Monster:Angels of Chaos MC(9)

By: Zoey Parker

The timer I set over the oven goes off, telling me the cookies are finished. I pull them out, then put on the kettle in case he wants something hot to drink when he comes in. It’s the least I can do, considering that he saved me from freezing and is giving me somewhere to spend the night.

The door opens, a blast of cold air making me shiver. He leans against it to shut it, then takes off his coat and boots. I hear him sniffing the air. “Cookies?” That’s all he says, and the word is heavy, like he’s disgusted.

“Mmmhmm,” I reply, trying to sound casual, as though I didn’t just invade this man’s kitchen. Jesus, what the hell was I thinking? It must be the whiskey. What else would have driven me to make myself at home like this? I wish I’d never gotten out of the chair by the fire.

I glance at him, his face unreadable. There’s tension in the air. Is he going to flip out on me? Maybe he’s really sensitive about people going through his home and treating it like their own. I know I would be. God, how could I have been so stupid?

The kettle whistles, breaking the moment. I turn to pull it off the burner.

“I thought maybe you’d want something hot to drink, to warm yourself up,” I say, feeling insanely lame now. I wish I could sink into the floorboards and never come back.

He moves for the first time since noticing the cookies, putting his gloves back on the radiator. Steam rises up as they drip onto the hot metal. He hangs his coat over his boots, which sit on a pile of newspapers to catch the melted snow. Then he crosses the room, his large body moving smoothly. I tense up, waiting for his reaction. By the time he reaches me, standing directly beside me, I’m holding my breath.

He reaches past me, taking a cookie from the sheet. He takes a bite. I steal a glance at him from the corner of my eye and see that he’s chewing with a thoughtful expression on his face.

“You know,” he says, still chewing, “you’re gonna make some guy a terrific little housewife someday.”

“Oh, screw you.” I lean against the sink, arms crossed. I’m relieved he’s not murderously pissed, naturally. But he doesn’t have to be a dick about it.

“I mean it. Some guy out there is gonna be pretty damn lucky. I mean, homemade cookies after coming in from shoveling all that snow? The only thing better would be a blowjob.”

“You’re disgusting.” I take a cookie and stomp over to the chair by the fire, slamming myself into it. I’d almost rather he be angry than disgusting, the pig.

“Touchy, touchy,” he murmurs, fixing himself a cup of what looks like instant coffee. “You want a drink? Maybe some more of that spiked tea. I liked you better when you were buzzing.”

“I liked you better when I was buzzing, too.”

He has his back to me, and I can tell from the way it shakes that he’s laughing. This only enrages me further.

“You know, just because you did something nice for me doesn’t mean you get to talk to me like this.”

“What, like a normal human being?”

I laugh harshly. “If that’s your idea of the way normal human beings talk to each other, I can see why you live out here alone.” I’m watching him, and I can tell from the way he freezes that I hit a nerve. But then his head drops, his chin to his chest. I’m flooded with guilt almost instantly.

“Oh, hey. Hey, I’m sorry. That was a low blow.” I realize I don’t know the first thing about this person. I don’t know why he’s actually by himself. Maybe he has anxiety. Maybe he’s just a recluse. Maybe there’s some tragic backstory I’m unaware of. “Really. I mean it. That was a shitty thing to say. I’m sorry.”

“I deserve it for picking at you,” he says quietly before coming back to his chair by the fire and holding his hands out toward the flames. “By the way, the cookies are really good.”

I feel like something has broken now between us. How is that even possible, I ask myself, when there was really nothing between us in the first place? The light from the fire dances over his face, lighting his troubled eyes. What’s he thinking? What ugly memory did I just stir up? I don’t know this guy at all, and I have to keep that in mind. I need to tread more carefully.

“Thanks. I mean, thanks for saying the cookies are good,” I say, feeling lame but needing to repair whatever I just screwed up. Why do I care so much? He nods, staying quiet.

“Did you mean it?” I ask, trying to draw him out of his silence.

“Did I mean what?”

“That they’re good?”

This gets a smile from him, at least, and he turns his head toward me. “I would never lie about something as serious as cookies.” I can’t help noting to myself how handsome he is when he smiles.

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