Authors: K E Osborn
“Okay Flame, you can go take a seat at a table. I just need to chat to Steel for a second—”
“Will she be okay on her own?” Steel asks defensively looking at Gator like he’s concerned someone will touch me. To be honest, I’m worried about that too.
“Don’t worry, brother, she’ll be fine here. All the trouble makers were taken out when the Riot Brothers came in and shot the place the shit up. Hence, why our security’s beefed up.”
Steel looks at me and furrows his brows. I grab his hand and squeeze smiling at him. “I’ll be okay. I have Petunia, she’ll keep me company until you come back.”
He huffs and nods rubbing the back of his neck like he’s still not comfortable with leaving me. So I lean in, kiss him gently, and then turn and step off toward the lounge and table area before he can stop me. When I turn back, he’s walking off with Gator to the room with the big black double doors.
That must be where they have their church meetings.
We walk into the assembly room and it’s a far cry from the one at Virginia. The walls are red with black cornicing, and there’s a small bar at the back of the room. Our club logo is proudly placed on the wall, behind the President’s chair. The unique wooden table sits in pride of place in the centre of the room with leather tall backed black chairs around the table. It’s classier and well… cleaner than Virginia. This is distinctively different but I’m suitably impressed so far.
Gator waves his hand out for me to take a seat and I nod pulling out one of the chairs, it rolls on its wheels with ease and I take a seat along with a deep breath. “Thanks again for takin’ us in brother. You don’t know how much this means to us.”
“It’s all good, Steel. You’re like family to me, and I’d do anything for you. But just so we’re clear Mad Dog has decreed that Willow not be harmed, and I agree. She could’ve gone to the heat after what happened, but she chose not to. That shows loyalty to you and the club. I’m more than happy to welcome your Old Lady here.”
I wonder if this means he’s ceasing her protection.
“But I know Chops and how he thinks. Don’t worry brother, we’re not dropping her protection. While she’s here, she’ll be guarded twenty-four-seven. Mad Dog told me that Chops isn’t after you so we’re not placing any protection on you. You’re free to come and go as you wish. Willow, though, she will be watched everywhere she goes, brother. You have my word.”
Nodding, my shoulders slump as I relax slightly. “Thank you. Even though Mad Dog had decreed her protection, I don’t trust Chops for a second. If he wanted to make a move and got an opportunity, I’m sure he’d take it.”
Gator nods. “I know. That’s why I’m going to have a prospect looking after her, so anywhere she goes, he goes too. She won’t even know he’s tailing her if you don’t want her to.”
Taking a deep breath, I weigh up my options. Would Willow rather know someone is watching her? Would that make her feel safer, or would it feel like an invasion of privacy? I’m just not sure. I think knowing someone is with her might help her so I choose that option.
“I think we should tell her someone will be watchin’ her. It might make her feel more protected.”
Gator nods. “Right! It’s up to you. Whatever you think is best for her.”
“I’m not sure, but I think this is the right option for now.”
He stands up, his chair rolling back with the force. “Okay, it’s settled then. We’ll tell her in a bit that she’s going to have someone watching her. I’ll let her know that she’s safe here, Steel. Don’t worry, she has no need for concern.”
“Thanks, brother,” I say standing up and putting out my hand for him to shake.
Taking a seat with Petunia, I draw in a deep breath and look around the clubroom. It eases my nerves as I check out all the bikers, who aren’t paying me one scrap of attention. If I were at Steel’s old club, they’d all be leering at me. This place is much better and so far I feel safe here. Like no one will harm me.
Suddenly, the echo of female laughter rings through the opening door of the clubhouse entryway. The guys all start cheering and I wonder what’s going on when in walks what I’m assuming are the club girls.
I’m not looking forward to this interrogation. I’m not one of them. I’m an outsider and I’m only assuming they won’t take kindly to me being here. As I look over at the girls, I furrow my brows taking in their appearances. They’re complete opposites from the club girls at Virginia. Sure, they’re still dressed slutty, but not vapid slutty, just short shorts and regular tops. But they’re not covered in tattoos or have outrageous, crazy hair. They don’t have makeup plastered on their faces making them look like Oompa Loompas. They look… normal. Well, relatively.
I huff and sit back in my seat studying them all individually. They’re pretty and they’re all laughing and behaving like normal girls, not sauntering in trying to be as sexy as sin.
I don’t get it.
One of them spots me and she gasps as her eyes light up, and she taps the arm of another girl who then looks across at me. My shoulders tense as I sit up straighter in the chair holding onto Petunia.
Here it comes.
The bitter words and tough talk. The blonde who spotted me originally says something to the black haired beauty and then turns walking right over to me. My breath catches as I wait for the impending sarcasm and harsh words. But she sits down and smiles at me so brightly it eases my nerves, but only slightly.
“Hey, I’m Melodi, but everyone calls me Meli. It’s so nice to meet you, Flame. Gator told me you were coming, and I just couldn’t wait till you got here.”
I furrow my brows slightly wondering if she’s being sarcastic or serious. I can’t tell, and she smiles at me again and leans forward.
Here it comes!
“Hey look, I know what the girls at Virginia are like. Trust me we’re nothing like them. Relax Flame, you’re welcome here. The club girls at Virginia, let’s just say they’re there to please the men in any way they want. We’re here to do that too, but we also love the club. The men treat us nice and we give them what they need, but we get what we want out of the club, too. A roof, the money we need to support our lives, we have lives outside of the club and they support that. This is a good chapter, Flame. You’re gonna like it here,” she says and I smile and relax a little more as she leans over petting Petunia on her head. “And this little one is adorable. But I think the Russian Azarov twins will probably be scared of her, though. They’re not big on animals.” She looks over to the two black haired beauties—that now I’m really looking at them I realise they do look very similar—as they stand either side of a biker and push themselves into him.
“Would they hurt her?”
She laughs and the sound is quite sweet. I think I like her instantly. “Irina and Marina? No Flame, they’ll probably just scream and jump up and down when they see her. I think it’ll be
I giggle and she leans out grabbing my hand and squeezing. “Don’t worry about a thing, you’re in safe hands here.”
“Well, thank you. That means a lot, and for you to welcome me so nicely. I’m kind of in shock right now.”
She laughs and nods. “Don’t be, we’re different here, and I can tell we’re going to get along just fine.” She leans in petting Petunia again, and she snorts back like she does when she’s happy.
“She really is adorable.”
“I know, right?” She smiles at me as Gator and Steel reappear in my line of sight. Steel tilts his head at me gesturing for me to go over to him. I nod and smile. “Umm, excuse me. I’m being summoned.”
Meli turns around and looks at Steel then back to me. “No worries, just know if you need anything while you’re here. Anything at all, just yell, and I’ll help if I can.”
“Thanks, heaps. You’ve been awesome already.” I stand up and walk over to Steel and Gator.
“Everythin’ okay?” Steel asks raising an eyebrow looking toward Meli as she walks past and back toward the Russian twins.
I smile at his obvious concern and nod. “Yeah, everything’s just great.”
He furrows his brows and tilts his head as if he was expecting me to say something else, but he pulls me to his side and I cuddle into him.
Gator looks to Steel and he nods making me wonder what that’s about. “Willow can I talk to you for a minute?” he asks and I tense up wondering what the president wants to talk to me about.
Glancing at Steel, he nods his head and takes my hand. I nod toward Gator in acknowledgement. He’s gorgeous and friendly, but intimidating as hell.
“Let’s go to the assembly room.”
Steel walks with me and my heart’s racing as we walk toward the room they hold their church. I’ve never been inside one of these sacred rooms before, and it’s freaking me the hell out that I’m about to now. We walk in and the red walls make me think of blood, which makes me think of Chops and then back to the Chop Shop. My heart races and I immediately feel a little nauseous.
Steel wraps his arm around my shoulders pulling me to him, and I relax slightly at the warmth of his body pressed against mine.
“Relax babe, it’s okay,” he whispers and kisses my temple as Gator shuts the door behind us.
Swallowing hard, I try to calm my breathing. If Steel is telling me to relax then this is probably nothing to worry about.
“Willow, I just need to run some things by you.” Gators gruff voice is not soothing in the slightest.
“So you’re here under our strict protection. You’re not to leave this compound at any time. If you do need to go anywhere, then you will have the protection of a brother by your side at all times. If a brother isn’t available at the time you wish to go out, you don’t fucken go anywhere. Understand?”
Opening my eyes wide at his conditions, I simply nod and chew on my bottom lip. I want to argue, I want to tell him to fuck off and that I can go wherever I want whenever I want. But the truth is, I’m scared of Chops and having a brother by my side at all times makes me feel a whole lot better, and if one isn’t available I’m okay with staying in.
“We’re just making sure to keep you out of the way of Chops here Willow. At no time has the club wanted to come after you, or want to harm you in any way. It’s all on Chops. He’s a renegade arsehole. But it does make it easier, protecting you from one man than protecting you from a club.”
“Thank you. I’m sorry to put you in this position where you have to protect me—”
“Hey,” he interrupts. “I’m not a big fan of Chops. If he steps foot on this premises, he’s getting a bullet between the eyes, sweetheart. Don’t you worry about that.”
Cringing slightly hearing those words—even though deep down I would like Chops dead—it still makes me shudder.
“Thanks again, Gator. Are you sure you’re okay with someone watchin’ you, Flame?” Steel asks.
Smirking, I nod. “As long as they’re not watching me while I shower or go to the toilet, I’m okay with it. It’s kind of nice knowing I’ll have a babysitter looking out for me. Kind of like a guardian angel.”
Steel and Gator laugh and shake their heads. “Trust you to see the good in any situation, babe,” Steel says pulling me to him and kissing my temple.
“Well, your room is ready. You can do whatever you want with it. It’s yours, jazz it up however you see fit. It’s up the stairs, first on the left,” Gator says. I smile and nod still unsure as to why they’re being so ridiculously nice to us. But I’ll take it, it’s a stark difference to Virginia.