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Park Avenue Punk
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It’s been five years since I last saw her.
Years since she broke my heart.
Five tortured years since I forced myself to hate the girl I loved.
But I couldn’t stay away.
And every part of me felt that old familiar pull to her when Deven caught me red-handed outside of her building on Fifth Avenue.
I’m not who she remembered. I’m the Park Avenue punk, tagging the city’s buildings one night at a time.
She may have saved my ass once, but I won’t let her sway her curvy hips into my head again.
Or so that’s what I told myself even though I knew it was a losing battle when it came to Deven.
She’s my heart’s worst enemy. I plan on making her feel every cold-hearted inch of my hate, one forbidden moment at a time.
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“Hey!” The old man’s voice interrupted the last slash of red on brick. “I’m calling the police this time, you little punk!”
I let off the trigger of the spray, drips of paint bleeding between the cracks of the brick in angry rivulets.
Not perfect, but it’d have to be, for tonight anyway.
I shot one last look at the shop owner, who was thrusting the phone in his hand my way as he yelled at the top of his lungs. I shot off around the corner of Fifth Avenue at a full jog, crossing the street—nearly empty of traffic at this time of night.
and lost myself in the overgrowth of Central Park.
I could still hear his angry voice shouting from the corner as his eyes scanned the darkness in search of me.
I didn’t blame him.
I’d been working that piece for the last three nights. I was surprised he hadn’t painted over the current work in progress, a fist wrapped in barbed wire with splashes of red, meant to be a symbol of consumer oppression.
I hovered at the path just inside the treeline and just outside of the nearest streetlamp. The truth was, I liked watching the angry man spit nails as much as I liked making the art on his brand-new brick wall.
Graffiti on the corner of 59th and 5th, the heart of uptown shopping, was never looked kindly upon.
And then I heard the siren.
A vicious grin twisted on my face as I launched the spray cans I had on me into the garbage can at my side before, head down, hustling the other way along the path deeper into the park.
“Shit…” A hot beverage soaked my shirt as my eyes cast up. “I’m so, so sorry. I wasn’t watching where I was going. I’ve had the worst fucking day. I shouldn’t even be around people right now.”
Her hand launched out to wipe my black shirt with a recycled napkin. I caught her dainty hands, halting them before she could make contact.
“Stop,” I gritted.
Her head was still bent, fat ugly tears rolling down the planes of her creamy cheeks. “I said I was sorry.”
“So that makes you entitled to my forgiveness? Think again, rich girl.” I glanced over my shoulder to see a cop car slowing at the curb before coming to a stop at the start of the path we were on, eyes nailed on us.
“Shit.” I breathed, realizing this would look really bad if I took off running now. I was as good as caught red-handed.
“Jameson?” Her voice sucked in a breath of air at my shoulder. “Jameson Styles?”
My jaw physically hurt, I was clenching it so damn tightly. The cop was walking toward us now, eyes on me, and I could only pray he hadn’t heard this fucking meek little thing just utter my real name.
“Evenin’, kids.” The middle-aged officer stopped short of us. “Pretty late to be out in the park.” His voice trailed off, forming a question, and I hated him for it. When neither of us answered, he shuffled on his feet, throwing a nod over his shoulder to the shop owner, still talking to himself on the corner as he tried to watch. “Any chance you may have seen anything…suspicious?”
I could feel the way he was taking me in, trying to determine if I was the criminal he was looking for or just another waste of his time. I cleared my throat, thrusting a hand through my dark hair and about to make up some excuse about the night shift, when little miss meek threaded her fingers in mine.
A tremor of disdain rushed through me before her tiny voice spoke up. “We haven’t seen anything, Officer. My boyfriend here thought a stroll through the park at night would be romantic, until I spilled coffee on both of us and…” She rolled her eyes, bouncing her shoulder into mine like we’d known each other for ages.
“Hm.” The officer’s gaze hovered at her hand clasped with mine, a cloyingly sweet smile decorating her face as she rocked back and forth in her designer boots. “Well, stick to the well-lit areas. There’s been some reports of an uptick in crime around here this late at night.” He shoved a hand into his back pocket and pulled a card out, passing it to her. “Please, give me a call personally if you see anything that stands out.”
His eyes lingered long and hard, and then I physically had to restrain myself from kicking his arrogant fucking teeth in.
I’d only been adding a little artwork to the face of one of the fine establishments on Fifth. This guy was visibly eye-fucking a strange woman at night under the guise of law and order.
I shook my head, ready to speak up to him, when she put her other palm on my chest, siding herself a little closer and putting her body in between him and me. She tipped her head to one side, silky teased ringlets following over her shoulder when she whispered, “Honey…”