Over the next week, I write and rewrite my song for Sienna at least five times. Okay, seven fucking times, and its not anywhere close to being done. How can I sum up how I feel about her—make up for all my fuck-ups—in four minutes? At this point, I need to write Red a damn book to get out everything I want to say.
I decide to put the music aside for a couple days and focus on something else. Like getting in touch with Sam because I need her out of my life to attempt to move forward with any type of normal relationship with Sienna (and that’s even if Sienna wants me after the shit I pulled). This is the longest my ex has gone without calling me, without wanting something. Almost like a calm before the storm.
And then, she finally contacts me.
Sam’s text comes just as I’m leaving the bank late in the afternoon—which is ironically fitting considering the way my relationship with my ex has turned into a financial nightmare for me over the last few years. I pull off into a shopping center to read her message and respond.
4:43PM: You need me?
Questions like this from Samantha are always loaded—always a test. I need for her to leave me alone. I need for her to stop holding shit over my head. I don’t need her. Maybe I’m wrong for feeling that way now, but after everything that’s happened, I can’t even force myself to feel any of the love I once felt towards her.
I feel fear and disappointment, pity and loathing. Not love.
I touch the mute button on my navigation screen to silence the Manson song that’s playing on the radio. For a moment, I think of what I should say to her, but then I say fuck it and get right to the point.
4:48PM: Can you talk? We need to talk about this shit between us.
4:49PM: This shit between us?
4:49PM: Don’t play games, Sam. You know exactly what I mean.
She doesn’t answer right away. Probably coming up with ways to take advantage of the situation, ways to squeeze more cash out of me before she commits to having an adult conversation. But when she does eventually respond, she manages to surprise me.
She’s already in California. In Santa Monica, to be exact. And she wants to meet me in an hour.
I’m almost expecting her to send one more message. A request for me to bring my checkbook or something equally as fucked up, but she doesn’t. And that makes me wonder what the hell she’s got planned.
And why is she even here in California in the first place?
I make it to the Pier with a half an hour to spare and go ahead in to the amusement park we’ve agreed to meet at. Sam’s rarely ever on time, but she’s already waiting for me near the entrance, pacing in front of the food court and taking long drags on a cigarette.
She notices me almost immediately, despite my black beanie and sunglasses. Her gray eyes drag over me, a mixture of appreciation, lust, and disgust filling them.
“You still look like you,” she comments, the moment I’m within hearing distance. She nods to the tattoos on my wrist, which are somewhat visible even though I’m wearing long sleeves. “You’re not fooling anyone, Lucas-Fucking-Wolfe. You never have.”
“Keep it down,” I warn. She starts to respond, but I pluck the cigarette from her mouth, drop it on the ground and crush it beneath my shoe ”And don’t do that in here.”
She stands on her toes—it doesn’t help her much in the height department compared to me—and presses her thin body close to mine. She’s so fucking skinny. Like she’s lost even more weight since I last saw her, just a couple of weeks ago.
“Afraid I’ll get kicked out?”
“No, thinking some soccer mom will beat the shit out of you for blowing smoke in her kid’s face.”
She lowers herself until she’s standing flat on her feet and then leans back, glaring up at me with eyes that look too big for her face. “And here I was thinking you didn’t care if I walked off the top of a building, Lucas,” she says, and I cock my head to the side and force the corners of my lips up. She returns the expression.
“Why are you here, Sam?” I ask.
She ignores my question and instead, loops her arm through mine. I want to shake her off, but for the sake of not making a scene, I let her hold on. “Let’s walk,” she says. I don’t miss the desperation in her voice. I’ve heard it so many times over the past few years that I can pick it out in a crowded room.
But fuck, it’s something I never want to hear.
We walk for a long time, all the way back to the Ferris wheel, before either of us say anything. At last, I untangle myself away from her grip and touch either side of her shoulders gently. “I’m not going to spend the rest of my life doing this with you,” I tell her.
She sneers. “Really, Lucas?”
“I’ve never been more fucking serious in my life.”
Sliding past me, she steps behind a few kids in line to ride the Ferris wheel. I stare at the back of her head, at the smooth, short black hair that was colored red only a couple weeks ago. I watch the way her shoulders tremble slightly beneath her thin gray t-shirt. The way she hugs herself tightly to hold herself together. Stuffing my hands into the pockets of my jeans, I join her.
She doesn’t meet my gaze when she says, “You’re the one who fucked up.”
“Yeah,” I say, and a pang of fear punches me in the chest. “I did.”
“What exactly do you want from me?”
“For you to leave me alone. I’ve paid you—fuck me, I’ve paid you. It’s time we end this. If I want to be with someone else, I should be able to—”
Her lips part open, but she quickly replaces her surprise with a sneer. “Of course this is about the bitch I met at Cilla’s party.” Her voice deepens with anger when she references Sienna . . . and Cilla.
“It’s not about anyone. It’s about me refusing to give you shit anymore.”
Since there are people in front of us and behind, Sam isn’t stupid enough to announce my secrets to the world—not when she believes that as long as she has it, she has me. When she finally decides to answer me, she leans in close and the scent of alcohol and cigarette smoke fills my nose. “If you want her that much, tell her the truth. Tell her what happened. I’m sure Sienna is just dying to know everything about Lucas-Fucking-Wolfe. I’m sure she’ll understand why you fucked up.”
“Not happening,” I say through clenched teeth.
“Scared you might lose control of her?”
And then something hits me. Like a fucking sack of bricks to the face. Sam wants me to lose control. Maybe even more than she wants my money. And now, somehow, she knows Sienna’s name. “Is that why you’re here? To see Sienna?”
Sam keeps her eyes straight ahead on the amusement park ride in front of us. Her lips barely move when she says, “Yes.”
Part 4 to Come in the Middle of Next Week!