She studies the pictures of me and Razor and once she touches his leather jacket, which hangs on my desk chair. “Will you guys give us a few minutes?”

It was one of those moments where everyone was talking at once and then no noise. After several beats of awkward silence, Dad offers to buy ice cream and everyone but Mom vacates.

Mom stays quiet long after the door to the room shuts and I consider taking a page from Denver’s book and bite my nails. Mom and I...we don’t know how to talk anymore. I mean, we do talk, but it’s nothing more than her asking about school and me filling her in. There’s no ease to our conversations. It’s like we’re strangers now.

“You’re still in love with him?” Mom meets my gaze. “You’re still in love with Thomas Turner?”

“Yes,” I say simply. “And if you’re wondering, I’ve done what you’ve asked. I haven’t had contact with him.”

“I know. Truth is, I don’t know, but everything we check on says you haven’t, and deep in my heart, after everything that has happened, I still trust you.”

That statement felt more like a sharp knife to my stomach than a compliment, and I try not to wince with the impact.

“I don’t approve.” Her utter expression of disgust reinforces this. “Neither does your father, but we’re realizing that if we don’t figure something out with this issue, you’re going to end up like Mia Ziggler on the back of a Terror bike and we will never see you again.”

I scowl. Mia Ziggler is becoming a thorn in my side. If I’m ever granted a free pass to ask any question about club business and receive the answer, I’m so inquiring about her.

“So this is how it’s going to be,” she says. “We have reached an agreement with the board of the Terror. Your father and I will allow supervised visits between you and Thomas as long as his club promises that they’ll continue to make sure Thomas follows our rules.”

I’m bouncing. I’m on my bed and I’m bouncing. “I get to see him?”


Mom holds up her hand. “With rules, Bre. Lots and lots of rules.”

“I don’t care. I’ll take the rules.” Because as I’d pointed out to my parents already, I’ll be eighteen and will be graduating in the spring and then nothing can keep us apart. But to be honest, I’d love to be with Razor and still have my family.

Mom leaves the safety of her side of the room and sits on the bed next to me. “I’m aware of the role or lack of a role that your father and I played in this and we’ve apologized for that.”

She has and so has Dad, multiple times. Possibly as many times as I’ve said I’m sorry for seeing Razor behind their back and for keeping the blackmailing a secret, but somehow even though the words have been said, we can’t find a way to move forward.

“I can’t make this a rule, Bre, even though I would love to demand it.” Mom picks up a lock of my hair, and instead of trying to force it to curl, she smooths it out. “I wish you would talk to me again or maybe...”

Mom’s lower lip trembles and then she shakes her head as if to get hair out of her face. “Or start talking to me. I thought I knew you. I thought I knew your hopes and your dreams and what you wanted out of life and it’s killing me to realize I might not ever have known you at all.”

Mom lowers her hand and I link my fingers with hers as the sadness and hurt from over the years climb out of the box I had shoved them into. “You know me.”

The pain registering in her eyes says differently and it hurts to know there’s nothing I can do about that, but there is something I can do about going forward.

I suck in a deep breath and dive into uncharted waters. “In seventh grade, I walked in on Clara trying to commit suicide, and she told me if I told you, she’d do it, and if I kept silent, she’d never try it again, so I didn’t say anything. I didn’t say anything and I realize now that was wrong and it eats me alive to think the reason she is how she is now is because I didn’t speak up then.”

Mom places a hand over her heart, and when I draw back, thinking I’ve made a mistake, she engulfs me in a hug. It’s warm and it’s solid and it’s all I’ve wanted since I walked in that door in seventh grade. Hot tears gather in the corners of my eyes, and as my body starts to quake, Mom rubs my back and whispers, “It’s okay, baby, it’s going to be okay.”


WE PARK AT what appears to pass as a convention center in this small town between Louisville and Lexington. I scan the area, trying to figure out which client would want to meet us here and come up empty. Never claimed that rich guys made sense.

A prospect is with us and he stands by his bike as Dad, Eli and Pigpen take off their cuts and lay them on the back. Pigpen flashes that I’ve-been-judged-mentally-insane-by-a-court smile at the prospect. “This better be here when I get back.”

The prospect turns green and Dad pats the guy’s arm for him to suck it up. Eli jerks his head to the building. “You’re in on this, Razor.”

I slip off my cut and lay it with the others. Sometimes, like school, this happens. There are places that refuse people wearing club colors and then there are times that, out of respect, we take them off. It’s rare, but as I said, it happens.

We enter the building and receive plenty of terrified glances. Lots of people here. Families mostly, and people my age. Most of them dressed like they’re at a fancy business meeting. My stride slows when I realize how many people are in uniform...a private school uniform.

Most Popular