♥ Check out this peek at the first chapter in Hurt You!
I hit the intercom that’s in every room of this godforsaken house. “Yes Mrs. Valentino? What can I do for you?” Maude one of the maids, my husband custom picked replies to my summons.
“I’d like a bottle of white, chilled.”
“It doesn’t matter.”
I cut Maude off, this could go on forever. “Maude, I don’t care just bring me something, will you?”
“Yes dear,” she finally says. Minutes later there is a knock on the door.
“Come in,” I command. She doesn’t look at me. They never do. My husband likes it that way. I could only imagine what an interview with him must be like. ‘How are you at imagining people don’t exist?’ Maude pours a glass and begins to walk out of the room with the bottle.
“Leave it. In fact, I’m getting into the tub in a few minutes. Why don’t you bring me another bottle so it’s here when I finish this one off.”
I walk past her, grab the glass and the bottle then head into my master bath locking the door behind me.
I take a sip and the dry wine coats my tongue. She went with the Chardonnay. I turn the hot water on and the tub begins to fill. The house is quiet except for the water hitting the tub. I take another sip. Then I take a gulp.
I drop my robe and stare at my naked body in the mirror. Who is this woman staring back at me? I’m not sure I even know. My hair is freshly dyed, a rich dark red that has black undertones. It nearly touches my ass. My lashes will last me another two weeks, but they do their job making my eyes look less hollow. My body is what shows the biggest change. I used to be curvy and sexy. My breasts, that pushed a D cup are now smaller, closer to a small C. I used to have hips that I loved to sway, now my bones jut out and my thighs are gone. There are a lot of things I miss. My body is just one of them.
I submerge myself into the hot water, keep my glass of wine in my hand and the bottle close. The water is hot singeing my skin pink. I finish my glass and decide to drink it straight from the bottle. I never used to be a fancy girl. My eyes close, and it’s like I can see him. This is the only place I really can. I remember it all so clearly and I wish I had a different choice to make. Life doesn’t always give you easy choices. You just have to do the best you can. Right now, I’m choosing to close my eyes and live in the past, if only for a while. Maybe here, I can remember what it was like when he touched me.
It was a break-up like many other break-ups. It ended with me crushing his heart, breaking a few things and then walking away. I always had to walk away, no matter how much they wanted me to stay. Drew was a nice one too. He was an amazing lover, the things he could do with his tongue, but then, he had to go and do it. He had to fall in love with me. I was pissed. I don’t want them to love me. Loving me can get them hurt. Drew, sweet Drew. He didn’t understand why I didn’t love him back and that is why when he grabbed me, begging me to stay, I lost it. I was ticked. Not particularly at him but at my whole situation. I threw things and broke things until he called me a crazy bitch and then I left. Anger was so much better than love.
High on adrenaline from my fight with Drew I decided to grab a beer and I pulled into the first bar I saw. I’d never been into this bar before but a sign reading Benny’s over the door and a bunch of motorcycles parked out front gave me the impression that it was the type of place I could have fun at. The type of placed I needed.
Walking in the bar, I noticed a bunch of bikers with a logo on the back of their vest; The Devil’s Crusaders. Even though, I was raised in Little Italy, I have always known who The Devil’s Crusaders are. Heck I don’t think you could live in a hundred mile radius of Wakeman and not know who they are.
I saw a girl sitting at the bar. She was pretty, brown hair, fair skin and she had a fierce laugh that told me she knew how to live. Something the older bartender must have said had her in stitches. I also noticed that she was ignoring all the guys around her. Maybe she knew something I didn’t? I decided the empty seat next to her was as good as any.
“Jack, bring me another shot!” the girl said.
A man with white hair and a white beard set a shot down in front of her. “What are you drinking?” he asked me.
“Get me whatever she’s drinking, it looks like I’m having the same kind of night.”
“The girl smiled at me, “Oh I doubt you can handle what I’m drinking.”
God do I love a challenge.
“Oh, I definitely can handle what you’re drinking.”
Jack slid two shots in front of us. And I lifted the glass, “Bottoms up.” I said clanking the glass against the girls.
“She didn’t even flinch Jack.” The girl said to Jack and then turned to me, “You didn’t even flinch.” I smiled liking her enthusiasm for alcohol.
“That was amazing. What is it?” I asked.
“It’s an Alabama Slammer with Jack Daniels.”
“Have you ever had an Irish Hammer? It’s Jack, Irish Mist and Bailey’s.” I asked.
“No, but that sounds awesome. Jack, make us two Irish Hammers.”
I opened my purse, “I got this round.” I said.
“Oh no, you don’t, I can’t pay for a drink around here if I tried.”
“Thanks. My name’s Jenny by the way.”
She looked at me confused and then asked, “You don’t know who I am do you?”
“No should I?”
She shook her head no and then stuck her handout, “Name’s Maura, Maura McCafferty. Nice to meet you.”
“So what’s your story? You can’t be twenty-one can you?” I asked because she looked like she could be in high school.
“No, I’m not, but it doesn’t matter here. You see all these guys with patches on? Well, they’re my family and the patch says I don’t have to be twenty-one to drink.” I looked around understanding why she thought I should know who she was. She was a Devil’s Crusader. “And that guy over there with the small ponytail,” she motioned with her head to her left.
“Yeah, he is, but he is like my brother and I can’t get a date for the life of me. He chases every guy off. If I stood up right now and flashed the bar my tits, and asked if anyone wanted to get lucky, do you know what would happen?”
“I’m guessing I can see where this is going, but what would happen?”
“They would turn around, and no one would look accept maybe Dawson.”
“Is ponytail Dawson?”
“Yes, but most people call him Daws.” she said rolling her eyes, then she asked, “So that’s my story, what’s yours?”
“I just broke up with Drew.”
“Was that a bad thing?” she asked.
“He did this thing with his tongue, it was fucking fantastic. But he was a little too into me, I wasn’t feeling it.” A tiny built of guilt passes through me when I say this.
“At least he was a good kisser.”
“Oh honey, no one said anything about kissing, he was a good flicker, and the way that boy swirled it, wow.”
She started laughing, a deep belly chuckle, “Hey Jack, get us another round.”
“To men who know how to use their tongues.” I raised the shot glass.
“To getting a man to use his tongue on me.” Maura clinked my shot glass.
We sat, we drank and we laughed at everything. I have a big family and a ton of cool women in my life, but I hadn’t connected this well with another chick, in well, ever.
We were maybe eight shots deep when the real fun began. “Jukebox time!” I hollered. A few guys watched us, some from their club and some that were not. I saw a couple of guys get up to dance with us but were quickly given looks by Maura’s Crusaders that said ‘Don’t even think about it.’
“No wonder you can’t get laid,” I yelled a little too loudly.
“No kidding right. Did you see that cute guy with the hat? He was about to come over here,” she admitted.
“I’m going to have to do something about that. I know, I’ll yell tits really loud and you go talk to him.”
“That doesn’t even make sense. Everyone will be interested in your tits, look at those things,” she said and she snort giggled. She friggin snort giggled!
“I know they will be interested in my tits. They’ll be so distracted that you can talk to him without anyone giving you a hard time.”
“You’d be willing to show your tits in this room just so I could talk to a guy?” she asked.
“Won’t be my finest hour, but I’d be willing to do it for you. I think you could use a reprieve.”
“How right you are, but the girls can stay under wraps.” She nodded in the direction of the guy who now had some blonde gyrating on one knee.
“You know what this calls for?” I said.
“Shots!” we both screamed in unison and walked off our makeshift dance floor and back to the bar. Jack looked us both over, “You think maybe you two have had enough?” he asked.
“How about a redheaded slut?” I countered and ignored Jack’s question. A little bit of Jagger and lots more giggles later had us on the floor in stitches. I was trying to show Maura how to twerk, a dance move that I myself have never mastered and was not very good at, hence why we were on the floor. Jack flicked the lights and yelled last call. “Shit I’m drunk,” I said and did a slight hiccup.
“Shit me too.” Maura laughed.
“Ut oh ponytail is behind you?” I said directing Maura’s attention to the biker standing over her, after all we were on our asses.
“You two must have done fifteen shots, I think you’re done for the night,” Dawson said.
“My brother is going to kick my ass when he sees how hammered I am. Cause there is no way I can drive.” I tell Maura sobering up at the idea of Carlo having to come get me.
“I can’t drive either. I’m leaving my bike here.” Maura said.
“You have a bike?”
“Hell yeah, I do! She’s so pretty you have to see her.”
“Maura, you’ll ride with me. You need me to call your friend a cab?” Dawson asked.
“She is going to be waiting forever at this hour for a cab. Hey Jules!” Maura yelled to one of the bikers who was just taking the last swig of his beer.
“What’s up Maura,” Jules answered. I locked eyes with the man, but only for a second and I was surprised I didn’t notice him earlier. He had dyed bleach blonde hair that was long on top and shaved on the sides. His eyes were an icy blue that didn’t give much away. They seemed guarded. He was good looking in that don’t fuck with me I’m a badass kind of way.
“Jenny’s coming to the clubhouse with us. You got her?” Maura asked.
His eyes raked over me, first my eyes, then my full lips. I could feel his gaze as it trailed down past my breasts, hips, then legs and back up again. I kid you not, I felt naked under his stare. Then as quickly as his eyes were on me they were gone. “Yeah,” he said in a barely audible tone.
We walked outside and some of the guys were already taking off on their bikes. Maura hopped on the back of Daws’ bike. The way she threw a leg over told me she was a pro. Surprisingly enough, I had never been on a bike before. Jules got on his bike and backed it out of his parking spot then motioned for me to get on. I did what Maura did, giggling at myself as I did it, well ‘cause I was hammered and life is just a little more amusing through drunk goggles.
“Been watching you. Can’t believe you’re standing let alone laughing. You’re not gonna puke on me are you?”
I shook my head and laughed even though something about how he said he was watching me slid over me and his words wrapped around me. It could have been the Jagger, but I was feeling all sorts of warm, and somehow, I knew it had to do with him.
“Good to know. Never saw a woman who could keep up with Maura.” That was it, all he said before he took off and his pipes rumbled. I leaned into him and held tight. Seconds later we were stopping at a traffic light. We were the last in the line of bikes. Some had made the light and only Maura and Daws remained in front of us.
If I wasn’t so intoxicated maybe I would have known that I was being watched. It felt like everything was in slow motion. The black Range Rover with big shiny wheels approached and slowed as it pulled up alongside us. The windows were tinted near black. We couldn’t see in. But I knew. I knew he was behind the glass watching me. He slowed just enough to drill it into my head that he would always be here watching, waiting. Then, just as fast, he peeled away and blew through the light. I saw Daws look back and make eye contact with Jules. Maybe they thought Antonio did that because of the Devil’s Crusader’s vest, but I knew different.
I felt Jules’s fingers glide over my own. I realized I must have tensed when Antonio passed us and I was clinging to him like I thought he could save me, but there was no saving me.
“You good?” he asked.
“Why wouldn’t I be?” I lied and his eyes narrowed on me.
The drive to the clubhouse was longer than I expected. The roads wound up hills and there was a chilly bite to the air. It didn’t matter, I was drunk and enjoying the buzz. The freeness of the road just magnified it. I had never had a reason to come this way before, but it would become a road I traveled frequently.
We pulled through a gate that was already open and waiting for us. The clubhouse was more like a large warehouse with a garage across from it with several large bay doors. We walked through an unmarked door and into a huge bar. Most of the guys from Benny’s were also here but now many of them had women hanging on them. I wondered where theses ladies came from, it was if they materialized, just in time for the boys to get here.
The bar was in the middle of the room separating it into two sides. On one side, there was a pool table and Foosball table with long vinyl bench seats around it. Then on the other side of the room there were tables, a couch that housed a woman with very large tits right out in the open kissing another scantily dressed chick and a stage that was currently empty but based on the stripper pole was often a source of entertainment. My drunk self thought about how my inner stripper thought it would be fun to learn some dance moves, but maybe not tonight.
Maura grabbed my hand and walked me up to the bar, “This isn’t too much for you is it?” she just about challenged with how she asked, and truthfully it wasn’t. I was no angel. Besides the ruggedness of the men and the brazen sluttiness of some chicks this small party wasn’t that wild.
“Bring it on!” I told Maura. She smiled so brightly at me and then grabbed the bartender’s attention. “Hey Rhonda, bring us a couple of buttery nipples.”
The bartender started fixing us shots. “That’s Little Titty Rhonda.” You can call her that she won’t mind. Over there on the couch, those tits,” I nodded and glanced over at the very naked tits again. “that’s Big Titty Rhonda.”
“Makes sense.” I agreed.
Our shots came and we proceeded to get even more intoxicated. Maura pointed out who everyone was. She had funny stories about some of the guys. I could listen to her talk all night. Maura had a way about her that made me forget about all of my problems. My problems were huge, yet her easy going fun attitude made everything feel smaller. We put music on the Jukebox and danced to a few songs. I looked around and saw that Dawson was watching Maura and for a second I thought Jules was watching me, but then he looked away and didn’t spare me much more of a glance which was just fine by me considering I need a man like a cat needs snorkeling lessons.
It must have been near four in the morning when the clubhouse finally started to dwindle. “C’mon, you can have my bed, I’ll sleep in my dad’s,” Maura said once we were finally so drunk and exhausted that we could no longer function.
“You share a room with your dad?” I asked confused at this revelation.
“We have a cottage out on Lake Green. You’ll see it soon enough, but this is here so if we need to crash. When I was younger I used to stay here with him, but that was a long time ago. He still keeps it nice for me though.” I smiled at my new friends presumptions that I would be spending time at Lake Green with her. I had no doubt that this was true.
We walked down a long hallway that was dimly lit. Rows of closed doors lined the hallway until she finally stopped at one, took a key out of her pocket and nodded with her head for me to follow. There were two twin beds, one was clearly masculine with dark bedding but made and the other had a soft lavender quilt on it. I knew it was soft because once we entered her room I all but face planted on it.
The next morning I woke up and Maura was still asleep. I’m always an early riser when I drink a lot. Sober I could sleep a whole day away but give me booze and I’m up. I wrote Maura a note telling her how much I loved meeting her and I programmed my cell into her phone. I was kind of loud hoping she would wake up, but there was no waking her. I walked out to the main clubhouse area and wasn’t paying much attention to anything else because as I was walking I was searching the endless pit also known as my purse for my cell phone. Carlo, my older brother works nights and should just be getting off. I know he won’t be happy about coming to get me, but he is going to have to get over it. I pulled my phone free and I immediately saw 12 missed calls from Drew and 15 messages. My battery showed red telling me it was going to die soon, but I figured I had enough to check my messages and call Carlo. Message after message was Drew asking what went wrong and begging for me to come back and then there was one message, a message that I continuously received loud and clear.
Unknown: I’m watching you
Of course, I knew who it was, and it was just another reminder that Antonio was watching me. Part of me wondered if he followed us here. I squeezed my eyes shut, inhaled, and clutched the phone in my hand. Then I heard the beeps. I opened my eyes only to see my phone shutting down. “Shit well, that’s just great.”
“You always talk to yourself?” I heard the deep rumbly voice from last night and I only then realized that I wasn’t alone.
“If it suits me.” I shrugged and answered honestly, looking up directly at Jules.
In the morning, under much more sober eyes, I saw how beautiful he really was. His hair was pulled back into a tight ponytail. I could tell he recently showered and trimmed up his goatee. He eyes were the lightest shade of blue I had ever seen. But it wasn’t the color that really drew me in, it was something about the way he stared at me. It was intense and I didn’t understand it. I’m good with reading men, six brothers will do that to you, but this look was saying so much about Jules and yet not enough. One thing I’m pretty certain it said about him was that he was passionate. I just had no idea why. His skin was flawless and looked soft. His hand came up to his face and stroked his goatee entrancing me.
He sat there at his table and stared at me while playing with his facial hair. “What’s wrong?” he finally asked.
“My phone died, I was just about to call my brother and ask him to come get me. Do you have a phone I can use?”
“No boyfriend to come pick you up?”
“Lord no!” I said with a little more enthusiasm than I should have considering I did just have a boyfriend yesterday.
“Can’t say I’m upset about that.” Ut oh, this deliciously looking bad-ass was flirting with me. I knew without a shadow of a doubt that I couldn’t go there. That look in his eyes, with all that passion, intensity and sexy yumminess told me, it would be harder than the rest for me.
“Well Drew was. We ended things last night.”
“Again can’t say I’m upset about that either.”
“He was nice. That was him messaging me. He wants me back.”
“Nice is boring.”
“He wasn’t boring.”
“No?” His eyebrow perked up like he didn’t believe me.
“In fact, he was very fun. Kept me very entertained.” I’m not sure why I was telling him about Drew. Maybe I thought that if he knew that I could easily throw men away that he wouldn’t look at me. I already knew that Maura was a friend I wanted and that I would probably be seeing more of Jules, but I couldn’t really see him.
“That so?” he asked, his eyes squinted at me.
“Then what were you doing in a biker bar finding your own kind of entertainment? And why’s he your ex?”
“Are you going to let me use your phone or what?” I asked trying to change the subject.
“What does that even mean. Oh forget it, I’ll just go grab Maura’s cell.” I began to walk away needing to put space between us. His hand was suddenly on my wrist spinning me around. “I’ll drive you.” His touch was like an inferno to my skin, it sent waves of heat throughout my body. I felt goosebumps along my skin and I hoped he didn’t notice. I didn’t want him to notice.
“It’s raining out. We’ll take the truck.”
He led me outside and towards a large blue truck with a Marine Corp emblem in the back windshield. I got in the truck and watched him shake his head to rid himself of the rain. Something about this was cute and it was not a term I think a biker would be happy to hear me refer to him as so I kept that observation to myself.
“My car is at Benny’s,” I informed him.
Jules reached forward and changed the song on the radio, settling on classic rock and roll. “So why did you break up with Drew?” he asked, but his tone didn’t hold the same passion as before and it made me feel like it was okay to tell him a little. Maybe he was only flirting before just to flirt. Lord knows I am a huge flirt.
“Okay, you get a question, I get a question. Deal?”
I saw a slight quip to his lip and he seemed amused, “I’ll take that deal.”
“Drew was a little more into me than I wanted him to be. I wasn’t there and he was. So I ended it. End of story.”
“Simple as that?”
“Yep. Simple as that. We were seeing each other a couple of months and he started to get the warm and fuzzy feels for me, so I said goodbye.”
“Yeah, how did he take that?”
“As well as could be expected. He didn’t understand.”
“He wasn’t,” I argued, but maybe he was just a little.
“Jenny, you were bored.”
“How do you figure?” I asked.
“The first thing you did as soon as you dumped the poor schmuck is head straight to the wildest bar you saw and found one of the most entertaining fun chicks I know to get smashed with.” He wasn’t wrong.
“Okay, maybe a little.” I relented seeing his point. “So are you a Marine?”
“Did my time, got out when my time was up.” Wow, the way he said that, didn’t make me think he really wanted to talk about it.
I stared at him and really studied his face. I thought he was young, maybe younger than me, but looking at him I wasn’t so sure. I squint my eyes at him, “How old are you?”
I drew in a breath, maybe even gasped a little. I was shocked. Not that twenty-nine is old I just never would have guessed.
“Are you surprised?” he asked.
“Yeah,” I answered honestly.
“How old are you?”
“You been married before?” It was a strange question for him to ask me, but I went with it.
“Um, hell no.”
“Kids?” he asked.
“Double hell no. What about you?”
“No and No.”
This whole twenty question, getting to know one another was going against my initial thought process to keep Jules out. I decided to switch conversations to something I could easily talk about and feel safe. “You bleach your hair,” I stated as a fact.
“Yeah.” was his one-word response.
“You do it yourself?”
“Why the interest in my hair?”
“I do hair.” I said, in a isn’t it obvious sort of way.
“You want to do my hair?” he asked, his voice was thick with amusement.
Shit, I didn’t think I was backing myself into that corner, but that’s exactly what I just did. Then again, he hasn’t really been flirting anymore. Maybe he is just making polite conversation and I blew that look earlier out of proportion.
“Sure I could do your hair, I work at Angel’s over on Perry Street. Stop in and make an appointment.”
“I’m not going to a salon. You’ll do it out of your place.”
“What! No.” I looked at him like he was nuts.
“Babe, no biker is going into a salon.” okay I could see his point, plus he called me babe, which I kind of liked.
“Well, I don’t do hair out of my apartment.” I lied, I totally did.
“The way I see it, you owe me.”
“What? How do I owe you?”
“I brought you with us last night when you were hammered and I’m taking you home now. Plus I don’t think your brothers would be too happy about you getting so hammered at a bar with a bunch of bikers.”
Hold up. Wait a second. “How do you know I have brothers?”
“I knew Gus. Seen you with Carlo at his funeral.” Any wind that I had in my sails floated away at the mention of my brothers. I lost one of my brothers the previous year. My brother Carlo and Gus’s son Gino were the only things that kept me hanging on. No one knew exactly why he died, but I had my suspicions. It was one of the reasons that all of this back and forth needed to stop with Jules. He seemed like a good man. I couldn’t bring him into my shit. My shit was so deep, I was drowning and he deserved to at least have a raft, not to plunge head first into choppy waters. My mood changed and Jules could sense it.
“I liked him. What happened to him was fucked up.”
“Yeah.” I agreed. He didn’t mention his hair again, or anything else really. The rest of the drive was quiet and I was glad for that.
EEEPS I hope you enjoyed that!! I’m working hard at finishing Hurt You.
The above is subject to change.