Home > Diamond in the Dust (Lost Kings MC #18)(7)

Diamond in the Dust (Lost Kings MC #18)(7)
Author: Autumn Jones Lake



Chapter Six






Logan, 12 years old…

Tight with rage, my father stormed into the police station, my mother scurrying behind him.

I took one look at my father’s face and wanted to plead with the officer to just lock me up and throw away the keys.

But when I settled my desperate eyes on the officer, he looked away.

“Where is he?” my father bellowed.

One of the officers in the station patted his nightstick and ambled over to my father. Half of me hoped Dad would take a swing at him so he’d get locked up for the night.

“Logan, are you okay?” My mother knelt in front of me, taking my hands in hers. She scowled at the cuff circling my right wrist, keeping me shackled to the bench. “Is this necessary? He’s only twelve years old,” she asked the officer over her shoulder.

“He looks older,” he grunted.

“Well, he’s not. He’s a twelve-year-old boy.”

The cop pointed to the cache of art supplies laid out on the desk in front of him. “Certainly has expensive taste for a boy.”

My mother’s cheeks turned red. She stood and dropped her gaze to the floor. “Logan, what did you do?” she whispered.

Defiant and angry, I glared at her. She knew what and why. Shame followed behind my other emotions. So stupid for getting caught the way I did. Greedy. Tired of returning to the store every afternoon to collect what I needed to replace what she’d lost.

If my father connected the dots, he didn’t show it. He was too busy arguing with another officer.

The one who’d arrested me roamed his predatory gaze over my mother’s body in a way that grossed me out. “You his stepmom?” he asked, running one hand over his smooth-as-a-turtle’s-shell chin. “You don’t look old enough to be his momma.”

Please stop.

The last thing she needed was my father accusing her of flirting with some stupid cop.

I’d really cocked this up every which way possible.

My mother wove some tale of a fire in her art studio and how I must’ve been trying to replace things in my own misguided way.

Why not tell the truth? Your husband worked out his past trauma by destroying all your shit. Again.

But she stuck to the story and eventually the guy seemed to take pity on my situation. Still kept eyeballin’ my mom, while he promised to “put in a good word with the judge” for me.

You could’ve just not arrested me.

Finally, they released me to my parents. Truthfully, I would’ve preferred spending the night in a cell. Give my dad time to cool off. Cop told my mom I’d have to go to court at some point. Maybe do a few hours of community service.

Whatever. Let me go home to drown in my humiliation and uselessness.

As I expected, my father screamed at me the whole way home. My mother made a few weak attempts to defend my actions but finally gave up. I crossed my arms over my chest and stared out the window.

How banged up would I get if I jumped out of the car at this speed?

My father was still so angry, he sent me to my room as soon as we got home. Fine by me. I sat on my bed staring at the wall for a while, replaying the afternoon in my head. So stupid.

I finished my homework, then hopped online hoping to catch Jensen. He was only allowed small windows of time on the computer and, from what he said, was always supervised. Still, I managed to craft a coded message asking if he wanted to meet up in the park tonight. After everyone was asleep.

He agreed—at least I think he agreed—by sending back what sounded like a biblical quote in response.

For he looks to the ends of the earth and sees everything under the heavens.

Either way, I was sneaking out tonight.

My mother snuck into my room with a plate full of a sandwich, pickles, and chips, as well as a juice box for me. “Are you hungry?”

I wasn’t until I got a whiff of the roast beef piled high and smothered with mayonnaise, lettuce, and tomatoes.

“Thank you, Mom.” I stuffed my face and watched her pace back and forth at the foot of my bed.

I’d gobbled down half the meal before speaking again. “I’m sorry.”

She looked up and nodded once. “I know you are. Everything will be okay.”

Sure it would. But I understood why she didn’t want to talk about it in detail. If either of us ever acknowledged the elephant in the room, we’d also have to admit it was bleeding out all over the place. Dad’s rages were increasing in frequency and intensity.

“Is Dad still pissed?” I mumbled around another mouthful of roast beef.

Her gaze shot to the door. I didn’t need her to say it. She’d brought the food up for me while Dad wasn’t looking.

“He’s not happy. But we’ll sort through it.”

All I’d done was make everything worse.

When I finished, she took the plate. “Run across the hall and wash up for bed.”

Not wanting to give her any more grief today, I hurried to the bathroom, brushed my teeth, and scrubbed my face clean.

She gripped my chin, tipped my head back and inspected my scrub-job. A soft smile curved her lips and she kissed my forehead. “Get some rest. You had a lot of excitement today.”

Ain’t that the truth.

She flicked on the light by my bed and turned off the overhead light before slipping out of my room.

I changed into sweatpants and a T-shirt, an outfit I liked to sleep in sometimes so it wouldn’t look suspicious in case one of them returned to check on me.

I slid under the covers and turned off the light. I stared at the ceiling, trying to make sure I didn’t fall asleep. Sure enough, sometime later, my door opened. By the heavier footsteps creeping across my floor I knew it was my father. I squeezed my eyes shut and tried to slow my breathing.

He made no sound but I still felt his presence looming. A few times, I almost opened my eyes to see if he was still there but kept on faking sleep.

Finally, the slow, creeping footsteps backed away from my bed and the door closed with a muted click.

I let out a long, slow breath.

Neither of them would return to check on me now. Still, I stuffed some pillows under my blankets in a shape I thought would vaguely resemble my body. I tiptoed to my bedroom door and pressed my ear to the wood. Faint sounds from downstairs filtered through. Some TV show with lots of shooting. My dad’s gruff voice from time to time.

I crept to my window and slowly eased it open. The ledge was narrow but it was only a few steps and a short drop to the roof over the screened-in porch. From there, I could slide to the edge, jump down on the rain barrel my mom kept at the side of the house and to the ground. I’d tested this route a few times and never had a problem.

I pedaled my bike quickly toward the main road leading to Hills Park. It would be a trickier trip for Jensen but as I silently glided my bike into the darkened grove of trees, I could barely make out his silhouette by the swings.

I skidded to a stop, hopped off, and dropped my bike on the ground.

“What took so long?” he asked, holding out his fist.

I knocked my knuckles against his. “Needed to make sure my parents weren’t going to check on me.”

We walked to the swings in silence and chose two near the end. Mine squeaked on each downswing but no one was around to hear it, so I kept going, pumping my legs faster and faster until my stomach flipped and my toes almost caught the leaves of the highest branches hanging over the swing set.

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