House Rules(6)

By: Rebecca Brooke

“Miller,” he said simply.

I waited for him to elaborate but he said nothing else, choosing instead to stare at me as if I were some kind of exhibit. I was suddenly overwhelmed by a feeling of self-consciousness. Closing my eyes, I felt rather than saw his eyes travel over me, my body fighting to suppress a shudder under his scrutiny. When moments of silence had passed he said, “Miller Hawes. In case you were wondering what name to call out later.”

Had he just assumed I’d be climbing in his bed tonight?

No reason to piss him off right now, Theresa. Tell him your name.

“Theresa,” I replied.

“Theresa,” he said quietly, as if to himself. Almost like he was testing the sound of my name on his lips. Another moment passed before he nodded once and then we were moving again, this time out of the door and into the cool night air.

We walked to a semi-private parking spot close to the front. There sat a sleek, black sports car, likely more expensive then everything I’d ever owned put together.

Miller let go of my arm and opened the door. “How does Italian sound?”

“I love Italian.” My voice didn’t have its normal strength but I wasn’t lying. Whether I liked it or not, I was stuck with him for the rest of the night and I needed to find a way to make the best of the situation.

The door closed behind me. Miller walked around the front of the car, his movements sleek, graceful, like that of a panther. In the wild, the smooth demeanor could make one forget the danger the panther posed. Many a prey had fallen victim to the panther’s spell, mesmerized by the hypnotic way they prowled. I’d do best to remember that tonight, in this scenario, Miller was the predator, and I was most definitely his prey.

Miller started the engine and I forced myself to keep my eyes focused on the road ahead of me. There was no doubt he was attractive, not that attractive was a good description, gorgeous fit better. But I didn’t need to give him any ideas by checking him out on the drive to the restaurant. I was in way over my head already.

“Why are you nervous?” His voice pulled me out of my thoughts. I glanced over and noticed him peeking at me out of the corner of his eye.

“I’m not.” I lifted my chin and pursed my lips. We both knew that wasn’t true, but I refused to sound weak in front of him.

“Then why is your leg bouncing up and down? Not to mention you keep fidgeting with the strap of your purse.”

I looked down and saw my hands doing exactly that. Stupid nervous energy. Dropping my purse as if it were on fire, I clasped my hands together and forced them to stay still in my lap. I noticed the corner of his mouth rise up in a smirk. Irritation bloomed as I realized he found the whole situation amusing. Of course the bastard would think this was funny. He didn’t lose anything in this arrangement. I’d found out that my boyfriend was a complete bastard, whose ass was so getting kicked out of my apartment the moment I got home. Then I had to watch them break his arm, and while I thoroughly believed he deserved the kick to the nuts, I don’t think I needed to know how violent then man beside me could be. A shiver of fear ran down my back.

I snuck a peak at him. If I’d met Miller in a club or a bar, I know I would have given him a second look—even a third—hoping to catch his eye. With his dark hair and eyes, combined with the strong jaw, Miller was unlike any man I’d ever seen. I shook my head.

I’m an idiot.

This was exactly how women in the horror movies got taken and left for dead. Instead of running the other way, the dumb girls always ran toward the danger. And my dumb ass actually climbed into the car willingly. I gave Miller another quick glance, and while everything I had seen and heard thus far this evening pointed to me being in deep trouble, something in the back of my mind told me that he wouldn’t hurt me. That I wasn’t in physical danger. I wasn’t sure why I believed that, but I did.

It helped that a room full of people had seen me leave with him. Miller didn’t seem like the type of man to leave witnesses behind if he planned on hurting someone.

I realized I was beginning to play things out in my head like some bad slasher movie/mafia plotline, but in the time since I’d left home and moved across the country, I’d made a few bad decisions, but this one took the cake. If I made it home tonight, I would thank every deity I could think of.

My eyes continued to dart back and forth between the road and Miller’s profile until we reached the restaurant. I was surprised when we pulled into the parking lot of La Tratoria. It was one of the most exclusive Italian restaurants in the city; expensive and hard to get into. A thought jumped to the front of my mind.

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