“How traumatic would you say it was?” the woman asked, pen hovering poised over the small notebook she held.
I turned away, staring up at the ceiling from where I’d been forcibly reclined on the couch.
“How traumatic is it supposed to have been?” I shot back.
The woman blinked behind her slightly crooked glasses. “I… Um, that isn’t really an answer, Scarlet.”
I shrugged, running a hand over my head and dislodging the floppy red stocking cap. It slipped to the floor. “I mean,” I started, fingers playing through the short-cropped mess of my violently dyed hair. Also, red. Honestly even more than the hat. “I didn’t really know the old bat, I’d never met her.”
The therapist frowned. “But you watched someone die.” It was almost like she wanted me to feel bad. And after I’d been the one to almost die.
“No,” I corrected her. “I watched a wolf, die.”
“But you know it was your grandmother.”
“I don’t know what I know,” I growled. “All I know is that I was going to stay with her after Mother died, and that she wasn’t there. And that the only one there was a wolf, in her abandoned house. That is what I know.”
“But it wasn’t a normal wolf, was it?”
I stared at the ceiling again, listening to the clock tick. “Nope,” I finally said. “It wasn’t. Can I go now?”
“We still have half an hour.”
“So? I’m not the one paying for this shit.”
I swung my legs off the couch, fixing the little woman with my bright gold gaze. She barely met my eyes before looking down, furiously scribbling something on the page.
“I’m leaving,” I muttered, grabbing my cap.
“But we haven’t even gotten to the man.”
I paused. “What About him? He cut the wolf in half with his chainsaw and saved me. Am I supposed to feel bad about that?”
“Well? Tell me,” I glanced at her desk, reading the name plaque there. “Dr. Ven, what is it I’m supposed to feel?”
More scratching on her page. Then she looked up, “You aren’t supposed to feel some way, you’re supposed to feel something. And I can’t tell you what.”
“You seem pretty useless to me, then,” I said, turning toward the door. I let it slam behind me.
I scratched my palm idly as I went down the long hall. In the waiting room, he was sitting in a chair, reading from a magazine. My knight in shining armor. Or, rather, my lumberman. But, to me, they were one in the same.
He looked up, and grinned. “Hey.” He tossed the magazine down and stood. “I thought you’d be longer.”
I came forward and gave him a kiss, ruffling his spiky brown hair in the process. “Therapy is so dreary. What I need is food, I’m starving.”
He grinned again, laughing. The sound died as his eyes flicked to my fingers, scratching at my palm again. I stopped.
“Yeah, just itches.”
He laughed. “Maybe you’re turning into a wolf, too.” Jack pushed on my shoulder lightly, laughing again at his own joke. But I didn’t laugh. I just stood there in a frozen silence, wondering at his words. Fearing them.
I didn’t speak as he lead me down to the car. Not even when we got in. When we got to the diner, I ordered a rare steak, in as few words possible. Why had I ordered rare? I’d never done that before, I hated rare.
But when it came, I ate it, the smell of blood making he more hungry than I thought conceivable.
Jack watched me with wary eyes. Like he knew something I didn’t.