As I roll into the driveway, I see Elena lying on the grass. Is she stargazing? I putter to a stop and slide off Layla to join her.
“You okay?” I ask as I reach her, she ends a call.
Elena turns her head to look at me and nods. She encourages me to lay down next to her, so I do.
I notice the Big Dipper and Little Dipper right away. It’s been a while since I actually stopped to look into the night sky like this. I did on our date, but my mind wasn’t really allowing me to appreciate it; I was too busy appreciating the nervous girl that was so close to me in that truck.
“I found something out about my Dad tonight.” She states with a dash of touchiness.
Not sure where this is going. “Oh yeah? What’s that?” I apprehensively ask.
She turns to face me, so I turn my head to look at her. She is so beautiful; her long blonde hair is displayed all around her, like a golden halo. Every time she looks into my eyes - it’s like she captures me, and we are the only two people in this world.
Unfortunately, we are not the only two people in this world. Cobra is right; she deserves better than me. I need to cut this off before we grow on each other. The closer she gets to me, the more she’ll be repulsed. She deserves someone better than me.
There is a trace of disappointment as she tells me in a low tone, “My dad used to be in a motorcycle club.” I blink, wasn’t expecting that – I thought she knew. He never told her? Idiot Cobra.
Her eyes widen a little; I’m staying silent on this one. “Turns out he was with a club called the Outlaws, they were ruthless, Mike. They’re known for doing a lot of bad things, including kidnapping.” She is rather calm about this even though the words rush out of her mouth, and her hands cut through the air as she talks.
“He claims he got out of there before it got that bad. He says he never did any of the bad things they are known for.” Ah, that’s why she’s so calm. I just stiffly nod my head in an attempt to show that I’m surprised about all of this.
A sigh leaves her as she studies me. It’s the ‘do I dare ask’ look. The look that I know all too well. My mom would give me the same look whenever I came home in the middle of the night, reeking of alcohol or have blood smeared all over my face. The eyes are narrowed just a bit, lips pursed a little, and the mind reeling with endless possibilities.
I give her a tight innocent smile, as she goes on. “When I cornered him about all this, he asked me if ‘he told you.’ I know the ‘he’ in that question is you... Did you know?” My smile fades.
Think quickly here. Pros and cons.
Pro, if I tell her the truth, then maybe she’ll trust me not to lie to her. It will then allow me to add more lies if I need to...
Con, I lie, and it either backfires on me or just gets added to a million other lies that I, no doubt, have and will be telling her...
Slowly, I nod my head, and I see her reaction turn to shock.
“You knew?” She’s pissed. Dammit. Time to fix this.
“Yes, I did, but only because my dad told me years ago.” That’s not technically a lie. Good job, Mike.
Her voice rises a bit as she lifts her head from the ground. “How come you never told me?”
I mimic her. “I thought you knew.” That’s not a lie. You’re on a roll, buddy.
Elena lets out a gasp and drops her head. “I forgot that our dads grew up together,” she mumbles.
“How did you find out? Did he just tell you, or...?” I ask as I prop myself up on my elbow.
“I Googled biker clubs.” She lets out a small laugh and covers her face with her hand.
“Google? Really?” I smile.
“Yeah.” She admits. “It’s your fault.” The angel points to me.
“What? How is this my fault?” My mouth drops, I’m lost.
“Your jacket started all of this,” she jabs with a tease.
No, your father did, the moment he hired me.
“It got me curious about motorcycle clubs, so I began to look them up to see what they are all about. It turns out that some are innocent, and others aren’t. I came across my dad’s symbol – the one he has on his arm--” I nod, then stop her.
“Cuts or colors,” I correct her.
She looks at me like I have sea fish crawling out of my ears. “What?”
“The symbol you are referring to, it’s the Outlaw’s cut or colors. Same difference.” I wave my hand. “Sorry, go on.” A little bit of education never hurt anybody.
“Oh... well, that’s how I found out. I confronted him, and we had a talk,” she says.
“I see.” I say, nodding my head. What else can I say?
A moment lingers in the air as she repositions herself on her side. Her long golden strands sweep the grass. “Then, I googled your club.” She forces a smile.
“I couldn’t find a thing. Nothing.” I feel a weight lift. “There’s a club that matches yours in New Zeeland, but nothing for around here.” I nod, assuring her that she’s right – that she knows of.
“Mike,” she says -her voice trembling as she locks eyes with me again. “Be honest with me, what is your club like? Do you...Do you do bad things? Unlawful things? Murder people? Or...kidnap.” Her eyes are wide with fear.
I have to think about her questions for a minute. Sucking in a breath, I confess. “We are not the bad guys, Elena. Sometimes we do things that we don’t have to do.” Like, run guns or moonshine. I clear my throat. “We don’t kidnap or deal with drugs.” Except for that one time. I cringe to myself and store that away – she doesn’t need to know about that. The strain of her eyes relaxes for a moment as I continue outwardly wincing a tad. “... And I wouldn’t call it murder, not when they have it coming to them – most of the time it is in self-defense.” Her eyes grow larger.
“And the times that it’s not...” She breathes. Her hands are starting to shake, and her breathing is escalating.
“Elena, I will say this again.” I reach for her hands. “We are not the bad guys. The men we have killed are the bad guys. I’ve lost men by them, so we retaliated – a life for a life sort of thing.”
“That doesn’t make it okay,” she exhales.
“I know,” I strain. “My brothers and I, we help protect this town. A lot of the town folk know it too. We stop store owners from getting robbed, we try and stop bad things from happening to good people.” Other than the rising drug and sex trafficking problem, which is originated here – she doesn’t have to know that either. We can’t seem to get our hands on that guy. Soon we will, though, soon we will.
Breaking our eye contact, she looks at the ground, fiddling with blades of grass under my touch. “So, you’re a necessary evil, then?” She questions.
A necessary evil. I haven’t thought of it like that before. I suppose it fits.
I remove my hand from hers and pick at a few blades of grass myself. “Yeah, I guess we are.”
Those innocent wide blue-grey eyes trap me. “Is there a meeting place for everyone?” she questions.
Not sure what that has to do with anything, I answer her anyway. “We have a clubhouse.”
“Can I see it?” I was not expecting this. I was expecting that she would run inside the house and lock the door from this necessary evil. Curiosity must be driving her.
This is the opportunity to make a clean break. Maybe she just needs a nudge from the club life to steer away from me and back up to that friend zone.
“I’ll take you tomorrow.” I smile down at her.