Three Tequilas POV
Returning From Ceremony
Two down, one to go.
I was sitting with three of the newly widowed Steel Ladies, trying to comfort them in their loss. We rallied around our own, and the Ladies would stay with them as they adjusted. “What do I do now,” Bambi cried into my shoulder. She got her road name after her first time riding on the back of Gunny’s Harley; she was so excited she could hardly stand.
“You grieve him and get through the day,” I said. “The big decisions can wait a bit. I need you to take care of yourself; eat, sleep, and lean on the Ladies for help.” We would be there to help her sort through insurance, probate, and everything else. She worked at Disney, a decent job but not enough to keep the big house payment and be around for her two-year-old son, who was sleeping on Mighty Elk’s lap. She could think about downsizing later.
I was doing what I needed to do as a Steel Ladies Chapter President, but I was barely holding on. I needed my Mongo to hold me and tell me everything would be all right, and he was still in jail.
We arrived back at the temporary clubhouse to find the rows of folding chairs gone, replaced by tables and chairs. The caterers were set up along one side of the big hall, while a long bar and a line of kegs dominated the other. The photos of the dead were still along the back, but the stage was gone.
In its place was a long table under each person’s image with things from his or her life. The widows and I were amazed at what we found there, especially since everything in the Clubhouse was gone. A book at each let people write memories for the survivors of the good times, and who was there.
Bambi and her son embraced as they stood by Gunny’s table. It had lots of things from his twenty years as a Marine. He’d been buried in full dress uniform with an honor guard, with his Brotherhood cut tucked by his side.
I moved over to Harleigh’s table. It was covered with photos of her growing up, playing baseball, in her judo gi accepting the Florida Champion trophy, even when she got her Steel Ladies cut. Tripod, our VP, saw me crying and came over to hug me. “How?”
“The stuff from her house was moved to a storage garage before the fire. We had a few people look through it, and her friends from high school and college did the rest.”
I could see some girls in softball jerseys hugging each other as they cried. I looked at the table, tears falling as I touched each thing. Tripod stayed with me as I moved to Sean’s table. There were photos of him as a Marine, and a few veterans were standing there. “Did you serve with him,” I asked.
“We did, and we are so sorry,” an older man in full dress said. “I was in his Company for his last year, and he was a fine Marine. We couldn’t believe he got messed up with drugs and gangs, and only now do we see why. He sacrificed a lot for us.”
“Thank you.” I introduced myself since he had been my brother-in-law, then introduced Tripod to them. I left them to go to my sister’s table. The first to die, she was at the end. Tripod brought me a chair as I broke down sobbing for her, and the Ladies surrounded me too.
I looked at the memories; sports, graduation, her law license, and first case. A photo of her leaning back into Sean’s arms in front of a waterfall. Their wedding, Harleigh’s birth, both of them getting their cuts. I held the photograph in my hands of the two of us with Harleigh in between us, looking back over our shoulders at the camera in our Steel Ladies-Orlando cuts. My tears were dropping onto the frame.
I didn’t know how long I’d been crying when my phone rang. I pulled it out, a little pissed off someone would be calling now, then I saw it was Juanita, Mongo’s lawyer. “Hello?”
“T, it’s Juanita. Mongo is being released; he’s processing out now.” I dropped the phone. “Hello?”
“I’m here,” I said as I picked it up. “Really?”
“I was with the District Attorney when she made the call. It was Manilo all along, and they have evidence. They couldn’t keep him. Do you want to pick him up, or I could order him an Uber.”
“NO! The Club will get him.” I waved Tripod over. “Thank you.”
“You’re welcome. Keep my number on speed dial; I think you’ll need it.”
I told Tripod, and he took over. “ATTENTION!” The place got quiet. “Mongo’s getting out since they finally figured out he’s innocent.” Shouts echoed through the room. “Prospects, load his ride into the van with Three Tequila. Any Brother who wants to go fetch him with me, let’s roll.”
The party was going to continue for hours, so by the time we rolled out, we had at least three dozen motorcycles in our group. They stayed outside talking to some of the cops and deputies that had descended on us, still thinking we were the trouble. “Invite them to the party, it was their men too,” I told the boys as I went in.
I only waited five minutes before he came out, dressed just like I’d left him. I jumped into his arms, and he spun me around as we kissed. “Let’s get the fuck out of here, we’re missing the party,” he said.
We walked out to cheers, and I got on his new Ultra Glide which the Prospects had placed up in front. We were cheered as we arrived, and Mongo and I were back where we needed to be. We were honoring our fallen.
The party was a blowout, and by the end of the night, I felt better. I had so many people tell me about Easy, Peasy and Crash and their antics; I even laughed a few times.
The building was filled to overflow, spilling into the parking lot and forcing the Ladies to take prospects on emergency food and booze runs. The reloadable debit cards Chase left with us were a lot lighter the next day. The rank and file police, seeing the Sons had killed their brothers and we weren’t the thugs they made Mongo out to be, defied their Chief and showed up en masse. It was past three am when the last guests were home or transported to their hotels by the prospects.
I looked around the big space as Mongo hugged me from behind. “I like this building, a lot more room and fully air-conditioned. We couldn’t have pulled it off in our old building.” That old clubhouse was a third this size, including the garage. “What if we bought this place using the insurance and sold the old property for development?”
“It’s a lot more money, but I get what you mean. We could have three times as many rooms, all bigger and nicer.”
“I’ll talk to Rori. If she’s serious about putting the rest of the money from that house, she got to the Club, maybe the numbers work. I’d rather fix this place up and keep it than move again in a year.”
“We can work out some numbers and vote. Right now, your tight little ass is getting on my bike. I’m taking you home and reminding you who your man is.”
I turned and hugged him. “It’s been so long; it might take two or three reminders.”
Manilo’s POVAfter Memorial Ceremony
My work here done, I touched my nose after finishing my impromptu speech. I’d come here for two things, and verifying Chase and Rori were werewolves was the biggest. The background checks on them were confusing; both had big holes in their past. Chase had a birth certificate but was homeschooled in the Pacific Northwest. He’d gone to college and med school before suddenly leaving his psychiatric internship in Seattle over a year ago. He still had a Washington state drivers license and an apartment, but his mail was forwarded to a post office box in Two Harbors, Minnesota.
His mate Rori was more of a mystery. We could find nothing on her before two years ago. She was in pictures with the Orlando chapter on rides and was an accomplished artist. We found multiple photos of her work on murals, paintings, and motorcycles.
Now, she holds title to almost a thousand acres of land, lives in a luxury lake home, and has two babies. She’s barely nineteen! She’d been hidden away by someone as she grew, but now ran the Arrowhead Pack with Chase.
We suspected their involvement from pictures of the guard dogs they brought; they were much heavier than German Shepherds. The smell was the final test; it confirmed they weren’t human like the others here.
My mate Consuela, my cousin, and his mate were already driving to the North Shore and would arrive in the middle of the night. If the wolves had Harleigh, they were to bring her back, and Jesus could finish his revenge. Killing Chase and Rori for killing Jose was a bonus.
I didn’t make it off the podium before men in dark suits surrounded me. “Mr. Correria, we’d like to ask you a few questions,” the man in charge said.
“I’m sure you would,” I said as I kept walking. I needed to get out of here before the cameras turned off or things could get ugly.
One of the men grabbed my arm. I stopped and stared at him, making him look away and release me. “You need to come downtown with us, sir.”
I pulled my sunglasses out of my cut while I considered my response. I was trying to get the Feds off our back. “If you have questions, that’s too bad. I won’t talk to a cop, ever, without a lawyer paid $500 an hour to tell me not to talk to cops. Excuse me.” The men surrounding me didn’t move. “Am I being detained, Agent?”
He didn’t have cause to arrest me, and he knew it. “No sir, you’re not.”
“I’m leaving.” I walked out the gate to where my rental car was waiting. I knew what the Feds and their task force would do. They would find a way to get a warrant, but until then, they would tail me and maintain surveillance. I wouldn’t put it past them to put a locator beacon on my car.
I drove to the airport, turning in my car and immediately being picked up by my Cartel contact. “The bosses happy,” I asked.
“They like decisive actions. Your men failed, and now they are dead. Pretty decisive to me,” she said.
“What is the plan now?”
“I drive to my people near Fort Myers, and they put you on a boat, and we smuggle you into Mexico until things cool down.”
I nodded and leaned the seat back, needing a nap after all the travel. When I woke, we were on a two-lane road in the middle of an orange grove. Nothing was in sight either way. “He should arrive in ten minutes. You might want to get out and stretch.” I grabbed my bag and got out, stretching and bending like the cat I was.
I heard a car approach, a white Honda Pilot with a man driving. I was so focused on the new car that I didn’t even sense the danger until the bullet hit my neck from behind.
I reached up, feeling my blood spraying through my fingers as I turned towards her.
She fired again and