Authors: Yolanda Olson
I rolled my eyes. Apparently shit wasn’t as calm as I thought it had been lately if he was calling with this.
“Because you’re being too much of a fucking Casanova and I’ve been fielding information to Pardon as to where you are,” he said angrily.
I balanced the phone between my ear and my shoulder as I twisted the cap off my beer, then took a healthy swig.
“When are you coming, then?” I asked, nodding at Mary Ann who brought my food over. She smiled as she set it down, I grinned, and she blushed.
Guess you’re coming home with me tonight
I took a bite of my burger while Dallas rattled off his new plan. This time they were going to move me south into California. He said we’d ride until he could figure out a place that would keep me from going out so much.
Reaching for my napkin, I wiped my mouth and waited while he kept babbling. I didn’t understand why he was so hellbent on keeping me away from Pardon when he could just let me go back to the clubhouse and have it out with him.
“Tomorrow night, then?” I asked.
“Yeah. It’ll take me a while to get the guys together without him knowing, but we’ll definitely be there tomorrow night,” he confirmed.
Disconnecting the call, I set my phone down next to the plastic basket that was holding my burger. I balled up the napkin and placed my fist to my mouth wondering if I should shit on Dallas’ plan and just go back to Bend. The worst Pardon could do was try to kill me.
“Is this seat taken?”
I glanced to my right and shook my head. A young woman with somewhat long, straight brown hair and big blue eyes was smiling at me. She was pretty,
pretty and for some faint reason I felt like I had seen her around before.
“You’re Swing, right?” she asked, settling into the stool next to me.
“Maybe,” I replied, picking up my burger and taking another bite. “Who’s asking?”
“Saylor’s asking,” she responded with a laugh.
I asked giving her a doubtful look. It seemed that no matter what I did, I couldn’t get away from the seafaring innuendos of my lineage. “Your name is
“It sure is! And yours is
?” she asked, mocking the doubt in my tone.
I laughed. I couldn’t help it. Saylor was acting like a little shit within the first five minutes of our conversation, and I liked it.
“No. It’s not. Not the one I was born with anyway,” I replied turning to face her. “Why do you want to know?”
“Because I heard there was a new guy in town by the name of Swing that’s hung like a horse. I was just wondering if that was you,” she replied with a wide grin.
I chuckled and went back to my burger. She was making this too easy for me. That’s usually what happened though in this Podunk town when I went out.
“My name is Nero,” I finally said.
She put a hand on my forearm. I looked at her curiously. The look on her face was quite comical.
“Your name is Nero and you’re giving me shit over being named Saylor?” she asked.
“It is and I didn’t give you shit. Your name made me feel nostalgic in a roundabout way is all,” I replied, pulling my arm away from her.
“That’s besides the point. Are you hung like a horse?” she asked with a laugh.
I looked at her for a moment before grabbing my beer and what was left of my burger and moving down to the other end of the bar. It was one thing to make small talk with a few jokes here and there, but to keep asking me the same stupid question and putting her hands on me was starting to make her seem desperate. I didn’t like desperate people; they were usually the ones I ended up putting down.
I took another swig of my beer and groaned internally when she sat down next to me.
“Sorry if I was being aggressive. I didn’t know how else to get your attention and I have something you want,” she said in a more serious tone.
“And what’s that?” I asked with a sigh.
She put a yellowed envelope down next to my basket and got to her feet.
“This is from Warner. See you around.”
With that she got to her feet again and walked out of Coasters leaving me sitting there staring at what I hoped was Harold’s letter.
But how did Warner know where I was? If he had found me, then Pardon would damn sure do the same. I got up, threw money on the bar top, grabbed the envelope, and called Dallas as I walked out of the bar.
aylor was sitting on my Harley when I left Coasters. I didn’t notice her until I hung up with Dallas and was about to lean on it to collect my thoughts.
“Just to be sure; you’re Nero
, right?” she asked, glancing up at me. She used her hand to shield what was left of the afternoon sun glaring into her face.
“Good. Listen, I just wanted to apologize again for coming on the way I did. I actually hate when women act like that, but I had to be sure I had the right guy and I didn’t know how else to go about it.”
“We’re good,” I assured her. Saylor nodded and got off of my bike. I walked around her and threw one leg over it as I brought it to an upright position. I didn’t turn it on yet though. Something about her was still bothering me.
“How do you know Warner?” I asked.
She smiled and crossed her arms over her chest. “We go way back. If you need anything else besides what’s in there, my phone number is on the back of the envelope.”
And with that she walked away from me leaving me sitting there staring after her. There was more to Saylor than she was willing to say, and it was bothering the fuck out of me. I watched her for a while until she disappeared down the block. The black leather pants under super short denim shorts, coupled with Converse shoes made me smile for some reason. The oversized shirt she wore that gave just a glimpse of her stomach told me she didn’t take life too seriously. So, why was just the sight of her so damn haunting?
I would have to push those thoughts aside so I could read Harold’s letter with a clear head. Then once I was able to process what he wanted for Tidals & Anchors, I’d call Saylor and see if I could get anymore information out of her.
I took my time getting home. I obeyed all the posted speed limits and I made sure to stop on lights that were even just yellow. I couldn’t shake the feeling that I was being followed so I wanted to let whoever it was know, if there
anyone, that I wasn’t afraid of them. That they were more than welcome to see my temporary place, because after tomorrow night, I wouldn’t be there anymore.
Make sure you’re taking notes,
I thought with a chuckle.
The only thing that made sense to me was that Pardon was having me tailed. Who else would have a reason to follow me around this place? I turned down the street that my apartment was located on and backed up toward the garage door, making sure there was enough space for me to be able to pull up the door and bring the bike in.
Once that was all said and done, I walked over to the front door and fished for my keys in my pocket. I heard a car door open and close on the otherwise silent street and chose to ignore the feeling of trouble in the pit of my stomach.
I stuck the corresponding key into the keyhole and pushed it open. Mere seconds after I stepped inside, I heard someone call out my name. But whoever it was didn’t say “Swing.” I cocked my head to the side and listened as the footsteps got closer and faster.
“Hey, Nero!” the voice called out again.
I turned around in time to see someone wearing a white mask come running toward me, with a baseball bat in their hand, and cracked it across my face as hard as they could. I staggered on my feet for a few moments. Tasting the bitter iron starting to fill my mouth, before the world went black.
ardon was going on and on about Swing and how he deserted the club, but I obviously knew better. I was sitting at the table in the meeting room of the clubhouse trying not to lose my shit at him. I loved my father for all his faults, but he had no reason to want Swing dead.
“Any questions?” he asked, breaking into my thoughts.
“Yeah,” I said, raising my hand. “You never told the club why you wanted another year in the chair. All you ever really said was that you had some shit you needed to take care of. What was it?”
Pardon narrowed his eyes at me before he answered. I knew I was already on his shit list for lying to him about Swing’s whereabouts, but I wouldn’t tell him where my best friend was. I wouldn’t tell him where the man I grew up with was so he could have him killed. No way in fucking hell.
“I don’t think it’s any secret that I don’t like the Raders,” he started with a sigh. “Harold was about the only one that was worth anything and Leon destroyed what he built. Nero, while not as bad as Leon, couldn’t be president of this club. He would fall into his old man’s ways eventually and drive it into a deeper, darker hole.”
“Is that why you told him that you wanted him to have the chair?” I asked, cutting him off.
“Did he tell you that?” he asked, his voice raising. I nodded and Pardon continued, “And you’d believe a Rader over your old man? That hurts me, Dallas. To have you think that I would ask Nero to take the chair over my own son.”
“Pop, Swing wouldn’t have a reason to lie to me about it,” I replied through grit teeth.
“We’ll talk about that later. You asked me a question, now let me answer it,” Pardon said with another sigh. I watched him as he tiredly rubbed his eyes, wondering what lie was going to come out of his mouth next.
“Like I said; it’s no secret that I don’t like the Raders. I used to be really good friends with Leon until shit went south on that protection run a ten years ago. The reason I wanted an extra year was to get rid of anything in this club that had to do with them with the exception of Harold. I can get it all done if everyone cooperates with me. Every last person at this table knows I’m right. This club having a legacy left behind by that family would keep a huge target on our backs. What I propose is to get rid of Leon and Swing; literally and theoretically.”
I sat back in my chair and stared at him. Years ago, when Leon was kicked out of Tidals & Anchors, Pardon said he had put a bullet in his head when he took the chair. There weren’t any witnesses to it, but we all believed him because it was what was supposed to be done. He let it slip that Leon was still alive, not thinking anyone would catch it.
I turned my head slowly and looked at Emmett Wayne. He was one of the few I trusted at this table with helping me move Nero because he didn’t like Pardon. Feeling my eyes on him, he turned his attention toward me, rolled his eyes, and shook his head.
“Got something to say, Breaker?” Pardon barked at him.
“Nope,” he replied in his casual way. “Just listening and trying to decide what’s bullshit and what isn’t.”
I chuckled. Breaker was a lot like Swing, in the fact that neither of them would take shit from anyone in or outside of the club, except he was more vocal about it.
“So is that the only reason you wanted another year?” I asked, turning his attention back to me.
“It is. Everyone here voted on it and I’m keeping this chair for what’s left of this year to make good on what I’m proposing,” he said, looking at each of the club members in turn.
Pardon adjourned the meeting and I went out back to have a smoke. Breaker and Moses, who we called Red because of his bright hair, followed me outside.
“Did you catch that?” Red asked quietly, once the door closed behind us. “He didn’t kill Leon like he said he did.”
“We gotta find him,” I said, lighting my cigarette. “If we can prove that Pardon’s been lying about shit from the beginning, it could be our only chance to save Nero.”
I looked at Red, “Take half of our guys with you. You’re the best person we’ve got when it comes to finding people. Find Leon and take him to Poulsbo. Me and Breaker will take the rest of the guys and head up to Nero. We won’t move him until you get there with Leon.”
“And how do we explain that half the MC is missing to Pardon?” Breaker asked me.
“Simple. We lie, just like he does,” I replied, taking a pull of my cigarette.
Most wars happen outside of your crew, but Pardon just started one inside of Tidals & Anchors, and I had no plans on losing.
fter Pardon’s speech about ridding the world of all things Rader, we decided not to wait to put the plan into action. Based on his favorite places in Bend, Red took the guys and went off to find Leon. Breaker and I assembled the other half and took off for Washington.
The fact that everything seemed to be falling apart was really pissing me off. We should’ve voted Pardon out when his time was up and by rights, even though he didn’t want it, Swing should’ve gotten the fucking chair.
I kept telling myself that it would all be over once Red found Leon and brought him up. We’d grab Swing, go back to Bend, throw Pardon out of Tidals & Anchors, and everything would be as it should be.
Breaker pulled up next to me and signaled me to pull over. I shook my head at him; I really didn’t want to waste any time unless it was important, but he insisted. Of course, his version of insisting things, was picking up speed, turning his bike around, and coming at me in a full on version of chicken.
I swerved away at the last minute and he laughed as he pulled up next to me. We pulled our helmets off and I gave him a dirty look.
“This had better be good, man.”
“It is,” he replied, handing me his cell phone. “Red found Leon already.”
“What?” I asked, grabbing his phone in disbelief. I looked at the screen and let out a sigh of relief. There it was plain as day; a text from Red saying that he had Leon and that they were on their way to Poulsbo.
I hit the call button on the text message. I wanted to make sure he had the right person, even though Leon and Nero could be twins. The only difference between them was that Leon obviously looked older, and Nero had way more tattoos than his old man.