Bad Wolf(4)

By: Jo Raven


And he hasn’t moved a muscle yet. He’s pressed too close to me, barely two inches separating our faces. His breath stinks of alcohol, and his body of chemicals and sweat. On a guy I like, I wouldn’t mind the smell of sweat. But on this one, it makes me want to throw up.

Fear keeps me still, so still. The rushing of blood in my ears and the beating of my heart are the only sounds I can hear, louder than the pounding music.

Is this how mice feel, I think, when a snake is about to strike? This cold panic that holds you like a spider’s web, like a fisherman’s net, so you can’t do anything but stare back?

“Man, I’ve been looking everywhere for you,” a male voice says very close to my ear, and I jerk, my breathing uneven. “Let her go. Come on.”

The guy blinks. “Go away, Fen.”

“Nah, no can do. See, girl’s got her boyfriend searching the club for her. I thought to warn you. Can’t let you get beaten to a pulp now, can I?”

What is he talking about? A boyfriend? The only boyfriend I ever had was Quinn, back in Destiny, when I was seventeen, and we only ever kissed.

Tearing my gaze with difficulty from the asshole who’s still holding me, I glance sideways at the new guy, and in the flashing lights, I catch a glimpse of a handsome face and spiky hair.

“He won’t let me go,” I whisper, and my stomach churns.

Who is he? Is he my rescuer, or more trouble?

I’m dizzy.

I’m terrified.

The man’s empty eyes slide from me to this Fen guy. “I said, go the fuck away.”

“Come on, man. You don’t want trouble, not tonight. Plenty of chicks around. Take your pick.”

“Damn you. Spoiling my fun.” The hold on my wrist slackens. “Pass her back to her boyfriend, or whatever the fuck. I’m going to get another drink.”

“Yeah. You know I’ll always have your back,” Fen says, and grabs my other wrist. “Come on, sweet cheeks. Let’s get you back where you belong.”

Where do I belong? Everything’s fuzzy. My knees buckle.

“Whoa.” He grabs my elbow with his other hand. “Easy there.”

“Can’t breathe,” I mumble.

Memories crowd the back of my mind, trying to break free, memories I keep under lock and key. Hands shoving me into a corner, pawing at me, tearing at my clothes.

Nothing happened, I remind myself. Nothing that matters happened. I got away.

But here’s the catch: in my mind, in my dreams, I didn’t.

“You had a shock,” the guy, Fen, says. “Let’s get you some fresh air. You didn’t take anything, right?” He pulls me away from the wall, in an indeterminate direction. “E? Any other drug? Didn’t let anyone spike your drink?”

I shake my head, then stop when the nausea worsens.

“Good,” he grinds out, and hauls me along faster. “Come on.”

I should stop him. Yank my hand away. This is going exactly the same way as before, when he rescued me. He’s going to take me out—where, into an alley?


“Stop, just… stop.” I manage to slow him down and pull my hand back. “Ow. Let go.” I’ll have such bruises there come tomorrow. Don’t boys really know their strength, or are they doing it on purpose? “I’m not looking for a hook-up, okay?”

And I mean it. My heart is hammering behind my ribs, and darkness is seeping into the edges of my vision. The sounds of ragged breathing fill my ears, the stench of old, sour sweat and the sweetness of weed…

“Wait a minute.” To my surprise, he lets go, turning to face me, lifting a brow. “You think I want you?”

“I…” I stammer, fear an icy current running through my veins.

He laughs, shakes his head. “You look like you’re gonna puke. I was helping you to the door, that’s all.”

Now why do I want to punch him in his handsome face? All of a sudden, I feel embarrassed and offended. Why is he so amused that I might think he wants me? Plenty of boys want me, thank you very much. What’s so frigging special about him?

Taking a better look at him, I’m struck with another case of déjà vu. What’s up with that tonight, huh? I mean, it’s hard to really make out his face in the flashing lights and half-darkness. Am I seeing things?

“There’s the door.” He gestures. “Feel free to go and puke on your own.”

What a douche. Lifting my chin, I start toward the outline of the door, the Exit sign on it glowing faintly. But my legs feel strangely heavy, and the pounding in my head is growing louder. The world tilts sharply, and I’m falling.

“Fuck.” His hand comes under my elbow, steadying me, pulling me up. “Sure you didn’t take anything? No shame in confessing, you know.”

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