Chapter 1, Bigger Brawl
[Sequel to Two Gangs and a Golden Girl]
[Book 2 in the Golden Girl Trilogy]
[BY REBMA D’LOGIRAM]
“Amber, I need your help!” I hear Lynch shout from upstairs.
I’m in the study, covered in shades of stress as I try sorting through all the paperwork I’m nowhere near done with.
“I’m busy!” I shout back and blow a rebellious pale hair, that fell from my neat bun, out of my face.
Being a gang leader, especially for a big gang like Sterling, doesn’t always mean guns and fighting and the fun stuff. There’s a lot of paperwork too. Especially since I’ve only been a gang leader for a month now. The transition takes documents after documents. Signing assets over to me. Putting for example all Blake’s drugs in my name. The ex-Western gang leader was surprisingly happy about that part.
And then there’s figuring out what to do with Owen’s girls. His hotels, I’ve decided will stay his, but the girls that work there and the many others on the streets is something I’m still trying to figure out. I’m not one to support prostitution (being a girl and all), but the ex-Eastern gang leader argues that it’s the only way they can make money.
“Please, Amby!” Lynch begs from upstairs.
I want to smile - the real kind of smile. It’s been a while... But instead, I get up from my desk with a sigh and trudge upstairs.
We’re all still in Blake’s house for the time being. Even though Owen’s house is bigger, we’re all just accustomed to this place. I’m still deciding whether I should buy my own gang house or not.
When I get upstairs, Lynch is looking at the mirror - on his knees and only wearing pants while holding up two identical grey shirts.
“I don’t know which one to wear,” the fifteen-year-old boy complains. His usually wild curly hair is looking particularly droopy.
“They are literally the same shirt,” I point out and step closer with a small smile. Lynch has been the only one that still treats me like I’m the same. Like I still have paint on my clothes and gold in my hair.
Even though that girl is long gone...
“No! Look, look, this one is darker! I have to know which one, because Blake’s finally allowing me to go back to school and I have to look good when I make my grand entrance,” Lynch explains.
I step even closer, slide down next to him and hold the shirts right to my face. I’m a painter, or at least I was, you’d think I’d be able to see if one was darker.
“Lynch, this is the same shirt,” I say again.
“Okay, but which one makes my hair look better?” my friend asks and stands up - revealing a lean body that surprisingly looks a little bigger from the last time I saw Lynch. Someone’s growing up.
Lynch pulls on the first shirt, struts up and down his room, and then pulls it off before doing the same with the other shirt. When he’s done parading, he looks back at me with his big, goofy smile.
I blink again.
Lynch smiles some more.
“It’s the same bloody sh-”
“Just pick a damn shirt, Amby,” Lynch interrupts me.
“The one you have on makes your hair look fabulous,” I sigh.
“Really?” Lynch asks with hopeful eyes - even his hair is gaining some life at the news. Usually, I’d feel my heart going all warm at the sight. Especially since a few months ago, poor Lynch lost all his hair after the shooing at the Northern ball.
But it’s not my heart beating in my chest. It’s my uncle’s...
Lynch hooks his arm into mine and leads me downstairs with a bounce to his step. He forgot to put his shoes on, but I want to see him realize that so I keep quiet. When we get to the kitchen, most of the inner-gang are eating their very intimidating, gang-approved bowl of Frootloops.
I sit down next to Sean and stare at him. The driver of the group looks back at me before he can bring the spoon to his mouth. I keep staring. He stares right back.
“Dammit,” Sean mutters and drops his spoon into his bowl before pushing it to me.
“Yay!” I say and start munching while Sean gets himself another bawl. I’ve been doing this for a while now.
When I look up, the twins are smiling at me from the other side of the kitchen island. They have Frootloops in their teeth. I manage to smile back. Even though it’s not the kind of smile I crave.
“Where’s Owen?” I ask the guys because I already know Blake’s in the entertainment room as always.
“Probably still in the shower,” one of the twins, Ryan, answers.
“And Blake’s in the entertainment room, right?” I ask to make sure.
“Yup,” Bryan, the other twin, answers.
I nod my head and finish my bowl of cereal. My days are usually insanely busy so breakfast is the only time I can get myself some decent food. I look down at my pale arms. They’re a lot thinner and even though I’ve been working out to regain my physical strength, my body still looks exactly how it did when I woke up from my coma a month ago. In fact, I might even look more sickly than I had...
“Morning, Darling,” someone says.
I look to my left and Blake just entered the kitchen.
“Good morning, Blake Bowmen,” I greet back.
“Do you think creating an army of men who only have bows as weapons, no arrows, and have bow-ties instead of armor, automatically makes them bowmen?” Bryan asks.
“That’s a good question,” Ryan replies.
Blake rolls his eyes as he walks up to me. “Did you sleep well?” the dark-haired boy asks.
“Yup,” I lie.
Blake looks at me like he can see the truth I’m hiding. He’s been where I am now. He knows that being in the darkness, means sleep is never peaceful and dreams are just a fantasy. He opens his mouth to say something - advise me on how to get a goodnight’s rest, but then stops himself and resorts to a polite smile.
“Well, I’ll go get Owen. I have news for all of you,” I say before getting up.
I can’t stand the sympathetic look in Blake’s silver-grey eyes. I hate pity. And with everything I’ve been through. All the friends and family I’ve lost these last couple of months, I’ve been getting a lot of pity-gases from Blake. He wants to help, but he’s still trying to figure out how.
I knock on Owen’s door and when he doesn’t answer, I walk in. I can’t hear the shower from the on-suite, so walk up to go knock on the door. Right when I’m knocking distance away, the door suddenly swings open - hitting me in the face.
“Shit, sorry!” Owen apologizes and aims to grab my shoulders or something but instead slips and falls forward - making me fall on my back.
I hiss out in pain when Owen falls right on top of me - robbing me of air. I can only whimper in gratitude that the room has a nice, thick carpet.
“This seems oddly familiar,” Owen says.
I look up and Owen has this apologetic grin on his face. When I look further, I realize Owen’s only wearing a towel. His rock-hard abs are right up against me. A few months ago, the roles were reversed in this scenario.
“I ant eave,” I mumble.
“What?” Owen asks.
“I ant eave,” I repeat and grit my teeth.
“You have to be a little clearer-”
“I can’t breathe, you fat-fuck!” I exclaim and push Owen off of me. Glad to know I’ve got some of my strength back.
“Oh, right,” Owen says and jumps to his feet.
I get up myself, but quickly dart my eyes to the ceiling and cross my arms. “Owen,” I say.
“Your towel,” I say and refer to the one that’s not around his hips anymore. It’s sprawled on the floor like it’s just giving up on life.
“You have a problem with it?” Owen asks with his cocky voice. I’m still breaking my eyeballs to look at the sealing as much as I can, but can see Owen putting his hands on his hips.
“I can’t talk to you like this,” I sigh.
“Why not?” Owen asks and takes a few steps closer. Oh, God.
“You’re indecent,” I answer.
“You know what, you’re right. We can’t talk like this,” Owen says - making me relieved for a second before he adds: “We both should be indecent and then talk.”
“You’re disgusting,” I mutter and turn around - heading for the door when Owen is way too close for my liking. “Get your decent butt downstairs, I have an announcement,” I add before slamming the door shut.
I’m not blushing and it scares me. It’s more proof of how the old me has died all those months ago.
I head to my room - look my sleek, black outfit over and apply a bit of lipstick. No paint stains cover what I’m wearing. No comfy sweaters and no vintage skirts. That part of me is gone - a scared bundle at the bottom of a dark well in my mind.
When I’m happy with my look, I head downstairs and Owen’s there too. I thank the gods that he’s wearing clothes.
“You had something to announce,” Blake says and everyone looks at me. My whole inner gang. All six of them.
“Yes, the original inner-gang of Sterling emailed me. They want to meet their new leader,” I announce.
Sean nods a few times before asking: “Where?”
“Well, I figured the best option would be obvious. My parent’s house,” I answer.
“When?” Blake asks - worry shines in his eyes. Probably because going back to where my parents were murdered isn’t the best for my mental health right now. The truth is I don’t care much about that anymore. I only care about avenging them.
“That’s what I wanted to make sure by you guys. I figured since the South or North or whoever the real enemy is, aren’t going to wait for long, we should get on a plane tonight and make the meeting for tomorrow. Lynch and the twins should stay in town to make sure all is well in Tygerwell,” I explain.
“Why do I have to stay?” Lynch whines.
“Because you have school,” I answer. Technically all of us have school, but I’ll find a way to get extra credits some time. There are only a few months left in any way. Blake and Owen probably don’t care, but I still want my education.
“Then let’s do it,” Owen says - but there’s a little doubt in his voice right before he and Blake share a quick, worried look.
“Well, let me call them then,” I reply and take out my phone. I dial the number that was attached to the email I got earlier and wait for someone to pick me up.
I chew at my nail. It’s amazing how six months ago, my biggest worry was two guys having an ego brawl in the school hallway. Everything is so much bigger now. The stakes are higher.
When a scruffy voice says, “Hello?” I feel myself straighten a bit up.
“Hello, is this Gareth?” I ask.
“Yes, who’s this?” the scruffy voice asks in return.
“This is Miss D’logiram. Miss Rebma D’logiram,” I answer.