A Bear's Protection(6)

By: Roxie Noir

She pinched the bridge of her nose between her thumb and forefinger.

“Fuck,” she muttered.

“License and registration, please?”

She leaned over to the glovebox and pulled it open, revealing a veritable cache of papers and sunscreen bottles, and just pulled the whole mess out and onto the passenger seat.

“Sorry,” she said, her voice echoing a little from inside the car. “I guess I’m a little unprepared.”

“Take your time,” he said.

He didn’t mind watching her ass as she leaned over. He didn’t mind at all.

At last, she came back with a piece of paper that was partly translucent and slightly greasy.

“I think some sunscreen got spilled on that,” she said sheepishly. “It gets really hot in the glovebox, and then it sort of explodes everywhere.”

He nodded, looking down at the paper.

Cora Sapphire Leighton.

“You’re from Virginia?”

She nodded, her curls bouncing, as she looked up at him through long, lustrous eyelashes.

“But I’m actually moving to Granite Valley.” She gestured at her back seat, which was full of stuff and topped with a blanket.

“Cora Sapphire,” he said. “That’s a nice name.”

“Thanks,” she said. “My sister is Amelia Emerald. My parents had a... thing.” She paused. “Should I go get my ID now, or...?”

Ash nodded once, curtly, and stepped back. A few other cars went by, all of them slowing as soon as they came around the bend and saw the police car on the side of the road, all looking curiously at Ash and Cora.

Cora, he thought.

It sounded like music.

She dug through the trunk for a moment before pulling out a backpack, rummaging through it, and finally handing him a Virginia ID.

“My hair was shorter then,” she said, as if trying to explain something. It was clearly her, though.

“Thanks,” said Ash. “I’ll just run these. Please wait in the car.”

By the time he was back in the squad car, radioing in Cora’s information, his bear had quieted down to more of a growl than a roar.

It was still there, though, and it was pretty certain of two things.

One: he had to see this girl again, no matter what.

Two: she was in some kind of trouble.

He ran her ID and plates, but nothing came up.

At least she’s not on the run, he thought to himself.

He sat in the driver’s seat of his car for a few minutes, trying to process what was happening and catch his breath. He’d never been so bowled over just by seeing someone before, not like this.

Hunter, his mate, bowled him over, of course. But they had known each other for years already when they started sneaking around as teenagers. They’d never had a first, single moment like this.

That relationship had happened slowly, the two of them spending more and more time together, until one day at fifteen years old, they’d kissed and fireworks had practically gone off.

He smiled at the memory. It had been at the high school, of all places, waiting for their ride after football practice. They’d been horsing around outside and suddenly ended up face-to-face, when Ash’s bear had taken over and pressed Hunter up against a wall, kissing the other boy until his lips hurt.

Ash hadn’t been a very good kisser at fifteen, but neither had Hunter.

They’d learned.

And they’d been starting to wonder if their triad was ever going to be completed.

Ash could see Cora chewing on her nails through her side view mirror.

Then, as he watched, another vehicle appeared in the distance, coming from behind them, and Cora’s face changed. She took her finger out of her mouth slowly, her eyes never leaving the car in her mirror, and she seemed to almost shrink into her headrest, her face going pale.

The vehicle, a green sedan, just drove on past.

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