I woke early and saw that Axel had never come home last night. I hoped that everything was okay at the clubhouse, but no news was usually good news.
Since I was alone, I took the time to write some music. Axel had brought his guitar back inside after the funeral and it sat in the closet. I retrieved it and retired to my childhood bedroom, now the guest room, and sat on my old bed with a notepad and pen as I tuned the guitar by ear.
I hadn’t heard a single word from the music producer yet, and each day that passed made me believe more and more that I wasn’t good enough. That wasn’t going to stop me from still doing what I loved to do, though.
A few notes in as I hummed along with the tune, I was interrupted when my phone rang. My heart dropped thinking that it was news from Axel or Careen, but when I saw the unfamiliar number on the screen, my thoughts went elsewhere.
“Is this Evie Kidd?”
It was a man’s voice that I didn’t recognize so I was hesitant to reply. He could be from the Skeletors for all I knew, but the number didn’t match the area.
“My name is Milo Jones. I’m a producer with Limelight Records. Is this Evie Kidd?”
Holy shit. My heart stopped beating for a moment as my palms were sweaty. He actually called. I was actually talking to a producer!
“Yes,” I answered with a cracked voice.
“I’m calling to tell you that we loved your song. Can I meet you at your place today? Say around noon?”
Shit. No, that wasn’t going to work. Nobody could know what I was doing and I knew if I went home, Aaron or someone else would be watching.
“No. We can meet at Dell’s Cafe. Noon.”
“Perfect. I look forward to meeting you, Ms. Kidd.”
He hung up as I sat frozen in my spot, my phone still to my ear. Did that just happen? When I finally pulled the phone away, I knew it was real. The unfamiliar number was there in my call logs. Holy fuck.
And when it was time to meet Milo, I was a ball of nerves as I drove to Dell’s Cafe. I had no idea what to expect or what to even say, but I knew this was the first step to leaving the club life behind for good.
“Ms. Kidd?” I was greeted by a good looking brunette man in a five piece suit. He was cleanly shaven with no tattoos insight. The guy had probably never worn a pair of jeans in his entire life by the looks of it.
I had never been around a man in a suit, so I wasn’t sure if he was trustworthy or not. I felt like I needed to pinch myself.
“Evie is fine,” I replied as we shook hands and sat down at a booth in the back corner.
Dell’s cafe was exactly what you’d expect out of a small-town cafe. Everything was out of date and the food was fried in oil and served with a side of grease. The coffee was cruddy but cheap.
I noticed he had really nice green eyes, a lot like mine when I smiled over at him.
“You look nervous.” He chuckled.
I squirmed in my seat. “A little, yes.”
“Don’t be. You’re fantastic.” His eyes scanned over my upper body and back up to my gaze. “And you look fantastic. It’s just the look we were hoping for from your voice.”
I looked down. What look? Tattoos, ripped jeans, and a plain grey tee? Hardly.
“You have that rocker chick vibe and the way you sing we were hoping for just that look for you. You have the most incredible rasp in your tone that we haven’t heard in years.” He pulled a folded document from inside of his pocket. “We’re hoping to move forward with you if that’s okay?”
He opened the document and slid it to me as my eyes scanned over all the words. It might as well have been written in Greek for everything I could understand. What the hell is this thing?
“That’s a lot of legalities and things we have to put in our contract. Basically, we want to sign you with Limelight Records. You’ll be our artist for a minimum of five years. You’ll work with some of the best musicians and agents in the industry.” I looked up at him, not believing a single word he was saying as he grinned at me. “How does that sound, Evie?”
I swallowed hard before I slowly nodded. “That sounds amazing.” My reply came out softer than I had intended, but I was in shock. Was this really happening? Now I really did pinch myself as I flinched from the pain.
Milo clicked a pen and set it on the document. “All we need is a signature.”
I stared at the document for what felt like hours. I never in a million years thought this was ever going to happen. Leaving the club behind seemed like a pipedream; one that wouldn’t ever come true. I wasn’t sure if I was ready, and I really wasn’t sure if I was going to be able to say goodbye to Dusty.
But then I signed the contract with a shaking hand and then shook Milo’s hand once more.
Slamming back my shot of whiskey, I dropped the glass onto the bar and turned to Smokey. “Ready when you are, brother.”
“Let’s get this over with.”
Smokey and I headed for the basement door just as Axel came up.
“Good luck with him, he isn’t doing much talking this morning.”
“I’ll get him to talk,” I hissed through gritted teeth. I was going to get him to talk if it was the last thing I did. After all, I owed it to my unborn child.
Axel slapped me on the back as me and Smokey descended the stairs back into the dark basement. Gearhead was still down there as I noticed him setting up things on a table next to Vinny.
“What the hell is all that?”
Gearhead turned and grinned at us. “We’ll get him to talk one way or another, boys.”
“Jesus,” I commented as I stepped up to the table and saw all the torture decives. A blow torch, pliers of all sizes, hammers, a saw, and chains. “How many movies have you been watching, man?”
Gearhead laughed and shrugged his shoulders. “Like I said, we’ll get him to talk one way or another.”
“I guess so…” I turned back to Vinny who was wide awake now but still battered the hell up. “How are you doing, Vinny?” I stepped in front of him as I looked down and crossed my arms over my chest.
“I’ve been better.” Vinny laughed and then coughed. “Can I get some fucking water? Whiskey? Something?”
“We don’t waste our booze on the likes of you.” Gearhead stepped forward with a cup filled with an unknown substance. “Here.” he brought it to Vinny’s lips and helped him take a drink.
Vinny coughed and gagged. “What the fuck was that?”
Gearhead shrugged. “Rusty water mostly.”
“Mostly?” I asked.
“Mostly. Probably some piss, too.”
I let out a loud laugh as Vinny started gagging again, spitting on the floor.
“Come on!” Vinny cried as he physically turned green.
“You said you were thirsty.”
“You son of a bitch! You’ll pay for that”
I put my game face on and grabbed Vinny’s collar. “No, you’re going to pay. Tell us where we can find Jimmy Dunken. He’s the only one we want. Your precious club will be saved if you give him up.”
Vinny went straight-faced as he stared up into my gaze. “I can’t tell you where Jimmy is without giving the rest of my brothers away. So I’m not telling you shit.”
I released him and shrugged. “Your choice, I guess.” Then I walked over to the table and started picking up some of the devices, trying to figure out what I wanted to use first. I wasn’t the type to torture information out of anyone, I was usually pretty successful with a good old beat down, but Vinny was a tough nut to crack.
Grabbing a pair of small pliers, I walked back to Vinny and leaned over him.
“What are you going to do with that?” Vinny’s expression turned from his cocky smirk to terror as he watched me grab his hand and open the pliers as I latched onto a fingernail. “Whoa, whoa, whoa!” He cried.
“Where is Jimmy?” I demanded.
“I can’t!” Vinny screamed as beads of sweat rolled down his forehead. “You’re a club brother. You know we never talk!”
“Suit yourself.” Then I pulled. Vinny’s fingernail ripped off from its nail bed as he screamed out in pain. His screams were probably heard outside. “Going to talk now?”
Vinny was still screaming and jumping around in his restraints. “Please! Please don’t fucking do that again!”
“Tell me where Jimmy is, or you’re going to lose more than a fucking fingernail. You can end this all right now!”
Although I was holding it together pretty well on the outside, I felt like a monster on the inside. I just ripped a man’s fingernail off for fuck’s sake.
When Vinny didn’t start talking, I knew I had to try another tactic. I turned back to the table and tossed the bloodied pliers down before I grabbed the torch.
I clicked the button until a blue flame erupted from the tip of the torch before I walked back over to Vinny. Pointing the blue flame at his dick, I smirked.
Vinny jumped and squirmed, crying out, “Oh, fuck! Please! Okay, okay, I’ll tell you!” He stared down at the flame pointed directly at his dick as he began to breathe heavily. “Fuck, man!”
“I’m waiting.” I singed his jeans in the crotch as Vinny screamed.
“Okay! They’re all hiding out at the old abandoned coal mill north of town. They’ll most likely be hiding out in the main mill office. Most of the other buildings are too decrepit to take shelter in. They’ll see you coming from a mile away, assholes.”
I knew the place well. I was a kid when the place was still up and running and my dad knew a ton of guys who worked up there. It was shut down when I was around eleven and that’s when the town slowly went to hell and the Wicked Saints stepped in to help the community stay on their feet.
I shut off the blow torch and heard Vinny sigh out in relief.
“They won’t see us coming if we go in the dark.”
The kid eyed me with trepidation. “You fucking scared me, man. I really thought you were going to burn my dick off.” Vinny laughed. “You’re one crazy son of a bitch, bro.”
“I still might.” I turned the torch back on and pointed it at Vinny’s dick again. “If I found out that you’re lying to me, I will personally burn your dick off and hang it around your neck. Do you understand me?”
Vinny lost the humor in his eyes as he nodded. “I’m telling you the truth. That’s where you’ll find them. But you better hurry because once they realize you have me, they’ll jump ship for sure. We never stay in one place for long.”
“Trust me, we already know that.” I shut off the torch and tossed it back on the table before I leaned on it.
This was not the guy I envisioned myself being all those years ago when I joined the club. I figured I would just be able to sail through life being a brother and always having work and protection, marry the President’s daughter, and live a fairly normal life. But everything changed when I pulled that trigger thirteen years ago.
Turning to Gearhead, I instructed, “Keep him hydrated. We may need more out of him later. We don’t want him dying on us just yet.”
He nodded. “Sure thing. What are you going to do with that information?”
I grinned at him. “We’re going in there, guns blazing if we have to, and we’re getting Jimmy fucking Dunken. I won’t stop hunting him until I have his dead corpse hanging from my hands.”