“That they are.”
I toss the phone back to the Audley twin. “Text me when you have more deets. I want in.”
“On what?” Sweet, innocent Erika stands up with some of her clothes in her hands and casts me a confused glance.
“I want in on helping you clean up,” I reply blandly. The Audley boys will know what I want. Erika doesn’t need ugly stuff in her life.
It takes about an hour to clean up the room, haul out the trash and pack up a couple bags—one for Erika and one for her roommate. Neither girl is staying here tonight and if I have my way, Erika won’t be back.
She’s quiet as we walk to my truck. I hate that she’s upset. Maybe I should tell her I’m going to rearrange their faces.
“You know that I’m going to make that whole mess right, don’t you?” I say as I help Erika into the truck.
She makes a face. “I’m not bothered about that. I’m…my parents are going to find out and they’ll be mad.”
“Why are they going to find out?”
She pushes a hand over her hair in frustration. “It’s campus policy. Any time you’re the subject of a hate attack, your parents get called. A girl on another floor got a nasty note written on her message board and her parents were called.”
I can tell she’s agitated. I run my palms over her thighs. “Okay. So why will they be mad? It’s not your fault.”
“They won’t see it that way.”
The defeat in her tone makes me want to gnash my teeth together. Maybe it’s not just the two dudes that need a midnight visit. Maybe her parents do, too. But I can’t punch her dad in the face, can I? That seems to cross the line, even for me.
“I think what we both need is some food. Let’s get pasta over at Spinneli’s and then go home and fuck like bunnies.”
I start to slam the door shut when she yells, “Wait.”
I swing it back open. “What?”
“Are we getting extra-cheesy garlic bread and the deep-fried ravioli?”
“We are now.”
That puts a smile on her face. The smile remains because we get all her favorite foods, plus a custard for dessert. She eats everything. When we get home, I feed Tuesday and then lock her out so that I can have my dessert.
After she falls asleep, I call a gym body to come and watch over Erika. I meet him outside.
“Sorry that I’m not letting you in.” I hand him a Benjamin. He slides it into his pocket.
“No problem, man. I’ll just sit here on the floor. It’s cleaner than the mat at the gym.”
“Don’t let Morry hear you say that,” I warn. She takes good care of the place.
He holds his hands over his head. “I was joking. Anyway, like I said, this is fine.”
I leave Brix and walk downstairs to meet the Audley twins. Apparently, the perpetrators belong to some frat house. I hate frat boys and am irrationally pleased we are going to beat up a few tonight.
I slam one fist into my palm and grin at the Audleys.
“We’re not fighting,” one of them tells me.
“Why the fuck not?”
“Because I have other plans. I’ll explain when we get there.”
Hopefully that means we’re torching the place, but when we arrive, one of them tells me that we’re doing everything “by the book,” whatever the fuck that means.
“We’ve promised Olivia that we can’t go to prison because only one of us gets conjugal rights,” one of them explains.
“Can’t you just switch it up? You guys look alike.”
“We could, but Olivia is convinced we’d get caught. To her, we’re as different as night and day.”
I look from one face to the other and back again. The only way to tell these boys apart is to break one of their noses. I don’t do that because I don’t think Erika would be happy. A moving van shows up minutes later, which pisses me off.
“What’s that? We don’t need outside reinforcements…or witnesses.”
“Trust me, Tank. Like I said, we promised Olivia we wouldn’t get in trouble.”
Not getting in trouble apparently means that Zeke Audley buys the damned fraternity house. The main frat dude is looking so distressed, I’m finding it hard to keep a straight face. While Zeke informs the frat boys that the van is there to get them to move out, I do a little investigation, gathering up all the alcohol, weed, pills, and coke they have stashed around the first floor.
The main guy grabs some paperwork from Audley. “There’s a thirty-day termination clause.”
“Not if the landlord has the reasonable belief that there are illegal activities going on. I believe you had a party the other day wherein underage students were allowed to drink. I have statements from various students admitting to this. There is also the matter of the drugs.”