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I grunt. It’s a grunt that holds way more meaning than I’m ready to go into now.

“Is that bad?” she asks curiously.

I shake my head. “No. Definitely not. This pussy is mine now, Ginger.”

She laughs then, which is the last thing I expect from her. “You do know you didn’t want anything to do with me earlier. Now you’re claiming my uh, private parts? Why do you want that”—she gestures between her legs—“but you don’t want me?”

I put my hand to the side of her face. “No, all of you. You’re all mine.”

She blinks and then smiles. “Okay.”

I smile back at her. “Okay.”

She raises up and slides her hand on my leg. “So it’s your turn, right? That’s how it works.”

I grab on to her hand, stopping her. “Usually. But not tonight.”

Her lower lip comes out in a pout. “Not tonight. Why not?”

I kiss her, and before it gets hot and heavy, I pull away. “Because you’ve been drinking. We’re not doing that when you’ve been drinking.”

She seems to weigh my words. “So I hardly drink first of all, but what you’re saying is that if I’m sober tomorrow, you’re going to take my virginity, right?”

I shrug. “I don’t know. There’s things we need to talk about first.”

She yawns, and I know I need to go or else I’m going to try to stay the night and hold her until morning. I need to put some space between us before I make any rash decisions. “I have to go.”

She doesn’t move off my lap. “You can leave if you promise that you’ll come see me tomorrow.”

She must sense that I’m already having second thoughts. Ginger is sweet, too sweet for the likes of me. But if nothing else, I can promise to come see her. “I promise.”

She lets me up then and walks me to the door. I kiss her fast on the lips and then jog off the porch and to my car. I wave at her as I try to figure out what I’m going to do next.

8

Ginger

I wake up the next morning, stretching with a smile already on my face. Instead of hungover, I feel like I could go outside and run a mile up and down the farm’s driveway.

I shower and get ready for work and meet Honey at the produce stand.

“What are you smiling about? Or do I want to know?” she asks. “I’m sure it has something to do with Ozzie’s car parked outside your house last night.”

I just smirk at her. “Do I ask you about David’s motorcycle at your house at all hours of the night? No, I don’t.”

She blushes. “Fine.”

The morning goes by, and I don’t know how many times I almost call the Cherry Bomb. I want to talk to Ozzie. I want to talk to him about last night. Even though thinking about it right now, I’m a little embarrassed, I still have a deep longing to talk to him about it. I remember the promise I made him give me. He said he was going to come and see me today, so I keep reminding myself that I’ll see him at some point.

All I can do is hope it’s soon because after last night and what I let him do, I just need some idea of what he’s thinking.

Ozzie

Standing in the almost empty room, with only a desk and two chairs, I can feel the walls coming in on me. I’m here. Finally. I should have come to see my brother years ago, but it’s only now that I’m making myself do it. I can’t even imagine seeing my little brother, the boy that I’ve looked out for most of my life in an orange jumpsuit and inside these sterile walls, but it’s way past time.

The door opens noisily, and my brother and an officer walk into the room. “You’ve got ten minutes.”

My brother looks nothing like I remember. It’s been almost six years since I’ve seen him. He never came to see me the three years I was on the inside, and it’s been almost three that he’s been in here. “Hey, Kyle.”

We are standing tensely across from each other, neither one of us wanting to make the first move. “Hey, big brother,” he says.

I almost wince because his words only remind me that I haven’t been much of a big brother to him, not lately.

“How’s Mom?” he asks.

He takes a seat in a chair, and I walk around to sit across from him. I can’t get over how much he’s aged. The fine lines on his face and the cold look in his eyes almost makes me shiver. He’s definitely not the same kid that I used to ride bikes with up and down the neighborhood.

“She’s good. She misses you.”

He grunts. “Yeah, she misses me. The last time she was here, she said she was glad I was in here.”

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