Boulder (Riders of Apollo #5)

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Ford Wilson

I can feel Riley getting tenser and tenser and I flick my eyes away from my father to see the rest of the crowd moving in. I can see why she’s getting stressed. We need to get out of here as soon as possible, while we could overpower them I don’t want to risk Riley or Tobias getting hurt. I also don’t want to kill anyone.

“Look the paperwork has been signed, there’s nothing you can do.” I try again, pulling Riley closer to me so I can feel her to ease my anxiety. “We’re leaving.”

“Oh, are you sure you can get through all of my men?”

“Your men may be my size, father but I am well trained.”

“And your wife? I’m sure we could easily overpower her and then what would you do?” I laugh at that.

“My wife has spent years in the army, she is better trained than I am. I dare you to try her.” I like saying my wife, it makes me feel all warm inside. I turn us all around and a lot of them are getting ready to stand down, you can see it in their body language. They’re backing down.

“Fine! Fucking take him, he’s useless to us anyway. I can just make another one.” The crowd parts at his declaration and I keep a tight grip on Riley who has Tobias under her arm. He looks tiny compared to average twelve year olds and you can tell he’s malnourished and badly cared for.

I don’t even know where we drive to, just that Riley is driving us away from that shithole before we both end up murdering everyone. “Come on, you both need something to eat.” She snaps me out of my daydreaming and I notice the small diner behind us.

Riley tucks Tobias on the inside of the booth and sits on the outside while I sit opposite them both. “Hi Tobias, I figure you have a lot of questions.” I start while Riley orders us food, I trust her to order what I like since we’ve eaten a few times before.

“You came to get me really quick, thank you.”

“I was like you, kiddo. I ran away when I was a few years older than you.”

“Father and mother are not nice people, I didn’t want to be a slave. She is very pretty.” He points at Riley who is currently dropping a twenty into the tip jar as the waitress hands her three drinks on a tray.

“She is.”

“Is she taking me in too?” I pull out a copy of the papers we brought with us and let him look at it. Both of us signed it before the ink even dried, I don’t know where I’d be without her. “Thank you, Miss Riley.”

“Aww, honey. You don’t need to call me Miss Riley.”

“What do I call you?”

“Whatever you want to, I got you a chocolate milkshake by the way and you, my darling, I got you coffee.” I kiss her hand as I take the mug and she blushes softly.

“Where are we going?” He asks and Riley brushes his hair back as he almost falls into the milkshake. I’m not surprised that his hair is so long, most of them there have long hair and I doubt father would let him break another tradition.

“We are going back to my family. ” I show him the picture on my phone of the club and everyone in it. He obviously points at every single person and asks what their names are and I answer every single one. “When we get back, it’s gonna be a little awkward until I can get the house ready to live in. We came out here as quickly as possible so we didn’t have time to set things up properly.”

“You thought, honey. I did, in fact, think ahead and got the girls to fix the house. They know what kind of vibe we’re going for and everything should be done by the time we get back.”

“And what money did you use, baby?”

“My money, from my bank account. You know I have one of those, right?”

“I would’ve paid.”

“You bought the house, the materials and did all the work on it. Least I could do was buy furniture and rugs, I like those things more.” She winks at me and I concede for now so I can answer more of Toby’s questions. He seems very intrigued about school and about Ollie and Gem.

They’re a few years younger than him but he’s never had the chance to interact with kids his own age. They hardly even let him leave the house because I found it so easy to escape the commune on a daily basis, no wonder they tightened their security.

After an hour or so of just chatting and eating, Bear calls me and I walk outside to answer it. “How’d it go?” He asks as soon as I accept the call.

“Terribly, as expected but we got the kid and only two people got hurt.”

“Why’d you hurt them?”

“Actually Riley hurt them and it’s because they were trying to give her to my older brother as a baby oven. She was not impressed.” I look over my shoulder and see Riley and Toby laughing together. It makes my heart ache so good to watch her with him.

“Fucking hell, I’m sorry to say this again but your father is messed up.”

“Yeah, no shit. This kid looks like he hasn’t seen the sun in weeks and hasn’t eaten a full meal since he was born. I’m pissed.”

“I’m sorry, man. Your flight is in a few hours, you’ll be back soon enough. Lexie says she’s almost finished the house so you’ll be able to go straight there from the airport. She’s moved Riley’s stuff in but you’ll have to do your own.”

“Tell her thank you for me.”

“Oh no, she wants to thank you. I don’t think you understand how much she likes interior design. Also, Riley’s jacket is here so do you want that dropped off at your place since I’m swinging around there to pick Lex up?”

“Yeah, that would be great. Thanks. We’ll see you soon.”

-------

“Wow, this is cool.” While I hate planes, Toby seems to really like them. He’s clicking buttons, drinking coke and staring at the TV in fascination. I know in the commune they don’t like technology much, it’s not banned but children are heavily monitored. My dad was worse of all, he wouldn’t let us go in other people’s houses if they had TVs.

We were either working or sleeping, there was no such thing as downtime. “He’s so cute.” Riley whispers as she looks over me at the kid. He’s got headphones on and he’s close enough to the TV for his nose to almost touch it.

“I can’t believe we’re doing this. What about your job?”

“I can keep my job, I’ll just try and get the mission done as quickly as possible. I doubt they’ll surpass three months at any given time, I’ll make sure of it.”

“I love you, Riley.” She grins beautifully before kissing me deeply.

“I love you, too, idiot.” Completely ruined the moment I think with a laugh.

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