Honor me, p.7
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       Honor Me, p.7

         Part #6 of Men of Inked series by Chelle Bliss
 
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  “It won’t happen again.”

  “What’s more concerning is her language. Telling the boy that he was hers and only hers. He was in tears this morning.”

  Clearly his parents didn’t use that language at home. “She didn’t mean anything by it. She’s heard it said by many members of our family. It’s harmless.”

  “I don’t know what kind of unhealthy relationship you have at home, but that type of expression is not acceptable.”

  I stood quickly, smoothing my dress before leaning over her desk. I was done with her insinuating there was something wrong at home for Gigi to act the way she had. “There’s nothing wrong with her father and me. We love each other. We’re committed to each other. Maybe if you had someone as devoted to you as we are to each other, you wouldn’t find the language so disturbing. I’m sorry your life is so bland and boring that claiming someone as yours is out of your realm of comfort, but I can assure you that it’s not meant in a negative way. I’ll speak to Gigi about touching others, but there is nothing wrong with her or our family. If you continue to single her out as an issue, I will take you to court for harassment. Just try me, Ms. Wisen. I’ve worked in education for years. I know how it works, and once you target a child as an issue, every small thing they do can be picked out and used against them. You need to leave my child alone and pay more attention to the real problems in the school.”

  The fucking bitch. I could feel her attitude and disdain for Joe and me before she even began speaking. Maybe I was wrong. Wisen wasn’t a teddy bear at all. She was a frigid, prude of a woman who needed to get fucked six ways to Sunday.

  “There’s no need to get lawyers involved, Mrs. Gallo.”

  “My husband may be a tattoo artist, but we are in no way poor. If you mess with my family again, I’ll sink every dollar I have in my bank accounts into ruining you. Do you understand me?” On the outside, I appeared calm and collected, but my insides were shaking. Not out of fear, but in anger.

  She held her hands up in front of her in a defensive manner. “Understood. I didn’t mean any harm.”

  “Saying my daughter is sexually harassing someone is just being an asshole. I’m taking Gigi with me for the rest of the day. I’ll share the incident with her father and let him decide how to handle the situation.” I stuck my purse under my arm and straightened my body. “It’ll be entirely up to him. I don’t know if he’ll be quite as kind as me with his words either.”

  Without a backward glance, I marched out of the office and slammed the door. That earned me a look of shock from every person sitting in the office waiting. My hands shook as I texted Joe and told him we’d discuss what happened at the school tonight. I already knew he would be more pissed off than I was, but I’d figure out a way to calm him down. I always did.

  “Hey, Mommy. Why are you so mad?” Gigi asked, placing her hand in mine after she walked into the office.

  “Some people aren’t very nice, Gig.”

  “I know.” She tugged on my arm so I’d lean over. “Ms. Wisen is the meanest there is too,” she whispered in my ear but not quiet enough not to be overheard.

  “I know, baby. Daddy will deal with her.” I smiled because the busybody office ladies would pass that on to the evil Ms. Wisen.

  Gigi backed away so I could see her face with widened eyes. “Oh, is she going to get spanked like Daddy does to you?”

  I bit my lip, hiding my laughter and feeling my face heat with embarrassment. “Not quite like that, Gig. I see we have to have a long talk about Mommy and Daddy. You’ve heard too much, baby.”

  “I hear it all, Mommy. You’ve been a bad girl.” She mimicked Joe’s voice, and I wanted to wipe the words from her mind.

  “Come on. Let’s go get some ice cream and talk about what happened today,” I told her before lifting her into my arms to get out of there as quickly as possible before she said something else.

  * * *

  “We gotta talk,” I said to Joe when he walked through the front door after work.

  “Wisen?”

  “Yep. And a few other things Gigi said today.” Standing on my tiptoes, I kissed him on the cheek before nuzzling my nose against his five-o’clock shadow.

  He shook his head and smiled. He knew the things that could come out of her mouth, and usually, he was pretty proud of his little spitfire. “What did she say now?”

  “Well, for starters…” I led him by the hand to the couch and pushed him down by the shoulders. “She told a boy today that he was hers.”

  His head fell forward. “Jesus, isn’t she too young for this shit?”

  I kneaded his shoulders, trying to relieve some of his tension while using him as a human stress ball. “She’s just acting out what she’s seen at home.”

  “Shit, I hope not.”

  “That’s another thing.”

  “What is?”

  “It seems that Little Miss Gigi overhears us.”

  “I know. She’s mentioned things to me that she shouldn’t know about.”

  My hands stilled against his rock-hard shoulders. “So you knew?”

  “Yeah, she said some things to me months ago and I forgot.” His body started to shake under my fingers when he began to laugh.

  “Well, today she wanted to know if you were going to spank Ms. Wisen for being a bad girl just like me.”

  His laughter grew louder. “It’s kind of funny, no?”

  “I’d be laughing if it weren’t so embarrassing.” The very thought of it still made me want to puke.

  “She has no idea what it means.”

  “Especially since she never gets spanked.” Neither of us believed in hitting our children. It was a line we’d never cross. Gigi had to be confused why I got spanked but she didn’t. There was no way in hell I’d explain it to her either.

  “I’ll talk to her. Why did Gigi want to know if I was going to spank Wisen? What did that bitch say now?” A low growl came from him, his body vibrating under my hands.

  “She said that Gigi’s behavior bordered on sexual harassment.”

  He turned around and faced me without a single ounce of humor left on his face. “She can’t be fucking serious.”

  “She was.” I started to work my fingers again and tried to get him to relax. “Don’t worry, I put her in her place.”

  “I want to know everything that happened.”

  I spent the next hour discussing with him the ramifications of Gigi’s actions and how Wisen felt our home life might be unhealthy for a child. By the time we were done talking, Joe was more pissed off than I thought he would be. If I were Ms. Wisen, I’d be worried. Hell hath no fury like a papa bear protecting his little cub.

  Past Comes Back to Haunt

  Joe

  Thomas texted me before I left work to gather my brothers and meet at ALFA before going home. We were under strict orders not to share the meeting with Izzy.

  When I pulled into ALFA at eight sharp, the rest of the gang was already there and waiting. There was something gnawing at me about this meeting. If it was no big deal, Thomas would’ve talked about it at my parents’ house. But since he called a special meeting, there had to be something he didn’t want the rest of the family to overhear.

  The front office was deserted except for Thomas, who had waited at the door for me. After I walked inside, he looked around outside before locking the door and escorting me down the hallway.

  “What has you so freaked out?”

  “I’ll explain once we’re in the conference room,” Thomas answered before pushing open the door to a full room. Around the table sat James, Anthony, Mike, Sam, Morgan, Bear, Frisco and Tank. This wasn’t just a group—it was an army.

  “Thanks for coming, everyone,” Thomas said before taking a seat at the head of the table with me at the opposite end. “I know I didn’t give you any details, but there’s something I need to share with each of you, and we felt this was the best way to do it.”

  We all leaned forward, silent, and ready t
o hear whatever Thomas was about to announce. I could tell by the worry in his eyes and his paranoid behavior at the entrance that he wasn’t about to announce good news.

  “I just received word that a few of the members of the Sun Devils MC have been released.”

  “What?” Sam asked, slamming his fist down on the table. “How is that even possible?”

  “Some technical bullshit. Their lawyers have been working tirelessly on appealing their convictions.”

  “How many?” Frisco asked and rubbed the back of his neck. “I need to know what we’re dealing with here.”

  “One, possibly two members, max.” Thomas leaned back in his chair, rocking nervously.

  I closed my eyes and tried to control my rising blood pressure. I knew when he finished his assignment with the DEA and the Devils were behind bars that it would never truly be the end. “Now what?” I asked, opening my eyes and staring straight at Thomas.

  “I want everyone to be extra vigilant and careful. If there’s anything suspicious, the rest of the group needs to know. I’ve been assured that they’re unaware of who I am or that I was part of the DEA—the same for James and Sam—but we can’t be too careful.”

  “You think they haven’t figured it out?” Mike asked as he rubbed his temples with his head resting in his hands.

  “I can’t say for sure. Even though the agency has assured us that they haven’t, we can’t be certain. I know information passes easier than many people think inside prisons, and if they have enough ears and eyes out there, they know that I never went away.”

  “Fuckers,” James snarled with clenched teeth. “We’re going to have to kill every one of those pricks to keep our families safe.”

  “Fucking hell,” Anthony added and looked up at the ceiling like it held the answers to save all of our asses.

  “I’m ready,” Morgan said and cracked his knuckles.

  “I worry that they’ll come after anyone in my family. Not just Angel or Izzy, but any one of you around the table, along with your wives and kids.”

  “I knew you should’ve never worked undercover.” Mike’s veins were protruding from his forehead. No doubt he was getting a headache at the mere thought of all the shit that was about to go down, just like I was already thinking about at length.

  “While I gather some intel this week, just keep your eyes out for anything out of the ordinary. We can’t take anything too lightly. We don’t know if they’ve figured out who we are and if they’re already watching us. Understand?”

  “Yeah,” I said, clenching my fists tightly on top of the table, wishing that the motherfuckers were in front of me right now. I’d have no problem ending them to save any person around this table or in my family…even Sam.

  “We got it,” Anthony added. “I’ll keep the girls close.”

  “Nothing will get by us,” Tank said, looking around the table. “You guys are the only family I’ve got. I’ll have your backs.”

  “Don’t tell the girls yet. We don’t need them in a panic.”

  “Oh, sure, you hold a secret from Mia and see how that pans out for you,” Mike whined and tipped his head back, scrubbing his hands across his face.

  “Better to be a whiny Mia than a dead one. Got me?” James told him, and Mike’s head snapped forward.

  “Got it.”

  “We’ll know more in the next few days, but I need to know that you’ll report anything unusual. And I mean anything.”

  “What if they come after one of us?” Anthony asked what we were all thinking.

  “Then we do everything we can to protect our families. Keep them close, everyone. Keep the guns loaded and ready. The Sun Devils are some crazy bastards, and they aren’t above killing innocents.”

  We walked out, stunned and in complete silence. When I climbed into my car, I sat there for a moment and thought about the possibility of losing someone I loved. I’d never let it happen. There wasn’t one person close to me for whom I wouldn’t jump in front of a bullet to protect. Whatever happened, I knew everyone else felt the same way.

  No matter what… we’d protect what was ours.

  Something’s Off

  Suzy

  Ever since Joe came home last night, he’s acted weird. At first, I thought maybe it was because of what happened with Gigi and school, but that couldn’t be it. Maybe spending time at Hedonism wasn’t the best thing for us. I thought we were in a better place.

  “Baby, what’s wrong?” I asked, wrapping my hands around his waist as he looked out the sliding glass doors overlooking the backyard.

  He patted my hands and gave me the brushoff. “Nothing, sugar. Just thinking about work.”

  That shit was a lie. One he used often. I even called Izzy to see if there was something going on at Inked that would have him worried. She said everything was fine on the shop front. When I asked her if James was acting weird, she said not any more than usual.

  I buried my face in his back and inhaled his scent, the one I’d loved so much since the first day I met him. “There’s something you’re not telling me, Joe.”

  “There’s nothing, Suzy. Stop worrying. Nothing is wrong.”

  But even though he said the words, I could tell his voice wasn’t full of conviction but of something else, though what I wasn’t sure.

  “I’m meeting Mia for lunch today. Your mom is going to watch the kids so we can hang out.”

  He turned in my arms and my cheek rested on his chest. “I don’t think that’s a good idea.”

  I stared up at him with confusion on my face. He’d never said no to me. “Why not?”

  He wrapped his arms around me and rested his face against my hair. “It’s fine, just be careful.”

  “When am I not? It’s not like something is going to happen. It’s just a quick bite to eat at Grillz.” My stomach rumbled at the thought of the food. They offered every type of grilled cheese imaginable, and it had quickly become the go-to spot in the city.

  “Fine.” He kissed my head before something caught his eye in the backyard.

  “What is it?” I asked, turning quickly to see what he did, but there was nothing.

  “Just an animal, sugar.”

  I released him. “I’m going to get the girls ready and head out for the day. Need anything?” He was already typing furiously on his phone and not paying any attention to me. “Joseph, I’m talking to you.”

  He didn’t look up or make any effort to stop his conversation. “What? Sorry, I didn’t hear you.”

  I didn’t even bother to ask him again. What was the point? Whomever he was texting had his attention, not me. After I dressed the girls, we headed to Grandma’s house for their visit and my time with Mia. I needed some girl time…a little time to share my feelings with one person I knew wouldn’t utter a word to anyone.

  Something was going on, and I needed another person’s opinion on how to proceed. Mia was one of the smartest, most level-headed people I knew. Maybe I was making something out of nothing, but in my experience with Joe, that wasn’t usually the case.

  Reality vs. Imagination

  Joe

  When Suzy left the house, I headed straight to ALFA. I could’ve sworn I saw something or someone in the woods behind my house, but I couldn’t tell if it was just paranoia creeping in or reality.

  Thomas hadn’t given us a full update since we had our meeting last week. Information had come in via text and was limited.

  “Hey! Sit.” Thomas shuffled papers around on his messy desk. “I really need to have Angel organize all this shit. It’s out of control.”

  “Maybe if you stopped sticking your dick in her during business hours, she’d get more work done.”

  He laughed and shrugged. “Sometimes I can’t help myself. You try working with Suzy all day and resisting her.”

  “You’re a sicko.”

  “No argument here.”

  “So what’s going on with the Sun Devils? I swear I saw someone in the woods behind my house this morning.


  His demeanor changed instantly. “Are you sure it was a person?”

  “I can’t say for sure, but something was out there. I felt like whatever it was, it was watching us.”

  “I spoke with my contacts at the DEA. They lost track of a few of the members.” His fist slammed down on his desk. “They’re good for nothing.”

  “Have you noticed anything out of the ordinary? It could’ve been an animal and my mind playing tricks on me. I’m so fucking on edge that I could’ve made the entire thing up.”

  “I haven’t noticed anything, but I know exactly how they are. I’m more worried about the people I care about than myself.”

  “We need to know more, Thomas. Everyone needs to know what’s going on. You need to get more information as quickly as possible and share it with us.”

  “I’ll find out more today and get the guys together for a quick meeting tonight around seven. Good?” He picked up the phone and pressed a button. “James, get Sam and come to my office, please.”

  “It’ll have to be. I’ll let the guys know. You just find out the info. We can’t be left in the dark if our lives are in danger.”

  Using both of his hands, he rubbed his temples and sighed. “Hopefully, tonight we’ll know enough to get a plan together to keep everyone safe. I refuse to let them rule our lives and hurt anyone we love.”

  “Maybe they’ll take Sam as a sacrificial lamb.” I grinned because he’d pissed me off since the day I learned that he and Izzy had a thing.

  “Don’t be an asshole. You know we need him.” He shook his head and rolled his eyes.

  “Maybe you do.”

  “He came in handy before. Remember he did take a bullet for us.”

  It was my turn to sigh. “Fine. We won’t offer him in exchange for our safety. We’ll figure out another way.”

  “What are we exchanging?” Sam said from the doorway.

  It was my cue to leave. “I have to get to work. See you tonight at seven,” I told Thomas before turning to face Sam and James. “See you guys tonight.” Pushing past them, I nudged Sam just a little bit.

 
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