By Authoress Zion


Tyrone and I exchange a glance, but it’s quickly interrupted when Alyssa lunges toward Lou-Lou. “Number one, I have blonde hair. Number two- you’re a bch. Thanks a lot for lying to me about our ‘job description’. I can’t believe I almost slept with him!” she screams.

I don’t have time to be offended by her statement because Lou-Lou cackles, which only infuriates Alyssa that much more. “I didn’t tell you to do anything you didn’t want to do in the first place. I know a sIut when I see one. Not my fault you fell for the trap and showed your true colors.” She motions to the handcuffs and her lips turn up in a snarl. “Puttana.”

I instinctively stand in front of Alyssa while Ricardo reaches for his shirt. “Whoa, ladies. That’s enough,” he snaps.


Alyssa proceeds to ignore him, and instead, steps to the side and head-bu.tts Lou-Lou.

Lou-Lou lets out a yelp while I pull Alyssa back to me. “Go home, Lou-Lou,” I bark.

Ricardo whispers something in her ear and with a sniffle, she finally, walks down the hallway and into her own apartment.

“You all live in the same apartment building?” Alyssa asks when we walk back inside my apartment.

“Yeah,” is my only reply because I’m more worried about the red spot forming on her forehead at the moment.

I usher her into the kitchen, pull out an ice pack from the freezer and hold it to her head. She winces, but mumbles a quick “Thanks.”

“So, why exactly, do you have the same girl from earlier tonight standing in your apartment, Jackson?” Ricardo asks. His gaze shifts behind her back. “Handcuffed, no less.”

He takes a step closer to Alyssa and something flashes across his face.

Alyssa’s expression changes from one of annoyance to what I can only interpret as shame…which I’m guessing is due to the handcuffs.

“I’ve seen you before,” Ricardo whispers.

That’s odd.

“Yeah,” Alyssa says softly while looking down at her feet.

I don’t know what the h’ll’s going on, but they exchange another glance and Ricardo clears his throat. “I have a bIow torch, I’ll be right back.”

Alyssa sprouts up from her chair. “A bIow torch. No. Fk, no!” she screams.

I run my hand along her cheek in an attempt to calm her down. She shivers at first before she leans into my touch. “Look, I promise, I won’t let him hurt you. It’s the only way to get those off, though.”

“It’s gonna hurt, Jackson. What if he ends up burning me?”

I trace my finger down her jaw and she closes her eyes. “He won’t. I won’t let that happen,” I whisper while she nods her head.

Tyrone clears his throat, shakes his head, and pulls a bottle of Jack Daniels out of the cabinet.

He pours a glass and walks over to Alyssa. “This should help calm your nerves.”

She gives him a smile as he lifts the glass to her lips and she takes a sip.

A moment later Ricardo walks back into the apartment wearing a welder’s helmet and a pair of gloves. He’s also holding what looks to be a miniature sized bIow torch in his hand.

Tyrone tilts the glass to her lips again, but Alyssa declines. “No thank you. I really don’t like to drink,” she says sharply.

She’s trying not to show it, but I can see her begin to tremble.

Ricardo pulls out another pair of gloves. “Jackson, see if you can put these on her hands so I don’t end up burning her.”

I take the gloves from him and make quick work of slipping them on underneath the cuffs.

Alyssa’s eyes connect with mine and she swallows hard. “There’s going to be sparks,” she whispers.

“I’ll protect you,” I assure her.

Ricardo walks behind her. “Hold still,” he says before he pulls the face part to his mask down.

Alyssa glances over her shoulder. “Um, do you have any experience with this?”

“With a bIow torch or getting people out of handcuffs?”


He jerks a shoulder up. “I’m a Puerto Rican from the Bronx,” he says, as if that answers her question.

Her entire body tenses, until I move closer. “Keep your head against my chest,” I whisper. “The sparks will hit me, not you.”

She shakes her head, her expression turning solemn. “No, I don’t want you to get hurt either.”

“It’s fine,” I say as she tucks her head against my chest and I fold my arms around her.

I try not to breathe in the hint of coconut in her silky hair as I continue to hold her.

Tyrone looks at me and makes a “tsk, tsk” sound under his breath. Ricardo starts the bIow torch and less than a minute later, Alyssa’s hands are free.

“Thank you,” she murmurs to both me and Ricardo.

Ricardo nods and heads for the front door. “Training is at 3pm tomorrow, guys,” he reminds us before he leaves.

Alyssa stands up and brushes her hands over her p ants. “Where’s the bathroom?”

I point over my shoulder. “Second door on the right. If you need anything, let me know.”

She gives me a smile before she begins walking.

I walk over to the fridge and grab a bottle of water.

Tyrone, who’s still in his hulk boxer shorts drums his fingers on the countertop and stares at me. “That girl is trouble with a capital F,” he starts.

I roll my eyes. “Last time I checked, trouble begins with a T, Tyrone.”

“Well, in her case it’s F, because she will fk you over and I don’t mean in the bedroom. I know you don’t date much, but seriously. Take my word for it, that girl is all kinds of trouble that you don’t need.”

“She’s a nice girl…” I start to say.

“I’m not judging, lord knows I’ve brought home my fair share of ¢razies…but last time I checked. Nice girls don’t show up on people’s doorsteps in handcuffs. Nor, do they go around headbutting other chicks.”

I run a hand through my hair. “She was in trouble. It wasn’t her fault.”

He gives me a pointed look. “Yeah, it never is.” He sighs. “Please, just tell me that she didn’t ask you for money already.” Apparently my expression must give me away because he lets out another sigh. “In her defense, she didn’t ask. I basically gave her no choice but to take what I made from the fight tonight.”

He spits out his drink. “You mean to tell me that you handed that girl over 5 grand!”

“What?” a voice shrieks behind me.

In a flash, Alyssa reaches inside her purse. “What the h’ll is the matter with you? Take your money back, now. I had no idea it was that much.”

I begin to protest, but she slams the wad of cash down on the countertop while looking at Tyrone. “You should listen to your friend, Jackson. I’m not a good girl. You don’t want to get mixed up with someone like me,” she says before she makes her way to the front door.


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