Chapter 9: Shiny Armors
Bjorn is gone with Ava and he left me alone in the garage. I am happy to see that Bjorn trusts me enough to leave me in charge. I have finished working on the truck and am cleaning the place up, putting the tools back to where they belong. And as I take the garbage out, there is Rage across the street. He is sitting on his bike and smokes his cigarette, his eyes pinned on the garage. When he sees me, his gaze shifts to me and I feel a jolt in me. Enough to make me drop the garbage bag I am holding, scattering everything. And I feel the need to slap me across the face. Not only am I filthy, greasy and unkempt, I look like a goof while Rage is watching!
Without turning to him I kneel and start to put everything back in the plastic bag. And then I feel a shadow over me. Rage is there his hands in his pockets, looking around agitated before locking his eyes in mine. I say nothing, just look up at him, at his huge body his broad shoulders and his thick, muscular arms adorned with elaborate ink. His long Mohawk falls on his face and he lifts his tattooed hand to put most of it behind his ear. He then rubs his bearded chin looking at me before lunging down grabbing some of the garbage and putting in back in the bag.
“Thank you, Rage.” I manage to utter.
He says nothing. So far he has said nothing to me, not one single word. I have seen him watch over me for days now but the few times I talked to him, he replied with a long, deep silence. All he ever does is look at me, ever watchful with those big blue eyes of his. And now he is so close I can smell him. The first thing that hits me is the heavy smell of alcohol and tobacco. I hate that smell. It brings back bad, horrible memories so forcefully that I can’t hold back a whimper. He gets up quickly and pins his eyes in mine scowling. He has heard me and thought it was for him.
“No, no!” I get up “I wasn’t...I mean...You smell like alcohol and smoke.”
He takes two steps back still looking at me. I am pushing him back but I don’t know what to do. All I ever knew was to want others to step back, leave me alone. They never did. And now that I want him near, he is the one to keep away.
“I...Those smells...I...” I swallow “Please.” I say finally.
Rage looks at me inquisitively trying to understand what I am telling him. I was never good with words, not many chances to talk with people properly. Now if she were here...She would know what to say, always the storyteller, always the one with the unfading smile on her lips. Her smile.
My heart tightens when I think of it. I am still trapped. I never escaped, I am still held in unseen chains and there is no end to my sentence, no doors to my prison. Suddenly the evening sun is too hot, the air too thin, the heat suffocating. The world goes black around me and my knees fail me.
I expect to hit the ground but instead I feel a set of strong arms around me. I open my hazy eyes and I see that Rage has me in his arms. I gasp but Rage pulls me up in his arms and cradles me closer to his broad chest. His face is tense and surprised, his neck corded as if he is struggling an inner battle but he doesn’t let me down. The mixture of alcohol and smoke is there but there is something else, something more underneath, a masculine musk that affects my every cell, sending a rapid lightning to my core, upsetting every fiber of my being. I focus on his face and I feel my breath caught this time for the best of reasons. His eyes are looking at me all wide with worry, the veins on his neck beating frantically, in synch with the heart I am feeling as I am pressed against his chest. And then it hits me. No harm can come to me as long as he is looking over me. I am...safe.
“What the fuck did you do to her?” Bjorn’s voice is heard over Rage’s shoulder.
Rage turns with me in his arms. He still has his baby blue eyes on me but his look shifts to pure terror. I can sense he isn’t afraid of what Bjorn might do to him. He is afraid that Bjorn’s words are true, that he did something to me, that he hurt me. Bjorn approaches swiftly and looks at me worryingly.
“Iris? Are you OK?” he demands.
I nod. And though it pains me to do so I manage to get off Rage’s arms and stand on my own two feet to keep Bjorn calm.
“I am fine, Bjorn. Just a little light headed, is all.” I look over Bjorn’s shoulder and see Rage walk away in wide angry strides, hitting his head with his fists.
I want to run to him and tell him I am alright, that it wasn’t his fault but my boss’s look is stern and I don’t dare follow Rage. He opens the door to the bar with a forceful push and disappears behind it.
“Let’s get you inside.” Bjorn orders.