The Week with the Bad Boy
Chapter X: Rewind (J)
"You know when you asked if I could hang around you all day today, I didn't think you meant it literally." I stated deadpanned as we got onto his bike once more.
Motorcycles were cool. Just not when you become more monkey than human clinging onto someone else's back all the time. I told him this and felt Dante shaking when he laughed at me.
"Look, I'm almost finished. Only two more stops and you can have me to yourself."
Any witty comment– which I totally had –that I might've added was silenced by the roaring of his Ducati.
True to his word though, we only stopped twice more before we were heading back home for some 'quality time'. By that time, it was already getting dark.
"Dante," I interrupted on the way back, "is that a patrol car tailing us?"
He might have looked at his rear view mirror because he slowed down and pulled over on the shoulder lane. Sure enough, a patrol car pulled up right behind us and two officers emerged. Dante and I both got off the bike and removed our helmets.
"Hey kids. Having a good night?"
"That depends, sir. Is there a problem?" Dante asked, completely relaxed, leaning on his bike. I had to admit I was a lot more jumpy than anyone in my present company. And why not? I've never been company to a conversation involving policemen and a self-confessed drug user and dealer. I had good reasons to be worried. Then I gave a mental groan; Dante had had a few drinks while doing his…errands.
"Can we see your license?"
Dante languidly reached for his wallet in his back pocket without a word but I had to speak. "If it isn't against the law or anything, um, I'd like to know why we were pulled over, officer."
"It's nothing serious, m'am," the second officer replied as his partner reached out to accept Dante's license. "Your boyfriend here was just showing a few inconsistencies."
I blushed at the word "boyfriend" and noted how Dante smiled. Neither of us corrected the officer's assumption. I wondered though what 'inconsistencies' they were talking about.
"Have you kids been drinking tonight?"
"I'm underage," I mumbled.
"Then would you kids mind if we conduct some FSTs on you?" They asked. So they thought we were drunk? I looked to Dante. As mean as it sounded, dealing with authority was where he was experienced. He shrugged and stood up and I straightened up beside him. "All right then. Would you prefer to do it one at a time or at the same time?"
I hadn't been aware they'd be lenient enough to actually give us choices. So I bit my lip and looked to Dante again. For a brief moment, I saw his eyes harden before returning to normal. Was it just me or did he give the officers a calculating gaze? The brief silence expanded until Dante spoke up. "I'll go first."
Some exchange occurred between the two officers and they proceeded to do their field sobriety tests. One officer held up a pen for Dante's eyes to follow. After they seemed satisfied, they made Dante count backwards from 64 only making him stop to 32. Next came the portable breath test. I held my breath for that one, hoping he hadn't taken anything over what could be considered DUI. It turns out that he was a hundredth of a decimal away from it. I released my breath.
Everything should be fine from now, right?
That's what I thought.
But Dante seemed even tenser as they did their FSTs on me. I did the same thing they made him do all the while aware of a certain tension in the air. No unnecessary words were exchanged, only instructions and clarifications, until it was time for me to take the PBT. I just asked for another mouth piece to breathe into and that was that.
The policemen returned Dante's license and they left.
Sensing that my driver was in a sudden mood, I kept the slow pace he adopted in getting back onto the bike. When the cops finally pulled away, I took off my helmet again. We were already sitting astride the Duc with me behind him.
"What is it?" I asked.
"I was driving fine."
"I know. That's what I thought too. You weren't drifting or being too slow or dangerous or anything. You weren't even speeding like you normally do."
He smiled teasingly back at me then. "You're such a little girl. I've never sped when you're with me."
"Oh." I blushed, for some unknown reason, pleased.
He suddenly turned towards me, swinging his arm so that it landed its warm weight on one of my thighs. His other hand cupped my cheek, pulling me towards him in one of his heated kisses. Needless to say we were on that shoulder lane for quite a long while.
"What was up by the way? When they were doing FSTs on me you looked tense. And we could've done it the same time. I wouldn't have minded!" I mused out loud once we got home.
Dante shrugged. "Not all cops are clean cops."
He had gone first so I could see how the FSTs went and when it was my turn, he had made sure they treated me right. I smiled; he could be so thoughtful at times.
"Imagine! If we were going around, and you'd been dealing drugs or something! At least they didn't suspect."
He gave me a wry smile and held his hand out so he could put our helmets away.
"Dios we would've been in so much trouble. What if they arrested us? Mama would totally hit the roof. And Papa! I don't even want to think about it." I had gotten a little excited during my rant and started waving the helmet around instead of giving it to Dante. I was about to finally hand it to him when a sudden thought struck me. "And Gab! He'd so–"
But at that moment, I banged his headgear against mine causing his to fall to the ground in front of me. I continued blabbing about how Gab would react, giving Dante my helmet and reaching down to retrieve his. I heard Dante try to speak but I simply carried on. Until small white, powdery packets fell out of his helmet.
"Kat…" I heard Dante say faintly.
I was speechless for awhile, struggling to find something that made sense to say. Something funny. Something totally unrelated to the bunch of drugs in front of me.
What came out in its place was, "That's funny. You don't speed when I'm around…but you traffic and deal drugs."
I turned to face him. He flinched under my gaze. I would have laughed had it been any other time.
"You know full well what repercussions come with this kind of activity. You knew about the risks. And you took me along with you. You're ready to face the consequences. I'm not. I'm not going to take the fall for something I'm not involved in. I trusted you. You made me your cover.
"I am not your toy, Dante."
I walked away.
A few hours later found me in my parents' bed; neither of them were there. I laid there as if completely paralyzed.
Maybe it was seconds, or minutes, maybe hours, I'm not sure; I heard voices talking outside the master's bedroom.
"Look, I messed up. I know that." That was Dante.
The guys probably didn't know I wasn't at the other end of the hall in my bedroom. I wasn't too keen on them knowing.
"You've better not have hurt her." Was that Gab growling at him?
I had thought Gab was still angry at me. We haven't talked since the last time we tore each other apart in school. Dante outside my door seemed to remember this. "Fuck off, you can't say anything. I didn't hit her and I haven't made her cry!"
"That's different. That's family issues."
Dante gave a sardonic laugh. Something or someone hit the wall. "So it's okay if you hit her and make her cry because you're family and not everyone else?"
"Don't fucking touch me." Something hit the wall again and there was a brief scuffle that ended enough Ryan's interception.
"Enough, you fucking bunch of fags."
I could only assume he had pried my brother and Dante apart and was standing in between them. I could also tell that his infamous temper was beginning to act up. That was odd. Ryan had been pretty much in control of his anger from the beginning of school, or more precisely since Dante and Felicia moved in with the Carters. But I could tell that right now, he was on the brink of an explosion. "We all care for Katrina. I think we can all agree on that. She's hurt. What the fuck do you want to do?"
"Fuck, man. I don't know. I'm her brother, but I don't know."
"I've always been taking stabs at the dark. Either that or she tells me what to do. So don't look at me."
Ryan swore. "Didn't you already have your week with her?"
"It's not that easy! I'm nothing she wants."
Gab laughed callously. "What? Lost your confidence or something?"
"I'm saying it how it is." There was a silence where everyone seemed to calm down.
Gab sighed. "I guess Liam's the one to call, eh?"
"Fuck that," Dante growled. "If it was a choice between Rye and Lee, I choose Ryan. I don't trust Liam with Katrina. And no offense Gab, you aren't exactly someone I'd send for peace keeping."
"Whatever man," Gab brushed him off, but it made me feel better that he at least had remorse in his voice.
Ryan scoffed. "Liam's a bigger threat than I am?"
"He's sneaky. He's been trying to manipulate her ever since. He'd use this chance of her not being herself to turn her against us and win." I heard Dante sigh. "Look, if he can poison her mind against us, he'd do it. That's why we were lucky he didn't get first or second week. This way if we lost to Liam in the end, we got as much of a fair chance as we could have gotten."
Was I really influenced so easily and evidently by Liam? I mean even I recognized it, my malleability to his whims although most of the times it was too late. Did other people see me like that, something like aluminum foil that was pliable to whatever shape or fold Liam desired?
Then a horrible thought came to mind.
I wasn't just Liam's play toy. I had been Rizelle's when she wanted one of the Carter brothers. And I had been Dante's too when he had driven me around to today like he was Paris Hilton and I was his little Chihuahua. I was such a tool! Even now, the guys were making me go out with them for a week each. The only difference between me and a prostitute was that they get paid.
"Look, I don't even care about the arrangement or if it'll help you in the end that you were there when she needed you and all that shit." Dante sounded like he was having difficulty actually saying this, like it tasted stale in his mouth. Yet he said it anyway. "Just take care of her all right?"
Did that mean he actually cared?
Did that mean I wasn't just a tool for him like I was to everyone else?
I didn't hear Ryan's reply though I heard their fading footsteps. No doubt they were headed to my room in search for me. I didn't feel like telling them I was right here and that I had listened to the whole conversation. So I got up and went downstairs to the kitchen and grabbed some ice cream.
Ryan the peace keeper found me soon after. (Dante and Gab had probably thought it less suspicious if they weren't around.) He sat beside me on the bar and studied my face for a while before opening his mouth to speak. I didn't want to talk. Not yet. I shoved a spoonful of ice cream inside. Slightly taken aback, Ryan took his time swallowing. It was such a big spoonful I had already taken three regular ones before he was done. Then I shoved in some more ice cream.
He protested after a while, laughing as he did so.
I shrugged and turned away from him to solo the food.
He sighed and swiveled my chair to face him. "Your brother and Dante sent me. As a 'peace keeper' Dante said."
I blinked. I didn't expect bluntness.
"So…" he looked to the rapidly disappearing ice cream and back at me, "I think that means I am needed."
I rolled my eyes. The next thing I know was that his thumb was brushing the corner of my mouth. I gave him my best 'what the beep do you think you're doing' look but he ignored it.
"Want to talk?"
"Want to go for a drive?"
There was a time when I thought Cliché was the most boring thing to be ever created—predictable too. It had been one of those discussions with my friend, Rizelle– exfriend really. She had said how I basically defined it. There was a bad boy with a motorcycle, a hot and popular jock, a cute nerd who was also my best friend. And I'm literally the girl next door. Cliché: I said it was boring. Cliché: I said it was predictable. Looking back on it, why, oh, why did I have to say it aloud?
What is this called again in Aristotle's tragedy?
Defying my fate and thinking myself above divine law or something like that?
Whatever it was, Cliché had gotten back at me to bite me in the gluteus maximus with three times the normal venom.
I mean, if the situation I explained above wasn't enough and if Cliché wasn't after my head, why else was I sitting in a jock's car on a Saturday night having this type of intellectual conversation?
Oh right. He asked if I wanted to go for a drive and I said yes. I had thought to forget about the day's events.
It sort of worked…
"So um…Ryan," I stuttered carefully, wrinkling my nose at the still existing brand new smell of his already year old BMW. How did he do it? I could never in thirty lifetimes manage that, but he can. "What? Isn't this the part where you show me that there's more to you than your egotistical jock self?"
He'd been silent for quite a while. He was more of a do kind of person than a say or think kind of person. But what was there to do other than sit in silence? Anyway, as little as a talker I was, I couldn't help but be curious. He's been acting so strange around me lately: in school, that visit at home, today at home…
"I guess," he replied, leaning back on his seat, regarding me with cool, sapphire eyes.
"What do you mean you 'guess'?" I managed carefully.
"Well, I haven't showed you my dick, have I?"
He burst out laughing. "Finally," he grinned after his raucous laughter calmed down. "You've been so dull and dead, I just had to lighten you up. You looked so scared."
"Not funny!" I hit him on the arm when he started cracking up again. "That seriously scared me! I thought I was gonna have to run out of the car and dash home!" I hit him again and again.
"I don't even know the way home!"
He grabbed hold of my wrists and smiled at me.
"You're cute when you're flustered." He winked. "Aw! Look at you! Are you blushing for me? You look like a tomato that's about to get rotten."
Somehow I broke free of his hold to whack him again. "I'm so flattered."
"What?" he jibed. "Are you gonna go all sad and depressed on me? Would you like me to buy you some eyeliner so you can go all emo now?"
"Sure you're a guy?" I sneered. "You know more about make-up than I do."
"Sure you're a girl?"
"Eurgh!" I half snarled shoving him away at the sudden realization we were up in each other's face. Ryan allowed himself to be pushed away only to come back lightning quick to pinch me on the cheeks really hard.
"Carter!" I yelled in frustration though the smile that fought to come out couldn't be wiped from my lips.