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Preppy: The Life & Death of Samuel Clearwater (King #5)
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Bowtie…’till I DIE.
Samuel Clearwater, A.K.A Preppy, likes bowties, pancakes, suspenders, good friends, good times, good drugs, and a good f*ck.
He’s worked his way out from beneath a hellish childhood and is living the life he’s always imagined for himself. When he meets a girl, a junkie on the verge of ending it all, he’s torn between his feelings for her and the crippling fear that she could be the one to end the life he loves.
Andrea ‘Dre’ Capulet is strung out and tired.
Tired of living for her next fix. Tired of doing things that make her stomach turn. Tired of looking in the mirror at the reflection of the person she’s become. Just when she decides to end it all, she meets a man who will change the course of both their lives forever.
And their deaths.
For most people, death is the end of their story.
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Tiny flashes of dim light spark in the darkened corners of my mind. Slowly, it turns from dusk to dawn, awakening my thoughts as the inner light grows brighter and brighter.
I hear a sound, a faucet running, and I realize it’s the blood rushing through my ears. When it reaches my heart I choke as it comes back to life like a bass drum. Boom. BaBOOM it beats, on and on, until it falls into a quick yet steady rhythm. The new life inside me grows louder, stronger, until death fades away and I awake on a gasp.
My eyes spring open. I try to take in air, but nothing happens. I try again and my lungs burn as they finally decide to cooperate. I can breathe, but it hurts like a son of a bitch.
I’m fucking alive.
My first thoughts shock the shit out of me. They’re of a girl. A sad looking girl with shiny black hair and huge dark eyes sitting on the edge of the water tower.
My heart falls out of rhythm, beating faster and faster until it’s thrumming against my chest like the vibration of a jackhammer.
Although my vision is blurry as shit, my thoughts of her are clearer than they’d ever been, and for the first time in my adult life, I’m fucking scared.
I don’t even need to see the big motherfucker standing over me with a baseball bat to know I am completely and totally fucked.
THREE YEARS EARLIER…
FUCK that’s some good shit.
I wiped the excess powder from under my nose and rubbed it on my gums. “Grade A blow. Thanks, man. This shit day sucks just a little bit less,” I said. We’d just pulled up to Grace’s house after dropping King off to start serving his sentence. We’d see him again, but not for 2-4 years.
“Fuck,” Bear said, echoing my thoughts about the coke as he snorted a line off my dashboard. He pinched the bridge of his nose and shook his head from side to side, his long, blond hair flapped around his face like a wet sheepdog shaking itself dry as the rush from the blow slammed into his brain.
I knew the feeling.
I knew it well.
I fucking loved it.
Bear wiped any residual evidence of our pity party off the dashboard with his hand. He got out of the car, but I hesitated with my hands on the wheel. I glanced up at Grace’s little cottage and sighed. “You coming?” Bear asked, leaning down in the open window. He lit two cigarettes and leaned up against the car, obscuring my view with his jean covered ass.
Reluctantly, I got out and as I rounded the car, I smoothed down my khakis, straightened my bow tie, and took a deep breath. I joined Bear against the car as we both stood in silence, staring up at Grace’s front porch. He handed me one of the lit cigarettes and I took it, taking a long deep drag.
“You pissed he told us not to visit?” I asked. Bear hooked a thumb into his pocket, kicking a loose shell with the toe of his boot.
I took another drag and exhaled slowly. Bear shrugged. “Some of my brothers, when they get locked up, they say the same thing. No visits, no calls. When they’re on the inside they have to concentrate on life on the inside. Can’t imagine it helps to have visitors reminding them all the time of the freedoms they don’t fucking have.”
“I wasn’t talking about your Beach Bitches, Care Bear. I was talking about King,” I said, stubbing out my cigarette under my shoe.
Bear rolled his eyes and flicked his cigarette into the road, blowing the smoke out of his nostrils. “Come on, let’s get this over with.”
“Bear?” I asked, feeling suddenly uneasy as we made our way up the front walkway, tapping my fingers on the front of my pants. I straightened my bow tie again.
I followed him onto the porch and lowered my voice to a whisper, “I think weed would have been a much better idea than blow.”
Bear turned around, his pupils the size of pancakes. He pointed to my eyes. “Yeah man,” he agreed as we both broke out into a fit of laughter. “I think you might be fucking right.”
* * *
“The way I see it, there is only one fucking solution to this problem of ours,” I announced, glancing between Grace and Bear, and the depressing-as-all-fuck looks on their faces. They both stared down at the table as if it were going to magically offer up the answer we were all looking for. Grace’s eyebrows were knitted tightly into a downward point, causing more wrinkles to form on her already heavily lined face, as she circled the rim of her glass with her spoon over and over again. It killed me that I couldn’t fix this for her. For us.