Chapter 8: Day Off
I am in the kitchen and I am eating the breakfast Iris has prepared for me. I like that girl. I study her as she is standing with her back to me, her head into the fridge and taking notes of what the boys need. She is too young to take care a bunch of loud, men that have a flair for guns but she does it with a smile on her lips and then goes to work in the garage.
I look at her back and I hiss silently. There is a big tattoo covering all of it. It’s her, there is no way that it isn’t her, dressed as a Valkyrie, astride a wolf with piercing blue eyes. The same eyes Rage has. It’s fucking magnificent! Still, I see marks hidden under the design. Whipping marks, deep scars. That cheerful, smiling girl has gone through some shit and she is still standing, smiling, caring and giving. Word is that she is a genius mechanic on top of it.
“Your man made that?” I ask.
Why do I want to make small talk? I never had any friends. That’s a lie, my subconscious revolts. At the thought, I shudder and tighten my grip around the fork I am using, half ready to pin it on my palm than allow thoughts of her come plague me. I had a friend. A friend that was there when I was at my lowest, that gave me advice, took me under her wing, that taught me things. A friend that helped me steel myself and not crumble down. But she is no more.
As I said, no friends. Never needed them. People tend to fuck you over anyway. But I find all this big Rider family thing contagious. These people don’t know me and they welcomed me without judging or even asking a damn thing. I am Daniel’s daughter. Daniel is family. I am family. My own mother has never bothered to feed me and this strange girl has done so with a smile on her face. Got to give back.
“The tatt?” Iris smiles at me with a stupid, infatuated grin. “Yes, Rage hit that. It’s his design.”
“He’s good,” I finish my breakfast.
“I hear you went to look into the wings. Rage is working on some designs for you.”
“I am not so sure...” I shake my head.
Daniel told me the deal with the Valkyrie wings but hasn’t pushed me for it. Other than that, he acts like an overbearing parent. Especially when he came and pulled a gun on Vik. Vik. I rub my ribs where I have a nice bruise from where he held me down. Naturally, thinking about someone overpowering me would make go mad. But thinking Vik over me, holding me down, his sweat dripping on me, his face so close, gets a completely different reaction from me. It was weak of me but if he leaned in and took me there, on the ring, I would have let him.
And to rub in my face the fact that I haven’t gotten any for god knows how long, Rage walks in in his tight jeans and nothing else. I can see clearly why he sees himself as a huge, ferocious, wild wolf. He is one! He moves and his muscles ripple, ready to strike at any given moment. As if I am not there, he walks up to Iris and gathers her to him planting a kiss on her lips. Iris melts against his broad chest and then looks in his baby blue eyes with utter adoration. Argh!
His body relaxes as soon as it made contact with Iris and I pity the fool to come between him and his woman. Rage still holds Iris and looks around. When he sees me, he lifts his chin.
“I heard you kicked Vik’s ass,” Rage says.
“Who kicked Vik’s ass?” Ava comes in.
“Lysa did,” Iris points at me.
“Seriously?” Ava squints her eyes. “Wait. This is not some weird shit in bed, is it?”
“No!” I say defensively.
“You never know with that guy,” Ava nibbles on the fruit salad Iris has prepared. “So, you girls ready?”
“For what?” I frown.
“It’s ladies’ day off!” both Iris and Ava say excitedly.
“Is it fucking already?” Rage drives his fingers through his mohawk. “Jab is on guard duty. I don’t like it. I don’t know Jab, don’t trust him.”
Rage starts pacing in the kitchen and Ava takes one step back protecting her growing belly. I get up and I tense as I see the man way too agitated. He swings between moods so fast it’s like a ticking bomb. His thick muscles twist and he growls deep in his throat. Man, he is like a scary animal. He stands before Iris with a crazy twinkle in his eye and I take one imperceptible step to her. If that fucker touches her...
“He won’t,” Ava grabs my arm. “He would never hurt Iris and he would kill anyone even trying to.”
“Rage, it’s going to be alright,” Iris’s voice is soft.
“I can’t come. Shit. Tor wants me with him. I can’t.”
“What the fuck is going on?”
I stiffen. I know that voice. It’s Vik’s. It’s gruffer than usual which means he just woke up. I swear to God, if I turn and he has some lame ass bitch with him, I’ll...Wow, wow, wow, back up a bit. When did I became a patrol officer in Vik’s bed? The man is a whore, I heard Daniel say so to add to my own assumptions. That shouldn’t bother me, right? Good.
Vik comes in and doesn’t see I am there. He is in those damn sweatpants that is the most dangerous thing in this gun-infested place and moves straight to Rage. I feel my jaw drop slightly upon seeing his defined brawny back with the tattoo of the arrow aiming for the sky. I close my mouth before I start to drool and I throw a guilty look on Ava. Shit, caught eyeing the guy. Again. She looks at me with knit eyebrows and a clever smirk but one wail from Rage has our focus on him. Vik too is attentive on Rage that is hitting his head hard. Seriously deranged. Yet everyone is worried about him, no one pushes him away or makes fun of him. So, this is what having a family is like.
“Talk to me, man,” Vik approaches his brother.
“Rage doesn’t trust Jab for guard duty,” Ava explains, “but we want to go to the escort. Lysa hasn’t been on a day off,” she points at me.
Vik turns and I brace to be faced with his flawless face. No amount of fortification can prepare me and as our eyes collide I take one sharp breath. His face is tense but melts into his trademark smile and I struggle to keep a straight face.
I lift my chin saying nothing. Vik keeps his eyes on me and comes closer. I panic. Growing up tough I thought that nothing could intimidate me. But seeing Vik bare-chested and barefoot coming closer, with hand going lazily over his chest and down his abs, I feel the waves of panic come over me. I can’t beat the shit out of him because he said “good morning” but I have no idea what to do with the fear that takes over me. Fear? Really? That’s the word you’re going with? Shut up!
“That true, Lys?” he asks. “You want to go to the escort?”
Anywhere but here, I scream in my head. Ava and Iris called it “ladies’” day off. I am guessing that means that there will be only women. No men. And especially a certain hot, sexy, seductive man. I nod.
“Get ready,” he orders me.
Did that fucker just dared...?
“No!” Rage takes Iris in his arms.
“It’s OK, brother,” Vik addresses Rage before turning to me. “I’ll take the girls.”
I stand there watching my plans to stay away from him go up in flames. He seems to read my turbulence and he smirks at me. He enjoys this shit and I feel the urge to punch him in the face.
“That’s settled then,” Ava intervenes. “Lysa, do you have a swimsuit?”
A what? I look at Ava as if she just told me if I have an extra head. Which would be more likely than me having a swimsuit. I hear Vik chuckling and I throw him a dagger look. It does nothing but make him smile even more and mess with his hair. Is he doing that shit on purpose? Is he trying to look so fucking alluring aaaaall the time or is it just a natural gift?
“This is going to be so fun,” he leans closer to me.