Five years. That was how long I had been gone from here – from the club that had become my family and from my sister.
And from the one woman that would always feel like home to me – Trixie.
Sabotage met me at the gates. There was twice the number of bikes in the parking lot today, which shocked me. I was hoping I hadn’t come back home at a bad time.
I arched an eyebrow at Sabotage as I pushed my hand through my hair. It was practically buzzed on the sides, longer on top, falling slightly into my eyes. I flicked it out of the way.
“Damn, kid, you filled out.” Sabotage commented, drawing me into a hug as he clapped me on the back. “How’s the back treating you?” He asked me.
I shrugged. I still got pains in it, but I would be alright. Apparently, that wasn’t enough for the fucking government, though, because they discharged me as soon as I was healed. I would continue to get medical insurance through them, but my career with the military was over.
So, I’d called Sabotage, let him know I was ready to come back home. And he had reminded me that the club was always open to me.
“A party?” I asked with a chuckle as I noticed Thor stumbling drunkenly with Hatchet, both of them roaring with laughter. Thor was always the life of the party, always getting someone into some kind of shenanigans.
“Go big or go home, kid.” Sabotage said with a shrug. “You ready for this?”
I shrugged at him. Parties didn’t bother me, and I knew the club had them frequently. “Who else is here?” I asked him as I walked up to the clubhouse with him.
“King’s Disciples.” Sabotage informed me. I arched an eyebrow at him. I’d never met any of them while I’d been here. “Long story, but Ghost is their road captain. When I called him and let him know you were coming home, Judge put together a run, and their club rode out here to welcome you home.”
I wanted to ask what made Ghost switch clubs, but I kept my mouth shut. If Sabotage wanted me to know someone’s personal shit, he would tell me. Besides, I hated it when people pried into my life. I had no problem leaving everyone else’s the fuck alone.
Sabotage pushed open the clubhouse door. My little niece looked up, running to Sabotage. Fuck, she had really grown up. Her curls were up into a messy ponytail, most likely because my sister hated dealing with them. Hailey always managed to make a mess out of her hair.
“Daddy!” She squealed, making Sabotage laugh as he lifted her onto his hip.
“Hailey!” Izzy barked. “I’ve told you over and over not -”
My sister’s eyes landed on me as she came over, her eyes widening in surprise as her words got stuck in her throat. Tears filled her eyes. I smiled at her as I dropped my bag at my feet, opening my arms to her. “Alex!” She screamed, dragging all attention to us.
I stumbled as she launched herself at me, barely catching her as she did so. I laughed as I hugged her back. “Hey, sis.”
“You’re really fucking here!” She yelled in my ear, squeezing me tightly.
I winced at the sheer volume of her voice. Sabotage gently pulled her off of me. “Yeah, sis, I’m here,” I told her with a grin. She looked on the verge of bursting into tears. “I told you that I would come back home.” I reminded her.
“Come on.” She said, grabbing my hand in hers and pulling me to the bar. “One of the guys will take your bag to your room.” As soon as she said that, Grave silently walked over to my bag and carried it up the stairs to my old room. These men listened to her as much as they listened to Sabotage. Izzy and Sabotage’s word was law.
I looked over at the dance floor, my eyes instantly landing on Trixie as if drawn there by an unseeable force. We’d been together before I left for basic training, but we had both agreed to break up while I was gone and to let the future decide what would happen between us when I came back home. I couldn’t have more with her at the time – not when I knew I was leaving.
But I couldn’t deny that I still craved her as much as I did back when we were still eighteen. My blood still pounded in my veins at the sight of her, begging me to make her mine.
Trixie’s beautiful eyes locked on mine as she continued dancing against Bullet. My blood was boiling in my veins with jealousy, but I buried it, schooling my expression into a mask of indifference.
I turned back to my sister, but she was already watching me. “Still got a thing for Trixie?” She asked me.
I shrugged, knowing Izzy was the one person I couldn’t lie to. “I don’t have time to act on it,” I told her honestly. “Sabotage has offered me a patch,” I explained, swiftly changing the subject.
Izzy’s eyes widened. Obviously, she hadn’t heard yet. “A patch?” She asked incredulously.
I nodded. “Obviously, no rank on it, but a patch – skip prospect level. He trusts me. If I accept, he’ll call a vote.”
“You sure you’re ready for that?” Izzy asked me as she handed me a bottle of beer. “This isn’t the military, Alex. This shit isn’t legal.”
I smirked. “Sis, I was in the middle of a fucking war zone the moment I got out of basic.” I wasn’t going to mention to her or anyone else that I had been captured – had been held as a prisoner of war, hence why I’d had a bullet in my back and had to endure months of physical therapy. I was covered in scars from the time I’d been stuck in that fucking camp. “I can handle whatever the Savage Crows throws at me,” I told her honestly.
She sighed. “I just worry about you, Alex.” She said quietly.
I covered her hand with mine as she swallowed nervously. “Sis, when Sabotage worries about me, then you should. Until then, just know I’m okay, yeah? Trust me.” I begged her. “I know how to take care of myself.”
She blew out a soft breath before she nodded her head. Then, she smiled. “I’m glad you’re back home, Alex.” She smirked. “Now, go get Trixie before Bullet drags her to his room.”
I rolled my eyes at my sister before I turned my head to look at Trixie. She had a bottle of Jack in her hand now, and she was tilting it back as Bullet ran his hands over her curvy body. I stood up from the stool, downing my beer before I walked over. I vaguely heard my sister laugh, but I ignored her.
“Mind if I cut in?” I asked Bullet. Trixie’s body tensed, though I could tell she was trying to act as if my presence didn’t bother her at all.
He grinned, clapping me on the shoulder. “Not at all, brother. Welcome home.”
Trixie narrowed her eyes at me as soon as Bullet walked away. I crossed my arms over my chest, staring down at her with unreadable eyes, my face not giving a damn thing away about how I was feeling. “Welcome home?” She asked, her voice low with anger.
I arched an eyebrow at her. “That’s what he said, isn’t it?” I asked her.
“You’re staying?” She demanded, suddenly sounding furious.
I instantly uncrossed my arms from my chest, narrowing my eyes down at her. “Spit your fucking problem out, Trixie.” I snapped down at her. It was always hot and cold with her, though I understood it. She suffered from mental health disorders. I always tried to be patient with her, though sometimes, it was hard – like now, when she was being hateful for no reason at all.
“Everyone else may be happy that you’re here, Alex, but I’m not.” Her words cut me. “I wish you had fucking stayed gone.” She snarled as she shoved past me.
I gripped her arm, yanking her back in front of me. I pinned her against the wall, my knee between her legs with my arms caging her in. She swallowed thickly, her pulse jumping at the base of her neck.
“Care to fucking explain?” I asked her. “I left on good terms with you, Trixie – in fact, I remember making sure you were the last fucking person I said goodbye to before I boarded that fucking plane for basic training.” I reminded her.
She was silent for a moment. I watched all of her emotions pass through her eyes. One of the biggest ones was fear and regret. I braced myself.
Something had happened while I was gone.
“I was pregnant.” She whispered, her eyes running over my face.
I jerked my head back from her like I’d been slapped, but I didn’t move my body from hers. “What the fuck do you mean you were pregnant?” I snarled down at her.
She swallowed thickly. “Exactly what I said, Alex.” She said quietly. “No one here knew. I left – told Sabotage that I needed some time away, and I went back home up north to live with my mom.” A tear slid down Trixie’s face as her face fell, revealing the sad, depressed girl I had fallen so hard for five years ago. My heart broke in my chest. I’d fucking abandoned her.
“I had an episode. It was really bad, Alex. I wouldn’t eat, wouldn’t sleep. I felt so dead inside. She – Alexandra is her name – didn’t even bring me happiness.” She swallowed thickly. “I wanted to love her and take care of her so badly, Alex, but I couldn’t.” She choked out.
I bent my head to look into Trixie’s eyes. “Baby, what happened?” I asked softly, calling her the one name that had once brought so much love and adoration to her eyes – happiness – and I was dying to see it in her eyes now. But instead, the woman in front of me was broken – shattered.
“My mom kicked me out and took me to court.” A broken sob slipped past her lips. I moved my body closer to hers, protecting her from the prying eyes of everyone else around us. “I only get supervised visitation with her.”
Without a word, I moved back from her. Gripping her under her ass, I lifted her. Trixie linked her ankles behind my back as I pushed her face into the crook of my neck, carrying her out of the party. I passed Ghost on my way, and I paused, arching an eyebrow at him as he held a baby in his arms, Jessa on his lap. Another man was sitting beside them. His eyes were cold and calculating, but they weren’t threatening.
I looked back at Ghost. He grinned at me. “Good to see you home, brother.”
“Yeah,” I said with a slight, disbelieving laugh. “You, too. Congrats on your club switch and the new title, Disciple.”
Ghost grinned, pressing a kiss to Jessa’s temple. I nodded once at the man wearing the president cut as he lightly gripped Jessa’s thigh – a protective gesture that I understood. I nodded once at him before I continued striding up the stairs, carrying Trixie to the room that I had stayed in when I used to live here.
“I’ll fix this, baby,” I promised her once we were inside my old room. “We’ll get her back, okay? I’m back now.” I sighed softly, gently pulling her head off my shoulder, meeting her teary, hazel eyes. The lost, tortured look in them tore at my fucking soul. “I wish you had called me or at least called my sister,” I said softly. “This could have been prevented, baby.”
“I felt so empty.” She whispered, her voice cracking. “And then, I’d lost everything. It all happened so fast.” She drew in a shuddering breath. “I asked Sabotage if I could come back. I knew he wouldn’t ask any questions.”
I set Trixie on my bed. She pulled her phone out of her pocket and handed it to me. A beautiful, brown-haired, hazel-eyed little girl was beaming at the camera.
Protectiveness rose in me as I looked at the little girl that looked so much like Trixie. I knelt in front of Trixie, reaching up to cup her teary, damp face in my hands. “I’m here to stay, baby,” I assured her. “We will get Alexandra back,” I promised.
“I call her Alex,” Trixie said softly.
I grinned at her, my grin only widening as Trixie finally smiled at me as well, finally warming my soul with that smile that felt like home. I brought her hands up to my lips, pressing kisses to her knuckles.
It was cemented. I would be accepting that patch, and the first thing that I was requesting was the club to back me up in the custody battle.
Trixie would have our daughter back, and I would have my family.