Hunter watched as Claire pulled into the driveway and got out of her fancy SUV. She had opened the door and put her purse inside and walked down the short sidewalk to where the bike was idling.
“Thank you. You didn’t need to follow me home but I appreciate it. Are you sure you don’t want to clean up your face?”
“Is it really that bad?”
“Well…I think once the blood is washed off, it might look a little better.” She noticed his hands were busted up too. “Your hands…”
He hadn’t even noticed the several split knuckles on his right hand. “I’m fine. Go get inside. We’re going to be back around in a few hours.”
“Okay. Did I screw your work schedule up today?”
“Not at all.”
“I’ll make sure there is plenty of coffee. Are you coming here first or the warehouse?”
“Okay. Good night.”
“Good night.” He watched her walk back into the house. The smell of whiskey was still floating in the air, even as he pulled away from the curb.
Claire took a long hot shower. She was over the day and the incident with the bikes pushed her over the edge. She stood in the shower and cried, her tears mixing with the water as it swirled down the drain. She crawled into bed and set her alarm. Sleep took her quickly and she was grateful.
“Prez is back.” Bolt yawned, his hand was in a bowl of ice.
One of the prospects opened the gate. Everyone was on edge, he had taken longer than they anticipated to return.
Gabe stood up and watched Hunter get off his bike and stretch. “You good brother?”
“Yeah. Let me go wash the blood off. I need a beer and some food.”
“We got you covered.” Gabe stood up and went into the kitchen where a couple of the club ladies were making sandwiches. “Prez is back.”
Hunter looked at himself in the mirror and shocked himself. Claire was relatively calm considering he was covered in blood and had his own split lip and cut eyebrow. He got in the shower and ignored the sting of water on his various injuries. He pulled on shorts and a t-shirt before making his way back into the kitchen of the clubhouse. He thanked the women and went outside to eat in peace. He had drained his beer and water before crawling into his own bed.
Claire had gotten up early to grab donuts and a few things for a quick breakfast for the men. She had poured herself a cup of coffee when she heard the faint rumble of a couple of bikes. The front door was open and the already warm breeze was flowing through the house. She was checking the large egg casserole she had made when a knock sounded on the side door. Hunter was at the door, with a black eye and scabbed lip.
“Hi.” He tried to smile at her but his lip hurt.
“Good morning…how’s the face?”
“It’s fine.” He watched her as she moved around the kitchen.
“Please.” He followed her into the kitchen.
“I have donuts…and some breakfast cooking but it won’t be ready for another twenty minutes.”
“Donuts?” His stomach rumbled.
“Please…go on git the others and come inside.”
He whistled for Bolt and the new prospect Broke. They all wiped their boots on the mat before coming inside, the large men took up a majority of the kitchen as she poured them their coffee. Bolt was checking her out as she bent over to look in the oven and Hunter smacked the back of his head.
“Go outside.” Hunter snapped at the walking hormone.
Claire spun around and saw the other two duck their heads, grabbing a donut and thanking her. “What did he do?”
“He was…going to poke one of the donuts.” He lied.
“Ahhh…I do that with chocolates. To make sure the filling is one that I like.” It would irritate the shit out of Toby when she did it. Little did she know anytime she had gotten expensive chocolates, it was because he had been with the other woman. She pushed the thought away and sipped on her coffee.
He heard the rumble of other bikes and Hunter craned his head to see who was coming. He let out a sigh when he saw Gabe was there, he wasn’t scheduled. Max was pulling up behind him along with Dragon. The oven was going off as they reached the door and a flurry of activity started as the men came in for coffee.
“Why don’t ya'll eat? Miss Betty should be here shortly.” She had laid the food out skirting around the men to go open up the garage. A truck that she didn’t notice had been backed in. A young guy was milling around in front of it. “Go up yonder and git you a plate.” She watched him walk to the house and poke his head inside.
She waved at Miss Betty who had pulled up, carrying a bag. “Good morning Miss Betty.”
“Hi honey… Are you okay?” The older woman looked her up and down.
“Yes ma’am. Had a little bit of an eventful night. The boys did too.”
“Come inside, I made breakfast.” Claire stepped aside, holding the door open.
Miss Betty clucked her tongue as she got a good look at the men. “You boys fighting again?”
“We’re fine. Had to handle some shit at The Cut.” Hunter mumbled.
Betty knew immediately what had happened and dropped it for now. She looked at the large casserole dish that was half gone as everyone greeted her with a hug and a kiss. She noted Claire had disappeared and caught a flash of her outside.
“What happened to Claire last night?”
Hunter told her. “Standing in the middle of the road at almost two in the morning with a big red cup full and I mean full of whiskey. Looking at a goddamn window off in her own world.” He shoveled the food in his mouth, it was his second helping.
“Was she drunk?”
“No but I think had that not happened, we would have found her curled up in the store.” He heard Gabe’s voice and stood up to see what was going on.
“Jesus little lady! Get out of the damn tree.” Gabe was reaching up to help her down.
“I’ve been climbin trees my whole life, I’m fine.” Claire snapped. She got real good at it when her drunk daddy would come after her with a switch.
Hunter watched as she jumped down, a busted birdhouse in her hand. She was barefooted and had a scrape on her knee. He saw the pictures and knew she was an NFL wife, but to look at her now you wouldn’t know it. She was a country girl through and through.
Miss Betty watched her wave the large man off. “Did she eat yet?”
“I don’t think so.” Hunter frowned as Gabe watched her.
“Claire…come in and eat. It’s going to be hot, we don’t need you passin out on us.” Betty yelled at her to come inside.
“Yes ma’am.” Claire reluctantly came inside and put a small spoonful of food on a plate.
Hunter watched as she ate it in a few small bites. “Breakfast was good.”
“Thank you. It’s easy and can feed a crowd.” She had made numerous times over the years for Toby and some of his teammates. A knock sounded at the door and Stella poked her head in. Claire offered her a smile and told her to come in.
“What is that?” Stella sniffed the air and spied the large, almost empty dish.
“Breakfast casserole. Come have some before Hunter cleans the dish.” Claire laughed.
He was shoveling food in his face, again. “It’s good.”
“Are they not feeding you at the clubhouse?” Stella laughed and Max came inside.
“Sandwiches.” Hunter grumbled.