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Ride Steady


PAGE 124


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"I'll start doing that," she told me sharply. "And he can go fuck himself."

"Okay, well... good attitude," I forced out encouragingly. "Now, I gotta go."

"Right. Sorry. I don't even know why I called. It's uncool. I was just-"

My phone kept notifying me of another call so I interrupted her. "Tory, I have to go."

"Right. Well... uh... later."

"'Bye. Good luck," I replied, took the phone from my ear, dragged down the screen without really looking at it, and put it back to my ear. "Hello?"

"Hey, Riss."

Aaron.

Why me?

Why?

"Aaron, I-"

"I want you to know I heard you. What you said during our last phone conversation. I know you want me to think on things. I promise I'm doing that. But I'd like you to think on things too. And while you're thinking, you should know, I've finished it with Tory. Until I can get him into daycare at work, Mom's been looking after Travis while I'm at work. Tory officially moved out tonight."

It was on the tip of my tongue to tell him she shared that with me already but I needed him off the phone. I'd texted my I'm late alibi to the girls and time was running out for me to get done what I had to get done and get to them so they could be my alibi.

"Thanks for the information, Aaron, but I'm in the middle of something."

"With Joker?" he asked, derision sliding into his tone.

"No, he's with his brothers tonight. I'm heading to the girls and I'm driving and you know how I don't like to talk on the phone while I'm driving," I lied.

"Yes, I do," he stated immediately. "And you're right not to do so. It's unsafe."

I rolled my eyes.

He always talked on the phone in his car and not just in his Bluetooth ear thingie.

"So I'll let you go," he finished.

"Great. Thanks. That'd be nice."

"We'll talk more later."

I hoped not.

"Goodbye, Aaron."

"'Bye, honey."

Ulk.

I hung up, tossed the phone on the seat next to me, grabbed my keys, and before anything else could happen or I could talk myself out of doing what I was going to do, I opened the door, threw my leg out, and hauled myself out of my car.

Quickly, I dashed across the street and up the drive.

Thankfully, Joker's dad parked his truck outside. I didn't know why, he had a garage, but he did.

Which was good for me.

So I did what I needed to do.

I went to the passenger's side (the driver's side could be seen from the house and the curtains were open), got my key firm in position in my hand, then I dragged the tip hard against the steel from the back gate along the bed across the passenger door and up the entire fender, the paint curling away as I did.

I stopped, took my key away and stared at the mark.

There.

Done.

Did I feel better?

It was immature and a little crazy, but I absolutely did.

I grinned to myself, turned to dash back to my car, and stopped dead.

"Right on," Tabby muttered, staring at the mark .

"What now?" Tyra asked, looking at me.

"Girl, broad daylight, you crazy?" Elvira asked, also looking at me.

"Love the booties," Lanie noted, looking at my boots.

"Wh-what are you guys doing here?" I asked, staring at them standing three feet from me in Joker's dad's driveway.

"Followed your ass," Elvira said, "Girls' night out when you're all cozied up with your biker, playin' house, haven't pulled that tube top out for weeks?" She shook her head. "We ain't stupid. That tube top is insurance just in case you get hauled in, Joker has to bail you out, he sees you in that top, he doesn't spank your ass for bein' stupid except in a way you like it."

I hadn't really thought it out that fully.

Though I wished I had. Joker hadn't taken naughty to that level, but I found the thought intriguing.

"So... what now?" Tyra asked.

"Did you bring a bag of poo?" Lanie asked.

"Of... what?" I asked.

"Poo," Lanie said, "To light it on fire and knock on his door."

"Poo?" Tabby queried derisively then looked to me. "I got a lighter and we can light something on fire, but we'll call the fire department before we do it."

"And, say, do that shit when it's not evening, it's night, so we don't still have sunlight and every eye in the 'hood isn't on us," Elvira put in.

"I'm not lighting Joker's father's house on fire," I whispered, aghast.

"We'll call the fire department before so there won't be much damage," Tabby reiterated.

"You are so your father's daughter," Tyra mumbled, but she sounded almost proud.

"That's arson, that would be a felony," I told them.

"This is vandalism," Elvira shared, tossing a hand out to the truck.

"I know, but I'm pretty sure that's not a felony," I replied.

"There is felony vandalism," Elvira returned.

Oh no.

Was there?

Was keying a car felony vandalism?

Maybe it was. It was a nice truck. Newish. Clean. He obviously took care of it, which meant he cared about it.

To get that fixed, it would probably cost a lot of money.

"Uh-oh," Elvira muttered as I considered the alarming possibility that I hadn't committed a misdemeanor, I'd actually committed a felony.

"Let's go," Lanie whispered.

"What the fuck!" a man yelled.

I jumped, whirled around and tipped my head back to stare at Joker's very angry-looking father.

Uh-oh.

"We're gone, let's go," Tyra said urgently.

That sounded like a good idea.

I started to do that when Joker's dad asked, "You key my truck?" I kept trying to go but didn't get very far when he grabbed my upper arm tight and thundered, "Bitch! You key my truck?"

His hand hurt.

And he was touching me.

Therefore, without thought, I wrenched my arm free, reared back with my other one, keys still in position, and I swung at him with all I was worth, putting my full body into it.

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