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FALLING IN

By:Alexa Riley

JEANETTE

“Back up, motherfucker!” I feel like my heart is pounding out of my chest as I point the gun at the door. Not again…never again. I won’t let this happen to me again.

“Jeanette!” a man yells. As soon as I see his face my eyes start to water. The gun in my hand waivers for a second, but I train it back on him.

“I said back up!” I scream, and both men stop instantly. I try to steady the gun, but I feel like I’m seeing double. I must have hit my head harder than I realized.

“Where’s Layla?” the shaved-head one demands. I squeeze the gun tight, trying to get the shaking to stop but it isn’t working. They are both big motherfuckers. I don’t want them to see my fear. Men use your fear against you. You’ve done this before, Jeanette, you can do it again. Them or me. With that thought, I feel the gun steady.

I don’t care if I’m only wearing a sheet. If I look like I’m in control and that I know how to handle a gun, then they’ll stay back.

“Mama, listen to me. It’s me, baby. It’s Saint and Carter. We aren’t going to hurt you. We are here to save you. Put the gun down and come here.”

I shake my head. Do I know them? It doesn’t matter right now.

“Put your guns down. I don’t trust anyone right now.”

The one with shoulder-length hair puts his gun down and kicks it away.

He drops to his knees. I feel like I’ve seen him like this before. I can see unshed tears in his eyes. I’ve never seen a man look like he is about to cry, like he’s ready to kill, but I can tell his anger isn’t towards me.

I wrack my brain for a memory I know I’m missing.

“Come here, Mama. You know how much I love being on my knees in front of you.” At his words, it clicks.

“Can I ask you a personal question? Shot or beer?”

I glance over at the man next to me at the bar. I didn’t even notice him sit down. But the Kat House is always crazy-loud. It’s often hard to even hear yourself think in here, but thinking isn’t why I come. He looks completely out of place, but a free drink is a free drink.

“Sure. Tequila…the good stuff.” He motions for the bartender and orders our shots. I swivel in my chair to get a better look at him. He’s definitely not my type. In fact he’s the type I try to stay away from for good reason, the type that taught me it’s best to stick with the bad boys. The clean-cut boys hide who they really are, and this one is as clean-cut as they come. From his short sandy-blond hair to his blue eyes and three-piece suit, he couldn’t look more boring. He has to be the only person in this place wearing a suit.

His eyes sweep over me and he licks his lips. The thought of his lips on me makes me squirm inside. I’m not sure if it’s him or what he represents that causes the feeling, or the fact that I can’t seem to get Saint out of my head. I came here tonight to find a quick hook-up. It’s been too long. Since I had my sights set on Saint I hadn’t given any other man even a thought. But after his quick dismissal of me I was done with him. I was all dolled up and ready to go, and he just dropped me a quick text ‘Sorry, Mama. I can’t make it tonight’. Not even a ‘Let’s meet up some other time’. The little pet name he used on me, ‘Mama’, was starting to piss me off too. At first I thought it was something he just used on me but given how casually he blew me off I’m probably just on a long list of women he has on rotation. I can’t see a man like Saint having to try very hard to get a woman. In fact I had to go after him at first. Fuck him. I may not hook up with pretty boy here, but I’m sure I can find something around here.

Lays seemed to be enjoying all the attention tonight. She even seemed like she was drunk, which is rare for her. I should try to catch up.

Steve, the regular bartender, drops the two shot glasses down in front of us, making some of the liquor splash out onto the wooden bar top. He eyes the guy who ordered them and shoots me a look. I just shrug. I know he’s thinking the same thing I am. What’s pretty boy doing here? I grab my shot, not waiting for him to take it with me, and down it. The less interaction I have with him the faster he’ll leave, and I can find someone else.

“Damn, baby! No limes or nothing? That’s pretty hot. I like a woman who can handle her liquor. Two more!” he shouts over to Steve.

“I’m not your baby,” I tell him, swiveling in my chair so I’m not facing him anymore. I look in the mirror that hangs over the bar to see if Lays is back from her smoke break but I don’t see her. Suddenly Saint catches my eye. He’s staring right at me. When he used to come into the library where Lays and I work I thought he had a thing for her. He was always watching her. But after a while I noticed he only watched her. Dispassionately. Objectively. Whenever his eyes came to me, he always had a different look on his face. A hungry look. He stood out in the library like pretty boy next to me stands out in here. His dark shoulder-length hair makes him look like he just rolled out of bed. With who I’m not sure, and I sure as fuck don’t want to know. The spark of jealousy that zips through me is a shock. I don’t get jealous. I don’t need to. If a guy doesn’t want me, fine, I’m on to the next, not that I let them stay around long enough to be done with me. That’s what’s great about the bad boys. They want the same thing I do.

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