I am so livid. I could almost feel the steam coming out of my ears. My fist clench around the handles of the bike. I squeeze the throttle, the wind rushes past my ears blocking out the world around me.
This is why I don’t date. Women expect too much. They are needy, self absorbed and jealous. I know this yet I still let myself be blinded.
I am a Rider and we don’t take crap from anyone. I have more important things to worry about. I don’t need a woman, no matter how beautiful she is.
I pull up to The Base and throw the doors open. I spot Talon across the room. A drink in one had and a knife in the other. I can see blood seeping through the sleeve of his shirt.
“Talon.” All the brothers turn to look at me. Some look confused, others look intrigued. To be honest this isn’t the smartest idea I have had but I need this.
“The Ring. Now.” Everyone’s faces drop. The Ring is a boxing ring in the gym we have at The Base.
The Ring is where bets are settled, revenge is served and challenges are met with ferocity.
“Are you crazy or just stupid?” Alex says as we all make our way to the gym. Alex is only young and fairly new to this. He still has a lot to learn.
“Does it matter?” My eyes are focused on The Ring.
“If you go into The Ring with Talon you will die.” He’s right. Talon is an enforcer for the club. When a punishment needs to be execute Talon will be the one to do it.
“He’s right Bennett. You know the odds of you winning this are slim,” Adrian said standing beside me. Nobody understood why I wanted to do this. Why I needed to do this.
“I don’t need to win.” I just needed to feel at this point. I have been so wrapped up in Bella and what she needs that I have neglected everything here.
“Then fight me, fight Alex. Fight anyone but not Talon,” Adrian tries to persuade me. Talon will be the only one to actually fight and not hold back.
“I challenge Talon.”
When you challenge someone there is no going back. Only The General can stop a challenge fight. Most of the time a challenge is only set from a personal grudge between brothers. Only a brother can challenge a brother.
“Bennett.” Adrian grips my shoulder. He knows the rules but that doesn’t stop him from attempting to change my mind.
“Adrian. The challenge had been set.” The General appeared out of nowhere. “There is nothing you can do about it.”
Adrian give my shoulder a squeeze letting me know that he was here for me. With a final pat on the back Adrian and the others gathered around The Ring.
Talon and I jump into The Ring. We both stretch out our muscles, preparing for the fight.
“‘You know they rules. The fight will end with my call.”
Talon was the first to strike. His fist came flying toward my nose. It’s times like this being light in my feet is a godsend. I can tell he is holding back.
I kicked the back of his knee, knocking him briefly to the ground. Talon does not like to lose and he loves a fight. I know in that moment he snapped. There was no holding back anymore.
He hits me again and I taste blood. That’s more like it. He grabs my arm and throws me across The Ring. I jump straight back up onto my feet.
Charging back at Talon I know you can’t take him down by brute force. A man like Talon can only be taken down if you find his weakness. Unfortunately for me I don’t think he has one.
This fight lasts about half an hour. The adrenaline pumping through my veins was the only thing keeping me standing at this point. Talon has trapped me against his side with my arms above my head. His left arm is wrapped around my head squeezing my arms against my ears.
He slams his fist into my ribs over and over again. The pain ripples around my chest. The distinct crack of the bone can be heard echoing through the gym.
I hear a collective grown from all the brothers. We all know what it’s like to cracked a rib.
Talon keeps up the assault on my ribs. It isn’t until I cough up blood that The General decides to call it.
Talons fist stops midair. His grip doesn’t loosen as he struggles to fight his instincts.
“Distraction. Chaos. Fury.” Talon repeated over and over again. His whole body shakes then he drops me to the floor.
“Someone get him out of here.”
It takes three brothers to drag talon out of the gym. When he gets like that the only thing we can do is put him on a bike and send him on a run.
Once Talon is off me I push past everyone and head up to my room.
The bathroom is dark and there is still a hole in the wall. I pull the first aid kit out again and sit on the bed to get some light.
I rummage through my draws. I know I have a bottle of vodka here somewhere. I have a stash of different spirits for when I have had a bad day. I’ve been having more bad days than good lately.
Just as I start cleaning the cuts Elizabeth and Amelia burst through the door.
“You wanna tell me what that was about?” Elizabeth sounded pissed. Both of them stormed into the room pushing shit out of the way.
“It was nothing,” I said pouring the vodka over my knuckles. The sting was nothing compared to the pain in my ribs and the hole in my chest.
“Nobody goes into The Ring without a reason,” Amelia states sitting next to me.
“Well maybe I do.” I take a swig of the vodka. Amelia takes the bottle of vodka off me. Clearly she wants me sober for whatever speech they are about to give.
“Did something happen?” Elizabeth hasn’t always been the mother. Before she had kids she was just like Amelia, load, adventurous, a little crazy.
“Nothing I didn’t expect.”
I wasn’t lying. I know women like Bella. This is what they do.
“Did something happen with Bella?” I scoff at them and turn snatch the bottle back from Amelia. I don’t need this right now.
“Is she pregnant?” Elizabeth asks placing a hand on my arm. A comforting aura emanates from her.
“What no, I don’t think so.” The thought of her pregnant scares me. I am in no way ready for that.
“Well what happened?” Both girls sat on the end of the bed staring at me intensely. When it comes to these two there is no such thing as keeping secrets.
“She said she wanted normal. Can you believe that?”
“Oh my god what a monster.” I could hear the sarcasm dripping from Amelia’s voice. I chose to ignore it as I continued.
“She expects me to leave the Riders for her. She wants me to drop everything I have ever known just because she says so.”
The girls glance at each other out of the side of their eyes. They have a silent conversation and roll their eyes and snicker.
“I’m being serious.” They give me a deadpanned look then laughing and harder. As quickly as it started the laughing stopped.
“You’re an idiot Bennett.”
There was no emotion on Elizabeth’s face at all. Obviously she knows something I don’t.
“I’m sure you’re right, but why?” I finish cleaning myself up and turn to face them.
Doubt started to creep into my mind. What if I was wrong about everything. Bella is such a sweet girl.
To have her in my life would be such a shock to the system. But they always say a change is good. Clearly the life I’ve been living hasn’t been working for me lately.
I’ve been getting into more fights. Relying on alcohol more than usual. I just have been ignoring my duties here.
“She doesn’t want the house on the hill with the big dog and 2.5 kids.” Elizabeth explains.
“She wants dates and for you to take an interest in more than her safety.” Amelia continues.
I think about all of my interactions with Bella. The girls are right I haven’t been taking an interest in her at all. Even at the Riders of War party our conversation was meaningless.
I’ve never even asked how she is. I’m starting to understand how she felt.
“How do you know that?” This secret girl code is stronger than I thought.
“Because we are girls,” Amelia exclaimed.
“Girls that have dated Riders.”
After a moment of silence the girls cleared out of the room and I am left alone with my thoughts.
Elizabeth was right. I am an idiot. I was so concerned with my life I didn’t take the time to think about her.