Preppy the life amp deat.., p.10
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       Preppy: The Life & Death of Samuel Clearwater, Part Two, p.10
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         Part #6 of King series by T. M. Frazier
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  Thia. “Ladies, I think this one here could use a drink.”

  “Yes!” Ray said, holding up her own beer dripping with condensation. Thia looked at it lovingly. Like it was an old friend she missed dearly. I tried not to laugh, hiding my smile behind my hand. “I’ll show you where the coolers are,” Ray said, hooking her arm with mine. She led me away from Brandon who offered to help Thia back up the steps into the house to find Bear.

  Ray showed me where the coolers were against her house in the back. There was a crowd of people in all forms of sitting, standing, and leaning, around the bonfire in the backyard. The smell of cigarette smoke and weed hovered in the still night air. Ray reached into one of the coolers and twisted off the top of a beer, she handed it to me.

  I took a sip of the bubbly liquid, scanning the crowd before me. I told myself I wasn’t looking for HIM, but I knew it was a lie. I would also have been lying to myself if I said that the tight high waisted black pencil skirt I was wearing that hugged my hips and ass wasn’t for him. Neither was the fitted blue polka dotted tank top with the heart shaped bra cups that pushed my cleavage up to unbelievable limits. Neither was the hour I spent curling my hair into perfect barrel curls and trimming my bangs to fall just right off to the side. Or the bright red on my lips or the dab of perfume behind my ears.

  So even if it WAS for him. It was for me too.

  It had been a long time since I’d dressed in the pin-up style that I loved so much, but the second my foot hit the ground on Logan’s Beach soil I felt a need to wear the clothes I loved to feel more connected to the place I loved. I rarely wore jewelry but I’d slipped on my grandmother's tiny diamond engagement ring that my grandpa had given to her when he proposed and she’d given to me when I was still just a kid and couldn’t appreciate it like I did now. I’m glad my dad had it tucked away in a safety deposit box and given it to me as a gift after I completed rehab, because there was no doubt if I’d had it earlier that I would have pawned it at some point during what I started to refer to in my head as THE DARK YEARS.

  I didn’t spot Preppy but I instantly recognized Billy, the chef who cooked the crab Preppy and I had caught. It wasn’t hard to spot him, it’s not like I could miss him. He was almost seven feet tall, standing at least a head taller than most of the crowd and the bulk of his body was massive. The jean overalls he wore without a shirt underneath wasn’t exactly an outfit that blended in either. He stood at the very back of the crowd, a mason jar to his lips.

  I tapped my foot to the Kane Brown song playing over the speaker perched on the bottom step of the back porch and pretended like I was relaxing when in reality I felt like my airway was tightening, cutting off my ability to breath with each passing second.

  King came over to us, tipped his head to acknowledge me, and grabbed her by hand, dragging her off without saying a word.

  Very caveman, I thought.

  Very fucking hot.

  Thia found Bear because I spotted them standing by the bonfire where King had pushed his way to the front, pulling Ray behind him but I didn’t see Brandon anywhere.

  Suddenly I felt an awareness course through my body. It hit me so hard my nipples tightened under my shirt. I knew exactly who I was going to see when I turned around toward where I felt the pull rippling through the air. I held my breath. I knew he’d be there.

  But I wasn’t prepared for how I felt when I saw him.

  Sweaty palms. Rapidly beating heart. A feeling of excitement and panic all at the same time.

  It was just like when I started using heroin. Right before I plunged the needle in my arm there was a feeling almost as good as the high itself.

  The anticipation. The fear.

  I knew deep inside that it didn’t matter how prepared I was to see him, because I’d never be prepared for the way Preppy made me feel.

  The second I spotted him in the crowd I knew that this wasn’t going to be some sort of warm and fuzzy reunion.

  No, it was a fucking relapse.

  CHAPTER TWELVE

  PREPPY

  “Not this fucking guy again!” a high pitched feminine voice behind me shouted, a girl of blonde hair flashed in front of my eyes but I didn’t need to see her face to know who the source of that annoying voice was.

  I turn around and I’m face to face with Rage. Literally the only living person on the planet who knows how to push every button I have by just existing. Also, she was the only hot chick on the planet who might as well not have a vagina because there was nothing about her that myself or little Preppy liked. NOTHING. “Oh my shit! Who invited Suzie Home-Killer to the party?” I asked outlaid. “Don’t you have puppies to off or something, Rage? Should I hide the coyote so you don’t stake it in the heart for shits and giggles?”

  She pointed at me with her beer bottle. “For your information that fucking coyote loves me and so does Thia so behave yourself if you know how to. Oh, and I’m glad to see you ditched the ugly bow tie,” she said, pointing to the collar of my t-shirt. “It was a dead trend.”

  I pursed my lips. “That’s funny, especially when I’m pretty sure everyone you’ve ever met becomes a dead trend at some point.”

  She cocked her head to the side. “Well then I wouldn’t stand too close if I were you,” she said, taking a step forward.

  I took a step toward her in challenge. “Doesn’t bother me. Haven’t you heard? I’ve already been dead.”

  She laughed and if you didn’t know she was Satan anyone else would take it as a genuine laugh like I’d just told a funny joke. “That’s right, I forgot to ask you,” she made a show of clearing her throat. “Hey loser, do anything fucking stupid lately? You know, like getting captured and tortured? I mean, for the record I’m glad you’re back from the dead by the way, if anything just so I can make fun of you for being stupid enough to get killed in the first place.”

  I scoffed. “Oh yeah? You think getting killed is stupid? I’m not the one who throws a fucking temper tantrum and all of a sudden a city block falls to the streets.”

  Rage rolled her eyes. “OMG it was like two buildings at the most.”She paused. “That time.” She smiles in a sly way that tells me that she’s still proud of the work she’s done.

  “As pleasant as ever, Rage,” I said, stepping back and taking a swig of my beer, searching the suddenly empty lawn for anyone to talk to other than Genghis Rage.

  “Well, I can’t say I’m not disappointed to see you amongst the living again,” she said, buffing her french manicured nails on her hot pink t-shirt that read NO FUCKS GIVEN.

  I looked at her right in her cold dead blue eyes. “Funny, I’m deliriously happy I’m alive but standing here right now, looking at you, it’s the first time I’m kind of fucking wishing I was still dead too. You know, but not as dead as your soul.”

  She smiled wickedly. “I’ve always loved your compliments, Samuel,” she sang whimsically, batting her lashes for a beat before returning the disapproving frown to her face.

  “Almost as much as I love thinking about how they’re going to cast your episode of “Making of a Serial Killer.”

  “If you want to be dead again just say the fucking word and it can be arranged,” she spat, squaring her feet.

  “You wanna go, bitch?” I said, jumping back on my heels and raising my fists like a boxer. “‘Cause we can go right now.”

  “With pleasure,” Rage said. She was about to set her beer down in the grass when a voice interrupted us.

  “That’s enough, kids,” said a tall biker who put his arm around Rage. I waited for her to push him off and jump back into wanting to fight me mode but her entire demeanor softened at his touch and surprisingly she didn’t even flinch.

  “Oooooh. I see that Bomber Barbie has found herself a Ken?” I asked looking from Rage to the biker.

  “Watch it,” the guy warned, protectively standing in front of Rage who stood on her tiptoes and scowled over his shoulder before stepping out in front of him.

  “It’s good
to see that Rage isn’t dead inside like we’d thought for so long. Hi, I’m Preppy,” I said extending my hand.

  “Nolan,” the man offered with a shake and a small smile that told me he was trying his hardest not to laugh. Another biker in a matching cut walks up and hands Nolan a beer, he puts his arms over his shoulder and they huddle together, whispering what my guess would be about stupid biker bitch shit.

  “Speaking of people who’s souls you murder, where’s Smoke?” I asked. Smoke was her mentor and a fuck of a tracker. I was only asking because I’d already heard that he’d left town for good and it was in some way her fault although I didn’t know all the details.

  She shrugged and the angry V lines in her forehead straightened out. “Got no clue these days,” she said, putting her hands in her back pockets and rocking back on her heels.

  “Hopefully far a fucking way,” Nolan said through his gnashed teeth, chiming in over his shoulder.

  “Nolan,” she warned, taking a much softer tone I’d ever heard her use before but Nolan was already back to his conversation with the other biker.

  “O.M.G. You’re dick whipped! I whispered, pointing to Nolan. Aren’t you? Wow, this is fucking amazing. Tell me, was it his cock or the fact that he doesn’t murder babies in their sleep that made you go from Ted Bundy to Teddy Bear? Tell me, are you planning on doing that whole black widow thing where you get close to them before slitting their throats in their sleep one by one? Cause I’m not gonna lie, that’s a pretty cool fucking plan.”

  “I’m not a character in a comic book, asshole. And I don’t kill babies,” she snarled. “And I don’t kill anyone in their sleep. That’s just...rude.”

  I shrugged and took another sip of my beer. “Whatever you tell yourself so you can sleep at night. Or wait, DO YOU sleep now or are you still hanging from the ceiling like a fucking bat?”

  Rage glared at me without answering but the glare said it all. If looks could kill. Well, they didn’t need to because SHE could kill.

  I reached in my pocket for my smokes and lit one. Rage made a show of waving the smoke out of her face although it was nowhere near her. “You do sleep? Wow, it’s like I don’t even know you anymore. Tell me, what are the other main differences between the raging bitch you were and the raging bitch you’ve become?” I crossed my arms over my chest and leaned in like I couldn’t wait to hear her answer.

  “Fuck off, Preppy.”

  “Oh come on, Rage. You can do better than that. I mean it’s just so nice to see that you’ve settled down and with a BIKER no less. I really had no idea that you were home knitting scarves and planning babies. I apologize for everything I’ve said, Rage,” I offered, raising my hands in mock surrender. She flipped me off. “It’s totally cool that you’re barefoot in the kitchen. Feminism is for the birds and all that. Oh shit, does this mean you’re gonna be the soccer mom?”

  “What about you?” she asked, pointing to the kids running around in the yard. “Doesn’t exactly look like you’re all alone here.”

  “Yeah, well, still feels like I am,” I muttered, offering that bit of truth since we were all being honest with our hatred and all.

  “I know all too well what you mean,” she said, looking up to Nolan who was still deep in conversation.

  “Did we just agree on something?” I asked with a shake of my head and a tinge of disgust in my voice. “Listen, the universe is already fucked up. We don’t need this kind of karma in our lives.”

  “No, we did not agree on anything,” she argued. “I was just saying how fucking boring your life is and then I wanted to add how shitty you look after a few months of mild torture.” She leaned in and whispered. “I bet you screamed like a bitch,” she pulled back and took a sip of her beer.

  A part of me. A part deep DEEP down part of me liked that Rage had no filter and said whatever was on her mind. It was refreshing in a way because everyone else seemed to be walking on fucking eggshells around me and in a way Rage was right. It was getting really fucking boring.

  “Is that what Nolan does?” I asked with a wink. “Does he make you scream like a bitch or do you just pull out your cock and compare who’s is bigger?”

  I could hear her audibly growl and then sigh heavily. “Well, Preppy, it’s been real. Until we’re forced together in the same social situation again, which hopefully isn’t any fucking time soon,” she said clinking the neck of her beer to mine with a fake smile plastered on her face that dropped before she even turned back around. She stomped passed Nolan, catching his attention, his head spinning in her direction while she muttered, “Pussy, can’t take torture like a fucking man.”

  I responded with a muttering of my own, “Aeropostale Assassin.”

  “You know,” I said to Nolan whose buddy had just walked off toward the house. “Sometimes I think the reason she’s so hot is because of that flaming poker shoved up her ass.”

  Surprisingly, Nolan chuckled instead of punching me in the face as he watched Rage stalk off, his focus primarily on her swaying ass. “Hot. Yeah, she most definitely is,” he said, biting his bottom lip and rocking his weight from one leg to the other. “I ummmm... I gotta go...” his words trailed off as he chased after Rage who I’m sure was on her way toward whatever circle of hell she usually crawled into to seek solace from her bruised ego.

  I took a deep drag of my cigarette. In a way Rage and I hating each other was the most normal thing I’d experienced since I’d been back and for a brief moment I felt a little better. Slightly lighter. Like all wasn’t right with the world, far fucking from it, but maybe, just MAYBE it could be.

  Someday.

  I felt so good that I almost believed my own lie and that to me was progress.

  It also might have been the blow.

  Blow or progress, either way I was starting to feel pretty fucking good.

  That is until I tipped up my beer up to my mouth and caught a glimpse of a feminine figure through the green glass of the bottle. A figure, although distorted and blurred, the orange glow of the burning torches glowing on both sides of her, I would recognize anywhere. I kept the bottle to my lips a full thirty seconds after I’d drained it, thinking that what I was seeing was a figure of my imagination as it had cruelly been so many times before. Slowly, I lowered the bottle and I was able to see her clearly for the first time in a long time.

  My breath hitched in my throat. She was still the most beautiful woman I’d ever seen.

  Dark hair, short tight skirt, and bright red fuckable lips.

  My wife was home.

  ****

  “Attention everyone,” King said, standing on wooden bench butted up against the brick edge surrounding the bonfire pit. The flames rose at least five feet above his head. He reached down and pulled Ray up to stand with him on the bench. Even in the dark I could see her face turning bright red with embarrassment as she hid her face in her hands, peering out through the spaces between her fingers before covering back up again. King pulled her hand from her face and took it in his own. He held up a bottle of whiskey to the party-goers who had all gathered around to hear what he had to say. Public speaking wasn’t exactly King’s thing. SPEAKING wasn’t exactly his thing, but as he looked down at Ray and spoke to the crowd there were none of the mutters or grunts that I remembered King using to communicate. In fact, the motherfucker was downright articulate, albeit I detected a tad bit drunk as well.

  “We have a lot to celebrate tonight,” he started, his eyes scanning the crowd until they met mine. “The first thing being that my best fucking friend in the world has come back from the fucking dead!” He took a swig from his bottle and raised it in the air, pointing it toward me and I did the same.

  The crowd clapped and screamed, their voices swirling around me like a tornado of noise, pushing me back and forth. I wobbled on my feet, trying to stay upright. I was about to fall over when King raised his hands and got the crowd to die down, oblivious of the state I was in. I opened and closed my mouth, moving my jaw around
in an attempt to get my ears to pop but it wasn’t working. Nothing was working. I was a prisoner to the noise that assaulted me like toxic arrows shot into my fucking eardrums. “The second thing we have to celebrate is that now that I have my best men here with me. My family. It feels right now. So Ray and I here are getting married in two weeks right here and you are all better be coming to our fucking wedding!”

  The crowd erupted even louder than before and I felt like a cannon had exploded next to my ear. King picked up Ray who wrapped her legs around his waist as he kissed her for all to see, claiming her with his mouth. Someone whistled from behind me, the sound piercing through my skull. My vision shifted from blurry to clear then back again. I swayed on my feet. When the attention was off of me I stumbled through the crowd toward the house, tripping over people who probably thought I was just drunk as I barreled through them like a blind bull charging.

  The world was spinning. I covered my one ear with one hand and felt for the wall of the house with the other. A pair of hands grabbed my shoulders and my fight instincts kicked in. I shook them off and jumped back, raising my fist in the air. It was then my eyes chose to focus again, but the pressure behind them was unbearable. I looked the ground at tiny feminine bare feet with red toe-nail polish. I traveled up bare calves to the black skirt that stopped right below her knees and I nodded, trying to let her know she could guide me. She got the message and again touched my shoulders. I flinched but realized as her hand slid down my arm and she guided me to the front of the house. Away from the crowd. Away from the noise. Away from the nightmare that both of those things brought me time and time again.

  “I was lost,” I said, breathlessly, not exactly sure what I was trying to say, although Dre seemed to understand. She gripped my arm tighter.

  “You were, but I found you.”

  DRE

  “Just give me a minute,” Preppy said, breathing heavily. He
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