Double Dare (Devil's Fighters MC Book 3) (3 page)

BOOK: Double Dare (Devil's Fighters MC Book 3)
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Xavier frowned worriedly and stepped back to better look at her. “What kind of ultimatum?”

 

“He wants me back two weeks from now. If I don’t, he’ll replace me.”

 

Xavier’s handsome face darkened. “Why would he replace you? I thought you were one of his best doctors.”

 

“I am,” Alyssa said, and there was no bragging in her voice. She was simply stating a fact. “That’s why he wants me back. He says they’re overworked and he needs everyone.”

 

Xavier was silent for what felt like a very long time. Finally, he nodded. “I guess it makes sense,” he said. “After all, you’ve been away for almost two months now.”

 

Alyssa cringed. Derek was right; she needed to go back to work. “Yeah,” she said quietly.

 

Xavier sighed heavily. “So I guess we’ll have to say goodbye soon?”

 

Alyssa’s head snapped up. She looked at him in alarm. “What are you talking about?”

 

“Well, you’re leaving, aren’t you? I’m not accusing you of anything,” he added quickly. “I know you have to go.”

 

“Yes, I do,” Alyssa said. “And you’re coming with me.”

 

Xavier blinked. “You still want me to come?”

 

Alyssa’s heart broke for him. In that moment, she saw a glimpse of the insecure teenager he had been, and that was so different from the confident, toughened man he had become. “Yes,” she said firmly. “I still want you to come. Nothing has changed, Xavier.” She stepped closer to him and took his hands in hers. “Things have just gotten a little more complicated, that’s all. We’re running out of time, but we’ll find a way.”

 

Xavier cocked his head to one side and watched her skeptically. “You seem pretty confident.”

 

“I am,” Alyssa said. “There is no way I’m going anywhere without you, not this time.”

 

He embraced her then, and Alyssa went willingly. She wrapped her arms around him and held him close and tight. She had left him behind once; there was no way she was doing it again. She had promised both him and herself that, and she intended to keep her promise. No matter what.

 

 

 

 

CHAPTER THREE

 

The decision had come unbelievably easy. Xavier had known what to do almost the minute Alyssa had told him about what was happening. By the time morning had rolled along, he was convinced that it was the right—and possibly the only—thing to do. He had woken up next to Alyssa and left her a note to let her know he would see her later that day, and then he had snuck out, feeling a sense of purpose growing within him with every step he took.

 

Anyone in their right mind would tell him that what he was planning wasn’t a good idea. His friend Rick would probably call it a suicide mission. Xavier called it his only card to play. The way he saw it, should this go all wrong, he was dead anyway. He was dead if he ran away, and he was dead if he were forced to stay behind and live a life without Alyssa. He had done it for eight years and it had been hell on Earth; he was
not
going to let it happen again.

 

He didn’t go to Bennie’s house. According to club rules, members’ homes were sacred and no killing occurred in them. Xavier didn’t want Bennie to think that he was being a coward, bringing him the news where no violent reaction could take place. He was going all in, even if it cost him his life. Bennie would probably not kill him immediately anyway—provided that he
did
decide to kill him. Over the years, Xavier had learned that the man could surprise him. Whatever happened, he would have time to say goodbye to Alyssa.

 

As Xavier drove in the streets of Pinebrook and got closer and closer to the Devil’s Fighters’ headquarters, he realized that he was not afraid. It didn’t quite come as a surprise; after all, he had been preparing for death for eight years. It had been a long time since he was last naïve, and he knew that if Benedict “Bennie” Lenday or the club didn’t kill him, one of his opponents in the ring someday would. It was just irrational to think that he could survive this lifestyle for very long. As it were, it was nothing short of miraculous that he had survived for almost a decade.

 

Xavier parked his car in the parking lot of the building. The vehicle was almost as beat-up as he was, and it was a wonder that it still ran—just like Xavier himself. Sometimes, it was a wonder that he still functioned.

 

The Devil’s Fighters’ headquarters was an old restaurant that the club had remodeled to accommodate their needs. There was a meeting room, and a main, spacious room with billiard tables and a bar. When Xavier walked in, almost no one was around. There was Rick, nursing a beer at the bar, and Johnnie, the member who took care of the bar and drinks. Everyone else seemed to be taking care of their own business elsewhere.

 

Xavier walked up to the bar and nodded at both men in greeting.

 

“Is Bennie around?” he asked, having spotted the president’s motorcycle outside.

 

“He’s in the meeting room,” Johnnie said, nodding towards the closed door at the far end of the room.

 

“Is he alone?”

 

“Yep.”

 

Rick was watching him intently. “Why?”

 

“I need to talk to him.”

 

“Before you do, I need to talk to you, too.”

 

Xavier watched in confusion as Rick got off the bar stool he was sitting on and led him to one of the tables in the main room, as far away from the bar as possible. Johnnie’s brown eyes followed them attentively, but he was the quietest and most discreet official member of the Devil’s Fighters, and Xavier knew he wouldn’t be straining his ears to hear what they had to say to each other. Besides, it wasn’t like the Devil’s Fighters had much to fear in terms of schemes and plots. Few had tried to play them, and those few had met a very unpleasant end. Even fewer had tried to play them from within, and those fewer had met an even more unpleasant end.

 

Xavier sat down with Rick at the table his friend had selected.

 

“What’s going on?” he asked.

 

Rick almost crucified him with one intense look. “
You
tell
me
,” he said, keeping his voice down to a low murmur. “What are you doing?”

 

“What do you mean?”

 

“Cut the crap, Xavier,” Rick said brusquely. “You’ve only sought Bennie out for a private chat once in eight years, and I’m sure I don’t need to remind you how
that
went.”

 

Xavier shuddered. If he concentrated hard enough, he could still feel the pain from the bruises he had gotten from one of the worst beat-ups of his life. Back then, after two years of fighting, he had confronted Bennie and declared that his father’s debt
had
to be paid up by then and that he was done.

 

“The debt’s paid when I say it’s paid,”
Bennie had said afterwards, holding the bloodied mask that had once been Xavier’s face between his hands.
“And you’re done when I say you’re done. Are we clear?”

 

They were clear, and Bennie had never said it. He had never said that the debt was paid or that Xavier was done, and Xavier had never asked again. Until now.

 

“I have to speak to him,” Xavier said. “Believe me, I’m not looking forward to it, but I have to.”

 

“Why?” Rick asked. “To tell him what?”

 

If it were anyone else, Xavier would tell them to just back off and mind their own business, but Rick was a whole other story. Rick was his brother.

 

And so Xavier took a deep breath, and he told his brother the truth. “I have to tell him that I want out.”

 

A stunned silence fell—hard, fast, and heavy—over the small table, like a cartoon anvil.

 


Excuse me
?” Rick finally hissed under his breath.

 

Xavier cringed inwardly, but he stood his ground. “You heard me.”

 

“I did,” Rick said, “and,
please
, tell me I heard you wrong.”

 

Xavier shrugged.

 

Rick’s hazel eyes blazed. “Don’t you shrug! Don’t you dare sit there and just shrug at me after what you’ve just said!”

 

“Calm down—”

 

“Calm down?” Rick repeated, incredulous. “Are you out of your mind?”

 

“I’ve never been more lucid,” Xavier said, and it was true. Now that his mind was made up, he felt oddly at peace with the world. He felt sharp, focused. For the first time in eight years, he had a purpose, and it made him feel so much stronger. It didn’t matter how his story would end; by taking action, Xavier felt that he had already won. “I have to do this.”

 

“Why?” Rick half-snapped and half-pleaded. “Why do you suddenly feel like you ‘
have
’ to do this?” His voice dropped even lower. “What changed, Xavier? I thought we were waiting to create the right circumstances.”

 

Xavier’s face darkened. “There’s no time for that. I can’t wait any longer.”

 

“Why?” Rick pressed.

 

“Alyssa’s situation has changed. The vet clinic where she works in Vancouver has given her an ultimatum. Either she’s back to work in two weeks, or they fire her. We’re out of time.”

 

Rick thought it over for a moment. “No,” he said then, “you’re not. She can go back to Canada, and you can join her later—when the time is right.”

 

Xavier stared at him. “Come on, Rick,” he said. “You and I both know that if Alyssa goes ahead without me, I’ll lose her again, probably for good this time. We’ve all been fools; the time will never be right.”

 

Rick took the words in. “So, what do you want to do then? What’s your plan? Tell Bennie you want out and beg him to let you go?”

 

“Pretty much, yes.”

 

“It’s suicide,” Rick said bluntly. “He’ll have you killed.”

 

“Possibly,” Xavier agreed. “But it’s a risk I’ve got to take.”

 

Rick shook his head. “You’re crazy,” he said, matter-of-factly. “And what does Alyssa have to say about this brilliant plan of yours?”

 

Xavier shifted in his chair, feeling suddenly uncomfortable. He looked away briefly. “She doesn’t know,” he muttered.

 

“Really!” Rick exclaimed in a mocking tone. “I’m shocked.” Xavier glared at him, and Rick sighed heavily. “This is insane, Xavier. You’ve got to reconsider.”

 

Xavier was shaking his head even before his friend had finished the sentence. “It’s the only thing I can do.”

 

“It’s suicide,” Rick said again.

 

“No,” Xavier argued. “It’s my chance to create the right circumstances.”

 

Silence came back then, and it was still heavy, but now it was also filled with something else—resignation. Xavier felt it radiate off his friend in waves.

 

“It’s going to be okay,” he tried to offer. “I’ll be fine.”

 

“What about me?” Rick’s voice had gone very quiet, and he was staring gloomily down at the dark wooden surface of the table.

 

Xavier frowned. “What do you mean?”

 

Rick looked up. There was pain shining in his hazel eyes.

 

“I said, what about me?” he repeated. “You’re just going to leave me behind in this hell?”

 

It was as if someone had just punched him in the stomach. Xavier found himself staring dumbfounded at his friend, horrified and out of breath. He could almost feel the color drain from his face.

 

Something in Xavier’s expression must have hit Rick hard, because he seemed to forcibly shake himself out of it. He sat up straighter, squared is shoulders, and exhaled sharply.

 

“Shit,” he said, running a hand over his face. “I’m sorry. I shouldn’t have said that. Of course you should go. If you have a chance to get out of this hellhole on Earth, you should take it and not look back.” He shook his head, visibly angry at himself. “I’m sorry,” he said again. “Please, forget I’ve said anything.”

 

“I can’t,” Xavier said, finding his voice with some difficulty. “Do you really think that I would leave you here?”

 

Rick frowned. “What are you talking about?”

 

“You’re coming with me,” Xavier said forcefully. “With us.”

 

“No, I’m not,” Rick said. “You know I can’t. Bennie will never let us both go.”

 

“You let me handle Bennie.”

 

Rick stared at him. “No,” he said after a few moments, sharply. “You are
not
exposing yourself even further because of me. I’ll be fine here.”

 

Xavier arched an eyebrow. “Will you?” They both knew he wouldn’t. They both knew that it was a miracle that they were even alive now. It was only a matter of time before the fight killed them.

 

Rick looked away. “I’ll be fine,” he said again, and it sounded like he was trying very hard to convince himself.

 

“You won’t,” Xavier said. There was no malice behind his words, no hurtful intent. He was merely stating a fact they were both painfully aware of. “Please, let me help you.”

 

Rick looked back at him then, and the fear and hopelessness written all over his face tore at Xavier’s heart.

 

“How?” Rick asked. “How are you going to help me? How are you even going to help yourself?” He let out a long, frustrated breath. “I’m sorry, Xavier. I hate myself for telling you this, but we’re fucking trapped. We’re going to die in this hellhole of a town.”

 

Xavier frowned. It wasn’t like Rick to be so bleakly negative. He realized then that those were all the fears and feelings of despairs that his friend had kept buried for over eight years, finally bubbling to the surface and being released in dark, depressing waves. He reached out across the table and grabbed his friend’s forearm.

 

“We’re going to be okay,” he said, making sure he had Rick’s undivided attention. “Do you hear me? We’ll be just fine. I’ll make sure of it.”

 

Rick was staring at him with a mixture of disbelief and curiosity. It was obvious that he thought Xavier had gone completely mad, but he was also clearly intrigued. “How can you be so confident?”

BOOK: Double Dare (Devil's Fighters MC Book 3)
3.16Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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