The next thing I knew I was on the ground, looking at the branches above me, blue sky shining through. My vision swam, then darkness swallowed the branches whole.
I woke to deep blue eyes worriedly looking into my groggy green ones, and realized someone was shaking me. I scuttled backwards out of my assailant's grasp like a demented crab to take in the stranger who had been shaking me.
Tousled deep brown hair, and a scruffy yet handsome male face went with the dark blue eyes that had been above me. He had a narrow, sweeping nose and his eyes were lined by a dark splash of lashes. Only his strong, sharp jaw line saved his face from femininity. He was about 6'1" with a, might I say, rather nice physique; lean, yet muscled. He wore a dark green sweater, worn jeans, and dark brown hiking boots that had definitely seen better days.
He tried to hide a laugh at my frenzied scuttle, and I was too freaked to get mad. There was still the question of why I had been on the ground, unconscious in the woods with only this handsome stranger to blame. It was only when I saw Lucy standing behind the stranger unharmed, that I was able to stuff my heart back down my throat.
They both watched and waited for me to talk.
Something tickled at the edge of my memory. "Dan! Where'd he go?" I shrieked. I remembered Dan attacking us now, well, I remembered him attacking me, before I lost consciousness.
Lucy shuffled forward, pale and wide-eyed. Her jeans were dirty and her soiled jacket was torn at the elbow. "Dan pushed you down. I tried to run towards you, but suddenly he had me on the ground too. He was so fast Xoe. I tried to struggle, but he pressed me down until I couldn't move. He said I had to come with him. He said I would be . . . dangerous." Lucy paused as she glanced at the stranger, then quickly went on, "The next thing I knew, Jason was there, tearing him off me." Tears began to well in Lucy's already puffy eyes.
I dizzily stumbled to my feet and grabbed Lucy in a hug, feeling pine needles in her hair. "Where'd he go?"
"I-I don't know," Lucy said.
I turned to this so-called Jason character. "Where did he go? I can't believe he gave up that easily."
Jason studied me for a moment, as if considering which answer would upset me the least, then shrugged, apparently deciding on no answer at all.
"You were the only one vertical at the time. You had to see him leave," I pressed.
He shrugged again. "My attention was on making sure that the two of you were unharmed. I did not see where he went."
"So you were completely unconcerned with the stranger that you found in the woods attacking two people?"
Shrugging again, he smirked and walked up to grab my arm. "I will walk you girls home."
I ripped my arm away from him, and got in his face. "We need the truth. Something weird is going on and it is just way too convenient that you were there at just the right time. No offense, but Dan is bigger than you, and I don't think he would exactly run screaming at the sight of you. Your story don't wash pal."
He brushed back a strand of hair that had fallen into my eyes. I jerked away, startled.
He chuckled at my reaction.
I pointed my finger a few inches away from his face. "Now, is so not the time to mess with me."
He smiled. "I can see that, but we do need to get you both home. It is not safe out here."
I grabbed Lucy and stormed back down the trail. Jason followed a short way behind us. Though Lucy had stopped crying, she was leaning heavily on me as if she'd fall without my support. We stumbled on as Jason caught up to walk on my other side. I focused on the trail, trying to hide the fact that my heart was thundering in my ears.