“I’ll keep that in mind. So you guys are going to the movies?”
“Yes, and we don’t need a bodyguard.”
“You don’t have a bodyguard.” He shakes his head. “We’re just being cautious until we know things have quieted down.” I fight the urge to roll my eyes and just nod in agreement instead.
“Sage is going to be with you tonight,” he tells me, standing.
“Sage is helping you out now?” I ask, wondering how my Uncle Nico’s son got put up to this.
“No, Harlen heard you guys were watching some chick flick, so everyone drew straws.”
“It’s Fifty Shades of Grey, not a chick flick, and you may think Sage’s the unlucky one, but I hear there’s a lot of boobs,” I inform him.
“I don’t need to watch a movie with boobs, baby. I have the best tits I’ve seen in my life at my disposal twenty-four hours a day.”
“Awww, you say the sweetest things.” I laugh, tying my shoes.
He pulls me up off the bed, slapping my ass once before pushing me towards the door, muttering, “Smartass,” as the bell goes off.
“Hey, man,” he greets Sage when he opens the front door.
“What’s good?” my cousin replies, stepping into the house, doing that guy handshake thing with Wes before pulling me into a hug and lifting me up off my feet.
My cousin Sage is mixed. His dad is black and his mom is white. Uncle Nico and Aunt Sophie adopted him and his twin sister when they were three. He’s handsome in a way that my aunt asked Uncle Nico to buy her a gun to keep the girls away when he turned sixteen. He’s really tall at almost six, six, and his skin is a few shades darker than mine is in the summer. His hair is curly and low to his head, and his eyes are a light hazel that stands out against his complexion.
Even though he’s not my aunt and uncle’s biological kid, you can see them in him. He’s sweet and soft-spoken like Aunt Sophie, yet a badass to the core like Uncle Nico, which is why he works with Jax.
As soon as my feet touch the ground, Wes pulls me to him. “Be good,” he says against my mouth. I don’t say anything; after all, it’s only a lie if you acknowledge it, and if Wes never finds out what I’m doing, he will have no reason to be mad.
“All right, let’s go,” Sage says, holding the door open. I grab my bag from the table and wave goodbye to Wes as he pulls away from the house on his bike.
“Kayan is meeting us at the theater. Z said he would follow her there and wait for us,” I tell Sage as we get into his truck.
“Cool,” he mutters, getting behind the wheel.
“I wish Nalia was here,” I say, and Sage’s eyes come to me for a moment before going back to the road.
“She’ll be home soon,” he says, but I can also hear the doubt in his words. When Sage and Nalia turned eighteen, they were able to talk to their biological parents. Sage wanted nothing to do with them, but Nalia got close with their mom and moved to Colorado to be nearer to her. I understand her reasoning, but I know it’s hard on my aunt and uncle and her brother. I just pray she finds whatever it is she’s looking for.
“Well, I’m happy she’ll be home for Christmas.”
“Me too. I just hope she’ll decide to stay home after that,” he says.
“Maybe.” I shrug. I know Aunt Sophie has been torn up about her being gone. She feels like she did something wrong, but I also know that sometimes you have to do stuff for yourself, even if it’s hard on the people you love.
When we pull into the parking lot of the movie theater, I see Z and Kayan standing near his bike. I look around for her car and sigh in relief when I see it parked over on the side of the building.
“Hey, Z, are you sure you don’t want to watch the movie with us?” I ask, hopping out of Sage’s truck and walking toward Z’s bike.
“Thanks, but no, thanks.” He smiles then turns and kisses Kayan, then whispers something to her before letting her go mussing my hair and getting on his bike starting it up and pulling out of the parking lot.
“Ready?” Kayan asks, wrapping my arm around hers and heading into the theater, with Sage following close behind us.
“Ready.” I mummer wondering if there is a way that I can talk her out of this then I look over my shoulder at my cousin and ask “Are you sure you don’t want to come in?”
“Nah, I’ll wait here,” he says, and we pay for our tickets and stop to get popcorn and candy, giving Sage a wave before heading into the movie.
“What’s the plan?” Kayan asks as we head into the theater.
“This is your idea.” I remind her.
“Yeah but you’re the planner.” She smiles and I roll my eyes and lead her towards the front of the theater, where I push through the door marked Exit. The moment we clear the door, I head towards the parking lot.
“What are you doing?” She shrieks as I start to toss the food we got into the garbage that is on the corner of the building. “You cannot throw that out,” she pulls the popcorn from my hand, causing half of it to land on the ground, “or this.” She hands me the keys to her car and takes the soda from me.
“Are you good now?” I ask. She shrugs shoving a hand full of popcorn into her mouth after making it to her car. I make sure Sage isn’t anywhere around, start up the car and head out of the parking lot towards the compound.
“So much for this plan,” Kayan says through a mouthful of popcorn as we pull up in front of the compound fifteen minutes later.
“Yeah,” I agree then shove her head down and duck as well when I see a bike pull up. The moment the roar of pipes dies, I lift my head and watch as Harlen swings off his bike and heads inside, coming back a few minutes later carrying an envelope.
“We need to follow him. He’ll be with Z.” She says from her still bent position then takes a drink of her soda.
I look at her for a long moment then shake my head and take off after him following him for about ten minutes down some back roads. When he pulls into a parking lot, I park a block away and watch as he rides right to where the rest of the guys are waiting including my cousin Jax. When Harlen gets off his bike, he says something to Wes then hands him the envelope. Even from this distance, I see Wes’ jaw go tight and I wonder why he’s pissed. Then he puts his phone to his ear, and I watch his mouth work and wonder what he’s saying.
“I wonder what they’re talking about.”