You can tell a woman’s mood by watching her hands. For instance, if she’s holding a gun, she’s probably angry.
— Earl Dibbles, Jr.
I sat in the wooden chair twiddling my thumbs. I was cold, tired and hungry…not to mention a tad bit angry. Glancing down at my watch and realizing I’d been here for nearly an hour and a half with still no sign of him, I finally gave up and stood to leave. Work came first or I didn’t pay my bills.
Hesitantly, I started to leave.
Except I didn’t get too far.
“Hold her.” Winter said as she thrust the tiny little baby in my arms when she came barreling into the office.
Winter was the wife of one of my brother’s men, Jack.
Jack and Winter got married when they were both young, and were ripped apart after only being married for a month.
She had a shock of red, curly hair, and she was a paramedic for the Kilgore Fire Department.
Following the frazzled woman, I entered the office and stared. I’d been in there earlier, but with no one answering, I felt uncomfortable about staying inside and I sat on the chair that was propped outside the office instead.
Once her hands were free, she started pacing like a caged, rabid porcupine ready to attack with the phone to her ear. If steam were anatomically possible to be produced in a human’s body, it’d be coming out of all her orifices right about now.
The sound of a big truck backing up filled my ears, and I glance to the side and stilled.
“Holy cow! What happened to that bike?” I asked.
Winter’s eyes flicked from the paper she was reading to the window, studying the tow truck that was bringing in the mangled hunk of metal.
“I haven’t the slightest idea. What the heck do they expect Free to do? They’re mechanics, not miracle workers.”
Cat stirred in my arms at the sound of her mommy’s voice, but with a little jiggling and bouncing, she slipped peacefully back into sleep once again. “I’ve got to go, Winter.”
The sound of my voice was booted out into left field when Winter’s voice rose to an almost too high octave.
After listening to a few seconds of her conversation, I surmised that she had a reason to be pissed. Winter was currently on the phone with her cable provider while trying to sort out why five hundred dollars’ worth of porn was charged to her monthly account.
“No, you listen to me, jack wad. I’ve never watched a porn in my life. I don’t need porn with the hunky piece of man flesh I have in my bed. If I’m in the mood for porn, all I have to do is watch him move for 2.4 seconds and I’m gone. I have no need for …” She said picking up the bill that was crumpled and scrunched up from her tirade. “Throbbin’ Hood, or an Edward Penis Hands.”
I stifled my giggles, or at least tried to, but I wasn’t successful. Winter’s glare in my direction didn’t relieve me of them either. Only made me laugh all the more.
I stopped when Cat started to squirm, but the smile stayed on my face.
Winter made a shooing motion with her hand telling me to go while she listened to the man on the line. Winter’s face got darker at whatever the man said, and I decided now would be a good time to leave since she looked like she was ready to lose her shit.
Grabbing Cat’s blanket from the chair, I wrapped it around her tight and then cradled her close to my chest as I exited the office into the fresh morning air. Today was a nice day for Texas at sixty-two degrees, but I knew it wouldn’t last long. It never did.
Texas had two seasons. Summer, and not summer. For October, this was fairly normal temperature at seven thirty in the morning. By noon, it’d likely be in the nineties. The black clouds in the sky also had something to do with the temperature. We were in for one heck of a storm according to the Channel 7 weatherman, Mark Scirto.
I’d gotten a ‘Thunder Call’ from them not even ten minutes prior telling me that the storm was headed for my neighborhood. I’d been ecstatic when I found out that the local news did that. Back in Galveston, they had something similar, but still different enough that it was a novelty.
In Galveston, they’d call when the hurricanes were approaching.
The sharp crack, crack, crack of the tow truck’s bed being pushed up and lowered to the ground drew my attention, and I watched and winced as they let the motorcycle practically drop to the ground.
“This where you want it?” The operator asked from the controls.
James, the unbearably hot man I’d had a crush on since I met him eight months ago, came from the other side of the tow truck grumbling, and my heart started pounding a mile a minute. That man was sexy.
Today, he was in coveralls that were only half way on, tied by the arms at his trim hips. The bottom parts of the coveralls were covered in grease, which clearly showed that he’d done quite a bit of work today already. A black wife beater showed off his excellent upper body, allowing the tattoos on his muscular arms to be seen perfectly. His hair was a deep rich blonde that was cropped closely to his head, and he had a beard.
Although it didn’t look like much, it had to be as long as his hair all the way around. Normally I didn’t do beards, but this man sure could pull one off with excessive ease.
“Well, since you already dropped it on the ground, guess it’s there to stay, isn’t it old buddy?” James rolled his eyes as he wiped his hands with a red rag.
“Sorry, man. It’s not like I can do much with this one. No wheels. Ya know?” He shrugged.
“Yeah, I do know.” James said gruffly.
Turning away from the emotion I saw on his face, and totally avoiding thinking about what the man did to me, I walked further into the garage, studiously ignoring the sign that said ‘Personnel Only.’ and kept scanning the garage looking to see if my brother was in there.
He wasn’t, but Jack was, and I settled for him instead.
Jack was Winter’s husband.
He fought alongside her brother, and was intimidating as hell.
He was tall with the sexiest arms I’d ever seen on a man.
His nearly black eyes were sharp and all consuming, and always a little frightening to look into.
Walking in his direction, I avoided a car that was on the closest rack, and then two motorcycles in the process of being painted.
He looked up when he heard my approach and beamed when he saw I had his daughter in my arms.
Cat was six weeks old, and he was even more proud of her now than he was when she was born. Although I hadn’t been there for the birth and subsequent celebration with everyone afterwards, I did see him once they were home from the hospital, and could tell he was so very proud of not only Cat, but Winter as well.
As for why I didn’t attend the celebrations, I still wasn’t quite sure where I fit in with everyone. Although Sam was my brother, I didn’t feel like I belonged. Sam wasn’t trying any harder to get to know me now than he had eight months ago when I’d met him. The men took their cues from Sam and treated me as a nuisance, even though I’d done nothing to deserve it.
The wives were nice enough, but I felt so awkward around them that I avoided them like the plague. Winter was the only one who’d even said more than two words to me in the past month, which completely surprised me.
Once I reached him, I glanced down at his dirty hands and sighed. “I have to go, and Winter is yelling at someone in the office. She handed me Cat, and normally I wouldn’t complain about holding a pretty little baby, such as yours, but I have to go to work in less than twenty minutes.”
His black eyes flicked to mine, and then went back down to his daughter, then his hands, and finally his clothes. “Can you hold her for a few minutes and let me go change or something?”
I nodded and he left, hurrying in the direction of the bathroom. I’d never been further than the bay doors. I knew that further beyond there was a down room, but nothing more.
The night I came home with Sam, he rented me a hotel room and dropped me and my shit off, and nothing more. Not a single word came out of his mouth. Which wasn’t surprising since he’d done the same the whole ride home.
Once I realized that he didn’t like me, I was careful not to say anything the rest of the way home. Normally, I didn’t have a problem making friends, but Sam seemed to hate me just because he hated our father.
Which was so beyond unfair that I didn’t even want to think about it.
The day after I’d been dropped off in the hotel, I’d walked to a local diner to eat, and ended up leaving with a job and, even better, an apartment above the diner. It took me nearly five months to earn the money for a car, but I did it and was now the proud owner of a used Chevy Blazer.
Yes, it was twenty years old, rusted, and had an exhaust leak (so I’ve been told), but I was super excited that I didn’t have to walk three miles to the grocery store and back. Groceries were heavy little bastards when you had to hump it that far, even if they were only cereal, milk, bread, and peanut butter.
I’d made an appointment with Sam to have my car tuned up, and he reluctantly set a time for six forty five this morning. I should’ve known he wouldn’t keep it. He’d spurned every single attempt at trying to get to know me. He didn’t even want to talk to me.
There was only so much that a person could take before she just didn’t care anymore. Even if it was her brother.
A loud boom startled me from my reverie, and I jumped. Lightening danced across the sky, followed quickly after by another deep boom of thunder. Cat started wailing after the second one, and I started cooing and rocking her to calm her down.
When nothing soothed her, I started singing ‘You are My Sunshine.’
I’d just finished the last few words in the song, looked up, and noticed boots clomping towards me.
Jack was back with a soft smile on his face. “Sorry about that. She doesn’t like the thunder very much. You did well. Normally, I can’t get her to stop crying when we have a big storm like this.”
That wasn’t surprising with the sheer amount of storms we’d been having over the past three months. There’d been more rainfall in the past couple weeks than we’d seen all of last year according to the weatherman.
Handing the tiny little baby to Jack, I smiled. “No problem. See ya.”
Turning on my heels, I hurried past the two motorcycles, and ran hard to get to my truck before the rain soaked me.
I wasn’t successful.
My white dress was now soaked all the way through. Cursing, I yanked open the door and jumped inside, slamming it hard behind me.
Shivering, I stuck the key in the ignition, and said a quick prayer that the beast would crank. It took so long to start that I started to get nervous. Finally, the engine caught and I let out my held breath.
“Shew,” I said feeling extremely relieved, and reached for the wipers.
They didn’t flip on, and my stomach sank. Beating on the dash, I yelled. “Come on, don’t fail me now.”
The most beautiful sight in the world appeared before me, making the swish swish sound of water being squeegeed off the windshield. “Thank you!” I squealed and clapped my hands.
I didn’t want to be here anymore. I really just wanted to go home, crawl back into my bed, and cry. In fact, I wanted to do one better. I wanted to go home to Galveston, crawl into my bed, and cry.
Except none of those things were going to happen because my dad royally fucked me over. My brother hating me was only icing on the giant fuck-me cake.
But I’d survive, because that’s just what I did. I didn’t need anybody. I didn’t need my no show dad, nor my unstable mother. I didn’t need anybody. I just needed myself. That was the only thing you could rely on anyway, because everyone let you down eventually.
Even my other brother, Sebastian, had let me down. It’d been months and months since I’d spoken to him, and if I didn’t hear from him within the next week, he’d be on my shit list, too.