When we pulled up to the clubhouse I wasn’t sure if I was ready for today to end.
And that confused me.
“Thanks for today,” I said.
Cade held up the giant bunny. It had ridden home between us, its big ears flopping about in the wind.
“Want to come with me to give this to Brax?”
I grinned. Yes. Yes, I did.
“He’s over at the playground.” He gestured toward the clubhouse. “He and Vader’s little girl have a play date every Saturday afternoon.”
As we made our way up the driveway, I looked up and came to a sudden halt.
Across the parking lot, a large coffin was being unloaded from a truck and carried into the workshop of Shadow Choppers, the custom motorcycle shop co-owned by the Kings. Next door to it, was their tattoo shop called Sinister Ink.
“Is that my daddy’s coffin?” I asked.
It was a lame question, because of course it was.
All fallen Kings were buried in a custom-sprayed coffin, usually to match their motorcycle paint job, and always with the Kings of Mayhem patch on the sides.
“Ah, yeah . . . sorry, Indy. Picasso is getting it ready for the funeral.”
I watched the coffin disappear inside the workshop, hating the feeling of sadness that swept through me. My daddy didn’t deserve my grief. He was lucky I was even here.
“I’m sorry, Indy,” Cade said again.
“Why?” I looked at him, my eyes narrowed. “You didn’t kill him.”
I stalked off. I didn’t know why I was suddenly so angry. Only moments ago, I had been fine, and now—now I hated everything about this Godforsaken hick town and this stupid motorcycle club.
“Hey . . .” Cade called after me. When I ignored him, he caught up to me and gently turned me around. “Come on, Indy. I know you’re hurting.”
My anger—or whatever the hell it was I was feeling— peaked.
“That’s where you’re wrong.” I folded my arms. “I’m not hurting. I’m not hurting at all. My daddy was a mean sonofabitch who cheated on my mom, and put a fist in her jaw more than a couple of times. He was a bad husband and an even shittier father. So, no, I’m not hurting. I’m nothing. So spare me the apologies. And let’s just get this shit done so I can get out of the fuck out of here.”
I had no desire to be back in the Kings of Mayhem compound. I wanted to go home. Get as far away from all of this as possible. But as I stomped toward the timber fort and playground, the sight of it made me come to a quick halt. Garrett Calley and my daddy had built the playground for us when we were kids, and twenty-five years later, it still looked the same. Two little blonde kids played on the timber fort and they could have easily been Cade and me when we were little. They were laughing as the little boy chased the little girl around the swing set, and when the little girl fell down, the little boy rushed to her and helped her up.
How many times had Cade done that for me? Picked me up when I had fallen down.
Cade stood directly behind me.
“The very first time I kissed you was on that fort,” he said, his voice husky and his breath warm against the back of my neck. “We were five years old. Do you remember?”
I nodded and tears sprung to my eyes as my anger started to wane.
Hell. My emotions were all over the place. Stupid hangover.
“Yes, I remember,” I whispered. My heart pounded in my ears as those happy memories rushed at me all at once. We had spent hours playing on that stupid playground. And he was right; the very first time he had kissed me had been behind the timber fort when we were five, and it was the first of many. Although, by the time we were teenagers, the kissing was a little less innocent and involved a lot more tongue.
My heart ached and my chest felt heavy. They were happy times, but again I felt at war with myself. I sighed. Exhausted. It was time to stop running from my past and face it head on.
Without turning around, I asked, “Can you take me to see my father?”
Cade’s voice was deep and strong. “Of course.”
Dead people don’t look like they are sleeping. They look dead. Gone. Empty. My father was no different. His eyes were closed. I mean, he looked like my father. Beard. Longish hair. A face marred by grief and the torment of losing his son. Not to mention the drinking and drugs. But he also looked dead.
I stared down at him, my chest tight. It was real. It was over. There would be no more stalemate between us. No more unanswered phone calls. No more missed birthdays, Thanksgivings and Christmases. No more nothing between us.