Into The Fire(4)

By: E. L. Todd

He gave me a stoic expression. “Thanks for the offer, but no thanks.”

“Whatever.” I stood and didn’t bother shaking his hand. “I’ll just get the loan from someone else.”

“Good luck, sir.”


“How’d it go?” Sawyer asked across the table from me. He was eating a burger covered in BBQ sauce.

“How do you think it went?” I barely touched my food because I was so irritated. Normally, I ate anything I could get my hands on. But now every sensation in my body was numb.

“Sorry, man. Just get your credit up.”

“You say that like it’s so simple. It could take years for that to happen.”

He shook his head. “I told you not to buy that bike.”

I glared at him. “Now isn’t the time to say I told you so.”

He shrugged. “I’m just saying…”

I threw a fry at him. “Well, don’t.”

It bounced off his face and landed on the plate. “Are you five?”

“Sometimes.” I grabbed the fry and ate it.

“Dude, that just touched my face.”

“So?” I drank my soda and washed it down. “It’s food. Who cares?”

He rolled his eyes then wiped his fingers with a napkin. “Now what?”

“I don’t have a fucking clue. I don’t mind working at Ascension but I’m getting bored there. I want my own shop. I want to make my own rules.”

“Maybe you can do it out of your apartment until you get enough cash.”

“That’s not creepy…”

“It was just a suggestion, smart ass. It’s better than all your ideas.”

I didn’t have any ideas. “Maybe I should just go back in the army.”

He stopped eating. “Not funny, man.”

“It might piss off my parents enough that they’ll give me back the money they owe me.”

“They’re assholes,” Sawyer said. “They’re going to hold this over your head as long as possible.”

I had a feeling he was right.

“And you would really go through that again?” he asked incredulously. “Back to Afghanistan?”

“It wasn’t the worst thing in the world…” I’d seen a lot of things I wouldn’t share with anyone else. If people shuttered at violent movies, they wouldn’t be able to handle all the things I’d seen. Their stomachs couldn’t keep their lunch down.

“I don’t want you to go,” Sawyer said. “You came back this time but who knows if you’d come back again.”

It was a depressing thought. “Anyway, I’m seeing my parents tonight so I’ll bring it up again.”

“Good luck with that.”

“But I’ll keep playing the Lotto. I have a better chance of winning that than getting my savings back.”

“Why did you give it to them to begin with?”

Because I was stupid. “My dad was going to lose his company if I didn’t. He’d already extended his credit line as far as possible, and they would take the house if he didn’t get the money. My parents would have lost everything, including their reputation.”

“I’m surprised they took your money. My parents would never take anything from me.”

“I knew it was a gamble at the time. If my dad’s prototype wasn’t a success, they would have lost everything, including my money.”

He shook his head. “I can’t believe they’re holding it over your head like this.”

“They claim they don’t have the money but I’m not buying it.”

He leaned back in his booth and sighed. “Maybe you should go back in the military and give your parents a heart attack.”

It was tempting.

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