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“Where are we going?” I pulled the shirt on over my head. Preppy jumped on top of the bed and bounced up and down like a little kid. I couldn’t help but react to his infectious enthusiasm.

“Holy shit, she smiles!” Preppy beamed, jumping harder until I had no choice but to get off the bed or end up on my ass on the floor. “It’s a nice smile. Doesn’t make you look like such a crack-head.”

“Excuse me?”

“Crack. Head,” Preppy said, enunciating each word like I hadn’t heard him.

“I know what you said. Is that really what I look like?” Suddenly self-conscious of my waif-thin frame, crazy bed head and raspberry colored sunburnt skin.

“No?” Preppy asked, smiling awkwardly. I eyed him skeptically and crossed my arms protectively over my chest. He jumped down from the bed and clasped my elbows in his hands. “We can fix that. Don’t you worry. We can fatten you up and put some tits and ass on that boney body of yours in no time.”

I suddenly remembered what King had said about Preppy, the things he liked to do with women. I tore my elbows from his grip and took a step back. If King wasn’t around, would Preppy hurt me? I swallowed hard, and the look on my face must have given away my thoughts.

“Ah, I see. Boss-man threatened you with me, didn’t he?”

I nodded reluctantly. “Is it true?”

Preppy took a step toward me and again grabbed me. This time, he yanked me forward until I had to tilt my head up to look him in the eyes.

“Yes, it’s true.”

He tucked a strand of hair behind my ear. Surprisingly, his touch didn’t make me shudder. The man standing in front of me was capable of the same brutality as King and did things that made my skin crawl, but Preppy himself didn’t. I felt oddly comfortable in his presence.

“I’m not sorry for it, either. I’ve had some shit happen to me you don’t want to ever fucking know about. I’m not making excuses. Shit is the way it is. I am the way I am. That’s all there is to it. That’s all there is to me. However, I’m concerned why King felt he had to threaten little ole you, with crazy ole me.”

“Maybe, he’s losing his touch,” I whispered.

“Ah, she makes jokes, too.” He smiled. “What is it about you?” Cupping my face in his hands, he searched my eyes as if he was looking for an answer my words couldn’t provide. He pursed his lips and raised his eyebrows.

“I keep asking myself the very same thing.”

Preppy suddenly took a step back and shook his head as if he was clearing his thoughts. He smiled again, this time a full toothed, ear-to-ear smile. I was fast becoming familiar with this being his patented look. He clapped his hands together and rested his chin on the backs of his interlocked fingers.

For some reason, Preppy started talking in a fake Spanish accent. “Boss-man has informed me that you are now our slave, and since he’s got important shit to do today, I am to take you with me on my run. So, get fucking dressed, slave, and let’s get this fucking show on de road!”

Preppy pointed a finger into the air and snapped his heels together.

“Those should fit,” Preppy said, pointing to the clothes on the bed. “Put them on, and let’s roll. Time’s a motherfucking wasting.”

“We’re going somewhere? Whose clothes are those? Where are we going?” I asked without stopping to take a breath between questions.

“I know you said you lost your memory, kid, but is your short-term still intact? Because I’d hate to have to repeat myself like this all the fucking time.” He spoke mockingly slow. “Yes. We are going somewhere. Clothes are on the bed. Get dressed. Meet me in the kitchen in five minutes.” He resumed normal conversational speed. “And stop asking so many fucking questions, or it’s going to be a long, looooong day.”

“You’re leaving me alone?” I picked up the clothes and held them to my chest. “The other day you had to watch me pee, and today you are just leaving me?”

“You would rather I watch?” Preppy said with a wink. “Cause we can make that happen, although I’m under strict orders—and I quote—’not to fucking touch you’.” He punctuated each of his words while making air quotes with his fingers.

“No, I’m just confused is all. About Nikki. About King. About you. About everything.” I bit my lip.

“Me, too, kid. Me, too, but I’m just following boss-man’s orders,” Preppy said. “But let’s just fucking roll with it, and maybe, we can have some fun in the meantime—the boring PG kind—that is, when King isn’t around to be the fun police. Now, hurry the fuck up!”

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