Craving Absolution

By: Nicole Jacquelyn

Chapter 1



Casper

When my parents were killed in a home invasion and my sister, Callie, hooked up with her boyfriend, Grease, I couldn’t understand what the hell was in his head. I mean, I knew that my sister was beautiful. She got the best traits of both our parents, and I knew guys dug her. But their relationship was just different from the very beginning. It was like Grease couldn’t stay away from her. He was determined to protect this scared sixteen-year-old kid—to claim her as his—even though he barely knew her.

I didn’t get it, and it freaked me the fuck out. All I could see was that he found this vulnerable chick, and he wanted in. The four-year age difference between them was enough to make me nervous. It didn’t take very long before I knew he was legit, though. Solid. For whatever reason, fate or circumstance or a fucked-up sense of responsibility, it was clear that Grease felt something really strong for my sister, and he just wanted to take care of her. He set her up on a pedestal and it didn’t matter what stupid shit she did, he never let her fall off. Still, even though I trusted him and knew he was in it for the long haul, I didn’t understand it.

Until suddenly, while I was sitting in a dive bar and holding a beer I wasn’t legally old enough to drink, it became startlingly clear.

The girl was beautiful—blonde-haired, blue-eyed perfection. A messed-up, twisted girl wrapped in sexy packaging.

My sister’s best friend. Farrah.

In less than a minute I wanted her, and seconds after that I learned she was taken.

Another girl with a man far too old for her. Fucking story of my life. His name was Echo, and he was big, scary, and wearing a leather vest that told me he belonged to the same motorcycle club as Grease. Farrah looked at him as if he were the answer to all her prayers. I made the decision then, watching her dance for him in the middle of the bar, that I’d do whatever I could to take her from him . . . even if he gutted me for it.

If I knew then what I’d find out later, I would have stepped up sooner than I did and saved her from the shit she’d have to endure. Life had a way of punching you in the throat when you least expected it, and to say we hadn’t expected it would be an understatement.

Not long after I’d first really noticed Farrah, Callie and I were packing up her apartment, and Farrah was on her way over to help. I’d been in the bathroom, splashing my face with water and trying to not act like a complete pussy at the thought of seeing Farrah again—the girl who’d been starring in all my fantasies—when I’d heard a car backfiring outside my sister’s apartment. It took me seconds, just seconds to realize that it wasn’t a backfire, but that was too long. I’d watched Callie bounce out the door like a kid on a playdate less than ten minutes before, and my stomach dropped as I realized she and Farrah were outside.

Outside with a noise that sounded like a shitty car, but I instinctively knew wasn’t.

I’d barely been breathing as I sprinted out the front door and down the stairs, and the scene I witnessed outside would be burned in my brain for the rest of my life. Farrah’s man had been shot down in some fucked-up ghetto drive-by shooting, and by the time I got to her, she was practically covered in his blood. He was already dead, blood pooling around his body, as she kissed him. She’d kissed his slack mouth as if she were saying good-bye, as if they weren’t covered in blood and he wasn’t already gone. I’d wanted to fucking drag her away, to knock her out so she didn’t see it, but the damage was done.

It was weeks before I realized it, but my grand plan to steal her away from him no longer mattered. It fucking sucked, but I didn’t know the guy and couldn’t find it in me to care about his death. The only thing I cared about, the only thing I could see, was the way Farrah had completely shut down after he was gone.

Stealing her away from Echo would have been a thousand times easier than trying to compete with his ghost.

Besides, there wasn’t even anything left to steal. The girl I’d watched was gone. I never stopped wanting her, watching her as she spiraled, and silently willing her to get herself together, but it didn’t seem to matter. Farrah was hell-bent on killing herself, drinking until she passed out or blacked out, tattooing shit all over her skin that I knew she’d hate if she ever snapped out of it, and piercing holes all over her body. She didn’t want anyone’s help, and was determined as all hell to keep everyone at a distance.

The more I saw, the more I understood Grease’s overwhelming need to fix everything so my sister could breathe easy. I became Grease, but unfortunately for me, Farrah didn’t become Callie. She didn’t want anything to do with me.