Home > Wait for It(6)

Wait for It(6)
Author: Mariana Zapata

I knew the exact moment his tired eyes noticed I was there because he stood straight up and all of those muscles went tight. “Who are you?” he asked slowly, dryly, his voice rough with sleep.

Dropping my hand from where it was over my heart—I didn’t even remember reaching up—I caught the ragged breath in my chest and held up my palms so that they faced toward him in surrender, taking in his features that weren’t from the neck down. His face was all angles and sharp lines like a gangster in a Russian mafia movie. Not exactly handsome but there was something about it… I coughed. Focus. “I just helped him outside,” I explained, standing there like a deer caught in the headlights.

Wasn’t that obvious? The beat-up guy was bleeding. Why else would I be standing there?

The half-naked stranger stared at me, unblinking, unmoving before his gaze switched back to the man on the recliner. “What happened?”

Beat-up Dumbass shook his head and lay back against the couch, waving his fingers dismissively. “Nothing. Mind your own fucking business and go back to sleep.”

Was I…? Should I…? I should go. I should probably go, I decided. I cleared my throat and luckily neither one of them glanced at me. “All right, well, I’m going to head out now—”

“What happened?” the half-naked man asked again, and it didn’t take a genius to know the question was directed at me… because his gaze was locked on mine, all hooded eyelids and a frown that made me uncomfortable.

“I already fucking told you nothing!” Beat-up Dumbass hissed, raising a hand to his eyes and draping it over them.

The not-beat-up guy didn’t even glance at the other man. I was pretty sure his nostrils had flared at some point, and I could definitely see his loosely hanging hands were opening and closing into fists. His voice was low and almost hoarse. “Can you please tell me why the hell he’s on the chair, looking like he just got his ass beat?”

Because he had? I opened my mouth, closed it, and mentally shrugged. I wanted to get the hell out of there, and it wasn’t like I had some allegiance to the beat-up guy. “He got jumped, and I helped him. I didn’t want to leave him out there.” My eyes bounced back and forth between the chair and the muscles—I mean, the guy in the boxers that only covered about a third of his thighs.

“Jumped?” One of the man’s thick eyebrows seemed to creep up a half inch on his broad forehead.

I’d swear his chin jutted out as he picked at my words to repeat. I’d had enough experiences pissing people off in my life—specifically my mom—to know those three traits were a sign of someone who was angry but trying not to be and failing miserably.

I probably made it worse by adding, “On the lawn outside.”

The width of his shoulders seemed to double, bringing attention to bulky biceps flexing to life with the hands he was fisting in pretty obvious anger. I couldn’t tell how old he was… but it wasn’t like that mattered.

“He got jumped on the lawn outside?” the newest stranger asked stiffly, his shoulders rolling back, his stubble-covered chin inching out a little more.

Why did I feel like I was tattling to Dad? “Uh-huh.”

The man on the recliner groaned in exasperation.

I would have been worried about being a big mouth except Beat-up Dumbass didn’t look like he’d make it five feet on his own.

The half-naked man’s biceps became even more bunched as his hand—a large one—went up to grip the top of his buzz-cut dark hair. “Who?” the man asked in that raspy, deep voice of his that had nothing to do with a head cold, like mine did. I had a feeling it wasn’t a sleep-induced voice either.

“Who what?” I asked slowly, trying to decide the best way to bail on this conversation as quickly as possible.

“Who did it?”

Should I have asked them for their names and addresses? I shrugged, my discomfort growing by the second. Get out, Diana, a little voice inside my head warned me.

“It’s none of your fucking business,” Beat-up Dumbass muttered as angrily as someone who may or may not have internal injuries was capable of.

But at the same time as he gave his response, I blabbered, “Three guys.”

“Outside this house?” Half-naked Man pointed toward the floor with an index finger.

I nodded.

There was a moment of silence before:

“I’m gonna fucking kill you,” the man hissed, not completely under his breath, his head swinging over in the direction of the recliner. The hand dangling at his side tightened into a fist that had me eyeing the door and taking a step in reverse.

And it was probably that, that had me blurting out as I took another step back, “All right. I’m going to bounce now. I’d go to the doctor if I was you, buddy. I hope you get better—”

The not-beat-up guy’s attention slid back to me as a shaky exhale left his broad chest, his hand went loose once more at his side, and he blinked. “Who are you?”

I didn’t like telling strangers where I lived, but it wasn’t like I was Batman, saving strangers in the night because I was trying to save the world from crime. I was just an idiot who couldn’t ignore someone in need if I had the power to help them. Damn it. Plus, if either one of them—or both of them—lived in this house, they were going to eventually see me around. “I just moved in across the street.”

The man with the hard face and tiny boxers seemed distracted as he looked me over, like he was trying to sniff out if I was lying or not. I’m sure the only thing he would be able to tell was the fact that I was really regretting trying to be a good person and getting involved in this awkward-ass situation.

Glancing back and forth between the man standing there and the other one on the recliner, barely holding it together, I figured I could leave. I wasn’t leaving the beat-up guy alone, and maybe the other man was pissed off at him, but who the hell knew what the backstory between them was. You didn’t say you were going to “fucking kill” someone unless they’d pissed you off enough times in the past. I’d been there. Maybe he was right to be mad. Maybe he wasn’t. All I knew was that I had tried my best and it was time to get the fuck out.

“All right, well, bye and good luck,” I said. Before either one of them responded, and later on I realized I hadn’t learned anyone’s name, I was out the door and walking across the street, going home. That had been uncomfortable and not something I’d want to go through again. I had tried. I just hoped it didn’t come back to bite me in the ass.

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