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This would be so much easier if I wasn’t willing to admit how much of a fuckup I am. I don’t know what I’m going to do, but the question’s not going to be settled right now. For tonight, I’m going to go inside my apartment and watch Tessa’s favorite television shows—the worst shows, which are full of ridiculous plot lines and horrible acting. I’ll probably even pretend that she’s there explaining every scene to me, even though I’m watching it right next to her, and I clearly understand what is going on. I love when she does that. It’s annoying, but I love how passionate she is about the smallest details. Like who is wearing a red coat and harassing those obnoxious pretty little lying girls.

As I step off of the elevator, I continue to plan my night. I’ll end up watching that shit, then eating, take a shower, probably get myself off while picturing Tessa’s mouth around me, and I’ll do my best not to do anything stupid. Maybe I’ll clean up the mess I made yesterday even.

I stop in front of my apartment door and look back down the hall. Why the fuck is the door cracked open? Is Tessa back, or did someone break in again? I’m not sure which answer would make me angrier.

“Tessa?” I push the door open with my foot, and my stomach drops to the floor at the sight of her father slumped over, covered in blood.

“What the fuck?” I shout and slam the door closed.

“Watch out,” Richard groans, and my eyes follow his to the hallway, where, over his shoulder, I catch sight of something moving.

A man’s there, hovering over him. I square my shoulders and am ready to charge if need be.

But then I realize it’s Richard’s friend . . . Chad, I think his name is. “What the hell happened to him, and why the fuck are you here?” I ask him.

“I was hoping to see the girl, but you’ll do,” he sneers.

My blood boils at the way this vile man refers to my Tessa. “Get the fuck out and take him with you.” I gesture to the piece of shit that brought this man to my apartment. His blood is making a mess on my floor.

Chad rolls his shoulders and twists his head back and forth. I can tell he’s trying to be calm but is feeling agitated. “The problem with that is he owes me a lot of money, and he doesn’t have a way to pay it,” he says, his dirty fingernails scratching at the small red dots on his arms.

Fucking junkie.

I hold up a flat hand. “Not my fucking problem. I’m not going to tell you again to leave, and I’m sure as hell not giving you any money.”

But Chad only smirks. “You don’t know who you’re talking to, kid!” He kicks Richard just below his rib cage. A pathetic whine falls from Richard’s lips as he slides down onto the floor and doesn’t get up.

I am not in the mood to deal with fucking drug addicts breaking into my apartment. “I don’t give a fuck about you, or him. You’re sadly mistaken if you think I’m afraid of you,” I growl.

What the fuck else could possibly happen this week?

No, wait. I don’t want to know the answer to that.

I step toward Chad, and he backs away, just like I knew he would. “Maybe to be nice, I will say it once more: get out or I’ll call the cops. And while we wait for them to show up and save you, I’ll be beating the shit out of you with the baseball bat I keep handy in case some dumb fuck tries to pull shit like this.” I move toward the hall closet and grab the weapon from where it leans against the wall, lifting it slowly to prove my point.

“If I leave without the money he owes me, whatever I do to him is on you. His blood will be on your hands.”

“I don’t give a fuck what you do to him,” I say. But then I’m suddenly unsure of whether I actually mean that.

“Sure,” he says and looks around the living room.

“How fucking much money?” I say.

“Five hundred.”

“I’m not giving you five hundred dollars.” I know how Tessa will feel when she learns that my suspicions about her father being an addict are true, and this makes me want to throw the wallet in Chad’s face and give him everything I have just to get rid of him. I hate knowing that I was right about her father; at this point she only half believes me, but soon she’s going to have to realize the whole truth. I just wish this all would go away, Dick included. “I don’t have that kind of cash on me.”

“Two hundred?” he asks. I can practically see his addiction begging me through his eyes.

“Fine.” I can’t believe I’m actually giving money to this junkie who has broken into my apartment and beaten Tessa’s dad to a pulp. I don’t even have two hundred in cash. What am I supposed to do—take the creep with me to the ATM? This is such fucking bullshit.

Who the fuck comes home to this shit?

Me. That’s fucking who.

For her. Only for her.

I pull my wallet from my pocket and toss the eighty dollars I just pulled from the bank at him and walk into the bedroom, bat still in hand. I grab the watch my father and Karen bought me for Christmas and throw it at him. For such a skeletal wreck of a human, Chad snatches it out of the air pretty deftly. He must really want it . . . or what he can trade it for.

“That watch is worth more than five hundred. Now get the fuck out,” I say. But I don’t want him to leave, really, I want him to try to come at me so I can bust his head open.

Chad laughs, then coughs, then laughs again. “Until next time, Rick,” he threatens and walks out the door.

I follow him and point the bat at him, saying, “And, Chad? If I see you again, I will kill you.”