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A part I wasn’t willing to give back.

Even if that means keeping the truth about who she really is a secret until I’m rotting in the ground.

“As a matter of fact, there is a point. So glad you asked!” Preppy turned to me, and his face went serious. “Bear wants us to come to the compound tonight. They’re having a party since daddy over here got pissed when he threw the last one and grounded him for a month.”

“Cut the sarcasm, Prep,” I said, I had no patience for Preppy’s humor because all I wanted was for him to leave so I could be alone again with my girl.

“Yes, a par-tay with the bikers and the four B’s.”

“Four B’s?” Doe asked.

“Yep. Beer, Booze. Blow. Babes.” Preppy looked between us. “Well, maybe not the babes since you two seem to be an exclusive thing. Are you an exclusive thing? Should I be getting out the fine china and calling the preacher?” Preppy turned to Doe. “Are you with child?”

“What?” she asked. “No! I’m not.” She laughed while Preppy pretended to pass out on the mattress.

“But we are exclusive,” I chimed in. I’m not sure why I felt the need to say it, but I did. I needed Preppy to get the message loud and clear. It may be an innocent friendship between them, but the warning to your fellow horn-ball friends about your woman could never be too obvious or too loud.

“Ahhhhh, so what do you say, my friends? Par-tay with Preppy tonight?” He rubbed his hands together like an evil warlock casting a spell.

“Do you want to go?” I asked Doe who was all smiles.

“Really?” She asked.

“Really.” I replied. If going to a party was all it took to coax that kind of smile from her, I’d take her to one every fucking night if she wanted.

“Yipeeeee motherfuckers! Get dressed, lovers. We’re going to the clubhouse.” Preppy stood up on the bed, jumping up and down until his head hit a spinning blade of the ceiling fan. He dropped back down to his ass, clutching his forehead. “That’s gonna leave a mark.”

Doe leaned over Preppy and pushed his hand off his head to inspect his injury. She’d let the sheet fall from her chest, her bare breasts swayed in front of Preppy’s face.

Preppy was no longer concerned about his wound. He openly stared at her nipples and licked his lips.

I might not have been mad that they were friends, but my best friend was about to take a fist to the face for ogling my girl like that.

I grabbed her waist and dragged her back to me, covering her chest with the sheet. She blushed.

If she thought my homecoming party was wild, she would be shocked to see what went on over at the Beach Bastards’ compound. “Shit, I forgot about those fucking bikers,” I said.

“Oh stop it,” Preppy said. “Bear’s people are harmless now. You’ve staked your claim, flagged your territory, put your sausage in the onion ring. That’s all they care about. That’s bible to them. She won’t be fucked with. Besides, I’ll be there, and so will Bear, and so will you.”

“I’m not all that trusting of Bear these days,” I said. “It wasn’t a week ago that he was asking my girl to be his old lady.”

“But as I said, you gots it in. It’s all good, play playyyyyyy.”

“Preppy, how much coffee have you had this morning?” Doe asked.

“Not much, six, seven cups. Why?” He twitched his fingers like he was playing an imaginary piano.

“We can go, but you’re not to leave my fucking sight,” I told Doe. “I mean it. Either me or Preppy are with you at all times, got it? Worst case scenario, go to Bear, but I swear to god if he lays a hand on you, I will chop it the fuck off.”

It came out harsher than I intended, but I wasn’t fucking around. The reality of what could happen to her if she wondered off on her own was what was really harsh.

Not a motherfucker in that place would survive if they touched her. Just remembering what Ed had almost done made me want to kill that piece of shit all over again.

“Got it,” Doe said, recognizing the seriousness in my tone. She placed a hand on my shoulder. “I won’t go anywhere unless you or Preppy are with me.”

“Good.” I let out a breath I didn’t know I was holding.

“So, what are we watching?” Preppy asked, leaning back on his elbows and crossing his feet at the ankles. “Ooh, Demolition Man. This is my jayum.”

“Get the fuck out,” I said, shoving him off the bed.

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