Boulder (Riders of Apollo #5)

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Riley Everett

He’s still here.

What the actual fuck? It’s six am and I have things to do, I don’t need him here breathing funny and taking up half my bed. I’m already dressed in my work out gear. My makeup is done and my hair is straightened perfectly, yet this fucker is still here.

I’ll admit, some of the best sex I’ve ever had but I’m not one for sleepovers. That’s why I go to their place because I can let myself out the minute they fall asleep, it’s hard to do that when they’re in your flat.

I’ll take the blame for that considering we were at his place before I made him follow me to mine. I groan in anger before writing a shitty note and leaving it on the bedside table, telling him to let himself out. I don’t even care if he leaves the door unlocked, I’ve got nothing to rob so.

I grab my purse and a few other important things to make sure I get to the meeting in time. She says meeting, it’s really me rocking up to the clubhouse to beat the shit out of Saviour, Lexie and Runner for a few hours. They want to rinse me for all I’m worth and it’s fun for me to do so I don’t argue against it.

The guards at the gate let me in and I salute them on their swiftness before slamming into the main part of the house to find it basically empty. I’m not even partly surprised, these fuckers stay up till God knows what time at night, no wonder they don’t wake up until midday. I find Rubble in the empty space with his phone in his hands and an angry look on his face.

I stroll over and drop into the seat next to him, he startles and manages to drop his phone onto the floor. “You alright, mate?”

“Yeah, just having a hard time, that’s all.” To be honest, I have noticed a certain coldness towards Rubble from everyone, especially the women. He’s been made a target if anything and I imagine that is anything but comfortable since he is a loud and chatty party person beneath this sadness.

“Why are they treating you the way they are?”

“You noticed that, huh?” He grumbles and leans back into the couch with an empty look on his face. This is his family here that are alienating him and making him feel alone, I understand how that feels.

I nod, hoping that my silence will prompt him to explain without forcing him. “Last year I did something stupid, so fucking stupid and I regret it but no matter how many times I apologise nobody takes me seriously. I guess that’s my fault for being the party kid that can’t be trusted.”

“If you don’t mind my asking, what happened?”

“Cassidy turned up last year, we helped her out of a bad situation and she became really close with all of us.”

“Breaker’s woman?”

“Yeah... anyway when I first saw her she was so bright and warm, ya know? Just gives you that fuzzy feeling that makes you want to be around her all the time. The innocence and naivety of that just drew me in. I thought I wanted her, I mean we played pool once and it was possibly the best time of my life so I thought that meant I wanted her to be my woman... I didn’t realise until after I staked a claim on her how I really felt.”

I squeeze his shoulder as he leans forward to rest his face in his hands. “I lost my little sister when I was fifteen, she was two years younger than me and she was just so happy and I loved her more than anything. Even when she was wasting away in the hospital with cancer she smiled all the time and she was just so kind and Cassidy... Cassidy made me feel the same way Lou did. I misread those feelings and I forced my way in between her and Breaker even though I knew how they felt about each other.

Everyone could see how good they were for each other, even on the first day and I still had the audacity to get involved. I was selfish and malicious, prideful really and after all of it went down I couldn’t help but think about how disappointed Lou would be in me for doing what I did. I thought I had made amends, I did the trials - Breaker knocked me on my ass - and that was meant to be the end of it... I suppose nobody ever really got over it. So, now I’m on the outside missing my sister even more with no family to run to when I need someone.”

“What about the rest of your family?”

“My parents were an abusive mess, they were in and out of our lives, drunk or high for most of it. They didn’t care and I had no one to turn to to help me with Lou, I blamed myself for her illness and I blamed myself for her death. To be honest, I still do. I held her hand until the end and she begged me to do better for myself, go to college, get a degree, settle down... instead I got arrested for armed robbery because my father made me find money for drugs and I went to jail, losing all my future and ending up in a biker club who hate me as much as my parents did.”

“Okay, I’ve got an idea.” I write out another note because I’m an asshole and throw it onto the coffee table before yanking Rubble out of his seat. “We are spending the day together! Consider me your new best friend, big man. And I know just what to do to lift the mood, I am the party where I come from and trust me... the Brits always do things better.”

I wink at him and he laughs for the first time in, what I imagine, a long time. I shove him into my car and speed off, blaring music and shouting along to the lyrics with the windows down.

It’s six am so there’s not really much to do except go to the 24 hour diner and eat ice cream for breakfast because that’s what fun people do, don’t judge.

“Really? Ice cream?” Rubble asks me over his stack of pancakes with more syrup than actual pancakes.

“Hey, don’t knock it till you try it.” I shovel in another mouthful of rocky road mixed with cookie dough with a satisfied smirk. We end up having a war with forks as I steal his pancakes when he’s not paying attention and he stabs my hand with his before ordering more since I did end up eating at least half of his meal and still managed to finish my entire ice cream sundae.

No regrets.

That’s a good song by the way, it’s by Dappy just so you know.

“Right, what’s next on the list, Miss ‘I’m so good at everything’?”

“Ah ha, we are reliving our childhood today Rubble, my dear. I hope you have cash because we are going to the arcade and I’m gonna beat you at every game.” His jaw drops as he accepts the challenge. He doesn’t know how many years I’ve been going to the arcade to break into the machines and take the cash.

“Air hockey is the best and I am the champion!” He tells me the minute we walk through the door. I exchange my dollars into quarters and he does the same.

“Nah, I’ll beat you on that too big man.” The game starts out viciously, both of us are obviously very competitive and neither of us wanna take a loss. I score first and start strutting around like a peacock, making him laugh so hard he actually had to sit down for a second. What an old man, I swear. “Ooh, 1:0 bro, you sure you don’t wanna take the L now?”

“Don’t get cocky.” He warns and fires off without warning, I manage to stop it within a hairs width and he glares at me.

“I can be cocky, dear, because you suck at this game.” I score again and he spins the disk between his fingers with his thinking face on.

“Best of three?”

“Deal.”

------

“Ha! I fucking told you I’d win!” I cheer, wolfing down my second bag of candy floss and starting to feel the sugar rush that is impending at eleven o’clock in the morning.

So far I’ve managed to beat him at air hockey, Mario Kart and the motorbike game - yes, embarrassing on his behalf, I know - and he’s beat me at basketball but he has the added advantage of height.

He claims it’s because he’s actually good at basketball, I said it was just his genes and I ended up wearing more popcorn than he ate. “So what’s good for lunch round here?” I ask him as we leave the arcade back into the bright sun and I wince at it.

“I have an idea, keys?” I toss him the keys and he only just manages to catch them considering he’s carrying a slushie the size of his head. I don’t even care that he’s driving my car, he just drives at the speed limit which I don’t think I’ve ever done in my life and I’ve been driving since I was fifteen.

He pulls up outside an Italian joint and I cheer. “I love pasta!” I force him through the doors and the lovely waitress shows us to a table at the back where I order a large serving of spicy pasta, with garlic bread, mozzarella sticks and fries for sides.

“Are those for both of us?” Rubble asks as the waitress waits for the answer as well.

“Hah, no. They’re for me, you can have your own sides pal, I ain’t sharing.” The waitress laughs and I wink at her, “She gets it.”

Like a normal person, he only orders one side with his meal and I grin. More table space for me. We just chat while we wait for food about basic shit like my family and how it’s as fractured as his.

“I have an idea for after this.” He starts and I stop cramming my face with pasta for two seconds to listen to him, I can’t concentrate on anything but food. “Theme park.”

“Oh shit, that’s a fucking brilliant idea. Don’t they have that scare maze up as well?”

“I was thinking more the rides...”

“Yeah, course we’ll go on those too but the maze is supposed to be awesome. I’ll buy us some VIP tickets if you drive us down there because I don’t want to.” He agrees and we finish off the food and pay the bill with a massive tip because I thought the waitress was cool.

The drive to the theme park is about an hour and a half so the fun will begin at half two and damn am I excited. I haven’t had this much fun since I was jacking cars when I was seventeen.

This is fantastic.

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