Authors: K E Osborn
I tighten my hand on hers and she exhales looking at me furrowing her brows and glaring like she’s waiting for me to tell her without speaking the words. But she’s not going to ask and I’m not going to tell. My heart begins to race at the standoff between us as the bacon pops in the pan breaking the tension. She looks away from me relaxing back in the chair and I lean back in mine relieved she didn’t ask because I really don’t want to fight in front of Mum.
“Breakfast is ready!” Mum walks over with two plates full of grease and protein.
I love her even more right now.
“Thank God, I’m starved.” Willow smiles at Mum as she places a plate in front of her and Mum looks at me and winks. At least, I know I’m in Mum’s good books again, but for how long that will last, it’s anyone’s guess.
After gormandizing on a late breakfast, we packed up everything and we’re now headed back to the car to make our way to Aldinga. It’s been good seeing Mum again, and I’m going to come back and visit her more often. She strolls with us to the car, and Willow wraps her delicate arms around my mother in an embrace. They hold each other tightly.
“It was nice to meet you, Willow. You look after my boy. And don’t let him do anything too stupid. You hear me? You’re his boss now.”
Willow laughs and I scowl at Mum and shake my head. “Hey, careful! Don’t go fillin’ her head with garbage, Mum.”
She lets go of Willow and rolls her eyes. “Oh, you know it’s true. An Old Lady holds all the cards, Dylan. The quicker you learn that, the better off you’ll be. Keep the shiny side up, sweetheart.”
I laugh and shake my head. “She’s not ridin’ a bike Mum. You can’t say that.”
Mum scoffs. “I can say whatever I damned well want. I’m just saying keep your chin up, keep smiling, be safe and all that jazz.”
“Well, it was great meeting you too, Amelia. And you can say whatever you want to me.”
I click my tongue against the roof of my mouth. “Suck up,” I tease.
“Ingrate,” she flies right back at me. Then she smiles at Mum and picks up Petunia and steps over to the car getting in the passenger side leaving me with Mum.
Taking a deep breath I walk up to Mum and take her hands. Her eyes glisten as they brim with unshed tears and she frowns. “Now Dylan, I know Gator, he’ll protect her. Just promise me that you’ll look after yourself. I’m pretty sure Flame has made her mind up to stick with you through this. I know that determined look, it reminds me of me. So treat her right, okay? Don’t lose sight of her. She’s a keeper, Dylan. She has a lot to learn if she’s going to be sticking around. Now you promise me that you’ll keep the fuck away from danger. I couldn’t handle getting bad news after seeing you again.”
I squeeze her hands and nod. “I’ll look after her Mum. I fuckin’ hope she’s determined to stick with me ‘cause once she knows where we’re goin’ I don’t know how she’ll feel about it. I just hope she realises it’s for her protection. To be honest, I’m gonna protect her with my life.”
“That’s what I’m afraid of.”
I smirk. “Don’t worry, I’m not dyin’ anytime soon.”
She sighs. “You better not! But she’s stronger than you give her credit for Dylan. She’s left everything behind for you already. That says a lot about how far she’s willing to go.”
I raise my eyebrow because Mum’s right. Willow didn’t need to leave with me. She could have been stubborn and stayed getting the police onto Chops and the club. But she didn’t. She came with me and that does mean she’s strong. I’m only just now realising that maybe I’m not giving her enough credit. “Thanks, Mum. And I’m gonna try and come and see you more.”
She smiles and her hand comes up to caress my stubbly face. “I’d love that son. Just stay alive. That’s all I ask.”
Nodding, I pull her to me for a hug. “I promise, Mum… I promise.”
Wrapping myself around her and squeezing tightly, I let the last eight years of missing her ooze away from my pores. She holds me back with just as much enthusiasm. Taking a deep breath, I finally pull back and hold her at an arm’s length. “I love you, Mum.”
“Right back at ya, son. Now go… go before I cry in front of you and look like a pansy arse bitch.”
I laugh shaking my head. Turning around, I walk to the car and slide into the driver’s side. The car is so small my legs almost won’t fit behind the wheel. Willow looks at me and my chest feels tight at leaving Mum, but I know the longer I stay here the worse for her it will be. I have to go, and I have to get Willow into protection. Closing the door, Willow’s hand rests on my knee sending a soothing, comfortable warmth through me that I need right now.
“You okay?” Willow whispers.
I turn to look at her, her kind eyes shining at me softly like the sparkling orbs of an angel. “Yeah, babe. I am now.”
I wave my hand out the window as Mum wipes a tear from her cheek. My chest tightens again as I start the car and reverse out of the driveway back on the road to begin our journey toward our new lives. Honking the horn twice, Willow waves too as we drive away from my mother. I take a deep breath as I look in the rear view mirror taking one last look at her before I round the corner and she’s gone from my sight.
“You doing okay, baby?” Flame’s delicate voice brings me back to the now, and I glance at her to see her studying me intently. Her eyes squinting and her brows furrowed.
I nod and grab her hand interlacing our fingers. “Yeah babe, I’m good. Was great to see her, but we have to keep moving.”
She nods and sits back in her seat. “She was lovely. A little rough around the edges, but lovely.”
I chuckle. “Yeah, she’s great.”
Silence filters through the car, only the hum of the tyres grinding against the bitumen can be heard. My heart is racing in my chest at the thought of Willow finally asking where we’re headed. I don’t want to fight, and my bones are telling me that this will ultimately lead to an argument. The blood pumping in my ears along with the hum of the tyres mixed with the awkward silence is grating on my nerves. I need to fill the vast deafening silence with something to stop the echo of nothing. Reaching for the radio, I turn up the volume and like a sign from the heavens the All American Rejects ‘
Dirty Little Secret’
is playing. How fitting that a song about secrets is playing right now when I’m keeping a big one from Willow about where we’re headed. The tension in the car is obviously because of it.
My hand moves from the volume control to her knee and she grabs my hand interlacing our fingers. I glance at her as a spark rolls through my skin and up my arm at her touch. I love it when that happens. She smiles and I realise maybe all this tension is just one sided? Maybe I’m imagining it, and she’s just along for the ride.
Fuck me, my head hurts.
I just want her to be happy.
I just want to make her happy.
And I hope to all fuck that I can do that at Aldinga.
After driving for nearly forty-five minutes, the petrol gauge is in the red and it beeps telling me we’re not going to make it to the clubhouse. Huffing, I pull into a servo as Willow looks across at me.
“Sorry babe, we need petrol.”
She nods, and grabs her phone starting to play with it as I step out pulling the fuel tank lever. Walking around, I grab the nozzle and begin to fill the car as music plays in the background. The cars drive by on the road in front of me and a bunch of guys on crotch rockets ride past making my lip turn up. Not only because they’re sports bikes, but also because I miss my Hog, and would do anything to have her back with me. But that’s an unrealistic expectation. I’d have to go back to Virginia for that and that’s not a possibility right now. My bike is out of reach and I have to accept it.
‘Digging in the Dirt’
echoes through the petrol station, and I take a deep breath listening to the words as the toxic fumes of petrol waft up through the bowser and swarm around my head. The words seem kind of fitting for me right now, for this situation between me, Chops, and Willow. The nozzle clicks letting me know the tank is full, so I jiggle it a couple of times and place it back into the holder. I make my way inside to pay for the ridiculously priced petrol and the nerdy guy behind the counter is blatantly sick of his job. I want to tell him to liven the fuck up when I notice Willow is inside the shop. Furrowing my brows, I take my change and turn striding down the aisle toward her as she’s looking at the packets of chips on the racks.
“Hey babe, you hungry? I can buy us some snacks and maybe some coke too. I could use some caffeine?”
She glances at me chewing on her bottom lip and creases her eyebrows, smirking slightly looking downright mischievous.
“Flame?” I ask as she continues to ignore me by not saying a word.
She looks around suspiciously, which causes me to also look around. As I turn back, she’s picking up two packets of chips and then opens her oversized handbag and shoves them inside with a smirk. I furrow my eyebrows at her and duck down wondering what the fuck she’s doing.
She smiles and looks around cautiously zipping up her bag. “Rules, we haven’t been following them very well.”
Raising an eyebrow, I tilt my head in confusion.
“Rule number two…. Do one naughty thing when we’re together, just once.”
I smirk. “I believe your exact words were, ‘
I’m not doing anything illegal!’”
She shrugs and smirks. “I changed my mind. If I’m going to be a biker’s babe, then I need to do at least one illegal thing in my lifetime, right?”
Shaking my head, I chuckle wondering where this is all coming from. “No, you don’t. If you get caught, they’ll call the cops, babe. It’s not worth it.”
She looks around the shop and smirks. “I think it is.” She turns and starts to hoof it out of the store.
My eyes open wide, and I duck down as my heart races in my chest.
“Flame, Flame!” I whisper, but with a sternness to my voice letting her know I’m not fucking around. She doesn’t stop, as she blatantly ignores me holding her handbag to her side and walking tall right out of the automatic doors toward the car.
“Fuck!” I murmur and follow her out. Looking around seeing no one, I grab a bunch of pink roses on my way out figuring if Willow can steal shit then I fucking well can too. Racing toward the car like a fucking maniac, I probably look far more suspicious than she did, but she’s messed with my head the stupid woman. She threw me with her actions and now I’m all out of whack. Getting back to the car I jump in the driver’s side with Willow already in the passenger side. Locking the doors, I have no idea why, I breathe out a relieved sigh.
Fuck, I’m acting like a pussy.
Willow starts to laugh as she pulls the chip packets from her bag and places them on her lap. I hand her the bunch of flowers and she bites on her bottom lip.
“Did you steal me some roses?”
She leans over kissing me gently as I shake my head wondering what the fuck is happening. A loud honk blares through the air and I break apart from her realising the car behind needs me to move up so he can use the pump. I start the car as Willow lets out a long breath.
I don’t know whether to be massively impressed, incredibly angry or tremendously turned on. I think I’m a little of all of them. “Fuckin’ hell, Flame. What the hell has livin’ on the road done to you?”
We pull out onto the highway and she looks at me her eyes wide as she puts her hands in the air and I notice them trembling. I place my hand in hers and interlock our fingers as she starts to breathe heavily. She smiles at the roses and then her smile falters and she frowns.
“I can’t believe I did that. What the hell was I thinking?”
I chuckle. “Startin’ to hit home now?”
She nods and gulps a big wad of air down. “Holy hell. I’ve never done anything like that in my life. I mean, I hardly swear. So stealing… like what the hell was I thinking? Why didn’t you stop me?”
I chuckle. “Babe, I tried. You just walked out actin’ all tough and shit. I have no idea who you are right now.”