Second Impressions

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Dead mouse

Darius grabbed my hand and placed it on Maddie’s nose. We both smiled when she snorted, playfully relaxing her face. I was perplexed at how sweet he was with her like she was harmless, but I knew better. She was not a pet. She was a wild and powerful creature.

“You are both beautiful, strong, and what I like the most, fearless,” he said, placing his head in the back of my neck while I touched Maddie.

Fucking Maddie snorted like saying yes to him, making me laugh. She already picked a team. Team Darius.

“You might tame this animal, but not me. Never.” I said, enjoying her soft fur on my fingertips. Her brown eyes were watching me with those long eyelashes.

“Hmm..” he muttered in my ear while he pressed his body against me with his palms against my hips. My heart even started to beat faster.

Great, now he will try to train me like a Maddie.

“Have you ever ridden a horse before?” He said, stopping his hands in my waist.

“No,” I muttered.

“I am going to carry you on top of Maddie, and I won’t let go of her. We will walk together.”

“Promise you won’t let go,” I said, scared.

This horse will kill me!

“Never,” he added quickly while he grabbed me and helped me climb the horse.

I felt like an ant on top of this massive animal. It was two times the regular size of an average horse. Of course, it didn’t help that my legs were swinging in the air.

“How are you feeling?” He asked, adjusting the stirrups and placing my boots inside them.

He was in a good mood, and I noticed he seemed happy that I was here with him.

“Nervous,” I said, trembling like a chicken.

What was the point of lying? Maddie could kick me out of her in any second, and I could be part of an episode of dumb ways to die.

“Don’t be.” he guided my hands on the horn of the seat. “I won’t let anything happen to you. Maddie is a mare, the friendliest of all my horses.”

“You have more horses?”

“A couple of champion stallions and mares.” He said as he caressed her. He was gentle with her, and it was evident they had a bond.

Who knew I could get jealous of the connection he had with a horse.

“Maybe, if you feel more comfortable next time, I’ll teach you how to ride alone.” He smiled and started walking with Maddie’s leather strap in his hand.

After a couple of minutes, I relaxed on the seat and started to enjoy the activity. I watched his back as he guided us to a new trail hidden between the trees. Both alone in nature.

“Won’t you ride with me? I’m starting to feel cold.”

It was an excuse; I wanted to be closer to him.

“But only for a while. Even though Maddie is big, she cannot carry us both for long; it does help that you are tiny. Let me adjust the stirrups again before hopping in.”

It had a huge chair, so it was not uncomfortable when he pushed me to the front of the saddle, placing himself behind me. I almost felt like a small child between his strong arms. Maddie seemed happy, more than happy. She was excited like she wanted to run. I could feel it.

Oh, no...

I closed my eyes anxiously while Darius started laughing.

“Maddie has a lot of energy, don’t even dare give her a little kick before she flew us both over.”

He gave me a sweet kiss on my neck, calming my nerves.

“Now, squeeze your thighs on the horse.”

“But I don’t want to run,” I muttered back.

“We won’t go fast, just a slow gallop. It will be fun.” He encouraged me, and I did as he said.

Once he made a short clicking sound with his mouth, a verbal cue to Maddie , she started moving.

“Oh, my,” I muttered as I felt the horse’s fast pace under us, but Darius’ strong hold calmed me, and I focused on feeling the breeze on my face as we passed the trees.

And this is slow?

“You are going to like where I am taking you,” He said in my ear.

He stopped at the end of the trail and got off Maddie before helping me get back on my feet. He secured the horse on a tree and grabbed my hand, guiding me where the tree line ended and white paper sand started.

With the cold sea breeze, the sound of eagles, and the softness of his hand, I knew we were approaching the sea. I smiled, it felt like his secret spot, and he shared it with me.

We sat in the sand, watching at the horizon. The vast blue sea in front of us as I snuggled myself on his chest looking for warmth. He placed his chin on top of my head, holding me with his arms.

“So, cars and horses. What else do you like?” I rested my cheek in his chest, smelling his delicious oak vanilla perfume.

“Besides anything fast? Sex,” he said confidently.

He was hiding. He didn’t open up much.

“How primitive of you.” I rolled my eyes.

After a long silence, he spoke again.

“I enjoy playing with my enemies. It keeps the thrill of the game,” he said coldly, watching at the horizon. He was a complex person with a dark side that was scary and exciting at the same time.

But who would say something like this? Who would take so much pleasure in the disgrace of a rival? Who would do it just for the fresh taste of blood? Him.

I breathed in, trying not to show my genuine concern about what he revealed.

I knew he wasn’t joking.

Somehow I imagined him like a cat playing with a dead mouse, just for the fun of it. I would not throw Darius to my worst adversary. I will not want him as an enemy. He seemed ruthless. Relentless.

“Power is your fuel,” I said, assembling the puzzle. No matter how many pieces I got from him, it wasn’t enough to make a complete picture of Darius.

He turned his head to face me. “You are mistaken. It is not something I have or get; it is something I am.”

“Sure, kitty cat,” I said as I swallowed hard. What happened was that I felt a chill down my spine. He could be intimidating when he wanted.

He twitched his mouth at my answer and watched me intensely for what felt like a minute. He was challenging me, and I did my best to hold his gaze, but it was too strong, and I had to look away.

“We do have one thing in common, Olivia.” he broke the silence. “We both enjoy reading.”

I sighed. “I am pretty sure we read different things.”

“Wanna try me?” He grinned. You know I own an editorial. I want to read something of yours.”

“How do you know I write?” I frowned.

Did I share that with him? I’m almost sure I didn’t.

“I figure. Your smart mouth,” He said, grazing his thumb on my lips. He was about to kiss me.

“I will if you answer one question.”

He arched his eyebrows.

“Can you tell me what really happened between you and Archibald?”

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