Authors: Christy Rose
Copyright 2016 Christy Rose
All Rights Reserved.
Disclaimer: This ebook is a work of fiction. Any resemblance characters in this story may have to real people is coincidental.
No section of this book may be copied or reproduced without the author's permission.
I always choose the wrong guy...
Chase was a big mistake. Another f*cking mistake in a whole string of 'em. How could I be so stupid?
It was just an innocent one-night stand. But a baby was never part of the plan.
I can never let this bad boy be the father. Over my dead body.
I slowly creaked open the door to Cultural Anthropology 301. Mr. Capshaw's back was to me, writing with marker on the white board. Classmates diligently took notes while Capshaw spoke about cannibals. It was becoming a habit of mine to be fifteen minutes late—parking was impossible at college.
I hunched down and went down the row of desks, scanning for any empty spots. Students watched me as I sneaked by, some giggling and others scoffing.
Why did the whole world only pay attention to me when I was late?
A vacant seat sat all the way at the end of an aisle. Everyone shifted their feet to make way for me as I shuffled through. I passed by Kyle and my heart almost jumped out of my chest.
I was sitting so close to him! He threw a smile at me and I almost melted. His tight graphic t-shirt showed off all his muscles. Why couldn't I get a guy like him?
I wanted so badly to tell Kyle how I felt, but I'd never even spoken a word to him before. I only watched him from afar, studying his figure closely.
I gently laid my backpack down and took my seat. Mr. Capshaw's back was still turned away— the teacher didn't notice me.
“Nice of you to join us, Ms. Turner,” he announced, turning around to face me.
I flushed scarlet and sunk into my chair. The students around me laughed. Kyle smirked at me. This had to be the most embarrassing moment of my life.
“Like I was saying before Ms. Turner interrupted us, it's time for your final paper.” Mr. Capshaw wrote Final Paper on the white board with a sad face next to it.
A collective groan echoed throughout the room.
Mr. Capshaw put up his hands in defense. “I know, I know. Most of you have been dreading this since the beginning of the year, but I assure you, it's not as bad as people have told you.”
My palms were sweating and I shifted in my seat. I'd heard that Capshaw graded these papers with an iron fist. Since it accounted for fifty percent of your grade, some students failed the class because of it.
“Let me explain what it's all about and then you guys can judge it. I think a lot of you will actually enjoy the process.” A kid on the other end of the room raised his hand. Capshaw dismissed him. “No questions yet. Let me finish.”
The kid put his hand back down. I pulled out my notebook and flipped to an empty page.
“Each and every one of you will go out in the field and study a culture that I assign you,” the professor said in his booming voice. The students looked at one another in confusion. “You're going to use everything that you've learned over the course of the semester. I want you to interview people, observe them in their natural habitats, and record any profound discoveries. Don't just write what you think
be interested in, write what
This is what anthropology is all about. We could read endless books about what others have done before, but until you do it for yourself, you can never really appreciate it. Now I'll take questions.”
A girl in the back raised her hand. “Yes, Ms. Harper?”
“What cultures will we be studying?”
“I'm glad you asked.” Mr. Capshaw walked over to his desk and pulled out a long sheet of paper. Depending on what you get, you're going to be assigned a fraternity, sorority, or a club that's in or outside this school; for example, Ms. Harper, you will be studying the mysterious and wild Anime Club.
The students all laughed.
A student in the front row raised his hand. “Have you ever done field work, Mr. Capshaw?”
The teacher looked offended but then smiled. “Of course I have. You think they'd let any old man come in and teach? I've been to Africa, South America, and the tiniest islands you can imagine. I've studied KKK groups and even tribes that practiced in cannibalism.”
Mr. Capshaw taped the paper to the white board. “Come on up and see what you got. Mr. Shavers you can stay seated.” Everyone turned their head and looked at the meat-head jock in the middle row. “Don't worry, I assigned you the Sigma Zeta sorority.”
“Fuck yeah, thanks Mr. C!”
The class stood up from their seats and began shambling over to the front. I followed the crowd and waited patiently while each student found their name and what club they were assigned. My finger trailed down the list until I found my name.
Sonya Turner Veterans Association
Was that his idea of a joke? Did he really want me to interview old people?
“That's it for today. But I want you to get in contact with your clubs and set up times to meet with them. You only need a few days to observe them. We'll skip next week's class and come back in two weeks when your paper is due. If you have any questions during that time, feel free to email me.”
Everyone began gathering their things and leaving while I stayed at the front of the class. I approached the teacher as he crammed papers into his briefcase.
“Mr. Capshaw, I don't quite understand my assignment.”
The teacher grinned. “Ms. Turner, you got the Veterans Association. I've been trying to get them to participate in this program for years—for some reason they said yes to me this time.”
“Are you punishing me for being late?”
“Punishing?” Mr. Capshaw said in shock. “I gave you the most interesting one. Would you rather have the Archery Club or the Poker Club?”
“Well, no,” I replied, tucking a loose strand of hair behind my ear.
“I gave you this because I know you can handle it. You may be late all the time but you have potential, Ms. Turner.” The teacher snapped his briefcase shut and began walking out. “Just be careful, Sonya, those men can be dangerous at times.”
I smiled. “Thank you Mr. Capshaw. I'll do my best.”
My red 66' Ford Mustang rumbled as I weaved in and out of traffic. With the top down, nothing was better. On the road was where I belonged—a place where I could relax and truly be myself. The scenery zipped by me as I rode at a peaceful fifty-five miles per hour. The sun peeked through the clouds and the air was crisp—a perfect day for driving.
Two black-and-white police cars sat off in the dirt on the side of the road—a speed trap. Three cops sat against their hoods eating donuts. One of them had a radar gun pointed right at my car. I quickly checked my speedometer and breathed a sigh of relief—I was two under the speed limit. I passed the officers and waved. One of them put his sunglasses on and jumped into his car, blasting the annoying siren.
Here we go...
Bullshit like this always happened in Lake Elsinore. The cops were corrupt as fuck. I had grown accustomed to getting flat on my stomach with my hands behind my back.
They never found anything. But that didn't stop the police department from checking in on me. They were the good guys and I was the bad guy; some things never change.
I shifted the the stick-shift and my Mustang roared as it accelerated. The wind blasted through my shoulder-length hair and a grin stretched across my face. The police cruiser wasn't far behind.
I lived for this.
Even if they caught me, the only thing I had on me was a concealed weapon—my nine millimeter. Never leave home without it. I'd been caught on a weapons charge before but they couldn't make it stick. The county was looking for drugs—lots of drugs; something they could use to take down any undesirable they didn't want in their town.
I sped up, taking turns hard and fast. My car swerved in and out of traffic, almost tapping cars as I passed by. The cop was having trouble following me. The two-lane highway didn't leave much room for passing. I looked behind me and raised my middle finger in the air. I gained distance some distance and pulled off to the side of the road behind some large bushes.
My heart was pumping hard as the police cruiser flashed by, his sirens still blasting. I waited in the bushes for another minute as the other cop car came speeding by. The police around here were pretty fucking stupid.
They weren't going to catch me today.
I pulled out of the bushes and began driving in the opposite direction. The heat would be on for the next couple of hours until the cops gave up their pursuit. I was on my way to meet up with other veterans and I was going to be late.
John was going to give me a lot of shit for this.
The Veterans Association was situated in an abandoned business district in the middle of town. . Old muscles cars stood in the front of the building in a nice and neat line. I couldn't keep the image of gross old men driving around out of my head. A cheap big sign that said: VA was plastered above the door.
I parked my dingy Honda Civic and checked myself in the rear-view mirror.
You can do this, Sonya.
These guys are no different than anyone else. I darkened my makeup and let my hair down from a ponytail. I inhaled deeply and got out.
A guy in a leather jacket was bent over working under the hood of his truck. His red hair and beard stood out. He must have been a volunteer or something.
“Excuse me,” I said.
The guy didn't pay any attention to me.
My ankles were shaking. I wanted to run away. I hardened my lips and stood my ground. “Excuse me,” I said louder.
The man turned around and his eyes gazed up and down my body. Maybe wearing a low-cut top was a bad choice. He wiped his hands with an oily rag. “What can I help you with?”
I pulled out the paper that I got from Mr. Capshaw. “I'm looking for John.”
“And what business do you have with him?”
I gulped. This guy was big and strong. His muscles were bigger than my waist—he could probably squeeze my neck until my head popped off. He ate girls like me for breakfast. “Well, I'm doing an anthropology paper and I was assigned this club.”
The man cocked his head. He probably didn't even know what anthropology was.
I steeled myself. “I need to speak with John, please.”
He smiled at me. “No need to get your panties all bunched up. Follow me.”
We walked into a grand hall that was floor-to-ceiling wood. Pool tables stood in one corner and a large bar dominated a whole half of the room. “Holy Diver” by Dio played on an outdated boombox behind the bar. What was this place? Guys in leather jackets sat on couches while others hunched over the bar. A few scantily-clad girls walked around wearing the shortest skirts and tightest tops. How could they go out in public wearing that?
“Hey Bryce, go get me John.”
A young-looking kid with a hint of facial hair nodded and went into the back room.
I stood at the front and waited, not knowing if I should go further in.
The kid came back and an older man followed him out. Gray hairs covered his beard and was peppered throughout his hair. His leather jacket had a all sorts of Army patches on it. He wasn't as gross as I imagined.
“What can I do for you?” he asked, rubbing his scruff.
“I'm Sonya from the anthropology class. My teacher told me to come and observe you guys.”
John's face lit up. “So you're the one Mr. Capshaw sent! He's been begging me to join this program for years. I finally caved in when he gave us free tickets to the Dodgers game.” He grasped my hand and shook it. “I'm John, it's nice to meet you.”
I smiled back. I couldn't believe Mr. Capshaw had to bribe them.
“So what are you going to be doing here?” John asked.
“Well I need to observe you guys and do some interviews—see what makes this club tick.”
“Make yourself at home, Sonya.” John glanced at the bar. “Hey Hudson, get this lady a drink.”
I put my hand up. “No, I'm fine.”
“Sonya, if you want to know how this club works then you need to know what fuels it.”
Hudson was in his mid-thirty's with a bald head and handle-bar mustache that looked way too silly. I wanted to giggle but his eyes told me that would be a bad idea. He handed me a small glass that was filled halfway and handed another glass to John. Hudson glanced down at my cleavage and I felt a little uncomfortable.
“Cheers,” John said, clinking his glass against mine.
I hesitantly downed the liquid that instantly burned my throat. I'd only had alcohol at a few parties before so I was no expert, but my best guess was that it was whiskey.
“Make sure to keep it flowing,” John told Hudson.
“Is there somewhere I can sit?” I asked, looking around the room.
“You can set up shop over there,” he replied, pointing to a picnic table.
“Thanks.” I stood up and the whiskey hit my knees. They buckled and I went crashing to the ground. John gripped my arm in a flash and pulled me back up.
“Maybe she should take it easy,” he told Hudson.
Hudson grunted again. He didn't say much.
I flushed with embarrassment. How could only one drink get me so tipsy? I walked over to the table, making sure to steady myself. My head was fuzzy but I felt amazing.
“Let me know if you need anything. I'll be in the back room,” John said.
I nodded and sat down at the table. Everyone in the room was looking right at me, watching my every move. This place was so intimidating. I cursed Mr. Capshaw under my breath. This had to be punishment for being late.
“Everyone! This is Sonya. She's doing a paper on us for college and she's going to be hanging around for the next couple days. Make sure she's welcome here.”
I flushed crimson and gave a little wave, sinking further down below the table.
What was I supposed to do next? I didn't want to interview anyone yet. I took out my notepad and began recording what had happened so far. My notes were pretty sparse. There wasn't really much to report. At least this was more interesting than the Anime Club.
I glanced around the room, focusing on the small details. Everyone seemed at ease—not a care in the world. Did anyone have a job? Did they just hang out here all day and drink?
The front door opened and in came another member. My heart skipped a beat. This one was different: young, brown hair down to his shoulders, a little scruff under the chin, and a long scar over his right eyebrow. He wore the same clothes as the other members: a wife-beater, leather jacket, and blue jeans; he made them work to his advantage.
This guy was hot as hell. And not at all like I expected. I looked around the room and laughed to myself. John was the only old guy here. These weren't veterans of World War II. They were just veterans.
“Did I make it in time, guys?” he said with his arms outstretched in a v-shape.
“What took you so long?” the guy who helped me outside asked him.
“Well Wyatt, you know how it is when the cops are chasing you.” They clasped hands and flexed their forearms. They could be barbarians if we lived in a different time.
“Damn Chase, you escaped them again?” Wyatt asked.
“One of these days they're going to get you.”
“Not in this lifetime.” They both heartily laughed and slapped each other on the back.
Chase sat at the bar. “How's it going, Hudson? Get me a drink.”
Hudson pulled out the same bottle of whiskey and poured him a shot. Chase knocked it back and slammed the glass upside down on the bar.
Chase threw a glance at me with his dark blue eyes, piercing my soul. My heart stopped and the blood in my veins froze. He was walking towards me!