My stomach twisted. We needed to get out of here now.
"Hurry, Jax," I cried, patting his arm.
"I’m trying," Jax replied. He was beginning to sound frustrated. Once again, he turned the key and kicked the lever, but the bike failed to start.
"See kid, the thing is," said Bandana, "the cops don’t come around here, so we gotta solve our own problems. And when little shits like you start snooping around, that means we got ourselves a problem on our hands. So, first things first, we’re gonna hold you two under a citizen’s arrest and give this little tart here a thorough strip-search."
"Back off," Jax barked.
Bandana took a mean swig on a bottle of booze, but kept his beady black eyes trained on Jax. He pulled away the bottle, wiped off his scruff, and said, "What the f**k you say to me? Who the hell you think are, trying to boss me around? We just told you that we’re in charge around here. Looks like we’re gonna have to teach you how to respect the local authority."
His threat sounded real, and I feared if Jax didn’t get the bike started a fight was going to break out.
The thugs started tightening the semicircle around us. The thug wearing the spiked helmet whipped something out of his pocket and started flailing it around, making metallic clinking sounds with it. His hand stopped moving and a piece of metal protruded from his fist. I gasped when realized it was a butterfly knife.
Jax suddenly leapt off the motorcycle and grabbed my arm, pulling me off with him. My heart felt like it was pounding in my throat. I held onto Jax as we stepped away backwards, not wanting to take our eyes off the thugs. They blocked off the street and sidewalk, and the only direction available to us was back toward the trailer homes of Jax’s youth.
Jax shielded me with his arm as we backed up. "Stay close, Riley."
"Look, we don't want any problems," Jax said, "but if you think you're going to start something, we're sure as hell going to finish it."
I pulled on his arm and whispered, "I think we can make a dash for it if we head to the left."
His dark eyes darted to the side and he nodded slightly.
He nudged me, and we turned and hurried past the left edge of the thugs’ semicircle, as I snugly held onto Jax’s strong arm. I held my breath, hopeful we’d make it past these thugs and their bullshit.
I suddenly felt a hand wrap around my arm, yanking me back.
"Leave me the f**k alone!" I shouted as I spun around and tried twisting my arm free from the biker with the gross face tattoos. I lashed out like a caged animal and tried kicking him in the balls, but he dodged my foot.
Like a flash of lightning, Jax's arm shot out and clocked the guy, sending him staggering back. I tried to stop myself from trembling in fright, but I knew these guys were going to be seriously pissed.
"Stay there, Riley," Jax said, stepping forward and forming a human barrier between the bikers and me.
"Looks like we gotta teach you some manners now," Face Tattoos said. He cracked his knuckles and spit blood. "We're gonna f**king break you in half now. And if you're lucky, we'll even let you watch what we do to her."
They all swarmed closer in on us as an anxious shaking rippled through my body. Jax reached beyond me and held out his hand. He turned his head back quickly and whispered, "Keep trying to start the bike, I'll draw them away."
I reached in his hand and found the motorcycle keys.
Spiky Helmet swirled around his butterfly knife. Jax got into a fighting stance and drew them out further into front yard, away from the street and the bike. The glint of the streetlight reflected off the blade’s sharp edges and a panicked breath caught in my throat.
Holding up the knife, Spiky Helmet charged at him. Jax stood tall until the last possible second before sidestepping the charging biker. But he left his foot out and tripped the thug. It sent the biker’s helmet flying off as he fell forward. His chin smacked off the sidewalk and scraped against the concrete, leaving behind a trail of blood.
I yelped at the cracking sound of jaw hitting concrete. No. I had to keep cool and get this bike started so we could get out of here. I slammed the keys into the ignition and gave the throttle and gave the pedal a vicious kick. A weak sputtering sound came from the engine, even worse than before.
Turning towards the fight, I saw Jax leap forward and tackle one of the bikers. He held down the thug with one hand and pummeled his face as the other bikers rushed towards him.
Even though I knew I had to keep trying with the bike, I wasn't going to let Jax take on the thugs alone. Looking around for something I could use to my advantage, I noticed that next to the street was a gravel driveway filled with sharp heavy rocks. I hustled over, squatted down, and held up the bottom of my blouse, filling it with as many rocks as I could fit into it and then quickly ran back to the bike and tried the starter pedal again. This time, the engine rumbled more loudly, but still didn't start
Over on the front yard, the burly bald biker ripped Jax off his buddy, and him and Jax wrestled around in the dirt of the front yard as the other bikers kicked them.
I picked out a jagged rock from my blouse, took aim at the bikers, and launched it. Miss. I did it again. Miss. Everyone was moving around so fast that it made it difficult to hit them.
I whipped another rock and finally managed to hit the guy with the long braided goatee in the eye. He clutched his face as blood splurted out.
I stepped closer and hurled a handful of rocks at the bikers. They rained down like meteors, nailing a few guys in the head.
Bandana turned and saw me. "Now you think you’re tough shit?" He threw his bottle of booze at me.
I ducked and the rocks fell out of my blouse as the incoming bottle went twirling over my head, landing in the front yard a few feet away.
Howling and grunting, Jax went absolutely apeshit on Bandana. Thankfully he was beating them so badly, they all forgot about me.
Frantic, I tried the bike again, panic rising in my chest. Nothing. Dammit! When were we going to catch a break?
Jax was still holding his own against the bikers, but they just kept getting right back up and going at him. They must’ve been so drugged up that they weren’t feeling any of the pain Jax was dishing out.
I knew Jax was a fighter, but I didn’t know how much longer he could keep fending them off. He wasn’t superhuman. Yet there he was, with blood splattered all over his white tank top like a butcher after a hard day’s work.
The bike didn't seem like it wanted to cooperate and I didn't know if Jax could hold out forever. Even though I didn't have my purse or pepper spray with me, I wasn't going to sit on the sidelines and watch these animals beat the man I loved to death.