That’s exactly where Tamie is supposed to be. Here in my arms, That’s where she fucking belongs and I don’t care what my fucked-up brain says, she fits right in. I was a goddamn fool to think otherwise, to keep my distance, to push her away.
I walk up the little slope and I put her down by my bike that was hidden behind a bush. Tamie looks at the set cameras and the binoculars and then turns to me.
“You were watching me,” she says.
“I did,” I don’t lie.
“Why?” I smile as I wrap up the equipment. “Cause I fucking care for you, kitten, and I want you safe.”
“I am safe with you but you...”
I stop what I am doing and I look at her. She is standing exactly where I left her as if waiting for a command to move freely. A depraved part of my soul finds that appealing. But I shut it down as soon as I see the hurt in her eyes.
“I was wrong,” I state simply.
I don’t know what the fuck I am going to do, how it will sit with Iris and Rage and the rest of the Riders but I am not letting Tamie go. Ever. I fought it, I did for so long. Fruitless attempts of a fool. Tamie is mine! It took a stupid college boy to make me realize that I can’t live without her, that I want to keep her safe always but so be it. She is mine!
Tamie is still pinned on the grass and looks at me with longing. I have broken that girl bad, I can see as much. I pulled her in and pushed her away as if she was some doll. The thought of that night, crying in my arms, saying she is a good girl comes and I tighten my jaw.
“I am sorry, Tamie,” I shake my head. “Fuck. How many times have I asked you to forgive me?”
“Three now,” she answers.
A smile is slowing blooming on her lips. I drop what I am doing and I go round the bike to be close to her. She leans her head up and looks me in the eyes.
“Is that true, kitten?”
“It is. This is the third time you asked me to forgive you. It could be the millionth and the result would be the same.”
She takes one small step closer, places one hand on my chest and the other cups my face. She draws me in with those blue-grey eyes of hers and I am stunned like a damn rabbit in headlights.
“I will always forgive you, Wood,” she says.
I am shaken to my core and I lift a hand to caress her cheeks. My breaths come in deep as I try to control the tempest in me. That’s all I ever wanted in my life. Someone to tell me that it’s alright, that I fucked up and made mistakes but that I am forgiven.
I say nothing, I just pull her to me and I take her lips in a kiss. Her lips are so soft, her scent so potent. When our lips move, they do so in synch, as if they have been doing it forever. But it is the first time I properly kiss her. Not woken up by a nightmare, not with us both drunk out of heads. A real, first kiss, sweet and slow.
I cup her face in my hands and she feels so small in them, so frail. A wave of protectiveness comes over me and I lick the seam of her lips to ask her to let me in. She does, slowly and I follow her lead, though my instincts tell me to ravage her, right here and now. But she deserves more.
She is the one, the one to lift the curse from my life and I am keeping her. I was a fool before. The way Tamie makes me feel doesn’t even compare to what I have felt for any other woman in my life. Not even Iris. As our tongues meet, I feel such joy in my heart that I believe I am going to die. I lean in to deepen the kiss and she drives her fingers through my hair. Scared that I will lose the little control I have, I slow the kiss down, and lick her lips before I pull away.
“Wood,” she breathes when we break the kiss.
“Kyle,” I utter. “My real name is Kyle.”
“Kyle,” she tries the name in her mouth and I barely hold back my tears.
I have banished that name to my darkest past, locked it away. Apart from Daniel and Stig, not even my brothers know my real name. I was ashamed of him, that foolish boy, that unworthy son, that useless comrade. But it is me, it’s part of who I am, all of me. And I intend to give it all to Tamie.
“Kyle,” Tamie says again in a dreamy way and turns to me in a smile. “I like it.”
“Glad you do, kitten,” I kiss the top of her head. “Now, let’s head back.”
When Tamie slides in the back of my bike, I get a feeling of completion, a fulfillment. By me, in my bed, in my life and the back of my bike. That’s where Tamie belongs.
“I missed this,” she whispers in my ear as she pulls near to wrap her arms around my waist.
“You’ll never miss it again,” I promise.
We reach the clubhouse in record time. I pull the bike in my spot and I take my stuff. Tamie is already going for the back entrance.
“No,” I tell her and take her hand in mine.
I push the door of the bar open and I step inside with her by my side. Not everyone is in, rarely is Bjorn here and Ironhand won’t leave Chiara alone for a minute. Runner and Vik are in and there’s a simple reason for that. Both Lysa and Magda are with them. It is a quiet night in the bar and everyone is sitting on a long table, drinking beer and laughing when they spot us.
“Wood,” Magda is the first to react, glancing at Tamie.
There’s a silence that falls like soft snowfall in the bar while everyone looks at our entwined fingers. Tamie is pinned on the floor, sensing the gravity of the situation. Only Tor’s face darkens a bit.
“Is suicide by Rage the way you chose to go?” Tor asks with a heavy voice. “Cause you sure as Hell poke on that hornet’s nest all the time.”
“I’ll deal with Rage,” I pull Tamie tighter to me.
I will not allow Rage to take her away from me. Iris... Iris was different. I was a fool to believe that Iris could ever be mine. She was his from the beginning. But Tamie is mine. If I have to face the Hellhound to keep her, so be it!
“Are you OK, Tamie?” Lysa asks with genuine concern.
“I am,” is all my kitten says pulling even closer.
“Good.” That is all Lysa needs and she gives us both a wide smile. “Join us for a beer.”
“I...” Tamie looks up to me for permission.
I want her to stop doing that, being afraid to tell me what she wants. I want her to be her own person, to decide for herself and be sure that I will support whatever the fuck she decides. But seeing her like that, openly asking me to make the call for her, makes me hot.
“Some shit went down,” I turn to Vince and he nods. “We’ll talk about it tomorrow.”
“Everything OK?” Tor is in King mode.
“Yeah, minor shit. But Tamie needs to rest.”
That’s all I say and I guide her to my room. I expect my brothers to haze me and tease me but they don’t. No one wants to see Lysa get mad and since Magda is here too, they make a formidable duet that will have the brothers behave. That’s good for Tamie.
“Are you hungry?” I ask her as I close the door behind us.
“I am,” she nods. “I need to shower too. I want to wash away the...”
“I get it, kitten. I’ll go whip something up in the kitchen. You have a shower. Use some of my clothes after, OK?”
“OK,” she almost whispers.
I take her chin and make her focus on me.
“It’s going to be OK, kitten. You trust me?”
“I trust you, Kyle,” she says.
Those words and my name together! I stand to take her all in like a fool. She does, she fucking trusts me despite of what I have done to her. I don’t know how to show her what her words mean to me so I simply lean in and leave a sweet, soft kiss on her lips before I go.
When I come back after a while with a full tray, I open the door and stop. Tamie is sitting on my couch, her legs folded under her, wearing a military t-shirt of mine and she reads one of the gun magazines I have.
I chuckle. She looks unbearably cute like that and had we met sooner, that would be the picture I would carry around while at war to remind me of her. Seeing her like this I get the crazy idea that she has always been in my life. And that idea makes everything hurtful better.
“Didn’t know you were interested in guns,” I move and place the tray on the table.
“I am not but there is nothing else here to read.”
I rub my neck and look at her apologetically. Not much of a reader me. I was good at sports and then at killing people. That’s all. Never needed to study.
“Maybe Ironhand has left some books in his room. He was constantly reading.”
“Yeah, I have been to his and Chiara’s house. I think I fell in love with their wall-to-wall library,” she leans in and grabs a sandwich.
“Great,” I take a sandwich and flop beside her. “Now I have to compete with a library.”
Tamie looks up to me a bit confused in the beginning. When my words sink in, there is a blush on her cheeks.
“You don’t need to compete with anyone,” she almost whispers and bites down on her sandwich.
“Good to know, kitten,” I smile at her.