Rock's Redemption(Insurgents MC Romance Book 8)(3)

By: Chiah Wilder

He walked nearer to the bushes and the small sobs became louder. As he rummaged through them, the crying stopped. He froze, the only sound his own breathing. Ready to turn around and continue on his trek home, the crying started up again. He forged ahead, separating the bushes and sliding between them until he was in a small space surrounded by foliage. A girl of about ten years old sat on the ground, her hands wrapped around her knees that were bent close to her chest. Her big green eyes shimmered in the moonlight. Roche sucked in his breath; he’d never seen eyes like that before. They reminded him of a panther’s—the ones he’d seen in books at school, anyway.

“Why’re you crying?” he asked.

The girl wiped her nose. “It’s nothing. I want to be alone.” Her brimming gaze held his.

“There’s always a reason for crying.”

She looked down and then buried her head between her knees. He shrugged and turned from her, beginning to make his way through the bushes. Behind him, her soft voice called out, “Wait. Don’t go. Not yet.”

He swiveled around, his gaze catching hers. Her lips quivered as tears dropped from her eyes all over again. He hunched down. “You gonna tell me why you’re crying?”

Without a word she pulled up her pants, exposing angry red streaks across her white skin.

He whistled. “Your pa do that?”

She shook her head, her light brown hair falling over her shoulders. “My maman.”

“Your ma?” He whistled again. “Does your pa know she does this?”

Again her head shook. “He knows she beats my brothers, but this is the first time she’s beaten me where he can see. That’s why she made me wear long pants. She’s mean when she drinks too much tea.”

“You gonna tell your pa?”

Her eyes widened in fear. “No,” she breathed. “My mother said she’d punish me severely if I ever tell him what she does to me.” She bowed her head in shame.

He watched her for a few seconds before he sat down next to her. “I bet my pa is way meaner than your mom.” He pulled up his shirt and, under the moonlight, showed her several angry lashes on his chest—some new, some healing, some scarred. He then pointed out the bruises on his arms and legs.

“Your father did all that to you?” she whispered.

“Yep.” His dark eyes narrowed. “I can’t wait to grow up so I can go away. My pa is always mad and he takes it out on me, my brother, and my sisters. I can handle it, but when he beats my ma, I get so mad that all I wanna do is slit his throat to make him stop. He’s a bastard. Sounds like your ma’s not too much better. How many brothers you got?”

“Two—one older and one younger. I wish I had a sister though. My older brother, Armand, is always telling me what to do. He’s so bossy. My younger one, Stephan, isn’t like us. He can’t learn like we do, but I’m not supposed to tell anyone about him. I play with him a lot.” She sniffled and wiped her nose again.

“What’s your name?

“Clotille Boucher.”

“Are you the Boucher girl who lives in the big house on West Bayou Parkway?”

“Yes. How do you know?”

“My ma cleans your house. I’ve never seen you before. I’ve seen your older brother a few times. He wasn’t too nice.”

“Armand’s like that. So you’re Mrs. Aubois’s son?” He nodded. “You look like your mother.” He smiled.

They sat in silence, each lost in their own thoughts until Roche remembered the ham hocks. If he didn’t get them, his mother wouldn’t be able to make dinner later and his father would be angry. He’d probably beat her.

Roche jumped up. “I gotta get going. I’ve got something to do.” He shoved his hand in his pocket and felt the chocolate his mother had given him earlier. He pulled it out and handed it to her. “Here.”

“For me? Thank you.” Shyly she took the thin wafer from his hand, unwrapping the green foil slowly. She plopped the candy in her mouth and a large smile crossed her face.

All of a sudden he felt awkward as the pretty girl watched him, her green eyes dancing. “I gotta go,” he mumbled, turning away.

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