Richard and Ruby are whispering in the kitchen when I walk in. Immediately the news is turned off and they stop. I narrow my eyes and look between them. What are they up to?
"Oh! Christian! Are you hungry?!" Ruby asks a big too loudly her smile a bit too bright. Huh.
"I am starving actually. Thank you!" I grin. If I want info from Ruby I have to butter her up. Richard I would have to either fight him for the answers or get him drunk. It's nine in the morning and I don't have the time or the money for Richard. So Ruby it is.
Ruby bustles around and sets a plate piled high with bacon and eggs and various fruit. I gorge myself making sure to compliment her. Everything she absolutely deserves but I can't say I don't have an ulterior motive.
"So did Grace talk to you about the cooking thing?" I ask.
"No, she had business of her own to take care of... What cooking thing?" She asks changing the subject. What business?
"Oh she was saying she wanted to start cooking again." I shrug. "I told her she should talk to you. I know you had your own restaurant."
"Oh! I would love to help her! Does she want to go into that field?" She asks her eyes watering.
"That's what she said but let her come to you. I don't know how much she wants to share." I admit. I probably should keep my nose out of it but I want her to be happy and she said cooking makes her happy.
"I understand." She says gently and then smiles like she has a secret. "And it's not like she can't handle a knife!" She chuckles making Richard boom out a laugh. I am definitely missing something.
"Sorry, but it's really none of your business. If Grace wants you to know she'll tell you." Richard says letting me know I won't be getting anywhere. Fine.
I nod and thank Ruby for breakfast and head to Andras' office. I always liked his office. It's classy. Like an old time study. All dark wood and leathers.
My phone rings as I sit down. Its Jai. I hope he has some good news.
"Bianchi." I greet.
"Hey. We got them."
"Perfect. When and where?" I grin.
"I'll send you the location. Send it to the others. Meet at seven?"
"Sounds good. Liam said he wants to bring her."
"I really like this plan." He muses before hanging up. I have to say I agree.
I manage to make my way downtown to Monaco Tattoos after another little errand without anyone seeing me leave. I don't expect to go unnoticed but I need privacy for this meeting.
Gabe is waiting for me behind the counter with a giant fake smile. Uh oh. We head back to the break room and Gabe locks the door before handing me a manilla envelope.
"Whatever is going on Grace. I don't like it." He admits. I nod and heave a large steadying breath before opening the envelope. Five pictures and a list fall out.
The first picture is of Ray heading into a rundown trailer. The next is a picture of Ray through the window of that trailer with Nathan Marconi. Hugging. What. The. Fuck?
I have to put that picture face down before I can move on to the next.
The next bring bloody fury into my veins. Ray is escorting a very roughed up young woman into a shipping container. What the fuck is going on?
Bile rises in my throat as I see Ray and Harry Reid sharing a girl between them. No. Ray knows what he did to me. Over and over again. This doesn't make sense.
I turn that one face down as well.
The next picture has my brain disconnecting. I can't piece together what I'm looking at.
"That one was taken before you called me. I've been keeping my eye out making sure you're ok. You know you're like a sister to me. I can't... I don't know what's going on but... it just seemed important. I found it in his apartment." Gabe admits. He's right. It is important. Ray knew my parents. He's sharing a beer with my dad on the front stoop. They look like best friends.
"I..." I try but my words don't come.
"You know who that is?" Gabe asks.
"My dad." I whisper.
"Fuck." Yep. Fuck is the right response. Ray knows all of my childhood tormentors. I've told him about what they did to me. He knows what kind of people they are.
My best friend betrayed me in the worst way.
He is knowingly friends with my rapist, my abusers and my own personal boogeyman and has the nerve to call me his friend.
I'm going to kill him. On a very personal level.
"Thank you Gabe. This means a lot. Do you need anything?" I ask.
"Nah. We're good. I know you'll come through for me if I need you." He grins. He's right. I totally will. "And if you need help with whatever this shit is. I'm in."
"Thanks. I'll let you know." I nod. I have a lot to think about.
I somehow manage to get back to school and through my last few classes though my mind is elsewhere. Stewing and plotting and... God damnit! Why would Ray do this?!
Something is wrong with Grace. She wasn't here for lunch and gym class she might as well not have been here. She's too involved in her head.
Well, I can fix that.
"Hey babe. You wanna go for a ride with me?" I offer throwing my arm around her shoulders. She looks up at me with those gorgeous green eyes and gives me a small smile.
"That actually sounds perfect." Yes!
We head to our bikes and set off to pick up food before I take her out to my favorite route. Lots of easy turns and long stretches in the countryside. You can really let go here.
I can see her in my side mirror and she seems to be enjoying herself. Good. I point to a turn up ahead and she follows me. We ride down the road and into a wooded picnic area.
I get off my bike and head to a picnic table with the food.
"This place is gorgeous!" She sighs. I look over to her and see her smiling up at the leaves.
"I thought you might like it. Seemed like you needed a bit of a break." I explain.
"I do. Thank you Liam." She wraps her arms around me resting her cheek at my back. Turning around to hold her I tilt her chin up so I can see her beautiful face and bring my lips to hers. She lets out a quiet moan that sets my blood on fire.
I grip her hips pulling her even closer. I can't get close enough to her even when we're pressed against eachother. The little vixen in my arms wriggles against me and I lose it. Sitting on the bench she straddles me and my hands have a mind of their own tracing up her curves, gripping her thighs and unbuttoning her blouse. Each movement causes her to make soft needy sounds that I can't get enough of.
"Do you need something baby?" I ask but it comes out more of a growl pushing down her bra and taking a pierced nipple into my mouth and setting a knife aside into the table beside us.
"I need you. I need you Liam." She doesn't have to ask me twice. Birds sound around us as I slide her leggings off before she comes back down over me. My hand teases her through her panties.
"You're all ready for me huh?" I tease feeling how wet she is.
"Please." She sighs rubbing herself against my hand. I put a bit more pressure on her clit drawing small circles and she breaks over me and I want to see that for the rest of my life. Her crying out as she grips my shoulders still moving against me. Fuck yes!
Her hands free me before she even comes down from her climax completely. She gets up with a hungry look in her eye but that's too far away.
"I need you too." I chide hauling her back into of me and pull her panties aside. I groan as I swear I enter heaven itself. "Fuck Grace. Yes!"
She raises and lowers herself slowly in a torturous move. She looks me in the eye with a little teasing smirk that breaks all of my control. I grip her hips and pound up into her making her cry out my name. I stand up and flip her onto her stomach over the picnic table raising her skirt so I can see her fine ass out just for me. My hand comes down on her cheek without full thought. Thank God she jumps and presses her thighs together. She likes it and I can't hold out anymore.
Thrusting inside her heat again she's impossibly tighter at this angle and I feel my climax coming.
"Yes, yes. Oh God!" She moans as I pound at her from behind.
"You gonna come with me Grace?" I ask as my hand snakes forward and I rub at her clit hard and she clenches around me with a cry and I fill her up. Fuck yes!
"So good baby. So goddamn good." I groan. I pull out making her whimper and just watch her finish her orgasm. Fuck, is she the most beautiful woman ever. I fix her panties and skirt stuffing myself back into my pants. I bring her back onto my lap and hold her basking in the afterglow of our making love.
I am the luckiest man alive.
"We missed you at lunch. Keir and I were going to take you out." I mention humming into her hair as I run my hands through it.
"Oh... uh. I had a meeting. Found out some pretty fucked up stuff." She says. Her voice is tight and she seems to cling to me a bit more. Something happened.
"What's going on babe? Are you ok?" I whisper.
"Ray knew everything and he was friends with everyone." She whispers.
"Everyone?" What does that mean?
"He was friends with my parents, Marconi and..." her voice breaks and I just can't take it. I hold her even tighter to me as if I can hold her together so she doesn't have to do it alone.
"I'm so sorry Grace. I can't even imagine." I whisper as I try to soothe her sobs.
"I just don't get it. Why? Why would he do this? I told him everything and he helped train me. He... I don't understand." She mutters.
"I might be able to help with that. Eat up and we'll go see the others." I hope this helps. I watch as she picks at her fries and hamburger. I can't take it anymore I call Jai. Maybe we can push up the schedule.
After my build up and breakdown with Liam we get into our bikes and I follow him. This is a beautiful ride. Wide open spaces smooth turns and just me and my bike. I let the air blow past me and calm my nerves and soul.
I follow Liam through town and up to a shipping yard that is usually used by the Yakuza. What is going on? I see Jai wave us over to a non-descript blue shipping container. We park our bikes and I glance between the two men staring at me.
"What are you up to?" I ask climbing off my bike.
"We have a surprise for you." Jai grins. Liam looks a bit more concerned. Keir and Christian both come out of the container and smile sweetly when they see me.
"We have to wait for the heads and then it's all yours." Christian beams as my brain stutters to a halt.
"I'm sorry, what?" The heads? What part of 'barring the apocalypse they will never know who I am' did not get through to these guys?!
"Relax, it's ok. My dad contacted the others and explained what was going on so they are having a meeting about Ryan...er Ray right now." Keir explains.
"Ok... so what am I doing here?" I ask a bit panicked.
"Trust us." Jai says gently.
"Easier said than done." I mutter but I wait. We wait until the crunching of gravel sounds and five gleaming black cars pull up. There's one extra for body disposal. Oh dear God, I'm going to die. I slowly meander my way to my bike and start fiddling with the weapons in my saddlebag. If I'm going down I'm going down fighting. I wonder if the guys will hate me if I shoot their fathers? Probably, right? Fuck, the situations I get myself into...
Mr. Chekhov is the first to exit his vehicle and sends me a grin. Mr. Tanaka exits next looking me over but then just nods before standing next to Keir's dad. What the hell is going on?!
Mr. McConnell is next with a shake of his head and a chuckle followed by a grinning Mr. Bianchi.
The last car is what really surprises me. Andras, Richard and Ruby are here. I look over to my guys who all look like the cat who ate the canary.
"What's going on?" I ask.
"We have a job for you." Mr. Bianchi explains. Great.