7. Spring Break
“Do you have to be here?” I asked, staring at Tennessee. We were at the airport. I was waiting for Alex and Tennessee… well he had to be here according to Don. He sat next to me with his arms folded across his chest. He watched me with a raised brow as if I’d just asked a ridiculous question.
“Yes, I do. I am your shadow,”
“No, I meant in here,” I said, waving my arms at our surroundings. “We are in a public place, nothing can happen to me here. You could’ve waited outside with your bike.”
From the corner of his eye, Tennessee looked at me. His blue eyes were intense, pensive and almost accusatory. “Is there a reason why you don’t want me around?”
“Yeah, it’s a little something called privacy,” I snapped back, smiling at him the fakest way I knew how. Shaking his head in amusement, he let out a little laugh.
I sighed and scanned the airport, watching people trudge by while a distant scream of a child echoed our way. The familiar hum of chatter, phone calls and footsteps surrounded us and quiet between us. It wasn’t an awkward silence. Tennessee was a nice guy, hilarious even, but god he was a pain. I thought with Don gone, he’d be a bit more lax or at least let me be but he was just as bad.
Let’s just say he was a fly you couldn’t bat away.
Alex should be arriving any minute. I had my placard to greet him. Subconsciously, I smirked to myself knowing my little greeting wouldn’t be appreciated but pissing him off was my favourite pass time.
“Come on, sweetheart, be honest with now,” he said, his accent peeking through his tone as he shifted in his seat. “Who are you waiting for?”
“A friend that is a guy or a girl?”
“The gender doesn’t matter. He is my friend and I invited him here.”
This time, Tennessee lifted both brows . “So this friend is a he?”
Instead of answering his question, I responded with my own. “Are you going to tell me why you’re here and what’s going on with the club?”
“Does Don know about this friend?” he asked, still ignoring my question. I didn’t respond. “Because let’s just the bullshit. He ain’t gonna be happy and the fact you’re being so secretive shows you already knew this.”
“I’m still waiting for you to answer my first question,” I said, glancing at him from the corner of my eyes.
Tennessee kept his mouth shut, the corner of his lips tightening and I knew he wasn’t going to answer. Huffing out my frustration, I straightened my spine, facing forward with my arms crossed. I wasn’t going to get this information someway, somehow, because this was ridiculous. How was I supposed to protect myself first before anyone else could? I should know something at least. I didn’t know if I was being stalked, walking straight into the wrong territory or even meeting the wrong people.
I spotted a familiar figure between the crowd; immediately, I knew who it was. Excited, I jumped to my feet and held the placard high in the air like I was the biggest fangirl at a Jonas Brother’s concert. As the crowd dispersed, my view of him became clearer.
Alexander Richard the motherfucking III—the exact name written on the placard—strolled out of the gates, his head down with his phone in his hand. He was probably texting me, asking if I was around but I held my crowd and waved my placard, willing him to look up.
Finally, after what felt like a billion years, Alex looked up and his eyes locked onto my placard. The muscle in his jaw ticked and his blue eyes flashed with annoyance. Ha, mission complete.
“Do you have to greet me with my full name?”
Batting my eyelashes at him, I asked innocently. “What do you mean? Alex is a common name but Alexander Richard III—”
“Shut up,” he growled, pulling me in for a big hug. Laughing, I wrapped my arms around him but didn’t hug him for since because of a persistent cough behind me. I sighed and rolled my eyes before pulling away. Alex’s gaze was glued to the man behind me.
“Is this your man?” Alex asked.
“No, he’s…” I trailed off, glancing at Tennessee who watched me with a blank stare. “A friend of a friend.”
“Yeah right,” Tennessee muttered under his breath just as another childish squeal drowned the sound of his voice. So much so that Alex didn’t hear what he said. I, however, since I was closer, did. Looking at him one more time, I scowled at him. “He ain’t your friend, darlin’. He’s your man.”
Grinding my teeth, I turned away. “Just ignore him. Trust me, it get’s easier to pretend he’s not there when you do.”
Alex snorted before smirking.
“Hey,” he said, extending a hand around my frame. “Alex.”
Not being an ass, Tennessee stood from his chair, extending his own hand to shake Alex’s. “Tennessee.”
We talked for a while before gravitating towards the exit. Tennessee fell behind, close enough to see where we were but far enough to give off the illusion of the ‘privacy’ I asked for earlier. With Alex by my side, it was easy to forget his presence and the reminder he represented.
Tennessee walked to his bike that was a few cars down from mine.
“Are you ready to for the beach?” I asked, doing a little shimmy dance before opening the driver’s door. Alex lifted his eyes to the sky before returning them back to me.
“Right now?” He asked, glancing at the sky before turning his gaze to me. “What about your other friend? What’s her name…?”
“Nazanin, she can’t make it today,” I said with a sigh. “You’ll see her some time, I think, she said she had dinner plans with her family.”
“Cool,” Alex said nonchalantly. “If we go right now, I’d burn under this sun.”
And he wasn’t wrong. Alex had very pale skin, so pale that his complexion could rival a vampire’s. Unlike me with a little more Melanin, he’d burn easily.
“Nope, later on today. I figured you’d want to catch a nap before going to the beach. Plus, we’ll give it some time to let the crowd die down.”
His face twisted with mock disgust. “Please, don’t tell me you’re gonna watch some RomCom.”
“No!” I lied, switching the ignition, checking my surroundings before pulling into the main road. Making note of Tennessee in my mirrors, I continued. “Besides, you know you secretly love them.”
“I loved getting laid,” he said, grinning to himself. The bastard. “The only way I could get you comfortable with me.”
I shook my head. “Keep telling that to yourself, player.”
We stayed at my place for a while. Alex took a nap while I went about cleaning the home. Melanie spent most of her time in the salon; I might as well been living at home since she was never really around. It didn’t bother me. Other than Don hogging up the space, I liked the being alone. I was free and less conscious of myself.
A couple of hours passed when Alex woke from his sleep. I packed some essentials we would need for the beach and all he had to do was follow my lead. I felt like a tour guide showing him around the hot-spots of Miami until eventually, we decided to settle on the beach.
It was flooded with people of different races and different cultures. Blacks, Whites, Hispanics and everything in between came together to bathe under the Miami heat. It wasn’t as crowded as it would have been earlier in the day but there were enough people to still get lost. I spoke the majority of the time while Alex scanned his surroundings, an unreadable expression on his face. I didn’t dwell on it too much—he was the master of poker faces.
“Are you thirsty?” I asked, digging into my back for a bottle of water.
“Yeah, I’ll have one,” he said, taking the bottle from my grasp.
“Just wait here a minute, I want to give one to Tennessee,” I said, taking a step back. Alex looked down and frowned.
“We can stay here?”
I smirked. “Still tired?”
“Alright, I’ll be back, watch over my back,” I said, letting my bag fall off my shoulder before catching it. Leaning forward, he placed my bag on the ground before sitting next to it.
Spinning around, I went and searched for Tennessee. He was on his bike most of the time, never stepping foot on the sand. I weaved away through the crowd ignoring some of the suggestive looks. I was surprised I was getting any since most of the girls were in their bikinis and I wore a dress.
Immediately, I spotted Tennessee and quickened my steps. The closer I got, the clearer his voice was over the distant music punctuating the air. I stopped in my tracks when he said some things I wasn’t supposed to hear.
“You think someone tipped them off?” Tennessee said in a low whisper. “I don’t know man, it makes sense to me. We thought we had them last year but then with Marcus’ death…”
Silence followed for a few seconds before he continued. “No, it can’t be someone in the club? Why would you think that? Who would it be?”
My hand flew to my mouth as I tried to contain a gasp. I held my breath, as if I’d be quieter than I already was, and continued to listen.
“Well, it’s not me,” he said and paused. “I don’t know who it is. What? Don?”
My eyes bugged out of it’s sockets and I swear the nearest person would assume I was a humanised bug. I wore my emotions on my face but fuck, how could I not? Someone was accusing Don for going against the club. I didn’t believe, despite our differences, I knew Don was innocent. Why would they think that?
“I ain’t pointing figures until I see it with my own eyes,” he said and waited again “Alright, see you later Prez.”
And with those final words, he ended the call. I waited a while before approaching him, trying to act as natural as possible.
Startled, he glanced over his shoulder. “Vanessa…”
He didn’t sound too enthused, and probably suspicious, but I continued with my act. “I hope I’m not bothering you.”
“What do you want?” he asked, scanning the area before returning his piercing blues to me.
I froze and I blurted out the first word that came to my mind. “Um, water?”
He frowned. I probably looked like a complete lunatic. “I mean, you’re going to be out here for a while and I, um, here’s a water bottle.”
Shoving the bottle into his hands, I spun on my heels and refrained from sprinting across the beach. I heard his distant ‘thanks’ but didn’t give myself the time to respond. I couldn’t stop thinking of what he said. There was a mole in the MC. Well, it was all speculation but it didn’t wear off the shock I felt minutes after. Most of all, they think Don is the mole.
That didn’t make any sense.
Lost in my thoughts, I didn’t realise Alex was calling my name. Most of all, I didn’t realise I’d walked past him.
“Is everything okay?” Alex asked, concern evident in his tone. I blinked, nodded and smiled.
“Yeah, it’s… it’s nothing,”