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“Oh come on! We both know she didn’t take anything. And since when is it up to you to dole out life lessons on who needs to pay for what? You some kind of life coach now? Besides, she’s not your property. She’s a person, not a fucking car.”

“That’s rich coming from you.” I’ve witnessed Preppy doing things that made even my skin crawl, but if he was going to throw my shit in my face, then I was going to throw his shit in his.

“Seriously, she isn’t yours. You can’t just take her.”

“Yes, she is mine, and I did just take her. She sleeps in my bed, doesn’t she? Next to me. I may not have fucked her, but it was me she turned to when she wanted to get off the other night, and me who gave her what she needed. So no, I haven’t fucked her, yet. But the answer is still no, you can’t fucking take her out,” I said through gritted teeth, I could feel my veins tighten as my blood pressure sky-rocketed.

Preppy cocked his head to the side and smiled. A recognition of some sort settled over his face. “Well, she’s not my property. She’ s my friend. So, if I can’t take her out, then you have to take her. I’m not doing this for me. I’m doing it for her. She’s been through some shit, and we both know what that’s like. The kid deserves a break. A little fucking fun.”

“Fuck no. I’m not going to fucking date her. And this isn’t up for debate. No date. No nothing. Just fucking drop it.” For the first time in my life, I felt like punching Preppy. He’s never coaxed that kind of anger from me before.

“Man, get your fucking head out of your ass. She’s just a confused kid. Either you take her, or you let me take her. I may call you Boss-Man, but we’re friends, and that doesn’t mean you can make all my decisions for me. You may call the shots, but I’m still my own person. I’m not asking you here. I’m telling you.”

“Fine!” I shouted. Throwing my arms up in the air. “Take her out on a fucking date. What the fuck do I care anyway? Go! Have a fucking blast!”

I sat back down on my stool and pretended to fiddle with my equipment. Why the fuck I was getting so riled up to begin with was beyond me.

Maybe, I’d just forgotten how to interact with people who weren’t wearing orange jumpsuits or correctional officer uniforms.

“Awesome!” Preppy hopped from one foot to the other. “I’m going to go iron my good bow tie.”

“Prep?”

“Yeah, Boss-Man?”

“It’s six in the fucking morning.”

“And?”

“You want to take her out on Saturday right?”

“Yeah.”

“It’s Monday.”

“Ah.”

“So how about you go wipe the fucking blow from under your nose and get some fucking sleep. Iron your good bow tie tomorrow.” Preppy may not have to listen to me, but the need to tell him what to do would never go away.

I’d forgotten while I was away that Preppy was one hell of a partier.

We both were.

Or, I used to be.

Before Max.

Before prison.

Before her.

Preppy wiped the powder from under his nostrils and rubbed it onto his gums.

“Yes, sir,” Preppy said with a mock salute. He turned to leave.

“And Prep?” I called out.

“Yeah, Boss?” he asked, stopping mid-stride.

“You’re taking her out as her friend only. You got that?”

“I got that.”

“Good. Because if you so much as touch her, I’ll fucking kill you.”

Chapter Sixteen

Doe

“What is all this?” I asked, staring down at the plate upon plate of sliced meats and cheese.

“Sandwich stuff.” King said, tossing me a roll.

“Yes, I can see that. But why are we making sandwiches on the dock?”

I wondered what his ulterior motive was. King didn’t seem like the type to picnic on the dock, no matter what the situation. Plus, in the entire time I’d been staying with King, he’d never once made a meal for me.

Or even eaten a meal with me.

“Because it’s a nice day to be outside, and because who the fuck doesn’t like sandwiches?” King sat on one of the plastic chairs surrounding wooden table that was screwed to the dock so it wouldn’t fly away during a storm. “And Preppy said…I don’t fucking know, just go with it.” King loaded his roll with salami and cheese and dug out a huge scoop of mayo from the jar with a spatula.

“That’s enough mayo to choke a horse,” I said, carefully selecting turkey and bacon for my own sandwich.

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