18 Years Later
The air was warm. Humid, even with the cool breeze. Summer was at its peak, and there was no end in sight to this massive heatwave. I stared at the rundown building through my rearview mirror. The bar was a decent size, nothing spectacular about it. If anything it would be easy to miss driving down the highway if it wasn’t for the neon red sign that was half-light. It flickered in the darkness of the night, hanging onto its last legs before the final Z in Ritzz burnt out.
I watched as men and women stood outside the bar, cigarettes in hand while they leaned against their bikes. They all chatted with each other, laughing at another day’s work. Obviously, that work probably wasn’t legal considering they all wore the Bethel’s Devils patch.
Bethel’s Devils was a local bikers gang or club as they liked to call it. Rumour has it that they are running drugs in and out of the bar. Dealing to other local dealers and smuggling over state borders. But that wasn’t my job for tonight. Drug dealing and smuggling was not what I was here for. I needed information on Jordan, one of the Devils members, whose side woman was not too happy about the cheating scandal that had come to light. A congresswoman caught cheating on her top executive husband with a no-good, good-for-nothing biker gang member? Oh, you could imagine the horror of the public!
Nevertheless, here I was. Collecting information on said Jordan to help Mr. Davis make sure he gets everything his heart desires in the divorce settlement. It wasn’t my top choice of jobs that I liked to take as a private investigator, but Mr. Davis was willing to pay top dollar for my expertise. How could a girl say no to that?
I looked down at my phone, my eyes scanning the picture of Jordan. His hair was long and blond, his eyes were blue with a large scar cutting across his forehead. He had a spider tattoo on his neck, not in my top favourites of tattoos or placements, to each their own I guess.
My eyes moved back to the rearview mirror. I watched as a loud motorbike pulled into the lot. A large man got off the bike, he removed his helmet showing me his long blond hair.
I gave my dark hair a quick shake with my fingers, giving it a slightly messy look. I popped my jean jacket collar and shoved my phone in the large pocket. I quickly slid from my truck, slamming the rusty door behind me.
I made my way into The Ritzz Bar. The inside was exactly like you’d expect. Rundown bar stools, the fake leather cracked and torn showing the yellow padding beneath. The bar top was old, weathered with age. Dim yellow lighting helped illuminate the room. A few people were sitting at the bar but the majority of the gang were sitting in the corner booth and surrounding tables. I could see a group of four playing a friendly game of poker in the corner. While another group were huddled in the half-moon booth discussing sensitive topics while their women sat beside them, keeping their drinks full and their dicks wet.
I made my way to the bar, sitting down on one of the stools that looked least likely to break under my 130 pounds. I took my chances with one of the stools, it was a little wobbly but would hold up to its job.
The bartender gave me a double look before she moved over to me.
“What can I get ya?” She said as she dried a mixing glass.
“Just a Bud is fine,” I said, wanting to keep it easy. Plus it was in a bottle, so it had a better chance at being clean…not trusting those glasses.
“Sure thing.” She walked away, her red ponytail swishing behind her as she walked to the fridge on the far side.
I heard the barstool pull out beside me. I looked to my right, a tall well-built man sat down beside me. His reddish-brown hair sat in soft curls at the top of his head making his grey green eyes look sharp.
“You seem a little out of place here.” He said nodding to the bartender for another drink before his eyes turned to me.
“Just passing through.”
“What’s a girl like you doing in a place like this?” He raised a brow, cracking open the beer that was given to him.
“Can’t I just stop in for a drink, maybe some food before I continue on my way?” I looked at him. He really was quite good-looking. Strong facial features, wide shoulders, long legs. His only downside was the fact that his black leather jacket held the Devil's crest.
“Sure, but we both know that’s not why you’re here.” He smiled.
Damn, be still my heart.
“A girl like you wouldn’t come within a fifty-foot radius of this place unless you had a reason.” He took a swig of his beer. “So who is it you want information on?”
I looked at him, a smile spread across my lips.
“So, you have me figured out? Just like that?”
He watched me, humor and curiosity swirled in his eyes.
The loud rumble of motorbikes rolling into the parking lot caught his attention. He turned to look at the door, his gaze flickered to the large windows beside the door. The door was thrown open.
A burly man burst into the room. A look of panic was strewn across his face. His eyes were wild as he looked around the room. His eyes landed on Jordan in the back corner.
“Ghosts!” He yelled.
It took point three seconds for everyone to respond. The men jumped into action. They threw the tables down on their sides, kicking the chairs out of the way. Some of the women stood beside their men, pulling their guns from their backs, double-checking that they were loaded while they moved into a safer position.
The red-haired man that had been talking to me moments before turned back to me.
“Get behind the bar. Stay down and out of sight, this isn’t going to be pretty.” He pushed me from my bar stool. His hand latched around my elbow as he dragged me towards the end of the bar.
I was stiff beneath his touch, I tried to pull my elbow from his grip. The overwhelming feeling of panic filled in my stomach. The loud bangs of gunshots met my ears. I let out a small scream as I ducked, rushing to find cover behind the bar.
“Fuck.” Red pulled me in front of his body, protecting me. He ducked us behind the bar and pulled his gun from his holster as he glanced down at his side.
I kept my body hunkered low to the ground. The sound of gunshots had my ears ringing. I watched him as he kept his left hand on his side, while he shot at the others. I looked at him. His face was a stone, his eyes were blazing with anger. The corners of his eyes were tight with pain. I glanced back down at his side.
Jesus. He’s fucking shot.
He ducked back down behind the bar. He winced in pain as he reloaded his gun.
“We have to get out of here. Stay close to me.” His greenish eyes looked me over. “At the end of the hall on the right side is a door to the back alley. Stay close to me, stay in front.” He pushed back up and rang off a few more shots before his hand reached out. He helped me to my feet, keeping myself hunched low behind the bar.
More shots rang off by my head, followed by more coming back towards us. Glasses shattered above my head. I winced as glass came down on top of me.
“Fuck me.” I heard Red say as he watched me shake some of the glass from my clothing. “Go.” He pushed me again. “Go, go!”
We ran for the hall, I could feel his chest pushed up against my back as he kept one hand gripped to the side of my jean jacket.
We made it down the hall, I pushed open the emergency door.
“Come on!” He made a quick break to the back corner of the building. I sprinted behind him, trying to keep up with his long legs.
I watched as he hopped on the back of a bike. He quickly kick-started it. He grabbed the helmet off the back seat and threw it at me. I caught it, my fingers fumbling not expecting to have to catch a flying object.
I looked at him wide-eyed. My heart was racing, my skin was itching as my mind raced. My ears tuned in to the continuous shots that rang out in and outside of the building we had just escaped.
I guess I don’t have a choice.
I pushed the helmet down on my head and climbed onto the back of the bike. I hesitated a half-second before I wrapped my arms around his sides. I felt him tense against my touch.
Panic boiled inside me before my rational brain kicked in and reminded me that my arm was probably pressing against his gunshot wound. As if to confirm that fact, I could feel the dampness of his blood soaking through my jacket.
He revved the engine and took off. The bike shot forward at an unimaginable speed. I sucked in a breath before I tucked my face in the back of his leather jacket and squeezed my eyes shut. I took slow deep breaths as we raced from the bar parking lot and out into the quiet country streets heading back into the city.