Jett Huntsman has his business straight, which is to scare shmucks into paying back what’s due. And yeah, he’s making shit tons of money while at it. Mostly because he’s good at it. Not that he brags.
What he’s not good at, though, is how to deal with seeing a crying baby left in front of his house with the self-explanatory message: “Assume responsibility, asshole!”
Jett has no time to think things through. He has shmucks to shake for money. So his kid, if that’s his kid, will have to come with him.
The guy he’s supposed to scare enough to pay his debts is a total dweeb with a weird hippy name. This April Summer dude should know better than to piss off the wrong people. While he babbles about not having the money, he says the magic word - babies!
Does this dweeb really know the first thing about kids? Jett doesn’t have time to think. April the Fool will take care of that crying baby if he knows what’s good for him. Especially since April seems weirdly familiar.
(Disclaimer: No babies were made to cry during the writing of this story. Also, this is not intended as a parenting guide. Seriously.)
Chapter One – It’s A Bouncing Baby Boy!
Ding! Ding! Ding!
Jett opened his eyes. Was that seriously the doorbell? Who the fuck dared to wake him up before ten fucking AM? For a full minute, he lay in bed, staring at the ceiling, with a frown he hoped could be visible through the walls so that the moron who dared to ring his doorbell would get the message.
He pushed himself up. Where were his pants? He had them last night; that he remembered. Jett winced when he stepped on something cold and icky.
What the hell was his ashtray doing on the floor? Obviously, he had put it there, but that didn’t mean he wasn’t entitled to a little bit of rage. Ah, at least he found his pants. They were hanging by the doorknob.
Wild night, he shook his head. Now, who the fuck was at the door? The sound had finally stopped, but now curiosity was bigger than the determination to strangle the idiot on the other side.
Maybe he could still catch the moron, and give him a piece of his mind. That thought put an immediate spring to his step. Jett went down the stairs, groaning an ‘I’m coming’. It was only fair to give the moron a bit of a head start.
He pulled the entrance door to him so fast that the hinges screeched and sighed. Ah, there was no one. Jett looked to the right, then to the left, and then … down.
“What the fuck?”
The only reply was a long, clearly aimed at him, wail. Jett shook his head. Was he having hallucinations? As much as he loved smoking, he was only particular to tobacco. So he couldn’t blame it on that.
At his feet, on his doorsteps, was a frigging baby! Strapped to a car seat, that kiddie version he saw advertised on TV, and screaming like a banshee. The baby was red in the face and clearly in some sort of emergency.
“Who are you, dude?” Jett crouched next to the baby who didn’t seem to care about his questions.
With a frown, Jett picked a small paper square that was caught with a small pin to the baby’s onesie.
Assume responsibility, asshole!
Jett scratched his head. In the meantime, the baby seemed to be as distressed as earlier. “Hey, dude, not cool,” he said, pointing a finger at the baby. “I’m trying to think here.”
Did he leave some girlfriend pregnant? He continued to scratch his head. His man bun moved on top of his head, and that must have caught the baby’s attention, because the wailing stopped and instead, giggling could be heard.
“You like this thing?” Jett pointed at his top knot.
He knelt next to the baby, and, right away, sticky little hands were in his hair, pulling hard.
“Ouch! A bit too strong, aren’t you?”
The baby giggled again. Jett extracted his bun from the baby’s hands and began to examine the car seat for extra clues. That moment, his phone went off.
With a frown, he checked the message. “Just fucking great,” he murmured.
But a job was a job, and Jett never said ‘no’ to whatever could bring him money. Except when it involved guys with a heavier punch than him. After all, he was a practical man and had no wish for a broken nose or worse.
Without losing time with overthinking, he grabbed the baby with the car seat and all from the steps and began marching toward his car. “It looks like you’re riding with me, buddy,” he told the baby who was looking up at him with clear blue eyes.
For a second, he studied the kid. Was there any resemblance that would ring a bell? The mom could be … well, at least several women. He usually used anti-baby devices, like condoms. Not with his steady girlfriends, though. He needed to make a list and start calling people. But that would have to come later. With a shrug, Jett opened the door to the backseat of his car.
And then he scratched his head again. He was pretty sure there had to be a way to put that car seat inside, but who the fuck knew about that stuff? After some deliberation – it wasn’t like he had much time on his hands, or his target would fly the coop – he decided to place the baby’s car seat inside and then used the existing seat belt in the back to strap him well.
He took one step back and admired his handiwork. Damn, it didn’t look that safe, did it? Well, it wasn’t much he could do. He would just have to drive slowly, like really slowly.
The kid didn’t seem too bothered with his lack of knowledge in the area of installing car seats for children. Well, then he wasn’t bothered, either.
Jett kicked the engine into gear and then watched the speedometer. “Slowly now, right, buddy?” He threw over his shoulder.
At least the kid didn’t scream when the car moved. Maybe the baby was used to riding. Who knew?
Jett checked for the last time the address where he needed to go. “April Summer,” he said to himself, “you’ll have to pay up, dude.”
Jett pushed one cigarette into his mouth and, without lighting it just yet, looked at the baby in the backseat. “You stay here, buddy. If you get bored, just imagine you’re my getaway driver.”
The baby looked at him and scrunched his nose.
“And don’t cry. Crying pisses me off, okay?”
For the moment, the kid seemed to get the message. Jett climbed out of the car and walked away from it, not without looking at it a few more times.
He cracked his neck, once to the right, once to the left, and then lit his cigarette. April Summer sounded like some hippy name. It would be an easy job, and then he’d get back to see what the hell that kid had to do with him.
He ringed the doorbell a couple of times. His target lived in what looked like a complex for students and such. There were only singles, but, at that still morning hour – it was still before ten AM -, not many residents seemed to be at home. The message said the target would be present, though.
Finally, someone answered, and a head covered with tousled brown hair stuck through the door. Jett assumed his most threatening stance, his feet parted and his arms crossed. That didn’t stop him from sucking from his cigarette. It was a skill, to act like a human furnace, one girlfriend had told him.
“April Summer?” he asked in a menacing voice, making the cigarette dangled between his lips.
From behind a pair of round glasses, two green eyes stared at him. Only for a second, because the next, Jett looked in disbelief at the door being shut in front of him.
“Fucking hippy,” Jett mumbled to himself and pushed against the door.
It surprised even him how easily that lock gave in. He walked inside and slammed the door behind him. Oh, shit. It was that kind of small apartment with a way through the back. He should have imagined.
Without wasting another moment, Jett ran toward the other exit. In his path, he almost stumbled on what looked like a bunch of IT equipment. Was the hippy trying to set up his own shop?
The back door was swinging in the wind, no wonder there.
The hippy was fast, Jett had to give it to him. He was running like there was a fire lit under his ass, but Jett wouldn’t let him escape that easily. What was he thinking? This dweeb wouldn’t escape at all.
There was a narrow pathway that appeared to lead to a wooden fence, so Jett threw his cigarette and gave chase. April Summer seemed to be limber enough to jump over that, and he was dressed in a tracksuit that let him move with ease, but Jett wouldn’t let him get that far.
“Stop running, you fucking idiot!”
His lungs were fucking burning. He was no runner, usually, because people didn’t think they could get away from him. This April dude was so going to get it for this.
Jett managed to catch his target, just as April was about to lift himself on the fence. Without thinking, he grabbed the other by the bottom of his tracksuit pants and pulled down hard.
Only to come face to face with a naked ass that practically bounced in quite a comical way.
What the fuck?! Jett released his prey as if burned, and April tried to lift himself again. Apparently, it was hard to do that with your pants down your ankles. Jett laughed and this time, grabbed the idiot by the scruff of his neck and made him fall to the ground.
“Don’t shoot, dude!” April put both hands up.
“Nobody’s shooting, fool,” Jett replied and turned the other roughly.
This time, he came face to face with the green eyes from earlier. They were wide in fear and fringed by long dark eyelashes, darker than the hair of the guy’s head. “Do I know you from somewhere?” he asked and looked closer.
The green eyes blinked. “I don’t know any gangsters,” was the prompt reply.
“No shit. Then how come you owe money to the Zabinski brothers?”
“I had no idea they were that kind of brothers,” April replied again.
Didn’t this wiseass have all the answers ready?
“I don’t give a shit. You need to pay up, dude.”
“I don’t have the money.”
“Nice try. Now, I’ll give you one second to think again if that’s the answer you want to give me.”
“Okay. Can I least pull my pants up?”
Jett let go of the moron instantly. His eyes went lower and then moved away. “Fucking idiot,” he said under his breath.
This kind of job was getting suckier and suckier. Where the fuck did it say in his job description that he had to deal with seeing naked asses and dicks?
Not that it had been that bad to stare at this hippy’s ass. April Summer had more than a girl’s name. He also had a round perky ass that shouldn’t be legal on a dude. Not that he had noticed.
Jett shook his head. This morning was getting weirder and weirder, and his head along with it. It didn’t matter what kind of ass that dweeb had. He had to pay.
He looked aside as April struggled with his pants and pulled at his jacket.
That was April who was staring at him, his eyes even wider. Seriously, one could not look at this dude’s face and see anything else; that was how big his eyes were. And where the hell had Jett seen those before?
Absent-mindedly, he scratched his neck and noticed April’s eyes fixed on his hand. Ah, probably not his hand, but the tattoo on his neck.
“Dude, just pay up and we can part as friends,” Jett said.
“I don’t have the money,” April said again and moved his head to the sides like a broken doll.
“Then you’ll have to come with me, and meet your investors so that you can explain what the fuck you did with their money.”
“No way! They’ll do something to me! Like they’ll blow my kneecaps off or shit like that!”
This dude was doing such as great job scaring himself that Jett wondered what the hell he was still doing there. He was supposed to come up with scary scenarios, not his targets.
“Look, you must have something,” Jett offered. “I saw a bunch of stuff in your room. Just sell all that shit and pay the money back. I’ll tell the Z brothers you need just a couple of days.”
“It won’t work,” April said and shook his head dejectedly. “That stuff is already too old. If I’m selling it, I’m losing money, and I won’t have enough to pay back what I owe.”
“How can that stuff be too old? When did you buy it? Last month or so?”
“Yeah. But there is better stuff out there already,” April explained.
“What the fuck do you need all that stuff for, anyway? Do you want to launch a rocket or something?”
“It’s for my rig,” April said. “I’m mining crypto.”
“What?” Jett narrowed his eyes.
“Bitcoin,” April explained.
“Ah, you’re a complete fool,” Jett said, the explanation more for himself, then the other. “April the Fool. Yeah, it suits you.” He grinned.
“I’m no fool, man. This is the real stuff. The new El Dorado.” April the Fool really believed that crap.
Jett put one hand up. “I keep to what I said. Now tell me this. How are you going to pay?”
April looked away. “Aside from my rig, I don’t have much else.”
“Think, dude, or things can get ugly,” Jett warned.
“What should I sell? A kidney?”
“It’s an idea. But I don’t think you could sell one if you wanted to,” Jett said and shrugged.
“If you take me to the Z brothers, they’ll fuck me up,” April said.
“Yeah,” Jett confirmed.
“But it won’t be to their advantage. If they let me mine my crypto, I’ll have the money, and I’ll pay them more interest, too.”
“I wasn’t born yesterday, pal. Think of a solution so that I don’t have to drag you to the Z brothers. They’re not patient dudes. And neither am I,” Jett added, remembering who was waiting for him in the car. “Oh, shit.”
Okay, so there was no time for April to come up with ideas. He grabbed him by the front of his tracksuit jacket and shook him. “You have to pay up, dude.”
“Wow, wow, wow, why do you have to get physical?”
“Because talking ain’t working with you, that’s why.”
The same strange sensation that he had seen this dude before struck Jett. He sniffed April a little like he could get some vital information from that.
“Dude, you’re weird. Stop smelling me,” April said.
Jett pulled back but didn’t let go of April’s jacket. “Let me make it clear to you. I can beat you up now and come back later. I’ll tell the Z brothers you weren’t home. But in two days, you come up with the money, or I come and beat the shit out of you again. See, I’m generous. I’m not taking you directly to them.”
“Generous? I can’t stand violence!”
“A total hippy and a dweeb? Shmucks like you shouldn’t borrow money ever.”
“Hey, it’s a solid business. I will make money,” April insisted.
“That’s it,” Jett said, exasperated with enough conversation. “Where do you want it? Stomach or face?”
“How about neither?!”
Now he could smell fear. Good. Usually, the guys Jett dealt with suddenly remembered they had some money somewhere or had a relative or friend that could lend them the cash, so he didn’t have to use his fists.
But, in this case, it looked like he needed to put his money where his mouth was. He pulled his right arm back, flexing his hand into a fist.
“No, please!” April began babbling. “If you kill me, people will miss me!”
“I’m not going to kill you, idiot,” Jett said.
“Others are depending on me! An entire family! Children will go hungry if I don’t --”
“Does a dweeb like you have kids?” Jett stopped his fist in mid-air. “You can’t be older than twenty or something.”
“They’re not mine! I mean, they’re my sister’s! But I’m the one who has to take care of them! I mean, from time to time!”
Jett grabbed April by the front of his shirt again and looked him in the eyes. “Do you know anything about babies?”
“Babies? I mean, my nephews are toddlers, yeah, but --”
“Good enough,” Jett decided and began pulling April after him.
“Hey, where are you taking me? Hey, I’m too young to die! Please, have a kidney but don’t take me to them!”
“I’m not taking you to them, moron. I have a job for you. Do it well, and I’ll cover your ass.”
The last word barely left Jett’s mouth, and he cursed under his breath. He had gotten laid last night. What the hell he had to think of April’s round ass that moment?
Ah, well, he needed to get laid again. No biggie. But right now, he needed to solve some shit, and April was as good a candidate as any to help with that. After all, the guy had the perfect motivation to obey.
April could barely breathe as he struggled to keep up with that dude. He had known for days that was coming, but he had hoped, like the total moron that he was that he would strike it big. Only that the fucking crypto he invested in had continued to drop like a rock. The last investments in equipment were supposed to cover for the diversification of his portfolio, but it looked like he wasn’t in any condition to use it now.
The gorilla dragging him away seemed to care naught for his struggles to explain his position. Well, the dude wasn’t exactly like a gorilla, but he was pretty buff, and he had just threatened April that he would beat the shit out of him.
And there was also the tattoo. It had been years ago, but April knew that tattoo well. Maybe it was just a frigging coincidence. Maybe there were at least a few thousand dudes who had decided to have a sextant tattooed on their necks, in the exact same position as he remembered.
Now there were more ardent issues at hand. The gorilla let him lock the door behind him and continued to drag him by one arm to his car.
“Man, I’m not going with you anywhere,” April insisted.
His jaw fell when the man opened the door to the back and April saw a baby strapped to a car seat and with the extra seatbelt crossed over him.
“See this kid? You’re going to take care of him.”
April blinked. And then he frowned. The baby started crying like on cue.
“Hear this?” The gorilla pointed at the baby. “I don’t need this shit.”
April opened and closed his mouth a few times, like a fish out of water. And then it struck him. “Do you want me to take care of your kid?”
The other shrugged. “That’s not my kid.”
“Did you kidnap him? Hell, dude, I’m not getting into shit like this. I don’t need to be chased by the FBI.”
“I didn’t kidnap him! Just get in the fucking car and make him stop.”
“Okay, okay.” April put his hands up in surrender. “What’s his name? Is a boy, right?”
“How the fuck should I know?” The other bristled and put one hand on the door handle to climb in front.
“Wait!” April yelled. “The car seat is all wrong.”
“What’s wrong with it?”
“This baby is too young to ride like this.” April congratulated himself on knowing at least that. He had never really taken care of his sister’s kids. They were in another state.
“Then where should I put him? In the trunk?”
“No,” April said and began to unstrap the baby. “There should be something here,” he mumbled to himself, as he searched on the back seat for the LATCH system. “Aha.”
Pretending he knew what he was doing, he manipulated the car seat carefully, which was pretty hard, seeing that the baby was still in it and didn’t stop wailing. There was sweat on his forehead, but April was overly conscious of having the gorilla watching over him.
It took him a bit of time to find the connectors, but eventually, he managed. Feeling a bit triumphant, he turned toward the other. “There, see? Much better.”
Dark caramel eyes measured him up and down. “Are you sure we never met?”
“Yeah, sure,” April said and blinked a few times.
If he looked enough, there was some resemblance, in how the man’s eyebrows knitted together in thought, in the shape of his jawline, and … April shook his head. He imagined things.
“What’s your name?” he asked.
“It’s Jett,” the guy threw at him and climbed behind the wheel. “Just make the boy stop crying already.”
“Ah, so you know it’s a boy, after all,” April said quickly.
Just his fucking luck, to meet Jett Huntsman after all these years. The past was the past, and it had to remain that way.
Once he managed to scramble to the backseat, he began to make faces and use his hands to distract the baby from his crying. Luckily, the kid wasn’t some tough crowd. Soon, his large eyes were following April’s elaborate, but pretty clumsy attempts of simulating animals, and the crying stopped. Now that the car seat was rear-facing, he could watch the kid easier, too.
April let his eyes wander to the rearview mirror, and Jett’s caramel eyes met him midway. He jerked his head away, which must have been pretty funny because the baby started giggling.
“I think you’re hired,” Jett said.
“I am?” April asked, his voice weak.
“I’ll pay the Z brothers what you owe.”
“That’s like five grand,” April said.
“Do you want the job or not?”
“To take care of your kid? For how long?”
“Told you. He’s not my kid.”
“Ah, right. You don’t even know if it’s a boy.”
April noticed a small piece of paper next to the baby, wedged between the seat and him. He took it and read out loud. “Assume responsibility, asshole.” He turned it and looked on the back. “By the way, his name is Jay. Asshole!”
“Would you cut it out? And where did you come up with that name?” Jett seemed absorbed by his driving, but April could catch a glimpse of the frown on his face in the mirror.
“It says here, on this paper,” April replied and handed it to him over the shoulder.
Jett shrugged. “I don’t need that. So Jay, ha?”
“Yeah, does it ring a bell? And what the hell happened? Did your girlfriend just leave the baby by your door and ran away?”
Jett almost missed a stop and cursed, stepping the brake and making April lean forward abruptly. Good thing the baby was well strapped in his chair, and this time correctly.
“How do you know that?” Jett asked.
“Just a lucky guess. And seriously, that happened? It’s like you live in a movie, dude. How can you not know you have a baby?”
“Shut up, fool.”
April felt a little goaded by Jett’s condescending tone. “You know, you could hire a normal babysitter for five grand.”
“The last thing I need is trouble with girls,” Jett said promptly.
“Why? The soonest a female crosses your threshold, you feel the sudden urge to impregnate her?”
April knew he should keep his mouth shut. But he still couldn’t believe that was Jett. He was nothing like April would have imagined him growing up to be. So, he had always been a punk. But to become a guy who got girls pregnant and didn’t know he had a kid?
April wanted to slap himself silly. People grew up to be whatever they wanted to be.
“I want you to be the one to take care of little Jay over there,” Jett interrupted his train of thought. “Until I figure this stuff out.”
“Well, seeing how you can’t knock me up --”
“I’m not gay, dude,” Jett said abruptly. His voice was freezer cold.
April gulped. “I was just joking,” he said quickly. “But I can ask, can’t I? Why do you need me for when there are qualified people for this?”
Jett shrugged and appeared to stare straight ahead. “I know I saw you somewhere.”
April stood unmoved in his place, holding his breath. Was it any chance to survive if he opened the door and tried to jump? It was worth considering.
“And look, Jay likes you already. So get in shape and do what’s best for you.”
“Are you really going to pay the brothers for me?”
Jett flashed a grin at him in the rearview mirror. “Cross my heart.”
April looked away and pretended to play with the baby. He had heard those words before. Too bad it had been all lies.
Hi guys, I promised that I would come back with a new story, so here I am! Expect this one to be completely silly - at least in parts - and quite light-hearted. I hope you will come aboard and enjoy the new adventure!
Jett, April, and Jay would love your company for a while, and so do I! Just let me know what you think about this one in the comments! I love hearing from you.