Authors: Ren Alexander
The Keys to Jericho
By Ren Alexander
© 2015 Ren Alexander
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I want to thank my husband Tim, and our girls. Your never-ending patience and understanding is awesome and suspicious at the same time as I pursue my dream. Thank you also for ignoring the unfolded clothes and piled dishes in the sink. We’ll keep those our little secret.
Thank you to Trin. You’ve always been there to cheer me on, as well as to cheer me up. Your friendship is priceless and a blessing.
Angie. Thank you doesn’t seem to be enough for everything you’ve done for me. It’s unreal. You’re not only my assistant, but a friend I can’t do without. You kick my ass into gear and convince me to not give up. This book wouldn’t be possible without your motivation. Screw you for the sticker wars, late night chats spanning from nothing to the meaning of life, and for your friendship. It’s immeasurable. How does that convert to American?
Thank you to Cheryl. Without you, I’d be stuck with Angie in a chatbox. Alone. Enough said. You have been such a terrific help with this project, as well as being an awesome friend, keeping me sane when I’m hanging off a ledge. This is the part where I should say something meaningful in Hawaiian, but since I’m misinformed and inept, I’ll end up tripping over my fingers and brain. Therefore, I’ll refrain and just say, you rock my glitter socks, bitch.
To my other Canadian pal, Tricia Daniels. Thank you for reminding me how not funny, and childish I am. Even so, you keep me grounded. I can hear you rolling your eyes at me as I giggle. Don’t let your beaver get too dirty throughout your foreign and domestic jaunts. I hear those maple leaves can get sticky.
Thank you to my tour manager, Shannon! Your blind faith in me is cute and disturbing. We’ll keep merrily sailing on this ship until you figure out it’s the Titanic. Just kidding! Uh…
To my other Daredevils: Cheryl, Jaime, Karen C., Jessica, Megan, Bets, Melodi, Desiree, and Jasmine. Your friendship has been what I need in times I need a laugh. Thank you for the support and dirty pics. Pervs.
To my Finnatics. Thank you for your support! I hope this book does you proud! Let’s do this!
To my betas! You chicks rocked me with your reviews and support! For those I haven’t mentioned already: Jen, Karen H., DJ, and Patti M., you shocked the hell out of me! I loved it! Thank you for taking the time to read my little story.
To my entire family, thank you for supporting me from afar. I’m still me. Just showing a different side that you haven’t seen. Just turn your head. It’ll be okay.
To my high school driving partners: Jamie, Mike, and Joey. I apologize. Even though you’ll never see this, I just hope somehow you know that I did figure out my left from my right. I got it. I think.
Thank you to all my readers! I love hearing from you! It’s unbelievable how you’ve reacted to my Wild Sparks. I hope this one blows your mind, too.
“Study the past, if you would divine the future.”
Buckle up. It could get bumpy…
Mi hermano gemelo, según nuestra profesora de español.
Echo de menos tu amistad.
En algún lugar, me odian por esto.
Descanse en paz.
Your friend, Carmen
I strap on my ear goggles and I'm ready to go…
“I love a man with a good-morning hard-on.”
The unfamiliar voice and invading hand on my cock instantly forces my eyes open into the glaring and judgmental sunlight, blinking rapidly as I’m rudely awakened by both the morning, and the nameless female beside me. Hastily gathering my bearings, and greatly annoyed, I shove her hand off before I sit up. Rubbing my eyes with the heels of my hands, I groggily snap, “I thought I told you to leave last night.”
“I fell asleep. You wore me out, baby.” She loftily sighs and my fingers clench into fists, causing me to have to seriously restrain the impulse to kick her off my bed. The image of her falling off and rolling out of the room calms me. Somewhat.
“Don’t fucking call me that. What time is it?” Dropping my hands and rapidly blinking from the reemerging light, I squint at the alarm clock and my eyes immediately fly wide open. “Shit! The movers are going to be here any minute.” I jump out of bed and she laughs, pissing me off even more. I swing my head around my until I spot the box on the floor labeled, CLOTHES amid the mess and I make a beeline for it.
“Movers? Is that why you look homeless? You’re moving?”
I make the mistake of glancing over at her, in which she takes as encouragement. Tossing her red hair over her shoulder, she smiles brightly and pushes her chest out further. Irritated at her, but mostly with myself for bringing her home, I openly scowl and look away as I hurriedly drag a T-shirt out of the box. What in the hell even turned me on about this bitch? I’ve got to raise my damn standards. “Brilliant deduction. Get dressed. I need you gone.”
Her own irritation becomes evident as her voice falls. “Well, good morning to you, too.”
Spinning around, I yank a pair of jeans from another box. “I’m not kidding. Get up and get out.”
“Are you throwing me out?”
I roll my eyes in exasperation and refuse to look at her again. It’s like talking to a damn child. “Yeah, I did.
. Go.” I jerk my head to the door as I find a pair of socks and then hunt for my shoes.
“What the hell is your problem?”
Finding my sneakers underneath her pile of clothes, I kick her shit off before picking up my shoes. Disgusted with how close I let her get to me, I sit at the foot of the bed to put my socks on, now at the point of wanting to set the damn thing on fire to get her out of here and away from me. “I told you.”
“You have movers coming. So what?” Is she fucking serious?
While I heatedly tie my shoes, I raise my voice so she’ll maybe finally get it, repeating my argument, “I said I didn’t want you spending the night!”
“I don’t remember.”
“Of course you don’t, but
do.” I can’t believe I was so desperate to get laid that I hooked up with this drunk shit last night. I blame my two so-called
for this. They both deserve a punch to the nuts with the claw end of a hammer.
“So, I’m only good for you to sleep with, but not to actually
with?” When I don’t answer her, she probes, “Why wouldn’t you even kiss me last night?” I guess she remembers some.
“No, you didn’t. Not once did you kiss me.” I glance up at the wall in front of me, wishing she’d spontaneously combust, while she amends, “On my mouth. You kissed my neck. Once. That’s it.”
Looking back down to finish tying my other shoe, I mumble, “So?”
? Do you have something against kissing me?”
I shrug and roll my eyes that I’m answering this question. “I don’t like kissing females I don’t know.” Any, for that matter.
She skeptically asks, “You’re into men?” I blurt out a laugh and shake my head, and that only seems to incense her even more.
“Not only am I not good enough to sleep next to, but I’m not even worthy enough for you to kiss me? Who are you? Vivian Ward?” she yells, which echoes in my almost-empty room.
I glance over my shoulder, but avoid eye contact with her. “Who in the hell is
As if I’m stupid and the answer is extremely obvious, she pounds the mattress and gratingly yelps, “Julia Roberts!
! She was a prostitute who wouldn’t kiss any trick on the lips!”
Again, I roll my eyes at the wall and lamely drone, “Oh.” Impatient with her stalling tactics, I stand, continuing to not look at her, adding, “Up. You have five minutes.”
She shrieks, “That’s it then? You’re finished with me? I’m dismissed? Now,
feel like the damn hooker.”
Stooping to grab my wallet from the jeans I wore last night, I sardonically laugh. “Hey. You
the one who referred to yourself as a trick.” I can practically hear her gaping mouth, so I take another dig. “I didn’t see a clearance tag hanging from your tits.”
She shouts at my back, “Go to Hell!”
Thankfully, the doorbell rings. Glaring down the hall, refusing to give her any more attention than needed, I angrily repeat, “Out!”
Leaving my room, I hear more arguing and I deeply regret bringing this Class 1 doorknob back to my place. I’m such an idiot for falling asleep before making sure she was gone. I don’t usually bring women home with me. On the rare occasion that I do, I don’t partake in awkward and tedious morning hello/good riddance chatter. It’s so much easier to get rid of them at night.
The two men from the moving company, who were at my apartment yesterday, stand on the stoop and I obligingly smile as they enter my apartment. From upstairs, I hear stomping and slamming. Normally, I try to steer clear of the crazy women, but I was on a high last night. One of my best friends, Rio Duquesne, was actually allowed to rejoin the land of the living to celebrate my new job. His girlfriend Liberty is a stingy, snotty bitch, never letting him off his leash and hating me with every wretched breath she takes. The feeling is certainly mutual. He’s never allowed to hang out with us or even breathe without permission. He’s such a pussy-whipped asshole for letting her control his every damned move. I swear she even holds his hand when he takes a piss.
Everything is coming together for me. I’m a licensed engineer and I just scored a new job. In two months, I’ll be a structural engineer in Philadelphia for the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania; therefore, I’ll be leaving the fair city of Baltimore for the City of Brotherly Love, so they say. From what I’ve seen, it’s the city of Get-the-Fuck-Out-of-the-Way-Before-I-Slit-Your-Throat-While-Eating-My-Cheesesteak.
My kind of city.
In the meantime, I took my last two weeks’ vacation and left my current job here in Baltimore. I’m packing up and throwing all my shit into storage. Before I can become a full-fledged resident of Philadelphia, I have to wait for my apartment to become available. Awesome.
My job doesn’t start until the end of August. Therefore, I have two months of being homeless since my lease is up at the end of this month, and I don’t want to renew it for another six months when I don’t need it that long. Meaning: Jared has to go live with Daddy for two months in Annapolis, Maryland, where I was born and raised. I could’ve opted to take my friend Dash’s couch, but why when I can sleep in my old bedroom? My old bed is still in there since I upgraded to a king when I moved out. My dad uses my room as a guest room; although, the only guests he really ever has are my sister and me.
These two months ought to be a fucking blast. Adam Beckett and I hardly ever see eye-to-eye. About a lot of things. He’s such a goody-goody—always willing to help anyone out, no matter the cost to him. Hell, my mother turned and burned without him knowing beforehand, but if he had known, he probably would’ve helped her pack. Not to get rid of her, but because he’s always Mr. Helpful. My mother wiped her muddy shoes on him like the doormat he often is. I would’ve ripped the bitch’s throat out if she left me with two kids and a needless broken heart. Adam Beckett is a better man than me. I don’t let my heart ever get involved. It complicates things and I’ve never been compelled to open it to anything in my life. I don’t know if it’s feasible. I’m empty. My heart is there to pump blood. That’s it.
Why should any of this matter? Well, it doesn’t. I’m only stating facts. No, nothing really matters since my name isn’t Hadley Bliss Beckett—the angel child. That’s my big sister; though, she is practically a foot shorter than me, something I love pointing out when I see her, which isn’t often anymore. We used to be close. Growing up, we went through a ton of shit together. Our mother left us. Our dad worked nonstop and we were stuck living with our boring, uninvolved grandparents. Hadley and I were each other’s best friend. We were close until I hit high school. That’s when I found myself a whole slew of new friends. Seriously. Who wants to hang around their sister all the time? Like I needed teased for doing that. My dad thinks Hadley has her life together and a good head on her shoulders. However, she’s had a tough time. She graduated with a degree in criminal justice, but couldn’t get a job in the field. She eventually had to take a job at a hospital in Richmond, Virginia. Now, she’s a legal secretary or something at an accounting firm, I guess. Nevertheless, my dad thinks she invented damn rainbows.
Then there’s me. The prodigal son returning to the nest. My dad will only see me as returning home with my tail between my legs. Why? Fuck if I know. He constantly rides my ass for any little reason. I’ve proven myself time and time again, but he doesn’t seem to notice. My dad says I party and piss around too much. Fucking hell! Didn’t he even remember me playing varsity football in high school? Attending my college graduation, where I graduated with honors and officially snagged an engineering degree, or how I just scored a high-paying job? There’s no pleasing that man and we clash all the time. Because of that, I moved out of the house straight after high school graduation.
On the other hand, unlike me, my golden-child sister didn’t want out. She lived at home until she was 26 or 27. Even
knew she was afraid of leaving my dad and facing the real world on her own. He had to shove Hadley out the door and change the locks. Dad liked having her there, mostly because she cleaned up after him and made sure he didn’t waste away, but he knew she was hiding. I can’t blame her. I do the same. I just go about it differently. I don’t get attached in relationships, including family. Instead, I have two best friends: Rio and Dash. Those sound like names of golden retrievers, I know. Sometimes I wonder. Rio lives in Baltimore and Dash still lives in Annapolis. He and I are usually into something on the weekends, since Rio is always up Liberty’s ass. God. What a mental picture. I wish I could scrub my brain with steel wool.
That’s one thing I have no interest in: love. Zilch. Nada. Nil. None. Zero.
. What the fuck do I need love for in my life? I sure don’t need it. Just ask my mother. She sure doesn’t think so. Hadley and my grandmother are the only women I can honestly say I care about. Other than those two, all other females are useless to me. Well, almost useless. I get what I need from them and move on. I’m an expert at charming their pants off, if need be, or if not, that’s even better. Less talking. Falling in love and having a soulmate are myths. If they do exist, who the hell cares? I’ll never fall for that shit.
That brings me back to my sister. In Richmond, Hadley met a guy when she broke her wrist—Finn Wilder, a sportscaster there. I was skeptical until I met him, but he’s actually cool and I like him. There’s one thing I don’t understand about him: What the hell is he doing with my sister? He calls her
because of our last name. Too cutesy, if you ask me, but whatever. I think they’ve been together for two years now. Why? Dating and fucking, I know, but how serious is he about her? All I’ve noticed is that Hadley likes him and wants to get married—it’s the weepy way she looks at him. I have to refrain from throwing up and rolling my eyes around them. I hope Finn knows better than to fall for that marriage trap. I think I need to have a talk with both my sister and her boyfriend. She’s the sensitive type and will take a breakup hard, because nothing lasts forever.
I would never tell Hadley, but I think she’s getting in too deep with Finn. I do know that if he ever breaks my sister’s heart, I’ll break his damn face. I can promise him that. I don’t want Finn hurting her, but on the same note, I’m also looking out for him, since I do like the guy. Whatever it is they have together, I think it’s a good thing for now. They don’t need to fuck it up by getting married.
I can’t wait for the family get-togethers that my dad will no doubt plan since I’ll be in his house for two months. I’m also positive he has a shitload of things for me to do. No sleeping in for me during my vacation. If I have to go anywhere, I’m dragging that loser Dash with me.
The movers, Ted and Hal, I think their names are, return to the kitchen for the last of that room. Not much left since my sole appliance, my microwave oven, has been tagged and loaded. The rest of the boxes consist of paper plates, plastic utensils, paper cups, napkins, and some hand-me-down crap my grandmother forced upon me. I guess I never got around to buying my own dishes. Who cares, though? It’s just me here. I don’t exactly entertain my sorry-ass friends.
“You’re out of toothpaste, asshole.”