Drag Creek, Kentucky
Taking a hard drag off my cigarette, I stop in my tracks, looking at the man next to me. My brother. He’s really home for good. Too fucking bad it took our mother’s death and his daughter being taken to bring Striker’s ass back to Drag Creek, but I’m glad he’s here. The years we spent apart I felt a piece of me was missing and now with him at my side running the club, standing in the steel toed boots of the men who raised us, I feel whole.
Flecks of grey are peppered through his dark hair. We aren’t getting any younger. Every damn day he looks more like Romeo.
Snow falls around us, illuminating the ground. As the wind whips around us, I feel trapped in a fucking snow globe. A real Hallmark moment if you will. The frigid air nips at my cheeks as Axel, Abel, and Cole select a tree. Snow caps the top of the massive pine and I wonder how in the hell the damn thing will fit in the bar. I never thought I would see this day. All of us together doing something so Goddamned mundane as cutting down a Christmas tree for the Roadhouse but here we are one big fuckin’ happy family.
My brother looks over to me and smiles. Another thing I never thought I’d see again. There has been a lot of bad blood between us, but we are looking forward and leaving the past where it belongs. With Grim and Romeo retired it is up to us to continue to grow this club and leave something for our boys to inherit. I never thought I’d live this long let alone have a family of my own. However, here I stand years later after losing Rumor the horrible way that I did a changed man, because of Chelle and the love she gives me so freely.
Looking up at the sky I wonder if Rumor ever looks down on me and if she is proud of the man her death made me. I never deserved her, but she was mine, loving me with her pure heart. Chelle understands the scars that have marked my heart. She knows that one day even though I’ve made peace with that part of my life I want to see Sarah again in the hereafter. I don’t know if Heaven has a place for a sinner like me, but I go to church every Sunday all the same.
My brother’s hand comes down on my shoulder in a tight squeeze. “She’s happy for you, man. She’d have wanted this for you. For all of us. Karly thinks about her often and how different things might have gone if she were still here.”
I nod and take one last puff before snuffing the cherry out.
“Right. When did you grow to be so wise?”
“I’ve always been smart, cocksucker.”
“Whatever, grandpa.” I flick my finger at one of his gray patches of hair.
“Fuck off,” he growls, and I smirk.
“What? Don’t like being called grandpa?”
“It’s Grampy,” Cole yells with a chuckle and I shake my damn head.
“Won’t be long before you’re a grandpa too, old man. Harley set a date yet?” My asshole of a brother smirks at me.
“New Years.” I didn’t think the fucker had it in him, but Reaper, my daughter’s man did as I asked. Brought me the head of that bastard, Tiny Leone. I promised my blessing and I gave it. Never fucking thought I’d marry my daughter of to a motherfuckin’ Devils Reject but things have changed. Our clubs have found peace. We’re trying to do things differently. My boys will be headed to Texas soon, after the holidays to start a new charter, that consists of both Black Rebels and Devils Rejects. Axel says they are calling themselves the Black Rebel Devils MC.
“You boys gonna cut that tree down or are you trying to get dick bite,” Striker grits at our sons rubbing his hands together for warmth.
“The fuck is dick bite?” I question.
“Frostbite of the dick, motherfucker. Give me a cigarette,” he demands, blowing out a breath that fogs up the lens of his glasses.
“I thought you quit.” I pull the pack out of the inner pocket of my cut and shake him one out.
“I did.” He flashes me a smile accepting the lighter I hold out to him next.
“You old asses just gonna stand there and watch or were ye planning on actually helping?” Abel yells.
Walking into the house it’s quiet. I’m still not used to the silence. Abel still technically lives at home, but he never stays here. He’s always off doing his own thing. Chelle is mad at me too. Hates that I am sending our sons to Texas, but it’s for the best. Axel has pending charges and Abel will go wherever his brother is, so it only makes sense to send them. It was my brother’s idea and I agree with him.
“Honey, I’m home,” I call out as I kick my boots off and shrug my jacket and cut off, hanging both in the coat closet. I’m met with more silence. I move through the house to the kitchen. Usually, my wife keeps me a plate warm in the oven but tonight there is nothing. Not even leftovers in the fridge. Damn, she must be angrier than I thought. My stomach growls and I fix myself a ham sandwich. As I walk through the house eating my late-night snack, I can hear the TV on in the bedroom. I go to open the bedroom door and it’s locked. I knock once. “Come on, Chelle, you can’t stay mad forever.”
The volume lowers on the TV.
I knock again. “Let me in. Final warning. You know what happened last time,” I warn. She pulled this shit once before and I knocked the damn thing off the hinges. I start to kick it in when it swings open and my wife stands on the other side with a hand on her hip.
“Idiot,” she grumbles and gets back under the covers.
“But I’m your idiot.” I smirk.