Amy was riding in style and enjoying being chauffeured by Zack’s buddy Terrell. She wasn’t completely aware of what was going on or why he was driving them but she was sure to find out. Her box cutter was never too far to get into some action if need be. Overall she was glad Zack was cool with her coming over. She was also looking forward to meeting his little sisters and cooking together. Plus, she really could use some time away from her own home but also was feeling him a little bit. Amy was a year or so older but Zack carried himself like someone older and running with grown men was giving her a glimpse into his life outside of school. They pulled up to Zack’s house and she got out and waited for him to let them in.
Once inside Amy did a usual look around the place. She glanced at a few pictures on the wall, socks on the floor and dishes in the sink.
"Who all lives here?" she asked. She could tell her question made him a little embarrased as he anxiously picked up a tossed jacket and kicked some shoes in the corner.
"Just me and my three sisters," he replied.
"What time your mom coming home?" she inquired.
"My mom..." he paused, not knowing if he should tell her or not.
"My mom left us. It's just me and the girls. I take care of all of us now."
"Wait, you're all alone? You pay all the bills and everything? Wow! You're awesome. I don't think I could do it. I mean, we still in school." She shook her head as if she pitied him. But he felt no pity for himself. He knew he would overcome this hardship and prevail. It was actually a noble thing he was doing. She thought about all the times she wished she was on her own and had been on her own while in and out of the foster care system. Thankfully she didn’t have bills or siblings to look after. Taking care of herself was hell most of the time. Even she had to admit that staying with her mom was better than staying on the street despite all the drama that came along with it.
“So what you plan on cooking for the holiday?” Amy asking, changing the subject.
“Iono. I told the girls we was gonna go shopping today and they could pick out what they wanted. Ain't no school tomorrow so we gonna just cook all night” he replied.
“You can't just take kids to the store and tell them get what they want. All they gonna get is candy and snacks and probably toys. And you gotta save some money for Christmas” she asserted. He had not about that.
“I'll have money for Christmas. I'm not worried about that.” he said with confidence.
“Well maybe we can get some Christmas decorations too while we're at the store. Make the house look pretty. And maybe I'll stay tonight and help y'all cook today (she said it blushingly at Zack. He smiled back)”.
“Cool. I don't mind. And the girls will be excited. We've never had company other than Jay and Jon Jon n 'em”.
Amy was making herself right at home and Zack couldn’t have been happier. He didn’t have time to process how things were happening. He was just glad it was happening. They spend some time smiling at each other and he nervously fiddled with his phone in his hand.
Then the phone rang, surprising him. He looked at the screen. It was Terrell. He answered it. "Yo what's up?" Zack said. "I need you to make a move with me real quick. You gonna have to leave the girl. She will be there when your sisters get home." Terrell said. "What happened? Is something wrong?" Zack asked. "Naw ain't nothing wrong. Simeon just need to see you for a sec." Terrell replied. Zack agreed. “hey , I need to make a run real quick. Is it cool if you stay here and wait on the girls? I’ll be right back.
“Yea, that’s cool. Is it alright if I watch TV?” she asked.
“Yea, of course. Here is the remote.”
Zack threw on his Jacket and went outside. Terrell was pulling up and told Zack "Give the girl your phone and tell her to call me when the girls get here so we can come get them." Zack was confused but did what he was told. Zack ran back in the house. “Here, take this. Call Terrell's number when the girls get here so we can come back and get you all." She grabbed the phone excitedly.
"Okay" she said. And Zack went back outside and got in the car.
Terrell and Zack had a serious conversation on the ride to Simeon's. It was like the type of conversation a son would have with his buddies or his Dad if he had one.
"Here! Take these. I know what you and that girl gonna be doing. I just had to get you out the house so I could give you these. Don't you go and get that girl pregnant. She only want what you got. She not interested in you. Those type of girls only want the spotlight and that's what you got right now and that's what you always gonna have. You gotta be careful, Aite?" Terrell pleaded.
Zack listened but it went in one ear and out the other. He took the condoms and stuffed them in his pocket. They got to Simeon's and went inside. When they got into Simeon's office Simeon was surprised to see Zack. "Kiddo, what's up? Everything Okay?" Simeon asked. Terrell replied, "I figured we'd take the kid along to feed the homeless. We just waitin on his sisters to get out of school. So the Kidd can do a lil' networking'." Simeon shook his head in agreement and said, "You know what? That is a great idea. 'Cause Carlos is gonna be there. That'll be a good meet and greet."
While Zack was gone Amy took it upon herself to cozy into the peeling leather couch in the living room and even pour herself a glass of water. On the refrigerator was a an old picture of Zack, his mom and all his sisters together. Next to that was artwork from the girls and an obituary from the sibling he recently lost. “Wow, I know that must have hurt” is all Amy could say in regards to losing both his sister and now his mother. Amy wondered what time the girls would be getting off the bus and if Zack had any weed stashed around anywhere. As soon as she was about to make her way down the hallway to the bedrooms to be nosy she could hear the bus pull up.
Amy went outside and stood on the landing in front of the door so the girls would know where she came from. They walked up together, wondering who the strange girl was. “Hey girls, I’m Amy...a friend of Zack’s. He asked me to get yall off the bus and make sure yall were good. He is on his way. W’m going to help y’all cook and do some things around that house if that’s cool with yall” she announced.
The girls weren’t sure of what was going on but also happy for the company.
“Hi, the oldest one said.
"Who is Carlos?" Zack inquired. "A lawyer and a businessman." Simeon replied. Why would Zack need a lawyer. Then he thought logically about the fact that he was doing something very illegal. His mind wandered as a few more random conversations went forth. All he could think of was Amy. The fact that she was at his house was incredible. But then again he knew what he was doing was the way to get girls. Money could buy him anything, And he planned on having lots of it. As he drifted back into reality Terrell was handing him his cell phone. "The girls must be there,"Terrell added. Zack grabbed the phone to answer.
"Hello?" Zack said.
"Hey, your sisters are here. You finna come back? 'Cuz i'm hungry." Amy said.
"Yea we on the way. And we finna go somewhere so it's gonna be food there" Zack replied to her.
Amy simply said "Okay" as they got off the phone.
Zack handed Terrell the phone back and asked if he was ready? Terrell said, "let's ride" as he gave him the signal to come on. They went back to the car and headed for Zack's house.
"So, Zack, who is going to be paying the bills at your place. Are you just gonna be paying everything. It's a new month and I'm sure the rent and utilities are due." Zack hadn't thought that through yet. Only thing he had thought about was keeping the girls fed and making sure they got to school and did their work. But this was also a very big deal. He had to make sure to pay things on time. He had made a nice amount of money so all he had to do was figure out what needed to be paid and to who. "I'll pay all the bills," Zack said back. Then he thought to himself, "I haven't checked the mail. I bet everything I need is in the mail."
"So rent is 400 a month. Simeon just purchased your house over a month ago. He was doing it to help your moms, but I guess we're helping you now. You know yo moms and Simeon grew up together, right? Iono the whole story, but I know he knows a lot about your mother."
Zack sat there and wondered were they once good friends? Did they used to take baths together as babies or go to the same church. Did they learn to ride their bikes together and were they with each other in all of their baby pics. This was interesting, he had only seen Simeon around and now he was like a mentor. And now he even found out Simeon grew up with his mom. Wow! Guess that's why Simeon had such a soft heart for him and his sisters. But anyways, they pulled up to the house and Zack went to the door to get the girls. And Amy. He thought of Amy as a woman, not a girl. When he opened the door she was sitting there playing with his phone. She didn't have one of her own. He didn't know why though. Maybe he would ask later. “Hey everybody, let’s go. We got things to do!” He announced. The girls were so excited. All at once they had company and they were going on a "field trip." They had already just about talked Amy's ear off by the time they got to Simeon's. When they got there everyone got out and went inside. It had been so long since the girls had been anywhere that they barely knew how to act.
“I hope they weren’t too much trouble” Zack said.
“Nah, they were cool” she said.
“I can tell they like you already, they don’t get too close to people” he revealed.
Zack quieted the girls and told them to "sit down with Amy. I gotta go in the back real quick." But before he could walk away his phone rang. He looked at the number... "I ain't gave nobody my number but Simeon and Terrell." He answered it out of curiosity.
"Hello?" He questioned.
Amy liked that Zack felt his sisters liked her. She was likeable. She felt she would have been the perfect big sister or even mother one day. Anything had to be better than the example she had at home. “He must be something like a big deal” Amy thought to herself. Her previous thoughts of him made her feel like he had a lot going on and a lot to lose.
"Hey Zack! This Tee."
"How the hell you get my number?" Zack asked.
"My bad man. I ain't mean to disturb you and all. Diogenes gave me yo number." Tee said.
"Who? Who the fuck is Diogenes?" Zack questioned while walking away to gain a bit of privacy.
"Diogenes, the dude you be with. The dude that was tryna cut off my hand... That's what he said his name was when I talked to him this morning before school. Anyway, we got a problem bro." Tee said there was a problem but his voice didn't sound panicky.
"What kinda problem?" Zack asked.
"Well, we kinda ran out of weed and people gettin' mad. Iono what to tell them. I mean, what am I supposed to do? All us sold out. We got yo money tho. You got some more? I think we gonna need more this time if you do." Tee was rambling, but it was good. He sounded excited about his task at hand. Zack needed to get him more asap so that they could sell as much as possible. Things were taking off too quick. Almost too quick for him to control. But he could handle it. He needed to get to Charles' house. He kept getting the feeling that he was forgetting something. He hated that feeling. What was it? What was it? "Aha." Zack proclaimed.
"What!" said Tee on the phone. Zack Had forgotten that he still held the phone up to his ear.
"Oh! I'ma bring you some more some time today. Where u gonna be?"
"Same place," Tee replied. And they hung up. Zack was still forgetting something. The fact that he was still on the phone threw him off. He searched his brain again for that thing that he had forgotten.
Then it hit him he had to put the money up for the weed and he had to put money aside for the rent. So he went in the back to find Terrell. Terrell had a suitcase handcuffed to his wrist.
"What's that?" Zack asked.
"Nothing to worry about. Just a precaution." Simeon responded calmly. Zack didn't inquire further for he feared knowing too much.
"Well, I gotta get some more weed. Tee n 'em sold out and they got a lotta people askin for it. And why you tell Tee yo name was Diogenes?" Zack asked Terrell. Terrell just laughed and shook his head. Zack and Simeon laughed as well.
"Well we can handle all of that. We just need to go to this event for a few. Then we can handle all other business. Just gotta show off my new protege," Simeon said while looking at Zack smiling. Zack felt proud about Simeon being proud of him. This was a new feeling. It felt good, though. Real good. He had to keep this going. He had to keep making Simeon proud, even Terrell. And Amy. And the girls. And that would make him proud.
When they got up front Simeon said, "Let's all take my truck. We'll fit better." Zack said, "Come on y'all. Let's go." All the girls got up and followed behind them. Terrell walked next to Zack and whispered low so that only Zack could hear. "You bring the gun Kidd? We gotta make this drop but I don't trust these guys. That lawyer is as crooked as they come. He wants us to drop it off at some house in Ice Mountain. And if my intuition serves me right. We're walking right into trap. Hopefully we won't have to use guns but you never know. So you're gonna go in with Simeon and I'm gonna watch the perimeter."
"I didn't even bring the gun though." Zack replied confused. Simeon had just spoken so well about this lawyer now Terrell was telling him the opposite. And even moreso, he was telling him that he had to protect Simeon.
"Wait! Man my sisters is in the car with us. I can't be carryin' no gun in front of them." Zack said.
"Really Zack? How long you think you gonna lead this life and they not find out. You said you wanna protect them. This is how. You show them the game. The best way to protect you is to show you how to protect yourself. You gotta do the same." Terrell responded. Zack thought on this for a moment as Terrell opened the trunk of his car. He had a point, Zack couldn't protect them all day every day.
Terrell reached down in the truck and grabbed a bag. He took it to Simeon's trunk and put it in. Zack could hear the metal clinking inside. He knew exactly what was inside. Then he uncuffed the briefcase and sat it down in the truck also. Everyone else was already inside. While they walked to their doors to get in Zack asked, "What's Ice Mountain?" Terrell quickly said, "Tell you later. Get in." Zack got in and they started riding. Zack was nervous. He was quiet, looking out the window. He pondered on the fact that they were carelessly driving into some type of ambush with his sisters in the car.
Terrell seemed so calm like he had not just told him this. Him and Simeon sat up front talking about things they had planned and how they were going to fit Zack in. Amy just sat listening to the girls talk about how pretty she was and how they wanted hair like hers. She fed into it all. She was so prissy and it seemed like she wanted to train them up like her own. That kind of made Zack smile but he needed to focus. The road was dark and deep. He had no clue where they were. It was dark as hell, just a winding road and woods. It had gotten dark too. They got to a random driveway out in the middle of nowhere after a while. After driving through a bit more they could see a small building up ahead. It wasn't a house though, it was like a double wide trailer.
Zack took a deep breath as Simeon and Terrell stepped out of the car. Zack said to all the ladies, "If anything happens just stay down. And Amy, If you have to..." He paused, "Just leave us." Amy kind of looked at him sideways as though he had asked something ridiculous. There was no way she would leave him if shit was about to get real. Zack had no clue who she really was inside and the life she had been exposed to. She was down for whatever but also wanted to also make sure the girls would be ok. He got out and went around back of the truck. "I'ma stay out here. Zack gonna go witchu. I got a crazy ass feeling so stay on y'all toes." Terrell said. Both Simeon and Zack nodded as Terrell opened the trunk, went inside, and grabbed a 9mm with an extended clip and a 40 cal.. He gave them both to Zack. He gave Simeon a Desert Eagle and a holster. Simeon put the holster over his shoulders and put the gun in. Then he took out the briefcase and handcuffed it to Simeons wrist. He started to close the trunk and Zack said, "Where mine?" Terrell's reply was, "Ain't got one that small. Just try to put them somewhere." Zack twisted and turned with both of those heavy guns in his hand. He couldn't figure out where they both could go so he tried sticking them in his pockets. "Okay. Let's go Zack." Simeon said. They turned around to walk towards the door...
"NOWWWWWW!!!!!!!!!!!" somebody screamed from in the woods. Then gunfire started to pummel the truck as Zack, Simeon, and Terrell scrambled for cover. But there was none. Zack could see that there were guys coming from the woods on the driver side of the truck. He stood up and banged on the door and screamed, "STAY THE FUCK DOWN!!!!!"
The young girls were screaming in a panic. All they could see were flashes of light surrounding the truck and the sound of the bullets piercing the metal. Amy was holding them down and keeping their heads low. Zack looked back down to see Simeon rolling around bloody all over. "Damn they got Simeon." His rage kicked in. He immediately started to think what if one of the girls got hit. Everything started to slow down. He saw Terrell crawling under the truck. The trunk was still open, Terrell had not got a chance to close it all the way. The gunfire was scarce now. The guys were either out of bullets, reloading or trying to get a better shot. Either way, this was his chance. He went to front of the truck and peeked over.
Through the darkness he could see five figures coming. He grabbed both guns and let loose. Three of them dropped to the ground. Now someone else was shooting. Terrell came back up from underneath the car. "Get Simeon in the car. Let's get the fuck outta here!" He screamed. Zack went for Simeon and someone started shooting from that side of the car again. He looked back to see where the shots were coming from.
He picked up his gun and started shooting back as he tried to pick Simeon up. Simeon tried his best to pick himself up too as Zack scratched up that black truck trying to open the door. He dropped Simeon back to the ground. He had to drop his guns for a sec in order to get Simeon in. The person from behind started shooting again. Then more shots from that direction as Zack jumped down to cover Simeon.
"Just leave me," Simeon said struggling to talk. Terrell looked over and said, "I'm not fuckin' leavin' you. Zack get him the fuck in the car. Zack Reached for a gun and so did Simeon as three guys popped up from behind trees. They both opened fire on the three men but Zack was out of bullets fast. Just then the truck started up. Then the passenger door opened up. Zack saw Amy's arm pulling back from opening the door. Then the back door opened up too…
Amy's little heels dropped to the ground as she appeared from behind the door of the truck weilding a machine gun that was almost too big for her. But from the looks of it she knew exactly what she was doing. "Get him in the truck! I'll cover you! Goooooo!" she screamed as she let loose fire from the barrel of that gun. Zack could not believe his eyes. She didn't hit anybody but she was so wild that the guys started to retreat. Zack finally got Simeon into the truck. Terrell got in on their side and crawled over. The retreated attackers were still shooting at them.
Zack slammed Simeons door and grabbed all the guns from the ground. He took Simeons gun into his right hand and damn near blew one guys head off as he screamed, "Get innn!" He pushed Amy back into the truck and hopped in as Terrell peeled off. "Fuckin crooked ass lawyer. What I tell you. I'ma kill 'em. I'ma kill 'em tonite!" Terrell was ranting. Zack and Amy both were tending to the girls because they were terrified. The truck must be bulletproof, Zack thought to himself as he noticed no bullet holes in the panels or doors. He hopped in the third row with the girls. This was too much. He tried to hug them and see if they were ok but they were crying terribly. “It’s ok, it’s ok we got you. Y'all are ok. Everybody is ok. I got you. I got you” Zack whispered to the three of them.
"Amy get back here with them." Zack said as he crawled a seat forward to tend to Simeon. Amy was rocking back and forth rubbing them on their backs as their tears continued to flow. "Put pressure on that shit, man" Terrell said in the middle of still ranting about murder.
Terrell was driving so fast that they were almost back to Simeon’s place. "I'm sick of this shit. We takin ova his territory. I'm not listening to that bullshit noooo mo'. You hear me Simeon. No more! We tried it yo way. Now me and Zack gonna do things our way." Zack could only concentrate on keeping pressure on the wounds as they pulled up to Zack's house.
"Yo, take the girls inside" Terrell said to Amy.
"I need the keys," Amy said to Zack. Zack took out his keys and gave them to Amy as the girls jumped over the seat and out of the truck as quickly as they could. Amy turned and looked back at Zack. He stared at her for a few moments, realizing how beautiful she was in that exact moment. She was like one of those boss chicks you see in the movies. She winked and went after the girls. They went inside. Amy was not sure what to do with the girls under these circumstances but it was better than being alone. She could now see that Zack was involved in some big boy shit and she wanted to be a part of it. She would tend to the home front for now but she still had a thing or two to show him about what she had learned from the streets. Simeon still was writhing in pain as Terrell hit corners like a mad man. "Where we goin'? The hospital that way." Zack said noticing they were going the wrong way.
"Hospitals ask questions and involve police. We're goin' to the Medicine man." 'Medicine man?' Zack asked himself. By now Simeon was going into shock as Terrell turned into a driveway. Zack was panicking. He had no clue wat to do. "Don't die, don't die, don't die," he kept repeating as Terrell opened up Simeons door. "Help me man!" He screamed at Zack. Zack jumped out of the truck and grabbed Simeons legs. A skinny african looking guy came opening the door for them saying "Bwing hiem downstezz, bwing hiem dowstezz." So they took him down the stairs and laid him on the operating table in the basement. "Okay, okay. I try to fix hiem. You. Whait upstezz." th African said while pushing them back towards the stairs. They had blood all over them. They went upstairs as they were told trying not to get blood on anything. Once up there Terrell couldn't sit down nor could he stop talking. Only thing Zack could do was hope and pray that Simeon was okay.
"Look Zack we gotta retaliate tonite. They gonna be expectin' us to come back but definitely not tonight. Man we should do that shit right fuckin' now. They prolly sittin' in there like 'Yeah we got em.' Mannnnn! Plus, Simeon ain't finna wake up no way. The medicine man gone prolly have him down there for a couple days. You know what..." Terrell paused. By now Zack had every emotion in his body heightened so much that he almost felt inhuman. He was mad, sad, glad, frustrated, appalled, betrayed, afraid, but the feeling he felt the most is pure hatred. They had shot up the car while his sisters were in the fucking car and they had shot one of the only guys he had to look up to. Zack looked up at Terrell pacing the room. He stood up and looked Terrell in the face. Terrell stopped, seeing the fire in Zack's eyes. Zacks head was bloody but unbowed and when he spoke, he spoke with authority. He said grimacing while a smile crept across his face, "Warrrrr!!!"