This prick knew what these guns would cost. He’s trying to shortchange me. I narrow my eyes to slits. “We agreed on fifty thousand dollars, George.”
“I know Mike, I just...I don’t have that kind of cash on me right now,” George whines, his hand twitches.
“Fine,” I say, circling a finger in the air. “Wrap it up, boys. If he ain’t payin’, we ain’t dealin’.”
Squirrelly and Paul begin to wrap the guns back up in the cloths we transported them in. “Wait!” George shouts. “Can’t we work something out?”
I place hands on my hips. “Like what?”
“I really need these guns, man. Can’t we do like fifty-fifty?” he pleads, stepping closer.
Pursing my lips, I think about this. “Very well...Tick,” I call. “Come on over.” Tick runs up to me, and I give him the look that he knows well. In a blink, Tick is at George’s side and forces the overweight, bald man to his knees and outstretches his arm on the red dirt floor. Jace joins Tick in restraining the poor fool. Tick takes out his knife and places it over one of the man’s digits.
George cries in protest, “No, please! Don’t, Mike...”
I slowly walk up to George and squat in front of him then use my hand to bring his face up. “If you want to pay half now and half later, I’m gonna need to take half of your finger. Call it... insurance. Then, when you give me the other half, I’ll gladly give the digit back to you from keeping it on ice, and you can have it reattached. If you don’t pay me...well...then, I’ll have to take the other half off.” I smile and pat his head. “Mkay pumpkin?”
In standing back up, I walk back to my bike and shout over my shoulder, “Up to you, buddy.”
There’s some shouting, cries, and grunts from behind me, but the text on my phone distracts me from listening. It’s a text from my girl asking where I am. In responding to her, I hear one question that I don’t get often.
“Why are you doing this? You know I’m good for it!” George cries as Tick starts to cut George’s finger.
I turn back around. “Stop, Tick.” Tick grunts with disappointment but removes his knife. I walk up to the men on the ground and look George in the eye. “I’ve let people go before, and guess what? They fell off the face of the earth, and we never got the money. These guns are one of my crew’s livelihoods. We deliver them; we get paid. If we don’t get paid, bad shit happens, my friend. It’s just the way this kind of thing works.” I nod my head at Tick, whose wide crazed eyes are filled with appreciation to continue his fun; above George’s screams, I yell over my shoulder, “Don’t worry buddy, it won’t kill you.”
“I have the money!” George shrieks. I hang my head; I fucking knew it.
Turning around, I motion for Tick and Jace to pick George up off the ground. I walk up to his face and snarl. “See what happens when you lie, Georgie boy? Give me the money, and you’ll get the guns.” Jace and Tick let the wide-eyed man go, and we follow him to his van. He takes out a duffle back and hands it to me; I give the bag to Tick to count the money. George stares at me like I’m crazy while he holds his bloody hand against his chest.
“It’s all here,” Tick says.
I clap once. “Perfect.” I motion for Ron and Paul to get the guns and bring them over to the van. Once they’re placed in the back, I take out an Armalite 15 rifle.
“Hey, w-what are you doing?” George seems concerned.
I point the unloaded rifle barrel in his belly with one arm. “You lied to me...I get to keep this one.”
Most of my crew and I roll into the lot of the clubhouse sounding like thunder, and straight away, I see Elena sitting in the grass with Rachel and Rose. With the sun shining down on her, she looks even more beautiful than the last time I saw her. How does that happen?
Everything about her draws me in; her innocence is endearing, her smile is captivating, her eyes hold honesty and truth, and her soul is patient. Her soul must be patient to deal with the likes of me. That woman is the pinnacle of beauty.
Her head snaps in my direction, and with a large smile, she rises from the ground and runs towards me. I hop off my bike just in time to catch her as she leaps into my arms. I swing her around as she squeals, my face nuzzles into her neck. I could hold her like this all day if she’d let me, breathing in her new peach and vanilla scent.
I glance around and notice Rose, Squirrelly, Rachel, and Paul doing a similar greeting. A small part of me is a little freaked out because I’ve become one of them. One of a...couple. I never thought I’d be like this. I bury the uneasy feeling; this girl in my arms just warms my chest, I can’t get enough of her.
“Hey, Kitten.” I plant a kiss on her lips when I set her down. “How are ya?”
She brushes her hair behind her ear. “I’m doing good, just been waiting for you.” Her eyes dart behind me, I follow her gaze to the object wrapped up in some cloth and strapped to the back of my bike. “What’s that?”
I step in her line of vision, and with a smile, I tell her a white lie. “It’s nothing. I’ll take care of it. You stay out here; I’ll be right back.” I draw her in for another kiss and turn for the object then walk up to the doors of the clubhouse.
Once in the armory, I place the rifle next to some other ones, then I close and lock the door. Putting the keys in my pocket, I feel small soft hands reach up to cover my eyes from behind.
“Guess who?” The feminine voice chirps. The smell of lavender and lilac is strong; it turns my stomach. I prefer vanilla and peach or any other scent my girl decides to wear.
“Kara?” I pretend to guess. Her hands disappear, and she playfully swats at my back.
“Yes! I’ve missed you,” she says, hugging me as I turn to face her. I try not to linger in her arms. She’ll get the wrong idea.
“I gotta get going. This was just a pit stop,” I tell her, trying to snake my way out of her hold.
She recoils from me, places her hands on her hips, and cocks her head in disappointment. “Why don’t we hang out anymore? I miss you, boo. We always used to have so much fun.” She starts to crawl her fingers from my abdomen to my chest.
I take a step back. “I know, darlin’, but I need to get going.” Side-stepping, I get closer to the doors for the outside world. Into Elena’s bright sunny world, but a hand grabs my arm to keep me in the darkened room. The dark shaded room that happens to be my world.
Elena deserves so much more than me.
“What’s really going on between you and that slut?” Kara chides, still holding my arm.
Slut. Slut? I instantly turn around and grab her wrist. Hard. Within inches of her face, I speak low and slow with a growl. “Don’t you ever call her that again. Do you understand me?”
With the shock in her wide hazel eyes, I know she fears me. Her face is starting to twist with pain from the hold I have on her wrist. I quickly loosen my grip – I didn’t mean to hurt her. I shouldn’t have grabbed her in the first place but calling Elena that word or any other demeaning word is crossing a line. Something in me snapped.
At this point, I don’t care if she tells Elena out of spite about the pretend secret of me trying to get a high school diploma. I have a feeling that Elena will be okay with it all and possibly even be encouraging about it. Will I have to spew other lies? Perhaps. I’d rather come up with more excuses than having Kara taint Elena’s good name.
In releasing Kara’s arm altogether, I spit what I know will put her in her place. “The only slut here is you.” She grabs her wrist to soothe it while her mouth drops open. With a smirk, I turn on my heel and walk out the door and into the light to greet my angel once more.