Crossroads: Book 1

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Chapter 42


“Have you given any thought to what you and Rachel would like to do when she visits here in a few days?” my father asks while I frost a freshly baked cutout cookie.

Cleaning off the edges of the cookie, I ponder, “Well, it would be fun to take her to the beach. Other than that, I think we just plan on hanging out. Maybe we’ll try and shop in town...”

Dad questions, “Do you ladies plan on trying to go out on New Year’s?”

I shrug my shoulder and apply some snowflake sprinkles onto the frosted cookie. “Maybe.”

Dad walks up to the counter where all sorts of cookies are laid out on cookie sheets. He warns me, “Well, if you go out, please be careful and don’t go anywhere without each other.”

“I know, dad,” I assure him as he steals a chocolate chip cookie.

“These are really good, sweetie,” he praises before he walks down the hall. Seconds later, I hear the door close.

The sound of a motorcycle sounds through the house, causing my sights to gander out the window and watch as Mike rides away down the street. It occurs to me that I have yet to look into biker clubs.

I hope that the scars on his back are not from a weird initiation or anything. Although, if it were something like that, he wouldn’t have a hard time sharing the details - would he?

Now that all the Christmas cookies are ready for Christmas and for when Rachel visits, I clean up my mess. As I wash the dishes in the sink and seal the treats in Tupperware containers, I prepare a small dish for Mike. It would look cuter if it had a bow; I think my dad still has bows and wrapping paper in his room.

I tap on the bedroom door, but there’s no response, so I crack it open. Cranking my neck to look behind the door, I see that the bathroom door is closed, and the shower is on. I walk further inside and go to his closet. A few boxes are stacked up high, but none of them are labeled, so I take the top one off to look inside. No bows.

I take the next box down then look inside – bows, finally. There aren’t any red or green bows, but there are green and red ribbons, so I take those out. When I’m about to place the box back where I found it, an old black box catches my eye. It’s a faded leather box with tattered sides.

Crouching down in front of it, my hand runs along the symbol on the top. It’s the same symbol that’s tattooed on Dad’s arm... Before I can open the box, I hear the shower shut off -my heart rate skyrockets.

I stack the boxes back at lightning speed, grab the ribbons, and run out the door to my room. Once my pulse and breathing calm down, I think that there’s got to be an explanation for that box. The more I think about the symbol - I wonder if it could be club-related – like Mike’s.

Dad would have told me if he was a part of a biker club, wouldn’t he?

I pull out the chair at my desk and turn on the computer. I click on the ‘Google’ icon then type in ‘Bike Clubs.’ A few listings of bicyclist leagues pop up with links for mountain bikes. Not quite what I’m looking for.

Typing in ‘Biker Clubs’ gives me an image of a man on a motorbike with a leather jacket with a symbol on it. The description under it makes it sound quite innocent: A group of individuals whose primary interest and activities involve motorcycles – motorcycle clubs.

I enter ‘Motorcycle Clubs’ in the search bar. The search engine didn’t pull up anything that reflects unicorns and rainbows; some clubs are involved with a lot of illegal activities. My mouse scrolls through the Los Angeles Times article: ‘7 Motorcycle Clubs the Feds Say Are Highly Structured Criminal.’

There’s a club called ‘The Outlaws’ at the top of the list. The symbol is the exact same as the tattoo on my dad’s arm and the black box in his closet. Somehow, I push myself to keep reading only to find out that the club has been accused of murder, kidnapping, manufacturing, and distributing methamphetamine. Seven hundred members are included; they originate in the Midwest but work with other clubs and have chapters throughout the country...

I suddenly feel as though my room is shrinking, caging me in. It’s suffocating the life out of me; the air is literally being sucked out of my lungs. I feel myself deflating.

Was my dad involved with those kinds of things? It’s like I don’t know my dad at all. There is a stranger less than thirty feet away, sharing this house with me.

Did my dad murder and kidnap people? I was almost kidnapped a few days ago; the thought of my dad ever kidnapping someone has my nerves shot.

Are the boys who chased me a part of a club too?

The article says that most of the crimes started in 2002. I was born in 2001; maybe dad left before they started doing that sort of thing? This must be why he never talked about his past...

My hands shake as I click on the print button; the printer feeds out the article with the inked symbols on various bodies.

With wrath fueling my courage, I march across the hall. Article in hand – careful not to crinkle the paper under my fuming rage – I bang on his bathroom door.

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