Valiant: Joker's Wrath MC, page 11
She’s been out with some boy constantly, barely coming home. I try to talk with her, but she’s too far gone. She’s using heavier now, also. Whoever she’s seeing is giving her drugs. York is abusive to her, and to me, but she has the chance to escape. She disappears into her drugs and her boyfriend, but I’m stuck here, too afraid to leave, too numb to force myself to walk away.
York is sleeping, and I managed to sneak his phone so I could call Shania.
“No, everything is fine.”
“You’re my best friend, Maddie. I know everything is not fine. I know it. What’s happening? Please.”
“I can’t talk,” I whisper. “I can’t talk, Shania. Okay?”
“Is he hurting you? Has something happened?”
Her voice is frantic. I want to tell her, but I can’t. If I tell her, then she’ll come here, or call the police, and I can’t even imagine what York would do to Rae and me if that happened. I don’t trust him. I don’t trust how far he’d take it. I’m terrified he would indeed take a life in one of his fits of rage. That thought petrifies me. I should run, but I’m starting to think there is nowhere I could hide.
“No. I’ve been unwell,” I lie.
I hate lying. I hate it more than anything.
“I don’t believe you,” she says, her voice low. “I just don’t believe you.”
“I’m telling the truth.”
I try to steady my voice, to make it sound as normal as possible, but it’s really hard when I know, with every piece of myself, that I’m doing the wrong thing. I should tell her, but I’m too afraid of the consequences if I do.
“Do I need to come up there?” she asks.
“No,” I say, probably a little too quickly. “No, please don’t. I’ll come and see you soon, I swear, but please, just let me be for now.”
“Maddie, seriously ...”
“Shania, if you love me, please trust me. I’m okay, but I need you to do as I’m asking.”
Her voice goes quiet for a second, before she whispers, “Fine, but if I don’t see or hear from you soon, I’m coming up there, Maddie. End of story.”
I keep my voice from shaking when I say, “Okay, but I promise, it’s going to be fine.”
She hesitates again, then says, “I have to go, but please, please, I beg of you, call me if you need me.”
“I promise,” I whisper.
“Love you, too.”
I hang up the phone and press it to my chest for a moment, taking a few deep, shaky breaths. I hate lying. Hate it more than anything in the world.
“What the fuck did I tell you about the phone?”
My back jerks straight, and the phone slips from my hand. No. He was listening? He was there? I turn slowly and see York standing in the doorway, an expression on his face that terrifies me.
“I was just, ah ...”
“What the fuck have I told you about the phone?” he bellows so loudly I flinch and take a shaky step back.
“I’m sorry. I just wanted to, I just ...”
Why am I stammering? Why can’t I defend myself? What the hell is wrong with me?
I’m so weak.
“Give me that phone,” he hisses, stepping forward.
I hand him the phone without hesitation.
But that’s not enough to cool his mood. He’s coming down. He hasn’t had a hit. He’s angry and unhappy, and he’s about to take it out on me. I can see it in his eyes, in his body language. It’s written all over his face. I prepare myself, taking a deep breath, clenching my fists, trying to take my mind to a happier place.
“You’ll pay for disobeying me.”
And pay I do.
Pay. I. Do.
NOW – BAYLEE
“Oh, my gosh,” I say, stepping into the massive three-story home. “This is ... incredible.”
“Yeah,” Jack says, stepping up beside me. “My dad and mom bought it when I was little as a holiday home. They rent it out mostly, but we always book a trip each year and we get to stay here for nothing. The only rule is we don’t destroy anything, and if we do, we have to replace it.”
“It’s such a beautiful home,” I breathe, walking in further.
Polished wooden floors line the amazing home. It boasts modern furniture, and a massive white wooden kitchen. The lights are warm, giving it a homely feel. A spiral staircase leads up to the other two stories. It’s the biggest, most amazing home I’ve ever had the pleasure of stepping into. Jack takes my hand, leading me through the house, and out onto the back deck.
Huge, wooden, with a built-in spa and barbeque off to the left. A massive table and chairs sits in the middle, and to the right there is a large outdoor couch in the corner. That’s not what makes it incredible though, no, it’s the fact that the house is backed right onto the beach. The beach. My heart skips a beat as I look out over the golden sand, and the water lapping against it.
“Oh,” I breathe. “Oh, my gosh!”
“It’s nice, isn’t it?” Jack says, tugging my hand and leading me down off the porch and onto the sand.
“It’s the most beautiful thing I’ve ever seen. Jack, it’s perfect.”
“We hire a sail boat for the weekend, and we launch it from there—” he points to a massive wooden platform going out onto the ocean. “It’s heaps of fun.”
“Wow, I don’t know why your parents don’t live here. I’d never be able to leave this place.”
“Yeah, I used to think that, too, but then I realised coming here just once a year keeps its meaning. I think if you lived here every day, you wouldn’t look at it the way you’re looking at it right now.”
“I see your point,” I say distractedly, staring at the water. “Can we go in?”
“The water?” he asks.
“Of course. You got a swim suit?”
I nod. I can only wear a full swim suit. No bikinis here. I lose my smile at the thought, especially when Molly and Matilda skip past in their bikinis. They have beautiful bodies. Perfect. Maybe this wasn’t such a good idea.
“Hey,” Jack says, snapping me out of my thoughts. “You okay?”
I look to him. “Yeah, maybe we can go for a swim later? I think I’d like to take a walk right now.”
“Mind if I join you?”
I smile. “I’d love that.”
We start walking down the beach, occasionally his arm brushes mine, and electricity shoots through my body. I don’t know what this feeling is that I have when I’m around Jack, but it penetrates deep, deeper than my heart. It’s an affection that I can feel in the deepest parts of me. I know I can trust him. I know it, but I hold myself back.
Fear has a funny way of doing that.
It warps even the best, most beautiful things and turns them into insecurities, anger, frustration, terror, and pain.
“Have you spent much time on the beach?” Jack asks.
“Honestly, not a great deal. I’ve been inland more than on the coast. So, when I come here and smell the sea air, I really love it.”
“I’m the same. I look forward to this trip every year. It’s my favourite thing to do.”
“Have you brought many girls with you?”
Why the hell did I just ask that?
My cheeks grow warm, and I move away from him a little, but if he notices he doesn’t say anything. He just answers without hesitation. He holds nothing back.
“No, I haven’t. You’re the first.”
He grins at me. “Don’t get too excited. One weekend with that feral bunch back there and you might be wishing you never came.”
“I like them,” I admit warmly. “I really love their kind of crazy. I wish I had siblings growing up. Honestly, I’d do anything to have that around.”
“Well, you can have mine. I’m happy to share.”
I laugh softly. “I’ll be sure
He chuckles. “At least take Phoenix and Quinn off my hands. I feel like life will be a whole lot easier if they’re a little less ... involved.”
I smile. “They’re not so bad. Crazy, sure, but not so bad.”
“Just you wait.”
I feel warm inside. I’m happy to see whatever it is they show me. I want it all. The laughs. The crazy. The safety of a family. Hell, even all the pain and drama that can come with it. I want it all, so badly it hurts. The scar on my stomach burns, as if it’s reminding me that’ll never happen. A painful truth that has my heart plummeting in my chest.
“We should get back,” Jack says, studying me with those intense eyes. “We’ll do some dinner and have a few drinks by a bonfire. It’s tradition for the first night.”
“Sounds amazing,” I beam.
“Oh, there is one other tradition that got passed down from our parents.”
“Oh?” I ask as we turn around.
Jack grins at me. “Yeah, truth or dare. It gets messy. There has been a loss of clothes more than once.”
My mouth drops open.
He winks at me.
Sounds like we’re in for a long, somewhat wild night.
“Truth or dare!” Molly cries, pointing her finger at Roman, who is sitting beside her, beer in his hand, his brown eyes dancing with laughter.
“Truth. I don’t trust you one single bit.”
She rolls her eyes. “You’re such a pussy. You never give me dare. There should be a rule that you can’t pick the same thing twice.”
“Nice try.” He laughs. “Now, hit me with a wild truth. Don’t ask about my incredible love life, and all the ladies that have thrown themselves at me, I don’t want everyone else to get embarrassed.”
Molly snorts, thumps his arm, and then says, “Truth. Have you ever peed on someone?”
“Sweet Jesus,” Matilda groans, wiggling closer to TJ. “I’m really not sure I want to know the answer to that.”
“I do!” Quinn calls.
“Of course you fuckin’ do,” Diesel mutters.
“Remember, if you’ve done it, you have to drink,” Molly says, wiggling her brows at everyone before looking to Roman. “Sooo?”
He sighs, runs a hand through his hair and says, “Well, there was this one time ...”
“Oh, my God, Roman!” she squeals, pressing her hands over her mouth. “That’s it. We’re over. I can’t. I can’t even. If you’ve peed on someone, I just ... I just ...”
Roman bursts out laughing. “I haven’t peed on anyone, you fucking nut job.”
Molly exhales, pressing a hand to her chest. “Thank God. I was worried. I mean, I’ve had your ... you know ... in my mouth ...”
Everyone bursts out laughing.
“God. Molly. Gross,” Matilda groans. “We do not need that image.”
Roman looks to Molly. “So we won’t tell her about the time we borrowed her car and—”
Molly slaps Roman and then the two of them burst out laughing.
“What?” Matilda says, pressing her hands to her hips. “If you spoofed somewhere in my car, Roman, I swear to god I’ll nut you.”
Molly is laughing so hard now, her whole body shakes. Roman grins at her, then looks to Matilda. “Just don’t get too handsy with that steering wheel if you know what I mean.”
“Dammit, Roman, you better be kidding!” Matilda squeaks, pressing her hands over her eyes.
“You’ll never know.” He winks at her.
“Anyway,” Mercy laughs. “That was wildly entertaining, and considering nobody drank, I’m assuming we’re all safe from having peed on other people. Who is next?”
“Considering you broke the wild horses and got them to stop talking about spoof,” Jack says with a laugh, “I’m saying you. Go.”
Mercy looks around the group, and her eyes fall on Quinn. “Truth or dare.”
He claps his hands happily, clearly excited about the chance to have a turn. I can’t wipe the smile off my face, they’re all so funny. So easy going. So great.
“Ohhh.” Mercy grins. “I like an adventurous spirit.”
Diesel snorts beside her.
“Okay, let me think.”
She presses a hand to her chin and looks around for a while, before a huge smile spreads across her face. “There’s four girls sitting about twenty metres down the beach, they’ve been looking over here for a while. I want you to take your pants off, but leave your shirt on, and just stroll over and ask them to join us.”
Quinn glances down the beach, and a huge grin spreads across his face. “And if they join us?”
“Then you get to hit me with double truth or dare.” Mercy winks.
My cheeks flush as Quinn stands, drops his shorts like there isn’t a group of people sitting right next to him, and turns, strutting down the beach, bare bum on view for the world to see. Everyone is laughing so hard. Even me. My stomach hurts from the shaking. He’s confident in himself, I’ll give him that much.
We all watch as he stops in front of the girls, puts his hands on his hips and starts talking to them. There is a good deal of giggling happening, and their eyes constantly drop to what is obviously hanging right in their faces.
“The fucker is going to pull it off,” Jack says between laughs.
“That’s because we boys were blessed with great, big—”
“Phoenix!” Kaylee says, flushing. “Don’t you dare say that word.”
“C’mon, Kay, if you’ve got it, flaunt it.”
“He did it, the shifty little fucker did it,” Matilda mumbles, shaking her head.
We all watch as the four girls follow Quinn, and his bare ass, back to the fire we’re all sitting around. He winks at Mercy, and then leans down, in slow motion, so we all get a great view of his goods. I look down at my hands, because, well, awkward.
“Put your pants on, dickhead,” Diesel grunts. “You’re scaring us.”
“Ladies,” Phoenix says, standing and strutting over. “I’m Phoenix, his better half, the stronger egg, the fastest sperm. I like to think I was the egg that was chosen to be split in half, and he was simply produced from me. And yes, I’m equally as well endowed.”
Hysterical laughter fills the night.
I can’t get enough of them.
NOW – BAYLEE
“Truth or dare,” Jack says to me, his voice soft, his eyes heavy from alcohol.
He looks relaxed. Gorgeous. So incredibly gorgeous.
“I don’t trust any of you and your dares,” I say softly, my voice lazy from alcohol, too. “So, truth.”
He grins and rubs his chin, as if he’s deep in thought. “Let me see, what do I want to know the most about you?”
“Keep it clean, Jack,” Matilda says. “She’s a nice girl.”
Jack looks to me, and rolls his eyes. I can’t help but laugh.
“Yeah, do go easy on me, I’m shy,” I say, just loud enough that he can hear.
“Okay, truth,” he begins. “What’s the most awkward date you’ve ever had?”
He’s going easy on me, thank god. If he asked about sex, I might have just died. I think about his question for a minute, but I already have an answer. I’ll never forget the date for as long as I live.
“Well, when I was about seventeen, I went on a date with this guy from school. He was so hot, so gorgeous, the boy that everyone wanted. You know the one?”
All the girls nod.
“Anyway, he asked me out. Me! I was so excited. I got all dressed up, and we went to this local seafood restaurant. I honestly thought I was the luckiest girl in the world. Seriously, I couldn’t get over it. I just sat there, staring at him. He seemed off, and was squirming quite a bit, but I was so fixated on him, I didn’t pay a great deal of atte
I pause for effect and everyone leans in.
“What? What?” Molly cries. “Share!”
“He farted. It wasn’t just a small, tiny sound. It came out so loud, the entire restaurant stopped eating and just stared. That wasn’t the worst part, though. No. It was the smell. It was so bad. So. Bad. I can’t even describe it. This handsome, popular jock, literally farted during dinner.”
“Did he mean it?” Matilda says through fits of laughter.
“No, he had a sore stomach. At the time, I was so disgusted. Suddenly, I just thought he was the most horrible person in the world. I mean, I was seventeen, and he was supposed to be, I don’t know, God. Anyway, now I look back, I feel so sorry for him. I can’t imagine how embarrassing that would have been.”
“That’s so good.” Jack chuckles. “So fucking good.”
“What about you?” I ask him. “What’s your most awkward date?”
He stops laughing and shakes his head. “No way. No freaking way.”
Diesel laughs. “Tell her dude, go on.”
“No. Fuck that. It’s terrible.”
“You have to tell me now.” I grin, nudging him with my shoulder.
“I’ll tell it if you don’t,” Molly giggles.
“Friendship code, Mol!” he says to her, pressing a hand to his heart in feigned upset.
“Come on, I told you mine!” I plead.
“Fuck,” Jack mutters. “Okay, fine. Dammit. So I was dating this girl. We were casual for a few months, when I finally took her out to dinner. She came over, and Dad was there. He opened the door for me, because I was still getting ready. I was only about eighteen, I was excited, she was hot, and I thought I’d scored big time.”
I roll my eyes and he grins at me.
“Anyway, I walk downstairs and this girl, this woman who is supposed to be so into me, is sitting on the couch talking to my dad. Doesn’t seem unnatural, right? Wrong. As I got around to his side, I could see his face was blank and he was just staring at her.”
He stops talking and looks to me.
“Come on!” I urge. “What happened?”
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