Page 26 of She’s All Mine

“He doesn’t seem like that at all now.” Tank said he had a temper, but I’ve never seen it.

“No. He only gets angry in the ring. He’s learned to channel it. He is…he’s just a pure soul,” Morry sighs. “I’ve never really met anyone like him. He decided overnight he didn’t want to be miserable anymore and he devoted himself to boxing and this gym. He’s gentler with these kids than any daycare worker. And they love him.”

I watch a few more boys show up and join in, getting lost in how sweet but stern he is with them. He’s going to make a good father one day. The thought hits me hard and fast, almost knocking the air out of my lungs. Oddly, I don’t panic; instead it’s excitement that creeps in. Maybe not today but one day. I’ve never given the idea of having kids much thought before now. I wasn’t sure I was even going to have them. I get my periods but they’re far from regular. My doctors never seem worried about it. They say it’s because I work out so much with dance. Before this moment I’ve never cared. Now it’s all I can think about.

“Treasure.” My head jerks up at the use of my nickname. “Your phone keeps going off.” I look over to my phone, which is indeed ringing.

I answer when I see Liv’s name. Crap, I haven’t talked to her since Tank carried me off. She’s probably freaking.

“Hey,” I say softly. I don’t want to bother anyone who is focused on their training.

“Tell me you’re okay? Why are you whispering?” She throws one question after another.

“Can we talk about this later? I’m kind of…” I pause for a second. Her voice is off. “Are you crying?” I pick up my bag. Tank must see me, so he jumps out of the boxing ring and immediately comes over to me.

“Where are you? I’m coming. Where are your men?” Now it’s me asking the rapid-fire questions.

“What’s wrong?” Tank guides my face with his hand to look up at his, concern written on his features.

“Who’s that?” Now it’s Liv who is whispering. “Is that Tank?” She gasps. “Did you spend the night with him?” Now she’s whisper-yelling at me. We have gotten off track here.

“Liv! Stop. Where are you?” I shout, trying to remind her that she called me in freaking tears. I make sure I have all my stuff before sliding my bag back on my shoulder. Tank is already ripping off the wraps on his hands, making it clear he’s coming with me.

“Our room,” she finally tells me. Maybe I should get that tracking thing on her like the twins have. It took too long to get that out of her. Now I really see why they did it.

“I’m really sorry,” she whispers into the phone, her voice filling with tears again.

“I’m coming,” I tell her. She was right about one thing. Someone’s going to be sorry for whatever they’ve done to her. From the look on Tank’s face right now, he wants part in whatever that payback is going to be.

15

Tank

The entire floor smells like pepperoni and melted cheese, which makes me wonder if instead of egging the dorm room, someone threw pizza all over Erika’s door. There’s no pizza in the room when we arrive, but that’s about all that’s missing.

Despite the attempts to clean up by the twins and their girlfriend, the dorm room still looks like it was ransacked by meth heads looking for their next hit.

“What the fuck happened?” I ask. Erika’s too shaken up to say anything. The girl is sagging in her sneakers. I place a hand at the small of her back to prop her up.

“We’re finding out,” one of the twins says, although I’m not sure which one. They both look the same to me.

“This dorm floor’s got like thirty women and all of them have phones. Someone has to have recorded something.” I’ll pound on their doors all day long if that’s what it takes, because no one does this to my treasure.

“Why do you think it smells like a pizzeria up here? We already bribed them and have the video.” The same twin waves his phone at my face. “We’re in the process of making an ID.”

I grab the phone and watch two guys wearing collared shirts with khaki shorts stand in front of Erika’s door. Their backs block the view of the door handle and lock, but my guess is they’ve got some tool. The door pops open and they disappear inside. After ten minutes, they exit, leaving the door wide open.

“They’re proud of their work,” I note. The bastards didn’t bother disguising themselves. One of them grins and winks at the camera. I wonder if he’ll enjoy swallowing his own teeth.

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