Chapter 4. Lots Of Guns
It was about three weeks since the beach party. I tried hard to stay busy so that I would stay away from Mia. However, it seemed to be getting harder with each passing day. I so badly wanted to see her.
Dad walked into the study, where I was sprawled out on the couch reading. “Your mom went into labor,” Dad said. “Keep an eye on the other kids.”
Well, at least I have something to distract me now. “Alright, good luck,” I said.
Mom was now about thirty-eight weeks pregnant. If she hadn’t gone into labor on her own, they would have induced her tomorrow. The twins were a boy and a girl. She had names picked out, Andrea and Andrew.
At least we will be able to tell these ones apart a little easier–I thought to myself. I reopened the book I was reading.
Jesse came into the study and sat down in a matching chair beside the couch. “I’m assuming you’re on babysitting duty?” Jesse asked.
“You assumed correctly,” I sighed and sat up. “Why?”
“There is a party tonight,” he said.
“I’m partied out,” I murmured as I tossed the book onto the floor.
Jesse stared back at me knowingly. “You mean you’re Mia’d out,” he said. “Don’t sweat it, man. I guess she has a boyfriend now.”
“Who?” I raised an eyebrow.
“Why does it matter?” Jesse teased. “You’re not interested, remember?”
“It doesn’t matter,” I muttered and stood up. I turned and headed for the door.
Jesse made no attempt to move. “Ricky,” Jesse said.
I stumbled as I gripped the doorknob. I snorted and rolled my eyes, but I didn’t turn to face Jesse. I didn’t want Jesse to know how bad it bothered me. I threw the door open and walked out.
My stomach twisted at the thought of her being with Ricky. Ricky was a complete asshole. Being with him was only going to get her hurt. It’s not your business–I reminded myself.
It was getting late. I decided to see if grandpa and grandma were okay with watching the kids. They were back from the business trip they had been on. Something about Mia and Ricky was rubbing me the wrong way. I needed to get out of the house to clear my head.
“Papa?” I called knocking on his bedroom door.
He opened the door and rubbed his eyes tiredly. “What?”
“Mind putting the kids to bed? I need to go out for a bit. They already ate,” I told him.
“No problem,” he yawned and followed me from his room. He headed for the living room where the younger two kids were.
Instead of taking one of my cars, I settled for taking my motorcycle. It roared to life, and I pulled it out of the garage.
The wind whipped through my hair as I sped up the windy driveway.
My mom always scolded me about wearing a helmet, but I tended to ignore her.
As I rode around town, all I could think about was Ricky and Mia. Why I liked this girl so much was beyond me. It was infuriating me. No girl had this kind of influence over me.
Even though it was getting late, the city was still busy. I weaved in and out of traffic. I was going faster than I should have been. My mind was so clouded I grew careless about the road in front of me. Some car honked at me for cutting it off, but I didn’t care.
After I drove around for an hour, I stopped at a diner to get some coffee. I liked this diner’s coffee over any other coffee in town. Their food was pretty good too. When I got inside, I walked up to the counter. The diner was pretty much dead. It was about to close in five minutes.
My head snapped up at the sound of my name. My gaze fell on a pair of familiar brown eyes. Damn it. That is just my luck. I stared at her in surprise.
“Mia?” I swallowed hard and looked away for a moment in an attempt to clear my head. I didn’t want to say anything stupid.
She cleared her voice awkwardly and gave me a small smile. “What can I get for you?” Mia asked softly. She was in a waitressing outfit, and she looked so damn good in it.
“Coffee.” My gaze swept over her curvy figure as she turned away from me. I now have a favorite waitress–damn it–head out of the gutter, Angel! I shook my head to shake away the thought.
“You work here, huh?” I asked in an uninterested tone. Realistically, I was beyond interested.
“Yeah, I started about two weeks ago,” she said. She handed me the to-go cup.
I handed her a twenty-dollar bill. “Keep the change,” I said. I stood and turned to walk away. I have to get the fuck out of here, fast, before I open my big fat mouth.
“A twenty for a two-dollar cup of coffee?” Mia asked in disbelief.
I stopped mid-stride and turned to look at her. “Yeah,” I shrugged.
“Why?” She asked and chuckled under her breath.
The sound sent my heart racing as usual. “I tip all my favorite waitresses really well,” I teased and wiggled my eyebrows. I didn’t want her to know how upset I was. It wasn’t like she knew Ricky Rivera as well as I did.
She bit her lip and looked as if she was debating to say something. “Would you do me a favor?”
“Hmm?” I hummed.
“Would you mind giving me a ride home? It’s a bit of a far walk. My mom was supposed to pick me up, but she got called to the hospital on an emergency. All I have to do is close. Everything is already cleaned up for the night.”
It was as if I could hear my last patience snap like a twig in my brain. “Why not call your boyfriend? Last I knew he had a car,” I snapped. My eyes were locked with hers. My nostrils flared, and I gritted my teeth. This was what I was trying to avoid.
Different emotions clouded her eyes, confusion, sadness, and surprise. “I texted him. He’s busy,” she murmured. She stopped and looked away from me. She took a deep breath.
When her eyes met mine, they were full of anger. “Just forget it. Sorry that I even asked,” she muttered. She turned away from me and disappeared into the back before I could speak.
After I got outside, I kicked my bike to life and drove it behind the diner. I figured she would come out of the back door. About fifteen minutes later, she came out. I was leaning against my bike.
She looked at me in surprise.
“Still want a ride?” I asked.
Mia’s eyes grew cold. She narrowed her eyes at me for a moment and spun away from me.
I sprinted up behind her and grabbed her arm. I turned her to face me. I didn’t want her to be angry with me. I hated the dull ache that coursed through my chest. I needed the feeling to go away.
My eyes pleaded with hers. “Look, I’m sorry. It’s not my business,” I said apologetically.
“Why do you even care?” She challenged. Her eyes narrowed into slits. There was no doubt in my mind that this girl was stubborn.
Maybe if I was honest and got her to laugh, she might forgive me. Because I like you–I thought to myself. I shook the thought away. Maybe not quite that honest.
“Ricky just isn’t one of my favorite people,” I admitted. I’d do or say just about anything to fix things with us. I shouldn’t have said what I did to her earlier. I was the one who didn’t man up. I had every opportunity to ask her out, and I didn’t.
No girl is going to wait around for a guy like that. We could try to be friends–I thought to myself. Another internal thought took over–You like her too much to be friends, dumbass!
She looked past me at the motorcycle. “My dad would kill me if he saw me on that,” she said. Her gaze flickered back to mine. She was giving in.
I knew a victory when I saw one–a devious smile played on my lips. “Never been on one?”
“No,” she admitted.
“Then please allow me to be the first to give you a ride,” I said. It came out dirty, and I meant it to. I just hoped she would laugh and not kick me in the balls.
It worked, she bursted into a fit of giggles. “I’m just going to pretend you didn’t say that.”
“Pretend away,” I smirked.
My phone rang. It was my dad. “Let me take this first. It’s my dad.”
I stepped a few feet away from her to answer it. “Hello?”
“Hey,” Dad murmured.
“How did it go?”
“Not good,” he sighed.
“W-what do you mean?”
“We lost Andrew. He wasn’t breathing. They rushed him to the NICU, but they came back and informed us he didn’t make it. He must have inhaled fluid or something on his way out.”
“Holy shit,” I said. I ran a hand through my hair. “Is Mom okay?”
“Andrea and your mom are okay. Your mother is holding it together pretty well, all things considered. I don’t even know what the hell to say to her. When they rushed him away, I assured her that he would be okay.”
“I’m sorry, dad,” I murmured. I heard him sniffle through the phone. I rarely saw my father cry. I couldn’t imagine how guilty my dad felt for saying that to my mother. I let a couple of tears escape. I quickly wiped them away.
“Love you, boy.”
“I love you too,” I murmured and hung the phone up. I turned back to Mia.
She stared at me, worriedly. “Is something wrong?”
“I need to go to the hospital. My mom was in labor, and she lost one of the twins. The hospital is on the way to your house. Do you mind a detour?”
“Not at all,” she murmured.
I kicked the bike to life. Mia got on and wrapped her arms tightly around my waist. We sped toward the hospital. Having her thighs against mine and her arms around my waist was an intense feeling. My mind and body overreacted to hers.
Once I parked the bike, I killed it. The hospital lights had the parking lot lit up. Mia climbed off, and I climbed off after her.
“I can wait out here,” she said.
“You don’t have to,” I argued.
She pursed her lips and debated it.
I put my hand out, and she shakily placed her hand in mine.
Her eyes burned with curiosity. “Angel, your mom just lost a baby. I don’t think she wants to meet anyone new,” Mia murmured.
“She won’t care, and believe me if she does, you will be the first to know,” I chuckled.
“Is she blunt?”
“They both are.” I rolled my eyes.
“Must be where you get it from,” Mia teased.
“Probably,” I agreed.
Most kids hate it when they are told that they are like their parents. However, I knew I was like my parents. I was pretty evenly divided between the two of them physically and mentally.
When we reached the birthing center, I asked for my mom’s room. The older, heavy-set woman that sat at the receptionist desk informed me it was room 203.
“Thanks,” I said. I pulled Mia down the hallway. I hadn’t been to the birthing center since Aiden was born, but it wasn’t different. I knocked softly on the door.
“Come in,” my dad called.
I opened the door and smiled at my parents as I pulled Mia into the room.
Dad was in a chair, rocking Andrea.
Mom was sitting up in bed, filling out papers. I could tell how torn she was, even though she was trying to hide it.
“Hey,” I said. “I wasn’t far away when you called. Figured I’d come to see you guys. This is Mia, by the way. I ran into her. She needed a ride home. She is sort of new to town. Emily’s cousin,” I explained.
“Oh, hello,” Mom smiled weakly at her.
“Hello,” Mia murmured.
Dad had a devious smile on his face. Uh-oh. “Hello,” Dad paused. “Mia.”
I sighed in relief.
My dad enjoyed fucking with me.
Mia smiled shyly at my dad. “Hi.”
I walked over to dad, glaring at him.
He stood up with a smile and handed Andrea to me.
“She looks like mom,” I said as soon as I got a look at her little face. I walked across the room back to Mia, so she could see Andrea.
“Need some more damn guns,” Dad grunted as he walked toward Mom.
Mom looked up at Dad and chuckled.
Mia chuckled too. Curiosity burned in her eyes. She pulled the pink blanket back slightly to get a better look at Andrea.
“Awe, she’s so adorable,” Mia cooed.
“Lots of guns,” Dad grumbled.
I threw my head back and laughed. “For sure,” I agreed, looking back at my dad. My gaze flickered to Mia’s. “Want to hold her?”
Mia shook her head and frowned. “I’ve never held a baby,” she murmured.
“First time for a lot of things for you tonight,” I teased.
My parents were talking amongst themselves, not paying any attention to us. I’m sure they would have scolded me if they had heard what I said.
“Hold your arms up like mine,” I instructed.
Mia made a cradle with her arms, and I placed Andrea in her arms carefully. Mia looked nervous and awestruck at the same time.
“Wow, she’s so tiny,” Mia murmured.
“How much did she weigh?” I asked and turned to my parents.
“Five pounds three ounces,” Mom said.
Mia gaped at my mother’s words.
“Twins are typically smaller,” I explained to Mia.
There was a knowing look in her eyes. “No,” Mia paused. “That is actually pretty good size.” She looked back down at Andrea and smiled.
I watched Mia intently as she swayed Andrea side to side, smiling down at her.
“Ready to go?” I asked. I couldn’t stand watching her like this anymore.
“Yeah,” She said softly, but her gaze didn’t leave Andrea’s little face.
I took my sister from Mia. I handed Andrea to my mom. I hugged my mom tightly and kissed her cheek. “I’m sorry about Andrew,” I murmured in her ear.
“Thanks, baby. Thank you for stopping by,” Mom said. Mom leaned around me to look at Mia. “It was nice to meet you, Mia.”
“It was nice to meet you too. You have a beautiful daughter,” Mia said.
“Thank you,” Mom and Dad said.
“See you guys later,” I said and shut the door behind us. We walked to the elevator in silence.
Mia looked up at me curiously as we stood in the elevator, waiting to get to the first floor. Somehow, I knew what she was going to say.
“Tell me why you don’t like him?” She asked.
“Why does it matter?” I asked. “It’s not as if it is going to change your mind, Mia.” I looked down at her and stuffed my hands in the pockets of my jeans. It was more of a reaction, so I didn’t reach for her hand. Her perfume was intoxicating in the small space; it made my head spin.
“You just don’t seem like the type to dislike someone for no reason. I’m curious.” Her eyes burned with curiosity.
“Well, you’re not wrong about that,” I admitted.
The elevator doors opened, and we stepped out. I was relieved to inhale the cleaning chemicals of the mopped hospital floor rather than her perfume. She followed me to the bike but remained silent.
I kicked the bike to life. With a lot of effort, I ignored the twisting in my stomach from having her arms wrapped around me. We weaved in and out of traffic. I looked back at Mia, wondering if I was scaring her.
Apparently, my driving wasn’t scaring her at all. She had a broad smile stretched across her face. Her long black curly hair was blowing out behind her.
I smiled and raced forward down the highway. I could hear her giggling behind me. The sound of her laughter was so uplifting and carefree that I didn’t even want to take her home.
We made it about a block from her house, and I killed the bike. It was the same spot as the last time I dropped her off.
She climbed off the bike, placed a hand on my shoulder, and looked down at me. “Thanks for the ride,” she said softly.
“Not bad, huh?” I chuckled.
“It’s kind of exhilarating,” she said and smiled. “See you later.” She started to turn away, but I grabbed her arm.
I pulled her close to me. So close that her perfume hit me like a freight train. I gritted my teeth for a moment and looked down. When I managed to regain my brain activity, I looked back up at her. My leg brushed against hers.
“Be careful with him, Mia,” I murmured.
She knitted her eyebrows together but gave me a small nod. She shivered at my touch.
I let go of her arm and kicked my bike back to life. I wanted to tell her so much more than that, but I couldn’t bring myself to do it. I shouldn’t have waited for her tonight, but I couldn’t seem to stop myself. This girl was slowly wrapping me around her finger, and she didn’t even know it. I was no moron, though. I knew there was no possible way it could end well.