Hunter hated the way the pills made him feel but it helped dull the pain. He found Claire filling out paperwork on her computer.
“Hi…how’s the pain?”
“Pretty good…I need to move around.”
“Are ya hungry?”
“Yeah…you doin okay?” He looked over at her.
“Yeah…just registering all the stuff for the new name. It’s tedious. But not as bad as I thought, really it’s a DBA change and some new filings.” She took a deep breath. “I know you saw the lock box and at least one picture, you know enough.”
“I know you can’t talk about it.”
“Thank you Hunter. Let me get you some supper.”
She was quiet and subdued. He glanced around to make sure she hadn’t been drinking.
“You okay sweetheart?”
“Yeah…just feelin heavy tonight. Don’t like diggin through memories.”
“Do you want some alone time. Max and Stella prepared a spare room for me.”
“I rather like havin ya here.” She flushed.
“I like being here. I feel like I’m home.”
“This is very unconventional Hunter.”
“Welp…I guess so long both of us know, then things will be alright.”
“I reckon so.” He grinned at her and watched as she moved around.
“I need to get some groceries. I know you eat everything but do you have a hankerin for anything?”
“I will eat anything you cook, woman.” He took the plate she slid in front of him and the pill. “My wallet is in my pants. Grab some cash or take my card, either way.”
“Don’t need your money.”
“Didn’t ask if you did, you’re feeding me and taking care of me…unless you want me to move in and split the bills with you.”
“You got a fresh mouth on you…must be those pills.”
“Or it’s you…and that pretty smile.”
“It’s my fucking freight train snoring and drooling.” She snorted and started laughing. “I can’t believe you told Max that!”
“Don’t make me laugh.” Hunter winced as he held it in.
Their night consisted of her fussing over him and him enjoying it. She showered while he laid in bed with ice packs. He caught a glimpse of a bare leg and had to run through motorcycle parts. He got an update, Gabe was in much of the same shape he was in. He was going to have to go and check the clubhouse soon. She was in the kitchen when he came out, making a list of things.
“Come to bed.”
She crawled into bed and he rolled towards her. “My ex cheated on me with Gabe, multiple times. Some of the fight was about that. He put some other club members in the position to disobey an order and he lied to my face about it. He threatened me by going to you with something from my past that I’m not particularly proud of.”
“He’s interested in you because I’m interested in you.”
“You can see who’s in my bed and who isn’t. Even though we haven’t…you know. I’m feedin and takin care of ya. He’s not a brother or friend if he did that.”
“I know. And I have some tough decisions to make. I locked everyone down for the next thirty days. Curfew, raised dues. I’m going to have to check in at the club tomorrow. This is club business Claire and I shouldn’t be talking to you about it, but I trust that you won’t repeat it.”
“I won’t, I promise. Do you want me to take you to your fancy club tomorrow?”
“No. I don’t want you anywhere near that place. Stay away from the girls except for Stella.”
Claire knew immediately what was going on. “Your past…involves club girls.”
“You gonna judge me on my past, cuz it ain’t too good.”
“No…I’d never do that Claire.”
“Are you worried I’m gonna judge you?”
“Yes. You have seen me more with a busted face than you have without it.”
“You ain’t thinkin to highly of me.” She chewed on her lip.
“I’m sorry…it’s me not thinkin highly of myself.”
“I ain’t judgin on ya Hunter.”
He reached out and pulled her to him. He was getting fuzzy from the pain pill. “You smell good.” He inhaled deeply. “You’re everything good Claire.” He kissed the back of her head and snuggled into her.
She listened as his breathing slowed down and he relaxed. She drifted off to sleep in his arms, thoughts of Toby and the documentation were fighting in her brain.
“If you knew how to suck dick, I wouldn’t need to go look anywhere else.”
“Toby please…you could show me what you like.” The tears were rolling down her face. They stung as they hit her lip where he smacked her.
“Do you want me to teach you Claire Bear?” He moved towards her. He was so fast. “Do you?”
“I can. I can teach you what happens to wives that can’t fucking fulfill wifely duties. You can’t even give me a child, Claire.” She watched as he clenched his fists. “The most basic fucking duty. I give you nice things…I take you places and you can’t even fuck me right to give me a baby?”
Her rib cracked from the hit. He left her on the floor gasping. He had a date.
She woke up gasping and her mouth salivating from nausea. The phantom pain floating across her rib cage.
“Are you okay?”
She inhaled sharply and fumbled out of bed. She was soaked in sweat. She squinted when the light was turned on. Dark eyes took her in as she grabbed her ribs. She swallowed hard a couple of times. She nodded her head as she breathed in a couple of times. She shook her hands out and walked out of the room. Returning with a pain reliever for him and water for them both.
“I’m okay.” She wasn’t and found herself on the verge of tears. Hunter being beat up was triggering her own past. She rolled over and put her back to him and let the tears go silently. She learned to cry quietly, a long time ago.
“Look at me Claire, please.”
She shook her head no as she tried to hide her tears, wiping them with the corner of her pillowcase. She heard the grunt behind her and felt him move over her and roll her over. Dark eyes took in her watery, hazel ones.
“Tell me how to take your pain away sweetheart and I’ll do it.”
She burst into tears under him as he put his forehead to hers. He brushed his lips across hers, applying featherlight pressure. She wrapped her arms around his neck, and accepted the gentle kiss. He ignored his pain and wrapped her up, pulling her on her side to face him. Her arms slowly went around him as she put her face into his chest. They fell asleep like that, with him rubbing her back as she silently cried. He was up before she was and slipped out of bed. He decided he would make her coffee this morning and made his way around the kitchen, stiffly.
“Hi.” Her voice croaked out behind him while he watched the coffee drip.
“Hi sweetheart.” He held his arm out to her while she shuffled into the kitchen.
“You beat me to the coffee. How ya feelin?”
“I’m sore, will be for a bit.” He kissed her on the top of her head.
“I’m sorry about last night.” She looped her arms around his waist gently.
“Don’t ever apologize for your nightmares.” He would spare her that he clearly made out what she was saying.
“Are you still goin to your fancy club?”
“Yes ma’am. Don’t want to…would rather follow you around like a puppy dog.”
She snorted and pulled out breakfast stuff. “I’ll go into the shop a little. I got some designs figured out while you were being lazy in bed.”