My guess was both. I was getting tired of his silent leering. “What do you want?”
Another deep chuckle came from him, and he pointed his beer at me. “You already said that.”
“Then answer the question.”
There was a collective gasp behind me, but I couldn’t take my words back. I said it. It was done. Now I waited for the consequences.
He started laughing. It was slight at first, but grew. As he kept going, he bent over and slapped at his knee. His beer jostled from the movement and he cursed, but shook his head as more laughter escaped. It took another moment before his chuckles ceased enough so his hand had stopped shaking. As soon as he could, he finished the rest of his beer. When it was empty, he tossed it to the ground. His hand went back out and someone put a new one there. When he went to open it, he kept shaking his head, watching me at the same time. His shoulders jerked up as he started laughing again.
I looked for a quick escape route, but there wasn’t one. Everyone around us was watching. They had taken a step towards us and closed ranks. I had to wait.
After another sip from his new beer, he burped. “You got a spine to you. I can see why he likes you.”
His gaze travelled over me again, stopping on my br**sts. “You got a nice rack, too. Not too much. You’re damn skinny, but you got enough for a good bounce.” His tongue darted out and ran over his bottom lip before moving to the top one.
It was in slow motion. I began to feel sick.
“Hmm mmm.” He nodded, then took another long swallow. “You’re tight.” His eyes went to below my waist. “I bet you’re real tight there, too. He’s a lucky guy.”
I frowned. Feeling disgusted aside, he thought Mason was a lucky guy?
“Too bad my brother caught you first.”
I turned around. Brett Broudou was behind me. He wore the same baggy jeans and ripped flannel shirt, but there was no leering. He was glowering, but not at me. He said again, “Budd. Back off.”
Budd snorted. He lifted his beer again, but he stumbled to the side. The beer fell from his hand to the ground, and it sprayed everywhere, most of it on me. I jumped out of the way and slammed into Brett, but I didn’t care at that moment. My ribs protested, and a searing pain sliced through me. “Shit,” I whispered to myself, but then I bounced off of Brett and began to fall to the side.
The ground was coming at me. My eyes went wide. The pain was going to be paralyzing, so I readied myself for the impact.
It never came.
I had stopped halfway there and looked up. Brett caught me. His one hand held a twin forty ounce beer, but his other hand was wrapped around my arm. Our eyes caught and an apology flashed in his as he lifted me back to my feet.
“Thanks.” I had no idea what else to say.
He nodded, his gaze was lidded, but he looked over at his brother. “You remember our talk?”
Budd rolled his eyes and waved him away. “Yeah, yeah.”
Brett frowned. “Tink?”
Another goliath-sized guy spoke from behind the counter. “Yeah?”
“Give Budd another beer. He dropped his.”
Budd growled. “Fuck you both. I’m fine. I can get my own damn beer.” He swung around, but almost clipped a girl in the head as he did. Taking a few extra steps, he regained his balance and shoved through the crowd.
My heart was racing. It wasn’t until he left that I gasped for breath.
Brett touched my hand, stopping it from trembling. “Come on.”
I followed him through the crowd and concentrated on slowing my heart. It was nearing combustion; it wanted to explode out of my chest. It wasn’t until it had slowed a little when I realized that Brett was taking me somewhere away from the street dance. We turned down an alley and ducked into a side door where there was another party. There were people everywhere and most clapped him on the shoulder as he went past. Girls called out hellos, but it was different than when I walked with Mason or Logan. The attention they got from girls was sexual. This was genuine. These people actually liked Brett Broudou.
He went to a back hallway. Only a few others were there, and he moved around them.
Another said, “Buddy.”
Brett gave each a nod, but pressed forward until he got to the last door.
Where the hell was he taking me?
Then I found out. The last door opened to a back room. Couches were pushed against the walls, lining the whole room. A bar was set-up against the side and a couple small tables were in the middle. A few people were around them, playing a card game. A large pile of money was in the middle, and everyone looked up as we entered.
Brett jerked his hand to the door. “Move the game somewhere else.”
I expected protests, but there were none. The room was silent as everyone got up and collected their cards. The dealer took the money and the rest of the chips. They filed past us, taking their chairs with them.
“They literally moved their game somewhere else,” I noted. Holy hell. Was I supposed to be scared? Was he going to hurt me?
There were green couches. There was a blue one. The bar had mosaic tiles on the bottom. The stools were encased in metal—
“You’re scared of me, aren’t you?”
Oh, dear god. I tore my gaze from the stools to him and gulped. I wasn’t expecting that from him. It sounded like raw honesty. “Um …” I stopped beating around the bush. “Can you blame me?”