“So, Lucia and Matias have invited us to theirs for Christmas. Obviously, I wanted to get your opinions on this considering we’ll be in their mansion for a while surrounded by Mexican soldiers.” Bear starts as soon as we sit down in Church.
“Is that why Sav isn’t here?” Runner asks with a laugh.
“You know what she’d say and I figure if any of you wanted to say no, you’d want to keep that a secret from her. They are her family after all. So, what do you think?” He floats the question and looks to the married bikers first.
“I don’t have a problem with it, you know they’ve always liked me more than you.” Reign says with a laugh. I mean it’s not a lie, he’s basically the Mexican King’s brother-in-law so he’s protected.
“I don’t mind either, if Mari ever found out I said no she’d drag my ass.” Hunter replies, stabbing his knife into the wooden table after having played with it for a bit.
“I give no fucks, boss. If all of us are there, Aurora will be well protected.”
“You think I’ve gotta worry about Riley? She’s allowed into their territory without asking and she’s demolished mafias, I am quite happy with the idea.”
“Whatever you want, Boss.” It’s freaky how they can say that in perfect synchronisation. You can tell they’ve been around each other for years, despite only being officially together for just over a year and a half. Bear scolds them for pulling that shit again because it freaks him out too and they both shrug. At. The. Same. Fucking. Time.
“Okay, well I did forget to mention a small caveat.” Bear says hesitantly, it’s never good when he says shit like that, “it’s black tie which means no leather.” The entire room hollers at the idea and he has to bang the gavel a few times to quiet us down. The doors then open and all the women are stood there with unimpressed looks on their faces.
“Did you forget to tell us something, my love?” Lexie’s tone is not good and the ‘my love’ is not said lovingly. Uh oh, Bear is in trouble.
“You thought my own sister wouldn’t call me to tell me she had extended an invitation?” Everyone ’oohh’s appropriately when Saviour finishes and I catch Riley’s eye, she looks like she’s in pain as she stands there trying to keep the weight off of her leg. I scoot my chair back slightly and she picks up on it, immediately making her way to me and dropping into my lap with a relieved sigh.
“You okay?” I whisper to her as the rest of the room is watching Lexie and Bear bicker about the Christmas party.
“It hurts.” She whispers tearfully and I bring her closer, gently massaging her leg to help ease her pain.
“Bear, it’s a dinner party which means my women and I don’t have to make an elaborate dinner for you monsters!” Lexie drops the winning argument as Bear smacks his head on the table in frustration.
“Are you not hearing me? It means all of us on enemy territory, leaving the prospects to protect our home and our children, you get that?” That’s also a good point, if an enemy - even though we have no obvious ones at the moment - were to find out that we weren’t in our clubhouse then they’d take it, along with the children.
“Some of us could stay behind.” Mac suggests and Bear rounds on him.
“Who would decide that, Mac? It’s a family thing so we do it as a family, not part of the family at some random time.” Bear rubs his face in agitation as Lexie rounds the table to rub his shoulders.
“Okay, we’ll stay here for Christmas. Sav can visit them another time and I’m sure Riley will visit them too. We can make something here.” Lexie reassures him and we all relax.
It’s horrible when mom and dad are fighting.
“Boulder could you stay here for a sec? Riley can stay too, the rest of you can go.” Riley waves to the girls as the door shuts behind the herd of men and I look at Bear in confusion, still gently massaging Riley’s thigh as she rests on my shoulder.
“What is it, Prez?”
“I received this today.” He slides a letter over to me and I reach around Riley to open it. “Your parents had another baby a long time after you left, he’s only twelve and he sent us this.” Riley looks at the letter with me and I feel my chest tighten.
He’s only a baby and he’s being used as a mule, apparently they’ve already chosen his wife which will be one of our cousins and he doesn’t know what to do. They have restricted his use of anything and hasn’t been able to contact any of our siblings, they had told him about me a while ago and said that if he ever needed out he could come to me.
“Romeo can pull up the paperwork and you can have that boy by the end of the week if that’s what you want.” I feel my heartrate jump and I look at Riley, who has a sad look on her face. “I’m gonna go and see Lexie, talk to Romeo if you need to.”
“Talk to me, Ford. What do you want to do?” She caresses my face as I stare down at the paper in front of me.
“He’s begging me to help him, Riley. I can’t just leave him.” My voice sounds coarse and my hands are shaking.
“Then we’ll go get him, together.”
“You said five years...” I know she has a timeline for a family and I don’t want to force her into anything but I can’t leave him to suffer on his own.
“Ford,” she takes the letter from my hand and turns in my lap to face me down, “This child, this baby, is being mistreated and is begging for help. Fuck five years, he needs us now.”