February 2, 2019

LOVE IN THE HOOD by Deb Whittam

So, I’m walking through the forest,
sticking to the path when I hear a voice...
From her position at the kitchen table, Anya watched her great grandmother flit across the room, her sly expression concealed beneath the hood of her frayed and faded red cape as Anya pleaded, “Grannie will you tell me how you met Grandpa again?”

"Anya, aren't you tired of that tale by now? It’s ancient history.”

“Anya, I told you not to nag your great grandmother.”

Annoyed, Anya glanced at her Mother who sat darning a red cape, her brow furrowed before shooting a hopeful glance towards Grannie, pleased to see the other smiling broadly.

"I don’t know Grannie; she always wants to hear that tale even though I keep reminding her that everyone needs to be here for it to be told right."

The exasperation in her Mother’s voice made Anya frown, but unwilling to concede defeat she retorted, “We’re all here now."

"Your father and grandpa aren't here," Red pointed out

Aware that her request was perilously close to be being denied, Anya shot an appealing glance towards her great grandmother as she added in a wheedling voice, "But they'll be back soon.

The two women exchange a look, and then Grannie pulled out a chair, “Well, why not?

Anya squealed in delight and then aware of her Mother’s scowl, she sat down as the other commenced.

“It was one of those warm spring days, and I was bored, so my mother decided to send me here, to my grandmother’s house with a basket of cakes and a bottle of wine. Your great grandmother was feeling poorly.”
The note of sarcasm in her mother’s voice bypassed Anya, but her great grandmother took exception protesting, “You make it sound like I was an invalid Red, the truth was I had dyed my hair bright orange, and your grandmother was so embarrassed that she forbade me from venturing into town until it had dulled down a little. Didn’t you wonder why I was wearing a night cap in the middle of the day Red?”
“Of course I did, but I was more interested in trekking through the forest and escaping chores,” Red said with a laugh, “Will you stop interrupting already, you’ll get your turn in a minute.”
Grannie sighed, but refrained from commenting as Red continued.  
“So I’m walking through the forest, sticking to the path as directed, when I hear a voice call out, where are you going little red riding hood.”  As her mother mimicked the voice Anya pulled up her hood and Grannie chuckled softly, “And of course I paused.”
“Of course,” Her great grandmother's dry tone made Anya giggle even as her Mother reached out to push her hood down, before tousling her hair.
“Alright, I was young, but you have to admit there was something enticing about his voice. It was like molten chocolate.”  For a moment Red stared into space and then she shook her head, “So I turned around and there he was, the big bad wolf leaning against a tree with a quizzing expression.”
“Where are you going little red riding hood?  He asked, and though I recalled my mother’s warning, his brooding dark looks and his debonair smile sent my pulse racing, and bemused, I blurted out the truth, I’m off to see my sick Grannie.”
“That’s enough of this sick grandmother nonsense.”
Her mother smirked. “Why don’t you take her some flowers. She’ll be sure to love them.  Now, I glanced around and sure enough, there were stacks of flowers, so I thought why not and began to collect them.”
At these words, Anya swung round towards her great grandmother, anticipation etched into her features as the other smiled broadly in response.
“I was at home alright. I was getting ready for my morning run,” At this, her great grandmother winked and Anya giggled. “You can imagine my surprise when there was a knock at the door, but that only lasted a second when I laid my eyes on the huge, strong, muscular creature that filled the doorway.”
“Mesmerized, I watched as he leant closer whispering, time’s up, Grannie.  I swear I almost swooned at his words and then as he leant forward to take a bite, I took my chance.  I puckered up and our lips met, and I swear it was thunderbolts and lightening. He staggered back, and I gaped. I’d just kissed a wolf and mortified, I ran past him intent only on escape.”
“And there I was heading to Grandma’s house completely unaware…”
“That the wolf lay in wait.” Anya finished with a squeal of excitement.
“Exactly, even as I fled something was plaguing me, and eventually I came to a halt,” Grannie continued, “Perplexed I wondered why a dark and handsome wolf had appeared on my doorstep, a dark and dangerous wolf who kissed like heaven on a stick.  There was only one reason, and it made me turn quick smart, but I suspected I would be too late.”
“For I had already knocked on the door, only to hear a voice call out, I’m too sick to get out of bed granddaughter, please come inside.” Red continued with a smile as she mimicked the wolf's husky drawl, and Anya grinned as her mother continued, “There was something funny about the voice. It was a rolling smooth sound which was so unlike Grannie’s that I was already suspicious even before I walked inside to see an unfamiliar figure lying in the bed.”
As Anya leant forward, Red grimaced with a rueful shake of her head advised, “I knew this wasn’t Grannie but the figure in the bed was watching me so intently I said, oh grandmother, what big ears you have! To which the figure replied with a decided lack of enthusiasm, all the better to hear you with.  I frowned, but continued on with, but grandmother, what big eyes you have, and at this the wolf sighed languidly before declaring, all the better to see you with. I must admit, I was getting nervous by now and edged closer to the door as I uttered, but grandmother, what a big mouth you have.”
“And that’s when I stepped through the doorway,” Grannie stated with a wide smile, “and said real loud, which is so damn good at kissing, I want to do it again.”
“To which I replied,” A voice said from the doorway of Grannie’s cottage, “And so do I, come her Grannie, you’re mine.”
At the wolf's words, Anya started, and then with a wide grin, she threw herself at the huge muscular figure which towered above her, “Grandpa you’re back.”
“Hey sweetie, I couldn’t leave your great grandma alone now, could I?  She might run off with any old wolf that came along.”
“Idiot,” Grannie stated affectionately, reaching over to kiss her husband on the cheek, “You know there is no one else for me.”
“And Grannie kisses Grandpa, and he turns into a handsome prince.” Anya stated cheekily as her mother, Red rolled her eyes.
“Perhaps not a handsome Prince, in this case,” Red noted dryly as her husband walked through the door.

“And they lived happily ever after.”  Anya continued, determined not to be thwarted.
“That’s only in fairy tales sweetie,” Red muttered absently as she eyed her husband, who was determinedly avoiding her eyes and keeping his hands behind his back, “What have you gone and traded the cow for this time Jack?  Beans, you traded the cow for beans? Here give them to me.”
Deb Whittam is a graduated from Macquarie University Bachelor of Arts, recently she has had the honor her work being published in The Crux Anthology and The Rabbit Hole Anthology.  She has also published a number of titles online which available through Smashwords, which includes the Daddy’s Angels series.
Social Media Accounts
Twitter: @ DebbieWhittam

Cover: Amanda Bergloff @AmandaBergloff

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