From the corner of my eye, I saw a man watching me. He stood near the display of family pictures that Jasmine and I had affixed to a large piece of cardboard. With his v-necked sweater and leather loafers, he looked more like one of Simon’s friends than my mother’s. He had one of those chiseled chins that looked like it had been ordered from the cover of a men’s magazine, and thick, dark hair that begged to be tousled.
My cell buzzed again. Annoyed, I dragged my eyes from the visitor to my ex’s message. “Oh, sorry. I forgot about that.”
The guy in the v-necked sweater was approaching, and I realized I was holding my breath, wondering if he’d stop by to say something. I didn’t remember him coming in, which wasn’t surprising since everything over the past few days had been a blur.
Once more, my cell vibrated in my pocket. I was tempted to ignore it, but if I did, Ted would have continued to text me until I answered. His message read: “i would have come but got a med emergency.”
Medical emergency, my ass. Like I said before, Ted’s an orthodontist, so unless a kid’s rubber band snapped hard enough to put out an eye, I doubted there was much of a crisis. I only had time to send him another text (“Ok. See you later.”) before Mr. V-neck sweater was standing in front of me. I had to tilt my head up to meet his gaze. Oh, there was such sadness in his eyes! But I had a feeling it wasn’t related to the funeral. It seemed come from a deep world-weariness or the weight of a secret that was too much to bear.
I wanted to speak, but couldn’t. I’m ashamed to admit it, but this guy rocked me like I was a teenager all over again. My knees were watery, my cheeks hot, and I had that delicious, warm, tingling feeling between my legs. I wondered if it was okay to put the moves on a guy I’d just met at my mother’s funeral, but then I figured that if my mother had been in my place, she certainly would have done it. In fact, I’m pretty sure that she would have leapfrogged over my casket to get at him.
He didn’t take my hand, though I wished he would. Instead, he said, “Ms. Straight?”
And there it was: the killer British accent. Dear gods, I thought. I’m ready to go up in flames. I dabbed at my sweating forehead and nodded.
“I’m Mr. Benedict.”
He waited, clearly expecting a reply, but all I could do was utter a strangled, “Okay.”
“Miss Spry sent me.”
At first I wondered who the hell Miss Spry was, then I remembered. Oh right, Miss Spry. The woman who had told me that I was not only dead, but a succubus to boot. It wasn’t that I’d forgotten so much as I’d shoved the entire episode aside in order to think about it later.
He was still looking at me with those doleful, brown eyes. “May we speak outside for a moment?”
Could he speak with me? He could not only talk to me, he could take me to dinner. He could drive me to his place. He could soil me like a tissue if he wanted. Without a thought to the other people in the room, I floated behind Mr. Benedict like I’d suddenly left the real world for a place where dreams came true.
Once outside, I realized how dark it had become. And cold. I wrapped my arms around myself and shivered. Mr. Benedict carried a coat over one arm, but he never offered it to me. Somehow, this intentional slight only made me want him more.
No judging me, okay? Besides, you weren’t there, so you have no idea how it was.
“Miss Spry has a task for you,” he said once we were clear of the doors. “Tomorrow morning.”
“A task? What kind of task?” I pictured picking up her dry cleaning or running to the pharmacy.
He looked annoyed. “I don’t know. It isn’t our job to ask questions. Just be ready to leave at 10:00 tomorrow morning.” He turned and started walking away.
Michelle Scott has been a fiction junkie all of her life. Although she’ll read everything from literature to mystery to modern classics, she has a special penchant for urban fantasy. She is also a huge nerd and an unapologetic Doctor Who fan, preferring Tom Baker above all others.
In college, Michelle earned her BA in psychology and met the guy of her dreams. Thirty years later, she has never once used her psychology degree, but is still married to Mr. Right which proves that a good college education is worth every penny.
Currently, she is a straight-laced community college English teacher by day, while at night, she stalks supernatural beings in her hometown of Detroit. Michelle lives with her husband and three children, all of whom are addicted to Doctor. Who (and urban fantasy) as much as she.
Straight to Hell, book one of the Lilith Straight series, is available on Amazon.uk.
My website: www.mscottfiction.com
My Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/MichelleScottsFiction/
Find me on Twitter: @mscottwriter