I slid my phone onto the side, nudging Rad with my hand. His room heaves with the smell of alcohol and sex.
He barely moves, and if it wasn’t for the rhythmic rise and fall of his chest, he could pass as dead. I get up, walking over to the curtainless window, pushing it open and taking a lungful of air.
How had I ever lived like this?
“The fuck, Jax?” A hoarse voice mumbles from behind me.
“What the fuck are you doing in my room?” Rad groans, sitting up and holding his head. His hand reaches out for the cigarettes on his bedside table, and I drop back into the chair as he squints at me, inhaling gratefully.
“Some girl let me in. She’s gone I think,” I explain, glancing around the room.
If you can call it that.
Rad slept on a mattress on the floor, and aside from beer cans and pizza boxes, there was nothing else in it.
“But why are you here?” Rad asks.
“Because I need to tell you something, and you’re not gonna like it,” I sigh, leaning forward and meeting his eyes.
“What?” Rad frowns, his eyes narrowing.
“Jolie is pregnant.”
The cigarette dangles from his lips as he blinks, tugging it away as he coughs.
His eyes. Oh man, his eyes. The pain in his eyes is too much for me to bear.
“I said she’s pregnant.” I repeat, as he clenches his jaw.
“How the fuck do you know that, Jax?” He says, staring at me coldly.
“Because it’s mine.”
There’s a deathly silence then, and to my utter surprise, Rad laughs, his face twisting into an evil smirk.
“Fucking hell. you had me then,” he waggles his finger at me before inhaling on his cigarette. A cloud of smoke drifts from his lips as I hold his gaze, and the realisation dawns in his eyes.
“It was a one night stand, Rad. I didn’t know who she was. I didn’t even know her name.”
Rad pales, before he drags on his cigarette once more.
“You fucked my girl?”
“She’s not your girl, Rad,” I sigh, knowing where this is going. “She’s not mine either.”
In a split movement, Rad's fist connects with my jaw, knocking me off my chair. I’m familiar with his moves, so before he can straddle me I’ve got my hand on his throat, keeping him at bay.
“Rad, think this through,” I hiss through gritted teeth as his eyes darken, an angry snarl leaving his lips as he lunges for me.
“You know how much I love her!” Rad snaps, slamming me against the wall.
“I didn’t know her fucking name!” I spit back, dragging his hands away from my throat with difficulty.
Rad steps back, shaking his head as he falls back onto the bed.
“When?” He demands, his eyes on mine.
“End of August. I’m sorry man, but she wasn’t with you, and I didn’t know.”
Rad scowls at me, his hands trembling as she glances around the room as if seeing it for the first time.
“Well now you do,” he snaps bitterly, his eyes blazing. “You got the woman I love pregnant.”
I stand my ground, but his eyes tell me not to respond. Rad has killed people with his bare hands, and that’s without it being personal.
“I didn’t know.”
“Shut the fuck up.”
A twinge of anger sparks within me, and I try not to react.
“I need to see her.”
This makes me blink in disbelief, my head snapping up to his as he pushes past me. He’s heading for the bathroom, and I have no option but to follow him. He strips off without looking at me, his fully tattooed back with the clubs logo on dominates my view, as he stepped into the shower.
“Rad, listen to me, she doesn’t need any stress,” I say, prepared to fight him if needed.
Rad doesn’t respond, and I walk away, waiting for him to get dressed.
The door below booms open, and I glance down the stairs to see Tiny grinning up at me.
Tiny is not small. At all. His bulk fills the stairway as he walks up, his gold tooth gleaming at me as he nods in my direction.
“Where’s Rad?” He peers into the bedroom frowning, before Rad steps out of the shower, butt ass naked. He is ripped despite his constant partying, and it’s down to the fighting. I know it.
“Ask this cunt what he’s doing here,” Rad barks, without looking at me.
Tiny’s eyes widen as he leans on the banister, which creaks beneath his weight. His leather jacket makes a crunching noise as he does, and he lifts his eyebrows at me.
“I’m assuming he means you,” he clucks his tongue.
“I got his ex pregnant.”
Tiny whistles, his eyes closing. “Jodie?” He whispers, as I grimace.
“Yeah. Ah man, why did you do him like that? How the fuck are you still standing?”
“Because he knows I didn’t know who she was.”
“You’re right, you don’t know her,” Rad says, his voice now cold and low. “You can’t possibly imagine how fucking scared she feels right now. Now get the fuck out of my house.”
“Well that explains why she wouldn’t lay with you, Rad,” Tiny offers thoughtfully as Rad glares at him.
“You too, fuck off.”
I place my hand on Rad's shoulder as he slaps it off, glaring at me.
“You may not have known who she was, but now you do. Leave her alone.”
“No,” I snap back, as his eyebrows lift in surprise. “That’s my baby, Rad. She’s the mother of my baby. I’m sure as fuck not leaving her alone.”
Tiny’s eyes dart between us, and he steps forward, clearing his throat.
“You were once brothers—”
“Not any more,” I growl, as Rad nods. “You’re not with her. You lost that right when you cheated on her.”
Rad looks wild with fury, and within seconds his fist cracks against my jaw, but this time I don’t accept it. I hit him back, not once, but twice.
“I’m not afraid of you,” I hiss, gripping his around the throat. “Get a fucking grip, you bastard. I didn’t do this to fucking hurt you.”
I release him, as Tiny tugs me off him.
I’m shaking with anger, but I turn and walk down the stairs, knowing there’s no reasoning with him.
I rip open the shitty front door, storming back to my truck without looking back. The only way this can end is one of us dead.
It sure as fuck won’t be me.
I drive to Jolie’s, knowing that’s where a Rad is heading. I park my truck a couple of streets away, jogging over there so Rad doesn’t spot me.
Jolie answers the door in a towel, and I have to push all thoughts out of my mind as I speak breathlessly.
“Your face,” Jolie murmurs, her hand reaching up to stroke the spot where Rad hat hit me, her touch sending shivers through me.
“I’m good, babe, don’t worry about me. Get dressed.”
I’m stalking the lounge when I hear his bike, and Jolie walks out into the room, her eyes wide as she looks towards the front door.
“Jax, you need to go,” she swallows, her damp hair curling at the ends as she inhales deeply.
“I’m going to be in the bedroom. If you need me, I’m here.”
She nods, as a thud comes from the front door.
“Jolie,” I say, and her eyes move to mine. “I’ll stay in here if you want.”
“No, no way. Just go, I can handle him.”
I believe her, despite my stomach twisting with fear. If Rad even raises his voice I’m gonna smack him into next week. I reluctantly head into the bedroom, sinking onto the pretty bed set, the room filled with her scent.
This is so fucked up.
“Bradley,” Jolie greets him crisply, and I shake my head at her strength, knowing she is probably terrified.
The thought of him upsetting her is too much for me to bear, but I have to remain calm and still. This is between them, I'm just here for Jolie in case she needs me
“Jax came to see me,” Rad says, and his voice is filled with hurt and sadness. The anger has gone, and this is a side of Rad I’ve never heard. “Are you okay?”
I frown, wondering what the fuck is going on. I don’t trust him right now, and I know Jolie is scared too.
“We didn’t know each other, you have to know that.”
“Baby, I know you didn’t know him. He left the club a long ass time ago,” Rad whispers, and it all feels rather intimate. I drop my head into my hands, praying Jolie gets rid of him.
“You and me aren’t together, Bradley. This isn’t your business,” Jolie says, and I’m filled with admiration.
It’s not every day a girl stands up to a biker who is known for his temper.
“I know, and fuck all of that. Are you sure the baby is his? Because you and me—”
I grit my teeth and close my eyes, the thought of him questioning our child is too much for me to listen to.
“It’s his, there’s been no one else since you, and no one since him.”
There’s a silence then, and then I hear Rad sigh.
“He’s a good guy. Do you... do you feel anything for him?”
I lift my head up, wondering this myself.
“He’s the baby’s father, Bradley. It’s not about me and him.”
Good answer, I think.
“You’re not on your own you know,” Rad says gruffly, and I hear the adoration in his voice. “I’ll help you, in any way I can.”
She doesn’t need you.
“Thanks, but I’m okay.”
Their voices fade as they walk away, and I strain to listen.
“I still love you,” Rad is saying, and the feeling of jealousy in my stomach makes me hiss out loud.
“Brad, we’ve been through this,” Jolie sighs, and I hear the crunch of leather.
He must be walking towards her. Or away from her.
“This should’ve been us,” Rad mumbles, and there's silence.
“But it’s not,” Jolie whispers.
“Look at me and tell you don’t love me anymore,” Rad is saying, and I flop back onto her bed.
I can’t hear her say it.
“I do, but I’m not in love with you.”
I stare at the ceiling as they continue.
“You’ll be a great mum, you know that? You’ll be nothing like her.”
Jolie starts to cry then, and I sit up, deciding to see what’s going on. I’m like a ninja, or so I like to think, and I pad over to the first that overlooks the open plan downstairs. Jolie is in Rads arms, and he is kissing her head and stroking her hair.
It’s too fucking intimate.
But despite that, I can’t stop watching them.
He strikes her face as they pull apart, and before I can inhale, their lips meet.
It’s a soft, tender kiss, and Jolie breaks it, holding Rad at arms length.
“I’m not mad at you, baby,” he mumbles, “what about I grab us some Chinese food and we have a chat tonight?”
I stiffen as Jolie agrees, and I see Rad beam at her.
“As friends, Bradley.”
Rad's eyes drop as he nods, his fingers lifting her hand to his mouth as he kisses it lightly.
“If it’s just friends, that’s fine. I still love you and I want you in my life.”
God he’s a seductive bastard.
Jolie walks him to the door, and he leaves. She’s still leaning against it when I come down the stairs. Her eyes meet mine as she shrugs.
“That wasn’t too bad.”
“Good. Feel better?”
Think of the baby.
“Yeah. Do you want a cup of tea?”
Because if I left now, I’d be tempted to chase Rad down and kill him for having the effect on Jolie that he does.
For the baby’s sake, obviously.