Boulder (Riders of Apollo #5)

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Ford Wilson

It’s at times like these that I miss Vegas.

“Boulder! Are you listening to me? I want you around Lexie whenever I’m not. I don’t know what the French are doing or who they’re fucking targeting but it ain’t gonna be my wife, you understand?” I nod, deciding not to speak since three different people have been snapped at today for ‘interrupting’ even though he finished speaking.

I was recruited from door security in Vegas and now I’m a personal bodyguard for both the Prez and his wife. Breaker is too, kinda but he’s had to relax his hours for his baby who was born three months ago. Perfect fucking timing because now we have an entire militia trying to move in on Mexican territory so we’re all on high alert.

“Words, Boulder, words.”

“Aye Prez.” He glares at me, as expected and I fight the urge to raise my hands in surrender. He’s an angry person when he hasn’t slept for days, freaking nutjob is acting like a bat. Hanging around and listening to everything.

“Bear, bed now!” Lexie shouts and all of us almost cheer in agreement. It is two am and we’ve all been sat in the lounge for close to seven hours, talking about everything that’s ‘going’ to happen.

“Oh thank God.” Saviour cheers and leaves before Bear lets her. I get it, Miracle has been fussy lately and both her and Reign haven’t been sleeping well because of it. I imagine this was not a good use of their time considering how little they’ve had to just be a family recently. Runner and Romeo have been complaining, Breaker and Aurora too.

All of us have moved back into the clubhouse because of the threat of the French and tensions are getting higher and higher especially with Bear acting this paranoid. He won’t explain why this is so hard for him but Gears knows as well, both of them have been cagey as fuck ever since this started and it’s driving the rest of us insane.

This whole thing makes me nervous because it reminds me of home - or where I came from, it was never really home - as my father was an extremely cult-like priest who ran our entire neighbourhood and behaved like Bear is now. He wouldn’t tell anyone anything, not even my mother and he just expected us to follow along with his teachings even though they were confusing and weird and relatively freaky.

He forced my mother to have eight children, me being the youngest of them, and unluckily for her all of us are men. All seven of my brothers still live in the same neighbourhood, doing the same shit jobs and bowing to my father every time he gives them the littlest of attention. I ran when I turned fifteen, nobody really paid much attention to me since I basically raise myself.

My dad was busy grooming my older brother to take over for him and my mom was exhausted after years of child rearing that she gave up by the time I came around. I taught myself to cook, clean and learn. I was the only child not home schooled because I signed up to the closest high school, forging my parents’ signatures and bringing in my neighbours to parent/teacher conferences so the school never questioned anything.

I had to behave, keep my head down and keep working so that nobody called my actual parents and told them what I was doing. I came out with stellar grades two years early and chose to start working for a casino in Vegas on the door. I’ve always been big and the jobs I had to do on the farm meant carrying heavy loads that helped me bulk up to where I am now.

I was trained at sixteen to fight, mainly boxing with a few MMA tactics in there so that I could properly do my job. Bear found me when I was eighteen and everything was golden from there... relatively.

“Yo! Boulder!” I snap out of it and look up at Hunter who seems concerned as always. I swear this guy is too caring for his own good, we never really saw much of him until Marielle and Gem came into his life now he’s always around. Lingering and checking on everyone, he gets worse during war time.

“What? Huh?”

“Nothing, man. Go to bed, the rest of us are.” Even though Hunter and Marielle are struggling with being parents in war time, they haven’t complained about it once. They’re definitely the calmest of us all and the most patient.

I heave myself off of the couch and stroll up to my room, locking the door behind me and grumbling in agitation as I struggle to get my jacket off. I toss my cut onto the chair in the corner and rough up my hair as I yawn.

Should I shower now or in the morning?

I look at my bed, then my bathroom before yanking off my jeans and falling into the comfort of my bed.

--------

“Wake up, Boulder! Bear is having a meeting with Matias in an hour!” Breaker shouts through the door, jolting me out of sleep and making me hit the floor of my room with a groan. He takes that as an acknowledgement and leaves while I try and remember what the fuck is going on.

It takes me a good five minutes of staring groggily at the ceiling before I realise that I need to shower. I drag myself into the bathroom and stand under the hot water, staring at the wall and trying to wake myself up. I was asleep for all of five hours and I’m a human that requires eight to thirteen hours of sleep to function with a brain.

I dress slowly, somehow managing to put my head through my sleeve instead of the bit for my head before failing to tie my boots without almost falling off my seat. “What are you doing in there? Making your clothes?” Bear mocks before unlocking the door with his master key and finding me half asleep in the corner.

“Just give me two seconds, my brain is not attached to my body.” He laughs heavily and I feel a wave of relief. He’s been so stressed recently that I haven’t seen him act normally, he no longer has dark under eyes or wrinkles creasing his forehead and he doesn’t look like he’s going to fold in on himself anymore.

“Move your ass.” He hauls me out of my seat and shoves me out of the room, locking it behind me while I stare at the wall in exhaustion. “What the fuck is wrong with you?”

“Dude, I slept for like five hours.” I whine, checking my gun and knives as we head down to the main room.

“Count that as a blessing. Some of them have only slept for two.” I still grumble as I march across the lounge and out to my bike with Bear and Breaker behind me. “Don’t crash the bike and don’t get me in trouble.”

He scolds me and I salute him sarcastically. Bear is basically my best friend so I have allowances that the others don’t. I started as a full member on the day he became Prez so we’ve been close since it all began.

It’s a relatively long drive to the new mansion Matias bought as it can be easily protected and he has at least one hundred soldiers to protect him and his wife. The rest is lasers, mines, cameras and probably turrets firing two shots a second.

The clearing process is long so we turn up ten minutes before out scheduled meeting and have out things searched and itemized so that they know if we steal stuff. We’re allowed to keep our weapons but if we pull them on anyone in the building unless they are an immediate threat or we violate the contract and they can kill us.

Sounds fun, huh?

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