Two weeks later back in Georgia...
I pull up to Flint and Kendra’s driveway and cut the engine. Every time I visit their home sitting high on top of a steep mountain, my mind flashes back to the days we used it as a safe house.
Now they’re planning to hold their wedding here in the very same spot. A chance to make better memories, they said. I’m all for it because this family could sure use some good memories. We’ve had enough fucking bad ones to last a lifetime.
Flint walks out the front door and motions for me to sit down in one of the rocking chairs on the front porch.
“Have you heard anything from Trish?” he asks when I take a seat.
“No, and I don’t think I’m going to,” I reply. “She hasn’t responded to a single one of my voice mails or texts. I doubt she’ll ever forgive me. I’m sure by this time her brother has poisoned any feelings she might have had for me anyway.”
“That’s too bad,” Flint says. “I thought there might be a real chance for you two. I know you cared about her.”
I shake my head. “There was never a chance for us. Not really. All just wishful thinking on my part. It’s probably for the best. She’s too sweet to be tangled up in my shit.”
“Hate to hear it. Anyway, I called my contact at the Panama City police department today. I thought I might have a better chance of finding out what is going on from them than the Feds.”
I raise my eyebrows. “What did they say?”
“Ty still refuses to take the deal being offered to him. He isn’t willing to turn on Big Roy, even if it means a lesser prison sentence for himself. They’re going to pay him a visit one more time at the hospital and then they’re taking the deal off the table. Either way, as soon as he gets out of the hospital, he’s going into police custody. From what I hear, they have one of his hands handcuffed to the hospital bed now. ”
I prop my boots up on the wooden banister.
“I’m not sure how I feel about that. While I would love to see one of Big Roy’s own men turn on him, I don’t like the thought of Ty being back in Trish’s life someday either. I can’t imagine what she’s going through, knowing he’s headed off to jail. She must be freaking out.”
“How on earth did she not realize all the illegal activities her brother was involved in?” Flint asks.
I shrug. “Hell if I know. She has a blind side where her brother is concerned. That’s my only explanation. She knew the Liberators and Big Roy were on the run from the Feds. Somehow she convinced herself that even though Ty was VP of the Liberators, he wasn’t involved in anything bad. According to Trish, everything is Big Roy’s fault and Ty shits rainbows. It still makes me see red every time I think about Ty trying to set the bar on fire with Trish inside.”
“Me too,” Flint says. “What kind of a brother does something like that? Do you think Trish realizes he did it even now?”
“I doubt it. Roger told me she’s staying with Ty at the hospital. I’m just thankful Roger agreed to let her keep her job. I cashed in a bunch of favors with him for that. The only thing I can’t figure out is how Ty ended up being the one who got shot. It’s almost as if the other Liberators intentionally left him behind.”
“Knowing how Big Roy operates, it might have been part of his plan,” he says. “He couldn’t have been happy about Ty outing the club to you. Maybe he set him up. Between arson and all the other charges the Feds already have on him, Ty might be going away for a long time.”
“I sure hope so. He is one evil son-of-a-bitch. The sooner Trish gets away from him, the better off she’ll be.”
The screen door slams behind us on the porch.
“Too bad about Flint’s little bachelor party being cut short,” Kendra says sarcastically as she comes out the door with a glass of sweet tea.
She hands it to me and puts her hand on her hip.
“What?” she says at my surprised expression. “I bet you thought Flint wouldn’t tell me about that, didn’t you? You are in big trouble with me now, Jesse. Big trouble with a capital T. Strippers, for heaven’s sake! I swear, sometimes you’re every bit as bad as Sam, and we all know he is beyond help.”
I glare at Flint over her shoulder, and he gives me a ‘don’t blame me, I have to live with her’ look.
“Kendra, I swear to you that Flint didn’t do anything disrespectful,” I say, hoping she isn’t mad enough to call off the wedding. “Nothing at all. He acted like a true gentleman the entire trip to Panama City. Scout’s honor. And he didn’t even like the strippers. He said they were disgusting and...”
“Ugly,” Flint interrupts. “Disgusting and ugly strippers. The worst you could ever imagine. They were at least sixty with baggy tits hanging down to their knees.” He demonstrates with his hands how low their tits were hanging.
“That’s right,” I say. “We couldn’t afford the younger ones so we had to go with the budget strippers.”
Kendra rolls her eyes. “You two are ridiculous,” she says. “Besides, why would Flint need naked strippers dancing around when he can have all this?” She waves a hand down her curvy body then bursts out giggling.
“I’m messing with you, Jesse,” she says, playfully slapping me on the back. “I know you boys just wanted to have some fun. We can use more of that around here. And when were you ever a Boy Scout anyway?”
She whirls around to wag a finger at Flint. “And you are the worst liar ever. How you ever made it as a lawyer, I don’t know. Sixty-year-old strippers, my ass.” She points to a motorcycle roaring up the road. “Here comes your brother now. I’ll go set the table for dinner.”
She opens the screen door, then stops and turns around. “Oh, Jesse, I forgot to mention one last thing.”
“What’s that?” I ask.
“Next year I’m going with you boys to the bike rally. So plan accordingly.”
She laughs as the door slams shut behind her.
Flint looks at me and shrugs. “I had to tell her.”
I just shake my head.