I am standing on the street and I am looking at her speeding away. All the blood from my veins is dry and I am barely breathing. She left me. She is gone. My Tamie, my woman, my Valkyrie left me. I lost her. She hates me. And she has every right in the world.
“Wood?” Vince is at the door.
I am still standing there, with a fucking towel around me, looking at the emptiness before me.
“What the fuck happened, man?”
I reply nothing, not able to even draw breath. My knees give and I fall on them in the middle of the road. My shoulders stoop and my head follows. “This is all your fault, Kyle”. Her last words resonate in my head again and again and again. I am back in my nightmares only this time I don’t have to sleep anymore. I will be haunted every waking moment.
“Goddamn it, Wood,” Vince curses as he comes to me and picks me up.
I let go in his arms as he drags back inside and throws me on the couch in my room. I shake my head and look around for alcohol. I need it now, I need it so bad. For as long as Tamie was near, I was healed but now she -
“Fuck!” I hit my head and let my elbows rest on my knees.
Vince is standing before me still and he takes in the heavy silence.
“She found out? About Iris?”
I don’t reply, just hit my head with both fists. If I have no alcohol, I can beat myself unconscious.
“Stop that!” Vince grabs both my hands. “OK, you made a mistake, you fucked up, welcome to the club.”
I groan. Tamie. Tamie. Tamie. Where is she? I need her.
“Get the fuck up, get dressed and go find her. Crawl on your knees and beg like there is no tomorrow,” he orders. “Though that shit don’t always work,” he murmurs to himself.
“Or,” a voice is heard from the open door.
I look up and I see Tor. He is wearing nothing but his half-buttoned jeans and his torso is marked with lipstick. Last thing I need is his advice.
“Or,” he repeats, “forget about the Hunter sisters and join me upstairs. I got new girls, fresh ones. No rotters, just some interns in Silicon Valley or something. They could do with a big dick like yours cause let me tell you -”
“Shut the fuck up!” I yell at him.
“See that?” Tor rubs one eye and talks to Vince. “See why I am avoiding this love bullshit like the plague? Pathetic!”
That’s all Tor says and leaves me to descent into my Hell. Tamie was right, I betrayed her. I hurt her. I have promised I wouldn’t and I did. This is who I am, the one to always let the others down, to hurt them. I hurt my Tamie, my kitten.
“Fuck, Tamie,” I let the tears fall not giving a fuck if Vince thinks I am pathetic.
I am pathetic. By rights I should have been dead back on that day I made the wrong call and had all my squad killed. I should have dropped dead there, under the scorching sun and let the vultures pick my bones.
“Fuck him,” Vince says. “Get up, man!”
His voice is waking me up. I am torn. Half of me says that this is for the best. That sooner or later I would have done something to hurt her. The life we live would have caught up with me and she would be in trouble. Or I would make the wrong call and end up getting her hurt. I already did with that Riley whore and she had a large enough heart to forgive me. It’s better that way. Safer. I never deserved more than the air I breathe so this is the universe balancing the scales.
The other half? The other half of me is not ready to give up. It has halfway dressed up and gone to do as Vince said. Kneel before her and beg till she forgives me, take her in my arms and tell her over and over again how much I love her till she can thinks of nothing else but this.
I want to succumb to the fate myself has condemned me in and forget all about her, let her go as I should have done in the first place. But I can’t. I simply can’t. Tamie is mine and I won’t live without her.
Ignoring Vince that is still talking to me, I get up and go to my closet to get some clothes. I drop the towel and pull my briefs.
“Woah, man! No need to flash your dick around,” Vince jokes and gets out finally.
I get dressed, throw my cut on and grab my keys. I will make her listen, I will tell her the truth and she will forgive me. Tonight I will be sleeping with my kitten in my arms and I will not let her go ever.
I rev my bike and drive straight to Iris’s. I don’t see Tamie’s car around and I frown but I still go up the stairs and knock on the door. After a few moments, it’s Rage that opens the door, his look menacing as always. I don’t have time for that now.
“Tamie,” I demand.
Rage scowls and searches my face. Then he takes a step out and closes the door behind him. He stands to his full height and his muscles flex as his jaw twitches.
“What did you do?” He hisses.
“Is she here?”
“What the fuck did you do?”
“Is Tamie here?” I persist, risking my life as I see the Hellhound slowly emerge from its dark lair.
“You hurt her?”
I did! I fucking did! I am this close to screaming but all I need is to see her now and explain everything.
“I did,” I say boldly and I see his face transform to that of the killer he is underneath. “Like you hurt Iris.”
My words hit his so hard he stops and fights to balance his huge body. The Hellhound howls and hides away at those memories. He too has hurt Iris that almost died of heartache. I accused him back then, I took it upon myself to heal Iris. What an irony. I am standing here, before him, having done the same and worst to the only woman I have ever loved, to the only person that ever loved me.
“She is not here,” Rage looks over my shoulder trying to control the urge to kill me.
“When I-” Rage swallows and presses his lips tight before talking again. “Iris went to Ava’s.”
The Queen of the Riders is the natural leader of the Valkyries and that along with her killer instincts makes her one of the most dangerous women I’ve met. She has openly expressed she doesn’t like me that much and if Tamie went to her, it’s going to be worst than facing Rage. But I will do all it takes.
I nod to Rage that stands there as I ride away to Ava’s. I glance at the mirror as I turn away from the house and the Hellhound is still there. I forced him to go down a dark path of memories. But all he has to do to get out is go to his woman. And right when I am ready to vanish from his sight, the door opens and Iris goes down the steps and wraps her small frame around him. I need Tamie.
Not long after I am standing before Ava’s door. Tamie’s car is not here but maybe Ava knows where she is. Hard to imagine any of the girls to not keep in touch with the Queen. I knock on the door and once more a Rider opens.
Bjorn is in his cargo shorts and nothing else holding Ariadne in his arms that beams me a wide smile. To see a hardened biker with tattoos, beards and hair all over hold his child with such love stabs my heart.
“What’s up, bror?”
“Is Tamie here?”
Bjorn narrows his eyes and sighs. He says nothing just takes a step back and motions to come in. Is she here? He goes down the sunny kitchen and Ava is cleaning some mess Ariadne made.
When she sees me her eyes go wide. Another Rider house I have never visited but the big barbeques Bjorn throws in the garden.
“Shit at work?” Ava goes full on boss on me.
“Is Tamie here?”
At my words Ava nods, throws the cleaning cloth in the sink and turns to me, arms crossed. Bjorn sits at the counter and talks softly to his daughter, probably trying to get her to eat the fruit that is still in her plate.
“What did you do?”
“Is Tamie here?” I ask again.
“She is not.”
“You know where she is?”
Ava spears me with those clever green eyes of hers and demands that I spill my guts. I got no time for this. I know the Queen is not particularly fond of me. Less now that she can smell my shit from a mile away.
“She found out about Iris?” Ava demands.
I reply nothing. I don’t need to. She wasn’t actually asking. That shrewd she-wolf knows most answers. I glance back at Bjorn that glances heavily between me and Ava. That man has balls domesticating the wild Russian. He shrugs and goes back to feeding his daughter that toys with his beard.
“Have you tried her phone?”
“She left it.”
“Did she take her car?” Ava asks and goes to the laptop she has open on the countertop.
“Tamie wouldn’t go to any of the Valkyries,” Ava focuses on the screen. “She was friendly, talked about her past and opened up to us but...”
She looks up to me with a mixture of pity and anger.
“But it’s was you she chose to bond with in this new life of hers. More than her own sister.”
I have seen how lethal Ava can be with those treacherous pins she wears, how deadly. But those words slice me up worse than any of the weapons she has in her arsenal. She is right. Tamie needed an anchor to the outside word and she chose me. Imprinted on her since I got her out, she preferred to spent most of her time with me. She invested in me, she believed in me and the future I promised her.
“And I fucked up,” I whisper.
“Glad I didn’t have to say it,” Ava huffs. “I’ll contact Stig and we’ll look for her car. Before you thank me, I am doing this for Tamie. There are still people after her.”
My jaw drops and I run my fingers through my hair nervously, and I pace in the kitchen. I forgot. I forgot that there is a threat out there, someone looking for her. And I pushed her away. She is alone, unprotected out there and all because of me. I take in deep breaths trying not to explode in front of Ariadne.
“Damn,” Ava chuckles cruelly. “You boys can’t multitask.”
“Ava,” Bjorn says firmly and Ava nods back before looking at me with a softer look.
“We’ll find her,” Ava promises and turns to her computer.
I start thinking, shaken out of my pathetic, hurt-puppy state. I am honed in to finding her and keep her safe now and damn if she doesn’t want to forgive me. Where could she have gone? The college? Perhaps but it’s not a place she’d want to be seen upset. If she not with any of the Valkyries then-?
“Keep looking and let me know the moment you know,” I ask Ava and I go out the house.
I jump on my bike and ride away glad I have my handgun with me. I was bleeding when I thought this was me trying to find her and make her forgive me. But now? I promised her two things. That I will never hurt her and that I will always protect her. I fucked up the first. Damn my damned soul if I don’t keep at least of my promises.