We drove back home, the old engine rumbled as the silence in the truck lingered. I turned to see Lillie looking out at the passing street lights through the open window. I could only imagine the thoughts going through her head.
Would she want to be with me after seeing my temper flare up? Have her thoughts about me changed? Was she scared of me? So much questions ran ramped through my mind. The last thing I wanted was for Lillie to see me in that light. I didn’t want her to see a glimpse of my old life, of who I was… or still is.
I blew out a deep breathe at the thought. Fuck, I needed to get it together.
I pulled up on the sidewalk in front of the townhouse. Lillie got out, so did I.
I called out to her as she walked up to the front door. “I’m sorry about tonight.”
Lillie turned around facing me, clutching her arms across her chest. “It’s okay Dimitri, these things happen, at least a fight was avoided,” she said and gave me a soft smile, that wounded me.
It made me feel like shit!
“I’m going for a walk, just to get some fresh air,” I told her.
She nodded, “That could be a good idea… don’t return to late home.”
I nodded and turned to walk in the opposite direction down the street. I needed to clear my head from all my bullshit.
The night sky was clear, with a cold bite to it. I walked with my hands deep in my hoodie jacket pockets. I breathed in the crisp air, it filled up my lungs, and exhaled it out, helping me gain perspective again.
I had to keep my anger in check, it would only get me into trouble. I wasn’t planning on going back to prison… ever again, if I could help it.
Fuck! I needed to be a better man, at least of all for Lillie. She’s done so much for me, I needed to be the man she needed, the man she wanted.
I walked a good 20 minutes, the night dragged an icy wind, and the streets were empty, I decided to turn around and walk back to Lillie, but I was stopped by a black SUV which pulled up next to me.
Four bulky men, that looked like club bouncers, got out. All of them looked menacing, one had a baseball bat in his hand, and one of them I knew, the ginger hair was a dead giveaway.
Gunner moved toward me with a snarl. “BLEEDER! where do you think you going?” He said to me cockily.
What the fuck now!
The other three guys circled around me, blocking me from moving anywhere else. I tried to see for an escape, but these guys were ready to take me on.
I stared Gunner in the face. “What the fuck do you want now?” I said through gritted teeth.
My defense mode kicked in and I clenched my fists ready to protect myself from an attack that I knew was coming. I looked at the guy with the baseball bat, he tapped it in his hand mockingly, waiting for a sign to fucking use it… I assumed on me.
Gunner chuckled darkly and shook he’s head, something seemed fucking amusing to him. “Big Ben offered you a lifeline and you refused him… All you have to do is fight!”
“Bullshit! I’ll get the money someway else. I’m not fighting for him!” I seethed.
“Big Ben doesn't like your answer I’m afraid,” Gunner said, a devilish grin forming on his lips. “And now, he wants to send you a small message.”
He then nodded at the guy with the bat.
The bat swung, striking me right in the gut, hitting the breath out of me. The pain knocked me out and I hit one knee to the floor. I coughed trying to catch a breath. The other two hefty guys both lunged at me at once. One fist came swinging in my direction. I staggered to stand up and blocked his oncoming punch. I gave a hard jab in his right rib. The other guy grabbed my arms from behind trying to tackle me down, but the dumb fuck struggled, I wouldn’t go down easily.
Gunner stomped over and came swinging hard punches on my torso. The pain seared through my diaphragm. I gritted my teeth, I broke free from the tight grip from behind, and rammed Gunner against the wall, my fist almost connected to his face, but was stopped my another devastating blow that hit my back. It was the guy with the fucking bat.
I fell to the ground.
Gunner punched me in my face twice, I tasted the blood dribbling from my mouth and spat it out onto the cold concrete ground beneath me. The other two goons kicked me ruthlessly, I curled my body up, deflating the blows attacking me. My ribs, back and stomach took most of the strikes, as the guy with the bat watched on with a sick smirk. I covered my head with my arms, trying to protect it from impact.
“Stop!” Gunner said breathlessly to the others. “Big Ben still wants him… at least he got the message.”
With that they all retreated slowly and climbed back into the SUV, not before Gunner kicked me one more time for good measure.
“Re-think Big Ben’s offer if you know what's good for you,” Gunner snarled.
They drove off leaving me bruised and bleeding on the side of the street.