Man-Eater

She couldn't help it, it was just the way she was. It wasn't her fault, she decided, her relationship with food, and men. Sometimes she moaned when she truly enjoyed the taste, sometimes her fingers traced mushrooms for much too long before she diced them up, and sometimes; as in this very moment, she sucked a popsicle much too slowly and much too long, in front of the handsome drifter that rented a room at her parent's inn.

He enraptured her. Sure, of course, the chef at the Brass Bar, Chad- no Chase, gave her a bit of a thrill, too; with the way his cooking stimulated her palette a way no meal ever had before. However, Calvin's stories of adventure and the weight on his shoulders stirred pangs of a different, primal kind of hunger.

The way his 5 o' clock shadow never shaved off completely - partial laziness, partial testosterone, the humble stoop in his stature - a life hard worked, a beaten ego, the broadness of his chest - an aging buck with some kick left in him.

She tried to meet him by his door at first; all he did was tip his hat and slip in to his room, rather than in to her. She pretended to be cleaning his room around when he would usually return, but he would sit near reception until she gave up on her attempt. Finally she decided to trap him at the entry, leaning against the deception desk, the popsicle snagged from the fridge in the kitchen.

The door was closed behind him, and his hat and jacket were darkened with the rain she could hear falling beyond the inn walls, fading in to the sound of the waves. She looked him in the eye as best she could as she flashed him a smile, popsicle still touching her lips. His own eyes were glued to the floor as he moved forward, then moved passed her.

"This isn't a good look on you," he said to her, his tone low, "you won't get what you want out of this."

She watched as he closed the hallway door behind him, his whisky breath lingering in her nose, the way the lipstick stained his collar.

The tip of her popsicle fell on to the wooden floor.