Frightened Mate - Chapter One
Lux shivered as she made her way into the motel room. She’d been hiding for months but still felt like she was being watched. There was a loud sound outside her door that made her jump clutching her heart. She couldn’t take much more of this. She sank onto the bed, giving a shudder. Motels weren’t her favorite, and she swore this one was used by the hour for things she didn’t want to dwell on.
Her phone rang, making her jump again, her heart raced as she struggled to control her breathing. At this rate, she was going to die from a heart attack. She tried to laugh but feared it was true. Once it stopped ringing, she looked at the screen. No one should have her new number. Her parents were deceased; she was an older in life child. There weren’t any brothers or sisters. She was alone. Not that it mattered she could take care of herself, except she couldn’t.
That wasn’t strictly true; she could pay the bills, buy a house, and do whatever needed to be done. At times, those things are thought of as the hard things of life; she didn’t struggle with them. No, her struggle was always with finding someone to love her. Yeah, her and a million others. That didn’t change the fact that it was her struggle.
A year ago, she thought it was all over. Eureka! She found the perfect man. It had seemed that way at first. He was loving and kind, a bit loco saying things like he lived for over three hundred years. She grinned if he wanted to be the original Dracula, who was she to age-shame?
None of that bothered her until some of his friends came around. She wasn’t sure they were really friends, but they were rough. Soon he was drinking and playing music that glorified violence and the defiling of women. The end came when she walked into the house to find coke on the tables and naked underaged girls. Almost all of them were passed out except one. The way he looked at her, smiling as he climbed to his feet, scared her to the core.
Without thinking, she turned and ran. When she stopped, she called in an anonymous tip to the cops about what was happening in that house and then ran again. She’d been running ever since, not from the boyfriend who should have protected her but from that thing. She shook her head; the man’s teeth hadn’t sharpened, and his eyes didn’t change colors. No, she was simply tired. Right, and she hadn’t seen underaged girls passed out with men too old for them and more coke than a five-pound bag of flour.
The phone rang again, and her fingers crawled across the bed, wanting to get to it. She drew her hand back and smacked it. No one has my number, she told herself. Who could be calling? Pictures of the man chasing her made her shiver. He managed to get ahold of every number she switched to. The first time she’d simply called the phone company and gotten a new number. It was the easy way to make her ex realize she never wanted him to contact her again.
When she answered the phone the first time, it wasn’t her ex but the male’s sinister voice that came after her when she ran. She threw the phone down like it burst into flames. The next day he was outside her apartment. That’s when she ran to the police. When they told her there was nothing they could do to help, she wasn’t surprised.
They were so logical about it. She didn’t know the name of the guy stalking her; she didn’t have a picture of him. Just because a random guy showed up in front of her house didn’t mean she was being stalked. It was all so by the book, but she knew better. The better part of her thought that if her skin were lighter or had a family to back her up, they would have listened. Not that it mattered, bitter thoughts didn’t change another’s mind.
She did the logical thing and canceled her phone, switched carriers, and got a new phone. A week later, she got a call from the same sinister voice telling her he was coming for her. There were no texts, and the number came up as unregistered. There was nothing to trace since he hadn’t been on the line long enough. Without realizing it, she was living in fear.
The phone rang again, and she made the quick decision to answer it. If he, the male stalking her, found her, she didn’t want to be surprised. The last time she saw him was when she was leaving her friend’s cousin’s wedding. It had been a close call, one she hadn’t thought she would live through.
She picked the phone up on the last ring. “Hello?”
“Lux? Is that you, Lux?” On the other end of the phone, the woman had a high clear voice that made Lux almost collapse in relief.
“Sena, is that you?”
“Of course it is. I’ve been calling you; I was beginning to think I had the wrong number.”
“How did you get this number?” No one besides her and the phone company knew this number. That thought was enough to make her sad. She used her smartphone to help her stay one step ahead, not for phone calls.
“Oh, you know, it’s in the wind.”
Lux could imagine her friend’s hand waving around as she said that. Sena had always been different. She moved from place to place with the wind. She never knew when Sena would pop up, but she insisted they were friends over the years. Lux had come to depend on her friendship, even if it was sporadic when she saw her.
“Where are you?”
“Unlike you, I’m somewhere safe. You need to leave the motel you’re staying at.”
“And go where?” Wait, how did Sena know she was in a motel?
“There’s a bed and breakfast along Shady Avenue. It’s warded; you’ll be safe there for a few days. When you get there, take the flyer lying on the desk. Lux, call the number, please.”
“Sena, wait, how did…” She hung up on her.
Lux slowly shook her head. Was she ever going to understand her friend? The fact that she had a friend was making her feel a little better. She relaxed on the bed, about to close her eyes when Sena’s warning drummed through her head. Lux jumped up, packing her clothes. Maybe she was being ridiculous, but Sena was different; she knew things. Also, she had never hurt Lux, was there when she needed a friend.
She looked out the window wanting to make sure the coast was clear. A dark car pulled into the lot, circling around the building. She could be wrong, but her heart rate sped up, and she knew that if she didn’t get out of there she’d regret it for the rest of her life.
When the car went around back, she darted out the door keeping her head down with her shoulders dropped as she fast-walked towards the office door to turn in her key.
“I’m checking out,” she told the young girl sitting behind the counter.
The girl looked up, pushing brown hair out of her face. She grinned, popping gum as she woke her computer.
“Name and room number?”
“Jennifer Anderson, room 4.”
The girl stopped to give Lux a once over before she nodded and winked at her. Yeah, she was smart enough to know that Jennifer wasn’t her name.
Lux looked at the door, scared that he, the male looking for her, was going to walk through it.
“You have a balance of 80 dollars.” Lux handed over the keys then pulled out a roll of money peeling off four twenties.”
The girl’s eyes bulged, but Lux didn’t have time for her. She hooked her backpack over her shoulder, looking both ways before she slipped out of the office. She ran toward her car, ducking behind a Jeep, when she saw the black car make another round.
“Please,” she prayed quietly. “Don’t let me have come this far only to die.”
Yeah, there it was, the truth she was actively denying. That male following her didn’t want to get laid; he wanted something much darker. His desires felt like a stain on her soul. He wanted blood, and before it was over, he would want her life.
He parked the car getting out. She moved to her hands and knees, waiting for him to make his move. He walked toward her room which gave her a chance to move in the opposite direction. It seemed paranoid when she decided not to park close to where her room was located. Right now, she was feeling good about it. She crawled, seeing several people who stared at her. When the door to her former room was kicked open, they stopped staring and turned to the man yelling.
She stood running to her car. She got in it and took off, trying not to gun her engine, calling attention to herself.
He was in her rearview mirror, taking it over. By the look on his face, he knew it was her making a getaway. She shook, almost losing control of the wheel. He was coming for her, and when he caught her, she’d wish she had never been born. It took an effort to focus her eyes on the road. Breathe, she told herself as she sped away.
She found the bed and breakfast that Sena told her about. Then pulled up the map and followed it through the city. Her breathing calmed the further she got away from him. What was his name, not that it mattered. If she thought the police would help, she’d try to figure it out. She had no faith in the force.
When she pulled up to the bed and breakfast, an absolute sense of peace stole over her. She pulled around the back to their parking lot.
Peaceful Retreat Bed and Breakfast
She almost laughed out loud. She needed a peaceful retreat. It was funny that this hadn’t popped up on her phone when she was looking for places to stay.
The weight she’d been carrying for a year or more seemed to roll off her shoulders as she walked through the door. There was a young woman with black hair and the bluest eyes she’d ever seen behind the counter, smiling at her.
“Welcome to the Peaceful Retreat.”
Lux wanted to sink into her smile and sleep for days. That wasn’t like her, especially after all the looking over her shoulder.
“Thanks, I need a room. Do you have one?” She bit her lip, hoping that they had a free room.
“We have the perfect room for you. It will give you all the peace and quiet you need.”
Lux found herself nodding as she checked in under her real name. The girl came from around the desk to lead her up the stairs on the far wall. A flyer caught her attention; she grabbed one before she followed her.
“I think this room will be perfect for you.”
“I’m sorry, I didn’t get your name.”
“The natives call me Jenn.”
“Jenn, that’s nice. You look like a Jenn, not that I know what one looks like.”
“No matter, I’m rather fond of the name.” She smiled, and her blue eyes seemed to twinkle.
Lux shook her head, thinking she must be more tired than she realized.
“Thank you,” she told Jenn as she closed the door behind her.
The room was beautiful. It had a sitting room that connected to a bedroom with a king-sized bed. Behind one door was an en suite, and the other had a closet that might not be walk-in, but it was large. She climbed on the high bed and sank into the comfort of the mattress. Her hand opened, allowing the flyer to slip from her fingers. She’d look at it later. Right now all the stress was catching up to her. Her eyes closed, giving her a much-needed reprieve as the stress rolled away and the comforting vibes of the room eased her to sleep.