Bane's Heart (Avaleigh's Boys #2)(7)

By: Sandra R. Neeley

Bane, clearly running out of patience, turned to Mav, “If you don’t want to help, go away. I’m building my home here. Because I want to, Period.”

“Fine, Jesus, got to get all touchy and shit. Did you see that, Ave? He was not polite to me!” Mav told her, pointing his finger at Bane, trying for the sympathy card.

The guys were finishing up their breakfast and getting back to work, Mav included, when Avaleigh noticed that Bam ate only one biscuit. She held another out to him, “Here, Bam. Have another.”

He answered her quietly, “Naw, Avaleigh. I’m good. One is enough.” He turned and went back to work sadly. Quietly. And that was not the norm for him since Avaleigh had joined their clan. “Bam, you okay?” she asked. He just nodded as he fired up his chain saw and started cutting into the rest of the dead trees.

Bane watched him for a moment before shutting off his own chain saw and walking over to him. He wrapped his arm around his brother’s shoulder and leaned his head against Bam’s. “Nothing’s changed, Bam. I will always be here, I will always love you. You will always be welcomed in my home.” Bam just looked at Bane hesitantly and nodded briefly. “I swear, Bam. We’re even going to have an extra bedroom just for you in case you want to stay.” Bam smiled a smile that didn’t quite reach his eyes, “I’m happy for you, Bane. You deserve good stuff.” With that Bam fired up his chain saw again to go back to work, effectively stopping the conversation. Bane squeezed his shoulder and kissed Bam’s temple before going back to work himself.

Mav leaned over to Avaleigh as she gathered the thermoses to leave, his eyes still on Bam and Bane, “What the hell is going on, Ave?”

She shook her head as she watched them, too, “I’m not sure. Bane woke up needing to build a house. Bam is helping, but he seems sad. Maybe he thinks Bane is leaving him. But I’m sure that Bane is building here to stay near Bam.”

“Maybe Bam knows something we don’t,” Mav offered.

“He usually does, doesn’t he?” she said, smiling at Bam’s back as he worked.

<> <> <>

Janie lay curled in a ball in the little twin bed that she had slept in since she was child. She hurt. Her arm, wrist, her right shoulder and hip were sore where her father had shoved her across the room so hard that she bounced off the opposite wall. He’d smacked her in the back of the head too. She had a headache, and her neck hurt from the impact. She lay there in the dark bedroom, listening to him rave at her mother about what a waste of a good load she was. How she was nothing more than a whore. He’d been angry because he’d seen her having a picnic with Bane in the back of his truck today. When she’d gotten home, he’d been drunk and belligerent again. Or maybe still drunk was the correct term. He’d immediately started in on her about being no better than her no-good mother. How all they’d ever done for him was hold him back. How his lot in life was to take care of two ungrateful, useless whores. Then he’d started slapping her mother on the back while she cooked. He slapped her hard. He tried to make it look like it was playful, but it was almost knocking her mother off her feet. So she had stepped in, told him to stop hitting her mother. He’d turned all his attention to her. He grabbed her mother and shoved her out the back door, locking it behind her. Then he turned back to her, “I seen you today, whore. Sitting in the back of that truck. How much did he pay you? Whatever it is, I’m the one that made ya, so it’s my money now. How much?” he slurred at her, sticking his open hand in her face for money, his breath wreaking of alcohol.

“What are you talking about? He didn’t give me money. He just brought me lunch.”

“Is that what they calling it now, lunch? When you suck a dick for money, now it’s called lunch?” he laughed at her.

“That’s not what happened! I didn’t do that, and he didn’t ask me to, we just had lunch,” she raised her voice as she answered him.

“Don’t raise your voice to me, whore, I’ll knock your fucking head off your shoulders,” he slurred again, chesting up to her.