Biker taken the lost sou.., p.14
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       Biker Taken (The Lost Souls MC Series Book 6), p.14

           Ellie R. Hunter
 
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  Rayna’s death has rocked everyone but the last few days, I’ve been holding it together so Mark doesn’t feel the brunt of it when he gets back.

  The sun is shining bright on us and Micky paces the gate whilst I sit watching him beat himself up about something. I don’t know the full story of four nights ago but Michael looks like he wants to kill Micky every time they’re in the same room and Micky hasn’t looked anyone in the eye since we all got back.

  Michael’s truck drives through the gate and every one stops what they’re doing.

  Michael pulls up close to the house and when Mark climbs out the back with the baby, it’s the first glimpse of the girl for everyone.

  He hands her over to Kitty and heads for the bar. Slowly everyone follows him in and I stay close by him when we’re all inside. Micky doesn’t stand by us and sits by the bar on his own. Out of everyone, the three of us have always been the strongest together.

  “As you know, Rayna passed away four days ago. During the birth she haemorrhaged.”

  Condolences are called out but from the look on Mark’s face, he isn’t taking them in. He goes to say something else but one look at Micky and he stops.

  “I need a minute with Michael, Micky and Oak,” he calls out instead.

  Nobody lingers about and within seconds it’s only the four of us left.

  “What’s going on? You won’t look me in the eye,” Mark snaps at Micky, “And you Michael, you’ve been throwing daggers at Micky since we came in.”

  Michael leaps off the table he was sitting on and flies towards Micky. I move quickly and step between the two of them and Michael backs off.

  “It’s his fault Rayna is dead. He stopped when he shouldn’t have,” Michael roars.

  “She was screaming the truck down, what was I supposed to do when she was scared out of her mind?”

  “Get her to the fuckin’ hospital.”

  “I couldn’t drive with her like that, I panicked myself, okay.”

  No one is backing down and Mark stands watching with interest and disgust.

  “Shut up, the both of you,” he yells, getting in between them.

  He pushes Michael back further and I stay close to Micky.

  “This is my fault and no one else’s,” he yells at the both of them.

  “No, Mark, it’s not,” Michael says, adamantly.

  “Yes, it is. I should have been there with her. She’s my wife and it is my job to protect her. I didn’t and now she isn’t here anymore. This is on me, so back off.”

  Michael’s grief is laced with anger and he struggles to keep it in, Mark sees his brothers pain and it sets him off.

  Roaring from the bottom of his gut, he reaches for the closest stick of furniture and throws a chair across bar, quickly followed by smashing another chair against the wall.

  Picking up the third chair, he swings it across the back of the bar and all the bottles smash to the floor. Liquor spills everywhere and the stench fills my nose.

  “Calm down, Mark,” I coax, wrapping my arms around him to restrain him before he hurts himself.

  He falls to the floor in my hold and I follow him down as he sobs and tries to claw at his chest.

  “Come on brother. Let’s get you to the house,” I murmur.

  When he can’t use his legs, I nod to Micky and together, taking an arm each, we lift him to his feet and half carry him across to the house.

  No one says a word as they see their president crippled with pain and the moment is sobering for us all.

  He reacts when he sees the baby in Flo’s arms and finds his legs to stand on his own.

  “I want to be alone with Alannah,” he says.

  Flo looks to Micky, silently asking if she should and Mark doesn’t miss it.

  “What are you looking at him for? Pass me my daughter.”

  “Sure.”

  She carefully exchanges her arms for Mark’s and makes sure he is holding the kid’s head properly when she says, “You shouldn’t be alone right now, Mark.”

  “I’m not alone, I’m with my daughter,” he retorts sharply.

  I wait for everyone to leave first and with one last glance at my best friend, being with his kid is the best thing for him.

  Following everyone outside, I can’t bear to go home and leave the club. I haul my ass back to the bar and call Shellie. I want her here with me.

  Chapter Twenty-Eight

  Shellie

  The brightness of the sun brings no light to the darkness hovering over the club. There’s a sense of loss much greater than one man’s pain and it spreads like wildfire. John is doing his best to keep the peace and keep the club going. Mark hasn’t left the house since he brought Alannah home from the hospital and Flo watches over him like a hawk. He only allows her to help as a last resort but everything else, he does himself. I’ve steered clear of Michael, he is angry beyond words and anyone who gets in his way or says something he doesn’t like, he hits out and becomes extremely violent. I’ve been watching them all and it’s all broken. They’re all broken.

  Everyone in the club has arranged Rayna’s funeral but only the people who were close to her are allowed to attend the service at the cemetery. There’s a wake planned at the bar afterwards and many are expected to show to pay their respects.

  I spent most of yesterday with Flo and Kitty preparing food and making sure the club had enough drink in. John, Micky, Flo and I stand to the side of the grave while Michael sits with Kitty holding the baby.

  Mark looms over the graveside and a part of me wonders if he’s going to jump in after Rayna. He certainly looks like he would.

  Under John’s arm and my arms around his waist, I cling to him with everything I have. Michael joins Mark and they exchange words no one else can hear. It leaves Mark looking angry and Michael looking guilty behind his back as he walks over and takes Alannah from Kitty. Whatever is going on between them John hasn’t mentioned anything.

  The service isn’t long and after Mark leaves, the rest of us say our own goodbyes, free to show our grief without Mark around.

  I remember the first time I saw Rayna, she was laughing at something Michael was saying and I thought she was the most beautiful woman I had ever seen. The first time I actually spoke with her was on her wedding night and she fast became my friend when her kindness after the shooting made me realise there are good people left in the world.

  She was a dear friend to me and she had it all, no one is safe in this world, even the good ones. Goodbye Rayna I send up and allow John to lead me back to his bike.

  Flo is crouched by the grave when I look back and her and Micky cry together as Michael scowls. It’s one of the things that drive me crazy in the club, no matter situation you are in, you never know the whole story. There’s more to Rayna’s death than they’re letting on but I wouldn’t gain any answers by asking questions.

  John rides slow and halfway back to the club, Micky and Flo, and Michael and Kitty catch us up and my breath is taken away when I see the road leading up to the gates lined with motorcycles and Lost Souls. They said they were expecting a lot of men but I didn’t think they’d go this far to show their respect.

  John rides through them all and as Micky and Michael ride behind us, the line of bikes in turn start their engines and ride in behind us.

  “Are you okay?” John asks, grabbing my hand and helping me off the bike.

  “I don’t know,” I answer him honestly.

  “It opens your eyes to everything, doesn’t it?” he murmurs, opening the door to the bar.

  “It certainly does.”

  We go our separate ways, he to the bar where always fucking sits and me to the couches wanting a comfy seat before they get taken up.

  The bar fills and music comes through the speakers on low. People are talking but no one raises their voices.

  It hits me that while everyone has turned up for Rayna, none of them will ever change. After today their lives will move on and it will be the same shit they d
o day in and day out. She might not have died because of the club but the club is what kept her here. She made this place her home and she made everyone her family.

  I want John as my family but not the club. I want more, so much more than I know is available here. I don’t want the rest of life revolved around this place. A life of uncertainty, of danger, of never knowing if the man I love is going to walk through the door again. Mark left on business excited for the birth of his daughter and came home and had to bury his wife. If I died whilst John was on a run, no one would know until he decided he wanted to come home, it could be days before I’m found. My vision blurs through the tears of realisation that my relationship with John is over. Tears for me, for John and for Rayna.

  Hours pass and John hasn’t moved from the bar. My back aches and my legs are stiff and when I stand, it takes a minute to gain a steady footing.

  John is surrounded by Lost Souls but he isn’t in conversation with any of them and I cut through and stand beside him.

  “It’s getting late and I’m tired, are you coming home tonight?”

  I don’t know why I’m asking, he won’t leave the club tonight, not during this dark time.

  “I’m gonna stay close to Mark in case he needs me,” he slurs, the smell of whiskey hitting me hard on his breath.

  “Will I see you tomorrow?”

  We need to talk, not that he knows it, and I don’t want this dragging on.

  “I won’t lie to you and make promises I won’t keep, but I probably won’t be home for a few days.”

  Just as I expected, I lean up and kiss him on his cheek and swallow the lump of six years wasted.

  “I’ll see you soon then,” I mutter, turning my back on him before he sees the tears pooling in my eyes.

  It hurts when he doesn’t follow me, he didn’t ask me to stay with him here and it hurts when I get to the confines of my car and my hearts breaks for the final time over John Johnson and a life we are never going to have.

  ****

  He didn’t lie when he said he wouldn’t be home for a few days. I’ve waited for four days to talk with him and each day he doesn’t turn up, anger replaces the hurt and makes my decision to leave much easier.

  Walking around the house, I make sure I have packed everything that is mine and leave a letter in clear view on the kitchen table. During my crying moments where I haven’t been angry, I managed to put all my thoughts on paper for him to try and finally see and understand. Apart from an old photograph of the two of us shortly after we met, everything is boxed and is packed into the car. My mom is expecting me and said I can stay with her until I find my own place and start over. She no longer lives with my dad and with my brothers’ in prison, she is like a different woman. She no longer drinks and when she reached out to me a year ago, we have begun to rebuild a new relationship. She doesn’t live in Willows Peak anymore and the distance will be good for me.

  The drive to the club isn’t as hard as I thought it would be, it feels refreshing to know this is the last time I will have to trek out here to talk to him. I can’t begin to fathom how many hours I’ve spent making this trip.

  The clubhouse is quiet when I arrive and no one notices me as I head straight for John’s room upstairs. He took over the room here a while ago when the house was too homely for him.

  His door is unlocked and I let myself in and his bed is empty. His absence fuels my anger as I wonder where he is. He hasn’t been home and he isn’t here, he wasn’t outside or in the bar.

  Using the time alone, I round up the few belongings I’ve left here on occasions when I’ve stayed over and shove them into a bag from the closet.

  I’m in my own little world and I don’t hear the door open again.

  “What the fuck are you doin’?”

  I spin round and John is looming in the doorway.

  “I can’t do this anymore,” I tell him, turning back to zipping up the bag.

  “Do what?” he asks, confused.

  “This!” I yell, spinning around to face him again.

  I leave him to register what’s happening and check the bathroom for anything I’ve missed. While I’m in there, a commotion erupts from the room and when I walk back in he has undone the bag and is emptying my things on the floor.

  “What are you doing?” I cry out.

  “Why are you doing this?” he asks, as I shove everything back in the bag.

  Is he serious? Like he’s said before, our relationship always ends up having this conversation, I have to make him see this is for the best, for the both of us. We’ll both be free to have the life we want.

  “Where do you see us in the future?”

  “Here,” he shrugs.

  “Exactly, I don’t want to be here any longer, John. I don’t want to die with only this being my life.”

  He can see I’m serious.

  “Don’t go, please, I love you.”

  I choose to laugh at him than fall at his feet and cry. It’s his classic line when I’m not happy. He loves me, I know he does but I’m only hearing it when he wants me off his back.

  “You are not using that line again on me, John. If you truly love me then come with me. We can get far away from here and start over. Mark isn’t going to be the same again, do you think he’s going to give a damn about this club now he’s lost Rayna?”

  It’s a waste of breath asking him to leave the club, but I owe it to myself to know for sure he won’t leave with me as I can’t stay here. The look of horror on his face tells me all I need to know.

  “I won’t give my club up.”

  I knew it.

  “But you’ll give me up? This is why I need to go, I know I don’t come first with you. I want to be someone’s first priority, John.”

  There I’ve said it, I sink onto the bed and keep going.

  “You have given me so much over the years and I will always be grateful to you but Rayna’s death has shown me no one is invisible. I don’t want to be here and you won’t leave with me. We have to say goodbye.”

  I thought I’d end up crying, but my eyes are dry. I see the second he sees he can’t talk me out of it and deep down, he must know I’m doing the right thing for us.

  “Where will you go?”

  “To my moms, she’s expecting me.”

  He sits beside me and the bottle of whiskey in his hand falls to the floor.

  “There is nothing I can say to make you stay, is there?” he asks.

  “It’s not what you say, it’s what you won’t do for me. Come on John, unless you’ll come with me there’s nothing left to say.”

  “Please don’t do this, Shell.”

  I take his hand in mine and lock eyes with him so I know he’s listening.

  “I’ll always love you but the longer I stay here, the less I will feel about you and I don’t want to hate you.”

  Closing his eyes, he nods gently and mutters, “Then you should go.”

  My heart breaks the final connection still holding a little piece together and I let go of his hand. It’s happening and I’m not going to stick around to change my mind. This is for the best.

  “Will you at least let me know you arrive safely at your moms?”

  “Sure.”

  “Come on, I’ll walk you to your car.” He says, reaching down for his whiskey and rising to his feet.

  He also takes my bag and I take hold of his hand again for one last time having him to myself. Neither of us say anything on the way down to my car and he throws my bag on the backseat. I want to get in the car and drive far from here before he sees me cry again, but I stop myself and turn back to him and his sad, empty eyes.

  “Thank you,” I smile.

  “For what?”

  “Loving me enough to let me go…”

  Before I can finish, I’m pulled against him and he kisses me hard and fast. I allow myself to enjoy his touch for a few seconds too long before pushing him away before I get completely sucked back in.

  “Goodbye, John.


  Opening my door, I climb in and turn the key in the ignition. I don’t look at him or the clubhouse, I’m leaving the life I had here for six years and while it’s not the life for me, I will miss John every day for the rest of my life.

  He loves me enough to let me go, and I love him enough to leave before we end up hating each other. Love isn’t always happy ever afters, sometimes it’s making the right decisions even when your heart fights your head.

  Part Four

  Lost Soul till I die

  Chapter Twenty-Nine

  Cas - Present Day

  I can’t wait in my office any longer. I need the outside and the fresh air. Also, if I remain in my office where Slade is working on gathering every scrap of information he can. I will breathe down his neck demanding he work faster when I already know he can’t go any faster than he already is.

  The windows on the main house are all open, giving it a good airing and I think at least having the women and kids held up there is one thing I’ve got right this week.

  The glare on my face is keeping everyone away from me and I’m thankful for the space to think. I need to get Oak back and the longer they have him, the harder it’s becoming not to act recklessly.

  I’m on my feet and heading for the gate before I see the truck I can hear hurtling up the main road. Brother’s follow behind me and withdraw their guns as the car comes through the gates.

  It stops shortly before it runs me down and I clock it’s one of our prospects. Dex, what the fuck was he playing at?

  He’s in such a rush to get to me, he leaves the truck running and his door wide open.

  “They got Sparky,” he pants, out of breath.

  “What? Tell me what happened, now.”

  Sparky didn’t mention anything about having to leave. I made it pretty fucking clear no one was to leave on their own.

  “His old lady wanted some stuff from their house so he had me drive him out to his place, I went in to get a couple of bags, I heard a shot, I ran down the stairs to see what was going on and saw a van speeding away. Sparky wasn’t anywhere to be seen so I got in the truck and chased after them. I got close but they shot at me near the town so I held back and came here. I didn’t want to draw any attention to the club.”

 
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