Bullets of Love and War

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Chapter 44

Blake wishes that miracles would happen more frequently. He definitely needs one at the moment as he’s stuck plotting with Valerie, each trying to figure out a solid solution within a certain amount of time. It is getting dark, and Valerie’s words keep dragging on in scattered, incoherent patterns. She really annoys Blake. He wishes she could shut up and let him clear his head in peace. But as always, Valerie feels she is, “trying to help.” Blake eventually loses concentration and decides it best to snap instead of talking with rational thought.

“Would you shut the hell up already?!” Blake snaps, making Valerie cut her sentence short. “You are saying nothing to help me right now.”

Valerie’s dark blue eyes darken as Blake walks around, hand on his hip and fist balled at the mouth. The silence becomes too much to bear. Valerie opens her mouth again.

“How...are we short a couple of grand? Again?”

“That’s not the question you should be asking me right now.”

"What are you doing with our money Blake? It’s very obvious that you’re taking it at this point.”

“What did I just say?”

“And on top of everything, you never met up with the principal to discuss the expulsion ordeal. You forgot that we needed the rich kid’s drugs for tomorrow which we could make a killer profit from. But wait. Not like we could sell to him anyway because somehow, someway, you’re thieving hands are always stealing from our inventory and you swear to God you have nothing to do with the money’s disappearance. At this point you’re just...a fucking mess!”

“I will fucking kill you if you keep talking Valerie! Keep talking! I swear on everything I love I’ll put a bullet in your fucking head right now,”

Valerie glares, not backing down to Blake’s ways. He is painfully serious though. She recalls how nasty Blake’s temper gets at times and mentally tells herself to stop pressing. Her leader is already upset with the circumstances. Valerie’s mouth will only get her in more trouble than she can handle.

The soft gleam in his eyes is what makes Valerie soften as well. Blake lowers his head and rubs at his eyes, growling loud and hard. Valerie can’t stop picking at the skin behind her ears. It’s a bad habit she does whenever she feels uncomfortable or tense in a situation.

But she is nowhere near as tense as Blake as he aggressively paces around the boxed in corridors of the hideout house living room. Valerie watches every step he takes. She soaks in how vulnerable his body looks, with his slumped shoulders and fingers scratching at the nape of his neck. Valerie secretly got a kick out of seeing Blake flustered and not knowing what to do. His hopeless, scrambling self was intriguing and kind of cute at the same time. It was a sad type of cute, like seeing abused puppies or ill babies. She loves it; craves it almost. Every second that flies by where Blake can’t find words and the sweat around his hairline shines ever so slightly, it is beautiful to her. It makes Blake seem so much more sincere. So much more honest, despite what he has to say about it. This subtly reminds her that people are imperfect and are bound to make mistakes.

Even people who always seem to have their shit together.

Blake eventually stops moving and fixes his gaze upon Valerie, who does not look away.

It is hard for Blake to describe how he feels about the relentless brunette. One thing he knows for certain is that she’s headstrong and not afraid to speak her mind, which is what he admires most about her. Valerie easily balances out the rest of the group with her fiery attitude. But another part of Blake finds Valerie to be the most annoying as well. She’s always on a very thin line between assertive and nosy; concerning and interrogative. This pisses Blake off more than anything else. Why she couldn’t just stay in her place and be submissive to his orders like Ron, Barbara, and Antonio, he did not know. Valerie was always on to him, and it was finally time to open up a teeny bit before Valerie got herself killed by him.

“You really want to know what’s going on Val?”

Val; the nickname Valerie treasured like gold. She knows Blake must be calm now. He doesn’t refer to her as Val when his crazy meter has escalated.

“That’s all I ever want Blake. Why do you keep shutting us out?”

Seven-thirty quietly approaches and Blake notices the shift in the sky. Tranquility washes over him as he inhales a sharp breath. Taking baby steps to Valerie as if he was just figuring out how to use his legs, he puts a hold on his pride and wearily drops his guard. Blake is tired and scared. Blake is nervous and running on zero ideas as to what to do to solve his current problem.

Valerie slowly lifts her hand to Blake’s face and hesitantly holds it there, unable to read his body language properly. To proceed or not to proceed was the question.

To Valerie’s surprise, Blake let her touch him. It was an earnest feeling. Her heart skips a beat as her hand softly caresses the skin of his face. Blake numbs into the feeling of being touched and opens his heart about the stress on his mind.

“I have to make a bad decision tonight,” he says faintly, voice barely audible. “I have to make another bad decision and I don’t know if shit is about to hit the fan or not.”

Valerie’s gaze grows softer. Her hand travels to his neck and stays there, gripping it tight and looking deep into his faded eyes.

“It’s okay,” is all she says, making Blake look up at her. “we’re your family. We’re here for you. Anything you need you know we got your back.”

“That’s not the point,” he sighs, appreciating the pressure Valerie is applying to his neck.

Valerie tries to crack the case in her head.

Blake and the gang members make a profit off of the drugs they sell. Blake even sells to territories that aren’t his to claim just to score a few extra bucks for safety. With this logic in mind, Valerie concludes that there should be no reason why their funds are consistently coming up short. Valerie, Barbara, and Antonio are no idiots, as they all drew assumptions awhile ago about Blake’s stealing. They figured he was either putting the money elsewhere for security reasons or just keeping a percentage for himself. Either way, Blake would not come clean about it. This is what frustrated everybody. How could a person like Blake constantly preach about loyalty and being honest with one another when he couldn’t even stand by his own rules? If he were honest about it, maybe the gang members wouldn’t hold salty suspicions.

All Valerie knows is that she can’t keep excusing Blake’s nonsense any longer. She has the goal to pry answers out of him, no matter what it takes.

“You’ve got to be honest Blake,” Valerie says, looking straight at the floor. “not selling to this spoiled bastard could do us a lot of harm. How could you forget about it?”

“Why is Barbara dumb ass out here making large deals without my input?”

“Forget about it now! What’s done is done. We should be able to afford the surplus of drugs from TJ but we can’t, because you put a nice little dent in our funds.”

Blake closes his eyes and pretends to be somewhere else while Valerie talks.

“I mean, God, what is the deal with you? Just put the money back! Use it to buy the drugs from TJ.”

Blake has other people he is looking out for. An unfair manner and an unright justice was set upon people he truly cares about, and he can’t just let them sit and suffer. He can’t let his members know that he is stealing because he knows it’s selfish and wrong of him to go against his own rules. But Blake has spent his entire life pleasing other people. It was always about making sure everyone else was taken care of and given things over him. The only two people he cares for more than all the sanity in the world are in a dark place and don’t deserve to be there. Blake will do this for himself. Blake doesn’t care who he has to hurt to get there.

Even if it’s his own gang members.

“I’m not doing that,” Blake states firmly, prying Valerie’s hand away from his neck. “so stop questioning me about it and follow my next set of instructions.”

Valerie gives up and sucks in her lips. Blake inhales another exasperated breath then slowly blows it out. Here he goes. He presents Valerie with his vague, disoriented plan that could end horribly wrong if done incorrectly.

“I need you to make sure the gang is ready for blood if it goes down tonight.”

“What? Blake, what are you talking about?”

“Just be prepared. Make sure the others are prepared too.”

Valerie wants to spat every concern, question, and swear word there is, but when Blake shoots her a glare that makes her halt all thoughts and actions, she knows he is serious. Frighteningly serious. Valerie feels her heart hammering against her breastbone and tries her hardest not to clinch the area.

She can only look at him. This is the boy who saved her. The boy who went through hell to get Valerie out of her suicidal and depressive thoughts. This was him, alive and in the flesh.

Alive and ready to do something horrible.

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