Orlando General Hospital
Our group of a dozen riders roared into the parking lot, taking up a line of parking spots as the engines finally stopped. I was on a mission, and Tripod was by my side. “Find out how the FUCK we have five guys here and the Sons get in and take my niece away,” I told him.
“I need to be with you, boss,” he said.
“They won’t let you follow me,”I said. Cop cars lined the entrance, and a half-dozen were waiting inside. “I’ll call you.” Tripod stopped and walked over to where the other men had been staying outside the entrance. I didn’t even think they knew Harleigh was gone from the way they reacted to our arrival. The police in the lobby DID know, and they moved to intercept me.
“Sir, you can’t go upstairs now,” the Sergeant said as his men lined up in front of the elevator.
“My wife is in the emergency room,” I said as I turned that way. “Just try and fucking stop me.”
“Can we talk on the way,” he said. I nodded as I moved through the doorway. “The police officer who was on the room overdosed with a sleep medication called Restoril. It’s a serious prescription narcotic, and his body shut down and he damn near died. They shocked his heart back on the floor outside your niece’s room. That’s why there are so many police here, and they’re all tense.”
Fuck. This would make things much more difficult. “I’m sorry. He’s going to recover?”
“That’s what we hear, but he isn’t expected to wake up for several hours. Your wife was injected with a different chemical I can’t pronounce.”
“You have a suspect?”
“The detectives are working it, and we’re checking the security tapes. We were hoping that you could ask the men you had here if they noticed anything.”
We were almost to the ER. “You can bet your ass I’ll be asking them the same fucking thing. How could the Sons of Tezcatlipoca just waltz in here and take her from under their noses?”
He handed me a card. “If you find out anything, here’s my card. I’m sure the detectives will be talking to you later.”
“Thank you.” I pushed through the door and went up to the desk. I couldn’t see her yet, but she did hand me a stack of papers to sign. I waited for thirty minutes in the waiting room as I texted everyone who needed to know. One was a group text to all the Chapter Presidents and Regional Officers, in which I laid out everything that had happened and what I knew. “THE SONS HAVE HER AND IF JOSE HASN’T KILLED HER ITS BECAUSE JOSE WANTS TO DO IT. WATCH EVERYTHING HEADING TO LOS ANGELES.”
I had just hit send when my name was called. “The doctor will see you now,” she said. “Come with me.”
We went back into the hallway and into an exam room. A young doctor was typing on the computer, and my old lady was sleeping on the bed. He introduced himself as Doctor Reynolds, then gestured for me to take a seat. “How is she, Doc?”
“She’ll be fine in a few hours,” he said. “She received an injection of a sedative, we believe it was Diprivan but the chemical analysis will not be done until tomorrow. It caused her to fall asleep quickly. Her vitals were stable when she was found, and she should wake up in a few hours.”
I relaxed, knowing she wasn’t in danger. “When can I take her home?”
“When she wakes up and we verify she has restored her normal motor and urinary function. I’m sure the police will want to talk to her.” He got up and shook my hand. “She’s going to be fine. The nurse will be in periodically to check on her, but I’m sure she’d like you here when she wakes.”
“I’ll be here, Doc. Thanks.”
“Oh, and no phones back here. Hospital rule.”
Fine. I moved the chair next to her bed so I could hold the hand that didn’t have the IV in it. I looked up when someone knocked. “Detective Jackson,” I said. We’d talked after Harleigh fled to my clubhouse, he was a decent cop and knew about the Sons.
“I heard she’ll be fine,” he said.
“Yeah. I heard about your guy, is he still doing all right?”
“Stable. All right if I sit down?”
“Sure.” He pulled the doctor’s stool over and sat down, pulling out his notebook. “Do you have any idea who took Harleigh Ryder tonight?”
I let out a breath. “I think we both know who did it, Detective. Hell, your DEA guy was the one who warned me about it! Why do you think I had five Club members out front around the clock, and Three T was in the room when I wasn’t?” I clenched my fist, thinking about what would have been different. “If you’d let my Club members up, I could have kept a couple of guys in the room all the time.”
“I can’t have you doing that, and it’s not like we did nothing. Officer Gant was nearly killed while protecting her.”
I nodded. “I’m not minimizing what you did, I’m second guessing everything. Your man didn’t even clear leather on these bastards, did he.”
It was his turn to shake his head. “From what we’ve been able to put together, he drank a laced cup of coffee and passed out. Your wife and I assume your niece, were knocked out with injections. We found two used syringes in the room.”
“Any other leads? Video surveillance? Plates?”
“These hospitals don’t spend shit for security. There were cameras in the elevator and the stairwell, but half of them weren’t working. This is the best we got, from a camera on the Professional Building next door that shows the loading dock.” He pulled the printout out of his pocket, it was grainy and in black and white. I could make out Harleigh, she was in a wheelchair with her head down. The woman pushing her was wearing glasses and had light shoulder-length hair, but you couldn’t make out much else. “Can you believe they still use 480P cameras and videotape? It’s a damn antique. Can’t make out the plate either, or the people inside.”
“So we have nothing,” I said.
“We’re dusting for prints and interviewing staff. When your wife and Officer Gant wake up, we’ll see if they can give us anything else.” It was a shit sandwich, no two ways about it. My niece was gone and the only thing I could think of was to roll up on the Sons of Tezcatlipoca up in Ocala and kill all the fuckers I found until I found out where she was. Detective Jackson must have figured out what I was thinking. “I’d caution both you and your Club not to do anything stupid. We know about the Sons, and we have surveillance on them. They are still in Ocala, and they’ve been keeping out of sight. The DEA is all over them, and if you move towards them, we’ll stop you.”
“We’re a law-abiding club, Detective.”
“And I’m warning you we’ll get a court order to keep you away if we have to. We’re not going to let you get in a gang war in our town. Take your wife back to the Clubhouse and keep your men in check, or we’ll have to do that for you. ”I looked at my wife and nodded. “I’ll be back when she wakes up.”
He left, and a few minutes later Tripod walked in. “They let you back here?”
“You’re my brother,” he said. “I finally convinced them in the waiting room that if I could come back here, I’d send some of the guys home. They don’t like a room overflowing with cops and bikers.” He walked over to stand by Three Tequila’s bed. “How is she doing?”
“She’ll be fine, she just has to sleep off the sedative that was used on her.”
“Good, the men are on edge. Your text this morning didn’t help either, another five chapters are sending men down and every Club is alerted to watch for movement of the Sons. There’s a meeting of the National Council at noon, you need to be on that call.”
“Harleigh may be being tortured right now, they may even have killed her,” I said. “We can’t wait long before we have to do something. What do our men in Ocala say?”
“It’s quiet. The Sons have stayed in their rooms, all we’ve seen of them is a guy going out to get food. Cops are watching them too.”
“Any activity earlier?”
“Some working girls showed up but bailed when they saw the uniforms around.”
I nodded. “Go back and make plans. Have the guys coming from the other Chapters go to Ocala, not Orlando. The detective made it clear they are watching us and will intervene to stop a gang war. We can’t roll out of here on a war footing or they’ll stop us.”
“It shall be done, boss. What are you going to do?”
“I’m going to get my woman back to the Clubhouse where she is protected, then I’m going to Ocala. I’ll take the cut off if I need to, but I’m killing Jose, and no one is going to stop me.”
“No,” my VP said. “You’re Club first, and you’re not alone. I won’t take away your revenge, but I won’t let you throw your life away either. We do this right and you go home to Three Tequila because God help us if you don’t.”
I looked down at my woman and squeezed her hand. “I’ll fucking kill you if you die on me,” she whispers.
“Baby,” I said as I leaned over her. She was trying to open her eyes but kept closing them. “Hit the lights, Tripod.” He jumped up and turned them off, and she opened her eyes and smiled. “How are you?”
He eyes suddenly got wide. “Harleigh. Is she all right?”
I couldn’t say anything, my heart caught in my throat and my mouth couldn’t move. She read my expression, tears coming into her eyes as I fought against the truth.
It was Tripod who had to break the news. “Harleigh was kidnapped, Tequila. The person who drugged you had knocked out the cop outside the room, then vanished with her. We’re looking for her but we have no leads.”
“Oh god,” she whispered and closed her eyes. Tears ran down her face and she squeezed my hand. “You have to find her.”
“We will. You have to rest so I can get you home, love.” I looked at Tripod. “Tell the nurse she’s awake. The sooner she gets checked out the faster we can go home.”
He ducked out and she turned her head back to me. I wiped the tears from her face as she sobbed. “I’m sorry. It happened so fast, I couldn’t stop her!”
“Shhh…. It’s all right, baby. We’ll get her back.”
“I can’t lose her, she’s the only family we have left!” I leaned down and hugged her, letting her sob into my shoulder as the pain and loss came out. We were rudely interrupted by the nurse, who took her vitals and asked her some basic questions, then Doctor Reynolds. Ten minutes later, he was done. “When can I go home,” she asked.
“As soon as you can go to the bathroom,” he said. “Control of your bladder shows the drug has worked out of your system enough to be released. Take it easy the rest of the day, and call if you have any symptoms other than fatigue.” He finished writing out the discharge instructions. “The nurse will release you when you are ready.”
“Thanks, Doc,” I said. He left the room.
He left the room, and two men came in. “Good morning, I am Detective Jackson of the Orlando Police Department, and this is Special Agent Berquist of the FBI. Are you up to answering some questions?”
I looked at her and she nodded. “I don’t remember much.”
“If you could just tell me what happened, please.”
She closed her eyes for a second, then looked back at him. “I was reading my book, ‘It’s A Mate Rejection Thang’ by MaxD01. I have a thing for werewolf books,” she said with a laugh. “I heard someone come in and looked up. It was a nurse I hadn’t seen before. She came in and looked at Harleigh for a minute. I went back to reading.”
“Can you describe her?”
“Young, mid-twenties maybe. Clear skin, bright blue eyes, blond hair straight to her shoulders. She was beautiful, really. Wedding band, no diamond.”
“You saw all this?”
“I see a lot of girls come through the clubhouse, and I size them up in moments. I didn’t sense anything wrong in this one until her hand was over my mouth, and a syringe was in my neck. I blacked out and woke up here. That’s all I know.”
He pulled out the surveillance photo. “Is this her?”
She looked at the blurry image. “It probably is, but that’s not very clear.”
The FBI agent took the photo from her. “If I arrange for a sketch artist to talk to you, could you work with her?”
“Call me and I’ll arrange it, but not this morning,” I told them. “She’s still recovering, and I need to get her home.” They left me their cards before they walked out. I looked down at my wife, she looked over at the bathroom. “Should I help you?”
“Please.” Ten minutes later, she was being wheeled out. The Club members gathered around her, hugging and comforting her as I went to get my Harley. She got on behind me, her arms taking their familiar place around my waist and her chin on my shoulder. The rest of the guys pulled up behind us, and we headed back in club formation.
A formation that was short one very important rider.