Short Story: Company Picnic Part One

I love hitting random story generators when I have to turn out a little flash fiction for my blog, newsletter, or chat events.

This time, I visited the Seventh Sanctum Romance generator and, after a few tries, got this prompt:

In this story, an operations manager from an unusual family line attends a social event and meets a bitter rascal. What starts as loathing soon turns into obsessive love.

I thought I could make that work for my freebie this week, so here it goes.

Company Picnic

By G.G. Royale

Reina scowled as the limo pulled up to the reserved picnic enclosure. Balloons, crepe paper, a giant “Welcome” banner. Hell, the coordinator had even hired a bounce castle for the kids.

This was the worst day all year for her business: the company picnic. She didn’t mind mingling with the employees or lavishing meaningless praise on their children, but she did find it the hardest here to keep under control. The park was mostly forest, and its cool depths called to her, enticing her to throw off her human form and run wild through it, howling.

But she had to control herself. That came a lot easier around the plant in the industrial part of the city, where everything was concrete and steel. Locked down. Sterile.

The car’s engine cut off. She spent a few moments taking deep breaths. Her claws begged to rip through the ends of her fingers, but she couldn’t let that happen.

“Ma’am?” her driver asked. He probably knew exactly what she was going through. Though not of her line, his family had served hers for generations. He knew about their curse, had been trained to deal with it.

“I’m fine,” she told him, hating to appear weak. She regained control of her body and took a final, deep breath. “I’m ready.”

“Good.” He got out of the car, and she plastered on her best face for the crowd. The driver opened her door, and she stepped out into the bright sunlight of an August afternoon.

Employees laughed and played games, clutched red plastic cups of beer and soda, and lined up near the grill for hot dogs, hamburgers, and vegetable patties. Reina always made sure she supplied something everyone would like for the annual picnic.

No one seemed to notice her right away, but then the party planner caught her eye and nearly ran over to her.

“Ms. Vazquez, we have a problem,” he told her, his hands flapping like small birds. He was clearly quite distraught.

Reina furrowed her brow. She couldn’t think of anything that would get him this excited. She scanned the crowd, and then noticed...

“Why isn’t anyone using the shelter? We reserved it months ago.”

“That’s just the problem,” he told her. “There’s there, and he won’t leave. Very unsavory. The parents don’t want the children there. I’ve called the park rangers but --” The man shrugged.

Reina felt confident she could deal with the issue. Let a little of the wolf surface, and the unwelcome visitor would probably hightail it in two shakes.

She smoothed her palms down her company polo and nodded curtly at the party planner. “I’ll take care of it. Just make sure my guests are having a good time.”

She headed across the clearing toward the shelter. A large black motorcycle, dusty and laden with many packs and bags, was parked illegally in front, and smoke rose up from the charcoal grill nearby.

Reina stopped at entrance to the enclosure and stared.

A man sat there. A bear of a man, really, and if Reina hadn’t a little bit of the animal in her, she might have been intimidated. He had long hair, brown shot through with gray. Beat up denim hung low on his hips, and black leather boots encased his feet. He didn’t wear a shirt or jacket, but Reina saw a leather vest tossed carelessly on one of the picnic tables. Patches with skulls covered it, and chains dripped off of it. One large patch across its back declared the club to which he belonged, and Reina raised her eyebrows. She’d seen something on the news about them.

She cleared her throat, and he raised his head to look at her. Piercing blue eyes seemed to bore right through her. She felt as if in that one look, he knew everything about her. Even her darkest secret.

“We reserved this area for the company picnic. I’m afraid you’re going to have to leave.”

He chuckled and stood. He walked toward her. She could smell him easily, not because he stank but because of her heightened senses. He smelled of the road, of the woods and sweat and wind. She found the aroma intoxicating. She wanted to bite and rend, but she held back.  She only needed to intimidate.

“Say please,” the man said.

Oh, I think not. Reina narrowed her eyes. “The rangers have already been notified. You don’t want to be arrested, do you?”

He laughed outright at that, a deep, resonant bass sound that probably resembled the roar of his motorcycle’s engines.

Reina felt her hands itching to form paws and claws. How could he get beneath her skin so easily? Rile her so much, and yet...?

She sniffed the air again and felt heat grow in her womb. Oh God. She never reacted this way to men. Never lost her cool. Maybe it had something to do with the approaching full moon, and forest around her. All the fresh meat scampering around the bounce castle.

Nothing to do with the man in front of her.

But she wanted him. She couldn’t deny it. Her gaze traced the lines of his abs and pecs. She nearly reached out and ran a hand down his bare flesh. Oh, stop it!

She took a step back from him, just to be safe, but then she scowled at herself when she realized he would probably interpret this as her backing down.

Any other time, any other place, and I’d rip him to shreds.

She took a deep breath. “Listen, just move along, okay? I’ll give you money for a hotel room, a nice meal...?”

“I don’t want your money,” he growled.

Reina’s panties dampened. She knew what he did want, because she wanted it too. 

Stay tuned for the next installment!


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