Well, I could huddle in my bed and pretend that nothing extraordinary had just happened to me, or—not. After my initial bout with denial, I pulled a robe over the nightgown I’d donned, and went looking for food.
I was hungry in a way I’d never felt before…a deep, clawing need for…what? I thought about the big cat and shuddered. He was no longer outside my house. I could feel his presence when he lurked near, just as I could feel his absence now.
I was hungry, but except for the honey that I’d received in payment from Paddy, my cupboard was bare. So, when the knock on the back door came, I was sitting at my table, drinking tea. I did not mind having my sparse breakfast interrupted.
An old Indian stood there, basket in hand, waiting patiently for me when I answered the door. “For you,” he thrust the woven carrier into my hands and stepped back, turning even as I called out.
"There better be a dress in there too." He paused without turning. I'd spoken to the back of his head. Suddenly anxious to show my appreciation for the delivery, regardless of its contents, I called to him. “I’m sure you’re hungry too. Won’t you join me?”
He pivoted swiftly on his heel, doing an about face, surprisingly quick for an old man. I carried the basket into my kitchen and set the food on the table. It was heavy, laden with more than the offering of the day before. That was a good thing, since I was hungrier than the day before.My messenger stood, outlined by the rising sun, as it spread daylight behind him. Amber eyes met mine, and I felt a rumble begin in my throat.
He stepped inside, and the glamour or whatever charm he’d spelled to disguise his form, fell away. My breath caught in my chest, leaving me weak, almost suffocating. He was magnificent.