Chapter 18: Guilt Trips
The night breeze does nothing to cool me down as we ride back to the clubhouse. This was the single most exhilarating experience of my life and I thought I have had a few of those. It’s almost silly to think that I knew what sex was before I have tried it with a Viking god on the back of a Harley. As the city lights come closer, I relive the whole thing and I rub against the leather seat, already wondering if Vik would be up for a second round back in his room.
Back the fuck up and hit on the brakes, I scream internally. Exactly since when I want to go for a second helping with a guy? Maybe since Vik made you come like a firecracker. I shake my head and tense. This is getting out of hand. I can’t control myself around him and I like to be in control, thank you very much.
“Lys?” Vik squeezes his hand that’s over mine.
It’s annoying how in tune he is with my body. He reads me correctly, observing all the little hints my body gives away and acts on them. Every touch, every stroke all perfectly timed with my needs. OK, annoying is not the correct word. Frightening? Scary? Divine?
“Princess?” he demands.
Princess. He keeps calling me that and every time is as if his mouth is filled with sugar that pours out. Not ”babe" or ”baby" and I flinch because I know why. That’s what he called every other girl that went through his bed. I doubt he ever bothered with remembering names or else there wouldn’t be any room left in his brain for basic functions. Is this his way of showing me I am more? Damn it, Vik! Him calling me that, in the back of his bike, his hand wrapped in mine. That’s the best I’ve felt in a while.
“I’m fine,” I say finally.
Vik says nothing, just takes my hand and pulls it up his lips, kissing it lightly. OK, that is sweet. And I do not do sweet. I do sour. I do angry. I do that a lot. I do cold with extreme success. Distant is my favorite taste. But as Vik kisses each knuckle while cruising through the city, I think I could try sweet.
We turn around the corner and we are at the road the Riders practically own and I get nervous. It was the restaurant, the sea, the ride through the valley that had me confused. This is reality calling and it demands that I pick up. What the hell are we doing? This was not supposed to happen, not now, not ever. And what exactly is this? Vik is a whore and I am...well, me.
I am biting down a full-blown panic attack when Vik parks the bike on the same spot and I slide quickly off. I hand him the helmet and I stand my ground. I can’t... I am not going in there with Vik, freshly-fucked with his scent on me and my release coated on him. I am not one of the bitches he fucks on daily basis. Aren’t you? I am. I let him make me one more notch on his belt, just like Daniel said he would. Yeah, it was fucking amazing but it’s over and now...Now, I don’t want to be near him. Are you sure? I am not. I am not sure I can think straight right now.
“Ain’t you coming?” Vik takes my wrist and makes his intentions known.
“Yeah, in a minute. I forgot something in my car,” I need space.
“Was that something a pair of cold feet?”
His voice is amused but his look is dead serious. I am fighter, I know how to bluff. Once I went through a whole fight with a broken rib without ever crying out. But with him I am like a schoolgirl told off by a teacher. I can’t seem to hide anything from his prying eyes.
“I don’t want to go in together. And I’ll move out of your room,” I state.
“No,” he shrugs.
“Vik, come on. When Daniel gets back he won’t appreciate you fucking his only daughter. Plus, what the fuck is this?” I wave between us “You can go back to your usual diet of willing rotters and I got to keep my head in the fights. It was fun, we are back.”
Shit! I know instantly that he is angry, his jaw twitching, his muscles flexing and he throws his head back looking down on me. And it scares me on so many levels. He seems like a laidback cute model but he is a biker, born in the life. Killing, maiming, shooting is natural to him. But there is something deeper in me that shakes my resolve and I choose to ignore it as his stiff body invades my personal space.
“Fun?” he hisses. “Is this funny to you? Cause I sure as Hell ain’t joking.”
“What I mean...”
“You are coming in. With me. In my room. I’ll deal with Daniel once we get him back. And I am not planning on fucking anyone else.”
I gape at him and I try to talk. This all would be so much easier if he was any less imposing and goddamn sexy. But I fight back, I know I must. I will be leaving right after we get Daniel out after all.
“It’s not going to work well,” I try my last card. “You are my trainer, Vik, and I am your fighter. That’s all.”
“You are my woman,” he tugs me to him.
Oh, no, no! I panic, my mind going numb upon impact. This is not happening. He did not just say that to me. And I did not just shiver with joy hearing him admit that. I can’t allow this silly, giggly girl dominate me. I will stop her giddy lap of triumph. This is not who I am, it’s a person I cannot be.
I am ready to tell him that, push him away, remind him that I am my own woman, I belong to no one. But when he pushes me up slightly, rubbing me against his firm body so that our lips meet, I forget what I was mad about and melt against him.
“Mine, Lys. My woman, my fighter,” he breathes over my lips.
He doesn’t allow me to answer, just slams his mouth on mine. There are a thousand voices in my head screaming at the same time a thousand reasons to back away now. He is a man-whore, he is Daniel’s brother, he is lying, he is infuriating, I got the fights, it’s too soon, it’s too much. But one voice, one calm, even voice dominates them and hushes them all. It doesn’t talk with words and uses no logic. It’s pure feeling. And damn me but he feels right. I break the kiss and look into his eyes.
“Good,” he leans in and leaves a kiss on the top of my head.
We enter the bar that is packed to its capacity. It’s not a party but that doesn’t mean that there isn’t alcohol and women for the brothers to release the tension that is palpable in the air. The Riders have a violent reputation, not any less ever since the California chapter has turned to legit businesses under Tor’s command. For one of their own, an Earl of all people, to be snatched and used as a hostage is a declaration of war.
As people start to notice we are in, they all stare at our twined fingers. Especially the rotters. They don’t seem happy about it and a wave of anger rises in me. Vik might have broken through the Cold Bitch’s defense but that doesn’t mean I can’t kick some skanky asses for looking at my man like that. Who? My. Fucking. Man. Damn right!
“Down, girl,” Vik kisses me behind my ear. “They are nothing.”
Again, spot on in reading me as if he is some freaky psychic. I calm down and I notice Iris waves at me to join her Rage, Runner, and Tor in a booth. Vik walks up to them leaving my fingers only to grab me possessively by the waist.
“Well, we lost you two,” Tor smiles widely.
“Yeah,” Runner hits his beer on the table, “I thought Lysa run away crying cause I kicked her ass.”
“What was that? That swollen lip makes you slur your words. Bring the man some ice!” I fire back.
“Man, you sure about this?” Runner addresses Vik.
“Dead sure,” Vik smiles and throws his arm over my shoulder.
“More pussy for me!” Tor waves at Jab to bring more drinks. “Runner, man, don’t let me down and go falling deep like an idiot.”
Rage grunts and holds Iris tighter that smiles at him and they whisper to each other in their own cute world. Then Rage turns to me and I gulp under his look. I still can’t get used being around him and I prefer to drink my soda than face him.
“Should I start working on a Valkyrie tatt?” Rage demands.
Vik stiffens and I choke, coke coming out of my nose. I don’t even dare look back at him. The Riders seem determined to see me branded as part of the club and though it should make me furious, there is a warmth spreading in me. Getting the wings was one thing. The Valkyrie tattoo is a whole other thing, it signifies a bond deeper than even blood. One made by choice. For life.
“Not yet apparently,” Rage chuckles cruelly.
The rest of the table laughs and they all haze us for a while but Vik handles it with his usual carefree style. His hands haven’t left me for one moment. He constantly touches me and without noticing I do the same.
“Fuck me,” Stig flops beside me.
It’s one of the rare times he is without his lap top. He fusses with his blonde hair and draws his lip-ring in his mouth. He has pierced almost anything that can be pierced. Nose, lips, eyebrows, ears you name it. His tatts are the most colorful ones of all the Riders’ and they look like the ones the Yakuza have. Only one is different, an elaborate tattoo of a circuit going up the back of his neck. Daniel has told me he has spent some time in Japan and I can’t help but wonder where did those tatts come from. Honoring the usual Rider tradition he is well built. He is handsome with his sandy hair and thick lips.
“I can’t find him,” Stig frowns. “How the fuck can they go so down under the radar? I can’t get a whiff on the tournament either.”
Daniel. He is talking about Daniel. The relaxed feeling that has taken over me, dissipates faster than ice under the sun. Guilt is the best anti-aphrodisiac. Here I am, enjoying myself, going out on dates, getting fucked and Daniel is locked up somewhere. I know Jack will keep him alive at least till the last fight. He is strict with his program and all bets are off if one fighter refuses to fight. But after the fights...
I get up without a good night and go straight to Vik’s room. I pick up my gear and head to the gym. I should have never stopped focusing on my target. And my target is to get Daniel out of this alive, not playing High School Musical with Vik. It was stupid of me to think otherwise. I drop my stuff, I prepare myself and then start with the teardrop bag. All the excitement I felt has dissolved and only the pungent taste of guilt remains.
“Lys,” Vik is right behind me.
I don’t turn, just keeping hitting the bag with all I got. All I see before me is Daniel with a gun at the back of his head. He is counting on me and I can’t let him down.
“Lys, stop,” Vik pleads but I ignore him.
I shouldn’t have let my guard down. That’s when the fight is lost. It was a bad idea, all of it. I will stay away from Vik and I don’t want him to train me. I will do it on my own, always have, always will. People are distractions, Vik is a distraction and it’s going to cost Daniel his life. Jack will put a bullet in his head and he will die. He can’t die. Daniel can’t die. Not him too. I punch the bag with all my strength and keep at it. Sweat drips down my face but I don’t stop.
“Princess, please stop,” Vik’s arms are around me and he holds me tight.
“Let me go!” I free myself and take my distance. “Just stay the fuck away! I can’t...We can’t...”
My jaw tightens and I hold back the tears. I have never cried in my life though I have had many reasons to do so. This time I am barely keeping it together so I don’t even look at him.
“Lys, listen to me,” he is right before me.
“No! This is done. We are done. This was...I can’t...” words don’t come.
Vik is done with words, too. But he is not done yet. He pushes me against the wall and pins me with his body. God. He forces my chin up but I still look down, refusing to meet his gaze. I know I’ll fall right back if I do.
“Look at me, Lys,” he orders.
“I said,” he cups my cheek, “look at me!”
I do as he wants hardening my face as much as I can. I need the Cold Bitch now. I need her to drive him away. But he doesn’t. He just flinches at my look and then tightens his hold around me.
“Good,” he stoops down my lips.
“We’ll get him back, Lys,” he kisses me lightly. “We’ll get him back and fuck those that dared take him,” he tightens his grip around me. “Now, come to bed, princess.”
He doesn’t wait for my answer, just picks me up in his arms and cradles me against his chest. I don’t fight it just let my head rest against his chest. Exhausted and drained, I am asleep even before he is up the stairs.