The closer we get to Lewisburg, the more keyed up I feel. Lucy had the driver stop at a Starbucks, so I feel slightly more human now. Curiosity is what’s really fueling me. Using a compact mirror, I touch up the makeup that was smudged by our harrowing overnight train ride and smooth my hair. Lucy raises an eyebrow at me but says nothing, and the driver lets us pick songs from his iPod. Not a bad deal, considering he made me waste my cigarette.
And then suddenly we’re in Lewisburg, and the Escalade pulls up in front of the entrance to a Days Inn. A man paces out front, his hands shoved into the pockets of his coat. Long brown hair that’s nearly black frames his face, and he’s got a beard, so I can’t really make out his features. But he’s big.
Not in a heavy way. He’s tall and broad. Even with that bulky hand-me-down coat, I can tell he’s built. It’s like I’m psychic and imagined him into being. Biting my lip, I stifle a giggle. For all I know, he’s really ugly and has a beer gut.
It really has been too long since I’ve gotten laid.
Lucy pays the Uber guy, we grab our luggage, and then the three of us are standing in front of the motel.
“They kicked you out?” she asks him.
He looks up, and depthless brown eyes meet hers. Despite the massive amounts of fur on his face, he’s handsome.
There’s a scar next to his eyebrow that’s more like a pocked hole. It looks like someone bludgeoned him with a big rock. They probably did. But the rest of his face is intact—no teardrop tattoos or anything like that. His eyes are surprisingly soft and kind. When he smiles at Lucy, it lights up his whole face.
I decide he definitely went to jail for selling drugs, and wonder how long before he’s connected again. I could use some bud.
“Checkout was eleven,” he says with a shrug. He peers at her, almost timidly. “You look good, kid.”
Kid? I blink. Squinting, I examine him more closely. I note the lines at the corner’s of his eyes and the dark circles underneath them. He’s got to be in his early thirties, maybe older. I pluck my pack of cigarettes from my pocket and light one, exhaling smoke into the air.
“Olivia,” Lucy says, exasperated. She gestures toward the motel entrance, as if someone is going to walk out into my cloud of smoke any second. The parking lot is practically empty, the place desolate.
“Yeah, Olivia,” Cliff says, eyebrows lifted. “Sharing is caring.” He holds his hand out for one.
A grin spreads across my face. Resisting the urge to stick my tongue out at my sister, I hand him the pack and my lighter.
He lights up, and his entire face relaxes as if I just took his cock into my mouth instead of sharing a cigarette. Putting my own cigarette between my lips, I stuff down the giggle that is bubbling up. I really am sleep deprived.
“Been a while?” I ask when I get myself under control. Even that statement is dangerously close to twelve-year-old humor. I take another drag.
Cliff nods and smokes thoughtfully for a minute. His eyes never leave mine. They’re a deep brown, but so warm—like redwood. “It’s been twenty years since I had a cigarette that wasn’t stale. But that’s not all I’ve been missing.” He grins, a devilish smirk that shoots straight to my lower abdomen. The implication behind his words might be in my head.
Lucy clears her throat loudly. “Clifford, this is Olivia, my little sister.”
The color drains from his face and he chokes on his cigarette. “Sister?” he sputters.
I snort. “Relax,” I tell him with a wink. “I’m adopted.”
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