Tall, Dark and Handsome
“Church, ten minutes,” Tiny said as he walked out of the room.
“We both need to be there,” Snake said.
“I’ll get the bag,” I said as I moved over to the dresser where her stuff was. We had gotten the diaper bag as a gift, and so far hadn’t used it because I was too nervous to leave our room. With everything she went through as a preemie, I hated the idea of placing her at risk for cold, germs or anything else. I made sure it had diaper supplies and a changing pad, just in case. “When did she last feed?”
“She had a bottle a half hour ago,” he said as he picked her up. Setting her on the changing table, he swaddled her like a burrito before holding her in his left arm, tucked into the soft leather of his cut. He was an expert baby handler by now, and I smiled as I watched the macho biker turn into the doting papa. “Ready?” I nodded, pulling on my cut as we went out into the hallway, making our way downstairs.
For most motorcycle clubs, Church would only be for the patched members, not their old ladies or girlfriends. The Northwoods Riders were a little different, not holding to the outlaw culture some clubs stuck with. Patching in women was the first difference, if you could ride you could become a member, and have full voting rights. If you didn’t ride, you still got a cut for being an Old Lady, but no vote.
This danger affected everyone, so two of the teen daughters took the kids into the theater room upstairs to watch a movie while all the adults stayed upstairs. As soon as we sat down, Rocket and Taser sat by us. Taser begged to hold Eve for a bit, and the look she gave Rocket while holding her was telling. That boy better make a baby with her soon.
The doors were locked, prospects ran around serving beer and drinks, and as soon as everyone was settled, Tiny was the Vice President, with the President and the Master at Arms at the hospital still, he called the meeting to order. “As always, no one outside this room hears a bit of this,” he started. “Lives are at stake here.”
His wife Katie passed around copies of the reward flyer that Sheri had been given at her bar. “Alpha Stanton apparently does not believe that Vivian died six years ago in the attack on the clinic, and Carson died without giving him any information on her. If he had, they’d be at our door already.”
Tiny picked it up. “They must have figured out that she is hiding among humans, and so they are using humans to help them out. The only advantage we have is that Vivian hasn’t left the clubhouse since she returned from Grenada. The fact that they still use her old name tells us her cover is holding for now. There’s no telling how long that lasts, a simple internet search will find her marriage license.” He looked over at me. “DeWalt, tell us what this means.”
“The paper had a werewolf’s scent, so they have sent people here looking for me,” I said. “Probably pack warriors, with a Beta in charge. No telling if it is a couple of dozens, but I’d lean towards the latter. It would take way too long in a city this size with just a few people.”
“So what will they do,” Taser asked as she rocked Eve.
“Ask around like they are doing, hoping someone can point them in the right directions. Eventually, they’ll just start patrolling the neighborhoods looking for my smell.”
“But they don’t know you,” Moose said.
“No, but they know what a female smells like, and I’m the only one.” Snake pulled me into his lap. “In the werewolf world, there’s a huge bounty on me. I have no doubt they’ll do anything to get me, even if that means going through you to get me. My presence here puts you all in danger, your children…” I buried my face in Snake’s chest.
“We won’t give you up,” Moose said. “You’re family.”
“I know,” Snake said, “But we have to be smart. There’s people around, she’s not safe here, Eve isn’t safe here. Do you have any idea what will happen if they find out there is a female werewolf baby that has been born alive and lived? She’ll be taken, Doc will be taken. There’s no price they wouldn’t pay if they think she can save their precious heirs.”
“Where would be safe? Is there anywhere?”
I shook my head. “I don’t know,” I said. “Grenada was good because there weren’t wolves there, six years we never smelled another.”
“Well, go there,” Crash said. “We need you safe.”
“That may not work,” Tiny said. “If they find out your name, it’s too easy to track you there. In a small place like that, with no protection?”
“I have no protection with Carson gone,” I said. “It’s like it was down in Hilton Head. By the time I smelled the males, they already smelled me. The difference is that this time I’ll have a baby with me. I can’t fight, I can’t run.”
“So, the best thing is to hide out, somewhere remote enough they can’t find you, but close enough so we can protect you?”
Snake nodded. “Out of sight, out of smell. Private property, monitored, and a defensible position with clear fields of fire.” I squeezed his hand on my waist, he always though clearly when facing danger. “Outside the Metro area, no more than two hours away though. And the fewer people that know about it the better.”
“So here’s what we are going to do,” Tiny said. “We’re going to get these two packed and their stuff loaded in one of the trucks. By the time we’re done, I want a place to send them to. Everyone think about it, write it down, talk to relatives, whatever you need. Get the details to me and I’ll pick the best idea.”
Crash and Viking, one of the members patched in after we had fled to Grenada, were the two picked to escort us to our new hideout. Viking’s aunt and uncle ran a game farm on a thousand acres near Welch, just southeast of the Metro area. He made a call, the guest house was available and they were willing to help.
Elias and Agnes were a delightful older couple, and I instantly liked them. Viking trusted them, and they were let in on my secret because it was important they understand the risks. My shift shocked them, but they weren’t scared of me, they were fascinated.
The house was small, two-bedroom with a single bath, but it was comfortable. The best part was the half mile to the nearest public road- and that was on the other side of a double 10-foot fence and locked gates. Viking stayed at the main house with his relatives, while Crash crashed with us in the second bedroom.
Three days into our exile, I heard motorcycles coming up the long driveway to the house. I looked out, seeing the familiar faces of Hammer and Viper, behind them was Shakes, with Viking following them in his ATV. “They’re here,” I told Snake as he came out of the bedroom with Eve.
“Good, I’m tired of hiding,” he said.
“It’s been three days, we were gone six years last time,” I laughed as I went to the door.
Viper was first in, he picked me up and spun me as he hugged me tight. “My girl,” he said. “I missed you, and Kelly misses you, and Andrew misses his aunt.”
“He saw me once!”
“What can I say, you made an impression,” he said as I laughed.
“Hi Hammer,” I said as I gave him a hug. “Welcome Shakes.” Shakes had been patched in last year. He was prior Army, Explosive Ordnance, tall and thin with a shaved head. He spent two tours in Iraq defusing roadside bombs before he developed a nervous twitch that ended his career. Sudden movements don’t go well with improvised explosive devices. “Have a seat, guys.” I went to the fridge and grabbed beers for everyone before I was pulled down in Snake’s lap.
“We’ve talked about the threat, guys.” Viper looked at his hands before looking up at me. “More guys are in town, we got a half-dozen calls from people who remember you from when you were riding with us. Doc DeWalt left an impression,” he said with a smile. “They aren’t going away, they’re getting closer. We’ve removed your stuff, cleaned your rooms, laundered your sheets and curtains, everything we can think of to remove your scent from the clubhouse, but we don’t know if it’s enough if they get close.”
Hammer sat up a little. “We think it’s time to take the offensive here. If we play defense, they can go forever.”
“What do you have in mind,” Snake said.
“Ambush,” Shakes said. “We answer the pamphlet, give them a location and take them out when they go after you. We figure they will pull everyone in town together to go get you. We take them all out at once, teach them not to fuck with you.”
I thought about it for a while. “They are wolves, they hunt by smell more than sight. Even if you use my clothes, they will scent all of you around. You can’t ambush them if they know you are there. Plus, they won’t come near unless they know I am there.”
“I know,” Viper said, “That’s why you’ll be there.”
“THE HELL SHE WILL!” Snake jumped to his feet, his yell waking Eve up who started crying. I went into the bedroom to get her out of the crib, calming her down as I walked back in. I glared at Snake, who reached for her to calm her down. “I mean, I don’t think that is a good idea.”
“I don’t like it either, I don’t want to put my daughter in danger, but Shake’s plan depends on us bringing them all in close,” Viper said.
“They have to see you, move in on your position,” Shakes said. “We’ll set up cameras a few days ahead of time, long enough for our scent to dissipate. We’ll be far enough away to come in behind them and make sure they don’t escape.”
“Wait a minute,” I said. “You are coming in after?”
“Yes,” Shakes said. “I’ll have a nice surprise for them.”
Three Days Later
The dinner rush was over, and we were catching up on cleaning and stocking before the night rush started. It was a decent crowd for a Thursday night, the Wild were in town and that helped with the late crowds. I was wiping down the bar when I saw Mr. Tall, Dark and Handsome walk in. He took a seat in a booth, and I went out and sat across from him. “You have information for me?”
I nodded. “Ten grand, and it’s yours.”
He laughed. “I can’t give you ten grand until I know the information is good.”
“It’s good. One of my girls recognized her, she’s staying at a rental cabin out near Turtle Lake. Her mother owns the cabin, says she never leaves, she pays her extra to bring her groceries every week.” I leaned forward. “What did she do? Kill someone? Steal money?”
“No, she ran away from her responsibilities, and my boss wants her back.”
“So how do we do this?” He shrugged. “I have an idea. You follow me out to the land and verify she’s there. You give me the cash, I take off, I never saw you and you were never here.”
“Let’s go then.”
“Tomorrow morning, meet me outside at ten.” He shook my hand and got up. I slumped in the booth after he walked out, glad it was over.