Haunted Prey Ch. 04

bypurefire©

She'd shaved her legs for this.

When she arrived at the restaurant, she'd given Lindsay's name; Lindsay Royce he'd written down on the piece of paper he left on her piano, and when the hostess heard the name, Alauria was immediately seated on the restaurant terrace. She was given a dazzling view of the bay, and the water looked like a black sheet of diamonds; it matched the sky. He definitely knew what he was doing when he told her to meet him at Natoli; the waiters seemed to know him by name and made quick work of serving her a glass of wine and setting down fresh baked bread on the table. Alauria was too wrapped up on the classic Viennese setting to notice that she'd arrived at exactly seven and he was nowhere to be seen. But when she'd checked her cellular phone for the time and realized that it was quarter past the top of the hour, she began to wonder. At first, she figured that he was late; it had taken her ten minutes to find a parking spot that wouldn't take her fifteen minutes to get to the restaurant. Then she remembered the special treatment associated with his name; he probably had his own parking spot. He could have just been running late. There was no need to panic.

At exactly eight-ten, her face was flushed with anger. There was no call, no announcement from the hostess, nothing. The waiters gave her sympathetic looks when they checked on her. The restaurant manager came by to ask her if she wanted to move to a more generalized table as there was a customer who wanted to propose to his girlfriend underneath the stars and moonlight. Alauria gladly gave the couple the table and literally stomped back to her car - where she'd been blocked in. So she had to wait another twenty minutes for the parking official to free her car. She knew that her face was comparable to a beet; rage unlike any she'd ever known coursed through her veins. Alauria was hurt, she was angry, and she was humiliated.

So now she trekked the four blocks back to her building, regretting the fact that she'd cancelled two of her sessions for the no-good son-of-a-bitch. "Prick." Her eyes watered at the memory of the looks she'd received from the other diners when she was asked to move tables. If she could make him feel one ounce of that, she'd go to bed happy. There were a few people out tonight, all most likely on the way to the nearest bar or club. A few men whistled at her or made comments, but she ignored them all; the last thing she wanted to deal with was another one of the male species.

Alauria felt herself frowning when she happened to glance over to see the lone woman standing in the street. She was underneath a streetlight, and her dirty blonde hair was left to wave down her back. She was a woman with presence; she was tall and athletically built, with vivid blue eyes. Flawless alabaster skin made her look damn near unreal. Why the woman stared at her in a knowing way, Alauria did not know. She wasn't in the mood to deal with possibly insane women who might have been streetwalkers. She just wanted to go home and go to sleep.

The bottoms of her feet felt like they were on fire; her shoes were meant to be worn, yes, but not walked in for long periods of time. Every teeth-clenching step made Alauria hate him all the more; she was such an idiot for following whatever it was she felt for him. No more. She was done with anything she had to do with Lindsay Royce.

And of course he was sitting on her doorstep. Of course he was; because fate wasn't done torturing the shit out of her just yet. Why he was outside her door, and not the restaurant, she didn't know. Nor did she care to. He wore a black leather jack over what looked like a plain black t-shirt and blue jeans. Black leather boots covered his feet and for the first time, his hair was pulled back. Alauria didn't care; she lifted her head, straightened her posture, and walked toward the back entrance to the building where she'd be able to access her apartment.

Lindsay saw the angry and hurt looks in her eyes and felt his stomach twist uncomfortably. He was the reason for those looks, the reason she'd walked passed him, and had she not fisted her palms, he would have stepped in her way. Instead, he followed behind. "I'm sorry." He'd meant to call her to cancel, but convinced himself that severing ties completely was the best solution until he dealt with Raife. He couldn't have Alauria stuck in the middle. But that hadn't kept him from worrying about her, and wanting to know that she arrived home safely. He'd only been there for ten minutes and was sure that she was too angry to play when he saw her approach. And she looked stunning; even through the angry haze that simmered around her, she made him forget to breathe. He watched as she stopped in front of the back door to pull out her keys and felt his eyes narrow when he realized that she had absolutely no intention of talking to him. "Can you please say something?" Lindsay would have preferred her screaming in anger. At least then he knew that she was dealing with what she felt and getting it out of her system. Her silence was... unnerving and scary as hell. "Say something. A word, at least."

Alauria had just managed to get the door open when he'd made his request. "Asshole. There's a word." She took her time stepping inside just enough to keep him from following her inside and turned to face him.

He deserved that, he knew, but he didn't like knowing that that was how she felt about him. "I know you're upset."

"You stand me up for a date you asked me for and the only thing you can think to say to me is that you know I'm upset? Damned right I'm upset."

"I didn't mean for this to turn out this way." He let Raife get to him and he honestly thought that staying away from her was the best way to keep her safe. He knew that he didn't broach the method of protection correctly, but he stood by his decision. "Things happened-"

"Yes, things did happen tonight, and you showed me exactly who you are." Alauria shook her head when he tried to speak and instead said, "Usually I can find it within myself to deal with the hot and cold attitude. But when you go so far as to humiliate me, all bets are off."

Lindsay opened his mouth to defend himself and apologize once again, but he found himself stopping when she abruptly closed the door in his face. He listened as she ascended the staircase that led to her apartment, shocked by the level of her anger. He knew that she was upset, but he figured that she would have at least given him an opportunity to defend himself. Apparently not, because he was left standing outside her door. There was nothing more he could do tonight, unless he wanted to talk to the police, because he knew she was angry enough to call them. It was best that he went home; Alauria established that she hated him and he'd accomplished finding a reason to leave her alone. There was nothing more he could do.

________

I know it's a bit late, but I hope you guys enjoyed the latest installment. As always, comments are most welcome.

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