Chapter Twenty Five
The familiar ambiance of the bar has me feeling right at home. Nothing has changed here. The old drunk that smacked my ass still sits in the same chair.
"There's our girl!" Sharp yells, pulling me into a hug. "Glad to be home?"
"You have no idea! I never thought-"
"We'll always fucking find you, Cassie. You can't escape us. So you have two options here, get back to the gun or wither away and die here." Fresno laughed as he threw a hand in the guy's chest next to him.
"Oh, I think we could find a way to draw that out." The guy responded.
"Cass! What the hell? Are you okay?" Ghost is now holding me with concern written all over his face.
"Uh... yeah. Sorry, I don't know what happened. I'm fine." I shake the flashback from my mind. "What's all this, you guys?" I ask, trying to change the subject.
"You guys didn't have to do all of this!" I lightly slap Caden's arm.
"Pfft. Of course, we did!" He laughs.
Ghost sits down, gently guiding me onto his lap. He wraps his arm across my chest trailing kisses up my neck. "I'm so glad you're home, baby." He whispers in my ear and I can’t help the giant grin spreading across my face.
"It's good to be home, babe." I grab his other arm pulling it around me as well. I'd do it all over again, just to feel this.
"We all missed you, Cass!" Chap hollers across the bar. A slew of similar words fill the bar from the rest of the members.
"You won't get away from us that easily, bitch." A man grunted as he dragged me by my ankle.
"Just fucking let me go. I said I'd go back to work weeks ago. Why the fuck are you still keeping me in here?" I yelled, trying to kick myself free. It was no use.
"You're only going out one way and only when we're done with you."
I froze. He didn't mean what I think he meant, right? I mean, the Saints were known for their shady shit, but that… is much worse.
"Okay, Cassie, what's going on? You're stiff as a board and look like you just saw the devil himself." Ghost runs his fingers through my hair.
"Can we go somewhere else to talk?" I nod toward the vast crowd around us.
Ghost wraps his arm around my waist, supporting me as we walked out to the shop. Hard to believe just a couple of days ago, I was lying in the street bleeding out.
"Spill." His voice is now rough and deep.
I ease myself down on one of the chairs by the desk, "I don't know what it is, but since I walked through the door, I've been having flashbacks or something." My voice comes out shaky. I feel like I might fall apart at any second.
"God, Cassie. Why didn't you just say something? I would have gotten you out of there."
"I didn't want to ruin the party for everyone." I stare at the ground.
"Come on, Cassie," he says as he lifted my face to his, "they would have understood. You've been through a fuck ton of shit we know nothing about." He grimaces.
"I know, but still. It's not every day missing people are found. So it's a big deal. They deserve to enjoy the party."
"And you deserve to have your space when you need it, babe. So don't worry about them. They'll have a good time whether you're sitting in the bar or your room. Just knowing that you're back is enough for them."
"Yeah, I guess you're right. It's just hard. I wanted everything to be like it was before I... well, you know. But it's never going to be the same, is it?"
"I don't know, baby, I can't answer that for you. I'm just happy to have you back, whether you're the same or not." A small smile spreads across his mouth. "I'm just happy with you."
"I love you, Lucas." My emotions are getting the best of me, but my love for him is the most prominent by far. He really has changed.
"I love you too, baby. By the way, I was supposed to say it first." He smirks.
"Put your big girl panties on and get over it."
"Uh yeah, same old Cass." He laughs.
More flashbacks run through my thoughts, bringing our laughing to a stop.
"You know, when they find you, and they will, they're going to rip you apart." I gritted out.
"Sure, doll. It’s been what, like three months? They're not even looking for you. Who the fuck would be stupid enough wasting time searching for some club slut like you!" Shredder ground out.
"Then I'll fucking kill you myself!"
They laughed ominously. "Good fucking luck with that!"
One fucking way or another, I was getting out of here, whether that's in a body bag or not, I didn't know. But I'm okay with that way too.
My body was sore from the beatings and on the verge of giving out. I had to come up with a plan before I ran out of strength completely.
"Another one?" Ghost asks, stroking my arm.
"Uh... yeah. I'm so sorry. This must be completely bizarre. You don't have to stay. I'm not holding you to anything. I'd completely understand if you rode off far, far away."
"There's nowhere else I'd rather be." He kissed my forehead. "How about we go try to get some sleep?"
"Sleep sounds good. But really, Ghost, I won't hold it against you if you leave. You didn't sign up for this."
"Neither did you. Enough now, I'm staying. Can't get rid of me that easily!" He smiles devilishly before scooping me up and carrying me to my room.
"This is ridiculous! I can walk!" I scream through the bar, but his grip never loosens.
"I like my way better."
I grab my phone off the nightstand, 5:03 AM, Giving up on the little sleep I got in between nightmares. I look over at Ghost who's face pinches in a scowl as I lift his arm off of me.
I throw his hoodie on and walk down to the kitchen; I honestly can't remember the last time I ate. The Saints sure as hell wouldn't feed me. I was more of a punching bag than a person.
"What are you doing up, honey?" A gruff voice fills the silent kitchen.
His deep laugh has my heart feeling warmer than usual. I missed my dad so much. He wasn't at the hospital much, this is the first time I've seen him since I woke up.
"Where the hell have you been?" I half yell, trying not to wake anyone.
"Taking care of business, darling. Sorry I wasn't here to bring you home." He looks down at his boots with shame.
"Hmm. What kind of business? What was so important you couldn't see your only daughter home from the hospital?" My eyes narrow as I take in his appearance. He looks rougher than usual.
"Oh, don't go worrying about that now, kid. You need to focus on getting better yourself." He waves a hand at me.
"As you can see, I'm doing just fine. So you can tell me."
"We found Fresno. And before you even ask, you're not fucking coming with. So wipe that shit-eating grin off your face."
"Always so serious when it comes to the Saints." I roll my eyes.
"Well fuck. We just got you back. I know you better than I know myself. So I know for a fact your first thought was putting a bullet in his head yourself. It's not happening. You're staying the fuck away from this. Do I make myself clear, Cassandra?"
"Yeah, yeah. I get it." I put my hands up in surrender. "But if it's not going to be me, it should be Ghost."
"Fucking hell Cass! I'm your damn father. I deserve it more than some fling!" He growls.
"Dad, you know just as well as I do he's not some fling. You're getting too old for this."
"Just means I have more experience." He shrugs.
"Fine, whatever. I prefer he stays here with me anyway." I know it'll get his gears turning.
"Good with me!" He laughs.
"What!" I stare at him in shock.
"I want to be the one to do it. You're my only daughter Cass, and I almost lost you because of that ignoramus Fresno."
I can tell by the resolute expression on his face there’s no changing his mind, "Alright, alright. Have it your way Pops. I'm going to try to get some more sleep. Love ya!"
"Love you too, kiddo."