Over the past week we had doubled patrols around the city, monitored the flow in and around the city and posted scouts around the forest. I had been going on patrols every night since The General gave the order.
I’ve always found it calming being on the back of my bike. The world around me flies by so fast I feel like I’m not even there. For just a moment I have no problems and not a care in the world.
It was by pure coincidence that one night I saw Bella walking into her house. Every night after that I found myself driving past her place. She lived in a townhouse on the Southside of the city.
As I ride past I get a glimpse of her cooking dinner, watching tv or reading a book. It soon became my favourite part of the night. I felt at ease knowing she was safe in her home.
I still think about what it would be like to have a family. To have a normal life. The white picket fence and a large dog that loves her more than me. Two kids, a boy and a girl, the boy would be cheeky and mischievous, always pulling pranks. The girl would be the spitting image of her mother, she would be a dancer and always putting on concerts for us.
I imagined coming home from my normal 9-5 job to see Bella in the kitchen cooking dinner. The kids off playing somewhere so I turn on the radio and take her by the waist as we dance to the soft music.
When I rode passed and saw her out side my stomach dropped. What the hell was she thinking? Surely she knows about the attacks. I wasn’t thinking when I walked up to her. I realise now how creepy that was. But I couldn’t leave.
She was so nervous around me and so was I. Every time I got closer she stepped back. I know why, it’s the Riders of War cut I wore. We have a reputation in this city that people aren’t overly fond of. No surprise here that she knew about our reputation.
It wasn’t long before I was on my hands and knees helping here fix the pipes, I couldn’t see any leak or damage under here so it must just be dirt or rust in the pipes. I crawl back and looked at her, she was half way up the stairs. Like I said our reputation proceeds us.
“You know if you run your taps for about 20 minutes that should clean it out,” she opened her mouth to say something but just frowned and slowly her mouth closed. When she looked back up she scoffed and shook her head.
“No I did not know that,” she took a step down. I could tell she was gaining confidence, maybe it was bravery or maybe just stupidity. Either way she was becoming more comfortable around me, even if she didn’t realise. I watched her for a minute or two, her eyes wondered over my body and couldn’t help but feel proud and a little turned on. When she realised what she was doing she looked back down at her feet in shame. I just stood up and walked over to her, I needed to be close to her.
“If that doesn’t work you may want to get a professional,” it was in that moment I realised what she was wearing. Small cotton shorts and a loose top that hung off her shoulder. My entire body was heating up. My mouth went dry and my eyes got heavy.
All the things I would do to her. I would take her on my bed, in the kitchen, on the pool table, on the back of my bike. The image of her naked on my bed, sultry grin on her face and hooded eyes. I could feel myself getting harder as I stared at her.
“What are you a plumber or something?” She tilted her head to the side and a sideways grin spread over her face.
“Not a lot of people want to come to the club house,” I tried to keep the banter going but clearly I’m not very good at it. I push myself off the handrail and run my hand though my hair. “So we have to do most of it ourselves.”
“Well I should probably get inside, you hear the news? Can’t be out too late,” she trips on a step and I reach out to catch her. She stops herself from falling by gripping the handrail tight.
“Wise decision,” I step out the front gate as she makes her way inside.
“Hey Bennett,” I hear her voice all out so I spun around to face her. She is hiding half behind the door. “How did you know where I lived,” I can’t tell her that I have been riding passed every night to check on her. I try to think of something to say but she beats me to it. “No, on second thought I don’t want to know.”
“No you really don’t,” I whisper to myself. I close the gate and head back to my bike. Once on and ready to leave I glance ver at her to see that she is deep in though.
Another image popped into my head. The image of Bella lying dead on the floor, covered in blood. Bullet holes in her chest, tears in her eyes. That’s what will happen if I were to peruse this.
I can’t believe I was that stupid to think that I could have a life like that. Wife, kids, a dog. I’m just a ex soldier with nothing to offer. She is a beautiful woman with her whole life ahead of her. She could do anything, be anything. I’ll always be here, the scary story parents tell their children to get them to behave
Back at the clubhouse I head straight to my room and locked the door. Strip my clothes and get in the shower. I let the scolding water burn my back as I rest my head against the tiles.
Bella keeps coming to the front of my mind. Her face, her voice, her legs. Every time I see her in my mind or imagine her in my life I drive my fist into the wall.
When I think about her soft, long hair I punch the wall and feel a knuckle pop.
When I think about her hopeful green eyes I punch the wall and feel my skin split.
When I think about making her laugh I punch the wall and crack a tile.
When I think about how her arms would feel wrapped around me I punch the wall and blood streams down my hand.
When I think about how her lips would feel and her warm body pushed up against mine I punch the wall so hard I feel three knuckles dislocated and the broken tiles fall to the floor.
I took a moment to take a breath then got out and wrapped my hand in a bandage from the first aid kit. I got in bed to try and get some sleep.
A banging on the door woke me up the next morning. I tried to ignore it but whoever was knocking wouldn’t leave me alone.
“Bennett I swear to God if you make me break this door down I’ll,” I through the door open and glared at Adrian. How he was so chipper in the morning I’ll never know.
“The General needs to speak with you,” Adrian has a cheesy grin plastered on his face.
“Why?” I was still half asleep and too tired to really care what was going on.
“I don’t know, he just stormed out of his office yelling for you,” Adrian staggered off to his room leaving me to wonder what I had done.
I made my way down the stairs and grabbed a cup of coffee before knocking on The Generals office door.
“Come in,” I opened the door to see The General facing the window with his back to me. I place my coffee cup down and sit in one of the leather chairs in front of the desk.
“So what do you have to say for yourself?” The General asked still facing the window.
“I don’t know what you mean sir,” his head snapped around and glared at me. He stomped over to his desk, bashed his fist on the desk then pointed at me.
“What I mean is, why did you stop at Bella’s last night?” The clear fury on his face had me feeling like a teenager in the principals office. My eyebrows drew together in confusion, how would he even know what.
“She was outside in the middle of the night, I was just trying to help out a civilian. Maybe start a good reputation for the club,” I clenched my fists under the table. My right hand still throbbing from my fight with the wall.
“What head are you thinking with here boy? While you where out on your little Rendezvous with the zookeeper there was another body found in the forest,” The Generals face turned red. He was grinding his teeth together, something I noticed he only did when he had something else to say.
“That’s not my fault,” I stood up off the chair knocking it back. I slam my hands on the table matching his intensity.
“No,” he straightens up and pulls a folder out of his draw. “But this is,” pushing the folder closer to me, we both sit down and I open the folder.
Inside of a picture of Bella and me last night. The picture is of me leaning against the handrail and Bella with a fleeting smile on her face.
I flipped the picture over and saw a note on the back. My blood boiled as I read the note, my hands shook and my jaw clenched.
Roses are red
Violets are blue
10 are now dead
And she will be too