Badd Motherf*cker:Badd Brothers(4)

By: Jasinda Wilder

I stared at the handkerchief. “Do you use that on your nose?”

He shrugged. “Well, sure, it’s a hanky.”

“That’s disgusting.”

Dad stuffed it back in his pocket. “Suit yourself. But it’s clean, you know. I have several, and I wash them. It’s not, like, the same hanky with twenty years of snot crusted into it.”

That got a laugh from me, because that was kind of what I’d been imagining. But the laugh was what broke me—I couldn’t hold my feelings back anymore. It started with a single tear and a sniffle, which turned into a sob, and then I was full-blown ugly crying, as promised.

I took the hanky, gross as it was, and wiped my eyes with it, not caring if I smeared my mascara.

Pretty soon I was crying so hard I couldn’t see, and I felt Dad pull the truck over. He unbuckled me and hauled me to his side, wrapped his thick arm around me, and held me close as I sobbed. He smelled like Dad and felt like comfort.

He let me cry for I don’t know how long, and when I was finished, he took the hanky from me, wiped my face with it, and stuffed it back into his pocket. “Better?”

I shook my head. “No, not even close. But I’m done crying for now. Time to get hammered.”

Dad took me to his favorite dive, a cop bar near a small rural airfield way outside Seattle. By small, I mean postage-stamp tiny. The biggest airplane anywhere on the field was a twin-engine prop plane getting loaded with crates; the rest of the planes were single-engine Cessnas, Piper Cubs, Beechcraft, and other single-engine private aircraft. He knew everyone there, since he’d been on the force for twenty years and had been going to that particular dive bar for even longer; it wasn’t so much a cop bar as it was the personal, mostly private hangout of Dad and his cop buddies.

When we walked in every head turned, because it was the kind of place you just didn’t go into unless you knew you were welcome. So when the guys saw me in my dress, bedraggled from walking through the downpour, mascara smeared from crying…well, those cops were a tight bunch. They took care of their own. One look at me, and they pulled the tables into a circle, sat me down, pulled a bottle of the finest scotch in the joint and poured me a double on the rocks. I’d grown up with these guys, you see. Their wives had babysat me when Dad worked a weekend or school night shift. They had come over in the middle of the night when Dad had to go interview a suspect. They had covered for me when I snuck out to make out with boys in high school. These cops had all been there for me my whole life.

I finished my first double scotch and listened to them discussing plans for Michael, and then waited while Detective Rolando poured me a second. I looked at them all in turn: Rolando, Vickers, Johnson, Dad, Benson, Ayers, Mickelson…Dad had obviously texted them to meet us here after I’d bolted from the wedding.

“No revenge, guys.” I stared them down until they saw I was serious. “He’s not worth it. He can have Tawny and she can have him. No revenge. Although, if you ever catch him speeding, don’t let him off with a warning. I’m not going to waste another moment of my life on him, and neither should any of you.”

I got a chorus of agreement. After finishing my second double scotch, I started taking the pins out of my hair and, once my hair was down, it was on.

I switched from scotch to bourbon, from doubles to shots chased by pints of local stout.

See, I’d learned to drink with the cops, too—and these boys could pound the liquor like nobody’s business.

I could say I lost track then but, hell, I hadn’t bothered counting in the first place.

At some point, Mickelson put breakup music on the bar’s radio, and considering how drunk I was by that point I got into it. Really, really into it.

Dad and Ayers had left at some point to haul in some suspect they’d been chasing, so I was alone with Mickelson, Benson, and Rolando, Dad’s closest friends on the force, men who were like uncles to me.

Mickelson was seated beside me, spouting drunken wisdom. “Can’t let the bastard get you down, Dru. Gotta keep your head up, y’know? He’s a bastard, and a punk, and he ain’t worth your tears. So just forget him, right?”

“Right,” I said, because that had been my plan all along, but they kept bringing Michael back into the conversation. Which, to my inebriated thinking, was counterproductive. “I gotta start over.”

“Start over, that’s a great plan. Scrap everything, and start new,” Rolando agreed.

I stood up, wobbled dizzily across the bar to the grimy window. A plane getting ready to take off, taking advantage of a lull in the rain. “Been in Seattle my whole life. Never been anywhere else. Michael is…everywhere I go in this whole damn city I’ll see him. I was with him for four years. Four fucking years! How long was he cheating on me? Or was that, like, some kind of stupid last hurrah, instead of a bachelor party? Or wait, no, he had a bachelor party. And I’m pretty sure they went to a strip club. So…fuck, whatever. I just—” I wasn’t really talking to anyone at this point. “I dunno if I can stay in Seattle anymore. I gotta…I gotta get out of here.”

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