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“You guys are no fucking fun,” Preppy pouted, picking himself up off the carpet. “You are all in lovers’ land and forgot all about ole Preppy over here.” He stuck out his lower lip and drooped his shoulders.

“Have the car ready in twenty,” I barked, throwing a pillow at his head.

“You mean the truck. My classic caddy is in a million little pieces, and ‘death by bomb’ isn’t covered by insurance,” Preppy said, dodging the pillow.

“You don’t fucking have insurance,” I said. Preppy didn’t believe in anything that kept him on the grid, no matter how illegal it was.

“But if I did, it wouldn’t cover it,” he said, waving us off and leaving the room.

“Remind me to get a deadbolt for that door,” I said.

“Oh, stop. Preppy’s great, just highly caffeinated,” Doe said in his defense.

“You can back out now if you’ve changed your mind. We can stay here and stay naked and watch whatever stupid movie you want, as long as we are naked while watching it. We don’t have to go to Bear’s party if you don’t think you will feel comfortable.”

“I want to get to know your friends better. I want to get out of the house for a while. I want it all.” Doe smiled. “And I want it with you.”

I wanted to puff out my chest and beat on it like a gorilla. Her words were empowering. She wanted it all.

With me.

I felt so good about where we were and where we were heading that I almost felt okay about living the rest of my life lying to her.


Chapter Twenty-Five


Bear’s clubhouse was an old two-story apartment complex with a courtyard in the center and a small, kidney-shaped pool that had been graffitied a million times over.

Plastic patio chairs with gaping holes in the seats and backs, some missing legs, were scattered everywhere. A few were floating upside down in the deep end the pool in a foot of green sludgy water. There was no sophisticated speaker system. An ancient boom box sat on top of a small round table blaring Johnny Cash. Its cord ran into the shallow water of the pool and across the courtyard where it was plugged into a wall outlet inside one of the rooms.

Scantily clad women were everywhere, and bikers of all ages, shapes, and sizes lingered about in various states of drunkenness. Two muscle heads wearing their cuts with nothing but their bare chests underneath, arm-wrestled in the corner on top of an overturned laundry basket.

Two women with matching bleach blonde hair, both topless, were making out on the second floor balcony against the railing, while a skinny prospect stood close by looking on with heavily lidded lust filled eyes, with a hard-on he wasn’t even trying to hide, straining against his jeans.

Bear was the first person to greet us. “King, you motherfucker!” he shouted, standing in the open doorway of one of the motel rooms, his arm draped around the neck of a girl with innocent chubby looking cheeks, but a very weary look in her eyes. “In here!” He waved us over and practically shoved the girl out of the room. She would have landed face-first on the concrete if Preppy hadn’t caught her and set her back on her feet.

“Thanks,” she said, looking up at Preppy. Preppy scrunched his nose as if he was confused by her thanks, then stepped around her. She looked back at him as she walked away.

“What the fuck was that?” I asked.

“No fucking clue,” Preppy said seriously, his usual humor nowhere in sight. “Let’s get this party started.”

“Doe, baby! You’re here!” Bear exclaimed, pulling Doe into a hug that lasted a beat too long. I clenched my fists. Bear didn’t seem to notice, and if he did, he didn’t seem to care. “Bump, get my friends a drink!”

A freckle-faced redheaded prospect I’d seen a few times before, filled three red cups from the keg and handed them to us.

“Got anything in a bottle for the lady?” I asked, emptying my cup in just a few swallows.

I needed something to take the edge off, but I wouldn’t put it past one of these little prospect fuckers to try and slip Doe something. We were friends of the club, but some of these newbies may not know the extent of which we weren’t to be fucked with. I was about to explode out of my skin. Why did we come here again? Oh yeah, because Doe wanted to.

I was turning into such a fucking pussy over this girl.

“You heard the man. A bottle for the lady,” Bear ordered, taking the cup from Doe’s hands before she had a chance to lift it to her lips.

Bear chugged the contents of her cup while Bump handed her an unopened bottle of beer. I discarded my cup and used the buckle on one of the belts around my forearms to pop off the cap for her. “Overreacting much, buddy? Wouldn’t let anything happen to her. Not on my watch. Not at my place. You should know that.”

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