Authors: K E Osborn
“It’s right through here, honey,” Amelia says walking with me toward the bathroom. She leads me inside and then steps out to the cupboard just outside the door.
“Thanks so much for letting me use your bathroom, I can’t remember the last time I smelt human.” I honestly can’t. We had enough money on us for a hotel room on the second night and I had a shower then, but I haven’t had one since. We couldn’t touch our bank accounts for fear of there being any issues with tracing where we were. It’s the first time in a long time that I actually felt like there was no hope. Both Dylan and I are reasonably well off, but without being able to walk into a bank or use our cards, we may as well be paupers.
She walks back in with two towels for me and places them on the bench by the wall. “Well honey, I’m happy to help. It’s been so long since I’ve seen my boy, and to see him with a woman such as you is truly making my day.” Pulling the hair tie out of my hair, I let my hair fall down naturally around my shoulders cascading in waves either side of my face. Amelia immediately brings her hand up and runs her fingers through my hair. I tense my shoulders not knowing what to do.
“Willow, being an outsider and coming into the club is hard… as you now know,” she says and I huff.
“Tell me about it.”
She moves her hands to my shoulders and caresses them tenderly in a mothering way. It soothes me slightly, reminding me of my parents. Making me think back to the time when I had to call my mother and let her know what was happening.
Yeah, that didn’t go down well at all.
I wish my mother was half as nurturing as Amelia seems to be. Then the thought of the children from the child care centre comes to mind, and the call I had to make to inform Tina that I was giving notice. Remembering those calls only reminds me what I’m giving up and hot salty water stings my tired eyes.
Looking up at her reflection in her mirror, her kind grey eyes smile back at me and she tilts her head. “I guess I’m just saying it’s a hard life. It changes you. You might be sweet and innocent now, but if you stay with Dylan and blend into club life like I know he’ll want you to, everything you know, everything you believe in will shift. Are you prepared for that?”
The harsh stare in her eyes has my stomach twisting on itself. The colour drains from my face and I swallow hard looking back at her reflection in the mirror. “Was it too much for you? That’s why you left?” My voice shocks me as it comes out as barely in a whisper.
She nods. “I was like you… sweet, innocent. But look at me now. I live with a rifle by my side and I swear like a trooper. Mad Dog made me… no shaped me like that. He was… is, the love of my life. He gave me three beautiful boys and showed me a life I never knew I could even have. It was thrilling, exciting, scary, dangerous, but I never felt more alive… until the day I died inside.”
My heart starts to race and I feel a little nauseous. “The day Dylan’s brothers died?”
She nods and looks down to the ground. Her hands fall to her sides and she shakes her head as I turn to face her.
“Willow, I just want you to be happy. You’re beautiful, stunning, smart, and love Dylan fiercely. I want Dylan to be happy, too. But I don’t want him to sacrifice his life for the club, and I don’t want you to sacrifice
life for him.”
A shudder runs across my skin pricking it with goosebumps as a chill sweeps over my entire body sending a deep-seated coldness right through to my very soul. I have no idea what to say to that, so I simply nod. The tense muscles in my neck ache from the small movement.
“Flame, I have your stuff right here,” Steel announces breaking the tension. He’s walking with his head down right through the doorway then he stops still when he looks at my pale face. “Shit! Flame, are you okay?”
“She’s fine, darling. Just let her shower then I can get some food into her… she’s hungry. C’mon, let me feed you while Willow cleans up,” Amelia says grabbing Steel’s arm and begins to yank him out of the room. He looks at me furrowing his eyebrows and quickly hands me the toiletries bag before he’s completely dragged away.
Taking a deep breath, I close the bathroom door and turn placing my hands on the basin and just breathe. Amelia’s words ring through my mind.
‘I don’t want you to sacrifice your life for him.’
I don’t want to die, and I’ve already come close to it with Chops. But if I left Steel, would I be in even more danger without him and his protection? I feel like either way now I’m doomed. I need to make a choice to either stick this out with Steel or leave him and trust that I’ll be safe on my own.
Shaking my head my heart leaps into my chest. The thought of leaving him has me all choked up. Yes, since I’ve met him I’ve been abused, attacked, made to leave my home, my job, my parents, and been on the run for two weeks with no shower, hardly any decent food and sleeping in a car. But I’ve done it all with Steel by my side, and even though it’s been tough—I love him. I was coasting before I met Steel, just living life the way my parents thought I should. It was boring, mundane, it was one continuous blah. And thinking to what Amelia said about living with Mad Dog rings true to me—Steel makes me feel alive! There’s a buzz in the air, an electrical pulse when he’s near. It’s crazy, it’s dangerous, it’s scary and it will probably end up with me dead, but sometimes you have to take a chance, and to me, Steel is worth fighting for.
I slap my hands back down on the sink and nod my head making my final decision.
“I’m his, no matter what,” I say to my reflection in the mirror and smile at my dishevelled reflection as the bright yellow of the walls only builds the happiness of my mood. If anything, all Amelia’s talk has done is ignite the flame in my heart for Steel even more than before.
I am his.
He is mine.
I’m in this…
While Willow is busy ridding herself of the last two weeks of road trip from her skin. I’m in the kitchen sitting at the dining table while Mum demands she cooks us dinner, even though it’s just gone eleven fifteen at night. After arguing with her that it was too late to cook for the last ten minutes, my stomach growling made Mum’s mind up and now she’s busy at the stove cooking us a steak, fries, and eggs. The dinner of champions. Protein, fat, and iron, everything this aching body needs right now. Shaking my head as Petunia circles my legs, the aroma of sizzling beef wafts through my senses as I glance over to Mum, who’s happily working away over the stove.
“It really is late to be cookin’ such a big me—”
“Fuck off and let me spoil you.” She doesn’t even turn around to tell me off, just keeps cooking the ridiculously great smelling food.
Petunia snorts and pushes into my leg letting me know she wants me to pick her up, so I lean down and pull her into my arms hugging her against my chest holding her like you would a cat or small dog. Running my fingers through the short hair on her head, she snorts almost like a purr as she nuzzles into me.
She really is too fucking cute.
Mum scoffs and I glance up to see her smirking at me and shaking her head.
She chuckles. “You’re being a pussy.”
I smile and curl up my lip. “Nah, she’s just as cute as fuck. The little bitch grows on you.”
Mum laughs and turns back around continuing to cook. Looking at her, she hasn’t changed much, aged some, but she pretty much looks the same bar some more wrinkles.
“I’ve missed you, Mum.”
She exhales and turns to look at me with her soft eyes. She tilts her body to the side and nods. “I’ve missed you, too.”
“Dad misses you, you know?”
Her lips tighten into thin lines and her body stiffens as she stands taller taking in a deep breath. “Let’s not talk about him.”
I purse my lips. “Do you miss him, too?”
“Dylan!” she huffs slouching her posture. She swallows hard and her eyes glaze over. “Always.”
Furrowing my eyebrows, I chew on the inside of my cheek. “Why did you leave then?”
She huffs and shifts her weight on her hips to the other side and looks up to the ceiling. “You wouldn’t understand, Dylan. Just drop—”
“Try me,” I interrupt really wanting to understand why.
She exhales slumping her stature and looks right at me. Her eyes glassy and filling with unshed tears. “I couldn’t watch another son die. When you joined the club at sixteen and knowing you’d be heading into danger at every turn, I couldn’t watch you die too Dylan. I love you, I love your father, but if either of you were killed like your brothers, I couldn’t take it. I was a mess when they were taken from us. I’d rather live not knowing what’s happening with you than live my life knowing you were dead. If I don’t know, then in my eyes you’d still be alive. But I know one day one of you will die at the hands of that fucking club, you or Mad Dog. And I… I just don’t want to be around to watch it.”
Swallowing hard, I simply nod. I’m not really sure what to say to that because she’s right, that will probably be the case. Either Dad or I, or both of us, will die at the club. So I figure instead of continuing with this conversation, I’ll change the subject.
“What do you think of Willow?”
Her lips turn up into a bright smile, so much so that the wrinkles around her eyes become more prominent. It, in turn, makes me smile.
“She’s beautiful, darling. But not who I pictured you ending up with at all… she’s
better.” She smirks and winks at me.
Smiling, I pull Petunia into me further. “I don’t know how I got so lucky with her Mum.”
Her smile falls slightly and she stands taller. “Do you love her?”
My chest starts to ache and my stomach twists on itself, but in a good way. I nod my head. “Yeah, it happened quickly, but I know it’s real.”
She smiles and nods. “Real love comes swiftly and never leaves. It’s with you forever, no matter the distance between you.”
My chest constricts at Mum’s words while I think back to a time when she and Dad were happy. “If you love Dad so much, you should go back to him.”
She shakes her head taking in a deep breath. “No, that ship has well and truly sailed. He wouldn’t have me back. Plus, I couldn’t go back to living the club life. And I can’t stand Chops, so that would make it harder, him being your dad’s best friend and all.”
An angelic chuckle startles me as I turn around to see Willow walking in looking refreshed, pink-faced and simply fucking stunning. “I can’t stand Chops either,” Willow announces walking toward me.
“I don’t think many people can,” I murmur.
Willow sniffs the air and her stomach gurgles loudly echoing through the room. “Something smells delicious.”
“Take a seat, honey. It'll be ready soon. You have a lot more colour in your face now,” Mum says smiling at her.
She continues to walk to me as I put Petunia down from my lap. “I’m feeling much better after ridding two weeks of living off my skin.”
Smiling wide that she’s feeling better, I grab and pull her down to sit on my lap. She wraps herself around me and I lean up and press my lips to hers softly.
“You two are sweet. Now come and eat. I hope you like your meat medium, Willow?”
Willow giggles and shakes her head. “Hell, I’d eat it right off the back of a cow’s leg right now.”
Wincing, I inwardly bash my head against the table for letting her get this bad. Being on the road for this long and not having enough money for a decent meal, place to sleep, or hot shower, was my doing and that’s on me. She’s this hungry because of
How did I let it get this bad? Why did I not think about money before we left? Sighing to myself as she gets off my lap, she takes a seat next to me where Mum has placed her plate down, and she begins to eat like a ravenous dog that hasn’t eaten in months.
Picking up my knife and fork I stab into some fries, and jam them out of frustration into my mouth as Willow puts a square of steak into her mouth. A moan of delight echoes through the kitchen, as she closes her eyes almost climaxing at the pleasure of eating real food.
A scowl crosses my face as my eyebrows tense together watching her in such a state. I did this to her. I denied her this satisfaction on a daily basis.
I’m such a fucking arsehole!
Shaking my head, my heart pounds in my chest as a vice contracts either side of my head making me feel sick. Mum’s presence is next to me and her hand rests down on my shoulder making me look up at her.
“Don’t beat yourself up, my boy. You kept her safe, that’s all that matters. She’s eating now and you’re both okay. Stop torturing yourself or I’ll slap you into the middle of next week,” Mum says. I huff and slump my body.
She reads me well.
Willow looks up at me and chews on her bottom lip furrowing her brows obviously knowing she’s the reason for that comment and stops eating. She leans across grabbing my hand squeezing it. “You’ve done good, Steel. Don’t think I’m not grateful. I am. I just love me some meat,” she says with a dirty big smirk trying to lighten the mood. It works and my tense muscles relax slightly while I chuckle at her. “Eat baby,” she says picking her fork back up.
Nodding, I decide to just eat my dinner and enjoy the first decent meal in a while. Mum squeezes my shoulder again and smiles at me lovingly, then walks back into the kitchen to put the kettle on.
After a very late dinner, we had a coffee and I had a much-needed shower. Now we’re headed to bed. An actual bed—with a mattress and sheets and pillows—not the backseat of a car. Pulling back the covers of the queen-size bed, I get in feeling the soft cotton fabric on my skin and it feels like a heaven I’ve only dreamed of for the past two weeks. Willow slides in next to me in her tiny little negligee and she giggles starting to slide around under the sheets. I furrow my brows looking at her as she laughs and begins to physically move around under the sheets like a dog rolling around in the mud.
Cracking up laughing, I shake my head as she smiles so wide rubbing against the fabric. “What the fuck was in that coffee?”
She laughs coming to a stop and taking in a deep breath giggling again and then moving in to cuddle into my side. “It’s nice to feel sheets again and to be in a comfy bed. I forgot the feeling and wanted to dwell in it for a while.”
Cuddling down into her she leans up kissing me hard. Her tongue moves with mine and I relish in the fact of being in a bed and kissing her again.
She pulls back slowly and rests her arm on my chest and looks down at me. “Thank you for bringing me here. Your mother is really nice.”
“Yeah, she’s okay. She can be a handful, but her heart is in the right place.”
She leans down nuzzling into my side. “I’m sorry I made you leave your club.”
I look down at her and bring my hand up to her face and caress her cheek. “Babe, I’d leave the country if it meant I got to spend every second with you.”
She chews on her bottom lip. “Why biker boy, I do believe those clit shit movies are rubbing off on you.”
I scoff and roll my eyes. “Fuck off! I’m tough and macho and a strong biker man, babe.”
She giggles and nods. “Yes… yes, you are. That’s why I love you.”
I look down and kiss her forehead. “I love you too, Flame.”
Petunia jumps up onto the mattress and curls up in her usual spot between my legs. My woman in my arms, my pig on my legs and a mattress under my back—tonight I’m feeling good. Tomorrow I’ll need to start thinking again, I need to figure out somewhere more permanent for us to go.