The next morning I went grocery shopping in the next town over. In this town, there was only one grocery store. I know, not much to choose from but it has almost everything. After picking up what I wanted in the fresh produce section, I made my way to the dry goods.
Humming a small tune, I scanned the shelves for some penne pasta. It will go well with the tomato sauce I will be making and the fresh mozzarella and parmesan picked out. I was completely oblivious to my surroundings until I felt that familiar feeling from the woods—like someone was watching me. I glanced up and down the aisle and saw no one.
Immediately, I knew something was off. Aisles are never empty especially when this was the only grocery store in town. Slowly, I placed the box I picked from the shelves into my cart. My gut was telling me I was being watched.
Pushing my cart, I headed down the aisle just when I was about to turn, my cart hit another.
“Oh! I’m sor-“My sentence dropped when I notice it was the guy from the bar—Cassius. He looked a lot different. I had a good look at him last night. He looked a lot more laid back dressed in a loose V-neck t-shirt and jeans. Today, he wore a business suit which I found awfully weird as we are in a grocery store but he must be coming back from something important.
“Cassius, right?” I arched an eyebrow in question and pointed my index finger at him.
He nodded with his head tilted to the side, almost as if he was examining me.
“Funny how we meet again and out of all the places, here, in the only grocery store miles away from my town.” I mumbled and notice the sarcastic-ness in my voice.
“A mere coincidence,” He answered simply. I eyed him to see if there was more to what he said but his eyes were as mysterious as his response. He glanced into my cart and I made a silent prayer he does not see the box of tampons I placed in there along with a box of divine chocolate assortments.
“Shopping for groceries,” His eyes flitted back up to mine.
The corner of my lips lifted, “Isn’t that what we do in a grocery store?”
His lip twitched but no more. I don’t know what it was about today but today he was just so much more intimidating. Was it the way he held himself? His shoulders even and his chin slightly lifted almost like a superior.
“Why, yes it is.” He replied. We stood staring at each for a few awkward moments before I cleared my throat and tried to maneuver around him but he placed a hand on my cart which caught my attention.
“What are you doing in Alaska?” He asked out of nowhere. I frowned at his weird questioning. What was with all these questions anyways? Did I really want to tell him? Did I really want to make friends? If I told him more, does it mean it is the start of something? Oh, what am I thinking? Of course not. It won’t hurt to tell him.
“What do you mean?” I asked.
“I mean, why Alaska?” He pushed further. His smokey grey eyes looking down at me with an incomprehensible gaze.
Being this close to him and being able to look at his eyes in a new light I can see the dark shards in his irises. They looked like little half moons. The curvature if his nose and strength of his checkbone and jawline inexplicably illuminates how handsome he really was. Not to mention the dark scruff growing on his chin.
He cleared his throat and I realize I had been staring.
“It’s my home.” I responded sheepishly.
“Your hometown?” His voice hiked in surprise.
“Yes. Is that so hard to believe?” I shot at him feeling slightly defensive.
“I am just surprise. I have never seen you anywhere near here.”
Of course not. My dad and I lived closed off from society. The only reason Mrs. Hewitt knew me was because I use to pick up my dad from the bar from when he was drunk.
I moved out after my dad died. There was no aunt or uncle. If there was, I never found out. My parents preferred the quiet life. I have to admit though, I grew angry at my dad for taking the easy way out. It was selfish and it left me all alone.
You know those dreams you have of your dad walking you down the wedding aisle, I had it once then I learned it was never going to happen. My life will never be normal. After my mom and baby sister died, my dad changed.
He became more closed off than before. Took me away and taught me what I needed to know.
“Amelia...” His gruff husky voice shattered my thoughts. I blinked and looked back up at him. There was a flicker of concern that flashed through his eyes.
“I’m sorry. I don’t know what’s wrong with me. I am a little distracted today.” I apologized, tearing my gaze from him to my cart. I just remembered that making friends here was useless. I wasn’t going to stay long. There was really no use to continue talking to him.
“I have to-”
“Go?” He finished my sentence for me.
My eyes met his again. Sighing, I pushed my light platinum blonde locks behind my ear.
“It was nice meeting you again, Cassius.” I moved to push my cart but his hand came out to grab onto my cart, stopping me from moving further away from him.
I glanced down at his hand before following that hand, up that arm, and bavk at his handsome face.
“I was hoping we can actually meet again. I can take you out to a small diner in town.” A part of me screamed ‘YES’.
“Why?” I asked. “It’s useless.”
“Anything with you is not useless, Amelia. I truly do want to get to know you.” He said softly before finishing. “Other than what I have discovered from people around town.”
This time my walls grew higher. I didn’t want anyone knowing anything yet unless I want to reveal it but I knew it wasn’t his fault for asking. It was the villagers that won’t shut up. If my guess is correct, he spoke to Mrs. Hewitt.
“What do you know?” I dared to ask.
“You are an orphan. Your parents passed away along with your sister. The few elders in your village mentioned you liked to hunt.” He answered me. His hold on my cart released. I could escape but I found myself wanting to stay a little longer.
I guess I can sense he is no threat. He seems harmless.
“I still hunt.” I retorted.
“Wolves?” He asked with an arched eyebrow.
“Amongst other things. Yes.” I told him honestly.
Again, I couldn’t tell if he was against killing animals or he was indifferent. His face was like a hard mask.
“Why do you keep hunting? Why not move to the city?” He questioned further.
“What’s with the 21 question? Should I ask why you are wearing a suit today?” I snapped.
“I was at a business meeting with a few important people. I had no time to change but wanted to grab a few things before heading home. Is that a crime?” He responded.
I sighed, “No. Sorry. I am just a little off today.”
“There is no need to apologize, Amelia. I can take whatever you throw at me. It won’t change my mind about you.” He said and his eyes darkened like a beautiful thunderstorm that tugged at my heartstrings.
“I know it is not my place but I have to say that there are better things than hunt the one thing that will not bring back what killed your family.” His voice was soft and compassionate. The stone wall in my heart cracked at his sincerity.
“Wolves are monsters. I will deal with them the way I know how.” I said with a hardened voice and took hold of my cart, turning my back to him. I took a few steps when I heard him answer me.
“Sometimes, there are monsters worse than the ones you see. I will let you go but I will see you again.”
I turned back to ask him what did he mean but he vanished. For a second I thought I was dreaming while standing up but I can still smell his woodsy pine body scent lingering in the aisle.
I will let you go but I will see you again.
With the last thing he said still on my mind, I finished my shopping and drove home.