(A/N: The chapter below is not an accurate description of any culture or religion, it’s basically made up craziness to add a little flavour to the story. Please do not think I am mocking/appropriating any culture at any point in this story and if you do find something in here upsetting I apologise, please contact me and we can talk. Lots of love, Ellie x)
So, I know murder is high on my skill list but apparently I’m not allowed to kill the bastards that use and abuse their children, including my idiot. I’m currently driving Boulder and I to the airport so that we can take the two hour flight to Vegas, it’s amusing to watch him fidget in the front seat.
He’s already scooted the chair back as far as it goes and opened every window in the car despite the fact we’re going eighty down a highway. He still claims to be claustrophobic, I can’t wait to see what he’s like on planes. We had to get here early because I have to go through all the checks to carry my firearm - which I’m allowed as an agent to carry - and the fact I have shrapnel in my back doesn’t help matters.
“Let me see your ID and your consent to carry.” The officer demands as soon as we start security. We’re only going for today and flying back late tonight so we don’t have much luggage, just a backpack with paperwork and snacks in so at least Boulder got through quickly. He’s stood at the other end waiting for me, he’s probably at the gate by now.
I hand over everything he needs, consent to all the searches and all that fun stuff before I strap the gun back on and walk away. I strapped the gun to my thigh because I doubt the officers would like it if I tucked it into the back of my jeans, I don’t fancy being frisked. Except by Boulder, obviously.
I find him at our very busy gate, sat by the window with his leg bouncing up and down. I lower myself onto the still leg and scratch through his hair, making his eyes roll back and close. “Everything will be okay, I promise. If not, I’ll start shooting.”
“Are you sure this is something you want?” He asks for the seventh time today.
“Boulder, this child needs us and I want to do this with you. Okay? The answer hasn’t changed since the first time you asked.” He tugs me closer and hugs me tightly, his chin resting on my boob. The old lady next to us doesn’t seem pleased by our position and I almost laugh at her expression.
“Flight 276 to Las Vegas is boarding. First class passengers please board the plane.” I grab the bag off of Boulder and start towards the plane.
“She said first class passengers.” The old lady says derisively.
“I know, thank you!” I reply with a petty smile and drag Boulder with me to the gate. As expected, he hates the plane. He spends the entire time complaining and wiggling, saying there’s not enough room. Thank God we splurged for first class tickets because I couldn’t imagine him in economy.
“Thank God!” He shouts as soon as we’re in the airport, even though he hates airports. God, he is such a whiner. I can’t wait to be back at home where he is not such a big baby and is a very attractive biker instead.
I get stopped by security again and they check over my papers before letting me out alongside Boulder. I doubt they’d just let him walk through if he was wearing his cut. I rented a car for the day as well, I pick up the keys for a convertible so that I can have the roof down to cut down the whining at least fifty percent.
“Is this better?” I ask as we speed towards his father’s land.
“Yeah, still hate cars though.” He grumbles and I turn up my music to tune him out.
It’s a long drive and I find myself getting bored but thankfully, it’s over after three hours. “This is the place?” It’s like it’s own little town of basic four/five bedroom houses with men roaming everywhere with building equipment and other heavy looking stuff. It’s very unsettling, the vibe that is, and I get why Boulder pegged it when he was a kid.
“This is weird. I don’t know whether I can do this.”
“I’m here, Ford. You can lean on me.” He nods and kisses me gently before getting out of the car. It’s like everyone notices as once as we make our way through the commune to the main house at the back, I assume it’s his father’s.
“Who are you?” A man asks, stopping us in our tracks and Boulder seems to recognise him.
“It’s me, Asa.” Boulder squeezes my hand tighter, pulling me to his side as he stares this man down.
“Ford, you’re not welcome here. Especially not with an outsider carrying a firearm.”
“She’s my wife, I don’t go anywhere without her.” Why did I feel all fuzzy when he said that? “I need to see father, get out of my way.”
“Who do you think you are? I am your older brother, you show me respect when you speak to me.”
“You’re not deserving of that respect. I have things to do, if you don’t get out of the way, I will move you by force.”
“You’re a disgrace to the family and the commune.”
“You’re not my family and you never have been.” We walk around him. Well Boulder does and I am dragged behind him. He probably knows I want to attack that guy for speaking to him like that.
“Calm down, baby.” He whispers to me as we part through the men who watch us with angry eyes.
“I’m calm.” I respond, very obviously not calm.
“Ford, you’ve finally come back to join the commune! Brilliant, we can get your wife set up at the fertility clinic now and I’m sure she’ll be pregnant by the end of the day!” Some old guy with grey hair and blue eyes, decaying body and wrinkled skin shouts. Within seconds, two men the size of Boulder tug me away from him.
“Father, let her go.” He’s obviously trying to do this diplomatically because he knows I will kill these two who still have their hands on me.
“Of course not, if you don’t give her children I’m sure she’ll accept your older brother. His wife died in childbirth with their seventh child, God has brought this woman to us for this purpose.”
“Riley.” I can read him by the tone in his voice and I lash out, I only use enough violence to get them away from me before returning to Boulder’s side. My entire body is simmering with rage and I’m ready to attack the man in front of us. I’m not a fucking broodmare, I’m a woman. “Touch my woman again and I will do worse than she did.” I look over my shoulder to my attacker who are rubbing their bruised jaws and balls.
They deserved it. “Fine, what do you want, Ford? You left a long time ago, there’s nothing for you here.”
“I’m here to pick up Tobias.” The entire community freezes then, to glare at us and the old guy seems relatively calm compared to the others. “Here are the papers.” Boulder tosses the wad of paper on the porch in front of his father and I notice a little face peeking out between the curtains of the front window.
“Boulder.” I whisper, nodding my head towards the window. We only received the letter two days ago, we would’ve come yesterday but Romeo needed time to get the papers.
“He’s my son, I don’t see how you can take him from me.”
“Yeah, your way of life has taken you away from modern laws, dad but I can take him under a lot of them. He wants to leave just like I did but he’s a child. He asked for my help and I came, that’s what family does.”
I gesture for the little guy to come outside and he looks behind him like someone is stopping him. He makes the attempt and comes flying out of the front door with a woman chasing behind him. As soon as he’s close enough to me, I tug him behind me and press him to my back. I can feel him gripping my jacket and hear his little cries. Ah fuck, my heart can’t take it.
I want to turn around and comfort him but I need to keep an eye on his father, in case I need to shoot him or something. I tug the gun from its holster and pass it to Boulder so I can do what’s needed. “Hey buddy, I’m Riley.” I kneel down in front of him and straighten his shirt. He has brown shorts on with suspenders and all of his clothes are made of basic linen.
“Can I call you Toby?”
“I’ve never been called that before.”
“Do you like it?” He nods his head excitedly, “then Toby it is, little man. You’re gonna come home with us, that okay?” I know he’s a child but he can make his own decisions on some level and I don’t want to traumatise him even more.
“Yes please.” I ruffle his hair and turn back to the conversation going on. Boulder is still arguing with his parents while everyone else is slowly moving closer to us. I normally wouldn’t worry, it’s not like they’re much of a threat but there is a child involved.
This is not gonna end well.