Crossroads: Book 1

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Chapter 39

Mike


The same amount of guards and nothing unusual happened while staking out -what I believe is - Marcus’s house. My brothers and I stayed for nearly two and a half hours; I never saw Marcus. We only saw Connor, a pierced brow boy, and fucking Declan. We’ve been scouting that place for a couple of days...

It’s got to be Marcus’s house. I scrub the shampoo out of my hair under the shower. The hot water raining on my head helps alleviate the headache I’ve been battling all day.

My hands are starting to prune; I take that as a sign that I’ve been in here for a bit too long. I’m not going to give up. I have a hunch about that house. Drawing back the curtain, I gather a towel to wipe myself down then grab a pair of boxers and sweatpants.

I sit on the edge of the bed and hang my head. I can’t believe I fucked Kara earlier. Actually, I can believe it. I just wished I hadn’t done it. Laying back on the bed, I press my palm against my forehead to rid some pressure there.

Kara.

That chick has been around me for a long time. The little she-devil has been my constant since I joined the club. She annoys the shit out of me, but she’s always ready and willing to be my distraction.

The throbbing in my head tells me that I need some drugs; the shower helped, but it didn’t get rid of it. I pad my way to the kitchen to open a cupboard and take out some Excedrin, Aleve, and...what the hell, I’ll take some Ibuprofen too. With a tall glass of water, I wash the pills down before I collapse on my bed.


“Michael! Where are you, you son of a bitch!” I hear my grandpa’s drunken bellow. I can’t help but shake with my knees tucked up against my chest, hiding under the sink of the bathroom in my mom’s house.

“When I find you... I’m gonna ring your neck, you little fucker!” He’s getting closer. He’s in the hall. Tears of fear are running down my face as I clasp a hand over my mouth to help keep myself quiet. He turns into the bathroom. I see his legs and his boots through the small crack of the cupboard doors. His feet turn to face me. “I got you now, boy.” I close my eyes as the doors of the cupboard opens -

I scurry out of bed, grab my Glock from the nightstand, and point it out into my room. I’m alone. Heaving out my breaths, I wipe the sweat from my face and place the gun back on the nightstand. It was a dream. He’s not alive. I’m not eight years old anymore - I’m fine.

The clock reads 11 pm. It’s only been two hours since I laid down. Muttering a few choice words to myself, I make my way to the kitchen for a half bottle of Jack Daniels. Before trudging myself to the couch, something catches my eye. I stop in mid-stride and turn my head to focus my sights out the window; I see her through our paralleled worlds.

Before I know it, I’m guzzling back the whisky while my bare feet carry me out the front door on the cold lawn to the adjacent part of the house. I plant my ass directly in front of the best view.

It’s pitch black out here, perfect for looking into other people’s windows up close. Elena and her father are cooking dinner together. It’s awfully late to be eating dinner...

With the windows open, I can smell the marinade of what seems to be for the chicken along with a mix of steaming vegetables. The aroma whirls in the air and leaks through the tiny crack of the window screen right to my nose.

They both look happy.

I take another sip as the cool winter Georgia air nips at my flesh. The other day could have changed everything. She easily could not be here right now- at peace, turning the chicken over with tongs with a smile on her lovely face.

With a deep sigh, I bring the now near-empty bottle of the whisky to my lips. I can’t even feel the burn of the liquor anymore. In its place is a burning within my chest where that pesky beating organ thumps. It blisters with a rapid beat whenever I see her, whenever I think about her. Why? I wish it were heartburn, but it’s not...I’m not sure what it is.

Guilt? Love?

The last drop from the bottle trickles down my throat at the thought of love. Love. It must be guilt. I’m not capable of love.

Guilt from what? Sleeping with Kara? Lying to Elena?

I watch silently while she removes the chicken from the pan to a couple of plates. She places them strategically with the vegetables, then sets a frilly green looking thing on top with care. That girl must really enjoy cooking.

Laughing at whatever her father has said, she takes their plates to the table.

These types of memories with my father is something I do not possess.

As Elena and her father finish their meal and clean up together, I can’t help but notice how she moves. She is light on her feet as she strides around the kitchen to put dishes and unused ingredients away. Her long golden strands sway rhythmically with her body; I wish I were in there with her.

This job has me all messed up. I shake my head; she has me all messed up.

Soon, her dad sets himself in his chair, then turns on the television. Elena doesn’t stay; she walks down the hall. I see another window illuminate with a low glow further down the house. I leave the empty bottle next to my house and remove myself from the ground to follow the light.

In stumbling towards her window, I duck low under the sill then peak my head up just enough to see in. As soon as I see her in the process of taking off her shirt, I duck back down to give her privacy, nearly slamming my chin on the sill. It may be a tad stalkerish with what I’m doing, but I am no pervert - even while a tad tipsy.

I just can’t stay away from her. Typically, when her dad is around, I’m not. This is another mistake -I shouldn’t be here. I rest my head against her house as I try to gather my drunken thoughts. They seem to have splashed over all the remaining functioning brain cells I have left, which happen to be jumbled with an ache from the pounding still in my head.

There’s a lot of effort in trying not to close my eyes, for if I do, I know the nightmares will come back. I convince myself that the dark blades of grass beneath me are much more interesting to look at than the back of my eyelids. It fails. Before I know it, I’m curled up on the cold earth against the house, beneath my angel’s window. With any luck, perhaps just being close to her will help keep my nightmare’s at bay. Maybe, just maybe, I can get a few minutes of rest.

******

“Kneel on the broom handle, boy,” my grandpa orders. Wearing nothing but my batman boxers, I do as I’m told. I bend down to rest my body’s weight on my knees, atop the broom handle lying on the wooden floor.

With the shooting pain surging up and down my legs, he says to me, “Do you have any idea of how you embarrassed me?” It frightens me that his gruff voice is so calm. I stay silent.

“Answer me, boy!” he roars. I jump at the contrast in tone and concentrate on the floor. I give him a nod.

“Good. Now you won’t be telling your mama anything more, right?” he slithers in my ear.

I don’t answer. I can only focus on the throbbing of my bony knees.

“Maybe,” grandpa Chuck says, “these weights will help you speak when spoken to.” He places two ten-pound weights connected by a rope around my neck and over my shoulders -

My eyes dart open as I scramble to my imbalanced feet, ready for a fight. I breathe heavily as I take note of where I am: Outside. Outside and next to her window.

My head snaps in her direction. She is so close to me. The angel is on her bed next to the window; her lamp gives her a radiant glow. She is lying on her stomach, wearing a baby blue tank top, which perfectly hugs her figure. She’s also wearing black, teasingly short night shorts – the material falls just past her ass.

Her feet are crossed in the air at the ankles; those arms are hugging a pillow beneath her – how I wish I were that pillow. Those lips are spread apart just a tiny bit as she’s lost in the world of what seems to be some romance movie on her laptop.

By the look on her face, I can tell she is invested; I love watching her watch television. She gets so involved with the characters. I’d hate to disturb this gorgeous night owl, but...

Tap, Tap.

She jumps from the noise against the glass. Her face turns white. Perhaps the window tap was a bad move. She is scared out of her mind as she races off the bed and slams her back into her bedroom door. Her hand starts to twist the handle for an escape.

“Elena,” I drawl a whisper through the panes. “It’s me, Mike...Open up.”

Color is returning to her face as she squints her eyes to study the window. I tap again and say, “It’s Mike. Don’t be scared.”

Elena inches her way over to the bed, climbs up, and then unlocks the window to open it. As soon as she sees me, there is no denying that she has happy eyes – they are practically dancing.

“Mike? What on earth are you doing?” The angel whispers with disbelief.

“I wanted to see you.” It’s not a lie.

“How long have you been out there?” She asks with a quizzical smile.

“Not long,” I lie.

Knock, Knock

“Elena, is everything okay in there?” Her dad speaks through the door.

Shit!

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