Crossroads: Book 1

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Chapter 44



I’ve been let down. I couldn’t find anything about Mike’s club; there are Devil’s Henchmens in New Zeeland, but no mention of them being around here. Supposedly no news is good news, but there is literally nothing.

Mike’s club could be doing anything, be responsible for anything; they just haven’t been caught yet. Or, they really do just hang out and ride around. Perhaps, I have nothing to worry about. Maybe I have everything to worry about. There is no clear answer. It’s so frustrating.

I walk past my dad with a huff, who is now reclined in his favorite chair, watching NCIS: Los Angeles. “I’ll be outside; I need some air,” I mumble under my breath.

I didn’t bother hearing his response; it fell on deaf ears. I yank the door closed and take a deep breath of the fresh air. Out of habit, when I get like this, I dial the number that I know will instantly better my mood.

“Hello?” The voice on the other side says.


“Elena? Are you okay?” The concern is crystal clear in her tone.

I shrug my one shoulder while staring down at the ground. “Sure, yeah, why wouldn’t I be?” I try to hide the exhaustion from the evening.

A sigh reaches my ears. “El, you are not okay, tell me what’s wrong.” She is being so difficult.

“What makes you think something is wrong?” My voice goes up an octave, and I wince at my own inability to lie to her. There’s a reason why I texted her how my date with Declan went instead of calling her.

“Girl, I have known you all your life. I can tell by the way you say my name or ‘hello’ that something is wrong. Out with it; tell me.” I decide to let my guard down. After all, this is why I called her.

Giving out a groan, I open the gates. “I found out some stuff about my dad tonight.” Before I can finish the sentence, she lets out a gasp. “I finally know why he never told me about his past. He was a part of a motorcycle club called the Outlaws-- ”

“What?” She cuts me off. I can practically see her face right now: mouth agape and her blue gunmetal eyes popping.

“Yep,” I pop the ‘p.’

“What the hell? Keep going!” She urges.

“Well, it turns out it’s a biker club that is known to be kind of at the top of the FBI’s watchlist; they are known to kidnap people, make and distribute meth, and kill people.” I still can’t believe my dad was ever associated with this club.

“Are you serious?” Rachel’s in disbelief.

“Dead serious.” I cringe at my choice of words.

“Wow.” Silence. “I can’t believe it. Your dad is so nice. I mean, I can’t see him doing any of that.” She is shocked as I am.

“Apparently, he left the club before it got that bad. He says that he did kill a few people out of self-defense and sell drugs – not meth apparently. He never actually murdered or kidnapped anybody.” Even I can hear the relief in my raised voice.

“Wow. It’s like he has a secret identity.” She is clearly fascinated.

“That’s how I feel right now about him.” I peer into the window over my shoulder; I can see his feet up in front of the television. “He’s hidden all of this from me my whole life. I wonder if there is anything else he isn’t telling me...” I think out loud.

She prods, “Why didn’t he ever tell you?”

A deep sigh passes through me. “He wasn’t sure how I would handle it.”

“Hmm.” That was originally my thought too. “Doesn’t he know how strong of an individual you are?” Rachel asks.

Making a point to sound a little annoyed towards my father, I say, “Maybe he’s just starting to figure that out.” Hopefully he’ll see that soon.

“What brought all this up in the first place?” Here we go, Rachel, here we go.

I let out a small laugh. “Do you have your seatbelt ready?”

She lets out a laugh of her own; I can hear her eyes roll at me. “It all started when I found out that Mike, apparently, is in a bike club too. Sorry, he’s not just in it, he’s the President of this club. Their club’s name is the Devil’s Henchmen,” I pause for a dramatic effect. I’m not sure I’m willing to tell her about the black box. I don’t even know what’s in there...

“What!” she exclaims. “What happened to you? Did you like drive through a twilight zone or something on your way down there?” A laugh escapes at her hysterics.

“Mike told me that they just like to hang out and ride around. I Googled them; there is absolutely nothing, Rachel. Nothing! Zip, zero, zilch!” I instantly cover my mouth from yelling up to the sky.

I quickly look behind me and notice my dad hasn’t moved. He hasn’t heard me – thank God. I let out a sigh of relief.

“That doesn’t necessarily mean anything bad,” Rachel points out.

“It doesn’t necessarily mean anything good, either,” I state.

After a short beat, she asks, “Have you met any of these other bikers?” Smiling at her ability to switch subjects so fluidly, I find myself feeling the soft blades of the grass in our front yard beneath my bare feet. Laying down on the lawn to stargaze, I chat with my best friend; it helps depress some of my anxiety.

“I have actually.” I know exactly where this is going.

The front light beams on over our yard from above our front door. Thankfully, it isn’t so bright that it takes away the calming influence of the stars. I crank my head to see dad checking on me. I give him a thumbs-up, he nods, then sits back down in his recliner.

She asks eagerly, “Well...anyone you think I’d like?”

“Well, I don’t know. I do know he thinks you are cute.” Rachel squeals as I reflect at Paul adoring her picture from our Mackinaw trip last year.

Her squealing suddenly stops. “Wait, how does he know what I look like?” she asks curiously.

“He saw that picture of us from our trip to the U.P last year. He asked who you were; I told him, and he said - I quote, she’s cute.”

“What does he look like? Is he hot?” Her patience is running thin, I can tell.

“Well, when you get here this Monday, you’ll have to decide for yourself.” Hopefully she can sense the big smile on my face.

“Elena Rose Cochran. Are you trying to play matchmaker?” Her tone isn’t quite one of approval, but it’s not one of disapproval either.

Giggling in her ear, I say, “I really miss you.” The laughter sobers as I confess to her, “I don’t really have any friends here besides Mike. I don’t have anyone else to talk to.”

“Aww, I miss you too, but why not?” She sounds sad for me. My heart drops at the feeling of making her feel that way.

My sights find the big dipper. “I’m not sure. There are people that I converse with here and there in my classes sometimes about assignments and stuff, but no one I can really call a friend...” I trail off, hoping that what happened at the party hasn’t deterred anyone from wanting to be my friend. Do people really still believe that I’m a slut, that I do drugs? Or are people that afraid of Mike that they don’t want to be near me?

“Well...maybe give it a little more time. Perhaps after winter break, you’ll find another friend.” I can hear the hope in her signature, comforting smile.

Finding O’Ryan’s Belt, I half-heartedly agree with her. “Yeah...maybe.”

Suddenly, trying to cheer up my mood, she chirps, “...And about this club thing, if I were you, I’d just ask him. Maybe he’ll open up more about it.”

Hearing a motorcycle closing in on the distance, I mumble, “Speak of the devil.”

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