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That time I shot my brother. (8)

That time I blew up a car

11

Whether he deserved it or not didn’t matter. What did matter, however, was the fact that Leo not only fucked up his car (or rather obliterated it), but also his drugs in the trunk—ten pounds of weed neatly tucked away in a Costco bag. Peter would’ve given this weed to the hookers he had been sleeping with, and in exchange, he would’ve gotten his dick sucked.

The day before Leo got a little more than just a scratch on his back, Libby saw the news. She saw them and wasn’t surprised whatsoever.

“You did it, didn’t you?” she said.

She was sitting on the couch with the local news playing and Leo was making coffee in the kitchen. The window was up, letting cool air into the apartment.

“Yes,” Leo admitted. A part of him wanted her to ask; for her to figure it out so he didn’t have to tell her. He tapped his cigarette on the sill. “Coffee?”

“Sure.”

“Cigarette?”

“No thanks.”

He tossed his own out the window and came over with two mugs. She took a cautious sip.

“It’s hot,” she remarked and set it back on the table. The bruise had completely cleared up on her beautiful face.

Leo rocked back and forth on his heels.

“Are you mad?” he asked.

“Mad?” She genuinely looked surprised. “No, my god, of course not!” A smile surfaced on her lips which made him feel better. Whatever guilt he felt before was gone. “He deserved it. Oh my god, he totally deserved it, didn’t he?”

“He hit you, of course he deserved it.”

“Come ‘ere!”

He plopped down on the couch next to her and she wormed her away under his arm. She smelled like roses and he smelled like cigarettes. Together they watched the morning news and a couple shitty commercials about lawn mowers and laundry detergent.

“I should go down,” Leo said. “Eddie needs me and we’re not going to make rent if I don’t clock in some extra hours.”

“Don’t.”

She seemed different this morning, and it was freaking him out a little.

“Why not?” Then he added, “Libby, is everything okay?”

She looked at him with her wide, green eyes. She wasn’t smiling.

“I don’t know,” she said quietly. “But something tells me that you just shouldn’t go down. Not after what you did.”

“Not after what I did?”

“Well, look, I don’t know.” Her voice softened, and she sounded a bit more like herself. “But I just have like this really weird feeling like something bad is going to happen, you know?”

Ah yes, the infamous gut feeling. Leo got those sometimes too, but he learned to ignore them, or rather Candy taught him to.

“I mean I guess, but I don’t really have a choice.”

“If the rent’s so tight I can ask Damian for some money—” She brightened after pronouncing her eldest brother’s name. “—we’ll just pay him back later.”

“Oh no, no no. I don’t want to be in debt to him. Plus I don’t think he’ll lend us any…”

“Oh.”

That seed of guilt sprouted right back up. Just yesterday he ran another errand for Damian in exchange for a gram of blow. The deal was two grams, but Damian told him “too fucking bad, you want it or not?” and of course Leo fucking wanted it. He got a nosebleed that night and he could still see the bloody towel in the garbage from where he was sitting on the couch.

“Just be careful,” Libby said. “Promise me you’ll be careful.”

“I promise.”

“You’re my brother and I love you. I need you. So please be very careful.”

“I promise.”

She examined his face thoroughly (“You better not be fucking with me”) and nodded. “Alright. And please don’t work so late. It’s not healthy being up all night. Come early and we’ll order a pizza and watch that retarded movie that you like.”

“Sounds good.” He grinned. “What about you? What are you up to today?”

She shrugged. “I think I’ll go help Hailey. Maybe I’ll get a free Starbucks, or something.” She paused. “But I’m serious about the don’t-work-late thing.”

She was serious indeed. Moreover, she was right. Leo got caught up at work (as always) and then when Candy beckoned him to the poker table (“Aw come on, just one game.”) he reluctantly agreed. One game and he’d be home by one a.m…

That didn’t happen.

He lost the first game, so of course the only rational decision is to play another. And another. And suddenly you’ve lost nearly a grand, so how much worse can your night get?

“I’ve really got to go now,” he told Candy when she brought him a pint of beer. He remembered how fucking weird his sister was early that day. “I’ve already lost like a shit ton of cash.”

“Okay…” she cocked her head playfully. Her blonde hair swayed to the opposite side. “I was just going to offer you some of this—” he glanced down at her hand and she had slipped out a small packet of blow from her apron. “—but since you’re leaving…” She made a pouty face.

“Candy…”

It was these moments that he hated the most. He’d rather have his back fucked twenty times. Whether he stayed or went, his guilt-plant would be fertilized.

“Please?” She slipped her fingers through his. “Please. Just one little bump.”

One little bump it was. She led him into the staff bathroom where the lights flickered and they shoved blow up their noses.

“Doesn’t that feel good?” she said. “Admit it, it feels fucking fantastic.”

He didn’t want to admit it, but she was right. He took his phone out of his pocket and looked at the time: one-thirty in the morning and three texts from Libby: Where r u (all in different bubbles— fucking serial-texters).

“Aw, what, is it your sister?”

“Yeah. I think I’m gonna go now.”

She darkened. A strand of blonde hair tipped over on her head and fell down her shoulder. “Please don’t. Aren’t we having fun?”

“Of course we are, but—” He shrugged. Libby was right; something did feel off. “—Libby seemed really freaked out this morning. I don’t know. I think I should check on her.”

“Well alright,” she said glumly. “Want some blow to-go?”

“Really? You don’t have to.”

“Please, I got this shit basically for free.”

It wasn’t a mystery how Candy got her drugs. She had numerous boyfriends who she picked off the street (“Hey, can I catch a ride?”) and sometimes they were generous enough (and she was pretty enough) to share some of their illegal substances with her. Sometimes, when she really wanted to get her hands on some, she went to her “safe guy”. He was called that not because he was safe (ironically, he was the farthest thing from it), but because it was always safe to assume that he had drugs. It was also safe to assume that he’d fuck anything that moved.

“Have fun with your sister.” She smiled after giving him a bit of blow to take home. It was in his pocket. “I hope she’s okay. We blew up his car, so she has nothing to worry about now. That piece of shit won’t touch her with a thirty-nine and a half foot pole.”

Leo chuckled, not knowing that once he stepped out of the safety of the bathroom he’d be faced with the—

Talk of the

—devil himself.

He walked out, holding the door for Candy. His pockets were light with cash but heavy with dopamine. He promised himself that he wouldn’t gamble the next night, maybe he’d even stay with Eddie’s kids and bake cookies with them, surely they’d—

It happened so quickly that he only realized he was on the floor when he felt a sharp pain in the side of his body. Peter-fuck (or Peter-devil) had yanked him on the back of his shirt and threw him against the wall with the stupid blue neon sign that buzzed like a fucking bee. The sharp pain was from him kicking him in the ribs.

Hard.

Peter was about a head taller than him—considering the fact that Leo was hovering around five-eleven, the fucker really was a skyscraper compared to the average human—and about twice his body weight.

Leo instinctively tried to curl into a ball, but before he could do that, Peter landed another kick into his ribs. This one also hit a part of his stomach and he gasped in pain.

“GET UP!” he roared. “GET UP YOU PIECE OF SHIT AND FIGHT ME LIKE A MAN!”

But he didn’t. He couldn’t. His mind went blank, his limbs felt like they belonged to a child and he tried again to curl into a ball—

Just get it over with. Just let him get it over with. Don’t fight it, that’ll just make it worse. Just let him get it over—

Peter landed another hard kick in the ribs. It felt as if it shook his entire rib cage and made his heart bounce around inside like a ping pong ball.

“GET UP FAGGOT! GET UP!”

But he didn’t. He couldn’t even scream. He was silent, his eyes shut—

It’s almost over, almost there. He’ll stop soon and then you can go up to your room and curl on the bed and tomorrow it’ll feel better, I promise it’ll—

Another kick. And another. Candy was in the bathroom smoking pot and he was lying in the tiny hallway with the annoying neon sign that couldn’t shut up and he was just waiting for Peter to get all his anger out. Every kick helped weed the guilt-plant because he deserved every single kick.

Right?

He blew up a man’s car and he gambled away the money him and his sister earned and used the rest for drugs. He gave cocaine to his girlfriend and he didn’t stay with those poor kids. He stole cars and left his sister all alone in their apartment, so I must deserve this, he told himself.

Right?

Right.

Recommend0 Simily SnapsPublished in All Stories, Coming of Age, Contemporary Fiction, Fiction, Humor, Mystery/Thriller, Romance, Young Adult (YA)

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