Later the next day, I finally returned to the clubhouse and TM. As I walked in to the clubhouse, I was greeted with wolf whistles and cat calls from the three assholes sitting at the bar.
"Juicy boy, we noticed yer absence." Chibs said with a smile and Happy and Tig nodded along.
"You finally get your woman taken care of, man? 'Cause if not, Carmen's been trying to set up the cook at her diner." Tig said and I gave him a look before turning to Chibs.
"Yes, Sarah's back in town." I said and nodded to the prospect to get me a beer. Sarah had something going on today that was going to keep her occupied, so I was on my own until late in the evening. She'd told me that, if I wanted to, I could come back over to her place sometime after eleven. I'd scoffed. Like I wasn't going to be counting down the fucking hours until I could have her in my arms again.
"And what are ya doin' 'ere, then?" Chibs asked and I shrugged.
"Sarah's got a few things to handle today before I head back over." I muttered into my pint glass and I saw the look exchanged between Tig and Happy. "What?" I asked.
"What things?" Tig asked and I shrugged.
"She didn't say," I answered before I took another drink. Now, Chibs was also staring at me like I was insane. "What am I supposed to do, guys? Demand that she tell me everything she does all day long?" I asked with exasperation and Happy responded.
"Damn right," he said with his characteristic rasp and I shrugged again.
"Sarah and I are just getting going. I can't go all caveman on her. She'd be pissed." I said, although I was beginning to doubt myself. If three other brothers with Old Ladies all thought I was acting crazy, there may be something to it.
"Look, Carmen is as independent as they come," Tig started. "But, even she recognizes that I need to know where she is and what she's up to most of the time so that I know if there's a problem. It's not about being a caveman, it's about making sure your woman is safe." He said and for once, the man said something that sounded completely rational. Fuck.
"Alright, you made your point." I muttered and called Sarah's cell. It went straight to voicemail, indicating that it must be off or out of a service area. Neither of those things, however, made any sense. The brothers saw my expression and shook their heads.
"Fuckin' chicks, man" Tig said with a swig of his beer. "Don't need the Irish, or the Mayans, or some other asshole. Our women will kill us all in the end." He muttered and then clinked bottle necks with Chibs, who had a similar expression of fellow feeling on his face.
"I'll see you later," I said as I got up from my stool to walk out.
"I'll come," Happy said and I nodded. You never knew when it would be good to have backup.
"She's not there," a little old lady holding a cat said to me as I stood outside of Sarah's apartment, Hap by my side. I looked at the woman, who had a cigarette hanging out of the side of her mouth and bright pink lipstick smudged on her face.
"Do you know where she is?" I asked and the old bag shrugged.
"Eh. Hard to say. They come get her in a van every two weeks or so and she's gone for a few hours or a few days. She doesn't really socialize, so I don't know what she's up to." The lady commented and I could feel the tension start to radiate off of me and Hap, our focus complete.
"Who takes her?" I asked quietly and the woman waved her arm out toward the lot.
"I don't know, honey. That's what I just said. Sometimes, it's four or five people, sometimes just a couple. Half the time, I don't even know she'd gone until I seen her with bruises the next time." My blood began to boil. What the fuck was going on?
"Bruises?" Hap asked, his tone deadly.
"Yeah." She took a drag of the cigarette. "On her arms and legs mostly. Sometimes she has scrapes on her hands. Only seen a black eye once. Although, last year, she came back with a broken arm." She took another drag and then pointed at us with the cigarette between two fingers. "For a while, I thought she might have a man somewhere beating on her, but I've never seen one but you and you're recent." She said and the cat started to squirm. "I have to get this guy inside. Good luck figuring out what she's up to, young man." She commented over her shoulder. "That one prefers her computer over people, most of the time."
I looked at Hap, at a complete loss for what to do next. I'd already tried tracking Sarah's cell phone, but it seemed to be off. I'd left messages anyway, hoping that she'd get them sooner rather than later and return my call. Hap returned my look but shook his head. He didn't know what to do next, either.
I raised my hand toward the stairs at the end of the hall and checked my phone. It was twp o'clock. Whatever Sarah was up to, she expected it to keep her busy until eleven. I had nine hours to wait and I couldn't think of anywhere else to do it but at the clubhouse.
I was deep in thought on the way back. I hadn't asked enough questions. I was the fucking intelligence officer and I hadn't bothered to get intelligence on what Sarah was up to. I couldn't even imagine what it was that would take her away from her place on such a regular schedule, but for such irregular time periods. It made no damn sense, especially when one considered that all my research of Sarah when I'd first learned of her suggested that she wasn't social at all. Who was she going with to these unknown locations and what the hell was she doing? Why would it cause her to have regular bruises?
When we arrived at the lot, I pulled in and stalked inside. I ignored the ribbing of my brothers as I went up to my dorm, intent on booting up my laptop. There must be something out there that would give me a clue as to what Sarah was doing. I just had to dig deeper and hope that she was right about when she'd be home tonight. I had hours to kill in my search, and then, if I hadn't found anything, I was going to hassle her until she told me. Anxiety pooled in my guts as I worried about her, but I tried to push it out of my head and focused on my keyboard as the laptop came to life. Whatever was happening, Sarah hadn't seemed worried about it. I had to trust that whatever she was up to, it wasn't going to cause her too much injury. Except, of course, that whatever it was had already broken her arm once, I thought as I started going over every bit of electronic data on her.