There was something about him she just couldn't shake
Beauty and the Beast
He was dangerous. She knew it. It was lurking behind his energy and laughter. She had heard stories and seen the dark stirrings once or twice; thankfully never directed at her. She hoped she would always be on the right side, trusting that as a friend and decent person he would never take out his aggression on her. But it was there. Mildly terrifying. His bearded face stood near six-foot on a sturdy body, his thick dark hair accentuated his wide eyes. Seeing that mass moving with anger behind it would strike fear into anyone.
But she was drawn to it. Deep down, she wanted to see his silent ferocity. She was curious about what would happen if she was the one to awaken it. He wouldn’t hurt me…But he very well might. She trusted their mutual enjoyment of each other, not to mention her petite innocence. Who would willingly strike her? But the danger was there in their unpredictable relationship. Was thier friendship deep enough? Was any? Would he hate her? If he stuck her, would he regret it afterwards? Or was he running too fast for regret to stick? She wanted to find out.
One day she did. Their team had lost and everyone had had a terrible time. Especially her. She was so angry at herself and just wanted to fight or cry. She fought.
She knew he was good for it. She’d playfully taken out her aggression on him before, but tonight she went all out. He was brooding against the padded wall when she walked up to him. As she approached, they shared an intence glare, mutually acknowledging their disappointment and grump.
“I need to hit something. Can I punch you?”
“What? No! Hit the wall or something.”
Ignoring him, she jabbed him in the right shoulder. His bad shoulder. Hard.
He reeled back, a brief look of surprise and pain was clouded by anger more quickly that it took him to regain his balance. “You little bitch!” She knew she should get out of the way, but her own anger and frustration was still strong enough for her to brace herself and stare him down. He didn’t swing, but grabbed her shoulders and tossed her against the wall. She hit but the sound was bigger than the pain inflicted. People looked up to see her bounce back and take another jab, but this time his instincts had kicked in and he easily dodged her blind swings. Instead he grabbed her flailing wrists and held them steady. “What the fuck is your problem?!”
She had rarely felt the extent of her bodily weakness. While she fought briefly in his iron grip, she instantly knew it was futile. Fear and panic began to rise up as she realized he was in complete control. She wasn’t mad or scared enough to bring her foot up for a blow in between his legs; she still trusted him. So she stopped thrashing and just thrust her jaw up and narrowed her eyes at his, trying not to yelp at the pain from his tightening grip.
He was looking in her face. The glint of danger had faded but anger, annoyance and confusion were still very visible. By this time, the others were around them, reaching, trying to separate them. As they were separated he started spewing profanities all pertaining to her and what he would do to her and her loved ones, puffing out his chest. Then he just scoffed and shrugged it off, talking about the “crazy bitch.”
Well now she knew. Would he hurt her? Yes, but he was familiar with restraint. Did he hate her? She didn’t know yet. After the adrenaline wore off she tried to make eye contact, which was usually easy, but he never looked her way. On the bus ride home, he sat a few seats in front of her, still talking to their group of friends, but not directly with her. Eventually, the team captain turned and asked her what her behavior was all about.
“Well, I was mad and I thought he would be good for it. I’m sorry, man,” she said as turning toward him.
“’Good for it’? You drilled me in my sore shoulder!” he said with a bewildered scoff.
“At least I asked…”
“Yeah! And I said no, you can’t punch me!”
She lowered her head. “Hey, I’m really sorry. I didn’t mean to hurt you badly. I just wanted to get some of my aggression out.” Thinking back about how it must have been for him, she smiled, looked up and added, “Thanks for not hurting me.”
“Oh, I wanted to! I wanted to just knock you right out! Break your nose and have you bleeding on the floor.” he said with a frustrated laugh.
“I know. But thanks.” She looked him right in the eye and said it as sincerely as she knew how. Then she added more animatedly, “I also wanted to see you mad.”
He laughed. “What?! Why?” He shook his head, “Oh my gosh, you are a crazy bitch.”
She tried her most innocent smile. “I was just curious. You talk about punching walls and stuff, and getting in fights and I just wanted to see the beast in action, I guess.”
“You hear those stories, and you think to yourself, ‘Huh, I wonder what it like having him nail me in my face?’ What?” the team captain laughed, throwing his hands up in a gesture of confusion.
She just shrugged. She turned back to the other guy. “Hey man, we good?”
He looked at her dubiously. “Yeah, but don’t just walk up and punch me! I’m still pissed, crazy bitch.”
So, he didn’t hate her. But she had a new nickname now.
After that they actually had a deeper comradery. He would warn opposing teams that she was “a crazy bitch” and tease her and the team about her full-on attacking people. It became a good story, but he would get edgy if she got too close or playfully swatted at him.
She had seen a glimpse of the beast inside and it terrified her, but at the same time she was drawn to it. Indeed, she had a new appreciation of Beauty and the Beast.