The long drive back to the clubhouse; I’m left to drown in my thoughts; I’m going to make one hell of an entrance. A girl armed to the nines in nothing but a nightshirt and boots. First impressions are supposed to be memorable. I snort at the thought; after the bodies were taken care of we had to bail out. I threw feed before we left; I doubt I’ll be coming back. On the ride I made a call to one of my neighbors; I know he has a little girl who will take care of Majesty just fine. I already said my goodbyes to my girl.
Goodbye to my little safety net, goodbye to what I knew; it’s time for the unknown. It’s time for me to grow a pair and move the fuck on. The red light forces us to a stop. It also gives me the chance to tighten the rag I secured around my arm. That’ll only draw more attention, damn sniper and his aim. My head falls back to lean against the headrest; I close my eyes and take a deep breath. I hope that we don’t have too much time left to get to the clubhouse. The slow loss of blood is seriously making me woozy.
A honk forces my eyes open, I pick my head back up and blink my eyes; green light. I’m glad Patriot and Forger are riding behind me; I’m not in the mood to share words with some idiot. Like I’d be a threat; I hit the gas driving on. With one hand on the wheel, I lift my other arm and rest it across my head. While the blood isn’t moving quickly; it has yet to stop. Cobra, Tiny and Rubble turn on their directional making me follow their actions. I’ve never been out to the clubhouse; hell, I’ve never left my haven.
Look at me now; I roll my eyes, driving down the street, and keep my head on a swivel. The new surroundings still unnerve me. I don’t like change; not this quickly. A large compound with a heavy fence, barbed wire perched at the top, comes into view. They like their security; the gate creeps open, a man talks to Cobra. I tap my fingers on the wheel to keep myself busy. He finally pulls forward, each of them finding their own parking spot. I watch as a building off to the side is opened.
Cobra hops off of his bike, jogging towards me. It forces me to roll the window down. “Drive straight in.” I give him a nod and guide the SUV into the makeshift garage. My right arm feels heavy as I lift it to turn the key, I roll up the windows wincing at the pain I’m gifted. I stand a little too quickly and wobble; too much time in a seat has blood rushing in a few too many directions. After blinking and a deep breath, I finally shut the door, letting my arm drop to my side.
“What happened at the light?” Patriot asks, making me roll my eyes as I pop open the trunk, pointing at my arm.
“I got nicked, it hasn’t stopped bleeding.” Rubble laughs, pointing at the trunk before sobering.
“Great, sit the fuck down. My turn to play doctor!” He chuckles, clapping his hands, making me roll my eyes at him. I follow his order and jump up into the trunk, I lean against the interior; the slight reprieve does wonders. My entire world reduced to a few bags; I can only shake my head at the depressing thoughts that arise. I close my eyes, feeling my arm grabbed and the rag being pulled off.
“Why didn’t you say something in the attic?”
“I was a little preoccupied getting shit to mention the flesh wound. Next time, I’ll let you play doctor while smoke swamps our asses.” I crack my eyes open to peek at Cobra; he stares at me with a deadpan expression.
“Smart ass.” I shrug with a grin.
“I learned from the best.” With that, I close my eyes and let my head drop to its resting place.
“What are we going to do?” Rubble asks, probably directing the question towards Cobra. That is a good question; I don’t make money from what I do. Not enough to keep my ass alive living with the rest of society. Land is expensive, and if it isn’t a large chunk, it can’t really be all that sustainable. Maybe I should start worrying about the biggest issue in my face. I still don’t fully understand the wager with the devil Bear made.
“Hellion will stay here; she’s been protected by Dad this long. She’s my responsibility.” Cobra’s words make my eyes pop open and I send a harsh glare his way.
“I’m not your responsibility. Don’t talk about me like I’m some job.” I snort, rolling my eyes; I might’ve been a defenseless little girl when I was found by Bear. But I am not anymore. I grew a backbone; I grew up. I’m paying the debt I owe to the men that risked their lives to save mine. Forger sighs, seeing how prickly I just got.
“Case, relax, honey. He meant nothing by it. Cobra just knows that people are going to react to the new girl here. No one knows you; new girls have to climb a ladder that typically means they’re open season to the guys.” My eyes blaze with a new fire as I sit up.
“I’d like to see one of them call me a sweet butt. They’ll be shitting teeth so quick they won’t know they’re missing from their jaw.” Patriot laughs, seeing my eyes blaze with a new passion.
“If that happens I call front row seats. I can’t wait to watch one of those assholes get their teeth knocked in.” I grunt, looking over at Rubble as he ties off the stitching; he needs to work on that art more.
“That’s one hell of a graze.” He remarks, earning an eye roll.
“Incendiary bullets are a bitch.” Cobra chuckles, pulling a bag closer to him.
“Why don’t you put on some pants; don’t want to give anyone ideas.” I grunt, jerking my arm away from Rubble, hiking up my shirt to remove my thigh holster. Nudity has never been an issue for me; not that I’m thrilled striding around in my birthday suit for strangers. I pick up my feet and untie my boots. Everon one of these men has seen me naked; well, everyone except Cobra. I stopped being shy about such nonsense when I was with those men. Cobra hands me a pair of jeans, digging around for something else. I’m forced to stand to pull my jeans up, the black color looking fairly clean. Cobra hands me a tank top to add to the mix.
Why does it feel like he’s about to play dress up with me? I turn to offer the crowd that has inched outside my back and pull off the blood-stained nightshirt. I stare at the hole in the shoulder for a moment. I grab the offered tank top and pull it over my head. “Hey, did you keep your blood to yourself?” Rubble snickers at me, making me turn and raise an eyebrow at him.
“Rubble, I’m going to say this nice just once. Piss the fuck off.” He busts out laughing with a small glint in his eyes. The prick is enjoying this one too much. Cobra sighs next to me, making me give him a funny look. He’s staring at the blood-stained shirt; fingering the hole. Is he sensitive that I got nicked?
“I’m calling Church; you’re invited in.” He finally glances at me, zipping up my bag. I grab my gun bag; that holds everything that’s important to me.
“That’s fine with me. It’ll be good to see everyone.”
“You are going to cause one hell of a stir here.” Patriot chuckles, I nod in thought. Not only am I unknown, but I know the top dogs and have an invitation into a sacred Church meeting. This ought to be fun. I wave my hand out.
“Let’s get this show on the road. I want to take another shower before I hit the hay.” I earn chuckles; I step into my boots and cinch them tightly, I add my weapons to my form. I might as well make the biggest statement of don’t fuck with me when I walk in. Cobra holds my bag and leads the way into the bar. Cobra leads the way into the clubhouse; silence descends immediately. Patriot walks past us, grinning and chatting happily with Rubble. Yeah, laugh it up, assholes.
Forger chuckles, patting my shoulder, making me glance at him. He walks past and leaves the bar to stew in its silence; well, ain’t this a warm welcome. “Hellion?” I hear that strong familiar voice making me turn and give a slight chuckle, seeing the confused and angered stare.
“How’ve you been Kado?” He walks up to me, hiding me from view of the crowd directing a glare at Cobra. His eyes drop to my shoulder.
“What the hell happened?” He seethes quietly; keeping the conversation between the three of us.
“Church now!” Cobra bellows to the silent bar; breaking it in an instant, conversation surrounds my name. How wonderful? Cobra turns towards me, jerking his head. “Come on.” I roll my eyes at that, walking next to Kado, absorbed by his brooding personality. All I can do is keep my head held high and ignore the holes being drilled into the side of my head. I enter the room behind Cobra who still totes my bag. Kado followed me in; I look around the room, seeing the oval table and chairs that surround it, one being larger than the rest. I’m guessing that was Bear’s.
“What the hell are you doing here?” I look up hearing the withered voice of Cueball, years of smoking having torn apart his lungs, COPD doing its own damage.
“Y’all are giving me such a warm fucking welcome.” I snort and roll my eyes as Cobra drops my bag next to a wall; I move to plant my ass on the table against the wall. I lean back against the wall, folding my arms over my chest.
“You look like your pouting.” I lift one hand and give Kado a bitchy smirk before flipping him off. I’m acting like a petulant child who had her favorite toy taken away from her. I watch as the other ranked members come in looking at me with a shocked expression; the rest of them keep their comments to themselves. Shovelhead is the last one inside, closing the door on the ones whispering in the main room of the bar.
“Someone found Mikael’s place. Were not sure who or why, but it was found.” Cobra announces, Kado turns his head to look at my arm.
“You got nailed.” I open my eyes, looking at him. I nod silently; I figured the bandage on my arm was a dead give away.
“Why’s she here then?” Shovel asks, turning his eyes from mine towards Cobra. I watch as he sighs. Leaning back in the chair, I listen as it groans its protest.
“It won’t be safe for her there by herself. Even if someone is stationed there, they can just send in a team and you’re both dead. This was the safest thing to do. This way she’ll have round-the-clock protection.” While I appreciate the offer of protection; I know I can fend for myself. I don’t want to be indebted to more people. I don’t want to risk the lives of more people.
I listen to the meeting and the retelling of events. My mind goes back to what I was reading before they showed up. I don’t believe in coincidences; I can’t see Bear and Gears being taken out. And then an attack on me being separate events. They have to be linked somehow. I’ll bet my bottom dollar that it has something to do with the wager Bear made when he first saved me. Will I be able to get the answers I need from what Bear left for me?
I look down at my lap; what price am I going to pay to clear the mistake? It’s looking like I’m damage control.