Bang Gang(10)By: Jade West
And then there was Darren, half-clad in the same pair of tatty old overalls he’d been wearing since he’d opened this place, yanking down the plain black t-shirt he’d certainly just pulled on over his head. His arms were as toned as they’d ever been, the dark lines of his tattoos twisting up around his elbows, smeared with oil.
He barely even nodded in Porsche Bitch’s direction, gave her nothing but the faintest hint of a grunt in farewell. His eyes were fixed on me, heavy with questions and that bristle of brusque he’s so fucking good at.
“What’s up?” he said as he strolled over. His eyes were so light and his hair was so dark. His jawline solid; rugged with at least a weekend’s worth of stubble. He lit up a cigarette, and his eyes didn’t leave mine. “Well?” he prompted. “What’s going on with the girls?”
The engine of the Porsche roared into life but he didn’t look away.
I stared into the eyes of the man I’d known since he was just a kid with big dreams and a bad attitude. The man who’d claimed to not give a shit for anyone or anything, but had taken my hand and held it tight in his, who’d loved me like he’d never let go.
The man I thought I’d spend my life with.
I sighed. “Ruby’s been swearing. Miss Davies grabbed me this morning. I sent you a message.” I tried not to make the words barbed, but they came out that way anyway. He dug in his pocket for his phone. Took a drag on his cigarette as he scrolled through his messages.
“Didn’t see it,” he said. “Busy.”
“I gathered.” I folded my arms.
He let out a low laugh, his eyes glittering with a moment of amusement as he read my text. “Used the C word, did she?” He turned back to the open shutters, and I saw the bulk of Buck looming inside. “You’d better stop teaching my daughter bad fucking words, Buck, you big fucking prick. She called her teacher a cunt.”
Buck shot him the finger, and he was laughing, too. “Like I taught her to say cunt, you soft cunt.”
I gritted my teeth until Darren’s attention was back on me. “She didn’t call her teacher a cunt, Darren. She got frustrated and called the netball hoop a cunt.”
He shrugged. “Same fucking deal. Kids swear. All fucking kids, Jo. Some just hide it better.”
I shook my head. “Don’t. Just don’t! She’s only eight years old. She shouldn’t even know the word exists.”
Darren Trent has the most intense eyes of anyone I’ve ever met in my life. There’s an aggression to his stare, even when he doesn’t mean it. Just… something… it makes my skin prickle, but there’s always this heat underneath. This burn.
He’s straight and blunt and his eyes hit hard, and they hit me hard right then and there.
“I’ll sort it,” he said.
I couldn’t temper my disgust. “How? What’s your big plan? Hey? Are you going to be the one who assures Miss Davies that Ruby isn’t going to spew obscenities again? Are you going to be the one who pulls Ruby up on her behaviour? You going to be the one who makes sure it doesn’t happen again? Is that you? What the fuck are you going to do, Trent? Hmm? Have a chat with her? Play the big bloody disciplinarian for the day? You going to be the one who tells her off and teaches her that bad language has repercussions? Break the habit of a fucking lifetime?”
“I said I’ll sort it,” he grunted and his eyes were fiery. He shoved his phone back in his pocket. “Was that everything?”
I just stared at him.
“What?” he said. “What’s with the big fucking chip on your shoulder today? I’d have got your message and you fucking know it.”
My heart raced. “Who was that?” I pointed to the space the Porsche had left.
“Who was who?”
I rolled my eyes. “Miss Porsche. Who was she?”
“Customer,” he said.
“A customer?” I scoffed. “Sure she was.”
“In for a service. No big deal.”
I stared him out. “And what kind of service was that? What kind of stuff are you offering down here?”
And he knew. His eyes said it all.