Recluse Protection

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Chapter 6

We just finished our dinner of venison steaks and sauteed veggies; simple and nutritious. I use my chores of dishes to keep myself entertained. “We need to talk.” Cobra speaks up, making me look over my shoulder at him. I return my focus to the dish in my hands, rinsing the suds from the shiny surface to place it in the dish rack. The water is shut off before I grab the dish rag and walk to the living room; let’s get this shit show over with.

“What do you think we need to talk about?” I answer as I drop into the old wooden rocker a neighbor gifted to me. Questions piss me off, especially in my home; I don’t want to be doubting myself or my abilities. Forger turns to look at me; his old withered being brings a sense of comfort; the man became a grandfather to me. He sat with me when I was first rescued, laughed and told me stories that made me crack smiles. Forger was the one that got me to open up. The shell I had formed from a young age fell away with time; he’s the reason I let these men into my life. I lift my head to stare at the wooden mantel; admiring the urns.

Times like now make me miss Gears, I hate having time to fester in my thoughts. “I need to know everything.” Cobra interrupts my train of thoughts making me raise an eyebrow at him, I can tell we are going to butt heads.

“About what?” Rubble sighs, dropping onto the couch next to Forger.

“The identities.”

“Hellion, just tell him.” Rubble drops his head back onto the back of the couch, staring at the ceiling.

“I don’t trust you.”

“I’m the President.” I shrug and cross my arms over my chest.

“Yeah, for the Archangels. I don’t know if you know this; I’m not a part of the club. I don’t give a damn what position you hold.” I see a fire of interest spark in the depths of his light green eyes.

“What would it take for you to tell me?”

“I’d need to trust you before I let anything slip.” Cobra nods slowly; he scratches at his well-kept beard and arches a bushy eyebrow, a slight grin; like he accepts a challenge.

“How do I get your trust?” I arch a brow, narrowing my eyes. What game is he playing?

“You earn it.” He chuckles, like he’s enjoying this. I get a small notch of respect for him; most get unnerved by me at this point.

“Then I’ll earn it.” I don’t respond as I continue to look at him; is this a game to him or something? Rubble speaks up, forcing my attention away from Cobra.

“Hellion, Bear wanted to give you a letter. Said it was important that you get it if he ever kicked the bucket.” Rubble glances at Forger with a raised eyebrow.

“It’s in my jacket.” His voice comes out gruff and tired. Pain probably radiating from his hip at this point. I wonder why he rode his bike out here; he knows the drive is a long haul. Patriot grabs it, digging around in the pockets before producing a folded manila envelope. He tosses the packet to me; it flies flippantly through the air. I catch the envelop and flip it over; ‘Hellion’ is written neatly, in Bear’s bold handwriting.

“Open it! I want to know what he had to say.” Patriot perches himself on the arm of the couch, making me roll my eyes at him. Sometimes Patriot acts more like a kid than a tough ex-military biker. I open the packet, greeted by a flash drive, papers separated with paperclips and a white envelope; my real name printed on the front. The letter piques my interest the most; I keep the rest in the packet and pull out the envelope. I pull the tape up and remove the handwritten letter; Bear was what I called a closet sentimental person.

He believed in showing the ones he cared about, that he cared with small quiet gestures that seem obscure to most. The handwritten letter has my throat tightening; laying the packet on my stomach, I slip the envelope back inside before unfolding the page.

Dear CC,

You have been the daughter I never had; you have given me more than I ever gave to you. You deserved to be more than a secret kept away from society. I’m sorry I hid you away, I thought I was making the best decision for you. I thought I knew what you needed; to be hidden away for protection. I robbed you of a normal life, I forced you into the MC without your knowledge or consent. For that I’m sorry, you are paying the price of being secluded.

I’ve made mistakes, mistakes that the guys don’t know about. Mistakes my son doesn’t know about. I’ve hurt them without them knowing it. I’m begging that you fix my mistakes; make my wrongs right. If you’re reading this, then I know I failed to fix what I did. I failed to save you and the MC. And for that you’ll be paying the ultimate price. In my younger years I was cocky; made a wager with the devil, for not only my life but for the lives of the one’s I vowed to protect. In the packet, you’ll get the answers I have.

I’m sorry CC, I hope there is a day you can forgive me for putting you in danger. You don’t deserve this, you never have. You’re not paying for your mistakes; but for mine. I love you as a friend, family; but most importantly as a daughter. I’m sorry I couldn’t answer your last call; I’m sorry I couldn’t fix the mistakes I made when I was a hot headed fool. Please don’t hate me CC, I hope in time you’ll fix this and come to understand what I thought I was doing.

P.S. Please kick my ass when you see me next.

A tense chuckle slips past my lips hidden by my hands; my eyes water as I read over his letter. I could never hate this man; not for anything he thinks he did wrong. I trust his judgement; back then and now. He saved me; it’s time I save what’s left of him. “What’s it say? Is he calling us assholes?” Patriot asks, making my throat tighten even worse. I shake my head, trying to manage a smile.

“Nah, he’s being Bear.” I stand turning, needing to shed tears in peace. I can’t believe the old man thought I’d hate him for hiding me away; he saved me, this MC saved me.

“What’s in the packet then?” Cobra asks, making me tense as I unlock my office.

“Nothing that needs to concern any of you.” I shake my head, turning on my office light. I pause in the doorway and talk over my shoulder. “Rubble, show them to their rooms, stay out of mine.” I close the door, locking it. I need time away from people; first Gears now Bear? Two big bastards that twisted my heart into a knot of pain. I shake my head, finally letting a tear fall; two goofy bastards I’ll never see again. The contents spill from the packet as I tip it over, the flash drive lands with a muted thump. I drop into my chair and glance out the window; thankful for the brief reprieve from the taunting contents. I don’t know what any of this could be.

My hand reaches over and powers up my laptop; I plug the hard drive in, ready to figure out what this is about. I’m presented with video files, there are hundreds, I look at the dates. It all started when I was rescued. The papers, the collection is all a big mess; some scrawled, some typed, some formal, most are informal. Organization wasn’t his strong suit. Devil’s Dozen; the first bunch opens old wounds; the evidence of my time spent there. This MC was a sister chapter to the Archangels; that amazes me. How did that happen? The more I read, the more questions I get. I’m afraid to dig into the video’s at this rate. What I’m seeing isn’t anything that I want to know.

This started before my time; before I even knew the MC, when Welder was still fresh to the chair. I’m guessing the Devil’s Dozen flew under the radar of the Archangels; they didn’t think a sister chapter would turn on them. It’s looking like I was the sole cause of their split. Bear started a long war with them on my behalf. Correspondents from each MC makes me understand the severity of betrayal; the start of it, at least. How bad is their taste for blood?

The meeting that went south; who was it with? Was the Devil Dozen the sister chapter that came in and blew the meeting to hell? Did that meeting have something to do with his mistake from years ago? The longer I stare at the paperwork, I can’t help but wonder; why is it all going down now? What was the trigger that blew up in Bear’s face? Was Gears a part of this somehow? Or had he just been in the wrong place at the wrong time? Gears wouldn’t approve of this, if he knew he would’ve raised hell to me.

Gears often came to me when he thought Bear was going off the rails. We’d talk to him, bring him back over the edge; at least I thought we had. He didn’t have a choice to stay on one side; he was being played from the beginning. The Devil’s Dozen never intended to come through on their part of the deal. I know what they did to people; they enjoyed hurting others. They enjoyed playing the rule book; doing things the dirty way. Bear has been fighting a losing battle since the start.

I turn my attention to the computer, pulling out my old headphones. I plug them in, clicking on the first video; it takes a moment to load the circle, spinning around as Bear’s younger face pops up. He’s sitting in a room, alone, looking tired and beaten down. “I did something today. I couldn’t resist it; I had to help. Seeing that girl strung up like a damn deer being gutted tore me to bits. The pain in her eyes had me stepping out of bounds, farther than I ever imagined.” He chuckles quietly, hanging his head. Bear rests his chin on his folded hands.

“I made the worst kind of deal with the devil. I didn’t give my soul; I had to give a much more precious soul. It doesn’t belong to me; I had no right to give it away.” He growls at himself, cursing himself under his breath. “We didn’t make it out of there without a loss. I made a trade, I became indebted to them. To those fucking bastards.”

“I almost pray that little girl dies before I do. It’ll be easier for everyone.” He shakes his head; a hard, unsettled look comes to rest on his features. “I think that then I look at her face; I see the pain she’s gone through. And I realize that I saved her; for now.” He chews his lip for a moment. “Was it worth it? I’ll be just as bad as one of those criminals; it’ll protect my family. I saved her only to be buried in debt with the devil’s. Would it be so bad to lose that one sweet soul?” Bear shakes his head and I swallow hard, shaking my head. It hurts hearing this, I’ll admit. There was a moment where he thought it’d be easier to just kill me.

“Hell, it hurts too much to sink to their level. But isn’t that what I just did?” He reaches over, shutting off the camera. I sit in silence, pondering his words. I nod, if I had known what he was going through, I would’ve ended my life; saved his family and MC the trouble that he was left cleaning up. I slide the paperwork back into the packet, ejecting the flash drive and clipping it to my keys. This is a nightmare; I stand and unlock my safe, sliding the paperwork in. My feet carry me out of my office and I lock the door; thoughts of turmoil consume my mind.

I climb the steps and ignore the men still camped in the living room; ignoring the questions tossed my way; I need a shower.

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