Outside, he lit a cigarette and squinted in the early morning sunlight. “You’re going to be voted in VP.”
“How do you know that?”
“Because I suggested it.” He looked at me through a furrowed brow. “Not one person has disagreed. Bull thinks it’s a good idea.”
I shook my head. Holding any kind of rank within the club was a responsibility I wasn’t sure I wanted. It came with a shit load of obligation and little room to fuck up.
“We need to leave this until after we bury Jackie,” I said.
He nodded. “Yeah. But think about it.”
I put my hand on his shoulder. “I will. Thanks, brother.”
Isaac was my best friend. While I was close to my brothers, Chance and Caleb, Isaac and I were the same age, born two days apart, so we’d grown up close. We were like brothers. I could read him like a book so I knew something was gnawing at him. It didn’t surprise me when he changed the subject.
“Hey, I gotta talk to you about somethin’ else,” he took a deep drag on his cigarette and looked worried. Something was obviously troubling him.
“Is everything okay?”
His brow creased again. “I did this deal.”
Already, I didn’t like where this was going.
“Deal? What do you mean?” I studied his face. This wasn’t good. If he was setting up deals without taking it to Chapel first, then it was the last thing the Kings needed. The club had had a run of bad luck lately. A lot of good, solid deals had fallen through. The last thing we needed was for one of our members to do rogue deals.
The opening of the sliding door interrupted us, and my mom stepped out onto the porch. “There you are.” She took the cigarette from between Isaac’s lips, sucked down a toke before handing it back to her nephew. “We need to get going. They’re expecting us at the funeral home in half an hour.”
I looked at my cousin. “You okay to finish this later?”
He hesitated, but quickly relaxed and nodded. I watched him drop his cigarette to the ground and grind it out with his boot.
“Yeah. This can wait.” He smiled broadly and patted my back. “Come on. Let’s go make sure Jackie gets sent off right.”
I hadn’t been back to Destiny since the day I had walked away from the club and my family twelve years earlier. Now I was in a rental car with the air conditioning cranked up to high and the familiar landscape of small town Mississippi scrolling past the window. Lynyrd Skynyrd’s “Free Bird” filled the car and despite the air conditioning, I had the window wound down as I sped toward the town I had desperately run away from as an eighteen-year-old girl.
The past was already coming back to claim me, filling me with familiar sounds, smells, and memories I hadn’t thought about in years. I sucked in a deep breath of the warm spring air to settle the butterflies taking flight in my stomach.
I was sad about Daddy. I was sad that he was dead and that I’d never had the chance to say goodbye. I was sad that we hadn’t spoken in several years. I was sad he was such a monster and that I wouldn’t miss him. He had been a mean sonofabitch and we’d both let go of each other a lot sooner than the day I left town.
Despite my hesitations about returning to Destiny, my head was surprisingly clear and it actually felt good to breathe in the familiar smells of the place I had once called home.
Since finding out about my daddy, my head had been filled with a million thoughts of the past. Thoughts about my childhood. Of my family. Of growing up in Destiny as an MC kid.
I sighed. I wanted to see Cade about as much as I wanted a hole in the head. From what I’d heard, he was neck deep into the club now. According to my mom—on the rare occasions that we talked—he was a popular member of the MC and there was an expectation that he would rise through the ranks to be president one day.
Not that I was worried about seeing him again. I wouldn’t be hanging around long enough for it to matter.
Get in and get out. No distractions. That was the plan.
I’d be there for my mom, bury my daddy and then get the hell out of dodge.
The truth was, I didn’t need Cade Calley getting into my head. It had taken a lot of time and a lot of tequila to get over him.
A lot of tequila.
As I passed the timber-carved sign welcoming me to Destiny, Steppenwolf’s “Born To Be Wild” filled the rental car, and I experienced a fractured moment where the years peeled back and I was an eighteen-year-old MC kid again.