Melody Beswick thought she was bringing herself and her thirteen month old son home to his father. It was her last ditch effort to make a better life for her and her boy. One in which Noah had a father to look up to and guide him. While she knew Grinder wasn’t perfect, she believed in him, and love always found a way, right?
Melody never thought her dreams for herself and her son could twist into such nightmares, and that it was so true, the old adage, that the road to hell is paved with good intentions. She’s about to find out that another adage is true, that sometimes it’s better the devil you know, when instead of finding Grinder, it’s his cold and critical brother Archer at the end of her long drive that she must contend with.
With no other options, and no place else to go, Melody is about to make a deal with this devil that she can’t refuse. Who knew it could, quite possibly, be the best decision she’s ever made?
“Archer! Man, let her go,” one called; the other right over the top of him saying, “What the fuck are you doing, man?”
“Archer, please!” I hauled my body away from him, dug my sneakers into the gravel but he was hurting me, dragging me inexorably away from the building. I was sliding and I either let him tow me or I was going to go down and he’d drag me across the sharp unforgiving stones anyways. He was a man on a mission and that mission was to get rid of me at all costs and as soon as possible.
“I don’t know what the fuck you were thinkin’ comin’ around here, Melody, but you damn sure ain’t welcome. Now, get back in your car and take your ass back to Arizona! I mean it, too, right the fuck now,” he was saying as I shouted and pleaded over his husky smoker’s voice, which he’d always had. A lot of the girls finding it sexy until they actually slept with him. I don’t ever remember any of the club girls doing it twice.
“Archer, I have to talk to Grinder, please let me go! Let me talk to him, you have to let me talk to him!”
He rounded on me and slammed me up against the side of my car and screamed, “Grinder’s dead, you bitch! Whatever the fuck you told him to chase him out here, it was the last move he ever made! It fuckin’ killed him, so I don’t have to do shit!”
I cried out as my back made an impact with the back door and his words made an impact with my heart. I looked up at him, shocked, eyes wide and the tears gathering just as the high, thin wail of my son broke the clear day as he started to cry. The noise and the car rocking from mine and Archer’s scuffle waking him.
Archer looked past me through the window glass at Noah’s small face, and his eyes widened in shock. I stared up at Archer, and I stammered out, “I told him I was pregnant. That’s why he left us.” All I could think was, oh my God, he must be lying, he must be lying, no Grinder can’t be dead, he can’t be dead… Oh my God, what was I going to do? It’d taken everything I had, all of my money, just to get us out here.
She pushed me back and I was so fixed on the boy in the car seat I just sort of stepped back, poleaxed, while she opened the back door and brought him out where I could see him better. Jesus Christ, he looked just like Grind when he was a kid. I mean, this kid had Melody’s bright blond hair, but the boy’s eyes? They were the same hazel as my brother’s and all I could do was stand there for a second and stare.
Fuck you, Grind. I thought at my dead brother, fuck you, if what she says is true. Which I knew it was. The proof was right in fuckin’ front of me, staring at me with my dead brother’s eyes.
“Archer, you fuckin’ cool, man?” I turned and looked at Reaver, who was standing there with Data and Disney flanking him to either side, all three of them lookin’ skeptical but Reaver’s eyes especially cold.
“Mel, put the baby back in his seat,” I ordered, staring Reaver down. He arched an eyebrow at me and I gave him a nod.
“Just put him in the fuckin’ cage, now!” I barked at her, and she jumped, the boy started up, screaming loud and she cuddled him close, making soothing noises and I cursed myself silently for scaring him.
I snatched her keys hanging out of her hip pocket and as soon as she shut the door, hauled her over to the passenger side of her own cage, dragging open the door and sitting her ass in the seat.
When I’d first seen her, the first thing I’d noticed was that she’d cut her hair, and that she’d filled out some in all the right ways, but now I knew why for the second. She’d had a fuckin’ baby, my brother’s baby. I shut her into the cage and went around to the driver’s seat.
“Where you takin’ her, Archer?” Reaver demanded, winter in his voice.
“My place,” I uttered. “It’ll have to fuckin’ do for now.” I got into the cage’s driver’s seat and turned it over, the guys walked back to the club and I pulled out in a spray of gravel. I could see ‘em watching in the rearview mirror but I didn’t care.
Text Copyright © 2016 A.J. Downey
This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, businesses, places, events and incidents are either the products of the author’s imagination or used in a fictitious manner. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events is purely coincidental.
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