Preppy the life amp deat.., p.10
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       Preppy: The Life & Death of Samuel Clearwater, Part One, p.10
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         Part #5 of King series by T. M. Frazier
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  “I don’t have to listen to this!” Dre shook her head. “You don’t know a fucking thing about me!” She turned back toward the house. I grabbed her wrist, digging my fingers into her flesh.

  “You’re not going anywhere,” I said, spinning her back around.

  “Let me go!” she said, arching her back and planting her feet for leverage, but it didn’t matter how hard she was pulling, I wasn’t letting go.

  “No! Not until you tell me why you’re being such a fucking cunt right now.”

  “Fuck you!” she spat, her face reddening as she pulled harder and harder.

  “Always a possibility, Doc, but stay on the fucking subject.”

  “You want to know why I’m being this way?” She stopped struggling and stepped up to me, so close she had to crane her neck. “You!” She jabbed her finger into my chest. “My problem is you! You grow your plants and make your confusing sarcastic remarks and think that because you’ve got this unique beautiful charm thing going on, and you smile a lot, that you can do whatever you want. Well, newsflash. You can’t. You got the old ladies fooled but you aren’t fooling me. You don’t own me.” She tried to wedge her fingers under my arms to loosen my grip.

  I pulled her against me, roughly. I leaned down, my lips at her ear. “That’s where you’re wrong.”

  “You think you’re better than me,” she said. “But you’re not.” Her voice took on a serious tone. She lowered her head and stepped back. I allowed her the space but didn’t let go of her. “When you’ve gotten what you want from Mirna, you’re gonna pack up and go without another thought for her or her feelings, and she’s going to worry about you when you’re gone. She’s going to hurt when she doesn’t know where you are.” Her step faltered. She dropped to the ground and looked up at me with glassy eyes. “And it’s all because you caused her a kind of hurt that you can’t take back.” I released her wrist, and she rubbed the red mark on her arm and looked to the ground, shuffling her feet.

  “I don’t think we’re talking about me anymore, Doc.”

  “I don’t know what the fuck I’m talking about anymore,” she said, running her fingertips over the marks on her arms. “I did things. More than leading Conner and Eric here, knowing what they…what we intended to do. To my dad. To Mirna. I can’t erase what I put her through, but that’s all I think about.” She bit her bottom lip and shoved her hands into the pockets of her skirt, bringing the neckline down lower, exposing more of the top, rounded part of her tits.

  “You’re talking about the checks?”

  Her lips parted in surprise.

  “Mirna told me,” I said, before she could ask. I purposely left out the other part Mirna had told me she knew. “I told you, she’s not stupid.”

  Dre dropped her head to her knees. “What the fuck am I going to do now? I have to apologize.” She looked up to the house where Mirna was sitting by the window laughing with her friends, that glazed look easily noticeable even from the frontyard. “But I can’t.”

  “Doc?”

  She spun her head around and quirked a brow at my outstretched hand. I held the file in the other. “I think I know how we can help each other.”

  “How?”

  I crouched down in front of her. I tapped her on the forehead with the file. I flashed her my best reassuring smile. “First…” I brushed a curl off her shoulder, and she stiffened at my touch, “…you need to get your ass in the motherfucking car.”

  CHAPTER FOURTEEN

  PREPPY

  “Why is it so important to you to get King’s kid out of the system?” Dre asked after I explained to her the situation with King and Max.

  “Because he can’t do shit while he’s locked up, and because he’s not just my best friend. He’s family, and family fights for one another,” I said, turning onto a dirt road. It was pitch-black out, and where we were at there was no such thing as streetlights. Thankfully, I could find the place we were going drunk, high, and naked.

  And I have.

  “You make it sound so simple,” she said.

  “It is. When I was a kid there wasn’t anyone around to fight for me. My mom was a piece of shit and so was every single man who found their way into her fucking bedroom.” I shrugged like it was nothing, but I’d rather take a spike to the eye than talk about my childhood, but I needed Dre to understand the situation. “She was a junkie, a loser, a deplorable human being. I learned from her. She was a walking ‘what not to do’ guide to family.”

  “A junkie loser,” Dre repeated softly, looking out the window.

  “Ain’t no other way to describe her because that’s exactly what she was,” I said.

  “Go on.”

  I tapped my fingers to the beat of the Kane Brown song playing on the radio. “Mommy dearest was the worst of the worst, and not like she outright beat me or anything, but she wasn’t exactly a member of the PTA. There was this one guy that she married, well maybe she married him, she called him my stepdad, but I don’t remember a wedding or anything. Anyway, his name was Tim, he was the worst of them all.”

  “What did he do?” she asked, hesitantly, no longer looking out the window but at me.

  I cracked my jaw as I recalled the day King walked in and found Tim rutting into me like a fucking barnyard pig. “He beat the living shit out of me…amongst other things.”

  I heard her sharp intake of breath.

  “Don’t pity me.” I glanced over at Dre, who was picking at her nails and looking down at her lap. “I sure as shit don’t. Listen, life isn’t about what happened to you in your past, it’s about where you are now and where you’re going. Onward and upward and all that jazz.”

  “That’s very poetic,” Dre said. “But I’m surprised you moved on without seeking justice or revenge.”

  I smirked. “Oh, I got revenge. That fucker is very VERY…let’s just say what he is rhymes with, shed.”

  “How?” She shifted so she was sitting sideways. I leaned into her as well, until I was only inches from her face.

  “That’s not important,” I said, not able to help my smile as I recalled a teenaged King taking that fucker out of this world, like the fucking trash he was.

  “That’s actually kind of extraordinary,” Dre said after a long pause, her words taking me by surprise.

  “Why do you say that?”

  “Because, most people wouldn’t be able to recover from something that crippling.” And again, I didn’t know if she was talking about me or herself.

  I scoffed. “Nah, I just don’t let what that cocksucker did dictate my life. If I do, then he wins. Besides, him and my mom made my life so fucking miserable that now I appreciate every damn good thing that comes my way, and even some of the bad. If it weren’t for them, I wouldn’t have recognized King as my brother that first day on the playground at school, or taken to Grace when she showed a kid wearing wrinkled pants a bit of kindness.”

  “WRINKLED pants?” Dre asked, dramatically opening her mouth in mock surprise, and my mind immediately went to something else she could do with those lips that could make her gasp.

  Or gag.

  I cleared my throat and looked away. “Yeah, now THAT would probably go down as the biggest tragedy of my childhood. By far.”

  Dre giggled, and the sound did something to suck the heaviness from the air like a vacuum.

  I pulled in between two pine trees and killed the engine, leaving the radio on. I flipped off my headlights and the still waters of the Caloosahatchee appeared spread out in front of us. To the right was the causeway, its high back out of the water like the Loch Ness monster doing stretches. The shore, on the other side of the river, twinkled with lights from hotels and condos. Occasionally, a set of headlights would appear from the other side and travel over the causeway like a slow moving shooting star over the beasts back.

  “It’s beautiful here,” Dre said, leaning over the dashboard and looking out over the water. “I forgot how much I love it here. My summers here with Mirna were t
he best of my life.”

  “Me too,” I admitted.

  She sighed and sat back against the seat. “So you need to get Max out of the system. How exactly can I help with that?”

  I picked the file up from my center console and set it on her lap. I leaned over to her with my chin resting just above her shoulder. I wet my thumb on my tongue when a few of the pages wanted to be assholes and stick together. When I got them separated I plucked the paper I needed out of the file and held it up, only to find Dre staring at my mouth when I handed it to her. “What?”

  She put her hands on the seat and shifted like she couldn’t get comfortable. “Nothing,” she said, pointing down to the file again. “What is all this?”

  “I’m going to need your talents if I’m going to make any of this work.”

  “Talents?” she asked, looking confused. “Did Mirna tell you I had some sort of talent? Because I think you might of caught her during one of her bad times. The only talent I have is sabotaging my own life.” She tapped her index finger a few times against the seam of her lips. “Oh!” she exclaimed with a snap of her fingers. Leaning closer, she placed a hand on the side of her lips as if she were warding off lip readers. “When I was in kindergarten I ALWAYS colored inside the lines. Although, I’m sad to say I never pursued it professionally.” She sighed deeply. “One of my many many regrets in life.”

  I found myself smiling back at Dre, and it sure as shit wasn’t as a result of her joke, because it wasn’t nearly as funny as she seemed to think it was. But if smiles were infectious then Dre’s was the plague of smiles.

  Extremely contagious.

  “Listen, Doc, I have no doubt that you were a coloring badass at one time. A Crayola savant, if you will. Unfortunately, that skill isn’t really going to work in this particular situation,” I said, nodding to the papers on her lap. “I need to create a paper trail so I look like an exceptional citizen in every way.” I leaned back against the door. “Like Martha Stewart.”

  Dre lifted her head and scrunched up her nose. “Martha Stewart did time for insider trading.”

  I sat back up. “Then John Stewart, or Tony Stewart, or whichever Stewart looks like someone the state would want to give a kid to. Fuck, even Kristen Stewart would do,” I said. “Although, I hear she’s a lesbian now, which is awesome by the way, but if she lived here they might not give her a kid ’cause Florida’s southern and very conservative,” I said, repeating Grace’s words.

  “Well, we are in Florida, it doesn’t get much southern then that,” Dre said.

  “Yeah,” I agreed. “We’re so southern that we’re below the bible belt. We’re like…the cock of the south.” Dre laughed.

  “Did you know that gay marriage isn’t a thing here yet?” I asked.

  “I actually did know that,” Dre said, tilting her head to the side while she went over the papers. “Well, I knew that. I can’t exactly say I’m up to date on current events just yet.”

  Normally, when I went off on a tangent, especially to someone who didn’t know me very well, most people liked to call me out when I’ve veered off track and would try to and rein me back in. I was beginning to notice that Dre didn’t do that. In fact, every time my brain steered me off course, she’d let me go with it until I found my way back around on my own.

  It was…different.

  “Long story short is that I need to be a model citizen, and the list in that file tells us what we are going to need to make that happen. Since I can’t exactly prove a lot of that shit the legit way, I need your skills to create them.” I got out of the car and she followed, file in hand. I leaned against the hood and lit a joint, inhaling the smoke along with the salty air. Dre’s head was still in the papers as I continued, her bottom lip between her teeth. “At first, before Mirna told me what a diabolical genius you were with the forgery, I was going to get you a job at the clerks office and see what you could do to move things along. You know emails, files, signature stamps. Whatever might help,” I explained. “But when she told me you created the check itself, watermark and all…I figured we could use that talent to make a big dent in that list a lot faster.”

  She didn’t answer, instead her face twisted like she was in pain. She shifted sideways pulling up one of her knees and unknowingly exposing a strip of white panties between her legs before rearranging her dress. The memory of her smell, the taste of her on my tongue, flooded my senses and had me momentarily forgetting why I was there, because Dre’s stunning-as-fuck pussy had shoved aside the red velvet rope and stolen the first spot in line at a club I desperately wanted to shove my cock inside.

  If it was beautiful when it was battered, I couldn’t imagine how perfect it looked pink, puffy, and wet with excitement.

  “Okay, but how the hell does it fix this shit with Mirna?” she asked. I offered her the joint and she rolled her eyes.

  “Tell me, Doc. What are your plans when the assisted living place has an opening and Mirna moves to Sarasota?” I asked, blowing smoke rings out into the night.

  She shrugged. “I hadn’t thought too much about it. I can’t go back to my dad.”

  Actually, you could.

  “Okay, let me be more direct. Where do you plan on living? Mirna’s?”

  “Maybe. If it’s okay with her. I wouldn’t make any assumptions, though. I’d have to ask her.”

  “See, that’s where you’re wrong. You can’t stay at Mirna’s when she moves.”

  She pushed off the hood and stood in front of me. Any closer and I could pull her between my legs. “I think we should leave that up to Mirna to decide.”

  “But it’s not up to her.”

  She threw up her hands in frustration. “Then who is it up to?”

  I grabbed the file and pulled out the warranty deed Mirna had given me earlier. “The big-dicked, well dressed motherfucker who owns the house, of course.”

  * * *

  DRE

  “You’ve got to be fucking kidding me,” I said, not believing what I was holding in my hand.

  “Doc, I’m hurt. You know how very serious of a person I am,” Preppy said with his hands over his heart.

  “So you’re saying if I do this, forge the documents you need, then what, you’ll let me stay there when Mirna goes to Sarasota? That’s blackmail.”

  “I know you’re upset but there’s no need to be racist.”

  “Seriously!” I said. “What, you want me to rent it from you?” I asked, shocked by what I was holding. I didn’t give a damn about Mirna’s possessions or her house, and I could understand why I wouldn’t be the best choice to handle her affairs, but that didn’t mean it still didn’t sting.

  “No, not like rent it from me.” Preppy shook his head. “If this works and we get Max back, then the house is yours, free and clear. I’ll sign it over to you and you’ll never have to worry about not having anywhere to stay ever again. And before you jump to any conclusions, I didn’t weasel the house from Mirna in some scam where I forced her to marry me or anything. I didn’t even know she was transferring the title. She just sprung this on me today.”

  I was quiet for a moment. Glancing down at the paper, then out at the water again and again, without a single clear thought about what had just happened registering.

  “If it helps any, your forgery skills are top notch. Where did you learn all that shit?”

  “Wowed?” I asked at his strange compliment.

  “Yeah and I’ve never really been WOWED before. Okay, maybe once, but it was during American Ninja Warrior, and that guy who won was an amputee and god damned war hero. You’d have to be made of fucking stone to speak during the commentators touching tribute while the camera zoomed in on his prosthetic leg and the star spangled banner played in the background.”

  Her face contorted like she was about to be sick. “It’s not a wow at all. It’s not something I’m proud of, one of many things.”

  I scoffed. “We’ve all done shit we’re not proud of, but for most people that involve
s getting drunk and doing something fun that someone else disapproves of. Most people’s ‘shit their not proud of file’ doesn’t involve forging complicated documents, though. I mean, is forgery the new thing all the kids are doing? Maybe not, because if it were a new thing then there would for sure be a porn parody about it already and since I haven’t come across anything titled Teenaged Asian Forgers Take it Real Deep, I don’t think the forgery trend is going to be all the rage anytime soon.”

  “It was mostly Conner. He was always trying to literally print money. I just picked up a few things along the way,” I admitted. “I’m going to pay her back every last cent, plus interest, you know,” I said. “I know that’s THE lie a lot of users tell themselves and others in order to follow through with whatever bad idea they had in mind, but I really am going to pay her back.”

  Preppy pushed off the hood. “I believe you,” he said, with actual sincerity in his voice. “Think of how much faster you’ll be able to do that when you don’t gotta worry about a roof over your
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