His mouth flaps open then he looks up at Romy, who sends him a shrug. Her wavy auburn hair is mussed, and my eyes narrow at the hickey on her neck.
The roar of a motorcycle reverberates as it turns down our street, and I smile. “You hear that? That’s my brother Julian on his way for Sunday brunch.” I let out a long whistle. “Twenty-six years old, muscles, prison tattoos, and a pretty little Glock. He’s in a motorcycle club. Lots of mean friends. You know what he’s going to do to you when he finds out about you?”
“Don’t believe her, Liam!” Romy shrieks. “He’s a cop! His motorcycle club is just a bunch of old farts!”
“Heh. Old farts with guns. That any better?” I smart back.
He gasps. “No.”
I edge closer to Liam as my fingers imitate a gun and I aim for his heart. “Last boy who came out of that window disappeared in the Mississippi River—”
“He moved! Serena, quit scaring him!” comes from my sister. “That was months ago! I haven’t done it since then! I swear!”
“Or I haven’t caught you!”
The Harley roars into the driveway and parks behind Nana’s faded brown Avalon. Julian’s six-three frame eases off the bike, all muscled thighs and carefully leashed power as he whips off his helmet and stretches. He’s wearing faded jeans, a black wife beater, and dirty motorcycle boots. Roses and gold daggers decorate his upper left shoulder. A gold python starts at his right bicep and wraps all the way down to his wrist. I laugh under my breath.
Liam sputters and darts his gaze back at me. “Look, uh, we were just studying and it got late—”
My arms cross. “On a Saturday night? How conscientious of you…”
Red flushes up his face.
I poke him in the chest. “Now, here’s how it’s going to go. You’re on my blacklist, which means the next time you want to see Romy, you have to trudge over to my place above the garage…” I tilt my head back toward my apartment. “You knock on my door and ask real polite if you can knock on Nana’s and see Romy. Then, if I say it’s okay, if you have a shirt on, you come over here and be polite to my grandmother, maybe take out her trash, help her cook dinner, and for sure you help her wash dishes, and then you can sit in the den and watch TV or study with Romy. You leave through the front door at her curfew, which is midnight. Under no circumstances do you go to her room. It’s disrespectful to Nana and to Romy. I’d prefer you abstain from sex, but if you are having sex, well, I can’t stop you, but don’t do it in the house. Also, please use a condom. Venereal disease, simply put, will rot your penis, and teen pregnancy—”
“Serena, for the love of… Don’t make me cuss!” Romy calls.
“—is no joke,” I continue. “Seven hundred and fifty thousand teen girls get pregnant every year. Do you want to be a dad right now?”
“No,” he whispers.
“Don’t let the sex muddle your brain, and don’t think her being on the pill is enough. Even condoms are not completely safe.” Been there, done that.
He pales. “You can get pregnant with condoms?”
“Yes, Liam, I see you’re catching on. Nothing is impossible, and sex is a big responsibility. Think you’re ready for it?”
He sways on his feet.
“Should we discuss venereal disease?”
“No,” he whispers. “Please.”
“I’m going to jump out of this window if you give him the sex talk!” Romy yells.
“No, you won’t!” I call back to her, eyes still on Liam. I clear my throat. “First, and most people don’t realize this, there are more than twenty-five different venereal diseases, and some of those you can get even with a condom. Look it up—it’s true. Some, such as chlamydia and gonorrhea, have no symptoms but can be deadly if left untreated. I won’t go into what happens to the female, but for the male, well, it begins as a disgusting penile discharge and mild pain when urinating that becomes more severe. Then it progresses to epididymitis, an inflammation of the tube-like structure that stores and transports sperm…” I pause. “You look a bit green, Liam. Should I tell you about the rectal issues?”
“Problem, sis?” Julian murmurs as he steps up next to me.
“Is there a problem?” I ask Liam.
He sucks in a breath and looks up at Romy, back at me, and then lands on Julian as he licks his lips. He comes back to me, a pleading look in his eyes. “I understand completely, ma’am. I’m so sorry.”
Ma’am. I laugh. “Good. Now, I’d love for you to meet my big brother. He bench-presses two hundred and fifty pounds. How much do you weigh, Liam?”
“Julian’s a decorated state trooper and a former Navy SEAL. Wanna know what he did in the Navy? Sniper. My brother can kill a man from a thousand yards. He’s very protective of his baby sister. How do you think it makes him feel when a guy climbs out of her window?”