Everleigh has had a wandering spirit since the day she was born. Her boring, small town could barely contain her and at the first opportunity, she fled. It was only natural falling in line with the freedom that MC life brought to her. The allure of never being told what to do a strong one. Sadly, she found herself trading one cage for another. Given the road name Silence, for her shy lack of voice, she’s been a part of a motorcycle gang out of Maryland. A rough and tumble lot believing in sovereignty, running guns and drugs through Indigo City.
Narcos has been undercover with the outlaw MC, the Knights of Crescentia for more than a year. In that time, he’s seen and heard all sorts of things, except for Silence’s voice. She’s the president’s Ol’ Lady and probably knows infinitely more than he does as a prospect to the club. All that is about to change. Narcos is about to be patched in. Unfortunately, patching in means going to an extreme he’d never thought he’d be pushed to and Silence is in the crosshairs.
How will he get through this, through to her, and keep them both alive?
I shouldn’t be here. I couldn’t help myself, though. The guilt was driving me up a wall. I knew I could trust Driller when he said she was all right, but it was like I couldn’t let myself believe it, not until I saw her myself. I wouldn’t know where she was taken after this, so it was my last chance to see her before they took her to a safe, undisclosed location. I might not see her again for a couple of years, and that would be only if we managed to get enough to take King and the rest of his merry band of assholes to trial.
Nailing them for drug trafficking and distribution was my job, but that was just the tip of their dirty iceberg. Drugs, guns, murder and mayhem… these guys did it all. They were a bunch of sovereign militia types, the worst of the worst. Sovereigns didn’t recognize the laws of today or the authority of the police and government as it stood now. It could be a pain in the ass for modern law enforcement.
None of that mattered right now, though, not with her lying there, looking fragile and wan in the hospital bed, her hands wrapped in thick white bandages, resting on top of the thin tan hospital blanket in her lap.
Pasquale grumbled behind me and I glanced back at him.
“I have rounds, you know. My own patients to see.”
“Yeah, yeah, sorry. I’m good. I’ll, uh, catch you later.”
He gave me a look like he wasn’t impressed and said, “Motherfucker, if you wake that sleeping beauty up and I get in trouble, I would like to kill you.”
I shook my head and made a motion with my hand indicating he should quiet down himself and pump the brakes.
“I’m not going to wake her up, but you might!” I hissed.
He gave me another unimpressed look and rolled his eyes. He shifted on his feet and said, “Ten minutes and you had better be gone, before someone finds you here!”
“Copy that, Princess,” I muttered.
He arched one of his overdone brows and turned like a model on the runway, fierce as shit, and went out the door of her room, out into the hallway, and disappeared. I turned back and her eyes were open, regarding me dully. I sank into the chair beside her bed and pressed my lips together, getting choked up.
“I am so sorry,” I whispered.
Her expression gave me no quarter, and I got it. I did. I wouldn’t forgive me, either.
“I couldn’t blow my cover, and I know that’s no excuse, I just… I just feel so awful, you don’t even know.”
I braced my elbows on my knees and pressed my fingertips into my forehead at the top of the bridge of my nose. I was perilously close to breaking over this, the desolate feeling of devastation rolling through me like angry storm clouds boiling across the sky. I brought my hands down and clasped them together, and her vivid green eyes searched my face, emotionless. Her expression was as stoic as I’d ever seen it; I was used to her wearing a semi-charmed Mona Lisa smile just about always.
She raised her hands feebly off her lap and set them back down carefully and I stared at them for a while. At the spot of rusty crimson on the back of one of the snowy-white wraps, my heart sank. My eyes flicked back to hers and I could swear I was drowning in the depth of her emotion, but I could only dream of interpreting it without help.
It switched from the nameless feeling she’d attempted to telegraph to sorrow and she sighed, her eyes closing. She opened them again, meeting my eyes, then very deliberately turned her head away from me to stare out the window, across the alley, to the empty brick façade across from it. When I stood, she flinched and I swallowed my guilt down hard.
“I’ll make it up to you. I don’t know how, but I will,” I vowed.
She turned onto her side, carefully hunching forward and cradling her ruined hands against her chest.
“I’ll put them away,” I said. “You’ll be safe.”
She looked over her shoulder at me and frowned and the look said all it needed to. I’ll never be safe.
“I’ll fix it,” I swore. “I promise.”
She scoffed and turned her back on me again, only this time, I felt thoroughly dismissed. That was all right; that was okay. I had work to do.
“May I?” He held out a hand, palm up, and I tucked my hands in my lap, shaking my head. He sighed, a heavy disappointed sound with the weight of the world in it, and nodded.
“I get it,” he said shortly, and drained his water jar. He stood up and threw a leg over the railing, climbing back onto the ladder.
I didn’t know why, but I felt… bad… for hurting his feelings. Which was crazy, considering he was the one who nailed me to a tree a little more than a week or so ago. Maybe two? I didn’t know. The days had begun to blur together at the hotel, the walls closing in on me.
I liked it much better here.
Here I could breathe, there were trees and sunlight. The sound of the river was soothing, and the knowledge that nobody knew where I was or could find me was the most comforting thing of all.
I got up and cleared the dishes. I couldn’t wait for a hot shower. He’d said ‘tomorrow’, but if I had to, I would clean myself up camping-style and rinse off the worst of the sweat and dirt in the cold river. It would be nice to at least have soap, but I don’t think he’d bought any.
I figured I’d better start a list for when he went back into town. I couldn’t expect him to think of everything, could I? Just the thought of writing anything down made me nervous, but I bucked up and made the list.
Just as I finished, I realized there was no more sound of the staple gun biting into the wood, and to be honest, I was glad it was staples and not hammer-and-nails. I shuddered at the thought.
“Sorry, didn’t mean to scare you. I’m going to get to work on the truck, try not to wander too far, okay?”
I nodded and he ducked back out the back door, which I had left standing open since the porch was screened in. He went out the screen door at the end of the porch and clattered down the stairs and I felt my tense muscles ease with his absence.
I shook my head to clear it and picked up my apple crate with its candle fixings and went out onto the porch. I plucked up my courage and followed him down the stairs, setting it on the old metal desk full of tools, odds, and ends in the garage.
“Need help?” he asked.
I shook my head no, and picked up an old metal pail by its wire handle to go look for some plant life goodies nearby.
Text Copyright © 2018 A.J. Downey
This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, businesses, places, events and incidents are either the products of the author’s imagination or used in a fictitious manner. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events is purely coincidental.
All Rights Reserved