His strong arms are wrapped around me, holding my neck in a headlock as Steve gets to his feet and rushes over with his fists in the air. He cracks me in the jaw, but I punch back.
And I’m still holding the knife.
It sinks into his kidney and warm blood pours out onto my hand. His eyes widen as he realizes what just happened. He drops to the ground, clutching the hole in his body as his face goes pale.
“Let me go!” I snap at the big guy. “Or, I’ll put this knife in your balls.”
He immediately releases me and steps back with his big hands in the air.
“Get these two and get the fuck out of here,” I say as I point to the two guys who are finally starting to wake up. They’re groaning and lifting their heads, wincing as they try to piece together what happened.
The big guy gathers the two of them and puts them on their bikes. He hesitates before leaving. “What about him?” he asks, looking at the crushed Scorpion.
He’s bleeding pretty heavily as he stares up at the sky with fading eyes.
“I’ll deal with him,” I say through gritted teeth.
The big guy looks at him, curses under his breath, and then leaves with the rest of them.
Mackenzie’s parents yell at her to come back as she opens the door and rushes over to me. “Are you okay?”
“I’ll be fine,” I tell her.
She looks at Steve and starts to panic. “Can we save him?”
I don’t want to. He’s a threat to her and I want him dead.
She tugs on my arm and my resolve breaks. “Please, Colton.”
I can’t say no to her.
“We have to call an ambulance,” I say, already regretting it.
I rip off my shirt and press it to the wound in Steve’s body as Mackenzie dials 911. My mother was a nurse and she always made sure that I knew some first aid.
The ambulance comes about fifteen minutes later, but it’s too late. Steve dies on the stretcher. I can’t say I’m too disappointed.
I’m relieved that the threat to Mackenzie is gone.
The police come next and they ask some questions. Luckily, Mackenzie’s father is a well-known and respected man and he convinces the officers that I was innocent, which I was. It’s pretty clear that this was all in self-defense.
I’m off the hook for Steve, but not for his daughter.
When the cops leave, and it’s just the four of us, he lets me know that.
“I don’t want to see you again,” he tells me.
“Dad!” Mackenzie shouts. “He just saved us!”
“From his friends,” her dad snaps back. “We wouldn’t have been in that horrible situation if it wasn’t for him.”
“That’s not true, Dad!” Mackenzie tries to explain, but he doesn’t want to hear it. He doesn’t care that Scorpion was after his daughter before I even met her. All he sees is the tattoos and the motorcycle and decides he doesn’t want me anywhere near his daughter.
“I might not be clean-cut,” I tell him. “I might not be rich. I might not have fancy letters before my name. But I love your daughter and I’ll protect her with my life. She’ll be in good hands with me, I promise it.”
He steps up to me with hatred oozing out of his tired eyes. “I want you out of here,” he hisses in a low voice. “If I ever see you again, I’ll call my friend, the Attorney General, and I’ll have you put away for life.”
I look at him for a long moment and then turn away as my heart breaks. “Ma’am,” I say as I nod to Mackenzie’s mom. “Mackenzie.”
“No,” she says as she rushes after me. “No, no, no, no.”
I’m headed toward my motorcycle. I haven’t given up on this girl, but I’m not going to get anywhere today. Not after her family watched me kill someone. Not while I still have Scorpion’s dried blood on my hands.
She catches up to me as I climb onto my bike.
“Don’t go!” she begs.
“It’s okay,” I whisper. “It’s not the time. They’ll be a time for us. Come and see me.”
I grab a pen and paper from my bike and scribble down my address.
She takes the paper and makes it disappear in her bra. “I will,” she promises as she steps back.
“Soon,” I tell her. I won’t survive without her for long.
“Very soon.” She gives me a tight strained smile as I back my bike up and turn it on.
And just like that, I’m headed home.
My place is worse than I feared.
Steve and his boys fucked it up good. The expensive tools I saved up for years are gone. My TV has a hammer through it. My couches are all sliced up. You get the picture.
Everything I worked for is ruined.
I sigh as I roll up my sleeves and start cleaning up.