Chapter 1: Freedom
As I ride behind Tor and beside Vince, I feel fucking great. The wind is against my face, the sun is setting on my right and the open road is up ahead. I tighten my grip on the handles and dare one more look at the sun diving into the sea. This is freedom, my mind decides. And all I want is my freedom.
“Heading straight for the clubhouse,” Tor announces and speeds up a little.
Vince and I follow his lead and we eat the road to Berkeley with our revving bikes. For a while, this is all there is in the world. The bike between my thighs, the sun going red, the road ahead and my brothers by my side. There is little traffic on the road but even when we do hit some we never break the formation, never abandon one another and always protect our King.
Hearing my grandfather talk about tribes in our sad, cut off by snow reservation back in Canada, I never thought I’d find mine in the form of a group of bikers in sunny California. Yet here I am.
Kisemanito, the god of my people, had other plans for me and I need to trust him. I feel the talisman my mother gave me when I followed Tor’s father back to Berkeley. Kisemanito had the one-handed god of the Norsemen protect me here. I am a Cree warrior and Rider of Tyr now and damn proud of it.
“Fucking finally,” Vince says when the road the Riders own appears around the corner. “I need a drink, a burger and a pussy.”
Of all these, I just need the freaking burger. I am famished. As for drinks and pussy...I don’t like alcohol probably ’cause I saw my father drown in it and die though I might share a joint with Stig if he’s up for it. And pussy... Not feeling it. The ride was enough excitement for today. I feel nice and I don’t want some bitch’s mewling spoiling my mood.
It’s Friday and everyone is in. Well, almost everyone. I don’t expect to see Bjorn’s bike in his usual spot. His baby girl is a toddler now and he spends most of his time at home. I get it. Why would he want to be here with a bunch of loud bikers when he gets to share his life with his drop-dead beautiful wife and his precious daughter?
I am glad for him but Bjorn was the only person I could talk to, a friend deeper than the Rider bond, and I miss him. He invites me over all the time and he still works at the garage every day so we catch up. But we no longer go for long rides in silence together, we don’t sip on a beer at night outside the garage and he no longer shares that feeling of a missing part in our soul. He’s found his.
I park the bike in my spot and head inside. There are loud voices, blasting music and the clinging of glass coming out from the door. Tor is already at the bar with Vince and the rest of the brothers welcome us.
“All good?” Daniel asks.
“Tomorrow at the Thing, man,” Tor hits his Earl in the back “Now we drink and fuck!”
“I thought I smelled whore,” a female voice is heard right behind us.
It’s Lysa, Daniel’s daughter and Vik’s Valkyrie. The engagement and wedding rings on her finger glitter under the lights and she is in her usual crop top that leaves her belly exposed. Along with the Valkyrie tattoo. Right where her gunshot wound is. Of all the badass men in here, Lysa might be the most badass of the lot.
“No, Lys, you smelled fucking awesome sex god!” Tor takes her in his arms and gives her a kiss on the cheek.
“Brother, get your hands off my woman before I break them and you won’t be able to jerk off,” Vik pushes Tor off.
“Yeah, yeah, yeah,” Tor mocks and walks away. “And hey, I don’t jerk off. Ever!” Tor gives Vik the finger.
“All good, Ironhand?” Lysa turns to me.
I like Lysa. Not because she is a hot girl with a killer body and a stunning smile. But because she is a hell of a fighter and a loyal Valkyrie. I don’t like nor trust women but this one? This one I can stand for a few minutes.
“Good,” I say.
I never talk much and people that meet me think I am mute. Our new thrall, Jab, thought I was and pulled some sign language on me. His sister is a mute and has learned it to talk with her. He was lucky I didn’t break his fingers but then again, I couldn’t blame the guy. I prefer watching people than talking to them.
“We haven’t sparred for a while,” Lysa smiles.
She has set up a gym in the street, right across Rage’s tattoo parlor and gives lessons of self-defense to women and kids and she is busy most of the time. She still likes to spar with some of us, though, just to keep the blood pumping.
“Tomorrow,” I lift my chin and head for the bar.
It’s always good to talk to Lysa – and yes I do consider two words talking - even if I have to do so under Vik’s strict, possessive look. The brother is too far gone in love with his woman. I don’t get it. I am just over 30 now and I’ve never fallen for a woman. Waste of time, energy and money. I am fine exactly how I am, I triumphantly say to myself and head straight to the booth Stig occupies.
He sits with two of the rotters, one of which has her head on his crotch and sucks his dick openly. I don’t even get hard at the sight. I sit across him and beckon at the joint he holds.
“Sure thing, brother,” Stig passes it to me.
I take one long drag and keep the smoke in. But right when I am waiting for a nice relaxing feeling to take over, I feel someone is right behind me.
“Ironhand,” Demi purrs.
Demi is one persistent bitch. Ever since she turned legal, she’s been here almost every night. Apart from me and Bjorn, there hasn’t been a brother that hasn’t fucked her six ways to Sunday. Even so, in her drunken stupors, she has more than once declared that her sexual fantasy is me and Bjorn fucking her together. She said she would feel like crushed by two mountains. And since Bjorn is taken by a very deadly Russian Mafia princess, she is focused on me.
She puts one hand on my shoulder and the other down through the opening of my shirt. The same way she did before it all turned to shit. That thought alone makes my blood boil. There’s a fucking reason I am not keeping a woman close. Fucking whores the lot of them! I grab Demi’s hand to stop her.
“Come on, baby,” she leans in to rub her fake boobs on me. “You’ve been on a run and I can make you feel real good.”
When her hand touches the talisman I have around my neck, I grab her and throw her down on her ass. Everyone in the bar turns and looks at Demi that yelps when her ass hits the floor. Some of the rotters smile and others come to help her up. I don’t turn but I feel Demi’s eyes on me. Fuck her.
“Man, that was cold!” Stig hits the table. “I thought Canadians are supposed to be nice and shit.”
I look up to him to let him know that the discussion is over and I pass him the joint. Stig shrugs, takes the joint and fists the hair of the bitch still blowing him. Friday with the Riders.