I have two weeks left to live. Two weeks to come up with one hundred thousand dollars. Two weeks to convince the woman I love she loves me too.When The Bowman passed away — my dead father’s best friend and bookie — the payoff arrangement he made with my loan shark died with him.Now, I have two weeks to cough up the money or else. The only silver lining? The Bowman’s death brought Liv, his daughter, back into my life.Ten years ago, all she wanted was my love. What she got was a broken heart instead. But time apart and grief do strange things to people, bringing them together in unexpected ways. Like drunk and horny and naked in your bed.Now I’m in a race against time, fighting for the woman I want back, all while trying to figure out exactly how to stay alive. Life, I tell ya. It can sure deal one hell of a mutherfkn’ hand.
I watch Liv take another shot, licking her wrist before sprinkling it with salt. Almost the whole bottle of tequila is gone.
“Where have you been the last ten years?” I finally ask. We haven’t been doing much talking. Just drinking and snorting.
“Everywhere,” she relays with glassy eyes. “I went to the East Coast right after high school. To be with my mom.”
“Right, I remember. She moved out there right before your senior year.”
“Yeah. That’s why I was living with my dad.”
“And he made you take a chaperone to the prom,” I reminisce
“According to him, you weren’t a chaperone. You were a date.”
“You didn’t want either.” I lean back on the couch and grin. I’ll never forget the look on her face when I showed up at her door decked out in a tux.
“No, I didn’t.” She reaches for the saltshaker again. My girl can drink.
“It ended up being fun though, right?”
“Yeah, for a little while.” Liv kind of gives me the brush off. She pounds another shot, and I love watching her suck on the lime. I could watch her take tequila shots all damn night. “Then I went to school at this college right outside the city.”
“Did you like New York?”
“Yeah, it was fun, but it wasn’t home.”
“Why not? Your mom was there.” I steal the tequila bottle for myself and take a swig. I don’t really need all the other stuff.
“True, but my dad wasn’t. And I don’t know. The East Coast isn’t as sunny.” She laughs. “Everyone is so much more alive here. If that makes sense?”
“Not really, but I’ve never been out east.”
“New Yorkers can just be dark. It’s the only way I can explain it.”
“Maybe the tequila is inhibiting your ability to think?”
“It definitely is. Thankfully. I just want to forget. I want to forget the last three days. I want to forget that he’s gone.” Liv drops her head and sniffles, the red tips of her hair covering the expression she doesn’t want me to see.
I scoot closer. “Hey. It’s okay to feel sad,” I try to console her.
“I’m more than just sad. I’m in shock.” She wipes her wet eyes, and a black smear of eyeliner trails across her face. “We were just talking. We were just making plans to have dinner. I was telling him all about my big ideas for the gallery.”
“Gallery?” I push her hair out of the way so I can see her face.
“Um-hmm. I opened a studio not too far from here for artists to do showings of their work. I just landed this huge photographer. I was so excited.” She breaks down, sobbing. “He was supposed to be there.” The tears fall, and I scramble for tissues. Luckily, there’s a box right on one of the nightstands.
“Here.” I wipe her face, cleaning off the makeup streaking down her cheeks.
“Thank you.” She takes the tissues from me and continues to blot. “I’m sorry. I’m trying not to get emotional, but it just hurts so much to talk about him. There are a billion fucking people in the world, and sometimes it felt like he was the only person I had. I loved him so much.”
“I know you did.” I tuck some hair behind her ear. “And . . . maybe we stop talking about him.” I slide a little closer to her so our arms and legs are touching. She’s only wearing a thin-strapped tank top, so the skin-on-skin connection is hot and electric. Even a bit forbidden. “Maybe we stop talking altogether.” That suggestion is downright dangerous, but I just can’t help myself.
I hate seeing her this upset, and I love being this close.
“Was that your plan this whole time? Get me fucked up and then take advantage of me?”
I stare into her eyes. The green pronounced against the brown ringing around her pupil.
“Usually, I would say yes. But not this time.” If nothing else, I’m honest. “This time my intentions were innocent.”
“For the first time in your life,” Liv states.
“Yes, probably,” I agree.
She touches my lips softly, as if inspecting them. We’re both in the same state — drunk, high, and just wanting the whole world to disappear. What’s the harm in indulging in each other, after we’ve already indulged in everything else?
“I want it to all go away,” she pleads.
“I can help with that.” I lean in, and Liv closes her eyes.
M. Never resides in New York City. When she’s not researching ways to tie up her characters in compromising positions, you can usually find her at the gym kicking the crap out of a punching bag, or eating at some trendy new restaurant. She has a dependence on sushi, a fetish for boots, and is stalked by a clingy pit bull named Apache.She is surrounded by family and friends she wouldn’t trade for the world and is a little in love with her readers. The more the merrier. So make sure to say hi!