Was it fair to bask in the heat of the morning sun when all she could think of was Sol’s body bloating from the decaying gases?
Just once she’d like to stuff her imagination into the dead brain cells she surely had. Thinking of her dog on the compost pile did nothing but knot her stomach and hold her hand while she merged onto Vomit Lane.
Think of the good times.
So she did. Immediately her stomach unclenched, but released the tears so they squeezed from between her closed lids. Really, she should get up, get oriented, get a game plan.
Just yesterday, she’d walked away…Wait. Scratch that. She’d blasted her exit from the best job she’d ever had and there was no going back. Ever. The main reason being she still had the urge to off the girl, and sleeping on it hadn’t scratched that itch in the least.
Sofia Smith, homicidal maniac.
Now there was a job she wouldn’t mind having if she could get away with it. There were plenty of people she’d love to drill a bullet into. Or…
Okay, shut up.
Devising ways to off people was not exactly putting her in a healthy frame of mind. Or a clear one, which she needed if she was going to figure out what her next steps were. But first, she had to get her carcass up out of this comfy nest. Then she could head back toward civilization.
She wasn’t stupid. She knew she needed money, and fairly fast, since all of her possessions, wallet included, were back at the farm.
She’d find work on a fishing boat or something. Lie and tell potential employers she’d lost her i.d. If they pressed her, she’d leave and move on until she was wrapped tight enough to return for her stuff.
With her new game plan to buoy her, Sofia finally opened her eyes to greet the day. She stretched her cramped muscles, yawned deep, and rested her sleep crusty eyes on the man who’d been following her the previous day.
He had his back against a tree and his forearms on his bent knees, so when he lifted his face to the sound of her voice, his green eyes were level with hers.
Nice. His greeting rasped across her skin, warming it like it always did.
“You’re still here.” Obviously. Her skin prickled in a good way, she realized. Not that she’d let him know that. And his toothy smile was awfully comforting, in spite of the circumstances. She’d slept in the woods all night. Not alone, either, and that should’ve had her nerves squiggling mercilessly, but didn’t. What the hell was up with that?
She’d just gotten too used to having Sol-Dog watch out for her. That was it, of course. She was getting lazy and sloppy. Then he spoke again and she caught herself listening. Expectantly.
“I was worried about you. Not everyone is comfortable sleeping alone in the woods, you know.”
That grin told her he was impressed. And pleased.
“How’d you know where to find me?” I was hidden, goddamn it. Unless, of course, he’d never left at all and had spied on her, had been watching her after he’d let her think he’d walked back to the farm.
Shit. That was a problem no matter how much she liked his voice.
His smile, too. Don’t forget his smile.
Hell. Here she went again with her internal dialogue. Plus, she was assessing the physical cues instead of the vocal information—the lies. Except she didn’t think he was lying about being worried for her, and she wasn’t usually wrong about that.
“Well?” Sofia crossed her arms instead of getting her feet under her in case she had to run. Or shoot. Which reminded her of the weapon she’d tucked into her belt at the small of her back. While she put the pressure on her stare, she reached behind her. And felt nothing.
In a flurry of dead leaves and scrambling legs, she had her shit-kickers planted and didn’t wait for his reply. “Where’s my gun, asshole?”
So long smile. German’s eyes hardened on her own.
“I was thinking I was safer if you weren’t holding it.”
Shit, with a capital S. “Why? I wasn’t going to shoot you.”
“Maybe not. But accidents happen.” He kept his position at the base of the tree, not offering to get to his feet to brace off against her.
Sofia felt his eyes run along the length her body. Assessing. Holy, he was checking her out. Was he waiting to see what her next move would be?
All right. She could work with that. This wasn’t the first hard spot she’d ever found herself in. If she played it cool, she’d get out of this intact. Well, maybe she might lose something, but she wasn’t ready to kill herself to keep her virginity.
“So. You have my gun. What else do you want?”
Did he just cock his head like Sol did when she spoke baby-talk to him?
“What else do I want?”
Yeah, he did, or he wouldn’t have repeated her question like a parrot.
Sofia lifted her brows without bothering to reiterate.
The bastard grinned, though. Like he enjoyed her question, her edge. Christ, was he a sociopath?
“Well, I want breakfast and would like it if you joined me.”
“You want me to join you for breakfast?” Damn, the parrot-thing was catching.
“Yeah, Sofia. I want to have breakfast with you. If that’s okay?” The sincerity of needing her answer to be yes had her teeth snapping onto her tongue. His body was too relaxed to be hiding something. There was no twitch or itch, which were always dead give-aways.
The growling of her stomach answered in the affirmative, and German unfolded and stood up.
Criminy, he was taller than she remembered. Or maybe it was just that she was feeling vulnerable out in the woods alone with him.
“Excellent.” Unexpectedly, he stepped away from her and walked toward the rising sun. “There’s gotta be a place east of here, right?” He tossed his question over his receding shoulder. Which, she had to notice because she was surely losing her mind, were wider than his narrow hips, making his old flannel shirt look like a Calvin Klein garment.
Great. This is nuts. I’m nuts. As soon as he’s not looking, I’m out of here, with or without the .22.
Her growling stomach insisted on her stalker’s original plan.
~Installment #18 coming January 11, 2014.