The Jaguar replied, “Aqui no pasa nada,” a common way of saying nothing was happening. The armed men stalked slowly around the cart, sizing up the Panther and Puma, while the driver and the Jaguar carried on a casual conversation about the challenges of traveling in the mud.
Other than a startled blink, the Jaguar hoped he hadn’t given anything away when the Princess began walking over to him. She was charming with an exaggerated Southern accent, complaining about the conditions of her journey. The two armed men instantly raised their weapons. In response, the Panther and Puma acted as one to level a dead aim at the men’s heads.
Seemingly oblivious to the silent standoff, the Princess set her hands on the hips of her borrowed, baggy green camouflage trousers in her sassiest pose. “You don’t know how lucky you are to have a jeep! I’m ready to shoot this goat and have him for dinner tonight. We’d be faster if we hitched my husband to this stupid old cart.”
With a bemused expression, the driver looked at the Jaguar and said in Spanish that though his English wasn’t good, it sounded like his wife called him a goat. The Jaguar’s hearty laugh was genuine, and he translated to correct the misunderstanding. Pretending that he was letting the guy in on a joke at her expense, he said in Spanish that she couldn’t toast bread, let alone cook a goat.
He made a low growl in his throat and reached out to roughly pull her into him, kissing the long column of her bare neck and playfully pretending to bite it. The Princess clucked with a shake of her head and pushed half-heartedly at him, addressing the other man when she said her husband even acted like a goat, always nibbling at her.
The driver laughed raucously and muttered, “American!” He told the Jaguar that men in his country knew how to deal with cheeky women, and that he deserved what she dished out if he didn’t beat her now and then. He made a gesture to the armed men, who put down their weapons and tramped in muddy boots toward the jeep.
Tires spattered more of the soggy path onto the poor goat and the cart as the vehicle crept past down the trail. The Jaguar didn’t let the Princess go when she tried to step back. He trapped her eyes with an intensity that made her wait on his murmur. “Don’t pull away until they’re out of sight. You were amazing, by the way.”
“Thank you. Was that the dangerous kiss you warned me about? ‘Cause maybe the goat will come in handy for you to get some practice.”
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