Chapter 6: Inner Battles
“You OK?” Daniel asks for the millionth time since yesterday.
He seems constantly agitated that I will walk up and leave. Which is what I am thinking of doing half the time so he has good reason to be worried. Why he would be so interested in me staying is beyond me though. Could be mild curiosity.
“I’m good,” I answer and take a bite off my burger.
He has taken me downtown and he has promised me a trip to San Francisco tomorrow. He has even dropped casually that I can buy “stuff”. I am not a little girl that needs a doll but he seems so excited that I don’t have the heart to tell him I don’t need anything.
“Has any of the brothers given you shit?” Daniel demands.
I almost choke. The moment he says that, my mind goes straight to Vik. Vik bare chested at the gym. Vik straddling that beauty of a bike. Vik standing way too close. Vik smelling fucking amazing. Define shit.
“No. Everyone is cool,” change the subject. “Rage is...weird.”
“That’s an understatement,” Daniel chuckles audibly. “Rage is a psycho. Or at least used to be. We call him the Hellhound, set him loose on our enemies. Things got better since Iris got in his life. She’s a good Valkyrie.”
“Girlfriend or wife. Woman claimed by a Rider. Once a woman is claimed, she is off limits.”
Fucking men and their staking things. The names, the tattoos. It’s as if women are like their damn cattle and they brand us ’cause we are too stupid not to stray too far from the farm. I say nothing just finish up my burger. I look around and I see everyone looking at Daniel’s cut and walk away. If I had to guess, the Riders own the town big time and I don’t think I want to know by what means. Sure it’s not unfailing presence at Sunday mass.
“No need to worry about a thing, girl.”
“I am not,” I throw in a dry tone.
“I am serious, girl. No one will dare touch you in this town. And as for my brothers...No one is crazy enough to lay a finger on you.”
Not even Vik? I bite my jaw down along with that unwanted thought. It simply comes on its own without going through the proper filters of logic. OK, if I were to meet Vik somewhere out there, I would gladly fuck him senseless and walk away. But since I am not in the habit of seeing a man I fucked ever again, that is out of the question. Way, way out. End of discussion.
I will chalk up the fact that I woke up early to have a shower and comb my hair before going to the gym to morning gruffness and nothing more. It has nothing to do with meeting Vik. If he is coming that is. I spent the day with Daniel and then we were invited to Ava’s for dinner. It was late when we got back and I didn’t see Vik. If I had to guess, he was screwing some rotter – Daniel explained all about the club whores – behind the closed door to his room.
“Thought you wouldn’t show up,” Vik greets me the minute I step in the gym.
He is in dark shorts and nothing else. Sweet Mary and Joseph, it’s never too late to turn religious. Would it hurt the man to wear something that covers that breathtaking body of his? A burqa for instance? As his moves, every single defined muscle moves with him. From his shoulders to his barrel chest and down those washboard abs, he is a minefield of a sexy man. He is not nearly as big and brawny as Bjorn or Ironhand but he is so freaking perfect, I am surprised I am not crying just by looking at him.
“Lys?” he smirks.
Great! Now he has caught me ogling him and his arrogance needs no other breakfast. And speaking of breakfasts, it’s about time I hide the fact that I find the idea of jumping his bones the perfect one. I regain my cool and walk up to him as he covers his knuckles with black wraps, his eyes still trained in mine. I say nothing just drop my bag on the floor and start to get ready as well.
“Good morning to you, too, Lys,” he smiles widely.
He doesn’t have to take a swing at me. I am certain that if he keeps smiling like that, I will drop down dead eventually.
“God, do you charge by the word, babe?” he pulls closer.
“Lys”, “babe”. That guy is trying to provoke a reaction out of me. I take out my rope and start hopping to warm up trying to ignore the half-naked, jaw-dropping, stunning man in my radius. I look my reflection in the wall-to-wall mirror but I steal glances to him every now and then. He is stretching his muscles and then drops on the floor to do push-ups. I bite my inner cheek to stop any reaction elicited by a gorgeous man showing off how perfectly he can move. I struggle to move past the fact that push-ups moved from the list named “Torturing Exercise” to “Hottest Sights in Existence” and concentrate on getting prepared.
“Ready?” he asks when we are done pointing at the ring.
“What’s your style?” I bounce on my feet.
“BJJ mostly,” he lifts his chin “You?”
He nods in approval and looks at me up and down. God, it’s as if his look is tangible, as if he is touching me. This is not a simple weighing-out-the-enemy look. This is more. He wants more. And I want to give more. I want it so much, it’s scary.
“This was a bad idea,” I take one step back.
“Scared, little princess?” he dares me.
My jaw twitches and I warm my shoulders. I am scared shitless but not for the reason he is thinking. If that smug bastard wants to have his ass handed to him, I have no problem with that. I have dealt with some BJJ along the way and I am sure he will be bleeding and giving up in no time. And after this, his precious little male vanity will be wounded, he will be done looking at me like that.
I ignore the sting of disappointment that takes over momentarily and I shift to my fighting position. Vik widens his smile and does the same. It’s my turn to weigh him as an opponent. Vik is not Rage. That tattooed fucker seems lethal, heavy but with a twinkle in his eye tells me that no matter how hard I hit him, he will laugh it off. And Vik is not as heavy as Ironhand who seems slower than a replay till he gets you in those massive arms that seem able to crush a spine easily. But Vik is built and agile. He is quick and quick is bad when someone is practicing Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. I have to be swift to avoid being caught. I can’t allow that. And I am not planning to. Still talking about sparring, right? Right.