Authors: Jade Eby
WHISKEY AND A GUN
Copyright © 2013 Jade Eby
All rights reserved.
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Editing by: Alice M from
Not Very Alice
Cover Design: Arijana Karčić,
Cover It! Designs
The characters and events portrayed in this book are a work of fiction or are used fictitiously. Any similarity to real persons, living or dead, is coincidental and not intended by the author.
For every woman who has ever fought to be free
For The Constellation Society Girls — who believed in this story from the very beginning
My house is a battlefield, and I'm the main target. I tread carefully on the stairs—too many ambushes have happened here. Where the wood steps meet the dingy white carpet is the red zone. On a scale of one to ten, the likelihood of an attack in this spot is a twelve. I scan the hallway—all clear. In fact, the entire bottom level of the house is quiet.
quiet. Calm before the storm, maybe.
Food is worth the risk of getting caught, so I creep to the kitchen. No brothers. No parents. I let the air out of my lungs, relaxed until I see the ripped notebook paper on the counter. I don't need to read it to know what it says, but I pick it up anyway, the smudged chicken scratches confirming what I suspected.
Took your mom to the hospital. Make sure you're home by dinner, or there'll be hell to pay.
What the hell did she do to piss him off this time? Probably couldn't keep her mouth shut. Part of me doesn't blame my father. If only she listened when she was supposed to. If only she'd given him what he wanted without complaining, there would be a lot fewer
The digital clock on the oven blinks the time, mocking me. Fifteen minutes late. Shit. I call Grayson. "Dude, sorry. My alarm didn't go off this morning, but I'll be there in, like, ten."
Grayson says something about picking Bridget up, but I'm not really listening. My focus is now on the fist-sized hole in the drywall by the back door.
"Uh-huh. Sure, see ya."
Now I have another thing to fix this weekend. The cashiers at Lowe's think we're doing massive renovations. I'd love to see their faces if I told them I was really filling in the holes caused by my father's fist. They'd probably give me sad, pitiful smiles and go about their days. Bastards.
I swipe my keys from the counter and drive my Jeep to Grayson's. He jerks the door open and I throw my books in the back seat, wincing when a shot of pain boomerangs around my ribs.
"What's the matter with you? You sick?" Grayson slides into the passenger seat.
I massage the spot that's still purplish-black under my shirt. I caught a glimpse of it in the mirror this morning
perfect indents of angry fingers and knuckles. I was sure my outburst last week was going to cost me the Jeep, but the fucker left it alone and went for my ribs instead.
"Nah, just got elbowed during the basketball scrimmage the other day."
"Huh.” Grayson's lips curl into a smug smile. "I guess your team
get your asses handed to you. We might've fought dirty on that one."
His fist nails me in the ribs. The entire right side of my body burns in pain. My vision gets hazy and it's possible I might pass out, but I channel the discomfort into my wince and rub my side.
"Oh, shit. I didn't realize it was that bad. Sorry."
"S'okay," I say, pulling out of his driveway. Some wannabe black rapper spews crap from the speakers, and I turn it off.
"Hey, you sounded pissed off when I told you we were picking up Bridget. You hate her or something?"
You're supposed to fly under the radar, Carter. Invisible. This is not invisible.
"No! I was just…distracted when I talked to you this morning."
Grayson's smile morphs into a sick smirk. "Oh…you were…busy. I gotcha." He winks at me. Christ. His mind
go there. Still, I'd rather he think I was rubbing one out than measuring a hole in the wall.
"Where does Bridget live again?" I ask.
"Off Railway Avenue. First house on the left. Of course, you'd know this if you'd ever ask her out."
"Where's Railway Avenue?" I ignore his jab about Bridget.
"Jesus, how long have you lived here now?"
"Only a year, douchebag. Cut me some slack."
Railway Avenue isn't hard to get to after all. Two additional turns on our normal route and I pull into an extended driveway that leads to a mansion. Well, okay, that's an exaggeration, but it's the type of house that could eat up my home and then some. It's an obnoxious yellow color people think looks so
, but it burns my eyes. Bridget sashays through the front door, flipping her hair on the way down the steps.
Her tanned legs go on for miles until her ass interrupts them. That ass. Perky, tight, round. Bridget has the kind of ass every girl wants and every guy at South Water High wants to touch. Her teal-colored dress fills every empty space of her tight frame, especially drawing attention to her tits. They're on the small side, but there's enough to fit in cupped hands, and that's all I care about.
"Hi, boys," she says as she slips into the backseat.
Grayson says his hello and I mumble a greeting as I back out. In the rearview mirror, I can see Bridget's skirt hiked up, and her legs open wide enough to expose her neon pink panties. I want to be where the curve of her thigh meets her pelvic bone, that space of dark skin that gets lost under her skirt. I meet her gaze and–
A horn blares.
I'm centimeters from backing into a sleek black Escalade. I slam on the brakes, sending all of us backward in our seats. For fuck's sake—is Bridget trying to get us in an accident?
"What the hell was that?" Grayson yells.
"Omigod. I totally just almost died." Bridget's voice is shaky but the corners of her lips dance upward like she knows exactly what happened.
"Sorry," I mutter, pulling out of the driveway.
Bridget's honeyed voice wafts from the backseat as if she can't bear any awkward silence. "So…you guys do anything fun this summer?" She's leaning against the middle console, her cleavage a beautiful distraction.
I keep my eyes on the road. "Nah, just helped my parents around the house." Which is code for replacing the carpet in the dining room because of the blood stains, patching holes in the drywall, and nursing a number of broken appendages. I don't think she wants to hear about those things, though.
"That sucks. You should've called me to hang out. Would've been fun," she says breezily.
I look to Grayson, who winks at me. "I should've called,” I say. "Didn't have your number. Maybe I should get it today.”
Bridget giggles—a disgusting, grating noise. I hate her. She's so free, and everything is so easy for her. She wouldn't giggle if she lived in my house. She reaches in my pocket, her thumb centimeters from my dick. She pulls out my cellphone, types something into it, and shoves it back in my pocket. This time her fingers actually brush the crotch of my shorts, and I would pull over and fuck her in the backseat if Grayson weren't in the car.
"There, now you have my number. And you don't have an excuse not to call me."
I smile at her in the rearview. "Thanks."
I’ve never been more appreciative to be in South Water High’s parking lot as when I pull in a minute later. I’m not sure how much longer I can hide the massive boner I feel coming on. Bridget hops up and tosses me a smile, the whites of her teeth brilliant against her caramel skin.
"Thanks for the ride. I'll see you guys inside," she says as she walks toward the front entrance.
When she's out of hearing distance, Grayson nudges me in my sore ribs. "Shit. She totally wants you to screw her. She was practically begging for it."
I rub my ribs again. "What the fuck, Grayson? Did you set that up?"
He bursts out laughing. "No. Yes. I mean, I ran into her at the mall last week. She mentioned she had the hots for you last year, but you never did anything about it. I told her you're a little slow with that kind of stuff."
"Oh, whatever. You know you're a pussy when it comes to girls," Grayson says, getting out of the car. "Come on, Casanova, let's go to the commons. Plenty of freshmen to kick around."
I grab my books from the backseat. When I look up, a group of students huddled together by a piece-of-shit Cavalier are screaming and laughing. The flat black paint has faded to a smoky grey color in places and the rust snakes its way up the fender. If I ever let my Jeep look like that, I wouldn't even have a chance to explain; I'd be shot on the spot. My father's cars are meticulous. Not a speck of dirt. When he passed the Jeep down to me, I washed that fucker five times in one day. Dad would find one blemish and I'd have to start again.
Purple plaid fabric plays against the blackness of the car, and a set of toned legs dangles out of the driver's side. My gaze travels up the length of her legs and past her torso, resting on the face of a chick I've never seen. Her skin is as light as Bridget's is dark. She turns toward a guy in a leather jacket and wraps one languid arm around his. The sun glints off a small diamond stud in her nose, and her brown-almost-red hair falls straight and lifeless against her shoulders.
?" I ask.
I point to the girl in purple plaid. "Her."
"Oh, shit. She's back," Grayson says with a sigh. "That's Tawny Owens."
"Back? From where?"
"Who knows? There were a lot of rumors. Juvie. Rehab. Knocked up."
"Oh," I say as I lean against the fender of my Jeep. The sun's glare bounces off the hoods of shiny silver Mercedes and polished-up-Mustangs. The crowd melts into the heat wave, and I squint to bring the girl back in focus.
"Why? Don't tell me you're interested in
when Bridget Monahan pretty much said she'd give herself to you." Grayson's pretty-boy looks are scrunched together in mock concern. Like, how could a good guy like me want to date a bad girl like her?
If only he knew I'm not a good guy.
"Hell no! Just haven't seen her around before."
"Now you know. C'mon, the longer we're out here, the less time we have to pick on the freshmen."
Grayson starts toward the entrance, but I can’t help stealing another glance at Purple Plaid Girl—Tawny Owens—and she’s staring back at me.
I look away and wave to a non-existent friend in the distance, then hurry after Grayson. Real smooth, Carter.
Real. Fucking. Smooth.
Everyone knows their place here at South Water, and they flock to their own kind. Potheads park their cars in the farthest corner and light up, storm clouds raging inside their windows. Jocks congregate just outside the main doors, successfully intimidating the losers that don’t quite fit in anywhere. I ignore them all and catch up to Grayson at the front doors, which is organized chaos. People are piling in, but no one really goes anywhere. Anyone who is a "somebody" stays put. And a lot of people think they're a "somebody."
"See? This is why we don't get here late. Too many people," Grayson shouts over the chatter of students.
I shrug. "Sorry."
"Whatever. Let's go find everyone."
I push through the crowd, sending a few people crashing into other members of their groups. This is the only time during the day where violence feels natural, warranted, expected. I shout my apologies. I catch a flash of teal fabric against dark skin and push harder. I break out of the crowd, Grayson tripping into my back. Our group of friends stands flush against the cafeteria's closed doors.