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Chapter 26: Rings, Falls, & Bullets

The days flew straight on through. It was finally Saturday the drive to Pike’s Valley to the area they would need is only about a forty minute drive. They had the delivery vans and some of the new people that recently got hired follow them up their and made sure they had directions to get back home which wouldn’t be too hard since the employees were locals and knew their way around anyway. Xavier and the guys couldn’t wait to surprise their girls with the cabin they had rented up their a few cabins away from Bullets house he owned up there. It was a five bedroom four bath rental it was huge and beautiful. The guys couldn’t wait to get their partners up their and relax after all the craziness they had with their jobs lately. The guys made sure to pack what they would be needing and have even went yesterday to make sure they had the food and stuff they would need for the weekend.

“Ok all three Vans are full and you guys got the big coolers with the teas, lemonades, and the other mixed shit right?” Jessie asked everyone looking around. They all agreed knowing everything was settled and ready to go. They all loaded the they took their own vehicles and made their way up there. They made good timing getting there about one p.m. The party wasn’t until three but people were already starting to show up wanting to be helpful and settle in The guys didn’t want to spoil the surprise so they just left everything in the car saying they should offer to help set up and wanted to talk to Bullet first. “So what’s his real name?” Kiley asked the guys as the girls looked to the guys. “Bullet.” Xavier said. “No, not his stage name his like legal name.” Niki asked again. Bullet coming out of no where wrapping on earm over Xavier shoulder and one arm over Axels. “It’s Bullet. My parents were an odd bunch my dad loved guns and everything gun related and mama was hippy who just loved everything. It was a funny thing to see them together they shouldn’t have worked out the way they did. Yet some how it worked.” They all laughed with him.

“Happy Birthday man.” Noah said hugging him. “THIRTY-TWO YEARS YOUNG BIG PAPA! How does it feel?” Ryder said with enthusiasm. “It feels great man. Feels like I’m twenty-one all over again.” He said letting him go. “Sure, yeah right man you know you wanted that walker and little motorized scooter already there grandpa we know. It’s ok.” Jaxon said coming in for a hug. “Shut your chew hole child. So who are these visions of lovely? My name is Bullet and I would love to show you around.” He said holding Jessie’s hand up kissing the back of it. “Well as lovely as that sounds my name is Jessie and Eric and I need to go set up all the food we’ve made for you and put your cake together.” “Oh shit, I just hit on your woman there didn’t I, my bad beast.” He said patting Xavier on the shoulder. “If things ever go south with this dip nut here you just call me up Darlin’ I swear I’ll take great care of you. No record, I’m also a retired vet, I cook and clean, got my class A license.” “Bullet you keep trying to sell yourself to my bride, I’m going to have to give you the ability to be using the wheel chair for your birthday.” Xavier growled lowly to him. “Alright, alright. OK this will be fun let me guess.” Bullet said looking at all the girls and Eric.

“Now I haven’t been watching the news or following the medias so I have never seen your faces before, but these guys talk about you a lot so I can the name you all if that akes any of this sound any better. So we got Eric who’s with Devil. Sexy Jessie with Beast.” He said winking. “You must be Niki, because you makeup is on point. You Jaxon’s right?” Niki smiled shaking his hand bringing her into a hug instead. “I am Nikayla, please call me Niki. She said as he let her go. “You have the care free vibe but I feel like if you get mad I need to shag some major ass so you got to be Lexi, Axels baby girl right.” Lexi smiled nodding along into wide opened hug to him. “You know me so well.” She said laughing. “Which leaves this little gorgeous thing of sweetness to be Kiley. I don’t know what voodoo magic you did to Ryder but we all bow down to your feet to take down that ass hat.” Bullet said making her blush deeply he actually bowed to her as he pulled away from her. The rest of the guys bowed with Bullet everyone laughed making Ryder shake his head running his hand on his lower mouth and jawline.

“Seriously though thank you two for all you hard work on the treats I really love it they all look good. I think I will go ravish in them for a little bit. I will see you all around help yourself to anything in the house. There are like three pool tables over there in the entertainment room and than I think maybe three more in the basement ping pong table and basketball court is outside enjoy. The guys including Eric looked at each other knowing all their love of actually playing basketball all bid the girls farewell, and took off to the court being an even six players they joined a pick up game with some of the other fighters in a matter of seconds. The girls helped Jessie and the other workers set up and than the workers made their way back. The girls decided to play teams.

“Ok so after every game we switch partners?” Niki asked. They all shook their heads in agreement. “Dibs on Jessie first.” Lexi yelled. “Bitch, you know damn well she’s the best one, and I can’t play for shit.” Niki yelled at her making the girls and some of the others around them laugh hard. The girls for awhile were starting to wonder were the other women were hiding. Turns out all the other girls they met and got along with weren’t here. They were the only chained girls around and the rest were a bunch of ring bunnies. SO while the ring bunnies were enjoying sun bathing in their barely there clothes and bikinis they decided to enjoy their time inside playing pool and maybe even some poker later seeing as Lexi always had a deck of cards around.

The sun had started to set and the hoop was getting hard to see, the guys were starting to wonder why the guys inside were starting to get rowdy and the bunnies were getting pist not getting the attention they wanted unless the other dudes were like falling down drunk. They made their way inside to find the source of the excitement, it was their women Jessie and Lexi, were playing two other guys, and Kiley and Niki were playing two other men. They were laughing talking having a good time the guys got instantly jealous and a little irritated. “Damn that’s right, that’s my girls.” Eric said loudly. Going up hugging them. “What’s he talking about?” Jaxon asked. “Y’all blind as hell, look at the stacks on the pool table.” Ryder said with a laugh. “Our girls are hustling.” Axel said their faces all lit up. “They guys look like their egos taking hit, let’s go congratulate our women and piss them off even more to know they off limits. Ryder said. They men all got an evil smirk, and turned to go up to their girls.

Of course they all hugged their men happily showing them their winnings. There opponents looking the guys in the eyes nodding at them knowing now they didn’t have a shot in any way shape or form on or off those tables. “Let’s cut the cake y’all I’m tired of it harassing me and undressing me with it’s eyes.” Bullet yelled and a roar of laughter followed him. “You women are mean.” He said looking at them. “Taking all these guys money and attention, the damn bunnies are pouting every where. He said laughing his way over to start cutting the cake. Eric put candles all over it as Jaxon, Noah and tow other friends started to light them up. “We got to be careful now grandpa here is going to have the smoke alarms going off.” Axel spoke loudly earning a glare and Bullets middle finger. They all sang and he blew out his candles they enjoyed themselves for about another twenty minutes but the guys were over the other men’s lustful look at their women and was ready to get them back to the little escape that awaited them.

After long round of saying goodbyes to everyone. They all were walking to the cars. “Hey you guys look pretty tired you want us to drive back?” Jessie asked looking around. “No need baby girl’s and Eric. We all we tin and rented a cabin so we are basically stealing you away for the whole weekend seeing as we deserve a little break.” Jaxon said running his face along the insides of Niki’s neck. “Are you guy’s serious?” Lexi asked excited? “What about our stuff?” Eric asked. “Already got everything you could need for tomorrow. It’s only one night and one day.” Ryder said happily. “Even got some food just enough for tomorrow that is, were going to a nice steak house that Xavier took Jess on their first date.” Axel. “How did you get you my things?” Kiley asked Ryder. “The girls lent me their spare to your house.” Ryder said as he wiggled his eyebrows up and down. “I may have left some things behind for you to find and think of me. May have made myself a y own key who knows we’ll find out later.” He said as he walked off all the guys holding open the door for their girls. “Oh hell no, no we’ll wait and see, did you make a copy of my key. Boy you better be answering me.” Kiley said as he winked at the rest of them and shut her door.

It was a short drive a few cabins down they opened the doors and everyone was impressed. “Wow you know I thought it would be dusty you know.” Jessie said looking around. “Or have the you know stuffed up smell or something.” Eric added. “We thought ahead and paid a little more to make sure the place was cleaned the day before we came here, and to leave all the windows opened to air completely out.” Axel answered standing next to Jessie holding his and Lexi’s over night bag. “There is five rooms so we all sharing in our own space.” Xavier said putting his arm around Jessie’s waist, and had their bag on his shoulder. “Also there is a hot top out back that can fit about twenty people. So why don’t we all go get changed and we’ll get some drinks and turn it on and all just relax for a little but?” Noah said. “That sounds wonderful.” Lexi said. “Is the rooms assigned or first come first served?” Niki asked.

“Noah came earlier and just put the guy’s first letter of their name on random doors. So it’s fair.” Jaxon said. They all murmured with each other finding their room. Xavier and Jessie smirked to themselves. As they looked around to noticed they got the master bedroom there was two of them, and there they were in the best one. Xavier wasn’t that big of a gambling man but even he had to admit, all bets seemed to be paying off a weekend get away yet still close to his home and family. Away with his best friends happily with their better halves. He was engaged to the most amazing woman he’s ever met, they both had great jobs they loved. He watched as she got ready in her bathing suit. Still just lost in the amazement of his life now. After being so lost in the dark losing his way time and time again, the road couldn’t be brighter than it was shining down at the end of this tunnel as it is every time he looked at her and that smile that dropped him to his knees every time.

“Baby?” She asked bringing him back to reality. “What?” He asked looking at her. “I asked if you were all set. They are going to start wondering where we are.” She said giving him a small giggle pulling on his hand to the door. “You ok?” “Naw baby I’m fine, just taking a moment to take you in.” He said holding her hands out wide with his as he took a small step back admiring her beauty inside and out. Making her blush hard. “Telling you babe you a walking master piece.” He said shaking his head slightly. Turning her around to smack her butt playfully. “Let’s hurry and get down there so we can hurry back to the shower and bed.” Making her laugh walking in the hall, running into Kiley and Niki laughing hard bumping into her grabbing her hand hurry their coming they laughed out dragging her by the hand. Xavier looking at them like they crazy only to see Jaxon and Ryder rounding the corner so hard chasing after them hitting themselves into each other and the wall; yanking on Xavier along with them. “Come on man let’s get em’.” They laughed out to him. Not even taking a minute to think about it he just joined right in. They all laughed and played like love sick children.

Noah and Eric laughing at them mixing drinks and some snacks together along a bar watching everyone be silly. “Thank you baby. All this is so incredible. We all needed this so bad it’s insane.” Eric said looking Noah who looked at him for a moment to smile at him. “Look at that. Look how beautiful that is.” “I was hoping you would like the mountain view the stream is gorgeous and goes on down to the lake down that way.” Noah said gesturing where the lake went. “Well as beautiful as that is I meant look at that, them.” Eric said looking at their friends a smile so deep it reached both their hearts. The smile that made Noah’s heart skip a beat and makes it hard to breath for a second. “Look at our family Noah. I seriously think that this right here, this is what we were all missing. This is all I think we’re going to need.” Eric finished nodding his head.

“I don’t doubt that. I have never seen my brothers so happy. In five years, this is what we have been looking for this whole damn time; and now it’s right here standing next to us. Like it’s been waiting here this whole time. It’s strange how lost we were even with each other using each other to try to pull ourselves out of the darkness, the loneliness. Eric you don’t know how far gone we were, and than like a snap of someone’s fingers the lights came on and here you all were. Like a damn beacon with a big sign. I feel like I got so much more to wake for now, it’s like finding your purpose of breathing. It’s like letting go of breath you never knew you were holding on to. I don’t think I know how to be without you any more and I pray every day that I never have to.” Noah said taking a deep breathe, looking at Eric in his water filled eyes matching the same as his. Noah put his hand in his pocket and pulled out a black ring with two silver lines in it putting it on the bar they were prepping food and drinks on. “Will you honor me, being mine today, tomorrow, forever?” Noah asked in a shaky voice.

Eric took a deep breath picking up the ring noticing the engraving on the inside. “Today, Tomorrow, Forever. E&N.” A single tear rolled down his cheek. Noah quick to grab it. “Are. Are you sure?” Eric asked shaky as well. “Never been more sure about anything in my life as I am that you are always going to be all I need.” Noah said. “I was so lonely. I had friends don’t get me wrong but I was always feeling lonely in a crowded room it still felt so lonely. Than here comes two crazy chicks who randomly dubbed me their new best friend.” Eric said laughing a little bit still some tears pouring down. “They just came out of no where and yet I feel like I’ve known them my whole life, you guys give me that feeling too. I don’t think I will lever repay Jessie for all she’s has done for me.” Eric said holding the ring and looking down at it. “When I would go into my dark moments, it would be like a sixth sense for her because she always would pop out of nowhere and reel me back in. It took one crazy crush and one push from me, to get her to her happiness in that man over there. I would never think pushing her to happiness would I find mine.” He said staring into Eric’s eyes. “It took that beast of a man bringing you on a gut feeling and than you walked in like a damn hurricane. Keeping my heart and gut all twisted everyday ever since and I don’t think I can ever live without that. I want today, tomorrow, and forever with you Noah. You and our family.” Eric said as they both looked at their friends being silly. Looking at each other Noah slid his ring onto Erics fingers than both of them reaching out and cupping each others face smashing their lips to each other in the soul shaking world changing kiss, feeling their whole world shift and electricity flow through them. The pulled away smiling at each other knowing this was it. This is what forever finally feels like.

The next morning Jessie was singing and dancing with Ryder, Axel and Niki as they made breakfast for everyone. Everyone started to come down Noah and Eric came in last looking tired and being taking back by everything around them. A huge Congratulations Eric and Noah sign hanging over the table and confetti being thrown on them. With heart shaped waffles and strawberries. Making them blush deeply. Noah holding onto Eric proudly around his waist covering his face in kisses. “Did you know about all this?” HE asked Noah. “Not a clue but the guys knew I was going to ask you last night. You now damn well they can’t keep no secret like that from them girls so damned whipped.” He whispered to Eric. “Hey we are proudly whipped just like your clingy ass.” Ryder snapped back waving his spatula at him, with his pretty floral apron. Everyone laughing and eating.

Everyone changed and they went down to the lake. They spent the whole day lounging around he lake. It wasn’t until they started walking back up to the cars everything was already packed and ready to go they just had to get in the cars and drive out. Jessie and Kiley were walking over a loose trail that fell straight down this hill Niki grabbing quickly on whoever she could grab. Niki was holding her hand as everyone watched as Jessie fell over ten feet down a hill hitting every rock and tree root, and trunks all the way down. They all carefully went down the safe trail that went into the same curve she stopped in. Grabbing her head that was starting to bleeding a little feeling a little dizzy, her knees and elbows burned as she was cut and bleeding randomly in places. She looked up to see a crazy man crying and drunk out of his mind holding a gun, looking lost in thought.

“Are you alright that was quiet a tumble you took there.” He slurred. “I think I’m ok. How about you are you alright? Lovely day for a tumble no?” She joked. Making the guy smile back he remained sitting. “I don’t know what I am but fine is not it. I left my job, and my home, to come be with a woman who turned out to be married and says she refuses to leave him. She-she-she took my whole world and ripped it apart right in front of me. I can’t get a ticket bac home to my place that just got sold, and my position that’s already been filled. I put everything I had into her. Money, I got her car, and hell I even paid for that house she just got. She told her husband she got a job. She didn’t get shit she was getting it all from. Telling me we belonged together. That quickly turned to I will die alone no one wants me.” HE laughed to himself taking another swing of the whiskey bottle holding the gun a little tighter.

Xavier made them all stay back except for which ever guy could be quick enough to get Jessie away from that man to assess her injuries. “I am so sorry that happened to you. I’m sorry love, I didn’t catch your name.” Jessie said. “Marc.” HE said with a small smile. “You know you even look just like her.” HE said tilting his head to the side. “Is that right. While I don’t know I wouldn’t never string a man along and use him for his money. You seem like an amazing man Marc if you would so selflessly give up so much for her. Imagine what the right girl will do for you. She will come Marc. In a couple of months years this will just be a bad day. You will see that you are way better off with that woman. You deserve so much more you deserve the love and happiness that is waiting for you.” Jessie said trying to make her self be able to sit up.

“What the hell is Jessie doing near that man with a gun?” Dimitri asked the gang. Making them all jump a little. “What the fuck are you guys doing here?” Axel asked quietly. “Our family cabin is right there, this is where we fish.” Mateo said pointing behind them. “We thought we saw some chick fall down into the big ass rock. Heard voices came to check it out.” Leo said shrugging. “Gio come around with me I don’t trust this prick, Xavier got her. Well take care of him. Don’t need a drunk with a gun running around the woods.” Dimitri said as they quietely made their way around to the other side to sneak up upon the stranger.

Jessie couldn’t help but look around the last hour the only thing she could think of is here we are in this beautiful woods. With a strange feeling of being watched, in the last hour it had stayed quiet. No noise, no wind, no flies, no birds, nothing for miles. She had a feeling something was wrong but as odd as it is in the position right now this was not it. “You know Marc I’m thinking if it’s ok with you maybe we could head over to my head group that’s waiting for me. Maybe you could join us for dinner in the city?” Jessie said cheerfully. “Your voice almost sounds like her.” He got up stumbling a little. “ I bet you string men along too don’t you? You’re all alike. You damn women are all the same.: He snapped at her. “You say you want a good guy, yet the minute you get one you use him for everything he is worth and than cheat on him with the some asshole who will crush you down the road. You are all the FUCING SAME!” He roared at her in slurred words. As he lifted the now empty bottle throwing it now hearing I break made her jump.

“I know this must be such a hard time for you right now Marc, but we’re not all the same there is someone who is made just for you, you just have to give it sometime. Trust me you will find them. I had to find that out the hard way myself. I put a lot of myself into someone too, who just threw it all away. Than in time I found the person who makes my life better. I am so happy that, that guy did what he did because than I would have never met the man I’m about to marry. This is the moment where your life get s turned around and the good things start coming. I know you feel down and out right; but Marc we fall down so we learn how to get back up. Let me help you get back up.” Jessie said sweetly. Looking at him sadly. “We’ve all been there Marc. We all know how it feels to have your heart pulled from your chest.”

“YES! Exactly! That si what this is she took my heart and ripped out of my chest and tore it shreds in the manicure I fucking paid for. You’re right when your down the only place left to go is up.” HE said looking up. “I think it’s time to pu tall of our sufferin to an end. You said it yourself it sucks. So why do we put ourselves through this misery. There is a simple way out of all this. We just end it. Right here right now.” HE said smiling like he just found the cure for cancer. “We can do it together. This would be the greatest thing to happen to anyone think about it’s like Romeo and Juliet in reverse.” He said happily. “I think you’re missing the point Marc. There is more better answer than suicide. That is not a solution to anything that’s just running away form your problems like a coward. You are so much bigger than this Marc, you can are so much more. I can help you.” Jessie said as she was starting to get scared. Xavier finally approached them. “Jess? Jessie are you ok?” Xavier asked as he tried to look unintimidatingly as possible.

“Marc this is Xavier, Xavier this is Marc. I am ok. I’m just really banged up pretty good.” She said back not taking her eyes off Marc. “Who are you?” Marc asked putting the gun down. “I’m her fiance. It’s nice to meet you Marc. You look a little hungry there, you know we got a small group with us how about you come back into town with us and catch some food? It’s been a long day. As you can see I’m eager to take Jessie back and get her some help as she got her hurt from her fall. Why don’t you come back with us plenty of room.” Xavier said with a smile trying to talk Marc down on his crazy high. “I don’t know. Tell me Xavier have you ever had your heart broke?” Marc asked with tears in his eyes. “Well it broke three times actually. The first was when I found out some frunk dude attacked Jessie here couple weeks back because of me. The second when another drunk man crashed into Jessies car as she was coming home. The third time was watching her fall down that hill, and now looking at her, I already feel better.” Xavier said not breaking eye contact. “That’s so not what I meant man. I just figured with a mug that looks like your maybe you would have understood what it felt like to get your heart broken.”

“Wow dude seriously that was a low move.” Xavier said in laugh. “I’ve only ever loved one girl man and she’s sitting right there.” Xavier pointed to her. “You’re a lucky man.” Marc said putting his gun away. “Food actually sounds like a good idea.” He said as he stared to walk closer to Jessie and Xavier did the same thing Xavier got to her and picked her up Marc still had a ways to walk. “Hey man? Why did the first guy attack her?” Marc asked scratching the back of his head. “Well see I’m a professional fighter and he betted against me on some fights and lost a lot of money when I didn’t lose. HE took it out on my innocent woman.” Xavier said with a little growl lost in the memory. “You’re a fighter? Just like that damn man who took my woman form me?” Marc asked getting man again. “You pricks are all the same. You think you can just come right in and have woman just fall all over your damn feet. To hell with the rest of us working average joes. Who the hell would a damn Ken doll when they can have G.I Joe right. AND YOU!! You are no damn different you the same as any other slut around giving themselves up to the first damn eye candy comes across and shows you a bit of attention.” Marc yelled reaching for his gun getting tackled on his side by Dimitri and Gio made sure to slide the gun away form him. Xavier quick to Dimitri side helping detained him.

Something shining caught Jessie attention following it she was still in a daze, for a second she thought it looked like a barrel. She followed where she thought it was pointing. Using all of whatever strength she had left she ran and charged Xavier to the floor knocking the other two men down in the process. Everyone stopped moving after the heard the two gun shots. Everyone looking around relieved that they were ok looking at their partner than the person next to them. Xavier looking down at Jessie whose focus was fading in and out. “Baby?” HE asked confused. He pulled her closer to him noticing that both sides above her hips were piereced with gun shots and her head still was bleeding softly from the fall. “CAR! I NEED A CAR! WE GOT TO GET OUT OF her. Gio Tony get that bastard handled. Dimitri help me get her to the hospital.” Xavier said picking her up getting her in the back of his truck grabbing his emergency medical bag from his bed and getting in the back with her. “Take the keys you know how to get there faster than I do.” Dimitri wasted no time as everyone else was flooring it right there with him.

Getting to the hospital took fifteen minutes. They took her form both men who just stared at the door than each other. Both eyes started to water. “We have to stop ending up here.” Xavier said to him. Dimitri gave him a soft laugh. All the others came and just circled around them in the lobby and sat together in silence. “I don’t understand it Gio got the gun away. Where the fuck di the shooter come from, it’s not even hunting season.” Noah said thinking out loud. “How did Jessie see it? She could barley sit up next thing we know she charging at the three of you knocking you all over. So who was that bullet really for?” Axel asked looking at Dimitri and Xavier. “You piss any one off lately?” Eric asked. “Just that Marc guy.” Xavier said shaking his head confused. “We’re successful sexy business men we piss everyone off all the time.” Dimitri said calmly. Looking at the other guys who were looking back at him. They were very aware of who the shooter the only thing they didn’t count on was the crazy ass Marc being lost in the woods. Also didn’t think Jessie would take a tumble down a hill. They never wanted to be seen or known they were out there but once the drunk man popped up and Jessie their plan flew right out the window.

Gio and Tony showed up. “The drunk guy got away from us the police is on to him though.” They said looking dead tired bruises on their faces. The lie came out so naturally Dimitri knew exactly where he was and where he was going. “Are you guys alright you need to get checked we can grab a nurse for you.” Kiley asked. “No sweet heart we are fine. Thank you though.” Tony said with a small smile. It took a couple hours no one said anything. Only when Xavier called his parents and Cal. He was starting to feel like he was crawling out of his skin. “How is she?” Callan said as he ran and ran straight into Xavier. “Alderman, persons waiting for Jessenia Alderman.” Doctor called looking like he just got back from a ten mile run. The doctor walked over to the men. “Are you Jessenia’ s family?” Dimitri looking at Xavier a little broken taking a quick look to Callan who looked scared for a moment. “Yes, We ALL are.” Xavier broke the silence. “We aint’ leaving either, so what’s going on with our girl? Xavier said like a man on a mission.

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