The Keys to Jericho

The Keys to Jericho by Ren Alexander Read Free Book Online

Book: The Keys to Jericho by Ren Alexander Read Free Book Online
Authors: Ren Alexander
sighing. “What’s happened to you? It’s like you have some kind of vendetta to carry out. You’ve always been cool with me, but I’ve noticed that you’re a dick with women in general. Now Liberty. Why?” Fuck.
    My arms remained locked against me, as if I’m really protecting myself from his disturbing observations.
    I randomly watch people in a grocery store parking lot across the street as he waits for an answer. I shrug. “I’m not. Liberty and I just don’t get along.”
    “It’s more than that. You don’t even have any women friends.”
    I used to years ago, but when I wanted to step it up with her, she rejected me. I threw myself at her over and over, yet each time I tried, she pushed me away with a laugh. I kept trying, but you can only push on a redwood tree so much before you realize it’s not going to uproot from your meager efforts. I didn’t have more to give, so I walked away.
    And it was the hardest thing I’ve ever done. I’ve never told anyone about her.
    Rio continues, “As soon as a woman comes near you, your entire demeanor changes.”
    Rejection is what my life has been all about.
    I’ll never be at the mercy of a female again.
    I glance at him and scoff, “Yeah. You should talk. If you had an invisibility cloak, you’d use it.”
    “You become icy, Jare. You only thaw a bit when you want to use them.”
    Stunned that he can see through me, I look away from him and wearily say, “I think you and Dash are smoking crack together.” This is why I don’t have deep conversations with Rio about this subject. He’s cutthroat.
    “Deny it all you want, but you’re going to be alone if you keep being this way.”
    Seeing a couple kissing and making me want to throw up, I turn back to Rio and sneer, “Because I really want to be put on a leash and dragged around.”
    “I’m not! Jesus! I’m happy! Don’t you want to see me happy?”
    “I do, but not when it comes down to you choosing her over Dash and me.”
    He pounds the brick with his fist. “Can’t I have both? Why do I have to choose one or the other?”
    “Well, that’s what it’ll end up being. She’ll make you get rid of us. Don’t you see how controlling she is?”
    “ She is? Look at you! You’re telling me who I can’t date! Who I can’t love! You’re trying to do the very thing you’re accusing Liberty of doing!”
    Shaking my head, I insist, “No way. This is different. I’ve known you longer. I’m looking out for you!”
    He steps closer and yells, “Don’t feed me that garbage, Jare! I don’t want you fighting with Liberty!” He closes his eyes and rubs the back of his neck. Taking a deep breath as he opens his eyes, Rio evenly says, “She’s not going anywhere. Get used to her.”
    I swallow hard and challenge, “And if I can’t?”
    He drills his eyes into me, but I hold my own. “I mean it.” He thinks I’m joking?
    Letting my arms fall, I reach into my back pocket for my wallet, pulling out a 20.00 bill. Holding it between my index and middle fingers, I say, “Here. This is for my dinner.”
    He doesn’t take the money. “Why? Where you going?”
    “I can’t be in there right now. Dash will need a ride home.” When he doesn’t make a move to grab it, I shove the bill against his chest and as it falls. He catches it as it flutters down.
    As I turn and walk back around the corner of the building, Rio yells, “Jared, come on!”
    Ignoring him, I go straight to my car and angrily peel out of the parking lot.
    If it’s not my dad, it’s my damn friends.
    Fuck them all.

    “Jared I need you.” The voice is familiar, yet so far away. I look around, but see nothing.
    Suddenly out of nowhere, I’m pummeled with something soft. Confused, I turn, yet no one is there. I feel the back of my neck for blood or part of my brain exposed, but I seem to be okay.
    Jumping up, I sleepily look around through squinted eyes, disoriented by the light

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