I was juggling two heavy bags when Nigel's voice surprised me. "Need any help, Kit?"
I refrained from rolling my eyes. How did he always find me after I had gone grocery shopping? Probably because I had--still have--some very predictable daily patterns. Most people who were close to me, or tried to be close to me, got to know my weekly schedule rather quickly.
Politely I replied, "Nope, thanks."
I gasped when he pressed up against my back, his crotch right against my ass. I felt the hard line of his erection pushing against my cleft as he fumbled in my front pocket for my key. I was squashed between him and my car, and sweat broke out on my forehead. The familiarity of this situation terrified me. I was surprised at how steady my voice sounded when I protested, "Nigel, get your hands off me. Now!"
"I'm just helping you out, sweetheart."
Nausea welled up in me and anger overrode my fear. I stamped on his right foot and yelled, "Get your fucking hands off me!"
Nigel yelped and withdrew, and I swiveled around, still clutching the bags in my arms. I wished Jackson were here with me. Jackson is my dog. He's a big one, a mix between a Rottweiler and a German shepherd, and absolutely devoted to me. Nigel would never try to get close to me when Jackson was around.
What did I have to do to get the message across? I did not want to date Nigel. I wasn't even remotely attracted to him, but he just wouldn't take no for an answer.
"You're so cute when you're angry. The angry look works so well with your red hair, and it's such a great contrast to your dimples."
I didn't even bother trying to understand what he had just said. I was too busy swallowing bile as he skimmed his fingertips over my cheeks and then dipped them into the dimples. Begging for patience, I briefly closed my eyes and counted to five. When I snapped my eyes open again, Nigel was in my face, grinning at me. He aimed for a seductive tone, I was sure of that, but it only sounded insincere when he said, "Come on, sweetheart, give it a go."
I shook my head and Nigel's eyes narrowed. "I said no, Nigel, more than once. Now get out of my face!"
He didn't comply. Instead he leaned even closer, and I tried to back off, which was kind of tricky since my back was by now pressed against the car door. I stared at him while I fought heroically against a new wave of nausea. His eyes were so cold that a shiver ran through my body. He obviously mistook my shiver for arousal, because he lunged at my head and held my face in place as he kissed me. I was too shocked to move at first and only blinked at him. When he pushed his tongue against my lips, trying to force his way into my mouth, survival instinct kicked in.
I dropped the bags, shoved hard against his chest, and kicked him forcefully in his thigh. He yelled in pain, and I took advantage of him clutching his leg. I fished my car keys out of my pocket with trembling hands and ran around the hood to get into the driver's seat. I didn't care about my groceries. I only wanted to get away and forget about him.
I never made it to the other side of the car. Nigel grabbed me from behind, fixed my flailing arms in front of my chest, and lifted me off my feet. I'm not that small--five feet, nine inches--but Nigel was a few inches taller than that. He was also a lot broader. Frankly, I panicked when he lifted me. Then I did the only thing that came to mind: I started to scream for help.
Nothing happened at first. I only heard Nigel hissing, "Stop screaming!"
I twisted, kicked, and did everything to loosen his grip on me. Unwanted memories flooded my mind and tears welled up in my eyes. I swallowed them down. There was no way I'd give him the satisfaction of seeing me cry. Just when I thought I couldn't stand it anymore, I was free and landed on my butt on the ground. I bolted upright and sprinted toward my car door. Dumbfounded, I stared at the door.
Where are my goddamn keys?
My gaze wandered around in search of my keys when someone touched my arm. I jumped and jerked my arm back. It took me a moment to register that my older sister Emma was standing in front of me.
"Kit," she said softly.
Her arms were spread in invitation, and I threw myself into them. Dimly I wondered where Nigel was, but frankly, I didn't care. Emma wouldn't hug me if we were in imminent danger. She rubbed her hands over my back soothingly, like she always did when I was upset. I rested my head on her clavicle and closed my eyes to regain my composure.
Slowly the noises around me filtered through my panic-induced haze. I lifted my head, cleared my throat, and threw my sister a tentative smile. She smiled in response and patted my back. I turned around, wincing as I saw the small crowd that had gathered around my car. The public attention was staggering.
Emma took my hands in hers, then held them up for me to see. They were shaking badly. Quietly but earnestly she asked, "Are you okay?"
She wasn't asking about my emotional state. She was referring to my epilepsy. Stress could precipitate a seizure, and even though my last one was two and a half years ago, it was always a possibility. Like the sword of Damocles, it was hanging above my head, ready to cut it off at any moment. Mostly seizures just left me groggy, and the gran mal seizures I had experienced thankfully all happened with me either lying in bed or with someone close by who knew how to handle me.
For the time being I just enjoyed being seizure-free. I had even been able to get my driver's license about eighteen months ago. Listening to my body for any indicators of an oncoming seizure, I shook my head. "I'm okay."
I heard Nigel arguing with someone whose voice was unfamiliar. Glancing over to him, I saw that he was struggling against the hold of another man. His captor was a really big man, around six feet, four inches tall. His biceps, which I could see flexing as he held Nigel at the scruff of the neck, were as thick as my thigh. Inappropriately for the situation, my cock stirred at the sight in front me. I blinked several times to clear my head, which earned me a frown from Emma.
Eye blinking could be a sign of me emerging from a so-called "petit mal seizure" or absence seizure. Since I usually stayed conscious through whatever seizure I had, I could honestly tell her I was okay. Quickly I smiled at her and shook my head. I repeated myself with more force behind my words. "I am okay, really."
I glanced at the man holding Nigel again, and my cock didn't care about the inappropriateness of it straining against my jeans at all. I shook my head, trying to get a grip on myself when that bear of a man turned sideways and asked, "Hey, kiddo, are you okay?"
Oh shit. That guy was a walking and talking wet dream. A very masculine face set on a sturdy neck, framed by short black curls and bright blue eyes, greeted my sight. Wasn't it ridiculous that I was able to catalog the most prominent of his features?
Forming words became a real challenge. When I was finally successful, I retorted, "I'm not a kid!"
I cringed upon hearing my own snappishness. The bear merely raised an eyebrow, then let his gaze travel over my body. Tingling all over, I didn't know where to look. Suddenly more than nervous and a tiny bit freaked out by all the turmoil, I dropped my eyes. Emma whispered, "Maybe you should thank him. He's the one who pried Nigel off you."
"Uh," I stammered. Fantastic. I was so eloquent when it mattered. Not that it mattered what the bear was going to think about me. I sighed, then straightened up and made eye contact. "Thank you."
"You're welcome. Ah, there's the police!" He waved his hand in the direction of a patrol car, and my gut clenched dreadfully.
Nigel's voice rose as he pleaded. "Oh, come on, man. That was just a lover's quarrel, no need for the police to get involved, okay?"
"Lover's quarrel? We're not lovers, you dumbass!"
"That's because you're not giving us a fair chance, sweetheart. Come on, Kit, please!" Nigel was begging. How pathetic. Even more pathetic was that all I wanted to do was flee and hide.
"Call me sweetheart one more time and your nuts will be mush. How about you finally getting the hint and leaving me alone? There'd be no need for the police in that case," I wheedled. I was so tired of being stalked by him, but the thought of dealing with the police brought up more dreadful memories. I didn't want to deal with anything--just get home, cuddle my dog, and lose myself in a book.
"Kit, you can't let him go without consequences," Emma admonished me mildly.
To my surprise, the bear supported her. "She's right. He'll go after you again. You should press charges against him."
"Don't tell me what I should or shouldn't do, mister."
"Mister Miller, or Dale Miller. That's my name," the bear replied with a smile.
"I didn't ask you for your name."
"And still I told you. What's your name? Or is it kid, after all?"
"It's Kit, not kid, with a T at the end, and you don't need to know my full name."
"For Christ's sake, Kit! The man came to your rescue, and all he's getting from you is one mumbled 'thank you' and a lot of lip."
I hate when Emma scolds me, but she had a point. I crossed my arms in front of my chest and glowered at her darkly. She was completely unfazed and tugged sharply at my earlobe.
I was still rubbing my ear when the two officers arrived. The crowd slowly unraveled until only Nigel, Emma, the bear, the two officers, and I remained. They asked a few questions, and we answered them as truthfully as possible. My face was burning with shame after I had managed to tell them I couldn't free myself from Nigel's grip. One of the officers was looking at me with faint disgust, probably thinking fags should keep their problems out of the public eye. He was polite, though, so I couldn't complain too much. The younger officer asked, "Do you want to press charges, sir?"
"No," I answered immediately.
"What?" Emma and the bear roared simultaneously. I flinched. What did they expect me to do? Emma especially should know better. My gaze swept over to Nigel, who seemed to be relieved and maybe a tad smug. I frowned at him. Maybe I was giving him the wrong signal, after all.
"You can't just let him get away with assaulting you! If you're not going to press charges, then I will," the bear said hotly. He was even more impressive when he spouted angrily.
I took a step back and watched him coolly. "I can damn well do whatever I please. He's no real threat."
"No real threat? You were screaming for help. He wouldn't let go of you despite you fighting him with everything you had. What if he ambushes you again? What if you're alone and can't fight him off again?" Miller was looming above me, his voice booming, and I fucking trembled at the vivid images he had created in my mind.
"I have a dog," I replied lamely.
"Do you? Where is it now?"
"That's none of your fucking business!" I stamped my left foot for emphasis. That guy didn't know me at all but had cut me open to the core in an instant. Causing me to feel vulnerable and weak wasn't advisable if you wanted to get on my good side, which the bear obviously didn't need to do. After all, he had already rescued me today. Not only did he evoke that damn feeling of vulnerability within me but also arousal. He was towering over me as he talked to me, showing me just how much taller he was. I didn't have a thing for tall men. I swear, I didn't--until I met him.
Fortunately, Emma rescued me. She took my hand and intertwined our fingers. It's one of her comfort-Kit gestures. It's also something I don't allow many people to do. She had my full attention with this gesture. "Kit, let's go to the station. Mr. Miller is right. Nigel won't leave you alone if you don't act now."
I didn't want to go, absolutely not. I opened my mouth, but she hushed me. "Let's get your bags into the trunk. I'll drive you."
There, the decision was made. Yeah, I know, I'm twenty-eight years old, and she couldn't tell me what to do. Yet, she was right. I had to do something about Nigel, and I was grateful she was coming with me. Petulance still won the upper hand. "I'll have to throw away half the food by the time I'm home."
She ignored me and bent down to pick up some items that had fallen out of the bags when I dropped them earlier. The bear looked at me, then went to help Emma. Slightly embarrassed, I watched them pick up my stuff and unlock the trunk. After that I sat on the passenger seat of my car with my legs dangling outside and my head lolling against the seat's backrest. My fingers were still trembling, but I couldn't detect any signs of an oncoming seizure. I desperately hoped it would stay that way. Having a seizure right now would really be the cherry on the cake for today.
Nigel was ranting, shouting, and pleading, and I suddenly recognized that I was chilled to the bone. Maybe my trembling fingers were due to my overall coldness. The officers finally shoved Nigel in the backseat of their car, and then the younger one--his name tag showed "Jenkins"--came back to us with a clipboard. The other officer was talking into his microphone when Jenkins reached us. He asked for our names, but I tuned Emma's and the bear's answers out. I jerked when he addressed me. "Sir? I need your name."
"What? Oh, right. Nikita Hall."
Jenkins raised an eyebrow as he scribbled on his sheet. "That's a unique name."
I rolled my eyes. I got that often. Way more often than I liked. I snorted to show my agreement. Emma sidled up next to me, slung an arm around my shoulders and squeezed. "He's not too fond of his name."
"You all got perfectly normal, unremarkable names. I got stuck with this... oddity."
It's an old argument, one which Emma chose to ignore. I crossed my arms in front of my chest and scowled at no one in particular. I wondered what the bear thought about my name. He was certainly laughing his ass off. My head snapped up with renewed anger, and I searched his face. He stood there, looking all handsome and solid and perfectly sure of himself.
Handsome? I didn't mean it that way! I wasn't attracted to him, not one single bit.
Aw crap! Who am I kidding?
I rubbed my hands over my face, partly to hide the blush on my cheeks. It was one thing for the protagonists in some of the stories I liked so much to drool over a hunk they'd just met, but it was different in real life. I don't usually drool anyway, at least not over such a brawny hunk.
Oh damn, I need to stop thinking about him.
What was his real name? I couldn't just call him Mr. Bear, could I? He had told me his name already, something with an M. Medler? Muller? No, Miller! Not that it mattered whether I knew his name or not, because I would never see him again. I assured myself it was for the best for all of us. Guys like him didn't fancy guys like me.
I was not what a guy like the bear would be looking for. I was entirely too small and too much on the cute side of the spectrum, though I blame my dimples for the cute factor. Everyone with such fucking deep dimples looks cute, no matter the age. Sometimes I use them to my advantage, I admit that. Add green eyes and red hair to the dimples and you got me--cuteness personified. My dad always tells me I reminded my mother of a lumbering fox kit when I was a toddler. It was one of the reasons for my nickname--Kit.
Pulling myself out of my thoughts, I sighed. The bear probably wasn't looking for any guy at all, period.
"Kit! Could you sometimes listen?" Emma asked in exasperation.
"I was listening!" I answered almost automatically. Of course, I didn't have a clue what had been said. She just didn't need to know that.
"No, you weren't," the bear threw in. He grinned at me, and Officer Jenkins tried hard to suppress a smile. I glared at them.
Who did this guy think he was? Before I could utter the thought, Emma slapped my thigh and demanded I buckle up.
"You can follow our car, Mrs. Hannigan," Jenkins said.
"I'll follow you too." The bear's deep voice drew my attention to him. He gave a curt nod toward me and then went to his own pickup. I stared at his jeans-clad ass, feeling my cock stir again. The loud bang of the car door startled me, causing my heart to race. Wide-eyed, I stared at my sister. "Way to give me a heart attack."
"Huh? Why would I give you a heart attack by getting in the car?"
"You slammed the door. I didn't hear you coming."
"You didn't hear me coming? Kit, I was talking nonstop to you."
"Yes, I was. What was on your mind that you were so spaced out?" More anxiously she added, "You didn't have an absence, did you?"
The bear's ass--that had been on my mind. Telling her that wouldn't be a wise choice, so I settled for the pity card. "I have been assaulted. Sorry for having been preoccupied, and no, I did not have a seizure."
That came out way more snappish than I intended. Guiltily I sank deeper into the seat, especially after Emma gave me a quick hug and peck on my cheek. Sometimes I wondered if I deserved such a caring sister.
She stayed silent, turned the ignition on, and pulled the car out of the parking lot to follow the patrol car. The bear followed us with his pickup, and I closed my eyes for the rest of the ride.