Precarious

By: Bella Jewel



He’s covered in tattoos. They run up his arms and over his shoulders. He’s got one down his belly that snakes around to his back. He’s even got a few on his thighs. The man is an ink machine. His hazel eyes, which are more yellow than green, swing to us and narrow. Claire looks to me, then back to him.

“Problem, Leo?”

He grunts, and walks past us.

“Good to see you, too,” I yell out after him.

We hear him throw his bag down with another grunt, and we both turn back to each other and giggle softly.

“He’s such a stiff sometimes. He needs a good woman to get him out of his shell. Maybe you can work your magic on him?”

I shake my head. “No thank you; been there, done that, Leo isn’t the man for me.”

“Ah, the drunken night between Leo and Ash.”

“Shut up.” I smile. “Don’t remind me.”

She jumps off the counter and wiggles her hips. “Oh, la la.”

I roll my eyes. I used to have a major crush on Leo; something to do with the silent, angry type. My crush only lasted for about six months. The reason for that is because one night we both got drunk, really, really drunk, and ended up in bed. I was in a low place and it wasn’t the best choice I’ve ever made.

It’s not that Leo wasn’t great in bed, because he was. Even drunk, he blew my mind. It was just that things got awkward—like, super awkward. We have nothing in common, and it just made things weird between us. It took a few months for us to be able to look each other in the eye again, but we’ve managed to get there.

“I’m going to shower before you spontaneously combust,” I chide her, disappearing down the hall.

“Ohhhh, all nakie and wet,” she sings.

I laugh and walk towards my room. I stop when I see Leo in his, the door just slightly ajar. He’s pacing backwards and forwards, running his hands through his hair. I can’t help it; I stop walking and knock on his open door.

“Leo?” I ask, stepping in.

He stops pacing, and turns to look at me. “What do you want?”

“Don’t be an ass. I’m just seeing if you’re okay.”

He stares at me, then sighs loudly. “No, I’m not fuckin’ okay.”

“Want to tell me why?”

“Don’t talk to me like I’m one of your prisoners, Ash.”

“Okay . . . What’s happenin’, yo?”

His lips twitch with a smile, and I give him a full-blown one in return.

“It’s Evelyn,” he mutters.

Ah, Evelyn. The girl he’s been dating on and off. She’s easy, she’s expensive and she’s up herself, in a big way. She’s bad for him all round, but she’s gorgeous. So he keeps going back.

“What’s she doing now?” I ask, sitting on the small sofa in his room.

He raises a brow at me.

“What?” I say, throwing my hands up. “I’m trying to help.”

He starts pacing again. “It’s fucked up.”

“And . . .”

“She’s saying she’s pregnant.”

“Oh boy,” I say, letting a puff of air whoosh out of my lips. “That is bad.”

“You’re fuckin’ tellin’ me. I got shit in my life. I’m a fighter. I don’t have time for babies.”

“Okay, take a few steps back. Are you sure it’s yours?”

His eyes flash to me. “You sayin’ she’s fuckin’ around?”

“What I’m saying is that unless you’re sure she’s not, then you might not be the father.”

He mulls this over. “How am I supposed to find out?”

“Simple. If she’s really pregnant, ask for a DNA test.”

“If she’s pregnant?”

“You need to see proof, Leo. You’d be crazy not to ask for it. Women make that stuff up all the time.”

His eyes widen. “Why?”

I shrug. “Because they’re desperate.”

A look of disgust contorts his features, causing his lips to purse and his eyes to narrow. “That’s fuckin’ sick.”

I laugh softly, standing. “Women can do crazy things if they fear they’re losing something they want.”

“Would you do that?”

I snort. “Oh no. No, no, no, I know how it ends.”

“How?” he says, taking the hem of his shirt and pulling it off.

I stare for a moment before feeling heat creep up the back of my neck. I stare down at my hands. “I’m a girl. I’ve seen it go down plenty of times. I’m sure you can figure out how something like that would end.”

“Yeah,” he says, pulling on another shirt.

“Well.” I clap my hands together, and turn towards the door. “Good chatting.”

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