Authors: Marci Fawn
“Lucas went out to try and get rid of Hunter to tell him to leave me alone forever. Only Hunter then went at him with a knife; a knife that was meant for me, for my baby. Things got…well, they got out of hand. Lucas didn’t mean to do it, I know he didn’t, but he accidentally…he killed Hunter.”
“What?” Axel says, his voice icy cold.
I hear Lucas make his way back into the room. If he’s expecting us to judge him for what he did that night, then he’s wrong. Clearly Hunter was a fucking crazy psychopath, and what happened was self-defense. The only thing I’m judging him for is hiding and standing idly by while the cops try to stitch up Axel for something he didn’t even do.
Bridgette grabs my hand much tighter. “I know murder is wrong, but it wasn’t like that. He would have killed me. He would have killed you, too.”
“No, I know. I don’t…” There’s something else that’s troubling me, something that has nothing to do with what Lucas did. “If Lucas killed Hunter, then why the hell are the police hunting you for it, Axel?”
“What?” Bridgette says, turning towards Axel and looking at him properly for the very first time. “You’re the guy who is being blamed…oh fuck, oh my god, I…”
“Why?” Lucas asks in his deep, booming voice. “Why you?”
We all turn to face Axel, and he takes a deep breath.
can’t fucking believe
it. This whole time, while I’ve been running for my life from the cops, the real killer has been sitting right here in this apartment…with Cherie’s sister, no less. Jesus. Thanks, Lucas. Fucking thanks.
They all look at me with expectant expressions on their faces, and my mind flashes back to that dreadful night as I try to explain what happened in the most coherent way possible.
It was just a normal night, a few months back. I was out with some of my biker buddies. You know, not the close type of friends, just the ones you call up when you want to get fucked up and have a fun night out.
We’d scoured all the nearby bars and didn’t really want to hit up a nightclub filled with underage girls, so we’d decided to go to Pussies Galore. Much to my surprise, it was filled with just as many chicks as dudes. There was even a bachelorette party going on, which was weird, but great for the horny, drunk state that I was in.
I quickly spotted a fun-loving, easy-looking girl and started to work my charm on her. She responded quickly, as eager to hook up as I was. Before I’d even bought her a drink, she’d stuck her tongue down my throat and was cupping my dick on the outside of my jeans.
I didn’t even care about where we fucked, I just wanted to get to it. It’s not every day you find a chick willing to go at it in public with a stranger, so when a single guy comes across this rare beauty, it’s their duty to take full advantage.
If I think about it now, I can’t even remember what she looked like. A little trashy…blonde, maybe? Drunk, soulless eyes. I do recall her skimpy black skirt, but that’s about it.
We rushed out into the alleyway, deciding that the bathrooms were going to be too busy for us to get at it. Before I’d even gotten to grab one of her tits, we were distracted by yelling.
In my alcohol-fueled rage, I instantly went to check it out, wanting to puff out my chest and be a hero. The slutty girl was shouting behind me, but my mind was already elsewhere. I saw some dickhead pounding on some chick and there was no way in hell I was going to leave her to be assaulted, so I dragged him away from her.
I now realize that this was Bridgette and Hunter, but I didn’t even bother to look at her. I simply waited until I heard her run away, and then I began to rain punches down on him. I punched and kicked more than I should’ve done. I just kept seeing him in my mind’s eye beating up some innocent chick, and I couldn’t let that pass me by.
To be honest, I was internalizing all sorts of other shit as well, and it all came out in that moment. My life had been slowly descending into hell for a very long time. I’d been drinking far too much to try and deal with my rage and frustration, but that was just a vicious cycle that led to more shit in my life.
I was stuck in a rut, and that was the moment that changed it all. Obviously it wasn’t the best moment of my life—I’m certainly not proud of it, but it dragged me from the fog I’d been existing under. It made me feel everything and finally deal with it.
In a way, it actually made me ready to meet Cherie…not that I’d ever say that part out loud.
Finally, the scream of the girl I’d intended to fuck up against a grubby wall shook me out of my enraged state, and I stopped attacking. Hunter was practically unconscious by that point anyway, although he was one-hundred percent still alive. I know this for a fact, because he muttered “fuck you” through his bloodied gums as I stalked away.
I looked around for my one-night stand as soon as I was done. My fucked up knuckles were the only damage on my body, and I was feeling pumped and ready to go. A nice quickie would have gone down quite well at that moment, but she was nowhere to be found.
Instead I found some of my buddies outside smoking, so I puffed away on a cigarette, too. Then we moved on and enjoyed the rest of our night. I may not have gotten my dick wet, but the rest of the night had been a good one.
Then the morning arrived.
I’d woken up on my buddy’s floor with a stinking hangover.
My friend’s voice boomed from the kitchen only a moment later. “Holy fuck, what have you done, Ax? You’re on the goddamned TV!”
I staggered into where he was sitting, desperately trying to remember what idiotic drunk and disorderly behavior I’d gotten up to, but I drew a blank. How much had I had to drink? Why did I always have to get so wild?
I watched my name rolling across the news report on the screen. They were saying that I’d murdered someone. Finally, there was one thing from the previous night that I could remember, and it was beating that dickhead to a pulp.
I definitely didn’t kill him though.
“No, no!” I said, desperate for my friend to believe me. “I didn’t kill that prick, he was still alive when I left him.”
My friend was still amused, still disbelieving. “Well, the police sure as shit think that you’ve done it. You’d better run, dude.”
And that was the last time I’d seen him. I’d gotten the hell out of there and went on the run. I’d stayed in the city because I imagined the police were expecting me to run elsewhere, and I’ve learned that it’s much easier to hide in plain sight.
My name became increasingly attached to the murder, and the more the media demonized me, the more I had to hide.
Saying the events of this night out loud feels a little like a release to me. I’d been bottling all of it up, more than I’d even realized. I’d told Cherie some of it, but I certainly hadn’t gone into any detail.
I’m glad that I now know the truth about what really happened, because a part of me still blames myself. My memory of beating Hunter up and leaving him alive seemed crystal-clear, but alcohol had played a massive part in that night. There’s no denying that. Plus, it helps that Lucas knows the truth about me. I hated that there was clearly a small element of doubt there, however rational it was.
Now there might really be a chance for us.
a second to try and absorb this information. I’d been hanging my hopes on the fact that the police would eventually find the real killer, allowing Axel to remain free, but now that I know who the killer really is, that fantasy has been crushed into nothing.
Even though Lucas hasn’t come forward to the police and admitted he was guilty, I don’t want him to go to jail any more than I want Axel behind bars. Not when he’s been taking such good care of my sister.
So now I sit between two men. One a killer and the other innocent but blamed. And there’s not a damn thing that I can do about it. If I turn Lucas in, my sister will lose her baby’s father.
I rack my brains, praying for a thousand possible solutions to race through my mind, but it remains frustratingly blank. What the hell can we do now? We can’t just do nothing…
I shoot a glance towards Bridgette, who’s looking just as dazed and confused as me. If I was hoping that she was going to have all the answers, I would’ve been very wrong. Luckily, I wasn’t expecting that—this situation is pretty damn hopeless.
I look over to Axel a second later. I want to catch his eye, but his stare is fixed firmly on his feet. My heart goes out to him, and I want to wrap my arms tightly around him, but I don’t. He’s clearly swirling around in his own wave of emotions, and I get the impression that he isn’t the type of guy who opens up easily. He deals with his shit in his own way.
“Okay, we can’t just sit here,” Lucas booms across the room once more. “We have to do something about this. I’ve gotta make this right somehow…but I can’t go away for this. I’ve gotta be here for my kid when he’s born.”
He looks at Axel like he’s afraid he’ll get punched. “I’m so sorry you got caught in this mess, Axel, is it? I’ll do anything to help out…”
As I look up at Axel, I find him tugging on the ends of his hair, as if the stress is actually hurting him. The more of him that I see, the more convinced I become that it was all a big mistake. There was never a moment that I believed he wanted to kill Hunter, but even if I had thought that of him, I wouldn’t think that way anymore. He may be tall, he may be muscular, he may be clearly very strong, but he’s a gentle giant. He doesn’t look like he would have a dangerous bone in his body. In fact, he probably only became a bouncer to protect people—I could never imagine him throwing his weight around in the way that some overly-macho guys do.
And now his main protection priority is my sister and their unborn child.
“Any ideas?” I finally ask in a meek voice.
Silence fills the room, hanging heavily over our heads. I can tell Axel is thinking ‘let’s turn him in,’ but that’s not really an option. We can’t be responsible for making my sister’s baby grow up without a father.
“Maybe,” Bridgette says before sealing her lips tightly again.
“Go on.” I smile, coaxing the answer out of her. If she has an idea, we need to hear it.
“I think maybe we should go and speak to Ryder. I know that might seem weird to you because he comes across as such a sleaze, but he’s very resourceful.”
“By resourceful, do you mean dangerous?” I ask. We’re in some deep shit here. I’m not sure that delving deeper into the rabbit hole is really a good idea right now. We need to be going the other way—out of danger!
“I guess so… but I can’t think of anything else and it doesn’t seem like any of you can either. Maybe dangerous is what we need. Maybe that’s all that can help us right now.”
My blood runs ice cold. Surely there has to be another answer. This can’t possibly be our only option.
“I know he isn’t my biggest fan, but he seems to like you, Cher,” Bridge admits in a small voice.
“I think you’re right.” Lucas nods, sending my heart even further into the ground.
Bridgette makes the final decision for the rest of us. She’s always had a clever way of doing that.
I gulp down the lump of fear in my throat once more—it’s no use to me at this moment. I need to focus.
“Um…” Bridgette starts to shift in her seat, looking a little awkward.
“Are you okay?” I ask. I don’t like seeing her this way, if she’s uncomfortable about something, then it must be bad.
“Yeah, it’s just…” She glances over to Lucas. “I know this is a pain, but before we do anything I actually have a doctor’s appointment. It’s about the baby, so I can’t really…”
“No, no not at all! You go. This can wait a while.” I look down at her swollen belly once more. “I still can’t believe it.”
We both give each other a teary smile before Lucas quickly insists that they really must go if they don’t want to be late.
Once they have slammed the door behind them, I turn towards Axel. “Do you want a drink, or something to eat?”
He ignores my question. “Why the fuck are you even considering getting the help of that prick?” he yells, jumping up from his seat and pumping his fists together. His cheeks are flushed with anger and his eyes are blazing.
“And why are you not angry about the fact that your sister and her boyfriend have been sitting around letting me take the fucking rap for something I didn’t even do?”
“What?” I ask. What the hell is he going on about now? “You mean getting help from Ryder? I don’t know, it wasn’t
idea. I don’t know what else we can do. And as for your other question, I am mad, but at the same time, Lucas was just helping my sister. If we tell the cops it was him, then their kid will grow up with his father in prison.”
He sighs heavily. “Fine. I guess I see your point. But I don’t want any help from that slimeball club owner. He’ll probably turn us in at the very first opportunity.”
“Lucas and Bridgette don’t think he will.” I keep my voice calm and considered. “If they trust him, then we need to as well. We don’t have any other choice. Do you want to be on the run forever? Do you want to potentially end up in jail?”
“For something that another guy’s been letting me take the heat for? Yeah, no fucking thanks.”
He grunts and turns away from me, as if he can’t even bear to look at me anymore. I quickly realize that I’m panting heavily and that an angry adrenaline is racing through me. I can understand why he’s angry about Lucas, but Ryder? I don’t get it, and I’m mad as hell because I can’t believe we’re going through all of this once more.
Is this jealousy again? Is he really willing to risk everything because he’s a little bit jealous? That’s insanity. I don’t even have any feelings for Ryder at all. Even if I’d gone into that club having never met Axel I wouldn’t have any feelings for him.
But how do I articulate that without accusing him of overreacting? I don’t imagine that would go down well right now. Axel sees red, explodes, and then calms down. There’s no point in poking the beast whilst he’s in a rage. I need to let him figure out his issues on his own.
He turns back to face me. I open my mouth, ready for another screaming match, prepared to shut down all his jealous accusations, but I don’t have to. Instead of yelling, he moves towards me and starts to rain angry, passionate kisses all over me, stunning me into silence.
I’m still angry….but I let him.