Jared towered over them, not only in height but in build. He had been tall at fourteen, and by now he had to exceed six feet. Judging by the way he got in their faces, these guys were not his friends.
I opened the double doors to get a better view. Jared waved the helmet in the space between them, and the other guys were yelling and trying to advance in his face. I caught the words “fuck you” and “get over it.” They continued to bark at each other, loudly and intrusively.
It was hard to catch my breath all of a sudden. Their argument seemed to be getting out of control. Should I call the cops?
As much as they pushed into his space, Jared didn’t retreat. The odds were against him though. Shit, Jared. Just get out of there.
One of the men pushed him, and I flinched. Reacting, Jared got in the guy’s face and pushed into him with his body until the guy was forced to back up.
At that moment, Madoc’s GTO sped down the street to a screeching halt. As soon as the strangers saw him hop out of his car and run in their direction, they started throwing punches at Jared. He lost hold of his helmet, and it slammed to the ground.
Jared charged one of the guys, and they dropped to ground level looking like an MMA fight. Each boy rolled on the lawn, jabbing and belting.
Snatching my phone off the bed, I raced out of my room and down the stairs. Pulling open the drawer to the entryway table, I grabbed the Glock-17 my father instructed I keep there when I was home alone.
I clutched the door knob. Call the cops or go outside? This would be over before the cops got here. Screw it.
I swung open the door and stepped onto the porch. The boys were all on Jared’s front lawn, with Madoc and Jared straddling their opponents, punching them into oblivion. My heart pounded at the display, but I couldn’t look away. The sense of urgency that made me run outside lessened when I realized Jared was winning.
Mesmerized by the fight happening in front of me, I blinked when I heard Jared’s disgusted howl. His opponent, an older, tattooed guy, had pulled out a knife and sliced his arm. I ran down the stairs, gun in hand, in time to see Jared dive for his helmet and hit the guy over the head with it. The other guy crumpled to the ground, moaning and blood dripping off his forehead. The knife lay on the grass at his side. Jared stood up, hovering over the nearly-unconscious guy.
Madoc pounded his fist one more time into his opponent’s gut, and swinging him over his shoulder, he dumped him onto the ground near his Honda.
Jared left his opponent bloody and barely moving on the ground, while he squeezed his left bicep. The arm of his black hoodie was blood-soaked and glistened where he’d been cut. My worried eyes shot to the hand on that arm. A steady red stream dripped off his fingertips. I had a brief impulse to go and help him but resisted. The kindness would only be thrown back in my face. He and Madoc would need trips to the ER, but as it was a school night, Jared’s mom should be home.
Walking over to the Honda, Jared raised his helmet above his head and brought it down with a deafening crash on the windshield. Again, he repeated the action, smashing the windshield again and again until it was shattered beyond usefulness.
Heading back towards the house, Jared stopped by the man on the ground. “You’re not welcome at the Loop anymore.” His voice was low and strained. His tone was eerily calm.
I could do nothing but stand there, paralyzed with shock at the scene I’d just witnessed.
As Madoc bent to pick up the second guy, his attention snapped to me. “Jared,” he warned. Jared, following his gaze, turned his eyes on me.
A little too late, I realized I was standing with a gun…in the open…in my underwear. My Three Days Grace t-shirt and red boy shorts covered me, but they were tight. My feet were bare, and my hair hung loose down my back. The Glock secured tightly in my right hand hung at my side with the safety on. Was the safety on? Yes, the safety was on…I think.
Madoc was bleeding from the nose, no doubt broken again, but he grinned at me. Jared looked…dangerous. He studied me, his dark eyes and severe brow making me feel more exposed than I already felt. His hands clenched into fists, while his gaze traveled warily down my body and then to the gun in my hand. I could feel the energy coming off him in heat waves.
Ugh, I’m a stupid girl! Had I really wanted to help him?
I cocked my eyebrow and pursed my lips in an effort to look annoyed. What an ass**le to bring this drama to our street! Turning, I walked quickly up my porch steps and slammed the front door behind me.
Taking the gun to my bedroom that night, I wasn’t sure what I was protecting myself from. A damn gun wasn’t going to keep those brown eyes out of my dreams.
The bubble-popping sound of my computer sounded early the next morning, notifying me that I had an incoming call.
“Hey, Dad,” I drawled out sleepily after clicking on the call.
“Good Morning, Pumpkin. Looks like I woke you. Sleeping in today?” He sounded concerned.
Glancing at the clock on my laptop, I saw that the time read six thirty. “Damn!” Throwing off the covers, I ran into my closet. “Dad, can I talk to you after I get home tonight? I’m supposed to be in the lab in thirty minutes.”
Tuesdays and Thursdays worked best for Dr. Porter, my mentor and Chemistry teacher from Sophmore year, so I opted to make it to the lab those mornings for some extra work time on my Science Fair research.
“Yeah, sure, but it will be pretty late for me…or early, actually. Listen, I just needed to tell you that Grandma is coming in tonight.”