“I assure you, anything you have to say, I will not think you’re crazy.” He glanced over at me and smiled. I smiled back. “Now, would you like to tell me?”
“Okay.” So I told him everything that had happened, or as much as I could make myself say, but I held back on the part about the oddness with the white wolf. There was something about it that made me want to keep it to myself, at least for now.
“That is very weird,” he said, his brow furrowed. “Can you describe this bird-thing?”
“I didn’t really see much, because it happened so fast.”
“Well, it was huge, but it was covered in shadows or something. I’m not sure, anyway, but when I shot at it, it made this really loud screech and flew off. I thought I just scared it because I was aiming at the buck when it came, but I must’ve grazed it because Louis found some blood.” I looked over at him and he looked to be in deep thought. “Do you know what it is?”
“Hm, I don’t think so, but describe the wolf to me.”
“Why? It’s just a wolf.”
“It was just a black wolf, though it was bigger than any I’d seen. Except the white wolf, of course,” I added the last part and glanced at Connelly. “Are you okay?”
He was looking odd, worried maybe? “Yeah, I’m fine.” He looked over at me and smiled. “How bad was the black wolf hurt?”
“Pretty bad. The white wolf scratched it across the chest and I saw blood on its shoulder when it ran away. Why?” He was definitely acting weird. No one else had cared about how bad the black wolf was hurt.
“I love wolves,” he glanced at me again, “Over in our old country, there used to be this wolf sanctuary. I would go over there all the time and just spend time with the wolves. They used to go get the ones that were hurt, like that black one, and I just hate hearing about them getting hurt like that.”
“Oh, I understand.” I nodded.
“– Not that it didn’t deserve it, if it was going to hurt you then it doesn’t really matter, but I can’t help it. I just feel bad for them, you know?” he quickly recovered and looked over at me.
“Yeah, I know what you mean. I hate seeing animals hurt like that. Like those commercials that last forever about those abused and abandoned animals? I’ll start crying if I don’t change the channel.” I laughed, trying to lighten the mood.
“Yeah, I hate that one too.” He agreed, smiling.
We pulled into the movie theater driveway a few minutes later and found Ivan and Sue waiting outside the front doors. After getting our tickets, Sue and I escaped to the bathroom while the boys went to find us some good seats.
“You know, I was thinking,” Sue said as we stood primping in the mirror, “You really should have shot that black wolf. If it is the same one that attacked Sam, it probably has rabies or something.”
“Well thanks, I realize that now. I realized that when it was an inch away from my nose. But that white wolf, it jumped out right at the exact moment I think that wolf was going to bite me. It was like it was…” I trailed off, but she finished it for me.
“– saving you.” She stared at herself in the mirror, as if replaying the event in her mind.
“Sue, are you okay?”
“Yeah, it’s just that…” she sighed and looked at me uncertainly.
“What?” I prodded. Did she feel what I felt too?
“I don’t know. Never mind, it was probably nothing. It just really freaked me out is all,” she said, shrugging, then changed the subject. “So, are you excited?”
“Sue, this isn’t the same for you as it is for me,” I reminded her.
“I know, I’m sorry, I’ll stop bugging you,” she said, sighing and picking up her purse to leave.
“Sue,” I stopped her, “I know you’re happy and I know you’re trying to play match-maker because you want me to be happy, but I am happy with the way things are right now. If we, if I, push it, it may end up having the opposite effect. You understand?”
She nodded. “Yeah,” We both smiled and then left, finding the boys in the very middle of the theater waiting for us.
“Everything okay? You were in there for a while?” Connelly asked as I sat beside him.
“Yeah, we were worried the movie was going to start without you,” Ivan added as Sue sat in between me and him.
“Are you okay?” I asked, because he was looking a little bit nervous, uncomfortable. Sue nudged me with her elbow, but I ignored her.
“Yes, I’m fine,” he smiled, leaning back toward me. “I just want to make sure you’re ready for this.”
“Ready for what?”
“Ready to prove me right about you and this movie.” He grinned mischievously and I couldn’t help but smile back.
“Yeah, me and Connelly have a bet going, you see,” Ivan said, both of us turning toward him, “I think you might last halfway through before you really want to leave, and Connelly,”
“I think you won’t last thirty minutes,” he finished, looking back at me.
“Thirty minutes? I expected you to say five minutes or something,” I laughed.
“No, thirty minutes is good. It takes about that long for most movies to get really scary. Of course, I could knock it down to fifteen if you think won’t survive thirty?” He raised his eyebrows and looked at me considerately.
“I can handle whatever this movie throws at me.” I sat up straighter and threw my shoulders back, “I’m tough.”
“Yes, that’s right.” He nodded, “anyone who can wrestle with wolves can definitely make it through one scary movie, right?”
Thirty minutes later, I was frozen in my chair, my eyes helplessly glued to the huge expanse of movie screen that threatened to take up every inch of my vision. I was hanging in there, but barely, while Sue on the other hand, was already practically in Ivan’s lap. Every time something happened, or something that made Sue scream, I jumped. My hand felt permanently glued to the armrest and I squeezed it every time I got scared.
“Here,” a smooth voice said softly in my ear and nearly made me come out of my skin. I looked over to see Connelly peel my fingers off the armrest and place my hand in his.
“What about your bet? Wouldn’t this be like cheating if you’re helping me?” I whispered back.
“Not really, considering it was a draw.” I gave him questioning look and he added, “Sue didn’t last half the movie and you only lasted about thirty-five minutes, which isn’t halfway through the movie. Does that feel better?” I nodded and he chuckled.
It felt much better squeezing his hand than the armrest, and when it got too scary for me to bear, I put the hand I was holding in front of my eyes. Of course, he would just laugh and take it away, forcing me to watch while he smiled and tried not to laugh.