Chapter 39: Secret Sketches
I am in my usual seat at the Thing, I have my knife and drive it over my skin like I always do. Runner is by my side like he always is and Vince next to me. A cigarette hangs from my lips and my breath stinks with alcohol. I am back to being who I was before Ir...
“Fuck!” I hiss and drive the knife deeper to draw blood.
“And with that excellent introduction,” Vince points at me with his thumb, “I would like to report that all the problems we had across the Bay are gone. Literally. I don’t even know what that psycho motherfucker did with the body parts.”
“Great,” Tor eyes me and I growl. “So, we good for the wedding?”
I shiver at the thought. The wedding. Bjorn’s and Ava’s. She will be there. I know she lives with Bjorn now.
“Yeah, we are set,” Bjorn’s voice booms and he can’t hide his excitement.
“You sure, bror? We can still help you flee,” Tor jokes hitting the table.
“Where to, bror?” Bjorn’s voice is even. “She is my whole life. I would kill the motherfucker trying to tear me from her.”
Silence falls for a few moments and I sense that everyone looks at me. And that is because Bjorn is fuming leaning to me over the table. It’s an open accusation. And a warning. He is warning me away from her. I take out my tongue and run the knife over it letting blood run down my chin keeping my eye on Bjorn, unblinking.
“We got other matters before we are done,” Daniel demands everyone’s attention “Wood. He has proven himself, if you ask me.”
“He is a good fighter,” Vince nods. “And that SEAL tactics are bad-ass.”
“I motion we patch him in,” Daniel declares.
“I second that,” Vince says.
“Yes,” Bjorn hits his massive hand on the table.
One after the other agrees and I just growl. They call the fucker in and they tear his “Thrall” patch. Tor fucks with him for a while but he is unfazed. When they give him his member patch, he smiles. They all stand and cheer and hit him in the back. All but me. I never liked the fucker. I still remember how he eyed my...
No, not mine. Not ever. Nothing is mine. I get up and start pacing up and down like a caged animal.
“I want to say something but maybe it is a bad time,” I sense Wood is pointing at me.
“It’s always a bad time with him. You’ll get used to it,” Tor encourages Wood.
“You asked a question, Tor. Two weeks before.”
I stand still and turn to Wood. He keeps his eyes in mine. That motherfucker has balls, I give him that. I hiss as I toy with my knife but wait if he’ll take it all the way. Wood narrows his eyes and turns to Tor.
“You asked who would claim Iris.”
I freeze, my heart halts, my lungs stop drawing breaths. He won’t. He won’t. I hear Runner curse and come up to me and the rest of the brothers go in defense mode. Tor turns to me but he nods to Wood to carry on.
“I was not a patched member then and I said nothing out of respect to the club. But I am now. And I am claiming Iris as mine, my Valkyrie. If she’ll have me.”
Red. I see red as these words leave his lips. He is claiming her! He’s taking what is mine! I grab him, throw him against a wall and manage to throw a punch before the rest of the brothers fall on me and drag me away. Runner talks in my ear but I hear nothing. I eye Wood and Bjorn is at his side. Wood wipes the blood off his lips and looks at me.
“You had her! She was yours. She saw the fucking mess you are and she stayed,” Wood yells. “And how did you treat her? Like a fucking rotter!”
“SHUT YOUR MOUTH!” is all I can scream.
“I will claim her, if she wants me. And I will treat her with the respect she deserves.”
“I will kill you before you get your chance,” I fight to free myself to reach his neck and snap it.
“He is right, you fucking psycho,” Bjorn has Wood’s back. “I had to watch Iris wither away, lie on the fucking bed like a zombie for days, looking at the ceiling. Vomit all the food we forced on her, giving up on life, a fucking cell of a woman. All because of you, you motherfucker! If you weren’t my brother, I would have killed you for reducing Iris to that and for making my woman cry over her for days.”
My hands drop and I focus on Bjorn. He has warned me since the beginning. I would hurt her. And I have. I have hurt her worse than I ever imagined. But I had to drive her away. I shouldn’t have touched her in the first place. I shouldn’t have looked in her fucking eyes. I was bad for her. I am bad for her. I look back to Wood. He is a good guy. Strong, decent. He is good for her. Good.
“Rage?” Runner asks as I take one step back.
But I hear nothing. I just storm to my room and slam the door shut. There, in a corner my sketchpad. I take it in my hands and I go through it. The first pages are designs for my tatts, demons and beasts, fires of Hell, thorns. Pain and rage. The words I have tattooed on my fingers to remind me who I am. My way to show to others how I feel inside, to speak through my designs. And then...
It’s a sketch of Iris at her window, the sun shedding light on her pretty face. I clench my jaw and turn the pages. Iris working, smiling, cooking that day Vik came onto to her. Her hands, her lips, her eyes. Pages upon pages with her face looking back at me with those eyes...
There is one last page. The page I drew that night we slept together in the same bed, the day I kissed her. My first kiss. Her first kiss. The first night I stayed awake not because the nightmares crawled in but because I felt so fucking happy I couldn’t shut my eyes. Because I couldn’t stop looking at her. I look upon the page and a moan leaves my mouth. I trace the sketch with my fingers, all the lines, the shadows. Tears come up in my eyes and one drops on the page, smudging the sketch. I tear the paper and fold in in my pocket.