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2 | Butterscotch Pudding

Slowly my eyes began to adjust to the darkness as the hulking frame came closer into view.

I wasn't game to repeat my question, and my unease must have somehow been apparent to the man who decided so chivalrously to put me out of my misery.

"Storm's cut the power. Lines fallen across the road, so you're staying here the night. At least until we clear the roads."

Monotone. Succinct. And quite frankly, rude.

And to have the audacity to leave me sitting there, in the corner of the booth, in the dark, and without my drink.

Like, the actual fuck?

Sliding across the seat, I stood to follow him.

"One more move and you will break your neck." He sounded completely irritated and bored. And as if to clarify that he wasn't a serial killer in waiting, ever so kindly elaborated as to what he actually meant, "steps are just ahead."

"What, do you have night goggles or something?!"

His huff was audible, and if I wasn't mistaken, it appeared the exchange between the man and I was now the only conversation occurring in the entire place.

I could have heard a pin drop had there been any, and suddenly realized that I was the only person left in the place.

"What the hell?!"

I stepped closer before turning his shoulder to make him face me.

"If we can't leave, why has everyone else left, huh?!"

Suddenly I found myself stepping back as he stepped closer. Slowly, he moved forward and he was undeniably annoyed, that much I could tell. Yet his words came out slowly and calmly as if he genuinely wanted to know,

"Do you ever stop talking?"

Crossing my arms in indignance, I puffed my chest in false bravado.

"No. And I'm still waiting."

"They walked. It's just you and me kiddo."

It was only the state of total darkness that left me confident enough to roll my eyes at the indignant asshole, but for some odd reason, I could have sworn I heard his stifle a smirk in response.

Still, he lurked away, each foot step fading into God knew where, while I was left wondering two distinct things; how did everyone vanish without me noticing, and where the hell was my drink?

Trying not to sulk about it, I maneuvered back to my booth, and felt around for my handbag. I was determined to get my phone. Finding the battery down was down to three percent, I took my chances and opened Safari, typing in Haven to see what popped up. I wasn't sure what I was looking for exactly. Maybe a B&B, maybe one star reviews for the service at Full Moon Bar & Restaurant, but definitely not a range of premium men's apparel complemented by Japanese sourced products, which was the first result that came up.

Huffing in impatience, I tossed my phone on the timber table and ran my fingers through my hair. Now what, Edie?

Google Maps. Ah ha! Typing in Haven again, I was ready to get out of here. My frustration started to build as I watched my phone drop to two percent. Living life on the edge. But, as the page loaded, the only place it listed was a city called Melbourne in Australia, and I could say with absolute certainty that the sub zero climate I was currently experiencing indicated that I was not anywhere remotely close to the Southern Hemisphere.

"You won't find us on any map, Edie."

His husky voice made me jump through the roof, and I swore I felt my heart skip a beat, "Jesus Christ! Are you trying to scare me half to death... and how the hell do you know my name?!"

I was furious, how dare this stranger read over my shoulder like some creep?!

"Ah of course, it's those night goggles you have isn't it? Spot my key chain?"

"Something like that..."

He cleared his throat, and I heard him shuffle his feet as he stood there awkwardly.

I made no attempts to ease the silence as I waited for him to explain what the hell he was doing.

Still waiting...

"I brought you some blankets. You'll feel the cold. Try to sleep, and I will try and get the generator going outside."

The scent of stale blankets that hadn't been used in God knows how long filled the air, and I tried not to sound unappreciative, but my bewilderment at the turn of events had me utterly exhausted.

"I'm just supposed to sleep here? On the seat of this booth?"


"From where I'm standing, sleeping on this seat would do wonders for your attitude.... and you're welcome Princess."

He really had to drawl the Princess out for added emphasis, as if I wasn't quick-witted enough to get the fact he'd pegged me for a spoilt brat.

I reached forward and grabbed the blankets. The feel of the faux mink filled me with momentary appreciation as I knew he was right; it was about to get very cold.

Grabbing one from the top of the pile, I left the remaining ones for him.

"Thank you Prince Charming..."

What a catch, I thought.

Just as I heard him walking away, he had to get in one final swipe.

"Oh, and Edie, there's a tap by the bar- get it yourself."

And just like that he was gone.

Letting out a grumble, I admitted defeat. I had no choice but to accept that tonight at least, I'd be stuck here with the worst company ever.

And I didn't even know what he looked like. Or know his name. All I knew is that this man was entirely unapproachable, unbelievably moody, and unquestionably lacking of any social skills whatsoever.

It was what it was.

Fumbling around in the dark in an unfamiliar surrounding presented challenges I didn't particularly want to encounter.

Sticking with what I knew, I laid my puffer jacket down on the floor and used a cushion from the booth as a pillow. Grabbing the blanket, I wrapped it around me before laying down on the timber floor.

I'd always had this fear of falling off beds since I was little. I remember when my Mom took me camping once. We were renting a cabin by a lake and I begged her to let me sleep on the top bunk bed in the spare bedroom. What was probably an early example of my long list of bad decisions, I clearly remember free falling in the middle of the night and landing on the linoleum floor with a resounding thump.

Needless to say, I have hated sleeping on narrow and unknown beds ever since. So, the floor it was.

Missing my usual scroll of the gram before bed, I drew my attention to what I'd been trying to hard to avoid.

How did my life come to this? Huddled on the floor, in a place so remote that it wasn't even on a map. With a gruff and grumpy guy who I wouldn't be able to pull out of a line up if my life depended on it, in the middle of some freak snow storm? All based off the note left behind by my Mom? Sorry, aunt?

You'll find the answers when you get to Haven...

Well it seemed all I had so far were more questions that needed answering, but it wasn't as if I could turn back now.

Staring at nothing in particular, I noticed my eyes making shapes in the shadows. I always did that just before falling asleep.

My mind made weird hallucinations of creatures of the night stalking the walls, visions of the wild and wonderful. I always loved that moment right where reality blurred to my dreams...

My mind was falling, falling, and as my breathing began to slow and become heavier I knew that sleep was imminent.

Howl after howl swept through the sounds of the storm, and in my exhausted delirium, I was convinced a pack of wolves must be outside the doors.

No, it's the wind, I reasoned.

Maybe it's- I only hoped that who ever- white horses... butterscotch pudding...

And before I could finish any thought, I was already dead to the world.
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