Later that afternoon, Kai has another chance to talk to Paisely.
“I’m in a band. The guys convinced me to keep it long, but I’m over it. It’s too damn hot.”
“What do you play?”
“Guitar mostly. Drums, bass. I’m front man and play rhythm. Cody’s lead.” He pointed to his brother. “Some of our friends make up the rest.”
“You guys any good?”
He chuckled. “You want the truth or a pipe dream?”
“That bad?” She looked shocked.
“No. We’re pretty good. I won’t say we’re ever gonna be famous, but we have fun, make a little cash on the side. Enjoy the benefits….” He stopped himself before he said something crude.
Kai chuckled, putting the cool can to his forehead. “Most of us have steady girlfriends. We don’t encourage the groupies, or the ladies get mad.”
“And you. Do you have a girlfriend?”
“Not at the moment.”
“Groupies?” She cut her eyes at him, making him blush.
“No groupies. Front man should see a lot of action, right?” He shrugged. “Not interested in boffing a bunch of women I don’t hardly know, and won’t see again. My last girlfriend, though—Whew.”
“What happened?” She turned so she was facing him, not the pool.
Kai had to force his eyes to focus on hers instead of the tasty breasts, and other things, that weren’t very well covered by her skimpy outfit.
“She took a liking to somebody else,” he said casually.
The tightness of his shoulders told Paisley there was more to it than that, but she didn’t pry.
“How about you? Boyfriend, fiance, husband?”
“Nope. I moved down here to leave all that behind me.”
“Down from where?”
“Leave all what?”
“Boyfriend-fiance—husband hopeful. He was getting kinda persistent. I got tired of telling him no, and getting my tires slashed, so I left. Didn’t tell a soul where I was going, and went on till it felt right.”
“I had the better part of three states between us. I made a big deal of saying I was heading to Maine, left town by the north road, then sold my car in Virginia and took the train south. Paid cash for my ticket, using a fake name. It won’t stop him, but it’ll get him off my track for a bit.”
“So, is Paisley your real name?”
“Yeah. Can’t hire on without a social. Didn’t much feel like lying to Mrs. Beecher. She seems like a nice lady.”
“Love her like a mother,” he said with a smirk.
“She’s my mom. Marcelo was her maiden name. Then she married Bradly Beecher and had Cody and Tempest. Tempest is my kid sister. I imagine you’ll see her around. She and her friends hang out here most days.”
“She here today?”
“Gone to the springs with our aunt and uncle.”
“You here every day?”
“Part time right now. I’m studying to be a paramedic, so I put in time with the EVAC.”
“Really? I was studying to be an RN, until I left.”
“What the hell did he do to you?” The question burst from him before could stop it.
Paisley shifted slightly, biting her lip as the tears came. “What didn’t he do? He was awful to me in so many ways….”
“Abusive prick,” Kai growled. “Men like that ought to be shot and killed—twice.”
She giggled a little, smiling through her tears. “Twice?”
“Kill ’em, resuscitate and kill the f**kers again,” he said with finality. “Real men don’t abuse women, just so you know. If Tempest ever hooks up with a guy like that, there’s gonna be some mighty happy gators.” He finished off his Coke, smashing the can with his fist.
Paisley jumped as his hand thumped against the table. Her green eyes still held tears, but she smiled.
© 2019 Dellani Oakes