I hop out of the old pick-up slamming the door behind me and head to the tailgate stretching my arms above my head and ignoring the flare of pain. That was the longest hour drive of my life.
"Start with the boxes and I'll unlock the door and help," Regan instructs throwing up her long honey blonde hair. I nod and jump into the back and start grabbing the few boxes we managed to take with us. Dad wasn't happy when we left but he should have known better. Asshole.
I feel the weight of eyes on me and at a glance I see a few people around my age hanging around the front of a trailer across the way from us. I climb down from the truck fixing my worn hoodie and moving a few boxes into the cramped trailer.
It's not as bad as I thought it was going to be. And best of all no parents. My body still hurts from our last meeting.
"That one is yours, Nik," Regan says pointing to a bedroom at the front of the trailer. Cool. I start piling boxes on the kitchen counter and head back out for more.
"Hey." I hear a rough male voice. I look up and see a tall lean-looking guy leaning up against the bed of the truck. He has dark wild blue eyes. Tattoos everywhere wrapped up in a tight black t-shirt. Yep, I'm in trouble.
"Hey," I say grabbing a few more boxes.
"I'm Riot." He smirks. I can't help but smile at that.
"I just bet you are." I tease. His smirk turns into a crooked grin. "Annika."
"Nik! Where are those boxes?" Regan calls from inside the trailer. I shrug an apology to Riot before turning back to deliver another load of boxes. I'm surprised to see him bringing in some boxes for me when I turn around.
"Thanks." I smile.
"Who did you con in to help you?" Regan laughs. I roll my eyes.
"This is Riot and there was no con. Thank you. This is my sister, Regan." I chuckle leaving to grab the last of the boxes. I hear them chattering behind me. Lazy bastards. I start chucking boxes into my room and hers while inside and start inflating the air mattresses.
I'm so thankful for my sister, Regan. She didn't know how bad it had gotten at home. I don't blame her for leaving for college either. God knows I would have. Besides, now she's a nurse. I couldn't be more proud of her.
Thank God she arrived home early for spring break and got me out though. She didn't even hesitate to rent the trailer in her new town and bring me along once I got out of the hospital.
I feel bad that she's having to use her money but hopefully, it won't be for long. Unfortunately, I can't tell her everything that started happening back home. She would not like the person I had to become.
I unpack the few dishes and kitchenware and we're done! All moved in!
"Ta-da!" I cry out. "All done!"
"Wow. That was fast." Riot comments.
"I get shit done." I laugh ignoring the concerned look from him. "Thanks for your help Riot. Ree, I'm going to go sign up for school and hopefully get a job."
"Kay, I'll grab food. Meet back here for dinner?"
"Done!" I smile and head out with Riot who leaves to go back to his buddies.
I walk to the little rusty aluminum utility trailer and throw open the latch to my mobile garage. I smile at my baby. The glossy black Indian scout that I built from the scrap yard back in the hellhole we called home.
I throw on my helmet wincing at the pull at my ribs and back my baby out and close up my garage and unhitch it from Ree's truck.
I kick it to life and wave to Riot as I pass him and his buddies on my way out. I follow my GPS to the high school, a big red brick building with a big sign out front welcoming me to Preston Secondary School.
It's a bit late for school to have just let out but there are kids everywhere as I park my bike. Sports maybe? I catch a few people glance at me as I climb off and remove my helmet. I get it. I'm a five-foot-two girl on a motorcycle. The looks happen.
I make my way inside the office and am greeted by a very pregnant blonde woman smiling at me.
"Hello, what's the haps?" She greets making me smile.
"Um... I need to enroll." I manage not to laugh but only barely.
"Wonderful!" She beams handing me a clipboard from her desk. She gestures at a line of chairs along the wall so I sit down and start my paperwork. I notice a few guys admiring my bike out the window thankfully no one touches it. I'd hate to have to kill someone on my first day in town.
I hand the clipboard back to the secretary and she sends me on my way telling me that I will get a call when my transcripts are sent. Heading back out to my bike I ignore more stares and a few whistles as I throw my leg over.
"A biker babe." A voice says from behind me. I hate having people behind me. I turn and see a rather good-looking guy. He's tall with a runner's build and shaggy blonde hair. With khaki shorts and a sky blue polo to match his eyes, he looks very posh. I raise my eyebrow at him because I don't know how to respond to his comment.
"You don't go here. I would have remembered you." He says. I'm still not really sure what I'm supposed to say. A guy with a white shirt and a leather jacket comes up behind him throwing his arm around the posh guy's shoulders. Perfectly tousled dark hair hanging in his baby blues.
"Who's the babe, Jace?" He asks. He looks like someone trying a bit too hard to be James Dean.
"Don't know she won't talk to me," Jace smirks.
"You also have yet to ask me a question," I smirk back. James Dean wannabe howls with laughter.
"I'm Carson and this is Jace. What's your name?"
"Are you going to school here?"
"I just finished signing up," I admit. "Sorry. I gotta get going. It was nice meeting you guys." I put my helmet on ignoring the pain and kick my baby to life and drive away. I can't help looking in my mirror. I also can't help the laugh that escapes as Jace and Carson fist bump.
School is done, now to find myself a job. I should have asked Jace or Carson. Oh well. I worked at a diner back in Hell. Maybe there's a restaurant around here.
I cruise the streets of Bellevue until I see a help-wanted sign. A gas station. Perfect.
I make my way back to our new home with a new school and a new job. Both of which I start tomorrow. I see Riot hanging out with a group of guys all sitting on lawn chairs and coolers music blaring. He waves me over.
"Hey, I wouldn't go in there right now." He laughs pointing a cigarette at my place. "She's got a guy in there."
"Oh. Good for her." I shrug. "Mind if I wait out here with you guys?" I ask making some chuckle.
"Nah girl. Take a seat." A lanky guy with mocha skin says gesturing beside him. "You got a sweet bike."
"Thanks. I'm quite proud of her." I smile.
"You do it?" He asks looking impressed.
"Yep built her from scraps." Riot offers me a beer and I nod a thanks.
"Sweet. I'm Mac by the way." He grins.
"Annika." I smile back. Riot and Mac introduce me to the other two guys in the circle. A sexy guy with what looks like Asian descent and some wicked neck tattoos named Cole and an intense-looking guy with a massive ginger mohawk everyone calls Red. They all seem pretty cool... and hot.
"So did you get that job you wanted?" Riot asks.
"Yep. I am now the evening slash night counter attendant of the gas station down the road." I say with a bow causing a few chuckles.
"Nice. We hang out front there sometimes."
"Good. Then I won't be bored out of my skull at midnight." I say with relief.
"So... I heard a weird rumour today." Red starts with a smirk at me. "Apparently, some biker babe has turned some important heads at the high school."
"Wow. I work fast!" I laugh. They chuckle but Red pushes on.
"Ya, apparently you met the Kings." All eyes are wide and on me.
"Oh my god! The Kings?" I say fanning myself dramatically. "Which ones are they?" I ask seriously.
"You met Jace and Carson?" Mac asks. Huh, small world.
"Oh, ya we talked for like half a minute. Not all that fascinating." I shrug. They all share looks. "You guys are terrible gossips," I say shaking my head.
"No, it's just they're... not nice to everyone. Rich dicks. So when they're interested in someone everyone kind of takes note." Cole explains. I let out an exasperated sound.
"It was literally like a thirty-second conversation. That doesn't make any sense."
"Well, you are the only biker babe in town..." Red shrugs and I just shake my head. I don't get it.
"Whatever," I say taking a pull from my beer.
"Who's the skirt?" A voice asks from behind me and I stiffen. I fucking hate people behind me. I turn to look and am met with mossy green eyes and a smirk on a giant. He's big. Like football lineman big. He's well over six feet and all muscles in an iron maiden t-shirt.
"This is Annika. She just moved in over there." Riot says pointing his beer to the trailer. "This is Rig." I smile hello as he sits down across from me beside Cole. He nods back and grabs a beer just as a guy exits our trailer at a run holding his shirt to his bare chest.
I can hear Ree telling him to get out before I get home making me chuckle.
"She's going to find out about us." He says back.
"I know but not right now. She's fragile right now." She says back giving him a light shove. "She doesn't need this. She just got out." Ok! It's time for me to interrupt this. It's bad enough she thinks I'm fragile.
"Hey Ree! You get some?" I smile sweetly as I shout. Her head whips towards us and her eyes go wide. I watch as her shoulders slump in defeat.
"Nik, get your ass in here." She says with a sigh.
"Later guys. Thanks for the beer." I say moving through them and across the road. I send an apologetic wave to Regan's boyfriend.
"How did I not hear your bike?" She wonders out loud.
"I think you were a little preoccupied." I cackle making my way inside. I throw my bag in my room and hear the guys chatting away.
"Out from where?" Cole asks.
"Fuck if I know." Riot shrugs. I sigh deeply and make my way to the kitchen hoisting myself to sit on the counter.
"So... that was my boyfriend, Jared." She says awkwardly.
"No way!" I tease. "You know, you're allowed to have a life, Ree. Hell, you deserve it. I'm not the same girl I was when you went to college. I'm not going to be scandalized that you have a boyfriend. I'm happy for you." I confess.
"I really want to hug you." She pouts.
"Just be gentle," I say spreading my arms. She takes me into a hesitant hug my ribs still throb but I don't let it show. She needs this. Fuck, so do I.
We blast Black Soul by Shinedown while I throw together some macaroni and cheese with hot dogs, our comfort food, and she tells me about Jared. He's a nurse at the hospital she works at and super sweet. They've been together almost a year. She loves him, I can tell. Unfortunately, she's like me with dating. A nervous wreck. Thanks, mom and dad!
We dance and chat and eat until I decide to crash. I have school and work tomorrow. I lay on my mattress of ice packs for the ten minutes just like the doctor told me to and listen to the sounds of the trailer park around me. The longest ten minutes of my life. It's like I can feel each and every hit again as my heart pounds against my ribs and my breath shakes out of my lungs. When my alarm sounds I can't get up fast enough.
I'm still shaking when I fall into my nightmare-filled sleep.