Hunter’s Prey

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I would like to thank a reader by the name of Master Peter, who provided the inspiration for this story. Peter had just finished reading my story titled, Dominating Rachel, and requested that I expand on the concept portrayed at the beginning of that story. When Peter contacted me, I had been working on a story that had an ending with no beginning. Peter’s idea gave me the beginning to match that end. Many thanks for that.

*****

The young waitress hurried from the rear of the small diner toward one of the booths near the front window. Her long, chestnut-colored hair was tied in the back into a ponytail, which bobbed up and down with each hurried step she took. She was pretty, but not extraordinarily so. Her best feature was her caramel-colored eyes, although she hid them behind a pair of glasses with rectangular black frames. The round shape of her face gave the misperception that she was overweight, when in fact she was several pounds lighter than her ideal weight. She was so petite, she looked as though she could walk across an empty cardboard box without making a dent.

She carried a coffeepot in one hand and a tray of food in the other. She carefully set the tray on one of the empty tables nearby, and placed a plate in front of each of the two customers seated at the table. There was some conversation between her and one of the customers, and she apologized profusely and removed one of the plates, setting it back on the tray.

Appearing flustered, she snatched the tray from the table and started toward the kitchen before suddenly pivoting and returning to the table. Apologizing once again, she poured coffee into each of their cups, grabbed the tray, and scurried back to the kitchen. She hadn’t yet noticed the customer sitting alone at a table in the corner. He, however, was watching her with great interest.

When she returned to the dining room with a new plate of food, she nearly stumbled over one of the chairs in her rush to return to the table by the window. She set the plate in front of her customer and apologized once more before turning from the table. That is when she noticed the handsome older man sitting alone in the corner. He smiled and waved to her.

“I’ll be right with you,” she called in a sweet voice.

Moments later she came to his table and set a menu in front of him.

“Good morning,” she said with a bright and flawless smile. “My name is Dani, and I’ll be your server today. Can I start you off with some coffee?”

“Dani,” the man repeated, “I’m Hunter. And coffee sounds good.”

Realizing that she had forgotten to grab the coffee pot on the way to the table, Dani spun away from the table and returned moments later to fill his cup.

“You must be new here,” Hunter observed.

“Is it that obvious?” she said, short of breath. “Yeah, I just started this week, actually.”

“Are you a student here?”

“I just transferred here, yeah.”

“From where?”

“A small community college in Indiana that I’m sure you’ve never heard of,” she said with a smile.

“You going to Palm Beach State?” he asked.

She nodded. “Go, Panthers!” she said, pumping her fist in the air.

“What are you studying?” he asked.

She paused for a moment. She assumed this man was politely making small talk, but it seemed as though he were generally interested in her responses. “Education,” she replied. “I’m going for my Bachelor’s Degree, and hope to become a teacher, eventually.”

“Oh, yeah? What level?” He seemed focused on her every word.

“Uh…I’m leaning toward elementary,” she replied.

“That’s great,” he said. “I can see you as a school teacher. All the little boys would have crushes on you, I’m sure. That can be a great motivator!”

It took a moment for his comment to sink in, and she responded with a nervous laugh. She could feel a warmth in her cheeks, and knew it would make her look ridiculous. She always hated her chubby cheeks, and blushing only highlighted them. She placed a hand over her mouth and pretended to cough, obscuring a portion of her face.

“So…can I place an order for you?” she asked.

“Sure,” he said, without glancing at the menu. “I’ll take the turkey salad. With balsamic vinaigrette.”

“Okay,” she chirped. “I’ll get that in for you right away.”

As she turned to walk away from his table, she could almost feel his eyes on her fat butt. He looked to be at least fifteen years older than her, and yet she couldn’t help but feel flattered by the attention he gave her. Everyone else in the diner treated her like a second class citizen, but he treated her like an actual human being. He was also handsome – very handsome. He had that “rugged” look that she found irresistible, and he clearly seemed to take great care of himself, physically. He seemed confident and assertive. She could feel her pulse racing and the sensation of butterflies swirling in her stomach.

“Just stop it,” she whispered to herself. “He’s just being polite.”

When she brought his food to the table, czech experiment porno he peppered her with more questions.

“What prompted you to move to Florida?” he asked.

“I figured it would be nicer weather,” she said. “I wasn’t expecting it to be this hot! I also figured that it would be nice to go to school so close to the beach. Of course, between my school work and this job, I never have time.”

“Are you putting yourself through school?” he asked. Noticing the uncertain expression on her face, he added, “if you don’t mind me asking.”

She nodded. “It’s okay. My mom works hard, but she can’t afford to put me through school. That’s why I spent the first two years at a community college, to try to reduce the cost of that degree as much as possible.”

“That’s very smart,” he said. “I’m sure your parents are very proud.”

Her smile suddenly faded. She excused herself and checked on the customers at her other tables. He continued to observe her every movement. When he finished his meal, she returned to his table.

“Is there anything else I can get you?” she asked.

“Not this time,” he said, prompting an expression of confusion on her face. “I’ll just take the check for now.”

She reached into her apron and placed his check on the table. “Well, thank you for coming in today. Will we be seeing you again?”

“You can count on it,” he said with a smile. She returned his smile and turned to leave. “Dani,” he said, extending his hand. “It was very nice to meet you.”

“It’s nice to meet you, Hunter,” she said. She grasped his hand and felt a surge of adrenalin shoot through her chest.

She took the order from the adjacent table, went to the kitchen to place the order, and then returned to clear the table that had been occupied by Hunter. She picked up the plate and nearly dropped it to the floor when she noticed the hundred-dollar bill hidden beneath the check along with the exact change for his tab.

***

When Dani spotted Hunter walking into the diner the following afternoon, she practically ran over a few customers in order to greet him.

“Hey!” she shouted a little too loudly. She then lowered her voice to a whisper. “I would hug you, but I think it may be against the rules.”

He laughed and touched her shoulder.

“Why did you leave such a big tip?” she said, following him to his table. “I mean, you shouldn’t have done that. That was way too generous of you. That’s like a whole month’s worth of groceries for me!”

“Dani, I was happy to do it,” he said, taking his seat at the table. “I was young once, and struggled to pay the bills. I know how it is. Now you can take that money you would have spent on groceries and go out and do something fun.”

“I wish,” she laughed. “I have so much debt that it will be a long time before I’m able to have ‘fun-money.’ After this Bachelor’s Degree, I have to start working on my Master’s. By the time I’m done, it’ll take me a couple of decades to pay off all the debt.”

“Well, you never know what may happen,” he said. “Your situation may not be as dire as it seems.”

She gave him a quizzical look and a nervous giggle, and then asked to take his order. When he finished his meal and requested his check, Dani placed it on the table and held her hand over it, looking him in the eyes.

“No more huge tips, please,” she said. “You’ve done more than enough already.”

He peered into her dark brown eyes and studied her expression. There was a tough and independent streak within this girl. She was driven to succeed on her own and without help from anyone. This presented him with a welcomed challenge.

“Okay,” he said, maintaining eye contact for as long as she would allow, “but on one condition.”

“What’s that?” she asked.

He produced his cellphone from his pocket, tapped it a few times, and handed it to her. “Your phone number.”

***

“You did what?!” Courtney shrieked, nearly tumbling out her bed as she rolled over to face her roommate.

Dani simply nodded and smiled demurely. “I gave him my number. So what?”

“This is the guy you told me about, right?” Courtney asked. “The big tipper from the diner? You’re not seriously going to consider getting together with this guy, right? I mean, he’s probably old enough to be your dad! And you don’t even know this guy. What if he’s like a rapist or serial killer?”

“I could say the same about any of the guys you randomly hook up with,” Dani noted with a sly grin. “Serial killers aren’t limited to a certain age.”

“But those are college guys,” Courtney said. “We know what those guys are all about. You don’t know anything about this…”

“Hunter,” Dani noted.

Just then, her cellphone’s ringtone went off. Dani looked at the caller ID and shot her roommate a startled expression.

“Is that him?” Courtney asked, whispering it for some reason. “Already?”

Dani nodded, and answered the phone. “Hello. Hunter?”

“Hey, brown-eyes,” czech first porno video he responded.

“I thought maybe you would text me,” she said.

“Why text when I can hear the sound of your voice?” he responded.

She blushed. “Okay, fair enough. What’s up?”

“I was thinking, I am normally only in town two days a week, so I won’t be seeing you at the diner until next Monday. I was wondering if you’d like to get together tonight for dinner.”

“Uh…well, what do you mean?” Dani asked. “Like a date?” She flashed her roommate a panicked expression, and Courtney responded by shaking her head back and forth and mouthing, “no.”

“Of course,” he said. “Have you ever heard of one? I know you college kids only do ‘hook-ups’ these days, but I figured you might want to see how the old-schoolers rolled back in the day.”

Dani responded with a giggle. He was right. She had never been on an actual, formal “date” before. Of course, she had been with other guys, but only random, one-time-only encounters at parties. Before she could respond, Hunter continued.

“I’ll pick you up at 7:00,” he said. “Just let me know the name of your dorm. Or you can text it to me if you insist.”

***

Dani nervously tapped her foot as she sat and stared at her phone. It was precisely seven o’clock. She wanted to wait a few more minutes, so she wouldn’t appear to be so anxious. In truth, she hadn’t felt this nervous and excited in a very long time. She couldn’t wait any longer. At 7:01, she took one last look in the mirror and descended the stairs of her dorm building. Waiting for her, patiently standing by his car, was her date for the night.

He wore a light button-down shirt and khakis, and he greeted her with a warm smile and a firm embrace. “You look great,” he said. He opened the passenger-side door for her and she slid into the leather-bound seat. She had never seen the inside of a Lexus before, and she marveled at the luxurious interior and the array of gadgets on the dashboard.

They made small talk on the way to the restaurant, and she began to feel a little more relaxed. She giggled nervously at everything he said, and tried to dry her palms on her denim-clad thighs. When they arrived at the restaurant, she was momentarily confused when a man wearing a red vest opened her door at the entrance. Hunter exited from his side and appeared to hand the other similarly-clad man some cash. Hunter joined her and held open the door to the restaurant, allowing her to enter before him.

They were led to a small table in the corner of the restaurant. Once seated, Dani glanced in every direction at the lush décor. Instantly, she began to feel uncomfortable. She did such a poor job of hiding her emotions that Hunter took notice.

“Are you okay?” he asked.

She nodded and flashed a phony smile. “Sure. This place is really…nice.”

Hunter looked around as if surveying the place for the first time. “You haven’t been here before, I assume?”

“Are you kidding?” she said with a laugh. “I can’t afford a place like this. I…I feel a little underdressed.”

His eyes fell to her ordinary sleeveless top and he shrugged. “I think you look fine.”

“Well, it’s not like I could have dressed up even if I wanted,” she added. “I only own one nice dress, which I wore to my cousin’s wedding a year ago. And that’s back home in Indiana.” She felt like she was talking too much. She tended to do that whenever she was nervous.

An attractive waitress approached the table and asked to take their drink order.

“I’ll have a Diet Coke,” Dani responded. She then noticed the expressions on the faces of both Hunter and the waitress. “I…I mean, I’ll just have a water.”

“And for you?” the waitress asked, turning to Hunter.

“I’ll have a glass of Cabernet Sauvignon,” he responded.

Dani raised the menu in front of her face to hide her reddened cheeks. “I turn twenty-one in a few weeks,” she explained, sheepishly.

“I see,” Hunter said. He appeared to be amused. “You know, some of our laws are so arbitrary, it’s a wonder why we have them at all. If you have a drink today, you’re breaking the law, but if you have one a few weeks from now it’s perfectly legal. What difference does a few weeks make?”

“How old are you?” she suddenly blurted.

He laughed at her abruptness. “How old do you think I am?”

“I don’t know,” she said with hesitance. “Early thirties, maybe?”

“I’ll take that,” he said. “I’m actually thirty-eight.”

Only three years younger than my mother, she thought. She was on a date with someone nearly her mother’s age. She had to pause for a moment to let that notion sink in.

“Is that okay?” he asked. “I mean, I’m not too old for you, am I?”

“Yeah, no, it’s okay,” she said. “I just…”

The waitress reappeared and requested their food order. Dani ordered a salad. She didn’t want to run up the bill too high and feel obligated to reciprocate. Hunter insisted, however, czech game porno that she order a proper meal, so she ordered the only meal she recognized: chicken parmesan.

“What do you do for a living?” she asked, once they were alone again.

“I own a construction business,” he explained. “I started right out of high school, working with an independent contractor I knew. I have always been very smart, but was never a very good student. I became easily bored, and spending eight hours a day in classrooms was just never a good fit for me. Needless to say, college wasn’t an option for me. I was always very good with my hands, though, and learned quickly on the job. Not only did I learn the tricks of the trade, but I also learned about the business: how to attract new clients, how to quote a job, how to purchase materials, and how to turn a profit. I scrimped and saved every penny, and branched off on my own at age twenty and began making some real money. By the time my old classmates graduated from college with tens of thousands in debt, I had nearly a hundred thousand in my bank account.”

“Wow,” she said, “that’s impressive.”

“I hired a few more workers and expanded my business,” he continued. “At one point, I had almost fifty men working for me, spread out along the east coast from Jacksonville to Miami. I started buying run-down houses, fixing them up, and flipping them for a quick profit. I made a ton of money during the housing bubble. I had so much work, I had to turn down million-dollar contracts. By the time the bubble burst, I had a nice little nest egg stashed away, mostly protected from the downturn. I began specializing in kitchen and bathroom upgrades, and found enough wealthy clientele to sustain the business for decades to come.”

Dani sat, motionless, with a single question itching at the back of her brain. “Hunter…I have to ask you…why did you invite me here?”

“You looked like you could use a decent meal,” he said with a laugh.

“No, really,” she said. “Why me? You’re handsome and wealthy, and you seem like such a nice guy. I imagine you could have your pick of any number of women. Why me?”

“Dani,” he said, leaning over the table, his expression turning serious, “I invited you here because I like you. There is something different about you, and I’d like to get to know you better.”

“But…aren’t I too young for you?”

“That’s one of the things I like about you, Dani. The women my age are all jaded. Either they have never been married, and are resentful of men because of that, or they are divorced and resent all men because of that. You haven’t had a chance to become jaded. You can accept me for who I am without any preconceived bias. I like that.”

She sat for a moment and contemplated his words. It did make sense at some level. Still, she felt as though she were too plain and ordinary to be with someone like him. He was intimidating to her in so many ways. She felt like a little girl in his presence.

The food arrived to the table, and the couple continued to learn more about each other. Their conversation flowed much easier than one would imagine a conversation between two strangers separated by eighteen years in age. He learned of her family history, and how Dani’s father abandoned their family when she was a young girl. She learned that Hunter was once married, and divorced after only a year of marriage, over a decade ago.

At the end of the meal, Dani reached into her pocketbook when the check arrived, and he laughed and insisted she put it away. She thanked him profusely and promised to pay the next time. As soon as the words came out of her mouth, her cheeks blushed once again. Their first date hadn’t even ended, and she was already promising a second one.

He drove her to her dorm and found a parking spot toward the front entrance. Before she could say a word, he leaned into her seat, took her face in his hand, and planted a soft kiss on her lips, sending waves of electricity through her body.

“Thanks for the date,” he whispered, caressing her cheek.

“Thank you,” she said, “for everything.”

He promised to text her, and that is exactly what he did, several times a day for the next five days. Mostly, they made small talk, but occasionally they would venture into more serious topics. He wanted to know everything about her, from her childhood experience to her future goals. He was supportive and encouraging, and she found herself revealing more of herself than she had ever shared with anyone before.

When Monday morning arrived, Dani could hardly wait to go to work. Hunter strolled through the door at noon, right on cue, causing Dani to beam with excitement. She couldn’t stop grinning as she took his order and tried her best to behave professionally.

“I missed you,” were the first words out of his mouth.

“I missed you, too,” she said, biting her finger to keep from squealing.

“It seems like this past week has been a month,” he said.

She nodded. “I know, right?”

“When can I see you again?” he asked.

“Well, I have class later this afternoon, but I’m free after that.”

“I don’t want to cut into your study time,” he said. “It’s important that you keep your grades up.”

“I’ll be okay,” she insisted. “I have plenty of time to study later in the week when you’re away.”

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