Preppy: The Life & Death of Samuel Clearwater, Part OneT. M. Frazier
Thank you so much for loving Preppy. He was just a voice in my head at first. He wasn’t even meant to be a character in King until finally the voice grew so loud it could no longer be ignored.
But that’s Preppy for you.
Please note that in order to best enjoy Preppy’s books, I recommend reading the other four main books in the KING series first. King, Tyrant, Lawless and Soulless. Thank you so much for reading and for your continued support. I couldn’t do any of this without you.
Tiny flashes of dim light spark in the darkened corners of my mind. Slowly, it turns from dusk to dawn, awakening my thoughts as the inner light grows brighter and brighter.
I hear a sound, a faucet running, and I realize it’s the blood rushing through my ears. When it reaches my heart I choke as it comes back to life like a bass drum. Boom. BaBOOM it beats, on and on, until it falls into a quick yet steady rhythm. The new life inside me grows louder, stronger, until death fades away and I awake on a gasp.
My eyes spring open. I try to take in air, but nothing happens. I try again and my lungs burn as they finally decide to cooperate. I can breathe, but it hurts like a son of a bitch.
I’m fucking alive.
My first thoughts shock the shit out of me. They’re of a girl. A sad looking girl with shiny black hair and huge dark eyes sitting on the edge of the water tower.
My heart falls out of rhythm, beating faster and faster until it’s thrumming against my chest like the vibration of a jackhammer.
Although my vision is blurry as shit, my thoughts of her are clearer than they’d ever been, and for the first time in my adult life, I’m fucking scared.
I don’t even need to see the big motherfucker standing over me with a baseball bat to know I am completely and totally fucked.
THREE YEARS EARLIER…
FUCK that’s some good shit.
I wiped the excess powder from under my nose and rubbed it on my gums. “Grade A blow. Thanks, man. This shit day sucks just a little bit less,” I said. We’d just pulled up to Grace’s house after dropping King off to start serving his sentence. We’d see him again, but not for 2-4 years.
“Fuck,” Bear said, echoing my thoughts about the coke as he snorted a line off my dashboard. He pinched the bridge of his nose and shook his head from side to side, his long, blond hair flapped around his face like a wet sheepdog shaking itself dry as the rush from the blow slammed into his brain.
I knew the feeling.
I knew it well.
I fucking loved it.
Bear wiped any residual evidence of our pity party off the dashboard with his hand. He got out of the car, but I hesitated with my hands on the wheel. I glanced up at Grace’s little cottage and sighed. “You coming?” Bear asked, leaning down in the open window. He lit two cigarettes and leaned up against the car, obscuring my view with his jean covered ass.
Reluctantly, I got out and as I rounded the car, I smoothed down my khakis, straightened my bow tie, and took a deep breath. I joined Bear against the car as we both stood in silence, staring up at Grace’s front porch. He handed me one of the lit cigarettes and I took it, taking a long deep drag.
“You pissed he told us not to visit?” I asked. Bear hooked a thumb into his pocket, kicking a loose shell with the toe of his boot.
I took another drag and exhaled slowly. Bear shrugged. “Some of my brothers, when they get locked up, they say the same thing. No visits, no calls. When they’re on the inside they have to concentrate on life on the inside. Can’t imagine it helps to have visitors reminding them all the time of the freedoms they don’t fucking have.”
“I wasn’t talking about your Beach Bitches, Care Bear. I was talking about King,” I said, stubbing out my cigarette under my shoe.
Bear rolled his eyes and flicked his cigarette into the road, blowing the smoke out of his nostrils. “Come on, let’s get this over with.”
“Bear?” I asked, feeling suddenly uneasy as we made our way up the front walkway, tapping my fingers on the front of my pants. I straightened my bow tie again.
I followed him onto the porch and lowered my voice to a whisper, “I think weed would have been a much better idea than blow.”
Bear turned around, his pupils the size of pancakes. He pointed to my eyes. “Yeah man,” he agreed as we both broke out into a fit of laughter. “I think you might be fucking right.”
* * *
“The way I see it, there is only one fucking solution to this problem of ours,” I announced, glancing between Grace and Bear, and the depressing-as-all-fuck looks on their faces. They both stared down at the table as if it were going to magically offer up the answer we were all looking for. Grace’s eyebrows were knitted tightly into a downward point, causing more wrinkles to form on her already heavily lined face, as she circled the rim of her glass with her spoon over and over again. It killed me that I couldn’t fix this for her. For us.
“Samuel,” Grace said, covering my hand with hers and offering me a small reassuring smile that was anything but reassuring. “You don’t have to fix this right now. You don’t have to make it better. We will think of something.” Her tone sounded like she was trying to convince herself as much as she was trying to convince me.
We were talking about Max. King’s baby girl who’d been tossed into the system the second he was put in cuffs. The three of us had been trying everything we could think of to get her out and home with one of us, but the state is fickle as shit. Apparently, they didn’t want to give an infant over to a biker, a degenerate, or a sickly elderly woman.
Damn the man.
Bear’s knuckles were white as he flipped a napkin ring from one hand to another, snapping the plastic with a growl. He flung it across the table, shooting Grace an apologetic look before dropping his face into his hands.
I slammed my hand down on the table, rattling the pitcher of Grace’s famous mojitos, finally drawing their attentions out of their own asses and up to me. “All right. It’s been decided.” I reached out and squeezed Bear’s hand like Grace had squeezed mine, and he retracted it like I’d given him a severe case of the cooties. “We are just gonna have to get gay-married.”
“Shut the fuck up, Prep,” Bear grumbled, stubbing out his cigarette in the ashtray and trying to swipe me across the side of the head, but I was too quick, dodging him before he had a chance to make contact.
“Boys,” Grace warned, although my words seem to have the affect I was looking for because the corners of her mouth turned upward, her frown straightening into a line. A tiny bit of the light in her eyes returning as she naturally fell into her roll in our crazy lives.
Her roll as our mom.
“Bear, at least pretend you care about this shit,” I said, watching Grace out of the corner of my eye as her shoulders relaxed and she settled back into her chair with her drink. “I mean, look at you, motherfucker! For Christ’s sake, they aren’t going to give us King’s baby if my man-husband won’t even put on a god damned shirt!” I pointed to Bear, who hadn’t worn a shirt under his cut since the day he turned prospect for the Beach Bastards. Seriously, you’d think the guy was allergic or something.
“What are you talking about? I’m totally covered,” Bear said, looking down and adjusting his cut to cover his left nipple, exposing the right one in the process.
I rolled my eyes. “Tattoos don’t fucking count,” I said, and that’s when I heard Grace’s small laugh and inwardly, my own shoulders fell.
“Sure they do,” Bear said, patting the ink on his abs with both hand
s as if it somehow proved his point.
“Samuel,” Grace said, sounding a little tired. “As much as I appreciate your enthusiasm, we live in the south, dear, they haven’t quite embraced the idea of gay marriage here just yet.”
I stood from the table and paced up and down the three steps leading from the deck to the yard and back again. Of course I knew that gay marriage wasn’t legal in the south, and I knew that the idea was fucking ridiculous, but I was willing to spew just about anything to come up with a solution. Not to mention, that someone needed to thin out the thick cloud of dread looming over our little family.
“Samuel, we will think of something. It will just take time,” Grace reassured me. I looked down at her and took hold of her outstretched hand, bending down I pulled her into a hug and she wrapped her tiny arms around my waist. She smelled like peppermint and the potpourri she always kept out on the table in the living room that I might have mistaken for trail mix once or twice.
Or six times.
“We’ve got this, Grace,” Bear said, echoing my thoughts. Although, he didn’t sound as convinced as I was.
I squatted down next to Grace “We will just have to be a little more…creative.”
Grace patted my cheek. “You’re a good boy, Samuel,” she said, and if I was a dog my tail would be wagging so fast it would’ve fallen right off. “Oh, and before I forget, don’t forget to check in on Mirna like I asked. She’s been more off than usual lately and I want to make sure she’s looked after while I’m away.”
“You got it,” I said, planting one last kiss on her forehead and standing up, straightening the crease in my pants. Mirna’s house was one of the first Granny Growhouses in our operation. Plus, she made these amazing chocolate chip cookies that were so fucking good, I’ve seriously thought about rubbing them all over my nuts. “I’m going today, actually,” I assured her.
“When will you be back?” Bear asked.
“A few weeks or so. Not too long,” Grace answered, with a little too much enthusiasm. Bear and I exchanged a knowing glance above Grace’s head. She was heading out of town to some facility she’d talked up to sound like a resort and spa for a few weeks, but Bear and I had our suspicions so we’d called the place after she’d first spoke about it and sure enough, it was a medical treatment facility for patients with advanced stages of cancer. Grace rarely said the C word when we were around and vowed that she was going to live forever.
“You need a ride up there?” I asked.
Grace waved us off. “Boys, stop worrying about me. They are sending transportation for me in the morning. Now go! Go! I’ll see you two in a few weeks.”
I was the kind of man who packed a gun at all times, but even I wasn’t stupid enough to try and argue with Grace when she had her mind set on something, and if she said she was going to live forever then it was best to believe her and leave it at that.
Bear rounded the table and said his good-bye’s, and I followed him through the yard around the side of the house. “You still got the number of that place?”
“Yeah, I called to make sure she’s got a private room,” I said.
“Good, one of the brothers has a stepsister who works there. She’s going to keep an eye on her,” Bear said.
There wasn’t much Bear and I agreed on, but taking care of Grace, even if it was behind her back, was one of those rare things that didn’t require an argument or a flip of a middle finger.
“Drop me at the club,” Bear said. “I don’t get my bike back from Dunn’s until the morning, right before we ride out.”
I nodded. While Grace was gone Bear was going to be out on a ride with the Bastards, something about something and them going somewhere. I didn’t really know the details because I really never listened to what he said, and right then there was something still nagging me about our earlier conversation. “I mean, you really wouldn’t get gay-married with me to help King’s kid? That’s kind of bullshit.” I knew it was odd to be offended because my very heterosexual friend wouldn’t marry his other very heterosexual friend in a gay-wedding to save the kid of their other very heterosexual friend, but there wasn’t a fucking thing I wouldn’t do to make shit right again. It wasn’t the fucking marriage part, it was the thought that Bear might not be in this as much as I was that was making me all twitchy.
Some fucking people.
With one hand on the front gate of the fence lining Grace’s yard, Bear stopped and turned around. “The truth? Ain’t nothing I wouldn’t do to get King’s kid back for him. And stop being such a dick, Preppy, because you fucking know that. Believe it or not, this shit isn’t all about you.”
I felt better knowing we were on the same page. “That might be true, but what’s also true is that all this sucks major fucking asshole.”
“That it does, my friend,” Bear agreed, pushing open the gate.
“Hey Bear, you want to know what they call gay marriage in states where it’s legal?” I asked as we reached the car.
“No, but I have a feeling you’re going to tell me anyway,” he said with a laugh, struggling to maintain his semi-permanent state of looking annoyed.
“Marriage, you fucking idiot,” I said, flicking him on the back of his head as I jogged over to my car. He shot me a tattooed middle finger.
* * *
“I came in like a wrecking baaaallll.” I belted out the open window at a bunch of teenagers walking across the causeway. The group of mostly girls scrunched up their noses in confusion as if they’d never been the victims of a drive-by-singing before.
“Fucking teenagers,” I muttered, propping my elbow up on the door and waving my hand through the wind to the beat of the music, continuing my radio duet at a volume not fully appreciated by most, and especially not appreciated by the party-pooper next to me who had a pained look on his face as if my singing was causing his dick to tie itself in a knot.
“We’re all feeling shitty about King and Max, Bear, but do you have to look so constipated?” I asked, punching him in the shoulder.
Bear was silent for a moment. He blew out a breath and scratched the back of his neck. “It’s not just King. It’s my old man too. He’s been all over me lately, even more than usual.” I parked outside of the gate. Bear looked up to the darkened clubhouse, staring at it like he could see something more than windows and walls.
“Fuck your old man,” I said. “That motherfucker best never step to me or I’ll show him the Preppy special.”
“What exactly is the Preppy special?” Bear asked, one bushy blond eyebrow quirked up.
I made the shape of a gun with my thumb and index finger and pointed it up to the clubhouse. “A bullet with a side of bow tie.” I shot my finger gun and made my best exploding gun noise with my mouth.
Bear laughed, not that fake-laugh shit he’d been trying to pass off as the real deal these last few weeks, but a real, live, genuine laugh, which was a relief to hear, considering the cloud of doom he’s been walking around in. Motherfucker could be so serious sometimes, it made my dick hurt.
Bear got out with a good-bye salute and disappeared behind the gate.
I headed to Mirna’s, feeling more determined then ever to get Max back for King, and protect the people I called family.
There was nothing I wouldn’t do.
No one I wouldn’t kill.
If only it were that fucking easy.
I have cum in my hair.