Made to Riot_The Ancestors MC, page 17part #5 of Beards and Leather Series
“We’re about to have company. Stay close, and keep your head down.
She nodded in understanding. My gun in my hand, I stood near the door leading to the bar. The footsteps had stopped and I knew they were ready for me. Taking a deep, slow breath, I kicked open the door.
The gunshots sounded as soon as the door burst open. Pulling Anya close, I darted out as fast as I could, taking cover behind the end of the bar. I looked up at the mirror behind the bar and sure enough, a half-dozen goons from the crew, guys I’d never seen and were probably brought on with promise of possible membership if they took me out, were in the place.
More shots rang out as we took cover, the rounds crashing into the mirror above and sending down massive shards of broken glass. I pulled Anya out of the way of the shower, moving us further along down the bar. Raising the pistol over the bar and keeping my head down, I fired off a few rounds, one of them hitting a goon square in the forehead—the lucky shot to end all lucky shots.
Back and forth we traded fire, and just when I was out of rounds, I caught a glimpse of something behind some of the glasses under the bar. A broad smile formed on my face when I realized that it was the pump-action shotgun that the bartender kept around for emergencies. I pulled it out, loaded it with shells from the orange and black box next to it, and waited for my opening.
“We know you’re outta shots!” called out Thorne. “Come out now and we’ll only kill you. You make us come drag you outta there and we kill that bitch of yours before we put a round right in your fuckin’ head!”
That did it. Turning towards Anya, the look of fear on her face was the only motivation I needed to do anything it took to keep her safe. No fucking way was I gonna let these assholes lay a single goddamn finger on her.
Keeping the shotgun close to my body I stood up, training the weapon on the first goon I saw. I pulled the trigger, the gun going off with a thunderclap bang. The shot hit true, getting the goon right in the chest and sending him over the table just behind him.
I felt like I was moving at standard speed while the rest of the world was stuck in slow-mo. I pulled the pump of the shotgun back and brought the next goon into my sights. Another bang, another dead thug. Then another, then another. Thorne finally getting a bead on me and taking a shot that barely went wide was the only thing that got me to drop back down rather than finish off the rest of these pricks.
I looked over at Anya, who was curled into a tight ball, her wide blue eyes on me. She seemed to be holding up well so far, but the fight wasn’t over yet.
Gunshots sounded out, the glass bottles of booze lined above shattering into explosions of glass, the clear and brown liquids within spilling out here and there.
Anya pointed to my arm, where a large shard of glass from above had lodged itself into my forearm. Blood wept from the wound, but I couldn’t feel a damn thing through the adrenaline.
Two thugs, plus Papa and Thorne, I thought.
I knew that if I could just get it down to one or two of these assholes I’d stand a fighting chance. The gunshots died down for a second as they reloaded. I looked around for something I could use to even the odds, my eyes settling on the swing hinge that separated the behind-the-bar area from the rest of the room. Getting Anya’s attention, I directed her to the area, making sure she saw the latch that was currently holding the barrier up. She nodded in understanding and crawled carefully towards it.
“Last chance, motherfucker!” shouted Thorne.
Anya took her place, and turned back to me for instructions. I held up a hand and listened carefully for the men to finish reloading. Once they stopped, I looked at Anya with wide eyes and mouthed “now”!
She reached up and unfastened the hinge, the wooden barrier falling down and landing with a bang that sounded just as loud as a gunshot.
Now was the time.
More gunshots rang out, these in the direction of the noise. Anya hid safely behind the bar and I went over the barrier for another go. Once I was over I saw that the plan had worked—everyone’s attention was right where I wanted it.
I took aim at one of the goons and sent a round right at him. I pumped, turned my attention to the next, and with another bang, he was down too. Next was Papa. I lined him up but the shot went wide, instead hitting the lights above and sending a shower of sparks and glass down on top of him.
I didn’t have time to get Thorne, but when I heard his gun click empty I knew that the fight was over.
Leaping over the bar, I spotted Thorne going for one of the goons’ guns. I cut the distance between us and slammed my boot down hard on the thing, crunching a couple of Thorne’s fingers in the process. He let out a yelp as I stepped on him, looking up at me with eyes that boiled with anger.
“You did it,” he said. “You fuckin’ killed us all. I hope it was worth it.”
The shotgun in my hands, I pumped it one more time, and took aim.
We rode in silence, the events of the last couple of hours playing through my mind again and again. Part of me was shocked that Bryce had been able to pull off what he’d done, but another part of me felt like this man, this force of nature, could do anything he set his mind to. My arms wrapped around his body as we drove, I cast a glance at the bandaged-up wound on his arm from the glass. The shard had hit a vein, and he was lucky that I’d been there to get him patched up.
We made a good team that way.
But as soon as we stepped outside of the bar, he’d told me that it was time to take me home. I’d seen enough of this shit, he’d said, and I’d come close to death one too many times for his liking. I stomped and yelled; I didn’t want to leave him behind—I couldn’t. But he was insistent. So, as we rode, my tears wet the fabric of his shirt as I pressed my face against his back.
We made the drive to my home, and as we pulled up I realized that it was the last place I wanted to see. The sat little house seemed smaller and squatter than it was before, and I could see the thin, flickering light of the TV in the living room from where Eddie and Connor were likely getting shitfaced and watching wrestling.
Bryce pulled the bike to a stop in front of the house and killed the engine, the silence of the evening coming over us.
“This is where you get off,” he said over his shoulder.
“But you can’t,” I said, still pleading, still trying to change his mind. “After all we’ve been through; you can’t just dump me off here like nothing happened.”
“It ain’t a matter of ‘want to’,” he said, shaking his head. “It’s a matter of you not getting killed following me around. That shootout at the bar … it was too close. I can’t risk something happening to you because of my damn fool life.”
“But I can handle myself,” I said, my voice weak. “I helped.”
He looked away, appearing to think the matter over for a brief moment.
“Sorry, kid,” he said. “This ride’s over.”
And that was it. I knew there was no convincing him. I climbed off the bike and started towards the house. But before I could get too far, the front door opened, revealing Eddie and Connor.
“Hey!” shouted Connor, his face twisted in anger. “Where the fuck you been?”
“You been hanging out with this biker asshole?” shouted Eddie, stepping out onto the porch with a beer in his hand, likely his eighth of the night.
“That’s the last fuckin’ time we let you run off like that,” said Connor before draining the last of his beer and tossing the can onto the lawn.
“Yeah,” said Eddie. “And tell this shithead to not drive his bike right onto our goddamn lawn.”
Bryce said nothing in response, and I quickly figured he was exercising serious restraint for my sake in not picking up Eddie and tossing him right through the living room window.
I’d gotten used to my brothers talking to me like this; it was really nothing new. But somethi
I felt anger.
“You gonna say something?” said Connor. “Or are you just gonna stand there like a goddamn retard?”
The next few seconds were like a blur. I remember stomping towards Connor, my hands in tight fists. Without thinking, as if I’d been possessed by something other than myself, I drove a fist as hard as I could square into his stomach. Now, I’m a pretty tiny woman, and not very strong, so I chalk up what happened next, which was Connor dropping to his knees and wheezing for air, to a punch that I was lucky enough to drive right into his diaphragm, knocking the wind out of him.
As he struggled to catch his breath, Eddie shot me a confused look. He couldn’t figure out what to make of this development. His hand twitched at his side, and I could see that he was trying to figure out if he needed to defend himself.
“Ah-ah,” said Bryce, wagging his finger back and forth at Eddie.
Eddie, I’m happy to say, got the message. He ran back inside, leaving Connor on the ground struggling for air. I gave my goddamn fool of a brother a look over, confirming that he’d be fine as soon as he caught his breath and maybe puked up some of the booze and junk food that was now angrily sloshing around in his stomach.
My eyes shot over to Bryce, who had an amused expression on his face. I could see that something had changed at that moment, something about how he saw me, what sort of person he thought I was. At least, that’s what I assumed, since all he had to say about what I’d just done were two words.
I woke up in the morning and Bryce wasn’t there. Panic gripped me, and I ran my hand over the other half of the bed, the side that he usually slept on, the fabric cool and smooth against my skin. I bolted out of bed, a feeling of panic gripping me. Sunlight filled the bedroom of the loft where he and I had been living for the last year, giving the space a cheery, pleasant feeling.
But for some reason, I was convinced that Bryce was gone. Gone for good.
I don’t know why I thought this; Bryce and I had been nothing but happy since we’d decided to become a couple and move in together. Sitting on the edge of the bed, I realized just how much had happened since then.
Once we left my home that night I stood up to my brothers, we drove straight back to his place. Adrenaline running through our bodies, we made love for what seemed like hours, falling asleep in one another’s arms. I remembered Bryce’s face that next morning, however. Though he didn’t want to admit it, I knew that he was struggling with all that had happened. After all, he’d just killed the bosses of the motorcycle club that he’d been a part of since he was old enough to drive.
That day, he met up with Rottweiler, one of his friends from the club. I wasn’t there for the meeting, but from what Bryce told me it wasn’t long. Bryce told him that he was done with the club, and if Rottweiler wanted it, it was his. He told Bryce that he’d do everything he could to bring the club back to what he was before, back when Bryce’s father was part of it. Then, Rottweiler told Bryce that if he wanted to work with him, to become one of the new bosses, all he’d have to do was say the word.
But Bryce told him no, that he was done with that world. Then he got up, left, and hadn’t spoken a word to another member of his MC since.
Neither of us were used to the freedom that we now had. I told the hospital that I’d be on leave for the time being, and since I had plenty of vacation time saved up, it was no problem for me to do so. I asked what he wanted now, and he said only two words.
So, we did. We drove across the country for the next two months, stopping at whatever place called out to us, spending as much time there as we wanted to. We drove through the south, stopping in New Orleans for a time, eating nothing but fresh seafood for days. We went through Texas, then to Arizona. Neither of us had ever seen the Grand Canyon, so we drove out of our way to pay it a visit. Next was California, where we spent a week slowly making our way up the coast, the weather and vistas the loveliest that I’d ever experienced. We went up through the Pacific Northwest where the trees seemed to reach to the sky. Next was a ride back east through the Rockies, the snow-capped peaks watching our trip like silent witnesses. We cut through the Midwest, making our way to New York City, where we wined and dined like we were rich. Finally, we made our way back down the east coast and back home.
The months passed in a blink, though I knew I’d never forget them. Bryce wanted to leave all traces of his past behind, so we moved out of his loft and into a new place in the city, a large, sunny townhome with plenty of space in the garage for Bryce’s bike and a big backyard where I could grow the garden that I’d always dreamed about.
It was perfect. But through it all, I couldn’t shake the notion that Bryce would want to leave it all behind, to abandon this little attempt at domesticity and return to the wild world he’d always known. Even when he opened his shop, the upscale bike garage he told me he’d always dreamed about, with another former member of the Ancestors, I still thought he might have a change of heart. But he never did.
After my brush with the high adrenaline lifestyle, I knew that small-town nursing was no longer in the cards for me. After some serious thought, I decided that med school and a career as a surgeon might bring me the excitement I was looking for, but in a way that would allow me to still help others. I enrolled at a local school and by the time my first grades came in Bryce was ready to let me know that his shop was already making money hand over fist.
Everything was perfect, but still, the fears remained.
One night, I asked him about his father. Bryce told me that he thought about his “old man” every day, wondering if he should hop on his bike and track him down. But he said that there was just too much going on these days, and that he’d know when the time was right to find him.
The time continued to fly, and soon a year had passed.
I walked around the large apartment, the city beyond a wonderful backdrop. Making myself a cup of tea, I walked to the bathroom once again and looked at the pregnancy test that I’d taken last night while Bryce was still out.
Two lines. I knew what that meant.
Our lives were about to become more complicated. But I couldn’t have been happier. Now that I was pregnant, however, the idea of marriage loomed in my mind. We’d talked about it here and there, mostly in a light-hearted, joking way, but I wanted it so badly. I wanted to be Bryce’s wife, for now and forever.
But what if he wanted the opposite? What if the road called out to him once again and this time he was unable to resist? Marriage would be the only way I’d know for sure that he wanted to stay, but I couldn’t bear to bring myself to ask him about it in certain terms.
The grinding of the garage door sounded, my heart racing now that I knew Bryce was back. I paced a little more, formulating the words in my mind.
Soon, he appeared in the door, dressed in his usual dark jeans, tight white T-shirt, and heavy brown boots. In his hands were two big brown paper bags, both filled with groceries.
“Hey, little lady,” he said, setting the groceries on the nearby counter and coming over to give me a kiss.
“What’s all that?” I asked, pointing to the groceries.
“I was in the mood for pancakes—my treat,” he said with a smile.
I couldn’t wait any longer.
“I … have something I need to tell you,” I said.
Bryce turned to me, leaning back against the kitchen counter.
I took a deep breath.
His face brightened and within a split-second, Bryce had run over to me and scooped me up in his arms.
“You are? Goddamn, I can’t thi
“You’re … not worried?” I said as he finished twirling me and put me down.
“Worried? Hell, no!” he said with a laugh. “Why would you think I’d be worried?”
“I don’t know,” I said, my hand on my belly. “I just sometimes think you might get bored and want to leave.”
I felt silly speaking the words, but they were what I meant.
Bryce took my hand and looked deep into my eyes.
“Leaving you is the furthest thing from my mind. I never thought that this sort of life was what I’d want, but now that I have it, now that I have you, I couldn’t imagine living any other way.”
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