Authors: Evelyn Glass
This is a work of fiction. Any names, characters, places, events, and incidents are products of the author's imagination or are used fictitiously and are not to be construed as real. Any resemblance to actual events, locales, organizations, or persons—living or dead—is entirely coincidental.
Old Lady copyright @ 2015 by Evelyn Glass. All rights reserved. No part of this book may be used or reproduced in any manner whatsoever without written permission except in the case of brief quotations embedded in critical articles or reviews.
Book 3 of the
Hell Brigade Motorcycle Club
Her life certainly couldn’t be any better.
It was an ordinary, normal day. Gabby set the chicken in the oven and switched on the timer. Nick was due to come home soon, and she wanted to present him with a lovely meal. It was hard to believe that she’d been with him for a month already. Although she had moved a bit reluctantly to his house, now it felt like home. She loved being the queen of the house, doing chores, and waiting for him at times when he was away doing club work.
In all her years of slavery as one of Joseph’s prostitutes, Gabby never imagined that one day she would live a quiet, mundane life. It was one of the biggest blessings in her life.
Now that the investigation against her former pimp, Joseph, was in full swing, she was a little more relaxed. She’d contemplated running away, but when Nick discovered her plans by accident and forbade her to make any such move, she discarded the idea. He assured her that if she did any such rash thing, he would come after her and failing that, he would confront her ex-pimp and fight the man. She didn’t want him to get into trouble on her behalf. If he fought with Joseph, he might end up going to jail or else getting hurt. Nick meant the world to her and she couldn’t bear it if anything bad happened to him, so she put her plans on the backburner.
Already, things were getting better. It was more than a month ago that she received her last threatening call from Joseph. Maybe he was too busy hiding from the police to put his plans regarding her into action. Or perhaps, he’d given up the idea knowing that she was well protected. Nick hardly ever left her alone, and even when he did, the house contained enough security measures to prevent any intruder from walking in.
Nick and the Hell Brigade, the motorcycle club to which he belonged, weren’t taking any chances with her safety. With each passing day, she felt more secure, a little freer. And soon, when the police officially filed a case against Joseph, she wouldn’t have to worry about anything.
The doorbell rang. Even though she knew it was Nick, Gabby checked the peephole and then the video feed that came from the camera mounted over the front door before she opened the lock. The handsome man who stood at the doorstep was all hers.
Joy coursed through her veins as she greeted him with a smile. “Hey, darling!” His kiss on her mouth was friendly, and yet she felt the fission of desire that always overtook her whenever he was around. “You look good enough to eat,” he said.
“In that case, I will take the chicken out of the oven.” When he picked up the large carton he’d put on the floor, she raised an eyebrow and moved aside to let him in. “What’s that?”
“Patience is a virtue,” he said.
She wrinkled her brow as she followed him to the study. Nick was once a financial guru. He made adequate money to buy a house and set aside enough investments to not worry about making a living. The work he did for the club was mostly pro bono even though all the club members got a good cut from the profits that came in from their various borderline-illegal activities. Nick was slowly converting the club’s policies and setting up their cash flow streams to come from legal work. He didn’t want any more of their people to end up in jail. It was a noble venture, and yet it was taking time as there were some members who were resisting the shift, despite the obvious benefits.
The kitchen timer went off, and rather than see what he was up to, she got busy with dinner preparations. After lighting a candle, she dimmed the lights in the dining room and set things up on the table. The white and yellow roses she’d set in the vase added the perfect, sweet touch. For tonight, she’d even baked a cake, one of her first attempts. It didn’t turn out as well as she hoped, but with practice, she would become better.
“Wow!” said Nick as he entered. “What’s the occasion, babe?”
A little disappointed that he didn’t remember that it was their first month anniversary of her official move into his house, she pouted. Unreasonable expectations were the bane of every relationship. She shouldn’t hold him to such high standards. “It’s our one month anniversary. Not a big deal, but I thought we should celebrate in a special way.”
He wrinkled his brow, looking a little flustered. “Ah! You should’ve reminded me. I would’ve gotten a gift.”
Gabby tried to keep the petulance out of her voice. She didn’t want to be one of those women who expected the man to read their minds and then got enraged when he failed to do so. Nick was the most loving, generous man, and there was nothing else that she wanted other than what he was already giving her. “Don’t worry about it. Why don’t you sit? I will bring the food.”
“Wait a minute.” He grabbed her arm. “I’ve got something to show you in the study.”
She rolled her eyes as she marched along. “Can’t it wait until after dinner? I am starving.”
“This won’t take long.”
When she entered the study, Gabby couldn’t tell what he referred to. The empty carton stood on one side against the wall. “What?”
He pointed at a sleek, white laptop that sat on the desk. Gabby’s eyes widened. “No!”
“Oh, yes. Happy Anniversary, babe! You didn’t think I’d actually forgotten, did you?” He laughed, took her in his arms, and deposited a kiss on her mouth. “It’s yours.”
“Oh no, I can’t accept that.”
He nuzzled against her neck. “Yes, you can and you will, and I don’t want to hear another word about it.”
She’d mentioned once that it would be so much easier if she could do her assignments on computer, and he’d offered to her that she could use his. She did so occasionally, but secretly, Gabby was saving to buy one of her own, but it would have taken her years to get enough cash to buy the beautiful machine that stood on his desk. Sometimes, he was way too generous, and she didn’t know how to respond when he showered her with gifts. Since Gabby wasn’t the sort who took pleasure in too many clothes and jewels, he indulged her love for sleek gadgets. “It is way too expensive, Nick. I really can’t accept it.”
“In that case, I will have to throw it in the garbage.” He moved towards the laptop. “What a waste of money that would be.”
“Wait!” She held his hand. “You’re just saying it to make me take it.”
“You want to see me throw it?” he questioned.
The man was obstinate right down to his bone. She knew him too well. If she didn’t accept it, he would probably do what he threatened. She tugged him back. “Fine, fine. Oh my God, Nick. That’s just too fantastic a gift. I could do all my research on it and write papers, and I will have to learn to use all these programs.” Overwhelmed by joy, she hugged him. Raising her chin, she glanced at him. Her sweet, handsome man, he just knew how to push her buttons and how to make her happy beyond her ability to express it. He hadn’t forgotten after all, he was merely toying with her. “Thank you. I love you.”
“And I love you.” He hugged her close. “And don’t you forget it, ever.”
Resting her head on his shoulders, she gazed at her laptop. Although she was dying to try it out, there were other things she’d planned. “Let’s eat,” she said.
Together, they moved into the dining hall. She brought out the food and he served. For tonight, she opened a bottle of wine and soon conversation flowed, as it always did so easily when he was with her. “The meeting was a fiasco,” he declared.
She cut the chicken. It was delicious and juicy. “Why? Did Matt create some other problems?”
The animosity between Matt and Nick lessened to a large degree, but that was only after Matt became sure that she wasn’t the snitch who gave away their details to the police. Even now, though, he kept his distance from her. Whereas Nick was cool minded and organized, Matt boasted a fierce temper, but he was loyal to the club, a quality that couldn’t be ignored.
“He doesn’t want to take on steady work,” complained Nick. “I’ve assured him and others that if we run our own warehouses, legally, we wouldn’t have to deal with the police ever. Sure, it would take some time to set up the project, but once it’s done, we can all sit back and relax and reap the rewards from our labor.”
“They don’t understand your vision.”
“Ronald comprehends the general idea, but none of them have ever started anything from the ground up, and of course, it’s not easy to set up something in the club’s name. We’ve to get licenses, registration, and there are mounds of paperwork.”
“I could help,” she offered. Although Gabby was not an official member of the club that only accepted men, she was just as good as. Whereas Hell Brigade was once a group of punks who rode fast bikes and dated hot girls, they were slowly and steadily settling into a more staid pace under Nick’s guidance. Their first love always would be a penchant for fast driving, but they sure could start a few legal businesses and become more respectable. It wouldn’t change the way they operated, but it would give them legitimacy and keep their members out of trouble. That was Nick’s vision. Not everyone agreed with it – and yet he worked hard to make them see what he planned.
“Thanks, babe, but for now we’re all set.”
The conversation moved to other topics. Gabby was nearly finishing her second year of high school. Since she was working from home, she could finish the curriculum at her pace, and with Nick’s help, she was doing it faster than anyone ever before. In fact, she was already harboring dreams of joining a college. She’d wasted ten years of her life confided under Joseph’s rule and now wanted to make the most of these opportunities.
Nick finished his dinner and set the fork on the plate. “Tomorrow is Sunday. Maybe we could do something interesting?”
“Define interesting,” she said.
“We could take a boat out for sail,” he said. “Miles, the artist and gallery owner, whose paintings you like has his own boat, and he wants us to come along for fishing.”
She pouted. Although she liked Miles and was quite a fan of his work, this little idea didn’t appeal to her all that much. “Fishing? That sounds like a man’s endeavor.”
He opened his eyes wide. “You don’t like fishing?”
“The idea of catching innocent fish and reeling them in doesn’t appeal to me.”
“But it’s alright if you cook and eat them, right.” He laughed as she squirmed. “That’s hypocritical.”
She stuck out her tongue at him. “Fine, maybe it is but I also don’t want to sit in a boat in hot weather while you guys swap fishing stories. I could just stay at home and you can do this with him, and perhaps you can invite him later for dinner.” Nick picked up their plates and took them in the kitchen. She followed behind to get the cake. “I’ve made chocolate fudge cake, and I’ll be honest enough to admit that it didn’t come out exactly as I planned, but I think the taste should be ok.” She showed him the cake that was a little lopsided. “What do you think?”
“It looks good enough to me.” Loyal to a fault, he didn’t bat an eye at the weird shape. “Let’s just cut it and see. Now that you’re cooking every day, I think I’ve put on five kilos of weight. Maybe it’s time to join a gym.”
It was true that she was trying out new recipes. Although Gabby went to the clubhouse during the day to cook and clean, she came back after lunch and had enough time on her hands to indulge in all the things that she never got to do before. Despite her school work, she was learning not only how to cook and bake but was also taking gardening classes once a week.
“We should start running together in the morning,” she suggested as she carried the cake to the dining room. He picked up the dessert plates and followed her.
“That’s a good plan,” he agreed.
She served him and sat. He took a bite and swallowed. “So how is it?”
Narrowing her eyes, she took a bite. Gabby spat out the cake. Looking at her, he took another bite. She snatched away his plate. “Have you gone nuts? It’s salty.”
“Doesn’t taste all that bad. It could be a new invention.”
Laughter sputtered out of her. Getting up, she strode over, and plopped on his lap. “Don’t tell me that you love me so much that you can eat a salty cake and pretend that it’s yummy.”