Chapter 5

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I near stumble around the corner and feel the urge to run, as if that will take me away from this problem. Just when I thought I'd escaped the drama of my biker days, I'm thrown back in through a whirlwind of wrong place, wrong drug deals. Now the Maryland Mafia wants to hire me like I'm some trained assassin! I'm not built for that shit. My record may be a little colourful, but my soul is clean. I could never bring myself to kill someone, at least not planned. This is all too much drama way to fast.

Not knowing where I want to go next, I hop on the first bus that arrives. I sit by the window in deep thought until I get hungry. I dig my hands into the pockets of my jeans and find a little extra change left there for God only knows how long. When the next stop comes, I get off and cross the street. It's quite here, warehouses standing side by side and random laundromats next to a yiros cart and a lonely bar on the corner. I head straight for the bar, hoping to get my mind off a few things. Or everything, if I can.

The bar is dimly lit, a few low chandeliers filled with candles giving off just enough light for me to see the sticky stains on the floor. Why I decided to walk into the stingiest tavern around town, I'll never know. Lucky for me it's fairly empty. Only a couple making out in a booth and a large man looking much like Billy passed out in one of the chairs occupies the space. I saunter up to the bar and sit myself down. The bartender is on the other end drying glasses, so I cross my arms and put my head in my hands, waiting for him to notice me.

The juke box is playing 'I want you to want me' by Cheap Trick on a low volume. I try to focus on the song instead of the recent conversation still replaying in my head. I completely forgot about what happened a night ago and how I still owe Jez and the East crew an explanation. None of that is of even the slightest importance anymore.

I can't believe the Mafia have asked me to kill someone. What have I done or said in the last year that would give anyone the impression I'd sign up for that? I've seen people die before, I've seen death at its worst and not really thought much about it. I've watched gang members be bludgeoned to death, shot in the head, poisoned even. But to kill someone myself, to have someone's blood on my hands? I can't do it, even if they want me to. Even if they make me, I still won't do it. And why me? There are plenty of other teens around that are mad enough to murder. I even know of some who have.

The Mafia are the most feared organization of mobsters - secret, might I add - in the entire world. That I know of. They have crews like the Maryland Mafia stationed in almost every state in the US. Who could be that much of a threat that they'd want him or her dead and couldn't do it themselves? Are they not capable? And if they can't do it, what makes them think I can? Fuck, who is the poor bastard they want me to kill? I should have asked Connor. I should have -

"Here."

I look up to see the bartender sliding a cool beer along the bench. Some of the foam sloshes over the edge. I blink in surprise as he eyes me amusedly.

"Bad morning?"

I take the beer and throw my change on the bar. "You have no idea."

He waves a hand and picks up another glass to dry. "Keep your money. You look like you need it."

I'd normally be offended by that, but at this point I don't care. He's giving me a free beer - I'm not gonna offend him. He's young, probably in his mid-twenties. He has a cute smile, one that would swoon any girl my age. But I have too much on my mind.

"Thanks," I smile.

"So what brings you to this neck of the woods?" he asks.

"What makes you think I'm not from around here?"

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