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“You wouldn’t,” she said, her eyes finally containing the fear I was used to seeing in the eyes of someone I was threatening, yet had been oddly missing from her except for the brief moment she’d first woken up in the bathroom.

“Fucking. Try. Me.” I warned, loving that I was finally getting the reaction out of her I wanted. Vacant and distant was bullshit that pissed me off. Anger. Anger I could work with.

A wayward tear dripped down the side of her face and her shoulders shook silently.

What the fuck?

“Do what you have to do,” she whimpered, the nothingness from earlier firmly back in place. “I don’t want to talk about it. Any of it.” I let go of her wrists and she rolled over again. “Please, Bear. Leave me alone. I just want to sleep.”

Never in my life had a chick made me so angry. Following through on my threat wouldn’t work on her like this.

I grabbed a bottle of whiskey from my bag and hit the light switch on the way out.

Dude, she’s hot when she’s angry, Preppy chirped in my head.

“Shut up,” I muttered. He was right, but I wouldn’t exactly call her hot. Without makeup or without even having brushed her hair in a while, she was devastatingly sexy, and that didn’t even begin to cover it.

Cock achingly fuckable was a little closer.

I adjusted myself and settled on the couch for a long fucking night of avoiding sleep with my buddy Jack Daniels.

*     *     *

A violent scream shot through the door. “Fuck you!”

I picked my gun off the table and ran to the door, throwing it open, ready to kill any motherfucker who was bold enough to come at me in the middle of the fucking night. Thia was on the bed, screaming like she was being attacked, but the room was empty. Her eyes were closed and her back bowed off the bed with each new outburst. The back of her head hit the wall above the mattress with a thud but it didn’t even slow her down.

“Fuck you! Fuck you! I hate you! You can’t fucking do this to me! You can’t! I won’t fucking let you!” she raged. I didn’t know what to do, but I did know if she kept up her thrashing against the wall she was going to fucking hurt herself. I knelt down on the mattress and picked her up into my arms, crushing her to my chest, but she didn’t stop. She slammed her closed fists against the sides of my face, my chest, anything she could make contact with again and again. She clawed her nails into my skin, raking them across my shoulder blades.

“Stop!” I growled, holding her arms down at her side. “Wake the fuck up!”

“Fuck you! Fuck you! Fuck this!” she screamed, still wailing away on me, her little fists feeling more like a vibration against my chest than a beating.

“Ti, it’s me, wake the fuck up!” I said even louder. “Goddamnit, girl you’re going to fucking hurt yourself. Wake the fucking fuck up!”

She stilled, but I continued to hold onto her. It took several minutes but I felt the moment the fight left her body as she sagged against me. She hadn’t moved, hadn’t said a word in so long I’d thought she might have fallen asleep until she spoke against my skin, her breath brushing over my nipple. “I killed my mom.”

“I know,” I said, unsure of what else I was supposed to say. “Come with me,” I said and for once she actually listened, sliding off the bed and following me outside into the night. I walked over to the bonfire, the very place where Eli and his men laughed as they tortured me. I was going to take her down to the dock but decided against it, because if she pissed me off again I didn’t know if I’d be able to resist carrying out my earlier threat and tossing her ass into the bay. For at least a little while the shitty flashbacks that followed me around like a possessed puppy dog nipping at the heels of my memory would have to take a backseat to the girl with the pink hair.

“Sit,” I ordered, pointing to a white plastic lawn chair. Thia sat and watched me as I lit the end of a small piece of straw. When it glowed brightly I gently set it on the inside edge of the fire pit and set two small cut logs on top of it.

“Why the fire?” she asked.

“The fire is for a little light and…” Thia smacked her arm, and when she pulled her hand away she revealed the crushed up body of a big mosquito.

“And a little keeping the blood suckers away.” She wiped the bug off her arm as the smoke started to billow into the sky from the pit. “That should take care of it.”

I sat on the edge of the brick bonfire, facing Thia in her chair. She pulled her legs up into the chair and under her little white tank top, stretching the material over her knees, killing any chance I had of staring at her tits.

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