Chapter 1: Shoo
"Good morning, Sunshine." I groaned at the sound of an admittedly soft, but way too loud voice. My head was resting on the Formica tabletop as I squeezed my hands to my temples. There'd been a hell of a rager last night, and I had partaken with the best of them. I was now, however, suffering the consequences at a shithole diner that Chibs had drug me to. I waited for the ass to speak up and talk to the waitress, but didn't hear him.
Groaning again, I pulled my head up enough to rest just my chin on the table and looked for the Scot. He was no where to be seen. As I moved too quickly to straighten up, I squeezed my eyes in pain and scanned the room for him.
"Your friend is clearing out some space for his breakfast in the men's room." I heard the waitress say, and I looked up at her. Fuck. I was in no shape to be interacting with a woman like this. She had an hourglass figure with the kind of curves that a man could hold on to, thick dark hair that came to just about her shoulders that was tipped with blood red dye, and some impressive ink going down one arm. Dark chocolate eyes looked at me with an eyebrow raised. She caught my expression, which I hadn't schooled, and was amused by it.
She nodded to the table and the two empty mugs in one hand, a coffee pot in her other. "You and your buddy want some caffeine to start through your system to handle that hangover, blue eyes?" She asked. I nodded and she set the two mugs down, pouring hot, steaming coffee into both.
"Ready to order?" She asked next and I couldn't come up with the words to respond. She was fucking stunning and my brain just couldn't get its shit together from all the alcohol I'd consumed the night before. She must have figured out that I wasn't able to communicate like a damn human, so she nodded her head. "I'll give you a minute." She said and walked to another table. Shit, even her walk was perfect.
I was staring out the window when Chibs walked up, a groan coming from his own mouth as he rested his forehead on the table. "Why do we do tha' to ourselves?" He asked and I shrugged.
"'Cause it's fun?" I asked and he chuckled.
"Thanks for ordering. The lass said our food woul' be out soon." I looked at him, confused. I hadn't ordered anything but the coffee. As I was about to question him on it, a delicate hand reached in front of me and placed the most massive breakfast burrito I've ever seen down. I looked up to see our waitress, Carmen if her uniform was right, place a similar plate in front of Chibs.
"I didn't order this," I said, pointing to the two plates. She chuckled.
"No, you didn't. But you and your friend were going to, because the two of you are clearly needing something in your systems besides bile and alcohol." Chibs let out a chuckle as he grabbed a bottle of hot sauce. I hesitated and she continued. "Trust me, Blue. You're gonna' be glad you did." With that, she walked back to the counter, where another table's food was waiting for her.
I looked to Chibs, not quite sure what to make of what just happened. He shrugged at me and started eating. "Is' the best place for wha' ails us, brother." He said and I picked up my fork.
"How'd you find this place?" I asked, not having been here before.
"Accident," he muttered at me. "I was tooling around on ma bike and saw it abou' a month ago. Been coming in once or twice a week since. The cook's the best there is for breakfast, and Carmen can tell what you need to eat jus' by lookin' a' ya."
I took a large bite of the breakfast burrito in front of me and I swear my eyes rolled back into my head. It was the perfect combination of egg, meat and potatoes. There were small peppers in it that hit the back of my throat going down and the moment it all hit my stomach, I started to feel like a human being again. Chibs was right. Carmen nailed it.
For the rest of the meal, the only sound to be heard at our table was the scraping of forks and the grunts of pleasure. Twice, Carmen came back and filled our coffees, never letting them get lower than half full. I watched as she interacted with the customers and staff. She was friendly and sassy and people were eating out of her hands. The woman could work a room.
When we finished our meals, Chibs got up to pay at the register. I was looking out the window, no longer in pain, but comfortably filled and thinking about whether a nap was in order as he handled it. It was taking a little bit, so I turned back to see what the issue was and saw Chibs standing there, appearing to be in a small dispute with Carmen. She was shaking her head and him. She actually made a shooing motion with her hands, as if it didn't have any impact on her sense of self that she was talking to a Son.
I got up from the table, leaving a five for a tip, and walked over to the register in time to hear Chibs say, "Lass, we can pay fer our own food."
Carmen raised her eyebrows at him and responded. "Yep, you're certainly capable. Now, get out." There was a smile on her face, taking the heat out of the fact that she'd just told us to get lost.
"There a problem here?" I asked, looking to Chibs and the waitress.
"The lass won' let me pay for our meal." Chibs muttered, clearly frustrated.
I looked to Carmen who looked back without any change in expression. "Why?" I asked.
"I was over the line in ordering your food for you." She shrugged and smiled, wrinkling her nose at me in a playful way. "I tend to be a bit bossy. Consider this my treat, with a promise to at least attempt to let you have a choice in the matter the next time."
I was about to argue when she made the damn shooing motion at me. "Scoot. You two have better things to do than argue with a stubborn woman."
I looked at Chibs with wide eyes, trying to figure out what the hell was going on, when a woman from another table came up and asked Carmen for some sweetener. Carmen smiled at the two of us again and then moved over to help the woman, clearly dismissing us from her mind. Since it was clear that we weren't going to get anywhere with the woman, we headed out to our bikes.
"She always like that?" I asked Chibs and he gave a partial nod.
"She's alwas' bossy, that's fer sure." He muttered and started up his ride. I looked back into the windows of the diner, seeing Carmen give a male customer a large smile with a pat on the shoulder. The man was captivated by her, something easily seen in his body language from even this distance. I shook my head and started after Chibs, thoughts of soft brown eyes and a winning smile in my head.
Chapter 2: Can't Live Without Him
"See you tomorrow!" I called out to the cook, Chris, as I wandered out the back door of the diner. My shift had ended and I'd changed into jean shorts and a tank, enjoying the cooler summer weather that had hit Charming today. I felt the sun on my back as I walked and raised my face to it, smiling.
At the end of the lot, I sighed as I looked over my car. It was a beat-to-hell older Chevy. After putting it off for ages, I'd finally made an appointment to get it looked at. The check engine light had been on for a while and the last thing I wanted was to end up having to buy a new car because I was too lazy to get it into a shop. So, once I slid in, I directed it to Teller-Morrow.
Now, I've been in Charming for a couple of years. I know, just like a lot of our residents, that TM is associated with the Sons of Anarchy. The Sons, however, have never done anything to harm me and I've found that I tend to enjoy talking to the Sons that I've met. The ones that came into the diner this morning, for example, were a hoot.
The Scot has been in before and puts up with my sass pretty well. The new one, Blue, was rough around the edges this morning. I chuckled as I thought about his red-rimmed eyes. Poor man looked like he'd been rode hard, which, considering some of the stories that I've heard about the club, isn't entirely unlikely. The Scot has teased and joked with me on occasion when he's come in with others, and I've developed a liking for the rough and tumble crew.
My boss isn't so much a fan of the Sons, but he's smart enough not to be overly hostile to them. That man could use a change in perspective, though. The only reason he'd hired me is that I was willing to put up with his shit pay. He never ceased to give me an earful about the tattoos I have, saying that men wanted a woman who was clean - because apparently, tattoos make one unclean? I still hadn't gotten a good reasoning for his statements, but I'd long since started ignoring them. I liked my ink and any man who didn't wasn't going to be my type, anyway.
As I pulled into TM, my car started to shimmy. It was really what had pushed me to make this appointment. Check engine lights can be as silly as a car needing washer fluid. A shimmy, however, suggested something was actually wrong with my car and that I'd better get on it. I pulled up to a bay and cut the engine. Grabbing my phone, I stepped out and was met by the Scot himself.
"Ye' following me, lass?" He asked, a smirk on his face. See? Who doesn't like that kind of humor?
"Well, I was actually pining after Blue, but I couldn't very well tell him that without him thinking I'm too forward now, could I?" I snarked back and the Scotsman, whose name appeared to be Chibs, laughed.
"Aye, lass. Tig is the kind o' man tha' doesn't mind forward." He smiled and I returned the gesture.
"Well, then. I'll keep that in mind if I decide that I can't live without him." I said and drew another chuckle.
Chibs nodded to my car. "Whas' the problem, lass?"
I twisted my lips as I looked back at my car. "It's developed a shimmy. I don't know cars, but I know that's not a great sign. I have an appointment to have you guys take a look."
"Alrigh', then. Let's get ya set up with some paperwork." Chibs motioned toward an office off to the side of the lot and I started walking toward it.
When I got to the little office, I saw a thin, middle-aged woman with dark hair and blonde highlights behind the computer. "How can I help you?" She asked and I gestured to the lot.
"I have an appointment to have my Chevy looked at. Chibs said I should head this way for the paperwork." The woman nodded at me and started looking for something, which I presumed to be whatever I'd need to get my car signed over for a bit. As she was looking, I took in the small office. Poor woman looked overrun with things; papers were everywhere and the place had a feel of too much to do, and not enough time to do it.
I turned when I saw her move toward me out of the corner of my eye and saw that she had a clipboard with some forms on it in her hand. "Fill this out, honey, and we'll get you all set. Your keys?" She asked and I handed them over.
I have a sterling skeleton on my key chain and I saw her take note of it when she took the keys, but she made no comment. Instead, she stepped through a door while I worked on completing the boxes on the paper in front of me. Once I was done, I stood and walked toward the door she'd gone out, intending to hand them over. As I moved toward the door, however, a familiar face walked in.
"Hey, Blue!" I called and he whipped his head toward me, startled. "How's the head?" I asked with a wink and his eyes widened. It was pretty apparent that this one wasn't used to people who so comfortable around him. I wondered what he does for the Sons that he'd gotten accustomed to that.
"Carmen," he said, and my grin stretched my face. It was silly, but I was quite pleased I'd made enough of an impression that he remembered my name. He was striking after all. Not movie-style handsome, but magnetic in a way that was quite sexy. I'd noticed his hands at the diner, too. They had the look of a man who knows just what to do with them.
"In the flesh," I responded and then saw the woman from before behind him. I moved forward and handed her the clipboard. "All taken care of. Any idea when I'm likely to get a call about what the issues are?" I asked in the plural because I'd frankly never been to any mechanic shop where they told me that I only had one problem and that it was easily fixed. Call me a cynic.
"The guys should be able to take a look and get back to you within a couple hours." She responded and I nodded.
"Sounds good. Thanks," I smiled at her again and then nodded to the silent man by her side. "See you later, Blue." I said as I walked back out into the lot, heading toward the gates. It was a good day to walk home.
"Blue?" I asked, looking at Tig, who looked a little dazed. I swatted the back of my hand on his arm and he came to.
"The hottie with the tats just called you Blue. What's that all about?" I asked and by God if Tig Trager didn't blush.
"It's nothing," he said and moved as if he was going to leave the office. I stood in his path and looked him in the eye.
"Doesn't look like nothing from where I'm standing, baby." I said, trying to get a better sense of things.
"She was our waitress this morning, is all." He muttered and all but scampered around me to the shop.
I raised my chin and looked at the paperwork in my hands. "Carmen Rodriguez." I murmured. "You going to be good for Tiggy, I wonder?" I gathered my things and wandered toward the clubhouse. I think I should have Clay talk to Juice about some research.
Chapter 3: There Was Fun
I walked into the shop after Gemma tried to grill me and saw Chibs put an older Chevy into one of the bays. I walked over and took a look, noting that the inside of the vehicle was pretty clean. The only personalization to it were two skulls hanging from the rear view mirror. They were smaller and were sterling, if I had to guess. I leaned forward to get a better look and saw that the keys, which Chibs had tossed on the seat, had a sterling skeleton. Hm, I thought. Baby girl likes skeletons.
Chibs had the hood up already, and so I wandered to him and nodded at the engine. "Anything obvious so far?" I asked.
"The lass has a shimmy. I saw i' when she came in and stopped the car. The plugs look alrigh', so i' may be a bad rotor, since the tires look relatively new." He said and I nodded. There are only so many things that typically cause a car to shake and a lot of them are caused by tires. The ones on this Chevy did look fairly new, so a brake rotor problem wouldn't be surprising.
"You want help?" I asked and Chibs stared at me, surprised. "What?" I asked and he gave me a calculating look.
"We been brothers a long time, Tig. No' often ye offer to take over ma work." He said.
"I wasn't going to take over," I responded and he narrowed his eyes.
"Ye saw whose car this is, didn' ya?" He asked and I tried, and failed, to pretend I didn't know what he was talking about.
The damn Scot started laughing at me. "Did the lass take yer fancy, Tig?" He asked as I grumbled beside him. I scowled and started walking away.
"Whatever," I said over my shoulder as I made my way to the back of the shop. There's always something to do and I was going to find that something far away from Chibs.
Several hours later, I was cleaning up at the shop sink when I heard her voice. "Ah, come on. Really?" She asked, and you could tell she'd been given some bad news about her car.
I walked around to see her standing in those short jean shorts, that beautiful ass ripe for handling, her hands on her hips at she stared at her car. Chibs was beside her and was speaking in low tones. Whatever he said to her, she nodded her head and then gestured toward the lot. I could hear her better as I started walking over, unable to control myself.
"I mean it, Chibs. I want you to give me a crow bar and let me have the use of your lot. I'll even pay you guys to tow what's left of it to the junkyard." She sounded pissed, which was kind of hot.
"Now, lass. I canna' let ye bust up the car in ma' lot." Chibs said in a calming tone.
"Argh!" She yelled and kicked the damn thing. So, she's bossy, hot and has a temper. I may be in love.
"Bad news, doll?" I asked and she whipped around, her eyes narrowing at me.
"Blue," she said and damn if her voice didn't carry a warning. This woman was a package of dynamite and I'd be fucking lying if I said it didn't have me uncomfortable in the jeans I was wearing right now. I saw her take a deep breath through her nose and close her eyes, looking for all the world like she was doing one of those counting exercises to calm herself down. After about ten or so seconds, she opened her eyes and smiled. I've seen a lot of scary things in my life; the malicious glint to this woman's grin as she looked at me was easily in the top twenty.
"Chibs?" She asked, not looking at him.
"It's safe enough to drive this the P.O.S. for another fifty or so miles, right?" I looked at Chibs and he looked back, not following.
"Well, ya, lass. Ye can get i' tha' far."
"Great." She said and stuck out her hands. "I'll take the keys and settle up with your office now." Chibs gave me another look and then handed them over to her and we both watched her hips sway as she stalked to the office to see Gemma.
"I have a bad feelin' abou' this, brother." Chibs commented and I nodded. Carmen had the look of a woman ready to do some serious damage. I saw her enter the office and come out just a minute later, her grin wider than ever as she approached us.
"Thank you, gentlemen. I'll be taking this now."
"Carmen?" I asked and she raised her brows at me. "You alright, doll?"
"I'm good, Blue. You two have an excellent day." Shit. She really was pissed. Her words were carefully enunciated and slow, like she held a tight rein on her temper, but barely. I watched as she got in the Chevy and backed out slowly. Chibs and I moved forward as she backed and then saw her go through the gates of the lot. About five seconds later, I heard the squeal of tires.
It was nearly eleven and I was driving back from quick ride. Bobby and I had decided that a short tool around the county would do us good on such a night, and we were right in the thinking. I felt on top of the world at the moment. The weather was good; the club was not perfect, but was relatively stable; and there was sure to be pussy at the clubhouse when I got back. I smiled into the drive as Bobby and I came around a corner. The smile fell from my face, however, when I saw the figure of a woman walking along the side of the road.
As we approached, the flash of my headlight shone on her and I recognized dark hair with red tips and beautiful skin coming out of jean shorts. Carmen. I nodded at Bobby and we slowed to come upon her, but didn't stop the bikes. When we got up to her, I had the bike at a crawl.
She looked to her left and gave me a bit of a wave with her right hand. "Hey, Blue." She said as she continued walking. She had a bit of a limp going that wasn't present when she'd been at the shop this afternoon. I pulled the bike into her path and cut the engine.
"Carmen?" She stopped and I could see that her right leg had some scrapes on it and she looked a little disheveled. "What happened?" I asked, noting with only a little surprise that I was angered to see her injured.
She shrugged and waved at Bobby. "Hey, Bobby." She muttered and he gave her a nod.
"Looking a little like there's been trouble tonight, Carmen." He responded and she smiled.
"Oh, no. There was no trouble. There was fun." She answered and tilted her head at us. "You don't have to worry, guys, though I do appreciate it. Everything's under control."
That's it. Enough with the vague answers. I got off the bike and walked over to where she was standing. "What. Happened." I gritted out and she sighed.
"I drove my car off a cliff."
Chapter 4: A Little Devil
"You did what!" Blue yelled at me while Bobby stared in surprise.
"I drove my car off a cliff," I responded slowly, making sure that he heard every word. I hadn't stuttered, but I had to give the man some credit. He probably hadn't heard someone doing something like that in a long time... if ever.
"What the fuck?" He asked and I shrugged. "Explain," he demanded, his arms crossed over his chest and a toe tapping on the ground.
I furrowed my brows at him and looked to Bobby. I didn't owe anyone an explanation. It's kind of my thing not to have anyone who I owe answers to. "Why?" I asked, and Blue took a step toward me.
"Because you have scrapes up your leg, you're walking with a limp and the nearest cliff is a good ten miles from where you're standing," he gritted out, as if that was sufficient reason for him to demand answers from me.
"Really?" I asked and looked at my phone. "Damn, I'm making good time." I muttered and then smiled at the increasingly upset man in front of me. "Calm down, Tiger. It's not as bad as you apparently think it is. When I left the shop today, I took a drive out to the cliffs and then sent the old beater off in a blaze of glory. Saved my skulls, though." I said as I pulled the rear view mirror hanger out of my back pocket to show him.
"How did you get the scrapes and limp, Carmen?" He asked. He must not have made the connection to the skulls comment I just made.
"I had put it in drive when I realized I'd left these babies in there. So I hopped in to grab them before it went over. I miscalculated the timing a bit."
"You. Miscalculated. The. Timing." He said and I swear, it looked like he was going to blow a gasket.
"Do you need to sit down, Blue? I don't want you having a heart attack." I said, genuinely concerned. Bobby laughed so hard his bike shook and Blue closed his eyes and then stared into mine.
"Get on my bike," he demanded. "I'm taking you back."
I must not have looked like I was going to comply, which to be honest, I wasn't sure I was. The next thing I knew, Blue had me tossed over his shoulder and was stomping toward his motorcycle. I looked up to see a shocked Bobby staring at the two of us.
"Uh, Blue?" I asked. "You seem a little tense. Can we talk about this?" I asked and he ignored me. Instead, he set me on the back of his bike and took his helmet off. He then put it on me like I was a wayward child. In short order, he was back on the bike and looking at me over his shoulder.
"Hold on," he instructed and I didn't argue. Rather, I reached around his torso and grabbed both of my hands together. One of his gloved hands came up to my clasped hands for a minute and squeezed. Then, the bike came to life and we were roaring down the road I had been walking just minutes ago.
When we got to Charming, Blue slowed down and I tried engaging in conversation again. I was a bit hesitant. I thought that I was bossy, but this man could give me a run for my money. I cleared my throat and said, "Tig?"
Bobby cut off from us at the Sons' clubhouse and we were going down the streets of Charming. "Blue." He said back at me and I tilted my head to try to see his face. "You can call me Blue, or Alex." He muttered and I nodded.
"Okay. Blue, can you tell me what's got you so worked up?" He rolled his shoulders, but didn't answer. Instead, he asked me a question.
"Where's your place?" Figuring that I wasn't going to get a response to what I'd asked, I pointed down a side street and up to a small apartment complex.
"I'm in 2C." I said and he drove us up to the lot. When he stopped, I got off the back of the bike and unbuckled the helmet he'd put on me earlier. I handed it to him slowly, still trying to decide if I should make a big deal about his caveman-like behavior. Before I could speak, he nodded toward the complex.
"I'll watch to make sure you get in safe." He said and again, I tilted my head at him asking a question, only this time without verbalizing it.
He shook his head at me. He wasn't going to answer it. Instead, he looked back up to the second floor and then to me. I felt his eyes watch as I made it up the stairs and to my door. His motorcycle fired up just a few seconds after I got in the door.
When I got back to the clubhouse, I went straight to the bar and told the prospect to give me two shots and leave the bottle. A croweater came by, hanging on my shoulders, but I shrugged her off. She didn't feel right. The smell of some kind of flower came to mind along with the flash of a set of skull and rose tattoos. Fucking crazy ass woman. Not only sending the car off a cliff but then jumping back in the damn thing to get a decoration. Who the fuck does that?
I threw back the first shot and stared into the bottom of the glass for a moment. Chibs came up beside me and bumped my shoulder. "Wasna' that long ago, I had a similar expression on ma' face and ye gave me grief for it, brother."
I nodded and continued to stare into the glass. He wasn't wrong. "Not sure what's happening," I murmured and Chibs sighed.
"Well, if is' like me and ma' angel, I'd say yer headed toward something good." He said and I shook my head at him. He didn't get it, but it was because he didn't have enough information.
"She drove her car off a cliff today, Chibs." I said and then took the next shot.
"She did wha' now?" He asked, disbelief heavy in his voice.
"Yep. And then she jumped back in it while it was moving to get those skulls that were hanging from the rear view." I said as I poured myself two more. Chibs started laughing so hard that tears were coming down his face. He was making such a raucous that Bobby came over, grinning from ear to ear. Fucker probably knew what the topic of conversation was. I looked both of them, unimpressed.
"Oh, lad. This one migh' be crazier than ye are." Chibs commented, still chuckling and wiping the moisture from his face. "Is' going to be fun to watch the fireworks."
Bobby laughed and spoke up. "Oh, hell yes. That woman is going to be downright uncontrollable."
I gave them both another look and tilted back a shot. Chibs was a fucking romantic at heart, having discovered his 'angel' as he called her. Of course, he'd think that me being in a twist over a woman would lead to good things. I stared at my hands. I wasn't so sure that there was an angel out there for me. I sighed, thinking about the red tips on her hair. Maybe, though, I'd found myself a little devil instead.
Chapter 5: Take Me for a Spin
I looked over the newspaper while on break at work. After my epic tantrum last night, I was in need of a new ride. It was all well and good to give in to the occasional temptation, but consequences are sometimes a bitch. I shook my head at myself. I'd taken the stupid car in to the shop to avoid having to purchase another. Now, because my temper and creative mind had gotten the best of me, I was on the search for a serviceable, and preferably cheap, replacement.
I heard the jingle of the door chimes but ignored them. One of the other waitresses was on right now and I really needed to figure this out. I didn't mind walking in town, but things like grocery shopping were made more difficult by the lack of wheels. I was heavily focused on my task when I saw the tan fabric of Chief Unser's uniform.
"Good morning, Carmen." He said, a slight smile creasing the wrinkles on his face.
"'Morning, Chief." I said, looking back to my paper.
"So, it seems there was a mishap with your car yesterday?" He asked and I looked back up.
"Really?" I asked. I have a great poker face if I want to. Most of the time, I can't be bothered to care if someone knows what I'm thinking or feeling. On occasion, though, it's best to keep it close to the vest. When dealing with law enforcement, it's generally an occasion that calls for discretion.
"Yeah, your vehicle was found at the base of a cliff early this morning." Unser said and I leaned back in the booth.
"Is that where it went? I was getting ready to report it as stolen." I said, a bit of a smirk giving way on my face.
"Were you now?" He asked and looked at the paper on the tabletop. "Because it looks like you knew you wouldn't be getting it back." He gestured to the paper.
I chuckled. "Ya' got me, Chief. I had a rough day and was in need of some stress relief."
He nodded and then got up. "You're going to have to pay for the clean up, Carmen." He said and I sighed.
"I know." I paused and then smirked at him again. "Totally worth it, though." He laughed and patted me on the shoulder as he moved to leave the diner.
Having found a few options, I stepped outside to make a couple of calls. The first two cars were a bust. The prices were non-negotiable. The third car was a Ford pickup with quite a few miles on it, but that the owner said was 'like new'. Since I'm a realist at best and a pessimist or cynic at worst, I talked to the owner about having a mechanic look at it before final purchase. He agreed, so the next call I had to make was to TM.
"Teller-Morrow. How may I help you?" Came the raspy voice of the woman who'd helped me yesterday.
"Good afternoon. It's Carmen, from yesterday. You remember?" I asked and I heard a chuckle.
"Oh, honey. I remember. I heard you had a bit of car trouble." She responded and I smiled. I think I was going to like this one.
"A minor disagreement that was easily resolved." I snarked and she laughed.
"What's up, baby?" She asked and I scrunched my eyebrows. She's a bit free with those endearments, but I guess they work for her.
"I'm in the market for alternate transportation. I've found something that might work, but I'd like to get it looked at before I cough up the money. Do your guys ever go on field trips, or do I need to convince the current owner to bring it in?"
"Oh, I think we can find someone willing to come out and look at it for you. When are you thinking?"
"Well, I need to firm up details with the owner. I think I can convince him to let me swing by at about six, after I'm done with my shift." That should give me enough time to walk there from the diner, where I actually go off at 5:30. Again, consequences are a bitch.
"Sounds good. Let me give you my cell and you can text me the details. I'll make sure someone's out there at six to meet you and make sure you're not getting a lemon."
"Thanks, uh. Shoot. I never asked your name."
"Gemma," she supplied, and I could hear the smile in her voice.
"Thanks, Gemma. I appreciate the help." I said and looked to see my boss at the diner door, pointing to his watch. "Shit. I gotta get back to work. I'll text you as soon as possible. Bye!" I called into the receiver and walked toward the door.
"Your break ended two minutes ago, Carmen." David said and I nodded.
"Won't happen again, boss." I muttered, knowing full well that it was a lie.
After my shift, I changed out of my uniform and into an light orange sundress and sandals. The weather was once again beautiful and since I knew I'd be walking today, I'd wanted something that would be light and airy for the inevitably sweat that would come from walking my ass across town. The dress hit me just about mid-thigh and swung when I walked, flowing out in the breeze. The combination of the dress and my now fully displayed tattooed arm had a bit of a rockabilly look. My phone was set to a Mexican station that I loved as I walked. All that I needed was good news on the Ford, and I'd be headed into an excellent night.
As I walked up the street and toward the house of the owner, I saw two Harleys parked behind a red Ford pickup. At first, I didn't see either of the Harleys' riders, until I saw a pair of legs hanging out of the base near the front and a jean-clad butt swinging from under the hood. Looked like Gemma had sent me two knights in leather to look over the truck. As I neared, I heard the front door to the house open and the owner yell out.
"I've got all the paperwork here!" He walked toward the pickup and the nice looking butt resolved itself into the form of Blue. Of course, Gemma would send him. I sighed. I still wasn't entirely certain I knew what to do about Blue. He was sexy and all, but he was damn bossy. I wasn't certain the combination of two bossy people was likely to go well, and I was under no misconception that I was ever going to be anything other than that.
"Hey, there." I called and I saw Blue and the owner, whose name was Mark, I think, turn toward me. Mark's face went from mild concern to full blown appreciation as he stepped toward me with a hand outstretched.
"Carmen, I presume?" He asked and I nodded as I shook his hand. He lingered a little longer than necessary, his thumb running along the outside of my hand. I pulled back and looked to Blue, whose eyes were narrowed at Mark.
"How's it looking, Blue?" I asked and his eyes swung back to me.
"Not bad," came a response from a younger man who I hadn't met before. I looked at him in question and he said "Half-Sack," in response. Well, it was pretty obvious why he had his name, but the reason for it was a discussion for another time.
"Any mechanical issues that raise concerns?" I asked and Blue answered this time.
"I want to drive it around the block to make sure, but so far, so good."
"Great," I said and looked at Mark. "We'll be back in just a few minutes, right?" Mark looked a bit like he wanted to argue, but then I gave him my best smile and, I admit, batted my eyelashes. Some men were suckers for a pair of dark eyes, and I had a guess that Mark was one of them. I was proven right when he looked a bit foggy and nodded to me. I turned to Blue, triumph in my eyes and saw him shake his head. "Right, so will it be you or Sack that takes me for a spin?"
Chapter 6: Business to Handle
She was a damn menace. There was no other way to look at it. The woman's confidence made her a walking aphrodisiac and she fucking new it. I'd watched her talk a grown man into letting a biker and a woman he'd just met take his pickup off his property without any supervision. All she'd had to do was smile and flicker those chocolate eyes at him and he'd been a puppy dog, lapping up her attention and seeking her approval.
Now, we were riding in what was likely going to be her next vehicle and see sat there calmly looking out the window after having peeked through the glove box. I hadn't said much yet, because I didn't know who I was more aggravated at: her, for using her eyes to pull that shit; him, for buying it; or me, for being pissed that she'd done it to anyone other than me. I gripped the steering wheel, struggling to come up with a decent, non-demanding thing to say to her.
I'd actually been just hanging around the shop today when Gemma had come out to see who could do this job. She'd sought out Half-Sack and talked louder than usual, which was my first clue that she was up to something. I'd ignored most of the conversation until I heard her say that the woman who was looking for a mechanic review was named Carmen and that "She's a hot little number. You won't miss her."
I'd shot off the table I'd been sitting on and stalked over to the two of them, grabbing the address of the place Gemma was sending Sack to and muttering under my breath as I made my way to my bike. I wasn't going to let the kid be some hero for Carmen, even if I knew in my bones that Gemma was working things behind the scenes. She wasn't subtle, but she was right - I wanted to be the one ensuring Carmen wasn't taken for a ride.
"You have a tendency to be a little tense around me, Blue." Carmen said from the passenger seat and I looked over at her. She shrugged. "I'm getting the feeling that you don't like me that much." She continued and I slammed on the brakes in the middle of the road.
"You think I don't like you?" I asked and she looked at me wide-eyed, shifting her gaze from the road to me.
"Uh, well. You're kind of giving off the pissed vibe right now, for instance." She said and gestured to the cab of the pickup, splaying her hands toward the windshield and road outside.
"Baby girl, there's nothing," I paused for a moment as I emphasized the word, "that I'm finding I don't like about you." I took my hand off the wheel and put it on her thigh and damn me if her skin didn't feel like porcelain.
I saw her swallow as I let my eyes convey every ounce of wanting that I had for her. She needed to understand, right now, that her ability to use those gorgeous eyes of hers would work on me, but I sure as fuck wasn't going to be coy about it like the man who owned the pickup we were sitting in. It wasn't in my nature to back down from a challenge and certainly not one with the most alluring set of curves I've every seen.
She hadn't yet worked out a response when a honk sounded from behind the pickup. I turned back to the road and let my foot off the brake, but I didn't remove my hand from her thigh. I might need a fucking crowbar to do that when I got back to the owner's place because the feel of her as I moved my fingers in circles was enthralling.
It took me just a couple of minutes to get the truck back to the owner's residence and then to hop out. I noticed she hadn't moved, so I came around the side of the pickup and opened the door. Carmen sat there for half a second before she hopped out, too, giving me a nod for the act of chivalry.
I stood off to the side while she dickered with the owner, watching with interest as she came out of the slight stupor from our ride. Damn if I hadn't nailed exactly how to respond to this woman, and it was completely by accident. Her statement that she thought I didn't like her had caught me off guard. Although I had no idea if this was going the way Chibs suggested it would, I wasn't okay with her thinking that I wanted nothing to do with her. Apparently, calling her out directly threw her for a loop.
I smirked as I considered the possibilities and ran through what little, I admitted, I knew about her. If I had to guess, she was used to using her bossiness and looks to get men - and probably women, too - to do just about anything. Effectively, I'd met the female version of Jax Teller, only with a little bit of my own brand of crazy to spice up the mix. If I had it right, that meant I was in for one hell of a ride in dealing with the devil before me; a fact that had me salivating for what came next. Forget all my hesitation and uncertainty from last night. Today, I knew what was on the menu and she was wearing an orange sundress that made my fingers twitch.
"Well, thank you, handsome. It's nice to see chivalry isn't dead." I heard her say as she conned the idiot in front of Half-Sack and I. In just a few minutes, she'd managed to get him to drop the price of the pickup by fifteen hundred dollars. It was impressive, not the least of which because I saw the kid staring at her like she hung the damn moon. I jogged his elbow, giving him a look to knock it the fuck off. I wasn't going to interrupt her process when she was negotiating a deal, but if the kid was ever going to be a brother of mine, he'd do well to keep his eyes to himself.
Carmen reached into her purse and paid Mark for his pickup, taking the title with her and smiling away. She waved at him as she walked to the driver's side door, saying he should, "Come to the diner for some pie sometime." The fool fumbled a response and I rolled my eyes. If he came sniffing after any pie, he'd be getting a face full of a baseball bat.
Carmen nodded to Sack and I and then backed the pickup out of the drive. She stopped about level with our bikes as we got on them and I saw her lean our way as she put her skulls over the rear view window.
"Thank you, guys. Have Gemma send me a bill and I'll swing by with beer, too." With that, she put her foot into the gas and drove away. Sack gave me a look and I nodded, angling my bike toward the clubhouse. We had some business to handle tonight, so I'd have to see about Carmen another time.
Chapter 7: A Lesson in Etiquette
"You got anything, baby?" I asked as I walked up to Juice, who was sitting at a laptop in the clubhouse. Clay had thought I was overreaching, but he'd still asked Juice to go ahead and do some digging once he'd seen Tig's reaction the other afternoon. I smirked. It hadn't taken any prodding at all to get Tig out the door to go to Carmen's rescue, which was amazing in itself. It was so out of character for how he was around non-family women, in fact, that Clay had shaken his head and muttered about me "always being fucking right."
"Boy, do I." Juice responded, a grin stretching across his face. "She's gonna fit right in." He said and I raised my eyebrow in question.
"She moved here a couple years ago. Since then, she's gotten on the wrong side of Hale at least a dozen times. I called Unser, who seems to like her. Said she has a temper that gets her in a spot of trouble on occasion, but that she has a good heart. So far, the only charges that have been pursued were for property damage." Juice chuckled.
"Apparently, about a year ago, she found out a man she had been with had a wife. It looks like she contacted the wife and the two of them took a Louisville Slugger and some tools to his ride: slit his tires, carved some colorful words into the paint; the whole nine yards. The wife's charges were dropped. Carmen told the court that the wife hadn't known anything about it and was just in the wrong place at the wrong time, despite having a wrench in her hands when the cops showed up. The wife spoke in Carmen's favor at sentencing."
Well, if that wasn't interesting. She'd ended up on the wrong side of the marriage bed, but it sounded like she'd taken proper care of business when she'd discovered it. The woman clearly had a sense of justice and loyalty which I could get behind. It's not every one-off that would go out of her way to ensure that the wife knew what a piece of shit her husband was. And then to take all the blame for the retribution was icing. Juice was right, Carmen sounded like just the kind of woman that would fit in well with the Sons.
"Good to know. Thanks, Juice." I said as I walked away and outside of the clubhouse. Tig needed a good woman; had for a long time. Although hot-tempered and crazy was perhaps not the best fit for many Sons, that was probably the best recipe for tying down Tig. Given that Chibs and Bobby had already decided that this woman was sure to be Tig's downfall, I settled in to watch the drama unfold. I'd have to find my popcorn bowl.
I was going to have to avoid him. It was a decision I'd come to after a little over a week of thinking and I was certain that I was right in it. Blue was just a little too much. He was domineering - his reaction to my late night walk being a perfect example. He was also just the right, or wrong, combination of fascinating. When he'd stopped the truck in the middle of the road the other day and told me in no uncertain terms that he wanted me, I was caught off guard. I was bewitched by the feel of his rough hand on my leg; so much so, in fact, that I'd been unable to respond to him the entire rest of the ride.
Now, I was good at interacting with others. I picked up on nuance, most of the time at least, and I was friendly in a sarcastic kind of way. I'm social, but in a way that doesn't involve anyone getting close if I can help it. I don't do connections and I certainly don't get tongue-tied by men. So, when Blue managed to eradicate my ability at speech with just a few words and a not-quite-innocent, but certainly not indecent, touch, I had to take notice.
That notice had lead me to one conclusion and that was that it would be best for all if I stayed the fuck away from TM. It shouldn't be hard, really. My new ride had been just looked at by Blue and Sack, so it should be in fine shape. I'd had a box of booze delivered to their clubhouse in thanks the day after they'd helped and had put the check for payment of their services in the mail. Considering Blue's first appearance at the diner was a month or so after Chibs had first come in, there was really no reason to think that our paths would cross on a regular basis.
Having resolved myself to the thought, I'd gone about my daily life as if I'd never interacted with the man whose striking blue eyes had a tendency to show up in my head at the end of the day. I worked my regular shifts, teased and bossed about my customers, and joked with my coworkers. When Friday came, I took myself to my usual haunt: a bar on the outskirts of town with several pool tables and a jukebox that wasn't full of Justin Bieber.
I liked the place. The bartenders were flirts and the drinks were strong. After a couple of years of coming here, most of the regulars had accepted that I wasn't going to piss where I ate and so it was a friendly environment perfect for an end of the week buzz. Or, if I were being fully honest, more of an end of the week tanking, since I was hitting the rum and Cokes a bit harder tonight.
I was minding my own business, shooting nine ball in the corner, when a newer patron got a little handsy. At this point, I'd had four double-talls, and so I was feeling quite positive that I could handle the situation myself without any interference from the bouncer at the door, who was a friend of mine. Instead, I politely told the douche to back the fuck off. Really, I was quite nice about it, I thought. What did he expect when he went running his hands along my ass while I leaned over the table, a thank you?
Handsy, however, did not understand the meaning of fuck off. After the third time he touched bits that weren't his to touch, my temper got the best of me and I took the pool cue to his face and then kicked him in the stomach as he went down. What I didn't know when I did that, was that Handsy had his crew with him. They, it seemed, did not take kindly to having their buddy bleeding on the floor, and so a couple came my way to explain the finer points of etiquette. Seeing the shit that was about to befall me, and thinking that a good offense was the best defense, I may have grabbed another cue and attacked first. By that time, the bouncer had called over some help, though.
In the end, Hale had been sent out to clean up the mess and take away the rabble, which included me. I'd managed to come away from the fight with only a black eye, which I found funny as hell. It was so funny, in fact, that I was still cracking up about it in my cell when Unser walked in with Blue by his side. Aw, fuck.
Chapter 8: A Friend of Yours
I was at the clubhouse when Unser came by. Now, although he's been friendly to the Sons, he doesn't make a habit of coming by the place. It doesn't generally look good for law enforcement to socialize with outlaws, after all. His appearance, therefore, was noted by all the patched members, especially since we were coming off of a short run.
While I'd noticed Unser, I was distracted by my own thoughts and let Jax and Clay handle him when he came in. I'd been out of town for the last five days and was thinking that I'd swing in to the diner tomorrow to see a chocolate-eyed beauty. Although I could have gotten her number from the paperwork for her car, I hadn't because I wanted her to give it to me. The challenge in doing so was intriguing. I was toying with exactly how to do that when I felt the three men walk up behind me. I turned around, wondering which thing I did that was going to get me put in jail tonight.
"Clay tells me that Carmen may be a friend of yours?" Unser asked and I had a moment of confusion followed by panic.
"Why? Did something happen to her?" I demanded, my stool falling down with how quickly I jumped off of it. Chibs was off to the side and moved his way over, a look of concern taking over his face.
"Now, calm down. She's mostly alright." Unser said and Chibs spoke up.
"Mostly?" He asked, and I waited for the Chief's response.
The Chief sighed and looked around. "It seems she was at a bar on the edge of the county when a man got a little too friendly with her." My face froze and I could feel the fingernails dig into my palms as my fists clenched. Maybe I'd end up in jail tonight, after all. Seeing my reaction, Unser raised his hands, trying to calm me. "Relax. She took a pool cue to him, busted his nose and broke a rib." I heard Bobby say "Fuck" in the background, but I knew Unser wasn't done. I was still waiting to hear why she was only "mostly" fine.
"He had some buddies with him." I saw Jax and Clay tense up this time. Unser shook his head. "Carmen was piss drunk and so it didn't occur to her to run for it. Instead, she took another set of pool cues and an eight ball to two of them before the bouncers were able to break it up. They didn't get anything broken, but are in rough shape. They weren't expecting a hellcat. Carmen got a black eye in the fight, but is otherwise fine. She's sitting in a holding cell right now, laughing her ass off." Unser paused and looked at Clay. "Since she'd recently been checked out by you lot, I figured one of you might have an interest, maybe want to come bail her out."
"Jesus. She is just as crazy as you are, Tig." Jax said and I saw Chibs shake his head in amazement. I had to agree with his sentiment. She'd taken on three men, managed to bust them up, and came out the other side with only a black eye while she was three sheets to the wind. I was so fucking turned on and pissed off that I didn't know what to do for a minute.
Clay lifted his chin at me when I looked him in the eye. "You going to go get her?" He asked, and I nodded.
"That's not all I'm going to fucking do," I said as I stomped outside of the clubhouse to the laughter of my brothers. Apparently, it was fucking hilarious to see me bent out of shape over a woman. I took note of who was laughing; next time one of their women got out of hand, I was going to remind them about tonight.
The drive to the station took only a few minutes, and so I was by no means any calmer when I got there than when Unser had come to tell me what happened. Those feelings were not alleviated by the sound of a very drunk Carmen belly laughing in her holding cell. When Unser and I came around the corner, I saw that she had a hell of a shiner started, but no other obvious injuries.
She stopped laughing when she saw us, a deer in the headlights look taking over her features. "Aw, fuck." She said and I smiled. As fucked up as it sounded, her reaction was adorable. She almost acted like she'd been busted by her Old Man. In a weird way, it warmed my heart- like it gave a glimpse of a future in which I was bailing her out for similar shenanigans. The thought was enough to cool some of my ire, which went a long way toward me seeing the humor in the situation.
"You ready to come out of there, doll?" I asked with a smile and saw her hesitate.
"Depends. Am I in for a lecture?" She asked and both Unser and I chuckled.
"No, baby girl. I have an entire clubhouse dying to buy you a drink for taking on three dudes by yourself." I responded and was rewarded with her winning smile.
"Well, then take me outta here, Blue. We've got some more partying to do." She stood up from the cell bench and dusted off her ass. She gave Unser a wink as he opened up the cell and then grabbed my hand and lead me toward the front.
When we got out to my bike, she wrapped herself around me. I could get fucking used to this. Her hands rubbed along my abdomen, turning my thoughts to the possibilities as we rode toward the Sons. At the clubhouse, she hopped off the bike before I could grab her for a kiss and took off toward the doors. I shook my head, stalking after her and catching up just as she opened them.
The roar that greeted us as we walked in was deafening. All around the room, my brothers were cheering and clapping, proud as shit of her for taking out three men by herself. I had no doubt that the story had made the rounds at this point because, like predicted, I saw several Sons waiting at the bar, gesturing for us to join them. Among them were Chibs, Bobby and Jax.
Carmen and I made our way to the bar and I saw Jax take note of my hand at her waist. Fucker was just like his mom, noticing everything. When we got up to the bar, a space was made for Carmen to stand. I stood behind her, both hands now at her hips. I could give two shits about the speculation. She was letting me touch her, when she'd beaten the ass of the last man to do it. I wasn't going to pass up my chance to keep doing it like a bitch.
"Lass, we heard ya had a bi' o' fun tonight." Chibs said and she chuckled.
"It was epic, Chibs. You'd have loved it." She responded.
The other three shook their heads and gestured to Half-Sack. "What can we get you, darlin'?" Jax asked and Carmen smiled.
"Rum and Coke is treating me well tonight," she said and Sack went to make it. I felt her hands come over the top of mine and I mentally prepared myself for her to shrug me off. As pussy as it would sound to the men around me, my heart skipped a beat when she instead pulled my hands around to her midriff, pulling my chest flush against her.
Chapter 9: I'm Going to Learn
As the night wore on, I learned more things about Carmen. First, though she is a social person, she didn't really like it when people touched her. Although she seemed to enjoy it when I did, I noticed that she would shy away from the casual touches that are common among a group of people. She didn't high five. She didn't fist bump. She curled into herself to avoid touching another person's shoulders or thighs when at the bar. Recognizing these little cues, it was thus all the more interesting that she was good with me touching her.
The second thing I noticed related to the first. Although she wasn't keen on others touching her, the more booze she imbibed, the more she was good with touching me. She was by no means over the top. In fact, in comparison to the sweetbutts or croweaters, she was downright tame. However, my body was in a constant state of awareness for each of the little things she would do. There was the occasional hand squeeze; the tilt of her head into my chest as I stood behind her; the running of her fingers over my arms.
With more booze, generally, comes fewer inhibitions. What internal filters may have prohibited while sober becomes more likely as alcohol flows. In Carmen's case, that meant that I discovered she loved music. She also loved to dance. When I hesitated when she asked, I saw the calculation in her eyes as she swept the room. The woman wanted to go onto the floor and if I wasn't going with her, then she was going to find someone who would. The thought of her pressed up against anyone but me was enough to get me out there.
As I moved with her on the dance floor, I was in so much fucking pain. It was excruciatingly sweet. As every one of her curves moved with the music and against me, I became more and more enflamed. With her arms wrapped around my neck and her fingers playing with my hair, I was about ready to combust. She was fully clothed and by no means grinding against me, but it was as if I was a damn highschooler at prom, silently anticipating every possible hint that the female in my arms was going to give me more.
When the songs she was interested in ended, she dragged me back to the bar for more liquor. As we got more, I learned something vitally important: I needed to learn Spanish right fucking now. The more Carmen drank, the more her slight accent became a thick one. As the thick accent started to take over, English words gave way to the occasional Spanish words. The combination of the two was such that I was struggling to follow what she'd whisper my way once in a while. Worse, however, was when she'd gone full blown Spanish and started talking intensely into my eyes.
Whatever Carmen was saying, it was important. I could tell it by her mannerisms. I glanced around the room and couldn't see Juice anywhere. I did, however, see Happy and I begged him with my eyes to come over and help me out. With a slight furrow of his brow, he left the table he was at and wandered our way.
Carmen and I were at the end of the bar at this point and the music was lower. The party was starting to quiet down. As Happy appeared at my side, I muttered to him without looking away from my devil, "Please, for the love of God, translate. I have a feeling I'm going to want to know this."
Happy chuckled and stood to the side and listened. As Carmen spoke, he translated for me. "She's telling you that she decided it would be best to avoid you because the two of you are probably too similar. She thinks you're both too bossy and it would likely cause you to go a little crazy." Shit. That wasn't good news.
Happy jogged my elbow as I started to frown. "She's not done. Uh, man. She says that your eyes are the bluest she's ever seen and that while she still thinks the two of you are the shittiest idea on the planet, she's never been one to back away from a good challenge." That's more like it.
"She also wants you to know that she's not fucking you tonight." Well, fuck. "But," Happy continued, "if you're cool with that, she'd really like to go back to your place and sleep in your arms." I can live with that.
I nodded my thanks at Happy, saying under my breath, "I owe you. Also, I need you to teach me as soon as fucking possible." Happy gave an uncharacteristic chuckle and slight smile.
"Just don't fuck this up, Tig. The chaquita seems like a good one." Happy said as he grabbed a beer and went back to his table.
I stretched out my hand to Carmen with a nod and smile. I was hoping that she wasn't going to need any further responses from me for the night. Her own face split into a smile and she curled herself into my side again. I've done a lot of things in my life that could be described as earning my nut, but damn if she didn't make me feel like a man just by wrapping her arm around my waist as I took her back to my dorm.
Ay. What the hell happened? It was morning, perhaps early afternoon, when I awoke. I was in a room that I didn't recognize and there were Sons things decorating the walls and ceiling. Right, I thought. Blue came to get me from jail last night. On the thought, I looked down at myself. I was alone in bed. Next to me was a pillow with a dent and to my side I saw a door partially ajar. I heard someone at the sink.
Now, I've never been a big fan of the one night stand, but I've had few. As I took stock, I realized that I was in a Sons shirt and my panties, and that my clothing from the night before was on the ground. However, I was fairly confident that I hadn't had sex last night. So, whoever had brought me to bed had changed me into something comfortable and then had not taken advantage. And they say chivalry is dead.
On the thought, Blue walked out of the bathroom. He was wearing jeans and a button-down shirt that was hanging open and he looked good. Really good. He must not have drank as much as I did, because there were no signs that he was experiencing a headache like the one that was stomping through my temporal lobe right now.
"Good morning, Sunshine." He said and I couldn't help it; I laughed. Although it hadn't been that long ago, I really didn't expect him to remember the first words I'd ever said to him. It was...nice.
"Good morning," I said with a smirk. I gestured to myself. "It appears that I got a little over the top last night. Thank you for taking care of me."
"Always will, doll." He said with his own smirk and I struggled to breathe for a minute. I didn't really do relationships, but hell if this man didn't seem like the kind of challenge that would make me rethink my stance on that.
"Do I have anyone I should be apologizing to?" I asked and he grinned all the wider.
"Nah. You were in too good a mood. However, I can only confirm that for the times you were still speaking English."
I chuckled. I slipped into my other tongue when I was too far gone. "You telling me you don't speak Spanish, Blue?" I asked and he shook his head.
"No, but I'm going to learn." There it was again. A subtle but unmistakable declaration that he wanted me to stick around. I raised my eyebrows at him.
"You sure it's worth the effort?" I asked, knowing that our conversation had taken a turn to the serious, despite our playful tones.
He came to stand in between my legs, which I'd swung over the side of the bed, and leaned into my space. "I have no doubt." He said softly right before he kissed me.
Chapter 10: Should We Wait
How does one describe the best kiss they've ever had? It wasn't fireworks. Time didn't come to a stop. My toes didn't curl and my foot sure didn't lift from the ground. Rather, it was as if every atom in my body had its own mind and each one of those minds was solely and completely focused on the feeling of Blue's lips and the soft scratch of his goatee. In the moment that his lips came down on mine, I felt every smooth, firm bit of the muscle working behind the soft covering of skin that was his mouth and it was fantastic.
My hands had come up of their own volition, whether to push him away or bring him closer, I wasn't sure. For, although I would be deceiving myself if I were to say that it wasn't spectacular, it was also a huge fucking problem. Blue didn't strike me as the type who settled down. If I had to guess, he'd be dynamite, an explosion worthy of memory. But, he wouldn't be the man that would come home for dinner at 5:30 every night to talk about our days. Except, of course, if this meant more to him than what I was guessing it would.
The issue, of course, was me. I don't dislike people, but I don't really let anyone close. I'm more of a superficial chatter and one-sided friend. You need someone who will show up to bury a body? I'll have two shovels in my trunk and tequila waiting in the car for when we're done. Need someone to cry to as you wail after a lost love? No problem; I'm a good listener. But, you'll never hear me asking for any real favor and if you asked me about my own history or life, you'd find me looking for the closest exit.
However, despite all these conflicting thoughts, I kissed Blue back for all I was worth. I was no wallflower to my own existence. I wasn't going to sit the sidelines. If coach called my name, I was ready to play. And right now, as Blue and I shared a heated exploration of the other's mouth, I was on the starting roster. I'd figure out if I made a poor choice later, because I wasn't about to let this chance slip by. That was, until a knock came pounding on the door.
"Tig! Church in ten!" Came the call from the other side of the paneling.
Blue pulled back from me and I could see his crystal eyes had darkened and his pupils had expanded. His lids were partially raised and his lips were moist from our kiss. The man looked like the best candy I've ever tasted and I have a hell of a sweet tooth.
"We're going to have to continue this later, doll." He said and I started to nod, but then stopped.
"You think there should be a later?" I asked, knowing that he would take my meaning. He wasn't blind. He had to have figured out that whatever would happen between us would be burn-the-building down amazing, but who knew what the casualty count could be.
He licked his lips, staring at my own, and nodded. "You told me you like a challenge, baby girl. You backing down now?"
Well, fuck. I might as well be Marty McFly, because I really do suck at turning down a dare. "I don't back down, Blue. But I do walk away. You prepared for that?" I asked, needing him to know his own risks.
He looked surprised for a minute and then tilted his head. "You warning me, baby doll?"
I nodded. I'm a lot of things, but I'm not big on lying when it comes to things like this. "I am."
"And what should I be afraid of?" He asked, seriousness taking over his expression.
"Not afraid," I responded and shrugged. "Just giving you the warning labels on the product. I don't have a tendency toward permanence."
He nodded at me, a speculative look in his eye. "Well, I guess we'll just have to see where things go, then?" He asked and I gave a small nod.
"You accept the terms and conditions," I sassed, because I'm still me, "and we're good."
"Oh, I accept, baby. I'm looking forward to removing the wrapping on the box." Damn. It sounded like the man was going to be a challenge in more ways than one. He was going toe to toe with me in word play, and frankly, that was about as hot as the kiss we'd just shared. I smiled, an evil twinkle sparking in my eyes.
"Well, you best be off to church, then. Isn't the saying 'good things come to those who wait'?" I pushed at his shoulders as I stood and turned in surprise when he pinched my ass. He raised his hands in surrender, a satisfied look on his face.
"Maybe, doll. But the best things come to those who aren't afraid to do." He responded as he walked out of the room, leaving me to get dressed.
As I sat at the redwood table, I couldn't help but replay the discussion with Carmen. The damn woman had warned me - me - that she wasn't the kind that played house. The irony of the situation was not lost on me, not the least of which because her warning was well said.
When I'd gotten her to the room last night, I'd helped her undress and put her in one of my shirts. The sight had been enough to get my heart racing, and not just because her skin called out to me like a siren. I wanted to touch her everywhere, but had turned into a fucking Boy Scout for reasons that made little sense when one considered my history. Instead, I'd made her drink a glass of water and put her to bed like I was her Old Man. Oddly, for the second time that night, it had felt right to think of myself like that and that was what really got my blood pumping.
After our talk this morning, it would seem that she was game for the possibilities with me, but that she had hesitations with regard to long term. Usually, that was just fucking fine with me. In fact, it was often a strain for me to have anything last longer than a few hours. Fucked if I was wanting that now, though.
The glimmers of what could be with Carmen were enough to have me hooked and I'd be damned if I let a little thing like her reticence push me away. I knew her measure. She pushed people away, no doubt to protect herself. Well, she was going to have to get used to me because I was going to be immovable when it came to us. And there was damn sure going to be an us. Smiling to myself as I decided how best to break the news to her, I was caught off guard by Clay calling my name.
"You done fantasizing, or should we wait while you go pull one out?" Clay asked and I shrugged.
"Sorry about that. What's up?" Clay sighed in frustration and Bobby answered.
"We've heard some talk of a potential witness to a deal with the 49ers. We're looking to send a crew of three in to help explain things."
"Oh, right." I shrugged. "You know I'm in." I said offhandedly and saw Clay raise his eyebrows in silent, but sarcastic, thank you. With that, a vote was taken and church ended. Now, I had to go see if my little devil needed a ride home.
Chapter 11: A Shit Plan
Well, if this wasn't some form of poetic justice, I didn't know what was. After just having thought that I'm the kind of person to be there for another in a pinch, I get a call from my friend, Rio. That call lead me to asking some random dude in the bar at the Sons' clubhouse to give me a ride out to my pickup on the far side of the county, and then on a several hour trip out of state.
As the summer heat filled the pickup, I looked over the desert. It was warmer today than it had been for the past few days and my new ride's AC had tried to keep up, but had failed. So, rather than overheating things, I decided to go with the old 280 approach to keep things decent inside the cab – two windows down at 80 miles an hour. It was kind of working, except that there was nothing to be done about where my skin was touching the seat. I was sure to have a nice sweat line going down my back when I reached my friend.
I sighed, thinking about the call. Rio was one of only a handful of people whom I'd kept in touch for longer than a couple of years. He'd known me since I was a teenager, which actually made him my longest standing relationship. We'd once tried the romantic side of things, but it had been half-hearted and mostly as a why-not scenario. In the end, the physical side to the relationship had dwindled away and our calls had shifted to once every several months, then once a year, tops.
As I approached the turn off down the road to his middle-of-freaking-nowhere home, I took a glance at my cell. I'd gone in and out of service for a while now and my phone was just picking up the missed calls and texts I'd had. One number came through with 3 missed calls, but it wasn't one that was programmed into my phone. Whoever it was didn't text me, though, and they couldn't leave a message since I'd been too much of a laze ass to set up the outgoing message. Eh, I shrugged. If it were that important, they'd call again or they'd use the keyboard. Pulling into the drive of the adobe home, I saw that Rio was standing out front, waiting for me.
"Been a long time, Car." He said, smiling broadly.
"About a year," I agreed. "So, what's so damn important that I had to drop everything to come out to the sticks?" I asked, moving right to the point. I was going to be in shit with my job if I didn't make it back to Charming in two days, and Rio hadn't explained what he needed me for or for how long I was going to be occupied.
Rio looked at me with raised eyebrows. "You have somewhere to be, chica?" He asked and I kept my expression bland. He didn't need to know my business.
"You called me, Rio. Now, what do you want?"
Rio lead me into the house and out the back side, where he had tea set up in a pitcher on a wrought iron table. Indicating a chair for me, he sat and raised the pitcher. I shook my head, not really wanting to prolong whatever was going on. Rio sighed and looked over his back yard, which was more desert, really, and started to speak.
"I've messed up, Car." He said with resignation in his voice, a slump to his shoulders. I waited, not liking how this was starting. "I found myself a woman that makes my heart yearn." Okay, not what I was expecting.
"That's usually more a cause for celebration than it is for sadness, Rio." I commented. He really just needed to let the other shoe drop already.
"She's the daughter of Ramon Lopez." He answered.
"Aw, fuck me. Really, Rio? You called me all the way out here for this?" I asked, standing up to go back to my pickup. Rio grabbed my wrist and I almost clocked him. It was only my longstanding relationship with him that kept me from resorting to violence right now.
"Please, Car. I need your help. I promise it won't take much." He pleaded and I sat back down in a huff. This was going to be a terrible fucking trip; I knew it in my bones.
"Fine. Spit it out, Rio, because you have five minutes to convince me that I shouldn't just haul my ass back to Charming – where, I may say, there is a man who is likely losing his ever-loving mind over my sudden disappearing act." I groused at him, my arms folded.
"I just need you to go with him to a gala two nights from now. He has promised me that, if he gets to have one more chance to prove himself worthy of you, he will not stand in the way of me and Maria."
"That can't be all of it, Rio. He wants me to go with him to some social event for a night, and suddenly he'll be fine with you dating his daughter? I call bullshit." I responded and Rio had the grace to blush.
"I know! But, he swears it, Carmen. In front of Maria, he swore that he would not stand in our way if I secured your presence at this event." He looked at me with puppy dog eyes. "Please."
Ramon was grasping at straws. He and I had enjoyed some time together several years ago, but I'd called it off when it had been clear he was getting serious. I just didn't feel that way. For the last three years, he'd called me on my birthday, trying to get me to come out to party with him. I knew the score, though. He wanted more and I wasn't giving it, so I'd declined. I wasn't going to go back to the same well.
I looked at Rio. I doubted that Ramon came up with this plan on his own. Rio sold me out. He must have convinced Ramon that we were friends and that he'd be able to get me to come back to New Mexico. This is why relationships and I don't get along well. Whether it was rational or not, I knew that I'd help the asshole in front of me, despite the feelings he knew I held for my upcoming date.
"I'll do it, Rio. But," holding up my hand when he went to give me a hug, "you need to understand that this is the last time I'm helping you. We've known each other a long time. Don't think for a minute that I don't know you set this shit plan up to get what you wanted."
"Tell me exactly what happened." I demanded again, staring into the distance as I spoke to Half-Sack on the phone.
"Carmen came out of the dorms and down to the bar. She was waiting for a minute and then got a call. When the call was done, she asked me for a ride out to her pickup. She said, 'Tell Blue that I'm going to be out of state for a bit. Not sure how long, but I'll call when I come back up for air.' That's it, man. She didn't say anything else."
"And she didn't look upset or anything?" I asked, still trying to process what the hell was going on.
"No, man. If anything, she seemed a bit annoyed, but it wasn't like she was raging or anything." The prospect responded and I sighed.
"Alright. Thanks," I said as I hung up, staring at my screen for a moment. I'd used the shop's records and called Carmen's line a few times, but she hadn't answered. I couldn't leave a message because it wasn't set up. I'd considered texting, but I was pretty sure I needed to hear her explain what was going on so that I could figure out if there was anything that needed my intervention. I'd quickly come to learn that Carmen was easily capable of getting into the same kind of trouble I am capable of. However, she wasn't one to seek out the assistance of others in responding to it.
"Time ta go, brother." I heard Chibs say and I nodded. Hopefully, Carmen would keep her sweet ass safe for long enough for me to handle my business. If she came back with any further injuries, I might have to talk to someone about putting chains in my room. A flash of her tied up punctured my serious thoughts for a moment, causing a warm feeling to spread through me. Alright, regardless of whether she came back injured, I was looking forward to experimenting with some role play with her.
Chapter 12: A Naughty Call
The trip out to our witness had gone well, with assurances on all sides that he hadn't been wearing his glasses that day and so he really couldn't speak to who or what he'd seen. It had meant that I was back at the clubhouse in roughly a fourteen hour period, which meant I'd gone the entire waking hours and one night without hearing from Carmen. I didn't like it. Something didn't feel right, but I wasn't sure how much of that was because she'd warned me she might bail, or if it was because of her tendency for finding herself in poor situations.
I was sitting at the bar after a long day in the shop, staring at my phone and willing it to ring, when Jax came up to me.
"Still nothing?" He asked and I nodded sharply. "You think there's a problem?" He asked and I shrugged. I had no way of knowing. "Well, why don't you try calling her again?" I hesitated because I'd called her three times yesterday. I didn't want to seem desperate and scare her off. However, she didn't have my number, so she wouldn't have known it was me.
Jax saw my hesitation and smiled. "Just do it, man." I nodded and picked up the cell, walking toward my dorm.
The line rang four times before I heard a breathy, "Hello?"
"What're you up to, baby doll?" I asked, entering my dorm and closing the door.
"Blue," she said, satisfaction oozing itself through the line. Her tone had my immediate attention. "I was just thinking about you."
"Yeah? What were you thinking about?"
"Hmm. I was thinking about that kiss before I left, and imagining where it may have gone if you hadn't had things to do." She said and her voice was husky. I swallowed and locked my door. I wasn't going to want any interruptions while I was on this call.
"Tell me what you were thinking of, baby girl." I asked softly, feeling the constriction of my jeans as I became more and more turned on. I didn't know if she was going to take this where I hoped she would, but damn if I didn't want it. Thank whatever force you want, she did.
"You moved from kissing my lips to behind my ear as you pushed me back on your bed." I was still standing in my room and leaned my head back against the door with my eyes closed as I listened to her describe what could have been.
"Your rough hands came up my sides, running fingertips along my waist as you raised your Sons shirt over my head. Your lips moved down my neck; your tongue drawing a line to my collar bone and then out to my shoulder. I could feel the roughness of your jeans against my legs as you settled between them." I was struggling to breathe, envisioning exactly what she was saying as my mind's eye filled in the details of her naked body.
"You moved your hands to my nipples and squeezed just slightly," I heard her gasp and I knew she was touching her own breasts. "You moved your mouth to my right breast and licked the bud first, teasing me as you looked in my eyes." I heard her pause and I could picture her licking her lips. "Then you took my nipple in your mouth."
"Are you touching yourself, baby?" I asked, needing to know that what I thought was happening on the other side of this line was actually occurring.
"Yes," she breathed and by God if my already hard cock didn't get harder.
"Had you gotten any further than that?" I whispered, my voice husky with need.
"Not yet," she responded softly and I smiled into the phone.
"After I'd paid the proper attention to the right, I would have moved on to the left side, kissing every millimeter of skin between each nipple until I'd taken the left into my mouth, sucking on it just hard enough to cause a tingle of pain and sweet pleasure." I heard her intake of breath and knew I was on the right path.
"My hands won't have been idle, though, baby. While I suckled at your sweet skin, my hands would have been touching and squeezing every inch accessible to me. You would have been able to feel my cock getting harder and harder as I rolled my hips into your own, torturing us both with the friction."
"I would have reached between us, papi, and squeezed you through your jeans." My own hand went down to do just that and I groaned into the line. "But, you would have been too covered, so I would have tugged your shirt off your shoulders and pulled at the button of your pants." I snapped the button of my jeans open. "My hand would have slipped into your boxers and I would have gripped you tightly." Aw, fuck, I thought as I did as she spoke. I growled into the line, taking over.
"Your hand would have felt so damn good, baby, but I would have needed more. I would have stepped away from the bed to take off my jeans and boxers and then crawled back on the bed to pull your panties down with my teeth. I would have run my hands up your thighs and clenched that tight ass of yours. Once I'd removed every stitch of clothing from you, I would have slid myself up your length, letting you feel the hair on my chest and my cock on your thigh."
"Ay, papi." She whispered. "Your fingers would have found me dripping for you, and I wouldn't have been able to wait for longer. I would have begged you to fill me."
"I would have slid into you slowly, feeling how goddamn tight you were with every movement."
"Harder." She demanded huskily. "Faster," she commanded and I knew her fingers were inside her sweet cunt.
"Oh, baby. I would have pounded into you, hard and fast, filling every inch of that delicious pussy while you scratched your nails down my back and wrapped your gorgeous thighs around me."
"Yes, Alex. More." She cried into the phone and I was so damn close to release, my own hand pumping along with the words coming out.
"Every fucking inch, baby. I would have slammed every fucking inch into you. In and out, in and out, time after time."
"I'm almost there," she breathed.
"As you got closer, baby, I would have reached between us and run my thumb over that beautiful clit of yours." I heard her cry out her release, moaning my name and my body followed suit as I told her. "When you clenched around me, baby doll, I would lose myself to you, pumping faster and faster until every bit of me was inside you." I groaned as I lost myself to the pleasure.
I was breathing hard into the line and listening to Carmen's own breath start to slow as I took in the state of me. In the course of our call, I'd made it to my mattress and had shed most of my clothing. I was going to need to shower, but what a fucking perfect reason for it.
"I'm going to want every bit of that when I get back to Charming, Blue." Carmen said and I nodded into the phone as I responded.
"You're damn right."
Chapter 13: Maybe I Am a Child
I was still coming down from the high of what Blue and I had done as I looked around my hotel room. After my talk with Rio, I'd gone into Gallup to get myself a place to stay. Rio's place was just a little too remote, and the ridiculous event I'd agreed to attend would be held here, so I figured I might as well cough up the money for the comforts of a shower that was more likely than not clean. I couldn't be assured of that at Rio's place.
"Where are you, baby doll?" Blue asked and I considered not telling him.
"New Mexico." I responded and there was a fairly length pause on the other side of the line.
"Why are you two states and several hours away?" He asked and I narrowed my eyes. That question came off a bit possessive for my liking. He was going to throw a tantrum if I answered his question truthfully. Smiling, because there was literally nothing he could do to me out here for violating some ridiculous code he had in his mind for how I should act, I told him. Wouldn't do to hide things, now would it?
"A friend of mine needs me to be arm candy for an event out here so that he can get the girl of his dreams." I said and I was damn proud of myself for being succinct, but getting all the necessary information out there. Blue, it seemed, was not so pleased with me, though.
"What the fuck are you talking about?" Well, there goes the man's blood pressure. For an outlaw, he sure seemed to be wound pretty tight. You'd think that he'd roll with things just a little more fluidly. Wasn't that supposed to be in their DNA?
"A long time friend met the girl of his dreams. She's the daughter of an ex. The ex has agreed to give his blessing for my friend's relationship if I go to some silly event with him." I paused, hearing Blue's breathing accelerate. He was getting good and worked up, now. "Don't worry, Blue. I have it under control. I dress up, go eat free ritzy food, drink some fruity shit with too much sugar in it, and then call it a night. I'd be back in Charming by day after tomorrow, tops."
"You're going to spend the evening with your ex?" Blue asked, each word punctuated with feeling, and I guess I could understand his concern. We were still figuring out what we were and Blue had no reason to know that my number one rule is to never cheat. I may not be the relationship type, but I had standards for the occasions in which I made the attempt.
"Well, no, not like that. I have no interest in rekindling anything with him. I'm literally just doing this so Rio and Maria can have their star-crossed lover relationship." I softened my voice. "You don't need to worry. I'm not spiking this before we even get going, Blue."
"When's the event?" Blue asked in a calmer tone and I started to relax. Maybe he'd just needed some reassurance that I wasn't gallivanting off into the sunset with someone else.
"Tomorrow. I have to go buy a dress this afternoon. I'll be in and out today, then I'll be out of pocket tomorrow until I'm back to my hotel. I can call you when I'm back to the room, if you'd like." I offered, thinking it might mollify him.
"No need. I'm coming." Blue muttered and I could hear sounds change in the background. The jackass was packing a bag, I was sure of it.
"What?" I asked. "You can't be serious." This was not the reaction I was expecting. I mean, I knew that Blue was the possessive and demanding type, it's been clear since he and I met, but to go out of his way to come two states and do, what, exactly? It's not like his appearance would prevent me from going to the gala with Ramon.
"Where in New Mexico, Carmen?" He asked, rather than answering my question.
"Blue, be reasonable. There's nothing between Ramon and I anymore. I don't know if you noticed, but I've kind of got a thing for a blue-eyed man these days." I took a breath. "There's no reason to come stomping in to save the day. There's no day to save. It's just an evening with cocktails and finger food and a lot of people. In public. As in, no reason to worry." I tried to reason with him, but I could hear the background noises continue to change, along with a thud.
Blue was talking to someone else in the background, now. "I'm headed for New Mexico. You game for a ride, brother?" I heard him ask and I think it was Bobby who said yes. After a few more seconds, Blue turned his voice back to the receiver. "Where in New Mexico, Carmen?"
"I don't feel like I should answer that question." I said, starting to get nervous that he actually intended to come all the way out here.
"Carmen," he said in warning and I huffed.
"Blue, I'm not a child. For shit's sake, you're overreacting!" I exclaimed, but he didn't care.
"You either tell me, or Juice does. If you make me have him do it, the spanking you're going to get will be that much worse." Blue said and I smirked. I couldn't help it. Maybe I am a child.
"If you want to spank me, Blue, all you have to do is say so. You don't need to fabricate a reason for it." I sassed to him and heard the quick intake of breath on his side of the line.
"Damn it, woman. Where the hell are you?" He shouted into the line and I lost my temper a bit.
"Look, Blue. I'm not telling you because this is silly! There's no reason for dramatics. I go, I eat, I leave, and my friend gets to have some peace in his relationship. I will then come back to town where you can growl and bark at whatever man dares to look at me to your heart's content." I groused.
"Carmen, you're fucking smarter than this. It doesn't make sense that you'd have to go all that way for nothing more than a few hours on the town." Blue gritted out. "Now, tell me where you are, baby girl, or I'll find you myself. When I do, you and I are going to have words about tearing off without someone there to back you up in the event of a problem."
"Good luck figuring it the fuck out. I'm going out. Feel free to drive your ass all the way out here for nothing, since I'll be back in Charming in a day and a half." With that, I hung up the phone and uttered a muted scream.
The damn man was infuriating, not the least of which because his instincts were the same as mine. I didn't trust that this was going to go the way it was billed, either, but I couldn't very well tell him that. He'd get all superior and demanding. With a sigh, I grabbed my clothes and marched my toward the door. I wanted food and fresh air.
Chapter 14: Not Your Business
Twelve hours is a long time to be on a bike, even when you love to ride. When you push it a little harder than what may be necessary, you can make a twelve hour drive turn to ten, but you're still going to feel it in your bones when you finally stop for longer than it takes to get gas. Securely in Gallup, that's exactly what Bobby, Juice, and I were now doing.
Carmen had not answered my calls since she'd hung up on me and to be honest, I was more than pissed. Bobby and Juice were shocked, too, since it seemed they expected me to just tell her to fuck off and find myself a croweater to occupy myself. I considered doing just that for about ten seconds, even going so far as to pull one to me, before I'd shoved her away and strode off toward my bike. I didn't want someone else. I wanted my devil and I was going to get her. Once I did, we were going to have words.
Juice had tracked Carmen to Gallup, New Mexico, which is why he, Bobby and I were here now. After the call had ended with Carmen, I'd put him on the task of finding her. According to what he'd put together, she was in a hotel off the main street. That hotel was set to have a charity banquet of some kind tonight, which meshed with what Carmen had told me. According to the information online, the attendees were going to be supporting some children's organization - a laudable goal, but it did nothing to convince me that this whole thing wasn't a set up.
Maybe I've been around sneaky assholes for too much of my life, but I didn't trust for a minute that Carmen was actually going to just sit in a pretty dress at some cloth-covered table with seven other formally attired, socially conscious people. It all stunk to high Heaven of something else being involved, and I wasn't going to rest until I was certain that Carmen was fine.
It was roughly midday now, and so we needed to find Carmen's hotel room so that she and I could have our discussion before she went off to what I was certain was the slaughter. Stalking up the steps of the hotel and toward the registration desk, I saw the concierge tense. I couldn't really blame him. The three of us probably looked like we were here to do some damage.
"I need the room number forCarmen Rodriguez." I said and I watched as the pale, skinny man behind the counter swallowed.
"I-it's our policy not to provide our g-guest's room n-number to others," he paused for a split second and concluded, "sir."
I looked to Juice and Bobby, who turned back to the man with me, each of us carrying similarly not-so-innocent smiles. "Now, I'd hate to think that this establishment would turn away people merely on the basis of their looks. Are you sure that's the hotel's policy in all situations?" I asked and his Adam's apple bobbed as his throat worked.
"Uh, uh," he started when Bobby jogged my elbow and whistled lowly. I turned to see him nod toward the elevators, where I saw the finest ass on this Earth standing in wait, encased in some smooth-looking black dress that covered almost none of her back and went down to her high heels.
My fingers twitched as I turned from the registration desk without another word and walked with determination toward Carmen. The doors of the elevator opened and she waited for a few people to get off before stepping in, just turning to face the buttons and the three of us as we entered.
Her eyes widened at the sight of us and mine narrowed as I took her in. The dress she was wearing rested softly on every damn curve, accentuating each and making my mouth water. She was not going to wear that piece of fabric for long, if I had any say in the matter.
"Hi, Carmen." Juice said, and I could see the smile on his face out of the corner of my eyes. Carmen looked from me to him, still slightly taken aback by our appearance, and responded.
"Hi, Juice. I wasn't expecting you." She said as the elevator dinged its announcement that we were on her floor. I moved my right hand, palm up, toward the doors in silent indication that she should lead us to her room. She nodded and smiled, but I could see it didn't reach her eyes.
When we got to her room, she took her key from her chest - she must have hidden it in her bra - and opened the door, letting the three of us follow. Inside, the room was nothing spectacular, though I noted with interest that it had two queen beds, rather than a single bed. In my experience, that only tended to happen when a guest noted two occupants in a room. Juice and Bobby wandered to the window while I stood in the room and raised my eyebrows at the woman in front of me.
"You going to speak to me, Blue, or just come on like some disappointed father?" She sassed at me and I saw Bobby quirk his lips.
"You'll be calling me daddy by the end of the night, Carmen. For now, though," I said as I stalked toward her, "you want to tell me why I had to have Juicy boy track your ass, rather than you telling me where you are?"
Carmen sighed and put one lovely hand on her hip, which was slightly jutted out. Again, my thoughts went down the path of sweaty nights, but I kept it together enough to listen to her response, which was pretty un-fucking-satisfactory, if you asked me.
"I told you. You're being silly. This is just a dinner."
"Boys, I need the room." I muttered and Juice and Bobby nodded.
"We'll go see what hell we can raise for a bit." Bobby commented as he walked out of the hotel room.
I turned back to Carmen and crossed my arms. "You're fucking smarter than this, Carmen. Why the hell are you doing it? Do you still have a thing for this Ramon guy? Maybe you want to suck your friend Rio's dick?" I asked, anger lacing my voice as I stared her down.
"Ugh!" She half-yelled, throwing her hands in the air. "This! This right here is what I was afraid of! You're acting like you own me, Blue. Outside of the fact that I have no interest in either Ramon or Rio, it's not your fucking concern. Hell, I could blow every man in the damn hotel and it would still be not your business."
I stepped closer to her, my rage at the thought of her doing any such thing with someone else barely contained in my voice as I responded. "That's where you're wrong, doll. You most certainly are my concern. Who and what you do," I pointed my thumb at myself, "is my concern. And," I continued, pointing to her, "I'm acting like this because that pussy is mine. Are we clear?"
She started to shake her head no and I lost all patience and pulled her into my arms, kissing her with a searing force. She damn well better get used to that idea that I had a say, because I knew we were it and I was fucking certain she did, too, despite any qualms she might have about relationships.
Chapter 15: Face to Face
"You think it was okay, us leaving Carmen with Tig when he was so pissed?" Juice asked as we drank over a game of pool. I nodded and tilted my bottle back before setting it on the table near the game. We were playing in a tiny bar about three blocks from the hotel, where we'd been for the last several hours. The place wasn't much to look at, but it had three decent pool tables and the waitresses weren't hard on the eyes.
"Yeah. Carmen and him need to come to an understanding if anything is going to move forward between them. The two of them are hardheaded and crazy, but it's what's going to make them work." I paused for a second and took my shot at the one ball. "If they don't burn the world to the ground, that is." I finished with a smirk and took another swig of the bottle of beer.
Juice laughed and lined up his shot when mine went astray. Shaking his head, he narrowed his eyes at the ten ball before thrusting the cue. "Never thought I'd see the day when Tig had an Old Lady." He muttered and I thought about it.
"Yeah, me neither." I said and then smiled. "His last one was a long time ago. I'd thought he was married to the club by this point." Looking over the table, I continued. "But you've seen how crazy about her he is already. He had every opportunity and plenty of reason to just wash his hands of her, given how early on the two of them are, and he still ended up driving way the fuck out here on a hunch." Juice pocketed another ball, but then missed the next as I commented further.
"You can't have missed how she was at the clubhouse the other night. She's just as nuts about him. Happy tells me that when she was drunk as a skunk, she was waxing eloquent about his eyes. Something about them being like clear blue waters or some shit. Hell, even in the elevator, she barely looked at us. She was all about him. The only difference between the two of them appears to be that he's accepted his fate, while she's still fighting it."
Juice nodded and took a shot of whiskey that was waiting for him. "That's part of why this is so damn weird. He's tied up in knots for her. It's not something that I would have predicted. It's a little funny."
I shook my head at the kid and smirked. "You're not going to think it's so funny when it happens to you." I joked and Juice shrugged.
"Eh, I'm not worried." He said as I dropped the last of the solid colored balls and lined up behind the eight ball.
"That's what they all say," I responded as the cue ball dropped the eight and I won the game.
"What do you mean, she's not here?" I asked Rio, who was standing nervously off to the side of the cash bar, decked out in a tuxedo that did nothing to hide his present state.
"I don't know what happened, Ramon. She was planning on coming. I know she bought a dress, because she called me to confirm that a black floor length would be appropriate. She was going to get dressed and then meet me in the hotel bar for some pre-event drinks at 2:00." Rio shifted on his feet and there was sweat at his brow. Good, the fucker should be worried.
However, I rethought he words and stilled as I looked at him. "You were going to meet with her for drinks three hours before the event started?"
He shrugged, looking over the room. "Carmen can hold her liquor. Besides, I figured you'd rather I keep an eye on her to make sure she came. If she got too drunk, then I'd be with her and get her to you regardless. It was a foolproof plan."
"Your plan failed to meet those expectations, Rio." I stated flatly, glancing across the room myself. I couldn't raise my voice or my hands to him here, but I was sorely tempted.
"I know. But," he said, "I'm telling you that something must have happened. Carmen was sold on this."
His body language conveyed his belief in his statement, but I snorted. I highly doubted that she believed Rio's made up sob-story about my daughter. Carmen was a lot of things, but an idiot wasn't one of them. My guess is that she smelled the rat beside me and decided that disappearance was the better option. The problem was I needed her.
Several years ago, I learned that Carmen was the sole heir of a fortune. She'd lost all of her family over the years and believed herself to be an orphan. So, she didn't know that her father had a sister who was loaded. I'd discovered it when we were together; some private investigator attempted to track her down through me. When I'd met with the P.I., he'd told me that she had just a few years to claim the money or it would devolve to the State - some law that applied when heirs either couldn't be found or refused to accept their due. I'd done what any rational man would: I'd kicked up the romance, trying to secure her feminine heart and marry her before she learned about the money. It would mean that we'd be able to spend it together and, if things didn't go well between us, I'd always be her heir.
The damn woman had balked, though. I'd stepped on her independent toes and she'd made a run for it. Since then, I'd tried numerous times to get her back. After I'd failed for the last several years to convince her to come to me on her own, I'd pulled strings to get Rio to try. Now, he'd failed and I was back to where I'd started - up a fucking creek without a paddle. If she didn't acknowledge and accept her money within the next month, the State's coffers would be that much fuller. It was unacceptable.
"I expect better results than this, Rio." I said calmly, but I knew he could hear the threat in my words. "I don't care how you do it, but you get her in my damn car tonight. If you don't," I paused to smile at a random passerby, "you will only live long enough to regret your failure in excruciating pain."
He looked me in the eye before swallowing and glancing around the room. "Understood," he muttered as I saw him reach into his inside breast pocket for his phone.
I watched while he turned his back to the people meandering between tables, socializing with other guests. "Carmen?" I heard him say lowly into the receiver. "What happened? Where are you?" Even I could hear the desperation in his voice. With any luck, Carmen would think it was a result of her not being here to secure his future love life.
"Please," he said. "Just...just meet me downstairs in the lobby. I just need a few minutes. Ramon says that he just wants to see you face to face one more time, then he'll walk away if that's what you really want." I heard Carmen's tones on the other end of the line, but not her response. I smiled, however, when I saw Rio's shoulders release some tension.
"Thank you!" he cried. "I'll see you out there in ten." He hung up and nodded to me. "We're going to have to figure a way to get her out to your car, though." He muttered and I nodded to my men at the doors. I had that under control.
Chapter 16: I Don't Care What you Do
"I'm coming with you," Blue said as I pulled on a pair of jeans and snapped the buttons. I looked around for my shirt, finding it hidden underneath my very beautiful, but now torn, black evening gown. I turned to look at him as he rested with his back against the headboard.
"Of course." I said and held up a hand to continue before he spoke again. "If you promise to behave."
"I have no idea what you're talking about." He said as he flipped the sheet off of his lower half and stood in all his naked glory before me. I licked my lips at the sight of him and saw his eyes darken in response.
"We can just stay in," he offered. "Order room service and continue this," he suggested as he reached for me, his hands sliding to my hips and pulling me close so that he could kiss me. Kisses with Blue were almost never calm or chaste. They tended toward fire and passion and sucked away all my concentration in just moments. Proof of that was found when we came up for air. It took me a few before I gathered my wits and narrowed my eyes at him.
"Don't think that tongue of yours is magic, Blue. I haven't forgotten that I'm still pissed that you came all this way to babysit me." I grumbled at him in a huff and he stepped back, looking for his clothes.
"On the contrary," he said. "You know damn well what kind of magic this tongue holds." He smirked when my face flushed. "Besides, I'm still pissed you hung up on me and aren't seeing reason, so I guess we're both not exactly experiencing pure bliss at the moment, are we?" he asked as he pulled his own jeans on and then tugged a shirt over his head.
He walked toward me again, pulling my length against his, and murmured against my lips. "I'll behave if you promise to do that thing again later." I pulled back and found his eyes sparkling at me. I smiled and nodded, leaning back in to him to bite his bottom lip.
"As you wish, papi." I said and he groaned. On the sound, a jolt of pure feminine satisfaction streaked through me. I loved the sounds he made. "Now," I said as I stood back, "we'll go see what my ex needed to say so badly." I turned toward the door and waited for Blue as he shrugged his kutte on over his shirt and ensured his weapons were secure.
Stepping into the hallway and toward the elevator, I felt his arm come up around my waist and his teeth nip at my neck. There was no doubt about it. I wanted to go back to that hotel room and spend some more time exploring. It was going to be hard to get enough of this man. I shook my head at myself, internally noting that it had been a long time since - if ever - I'd felt this way.
Ramon wasn't going to be pleased that I'd brought along my...boyfriend? That sounded a bit high school to me, but I wasn't sure what else I was supposed to call Blue and it seemed like having the discussion in the elevator on the way down to meet an old flame was not the time to clarify terminology. When Ramon and I had first gotten together, he'd been fun and light. It was only in the end that he'd gone off the deep end into a seriousness that had me looking for the exit. It was a sudden change, too, like the flip of a switch.
Funnily enough, though, I didn't feel that urge to run as much with Blue. It was still there in the background, that much was certain, but it was overwhelmed by my desire to see where things lead. That pull was different than what I experienced with anyone else and I admitted that it was damn interesting. All of that, however, needed to be considered another time as we stepped off the elevator and into the lobby, where Rio and Ramon were waiting.
As we walked closer, I saw Ramon take in the sight of Blue's hand at my waist and the flash of anger that crossed his face. Aw, hell no. That's not how this was going to play out, I thought, as I stepped closer to Blue and put my hand in his back pocket. Ramon wasn't going to play the jealous ex-lover and get away with it. That shit was not okay.
"Carmen, please introduce us to your...friend." Ramon said with an edge to his voice that I pretended not to hear. I turned to Blue with my fake innocent, doe eyes and cupped his cheek with my right hand before turning back to Ramon.
"This," I tilted my forehead into Blue's chin, "is Tig." I saw the realization in Blue's eyes as I pulled my act out. He could tell I was tweaked about something and that I was intentionally laying claim to him in front of my ex and my friend. I saw the appreciation in his eyes, which held devilish pleasure at my actions. I turned back to the two men before me and tilted my head to Blue.
"Blue, this is Rio," I gestured to my friend, who reached forward with his right hand to give Blue's a shake. Once they were done, I gestured to Ramon. "And this is Ramon." I said and Blue just nodded his head at Ramon, stating his position clearly by wrapping both arms around my waist from the side.
Ramon nodded his head at Blue and then looked down at me. "I had hoped that we could talk in private, chica." He said and I felt Blue's tension spike at the endearment. I shook my head, however, with a sheepish expression.
"Sorry, Ramon. Blue and I were just going to get ourselves something to eat when Rio called to say that you just wanted a few minutes."
Ramon looked to Blue. "I'm sure you understand, Blue, that I only need a couple of moments."
"You call me Tig. She's the only one who can call me Blue." Came the response and the ice in Blue's voice was enough to bring down the temperature in the room.
Ramon sighed and looked around the lobby. He gave a slight incline to his head, causing me to search for what he was looking at. I felt Blue's arms drop from around me and his body tense as five men surrounded us.
"Ramon?" I asked. "What's going on?"
"You couldn't just do as you were asked for once, could you, Carmen? I really don't have the patience for this anymore." He lifted his chin at one of the men. "Grab her. I don't care what you do with the biker."
I elbowed the man nearest to me and kicked out with my right foot, seeing Blue move to take on two of the men to his left. He looked like he was doing alright from the quick glance I had. The distraction, however, took my focus away at the wrong time and I took a hard hook to the temple. It dazed me enough that I couldn't hold my stance and I felt someone lift me up. I heard Blue yelling from the background as I was carried out of the lobby and toward the parking garage.
Chapter 17: Told You
"Oh, shit! Maybe we shouldn't have left them together after all." I said as we heard multiple police vehicles swarm toward the hotel on our walk back. As we approached, we saw two men run outside; one was Tig and the other was hopping into a running SUV by the doors.
"Bobby! Juice! They have Carmen!" He yelled as he saw us on his way to his bike, which was parked by the front entrance with ours.
"Shit," Juice said as we ran to our own bikes and brought them to life. We followed as Tig tore through the oncoming traffic, seeing the dark SUV racing its way out of town. We followed, pulling up beside Tig as the SUV ran its way to an off ramp that would take it north.
"What happened?" I yelled over the sound of the machines to Tig, whose face was bloody and bruised.
"Ex got a jump on us with five guys. Knocked Carmen a good one and carried her into that. Running off with her." Tig yelled back and I could see him trying to decide whether to unload a clip into the tires of the SUV. It would stop it, but who knew if Carmen was secured on the inside. We could stop the rig, but hurt or kill her in the process.
What Tig said didn't make sense. The hotel had workers and clearly someone had seen them take off with the woman. Otherwise, no cops would have been involved. Thinking of which - I looked over my shoulder and was not surprised to see three cruisers gaining on us fast. Now, while we were wearing the white hat in this scenario, I wasn't sure that their appearance was going to be all that helpful. On the other hand, maybe they could do what we couldn't.
"Tig!" I yelled and nodded my head back to the cops, who had almost come up on us. "Maybe let them box in the SUV, get her out safely?" I called. I could see the fury in his frame. That someone would take something he considered his, right from him, was enough for his crazy to come out. It didn't matter how many guys were involved, he was thirsting for blood.
He took a full five seconds before he nodded his head and let off the throttle a little. It meant that one of the cop cars was now able to come level with us. I saw cop riding shot gun and pointed to the SUV. He rolled his window down at us.
"Pull over!" He shouted and I shook my head at him.
"They have the woman! She's been kidnapped!" I responded and I saw realization dawn on his face. He turned back to the driver of his car and then to me.
"We got this! Pull back!" He shouted and I gave him a nod. Tig wasn't going to want to let someone else handle this, but it was our best chance at Carmen coming out of the thing whole. I raised my hand to Juice and Tig and they slowed further, allowing the each of the police cars to sweep into position.
The vehicle holding the cop that had talked to me came up to the side of the SUV while the other two took positions slightly behind and on each side. I watched as the lead vehicle gunned the engine and pulled toward the front of the SUV. With a final push, he made it in front of the rig and I could see that he was slowing down. Meanwhile, one of the ones to the back came up and nudged the back left tire of the SUV, causing it to lose momentum when the driver tried to correct. The front cop slowed further, bringing the SUV down to the forties, and I started to breath a sigh of relief. This might just work.
Juice, Tig and I kept pace, but farther back, as we watched the cops force the SUV to stop and all of them exit their vehicles with guns drawn. Over a loud speaker, one called out.
"Put your hands out the windows, now!" It seemed like eons before the tinted glass of three of the windows rolled down and six pairs of hands exited them. I felt Tig shift in tension when he noticed what I did: none of the hands coming out of that SUV were the soft tan color of Carmen's.
"Open your doors from the outside and step out of the car with your hands raised!" Called the officer and each of the sets of hands did as he asked. I watched as three men stepped out of the SUV, their palms to the air.
"On your knees!" Came the next instruction and each hit the ground. Once they did, a swarm of officers pounced on them, kneeing them to the ground fully and cuffing them. As they worked on the men who had lead the chase and had taken Carmen, I saw another officer approach the SUV. That one leaned in, clearly looking for Carmen. I wasn't fast enough to hold Tig back when I heard the officer cry out.
"Medic! Get an ambulance here, now!" The cop yelled as I chased after Tig, who was dodging uniforms to get to the SUV.
"Carmen? Carmen!" He screamed as three of the cops who'd arrived since the chase ended finally caught him. Juice and I got to him and tried to explain.
"Let him go! That's his woman in there, man!" Juice yelled as Tig continued to struggle against their hold.
"Sir! You need to calm down. We're going to do everything we can." The officer's response was no where near what Tig needed to hear right now. I mean really - who the hell calms the fuck down just because someone else tells them to? And no man is going to when the promise is that they'll 'do what they can' rather than the words 'she's alright.'
Finally, Juice and I were able to separate Tig from the officers and we watched as an ambulance arrived and two paramedics jogged over to the SUV. We still hadn't seen Carmen and so we had no idea how badly she was hurt. The ignorance was both fueling Tig's rage and getting ready to destroy him. I could see it working over his features as he tried to maintain the Sergeant at Arms persona that he'd take on when about to do something for the club that was just across the line.
After what felt like fucking ages, the paramedics started shifting in the SUV. One's ass came out first and then I saw the legs of a non-uniformed person. Carmen's feet touched the ground as the other paramedic's torso and head came into view. That one was holding her up under her arms as they moved toward the door. She had blood streaking down from her hairline to her chin and seemed like she was a bit out of it.
When they got her to the ground, she took a wobbly step and the one behind went to catch her. She pulled away, though, and looked through the throng of people. It was clear to me who she was searching for and he didn't need a fucking permission slip to get to her. Tig slipped past the officers and ran full out toward Carmen, and she stumbled toward him. When he caught her to him, I could see him speak into her ear as he held her head into his neck. Her hands had come up behind his back to his shoulders and she was gripping his kutte for all it was worth.
I started walking toward the two of them, noting that the paramedics were trying to get them to split up so that they could look over both. Carmen and Tig were in their own world, though, and so neither one of them moved from the other. As Juice and I came level with them, Carmen leaned back in Tig's arms and smiled at him.
"Alright, let's hear it." She said and I could see that whatever daze she'd been in was starting to lift.
"I fucking told you so." Tig said right before he kissed her.
Chapter 18: No Shrinking Violet
It wasn't often that I was sitting across from a police officer as a victim giving a statement. In fact, I struggled to think of the last time I'd qualify as any kind of victim. Nevertheless, that was exactly how the officers were treating me as I sat in the back of the ambulance and had some paramedic putting ointment or some shit on the cuts on my face.
"Witnesses at the hotel saw you and," the officer paused, looking over my shoulder, so I interrupted.
"Carmen," I supplied and he nodded.
"They saw you and Carmen exit the elevator and walk toward the doors. They also saw those three and three others," the cop looked up. "Efficient work with those three, by the way." He commented and I nodded with a lift of one side of my mouth. "Anyway, they saw them approach you and take her. From their description, the two of you didn't provoke any attack." The cop looked back up at me from his notes. "You want to tell me your side?"
I nodded, deciding that as close to the truth as possible here was likely best. "The two in penguin suits are Carmen's ex and an old friend. The ex wanted to talk to Carmen alone. She declined and they took matters into their own hands. The others seem to work for the ex."
The officer nodded, glancing at the police car that held the fucker. "The ex say what it was he wanted with her?"
"Nah, man." I responded and shooed the paramedic away. "I'm fine." I turned back to the cop. "I didn't like it. Smelled wrong." I shrugged my shoulders. "Turns out I was right." I lifted my voice at that, knowing that Carmen could hear me just inside the ambulance, where the other paramedic was putting butterfly bandages on the cut at her temple.
"Yeah, yeah. I get it. You're always right." She muttered and I looked to the cop.
"Tell me you got that on tape. I want the official statement with her admission that I'm always right." I said and the cop shook his head, but chuckled.
"You know anything about why they wanted you, ma'am?" He asked and I turned to look at Carmen fully. She was a good actress, but I'd been able to read her tells so far. Right now, she was ready to lie through her fucking teeth. She'd learned something in that SUV, but didn't want the cops to know.
"He's been hounding me for a few years to get back together with him. He didn't take kindly to my appearance with Blue, here." She indicated me with a hand and hissed when the paramedic pushed a little too hard. She gave that one a glare and asked, "you done?" She didn't wait for the response, though, instead moving toward the hitch of the ambulance where the officer and I were.
"You think this was all about wanting to rekindle a relationship, ma'am?" The officer asked, disbelief clear in his tone. Carmen shrugged.
"I didn't say the man was sane, officer." She responded and he closed his notebook.
"Alright. Since you two don't live here, I'm going to need you to keep up to date contact information with the department. Abduction, resisting arrest, assault and battery.... the charges that we've got on hand here are enough to keep the lot of them penned up for a while, but they'll really only stick well if you testify." Carmen nodded and then spoke.
"Can we go? I've got one hell of a headache and a craving for a cheeseburger." The officer nodded and looked over to Bobby and Juice, who were standing to the side.
"Yeah, you can go." He said and walked to his cruiser while Carmen and I walked over to the brothers.
"You going to tell me what it is that this was all about, doll?" I asked quietly as we approached the two. She nodded as we got to them.
"Juice, I think we're going to need your help in tracking something down for me." She said and he looked between us for explanation. I was in the dark, too, and so my expression showed it. She smiled at us and gestured to the bikes.
"Let's get our shit from the hotel and get some food. My treat." She chuckled to herself and walked toward my Harley. Whatever the fuck happened in that SUV, she was in a good mood.
"So, you see, I need you," she pointed at Juice, "to find out where, when and what I need to sign to get this inheritance."
Bobby, Juice and I stared at Carmen in surprise, still taking in what she'd told us. Apparently, she'd had an aunt she never knew about. That woman must have considered Carmen's family the black sheep, or perhaps there was some kind of beef, but either way, Carmen had never met her. That didn't stop the old bat, however, from leaving her fortune to her only living relative: Carmen.
Somehow or another, the ex douche had learned about the inheritance and had been working Carmen over to try to get a ring on it and secure the money for himself. As they'd sped away from the hotel, the moron had actually told her he was going to drug her ass and find some shithole chapel in Vegas to marry them.
Juice nodded at Carmen and she smiled, then shifted focus to her burger. "You have any idea what kind of inheritance we're talking, sweetheart?" Bobby asked and I listened intently.
Carmen shrugged. "Nope. Could be a ton like Ramon thinks, or it could be a garage full of old porcelain dolls." I shuddered at the image, earning me a look from Carmen.
"What? They freak me out." I muttered as I took a drink and looked away. I felt her hand come up to my knee and squeeze and I looked back at her.
"I'm going to want to hear that story, Blue." She said with a twinkle in her eye and I nodded, indicating I'd tell her another time.
Thank God Carmen wasn't a shrinking violet. Plenty of women would be freaking basket cases right now, wanting the hospital and x-rays, needing to talk to a therapist or some shit. My woman, on the other hand, was here with a smirk on her face and a hand raising up my thigh. I shook my head but reached for her hand and placed it on my crotch. She wasn't going to shock me or the boys and I was perfectly fine with her knowing what we were going to get up to when we got back to the hotel.
After we'd left the highway, we'd wandered our way back, intent on packing our shit and hitting the road. The concierge, however, had caught us all and comped us some rooms for the night, no doubt hoping that we wouldn't let a little thing like open abduction impact our view of the establishment. Carmen, bless her, had sweetly commented how hungry she was and the man had bent over fucking backwards to call a local burger joint to get us a reservation and free meal. My woman fucking knew how to work a man.
It was clear as day to me that Carmen was mine. I'd told her as much, but I had a sneaking suspicion she thought it was a temporary thing. I planned to have a more detailed conversation with her later, preferably when we were naked and alone. On the thought, I looked up to Juice and Bobby, who'd figured out by now what was happening on our side of the table. They both looked at us with amusement.
"We're heading back to the hotel. Ride at 8 tomorrow morning." I said and they nodded, chuckling as I grabbed Carmen's hand and dragged her out of the booth toward the door.
Chapter 19: Name Your Stakes
I was proud of us. Blue and I made it to the elevator of the hotel before the first piece of clothing came off. My the time the elevator made it to our floor, neither one of us could have told you whether we had witnesses to our activities. Instead, we totally succumbed - I was wrapped up in the feel of his hands and lips, the pulse of his heart at his throat, the slight salt to his skin from sweat, the very maleness that was Blue. To be honest, I wish I could say that it would have horrified me to learn that we did have an audience, but I'd be engaging in a fiction that wouldn't last long. I didn't care whether there was a grandmother at the end of the hallway or a teenager entering his room as we struggled to both tear off each other's clothing and open the magnetic lock to our room. I was focused on the only thing that mattered in that moment, and it wasn't the world at large.
As we stumbled into our room, the carnage from earlier in the day lay around us. My evening gown was still on the ground. Blue's rucksack was still half upended on a chair. Underwear and socks littered the floor. We paid it no mind, however, as the remaining pieces of our clothing became a hindrance that we would no longer be able to stomach.
Blue wasn't kidding earlier when he'd commented on the magic of his tongue. The man was a fucking sorcerer and I a willing apprentice. I wasn't an innocent by any means, but I'd never felt half as much with any man as I felt when I was with Blue. The rush flooded my system with endorphins so potent that I was overcome for a moment and pulled back from the kiss to get some air. I was panting and barely able to breathe for the need of him.
"Doll," Blue said as he pulled me against him once again, his voice sending goosebumps down my spine. "We need to talk."
I pulled back, my brows furrowed. Wasn't that the stereotypical female's line? Shouldn't I be the one demanding that we slow the fuck down and think for a moment, discuss a few labels, for instance? Blue must have seen the disbelief in my face, because he chuckled deeply.
"I fucking know. I know. But, we need to get a few things straight, baby girl." I nodded and moved further away from him. Blue and I sassed each other plenty, and had certainly argued, but we hadn't really talked about where we were headed. There'd been plenty of possessiveness earlier, but I was a big enough girl to know that such a reaction is not, itself, indicative of whether a long term thing is intended. So, if I was going to be mature for once, I was going to need to check my adolescent hormones at the door and actually have a conversation. I sighed. Adulting is fucking hard.
"Right. Okay," I said and sat down on the edge of the bed. Blue sat next to me and pulled one of my hands into his at his lap. "So, where do we start?" I asked, hoping he had some clue because this was a first for me.
He closed his eyes on a deep breath and then looked at me. "I'm too old not to know what I want. The shit that's going through my head about you - it's the kind of thing that my brothers would consider painting my bike pink for." He smiled as I chuckled. "We need to be on the same page, doll." I nodded. He was right, of course.
"I think it would help to know what kind of book we're talking, too." I said, going with his example. "Is this a one and done dime novel that burns and then fizzles? Or are we talking the kind of story that leaves the reader with the deep-seated knowledge that, even if the words on the page may end, the story continues?"
Blue smiled at me. "Trust you to hit the nail on the head in just a few words, doll."
I shrugged. "I've never been accused of being slow on the uptake, Blue. But, I will say that I was pretty sure that we'd had part of this conversation before. Have we not?"
"We have, but I don't think you appreciated my position, baby girl. You need to know that I'm not letting you go. When that asshole grabbed you-" Blue's eyes flashed with remembered anger as he cut off his words for a moment. "There are a lot of things that have happened in my life that would make a grown man crumble. So many things, in fact, that as sick as it is, I'm not sure I could even tell you all of them not because they are so difficult, but because it's hard to remember it all." He squeezed my hand.
"I can tell you, however, that I have never felt the rage and loss that I had in those fucking minutes that he had you. I couldn't stand it, doll. I told you that you were mine, but I need to know that you know it - that you accept it. I need you to want to be mine."
Wow, I thought. Aren't bikers supposed to be tough, quiet types that don't discuss feelings? I sat there for a moment, collecting my thoughts. I felt another squeeze to my hand and looked Blue in the eyes.
"I want it, Blue. I don't know how to talk about this shit. I'm no good with connections." I looked at our clasped fingers. "But I knew, when I was in that SUV, that you were coming. I knew I could count on you." I shrugged. "I'm not used to that." I paused and looked up into his eyes. "I liked it. A lot."
I don't know what Blue saw when he looked in my eyes, but whatever it was, it answered whatever questions he had left.
"You're my Old Lady now, Carmen. And I fucking mean it: I don't let what's mine go." The intensity of his statement hung in the room and I couldn't respond to it in words, so I nodded, a warmth sweeping me from toes up as I realized that, although I hadn't told him the words, I fucking loved this man. However, I'm still me, so I had to go and lighten the moment.
"Are we done exploring your feminine feelings, because I'd really like to have an orgasm now." Blue emitted a sound that was part growl and part laugh as he tackled me back on the bed and I let loose my own belly laugh.
"Oh, you'll get your fucking orgasm, woman. Before the night is through, you're going to be hoarse from screaming my name." He muttered against my neck as his hands began to wander.
"Is that so?" I asked, my voice becoming breathy as he touched me. "You seem pretty confident about that. Perhaps a bet is in order."
"Name your stakes, sweetheart," came Blue's response and it was the last coherent sentence uttered for the next several hours.
Chapter 20: This is Your Fault
I didn't deserve this. As Sergeant at Arms, and frankly, because of just who I am, I didn't deserve to have the woman of my dreams love me. While she hadn't said it yet, I knew it. She'd be pissed to be compared to a machine, but she was like my Harley - I knew every sound, every movement. I knew when things were good and when a tune up was in order. And right now, things were good. At least, that's what I'd thought until I saw the blue and red lights of Charming's finest throw shadows on the clubhouse.
Carmen and I had been through a lot with each other in the last year and a half. As we'd moved forward, I'd decided that she needed to know everything. It had terrified me to do it, but Chibs had told me that I'd want the knowledge that she was all in, and he was right. I hated every minute of coming clean - it felt eerily like going to confession - but when I'd woken the next day and found her still wrapped up in my arms, I'd felt like a new man.
Tonight was the night I was going to ask her to marry me, but then one of the other Old Ladies had demanded a girls' night and so I'd pocketed the box and made other arrangements. I wasn't like Chibs, the fucking romantic who involved his woman's dog in it. However, I thought I'd come up with the right way to ask. I was anxious, though. While I knew Carmen loved me, that didn't mean that she wouldn't put me through a wringer over a proposal. All those thoughts, however, left my mind when I heard Bobby yell out from the lot.
"Tig! Chibs! Opie!" It couldn't be bad news, because the bastard was smiling ear to ear. In fact, Juice, who'd also gone out to welcome our guests, was smiling too. Aw, fuck. I jogged out, trepidation coursing through me as I approached the cop. This one must be new, since I didn't recognize him.
"Tig?" Asked the officer and I nodded. "I've been informed that you, Opie, and Chibs would be the best persons to assist us with a problem at the fountain in Main Park."
I looked to my brothers, who had joined the party at this point. "An' wha' kind o' problem migh' tha' be?" Chibs asked, but I fucking knew, so I was already getting my keys for my bike out.
"It's our women, Chibs." I said over my shoulder to him and I heard him curse.
"Unbelievable." He grumbled as he got to his own bike and then pointed at me. "Yer devil is a bad influence on ma' angel, Tig." I shrugged with a shit-eating grin on my face. He wasn't wrong, so there was no point in arguing the fact. Instead, I brought my bike to life, curious as hell about what would have Charming P.D. come to us rather than have us handle it through bail later.
When Chibs, Opie and I got there, we found Jax and Clay already standing in the park, staring slack jawed at the area where the fountain was. We parked our rides and walked up to the brothers to see what was going on, since there was a crowd of cops and pedestrians blocking the view. I could hear motorcycles, so I wondered if anyone else's Old Lady was involved and headed in to fix whatever needed correction. Turned out, the bikes I heard were the problem.
I heard Chibs curse again as we did what everyone else was doing: stared. There, in the middle of the fucking park off Main street, Tara, Erin, Lea, Gemma and Carmen were. The five women were doing wheelies and racing each other around the tracks on rented Harleys. Each of them were in full leather and they were all cackling like fucking loons, clearly having a blast.
I watched in awed pride as Carmen cut a corner near the fountain and gunned it, beating Gemma to a tree they were using as a finish line. My face split into a smile, until I looked to the other four Sons, who were each standing with their hands on their hips, glaring at me.
"This," Jax pointed at me, "is all your fault. Tara would never have done this without Carmen instigating."
"Now, hang on," I said, intending to point out that this could have been Lea's idea, but was cut off by Clay and Chibs.
"'e's fuckin'righ', Tig."
I looked back to the women and I couldn't help it, I laughed. "She's fucking perfect, isn't she?" I asked no one in particular and I saw the other four chuckle and shake their heads.
"Aye, Tig. She is tha' for ye. Now, how are we ta' stop this?" Chibs asked and I stalked forward, shouting over the roar of the Harleys.
"Carmen! We need you to move it to the streets, doll! And perhaps," I said, eyeing the cops, "call it a night?" On my words, Gemma, Tara, Lea and Erin came flush with Carmen. Each woman was lit up with the fun they'd been having. They looked at each other and nodded. Fucked if it didn't look like a pre-planned signal, too.
"Nah, papi. We're having too much fun." Carmen responded and I heard Clay pipe up.
"Gemma, you get that fine ass of yours home!" Now, I wouldn't say I'm the woman whisperer, but I felt like that wording was not the best means forward to achieving the results we were looking for. I was right, too, since I saw Gemma roll her tongue on the inside of her lip and lift her chin.
"Gonna' have to catch me, baby!" She yelled with a smile as she nodded to the other four once more. On that nod, the lot of them split in different directions, revving engines and throwing grass in their wake.
"Aw, shite, Clay!" Chibs yelled as the five of us ran to our bikes. I saw the cops and bystanders laughing their asses off as the Sons sped off, each trying to catch up with his woman. I gunned my own bike, catching up with Carmen about a mile from the park. She stopped at a sign and waited for me, her joy filling her face and spreading through me just in viewing it. I didn't wait.
"Marry me!" I yelled and she smiled wider.
"Only if you can beat me to Runner's Point!" She yelled back and throttled up. I laughed and did the same. I fucking loved this woman.
Chapter 21: Are You Sure - Bonus Chapter
"Fuck. Shit. Damn it." I heard as I walked into the house Tig and I had bought just before we got married. Somewhere in the near distance, Tig was frustrated with something. I twisted my lips, wondering what could possibly be the problem. He wasn't even supposed to be home just yet, so the fact that he was here was itself odd.
I took off my shoes and walked into the house, following the sounds of cursing. Ultimately, I found my Old Man standing just outside the back door, in a pair of shorts and a battered old shirt, sucking on his thumb like he'd just hit it. On the ground next to him was a hammer and his hands and face had a light dusting of sawdust on them. He was surrounded by, if my nose was correct, freshly cut lumber in various lengths.
"Blue, what are you doing?" I asked and he turned to me, startled. I could see the wheels turning in his head. For a man whose life involved trying to come up with solutions and let's face it -lies - to cover problems, he wasn't so great at it with me. A fact for which I was grateful, I thought as I stared at him in question.
"Uh..." He said and I crossed my arms, still waiting for a proper response. He shook his hand, apparently still feeling the sting of a hit he must have taken to it and walked toward me. His face showed the I'm-going-to-try-to-get-away-with-this look that he would give me when he thought I wasn't down with whatever he had planned.
"I'm glad you asked, doll. I wanted to surprise you, but this will work, too." He said, resting his hands on my hips, pulling me close, and leaning in to kiss me. As always, his kiss was all consuming. Blue didn't love me by half measures, but rather gave his full focus and feeling to his displays of affection. I hummed in my throat; knowing he was doing this to get his way wasn't going to change the fact that I was going to cave. I couldn't when he kissed me. I'm a sucker.
"Blue," I murmured against his lips and he pulled back slightly. I raised an eyebrow and he looked down to the lumber spread all over.
"I want a dog." He said and I pulled back more. Really? That's what this was all about?
"You want a dog." I reiterated, still not sure why he'd think this would be a problem.
"Yep. I'm going to build its house with this lumber," he said with a kick to the nearest piece. I shook my head at him. I'm not an idiot.
"There's no way any dog of yours ends up staying in a doghouse outside. It'll be on the furniture and sleeping in our bed before the first night is over." I said, giving him crap because I could. I mean, I realize that my history would suggest otherwise, but I've grown to like having roots and connections. Hell, the other Old Ladies and I had become close friends as time had passed. Having a dog wasn't going to cause the cut-and-run response it would have before I met Blue.
"Baby doll, I promise." He said and he worked to use those lovely orbs to get my consent. Utterly ridiculous, but I was still just as much of a sap for those eyes as I was when I met him. I sighed, pretending to mull it over. Blue regularly said that I knew how to work a man, and that I could him as well, but that he always knew when I was doing it. This seemed like the perfect opportunity to test that theory.
"I don't know, Blue. I'm going to be the one picking up after the dog when you're out on a run for the club." I said, infusing my words with doubt.
"I know, doll. But having a dog around when I'm not here will be good for your protection." He said, a twinkle glistening in his eyes. I couldn't tell if he was on to me yet.
"Blue," I said. "You know I've been sparring with Mia. I don't need a dog around to protect me when I know how to do that and when you've shown me how to shoot." I said, pulling my arms up to my chest in a pretend pout. I had to pull out all the stops if he was going to agree to what I'd been hinting at for the last six months.
"What if you went with me to help pick him up?" He asked and I knew I had him. He wouldn't refer to the dog he wanted by a particular pronoun unless he already had the animal stored away somewhere. I wonder if one of the guys was holding on to it; perhaps Chibs?
"Him?" I asked and I saw his eyes widen on the realization that he'd tipped his hand. "You already got a dog, didn't you?" He shifted on his feet and looked anywhere but my eyes. I knew it. This would be perfect for my purposes. I did my best to look hurt, going so far as to let my eyes glass over, before I responded. "But, I thought we talked about these things." I whispered.
"Oh, no. No, no, no, no, no." Blue cried, trying to stave off my tears. "It's not like that, doll. I swear, I didn't do it on purpose. He needed a home and we have one. I didn't go behind your back." I pushed my head into his neck, hiding the smile that threatened to break over his panic. I sniffed for good measure and felt him sigh against me. "I swear, Carmen. I wouldn't just sign up for something like this without talking to you if there'd been another way." I nodded, still keeping my head down.
"How about this, doll? You know that cruise you've been mentioning? Why don't we go? I can get Chibs to watch the dog while we're away. It'll be the best of both worlds. We'll have Roscoe and we'll have a break away from Charming for a bit, just the two of us." And, there it was. I had him by the balls, now. He'd named the dog, so he was all in. I murmured against his chest.
"Are you sure? 'Cause it sounded like you didn't want to go to Alaska." My voice was muffled against his chest and he squeezed me tight.
"Well, I'd rather go somewhere where you're in a string bikini all day, but if you want Alaska, that's where we'll go." Success, I thought.
I pulled back and smiled at Blue. "Okay," I said and he looked at me closely.
"Okay, we can keep Roscoe?" He asked and I nodded, my smile overtaking my face. I must have gone too far into triumph, though, because Blue narrowed his eyes at me.
"Are you fucking kidding me, Carmen?" He asked and I pulled away from him with a laugh.
"You always know when I'm working you, eh?" I asked with a smirk and he made to move after me but I dodged him.
"Come here, you little minx." He muttered as I kept jogging toward the door.
"Come get me," I dared as I tossed my top at him and ran for the bedroom.