Carlos Pachino’s (VP, Bay Area Sons) POV
(Trigger warning- sexual violence)
My two-year-old son had crawled into my wife’s lap, crying loudly into her chest. She sat in the corner of the darkened room, unable to get him to stop crying. She couldn’t hold him with her hands cuffed behind her back and her left ankle chained to the wall. She was crying as well, trying to understand how everything in our lives had gone to shit in one night.
The men who took us were our friends and Club family; men who respected her as the Vice President’s old lady. Now they looked at her with disgust, and me with barely hidden rage. We could hear them in the next room as Ten Taco and Rattler argued back and forth. “Look, the President isn’t going to care if we start the party early,” Rattler said. “We won’t beat her up yet, everyone will still get their turn with her.”
“We’re just supposed to watch them until he comes back,” Taco replied.
“Dude, it could be days. If I have to put up with that crying, I’m gonna tap that ass.”
Jordanna’s eyes got wide, and she started sobbing harder, the tears soaking the bandana gagging her mouth. I couldn’t do anything; I was tied to a chair in the center of the room. My hands were cuffed together behind me, then ropes tied through the metal frame led to my ankles. The result was that I couldn’t move. I was gagged but not blindfolded; they wanted me to see my family suffer before I did.
I looked over at my five-year-old boy; he was in the opposite corner of the room, his ankle chained to the wall. He had tried to fight them, and a hard backhand knocked him into the wall and out cold. The rings my Master-at-Arms wore had ripped his cheek open. I could see the blood creating a hand-sized pool on the dirty vinyl floor.
He was still breathing, but I almost wished he wasn’t. I’d been involved in the execution of a traitor once, ten years ago before I met my wife. We raped and tortured everyone he loved to death in front of him the first day, taking everything away before we even touched him. We took our time with the torture; his screams went on for days before we finally put a bullet in his head. I’d rather my boy die now, peacefully, than go through that.
The door opened, letting some light in from the lamp in the next room. We were in an abandoned house, one that long ago had been taken over by vagrants and drug users. There were hundreds of them in the Oakland area that were waiting to be torn down; the sparsely populated neighborhoods wouldn’t hear our screams, and if they did, the people wouldn’t do anything. Nobody trusted the cops, and they knew enough to mind their own business.
“The President isn’t going to like this,” Taco said.
“Don’t be such a puta, Rattler. I’ve been watching her shake that ass for years, and I’m trying it out before it gets worn out. It’s not like Carlos here is going to need it anymore.” I struggled to get free as Rattler walked up; he stood over my wife as she shivered in the corner. “Come quietly and your boy won’t get hurt. Fight me, I’ll hurt him and you, and I’ll like it. Are you going to do what I tell you?” She nodded. “Good.” He picked up my younger boy and moved him across the room, setting him with his big brother. He punched me in the gut as he passed by, then unlocked her ankle cuff. “Come on, bitch. There’s a couch in the other room we can use. Don’t worry, Carlos. I’ll take good care of your wife, and I’ll leave the door open so you can watch.”
I screamed and fought, but I could do nothing as he pulled her out of the room. He tossed her onto the stained and torn couch, then moved it around so the back was facing me. Grabbing my wife by the hair, he stood her up and used his knife to cut her clothes away. He grabbed her tits, then smacked her ass before shoving her onto the couch on her knees. Her head was over the back, her eyes looking in mine as he dropped his jeans and moved behind her.
I heard a smash and a door hitting the wall, then the sound of gunshots. “POLICE,” someone yelled as Taco turned towards the sound. The knife in his hand moved up just before his head exploded in a red mist. He fell forward, his body bouncing of Jordanna’s back before sliding to the ground.
“CLEAR,” someone said, and a man in black body armor and helmet rushed through the door to my room. He moved in and to the right, while another man behind him went left. The flashlight on their rifles checked the room before returning to the boys in the corner. “CLEAR,” the first man yelled. “SEND IN THE MEDICS,” he yelled as he walked over to them. “TWO CHILDREN, ONE INJURED.”
The second man came up to me, tugging the gag out of my mouth. “Carlos Pachino?”
“Our boss wants to talk to you.”
I looked at him like he was an idiot. “This was all the fault of you cops! I never betrayed the club, but you let them believe I did. You set me up to be killed, you bastards!”
“You are all still alive, be thankful for that. We raided this place for your wife and kids, not to save a piece of shit like you,” he said.
The SWAT medic was checking out my older boy as another carried my young boy out. Looking past the officer, I could see Jordanna had a blanket around her while another medic checked her out. They wheeled a gurney in, carefully loading my son and wheeling him out while I remained tied to the chair. The officer finally cut the ropes away, then removed my handcuffs. “I’m not under arrest?”
“If we place you under arrest, you have the right to an attorney,” a man in a suit said as he came into the room.
“Director Lawrence Miller,” I said. “This is twice now you’ve had the cuffs taken off of me.” He was the one who cut me loose from custody after the raid.
“You’re a lucky man, Carlos. We planted a tracking device and a bug in your cut before you were released. I apologize for the delay in the rescue, but it only sends information out once an hour, and we had to plan the raid.” He helped me to my feet, my legs a little shaky after being tied for hours. “I don’t have much time, so I’ll get right to it. You have a choice, right here, right now. I can let you join your family at the hospital, and you can go about your business, for as long as you can stay alive. Or, you become a cooperating witness against the Sons and help us put them away. If you do that, you and your family will stay on a military base where you will be safe until the trials finish. After that, you will be sent into the Witness Protection Program. We’ll give you a new identity and a new life, Carlos. You have to choose.”
“I’ll rat them out,” I said without hesitation. “I’ll do whatever you need. Just take them somewhere safe.”
“I thought you would say that.” Another gurney came in with a black body bag on top. “We’re going to have to divert attention from you, so hop up here and we’ll zip you up.”
“A body bag?”
“We put out the story that the Sons killed you during the raid. Your family is already on their way to a secure location; we will wheel you out with the press here and I’ll make a statement. Your two buddies are already in the meat wagon, your ride just arrived.”
“Fine.” I laid down on the gurney, and they moved my legs in and zipped me up. The zipper was left an inch or so from the top so I could get air. Straps tightened across my hips, legs and chest, then it started to move.
“Try holding your breath as we go outside until you hear the coroner’s van door close,” Miller said. He patted my arm. “Relax, you’re safe now.”
I took a couple of deep breaths and held them as I was lifted down the stairs and rolled to the street. The gurney pushed inside the van, and I heard the door slam. The attendant unzipped the bag so I could breathe. “Relax, we need to get away from the scene before you get out.” A few minutes later, he unbuckled the straps and helped me sit up. “Take off your clothes and put on this,” he said as he handed me a set of blue overalls. I looked at them, they were from “A-1 Office Cleaning” and looked big enough. I pulled my boots off, then got dressed before putting my boots back on. He handed me the matching logo ballcap and a pair of sunglasses as the van came to a stop. “Get out and into the other vehicle, and good luck.”
“Thanks,” I said. The door opened, and an agent helped me down then I was put in the back of a black Suburban with darkened glass. We drove over the bridge into San Francisco, parking in the basement of the Government Building.
For the next three days, I told them everything I knew. I ratted out every friend I ever had. I told them every detail of our drug business and showed them where the bodies were. At night I returned to the holding cell, waiting for the Skype call to come from Jordanna and the kids. They wouldn’t tell me where they were, and she didn’t know, but that was all right. They were alive and had a future now.
Arrowhead Alpha Home
The babies woke me just after six, leaving me with very little sleep. I nursed them but couldn’t finish; my milk supply was drying up, from the pregnancy and my trips. Mark screamed bloody murder as I pulled him off, stopping a few minutes later when his bottle was ready. I didn’t know how a single Mom did it; I had staff and nannies and security, and I was still exhausted.
The hits kept coming. I went downstairs to get some coffee, and the smell of bacon caused my stomach to flip. I ran to the bathroom, barely making it before I was throwing up in the bowl. Of course, I managed to get vomit on my curly red hair. I wiped as much as I could off with toilet paper and flushed.
“Alpha? Are you all right?” It was one of Cheryl’s warriors.
I rinsed my mouth out with water and spit it into the sink. “I’m fine,” I said.
“All right. The nannies took the babies to finish eating in front of the fireplace. Breakfast is ready.”
“Thanks.” I didn’t want to risk the smell upsetting me again, and a cold fear ran through me. What if I couldn’t eat bacon during my pregnancy? By Luna, what did I do to deserve THIS punishment?
I looked at my bedhead and raccoon eyes in the mirror, then trudged back up to my room to take a shower. I asked my Omegas to bring breakfast for me out to where the babies were; toast with jam, coffee, and juice. I shampooed the morning sickness out of my hair, wondering why it was hitting so soon.
Maybe I needed to get a shorter hairstyle.
Ten minutes later I was coming down the stairs, dressed comfortably in jeans, a T-shirt and a sweatshirt. “How are my babies,” I said as I sat on the blanket during their tummy time. Both could hold their heads up, and they giggled and reached for me as I came closer.
Cheryl smiled at me as I laid on my back between them. I picked up Cheryl, and she giggled as I held her over my face, my nose going up to tickle her belly. She giggled, then hiccupped, then projectile vomited into my hair. “Oh my Luna I’ll take her,” the nanny said. She used her ever-present towel to wipe her face, then handed it to me. I cleaned my head as best I could, then trudged back upstairs to take another shower.
I was pulling on a new sweatshirt when Cora linked me. “Rori, Chairman Coffey just showed up at our gate and says he needs to talk to you and Chase,” she said. “He asked we keep this visit quiet.”
Shit. What else could happen? I hadn’t seen the Chairman since my grandfather Charles’ funeral four months ago. Charles had been flying to a Pack in Montana when his plane disappeared over Lake Michigan. There wasn’t a distress call, and with the wreckage strewn over such a large area, the National Transportation Safety Board accident investigators knew it broke apart at altitude. There wasn’t enough evidence to determine if the explosion was accidental or intentional, and the small jet didn’t have a flight data recorder. It was likely I would never know how he died.
I had my suspicions.
We had killed the bastards responsible for the mistreatment of wolves, and the ones involved in the destruction of my entire Pack, Keith and I excepted. The Chairman had been a big help as we got the Pack up and running, but not everyone was as excited. The balance of power had shifted; when one group gains power, another loses it. The Nygaard family is in charge of three Packs now, and another three Packs are close allies. When rumors started that Chase’s mother Colletta was involved with my grandfather Charles, someone panicked and killed him.
Someone who didn’t want Charles to be the next Chairman.
“Have him brought to my home, he can have some breakfast and we can talk. I need you to keep preparations going, Keith can make sure I don’t kill him.”
“He’s on his way. The guards will have the Chairman at the front door in four minutes.” I linked the Omegas in the kitchen that I had a meeting in my office and to bring food and coffee for my guest. I made it to the front door just as the Chairman’s car stopped. Grabbing my jacket and slipping into my Uggs, I met him as he got out. “Mr. Chairman, welcome to Arrowhead,” I said.
He looked past me. “Thank you, Alpha King. Is Chase inside?”
“He’s out of town, sir. Please, this way.” I led him inside and to the office, offering him coffee and danishes as Keith arrived and closed the door. He sat at the chair in front of my desk as I added sugar to my cup. “What can I do for you, Mr. Chairman?”
He set his cup on my desk and stared into my eyes. “Your actions have not gone unnoticed by the Council. Despite our warnings, you continue to involve your Pack in the affairs of a human biker gang. This puts all of us at a great risk of exposure, a risk that will no longer be tolerated.”
My hackles were up. “What do you mean by that, sir.”
“There are a dozen Pack Affiliates in the continental United States, humans who know our secret and have been allowed to live. All but one are in your Pack.” I let out a low growl; these Affiliates included my adoptive mother and stepfather and the Steel Ladies Presidents who had protected me while I was on the run. They were Pack just like they had a wolf. “Your Pack maintains close ties with human clubs, inviting them onto your territory and visiting them. Now your relationships have drawn the attention of Law Enforcement.”
“That is my business, Mr. Chairman.”
“It is our risk of exposure, therefore it is Council business. This is your only warning, Alpha Rori. This Pack was given a lot of leeway due to your background and makeup, but that time is coming to an end. You need to separate your Pack from the humans before our secret is compromised. The Council will not approve any additional requests for Pack Affiliates, and you are to follow our laws for humans learning of our true nature. You can and will conduct yourselves as all other Packs do in regards to humans.”
I was squeezing the edge of the desk as I forced my claws back before they could make more dents in the white oak. “That sounds like an ultimatum, Mr. Chairman.”
“It’s the way it has to be, Alpha King. Thank you for the coffee; I must be going. My plane will be done fueling shortly. I would appreciate it if you would keep this conversation between us and your mate; I don’t want to stir things up any more than it already is. Stay out of the news, Alpha.” He stood and shook my hand while I was debating whether to smile he was leaving or growl and rip his throat out. I went with the smile, holding my wolf back while I walked him back to his car and watched him drive away.
That was three. The rest of my day better be fucking unicorns and rainbows, because the morning was a shitshow.
I heard the nanny asking for paper towels to clean up the blowout from Mark’s diaper, and just leaned against the wall and smiled as the smell hit me. It wasn’t in my hair, so I was in luck. Someone else was at one.