Authors: Samantha Leal
What the Outlaw Craves
Copyright ©2015 by Samantha Leal. All rights reserved.
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Table of Contents
The screaming had been going on for nearly two hours. Lacey buried her head under her pillow and just prayed that it would stop. The banging and crashing had ceased maybe thirty minutes before, but the fight was still in full swing and Charlene, the girl who lived in the apartment on the floor above, didn’t seem to want to let up, even if it was four am.
Lacey could hear them above, shouting and stamping across the vinyl floor. She didn’t know who had gone to see her neighbor, but they were obviously causing trouble. Maybe Charlene owed someone money again. Or maybe whoever the guy was had been a lover and had come back for more. Lacey rolled over and stared at the ceiling. She didn’t know whether she should go up there and try to help or just hope it resolved on its own. In this town, you never knew what you could be walking in on.
Lacey sat up and leaned back against the headboard. Her temples were throbbing and she was so tired, she didn’t know if she would even make it into work the next day at the rate things were going. She had already been given a warning for slacking on the job, so she couldn’t exactly go into the bar, stand there looking half dazed and keep on her feet for nearly ten hours. It would be impossible.
She picked up her cell phone and unlocked it. Should she call Charlene and see what was happening? She tapped at the keys and opened her contact list before stopping and thinking again… What if the guy up there was a drug dealer? Lacey could end up getting hurt or dragged into Charlene’s debts again. She put the phone down and instantly felt guilty for being too scared to intervene. She knew there was no point in calling the cops. In Clay Springs, the cops didn’t help and protect the little guy… They fucked them over like all the other criminals running the town.
Lacey shouldn’t have even been there. She’d made her escape. After high school she had packed up her stuff, said goodbye to her family and got the hell out of there, running as far and as fast as she could. She’d traveled for a while and seen a lot of the country but never found anywhere she really wanted to call home. She had several relationships and made plenty of mistakes, and two years after she had set off on her journey, she found herself traveling back through her hometown with no intention of staying. It was a devastating blow when her mother got sick and she had to stay and take care of her. It had been a long illness, but she had recovered. But after being so close to her mother again, Lacey didn’t feel like she could up and leave right away. She got a job at the bar, rented an apartment and suddenly, before she’d even really realized it, she was stuck.
“God,” she said aloud, “Please be quiet.”
She lay down again and wiped her tired eyes. She could hear Charlene screaming bloody murder at someone and telling them to get the fuck out. Lacey didn’t want to feel responsible or guilty for someone else’s drama; she just wanted it to end. Charlene was an adult and knew what she was getting herself into. Plus, Lacey had already bailed her out on countless occasions, and she couldn’t keep giving her money for drugs. At this rate, she would never get back out of that town. She’d be stuck there, in her dingy little apartment for the rest of time.
She looked over to her open closet. Her eyes traveled to the top shelf where hidden right at the back was the shoe box full of cash she had managed to save over the past year. She only worked for minimum wage, and the clientele in the bar left shitty tips, so it had taken her a while to save a thousand dollars. But then Charlene had come knocking one night in tears and begged her to help her out. One of the biker guys was coming to pay her a visit, she’d said, and if she didn’t pay him the money she owed him then he’d knock out all of her teeth. Lacey had panicked and given her what she needed. And then the next week it had happened again, the tears, the pleading… Lacey had eventually helped her close to six times before she decided enough was enough and she’d told Charlene that she simply didn’t have any more savings. But now as she lay there listening, her conscience was pulling at her… Should she go to the closet, open the box and give Charlene a hundred bucks, or should she just stay quiet…?
Suddenly, the shouting stopped and she heard Charlene giggle. Lacey sunk down in bed and sighed. The walls were thin and she heard the dull beat of music drifting through the ceiling, followed by what sounded like moaning. Lacey sat back up and listened carefully…
Is that what I think it is
? she thought.
Charlene’s giggles turned to moans of pleasure and directly above her Lacey could hear the sound of the headboard smacking against the wall.
“Well, I guess she found another way to pay this time,” Lacey smirked.
She climbed back into bed and began to wish for the fighting to return. Listening to Charlene have sex with someone was just more of a reminder of how lonely she was. Her love life was pretty much non-existent, and she couldn’t remember the last time she met someone who made her heart race. She felt the emotion welling up inside of her and a tear rolled down her cheek. What she wouldn’t give for the touch of a good man. But unfortunately, she didn’t think one of those existed in Clay Springs…and if they did, she certainly was yet to find them.
She woke up at nine am with a start and jumped out of bed. She was supposed to be at work at ten and she didn’t have her car. She was going to have to make the twenty-minute walk in the blistering heat.
, she thought as she ran through to the bathroom and turned on the shower. She pulled her nightdress over her head and climbed in. She tried to turn up the heat, but it seemed stuck on the lukewarm temperature.
“I am so sick of this place,” she sighed, washing quickly. It wasn’t the first time that she had had problems with the heating and water. It seemed like the building was crumbling around her. Her landlord wasn’t interested. He was probably the reason for the problem. Clay Springs had a distinct lack of accommodation for people like Lacey--young, single girls who needed somewhere cheap. The majority of properties were family houses and this was one of only two apartment blocks in town. She’d been lucky to get it and although rent was cheap, it really was pretty grim. The owner was another corrupt asshole who benefited from taking advantage of those who were less fortunate than him, and Lacey knew she couldn’t argue with him or force him into making repairs. She just wanted out.
She turned the shower off, hopped out onto the bathmat and wrapped herself up in a big towel. She was shivering even though the sun was shining through the window and heating up the place by the second. She towel-dried her hair and got dressed into her work “uniform” which basically consisted of anything short or revealing. She had chosen a pair of cut-off denim shorts and a little white t-shirt that was split down the front to show off her huge breasts. When she was feeling down, Lacey regularly joked that they were the only thing she had going for her and she had to show them off to make herself feel better. She loved the way men stared at her and her impressive cleavage, especially when she was working and they helped her pass the time behind the bar by flirting with her and buying her drinks.
Just past nine-thirty, she made her way to the front door. She stopped and listened for a moment to see if she could hear any noises coming from Charlene’s place, but it all seemed quiet.
, she thought,
they were up most of the night screwing.
She stuck her middle finger up at the ceiling and laughed to herself. Even though they couldn’t see it and would never know, it had made her feel just a little bit better.
As she walked down the street, she clutched her purse to her side and made her way quickly to her usual coffee stop. She had never been the type of person who would wake up early and have plenty of time to prepare for the day, making herself a pot of coffee and warming croissants while she read the morning paper. Lacey was a get-up-and-go girl and she grabbed what she could on the run. There wasn’t a lot of choice on her route to work, but she had found a nice little coffee house that was fast and friendly.
She stepped inside and smiled at the barista, who was new and slower than the other guys in there but Lacey couldn’t be bothered to make a fuss. She ordered a double espresso and twiddled her thumbs as she waited for it. When the girl passed it to her, she smiled and wished her a good day before heading back outside into the sun. Coffee and the heat were a bad mix, but she needed the caffeine. She knocked it back fast and threw the cup in the trash.
She felt revived and picked up her pace. She looked down at her watch. 9:52. She had eight minutes before she was officially late and potentially facing unemployment again. Since she had been a working adult, she had been fired no less than ten times. But that had been when she was traveling and not taking the world seriously. Now she had an apartment and bills, and she was the only person who could look after her. She felt the pang again… the longing for someone else to care and tell her that everything would be all right. When she was growing up, she had never thought of herself as one of those women who needed a man to support her, but as she had matured and experienced more, she realized that maybe she actually did.
As she walked, she daydreamed. One of her favorite fantasies was that she was married to a business man in a big city. They would have a nice house and a golden retriever and the bar and her crumby apartment would be a distant memory. She thought back to the previous evening and how she had to listen to Charlene screwing some guy and how depressed she had felt. The thought of moving on and not being lonely was becoming ever more desirable. She didn’t want to admit it to herself fully, but she did want a man. She wanted to be cared for, loved and cherished.
Her mind wandered back to the big house with the picket fence and the city boy husband. She wasn’t even sure if someone like that would be her type, but it was the fantasy of the day and it kept her from depression as she rounded the corner and saw the bar across the street. A homeless man was asleep in the doorway, and she was the only one who was going to be there to move him on. Her boss wasn’t technically going to be in until twelve, and even if he got there early, there was no chance he would do it himself.
“Great,” she whispered. “Here we go…”