Wraith stepped up to the table Capt. Jack, Brick, and Dozer was parked, “Ya got a minute, Veep?” he asked as he eyed the Sergeant at Arms and the massive patched member sitting across from him. “No disrespect, Brick, Dozer,” he gave a respectful nod to each and waited for Cap to decide.
“Give us a minute.”
Brice slapped Wraith on the shoulder as he slid out of his chair, “You owe me a beer, brother.”
“I’ll buy you two.”
Dozer’s ears perked up, “What about me?”
Wraith waved his hand to get the attention on the bartender. He pointed to Brick and Dozer, “Two beers each on me.” Brick was on a bar stool before the order hit the worn wood of the bar.
“I haven’t heard anything new if that’s what you are after, bro. I would have told you,” Capt. Jack grumbled as he slid his beer back and forth through a fast growing ring of condensation.
“I know, Veep, but I have some for you.” Wraith pulled his phone from his pocket and tapped the screen to open his messages. “This is for you.” He slid the phone to Cap and held his breath as he scanned the bar for Cameo and Pez’s traitorous faces.
Oh, Captain, my Captain…your little bird has flown to safety. Your ship is sinking from the inside.
Cap’s eyes shifted from Wraith’s phone to Wraith himself and back again. “When did you get this?” Wraith pointed to the time stamp of less than an hour before. “Not here,” Cap murmured. He slid the phone back to Wraith then pushed away from the table and walked toward the back office of the club. Wraith followed close behind.
Capt. Jack scanned the room and the hallway as he shut the door. “Talk, now,” he growled at Wraith.
“She is safe, I promise,” Wraith explained as he reopened the messages on his phone and showed Cap the text he had received from Rylynn about Hammer being killed by one of their own.”
“You talked to her? Where is she?”
Wraith shook his head with determination, “I can’t tell you. I won’t. I won’t take the chance that anyone finds out and goes after her. I’m sorry, brother, but…”
“I get it. Fuck!” he hissed. “Did she tell you what happened?”
Wraith nodded solemnly, “It was Cameo and Pez. She said Pez is the one that pulled the trigger on Hammer. Cameo’s fucked up hand is from Ry cutting at her own hair with a razor knife trying to get him to let her go. He’s tied up in some shady dealings, using the club money to launder someone else’s dirty cash, brother. She found proof when she was doing the books. She and Hammer were talking about it when this shit went down. She had changed all the banking passwords and shit that morning and Cameo came after her for it.”
Cap dropped down into a chair for support, “Fuck me.”
Wraith paced the small space like a freshly caged lion, “Who can we trust? We need to find out what he is doing without tipping him off and we need to stop this war on the Lynch Men before a single body falls.”
Cap scraped his hands through his greying hair and pulled it tight at the back of his head. He quickly secured it then rattled off names. “You know Brick will have our backs on this shit. Him, Casper, and Fuzz worked with her at the garage. They are beyond pissed this happened on their watch. Dozer is Brick’s brother and he fucking hates Pez for weakening the fold by eating pills like candy.” Cap looked up into Wraith’s twisted face, “You sure our girl is under cover? If anything happens to her because of that piece of shit…”
“She is on her way to a secure place, Cap. I won’t let anything happen to her as long as I’m breathing.”
“Good,” he grumbled as he rubbed his years worn and callused hands together. “I get word out to the Prospects on recon to watch only. No blood. No bullets. I’ll call a private meeting with the Lynch Men’s Prez and give him a heads up. I need you there with me so he can see we are not targeting them. We need to work fast before a war breaks out because of two fucking traitors in my house.”
“We also need to figure out who the fucker is working for. We need to know the end game on whatever they are doing.” Wraith cleared his throat and eyed the Veep, “I need a favor, brother.”
“I need to get to Nox. She asked me to take care of him for her.”
“Wraith, that dog will kill you before you get three feet inside that house. You need a tranq gun and chain to handle him.”
Wraith gave a small grin, “Nah, I got him for Ry. He road here in my cut a few years back. He knows me.”
Cap nodded his agreement and shoved his hand into his faded jean pocket. He tugged out a ring of keys and tossed them to Wraith, “Those are Hammer’s. Stay there while you are here. Keep the place secure. You will return them when this shit is done.”
Wraith wrapped his hand tightly around the mass of metal and thumped it over his heart, “I will.”
Cap straightened up tall in his rickety old desk chair, “Go, take care of yer shit and that animal. I got a call to make. Be ready for a meet up, brother.”
Wraith slid the key into the lock and listened to Nox snorting and growling on the other side of the door. “Good boy, Nox. It’s me, big man.” He pushed the door open just enough to get his boot inside. Nox’s massive head slammed against the leather and sniffed. The block of a dog shifted back as his ass end began wiggling in recognition. “You need to go out, big man? Come on,” Wraith waved the dog toward the back yard to let him do his business. It was clear he had been locked in for far too long. Wraith grabbed the trash can and some towels to clean up the accident on the kitchen floor.
He filled Nox’s food dish and water bowl then let him back in. Nox attacked the food like his life depended on it. “It’s you and me, big man,” Wraith murmured as he stroked and petted the dog he selected for Rylynn. If this massive dog was in her bed then there wouldn’t be room for a man, right?
Women had no rights in the MC. Small privileges could be earned, but rights, hell no. Rylynn knew this. She was raised from the jump in the arms of the MC and she had more rights than most, but only because she shared blood with their President. That was where her rights started and ended.
There were levels women fought, scratched, and sucked to earn. Club honey was easy enough. The rules were simple, shut the fuck up and suck a dick. Bend over and hold on. Simple. The next level was claimed. Claimed was only a cunt hair better than honey the difference being she only sucked and fuck one brother unless he liked to share her. Then she shared. The final stage, the stage of absolute, the queen, was ol’ lady. That came with ink, a cut with her man’s name emblazoned on it, and a ring. The woman ate that shit up. It was if they had a man under their control. Wrong! The club will always come first. The brothers would reign over her. The one and only reason she was allowed to speak at all was because a brother deemed her worthy to where his name.
Rylynn knew all of this when she pulled up to the gate of the Illinois chapter of Titan’s Hammer. She knew she was meeting a brother who would only see her as a bitch with potential to be a honey. She would have to walk a sagging tight rope. One step out of line and her world would be fucked.
“I’m here to see Elvis. I’m Julie,” Rylynn stated clearly to the foggy eyed prospect that stepped up to the driver’s side door.
Credit was the name sewn to his cut. Credit? What kind of road name was that? Rylynn scanned the man’s drowsy eyes and renamed him Sleepy. “Right, park this piece of shit over there,” he grunted and pointed to a spot by the door, “Knock and tell Red who you’re here for.” Ry gave a nod and waited for the gate to finish opening before driving to her assigned parking space.
It was very easy to figure out why Red was named Red. He could put a leprechaun to shame with that hair. The beard just screamed Irish. He growled when he opened the door to see a female standing there. How dare a spilt tail disturb his slumber? “What?”
“I’m Julie. I’m here to meet with Elvis.”
Red held the door open to usher her in. “Stay here. Don’t fucking move.” Rylynn stopped dead and waited without a fight. She knew better. Honeys were corralled. They knew where they could roam and where they would get killed for wandering. Rylynn did die back home so there was no way on God’s green Earth she was going to die in this shit hole of a chapter.
Ry spun at the name to see a man, who in his hay day could have looked like the King himself. “Elvis?”
“’s right. This way, we’ll talk in the bar.” Elvis turned down a dark hall that immerged on a large bar with booths, tables, a bar, and of course, a stripper pole. “Take a seat,” he grumbled and pointed to a barstool, “Drink?”
“Um…no thank you.”
Elvis found a seemingly clean glass and poured himself a generous serving of Jack. He took a slug then topped it off. He blew out the heat and then stepped in front of Rylynn and took his first good look at her. She tipped her head back so that she could look the man in the eyes. “Fuck,” he hissed. “That mother fucker.”
Rylynn shook her head at his words, “I’m sorry, what?”
His elbows hit the bar as he leaned in closer. His eyes scanned her face, her eyes, and her lack of hair. “I know who you are,” he whispered. Ry’s eyes went wide as she sucked in a gasp. Elvis dug out his cell, “That fucker has some serious explaining to do.” He held the phone to his ear and stared at Rylynn like she was a pile of shit. “Wraith, what the fuck did you do? Do you know who she is?!” Rylynn couldn’t hear Wraith’s response; she could only hope that Elvis’ reaction would be calmer.
“I swear if you have brought a shit storm down on this club I will gut you myself…brother.” His jumped back to Rylynn as he stuffed his quiet cell back into his pocket, “Well, fuck.”
“My thoughts exactly.”
Elvis pounded the entire glass of Jack. His lips curled back as he let of a his and slapped the glass down on the bar, “So we need to figure out what to do with you, princess.”
“Julie, please call me Julie. Wraith said you needed a House Mouse. I can do that. I can just keep my head down and do whatever you need me to do.”
“Prin…Julie, you are gonna stick out like a sore fucking thumb around here. The brothers are gonna lay one look at you and it will be a free for all.”
Ry bit her lift and looked around hoping to find an answer dangling in mid-air, “But didn’t Wraith say to tell everyone that I am under his protection? I thought that would cover me?”
“For about 10 seconds. Saying you are claimed will only by you some time,” he explained as he poured another shot. He tipped the bottle in her direction and with his eyebrows asking if she had changed her mind and wanted one. Ry nodded and he pulled out another glass and then poured her one. “You need some Coke to ease the burn?”
Ry shook her head as she placed the cool glass to her lips and took a good hit of the lighter liquid. She gritted her teeth and let the amber fluid light a fire down her throat. She sucked in air to cool the heat. “What can I do? I am not and will not play the role of a honey. I have nowhere to go.”
“Okay, look, you can be the House Mouse. Keep your head down. Don’t paint yourself up like the club sluts do. Maybe the brothers won’t notice you if you look plain. I don’t know how you are gonna do that cuz you are…sorry, princess, but you are fucking hot.”
Rylynn had heard it before, but for the first time in her life it scared her. “I can wear baggy clothes and no makeup. I can keep my head down and just scrub toilets.” She begged Elvis to help her hide.
“I ain’t turning you away. Wraith would slit my throat and piss on it to add more sting if I did, but I just have to figure out how to do this.” He raked his fingers through his slightly greying pompadour. “Wraith said to put you up in the condo. That’s upstairs, above the bar. It’s his place. Let’s get you settled up there and figure out what we are gonna do.” He hollered to Red to have a Prospect bring my few belongings up to the condo and then lead Rylynn to a narrow staircase in the darkest corner of the bar. He tugged a ring of keys from his belt and flipped through the mass to find the one needed. He pulled it off his ring and trudged up the stairs to the only door. He kicked the door open and wandered in shoving shit out of his way as he entered. “You know the brother if a fucking pig, right?”
Rylynn gave a knowing giggle, “Always has been always will be.”
“Look, you know how shit works in the club. The HM does all the shit work around here. Cleaning up after us and the honeys who have been known to leave snail trails pretty much everywhere.”
Ry wrinkled her nose at the thought of cleaning up some skanks snatch drippings, but it was what was expected and she would do what needed to be done. “Honeys don’t clean? How do they expect to be claimed or become an ol’ lady? If they don’t take care of the men why would a man want to keep her?” She didn’t expect an answer and was shocked when she got one.
“I fuck honeys. I don’t want any one of them as my woman. As long as they bend the fuck over I don’t care if they dust.” Elvis stood back as the prospect stepped through the doorway carrying her bags. “Drop her shit on the couch.” The prospect did as he was told, no questions asked. Before he left he leaned into Elvis’ ear and shared some information, “Bring it up,” Elvis instructed and watched the Prospect leave.
“They searched the truck and found your gun.”
Rylynn shook, “Did they search everything? Proof of who I am is in a lock box in the truck.”
“They got that too. It’s being brought up to you.”
“And the gun?”
Elvis eyed her and shook his head, “Sorry, princess, but you can’t have the gun.”
“Fine, but don’t call me princess,” she snipped inciting a laugh from him.
“Princess is the kindest you are gonna get here. I hope you are prepared. You aren’t Hammer’s lil girl here.” He turned toward her and stepped closer, “You aren’t Rylynn Creed. You won’t be respected here. You don’t mean shit to these men. They will just see a potential new honey. That is all.” Rylynn knew he was right. She would have to brace herself for what was to come. “I’ll get the word out that you are under Wraith’s protection and that you are off limits, but you know how it works. The longer you go unclaimed the more the brothers will want a shot.”
The same Prospect returned with her lock box and handed it off to Elvis who jerked his head toward the door sending the Prospect back to where he came from. “I need you to show me that there aren’t any weapons in here,” he said as he held the box out to Rylynn. Rylynn reached into her pocket and pulled out her own ring of keys to open the box.
Elvis ran his fingers through the documents, but didn’t focus on any of them. He found no weapons of mass destruction hidden in the small fire safe lock box. He snapped the lid shut and handed it and the keys to Wraith’s apartment to her. “Drop that shit and let me give you tour of the place so you know the No Go areas and what your duties will be.”
Rylynn tucked the lock box under the couch and then followed Elvis back down the stairs to the bar that lay beneath. “So I’m guessing it isn’t very quiet up there at night with the bar being directly below.”
Elvis chuckled at the assessment, “Good guess, princess. Wraith spent most of his time down here. As Enforcer, it is his job to keep the peace when shit gets real in here.””
Rylynn followed Elvis from the bar to the his and hers communal bathrooms to the kitchen and all the other areas she would be required to clean. He showed her the empty utility closet that had not one cleaning product in it. “Looks like you are gonna have to go buy what you’ll need,” he chuckled as he pulled out his wallet and handed her a wad of cash. “Have a Prospect help you. He can carry in the shit.”
“Great,” she mumbled as she began making a list of what she would need on her phone.
Elvis turned to leave, but looked back for one last hint of good will, “Get the shit you need and start tomorrow. Take tonight to get settled and sleep…if you can,” he chuckled, lit a cigarette and walked away.