The Hellhound (Riders of Tyr #2)

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Chapter 37: Deeper Cuts

Iris

I look upon Rage and I know things are bad. He left right when I got to work and he didn’t come till after sunrise. I searched him for scars but I found none. Till I noticed his black jeans were wet. He has done it again, carved himself. I said nothing though. I was expecting as much after last night.

My stomach clenches as my mind goes back to his confession. Between the two of us we have enough pain to last us forever. His own father...All this pain. No wonder he thinks he is bad. But I will heal him like he did me. I will free him from his ghosts. We will be there for each other. We will fight the demons away and we will be happy. We deserve as much.

“Iris!” Ava’s voice reaches me despite the deafening noise of the party.

I turn and Ava is there, in her usual casual style. The party was set outside, lights hanging over the whole street, the tables drawn out, barrels with fires and Harleys revving. It is like a bad ass carnival. And for some reason, Ava in her elegant dress and her swollen belly fits right in. Do I?

“Didn’t think you’d come,” I leave a peck on her cheek.

“Well, he might be an asshole but I like Vik. Just thought to drop by and give him my present,” Ava shows me a wooden box fitting for a bottle. “And then I knew I would meet you. Tom says your back is healed.”

“It is.”

“That means you can come next Monday for the day off. The girls have been asking about you.”

Me in a swimsuit, exposing that scarred back? I flinch at the thought. I smile softly and for a while we talk for this and that, her baby, the baby room, stuff like that. Then Ava pins her look on Rage and I follow her. He is sitting by Tor’s side while the King talks with a Chinese in a suit. Business meeting. Of shorts. Tor has a girl on his lap and kneads her thigh openly.

“How’s Rage?”

I blush. Only the thought of him can make me dizzy. I like the party but if I am honest, I want to be alone with him, in his arms, have him take me, make love to me. I feel like I belong there, in his arms. His. Mine.

“Iris?”

“He’s good,” I cough.

“I sort of got that,” she raises her brow. “Good for you girl,” Ava elbows me. “Hey, Vik!”

Ava walks away, gets the birthday’s boy attention and gives him her present. Some Russian vodka, expensive or rare or both if I am to judge at how Vik hugs her only to have Bjorn in his face in an instant. I smile and shake my head, ready to go for my present for Vik, a rare part for his Dyna I dug out in the mess the Riders call garage. But I don’t get the chance.

I hear commotion where Tor sits and I see that Tor and Rage are on their feet. The music stops and everyone goes from carefree to battle mode. Bjorn goes for Ava and Ava glances at me, motioning me to go to her and I do.

“You fucking come in my club to disrespect me? You fucking piece of shit. Rage!” Tor orders.

Rage roars as he lunges at the other man. With one swift move, he drags him to one of the flaming barrels while the man screams. My eyes widen as I study Rage. It’s not him. It’s the Hellhound. No, no.

“We work with Chuen Yat. I heard you out of respect to your old man. To suggest I sell my partners out is insulting,” Tor spits on the man’s face. “My Hound will teach you some manners,” Tors turns to Rage that is waiting for his order. “Arm only. Leave the fingers.”

That is all that Tor says before turning to the rotter he was cupping before. Rage takes out his knife and rips the man’s sleeve.

“No!” I scream.

Everyone turns to me but I only have eyes for Rage. My Rage. I implore him, I beg him not to give in. Not to let Hellhound take over.

“Fuck, Iris!” Tor yells and comes up to me. “Did you just interfere in club business?”

“I just...” I mumble.

“Let the psycho do what he does best,” Tor chuckles cruelly.

“Don’t call him that!” I am in Tor’s face seething.

The silence is deeper this time. Only thing I hear is the rustling of a dress. Ava is near. Tor’s face distorts threateningly as he towers over me but I don’t back down. Rage doesn’t need to be told he is a psycho so he can be buried deeper in his torment.

“Feisty. But you see, Iris, this kind of behavior is excused only for Valkyries. Last time I checked you are not one.”

I swallow and look at Rage. He stills holds the trembling man and gazes into the void, avoiding me. I frown and my chest tightens.

“Anyone here claiming Iris?” Tor raises his voice.

Rage’s jaw clenches but still stares at the darkness. I take one step back ready to collapse.

“I say,” Tor’s eyes glisten with malice, “does anyone claim Iris as his Valkyrie?”

Wood moves behind Tor and eyes me with despair, his hand over the patch that reads “Thrall”. But all my focus is on Rage, my whole soul hanging by his lips. He closes his eyes but says nothing. I feel everyone look at me and the whispers spread wildly. I don’t care what others think. I only care what he thinks, the man I gave my body and soul to, the one I fell for with all the fortitude of my broken heart. But he still keeps his look away from me, his lips tightly closed at Tor’s demand.

The lifeline that held me afloat breaks. I hear it snap, letting the cold waves take me under. My ears are ringing, my heart throbbing and I can’t seem to get in satisfying breaths. The world goes hazy, darker, all lights slowly fade. Nothing. I am nothing. A doll, a puppet to be toyed with. Stupid, stupid girl.

“Iris,” Ava holds my arm and I let all my weight in her arms.

Bjorn is to me instantly and supports me, leading me away. Where to? All I have, all that I want is gone. Why walk? I can simply stay here and stop breathing. My poor, broken heart will stop beating. I died and he just stood there watching.

“Coward,” I hear Ava spit and hiss as we pass by Rage.

I throw one last glance at him as he looks down biting his jaw. Not even one look. I mean so little to him. I chuckle softly and I wish I had died hanging in the warehouse, whipped to death rather than feel this agonizing pain. I wish I would have died dreaming of him as the whip dug deeper to my flesh than to be scorned after I had given him my heart.

“You are coming with us, girl,” Ava reassures me and I hear Bjorn raging.

I let them take me to Bjorn’s truck and as I sit in the back seat I let go and slip into oblivion.

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