Authors: Hilary Storm
“Yes, Lou used to make them for me.”
“Lou?” His curiosity shows on his face and in his voice.
“He was like a father to me. He was the trainer to all the major fighters over the years. He actually trained Luke for his fight.”
“I already like Lou.”
“He’s a great guy and I don’t know how I would’ve survived all those years without him there to help me through my tough times.”
“How did you meet Luke?” I stop and think about his question. How much of my life do I want this man to know? Talking is easy with him, but this question opens up the most vulnerable time in my life. A part of me that I can’t forget and I think about every single day of my life.
This journey is all about me moving forward and to make that possible, I have to be able to heal. I decide to tell him my story in full and let Brie be the one and only lie he hears from me.
“It’s a terrible story. Are you sure you want to hear this?”
“Only if you want to tell me.”
“I can tell you, just don’t judge me.”
“Do I look like someone who has any right to judge you?” Rosie walks up with our coffee in hand and I take a deep breath and tell him about my darkness.
“I met Luke in an alley. My boyfriend at the time had hit me a few times and I was crouched over when he came up behind Greg and laid him out on the ground.”
“That’s my guy. Tell me he killed the mother fucker.”
“No. But my father saw his strength and blackmailed him into fighting after that. Luke did it to help me and it all just turned to shit real quick.”
“Tell me how he was able to blackmail Luke.”
“It was money. Luke didn’t want to touch his bank account with the Rebel Walking money in it because he knew you guys would find him. He wasn’t ready to be found.”
“How was it to help you?”
“He wanted me to have the money to get away. I had all of my things packed in my Jeep that night and had bet all of my money on the sure win of the night. I won and my father gave the money to Greg just to make sure Luke stayed around for the next fight.”
“Why were you with a man that hit you? I have to tell you I hate a man that would ever lay a hand on a woman.”
“That was the first time he had actually punched me. The other times he just squeezed me or pushed me. I know it sounds ridiculous, but I didn’t have anywhere to go. My whole life revolved around that group. I had to break away and Luke came at the perfect time to help make that happen. He saved me that night.
“Sounds like it.” I hesitate telling him about the baby. The baby was a part of me and I still feel the emptiness of losing it that night. I’m extremely happy that Luke and Lilly will have a baby, but I can’t help but wish I still had my own. Even if Greg was the father. The father that killed his own baby with the force of a punch used in the ring.
The pancakes show up and I stop talking to take in the greatness in front of my eyes. “Wow. Thank you so much. These look great!”
“You nailed it as always Rosie. Thanks for taking care of me.”
“Sure. Now you two come back for Karaoke tonight and tomorrow.”
“We’ll have to see what’s going on Rosie.” He answers her right before he turns to me. “You know I have to try one of those chocolate pancakes.”
“Just be prepared to fall in love.” I watch his face as I say that and catch a brief look from him, but I ignore it. I know he knows I didn’t mean anything by that. I hand him one of my pancakes and start cutting into my own.
Taking that first bite brought me back to my childhood. My mouth waters with the delicious flavor filling it and I get lost in my food. He takes a few bites before he starts talking again.
“So, have you ever been fishing?”
“Just deep sea fishing once. But I don’t know if I can actually say I went fishing. I didn’t even get to hold the rod.”
“Let me guess, bossy asshole boyfriend.”
“Yep. He didn’t want the guy touching me to teach me.”
“I hope I never meet that fucker.”
“Don’t worry. Luke mangled him, then he went to prison after that fight.”
“Good. I can think of one other place he belongs, but I bet he’ll be there soon enough.”
“He will. I know for a fact.” Any man that kills a baby should have a direct pass straight to hell.
“What else did he do to you, Kimber?” I take a bite and a deep breath. Why did I tell myself I wouldn’t tell him anymore lies?
“I was pregnant that night. He punched me in my stomach.” He looks shocked and angry, then stands abruptly before he starts to walk back and forth behind me.
“Kimber. You have got to be fucking kidding me.”
“I wish I was, Aiden.”
“I see red. I’d love nothing more than to be put in a ring with this guy.”
“Aiden. Sit down. Luke handled him.”
“Now I see why Luke is worried about you.” I knew he’d be worried. He was when I talked to him. I’m not his worry anymore. He needs to focus on his family and making up for lost time.
“What are you talking about?”
“He called me to check on you. He wants me to call him tonight and let him know that you’re coping alright. Shit Kimber. How are you dealing with all of this shit on top of Lilly being alive and Luke doing his thing? I mean, how much can one person fucking take?”
“The answer is…. More than all of that. I’m still kicking and once I figure out where I’m headed, I look forward to starting a new page in my book of life.”
“I can’t even imagine.”
“We’re supposed to be having a carefree simple day. This seems difficult and complicated. Can we just enjoy our day and what was it you said I needed to do… Live?”
“Yes we can.” He sits down, but I still feel his energy as he struggles with the anger that he just experienced. I’m so damn numb to it by now that I don’t get angry anymore. I just hate to talk about it. I miss the fact that I knew I was pregnant and had already bonded with my baby.
“Alright so fishing, then cooking out at the cabin. We’re gonna have to stop for some groceries. Let’s do that next and then we’ll go fishing.”
“Are we going to have a backup plan for dinner?”
“We won’t need one.” He takes a bite of the pancake I gave to him and stops mid bite. “Shit, this is good.”
I can’t believe the shit she’s been through. I keep hearing more and I keep feeling deep hatred for people I’ve never even met. It all starts to fall into place. I now understand why Luke brought her home and why Holden is so worried about her. He didn’t tell me all of that shit. I had no idea she lost a baby to someone who fucking abused her. I want to ask her how far along she was, but decide to obey her wish to drop all of conversations about the past and make this day about having fun.
We’re pushing around the grocery cart and filling it with everything we can think we’ll need at the cabin. I see her adding a few extra meals and hope it means she plans to stay a few days. I won’t pressure her, but I’d love to spend more time with her. Each time we talk, I learn something more about her and I just want to pull her against my chest and hold her tight. I’d gladly block every fucking evil thing from getting to her.
I can also appreciate her wanting her independence. It’s actually a very attractive quality in a woman. I won’t talk about her body and how much it gets to me the more I see her.
“Can you think of anything else?” I watch her drop the coffee in the cart and then she pushes it toward me.
“Nope. I think that’s everything.” My eyes scan the cart and I see chicken, steaks, and stuff for a salad. Sounds perfect. “Unless you want something to drink while we fish. Isn’t what fishing is all about?”
She may have just won me over for life. Hell yes I’d love to drink beer and fish, but I never expected a woman to be looking forward to that kind of day. I put some beer in the cart and we make it through the checkout with ease. That’s what happens when you shop before the butt-crack of dawn.
We drive back to the cabin and both work to get ready for our fishing day after we unload the groceries. I pack the ice chest and throw the rods and gear in the back of my truck. I don’t expect her to drive out to our pond. The brush down the path would fuck us up in her Jeep. Hell, it scratches my truck the whole way down the path. That’s why I usually use the four-wheeler to get down there.
She comes out in a pair of shorts and tank top. I’m trying with everything inside me not to look at her tits as she comes down the steps. She’s wearing one of my hats that I left here in the past and I’ve never seen anything sexier than this look right here. If my mouth wasn’t hanging open, I may have remembered to take a picture. Get your shit together, Cowboy.
“I hope you don’t mind if I borrow this hat?” Hell no I don’t mind. Let’s see what you look like in one of my shirts next.
“Nah. Looks good on ya.”
“Thanks, I don’t want to get too much sun on my face.” It doesn’t matter what her reasoning is. I love her in my hat.
“I think I have everything loaded.”
“You don’t want to take mine?”
“This pond is down a terrible road and we’ll get scratched all to hell.”
“Ok. Let’s go.” She’s smiling and I can already see how easy this day is going to be. She gets in on the passenger side and closes the door as soon as I do. She looks over at me and I wish like hell this girl wasn’t associated with Luke like she is.
“I’m excited! This is brand new for me! Move this truck, big guy and teach me how to fish.” I kick it in drive and we take the short drive to the pond. It’s on this property, just down a shitty road. Her tits bounce the entire time in that low cut tank and I swear I feel my cock trying to bust out of my jeans. Damn it.
We park and I drop the tailgate. She reaches for one of the rods and watches me as I bait my hook. She follows my lead and does it herself. Now I’ve lost my fucking mind for sure. Because I found that sexy too. Fuck. I need to get over this shit. I may have to take an extra-long shower when we get back and handle business before shit gets out of control. I didn’t realize I’d turn into a damn teenager around a woman again.
I’m trying not to look at him. I’m trying to not appreciate him more and more as the day goes by. When he surrounded me to show me how to cast a rod, I almost turned around in his arms and just let him hold me the right way. How can a man smell so good out here with all of nature? I’m not sure, but he does.
I feel a bite on my line and do what he has been doing all day. He has a stringer full of fish and I keep losing any that take interest in my hook. I just want to get one and then I’ll feel successful. I’ll be honest, I bought extra food at the store because I was worried we wouldn’t catch our dinner. I’ve seen this man eat and the last thing I want to do is share a little minnow sized fish with him for dinner.
He moves in beside me and talks me through catching my first fish. It’s not near as big as some of the ones he’s caught, but it’s my first fish.
“This is fun! Take my picture.” I hold my fish up proudly while he uses his phone to snap a picture of me. Who knows, maybe I’ll start a journal of new things I do in my life. This can be the first in the book.
He puts my fish with his and we both move to the truck to fix our lines. I grab us both another beer and slide onto his tailgate. He stands next to me, leaning against it and we both stare at the water. He takes a drink before he starts to talk and I just listen to his deep voice. “I’ve been fishing here more times than I can count. This is really my peaceful place. I used to always escape here when life got hard.”
“I can see why. It’s beautiful here.” The trees surrounding us make it cool and block any chance of wind ruining our day. I can hear birds chirping and other noises coming from the depth of the trees surrounding us and I find it strangely relaxing.
“Fishing is really a calming sport.”
“I’ve always thought so. Plus, I like a challenge.”
“So tell me something deep about you, Cowboy. You know so much about me, but I feel like I only know what I’ve seen of you.”
“Ok. What do you want to know?”
“Well. How many times have you had your heart broken?” He smiles and fidgets a little before he answers.
“Once. And that’s enough for this lifetime.” His Southern twang was very apparent in his response.
“How long ago?”
“Three years ago.”
“Is she still around?”
“I haven’t seen her in probably two years. She was the girl I was gonna marry.”
“Don’t be. She did me a favor. We had different goals in life and after we broke up I found out she had cheated on me so; in the end I guess everything happens for a reason.”
“Damn. People suck.” I hate that someone did that to him. In just the short time that I’ve known him I can feel how bad he was devastated from something like that.
“Some do. Some make up for the others.” He takes a few steps before he tosses his beer bottle in the bucket with the other two.
“Well, I’d say this is mission accomplished. What else would you like to do today?”
“I’m good just being in the sunlight.”
“I want to knock out some more of your firsts. Have you been on a four-wheeler?”
“No I can’t say that I have. It’s pretty safe to say anything country like this and I probably haven’t done it.”
“Alright, well before I’ve had more beer, let’s get back and get you on a four-wheeler.” I rode Luke’s motorcycle so it has to be easier than that. I hope he’ll be driving and I’ll take the back willingly. Who wouldn’t be willing with that body in front to hold on to?