The way he looked at her sometimes, she could allow herself to dream. For just a fleeting second, it seemed he stared at her like the other men did their old ladies.
“What’s going on, son?” Duke asked, looking up from the car he was working on to Matthew, who’d just entered the garage.
Since Matthew had returned, he’d spent more time in his room than he did when he was a moody teenager.
“You gonna help me with this?” Duke nodded toward the engine.
“Sure.” Matthew removed his jacket and walked over to the car.
Grabbing the right tools, they both got to work on fixing the car. Duke would check over Matthew’s work just in case, and if something wasn’t right, he’d finish it. For over an hour they worked in complete silence. No radio playing, nothing.
He wanted to know what was wrong with Matthew but also knew his son would tell him the moment he was ready.
“I want to try again,” Matthew said.
Duke looked up and frowned. “With what?”
“Joining the club. I want to take it seriously.”
“What about your studies?”
“I can do them. Landon prospected for the club and still studied. He’s doing okay.”
Duke stared at his son, wondering what was with the change of heart. “I thought we had gone over this.”
“We had, and I wasn’t ready. That was my problem. I fucked up, but now I am.”
Duke waited, thinking about it.
He’d always wanted Matthew to join the club at some point. Even though Holly had wanted him to go to college and enjoy everything a young kid should enjoy, Duke had hoped his son would return.
Matthew was hotheaded and could be an asshole at times, but most kids went through that stage. He was a nightmare to live with growing up, especially when all he’d wanted was violence and the chance to get his dick wet. Not only had Matthew gone through that, he’d also experienced the fear of possibly getting a girl pregnant.
Just remembering that moment nearly turned Duke’s hair grey. It had been a fucking tense problem.
“You do realize before I take this to the table, I’m going to want to know what brought it on.”
Matthew patted the car. His gaze focused, and he actually looked like a man, and not his little boy.
“I saw her.”
Matthew nodded. “I didn’t get a chance to speak to her. I was watching her. She sat on a bench reading a book. Her legs were crossed, and she had on this cute hat. I was about to go and see her when some guy ran up to her. She smiled at him, and he hugged her.”
Duke stared at his son, waiting.
“I came home.”
“And you didn’t even bother to find out who he is. If he’s even any competition for you.”
“I realized that I needed to be something, Dad. I fucked her. I took her virginity, and in that moment, it was the most precious.” Matthew laughed. “Then the next night I had someone else in the back of the car. I didn’t deserve what Luna gave me.”
“You know, being a virgin, it’s not what it used to be.”
“I was her first. We nearly had a kid together, and when I realized that we could have a baby, I wasn’t afraid,” Matthew said. “I was happy. I’d fucked up completely. I had screwed other girls after her, and it was only when I saw her in high school and that she wouldn’t speak to me, did I truly realize what I lost. I lost her, Dad. But a baby.” The smile on Matthew’s face tore at his fucking heart.
Duke was all about protecting the ones he loved, and he couldn’t do that for Matthew.
“Then there was no baby.”
“No baby. No nothing, and I lost her again. I had nothing I could do, and it’s all my fault. I wasn’t ready for the club or for these feelings that she makes me feel. I want her more than anything, but I know now, I’ve got to be able to deserve her.”
“And you think coming to the club will do that?”
“I think being part of the club will make me a man, Dad. I don’t want special treatment either. This is not like before. This is serious. I’m ready.”
“Then I’ll talk to the club and I’ll see what they say.”
“To me, you are a man that does deserve her,” Duke said.
“Thanks, Dad, but I know I’m not. I’m going to grab a soda. Want one?”
He watched as Matthew left, knowing his son was growing up, becoming a man. Taking responsibility for his shit, and he was so damn proud of him.
One week later
“What about her?” Lindsey asked.
Pie wasn’t interested in any of the women that were dancing at the club. There had been a big party planned as it was Friday night and of course there was a new sweet-butt joining the club, so later on, several of the guys would take her.