Denny loved Leann best when she went looking for trouble. She’d fling her honey-brown hair back off her shoulders, narrow her storm-gray eyes. She got a swagger, too, not like a guy’s but like a woman who knew the knife in her back pocket gave her her pick of guy. Denny wished she’d realize she didn’t need the knife. At the same time, he knew she did.
She had that look walking into tonight’s party. Denny knew they’d crashed it, if not for the fact that she only crashed parties to make trouble, then by the way everyone stared when they walked in the door.
Still, as always, it was a thrill to see the expressions change on people’s faces. They went from anticipating to unrecognizing to annoyed… and finally interested, once they saw Leann. “Why do these assholes look at me like that?” she asked once, not long after they started dating.
“Because you’re beautiful,” he answered.
“Bullshit.” But she tossed her hair in that way of hers. He knew she liked hearing it, needed to hear it. That was why he told her so often.
They made their way out to the deck, “where the booze is,” as Leann put it. Someone whistled; Leann raised her head, looked for the source. She always reminded Denny of a wolf when she did that.
It didn’t take her long to find him. It never did, mostly because they were all the same: big dumb guys like cattle, made dumber by the sheer amount of alcohol they’d consumed. He stood near the bar, leaning against the deck rail, leering at her. She made her way to him. Denny checked her ass, couldn’t see the knife outline even though her jeans looked painted on. Nice.
“What’s all the fuss about?” he heard her say.
“No fuss.” The slime reached for her. For a moment Denny was afraid he’d feel up the knife. Instead he curled an arm around Leann’s waist. “My name’s Mark.”
Trisha Yearwood. She always picked the name of a different country star. Denny always wondered, just for a second, if Leann was her real name. It had become part of the routine.
Mark leaned down, started to talk into her ear. She smiled, laughed, flirted back. It only took twenty minutes and three more drinks for her to get him to leave with her. She’d say it was the booze. Denny knew it was her whole package.
He tailed them to the Lovers’ Lane she’d picked for one of their first jobs. She’d been reminiscing about it lately; Denny knew she’d come back. He hid the car in the same spot as before, waited for her.
It was 1 a.m. before she appeared, the swagger more pronounced than ever, the eyes flashing like a bull’s. “Do you know what he said to me?” she fumed as she got in the car. She put on a phony baritone with a Texas accent. “‘It’s probably just the beer talkin’, but you must be the prettiest cunt this side of the Mississippi.'” She dropped the accent, grinned like she was recalling her first amusement park. “So I started with his tongue.”
Denny drank her in: her raw power, sexuality, bloodlust. He wanted to touch her, make love to her. He reached for her hair. It was always his favorite.
“Denny, what the fuck?” Leann shied away like his hand was on fire. “My hair’s run through with blood, I’m a mess. You always do this. What the hell’s the matter with you?”
“Why can’t you ever see how beautiful you are?” Denny didn’t wait for an answer. He never did. He just pulled her to him and let her overcome him.