Not many people remained in the clubhouse as Johnnie entered. Those who were there wore grim and dazed expressions. Stretch sat at the bar, nursing a beer, eyes bleak and shoulders slumped. He’d sip and pull at his mop of brown hair, repeating it over and over.
Normally, Mortician served the drinks, but Val, their Road Captain, stood behind the long, battered bar. A bleeding skull peeped from his white shirt and covered the scar left from the bullet wound he’d received at the hands of one of Outlaw’s father. No smile to show his dimples. His austere expression made the tear-drop tat under his left eye stand out more than it normally did.
He wore a buzz cut. As he recovered from the gunshot, his hair had grown out. Instead of going completely bald like he’d been for years, he’d allow hair to crop up. He still looked like a dangerous motherfucker. And he still was.
Johnnie went to the bar and before he could ask, Val slid a bottle of whisky to him. Johnnie opened it and drank, then turned to Stretch. “You fucked up.”
Stretch’s gaze flickered to Johnnie, then darted away.
Johnnie swiped the man’s beer off the counter and crashed his fist against his face, knocking him off the stool and on his ass on the floor.
Johnnie’s gaze met Val’s. “This asswipe fucked up and all he can say is he’s sorry?”
Val cocked a brow. “Maybe, we need to make him really sorry.”
Stretch scrambled to his knees and Johnnie frowned. “What the fuck? Is this fucker getting up without permission?”
“I’m sorry,” he said in a trembling voice, his Adam’s apple bobbing. “I swear I’d never do anything to hurt Meggie.”
Johnnie stood and punched him again. Blood spurted from Stretch’s nose and he curled up on the floor. “You don’t get to say her name.” He pulled his .38, wishing he still carried his Glock, and shoved it against Stretch’s temple. He couldn’t kill him. That right belonged to Outlaw, but Johnnie wanted someone to suffer for what Megs had gone through.
He hadn’t heard from Outlaw, yet, and decided to hold on to the belief of no news being good news.
Stretch trembled and stared at Johnnie, the terror in his blue eyes too satisfying for Johnnie’s comfort. There was a reason his road name had once been Iceman. Like Outlaw, he was Big Joe’s protégé and Megan’s father had been lethal. And one remorseless asshole.
“Please, Johnnie,” Stretch whispered, blood smeared on his cheeks and hands from attempting to clean up his leaking nose. “I’ll do anything to make up how much I fucked up.”
“Where the fuck were you?”
Tears filled Stretch’s eyes and he shook his head. “Please.”
Johnnie cocked the gun.
“John Boy,” Val called in warning. “Meggie likes Stretch. We gotta wait to see what Outlaw wants to do.”
Anger and the need for vengeance pounded through Johnnie and his hand shook. But Val was right, Megan did like Stretch.
Johnnie wanted answers, though. Stretch had slacked on the job. There hadn’t even been Probates on duty, which had been Stretch’s job to make sure they did what was expected of them while they watched over the vehicles in the parking lot.
“I don’t give a fuck,” he growled. “He has no good reason for not protecting Megs.”
Stretch swallowed and looked at him with earnest blue eyes. Kind of like the expression in Kendall’s big, brown ones. Thinking of her darkened his mood further and he pulled his gun away from Stretch’s head before he pulled the trigger in reflexive anger.
“I might put my piece away if you answer me.”
“I…I was getting my dick sucked,” he said quietly.
Johnnie crouched down and studied the man, his mind working. A couple of conclusions hit him and he glanced at Val. No fucking way Stretch was implying what it sounded like. He used the barrel of his loaded gun to scratch his temple. “This was a family affair, Stretch. Unless you snuck a Bob on premises, only other motherfuckers who were outside with you were men.”
Stretch sagged against the floor and closed his eyes.
Johnnie arched an eyebrow and popped to his feet, staring at the prone, bleeding man. “Get the fuck up, asshole,” he ordered and stalked to the bar. He shoved his pistol back into his cut, grabbed the bottle and drank from it. Deeply.
On his feet, Stretch looked between Johnnie and Val, his eyes haunted and frightened.
Digger walked in just then, holding Little Man, who was asleep in his arms. But Outlaw ordered Digger not to let Little Man out of his sight. The door opened and Mortician walked in, heading for the bar and opening his cut to grab his baggie filled with everything needed to make a joint. K-P paused in the archway, the mural of the Grim Reaper spreading behind him.
“Was there some type of fucking alarm that went off to summon all of you at once?” Johnnie grumbled. “Roll me my own, Mort.” He’d ask about Kendall in a few minutes. He needed to address Stretch and...”Stay the fuck over there, Digger. Don’t want Little Man floating in his sleep.”
Mortician scowled, but handed Johnnie the roll he’d just finished. After taking a few puffs, Johnnie motioned Stretch over.
Before Johnnie uttered a word, K-P stomped over and slapped the side of Mortician’s head. “I need a word with you.”
“Fuck off,” Mortician ordered. “I know what the fuck this is about and I’m already regretting fucking calling that bitch.”
Another slap. “You want beef, brother?” K-P snarled.
“Over your daughter?” Mortician snorted. “No. Just had a moment of weakness after I dealt with his bitch.” He thrust the baggie in Johnnie’s direction. “I fucking told Bailey not to open her fucking mouth.”
K-P narrowed his eyes. “You aren’t even supposed to have her number.”
“Look, motherfucker. I just wanted to chill for a minute. Stop thinking about Meggie looking like she was going into shock or some shit. Stop thinking about Kendall begging for her fucking life. No bitch around here would do, so I called Bailey.”
“Enough!” Johnnie cut in. He glared at the club enforcer. What fucking rabbit hole had he stepped in? “Hanging out with Bailey is the quickest way to get your dick in her.”
“Wasn’t like that,” Mortician insisted.
“How the fuck you got her number, anyway?” Digger called. Mortician was Digger’s real brother. He was taller and leaner and had gradually cut his dreadlocks off, but he and Mortician resembled each other strongly. “You mean I might be winning my 5Gs?”
The bet. Johnnie rubbed his eyes. That bet had been made at the very same bachelor party Johnnie had met Kendall. Mortician had been so smug in the knowledge he’d never fall for a young piece of pussy like Outlaw had done with Megs. He’d upped a one thousand dollar bet to five thousand, and they’d all bet against Mort. Smugness like that usually backfired, but Johnnie hoped to fuck it hadn’t backfired now with all this other bullshit going on. He didn’t need his club fractured over a gorgeous girl with hazel eyes, black hair, and creamy skin.
“She have your number?” K-P pressed. The biker had a silver beard, bald head, and an eye patch over his left eye. On a good day, he was fucking ornery. Johnnie knew today he’d be impossible.
“Yes,” Mortician shouted. “And I didn’t give the bitch my digits. Her and Meggie was out somewhere one day and it was my day to guard Meggie. Little Man was playing with my phone and I went to talk to some bitch I’d fucked a few weeks ago. She got my fucking number from my phone, so if you want to get up in somebody’s ass about a fucking phone number, talk to Bailey.”
“Stop calling my girl a bitch, assfuck,” K-P ordered. He sniffed and brushed an arm over his nose, narrowing that one eye.
“I hate it when you do that shit, Kitchen Bitch” Mortician complained, drinking from Johnnie’s bottle of whisky, then slamming it on the table.
“What, pussy eater?” K-P growled back.
“I wear my pussy eating badge with honor,” Mortician retorted, sucking on his weed. “So fuck off, Kitchen Bitch. And the shit I’m referring to is narrowing that one fucking eye. Shit don’t seem right to me.”
“Fuck off, you little runt,” K-P snapped and Mortician snickered. “You’ve gone and hung out with Bailey before?”
Mortician took another drag. “No. I’ve talked to her on the phone a couple times, K-P.” He shrugged. “She not for me, man. I’m not going to touch her. I’d forgotten all about her until I saw her three months ago.”
“Liar,” Digger called around a cough.
Mortician flipped his brother the bird. “I called her on my way from the shed to tell her I wanted to see her. Maybe, watch a movie.”
“I don’t think Bailey watch pornos, Mort,” Val supplied, scratching his chin.
K-P puffed up his chest. “My girl’s favorite movie is The Princess and the Frog.”
Silence fell at that announcement, spoken with such certainty. How the fuck could they respond to such cluelessness?
“You one dumb motherfucker, you know that, Kitchen Bitch?” Mortician responded.
K-P growled, but Mortician held up his hands and shrugged.
“No offense, brother,” he offered, “but you living in a fucking dream world. I admit I made a mistake calling her because the way I’m feeling right now…I probably would’ve ended up in bed with her.”
“That’s never going to happen,” K-P said. “You lucky she called me to tell me you were coming to hang out with her and I had nothing to say about it.”
Johnnie’s internal wince matched Mortician’s visible one.
“I ever find out you fucked her and you either walk around dickless or married. And I’m betting I’d go for dickless because you like too many different pussies to marry my little girl. That’d break her heart.”
Mortician shrugged, back in control again, but Johnnie knew they might have a serious problem facing them. If the brother had called Bailey because he was feeling out of sorts…No, they had other things to consider now and would handle that when, and if, the time came.
Another hit on his bud, then he cleared his throat. “If you fucks are finished with the saga of the Biker and the Beauty, we have a situation.” He crooked his finger at Stretch, who’d stood up, silent, listening to the interchange. But that was Stretch. On a good day, he was a quiet man.
He pinched out his roll and pocketed it. “Put your shit away, Mort. I need Digger over here.”
Once Mortician complied and Digger got close, Johnnie rubbed his jaw and considered Stretch, then said, “Earlier, when Meggie was being attacked, our boy here was having his dick sucked.”
Just as he expected, more silence came into the room and each man looked from one to the other before they all zeroed in on Stretch. He hung his head.
“Fuck, man,” Mortician said with a sigh. “We don’t need this. The Dwellers had enough trouble when Big Joe brought me and Digger in.”
Another story for another day.
“You fuck bitches,” Digger said slowly. “We done trains together with them in my room, so I’ve seen you fuck them with my own two eyes.”
Stretch swallowed and glanced between them. He looked scared and ashamed.
Val leaned on the counter and folded his arms. “You fucked up because you left Meggie unprotected. And, let me tell you, I’d give my life to protect her. We feel that way about her down to a man.”
“I would die for her—“ Stretch began.
Johnnie held up his hand. “Save it. But I think I know what happened.” He tapped his hands on the bar. “You have a boyfriend, don’t you?”
“Yes or no,” Johnnie demanded.
He nodded with slow reluctance.
“And you thought this would be a good time to get with him. Everybody distracted inside at my party.”
Another slow, reluctant nod.
“He know how you fuck all these different bitches?” Mortician asked.
“Yes,” he admitted so low he was barely heard. “He knows I need to be with girls sometimes.”
“You bullshitting about that or you serious?” Digger questioned, studying him.
“I-I’m serious,” he admitted. “Y’all gonna kill me for this?”
Val scratched the back of his neck. “We live free, Stretch. We ride. We fuck. We party. We set our own rules. I might not agree with who the fuck you fuck.” He shrugged. “But I don’t agree with some of the bitches these motherfuckers fuck.”
“Stretch,” Johnnie began, choosing his words carefully. “We’re going to have to explain the situation to Outlaw. Depending on Megan’s and the baby’s conditions will depend on how open he is to the explanation. We at the Death Dwellers believe in the right to choose your lifestyle.” He rubbed his chin, thoughtful. “Whether we agree or not. I get to make the choices on the shit I want to do and we believe everyone should have that same freedom.” He shrugged. “Doesn’t mean I have to do it or agree with it.”
Stretch blinked. “For real?”
K-P nodded. “You should’ve been honest to begin with, you stupid motherfucker, and Meggie wouldn’t be in a hospital. Your man could’ve been sucking your dick—“ He frowned and grimaced at the words. Everyone else kept their faces carefully blank. “Let me reword that. You could’ve been with—“ Redness crept into his face and he gestured with his hands—
“Shut the fuck up, Kitchen Bitch,” Mortician said with laughter. “What assfuck saying is we suggest you keep this shit under wraps. And we understand why you wouldn’t tell us. That’s some mindfucky shit to process. But you do whatever the fuck you want with your dick. If we would’ve known, you could’ve been getting your groove on when we wasn’t having functions. Then, you wouldn’t have had to sneak a dick suck and Meggie wouldn’t got hurt.”
“Yeah, and this fucking runt wouldn’t have called my little girl,” K-P growled.
Mortician flipped K-P off. “Go fuck yourself, Kitchen Bitch.” He nodded to Stretch. “Go to your room, brother. Wait for fucking Outlaw.”
“You really are okay with…with me?”
Val tossed a wet bar towel to him. “You look horrific with that fucking dried blood on your fucking face and that bruised, fucked-up, swollen nose. I think the shit is broken.”
“As to us being okay,” Digger called, rocking Little Man back and forth when he opened his eyes and started to whine. “Not like we can change you. When you joined our club and you saw me and my brother, you should’ve known who we were. It’s what’s in your heart that count to the Dwellers. Your loyalty. When we say we family, we mean that shit.”
“Mommie,” Little Man said around a sniffle.
Johnnie reached for the child. “Jo-Bo has you.”
“Anyway, Stretch, we just a cold ass club like that,” Mortician said with a smile. “Johnnie, don’t you think you need to go see about that redheaded bitch?”
Yes, he did, but too many conflicting feelings ran through him in her presence. He didn’t want to feel any attraction to her. But he did. She’d been so yielding and soft, and she’d been the only one who’d caught his interest since he’d made his play for Megs—and lost her to his cousin.
Ironic Kendall would be the bitch to hurt Megan. Or related to the bitch who hurt Megs. Unfortunately, he knew how Mortician was feeling and understood why the man had been such an idiot and called Bailey to hang out with her.
Hang out, huh? The only thing that would’ve been hanging out was Mort’s dick as he put it in Bailey.
But they needed comfort, escape. Release. And Johnnie absolutely abhorred the fact that he was letting his dick dictate to him and was hoping Kendall was telling the truth. If only to give him the go ahead to fuck her senseless and pretend Megs was warm in her bed with her husband and sons—the one she’d already given birth to and the one she was expecting in a few weeks.
He stood up, the images the last thought conjured disturbing Johnnie in a different way. “Where is she, Mort?”
Mortician rolled his eyes. “In your fucking Navigator. Where you told me to put her, John Boy.” He dug in his cut and pulled out a piece of paper. “Her sister’s address, cell phone number, work number and email address is on one side. Her information is on the other side.”
“You checked her Jeep?”
“Yeah. Everything I found in it belongs to a Kayla Miller. Not one sign of anything belonging to a Kendall.”
Johnnie stared at the paper in his hand.
“But John Boy. She got too much shit to be pulling a twin out her ass. I think she telling the truth.”
Johnnie did, too, and that pissed him off even more. Maybe, another sister could be verified, but not Kendall’s honesty with her reasons for being there. She’d said herself she’d wanted to seduce Outlaw to get back at Megan. She’d told him and Mortician she’d fuck both of them if she needed to.
He turned to the door. “I’m headed to Long Beach.”
He just hoped like hell his dick listened to his brain, and not the other way around.
TO BE CONTINUED TOMORROW