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6. This Is Not A Party

What a horrible idea this was.

I felt confident at home but as soon as I stepped foot into 9-5 Slide I felt like a damn fool.

It’s busy tonight which is helpful, but I keep getting looks from random guys probably wondering what the hell I’m doing dressed up, in a biker bar, in a small town. Because, let’s be honest, who the hell does this?

John’s eyes catch mine from behind the bar as his face lights up. “Nic! Hey! What are you doing here!?”

“I’m here to drink.” I answer, saddling myself up at the bar.

“Well, you came to the right place...I think?” he comments with confused amusement.

“Kinda got ditched last minute and I just wanted to get out of the house. I was hoping to ask Leonard on a date but it appears even he is busy tonight.”

He laughs and grabs a bottle behind him. Putting two shot glasses down he pours up the dragon blood.

“Oh man...what’s this mixed with tonight?” I ask.

Dragon blood was made early in the night. Usually tail ends of whatever bottles of alcohol that could flow together making a toxic concoction that would be sure to set you right. Total small town bar shit.

“Your guess is as good as mine.” He raises his brows along with his shot glass, clinking mine before we both choke down the burning liquid.

“Fuck.” He coughs.

“Ugh, I taste Jager in that.”

“And something Peach.” He twists his face. “Another?”

I make a pained face, pushing my glass forward, shrugging. “Why not?”

A few drinks in and I’m feeling all warm and friendly. I play a game of solo darts while making conversation with a sixty-year-old construction worker.

He offers to buy me a drink up at the bar as John watches in total amusement. He laughs and slides over a cranberry vodka and I thank the old man who’s settling up to leave.

I head back over to my solo dart session. Just as I’m pulling the darts out of the dartboard, the front door swings open and I see Billy Idol wannabe walk in with some of those same friends that were here the other night celebrating Hawke’s recent prison release.

He peeps me in the corner immediately and walks over.

“Hey! It’s you!” he says excitedly, leaning against the pub table near me.

It’s hard not to admit he’s cute. In a wired out, Machine Gun Kelly, kind of way. But he also has a very good vibe about him. Good energy. Fun energy.

“It’s Nic.” I smile shyly, lining back up to throw my darts.

“Nic,” he says with a grin. “I like it. I’m Kid. Nice to officially meet you. But, whatcha doing here? On a date?” He looks around behind me as if some man is about to jump out at him.

“Something like that,” I respond, trying not to admit that I’m a loser who takes herself on dates.

The door flies open again as Hawke walks through. I groan internally at the sight of him. Tightly fit black jeans, loose fitting olive green with his leather jacket on top, and black tie-up boots to match. He should just announce, “I’m a bad boy!” upon arrival. I think we’d all get it.

His cold, hard face turns to find his friend as his eyes narrow at my presence. He looks around confused then walks over to us. His inky hair falling into his eyes before he swiftly pushes it back.

“What are you doing here?” he asks in a hostile tone.

“She’s on a date,” Kid answers, wiggling his eyebrows at Hawke.

His face drops as he looks back at me with a quizzical expression.

“Toad! There you are,” Kid yells, running over to the bar to someone he recognizes.

Hawke. Kid. Toad. What’s up with people in this town and their strange names?

“You’re on a date?” Hawke practically growls the words.

“Chill bro, I’m here by myself,” I retort with an attitude all my own, turning to throw a dart.

The liquor is definitely kicking in. Along with the confidence apparently. Screw him anyways, I have more rights to this place than him. I work here.

Hawke repositions himself in front of the dartboard, casually leaning back against it, dropping his head back against it and looking at me through lowered lids while toying with that lip ring with his tongue again.

“Move or we’ll be forced to see how good I really am.”

His eyes rake my body and I can feel every part that they touch like a ray of lasered heat. He lingers on my exposed thighs, then meets me back at my eyes, a grin forming.

“Wanna make a bet?”

I shouldn’t, but screw it. Dragon’s blood.

“Sure.” I answer.

“Shot for shot, whoever gets the highest points on one throw wins.”

“Easy. What are we betting on?”

He turns to grab the darts from the board as I accidentally look at his ass in those ripped up black jeans. He’s so proportional.

“You decide.” he says, handing me the dart.

“Hmm.” I think for a moment, then look at the bar, coming up with an idea. “If I win you have to finish the bottle of Dragon’s Blood.”

His brows knit together as he looks at me like I’m crazy, clearly having no idea what I’m talking about.

“Fine.” He shakes his head as if it doesn’t matter anyways. “If I win, you come with us.”

“What? Come with you where?”

He doesn’t answer, just holds his hand out for me to shake.

I see the black rings, the hawk tattooed on his hand, and the way his strength is somehow represented in the very way it’s formed. Long fingers and pronounced knuckles that have, more than likely, been split from fist fighting by the looks of it.

Grabbing his hand, I shake it, then feel him tighten his grip, holding onto my hand and not letting go yet. I direct my eyes towards his and the seriousness his face holds makes me swallow. He’s looking through me again.

He finally lets go and I stand with my toe against the yellow taped line, attempting to breathe while lining my arm for the shot.

I shoot, hitting the 20.

I glance over to him with a little smirk. Take that sucka.

He removes his leather coat, setting it on the chair at the pub table behind us, then rolls his shoulders as if preparing to pitch a no-hitter. I try to sneak a peek at his veiny, tattooed arms, but before I can even make out one image, his head twists towards me as he throws the dart.

I squint, trying to see where it landed, then look back to Hawke who hasn’t taken his eyes off me.

He hit the triple twenty.

“You bastard,” I whisper.

He smirks, then turns to grab his jacket from the chair he left it. Never even looking at the board. He puts his arms through it, showcasing a flash of tattooed flesh beneath his shirt, above his jeans. There’s a phrase that’s inked there, and I want nothing more than to find out what it says. But before I can see it, he turns and begins walking towards the door.

With his palm flat on the door, he turns back giving me a little ‘let’s go’ nod.

I take a deep breath and sigh. This is about to be bad.

Kid sees Hawke leaving and pats the guy he was talking to on the back. “Ah, shit, looks like we’re leaving. Catcha later, man.”

He bumps into me as we both head to the door together.

“Aye, Nic, you leavin’?”

“Nope, I’m coming.” I reply blandly.

He looks at Hawke who’s grinning mischievously back at me, then back to my reluctant face.

“Well, alright then.” He wiggles his eyebrows with a nasty grin all his own. “But, I get shotty!”

I follow them over to a vintage, burnt orange mustang, ready to hop into the back seat when Hawke wraps his hand around my wrist, stopping me.

“Fuck no you don’t. Get in back,” he yells at Kid, letting go of my wrist so I can walk around the car.

I rub the spot he touched, suddenly feeling the burn of his skin on mine.

We all get into the car, one I’ve never seen at our place before. I didn’t think Hawke even had a car to be honest, but this one is unique. It feels like if it would be fixed up a bit, it’d be worth a lot. We take off, driving to an unknown location as the smell of weed fills my nose.

“Wanna hit?” Kid asks me with a coarse tone to his voice, tapping my shoulder lightly with a bowl.

I’m not gonna lie, I’ve smoked weed before. More than once, but at the moment, I’m feeling nervous as hell, not knowing where I’m going with a crazy haired pothead and an ex convict driving me there. Kinda not feeling the vibe.

“You dick. You know I’m still on probation. Get that shit outta here,” Hawke yells from his seat, looking at him in the rearview mirror.

“Oh you’re such a drag. Drag, get it?” He laughs hysterically in a high pitched hyena voice from the back seat, clearing on his way to being messed up already.

I glance at Hawke who must feel my eyes on him because he looks over to me. Shaking his head at Kid, he readjusts his grip on the wheel, slouching back into the seat with his legs spread wide.

He looks ridiculously attractive driving this car. So natural. I divert my attention away from him towards the window for the duration of the trip.

We finally turn onto another road, then turn again, pulling up a small pathway between rows of trees until we get to a cabin in the woods.

He parks the car and gets out, without saying anything. I instantly feel stupid for agreeing to this bet. Damn Dragon’s blood.

There are a few other cars lined up and I can already hear music being played from inside. Voices are laughing and a couple girls are hanging out outside the door.

“Is that who I think it is?” One of the girls, a brunette with chin length hair, yells.

We start walking towards the door as Hawke grabs my hand, lacing his fingers through mine gently. The intimate gesture has me looking down at our hands then up to him with confusion.

What is he doing?

He gives me a light nod, as to go along with it, so I do.

We approach the girls, and their eyes immediately go to Hawke.

“Oh my god, it is you! I didn't think you were coming back.” The brunette jumps up and attempts to hug him.

I try to move back and release his hand when he holds on tighter, pulling me back towards him.

“Guess once wasn't enough.” She tries kissing him and he backs away from her, pushing her down with one hand and pulls me into his waist.

It’s a strange feeling. It feels so natural and so comforting while also making every part of my skin that’s touching him itchy.

“Fuck off, Lilah.”

Her smile drops as he pushes us past her. She glares at me as I stare wide eyed at her. I didn’t come here for trouble.

I feel her glare on me more than I can see it. She’s pissed. An ex-girlfriend perhaps? Clearly they messed around earlier tonight, probably before he came to the bar.

We walk into the cabin and I get hit with a pungent smell of stale beer, weed, and firewood. A strange mixture, but this is a party cabin, clearly.

There’s a couple making out on the vintage chair in the corner of the room, a girl going down on a guy in the kitchen, and a guy and two girls getting intimate on the couch. The coffee table is lined with drugs and beer bottles, whiskey bottles, pipes, coke, you name it.

Kid runs over to a girl with jet black hair who’s sitting on the kitchen counter, clearly waiting for him, her body littered with tattoos and piercings. He grabs her by the back of the neck, tilting her head and sticking his tongue down her throat immediately.

Where the hell are we?

A couple scantily dressed women shoot more glares in my direction then focus their eyes on Hawke. It appears he's the hot commodity here.

“What is this?” I ask softly, still staring at the couples beginning to engage in sex before me.

“A party,” he replies smugly, enjoying my prudish behavior.

My wide eyes focus on the guy with two girls as one of them undoes his pants while the other licks his tongue.

“This is not a party.”

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