Home > Walk the Edge (Thunder Road #2)(15)

Walk the Edge (Thunder Road #2)(15)
Author: Katie McGarry

I slide the curtain and the metal rings jingle. The cracked mirror’s fogged and it distorts my image—slashing my face in half so that one side is higher than the other. Creating an external image of what I am on the inside: unbalanced.

I take my time toweling off and slip on a fresh pair of jeans. When I open the door to the bathroom, the cooler air nips at my skin. Dad leans on his forearms against the chest-high narrow table in the kitchen area of the front room. His eyes switch from the television on the wall to me.

Dad has red hair with a brown tint and his recently grown-in thin beard is the same color. I matched his height last year and surpassed him in what he can bench-press the year before. When we’re standing side by side, people can spot the minute ways we resemble the other, but I know what Dad sees when he looks at me: blond hair, blue eyes. He sees Mom.

According to the weatherman, it’s supposed to be a hot day. Scorching. He also reminds those of us who don’t live under a rock that tomorrow is our first day of school. In slow motion, I turn my head to Dad’s bedroom. The bed’s made and there’s no one in sight.

The woman—she’s gone. My wish was granted. As much as I thought her leaving before sunrise would heal the oozing wound inside me, it didn’t. Sunrise wasn’t my breaking point. I broke earlier this morning when the light flipped off. I was just living in denial.

“We need to talk,” Dad says.

I agree. We do. About Mom, the detective, the file, but it feels wrong to discuss anything associated with Mom now. “I haven’t slept yet. Later?”

“All right.” Dad focuses on the coffee cup next to his hand. “Later.”

I head for my room, and when I reach the door, Dad stops me. “Razor...”

I pause, but I don’t respond. I’m not doing this and Dad knows better than to push me.

“I heard about the detective and we’re going to hash this out—me and you.”

He’s aware of my stance on conversation this morning. Besides last night with Breanna Miller, I’m not in the habit of repeating myself.

“The club needs you to be reachable,” he continues. “When all the board’s back in town, you need to be there at a moment’s notice. They’re going to want to hear what the cop had to say. Plus the Riot’s getting too close to town and Emily’s coming for a visit soon.”

Emily—the daughter and granddaughter of the two most powerful men in the club. Not to mention she’s the girlfriend of one of my best friends. Over a month ago, blood was shed over Emily between our club and the Riot. All of us wonder if blood will be shed again.

“You see the Riot,” Dad says, “you call the club. Only the board is allowed to engage.”

I enter my room and Dad raises his voice so I can hear past my now-shut door. “I mean it, you don’t engage.”

I lie on my bed and pinch the bridge of my nose. I hope the Riot busts into town. There’s an edginess inside me. Something stirring like a cold front on the verge of colliding with warm air. Too many demons are hovering near me and the one thing that can release the pressure is a good fight.

Bring it, Riot. Show me your worst.


THERE’S A PICTURE on the fridge Mom and Dad had taken of the kitchen when they moved into the house. Back then this room was bright yellow, open, and there were vases of flowers scattered everywhere. Twenty-six years of wear and tear later and three meals’ worth of dishes stacked up from nine people and you’d have today’s version of the same kitchen.

Addison sits on the counter with her eyes glued to her cell while I prerinse dishes, then load them into the dishwasher. She lifts her legs as my two youngest siblings chase each other around the island.

It’s after eight. One of them is in kindergarten, the other second grade. Because elementary and middle schools began a few days ago, you’d expect at some point my siblings would tire and pass out, but I’m convinced that when they’re depleted of their own energy, they suck me dry of mine.

Elsie shrieks when Zac hits her and he howls when Elsie bites him in return. With a groan, I pick up the holy terror closer to me and sit Elsie on the island, then pull over a chair with my foot and deposit Zac into that. “Neither of you move for two minutes.”

They scramble to the floor and run to the living room, calling me “mean.” I should pursue them, but I’m exhausted, and in the end I don’t care enough to discipline them again.

I am never having children. Ever.

Addison surveys the swinging door through which they disappeared like she’s solving a math problem. “You know, they portray large families completely differently on TV.”

I snort. “And how would that be? Sane?”

A laugh confirms that’s exactly what she thought. “There’s a hundred of those reality shows where they have five million children and they all seem happy 24/7. If they can be close and lovey-dovey, why can’t you?”

“You should try sleeping instead of watching television late at night. It could help with your overactive and wild imagination.”

The swinging door opens and Zac aims a water rifle at Addison and fires. She squeals and raises her arms to her face. Whooping, Zac falls back and Addison yells, “I’m going to kill you, you little freak!”

“Freak is Bre’s nickname!” he shouts.

The door opens again and Addison stops from rushing the person entering when Paul walks in with a skateboard in his hand and heads to the fridge. “Bre’s nickname isn’t freak, it’s Encyclopedia-freak. Ain’t I right, Encyclopedia-freak?”

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