Craving Vera(14)

By: Nicole Jacquelyn

“No,” Poet replied, meeting his daughter’s eyes. “They hadn’t.”

Farrah sighed. “I think I need another drink for this.”

“I’ll get it,” Casper told her, squeezing her shoulder before walking away.

“It was bad,” Poet said, with a small nod. “Charlie didn’t go into detail about it. Always figured he didn’t want to relive it.”

“Vera told me,” Amy said, glancing at her husband. “But only once, when we’d had quite a bit to drink.”

“We know she was okay, though,” Rose said. She was curled up against her mother. Rose was grown, but more than any of the other kids, I noticed that she still stuck pretty close to her parents. Wasn’t sure why, though.

“Eventually,” Poet said gently.

“But it got worse before it got better,” Amy said. “Much worse.”

“Just tell us what happened,” Farrah said as Casper handed her a new drink. She was playing it cool, but my life depended on watching people, and Casper’s wife was stung pretty damn tight. She was dying to hear the story, even if she pretended like it was no big deal.

“By the time Charlie and Nadine got there Vera’s pop was in a full on rage,” Poet replied.

“And Vera had put up a hell of a fight,” Amy chimed in.

“Which explains the broken furniture,” Grease said. “Good for her.”

“Yes,” Amy confirmed.

“Jesus,” Casper muttered. “What a nightmare.”

“Did Slider beat the shit out of her dad?” Hawk asked, leaning forward in her chair to rest her elbows on the table. One arm missed it completely and she almost smacked her face on the table before she caught herself. I glanced between her and Tommy realizing they were both flying high and chuckled under my breath. Whatever they had, I needed to get some of that. Hell, maybe it would help me get some fucking sleep.

“He did,” Amy said, nodding.

“A knight on a fucking Harley,” Rose muttered, rolling her eyes.

“He showed up when it counted,” Amy said, a soft smile on her face.

“Oh, please,” Rose grumbled. “It was the least he could do after all the shit before.”

“You do know how your parents met, right?” Farrah asked her dryly. She made a revving noise that sounded pretty damn good, and my lips twitched. Bitch was funny.

“Dad saved her,” Rose argued. “It wasn’t the same thing.”

“Oh, I don’t know,” Amy murmured, reaching over to wrap her knobby fingers around Poet’s forearm. He put his opposite hand over hers.

“Couldn’t have gone over well with the locals,” I pointed out, less interested in the romance of the thing and more curious about how Slider talked his way out of that shit.

“It didn’t,” Poet replied, giving his head a small shake. “Course, Charlie was always a couple steps ahead.”

“Shit, this should be good,” Grease muttered. I cocked an eyebrow at him. The man was my right hand, he’d had my back in more instances than I could count and Brenna liked to call him my bestie in a teasing voice because she knew it annoyed me. He was also built like a goddamn bull. But sure as shit, he was on the edge of his seat like one of the women listening to this damn love story.

“It’s interesting,” he said, interpreting my look correctly. “I haven’t heard any of this shit before.”

“You need time off to go see a chick movie with your woman? A nice matinee?” I replied, ignoring the little pinch in my side from Brenna.

“I resent that,” Grease replied, grinning. “You know I only see chick flicks at night so I have sweet dreams.”

“Man, you know how this ends,” I said, more sharply than I intended. We all knew how Slider and Vera’s story ended. I still saw that shit when I closed my eyes at night.

Brenna’s hand slipped under my shirt and pressed warm and comforting against the skin of my stomach.

“All stories have an ending,” Amy said wisely, giving me a tender smile. “But that doesn’t make the beginning any less important.”

I nodded my head in concession and pressed my hand over Bren’s on my stomach. The old woman had a point.

Chapter 6


Gram had taken me to the doctor a girl at school had told me about, the one that made problems disappear like they’d never existed. That’s what I was choosing to call it. The problem. If I thought about it any other way, the pain in my chest became so unbearable that I thought I might die.

I’d done it. I’d had it taken care of. So I didn’t understand why I still felt so sick. Everything was sore, from the top of my head to the ends of my toes. My mom thought I’d caught some kind of summer flu, but I wasn’t sure how that could’ve happened. I hadn’t seen anyone for weeks, choosing to stay with my Gran until my dad had come and dragged me home.