by Selene Smith
Giggling, I hid behind a tree. Daniel was searching around, trying to find me. Leaves and sticks snapped as I heard him approach the clearing I was in. Peeking out, I saw him gazing around in concentration. His lips were pursed and his forehead was crinkled. I could tell he was starting to feel frustrated, but I was having fun playing hide-and-seek with him. When he turned around to face the other way, I sprinted toward another tree, trying not to trip and grinning all the while.
Laughing quietly to myself, I went to reach out toward the tree when something stopped me. A pair of arms circled around me from behind. Gasping as he pulled me to his chest, I struggled to break free, but he was stronger than me.
“Let me go Daniel,” I giggled, struggling some more.
Smiling, he shook his head against my shoulder. “No can do.”
Grumbling in mock irritation, I struggled against him. “Danny!!”
“Gracie!” he imitated, laughing a bit.
Throwing my arms up in the air, my shoulders slumped and a pout formed on my lips.
“Why did you have to catch me?” I whined. “You’re no fun.”
Chuckling, he nuzzled my neck with his nose; tickling me and making me squirm.
“You’re cute when you try to act annoyed,” he murmured, kissing the side of my neck.
Crossing my arms across my chest, I tried not to react to his affections, but prolong my stubbornness. I knew he was just trying to distract me like all the other times we were in this position. Daniel was like that. He was always trying to live in a no problem world, but he was easy to be around. He made me feel blissful and at peace. He was the one person I could rely on. He could be a little stubborn too sometimes, and possessive, but it was endearing. He might have been a wolf, but he was my wolf. He tried to explain to me I’m not safe with him. I shrugged it off and told him I didn’t care. He could try to separate me from him, but at the end of the day, it wouldn’t happen and he knew it. I loved him and always would.
Pouting still, I waved my hand in the air. “Yeah, yeah.”
Laughing, he held on tighter and lifted me off the ground a bit, swinging me around. Squeaking at the sudden movement, I threw my arms around his neck and hid my face in his chest, giggling as he twirled us around. Right then, everything was right in our world, so very right.
* * * * * * * *
Groaning, I stretched and tried to move, but found I was restricted. Glancing up, I saw Daniel peacefully asleep still. Smiling slightly, I stared at his face, contemplating.
It should have been the one emotion that spiked through me every time I was around him. What he was should have been the one thing that caused me to sprint away in fright or disgust. But for some reason when I was with him, I didn’t feel that fear. I felt…safe? It was crazy to have known he had a wolf in him that could break out any minute and damage me beyond compare, maybe even kill me if wanted, and felt completely and utterly safe with him.
Maybe I was insane and losing my mind. Maybe the crush—no, the love I felt was blinding me…but that wasn’t it. It had to be something else, but…whatever it was, I was grateful for it. Never would I have thought that I would be with the little boy I had a crush on for the longest time and who tried to make me kiss him when we were children. Never would I have thought that he’d come back and we’d be like this: boyfriend and girlfriend.
The dream Daniel was so different to this Daniel. The dream Daniel was vivid and carefree. He’d do anything. Read me a poem, paint me a picture, or even act out a scene where both of us were running at each other in slow motion. He was perfect and anything I’d ever want. Reaching up, I traced the lines of his face, tilting my head in serenity and smiling softly.
But nothing was better than the real Daniel.