Copyright© 2011 by Catharina's FS
The mystery of Davey's disappearance was solved!
Apparently, her mother had stopped Davey from pestering her about soccer practice, and she'd even locked her little brother inside the home so he wouldn't go back down to press his suit with her. In the end, her mother did her a huge favor because she was beat!
The rest of the day had gone by pretty quickly as busy as it had been, and after Wolfgang's help, Danielle had found herself rushing between servicing the pumps and tending the snack shop, and back. She was getting the best exercise she never really wanted.
By evening, after she'd finished closing down shop, she was thinking that it might be time to hire some extra help for the business. It didn't look as if their sudden success was going to fade anytime soon, and she knew she wouldn't be able to keep this pace for much longer.
She recalled how more than a few girls had come up to her during the course of the day to ask if they were hiring—and she darn well knew it was because they wanted to work close to Wolfgang so she didn't give it much thought when she said no.
But after another day like today, very much like the days and weeks preceding it, she was thinking that it was time to get some extra hands on deck. Outside Wolfgang, her father had never hired people to work in his business before. Klaus was kind of a holdover from the former owner when her father bought the place, so he didn't really count. And her mother was the one who used to tend to the snack shop since it was her idea to open one., and she was the one who helped out ever since she could remember and until her mother quit a couple of years after Davey was born.
But although it might break some Davenport tradition, she believed it was time they'd either hire more help or she'd have to tell her father to shorten the snack shop's hours. This hectic pace was killing her—and her love life.
Now, as she exited the office through the back door, she could feel her feet throbbing like they'd never throbbed before. She was giving this idea some serious thought, and she was going to talk to her father about it the very next day, which was Saturday.
On Saturdays, the snack shop always opened a little later than usual. That was when she'd usually do a quick inventory check and fill out her order lists for Monday before she left for the Bastion Burger Joint.
Since she still wanted to keep her job at the Burger Joint, her mother agreed she'd tend the snack shop until she returned although those past weeks had been so busy with customers she barely had any time to complete her order lists and her mother ended up having to take over. And now with the Davenport's Auto & Stop and Shop's sudden popularity, the lists were getting longer and more time consuming to fill out.
Yep. It was time they hired a couple of girls to help out. Even her mother was exhausted so she believed her ever-frugal father would be open to hiring outside people to help around the place. Daddy always did what Mom wanted, anyhow.
She thought about this, and decided the best course of action would be to talk to her mother first. She needed an ally when it came to getting money out of her father's wallet, and the only one in the world who could was her mother.
So with a clever little smile, Danielle exited the back door of the office and locked up for the evening. She'd closed shop a little earlier since she still wanted a nice bath and she wanted it to be perfect for Rob that evening. He loved omelets so she decided she was going to cook up a Swiss and mushroom omelet with some buttered toast. She knew he'd like that ... before she'd serve up the, ahem, dessert.
Her parents had taken Davey and left at eight. Wolfgang was still working in the bay although he'd closed the bay doors. All the while she was closing shop, she was a little jumpy because she expected him to knock on the connecting door to come in and bother her—understatement of the century—but to his credit—and her relief—he stayed away.
Never in all her years while working in the shop had Danielle finished the books and closed down shop as quickly as she did that evening. It had to be some kind of record. It certainly was for her, and it probably was for many other shop owners in New York City.
At the very least, Queens.
She didn't think hanging around the shop was a good idea since she still heard Wolfgang moving around in the bay, and she knew he was alone. Klaus had left hours earlier than everybody else, because he never worked later than six in the evening.
Danielle stood under the high-hung property lamp where summer insects were gleefully buzzing. It was a powerful lamp, strong enough to illuminate the back lot pretty brightly. She was holding the books and the pouch with cash and receipts to her as she turned the key in the deadbolts and smiled because she'd made the two minute pause before the alarm would kick in.
"Ah!" she cried, and promptly dropped her things. "Shoot!" she bit before she dropped down through knees and retrieved her things. When she rose to her feet, she snapped around with heart in her throat and eyes round as saucers.
Wolfgang was leaning lazily against the stucco wall at the back of the bay area with a hand in his pocket, calmly ... staring again. He wasn't wearing his blue mechanic's coverall now, but was dressed in a white tee that stretched tightly over his wide chest and broad shoulders, and a pair of faded denims. He really needed to get some new clothes, she thought briefly and then she frowned wondering why she was thinking about a trivial thing like that in a moment like this!
He was unwrapping a stick of gum, calm as could be, as he silently stared. Then she remembered he was probably waiting for an answer since he'd asked her something.
"Y-Yes." She cleared her throat. "It's been a long week so ... why don't you take the rest of the evening off, too? You know? Have some fun. Live a little." She smiled. "You deserve it. Spend some of that fortune you made in tips today," she said, uneasily before she nodded and stepped down from the rise and turned to make her way to the stairs that led up to her family home. "There's a really good nightlife in town."
"Why don't you come with me?" he asked, and saw her stop at the foot of the stairs. She turned her head to look at him, and he smiled. "After all, these tips are yours, too."
"Nah." She shook her head, forcing a smile. "They're all yours."
"Okay," he said, folding the stick of gum into a square between lean fingers as he tilted his head a little. "Then let me treat you to a ... night on the town."
"Thanks but no thanks," she said, clearing her throat again.
"Why?" he asked, curiously. "I'm an employee?"
"What?" she asked. She couldn't believe he actually thought she was that arrogant!
"Or is it because I'm not a law student—"
"—No," she cut in decisively. "It's because I have got a lot of work to catch up with," and she moved her arms holding the books and pouch to emphasize her point. "And I just want a quiet evening—"
"—He's not coming," he quietly cut in, but he might as well had shouted. She visibly paled as she looked at him.
"He's not coming tonight," he repeated as he lifted his head before popping the chunk of gum into his mouth, a hint of a smile playing on his lips as he chewed. "That's why I'm asking you out."
She narrowed her eyes. "What are you talking about?" she asked, doing a good job at looking confused although judging by that smirk playing around his lips, he wasn't buying it.
"You heard me and you know what I'm talking about. Or should I say who I'm talking about," he said and saw her shoot up eyebrows. "Lawyer-boy isn't coming tonight, Pup. No need to make that dinner, and definitely no need to ... prepare yourself for ... him."
Damn it! So he did overhear them talking, that sneak! Those deliberate pauses made it very clear to her he'd been eavesdropping and this infuriated her. Nothing in the world was more rude than to eavesdrop on people's intimate conversations. How dare he!
Then she finally got the meaning of the second deliberate pause and she really seethed. Did he just say she didn't need to "prepare" herself for Rob, but ... did that obnoxious sneak insinuate he wouldn't at all mind if she'd prepare herself for—?
Her eyes shot fire as she fixed him with a very cross and infuriated look.
"Good night, Wolfgang," she said none too friendly before she snapped around and stalked to the foot of the stairs. But she'd barely set a foot on the first step when she looked up and—"Ah!" she cried as her hands flew up making her things airborne before they dropped from the skies all around her. "What the HELL?!"
Wolfgang was calmly sitting on the platform above with boots planted on a step and knees wide. He was calmly chewing on his piece of gum as he looked down on her like some god as she stared up at him, speechless and confused—both, that shouldn't be taken in any positive way.
She had a quick look over her shoulder at the empty spot where he stood seconds—yes, seconds—ago before she snapped her attention back up at him. "H-How did you do that?" she piped.
"Never run away from me, Pup." he slowly said. "It brings out a part of me ... you're not yet ready to meet."
She slowly shook her head as she looked up at him. Things weren't registering with her the way they should. It must be fatigue. She'd been working herself to the bone and her brain was just not up to processing things correctly.
"Yes..." she whispered to herself. "That's it. I'm just a little tired, that's all," she said to herself as he remained silent on his perch while calmly chewing on his piece of gum.
Danielle dropped through knees and gathered her things together, seeing some receipts had escaped the black accounting book, and she carefully retrieved each and every one of them, all the while darn well knowing her behavior was odd and she must look crazy to him at that moment, but she really didn't care at that moment.
As she busied herself with retrieving her fallen things, she didn't see him quietly rise to his feet as he looked down at her crouched form on the asphalt ground. He took the railing with one hand before he briefly dipped and then he threw his legs over the railing with acrobatic ease, dropping down the twenty or so feet and finally landing right smack in front of her, hearing her cry out in shock again as she dropped her things before she fell back on hands and posterior blinking big eyes up at him. He slowly smiled at her pretty and stunned face.
"Why so jumpy, Pup?" he chuckled, finally igniting her temper.
"You're so not funny!" she snapped, but the joker only gave her a smile before he moved and lowered through knees, making her scramble back before she shot to her feet and step back. She watched as he raised his head, smiling with twinkling eyes as he gathered the books and receipts before he slowly rose with them.
His pigheaded little Pup was watching him with a wary frown as if he were a dangerous thing. In all truth, he knew she didn't know ... he was exactly what she was thinking. And more. He silently watched her gaze drop from his smiling face to her things in his hand and back up to his face with that wary look. But alpha female that she was, she boldly stepped to him to take them back, only, he wasn't yet ready to relinquish them to her. He could feel her eyes burn twin holes in his back as infuriated as she was when he turned and climbed the stairs, lowering lashes with a smile on his lips because he could hear her almost silent gasp of outrage.
"Come on, Danielle. I'll carry these up for you since you can't seem to hold on to them."
She swore he was laughing at her, and that really had her up in a tizzy! All her apprehension melted like snow in summer's sun when she realized he was making jokes at her expense!
"Just put them on the stairs and go away and you'll see I'll be just fine, thank you!" she called up at him as he reached the top platform and he half-turned to look down at her through lowered lashes, admiring the passion in her little upset face.
"What's wrong, Pup? Afraid of me now?" he asked.
"The name's Danielle and you wish! I just don't want or need your help. Why is that so hard for you to understand? A bit slow in the noggin, are you?" she honed.
"You sure you're not afraid of me?"
She stiffened and looked openly hostile up at him. "Again," she gritted teeth, "I'm not afraid of you." She arched an unfriendly eyebrow. "I just don't trust you," she added, seeing his dark brows shoot up as he turned to face her, a question gleaming in his eyes.
"Just put the damned books down and leave, okay?" she said unfriendly, but it didn't look as if he were going to comply. She rolled her eyes and sighed loudly before she looked up at him again to let him have it, but then she froze when she didn't see him up on the platform anymore!
Something tickled the back of her neck and she immediately shot around and gasped in fright when she saw he now stood right behind her. She blanched and felt as if her heart had missed a few beats, but all he did was hand her the books and receipts as he stared into her eyes with a more earnest look in his.
As if on auto-pilot she took them, unable to stop from staring into his eyes. It was as if he held her gaze prisoner even when his own gaze released hers and his eyes roamed slowly over her quiet face, as if seeing her for the first time and liking what he saw.
"Did you know that Canis Lupus mates for life?" he asked with a hushed tone.
She slowly frowned, getting more confused by the minute. "What?"
"The Gray Wolf," he clarified, "also known as, the Timber Wolf." He said brought his gaze back to hers and looked tightly into her large eyes. "The Gray Wolf, Pup, is the largest wolf species and he's fiercely loyal to his mate. Once he finds the one he wants, he makes her his and they become mates for life."
She opened her mouth to ask him why he was giving her lessons she could find on the Internet and why did he insist on calling her "pup", but then she caught her breath when she felt his fingers touch her cheek.
She swore she could hear her heart pounding in her ears now.
A strange sense of intoxication overcame her as a trembling swept up her spine. She shot up big eyes to his earnest face and then she felt her heart skip a beat again when she gazed into the most intense blue eyes she'd ever seen. They simply ... entranced her.
"Enough for now," he said, quietly. "I think," he added with a hushed tone as his thumb gently stroked her cheek, "you should go upstairs. I think, for now, it's the best thing for the both of us."
She swallowed and much to her surprise, she nodded. Then it was as if she snapped out of some trance when he dropped his hand and stepped back. But there was no mistaking the look of intense longing in his eyes as he stared at her and there was no mistaking how it made her feel even though she wasn't quite sure what that was. But it was powerful and profound.
Suddenly, she snapped around and she rushed up the stairs.
His smile faded and his gaze grew more intense while she scurried away from him. For now, he'd let her. "Good-night, Pup."
She, of course, didn't answer but rushed to the door with keys fumbling between fingers, and luckily, didn't drop them. She snapped glances down to see him standing at the bottom of the stairs as he watched her with an eerily tight predatory look that made her suddenly pause. She didn't know why, but that look touched something inside her and made it stir.
"Good night, Wolfgang," she heard herself say as if it were someone else before she pushed the door open and stepped inside.