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Still too far away to get a good look at the legendary J, Destiny watched the two men hug briefly, her mind going back to the conversation with Memaw. “Destiny, you be extra careful the next few days. Okay? Memaw’s got a feeling.” She wondered what all the sudden drama was about, especially since she was always careful.
The older woman was always right, though, so she glanced around cautiously as she walked. Memaw had said those same words to her the night she was attacked. J bent to pick up his one bag of luggage, and before she could reach them, they were heading back toward her.
She overheard part of their conversation as they came closer. “…man, I know it’s after two and all, but I’ve never seen everybody asleep at the bus station like this before. Everybody was laid out except you…”
Destiny couldn’t help noticing J’s striking gait as he stalked closer, almost graceful, but with a natural swagger. Now that’s a jungle cat in a man’s body.
She dragged her gaze from Robert’s friend and surveyed the station in an attempt to stop staring, unable to miss how hesitant she was to stop admiring him. Something about the way he moved sent a jolt of energy rushing through her, punching her guilt button along the way. Her relationship with Robert was no match made in heaven, but that did not make it okay to have the thoughts she was having about his best friend.
Even during this beautiful season, the dreary bus station looked and felt dank, hopeless. The floodlights, although strategically placed, barely pierced the darkness, and the skinny trees left over from the last time anyone cared, reminded her of how she really felt about being alone.
A blur of movement caught her attention. Fear and nausea invaded her, welling up from its hiding place as a tall, dark figure rushed toward her, hands like claws reaching to grab her. Time stood still as waves of nausea struck, rendering her unable to move, a predicament she’d never found herself in until the reality-changing attack.
Destiny stumbled and fell to the ground, setting every survival instinct in motion to fight, but as quickly as the shadow appeared, it was gone. The station was eerily quiet and still again, and she was standing, with no memory of getting up from the ground.
She glanced around again, checking all sides, then turned to face Robert and J as they stopped in front of her like nothing happened. “Baby, this is Japheth Danaelson. Everybody calls him J. J, this is Destiny Carter, my Baby.”
She tried to dismiss her hazy account of the monster as a flashback, but subconsciously, she knew better. Something had just tried to attack her again. Just as suddenly as it had appeared, the creature had stopped in its tracks. Despite disorientation, wobbly knees, and the feeling that she had somehow skipped through time, her mind reeling with doubt over what she’d just seen, Japheth’s presence overshadowed everything else.
Up close, Japheth was breathtaking. Glancing around again every few seconds, Destiny tried desperately to hold onto something concrete to alleviate her lingering fear, and Robert’s friend provided a welcome anchor. She had trouble forming words, but she was grateful when she managed to whisper. “Hi.”