2. The Official Asshole Meddle
I checked my phone and noticed I had three miscalls from ma. All were done at different time periods: one twenty minutes ago, the next ten and the other five. Usually, I would call back if she had Leilani but since she was in Atlanta with her mother in Atlanta, I ignored it.
The second I shoved my phone into my back pocket, it rang. Again, I pretended like I couldn’t hear it. Too bad McKenna could. She tilted her head back, her brows pinching together into a frown as she waited for me to take the call. When I didn’t she spoke up.
“Aren’t you gonna get that?”
“Nothing important,” I said, not looking at her but instead, jerked my chin towards the car she was working on. “What’s the problem with this car?”
McKenna sighed and shook her head, almost as if in disappointment, and the her ponytail shuffles from side to side with her head movement. “Nothing too exciting, the driver was just having a problem with the clutch that’s all.”
“That’s all?” I asked, grinning with a raised brow. “You’d be surprised how often small things like these come in the shop. It’s small but we charge a lot.”
Breathing a small laugh, she glanced at me for a second before standing to her feet. “Well, then, guess I’ve gotta be excited about that.”
Two weeks passed since McKenna started working at Reyes Mechanics. I ain’t gonna lie, she was good. Real good. She could do things as low as fixing a rusty clutch to customising old cars. Hell, if shit were different, I would’ve asked her to marry me.
“How old is your daughter?” I asked.
“She just turned four,” McKenna said and grinned with pride.
“Mines gonna turn six soon,” I said and her eyes widened.
“I didn’t know you were a father?”
I shrugged. “Yeah, well, she spends most of her time with her ma. With me being on the road more often than not, she can’t live in Miami.”
Her curiosity faded into something else. When I looked closer, I recognised the sadness in her eyes. No, it was grief. For a second, I was surprised. Unsure of what to do, I kept quiet and waited for her to carry on the conversation.
“Her father is dead,” she whispered, turning her face away from me. “My… my situation is complicated. All I know is I can’t go home to her and I miss him.”
She shifted again, her profile coming to view. I search for the tears but found none. Once again, I was surprised. This woman was a physical maze of some sort. I tried to figure her out, search her mind to figure out her thoughts but I always came to a dead end. At first, I thought because she was surrounded by men. The last thing to do in a male dominated business is to start crying, especially for a woman.
“Are you and her mother together?”
She glanced at me, her head tilted to the side. “But you are with someone?”
I mirrored her actions. “McKenna are you flirting with me?”
She snorted. “No, but the guys around her keep bitching about the girls they wanna hook up with a hung up on you. Quite a Casanova, I see.”
Vanessa. Like a bomb, her name exploded into my consciousness. Rubbing my jaw, I thought. “I have a girl. Had a girl.”
McKenna raised both brows. “Oh…”
For a while, we didn’t say anything. McKenna jumped into the car and tested the clutch for what felt like the billionth time. I was busy on my phone, checking my emails when the familiar drums of motorcycles disturbed the quiet air. Without even looking, I knew who it as. Rolling my eyes to the ceiling, I clenched my teeth. I gripped the door tightly and before I knew it, I shoved it closed in frustration. Startled, McKenna jumped and glanced at me with a ‘what the fuck?’ look. Shaking my head, I glanced at the entrance to find Muerte and Goliath heading my way.
“Stay here,” I said. When she nodded, I turned away and walked towards them.
I scanned both their faces. Goliath looked at me with a pleading look, almost knowing that shit could blow out of proportion. Muerte was… well Muerte was seething. Even though the shades blocked the rage in his eyes, the steady tick in his jaw gave it away. The longer I avoided Muerte, the more frustrated he’d get. Eventually, that frustration morphed into anger. Unlike some of the other men in the MC, I wasn’t afraid of his anger. Not when his was similar to mine.
After all, we were of the same blood.
“What’s up?” I said calmly and folded my arms.
“Where the fuck have you been?” he demanded, switching to Spanish so the others couldn’t understand our conversation. “I’ve been calling you. Your ma has been calling you.”
Shrugging, I said. “I’ve been busy with the shop,”
“Too busy to come to church when needed? Or too busy to see your own ma?” When I didn’t say anything, he stepped closer until we were face to face. I wasn’t intimidated by him, never was, so when I didn’t shuffle back like he wanted, his face contorted into rage. “You have a commitment to the club and when I call, you should answer.”
“You’ve been calling me more often than not. I’ve got work, a daughter and other responsibilities that don’t revolve around you.”
“It ain’t got nothing to do about me. It involves the entire club and you are a part of it.”
Gritting my teeth, I unfolded my arms and prepared to turn around. “Fine, I’ll be right behind you. Be there in thirty.”
“You’ll be following right now.”
“I’m not Marcus,” I said. Although I hated bringing him up in this conversation, I needed to let him know. “I’m not ready to please you because you’re having a bitch fit.”
His back stiffened as the silence settled around us. Goliath glanced between us, waiting for either one of us to blow up. From behind, I could hear the workers slowing down and trying to listen on what’s happening. They may not understand Spanish but from my stance and Muerte’s pissed off face, they could tell something was up.
“Just get your ass at Red Devils,” he said, walking out the shop and calling Goliath to do the same. Looking at Goliath, I gave him a nod, letting him know I was good with all this. He turned around and followed Muerte to their bikes.
I turned around. Meeting McKenna’s eyes, I pointed her way while raising my voice. “She’s in charge.”
Nobody said a word when I headed for my office. I gathered my things – mostly my keys and wallet—before returning for the shop’s exit. Before I could step over the threshold, McKenna was in front of me with her arms folded with a somewhat worried look.
“I’m the new girl. You can’t put me in charge.”
“Sure I can,” I said, grinning down at her. “If they try anything with you, I’ll fuck ’em up.”
“Don,” she said, stepping to the side when I tried to walk around her. She sent me a pleading look. “What if I screw up? Please, someone else?”
“I’ve seen what you can do. You’re a natural, McKenna, and I have no reason not to trust you,” I said, smiling at her with reassurance.
Tapping her nose, I walked out of the shop and headed for my bike. Thirty minutes it took to drive to Red Devils. I had a lot of time to think, to reflect on everything, including my behaviour. Yeah, I knew my actions were worthy of the official asshole meddle but could you blame me?.
Should I just tell him? Let him know what I know? How could I? They lied to me. Marcus, the boy who I’ve always thought was my cousin was not at all. Instead, he was something closer.