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I tipped my head back and pinched my nostrils together as the blow set a cold fire to my brain.

That’s better.

Now I really didn’t give a shit what she thought of me.

Now I could leap off the roof and fly to the other side of the bay and not give a shit.

“Fuck,” I said, pressing my finger into the remaining residue and rubbing it against my gums.

“That recreational, or you got a problem?”

“Look who can suddenly talk again.” I rolled my eyes and took off my shirt, throwing it on top of my bag. “Does it look like I’m having a fucking good time to you?” I snapped. “It ain’t a problem either, least not right this second.” I thought about what I’d just said and as my high got better and better I agreed even more with my earlier statement. “Actually, right this second, I don’t have a problem in the world,” I sang, enjoying the few moments before I crashed when I could fool myself into thinking that everything was okay.

“No, you just feel like you don’t,” she corrected.

“I know, but I just don’t give a fuck.” I turned toward the door.

“Can…can I have some?” she asked. I paused mid-step.

“What?” I asked, turning around. Thia sat up.

“You said you don’t care now. I don’t want to care either,” she said, tears welling up in her eyes.

“No,” I said without having to think about it.

“Why not!?” she asked angrily, tossing the blanket off her lap and standing up off the bed. She walked toward me, her limp from earlier almost unnoticeable, her braless tits bouncing against the thin material of her tank top as she stalked toward me. “Why do you get to erase your problems and I don’t. Chop told me you aren’t in the MC anymore, so you snort cocaine to make it go away right? To pretend? Well, I want to pretend too.”

Chop had obviously done more than work her over at the MC. Apparently he’d taken the time to run his cocksucking mouth as well.

“No,” I said again, although she had a point. Then I remembered what Ray said and suddenly wished I hadn’t just used the last of my stash.

“It’s okay for you to forget, but I’m not allowed a few minutes to not feel like the world is crumbling around me? Like I’m not all alone? Like I’m not trapped? Like I won’t wind up either dead or rotting in some prison?”

I didn’t want to tell her that if she did go to prison that the MC would likely send an ole lady or a friend of the club to kill her in there.

Prison was like summer camp for the Beach Bastards.

Summer camp with a side of homicide.

Thia was close to me now, so close I could see the agony in her eyes and the freckles across her forehead. I could smell whatever girly soap Ray had given her to use, some sort of vanilla mixed stuff. Her hair was still damp, falling in heavy waves around her shoulders. She was a tiny thing, only coming up to my chest. Her thighs and calves were muscular and surprisingly lean and long for such a little thing. When she stood up on her tiptoes in challenge and was about to say something else I had the sudden urge to bite the sensitive skin between her neck and shoulder. “What did he do to you?” I asked, using a much softer tone than I had been. “Chop. Tell me what he did.”

“Why?” she asked.

“I don’t know,” I answered honestly.

And just like that, with that one question, she began to wilt away again. She lowered herself off her toes and took a step back. Her shoulders fell. She got back in bed, again lifting the covers to her chin. “Nothing,” she lied, turning onto her side, her back to me, effectively shutting me out. “Nothing that matters.”

“I tell you what,” I said. “I’ll make you a deal. You tell me what happened and I’ll help you forget for a while,” I said, and I meant it, just not in the way she was thinking. I wasn’t above bribery.

Actually, I was fucking amazing at bribery.

Hot damn this was good blow.

“We’ve already established that you don’t care,” she said, throwing my words from earlier back in my face.

I stomped to the edge of the bed and flipped her onto her back. She tried to swat me away but I caught her wrists and held them still. “You need to take those bloody shorts off, but something has you keeping them on. They’re wet, so I know you didn’t even take them off in the fucking shower. So why don’t you tell me what the fuck happened at the MC, before I strip you naked, haul you over my shoulder, and throw you in the fucking bay.”

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