Ruin Me, Page 13Jessica Sorensen
On our way there, Clara and I stop at a fast food place to grab a quick bite to eat. The inside of the car stinks like grease and fries, and our shakes are melting in the cup holders.
"What do you think the odds are that Lester told the truth about Marcus being at this place?" Clara asks as she pops a fry into her mouth.
"He's about as reliable as everyone else we've talked to, so the odds seem kind of low." I slow at a stop sign and steal a fry from the bag on Clara's lap. "But, at this point, I have to try any lead I can get."
I crank up the heater. With the clouds rolling in, the air is even breezier than it normally is in May. That's the thing about Wyoming--summer, fall, winter, spring, the nights are always cold.
"So, this club that we're going to, is it like the Dirty Tiger?" Clara picks up a cup of Coke and takes a sip from the straw.
"I honestly don't know. I've never heard of it until yesterday." I flip on the headlights as the sun descends below the mountains, and night progressively shadows the land.
"I hope not." She dunks a fry into a cup of ranch. "That place was so gross. And I don't care if that makes me sound sheltered. I'm starting to realize being sheltered might not be a bad thing."
"No, it's definitely not," I agree, making a right at the next intersection.
We drive up the main street bordered by bars, diners, and knickknack stores until Neon Madness comes into view. Every square foot of the building has been spray-painted with florescent hues of green, pink, yellow, and orange. Lights of similar colors flash vibrantly from through the windows and along the trim of the room.
"Well, the name is fitting," I remark as I flip on my blinker to turn into the gravelly parking lot.
"It doesn't look as bad as the Dirty Tiger." Clara sits forward in the seat as she examines the place.
"We still should be careful." I silence the engine and slide the keys out of the ignition. "If my mom hangs out here, I'm betting this place is a lot sketchier than it looks."
Clara nods anxiously as she unbuckles her seatbelt. "Got it."
We open our doors to get out, and I stuff my keys into my pocket as I move up beside her. When I swing my arm over her shoulders protectively, she doesn't inch away like she would have a few days ago. After opening up to me, she's been way more affectionate.
"What are you thinking about?" Clara asks.
I shrug. "Just how beautiful you are."
Completely true. With the short red dress, strappy sandals that wrap up her long, lean legs, and her hair pulled up, she's going to turn heads the moment we step into the club.
"You've been so serious today," she muses as we approach the front door where a hefty guy I assume is the bouncer is eyeballing us. "Are you okay?"
"What do you mean by serious?"
Her sandals scuff against the gravel. "I don't know. You just haven't cracked a lot of jokes or made any dirty remarks about how short my dress is yet."
"Is someone missing my perviness?" I tease and she doesn't deny it. "I was just giving you some space while you thought about stuff, but since you brought it up..." I reach up the back of her dress and pinch her ass, eliciting a squeal from her.
She fights back a grin as she skitters out from under my arm. "I didn't mean for you to start right back up."
"You know what, I think you did want me to start up." I charm her with a grin. "I think that, deep down, you really, really like my dirty mouth."
She crosses her arms and raises her brows. "So what if I do?"
"So, you're admitting you like me?" I try not to grin but fail epically.
"Well, I think it's pretty obvious I like you." Her eyes roam to my dick.
I bite my lip to keep from laughing at her. Then I snatch hold of her hips and reel her against me. "But you like me, like me."
With a quivering breath, she bobs her head up and down. "I do."
I close my eyes and breathe in the cool air. Despite where we are and why we're here, I want to enjoy this moment. "Do you want to skip going to this place and go back to the motel for a little bit?"
"But it's not Friday."
My eyes shoot open. "Seriously? After what you did to me last night you're going to go back to that?"
"I'm just kidding." She laughs maliciously. "Besides, it is Friday, silly."
"Oh, yeah." Through all the stress, I'd somehow forgotten. An artful smirk curves at my lips. "Guess tonight is bow-chicka-bow-wow night, huh?"
"I guess so." She suddenly grows serious as she warily looks over at the club. "I do think we should finish up with this, though. Maybe we'll luck out and find your mom and then we can enjoy the rest of the night." She gives my hand a squeeze.
"Yeah, maybe." I'm more skeptical of the outcome, though. Even if by some miracle Marcus is here and he easily tells us my mother is alive and where she is, actually seeing her will more than likely ruin my night.
But knowing I'll only have peace of mind when I know she's not dead, I hold onto Clara's hand and we walk up to the bouncer. He asks to check our ID's. Since I don't have a fake one, I give him my real one, hoping he'll glance over it and let me through. Surprisingly, he does just that. The moment we enter the club, I quickly discover the reason for his carelessness. Half the people packed inside the small room are my age, if not younger.
"It's dark in here," Clara shouts over the bass of the music, the neon green lighting reflecting in her eyes.
I nod, intensifying my hold on her hand. I squeeze by people dancing and grinding on one another to the sultry rhythm of a song, leading Clara with me. When we reach an area where the crowd thins, I take a good look around and realize there isn't a bar anywhere.
Most of the crowd has paint on their skin that matches the shades on the exterior of the building. The paint glows against the black lights on the steel ceiling beams, and glitter is falling from somewhere. Almost every single person looks possessed by sheer lust, dry humping and fondling one another.
"It's like an orgy!" Clara says with wide eyes as she watches the scene in front of us.
"Yeah, I think you got your rave wish!' I holler over the electric music as we get jostled and groped by people.
"What do you mean?" She squints at the sweaty mob swarming us. "Wait, are they..."
I nod then offer her an apologetic look. "Leave it to my mother to be in a place filled with people rolling."
"Are we going to be okay here?" She gapes at two people in the corner who are one step away from peeling each other's clothes off and fucking right in front of us.
I cover her eyes and inch her toward a quieter spot in the room where people seem a little less handsy.
She tugs my hand away from her eyes. "Jax, I've seen people have sex before."
My brow shoots up. "When?"
She raises a shoulder and gives a laidback shrug. "In porn movies."
My jaw just about smacks the floor. "You watch porn?"
"I have a couple of times when I was hanging out with Mack and his friends..." She floats away in a memory then promptly shakes her head. "Where do you think I get all those dirty ideas from?"
I pull her toward me until our hips flush. "Clara McKiney, you've been holding out an important details about you."
"Give me time." Her eyes blue look teal vibrant neon green lights. "You'll get to know all my little quirks."
"I'm looking forward to it." I roll my hips into hers, totally turned on by what she divulged.
"I'm learning stuff about you, too."
She doesn't object when I reach around and sneak my hand up the bottom of her dress. "And what's that?"
"That you're horny all the time."
"I think you already knew that..." My grin falters when I notice a taller man wearing a suit enter the club. A hush falls over the crowd as everyone gawks at him.
"Who is that?" I ask a guy dancing pretty close to us.
"That's Marcus Dalemaring." The guy turns to me, he scans me over, and then a grin curls his painted lips. "You looki
ng for a good time, sexy?"
"Um..." I look to Clara for help, but she only giggles, enjoying my discomfort.
"A shy one, huh?" He prowls toward me and jives his hips in my direction.
I dodge around Clara, snag her arm, and tow her to the edge of the crowd.
"That was freaking hilarious." Clara laughs harder, gasping for air. "I've never seen you so uncomfortable before."
"The dude dry humped me."
She catches her breath as her laughter dwindles. "Hey, I thought it was kind of hot."
I blink at her. "What?"
"Oh, this is going to be fun." She rubs her hands together with a wicked glint in her eyes.
"What's going to be fun?" My gaze is trained on Marcus as he saunters through the crowd with two very large and bulky guys at his side. Well, more like the crowd parts for all three of them.
"Paying you back for all those times you teased me." She pinches my ass, and I flinch, but keep my eyes on Marcus.
"Who is that?" Clara wonders as she tracks my gaze
"The guy back there said it's Marcus." I rush toward him as Marcus strides toward a door located along the back wall of the club. "Wait here," I call over my shoulder to Clara.
"Jax!" she protests, but when I shoot her a warning look over my shoulder, she nods and stays put.
Good. The last thing I need is for her to get further into this mess.
I square my shoulders and march my way up to the man who may have killed my mother. The only calming factor in the situation is that we're in a room full of people, so he can't do anything to me if he has some vengeance plan against my mother.
"Hey, Marcus," I holler as I approach him, elbowing a guy out of my way.
The two big guys who walked in with Marcus immediately step together and block him from my view.
"Back off, kid," one of them warns, shoving me back.
My back slams into a girl who instantly starts griping about my clumsiness. I brush her off though, my attention fixed on Marcus.
"Relax, I just need to ask him a question." I lean to the side but the guy just sidesteps. "Seriously, I just need to know if he's seen my mother."
Marcus appears at the big dude's side, looking very interested in my question. "I thought you looked familiar. You must be Jax Hensley."
What the fuck?
"Yeah, but how do you know that?" I cross my arms and stare him down, despite how uneasy I feel.
"I've seen pictures of you." He carries my stare with such a manner of confidence. I grow even more anxious. This man clearly doesn't worry about much. "Well, a picture. She likes to show it to people all the time. Her son. Her pride and joy."
I shake my head. "That's a lie. My mother doesn't give a shit about me."
His expression darkens. "Okay, I might have embellished the last part, but she does have a picture of you in her house."
In my house? So he's been there. He was probably the one who broke the door down too.
I clench my hands into fists, my nails piercing my palms. "Do you know where my mother is?" I ask through gritted teeth.
A smirk rises on his face. "I haven't seen her since," a thoughtful look crosses his expression, "since about four days ago when she begged for her life and promised she'd pay me back my thousand dollars."
I inch toward him, ignoring the big guy's warning to stay back. "What did you do to her?"
"I didn't do anything to her." His voice is like ice as he leans in to my face. "But if you do see her, tell her I'm still waiting for my money. And I'm not a very patient man." With that, he turns and heads toward the back door.
I try to follow after him, but one of his bodyguards pushes me back so forcefully I stumble into a wall.
"Fuck!" I curse, kicking the wall.
A few people glance in my direction, but they're too high to question what my problem is. I tug at my hair, wanting to scream. Why the fuck does my mother have to get herself into this shit? Why do I have to care so damn much?
Through my fit of rage, warm fingers envelop my arm. I don't have to look up to know the hand belongs to Clara. I allow her to guide me out of the club and across the parking lot. By the time we reach the car, I'm so damn frustrated I'm shaking.
"Give me your keys," she demands, sticking out her hand.
I hand them over without arguing, knowing I'm too riled up to be behind the wheel.
We get in the car, and she drives out onto the road. She's silent for a while, chewing on her lip, mulling over what the hell to say to me.
"I'm just frustrated," I finally say, resting my head against the cool glass of the window, "with who she is. How she turned out. It pisses me off that she'd get herself into a place in her life where her son can easily believe some drug dealer killed her."
"What did Marcus say to you?" she asks as she steers the Jeep into the motel parking lot.
After she parks the car, I give her a recap of the conversation I had with Marcus.
"You think he knows where she is?" she asks when I'm finished. She turns off the headlights and the engine.
"I don't know... maybe." I unbuckle the seatbelt and rotate in the seat, looking at her through the darkness flooding the cab. "But it doesn't really matter. What's done is done, I guess."
"You don't mean that." Clara reaches out and brushes my hair out of my eyes. Her touch is soft and affectionate and somewhat calms me down. "You're just upset, which is understandable."
She's right. Deep down I still care about my mother enough to keep searching for her. Time's running out, though, and I'm not sure what I'll do if I don't find her by the time I have to head back home.
"Let's go inside, okay?" Clara drops the car keys into my palm. "We can watch another movie or something. Order pizza."
"What kind of a movie?"
"Whatever kind you want."
"How about a porno? Since you're into those." It takes a lot of energy to make the joke, but I feel better when I do.
She smiles. "And there he is again. I was getting worried about you."
"Worried enough to watch a porno with me?"
"You'd have to be a lot more upset for me to do that."
"Guess I have something to look forward to, then."
Her forehead creases. "What do you mean? I didn't agree to watch one."
"You kind of did, though." I crack the door open, and a breeze gusts into the cab. "I mean, one day, way in our future, I'll be so upset about something you'll have to watch one with me because you said you would."
She rolls her eyes, but doesn't quip back, and I somehow feel like I won her at that moment, like she's agreed to be with me. By the time we get out of the car, I feel so much lighter than I did at the club.
"Thank you for making me feel better," I tell her as we stroll past the motel doors.
"Any time." She glances up at me with compassion in her eyes. "What else can I do to help cheer you up?"
"Well, it is Friday night, so..." I give her a hopeful look.
An uneven breath rushes from her lips then she nods. "Okay."
I can't believe how easily she agreed. "How about, from now on, we just pretend every day is Friday?"
She stares at the ground. "If that's what you want."
I hook a finger underneath her chin and force her to look at me. "It's what I want."
Her eyes flood with so many emotions it's overpowering to watch. I stop and back her up against the wall, needing to kiss her right this instant. I can't wait another second for our lips to connect.
"I like this." With every breath she takes, her chest crashes against mine.
"Like what?" I spread my fingers across on the brick wall behind her, trapping her between my arms.
"This stuff." Her gaze zeroes in on my mouth. "The kissing stuff."
"Good. So do I." My tongue slips out of my mouth, wets my lips as I angle my body over hers.
My eyelids drift shut and I take a deep breath before sealing our lips. She tips her head back, giving me access to kiss deep
er as her hands wander down my chest to the bottom of my shirt and sneak up beneath the fabric. My muscles constrict beneath her touch, and my cock instantly goes hard inside my jeans. I'm crossing my fingers that, when we get to the room, she'll let me touch her like I've always wanted to. Skin to skin. Let me all the way in.
Without breaking the kiss, I blindly steer us in the direction of our door, fumbling to get my wallet out so I can retrieve the cardkey.
As I'm feeling around in my pocket, someone clears their throat. I wouldn't think too much of it except that I recognize the smell of the cheap perfume and cigarettes swirling through the air.
I jerk my mouth away from Clara's so abruptly her eyes pop wide.