Heaven’s Regrets (Book 1)

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Chapter Thirty

“Hey, uh, Cassie, right?” A gravelly voice brought me back from memory lane. I don’t really remember going through the motions of coming back to the bar. My mind is anywhere but here.

“Mhm. Do I know you?” He looks oddly familiar, I just can’t place him. Damn brain. My body is alerting me to something, but it’s just not fully registering.

“Uh, no, actually. I’m Rider, from the southern chapter.”

“Got it. Nice to meet you. What can I do for you?” I extend my hand out to meet his firm shake.

“I just came to give my condolences. I was so sorry to hear about your Dad’s passing. I’d only met him a few times, briefly. But seemed like a good dude.”

“Yeah. He was the best.” My response is barely a whisper. My heart can’t take many many reminders of what I’ve lost.

“Can I get you a drink? Do you need anything?” He asks as I study his body language. I can tell he’s tense, but maybe it’s just because of the occasion? Shit, I’m so tense I bet if I press my fingers to my shoulder it would feel more like steel than flesh.

“Um, no. But thank you.” I could definitely use a drink, but that damn gut feeling is telling me flight is the correct option here.

“Yeah, yeah. Of course. You need anything, just let me know. I know how hard this shit can be. Don’t be a stranger, alright?” Why is he so persistent? Is this normal for people at funerals? I haven’t been to many, and only mom’s stands out, in the vaguest ways possible. It was a day just like the year I was with the Saints, one that I chose not to address.

“I’ve got that covered, thanks, man.” Ghost snaps as he possessively pulls me to his chest.

“Hey, don’t be rude. He was just being friendly.” I elbow Ghost in the ribs, he flinches slightly at the blow. Ghost’s gut is telling him what mine is. But in my fucked up muddled mind I don’t want to deal with Ghost right now. In some ways I still blame him that I ended up where I did, but I know deep down it had little to do with him.

“Yeah, man, not trying to overstep. I’ll leave y’all to it. Nice to see you again, Cassie.” Rider says, taking a step back.

I see Ghost shooting daggers at Rider’s back as he retreats into the sea of people, “What the hell was that about?” I spin in front of Ghost crossing my arms.

“He was looking a little too friendly.” He says matter of factly, but I can hear the jealousy laced in his words.

“You know, you don’t own me. Right? Like I’m not your property, you can’t just come scaring off any guy that says a word to me.”

“That’s not what I was trying to do.” When he catches the fiery glare I give him, he backpedals. “Okay. Well, maybe a little bit. But it’s a vulnerable time for you. If anyone’s going to be getting you anything or being there for you, it’s going to be me.”

“That’s not how this works. You’re not going to spout off rules to me. If I want you for something, I’ll tell you. Otherwise, back off!” I turn to stomp off, but he quickly reaches for my arm and spins me around with ease. “Get your damn hands off of me!”

“Calm down, please. I’m not trying to fucking argue. It’s my responsibility to be here for you. I want to be here for you.” He says, making the kind of eye contact that peers into your soul nearly causing me to shiver at the sheer intensity.

“God. This isn’t fucking about you! You’re not going to hold it against me if you’re not what I need or want right now! I just want to fucking be alone! You’re so concerned about me wanting it to be you! Leave me alone!” I scream and tear off through the crowd.

I know people were looking, but I couldn’t give a fuck less right now. Why is it so hard to just be left alone? Not everyone needs a shoulder to cry on when something goes wrong. I’m not one of those people. I'm more of a take care of it myself type of person. I can’t rely on anyone to fix me.

I slam the bar door behind me, huffing down the dirt road kicking the loose rocks as hard as I can, trying to take my anger out on the rocks and not Ghost’s face.

A few rocks went haywire, ricocheting off the bikes surrounding the small path. I can apologize later. Right now, I just want to get the hell out of here.

“Leaving already?” Rider shouts behind me, stopping me in my tracks momentarily.

“Yeah. There’s too many fucking people.”

“You need a lift? I’m not sure you should be driving.”

“And why the hell shouldn’t I be driving? Since you know me so well after three minutes?” I spin around, nearly knocking him over. I didn’t realize he was so close. I can feel the warmth emanating off his broad chest.

“I mean, you just seem pretty upset.”

“Jesus! I’m not some fucking helpless damsel in distress! I know how to fucking drive!” I shove him back, but he doesn't budge, which honestly pisses me off more.

“Aye, no need to get physical.” He backs up, putting his hands up like he’s surrendering. Are you kidding me?

“God.” I scoff and continue on my way to my car.

I turn the key, but nothing happens. Could my fucking luck get any worse!?

“Car troubles?” Rider pries as he gets closer. Can he not take a fucking hint? Christ.

“What’s it fucking look like?” I scoff, rolling my eyes. I reach for my phone, tapping the flashlight on, and my stomach fucking drops. The wires to the battery are cleanly cut, and the smell of coolant fills my lungs.

“Huh. It looks like you pissed someone off.” He half-laughed. I don’t find it particularly funny.

“Won’t be the last time.” I sigh, slamming the hood shut. “So much for that.”

“Need a lift or something?” He offers, yet again.

“No, I’ve got it. Thanks.” I bring my phone up again and send a quick text to Ghost - Take me to the house, please. Cars dead.

“It’s really nothing. You’ve been through a lot today.”

“As I said, I’ve got it.” I sidestep to walk around him, but he mimics my move, blocking my path.

“Let me give you a ride.” His voice is more demanding this time, suddenly my guts warning surfaces again and I know somethings up.

“Uh, that’s okay. I’ll just have a few drinks and stay here. Um, do you want to join?” I try to change course, at least if I’m inside with everyone, I have some backup. Out here, he could easily do anything.

“But you wanted to get away from everyone?” He asks, tilting his head.

“Yeah, that was before my car took a shit. Now I just want a drink. So you coming or not?” Take the bait, take the bait, please.

“If you’ll let me give you a ride home.” His eyes dance with mischief as a smirk plays against his lips.

“Um. Sure.” I’ll agree with anything just to not be alone with him anymore.

He strolls close behind me, and I can just feel his eyes burning into my back. I slowly pull my phone out and send a text to Cade - Get me away from him. Don’t do anything stupid, be cool.

I just hope he’s not too wasted.

When we finally make it to the bar, Rider quickly walks in front of me to open the door. I give him a quick nod and dash inside, relieved when I see Cade across the bar glancing back and forth between his phone and the crowd. When his eyes finally land on me he shoves the phone in his pocket, making his way over to me.

“Cass! There you are. Have some business to take care of.” He towers over me, looking as intimidating as ever. I can smell the booze just radiating off him, but thankfully he’s at least alert enough not to blow this.

“I’ll be right back,” I say to Rider over my shoulder. Mouthing a thank you to Caden.

“What’s his deal?” Cade asks quietly as he closes the board room doors.

“I’m not sure. He was being really pushy about giving me a ride. Where’s Carter? I haven’t seen him much at all tonight.”

“Eh, off with one of the girls, most likely.”

“And you? How are you doing?” I pull out a couple of chairs for us.

“Hell, I’ve been better. But I’m alright, been through this before.” Cade’s jaw flexes just slightly as I practically see the memories flash in his mind. We’ve all been here before, and none of us were the same.

“Yeah, look what it did to you then.” I nearly whisper, avoiding eye contact.

“Hey! I think I turned out just fine if you ask me!”

“I’m not saying you didn’t, but I don’t think you’d be busting skulls if mom were still around.” She was the gentle calm in the storm of the club, always keeping us grounded.

“Eh, who’s to say?” He shrugs.

“You’re right. Have you seen Ghost? I texted him for a ride but radio silence.” I guess I don’t know why I’m surprised, I was a colossal bitch. But, in my defense, I don’t cope well.

“He was at the bar awhile ago but haven’t seen him since then.”

“Probably got shit-faced after I basically said I didn’t want him. Can you help me track him down?” My heart starts pounding a touch faster. I didn’t realize at the time that was how it probably came across, that I didn’t want him.

“Got nothing better to do.” He rakes his hands through his hair, pushing the strays from his face. It’s the only time you can really ever see his face tattoos, otherwise they’re easily hidden away behind the hair that frames his features.

“Thank you! I’ll check our rooms. Can you check around down here?”

I take the stairs two at a time up to his room, checking there first. But, unfortunately, it’s dark and empty, so I go to my room next, which is also empty so I head back downstairs, wandering through each room, each as empty as the previous.

“Hey, guys. Have you seen Ghost?” I ask group after group and they all say the same thing, ‘he was at the bar not too long ago.’

Where the fuck would he be?

I catch back up with Caden, who didn’t have any luck either. I pull my phone out and dial his number again, fat chance he’ll have the ringer on, but worth a shot. I walk slowly around the clubhouse again, listening carefully for his phone, but no luck.

Fuck it. I guess if he doesn’t want to be found, I’m not spending any more time looking. I make my way back to the bar and sit down next to Carter, who finally reappeared.

“Jack and Coke.” He tells the bartender for me.

“Thanks. Where have you been?”

“Around.” He shrugs, glancing at me out of the corner of his eye. I know he’s absolutely tanked and doesn’t want little sister hassling him.

“Mmkay. You see Ghost anywhere while you were around?”

“I think he was with Cathy or whatever the fuck that chick's name is.” My heart instantly sinks, my stomach twisting in knots so tight I swear I’ll split open at any second.

“When was this?” I huff, standing straight up out of my seat in a heart beat.

“Maybe an hour ago?”

“Where? Going to need a little more details here. I’ve been looking all over for him. Someone cut the damn wires in my car.” I cross my arms against my chest, clearly annoyed with the walk around.

“Why the hell would someone do that?” He narrows his eyes at me.

“CARTER! That’s beside the damn point! God sober up for once, would ya?” I grip his shoulder tightly, shaking him knowing it’s not going to magically sober him, but try anyways.

“Oh, I’m fucking sorry. I forgot it’s Cassie’s world, and we’re just background noise!” He bellows.

“You wonder why I get along better with Cade?! Pull your head out of your fucking ass, you prick!” I take off through the crowd of bikers which has surprisingly thinned out.

“Where are you fucking going! I’m not done talking yet!” Carter huffs after me. He’s ridiculous when he gets this drunk, I don’t even want to be near him.

“Well, I fucking am! You’re acting like a damn child! You’re fucking almost thirty years old, and you’re pouting at the fucking bar as you’ve done for the last fucking decade! This isn’t just about dad. It’s always been like this! Anything goes wrong, and there you are, drowning your sorrows for a month!”

“Oh, like you’re any fucking better?”

“Actually, yeah! How often do you see me without my bearings? You’re like this all the fucking time. Then have the audacity to think you’re in charge of me!” I feel the searing pain stinging my face before I even register what happened, “Did you just fucking slap me?” I scream, pressed up on my tip toes, inches from his face. God I could just… I could... Fuck, I don’t know, but I want to knock him out.

“What are you gonna do about it? Huh?”

“You’re such a fucking loser!” I bring my fist back and swing straight for his jaw. He was way too drunk to dodge it. I watch as the blood starts oozing down his cheek from the gash. I go to walk away, hoping to end it there, but he quickly gets his bearings and pulls me back.

“What? Are you going to beat your little sister? Is that where we’re at now?” I grit out.

“You fucking asked for it!” Carter full-fledged punches me in the face sending me stumbling to my ass.

“I don’t ever want to see you again! You’re a fucking bitch!” I scream as tears sting the fresh cuts from his rings. “You’re fucking dead to me!”

I can see the instant sobering regret on his face as Cade comes tearing through the crowd yelling, “What the fuck did you do! What is wrong with you!” Cade quickly inspects my face before he gets up swinging at Carter.

“Someone fucking get her out of here!” Cade bellows as he disappears behind the group of guys trying to pull them apart.
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