Authors: Sean Moriarty
And now the damn pervert knows my name.
What the hell is going on with my life right now? All I meant to do was come down to the grocery store to pick up food for the next two weeks for me and Mina. Now I have some guy buying my groceries, the Amidala’s thinking I can’t afford to take care of myself, and I have no clue how I spent money on my card without knowing. I barely have two pennies to rub together as it is, and now all I have left is about twenty dollars in cash.
“What the heck is happening?!?” I say loudly in the car as soon as I get Mina secured and the groceries loaded. I saw that guy’s black SUV going up the same damn hill that I have to go up and it seriously does not improve my mood at all. I’ve seen that SUV across from my building for the last couple of days, and shit. That means he’s going to be around here, the sexy asshole.
I shake my head and groan at all the stuff I needed to get done today. I needed to get groceries, do our laundry, get gas and maybe take Mina to the park. My only day off has been all for nothing now until I can figure out where all my money went. I wonder if it’s bad of me to laugh at the poor sucker who might have stolen my identity. I have no money and absolutely no savings to speak of. I work a full-time job, just barely keeping Mina and I in clothes and fed. This is not how I figured my life would be when I graduated high school. Me with a child who is one and a half, who has no clue who or where her father is.
That’s me, another statistic—single mother out of high school. I live on the brink of constant poverty. I’m barely keeping my head above water, and whether I want to admit it or not… If that guy hadn’t paid for my groceries it would probably have sent me over the edge. I’m just lucky I get paid before the rent is due next month.
ina is my world
, but she hates naps as much as I hate waking up in the mornings. As soon as I get her to go to sleep, I am out of the bed and on my ancient laptop. This thing is so old and clunky it was probably made when dialup was all the rage.
Logging in, I check my bank account and feel my stomach drop all the way to my toes. I have ten dollars left in my account. That’s it. I will have to take the bus until the next pay day. I can’t afford to use my gas in the car in case there is an emergency. Dammit!
I dial up the bank only to be told that all the purchases were made with my debit/credit card. Shit. I go back to the website and start looking at all the purchases made, and when they were made.
My eyes brim with unshed tears as I feel the anger in my body begin to boil. Barely able to see the numbers on my flip phone, I dial the one person who was around me when all those purchases were made.
“Hey, Sis. What’s going on?”
I want to be calm and give him the benefit of doubt, but deep down I know he did it. This is just for confirmation.
“Michael, tell me right now you didn’t take the very last money I had. Tell me you didn’t take my bank card from my purse!” I am almost yelling by now but I force myself to quiet down. I so don’t need a cranky Mina right now.
“Calm your shit down, Aaliyah. I needed that money to help out my baby girl and get her some stuff for her hair.”
“Your who?” I ask, and can barely contain myself.
“You know, Unique, the girl I’ve been seeing. She needed to get some shit to eat and for her hair.”
“Why the fuck am I paying for it?” I ask, and each word is pronounced with all the venom I can possibly muster into the words.
“I didn’t have any money on me, bitch. Why you think?”
“Shut the fuck up, Aaliyah. Acting all high and mighty about some money an shit. You know I will get it back to you.”
“When? Before I made a fool of myself trying to buy food for me and your niece? Before I ran out of gas? Before I didn’t have money to buy Mina food!” My words are trembling from me and I hate it, but at the end they get louder and louder. Damn. I am so fucking stretched thin as it is, and now I am breaking.
He must hear the tears in my voice, trying now to be nice to me. “Look, Aaliyah, I will get you the money back. Promise ya.”
“Fuck you, Michael. Don’t come near me again.” I push the end button as soon as I finish speaking. I don’t care if he wants to say anything else—not one damn bit. So it really is just me and Mina now.
My phone stays silent as I carefully set it back down on my kitchen counter. I half wanted my one and only brother to call me back to try to repair all the damage he just did to us. But I know he won’t, he isn’t selfless. That would require him to understand there are other people around him who have needs.
I barely have anyone in the world left anymore. When Mom died last year, she left me and Michael the last of our family. No aunts or uncles. Just me and Michael. Our dad was never in the picture, just like Mina’s, and now… Damn. Why do all people have to be so hard to trust?
I let out a huge sigh. There is nothing I can do now but watch every single penny I spend. If I skip lunches at work I should be okay. Least, Mina will be. I am set for diapers, and thankfully the elderly lady across the hall is paid up until next month for watching Mina.
I look at the old A/C as it blows out cool air into the apartment. It keeps some of the stifling heat at bay, not much, but it helps. I turn the settings up and wince, it’s going to be a little warmer in here. I need to watch what I spend money on and the electricity bill is going to have to be kept small.
cranky as she can be. She doesn’t like the heat any more than I do, but we have to do what we have to do.
I frown when I look out the window and see the guy from the grocery getting back in his SUV. He is ridiculously hot. Tall, dark hair, and beautiful blue eyes. A great smile and covered in tattoos. I stare at him just a tad bit too long and Mina giggles at something outside the screen window. The guy turns towards the sound, looking directly at us. He gets that same damn grin and waves to me.
I flip him off and turn away but I hear his loud laughter before the closing of his SUV door.
his place might not be so
bad. Aaliyah seems like a spunky little lass, and the giggling baby isn’t so bad either, I think to myself as I look out my window. The bed I have been sleeping on is complete shit. Fucking thing feels like I have been sleeping on a wobbly plank of wood. I haven’t slept on a pile of shit like this in a long time. I guess I have been spoiling myself over the years.
I haven’t really dealt with much discomfort since I started making serious money with the Irish Mob in northern Ohio. Though they weren’t my only employers. I worked with a contractor of sorts named Frank a bit, then I did a few odd jobs for the biggies over in the IRA. Those were interesting times. Lots of jobs, lots of money and a shit ton of trouble.
I stare at my ceiling as I hear the first signs of someone being awake upstairs. The fucker kept me up all fucking night long. Blasting music the whole fucking night.
I walk into my bedroom, slip on a t-shirt and slide my nine millimeter in the back of my pants. Fucking cock, kept me up all night long.
I knew I should have gotten a top floor apartment here; I wouldn’t be dealing with this shit right now if I did.
Closing the door to my apartment, I look over to see Trevon walking up the stairs from the lower floor. I glance down at my watch and shake my head. He’s just getting home from work and the fuckstick upstairs is just now waking up.
“You get any sleep man?” I ask him as he looks like he is dragging major ass.
He shakes his head. “Nah, I got maybe two hours.”
“Fuck, that sucks.”
“Yeah, had to call my girl an tell her to stay home. I’m gonna go to bed right now, maybe get enough sleep before the asshole starts with the music.”
I bump fists with him as he opens up his apartment door. He calls out to me as I start heading up the stairs. “Where you going?”
I turn and grin. “Gonna introduce myself to the neighbor.”
“Careful man, he doesn’t seem like the friendly type.”
Shrugging my shoulders, I say, “I can be personable enough for the both of us then.”
“Shit, man, good luck.”
Nodding, I head on up the stairs, taking two at a time. Trevon is probably right about the upstairs guy. That doesn’t mean shit to me though, I want to sleep tonight.
I give three light knocks on the door and hear a muffled, “Who the fuck at my door?”
“It’s 308. I live on the floor below you.”
I hear a shout as the guy yanks the door open. “What the fuck you want, bitch?”
I shake my head. “I am here to ask you to please keep the music down at night. You are making it hard for people in this building to sleep.”
The guy isn’t the biggest of guys, he’s probably a foot shorter than me and chunky as hell.
“Fuck you, bitch.” He sneers at me. The little piece of shit has an attitude on him, little Napoleon.
I am not the biggest of guys. I am a bit more muscular lanky than bulging—it comes in handy though often enough. Like right now. My long foot shoots out and gets in between the door and the doorjamb as he’s trying to slam it shut on me.
“That’s being awfully rude, man,” I say.
“You gonna be a dead polite bitch, motherfucker…” he says.
I am about to push forward as I hear a door behind me open up. The short little fucker holding his door shut yanks it open. Looking over my shoulder, he yells, “Close your door you old faggot.”
I hear the slam behind me and I push the little man backwards into the dark apartment.
“You should be nicer to old people.”
“Get the fuck out of here!” he yells, as he darts to the coffee table in the middle of the living room.
Pulling my gun from the back of my pants, I take two long strides across the space and plant one of my feet squarely in the side of his ribs. He falls to the couch, not making it close enough to the whatever he was trying to get to on the table.
“I think we need to have a talk.”
He leans forward to grab something from the coffee table but my foot lashes out again, this time to his wrist. His breath rushes out of him as it connects. Oops, forgot I was wearing my steel toe boots.
He folds up on himself as he clutches his wrist to his chest. “What the fuck you want, man?”
Heading over to the balcony in the front of the room, I pull a heavy blanket off the curtain rod and light explodes into the area.
Walking back to the coffee table, I sit down on it, right next to the steak knife he has there. He was going for a fucking steak knife. A fucking steak knife. What the fuck was he going to do? Try to carve himself up a piece of Irish steak?
I chuckle as I put my pistol down beside the knife.
Looking back at the guy, I see his eyes wide as can be. “Look, man, what do you want?”
Shaking my head, I say, “Let’s start from the beginning. I’m your neighbor from 308. My name is Seamus.”
He just stares at me; a sheen of sweat slowly forming on his forehead.
Sighing quietly, I go on, “This is where you say:
Nice to meet you, Seamus, I am
We are both silent for a moment as he just looks at me incredulously. “You for fucking real, man?”
“Far as I can tell I am.”
“What the fuck you want? Who the fuck you think you are?”
I lean forward as my hand slides over to my gun. “Manners.”
“I’m Tony, man. What the fuck is wrong with you? You gonna bring a piece in my home about some music?”
“Nice to meet you, Tony.”
“Fuck you too.”
I shake my head as I take the steak knife off the table and toss it to him. “You get one chance to get me out of here on your terms.”
Tony snaps it up from his lap and stares at me for a long moment, “You gonna get hurt, boy.”
I have to give him credit, he didn’t bother trying to throw the blade at me. He lunges as fast as he can. His hand slicing at where my throat would have been. But I’ve already leaned back to the side.
Grabbing his wrist with my hand, I yank him forward as I pull him off the couch. My knee jerks up, slamming into his arm once. The knife falls to the floor with a clatter. Another yank and he squeals loudly as I use the back of my freehand to backhand him across the face. A spray of blood gushes out from his nose as his head whips to the side.
I push him back onto the couch where he slumps down into the cushions.
“Nice to meet you, Tony,” I say again. “I wanted to talk to you about how loud your music was to the rest of the building.”
“I’ll keep it down. Man fuck… I’ll keep it down. Won’t even play the shit no more.”
Standing up from the table, I nod my head. “Knew I could count on you to be a good neighbor.”
I push the gun back between my jeans and the skin of my back.
“You broke my fucking nose,” he whines to me.
I walk over to the door, looking over my shoulder as I say. “Tony?”
“Aww, what, man? Just leave.”
“Tony, this is my building now. That means you are here by my good graces. I’m a good guy, especially if you’re on my side of things.”
I walk out the door and I’m pulling it shut as a young lady turns from the stairs and heads for it.
“Hey, what’s going on?” she asks as she walks up to the apartment door I was just leaving from.
“Just introducing myself to the neighbors. I’m Seamus,” I say and extend my hand out to her.
“Nell,” she says and shakes my hand. Her head tilts to the side, “You friends with Tony?”
“Not yet,” I say and move to get out of her way.
“If you are I don’t want you coming around here then. I don’t like that shit and you are going to be looking for Tony at a new place real soon.”
“Ah, not that kind of friend,” I say.
As I’m crossing the landing for this floor, the door across from Nell’s and Tony’s opens up again.
“You tell him to keep it down?” asks a little gray-haired old man.
“Yes, sir, I did.”
I hear the door shut behind me and I grin to him.
“I hope it works.”
“Oh, I am pretty sure it will. I’m Seamus.” Extending my hand, we shake quickly before he pulls his hand back in.
He closes the door and I head on down the stairs to my apartment. I don’t know what’s going on exactly upstairs but it sure isn’t quiet. There is a lot of yelling from a guy, but I also hear Nell shouting loudly about her being the only person on the lease. I tune the rest of it out as I head to the kitchen.
n my life
I’ve come to acknowledge I have some pretty damn awesome skills sets. I don’t brag too often, but to myself I can say without hesitation I am really good as a hitman—maybe even one of the best. I’m also not too bad at being a smuggler, and often times a good pirate of goods. I can handle just about every single weapon I have ever came in contact with. Fuck, with my last boss I was his go-to-guy when it came to getting intel. And that’s just the working side of me.
I’m an amazing lover without equal if you ask me, and most women I have been with. Sure, there have been some who have said I wasn’t, but that’s because they weren’t truly open to the prospect of having the best night of their lives with a man like me.
Staring at the cooking utensils in front of me though, I have to admit defeat. I suck at cooking. I burn toast pretty well, but beyond that I am helpless. I’m tempted on googling how to make the spaghetti ingredients in front of me, but even that just spells disaster. I know when I’m in way over my head. Trying to do this domesticated thing is proving to be tougher than I thought.
I look around the kitchen, searching for the large pots I know I haven’t even bought yet. Shit. Yep, gonna have to go shopping tomorrow.
I push the box of noodles and the jars of sauce with the bread back into the grocery bag. I know when it’s time to call in the reinforcements or to tuck tail and run.
Going into my bedroom, I grab a clean shirt and replace the one I was wearing. I put on my boots again and head back out. Grabbing the bag of groceries as I go, I figure it’s time to go be neighborly again.
Mina’s a giggly little thing when she wakes up. Her eyes are such a beautiful brown when I look down into them. They have this light in them, a light of happiness and newness to them. Every day is an adventure for her. She gets to explore so many new things. She doesn’t have all the worries of being an adult yet or even a teenager. Right now all she knows is she has a full belly and a mother who loves her dearly. Will that be enough as we both get older? It wasn’t for my brother. It was for me; we may have been poor but our house always held love in it when my mom was around.
Now it’s just Mina and me, I can’t count on Michael.
I don’t even want to know what the next month is going to bring us. I had plans to start back up in college in the fall but this recent set back…
Damn, why can I not even trust the last family member I have?
I snatch up Mina in a hug as I blow a raspberry on her cheek. She giggles loudly and kisses my cheek back. Come what may, I will make sure we get out of this. Even if I have to shoot that stupid asshole if he comes near my purse again.
Time for dinner. I need to feed Mina before she gets cranky. Thankfully she likes to be my little helper in the kitchen.
I’m pulling things out of the fridge when I hear the doorbell ring then a light knock following it. The sound makes me cringe. Only a couple of people ever ring my doorbell. Until now, Michael would just walk in using his key, and that’s going to change—I need to get new locks installed. Collette next door always calls me before coming over.
I step past Mina sitting on the floor, playing with her dolls. My temper already rising. It’s probably Michael coming over. He has to know he stepped way past the line this time. He put both Mina and I in jeopardy. I can deal with a lot of shit but not that.
I should have looked out the peephole, I think, as soon as I yank the door open. It’s not Michael standing there like an asshole. It’s a whole other problem.
“Hey there, neighbor,” the tall, sexy asshole from earlier today says to me.
Rolling my eyes, I growl out, “What do you want?”
Lifting up a brown bag with groceries in it, “I was going to say how lucky you were to have my company as you make us spaghetti… But I think I will save that line and plead on your tender mercies, begging your help in making dinner. I am a man of many talents, but cooking is not being one of them.”
He has these giant blue eyes looking down at me and a pitiful look about him. It’s almost enough to make me almost buy his line of bullshit. Almost.
“I swear I must have been a horrible person in a former life, my karma is horrible!” I say before shutting the door—leaving that tall, sexy man standing there.
“That,” I mutter to myself as I walk back to the kitchen, “or I am about to hit the lottery.”
Just as I get to the kitchen tiles the door is loudly banged on and then opened.
“Are you fucking nu…” I hiss as I turn around, expecting that sexy man to be there.
But my words fall short. Michael is standing in my living room, one hand holding up his pants, the other has a phone up to his ear. He nods at me as he starts talking to the person on the other line. I swear to god I am going to kill someone.
Walking to Michael, I grab the back of his shirt and start pulling him back to the door. He yelps out loudly as I try to yank him with me. He doesn’t move as far as I want though, me throwing him across the country wouldn’t be far enough. I let go of his shirt and quickly walk to the front door.
Swinging it open, I see tall, blue-eyed and hunky walking away from my door and towards the door to the building.
“You want dinner? Get in here and take out my trash.”
“What trash would that be?” he asks, turning back and striding up to my door.
His hands settle the bag into my hands as he steps past me into the apartment. I have a second of doubt splash across my mind, but I can’t have Michael here right now. If he is here, then Mina and I will need to leave until he does. I cannot be in the same place as him without wanting to murder him.