Still Jaded

Page 7


"She never introduced herself." I caught the lie, and he crumbled, but did so cutely. "She's in one of my political science classes. The girl is chick-smart, man. I didn't like how she treated you, though. You're family, so chick smart nothing. She's gotta go down."
"Let me guess, that's how you roll?"
Mental note: stop at the coffee kiosk every morning. So entertained.
He bobbed his head some more. "That's how my brothers roll. We take care of our own, and like I said, you're familia. You and your beau."
"Bryce will be happy to know that."
"I'll see you later tonight. We're playing sloshball. It's the ultimate game."
He bounded away in all his glorious surfer good looks, but I had to admit, I enjoyed the morning. Then, I thought about the party at their fraternity, and the knot came back again.
After my classes that day, I went to Donadeli's, Of course, it wasn't Donadeli's anymore. It had been sold. Marcus' family had moved. No one wanted to stay around a place where people knew your son had killed two girls, raped one of them, nearly killed Corrigan, and attempted to kill the object of his obsession—me. I would've left too.
So the old hangout was now called Sparky's. It was owned by another Italian family, but had been given a makeover. Instead of an Italian eatery, Sparky's resembled a fifties diner, complete with roller skates for the servers.
As soon as I slid into my normal corner booth, I glanced up and realized why Dorothy might not have liked me. She was one of the servers, and, judging by her grim look, I was pretty sure I was currently seated in her section.
I knew then that she had waited on me before.
As she started to roll my way, I sat back and considered calling Raz to come and eat with me.
"Can I get you a beverage to start?" she asked. The smile was forced.
"So you did have a change of clothes." I gestured towards her uniform, a pink vest over a black ruffled skirt. Her two dreadlocks had been pulled up in a ponytail, held together by a black ribbon. "I wouldn't want to wear that to classes either."
She kept her glare in check. "Do you want something to drink?"
"I'm sorry if I've been rude to you some other time. I'm just…no excuse, that's just what I do. I understand where the attitude comes from." I gestured to her and leaned back.
She opened her mouth to speak, but the doorbell jingled and Bryce entered. He stopped in the doorway, and all conversation lulled. I wasn't sure if it was the sight of the local jock celebrity or because Bryce had that natural charisma, but he demanded attention, always had, and it was usually the kind that set cops on edge, sent women into heat, and sparked worship from men. It didn't matter—people noticed him. And Dorothy was no exception.
He scanned the diner for me and then strolled towards me with that natural athletic physique.
Dorothy shifted on her feet when Bryce slid into the booth across from me.
"Hey," I murmured.
Bryce grinned and looked at Dorothy. "Did you order yet?"
Dorothy jumped.
It took me a moment to realize that he addressed me. "Uh, no, not yet. Dorothy and I were making peace."
She furrowed her brows.
"Or I had thought we were. You want a beer or something?"
"Yeah. I'll have a tall one on tap." He then shifted his attention to the menu before him.
"I'll have the same."
Dorothy skirted her gaze between Bryce and me. She wanted Bryce, that was obvious. The dilemma was that she couldn't ask him for identification without asking for mine as well. I knew she wanted to deny my drink, but she didn't want to deny him anything.
I smiled when Dorothy snapped her mouth closed and turned on her heel. As she stalked to the bar, I watched her shove the mugs underneath the tap before catching Bryce's smirk.
"You are not twenty-one."
"Bite me."
"I do. Often."
I rolled my eyes. "Shut up. And how'd you know I was here? You got GPS on me?"
Bryce chuckled and threw his arm on the back of his booth. "Corrigan told me you come here on Thursdays. I didn't believe him, not at first, but he kept insisting. Then he said you were an 'effing moron' so I knew it was true." He leaned closer. "Why do you come here?"
I knew the question was coming, but I didn't have an answer.
"It can't be because of the memories. We weren't very nice people back then."
"I was, just to the wrong person."
Bryce pondered that a moment and then started laughing. He shook his head. "Do you realize that you are mean to most people, but the one person you were nice to was a serial killer?"
I glared. "You're not making me feel better."
Bryce shrugged. "You're the idiot who comes here. He screwed up our lives, Sheldon. I don't get why you want to remember him."
I stared at him. "He screwed up my life. He killed Leisha and Bailey. He didn't screw up your life. You still went to Europe."
Bryce shot forward, "You are still furious about that, aren't you? You came with me, Sheldon. You didn't have to. I didn't make you."
I leaned to meet him halfway across the table, "And what else was I supposed to do? Be here alone? I killed someone. No matter how much he deserved it, I ended a human life. You don't think that ate me up inside? I may be a bitch, but I'm not heartless."
Two mugs of beer plopped down. Our heated discussion stopped as Bryce and I both leaned back and turned our attention toward our server. An unnamed emotion was brimming in her eyes as she looked between us. "Do you know what you want to order?"
Bryce cursed. "A burger and fries for me."
"What? No salad?" I taunted. "Aren't you in training? Don't the nutritionists have something to say about your diet?"
Bryce glared long and hard but didn't say a word.
I expelled a ragged sigh in an attempt to calm down and crossed my arms tight over my chest. After a few seconds of silence, I looked back and saw both Dorothy and Bryce were waiting for me.
"What?" I broke out.
Bryce ordered for me. "She'll have a side salad, Caesar dressing."
Dorothy closed her order pad, but I stopped her. "No. I want mashed potatoes. I want the cheesy ones…with bacon."