Authors: Jayne Blue
Polk, Nero, and
Bret, to my relief, were terrific mechanics. We finished most of the jobs they
had right away, and I got to work training them on the computer system. It was
just a matter of tracking things.
“I’m getting the
hang of it,” Polk said with pride. He still typed one finger at a time, but he
wasn’t swearing at the keyboard by the second day of our work.
Ridge and Cruz
showed up and also had a good couple of days.
“We think we’ve
got three new businesses convinced,” Ridge explained.
were taking their money and doing nothing but hiding shit at their locations,”
“Hawks gonna be
mad about that?” I wondered if we needed reinforcements here in Southwood soon.
“Not yet, they
don’t do anything regularly, and they’re scattered all over. Organization isn’t
their thing. We got that over them by a mile. They’re based about fifteen miles
out of town, so the law isn’t exactly in their face,” Cruz said. I thought it
sounded optimistic but didn’t want to bring them down.
“Let’s get a drink
and unwind,” Cruz suggested, and I couldn’t agree more. This club was working
hard to set things right and to earn that trust that Sawyer and the Great
Wolves Grand City had in them. I respected the hell out of it and damn if a
beer didn’t sound really good right now.
We headed to a
restaurant and bar downtown, not too far, nothing was too far in Southwood,
It was hopping for
a small town place. They had live music and a decent crowd. We stood out a bit
with our leather, but it was just grungy enough for us not to cause a huge
fight just by walking in.
I sat next to Bret
at a bar table we’d snagged. She reminded me a lot of Dusty, the chick
bartender at The Wolf Den back home. Dusty was a good friend. She was tough,
funny, and would also take a bullet for our club. But she wasn’t a Great Wolf.
She was a daughter of a Great Wolf. Bret had a jacket with a cut. This was
interesting and not strictly listed as against the rules, but I’d never met a
woman who’d patched in.
She filled out her
tight leather a lot better than she filled out her baggy work overalls, and it
was easy to see everyone she passed noticing the same thing. I could also see
Nero’s eyes as well. He didn’t let a look she got get by him. I didn’t know if
this was brotherly love or more. But I took his cue and made sure not to get
too close to Bret. But I did want to know what her story was.
“So how does a
tiny, blue-haired chick get a Great Wolves cut?” I asked her straight out.
discriminate. Do you?”
“I was a runaway.
Drug addict.” She pushed up a sleeve of her leather jacket to show me an arm
that was filled with old scars.
“I cut, I shot up,
I did everything I could to die.”
“Looks like you
failed. You seem pretty damn alive to me.” A corner of her mouth tilted up a
tiny bit. It was the closest to a smile I’d seen on her very cute face.
“That’s thanks to
Cruz. He picked me out of the gutter, held my hair away from puke when I went
cold turkey, and then gave me work. Purpose.”
“Sober for eight
years now.” She jiggled a club soda. Despite the tracks on her arms and the
tough exterior, she barely looked over twenty-one.
“Yeah, town threw
me a big parade.”
“What’s this? A
joke from Bret?” She punched my arm, hard.
made me a probie when I hit five years sober. Earned my place when I earned
this.” And she used a finger to slide her jacket to the side to show me the
scar on her chest.
“That seems like
another story I’m going to want to hear.”
“Yeah, maybe Nero will
have to tell it. I was too busy bleeding out to remember much.”
“Gotcha.” I looked
over at Nero, and he lifted then shook his beer bottle. It was time for me to
round’s on me. I’ll go get it. Order me a plate of loaded nachos.” I left
Ridge, Cruz, Nero, Poke and Bret to order food and walked through the decent
crowd. I like this place. It may become my regular haunt while I was in
Southwood. I wondered if they served breakfast.
pressing was on my mind as I leaned into the brass bar rail. The bartender
caught my eye, and I ordered five more bottles to take back.
I was waiting on
them. First, the perfume shot me back and then the soft collision into my
shoulder. A blonde had crashed into me.
I knew it was her
before she even looked up. Her hand was still on my elbow.
“I’m so sorry, I
totally biffed it into you. Damn heels.” When she looked up, my heart started
beating again. It was odd to realize it hadn’t since I’d said goodbye to her on
better in Chuck Taylors,” I said. She slowly lifted her head and I locked eyes
with her. I wanted her again. I never stopped wanting her. Jules was right here
in front of me. In Southwood.
“Oh my God.
Ryder,” she said in a breathy voice. It took a second but when she realized her
hand was on my arm she removed it like it burned.
to see you here,” I said. What the fuck was she doing in Michigan? The plan was
“Your hair. I
didn’t recognize you.” She looked at me. For a second. I felt the energy
between us that we felt from the moment we’d met. Then she shifted her stance.
She visibly tightened her face, her body. “Please, I can’t really talk.” She
looked at the bartender who’d come over to get her order.
“Regular for you
and The Judge?” The bartender knew her and knew her order.
“Yes, thanks.” He
walked off and got busy making the drinks. I looked down and saw she was
sporting an engagement ring.
marriage thing?” I was getting pissed. I had convinced myself she’d started a
life out west. My Mom said she was getting shipments for her store from Julery
in Washington State or some shit. And yet here she was, ordering her “regular”
“No. Yes. Look,
it’s complicated. Please. I can’t talk to you.” She was flustered. Was it me
that had her off balance? She sure had knocked me off kilter.
I wanted to shake
her. I wanted to kiss her. But instead, I stood there and couldn’t stop taking
her in. Every inch of her. She didn’t look the same. And yet she did.
She’d cut her
hair, it wasn’t long and free. It was shaped, bobbed, and somehow not “her” to
me. To me, her hair was long and totally beached out. Shows you what I knew. My
mind flashed on her hair, her neck, kissing her in my pup tent.
The shoes she
mentioned were sky high heels. She was teetering in them. Instead of the
t-shirt and jeans from my memory of her, she was in a flowered dress that showed
off her gorgeous legs. She pulled her cardigan in around her body. It felt like
she was trying to hide from me.
“What’s taking him
so long?” she said under her breath.
“I won’t bite.”
She looked up at me,
and her eyes were filling up with tears. I swear.
bartender showed up with two drinks. Some red Cosmo bullshit for her and an old
fashioned martini for someone else.
“Put it on The
Judge’s tab,” she said and picked up the drinks.
“Can’t we at least
talk a minute?” I said, and she shook her head no. She turned so fast a little
of the Cosmo splashed down and landed on the floor. I watched her weave through
the crowd with the drinks. I wasn’t letting her get away that easily.
I was at least a
head or two taller than everybody in the joint, so I tracked her from a
distance. She didn’t turn back to look at me, and I slowly moved forward to see
where she was taking the damn drinks.
Jules stepped up
to a table on a riser. It was somehow easier to see than the rest of the entire
place. It had the effect of putting Jules, and the man I assumed was The Judge on
The Judge looked
old enough to be her grandfather. He had thinning gray hair but was trim other
than a little punch in the gut. There was an air of power about him that was
unmistakable. He expected people to wait on him. And he expected them to watch
as Jules put the drink in front of him. I sure as shit was watching this shit
The Judge put his
hand on her ass, and I thought I was going to explode. He pulled her forward,
and she leaned down to kiss him. To fucking kiss him!
I didn’t have a
bad temper. I thought I was even-keeled. Especially in the crowd, I rode with.
But I surged forward. I was going to get his hands off her. Goddamn it.
I don’t know how
many steps I’d taken in that direction when I felt an iron grip on my arm.
“What the fuck?” I
spit the words out. It was Cruz.
“Calm down,” he
said under his breath and tightened his grip. I clenched my jaw. I was about
half a second away from punching him. Punching The Judge. Punching the wall.
“Let me go.”
“Ridge said you
were up here meeting Juliet Maldonado.”
“You know her?”
knows her. She’s Sonny Maldonado’s daughter and he gave her to The Judge.”
“What the fuck
“Look. If you want
to get thrown in jail or get all of us shot at by tonight you’ll go over there
and act like you have some sort of claim on her.”
“I…” I didn’t have
a claim. It sunk in. I didn’t. I also didn’t have a clue.
I tried to look
away. The Judge sat with a hand on Jules’s knee. He rubbed it. She let him.
I started feeling
more and more like she’d played me.
“I need you to
tell me all you know about her.”
going to come back to the table and stop looking like a fucking gorilla ready
to square off with a silverback.” Cruz pulled me from my spot, and I took one
Jules looked up at
me in that instant. I watched as she grabbed The Judge’s hand and stopped him
from sliding up her thigh. Was this for my benefit? I wanted to cut his hand
Jules closed her
eyes tight and turned back to The Judge.
What the fucking
hell had just happened to my life?
Richard had no
idea that I’d just encountered Ryder. But I was completely unsettled. Scared.
And heart sick all over again.
Why was he here?
I’d been so
careful with Violet. A friend of mine from art school shipped my designs to her
from Washington. She really had no way to track me here.
Richard stroked my
knee. His fingers sliding farther and farther up my thigh.
He liked this
part. The teasing part. The public part. He made a point of taking me to bars,
restaurants, shops, events, whatever he had to do to get an audience, and he
made sure I was next to him.
I’d gotten used to
the touches on my thigh, the side of my breast, my cheek. But as I sat there, I
knew Ryder was watching Richard’s hand caress me up and down. I wanted to smack
it away. I wanted to run to Ryder. I couldn’t do a damn thing but give Richard
the attention I’d shown him since we’d made this deal.
What was Ryder
doing here? I thought through the last few moments. He was as surprised as I
was when I practically fell into his arms. I had noticed the great ass of the
man at the bar. But I’d noticed absently. Like you noticed a beautiful flower.
I had no idea that I was next to my Ryder. My Ryder had a Mohawk. My Ryder had
My Ryder. He
wasn’t my Ryder.
So he’s in
Southwood with the Great Wolves. And he’s staring at me. I lifted my head up
and looked back at him. And I put my hand over The Judges and lifted it away
from my thigh and up to the table. I couldn’t look at Ryder anymore. I couldn’t
be in the same room, much less with someone else touching me.
“Richard. Can we
go? I’m really kind of tired tonight, and you’ve got an appointment early don’t
“Yes, darling. I
wouldn’t forget that appointment for all the world.” Richard finished his drink,
and I did the same. A scary man in leather, another Great Wolf, drug Ryder away
by the arm. I wouldn’t soon forget the way his eyes bore into me. The way they
willed me to remove The Judge’s hand.
We stood up and The
Judge, as he often did, strode through the room ahead of me. He had me behind
him, with my hand firmly in his. We got outside to his Cadillac, finally, and I
took what felt like my first breath. The Judge opened my door.
darling? You look rather peaked.”
“I’m okay. Just
tired, like I said.” The Judge leaned in and kissed my cheek and squeezed my
body up close to him. Just in case everyone inside didn’t know I was there with
him, the bouncer, the sidewalk, and any passersby would be sure to catch the
old fox with the young doe as he likes to characterize it.
I hadn’t wanted to
live in Daddy’s house so I pushed The Judge. He had put me up in an apartment.
It was downtown near his courthouse office. Many times at lunch he’d have me
come visit him. Or he’d come up. It was convenient for him and mercifully away
from Daddy and the Devil’s Hawks.
I was scared. How would I put it off,
sleeping with a man who was my fiancé? Could I? Was I the kind of girl who
could fake it? I had a reason to fake it, several, and they all involved
keeping me, Violet, Ryder, and even Russ alive. I thought I very well might be
that type of girl who could sleep with a man to save some necks. But I didn’t
know for sure. Yet.
The Judge was
sensitive to my need to design. The apartment was on the top floor. It was an
old warehouse, I had the corner. I had light on all sides. And I had the
supplies I needed.
All of it came
from The Judge. Once Daddy had “given” me to him, he took care of me. He got me
what I needed. And I was supposed to return that favor.
The first time we
were alone in the apartment The Judge sat me down on the couch I’d picked out,
and he had paid for. He’d let me pick everything. He’d also kept me away from Daddy.
I had expressed my fear of the club to The Judge, I told them that I knew that
they would hurt me, and that was all it took. The Judge was going to be sure I
was safe and tucked away. His own doll.
“I don’t want you
in their company. It doesn’t look good for a judge’s wife.”
The Judge it
turned out was a proper pervert. And he was a man. I learned that too. We sat
on the couch the first day, and he told me what he wanted.
“First, just let
me see you. We won’t do anything you don’t want to do.”
So he brought his
hand, the skin looked old and spotted next to mine, up to the strap of my
dress. He’s asked I not wear buttons. He liked zippers and straps but no
buttons. When I saw the joints of his fingers, it was easy to see why.
I sat facing him
on the couch, and he slid one strap down over my shoulder. Reflexively I put
one hand over my breast. He smiled and then slid the other strap down my other
hand went up. I’d not worn a bra. A mistake I realized now when it was clear
where this was going. I held the front of my dress to my breasts. And The Judge
was mesmerized by them.
“I promise we
won’t do anything you don’t want. Now please, if you want to, of course, put
your hands behind you on the couch. Your Daddy promised you were very willing
to please me.” I wanted to throw up. I was shaking. Scared. Ashamed. But I had
made a deal. I thought of what I’d seen so far with Daddy and knew I could take
Slowly I removed
one hand, and the fabric on that side floated down. My breast was exposed to The
“Good girl. Very
good girl. Now go on. The other side. If you can.” His eyes stayed on my naked breast,
and I did as he said. I moveed the other hand. I was exposed topless and
“I like the
shaking. It looks lovely. Stand in front of me darling. I can’t lean in. Bad
knees you know.” I stood up and did as he asked. My breasts now level with his
face. He put his hands, on each side of my breasts and cupped them. His palms
were cold and dry. The cold had the effect The Judge seemed to want. I started
to slowly understand how I could hypnotize the all-powerful Judge.
“Be still for me
darling.” And he leaned in, I felt his lips, and gray stubble above it, slide
over my nipple. He sucked on one nipple, gently, his lips covering his false
teeth. Then he released the nipple and pushed the other into his mouth. He kept
his mouth on my nipples one and then the other.
Delicious darling,” he said. I put my hand on his head. His gray hair like
cobwebs through my fingers. While his lips and eyes stayed on my breasts, his
hands slowly worked my dress down around my hips. I was close to being
completely naked but not quite. I wondered if this would be it. Would we have
sex this first time? I had thought I could stall. My mind raced. How would I
handle more than this? Should I think of Ryder? Should I try to enjoy it? I
didn’t have the first clue. I thought enduring it quietly would be all I could
darling,” he said again and kept his hands on my hips and finally released my
nipples from his sucking. I had no idea how long it had gone on in reality, but
it felt like he had sucked on them forever. Like I was his food. I felt dirty.
But I hid it. This was it. He’d for sure want to try to.. I stopped thinking
“Now put your hand
here.” The Judge took my hand and put it in his lap. I was afraid of what I
would feel. It wasn’t what I expected.
My eyes went wide.
“Yes, that’s the
truth. The sad truth. I cannot, an old injury, old age, I have very little going
on there I’m afraid. My douche son is adopted. Hmm. Come back here.” I leaned
in again, and he ran his fingers over my belly like I was an object he was
inspecting. This was getting stranger and stranger.
“You are a sweet
young thing, and I deserve you. I’m seeing the best doctor. A new doctor. He’s
very impressed that I have a sweet young thing willing to help me in that
department. Very hopeful I can fill you up on our wedding night.”
“Oh, well. I’m not
sure what to say or, uh, do.” Which was entirely true. I had no idea.
“You will wear the
pretty things I buy you. And help me take them off you. And maybe on our
wedding night, if my doctor can find the right meds without killing my heart,
I’ll make love to you. Until then though I’m going to touch, touch, touch, but
never spoil your purity. Your Daddy told me you’re a virgin, and I approve.”
My purity? Daddy
had really gone all out here.
“How long will
that be? Until our wedding, do you think?”
“Well if we want
it proper and in the papers, we’ll need to plan it.”
“Yes, Richard. I
want it to be like in the magazines. Can I?” Asking a seventy-year-old pervert
a question while topless is a way to get a sure yes. I was learning fast.
“Whatever you want
delicious doll,” he said and sank his lips to my breasts again. I squeezed my
eyes shut and tried not to think about what might happen after the old man had
I had no date. But
I had some time. Thanks to biology and God knew what injury.
That was the start
of our little game. Since then about once a month, The Judge would engage in
this little dance. He’d watch, he’d suck, he’d fall the fuck asleep. In between
times he’d parade me around to his friends.
I could survive
it. I was surviving it.
why did Ryder have to be here?
The Judge dropped me
off at the apartment but didn’t come in. I was so grateful for that I could
I needed to be
alone. I needed to process where I was and what was happening.
My little world of
lies and sacrifice was going to crumble if I also had to see Ryder.
I went to bed. The
last thing I could remember was crying. I slipped into dreams. The dreams where
Ryder was there. But just out of reach.