The Meeting

Hello,

This story was meant to be my entry into a recently closed competition. A combination of fear and lack of planning found me missing the deadline. Nevermind.

So, here is the latest draft. It concerns a man who is going to meet his new girlfriend’s parents for the first time. And when I say new, she is almost brand new, and he is not sure if he should go through with it or wait a bit longer.

Is she looking at me? Darren thought as he waited at the bar. His hands began to shake as he straightened his shirt and watched her approach.

“You dancing?” she said.

He shook his head.

“Fair enough. Would you like a drink?” She said with a smile. They talked for a while and bought each other drinks before exchanging numbers.

“What’s your name?” Darren said.

“Lucy.” She kissed him on the cheek and his stomach jumped as he watched her leave the bar.

“That’s new.” He said.

*

Over the next six days, they met three times and texted nonstop. Every morning he woke up more alert than the last as he eagerly checked his phone.

Exactly a week later they met again on Saturday for drinks. He suggested the same bar and the quickness of her accepting text confused and excited him. After an hour he was really enjoying the night, he went to the bar and when he came back two women were sat opposite Lucy.

“This is Keeley and Lindsey.” Lucy introduced. Darren smiled and greeted them warmly. Shortly after, the two friends went to the bar.

“Don’t be angry. They’re my sisters. If you like me, you have to like them.” Lucy said. Darren noted the subtle sharp tone in her voice.

“Okay.” He said. They kissed and resumed their night out.

*

“Every time I asked them something, they dodged the question. It was weird.” Darren said as he sat down. His mate went to the bar and brought over the drinks.

“You’re over thinking it, mate. You’ve done this so many times before.”

“But Ed, they barely spoke and only did so when Lucy was there. Without her, they were pretty much just glued to their phones.”

“Just relax mate. She’s nice, right?”

“Yeah, she’s really pretty and has a great smile. I get along with her really well.”

“Your eyes just lit up.” Ed said and patted him on the shoulder. Darren looked across the pub at a couple kissing and sharing a private moment. They looked about his age and the blonde woman reminded him of Lucy and the man’s short brown hair acted like a mirror for him. He smiled and drank his beer.

*

“Will you meet my parents on Friday?” Lucy said as they held hands and walked through the park the following Monday evening. Darren looked up a tree and around the park a few times before answering.

“Okay. But, isn’t it a bit…soon?” He said. Her grip tightened on his hand.

“You can’t put a time on true love.” She replied. His stomach jumped again as she kissed him.

*

“True love?” Ed Said as they rested after their Thursday evening run.

“I don’t think I’ve ever heard anyone say that in real life.” Darren said. They laughed as Darren unmuted his phone and raised his eyebrows as he registered the number of texts and missed calls.

“Is that what true love looks like?” Ed said.

“Maybe.” Darren replied. He smiled as he read the messages of encouragement about his run and their upcoming meeting with her parents.

Darren spent all of Friday thinking about the meeting. That dinner time much like the others during the week he visited different shops looking for a new outfit but never bought anything. He finished work and registered that it was Friday evening. We meet tonight then. His palms became sweaty as did the back of his neck as he looked through his wardrobe. He sat on the edge of his bed and stared back and forth between his wardrobe and his phone. He flinched as a text came through.

“My parents just wanted to confirm that you were still coming tonight and are REALLY looking forward to it. What takeaway you would like? I vote for pizza. Can’t Wait! xxx”

Then, Darren’s stomach jumped.

“Sorry Lucy, I don’t think I can make it tonight. You know that food my boss brought in today as a thank you for all our hard work? It’s been doing backflips in my gut and I’ve been to the toilet more times than I would like. Could it be moved to next week? Sorry again.” He paused before hitting send. He exhaled and instantly relaxed. Later, as he got in bed, he kept checking his phone.

*

Darren awoke with his phone still in his hand. He turned it off and lay in bed until midday. She’s angry with me. He got up and then settled into his settee and turned on the TV. After a few hours of watching nothing in particular, he remembered to switch his WiFi on. As soon as he did, a few messages came through from Ed and they all mentioned Lucy and the news. He checked his news app and immediately sat up straight.

“Are you joking?!” Darren said loudly. He slowly scrolled through the article about a huge police arrest made in the early hours of the morning. “That’s Lucy’s house!” His phone rang and Ed’s face came up on the screen.

“Darren! Are you alright, mate? I’ve been trying to get hold of you all morning.”

“Yes, mate. I didn’t go to meet her parents. Got cold feet. Faked food poisoning. I’ve just read an article about it. The police received a tip-off from one of the guests at her parents’ house that a man and woman were going to be killed as part of some ritual. Apparently, the ‘sacrifice’ of the new girlfriend and boyfriend of the leaders of the ‘The Greater Good’ group was to appease their god. Lucy was a leader!” Darren could hear his heart thump faster in his ears as he spoke.

“Will you be okay?” Ed said.

“I’ll be fine. I just need…a minute.” Darren said and ended the call. He sat back and exhaled. “That was a close call.”

Feedback request – An excerpt from my latest finished story.

Hello

 

As mentioned in my last post yesterday, here is the first half of the first chapter of my demon vs hunters (searchers) tale the Searcher’s Want.  I would appreciate some feedback on it and as always if you choose to please keep it constructive. Thank You.

 

No one in the bar tonight is paying much attention to the demon except for the barman who is making good tips off him, a few women hanging off his every well-groomed and disguised word, and the searcher Aaron Watch looking to kill him without causing alarms to ring in the process.

The Catcher demon has a talent for blending in, which has been perfected over the past four hundred years or so, and hiding in plain sight using their superior disguising and survival techniques that put humans off their scent and to attempt to, which has failed so far, to repel the searchers. The makeup and strategic use of clothes covered their true, green, scaly form and to cover their talons. The Catcher was dressed well but not so much as to stick out of the crowd.

“Can I buy you a drink?” A woman said, sitting next to the demon at the bar. The Mox bar is very busy for a Tuesday night and a place well known to be an easy pick up spot for anyone looking for something that didn’t mean anything.

“I would say you can. Whiskey, please. On the rocks.” The Catcher replied, in a perfected mancunian accent. Catcher’s had become very good at sounding charming, sophisticated, and most importantly, human. Aaron sipped his water as he watched intently.

“Coming right up. Oh barman, two whiskeys please.” She said, adjusting her top ever so slightly. Aaron watched the his eyes flash yellow for an instant before returning to the human blue it had adopted. Aaron knew from looking at her that she is prime meat for this monster. She’s tall, pretty, and has a curvy figure, which is all just about held in by a tight, ill-fitting dress. She was the type of woman that frequented this bar every night of the week. The type that had a look in their eye that said they were destined for something greater but had gotten very lost along the way.

“You shouldn’t stare, you know.” a woman said, leaning against the bar and blocking Aaron’s view. The bar curved round so he could sit at the end of it and watch discreetly. He had always been good at spotting women who fancied the look of him and moving away from them whilst fulfilling a search and kill order. He was not a great looking man but he was nice enough and a lot of women thought so too. Every so often he would take advantage of this but not tonight.

“You shouldn’t talk to strangers.” he replied, before taking a big gulp of water so he could see what the demon was up to.

“I could change that for you if you like?” she said, leaning in a little more. Aaron hadn’t taken a proper look at her yet as he was trying to keep as much of his eyes as possible on his target. The woman was still flirting with the Catcher and they had just started to drink their newly acquired whiskeys.

“And how could you do that?” Aaron said, giving her as much attention as he could spare. She is very elegant, he thought, and she has nice, almost clear, light brown skin and high cheek bones. She was has a toned physique which only just fitted into her dress but she is in proportion, unlike the catcher’s whiskey drinking prey. These kinds of women could either be prostitutes or actual women. It was difficult to tell in a place like The Mox Bar.

“By flirting with you a little bit and getting to know you.” She is an actual woman. She has bright, searching eyes and seemed to be putting on a false longing just for him. He’d taught himself, through many confrontations with demons and deceiving humans, to spot falseness in an expression and body language.

“You’re a cheeky one, aren’t you?” He said with a smile. Aaron had a slightly chiselled jaw and nice hazel eyes and teeth. His brown hair touched his ears in a by design scruffy way and she took her time eyeing this and the rest of him up, which he liked. If she kept smiling, he was in. If she became serious, she would be polite until she got her drink and then she would make an excuse to leave.

“Do you like that?” she purred, leaning in a little bit more. Aaron suddenly realised where he’d seen this before. He glanced over at his target, still entertaining his ample and potential meal, and glanced back at his. She followed his eyes across the bar.

“That’s Sarah. She had her eye on you as soon you walked in. We’ve both been without men for a while so we figured we’d help each other out. I however, when asked to chat you up for her, decided I wanted you instead. She then spotted the hunch back at the bar and went straight over. He’s cute, but you’re sexy.” Her eyes changed as she finished talking. In truth, he wasn’t really listening. He was making sure his demon was occupied and quickly surmised that he couldn’t kill him until he did something. If the catcher walked out with Sarah he’d have to follow. This would mean that he had to walk out with his woman and when all four of them met for the first time, the demon would run having immediately identified that he was a searcher. Searchers can identify demons from a long distance whereas demons can only identify searchers from a short one. It’s something Aaron wanted to avoid.

“You keep looking over there. What can I do to keep you looking over here?” She said, brushing her hands against her chest nonchalantly. Aaron was interested and to find a woman who looked like she did and wasn’t a prostitute didn’t happen every day.

“Could I have your number?” he said, hoping to get the number and leave. He would wait outside for the demon and complete the order there.

“You can, but under one condition. You kiss me in such a way that would make me want to give it to you.”

“Kiss you in such a way? You don’t usually come here, do you? Or dress…in such a way.” She immediately got the sarcasm, which he was secretly thankful for. At this, her face changed and she noticeably calmed down. He glanced over and he could see that the demon was starting to charm Sarah now.

“No I don’t. I’m a secretary at a law firm in town. I usually wear suits or just casual jeans and such. I only came here because Sarah wanted to and she’s in the mood for sex.”

“That’s fair enough but you don’t have to dress like that. You could come in wearing your pyjamas and still be the prettiest woman in the room.” A more natural looking smile crossed her face and she leaned back taking something out of her handbag from over her shoulder.

“Here. It’s my business card. Call me and we’ll have a proper date.”

“Yes we will.” He’d been told enough times that he’s a ‘smooth operator’ but never really understood it. She stood up and straightened her long brown hair before moving some behind her ear. She walked off towards Sarah and the demon. Aaron looked at the card. ‘Isabella Woodley – Williams Kim & Associates Barristers and Solicitors.’ “Isabella.” He put the card in his pocket and looked back at the demon. Isabella walked over and put a hand gently on Sarah’s shoulder and whispered in her ear. Sarah nodded and as Isabella turned to walk away she stopped dead and looked at the demons neck. Aaron knew what it was immediately. Some of its make-up had smudged to reveal the green scaly skin underneath.

“What is that?” Isabella said, looking frightened. She looked over at Aaron and frowned. Did she know this was why he was there? Instinctively, Aaron got up and started to walk over to them. The demon turned and spotted him, downed his drink, and quickly walked out of the bar ahead of him. As Aaron passed, trying to look casual before a full on pursuit began, Isabella continued to frown as she watched him leave.