Authors: K E Osborn
She grips my hand tighter. “You’re a bad influence on me.”
I scoff. “Me? I didn’t force you to steal anythin’.”
“No, but you’re apparently taking me somewhere where I’m going to need to be tough, stronger, and not a prissy pants if I’m going to be with you. Right?”
Turning to look at her I huff and nod. “Yeah babe, you’re gonna need to be tough. But I don’t mind if you’re still a little bit sweet and innocent.”
She smiles and nods. “Okay ‘cause I don’t know that I can act like the cockmunchers all the time.”
I laugh and shake my head. “Is that what you’re stickin’ to callin’ the club girls? The cockmunchers?”
She nods. “Well, that’s their job isn’t it?”
I tilt my head and shrug because she’s right. “Okay, cockmunchers they are. Just don’t call them that to their faces. They might not take too kindly to that nickname.”
She nods and exhales. “So we’re going to another club then?”
My shoulders go tight with tension and an ache in my head starts instantly. I knew she’d already guessed it, but hearing her say it makes me concerned. “I’m sorry, I know you don’t want to, but it’s the safest plan I have.”
She tightens her grip on my hand and leans over kissing my cheek. “It’s okay. I had an idea that’s where we’d end up. Just as long as Chops doesn’t find me, and the club we go to isn’t worse than Virginia. I should be okay.”
My head snaps around to look at her to see if she’s bullshitting me or not. She’s looking at me with a soft smile.
Not what I was expecting.
Furrowing my brows, I look back to the road and exhale.
“So you’re really okay with this?”
She shrugs. “I have to be. You belong to a club, Steel. And if I want to be with you then I need to deal with that. As long as you can keep the other guys off me, I can handle it… I hope.”
My chest tightens and the smile that crosses my face is immense. I didn’t give her enough credit. The flame that burns inside Willow is strong and she’s a fighter. She’s given up everything for me. I just have to prove to her that I’m worth it. I just fucking hope I am.
Driving down the road leading toward the Aldinga clubhouse, on one side of me is sparse open paddocks of harsh brown, burnt land from the scorching summer sun, and on the other side in the distance is the pristine sandy beach. The sea air is wafting through the open windows as Willow’s hair flicks with the wind like flames flickering from a bonfire. It makes me think of home and how much I’m looking forward to being back with the brotherhood.
The clubhouse comes into view as I turn down the dirt road. Of course, it’s right near the backwash of Aldinga, so there are no businesses or houses nearby. There’s nothing but paddocks and ocean either side of the clubhouse. This place is huge, much bigger than Virginia, and way more modern. I know they’ve done some renovations recently, so it’ll look different from when I was last here, which was over two years ago now.
Pulling up to the gate which is black and looks far more modern and sophisticated than the one at Virginia. Well, it has no rust for starters. Right by my window is a speaker box with a video screen and it lights up catching my attention. Their version of Gatekeeper is utterly high tech. A nerdish looking guy with a black beard appears on the screen with a scowl and his attempt at looking intimidating fails miserably. I actually feel like I want to laugh, but I don’t.
“What the fuck do you want?” his deep, gruff voice echoes loudly through the speaker box.
Willow flinches beside me and I grab her hand to try and ease her nerves, as I look at the video screen. I’m assuming this guy can see us.
“I’m Steel. Gator said me and my Old Lady are welcome here.”
The guy nods and there’s a clicking sound and then the gates open smoothly like it’s all done electronically. I watch them sliding effortlessly, no moaning and groaning at their weight, they glide with ease to the side to let us in. The screen shuts off and I turn to Willow to make sure she’s okay. Her body is tense, but she seems not too far over the edge.
“This will be okay, babe. I promise.”
She nods her head and tightens her hand in mine. Stepping down on the accelerator, I drive through the extensive gate system and into the concrete compound. It’s smaller than Virginia and maintained well. A row of nineteen Hogs line the fence, and a mechanic’s shed is at the back. I pull the car up next to the row of Hogs. The clubhouse is big, huge in fact. It’s brick and kind of resembles an old hotel or something.
Willow is gazing around with her mouth open slightly and her eyes wide open. To me it looks like she’s in awe of this place, and to be honest, I am slightly too. Opening the car door, I step out and stand up stretching my tired legs. Willow is by my side quickly. I grab her hand in mine as she leans into my side.
Moving my lips to her ear, I lean in. “Stay by my side at all times, okay?”
She nods. The door to the clubhouse opens and three men walk out and toward us. One is Gator. Another has shaggy, oily tendrils of grey hair framing his face, but his grey beard is trimmed neatly in contrast to his dishevelled hair. Wearing his yellow John Lennon style sunglasses, he looks like a class act and every bit how I remember him—Jock. The other is the guy from the screen on the gate—he’s new, I don’t know him.
“Hey, hey!” Gator calls out, opening his arms wide as he walks up to Willow and me.
“Hey brother,” I reply just in time for him to grab me and pull me into a giant bear hug. The guy is strong, and I chuckle as he slaps me twice on the back. Willow giggles slightly from behind me as my hand is ripped from hers.
“I’m glad you made it,” Gator says pulling back and looking at me with a genuine smile.
“Thanks for takin’ us in, brother. We really appreciate it.”
He nods and slaps my shoulder. Suddenly squealing echoes through the yard as Petunia runs over and starts circling Gator’s legs. He looks down and his mouth turns up as he starts to really laugh.
“What the fuck is that?” the guy from the gate asks.
“She’s Petunia, our teacup pig,” Willow informs everyone. The guys all look at her and smirk.
Gator turns to me and grins. “This is
Pursing my lips, I nod my head and wait to hear his answer. He merely shakes his head as his bellowing laughter echoes throughout the yard.
“It’s going to be fun having a pig running around. The guys are going to fucking love her. She can be our new mascot.”
Willow giggles as Jock moves in and grabs her hand and brings it to his lips, kissing it. I roll my eyes as I know Jock, he’s never one to miss out on sweet talking the ladies.
“Your laugh is sweet like angels singing.” His broad Scottish accent rings through the air and I shake my head laughing as I slap his back.
“Leave her alone, Jock. Your Scottish charms won’t work on her.”
Jock laughs and clicks his fingers together and purses his lips. “Damn.”
“Plus, she’s mine.”
Jock raises an eyebrow and smirks. “Your Old Lady?”
Nodding, I wrap my arm around her shoulders pulling her to me. “Yes’um.”
Jock pouts again and rests his fists on his hips. “Damn, all the beauties are always taken.”
I laugh along with the other guys as Gator slaps him on the back. “You’ll find your woman one day, Jock.”
Willow giggles and looks at him raising an eyebrow. “Why do they call you by your real name? I thought all bikers used road names?”
They all laugh and he shakes his head.
“Jock’s not my real name, lassie. It’s short for jockstrap.”
Her eyes bulge open wide and a pink tinge crosses her cheeks. It’s as cute as fuck. “Oh, I don’t think I want to know that story,” she says.
“I’m Gadget by the way. We haven’t met properly.” The slightly more rotund short guy says, I’m assuming he’s Aldinga’s version of Techie.
“Hey, brother, nice to meet ya.” I shake his hand and he nods back at me as Petunia circles our feet.
“Well, let’s get you guys inside. Give you a feed. Lunch is almost ready,” Gator says slapping my back and I nod looking at Willow, who’s actually smiling. I think she feels okay so far. Thank God.
As we walk up to the clubroom door, I take in the neatness of my surroundings. This place is so different to Virginia. It’s like they actually have pride in their clubhouse. The garden is manicured. Well, no not manicured but they actually have plants. No flowers or anything, but nice shrubs and accents on the wall. The door is a deep red colour with the Satan’s Savages logo proudly displayed—a skull with a piston and rod going through each eye socket and out through the mouth—it looks intimidating. It’s encased in a black circle with a red ribbon I suppose you could call it, that turns into a flame effect around the skull. The club name and the words
are inscribed on it. I’ve seen the logo on Steel’s vest and in the other clubhouse, but seeing it here on the door so vividly displayed sends a shiver down my spine. Sometimes I forget that Steel is a biker. He’s so caring and gentle, but he has this dark side to him and it slips my mind that he has that in him. However, right now, it’s firmly planted in the forefront of my mind.
Gator opens the door and it swings back with ease, unlike the door at Virginia which is cumbersome and rigid. This place already feels more desirable than Virginia and I’ve only seen the outside and the scary door. We walk inside, and it’s not that dissimilar from the other clubhouse. It actually looks like a bar at first glance, but a more upmarket one with everything stainless steel and black.
The bar is set up along the left-hand wall. It’s smaller than Virginia but still sizeable with blue neon lighting under the bar top. It kind of looks like a nightclub. It’s cool. I like it. To the right of the bar is a room closed off with big double black doors. Next to that, is a hallway leading upstairs. In the expanse of the room sits a couple of pool tables. A stage to the left, where it looks like a band might perform, and in front of that are three poles for what I presume is pole dancing.
I cringe slightly at the thought, but I keep looking around the room to see lounges against the right side and in front of them are some tables where I assume the bikers eat their meals and stuff. At the back of the lounge area is a big half wall, and on the other side looks to be a giant kitchen. It’s cool because you can see where the chef’s cooking lunch and the smell of food is wafting in through the room.
Looking to the left, I notice a stairwell heading downstairs with a neon sign that’s currently not glowing. Swallowing hard, I think back to the Chop Shop and wonder if this is their version of the basement. I hope to hell I never have to go down there, and I make a vow to myself to never willingly step a foot onto that staircase.
As my heart races faster and my palms sweat at the thought of that place, I look around to see about nine bikers all sitting at the bar drinking. There’s three prospects behind the bar working. Another four brothers playing pool at the pool tables. I can also see three in the kitchen through the gap in the wall, and three are standing with us. It’s calm and peaceful. None of them are cat calling me, or even really looking at me let alone leering at me and checking me out like a piece of meat. I have no idea if it’s like this all the time, or if this is just an unusually quiet time for them.
Petunia comes rushing in squealing and runs into the back of Steel’s leg and then rubs against him. I giggle as all the bikers suddenly wake up and turn around cracking up laughing.
One of the guys in the kitchen picks up a carving fork raising it in the air while laughing. “Roast pork for dinner, then?”
Everyone laughs, but I gasp and bend down picking her up and cradling her to my chest actively shaking my head.
Gator grasps my shoulders and smiles at me with kind eyes. “This here is Petunia, our new house pig. No one is to hurt her, or let her off premises. She’s the new pet to everyone here... our mascot if you will,” Gator explains and I tense up wondering what these bikers will think of that.
Her name’s fucking Petunia
?” One of them calls out.
“Umm… yes,” I murmur.
“Can’t we think of something a little more… I don’t fucken know… tougher and less chick than that, Prez?” One of the prospects behind the bar calls out and everyone chuckles.
“Nope, her name is Petunia. Flame here named her, and that’s what we have to respect. Petunia the teacup fucken pig.”
“And who is this Flame?” One of the bikers says at the bar licking his lips looking me up and down.
And there it is.
I take a step toward Steel as my shoulders tense and my heart starts to race.
“She’s my Old Lady, and completely off limits,” Steel says.
“Steel and Flame will be staying with us, indefinitely. Steel’s patching in from Virginia, but there’s to be no chatter about him and his Old Lady being here. Got me brothers?”
They all nod and some gesture like their zipping their mouths shut. Others give two fingered salutes. These guys all seem like they really respect their president.
I might like this club after all.
“Right, let’s get these guys some grub, Chowhound,” Gator calls out to the chef in the kitchen, as the aroma of whatever he’s cooking wafts through my senses again.
“Sure thing, Prez,” Chowhound calls back throwing his hands in the air as some sort of food goes flying into the air off the tongs he’s holding. I giggle as he looks like he could be quite the larrikin.