I owed her at least that much.
In five years, I had managed to save a lot of cash. Enough to ensure Indy would see her dream through to the end.
“Would you like to see her?” The gentleman behind the desk asked. “I had my secretary find out where she’d be this morning in case you wanted to—”
“That won’t be necessary. And if we could keep this between us, I’d be grateful.”
I stood and so did he.
“You don’t want Miss Parrish knowing the donation is from you?”
I shook my head.
“Not from me,” I said. “Let her know it was from someone who believes she is going to do great things.”
We shook hands and I left his office. Outside, the rain had stopped but it was cold and wet, and I shoved my hands in my jeans. Despite the weather, the campus was crowded with students making their way to and from class. I wasn’t wearing my cut and was able to blend in easily as I made my way toward the parking lot. In another life, one where I hadn’t fucked up, I would have walked these grounds as a student. But in this life, I walked it as a stranger who had no business being there, other than to ensure someone very special got to follow her dream.
If I hadn’t glanced to my right I would have missed her. But I did and the sight of her stopped me in my tracks and sent a ferocious pain spiraling through me. She was walking with a group of people, her beautiful blonde hair almost hidden by the beanie she wore, her face pink with cold. She was clutching a Styrofoam cup of coffee between her gloved hands as she chatted happily to the guy walking beside her. Suddenly, her beautiful, pink lips broke into a devastating smile as she laughed at something he said and my heart squeezed painfully in my chest. She didn’t see me and I was glad. Five years had passed since I’d spoken to her, and the agony in my heart was as real as the last time I’d seen her. Her seeing me and walking away would end me.
I turned my back and began to walk away.
It would be years before I would see her again.
And by then she would be with another man.
It was Wednesday. And every Wednesday night, apparently, there was a fight for money at the clubhouse. Tonight, it was Cade and Hawke.
Typically, it was a club member thing only. But Cade seemed determined to keep me close and brought me along.
Isaac sat down next to me, and for a moment he didn’t speak, he just joined me in watching Cade in the ring, occasionally raising his bottle of beer to his lips to take a sip.
“He’s different around you,” he said finally.
Isaac smiled and it was the gorgeous, perfect, pearly white smile that made all the girls drop their panties. Of course, it did. He was a Calley, and they all possessed a spell-binding allure about them that they used to mesmerize women to get exactly what they wanted.
“Yeah, he is. But then again, that boy always was a fool for you.” He lit a cigarette and it hung off his lip. “Good to see some things don’t change.”
“He’s changed,” I said, turning back to the action in the ring.
“He’s harder. Something’s changed in him.”
Just as I said it, Cade unleashed a vicious right hook on Hawke’s left cheek and split it open, and the crowd of bikers cheered.
“Yeah, well, a lot of water has rushed under that bridge,” Isaac said. “We all have to grow up sometimes, I guess.”
“It’s not that. There’s something else. Something I can’t quite put my finger on. But it’s made him harder than I remember. Darker.”
Isaac put down his beer bottle and drew on his cigarette. “Travis Hawthorne.”
My eyes darted to his. I recognized the name immediately. Once upon a time, Travis Hawthorne had held us all in a state of terror for more than an hour as he roamed the school hallways with a loaded shotgun, a Glock, and enough ammunition to arm an entire infantry.
“What about him?” I asked.
Isaac drew on his smoke and then forced it out both nostrils.
“He got out. Some years back.”
I gasped. “How can that be? He was a psychopath!”
“Not according to his doctors.” He shook his head. “They let him out about four years ago.”
“That’s crazy,” I whispered.
“That’s not the half of it,” Isaac said. “Two months after he got out, Travis killed a young woman and her elderly parents.”
My hand went to my mouth. “Why?”
“Because he is a psychopathic asshole.”
“He came across them at the supermarket, followed them to their farmhouse, and then did what he did. Why, because that kid was crazier than a cut snake. Did all kinds of terrible things to the woman, before and after he killed her.” Isaac shook his head. “Cops caught up with him in Tennessee. He was driving her car, and apparently the taillight was out. I guess he figured he was busted, so he decided to go out in a hail of bullets.”