Justin’s Point of View:
“What? Surprised to see me?” His smirk thickened making my blood boil.
“What in God’s name are you doing here in Stratford?” I hissed, my hands immediately balling into fists at my side.
“I thought I’d pay my old pal a visit.” His face held a smile but the darkness that overshadowed his eyes showed that he was anything but happy to see me and I can honestly tell you that the feeling was mutual. “Why so gloom though?” He cocked his head to the side, his eyes blazing with humor.
“Cut to the chase Cole,” I snapped, skipping the bullshit and getting right to the point. He was all about mind games and I wasn’t in the mood to play. “Clearly you’re here for another reason other than to say hello.”
“You’re right,” He nodded, fire dancing in his eyes. “I’m here with my boys.” And exactly on cue as if they had planned this, three other guys emerged from behind.
“Let me guess,” I humorlessly laughed, taking this all in, “you guys are the, and I quote, Snipers?” I cocked a brow, amusement tinted in my words as I bit back the laughter that was crawling up my throat, desperate to release itself.
“You are correct, Justin Bieber.” He clapped his hands obnoxiously. “And you guys are the, and I quote, Kings right?” He mocked, staring behind me towards Bruce, Marcus and Marco all of whom stood behind me, confused as to what was going on right now.
I bowed my head trying so hard not to burst out laughing but it was so hard considering they had walked in here as if this was some type of movie we were filming. It was corny as fuck and honestly unexpected of the idiot. I mean, you’d think he’d come in guns blazing. That would have been hella more entertaining than this.
“What the fuck is so diverting to you Bieber?” He spat, not pleased to see that I wasn’t cowering away or the least bit intimidated by the other three that had made their way beside him.
I looked up at them, my eyes glowing with self-produced tears. “You fuckers,” I paused, chuckling, “are fucking hilarious.” It was my turn to smirk, a full mouthed smile shining through soon after. “I mean, you could have all just walked in.” I stuffed my hands into the pockets of my jeans staring up at them through my lashes, “but, instead, you just decided to make a scene as if we were supposed to be threatened by you.” Licking my lips, I shrugged. “I don’t know about you guys,” I gestured behind me towards Bruce and them, “but I expected more out of you Santangelo.” I turned to face him.
His jaw tightened and the muscles on his arms flexed from the amount of pressure he was putting on his fists. “I’d watch that mouth of yours Bieber—”
“Or what?” I challenged, pressing the tip of my tongue to the top of my lip, simpering sadistically.
He stepped forward, his body nearly surged to mine, anger radiating off of his body. “You don’t want to know.” He threatened his voice low and dark.
Getting right back in his face, I re-positioned myself, looking up at him with just the same amount of intensity he did, if not more. “I’d watch that mouth ofyours Santangelo; you don’t know where it might end you up.”
“Like I’m scared of some little fucked up kid like you.” Cole sneered in disgust, looking me up and down as if I were some kind of disease.
“Kid?” I questioned with a twist of my lips, “Evidently your mind is still set on four years ago when I busted your ass out of getting Vick’s pay. Don’t be pressed because some kid had run you dry of your money.”
This seemed to have hit a soft spot because his whole demeanor changed and within seconds, he had my shirt curled into his hands, our noses a feather away from each other. “You’ve got quite the aperture on you, Bieber.” Cole muttered irately, the veins in his neck showing.
“Big mistake putting your hands on me,” I menacingly whispered and before he even had the chance to process what I had just said, I swung my arm around, grabbing the stem of my gun and bringing it forwards, thrusting it into the base of Cole’s neck. “I suggest you drop them.”
Cole’s eyes widened in surprise, his fingers releasing the grip he had on me as he stood there unmoving, knowing that if he did, I’d pull the trigger.
Bruce hissed furiously behind me, whispering incoherent curses under his breath.
All of a sudden the guys that had accompanied Cole shuffled on their feet, attack mode set as they reached behind themselves to get what I had possessed first.
Flashing my gun in their direction, I pulled the handle back, the click of the bullet moving into place heard, signifying that with just one jerk of the trigger, they’d be dead. “Move and I fucking shoot him.” I warned, my eyes narrowed in their direction as they put their hands up as a sign of surrender—they weren’t going to do anything.
Looking back at Cole, I dug the tip of my gun under his chin. “I don’t like the way you’ve been talking to me Santangelo and I certainly don’t like the way you seem to think you’re accessible to touch me or even step foot in Stratford for that matter.” I sneered in triumph at his frozen nature. “This is my territory, myturf, my area, not yours and the fact that you think you can just come up here and try to threaten me is inexcusable.” Slanting my head to the right, I sucked my teeth in anticipation. “You wanted a meeting? You got one but now I’m not so sure I’m in the mood for talking anymore.” Shoving my knee into his lower abdomen, Cole immediately doubled over in pain, groaning from the sudden blow.
Moving away from him, I watched as he nearly dropped to his knees. “You’re pathetic.” I scoffed, “you’re a grown ass man and you act like a little bitch.” Keeping my gun held close to my side, I stood tall in conquest. “Now that you’ve made your pitiful excuse of an introduction, let me tell you a little about what goes on around here.”
“We,” I made a point to circle a hand towards me, Bruce, Marcus and Marco, “run shit here in Stratford and the following cities that monitor around our area. We don’t share and we certainly don’t give in to newcomers who think they’re too good for anyone else because as far as I’m concerned you’re nothing but the shit at the bottom of my shoe, worthless bastards who only want in to prove a point; a point that so many others have tried to make before and wanna know where that ended them up?” I paused for effect, leaning in towards them, “six feet under the ground.” I whispered.
“Relax, Bieber.” A voice bellowed from the other side of the warehouse and I looked up to see him emerge from behind the other two in front of him. “We’re not here to take your shit. We’re here on business.”
I skeptically raised an eyebrow. “Business could be handled anywhere as far as I’m concerned so why here? Why Stratford?”
“Business happens to be great here actually. A nice quiet little town, no one makes a sound but the monsters lay beneath the surface, crawling to find its next hit. No one suspects a thing unless you’ve left evidence behind. My guys happen to be good at what they do and we’ve actually made quite the name for ourselves back home in New York. We came here to do what we’ve been assigned to do and we’re leaving.”
“Bullshit.” I chuckled, “no one comes onto someone else’s property unless they have an agenda.”
“Well I guess you’re just going to have to trust me.” He shrugged, sticking his hand out. “Lyndon Mathews.”
I disregarded his hand, scowling. “Justin Bieber.”
“I know who you are.” He grinned before looking behind him, “that’s Peter McCall,” He pointed towards a brown eyed brunette, “Sammy Constentino.” He then pointed to a blonde with blue eyes, a healing bruise on the side of his cheek. “And you already know Cole.”
I chuckled; looking at Cole’s hardened expression as he now stood off to the side, still holding onto his lower stomach. Putting my gun back in its place, I turned to those behind me, “Bruce Santos, John Rivera, Marcus Sorella and Marco Messina.”
“Now that we’ve got that out of the way,” Lyndon looked to be turning to get something when instead he grabbed me by the base of my neck, taking me by surprise as he slammed me on the ground in front of him. Kneeling down to my level, one knee perched, the other on the floor, he leaned in close. “I suggest you never put your hands on one of my men ever again.”
I gritted my teeth together, trying to contain myself from doing something I would most likely regret later. I took notice to his posture, calculating all the right things to do in order to handle him blind.
The fucker didn’t know who he was messing with right now.
“We came here with good intentions and you just dug yourself up a hole, Bieber.” Lyndon spat, his face stoned from emotion. “You think you’ve got it all handled but let me tell you something.” Tightening his grip, he smiled wickedly. “Me and my crew, we don’t play games and we certainly don’t chicken out to a bunch of good for nothing threats by some low life who thinks just because they have done some unforgettable shit in the past, he’s all of a sudden inevitable to those around him. I have the right mind to rip you to shreds right now but I didn’t come here for a fight, I came here to talk and that’s what I’m going to do.” Taking hold of me now so that I was lacking oxygen, Lyndon smiled victoriously. “I suggest you stay out of my way from now on Bieber because unlike you, I don’t make false pretenses. I follow through and trust me when I say, cross me and you’ll be dead before you’ve gotten the chance to take another breath of air. Got it?”
When I didn’t say anything, he smirked, knowing I wasn’t able to say anything at this point. “You may have murdered Luke Delgado but if I’m not mistaken you’ve handed your ass in jail which automatically takes you off the list of potential leaders.”
All the rage from the moment he had me pinned up until now pulsated through my veins, igniting the monster that had been clawing it’s way to release itself and sparking the side of me nobody wanted to see.
Grabbing his hand I pried his fingers off of me, using all the strength I could muster. Finally releasing his hold on me, I landed a sharp punch to his face before shoving him off of me. Jumping from my laying position and straddling him, I grabbed my gun again from the back, making sure to slam it into his temple hard. “Wanna test that theory?” I jeered wickedly.
“You don’t have the balls.” Lyndon spat, spitting blood to the left of him.
“That’s what Delgado thought too before I ended his life.” Grinding my teeth together, I tensed my jaw. “Now I may have gotten arrested but don’t get it twisted. You see, the only reason that happened was because that low life piece of shit ambushed me. Smart fuck, he knew I was at my boiling point and decided that if I was going to end his life, he might as well take me down with him.” I shrugged. “But Parker, Jenkins, Morelli, Donnie, Scrappy, Tommy and Stevie didn’t have quite the same mentality that bastard did. They died without a single trace behind and that, my friend, is how I made my name around here. I kill and make it look like an accident. No one’s been able to legitimately take me down for years and that’s not going to change because you think you’ve got what it takes.” Standing up, I held my gun out in front of me and without another word, I pulled the trigger.
The shot echoed throughout the warehouse, a wave of smoke releasing from the spot beside Lyndon’s head and when it cleared out, a hole was seen. Kneeling down beside him, I swung the loop of the gun around my middle finger. “Next time, I won’t miss.” I advised before getting back up and gesturing to the guys to get going.
When we had made it to the back entrance, I stopped short to glance back. Smirking, I saluted them with a two finger wave. “It was nice chatting with you boys; we should do it again sometime.” I chuckled darkly before walking out, the door slamming shut behind us.
Kelsey’s Point of View:
Countless thuds on the door downstairs was heard all the way upstairs, startling me from my sleep. Groaning, I shifted on my side, mumbling to myself for them to go away. Clearly they didn’t get the gist that nobody was going to get up and open it because they continued slamming their hands on the wooden frame.
“Justin,” I muttered, running my hand to the right of me in hopes to wake him up to open the door when all I felt beneath my skin was the softness of the sheets I laid on. Fluttering my eyes open, my stomach churned at the empty space beside me.
Before I could even question where he was, another bang was heard, making me jump from the sudden sound. Furrowing my eyebrows in confusion as to who it could be, I slowly sat up in bed, fear igniting within me. I was obviously home alone and there was a maniac outside the door, clearly wanting to get inside.
Not knowing what to do, I stood up, tip-toeing to the entrance of the room before peeking my head behind the door after I had opened it. Chewing on the inside of my cheek, I gazed around the room in search for some sort of protection. With no such luck on anything quite useful, I decided on just taking the lamp that was beside the bed. Unplugging it, I slowly crept out of the room and down the stairs, holding it out in front of me, trying hard not to make a sound.
“What are you doing?” Someone whispered from behind, startling me. Turning around, I nearly whacked them in the face with the lamp.
“Carly?!” I whispered incredulously, surprised to see her here.
She stared wide eyed at me, a hand pressed to her chest. “Jesus Christ Kelsey, you nearly killed me!”
I cupped my mouth, inwardly cursing my life to its fullest as I took a sharp intake of a breath. “It’s not my fault! You’re the one who came up behind me.” I said quietly.
Rolling her eyes, she fumbled on her bare feet, her arms crossed against her chest. “Well, sorry for caring enough to make sure you don’t come out here alone!” She grumbled though her eyes shadowed fear. “Besides, we don’t even know whose outside. It could be some killer for all we know.”
“Which is why I have this,” I gestured towards the lamp.
“Yeah, because that will do so much damage.” Carly countered sarcastically, her lips pursed in disapproval.
“It’ll be enough to knock them out.” I swiftly pointed out, which didn’t do much reassuring. “Look,” I paused, “It’s the best I could do on short notice. I’m sorry I wasn’t exactly prepared for this.” I shot back before sighing. “Listen, the guy’s aren’t here—”
“I know,” Carly said a matter-of-factly with a shrug of her shoulders.
Raising an eyebrow, I was just about to ask her what she meant by that when another round of pounding was produced, snapping my attention back to the problem at hand.
Carly moaned in annoyance, “God damn it, if they want to fucking break in they should do it already!”
“Carly!” I snapped, shushing her. I mean if someone was actually here to do such a thing, you don’t want to let them know we’re present. That’s just asking for them to kill you.
“What?” Carly looked at me, her eyes wide. “I’m sorry but the constantly banging is giving me a migraine.”
“I think we have a bigger problem at hand then your stupid migraine!” I gestured towards the door, at the psycho that just happened to be standing on our front porch.
Scoffing, she waved a hand dismissively. “Whatever,” She hissed, fumbling on her feet as she tucked a strand of tousled blonde hair behind her ear. “Just go do what you came here to do.”
“Oh, geez, thanks bestfriend,” I muttered sarcastically, Carly sticking her tongue out at me. “Real mature,” I teased before turning around.
Taking a deep breath, I walked over to the door, pressing my back to space just beside it.
Another pound echoed making me jump from the all too soon sound. Squeezing my eyes closed tight, I refrained from freaking out and inhaled. “You can do this.” I whispered to myself. “You can—”
“Open the damn door Bruce or I swear to God I will murder you with my own hands!” Whoever was outside shrieked loudly.
Completely bewildered at this point, I handed Carly the lamp once she made her way over to me before taking hold of the knob, twisting it and pulling it open. “Steph?!” I yelped in astonishment, shocked to see that who I thought was a possible serial killer turned out to be the one person I never expected. “What in God’s name are you doing here? You nearly gave me a heart attack!”
“Where is he?” She snapped, pushing past and into the house, ignoring me.
“Do you know what time it is?” I spat, turning to face her. “Not only is it nearly four in the fucking morning, you woke me and Carly up meanwhile Bruce is not even here!” I threw my arms up.
“Well, where is he?” Stephanie hissed, her eyes staring daggers into mine and I had about half the mind to knock the bitch out.
“I don’t fucking know!” I slapped my hands down to my thighs, “Here’s an idea,” I faked a gasp, “why don’t you call him?”
Narrowing her eyes at me, Stephanie puckered her lips. “Obviously, I wouldn’t be here right now if it were that easy, now would I?”
I sighed, pinching the bridge of my nose in order to relax myself. “Maybe he was doing something, did you try calling him again?”
“Yes, Kelsey, I did. About ten times actually and it went straight to voicemail. He only does that on certain occasions and you, my friend, know what those occasions are and I’m freaking out right now. Okay?” She slumped her shoulders, a look of concern crossing her facial features.
“Wait, are you trying to say that they’re out on business right now?” I asked, my own form of anxiety forming in the midst of my stomach. “That’s impossible, I mean, Justin just got released from jail—”
“I’m sure they’re fine.” Carly reassured Stephanie, changing direction from my inquiry. Running a comforting arm up and down Stephanie’s arm, Carly smiled. “Trust me.”
Squinting my eyes at her, I secretly interrogated the situation when sudden realization dawned on me. Carly knew something, I didn’t. “Is there something you’re not telling me Carly?” I looked at her.
“What do you mean?” She bit her lip, refusing to meet my gaze as she shot Stephanie another encouraging smile.
“I mean that first you tell me that you knew the boys left and now you’re completely ignoring me and changing the subject.” Crossing my arms, I stared at her skeptically. “What are they doing, Carly?”
“Kelsey,” Carly began, “I don’t—”
“What’s going on here?” Another voice was heard, cutting through our conversation and ironically, when I turned to see who it was, it happened to be Bruce with Justin hot on his tail and the others behind him.
Justin’s Point of View:
“Would you like to tell me what the hell that was all about back there?” Bruce looked at me, glancing away from the road for two seconds before gazing back. His body was stressed and on edge and I knew then that I had pushed him to his limit.
“Which part?” I teased lightly, wanting to ease the tension which did nothing but more damage.
“This isn’t a joking matter, Justin.” Bruce spat. “I told you no funny business tonight and what do you do? You do the exact opposite of what I told you!”
“Did you honestly think I was just going to let him put his hands on me and think he had the upper hand? Hell no,” I scoffed, shaking my head.
“I told you to fucking leave the gun at home. You completely went against what I had asked for.” He seethed through a sharp breath, clenching his jaw.
“When do I ever listen to what you have to say? Besides, Cole had it coming for a while now and that just so happened to be tonight.”
“Care to elaborate on that?” Bruce referred to my issues with Cole while stopping at a red light, turning his full attention to me.
Scratching the back of my neck, I stifled a yawn. “You know how you sent me on that mission to handle Johnson’s shipment for Vick back in May 2008?” When Bruce nodded, I continued. “Well it also happens that Cole was sent to do the exact same thing. I ensued to get there first and I handled the job perfectly. I tricked the bastard into going to the wrong address and took care of business. I went to Vick’s, got the money and left, leaving Cole empty handed.” I smirked, remembering it all as if it happened yesterday. “He’s just mad because I robbed him blind.”
Bruce began driving again once the light turned green. “Well that explains your problems with him but that doesn’t quite necessarily make up for the fact that you went against me.”
“Okay, dad, I’m so sorry for disrespecting you. It won’t ever happen again.” Grinning, I cocked my head to the side, “Better?”
Shooting me a warning look, I put my hands up. “Listen, you pissed me off so I decided to bring my gun. I wasn’t going to actually use it but you did say if they started with us, it would only be right to retaliate—your words not mine—and that’s what I did.” I nonchalantly shook my shoulders. “You make it seem like I killed them. I only made certain they knew that we weren’t playing games.” I looked at him. “I don’t care what the fucker says, he isn’t here on business. He’s here to start trouble.”
“I hate to say it man but Justin’s right,” Marcus pointed out. “I mean out of all the places in the world, why Stratford? Yeah, what Lyndon said back at the warehouse was right on point. Things around here are done quietly, there’s barely chaos unless you cause it. What I want to know is how the hell he found that out if he’s never been here before.”
“He’s done his research. Cole knows who I am and they know who we are. We’re top of the game and undefeated making us their official target. They’ve been trying to find their in for months now, I can guarantee it. The only thing I did tonight was ignite the fire.” Smirking, I chuckled. “We need a little flame in our lives boys and right now that fuel happens to be them and mark my words when I say they’re gonna burn.”
Bruce grinned, chuckling. “Prison has certainly made its number on you.” Give me the once over, he turned a corner, rolling down the all too familiar street.
Scowling, I glared over in his direction.
Moving over, Bruce slapped his palm over my shoulder, giving it a playful shove. “I’m just messing with you man, relax.”
“Whatever,” Leaning back against the leather chair, I ran my fingers through my hair. “I just want to get them out of the way sooner rather than later.”
“And we will, we just have to do it one step at a time. The last thing we need is for them to catch on to our plans and try to out-run us.”
“Which will never happen,” I laughed. “They can try all they want; they’re just going to end up getting killed.” I shifted my gaze outside. “Are we home yet? I’m too pissed off and tired to function right now. All I want to do is lay in bed with my girl and call it a night because God only knows what’s going to happen tomorrow.”
“I hear you,” John sighed, propping his feet up on the back of my chair as he took a deep breath, “It’s been constant drama for the past few days. All I want is a good night’s rest, just to forget about it all for a few hours.”
“Well, will you guys look at that, it seems as if you two can actually be civil with one another again without wanting to rip each other’s heads off.” Bruce called us out as he glanced at John through the rearview mirror before switching over to look at me.
“What can I say? I’ve had quite the stick stuck up my ass these past two days.” I laughed.
“That’s the understatement of the year.” Marco muttered under his breath.
Glowering over at him, I was about ready to say something when the car rumbled to a stop, the keys jiggling in Bruce’s grip as he pulled them out of the ignition.
“We’re home…” He moved forwards, something in the far distance capturing his attention, “and it looks like we’re not alone.” Opening the car door, he stepped out.
Raising an eyebrow, interest sparked in me and I quickly got out as well, following Bruce’s lead up the front pathway and to the door which to my surprise was open wide.
“What’s going on here?” Bruce asked as he looked inside the house, his eyes falling on Kelsey, Carly and some girl I’ve never seen before in my entire life.
And that girl happened to turn around at the exact time Bruce spoke, her eyes dark with resentment. She had dark brown hair and a small beauty mark right under her right eye. “Where have you been?”
“We just went out to get a bite to eat,” Bruce walked over to her. “What are you doing here?”
“I was worried about you,” She tucked a strand of hair behind her ear, “because somebody wouldn’t pick up their phone when I called them about ten times.” She bitterly hissed her body about half the size of Bruce’s.
“I’m sorry; I must have forgotten to turn it on.” Bruce pulled his phone out, turning it on. “There, you happy?” He showed her the glowing welcome sign of his screen.
Crossing her arms, she glared. “No, I’m not. What in God’s name were you doing going out to eat this late at night?” She elevated her eyebrows, leaning her weight onto one side.
“We couldn’t sleep and we were hungry.” Bruce wrapped his arms around her waist, pulling her close. “I can’t cook other than a mean pair of eggs and we were starving for something appetizing so we went out to that diner downtown where they happen to be open twenty-four seven.”
I watched in hilarity as Bruce did all the right things to make sure his girl didn’t stay mad at him. It was quite entertaining to say the least. Who knew Bruce had the skills? “You must be Stephanie,”
Looking over Bruce’s shoulder, Stephanie ran her eyes up and down my frame. “And you are?”
I chuckled, stuffing my hands in my pockets. “Justin Bieber.”
“Oh, you’re the one who got arrested, right?”
“Steph,” Bruce scolded under his breath, squeezing her sides to keep quiet.
I merely snickered, watching with amusement as they argued quietly back and forth before her eyes found mine again.
“I’m sorry,” She muttered, “that was rude of me.”
“Apology accepted,” I smirked, avoiding Carly’s burning eyes against my flesh.
“Asshole,” She muttered, picking at her fingernails.
“What was that?”
“Nothing.” She sighed as John made it over to her side, his arm protectively wrapping around her slim waist. “I said nothing.”
“That’s what I thought.” Chuckling, I was about to turn around when I spotted something rather strange in her hand. "Why are you holding a lamp?"
"What?" Confused at first until she looked at her hand, realization dawned on her. "Oh," She emphsized, blushing from embarassment the moment everyone turned to look at her. "Kelsey took this because she thought it was some killer outside."
Furrowing my eyebrows together, I shook my head. "You guys are so weird."
"Hey! It's not our fault Stephanie decided to attack the front door like an animal!" She interjected before turning to Stephanie. "No offense."
She shrugged. "Non taken."
"Okay then..." Licking my lips, I clapped my hands together. “As much as I’d love to stay and chat with you guys, I’m exhausted so I’ll see you guys tomorrow.” Grabbing Kelsey’s hand in mine, I began walking over to the stairs. “Oh and Stephanie?”
“It was nice to finally meet you. Take care of Bruce for me tonight; he’s quite stressed,” I playfully winked in their direction earning a growl of disapproval from Bruce.
She leered mischievously, her arm curling through Bruce’s as she held onto him tight. “You don’t have to worry about him. I got it under control.”
“I’m sure you do,” I laughed, chucking up the deuces and darting up the stairs before Bruce could throw something at me.
Closing the door behind both Kelsey and I once we made it upstairs, I began taking my shirt off, getting ready to head to bed when I noticed Kelsey hadn’t moved since she stepped foot inside. “What’s wrong?”
“Where were you tonight?” She pressed her lips together.
“Bruce already told you guys, we went out to eat—”
“No,” She shook her head. “That’s what he told Stephanie. I want the truth and don’t lie to me. You hate it when I do it to you and I expect you to give me the same courtesy.”
“I’m not lying,” I walked over to her. “We were starving so we went to go get food. I don’t see what the big problem is.”
“The big problem is that Stephanie thought you guys were on business and I don’t doubt it one bit.”
“Babe,” I chuckled despite the brewing of uncertainty in my stomach that was occurring. “That’s absurd. Why the hell would we do business at this late hour?”
“I don’t know, you tell me.” She stared up at me, not backing down. She was determined to get the truth out of me and I was driven to prove her wrong. “It’s never stopped you before.”
“You know, I’m getting really sick and tired of you doubting me.” I shook my head, “You need to trust me. That’s how relationships work the last time I checked.”
“And the last time I checked, your partner isn’t supposed to lie to the person they claim to love.”
“Why is it that I’m always lying to you?” I exclaimed in exasperation.
“Because you’ve done it before.”
“Are you serious?” I barked, throwing my hands in the air out of frustration. “You need to move on and forget about the fucking past. Wasn’t it you who told me that we can’t undo the things we’ve done and we can’t go back in time and do them differently?” When she didn’t say anything, I took this as my cue to keep going, “We’re supposed to forgive, forget and move on right? So why aren’t you following your own advice?”
“I don’t know Justin,” She pretended to think about it, “maybe it’s because I don’t want you ending up dead? Or taken from me again? You just got out of prison; do you really want to risk getting caught again?”
“So you admit that you were doing business tonight?”
“No! I just—you—ugh!” I punched the air before pulling at the ends of my hair, “stop playing mind games with me, Kelsey!”
“You are!” Noticing that I was now inches away from her face, fuming, I took a step back. Closing my eyes, I willed myself to calm down. “I’m sorry; I didn’t mean to yell at you… I just,” Pausing, I recollected my thoughts, sighing. “You need to trust me.”
“I do trust you, it’s not about that. I just worry about you—”
“You shouldn’t have to worry about anything. I’m not eighteen anymore Kelsey, I’m not the same kid I was three years ago. You’re right, a lot can change in three years and you’re not the only one who took part in it. I did too. I learned from my mistakes and I vowed to myself that I was never going to hurt you like that again. Okay?”
Biting her lip, Kelsey thought about all that I had said and after what felt like hours which were just seconds, she nodded. “Okay,” She whispered, “I believe you.”
Letting out a breath I didn’t even know I had been holding in for so long, I pulled her into my embrace, placing a kiss on top of her head. “I hate when we fight.” I murmured in defeat, my body relaxing under her touch.
“I hate it too.” She mumbled into my chest.
Rubbing her back comfortingly, I pulled away, kissing her softly on the lips. “Come on, let’s get to bed, okay?”
Nodding, she took my hand in hers, making her way over to the bed. Picking the blanket up, she got in first before I slid in next to her. Bringing the blanket over us, Kelsey cradled her body in my arms, her legs sprawled across my left one while my right laid on top of hers, arms held close to her chest as she nuzzled into my own.
Brushing her hair from her face, she looked at me, her nose scrunched up making me smile. Kissing the tip of her nose, I stared at her in adoration as she giggled, digging her head into the nape of my neck. “I love you.” I whispered.
“I love you too.” Pressing her lips to my chest, she sighed in contentment and I couldn’t help but feel the guilt begin to eat me up inside.
I watched as she slowly fell into a deep slumber, her chest rising and falling naturally to its own rhythm, her body at ease.
She was everything I had ever hoped for and she meant everything to me yet I kept finding ways to hurt her despite the reasons behind it.
The more I continued to stare at her, the more I was reminded of why I held things from her in the first place. She was better off not knowing anything. It was safer this way. The less she knew the better. I just hoped this won’t come back to bite me in the ass like it has countless times before.