39. Spineless Beings
The anger and betrayal radiating off of Hawke is palpable at the moment.
He gets up off the bed and begins pacing at the edge of it, dragging his hands down his face.
“A fucking murderous coward,” he growls before punching his fist into the wall making me jump. He does it again, then leans his head against it, dragging his hands down the wood paneled surface.
I let him get it out, the pain, not even trying to calm him. He needs to let this out, needs to vent.
“I’ve never told anyone about this before,” he says panting, his hands visibly shaking as he turns, falling back against the wall to face me. “I just assumed it’d die with me. I couldn’t with the agreements and all.”
“The agreements? An NDA?” My mouth drops open as I gasp at my disgust. “They had you sign an NDA!?”
He walks closer to me again, finally calming down and sitting on the bed next to where I’m planted.
“Patrick stood there and watched it all. He watched me fall apart over him. Saw everything. Then, as quick as it happened, he left.”
“He left,” I repeat the phrase in almost a whisper, feeling short of breath, feeling the truth like a punch to the pit of my stomach.
“He jetted outta there, ran away. Left the scene, left me there clinging to the body that used to hold my best friend. I had nothing at that moment, no one to help me, no one to tell me what to do next.”
I bite my bottom lip, unable to hold back my tears at the pain he’s been through alone.
“I wish I knew you then, I wish I could’ve been there for you. I wish I would’ve known,” I cry, feeling his torture, aware of his suffering.
He wraps his arms around me, pulling me into his chest and petting the top of my hair down. He holds me for a moment as I release my own hurt for his story.
“You know, you remind me of him in that way.” I hear his heart pounding in his chest as he speaks softly, the deep hum of his voice through his chest calming me. “There’s a part of you that’s always thinking about me and my feelings, somehow always understanding what I’m going through and who I am. You see the truth in people, even when you were taught not to. You saw me.”
“I see you,” I whisper, running my fingers over his face, kissing his lips softly. “I see you.”
A hint of a smile of admiration pulls at his lips for me. A relief spreads through his body, before he sighs and begins continuing with the story.
“It didn’t take long for them to find us. They booked me immediately, took me in for questioning.”
The thought of him being so young and vulnerable after going through such a traumatic experience, then thrown into questioning, as all of this fell upon him, kills the deepest part of my heart. He had no one.
“They tested me, found alcohol, drugs. It didn’t matter that I told them Patrick was there. They didn’t believe me. Why would they? I was a drugged out junkie to them, looking for a way out of accidentally killing my best friend.” He shakes his head, grinding his back teeth.
“Didn’t they at least follow up and look at Patrick as a suspect? Didn’t they question him too?”
“They did, but his father pulled a team together real quick in his defense. He made up an alibi which his father confirmed. Their story was that Dean picked him up from the party and he had Patrick home at the time the accident happened, his mother confirmed it too. It was their word against mine.”
“Jesus Christ,” I say beneath my breath, shaking my head in disbelief. All of them. All of them were in on this.
“His father convinced the guys at the station to let him talk to me, to ‘help’ me and be an advisory through this. Taking on the role of the savior to the fucked up kid in need of saving. He promised me he’d take care of things for letting me take the fall. Told me he’d get the best defense attorney around to get me off with a slap on the wrist, probation in exchange for a shit ton of money to keep quiet. I’m talking hundreds of thousands of dollars, Cole.”
I shake my head, seething with anger. “Unbelievable, that’s why...that’s why you told me you don’t need money,” I suck in a breath, feeling lightheaded. “They paid you off.”
“I was young and dumb. I figured I’d never get out of the situation anyways, at least not by what he was telling me. Agreeing to be quiet and take the money, do some community service, it just seemed like the only option at the time. He threatened me. Told me without his attorney’s help to get a lighter sentence, I’d be in prison, possibly for life, that there was no way out.”
“So what happened then? Why didn’t they get you off like he said?”
“Because he never had the intention of getting a team together for me. I was left with a public defender who seemed to know less about the system than I did. I got charged with vehicular manslaughter, given a quick five year sentence like it was nothing, from a judge who didn’t even look me in my eyes, just dismissed my case and moved onto the next.
“Hawke, we have to set this straight. They need to pay,” I state, the anger emanating from my tone. “We can’t let them get away with this!”
He looks away from me, licking his lips in frustration.
“While I admire your tenacity, there’s nothing that can be done. They’re powerful people. They don’t pay for anything besides the checks they write.”
“I’m so fucking disgusted,” I scoff. “I can’t believe you’ve been holding this in!? And the house? They took control of that too? The only thing you had from your father?! I can’t believe I was living there, with the idea that—”
I stop myself from continuing. The thoughts of the future I’d had in mind is just tarnished with lies and deceit, all at the cost of him and the misfortunes he’d endured. I’m disgusted.
I’m up and pacing now, pulling at the roots of my hair, trying to understand how someone could be so unbelievable cowardly and cruel. To take someone’s life and then another as collateral. I feel like I’m going to be sick. I thought I knew Patrick, but I didn’t know him at all.
“They offered to buy it before I went to serve my time, knowing I still had part of the mortgage left over from my dad’s passing and couldn’t keep up with the payments while I was locked up. There was a clause in the agreement that I’d get the house back, ensuring I’d kept my end of the bargain in the NDA throughout my sentence.”
“So you moved back in to ultimately regain the rights, to get your name back on the deed?”
“That’s the fucked up part, my name’s been on it the entire time. Everything was done under the table.”
Patrick’s been playing nice because he knows at any point in time, Hawke could kick him to the curb, unleash his lies to me, open the flood gates to the past, and Hawke’s been stuck under them, being watched since his release, making sure he’s a good boy who doesn’t talk. Both simultaneously trapped in completely different ways.This is why Patrick was secretly planning our move to Colorado. To escape. This is why he’s been working so hard, to leave town, still under the wing of his father. I think they thought they could make it seem as if they sold the property back to Hawke so no one would question it.
I stand there, in the middle of the motel room, staring off into the floor, racking my brain for answers, some way to get over on these cowards who made a kid take the fall to keep their name in gold. Christians my ass, these people are straight from the depths of hell themselves.
My phone starts ringing again as I walk over to the table. I pick it up, ready to see Patrick’s name and tell him to fuck off forever, when I see John’s instead.
“Shit, it’s John,” I comment, looking up at Hawke nervously before answering.
“John, hey, what’s up?”
“Hey Nic, I need a favor,” he asks abruptly, sounding out of breath.
“Yeah, of course, what is it? Is everything alright?”
“No, not really,” he says, sounding stressed. “Anna’s having some pain in her abdomen, we’re not sure what’s going on yet, but we’re on our way to the hospital. I’m supposed to work the late shift tonight. Any chance you could fill in? I just don’t know how long I’ll be here and I want to—”
“John,” I interrupt him, “Say no more. Of course I’ll cover for you, you need to be there. Please just keep me posted. I’m hoping it’s nothing serious.”
“Oh Nic, thank you so much. I’ll definitely let you know what we find out.”
After saying goodbye, I turn to face Hawke.
“Shit,” I say.
He stands, approaching me. “You’re going to need to go back to the house, aren’t you?”
“Yeah, I wasn’t even thinking. The keys to the bar are there.”
I take a moment to look through my phone, seeing a stockpile of texts from Patrick. Tons of “I’m so sorry’s” and “I know you need time” messages. He’s ridiculous if he thinks after treating me the way he did at his family’s brunch I’d ever take him back. There are fingerprint bruises still on my wrist from his grasp.
“Well you’re not going alone,” he states with venom on his tongue, knowing I’d be walking into the lion’s den.
“I might have to. I mean, how do we do this?” I ask, sitting on the edge of the bed now, sighing. “We can’t show up there together. He can’t know about us, he’ll call your parole officer, he’ll do something to get you locked up again! I can’t let that happen! He can’t taken you away from—”
“Cole, shhh, come here, come here...” he says calmly, pulling me into his lap on the bed, wrapping me in his arms with the unwritten promise of never letting go. “Just breathe, baby.”
I can’t lose him to Patrick. I won’t let him win. Hawke soothes me, until I’m able to rationally speak again.
“I have to drive back, but I can’t leave you here either, you don’t have a car.”
“Actually,” Hawke says, looking at the time on his phone, “Kid will be here any minute to fix that problem.”
“Wait, what?” Kid is coming to save us? The thought is hilarious.
“Kid’s dropping off a bike for me.”
“Do you really think now is the time to take up cycling?” I twist my face in confusion.
He laughs at my question, the first time I’ve seen a genuine smile in days since diving into his past. I feel butterflies throughout my body at the sight. “Not that kind of bike, babe.”
I flush at the embarrassment, or maybe the fact that he called me babe.
Like clockwork, I hear the roar of an engine outside of the door. I look at Hawke as he raises his brows with excitement, smiling at me.
Kid knocks on the door, as Hawke lets him in. There he stands, all six feet of his gangly frame, his disheveled bleach blonde hair spiking all over the place with his tattoos covering nearly every visible inch of him, his goofy grin topping off the entire idiosyncratic look.
“There she is! I’m here to save you, girl,” he says with swagger, narrowing his eyes at me flirtatiously, licking his lips.
“Dude,” Hawke snaps. “Fuck off.”
“Damn, bro, chill. It’s called a joke.” He laughs hysterically to himself. “Besides, I see she’s taken...again.”
He frowns, leaning an arm against the door frame, looking defeated as he glances back and forth between us.
I chuckle awkwardly, shrugging off the obvious. There’s no bible humping me, only Hawke.
“Eh, I knew y’all were a thing long before you did. The way you were looking at him at the bar, the way he kept staring you down like a psycho. I knew y’all had to be fucking on the low. It’s sexy as fuck though, all that sneaking around.” He wiggles his eyebrows at me and I can’t help but scoff with a smile. “You’re a bad girl.”
Hawke rolls his eyes speaking exasperatedly, “The keys?”
“Right here man.” He tosses them to him, along with a small plastic bag.
“What’s this?” he asks, opening the bag.
“Gloves. For like, the vibrations and shit.”
“You bought me motorcycle gloves?” Hawke grins with narrowed eyes, looking down at the bag then back at Kid in disbelief. “Thanks man.”
He gives him a man hug, patting him on the back and I can tell their relationship is unique. Kid, while always remaining totally aloof and crazy looking, is someone who genuinely has a kind heart. The kind of people you always stay close with, even if you live different lives. The kind that have your back while you’re in prison, putting money on the books, or so he’s told me. You hang on to those people, because there aren’t many of them.
“So, you’re dropping off a bike? That you bought for Hawke? How are you getting back?” I ask Kid, confused with this scenario at the moment.
I don’t have any idea what the plan is but I’m here, going along with it.
“Nah, I bought it from his uncle. Time I got my own ride back, put some of that money to use.” Hawke grins, peering at the bike parked in the lot behind Kid. “Always wanted a classic Harley.”
“You ride motorcycles?” My mouth is hanging as my eyes dart back and forth between the two of them.
Shit, if I wasn’t turned on before, I sure as hell am now.
“Oh and I don’t need a ride, if that’s what you’re asking.” Kid smirks at me. “I’m meeting this chick in the room over.” He points his thumb to the right.
My eyebrows raise as I peer at Hawke who's shaking his head. “This guy will never be monogamous. That life is not in his blood.”
“Monoga-what? Fuck no! Too many beautiful women in this world, I want to try them all. Especially you, the forbidden fruit.” He looks at me with a devilish smile, awaiting to see if I take the bait.
“Get the fuck out,” Hawke says abruptly, roughly grabbing Kid’s arm and pushing him towards the door.
He laughs his hyena pitched laugh, as he’s being shoved out, pressing back against Hawke to peek his head into the room one last time.
“I’ll be right over here if you need me, or wanna listen to what I can do to a woman, ya know...if you’re curious.” He makes a kissy face.
Hawke yanks his arm, pulling him out of the door once and for all.
I bite the corner of my lip as Hawke approaches me, a protective look in his jealous eyes. The look alone gives me a tingling between my legs. I like when he gets upset at Kid for hitting on me, I want him to keep doing it just to see him act out. I must be crazy.
He flexes his jaw muscle, grabbing my waist and firmly pulling me into him. I suck in a breath at his sudden forcefulness, enjoying the feeling of his hard, warm body against mine again. Cupping my jaw, he looks down at me, eyeing my lips, then back to my half lidded lustful eyes. I’d do anything he told me in this moment. I’m totally smitten by him, my heart is his alone.
With inches between us, he speaks in a low, husky tone, “Let’s go for a ride.”