An hour and a half later, Alex and Cassie were lined up outside the Phoenix nightclub along with a crowd of other people. Fortunately the earlier drizzle had cleared and the ground had dried out slightly, leaving only small puddles in the deeper depressions of the footpath, making their potential wait in line more tolerable than it might have been.
At the door were three security men, one of whom walked the line up and down, selecting the lucky patrons for admission. His polished black shoes never made a sound as he slowly made his way alongside the crowd. To the majority of people it appeared that he was randomly selecting the favoured few.
With any luck, Cassie's assessment of the criteria for entry was accurate. Her white shirt hugged her figure to her hips, overlapping black leggings with black knee high boots. She left the top few buttons of her top open to accentuate her cleavage. A cropped black jacket finished off her outfit. Her long golden brown hair normally kept neatly in a ponytail, fell loosely about her face. The damp night air teased her natural waves into tighter curls, drawing attention to her fine facial features and highlighting her hazel eyes and full red glossy lips.
Alex's long sleave black T shirt also clung to his body. It was ripped just below the neck with three long tears extending down across his chest, giving the appearance of having been torn by animal claws. A leather belt with a skull buckle held up his finely pinstriped black pants, both borrowed from his roommate, while his old pair of black boots tapped impatiently in every puddle within his reach. The look suited him but she didn't know if it would be enough to get them in. They'd soon find out.
Either way, by the appearance of the security men, no one was going to argue with them if they weren't selected.
Each of the three men was different in size, shape and complexion, but they shared two common similarities. They each wore plain black trousers and white t-shirts with the Phoenix Nightclub logo embossed on them, as you would expect for bouncers in uniform. But, their most impressive features however, weren't their extremely well muscled bodies, which were very impressive, …it was their eyes. Their eye colours differed but each held the same cold and hard stare, devoid of emotion. Tiny iridescent flecks in their eyes glinted when caught in the light, mesmerizing, but at the same time very unnerving. Cassie had always sided with the philosophy that the eyes are the window to the soul. Looking at these guys though, she wasn't sure if any of them had a soul.
Both Alex and Cassie shivered when the larger of the three, with a military number two clipped hair cut, passed by them, their reaction that had nothing to do with the cool breeze which was beginning to whip-up again.
"You and you." The security man nearest, waved two blonde haired girls out of the line only a couple of feet in front of them. Their excited squeals triggered a murmur of anticipation which echoed through the remaining people in the cue of hopefuls. Definitely natural blondes judging by their ditsy behaviour, Cassie thought.
Almost as an after thought, his gaze fell on Cassie, his eyes moving so fast, she wasn't sure if they did actually move to her, or whether he'd always been staring at her and she just hadn't noticed.
"You two," pointing to the cousins, "You can go in."
Suddenly neither of them was sure if they still wanted to. A strange prickling sensation at the base of Cassie's neck radiated throughout her body. They looked at each other, sharing the same sensation. For a second time that night, Cassie found it hard to put one foot in front of the other.
But of course, their curiosity about this nightclub was much stronger than any extra sensory warning bell, so they chose to ignore their intuition and entered.
A friendly red headed woman waited patiently, smiling as they approached.
The main doors resembled the fiction movies stereotypical depiction of a medieval dungeon. The thick timber hung heavily, framed by the blue stone outer walls of the building. Each panel held together with large metal studs, old and weather beaten. The large iron ring handle sat idly, suspended in the mouth of a lions head. A small head height barred window and steel bolt lock finished the impression. For all she knew, they could have actually come from an old castle, after all this was England.
The entrance floor was tiled in a black and red checker fashion, the walls and ceiling painted in a glossy black. So far nothing out of the ordinary Cassie thought, for a nightclub.
"That will be £15 each please," stamping the back of their hands on receiving their money.
"Enjoy your evening." She called after them sweetly as Cassie and Alex left her counter, examining the club's branding on the back of their hands. The letters
PNC intertwined in red ink.
Heavy dark red velvet curtains were decadently draped, framing the entrance to the main nightclub area, pinned open at the sides by thick silk tasselled cord, the colour matching the curtains.
Passing through the doorway, Cassie gasped in awe of the room.
"Wow," Alex was taken aback by the scene himself. "Can you believe this place? No wonder it cost so much to get in."
Leaving the tiled floor behind, stepping onto carpet which in the dim light appeared to be a deep burgundy colour. Immediately to their left was the dance floor, decorated in the standard sleazy nightclub fashion: disco ball, strobe lights and lasers cutting through blasts of haze from the smoke machine across the dance floor. The music blared out of oversized speakers in the corners of the room at a volume that reverberated through everything within ear shot. That, however, was where the similarity to the average night club ended.
The rest of the room was magnificent in its finery, reminiscent of another era, not decorated with the genus of the typical drunk, party-hard young night clubbers in mind.
To their right, the carpet continued, leading to a lounge area. Opulence oozed from the plush sofas, their frames ornately carved from dark wood and arranged into private nooks. Each area exquisitely decorated with large gold framed paintings, featuring demonic and angelic creatures torturing and seducing humans, some erotic and some horrifying. Each painting, a vision out of heaven or hell. Either. Both. But all perversely intriguing.
On the far side of the dance floor to their left was the bar which ran the length of the wall. It was elaborately carved in dark timber with scenes similar in fashion to the paintings. It too was beautiful and disturbing.
The effect of the room was very dramatic, almost theatrical, highlighted by the fact that the dance floor was a sunken pit about a meter below the rest of the room, offering a perfect view from above of all its occupants, with only one set of stairs leading in and out. Intricately detailed wrought iron banisters of woven vines extended up the stairs to interlace its way through the railing above, encasing the whole pit. Again, emphasising the unusual splendour of the décor.
The club was nowhere near full, with no more than a dozen or so people at the bar. In the average nightclub the cue at the bar would be three or four people deep even at this relatively early hour, all pushing and shoving each other to be the next served.
Alex nudged Cassie's elbow to get her attention. "Hey. Cassie, do you suppose they have some sort of VIP elitist policy going on here? I mean, they could fit twice as many people in this place and it still wouldn't be crowded." He said.
"I don't know, but I was thinking something similar myself," yelling her answer back at him. She never did like night clubs, too much damned noise. Oh well. She was here now, might as well make the most of it. After all, she reminded herself, she had come to do some snooping around, not partying.
"C'mon, let's get a drink," grabbing Cassie by the hand, Alex dragged her along behind him, making a B-line directly for the bar.
"Wait." Cassie pulled back on his arm, determined to get his attention, which was not an easy task when he was in the same vicinity as alcohol and girls.
"There's definitely something off about this place. I think we should stick to water. At least until we've had a chance to suss things out a bit more." The look she gave him inferred an order, not a suggestion. This place made her uneasy, she felt …unsafe.
"Has anyone ever told you you've got an over active imagination," he retorted, removing her hand from his arm. "I'm sure your suspicions are completely unfounded." but the look in her eyes was enough to convince him to follow her suggestion, at least for now.
He'd learnt from past experience not to second guess Cassie's feelings. When he did, trouble often resulted.
Moving toward the bar they passed the two girls who had entered just before them. A really hot looking dark haired guy had obviously taken a shine to them, one arm wrapped about each girl's waist while both shamelessly flirted with him to gain his favour. The noise in the club was conveniently loud enough to necessitate him leaning in very close to be heard. Much to their delight.
Ha, Cassie thought. They've been here all of five minutes and they've already hooked up with a hunk who's charming the pants off them. Literally.
Cassie was trying to take in as much of her surroundings as she could. It didn't skip her notice that they themselves had attracted the attention of a number of people around the room, which did nothing to ease her discomfort.
"Alex," she tugged on his arm again.
He reluctantly turned to face her. He'd already gone into predator mode, checking out the female 'talent' on the dance floor.
"Alex. Have you noticed there's no security inside the club?"
After a quick glance back at the brunette on the dance floor, he scanned the room. She was right. That was unusual. There would normally be a multitude of security hovering around, like bees around a honey pot, waiting in anticipation of the inevitable alcohol fuelled disagreements that went hand-in-hand with a nightclub. Heaven knows, he'd been thrown out enough times to vouch for that. In his own defence, the girls involved had all misunderstood his intentions, or at least their boyfriends had.
But there were none. Not a single bouncer.
A sly, lop sided grin appeared on his face, lighting his eyes with mischief. He was starting to like this place.
Cassie could see she'd lost his attention, again. His eyes wandered back to the dance floor below, to a sea of potential victims for a one night stand. This could be one of those times she catches a cab home by herself she thought, letting out yet another sigh of resignation.
He was two months shy of his twenty fourth birthday, six foot tall, with wavy black hair neatly styled around his face, just long enough to give it some body. Above his left brow a cowlick lifted his wavy fringe, draping it over his forehead in such a way that focused attention on his large chocolate brown eyes, framed by his blue/black eyelashes, long enough to make any girl envious. His olive complexion, inherited from his Spanish mother, combined with his lean physique, meant Alex rarely had trouble picking-up.
"Wait here," she yelled in his ear. "I'll get the drinks. Don't move," not at all confident he'd heard a word she said or if he did, he'd probably ignore her anyway.
"Why doesn't he ever listen to me?" she grumbled to herself, spying him making his way towards the dance floor only a second after she left his side. "One day he'll grow-up and behave like an adult, I hope." She always hoped, but the combination of testosterone and a fearless nature were a dangerous combination, and he had both in spades. It didn't seem to leave much room for rational behaviour.
She moved through the crowd squeezing past one person and side stepping another, her eyes cast downward, concentrating on her footing in the semi darkness. The puffs of smoke escaping from the pit below her, snaked a path across the main floor reducing her vision even further.
Without slowing her pace, Cassie looked up to get her bearings towards the bar when her foot caught on the heel of an extended boot invisible in the murky light, sending her tumbling forward. Quick as a flash, a man's hand extended and caught her elbow, steadying her before she could ungracefully collide face first with the floor.
Her cheeks flared with heat and for the first time tonight she was grateful for the obscurity of the poor light. Scanning the faces around her, it didn't appear anyone else had noticed. Thank God.
"Thank you," she shouted to the man over the noise, whose answer was a crooked furtive smile and a slight bow, which only made her more self conscious and embarrassed. She wasn't sure if he was mocking her. Cassie straightened her shirt, smoothing the creases as if somehow the act also removed the dent in her dignity. Regaining her poise, she gave him a feeble smile and quickly moved back into the crowd hoping that was the last she'd see of him.
Only a few more meters to the bar. Surely she could make it without any more clumsy mishaps, just one foot in front of the other, carefully.
Her senses prickled at a nearby presence. Maybe she was just wound up and on edge, she reprimanded herself, but the sensation intensified stopping her dead in her tracks. An air of nervous anticipation and yearning enveloped her.
Her head snapped up, instinctively scanning the room to her left. He looked directly into her eyes as he approached. Desire flared to life and rushed to fill every cell of her body, vibrating every nerve. Her heart pounded in her chest and her head felt giddy. For a fleeting moment she could have sworn his face mirrored her own desire.
His clothing was simple, clean and crisp with an old fashioned white silk shirt, full at the shoulders, loose fitting with the top buttons left open exposing a sliver of his hairless broad muscled chest. The style emulated the aristocratic eighteenth century landed gentry, right down to his black boots. He could have been mistaken for having stepped right off the pages of a Jane Austen novel, he being the incredibly attractive Mr Darcy.
For an instant their eyes locked and his hand brushed against hers as he passed. Cool to the touch but electrifying her senses, she grabbed hold of the dance floor railing to keep her knees from buckling beneath her.
An instant later he was gone.
His tall frame disappeared into the crowd but the vision of him was indelibly burned into her memory. His straight blonde hair parted to the right, neatly combed back behind his perfectly formed ears and sat an inch or so above his shoulders hugging the nape of his strong neck. His skin was pale and smooth, ageless. His cheek bones were finely chiselled, accented by short old fashioned sideburns and a small dimple in his chin. Long lashes framed his piercing blue green eyes.
She looked down to examine her hand which had taken on a surreal appearance as she ran her fingers over the area where he'd touched her. Her heart raced, beating so hard she was sure it would burst right out of her chest.
"Oh my God, I'm losing it. That didn't just happen, did it?" struggling to make sense of her intense reaction to the stranger, her mind searched for a logical explanation. A pointless effort, she would have had more hope describing Beethoven's ninth symphony to tone deaf chimpanzee.
Her heart beat continued to race, spurred on by an irrational need to find him again.
She stood on tip-toes searching the crowd. He couldn't just disappear. His height should make him easy to spot. He was well over six feet tall.
But he was nowhere in sight. Maybe he left.
"I couldn't have just imagined him, could I?"
Momentarily she found it hard to breath, giddy and confused.
When he touched her, she had a feeling of déjà vu. Something about him was familiar.
"Get a grip on yourself." she growled. Alex was right, she did have an overactive imagination.
After a few deep breaths, she managed to refocus herself enough to resume her immediate task - drinks - and then possibly rescue Alex from the grasp of some guy whose girlfriend he's trying to chat up.
Alex may have been a genius in the academic world, currently doing his second Doctorate in Theoretical Physics on String Theory at Oxford. His first had been on Applied Physics. But, when it came to women, he was completely superficial and void of intelligence, totally caught up in his own self importance and good looks.
She sighed, finally reaching the bar, still shaken from her encounter. The memory of his touch lingered on her hand like a tantalising phantom's grip.
"Two bottles of water thanks," placing a £10 note on the bar.
Cassie turned her back to the bar, searching the room again for the gorgeous blonde who was destined to fill her dreams every night for the foreseeable future. Nothing. He was nowhere in sight.
"Here you go love," shouted the barman, handing over the water and her change.
She may not have been able to spot the man of her dreams, but from this vantage point at the bar overlooking the dance floor, she could easily see Alex. He'd set his sights on one of the two girls they'd seen a few minutes earlier. Obviously this one was rejected by the hunky guy and abandoned to the dance floor alone. Not that she appeared too unhappy about it though. By the way she was dancing, she didn't seem a bit annoyed about being ditched by her friend either.
In fact, on closer observation, Cassie noticed that not one person on the dance floor appeared to be dancing with anyone else. There were no cliquey groups of girls dancing in a circle around their hand bags and shoes, or guys pretending to dance nearby, discussing between themselves who was going to be the first to break into the girl's group to chat them up.
Everyone on the dance floor appeared to be possessed by the beat of the music, completely self involved.
Cassie moved closer to the railing above the pit, watching Alex dancing around the girl attempting to get her attention. This was normally a winning point for him. He was a great dancer and the girls always loved a guy who could move.
No luck. She was totally ignorant of his presence. Cassie couldn't help but feel amused at his frustration.
That's when she noticed the other doorway. The hunky guy was escorting the girl's friend into what was obviously a VIP room at the end of the lounge area, discretely hidden behind a partition. This doorway also had heavy curtains, similar to the main entrance. Standing outside this room was the one and only bouncer inside the club.
As she watched, another couple exited the room. The woman looking quite pleased with herself, walking her male friend back towards the dance floor. He looked exactly like so many of the customers at Meg's did after they'd left here, euphorically happy and physically drained.
Whatever was happening to people in here, was taking place in that room.
They approached two others on the dance floor, undoubtedly his friends. The woman spoke to each one in turn and without a word to each other, all three left.
Cassie was sure their next stop would be Meg's. Poor fools.
Her interest was absorbed in the direction of the exit door when she spied from the corner of her eye someone standing beside her. Someone who was way too close for her liking.
She turned to find a man no taller than herself, waiting patiently for her to respond to his attentions. His dark trousers and shirt clung to his body, both at least one size too small. The shirt buttons strained against the tension, the material gaping between them revealed a mat of dark hair beneath. His cheeks were hollow and dark circles bordered his dark eyes. It was the man who had caught her from falling.
The intensity of his stare sent shivers down her spine as the warning bells bellowed in her mind. He closed the gap between them without appearing to have moved at all. His gaze was fixed, unblinking, holding her captive in his stare.
He had those same eyes. Cold and hard.
"Hello Cassie, my name is Jarvis."
"Hi Jarvis, nice to meet you," she answered politely, "I'm sorry I'm here with someone. Excuse me". She smiled sweetly, trying to look more confident than she felt as she took a sideways step from him.
Jarvis stepped in unison with Cassie, never losing eye contact with her. He was close enough that she could feel his breath on her face.
The warning bells multiplied in her brain to a crescendo of sirens as it dawned on her. Oh my God, he knows my name. How? Panic bubbled just beneath the surface as she strained to keep her composure.
"You don't want to be with your friend, you want to come with me." It wasn't a suggestion, it was a command. His voice was melodious, sweetly seductive. She heard his words clearly reverberating through her head as his eyes continued boring into her, searching for the weak spot in her mind. She could feel a distinct tugging at her mind to relax and acquiesce to his command.
To her astonishment she could no longer hear the music playing but she could still feel the vibration of it through the floor pounding out its beat, doof doof doof.
His voice filled her mind with a pressure bordering on pain as she fought against it.
Cassie shook her head a fraction to clear her thoughts, the small movement almost indiscernible.
"Ah, no. Actually I don't want to go anywhere with you," she replied as forcefully as she could muster, trying to keep her wits about her, simultaneously attempting another step away from him.
His eyes widened in shock and his lips parted slightly in disbelief.
The prickling at the base of her neck sent her senses into overdrive. Instinctively she knew this man was dangerous but why, she didn't want to find out.
His eyes betrayed the malevolence of his true intentions, breaking through his friendly facade. He wasn't used to be refused and wasn't going to accept no for an answer.
She had to get out of there, fast.
Before she'd even had a chance to finish her thought, she felt the touch of a cool hand about her waist.
She closed her eyes and held her breath, afraid if she looked down she'd see herself already within his grasp, unable to escape.
Her body tensed as she prepared to scream and lash out at her attacker when she realised to her astonishment, the hand about her waist had pulled her backward, away from the man who had her cringing in fear.
If Charles Manson's creepy cousin didn't have hold of her, then who did?
Everything seemed to go into slow motion. The music began blaring in her ears again, as the man behind her, placed himself between her and the psychopath.
With his arm behind him, he anchored her to him protectively as if she belonged there. His grasp on her, even from behind him, was absolute. Nothing and no one was taking her from him.
As she held the sides of his shirt, soft under her touch, she could feel his hard body beneath it. Each breath she took intoxicated her senses. He wore Jean Claude Gaultier, her favourite men's fragrance. She knew it well, she'd brought the same cologne for Alex last Christmas.
Only an instant had passed. The psychopath was gone and her rescuer turned around to face her, keeping her body still firmly against his.
Her body was soft and delicate in his arms and he couldn't help the unfamiliar surge of emotions that welled within him. He held onto her, his hands moving to her back as he drew her closer into his arms, needing to hold her, to know she was safe, secure.
She was torn between bewilderment, gratitude and elation as a rush of hormones surged through her once again, blood throbbed in her core, leaving her body humming with a desperate need to know more about this man, intimately. She felt his body shudder against hers as he drew in a sharp breath in response to the emergence of her carnal desire for him. His eyes locked with hers for one desperate moment.
Hunger and heat, emotion and need. It all began to clash and coalesce inside her.
"Cassie. Listen to me very carefully," his eyes showed his concern. He wasn't afraid for himself, he was afraid for her.
"You need to get out of here now, right now." The intensity of his plea demanded compliance. "Do you understand?"
"Y, yes." Her reply was weak. She was still trying to compose herself from what she believed to be a momentary lapse from reality. The realisation was sinking in that she probably wasn't out of danger yet. Why this would be the case, she didn't know but right now it didn't matter. The thought of that creep touching her made her stomach churn.
She swallowed hard to stop her panic from consuming her and rendering her immobile.
Was she willing to put her trust in this stranger? Yes. For some unknown reason she would trust him with her life. Maybe she already had.
He took her hand in his and began leading her towards the door at a hurried pace.
"Wait. I have to get Alex." Who was now doing his best to get the attention of any girl on the dance floor, unsuccessfully.
A flash of annoyance crossed his face.
He slipped his arm about her waist again and lifted her as if her weight were no more significant to him than that of a small child. For all intents and purposes, she would've appeared to be walking but her toes barely touched the ground.
They crossed the dance floor in a matter of seconds.
He picked up Alex in the same manner under his other arm and made his way towards the main entrance.
"Put me down. I haven't done anything wrong. Why are you throwing me out? I want your badge number," bellowed Alex, kicking and punching the man holding him, believing him to be a bouncer.
He tightened his grip around Alex's waist, quenching his verbal abuse when his ability to breathe was curbed.
Once outside and a considerable distance from the club, he placed them both back on the ground.
Cassie was relieved to be out of there. To her delight, her hero was her dream man.
Alex on the other hand was working himself up with a number of superlative insults unrivalled by even the most seasoned bikie.
"Where's your car." He said, looking directly at Alex, who continued his verbal deluge.
"Shut-up and listen, you annoying little prat." His patience was being surely tested. "You're entitled to be stupid but you're abusing the privilege. Shut-up!" Clipping him across the ear for good measure.
"That wasn't necessary." Alex retorted, a little more subdued. Shaking his head to stop the ringing in his ear.
"Where's your car," he asked again, his patience now hanging by a very tentative thread.
"A few blocks down, up the lane," pointing down the road, towards the poorly lit end of the street.
"In that case, I'll escort you."
Behind them, the security from the Phoenix nightclub watched intently as the three retreated expeditiously down the road.
Cassie realised she still had a tight grip of this man's hand. Feeling a little self conscious of the fact, she reluctantly let go. Adrenaline still raced through her veins making her thoughts jumbled but she had to ask him the most pertinent question on her mind.
"How did you know I was in trouble?" watching his face intently to evaluate the validity of his answer.
"I just knew." He replied flatly. Hardly a satisfying answer, but it would do for now.
"What do you mean, you were in danger?" Alex directed his question at Cassie, annoyed that he'd missed something.
Cassie however, was focussed intently on her knight in shining armour. Consequently his query was completely ignored by both of them.
"What was he trying to do to me?" she asked, unsure whether she was ready for the answer. She knew there was a lot more going on in that club than was normal, and it had nothing to do with drugs. At present she wasn't able to make head nor tail of anything she'd witnessed. Nothing made sense.
Regardless of her curiosity, she wasn't keen on going back for another look.
"He was using a very powerful form of hypnotherapy called glamouring. It's used to compel people to do things." This caught Alex's attention and he leaned in a little closer to hear his explanation.
"It didn't work on you, which is extremely rare."
"When you say rare, how rare are we talking?" Alex asked.
"A snowball in Hell, rare. And now he's interested in you all the more," he clarified. "He won't be satisfied until he finds you. Unfortunately, if he gets his hands on you again, I doubt he'd be quite so …nice." His look of concern crept back into his eyes.
"Which is why you need to go, now!" his plea becoming more authoritative, motioning them to hurry. "I'll take care of him, but do me a favour, don't go out after dark at all," emphasising his words clearly, "for at least the next week, just in case." He urged.
Just in case of what? Cassie thought.
"How are you going to 'take care of it'? Alex asked, suspicious. He wondered if this guy was a cop or in the military, maybe one of the elite forces. He was certainly strong enough and possessed the necessary egotistical streak.
"I can be very persuasive, when I need to be," he emphasized, his eyes darkening with determination. They were both glad this guy was on their side. He would make a formidable opponent.
Alex unlocked the car. He had one last question to ask. "What about me? Does this guy want to get me too?"
"Nobody approached you. You're of no consequence. Besides, what would someone want with you? They have no reason to hurt you, at least not beyond the desire to cure you of your lack of personal charm and manners."
It was like baiting a cobra. Alex's posture stiffened. Cassie could almost see the cogs of his mind searching for another flood of insults to throw his way. Alex had a very fragile ego at times.
Climbing into the car, Cassie had a multitude of question but one was vital to ask before she would allow herself to be whisked away.
"Who are you? Ah, I mean, what's your name - I have to know who to thank for saving me tonight," she asked anxiously.
"Alaric." He said, bowing graciously and sending another flutter of hormones rushing through her.
"How can I contact you again, if I run into any more, ah, problems?" she quickly added, hoping she could find an excuse, any excuse to see him again.
"I've seen you around, you attend Oxford University I believe. I'll find you." His tone was a careful balance of detached and sincerely apologetic for his vagueness. His eyes smiled at her much more conspicuously than the slight curve at the corner of his mouth, leaving her feeling as giddy as a school girl.
Ah ha, she thought. She did recognise him, although it was strange that she couldn't recall seeing a gorgeous blonde giant like him floating around the Uni. He'd obviously seen her though, he also knew her name. Her chances of getting a date with him just increased she thought to herself cheerfully.
Alaric gave one last instruction to Alex.
"Take the back lane to the main road. Under no circumstances go anywhere near that club again, ever. Go directly home and don't leave until morning. Do you understand?"
Alex only nodded as he put the car into first gear and released the hand brake. Putting some distance between himself and Alaric.
He was mildly bemused how the tables had turned. For the first time it was Cassie in trouble, not him.
"Well, this turned out to be an interesting night. Did you find what you were looking for?"
"I don't know how to answer that question. Yes and no."
Cassie looked at her watch. It was only 12:30am. In the space of three and a half hours her life had been turned upside down. She'd fed a homeless woman, lost her job, been hit-on by a psychopath and been rescued by the man of her dreams.
She suddenly felt mentally and emotionally exhausted.
Tomorrow was Saturday. She had only one thing on her agenda and that was to spend the entire day daydreaming about him, Alaric.