Claiming My Right
Three Tequila’s POV
Orlando General Hospital
Harleigh had been tired after the visits from the doctor and the detectives and had fallen back asleep. Mongo poked his head back in the room and saw that and gestured for me to come out with him. “There’s a guy here that wants to talk to us,” he said.
We followed Detective Jackson as Detective Rosenberg spelled the DEA man standing guard on the room. That was another thing I didn’t like; I was fine that she was protected, but I didn’t like that the Club had been frozen out. The Steel Brotherhood was still reeling from the attacks, and we didn’t like how we were being treated as a warring biker gang instead of a protective family. The Winter Park investigators made it clear they wanted all bikers out of their town, not just the Sons of Tezcatlipoca. We took the elevator to the third floor and went into a conference room. It was already full of suits, and it was clear the Feds were now involved just by the quality of them.
“Thank you for coming, Mr. and Mrs. Lane. I’m DEA Director Frank Grimes, and this is my team. Please sit.” We took seats in the middle of the conference table. “I’m sorry for your loss. Sean and Kelly are old friends of mine, I knew them both in Los Angeles when they met.”
“Thank you,” I said. “Please call my husband Mongo, and I answer to Three Tequila. Mrs. Lane sounds like my mother. Now, what can you tell me about the men who did this?”
“Before we get to that, I’d like to know what you knew of Sean’s activities in the DEA around the time your sister met him.”
I thought back those two decades. “She didn’t say much. I was still in Florida and she was in LA. She told me she met a guy she really liked, and he was an agent with the DEA on a case she was working. She never mentioned his name or what the case was. A few months later, she brings him out to visit. I find out that she had gotten married without telling me and was now Kelly Ryder, and this was her honeymoon! I don’t know what I was more pissed about, that she didn’t share anything with me, or that she married some suit with a desk job.”
Frank started to laugh. “A suit?”
“Yeah. A clean-cut, safe choice suit who probably drove a Volvo for its safety record and played golf on weekends. Kelly had always had a weakness for bad boys, and I thought she’d sold out for the whole white picket fence, two kids and a dog thing. It wasn’t until I saw him out of the suit and on a Harley that I figured out he was really her type. I was shocked to find out he had more tattoos than Mongo. The four of us spent a lot of time riding before they had to move to Quantico for his training.”
“Did they ever talk about his work in California?”
“Just that it was undercover. Kelly got pregnant, they moved away, and we only saw each other a few times a year after that.”
The Director opened a folder and passed us a few photos.The first was of a young Marine officer in his dress blues, the second was a newspaper article showing the same man in Iraq receiving a Bronze Star. “This is your brother-in-law before I recruited him. His name was Captain Andrew Killian when I met him, just before he left the Marine Corps.” He went through the whole story of his recruitment and time undercover, as he became a patched member of the Satan’s Riders and then the Prussians. He ended by saying how Sean was key in shutting down the drug-running operation of the Sons of Tezcatlipoca.
“Those Clubs aren’t even active east of Texas, and the Brotherhood doesn’t associate with them,” Mongo said. “I’ve been in touch with all of the Chapters in the cities we both are in, none have any active beefs. We stay clear of them and they leave us alone.”
“This isn’t a Club beef that got him killed, this is personal. In the raid on the Sons, we didn’t know the safe house had some of their Old Ladies in it. The leader’s wife was killed in the attack. Jesus Carreria blames Sean for his part and that’s why he is dead.”
“I need more than your word,” Mongo said evenly. “The Club is taking this as a direct attack on our membership.”
He looked at me. “You may not want to see this next part, Three Tequila. It’s the crime scene photos from their house.”
Mongo took my hand, and I looked at him. “I need to know,” I said.
Five minutes later, I was throwing up in the trash bin and wondering why I had stayed in the room. It was worse than I imagined; my sister had been brutally tortured and raped while her husband watched. “Are you all right,” my man said as he held my hair.
I just spit and nodded as the Director gave me a bottle of water.
When I sat up, the rest of the men had left the room. “I’m sorry I had to show you that, but I need you to know the full story,” he said. “You confirmed to me that Sean never broke cover, never talked about his undercover work. When he was done, he had a new name, a new badge and was out of the firing line. Even during the prosecution, only a few people ever saw his face, and one was your sister.”
“Then how did they find him?”
“That’s what I have to find out. I have to head back to Los Angeles today, but I’m leaving men here to help protect her. My problem is that Harleigh is still alive, and the Sons of Tezcatlipoca always wipe out the entire bloodline of traitors. Jesus will not stop until she is dead, preferably in a fashion like what happened to her Mom.”
“Have you picked him up yet?”
He shook his head. “We ran into a problem with that. He was pulled over by Los Angeles police an hour after the attack on your clubhouse. It was a positive identification, and it gave him an airtight alibi. We brought him in, he lawyered up, and we got nothing before we had to let him go. If we can’t get someone to confirm he ordered the killings, we have no case against him. With him free, I’m very concerned about your niece.”
I was horrified at the thought. “Can’t you protect her?” Mongo sat back at the table and pulled me into his lap.
Frank sat back in his chair. “Until she gets out of the hospital, probably. She’s the only eyewitness to what happened to her parents. This doesn’t end until we take down the Club and put Jesus back in prison forever.”
“And maybe not then,” Mongo said. “They won’t react well to her being alive, or the fact that they lost three men at our Clubhouse. I need the cops out of there and our weapons back.”
“I can’t help you, that’s a local thing. Use your lawyers.” He let out a smirk. “I find it hard to believe you haven’t found a way to replenish your armory, despite the police presence.”
“We’re just law-abiding citizens who believe in armed self-defense, Mr. Director.” He leaned forward. “Can you get her into Witness Protection?”
“I could, but I have concerns,” he said. “Sean did everything he was supposed to do. He didn’t talk about it, he and Kelly assumed their new identities and remained far away. I don’t know how he was found, but they did. The Sons are tight with the Cartels, and we think the Cartel intelligence people have penetrated our security somehow. We’ve lost two other former deep-cover agents, one DEA and one FBI, since Sean was killed; one in Cleveland and one in Seattle. The deaths were the same, brutally tortured with their families and their faces marked with the Eye.” My stomach rolled. If this was true, we couldn’t trust the Feds to keep her safe. “I’ve got to find and plug the leak before I trust it to keep your niece safe. Your club needs to protect her. Don’t tell me where or how, just find a place to keep her safe until I tell you it is over.”
“What about the hospital?”
“All I can do is keep an officer at the room. I’m leaving two agents here to keep the investigation going, but the security is going to be local. Do what you have to do.” He got up and came around to us, holding his hand out. “Sean was a hero and a friend. Kelly was a good woman. I’m going to find these fuckers and put them away, you take care of Harleigh.”
“We will,” I said.
There was a knock on the door and one of the DEA agents stuck his head in. “Sir, we got the DNA results back on the fourth shooter.”
“Who was it?”
“It wasn’t in the system, but we ran it against Jesus anyway. The lab says it was a familial match, a paternal one in this case.”
“It was Jesus’ son, Jose. We’re putting out a warrant for him now.”
The Director walked to the door. “I have to go. We’ll be in touch.”
Mongo pushed me up. “Go back to her, I’ve got to take care of a few things. We need to have Church tonight to talk about this.”
He walked me back to the room, where I nodded at the policeman and walked inside. Harleigh was still sleeping, her arms and the cast on top of the blanket. I sat in the chair, looking at my only remaining family, and held her hand as I cried.
No matter what, I would protect her.
Once I had Three T back in the room and had verified Harleigh was all right, I walked quickly to the lobby and turned on my phone. The first call was to the Clubhouse, where Tripod answered. I filled him in on the news about Jesus’ son, Jose, being identified as the fourth man. “Make sure we get his photo out to everyone, and send it to all the Chapters as well,” I said. “We need to find this fucker and quick.”
“What if we find him?”
“He killed two patched members, we do what we have to do,” I said vaguely. “Any other news?”
“The Pensacola chapter called ten minutes ago. One of their guys spotted about two dozen Sons of Tezcatlipoca in their cuts heading east on Interstate Ten. They have a guy following them at a distance without his cut on, they are coordinating with the Tallahassee chapter so we can keep eyes on them until they stop.” Fucking fuckers, this was going to get bad if they came to Central Florida. “What do you want us to do?”
“Keep the Clubhouse locked down, nobody goes out in their cuts unless they have a brother with them,” I said. “Pass the word to the Ladies, have them bring the families to the Clubhouse and send guys out to stock up on what we need. I want everyone inside tonight.”
“Is that really necessary? The cops are all over the place still.”
“I’ll tell everyone at Church, set that up for eight tonight. I’m calling the Regional President, we need some backup.”
“Worse.” I hung up, finding the contact for Eclipse. He had been Regional President of the Brotherhood for five years now and lived up in Atlanta, where he had retired and sold his restaurant delivery business so he could ride more. He was called “Eclipse” because the brother was so big, he blocked all the light. “Eclipse, it’s Mongo. I’ve got a problem.”
I’d been keeping him up to date on the events and the investigations, since it had bearing on the Club, but what I told him had him incensed. “Just tell me what you need, brother.”
“I need two or three dozen brothers to help defend the Clubhouse and Harleigh,” I said. “We don’t have enough people to do both, too many members have to work. We’re on lockdown with the news of the Sons coming our way, and that just makes everything more difficult.”
“I’ll make the calls, Mongo. Take care of your club, we’re coming.”
I felt better already. I ran out and got two Raising Canes’ combos, bringing them back to the hospital. Harleigh was up, she and Three Tequila were both crying. Handing over the Caniac combos didn’t stop it. “How are you feeling, Crash?”
“She won’t tell me how they died, Mongo.”
I sat on her bed, trying to decide how to do this. I’d never lied to her, I wasn’t going to start now, but I knew this would crush her. “What do you know of your Dad’s undercover work before he met Mom?”
“Just that they met after he worked a case. They never talked about it.”
I told her the whole story, starting with her father’s recruitment out of the Marines and the time he spent undercover with the outlaw gangs. When I told her about the raid that ended his undercover work, and how the President’s wife was killed, she rolled onto her back and looked at the ceiling. “That’s why they came for him.”
“Yes. His handler at the DEA put them both through a witness protection style program, changing their names and appearances and moving him across the country. He never worked the field again, and his old name was gone. He thinks someone found out.”
She didn’t say anything, she just gripped my old lady’s hand and cried. “There’s more, isn’t there.”
“Yes. I’m telling you this because we are going to have to do things, YOU are going to have to do things to stay safe. You’re lucky you got away, because the Sons of Tezcatlipoca want you dead because you are your father’s daughter, not to mention the three people they lost trying to catch you.” I put my hand on her knee. “You are under police protection, but the Club is going to protect you too. You can’t be alone, and we’re going to have to hide you somewhere until the men after you are dead or in prison.”
“What happened to my parents, Mongo.”
“The Sons raped and tortured your Mom in front of your Dad, then they killed him. They will do the same to you if they get you. You’re our responsibility now, I need you to trust me and the Club to keep you safe.”
She didn’t say anything for five minutes, she just stared at the ceiling deep in thought. Finally, she reached down with her casted hand and covered mine. “When you catch the fucker who did this,” she said softly, “I want to be the one that kills him. I’m claiming my Club right to vengeance.”