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Spinning Out(The Blackhawk Boy #1)

By:Lexi Ryan

Spinning Out(The Blackhawk Boy #1)
Lexi Ryan

       For Kai





Before midnight. New Year's Eve. Black sky. Black clouds. Headlights. New moon.

My mother always told us that change happens at the new moon.

They're arguing. Brogan's drunk-not himself. Nic's pissed-too much himself.

"Nobody raises his hand to my sister." Nic spits in Brogan's face, and  Brogan swings. Then the sickening sound of fists connecting with flesh.  My brother's fists. My boyfriend's. They're going to kill each other.

"Stop!" I beg, my voice like breaking glass. "Nic, just take me home."  Sleet pelts my face, coming at me the way the guys go at each other. I  pace, my arms wrapped around myself, my fingers numb. It's so dark out  here, and the only light comes from the headlights of the boys' cars,  facing each other on the side of the road.

"Get in the car," Nic growls at me without taking his eyes from Brogan.  It's the third time he's given the order, and I refused, as if my  presence could keep them from hurting each other. This time I obey,  climbing in and shutting the door behind me. It's warmer in here without  the sleet and relentless wind, but I can't stop shaking. Cold. Scared.  Fucking night from hell. I wait for my brother, but he doesn't follow.  He shoves Brogan into the street, and Brogan falls, then scrambles. Nic  kicks him before he can get up.

"Just take me home!" I scream. My stomach cramps, folds, convulses around itself. It wasn't supposed to be like this.

I turn the key in the ignition and look at the clock as if it might be  ticking down to the end of their ugly shouts and angry punches. 11:59.  How is it still 11:59? Will this night never end?

As if answering my mental plea, the clock ticks over, and I hear screeching tires.

Black sky. Black clouds. Headlights. New moon.

My mother always told us that change happens at the new moon. She was right.





April, three and a half months after the accident





"What is she doing here?" Arrow's words are spoken in a hard whisper  that crawls up the walls and under the wooden nursery door. They creep  into my sanctuary and claw at my heart. The murmurs of his stepmother's  reply float up behind the hate, but I can't make them out.

"You couldn't find any-fucking-body else to play mom to your baby?" No  more whispering. Words directed like knives intended to hurt us both-her  for being an unfit mother by hiring a nanny, me because he wants me to  know how unwelcome I am.

The dull thud of toppled furniture-maybe a dining room chair, maybe an  end table. Heavy footsteps. The echoing, house-shaking boom of a  slamming door.

I shift baby Katie in my arms and cross to the window. Between the slats  of the wooden blinds, I watch Arrow. The sight of him climbing into his  electric-blue Mustang GT steals my breath. The engine purrs, and he  tears out of the driveway.

Breathe, I remind myself. I close my eyes and focus on the cool air  filling my lungs, the warmth of the newborn curled into my body, the hum  of the ceiling fan almost whispering the reminder: Breathe in. Breathe  out. Breathe in. Breathe out.

Gwen's heels click on the hardwood planks of the hall, and I know she's heading my way before she knocks.

"Come in."

She opens the door slowly and steps into the room, bringing with her a  cloud of expensive perfume and a reminder of my anxieties. She looks  every bit the part of the stereotypical trophy wife-from her blond hair  and perfect body to the single-carat diamond studs in each ear.

At twenty-six, Gwen is only six years older than me, five years older  than her stepson. She married Arrow's father a convenient eight months  before she gave birth to Katie, making her husband a father to his  second child at the age of sixty-five. I don't judge her for marrying  Mr. Woodison, a man nearly forty years her senior. We all have our  reasons for taking paths for which the world will judge us.

"I'm guessing you heard that," she says.

I nod and tell my racing heart to steady. If she asks me to leave, I  don't know what I'll do. Get a job at Walmart, maybe? The pay cut would  be a bitch, but it would be something. Of course, then there'd be no  school next fall, and the fact that Mr. Woodison pays me enough that  I'll be able to afford my tuition at Blackhawk Hills U is definitely the  sweetest part of this arrangement.

"He hates you so much," she says. The words hit me with the dull force of a blow to the heart. "Why?"

Because I destroyed everything. "I don't know."

She extends her arms for Katie, and I hesitate. Seeing Arrow again-even  for only the ten seconds it took him to climb into his car-has left me  feeling ugly and guilty. The baby's warmth is a soothing balm to my  battered conscience, but I hand her over.                       
       
           



       

"I don't know what we're going to do about him," Gwen says. "But if  that's a taste of what's to come, it's going to be a long six months."  She shakes her head and peers between the slats in the blinds. "I can't  say that I'm happy with him serving his sentence here, but it wasn't my  choice to make."

"He's not that bad." When she cuts her gaze to me, I wish I'd kept my  mouth shut. If I'm going to keep my job with the Woodisons while Arrow  is home, I need Gwen as my ally.

With a sigh, she releases the blinds and turns back to me. "I won't live  in a house with you two at each other's throats. So as long as I'm  stuck with him here, you're going to have to fix it."

"I'm sorry?"

"Whatever is wrong between you and Arrow. Fix it. Or I'll have to find someone else to help me with Katie and the house."

My heart plummets, and I reach out and grab the edge of the crib. "I'll  talk to him." Not that talking will help. The best thing I can do for  Arrow is avoid him. He won't be so angry about me being here if he  doesn't have to look at my face.

"Between you and me," Gwen says, her lips curling into a perfectly  painted snarl, "I'm hoping he'll slip up and start using again. I'd  rather see his spoiled ass spend the next six months in jail than have  him under my roof."

"Start using again." I never thought those words would be connected to  Arrow, and hearing them is a slap in the face. Because Gwen might be  clueless, but everyone else in this town knows why Arrow's life spun out  of control this semester, and anyone who's honest knows I'm to blame. I  wasn't driving the car. I wasn't throwing the punches. But I was the  catalyst. If I'd stayed home that night . . .

I keep my mouth shut, and I'm rewarded with a smile as Gwen hands Katie back to me.

Fix it. A simple command delivered by a woman who's grown accustomed to  having her demands met. Only she doesn't know she's asking for the  impossible.

No one can fix this.





The house is dark and quiet when I get home. Maybe everyone is sleeping,  but that's unlikely. At eleven, Dad's probably drinking his first  scotch. Maybe screwing his nubile young wife.

And Mia? Is she sleeping? Studying? Maybe she's rocking the baby to sleep and humming a lullaby.

I climb the stairs and head straight to my room, each step feeling like  another click of the invisible shackles of my house-arrest sentence.  Tonight was my last night of freedom, and I spent it sitting in my car  alone by the lake. Because apparently I'm a fucking masochist who wanted  to wallow in his memories for a while. As if having her in the room  next to mine for the next six months isn't going to be reminder enough.

I can't decide if her nearness is a gift or a curse-if seeing her in the hall and catching her scent will be heaven or hell.

Pausing at the door to Mia's room, I press my palm to the wood. I swear  my pulse triples at the thought of her on the other side.

"Wrong door."

I spin around at the sound of her voice and find myself face to face  with Mia Mendez, my stepmother's goddamn nanny, my best friend's girl,  and a reminder of everything I regret.

Her dark hair is piled in a sloppy knot on top of her head, and soft  tendrils curl at the base of her neck. She's wearing some sort of  oversized, wide-necked T-shirt that's slipped off one shoulder, exposing  a dusting of freckles I know too damn well continue down to her bra  line. Her feet are bare, her toenails painted pink, and her legs . . .  Christ.

She swallows and stares at my chest, like she can't look me in the eye  anymore. Join the fucking club. "That one's mine," she says softly.

"Yours?"

Her head bobs as she nods, and anger flares in my stomach, a hot flash  over the lust that sucker-punched me the second she appeared. She's  ashamed of me. Or disgusted. It would only be worse if she had any idea  what being this close to her does to me. "This isn't your room," I say.  "It's just where you're staying while you work."

She lets out a breath and shifts her gaze to the door. "Whatever."

I give her another once-over, all the while telling myself the ugliest  lies I can about her. Anger is so much easier to deal with than this  soul-stealing desire. No. Desire would be easy. It's basic. Practically  juvenile compared to what I feel for Mia. This is something else.  Something more. "You make a habit out of walking around my dad's house  like this?"                       

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