“Hey beautiful.” He said.
“What do you want?” I asked keeping my tone light and fearless.
“You.” He laughed. “You look lonely. I thought I'd join you.”
“I'm fine. Thanks for your concern.” I turned away from him and walked faster.
He grabbed my wrist.
“Let go of me.” I said evenly. With my other hand, I reached into my bag and wrapped my fingers around the can of pepper spray.
He smirked and came closer until our faces were inches away. His breath blew into my face. Alcohol. Definitely. He was going to kiss me. I felt my stomach curl into a ball as the fear registered.
Keeping my calm, I pulled out the pepper spray and pressed on the nozzle aiming at his eyes.
He cussed and cried out in pain. “Damn it!”
I immediately shook off his hand and ran like crazy. I didn't pay attention to where I was going, just what I was running from. I ran for several minutes. I glanced behind me periodically to make sure he wasn't following. Just then, I bumped, or more like crashed into somebody. “I am so sorry.” I said quickly and started running again.
“Wait!” The person I knocked down called.
I didn't wait. I just kept running.
He caught up with me easily. He ran next to me. “Who are we running from?” He asked.
“What? What do you think you're doing?” I asked shocked.
“Why are you running?” He asked me back.
“Why are you running with me?”
“Who's chasing you?” He asked stubbornly refusing to answer any of my questions.
I groaned and stopped running when I thought we were in the clear. I didn't know where we were now. All I knew was that we were behind some building near the main road. I panted trying to catch my breath. He did the same.
“Well?” He asked after a while.
I looked up to study him. He had brown hair that was a mess due to all the running. Somehow, it still looked good. He was dressed in a dark blue long-sleeved shirt with the sleeves pushed up slightly and jeans that were designed to look torn and faded. What prevented me from responding was his eyes. They were blue I realized. They looked warm and kind.
“Hello? Anybody in there?” He asked.
I flushed and said, “Some guy was chasing me.”
“He was harassing me. I murdered his eyes with pepper spray.” I said showing off the can of pepper spray.
“Tough.” He commented smiling. Then, he was serious. “Are you alright?”
I nodded. “Yeah, I think so.”
“Cause if you aren't, I'd be happy to go back to that guy and punch his teeth out.”
“Why?” I asked confused. “You don't know me.”
“I despise guys who treat women like that.” He shrugged and leaned against the cinder wall of the building we were behind.
“Ah... I see.”
“What's your name?”
“Thanks.” I smiled.
“You should go home.” He told me. “Around here, if you're this beautiful,” He said gesturing to me making me blush, “you shouldn't be around here. It's not really safe, you know?” He smiled. “Oh I almost forgot.” He said reaching into his pocket and pulling out a small silver object. He handed it to me. “It fell out of your bag when we bumped into each other.” He smiled again.
“Thanks so much. Actually, I bumped into you.” I reminded him.
“Right. You were trying to run backwards. My advice: Get eyes on the back of your head.” He smirked.
I scowled. Then I asked, “Did I hurt you? I think you cushioned my fall.” My face and tone was sheepish.
He looked at his elbows that were slightly grazed. “Not much. I'll live.” He said.
“Sorry. I really didn't mean to.”
“It's alright. Go on home now. Need me to call a cab for you? You don't seem very capable.” He teased.
“I'll walk. My house isn't far.”
“Are you kidding? After that experience you still want to walk?”
“I'm not supposed to be out.” I said biting my lip. “If I call a cab and all, the headlights, the sound of the car, I don't know. I'm afraid my parents will wake up.”
“Alrighty then. I'll walk you. If I leave you alone now, and you get bothered by some guy again, it'll be partially my fault.”
“That's a strange excuse.” I commented. “What the hell?” I said shrugging.
“So what're you doing out this late?” He asked as we started walking.
“Clearing my head.”
He snorted. “Bet it didn't work.”
“Nope.” I admitted.
“Want to tell me what's going on?”
“I don't think so.” I said warily giving him a wry smile.
“Right. Sorry. I guess it's too much to tell to someone you barely met.” He replied understandingly.
“So, you never told me your name.” I said when we were a block away from my house.
“Dylan.” He smiled. I realized that he had a very nice smile. It was the kind of smile that could brighten anybody's day no matter how crappy the day was.
“Well, thank you for your help tonight, Dylan.”
“It was my genuine pleasure.” He mimicked my formal tone. His eyes danced playfully.
“Alright. I should... get inside.” I said regretfully. Why did I sound so rueful?
“Okay. I'll be seeing ya, Lil.” He smiled at me one last time then he was gone.