Echoes of silence unquie.., p.35
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       Echoes of Silence (Unquiet Mind Book 1), p.35

           Anne Malcom
 

  I stepped forward. “Don’t play dumb. The woman all over you.” I hated that my voice turned into a whisper in the end.

  Kill’s entire face softened and he ran his hands through his hair. “Jesus, babe. She’s nothing. I don’t see them. Not when all I think of is you.”

  I rolled my eyes. “Yeah, you looked like you were dreaming of me when she was touching your cut,” I stated with sarcasm.

  Kill stepped forward. His hands came to my hips. “Of all the things you have to worry about, Freckles, girls like that don’t even factor in. You’re the only girl I care about. That there will ever be,” he promised. “No matter what.”

  I relaxed slightly, my hands trailing over his back. “She touched your cut,” I whispered. “Before I got to. It’s the most precious thing to you, and she touched it before me.”

  Kill’s body stilled. “That’s not the most precious thing to me, Freckles. I’m holding the most precious thing right now, in my hands. In a rainbow dress that might just make me go crazy. Might be the first man in history to murder his brothers first night he’s patched in.” He paused. “That’s what I’ll do if they even look at you too long,” he declared fiercely.

  I smiled and stroked his cheek. “I don’t see anyone but you. I’m yours. Only yours,” I promised. “Forever.”

  Killian pressed his mouth against mine and he kissed me deep and long.

  “I want to be yours,” I murmured against his mouth.

  “You are, babe, you always will be.”

  “No,” I whispered. “I want it all to be yours. I want you to be mine. Tonight. I’m ready,” I clarified in a shaking voice.

  Kill froze. His entire body was taut, and he pulled back so he could gaze into my eyes. There was a long, loaded silence between us. “Freckles,” he choked out.

  We both jumped when a pounding sounded at the door. “Killian, you are not allowed to hide out in that room with your girl, no matter how pretty she is,” Lucky’s voice shouted through the door. “Not if you want Bull to not murder you the first night as a patched Son,” he added and I heard a smile in his voice.

  I smiled shyly against his mouth. “I better go get set up.” I went to pull out of his arms, but they flexed around me. Kill’s eyes burned with a lot of things I didn’t recognize. One thing I did. Pure hunger.

  “You sure, Freckles?” he rasped.

  I kissed him lightly. “I’ve never been more sure of anything in my life,” I murmured.

  His hands flexed around me. “Neither have I.”

  ****

  The cheers from the rambunctious crowd were all but deafening. I barely noticed it. My eyes had been glued to Kill, sitting amidst the chaos, his hand clenched around a beer, and his eyes never leaving mine. Before I had gone up on stage, he had glued me to his side while many of the men tried to get him drinking various spirits and laughing when he didn’t let me go to do so. They all knew me, knew us, so they respected it. They also respected the fact that Zane was staring daggers at anyone who even offered me a beer. Hence why I was sipping on soda.

  Mom and Zane looked happy. Ecstatic. He had her in a hold that was similar to Kill and she was never far from his side. It filled me with utter joy. Though I did notice she was also on soda. My mom didn’t drink much, not compared to the Sons of Templar family, but she did partake at events like this. I knew why. My heart soared at the reason why. I’d been running around the house looking for my guitar, thinking about tonight, about tomorrow. Then I was thinking about neither of those things. I was thinking about the positive pregnancy test in Mom’s hands and the utter joy at the prospect of having a brother or sister.

  Right now, my mind was quiet. Silent. Despite the yells and the cheers. Everything fell away when I gazed into Kill’s eyes.

  “This is our last song,” I rasped, leaning into my mic and jostling my guitar. “You all might know a certain man who was patched in tonight,” I continued, my eyes never leaving Kill.

  The crowd erupted into chaotic cheers at this. I waited for it to die down. My eyes cut to Sam for a second, who grinned and shook his head. He had declared I was “batshit crazy” for singing a love song to my “Old Man” on the night of his patch party. I may have been crazy, but I was also sane.

  “This one’s for you, Kill,” I whispered and began to strum the chords of “No Matter What” by Papa Roach.

  I didn’t look anywhere but Kill the entire song. Every word I sang to him. Every strum of my guitar was for him.

  Sam was wrong. Apparently, I wasn’t batshit crazy for singing a song in front of badass bikers. They loved it. I might have been happy about this if they’d existed at that moment. If anyone but Kill and I existed.

  So when Kill walked up to the stage and yanked me off it, I ignored all of the boos and shouts as he dragged us through the crowd.

  He wouldn’t have been able to do so had Zane been there, but he and Mom had left after our first set.

  “Call me, you need to be picked up,” he had commanded, his eyes cutting to Kill.

  I nodded. “I’ll be fine, Zane.”

  He gave me a long and skeptical look before nodding.

  Mom kissed my head. “Have fun, doll,” she murmured. “Not too much,” she added quickly.

  So that’s how I found myself out of the party and in Kill’s room as he slammed the door behind him. We stared at each other for a long moment, and then we weren’t apart. He was on me in two strides, pushing me against the wall. I let out a sound in the back of my throat as he hitched my leg up and ran his callused hand along my bare thigh.

  He had never touched me like this before. Been this rough. Rough in a good way. His fingers tore through my hair, ripping my ponytail holder out, brushing through the newly free curls. His mouth left mine to travel down my neck.

  It was then I realized he’d been holding back. For almost two years, he’d been holding back, respecting me, waiting. There was no waiting now.

  He yanked me to him, so I was pressed against his hard body. I sucked in a breath.

  “Freckles,” he muttered, his voice hoarse, “you’ve gotta tell me now if this is what you want. If you’re ready.” He rested his head against mine, breathing heavily. His hand was on my upper thigh. “I’ll wait for you if you’re not. Forever. If need be. But I need to know before this goes further, before I lose complete control, if this is what you want.”

  “I’ve never wanted anything more, Kill. I’ve never wanted anything but you.” My hands went to his cut and pushed it off his shoulders. They were shaking as they pulled at his tee and it went completely over his head, dropping to the floor. My eyes ran hungrily across his chest, my fingers trailing after.

  Kill’s hand went to my chin, and he tilted it up so our eyes met. “Any time this gets too much, you tell me, Freckles,” he ordered.

  “It’s already too much,” I admitted. “I already want you so much I feel I might burst.”

  His eyes darkened as I lifted my arms to the tie at my neck and untied it, my nerves fluttering in my stomach. The front of my dress fell to my hips, and it took every inch of willpower not to cover myself with my arms.

  Kill’s eyes turned to liquid and he hissed out a breath. My nervousness melted away with his gaze, the utter love, reverence, and amazement in it. He rubbed the back of his hand against his mouth.

  His eyes met mine. “You’re so fucking beautiful,” he murmured, and his hands went to the edge of the dress and gently pulled it fully off. His hands tickled over my bare hips, skirting up my rib cage to either side of my face. “Need to tell you this now, baby, before you give me the most precious gift a man could ever get,” he said. “I love you. Know I haven’t said it in so many words, but I love you so fuckin’ much, Freckles. So much it scares the shit outta me,” he rasped. “Those three words used to terrify me. They were the last things I said to my old man last time I saw him. I was convinced those words were the kiss of death. Good-bye somehow. I never want to say good-bye to you, never want to let you
go. That’s why I haven’t said them,” he explained. He paused. “But now I understand, no matter what, I’ll never let you go. No one else on this planet’s gonna hold my heart in their hands. Only you,” he promised. His hands tightened, and his eyes danced with emotion my thundering heart didn’t understand. “Promise me you’ll remember that. No matter what. How much you mean to me. How you mean everything to me.”

  “I promise,” I whispered through my tears.

  Kill wiped them away. There were no more words that night. Words were not needed. He gave me the most beautiful night of my life.

  I ran down the dock, my heels seeming to echo louder than the waves at that moment. I only had eyes for one thing. One person. The cut that had the familiar patch on the back. The patch I had come to love. The boy wearing it I loved more than anything.

  “We got it,” I half shouted when I made it to his side, breathless. “The contract. They offered us a freaking record contract,” I squealed, my grin threatening to split my face.

  Not only did we get a record contract, but we were also getting money. A lot of it. Enough that Wyatt had choked on his water the moment Will, the record exec, uttered the sum.

  Sam had patted his back absently, his eyes on Will. “Don’t die, bro,” he hissed. “Record contract’s void if our bass guitarist drops dead before he can sign on the dotted line.”

  I had let out a choked giggle at this, in a kind of shock. We had all been willing to sign anything thrust in front of us at that moment, but Zane had spoken up and demanded all sorts of things to be in our contract, things I wouldn’t have thought about.

  Will had relented to everything immediately. I didn’t know if it was because he wanted us so bad or it was because my biker stepdad was glowering at him and promising violence if he didn’t get what he wanted. Whatever it was, I didn’t care.

  I had been itching to sign when Zane’s huge hand had squeezed mine. “You sure about all this, Lex?” he asked, his voice totally different with me than it had been with Will. “Your entire life’s gonna change the moment you sign that,” he declared, nodding his head toward the table.

  I grinned at him. “You’re wrong. My life changed the moment Mom and I came to Amber. When we met you. When I met Kill.” My eyes flickered over to the sofa. “My boys. The moment I found out I’m going to have a little brother or sister,” I whispered and Zane’s mouth turned up. I squeezed his hand. “This will change a lot of things, but the most important things will stay the same,” I added.

  He gave me a long look before kissing my head and nodding.

  Sam let out a dramatic breath. “Thank the lord,” he exclaimed. “I thought I might have to take on Bull in order to get my dreams of the cover of Rolling Stone to come true,” he uttered, giving Zane a look. “I’d do it too,” he added.

  Zane shook his head, the corner of his mouth turning up slightly.

  I looked at my boys. “Should we do this?”

  They nodded.

  So we signed on the dotted line. Unquiet Mind was officially a band with a record contract with one of the biggest companies in the world.

  Killian stayed staring at the waves. As if I hadn’t spoken. As if the thrashing of the tide had deafened him, hypnotized him.

  I shook his shoulder. “Earth to Kill, did you hear that?” I asked, still floating on cloud nine. “Your girlfriend is going to be a rich and famous rock star. Of course, you’ll need to be my valiant bodyguard, protecting me from rabid fans,” I teased. Despite my tone, something stirred deep in my belly, an intuition, a sick feeling that started to curl up my throat like a snake.

  Killian slowly turned, and the feeling completely replaced any elation that I had been feeling moments ago. I failed to believe, to remember any happiness I had been feeling moments ago. Not with Killian’s face regarding me in a cold, impersonal way that made me visibly flinch.

  “Kill,” I whispered, my hand clutching his shoulder.

  His gaze flickered down to where I was touching him, clinging to him it seemed. Very slowly and very purposefully, he moved his hand to cover mine. For one glorious moment, I thought the touch would turn into a caress; his face would clear and the boy I loved would return. This moment in time would become a fleeting memory. That was all that thought was though, a wish.

  His hand tightened around mine then lifted it off his shoulder, letting me go the moment his intention was clear.

  I let it hang numbly at my side, a prickling sensation originating from where he had touched me. It traveled up my arm. I feared it would settle in my heart if something didn’t happen soon.

  “Kill,” I repeated, my voice was barely above a croak, tears settling behind my eyes.

  His cold eyes regarded me for a moment. “This is over,” he said finally.

  I never thought three words could be so powerful. I knew the three words he had uttered to me only last night had the power to elate me, make me feel safe, warm, protected, ecstatic. I had no idea three more words could utterly destroy me. Leave me in tatters.

  “W-what are you talking about?” I stuttered.

  Killian glanced at the sea, then back to me. “Look, this, us? It was never gonna last. Be real. We’re not meant to be. You’re not right for me, Lexie,” he said, his voice robotic, devoid of emotion.

  I was surprised I was still standing, not screaming, the pain was that great. I shook my head quickly, frantically, so my curls whirled across my face with the movement.

  “You don’t call me that,” I said. “I’m not Lexie to you. Everyone else, maybe. But I’m yours. Only yours,” I babbled, I begged.

  His eyes turned cruel, and I could scarcely believe the words the came out of his mouth next. “Yeah, Lexie. You were mine. Last night you were all mine. I got what I wanted, the only thing I wanted. Now, I’m done,” he declared.

  I half expected him to brush his hands together in a gesture that he was wiping his hands of me, casting me aside like some... object. Trash. Not the treasure he had falsely led me to believe he thought of me as.

  Tears were running freely down my cheeks now. The wind picked up and salt water sprayed my face. I could scarily realize where my tears ended and the ocean began. My hurt was so deep, I mused I could fill the ocean, rival its depth with the chasm of my sorrow.

  “You don’t mean that. You’re lying. I don’t know why. But you need to stop. Stop right now,” I demanded hysterically. “Stop,” I pleaded.

  “I’ve told you this, babe, about the club, what it means. I need to be free. I don’t need chains,” he continued in an emptiness, oblivious to me bleeding to death before his ice cold eyes.

  I blinked rapidly, forcing the tears from my eyes. I was his chains. That’s what he meant. “No one is free, even the birds are chained to the sky,” I whispered in a broken voice, aching to get through to him, not beneath using Bob Dylan, our Bob Dylan to shake him awake, to somehow wake up from this nightmare.

  Killian didn’t flinch. Didn’t say a word, merely stared at me with those empty eyes.

  Empty eyes that I would see in my dreams every night for five years to come.

  I couldn’t stand it. I couldn’t stand the person who held my heart, my entire soul, to stare at me like I was nothing. Reduce me down to nothing. So I turned on my heel and ran, sprinting down the dock like my life depended on it. Like I could somehow outrun the pain of heartbreak.

  Stupid girl I was, I should’ve known it was impossible to outrun. It would follow me everywhere. It would become a part of me.

  He watched her sprint away from him, and he was surprised he didn’t sink to his knees. He wanted to. The power of his agony, his hatred of himself was that strong. He was tempted to fling himself into the ocean.

  He hurt her. He saw that the moment he spoke those ugly words. He watched as he destroyed the only thing on this earth he loved. The only thing on this earth he would gladly give his life to protect.

  He wanted to go after her. That superseded the urge to sink to his knees and howl at
the waves. It superseded his urge to breathe.

  He couldn’t do that. He clenched his fists to his sides, so tight that he felt he might snap his knuckles. Going after her was not an option.

  She’d recover from what he just put her through. He was certain. He had to be certain. It was for her own good.

  It was the right decision. The only decision. His girl, his Freckles.

  “You don’t call me that. I’m not Lexie to you. Everyone else, maybe. But I’m yours. Only yours.”

  He flinched at the memory of those tortured words. She would be. Only his. Forever. He would die for her, which is what he did, right at that moment. The piece, the only tiny piece of him that could be classified as good was what she created. That piece died the moment he spoke those words, the moment he broke the heart that she had given him freely. He thrust a dagger in his own.

  But it was for her. That horribly exquisite pain seeing her like that, it was ultimately to give her a life that wouldn’t be possible if he stayed with her. As an anchor. Dragging her down. Keeping her rooted to the ground when she deserved to fly.

  So he watched her curls flying wildly in the wind as she sprinted down the dock. He watched with the pain shredding his insides, his eyes glued to her until she was out of sight.

  His hand moved up to touch the wetness at his cheek; he tasted the salty liquid on his lips. It wasn’t the sea that caused this, the waves crashing on the dock. It was the last of him dying a death. A part that would stay on that dock for the rest of his life.

  SEVEN MONTHS LATER

  Killian sat with his elbows resting on his knees, his gaze glued to the white linoleum floor beneath him. Razor blades chewed at his stomach when he heard the doors to the hospital open. His head snapped up.

  Not her.

  He sighed in relief and tightened up with tension at the same time, as he had every time someone had walked through those doors. His gaze flickered to Bull, standing away from everyone else, his face blank, devoid of anything. It was reminiscent of the before Bull, the one who had almost lost his humanity. Killian knew he was preparing, bracing for the demons Mia and Lexie fought back to destroy him once more. The entire club was waiting for it, taking up the hospital room. Waiting to hear news on Mia and the baby. There were no smiles, no excitement, no happy chatter that he guessed was normal when waiting for a baby to be born. Not when Bull had found Mia bleeding and unconscious a couple of hours ago.

 
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