t mind going the rest of the way.” He responded sounding somewhat offended.

“I see. You prefer your own company to others.” His voice turned condescending.

“No, I don’t know you. And nothing that has happened so far says I should get to know you.” I shifted my weight as my ankle throbbed.

“Do you believe in Magic?” He asked will only 4 houses left to pass.

“Like flying brooms and people turning into frogs?” I scrunched my nose.

“Things you cannot explain. Old myths and stories about beautiful creatures and witches.”

“I don’t know about all that.” I mused, unsure of what he was expecting. “I guess we all want to believe in something more. But reality is still there when we open our eyes.”

“Thank you for making sure I was safe. This is me. I meant what I said, I’ll stay away from the cave.” I said before raising my hand in a peace sign and walking down the driveway.

“Wait.” He said taking my hand into his sending the warm blanket of heat down my arm. “We still have the date. Even if you do not care to see the cave again.”

I looked at him in disbelief. He couldn’t possibly think I was crazy enough to want to continue this experience. As I looked over his face, I could see the determination in his eyes.

“I don’t know. I am really busy helping my sister and her family. Now isn’t a great time.”

It was a horrible excuse, but it was the only thing I could think of. He looked up towards the house as a small grin appeared on his lips. It made me worry for what he had planned.

“Aries!” Bethany called from the front door. “Where the hell have you been? Can you not send a text!? A phone call!” She was still yelling as she approached us.

I groaned under my breath. Tadeas must have good hearing because he chuckled. I shot my eyes sideways towards him as Bethany stopped yelling looking at my escort.

“Who are you? What they hell happened?” Bethany said looking at my injuries.

“She hit her head during the storm, I helped patch her up. Tadeas.” He said holding his hand out to meet Bethany.

She took a moment to look me over then took his hand in hers. Bethany was always trying to show men she was as strong as they were. I saw her clench her fist to show her strength as Tadeas smirked. She had no effect on him.

“First of all, Thank you. What happened to your phone Aries? I’ve been calling you since you missed dinner. A whole day is a little dramatic don’t you think?”

Bethany’s eyes were locked on mine once she was finished looking over Tadeas. I knew she was going to try to push me to see him again. I didn’t want to explain all the reasons why I shouldn’t.

“I’m sorry. I broke my phone on my hike.”

“Of course, you did. Thank you Tadeas. Have you had dinner yet? We have more than enough if you would like to stay.” She kept speaking through my death glare.

“Actually, I haven’t.” His triumphant smile reached his eyes. “That is kind of you to offer.”

“Follow me.” She instructed, he complied. “Aries, you can go get cleaned up and meet us in the main house.” She looked at me and winked.

“Great.” I mumbled aloud.

I quickly showered and cleaned myself up. To my surprise, my head and ankle were almost healed, though still tender. I quickly put on clean jeans and a t-shirt before heading back out the door. My niece, Scarlet was sent to hurry me along.

As We entered the main house my eyes grew at the sight. Tadeas was helping Bethany in the kitchen. She didn’t usually allow any assistance in there. He must be a real smooth talker. I wondered why he didn’t have that effect on me.

“Well now that you are finally here, enjoy your food. I will see you in the morning, mother duty calls.” She said winking at me before exiting the room with Scarlet.

“Subtle sis.” I said before she was out of ear shot. “Sorry about her.” I said to Tadeas, unsure why I was apologizing.

“Food and company, I won’t complain.” He shrugged his shoulders before placing a plate in front of my seat. “Shall we?”

I quietly ate my food, not realizing how hungry I had been. The cave had no sense of time while I was inside, no outside light made it difficult to know how long I had been there, especially when unconscious.

Tadeas watched me carefully, diverting his eyes only to look at his plate. I wasn’t sure how I was feeling in that moment. My thoughts began to remember when Anthony and I first met. I knew right away he was different, and our relationship would be too.

“So… what do you do for work?” I asked trying to distract myself. I was self-assuring that I did not care. It was just to pass the time.

“Whatever needs to be done.” He answered between bites.

“That is pretty vague.” I replied coldly.

After we finished eating, I quickly washed the plates before returning them to their place in the cabinets. I exited through the doors onto the back patio as he followed. It was then I realized we walked all the way from the trails. How would he get home?

“Would you like a ride home or something?” I asked with a yawn.

“I can manage. How is tomorrow around 3?” He questioned looking up towards the sky.

“Tomorrow around 3? For what?” I was slightly confused; my brain was beginning to fog from lack of sleep.

“Our date.” He said firmly. Oh, that.

“I appreciate everything you did for me today, since last night, whenever it may have been. I just am not ready to date again. My last relationship didn’t end well. I am simply not ready to move on.” I said trying to sound apologetic. “I think dinner tonight can count as that date.” I added firmly.

“We do not need to rush anything. I will be here at 3.” He said before pulling me into a hug I was not prepared for.

I was too tired to care, I returned his embrace as my body began to come alive. Every nerve that was close to him was singing. They wanted more, to be closer, it was like a bug to a bug-zapper, pulling me in.

His scent sweet like fresh rain on a summer’s eve in the middle of the forest. His hands slowly traced my back as if he was enjoying the embrace as much as I were. I decided it wouldn’t be bad to go on one date. Maybe I needed to rip off the bandage.

“Tomorrow at 3 is fine.” I agreed meeting his eyes.

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