Chapter 31: Late Lullabies
I am lost in a haze as Iris wraps around me and I have no idea if it’s night or day around us. Her hands move and trails up my arms, on my chest before twining around my neck. I pull more as if I can make her one to me, make her disperse the darkness in me. Nothing can ever compare to Iris’s against me, her lips on mine, her soft tongue stroking me. I need food no more, she is all the nourishment I need. When one hand falls from my neck and lands gently on my abs, I tighten. All of me. Including the fucking erection I am shamelessly rubbing against her.
And then the door of the bar opens and I turn my head to protect Iris from anything coming onto us. Stig walks out, joint in his hand, and lifts his chin to me. I do the same, gripping Iris even more. Stig shifts his look between me and Iris toying with his lip ring before lighting his joint. I don’t like his examining look, as if he expects me to do something bad to Iris. I clench my jaw and warn him off with one look. Stig takes the hint and goes back in.
“Maybe...” Iris says softly, “we should go to your room.”
I look down to her and her cheeks are flushed. I raise my finger and I caress her red cheek.
“I told you,” her cheeks redden even more, “I like this,” she touches my lips.
Without thinking I kiss her fingers.
“No, no,” Iris withdraws them. “I am...I need to get clean.”
“Let’s go,” I drag her after me in the bar.
Most of my brothers turn to me but only Runner comes up and searches my face. I know why that is. When we came back with Iris, I went straight to my room. I have kissed her and then I acted as if it was rotten. But it wasn’t. I am rotten. And seriously crazy for ever thinking I could let her go. I won’t be able to let her go. Ever. She is mine. Iris is mine. But I can’t keep her, either. And that got me going to a dark place inside.
"Bror, are you OK?” Runner shifts his look between me and Iris. “You got me a little worried there.”
“I’m good, brother.”
“Hey, precious,” Runner turns his attention to my girl and I stiffen.
“Hello, Runner,” Iris smiles and pulls closer to me.
“Are you good?”
“Got a problem, brother?” I hiss in his face.
“Just making sure we are all cool here,” Runner turns his deep eyes in mine.
Runner feels I am his responsibility. He brought me in, he has seen me through my lowest of lows, back when I was a beast with nothing human in me. He came closer, he tore my walls down and poured the little humanity I have in me. I owe him my whole life, all that I am.
“I am fine, Runner,” Iris squeezes her fingers around my hand. “By the way, I haven’t seen your bike across the street.”
“You taking care of that?” Runner smirks.
“Hey,” Iris jokes, “I don’t know how you got your hands on a WWII Liberator but I know she needs extra care.”
I block out what they are talking about. A warm feeling comes over me as I see her talk so freely with Runner, her body relaxed and her hand still wrapped around mine. I am at ease, comfortable. I feel like I did up on the hill with her. I feel normal. And hot. There is a storm in my body that boils. But it is the good kind. At least I am not itching to kill someone. But I am itching to touch her again.
“Let’s go,” I make for my door.
“Goodnight, Runner,” Iris waves and I lift my chin to my brother.
The moment we are back in my room I look around and bite my lip. I was out of my mind and I have trashed the place. I don’t remember doing it, all I remember is getting out and looking upon her. Iris stands still. She hates me, she fears me. She will leave me and she won’t come back. And then she moves and puts things back in order with flowing moves.
“Do you mind putting the mattress back on the bed, please?” she turns to me.
There isn’t resentment in her eyes, just pain. I hurt her, I did it again. I hurt her and made her sad, her lips pouting, her eyes heavy. I can’t keep her, I am unworthy of her.
“Rage,” she calls for me and I do her bidding.
“I am sorry,” I whisper.
For a tall, bulky motherfucker, I sure as Hell roll easily into the role of a schoolboy when she looks at me like that.
“Don’t ever apologize to me, Rage,” her words are a soothing balm on my soul. “It’s just that it makes me sad to see you torture yourself like that.”
“I don’t want you to be sad. I like it when you smile,” I push away from her.
“Rage,” she pulls closer. “What troubles you? Who is the Hellhound?”
I push away even further till my back hits the wall. No, she can’t ask me that. He may hear her and he will come for her. I feel him crawl out, raging and rampant, sniffing for blood.
“No, no. Shh,” I hush her. “Don’t talk about it.”
“Rage, please. Let me in.”
“NO! This is bad, this place in here,” I hit my head, “it’s bad and rotten and bloody. Death, death duels here.”
I didn’t even sense her coming closer. Only when her hands cradle my face do I snap my eyes open. The room looks exactly how she left it and she is looking up at me with those perfect eyes. Why is she still here? Why won’t she go away, running scared by the madness I put her through?
“I need to clean up,” her breath caresses me.
She then turns away and goes into the bathroom. I sit on the bed, attentive to every sound she makes. I catch the rustling of fabric, the water running, the splashing. She is naked in there, in my bathroom. Iris, my beautiful Iris is naked in my room, in my tub, the one she cleaned for me.
But it is her questions that replay in my head. She wants to come in, she wants to be closer, she wants to know what is wrong in my head. Brave little girl! My brave, beautiful Iris. But I can’t taint her anymore, she’s been hurt too much already. I won’t drag her down with me. I shake my head and I ready the roll on the floor.
“No, please,” Iris’s voice fills the room.
I turn and she is wrapped in a towel. Like that day I watched her across the street. Back then I wouldn’t even dream of having her so close.
“No. Not on the floor,” she takes one step closer with her bare toes.
I should be focusing on what she is saying but the fact that I know that under that wet towel she is stark naked is punching holes into my concentration. All I am able to do is stare up at her face, kneeling before her and for some reason this worshipping position before her feels...fucking right.
“Sleep in the bed. With me. Please,” Iris asks.
I freeze. I am a monstrous mountain of muscles, with more ink that a library on my skin and a bloody reputation and still I look at this girl like a scared puppy.
“Why?” my voice is shriller.
“Because I want you to,” she demands.
“You are still hurt, Iris. We can’t...We shouldn’t...”
Iris frowns and then blushes once more catching on what I am talking about. Seeing her so lost by my words is giving me a buzz, stronger that any alcohol could. She wants to, I can see it in her eyes. She wants us to be closer, to be more. I only need to reach out and I could touch the soft skin on her legs, go further up, in her heat, feel her. NO! There is that constant fear, the horror that I will hurt her. If I come any closer to her, I might hurt her. I will die if I am the reason to see her hurt.
“I know,” she assures me as if reading my mind once more. “I just want to sleep with you close.”
“You don’t have to...”
“Come in bed with me, Rage.”
“I am...I don’t want to hurt you, baby girl,” the endearment leaves my mouth without even coming through the conscious part of my brain.
Iris regales me with one of her precious smiles and she stands before me.
“Rage, please. Keep the nightmares away.”
That does it. I watch her every night struggle with nightmares, tortured in her sleep. They last less and less those cruel images of her hanging like an animal in a slaughterhouse, writhing as the whip mars her skin. But they are still there. If my being close will give her a good night’s sleep then Hell, I will do anything to see her rest properly.
I look down and I see that I am a mess of filth, dirt and blood. I can’t be near her like this. I let out a sigh and take off my cut and jeans. Stupid fuck! I stripped down naked without even thinking that she is here. When I look up to her, she is swallowing hard, her eyes wide, her chest drawing deep breaths as she is drinking me in. I scowl but the only thing I see is appreciation in her eyes. She likes what she sees.
My cock jerks to show how hot her look is making me but hard as I might, I can’t find it in me to feel shame. But I do feel fear. This is becoming more and more dangerous. I want more each moment I spend with her but this is not something I even dare to think. I need to walk away now.
“I am going to take a shower.”
A cold one, I add as I walk away hastily. And I do just that. I let the cold water run down on me and wash away blood and dirt. Little does it do to my burning insides. But it does cool my head. After what could be months, I use soap on my skin, shampoo on my head. That girl is a witch, turning me from a beast into a fucking human being.
When I get back, she is sitting up on my bed in my Riders’ tee. The moment she sees me coming to her with the water still dripping down my skin, she jumps slightly up. Her look wraps me once more and the intensity of her gaze evaporates the effect of the cold shower. I am treading on treacherous territory now, risking it all. I can fool myself all that I want that I want to sleep by her side cause she asked for it but it’s for me. I want her close.
“Move,” I bark agitated and she makes room for me.
I pull the sheet over my thighs to hide the bulge persisting between them and I fall on the pillow. Fuck me! Rage, the Hellhound of the Riders is sleeping with a woman in his fucking bed. Hell might have frozen over after all.