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I’d drank enough Jack to set me into a coma, yet after she’d walked out of the room I was more sober than before I’d had a single drop.

I pulled on my jeans and ran after her.

Thia wasn’t in the living room. She wasn’t in the garage either. I was worried she’d left completely and started thinking of where the fuck she would go or who was out there waiting to hurt her when I spotted her on the dock. She was bent over, her hands moving furiously. I didn’t realize what she was doing until she untied the rope from the dock and hopped off the dock.

By the time I got down to the dock she had already pushed off and was too far away from me to reach out and pull her back. “Ti, we gotta talk.”

“I think you’ve said plenty.”

“Ti, get your ass over here.” Ignoring me she continued to row furiously. She was obviously inexperienced and didn’t move too far too quickly. The muscles in her arms strained as she rowed harder and harder without much progress to show for it.

“There is a nasty rip current under the dock. It’s a struggle for me or King to get the boat through it, so you might as well give up and come back now,” I said, crouching down on the seawall.

She only fought harder, slowly she gained ground inching further away from the dock and from me. I hadn’t been lying. The current was a bitch to get through if you didn’t know exactly where it stopped and started. Took us months to figure out how to clear it in less than a few minutes.

As much as I hated the fact that she was doing her damnedest to get away from me I was impressed by my girl’s strength.

There was no way to make this right.

I craved her forgiveness just as much as I craved her body. Her soul. Her spirit.

Her heart.

Words spilled from my lips in quick succession. I had to get to her before she was too far away to hear me. I spoke so fast I didn’t have time to edit myself and choose the right words so I just went with my gut because going with my head only resulted in her beginning to hate me and as much as that was part of the plan I hadn’t counted on the crushing blow to my soul that came with it.

I wanted to tell her everything.

I started with the truth.

Bear uncensored.

“For what it’s worth I didn’t want her. I never wanted her,” I shouted. “I just don’t know what I’m doing here. I don’t know anything anymore.”

“Looked like you wanted her to me,” Ti said, huffing heavily, but making progress. If she kept up the pace for a few more minutes she would be free of the current and would quickly be out of hearing distance.

“What do you want me to say? You almost got killed in the park!”

“So did you.”

“That’s my LIFE though. I’m used to motherfuckers gunning for me. That shouldn’t be yours though.”

“You don’t get to decide my life, Bear. Not you. Not anyone.”

“When I’m with you it’s like you put me up on this fucking unreachable pedestal. I don’t deserve that kind of admiration and sometimes,” I tried to catch my breath but the words kept spilling out of me. “It scares the fucking shit out of me. Whatever you think you know about me or who I am, you don’t know shit about me. You don’t know the things I’ve done, the people I’ve done them to. You don’t know that I’ve killed people because I was ordered to, or because I thought it was good for club business, or just because they rubbed me the wrong fucking way. Is that what you want to hear? ’Cause that’s the truth. I’ve done it all and you look at me like I’m somehow a good person and it makes me want to tear my fucking hair out because it’s all a lie. The truth is that I’m not the good guy. I’m the fucking bad guy, and club or not, that hasn’t changed.” I ran my hand through my hair and took a deep breath.

It wasn’t exactly a fucking love poem, but it was the truth.

“When did I say that?” Ti asked in a small whisper, temporarily forgetting to row, the boat slid forward toward me. “Tell me, when exactly did I say that I wanted to change you?” Her voice grew louder. Bolder. “Do you think I’m some fucking sheltered idiot? I know who you are and who the Beach Bastards are. I grew up across the county, not across the country. What I want to know is why you somehow think that effects anything? I don’t have you on a pedestal. I’ve got no rose colored glasses when it comes to who you are. Actually, I might be one of the few people in the world who knows the real you. I wanted you because of who you are, not regardless of who you are. You weren’t on a pedestal, you were in my heart!”

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