Adelaide is good at other things, the menial things that repeat because it calms her hyperactive brain. My problem is that my brain is fucked leaving my body to feel wound up all the time. I've been running a lot, probably more than I should but it's like my body is trying to outrun the sluggish feeling I have every goddamn day. Doc and I left the last state we were in because the apple pie life as I like to call it just wasn't enough and now we're straight back into it.
I'm either dancing in a cage or I'm running. I can't sit still and I feel entirely on edge all the time. I've found nothing to soothe my unnecessary anxiety and no one seems to have ever felt the same. They feel at home here, even Doc does when she chooses to come here but I feel nothing. I know I'd throw myself in front of a bullet for most of the people here, that's common courtesy for people that Adelaide loves, doesn't mean I feel safe nor welcome here.
I have gotten incredibly good at hiding it especially with the others so busy with their new responsibilities, they don't seem to notice the fact that I'm in constant limbo trying to find somewhere I belong. I miss riding through the highlands and I miss causing chaos, neither of those seem reachable nowadays leaving me in the training room of the club beating the shit out of a boxing bag.
"I recognise that look." I don't turn to look at Evangeline as her heels click on the concrete floor. She and I aren't ever going to be the best of friends after everything that she's done to us but I've learned to tolerate her for everyone's sake. My best and worst trait is my ability to manipulate people into feeling exactly what I need them to at any given time, normally that includes faking my own interactions with them and then peace follows.
I did manage to get three bloodthirsty Dons to roll over very swiftly so there are small things to be proud of. "I don't know what you mean." I plough through the bag again, relishing in the ripple of the force up my arm as my body takes the brunt of my irritation.
"I was like you for a while Farrah. Untethered. Then I found Mac."
"No offence, Evangeline, but I don't really care about your love story. It's none of my business." I hear her sigh and continue approaching me, now standing in front of the bag with her normal mothering look on her face. I don't know how the rest of them stand that 'I know better than you' face, they seem to idolise the woman even after finding out about the kind of shit she got up to.
Though I guess they didn't get all of the information on that one, she's done some really fucked up shit and I doubt they'd be so impressed if they found out about it all. Doc wasn't lying when she said I've collated a lot of information over my years, I knew the only thing that could protect my girls was knowledge and I fought long and hard to give them a good future. I may not be in it but it will be good either way.
"I'm just saying once you've found someone to love here you'll feel better." I snort and pull away from the bag to fix her with a look.
"I have Adelaide. She's enough." My voice is short as I start unwrapping my hands to head upstairs. Evangeline stays close to my side and I attempt to reign in my anger before I lash out. I understand her need to look out for me, she's only ever been seen by everyone here as a mother figure but I don't see her that way.
I see her as the narc that chased me from my home, hurt the kid and then acted like none of it ever happened. I know too much about her to put her on the same pedestal and I can't take advice from someone I don't respect nor trust. I'm not even surprised to find the lounge stuffed to the brim with every biker on the planet and the three Dons sat in their usual seats.
I'm very wary around them considering they threatened me with death multiple times during our original negotiations and I doubt they've gotten over that yet. It's not like they're getting anything out of me anyway. I move to leave so I can clean up and get ready for the club tonight but Evangeline drags me into the room without asking me first.
I spot Adelaide tucked in next to her man and Doc chatting away to the other Doc - yes that gets confusing by the way, if you shout Doc they both come running and it's a problem - so I walk around everyone to disappear at the back of the room. I'm expected at these stupid meetings because of those damn contracts but it's not like I'm actually needed, I am basically irrelevant compared to anyone in the room and I can say no to whatever they ask me.
This is definitely not what I had in mind when we joined Adelaide again. I wish we could go back to roaming Europe and making money to spend it on stupid things and act like nutjobs all day because we had nothing of importance to do. Now Diana is running her own hospital like she always should've been and Adelaide has found the love of her life.
I feel alone all over again.
I run my fingers over the track marks on the inside of my elbow and heave a sigh, trying to stop the flood of dark memories that push to the forefront of my brain. It's easier than you'd think to avoid getting a hit when you were forced into your addiction and are terrified of needles but it doesn't stop you from craving that peace you felt when the dose was just right.
I start to panic at the thought, I can't fall back into old patterns, I can't ruin the progress I've made over these last years. It's been twenty years and I still can't kick it even with the damage inside of me, I still crave the thing that can kill me. "You called an emergency meeting, Lorenzo. You take the floor." Bear says, his voice sounding further away than usual as my brain starts to swallow itself.
I gulp, resting my head back against the wall as I wrestle with myself desperately. "I need one of your trained women to accompany me to Italy. I have to attend some conferences with some other Dons and I am unable to bring security into the heart of them. We are allowed one guest, they would prefer women as they perceive them to be weaker."
Bear sighs, "How long would you require her for?"
"A month." I phase out again as they begin to bicker over who will go, I'm too distracted by the raised scars under my fingertips as I consider what my next steps are to regain control.
"Farrah!" I snap out of it, feeling woozy and a little slow, to focus on Doc who has definitely made the connection now. I can see the concern on her face as I bring myself back to reality to figure out what I missed in the last few minutes. "Are you available for the next month?"
"You want me to go to Italy?" My voice sounds groggy, thankfully no one picks up on that except Doc.
"The others... they have-"
"Family. I get it. You know my charge Don, you up for paying?" Lorenzo nods in agreement, knowing that he has to pay me eight-five per cent of my original fee. "When would we leave?"
"Saturday." Three days from now.
"I'll agree to it but if I come back and find Diana or Adelaide with a scratch on them we will have a problem." The entire room nods, knowing that the only way you'd ever get me away from them is if they're well protected.
"Farrah..." I focus on Doc and she nods towards my hands. I look down and see blood forming where I've dug my nails in so hard.
"Shit. I need to go." I hurry out of the room, avoiding all eye contact and flying out to my car. I head straight to the closest narcotics anonymous meeting and settle into a seat at the back.
I'll admit that this is the only place where I feel understood and safe, sometimes I don't even want to leave. I lean forward and bury my face in my hands as a man speaks about his own addiction and how he's forcing himself to stay straight for his children, that they saw him do it and they were taken from him.
He's allowed supervised visits and it hurts him to have to let his children go back to their foster home. I couldn't imagine being watched with my own children, I imagine it's extremely debilitating to be considered a danger to the people you love most in the world. The woman running the session turns to me with a soft smile, prompting me to move to the podium and talk.
I nod and rest my hands on the wood, blood still coating my nails. "It's a bad day today... I almost ripped the skin off of my arm trying to stop myself from thinking about doing it. I never wanted to be this person, someone who can't sit still for more than a few weeks before I start thinking about easing my pain with a hit. I know it'll kill me, I've already done a lot of damage to my body, and I know just one hit would likely put me in hospital... maybe even in a coffin.
I can't do it. It's scary to think that I'm living for other people right now, that I'm not avoiding drugs for any other reason than I'm scared of needles after a lifetime of injecting. I doubt I could do it nowadays but it doesn't stop me from craving that haze, the way the world felt easier and softer and so much less cruel. I don't know. Sometimes I consider why I'm even doing it, why shouldn't I be doing the one thing I was born to do? Why am I resisting so hard?
Then I remember the looks on their faces. The concerned ones, you know? The ones that look like they're more in danger than you are, that they couldn't handle it because they wouldn't have the same drug in their system, they wouldn't get that release. So, you have to coax yourself back to the beginning, promising them for the thousandth time that you'll never touch the stuff even if it's the hardest thing you've ever had to do in your life... every single fucking day. What happens if those people leave? What's stopping you then?"