4 days later
“What’s your problem?” Michael asked me.
My ‘problem’ was just that, my problem. Something I had to work out on my own.
I was still fucking sick to my stomach after that five year old died, and I’d just gone to the funeral for a little girl who’d not had a chance to live, yet had the chance to die.
We were sitting on a stack of mats, watching Bennett and Foster grapple while Luke and Miller lifted weights in the corner of the room.
We were at the gym doing our ‘group’ exercise. The one we had to do once a month in order to promote ‘team morale.’
Luke found pretty ingenious ways to keep our heads in the game, but today I just wasn’t feeling it.
I sighed. “I’ve got some things on my mind.”
“What kind of things?” He asked, his all-knowing eyes boring into mine.
I gritted my teeth. I didn’t really want to talk about it. Not even a little bit.
However, Michael didn’t look to be in any better shape than I was.
In fact, he looked even worse than he had the other day.
His eyes were haunted, and I could swear that he had more tattoos, if that was even possible, since I thought there was no more skin left to even fit a new tattoo.
Michael got tattoos like other men drank. Or when women ate when they were upset.
When he was sad, he got a tattoo. When he was pissed, he got a tattoo. When he had a bad day, he got a tattoo.
It didn’t always have to be something big. Sometimes it was just the tiniest of stars. Other times it was something that took up half a chest.
Though, it was getting to the point now that he’d have to venture onto skin that could be seen, which was something he didn’t do.
If he couldn’t cover it, he didn’t get it.
Which was quickly becoming not an option.
“The kinds of things I’m not telling you about if you don’t reciprocate,” I snapped.
He stayed silent for so long that I thought he’d dropped it, but then he surprised the shit out of me.
“I started dating Nico’s sister, but she dumped me when she found out I didn’t want kids,” he blurted.
I blinked, turning to him. “Why don’t you want kids?”
He shrugged. “My dad was bi-polar. I’m bi-polar. I just found out its genetic. I don’t want to pass that shit down to my kids. ”
I just blinked; surprised as hell that he’d just said what he did. “You’re shitting me.”
He shook his head. “No. I manage it well with meds, but I don’t want to pass that to my babies. I’m a fucking basket case at the best of times.”
I didn’t know what to say. I mean, he was the one living with bi-polar disorder. Who was I to tell him he should give it a try. I didn’t know how that affected him, although it had to be controlled in some way, because if he was fucked up in the head, he’d have never made it past the PD’s entrance screening when he was hired. Plus I’d never seen him act fucked up in my life.
Well, maybe once, just two days ago, as a matter of fact.
He’d reconstructed the father of the little girl’s face using nothing but his fist.
It’d been one hell of a show, but the father had deserved it. Irrevocably and utterly.
“I’m fucked up over that call. The one where the girl died. It brought back some ugly memories, and then added new ones.” I shook my head. “I haven’t been able to sleep in ten days, and now Memphis is ignoring me.”
“You know where she lives,” he said dryly.
I shrugged. “Yeah.”
“You should talk to her. She might be able to help you work through some shit. Women are good that way,” he said slowly.
I looked over at him with raised brows. “Ditto.”
He flipped me off. “Go fuck yourself.”
“I…” my phone rang, interrupting my next comment.
“Hello?” I answered.
“What’d you do to fuck up, boy?” A man asked on the other end of the line.
I pulled the phone away from my face and asked, “Who is this?”
“Stone, little boy. And you better figure out what the fuck is going on with your head, because I just had my baby girl on the back of my bike for hours today, the second time in less than a week, and she’s not done that willingly since she was sixteen. You fucked up, and it’s time to figure out what the fuck you did so you can fix it. I’ll beat the shit out of you if she cries in front of me. I don’t like tears, not from anyone, but it hurts more coming from my little girl,” Stone, Memphis’ father, rumbled.
I blinked. “For the second time? When was the first?” I asked in surprise.
He laughed humorlessly. “Why, that was when I came and picked her up to spend spring break with me four days ago.”
I was flabbergasted.
She hadn’t even called to tell me she was gone! What the fuck? Was that why she wasn’t taking my calls?
Not to mention we had plans this weekend to go to the Parade of Homes in Longview.
“Yep. I’ll text you the address. See you soon,” he murmured stiltedly before breaking the connection.
I just shook my head, unsurprised, really, that she’d done it in the first place.
“What’s going on?” Michael asked.
“That was my wakeup call.”