There were tits everywhere. Everywhere.
It was par for the course with the company I kept so I was used to it. What I wasn’t used to was watching those tits rubbing all over my man.
The Life wasn’t for everyone.
That was one facet I knew I would always have trouble with. Eric and I were going to have to talk about it. For the night, I was going to look the other way. It was a big night for Eric. Not just in terms of the club, but in life in general. Three years on the inside was a long time and I knew it could take some time to get used to the freedom thing again.
Still, I hung back and tried not to stare too hard while girl after girl introduced herself to Eric’s lap. I sucked in a breath when a redhead with milky white skin and fantastic tits that weren’t fake got a little too into the lap dance she was giving Eric.
“Want me to hose her down?” Ginger offered as she passed me a longneck bottle of beer.
“No, he gets a free pass tonight,” I answered. I sipped the icy cold beer and took the lit cigarette Ginger offered me.
“You know I heard a rumor that Animal’s girl has been polishing some accountant’s nob over in Monroe.”
I took a drag from the cigarette and blew the smoke up into the night air. Alcide’s love life was none of my business and I hated trading in gossip. He had problems with Debbie already.
“Well unless you have proof of it, I’d keep it to yourself,” I advised.
“No shit, Sook. I’m not looking to start a beef or anything.”
“Good. No one needs that shit.” I took another drag.
Thankfully someone pulled Ginger away before she could tell me anything else. I didn’t even like hearing gossip because I hated lying when I was inevitably asked what I knew. My mom tried to teach me how to keep my face expressionless but it wasn’t easy to squelch a reaction. She had decades of practice so of course I was a goddamn tell-all next to her, but I was working on it.
The redhead grinding up on Eric was named Jessica. I knew she was young, probably just a hair past nineteen. She worked as a dancer at Hooligans, a strip club that was partially owned by the MC. It was true I didn’t know all the particulars of the club’s business ventures but back when my dad was running things he wasn’t into the drug trade or gun running. He considered himself to be an “investor” in multiple ventures.
Mostly in the sex industry.
While I had no interest in being a stripper or a porn star I knew it was a lucrative business, especially with the internet stuff. I heard little bits here and there about the money rolling in from it. Of course there was overhead and the girls were well paid, but even after all the expenses were paid there was a tidy sum to split up at the end of each month. I had no access to my parents’ bank statements so I couldn’t say for sure how much cash they were sitting on, but Pop just bought Mom a shiny new Escalade for her last birthday.
Of course my parents didn’t let me or Jason hang out on porn sets or at any of the strip clubs they owned, but they never tried to hide their business from us either. Bon Temps was a small town so trying to protect us from it wouldn’t have done much good. It was no surprise when Jason’s first girlfriend was one of the girls that worked at Hooligans. It was even less surprising when he volunteered himself to be a security guard on the porn sets.
I had no idea where Eric would end up working within the club. Everyone had a role to play.
I got up and walked out of the bar to get some air. The bar was full of smoke, whether it be cigarette or marijuana I couldn’t really tell. It was safe to say I probably had a secondhand contact high going because of it, but it wouldn’t be the first or the last time.
“You okay, baby?” Mom asked from my right. She was sitting at an old picnic table with a cigarette in one hand and a beer in the other. She was dressed in distressed, black skinny jeans with a black, lacy top and knee-high leather boots with a five inch heel. Her hair was teased slightly but pulled back from her face. The highlights in her hair were flawless, as was the makeup on her beautiful face.
“Yeah, just need a little fresh air.” I moved over to where she was and sat on the table next to her.
“That kutte looks good on him,” she said.
“Yes it does,” I agreed. I took another puff on my smoke before tossing it away.
“He looks so much like his father,” Mom said wistfully. “You know Pam never got over losing Gunner. I wish you could have met him at a time you could actually remember it. He was a good man. If it wasn’t for him there might not be a club like there is today.”
I knew a little about Eric’s family. His dad was one of the Originals in the MC. His mom was a working girl at a brothel just outside of New Orleans proper, which was where Gunner Northman met Pam de Beaufort. I knew Pam got pregnant young and gave birth to Eric at nineteen. She wasn’t prepared to be a mom so she allowed her older sister Karin to raise Eric. Karin couldn’t have kids of her own and she didn’t approve of the lifestyle Pam lived. For the first fifteen years of Eric’s life he believed that Karin was his mother. Then she died suddenly in a freak boating accident and the truth finally came out about his parentage.
There was some resentment on his part in the beginning, but I could hardly blame him for that.
His dad had agreed with Pam that they weren’t prepared to be parents or provide Eric with the stable home life a baby needed. Pam and Gunner were married three years after they met. Sadly, Gunner was killed while serving a dime bid at Angola. He was shanked in the yard during a gang fight. It wasn’t intentional, not that it stopped the necessary retaliation that had to happen. Gunner’s death was a hard one for Pop to get past.
“Me too. Eric doesn’t talk about him much.” I took a drink from my bottle of beer.
“I suppose he wouldn’t. It might be helpful if he talked to Pam, especially now that he’s patched in.”
“He’ll do it when he’s ready.” I wasn’t going to interfere with his business.
“You’re his Old Lady. Don’t be afraid to speak up, sweetheart.”
“I’m not. He just got out, Mom. He deserves some time to adjust, don’t you think?”
Mom blew a stream of silver smoke into the air. Her face was pointed to the night sky.
“I just want to make sure your voice is heard. There are things I would do differently if I knew then what I know now. I love your father and I love the life we have. We were able to give you and Jason more than we ever dreamed possible because of this club, but for me personally, I’d do some things different. I don’t want you to look back in thirty years and feel that way, baby. Life’s too short to not be brave. Be bold and the mighty forces will come to your aid,” she said.
Mom smiled. “Smart girl.”
“I watched Almost Famous recently.”
“Good fuckin’ movie,” Mom said.
“You know you’re my hero, right?” I knew I’d told her that more than once, but I liked to remind her from time to time, especially if she was having a sad day. Like anyone else, she had those sometimes. “I don’t know anyone braver, stronger, more compassionate or more loyal than you. I couldn’t have designed a better mom than you.”
Her pretty blue eyes welled up and she leaned over to hug me with one arm.
“Thank you, baby.” She kissed the side of my head. “I only want the best life possible for you, Sunshine.”
“I know, Mama Bear.” I hugged her back and kissed her cheek.
I had some decisions to make about the kind of relationship I wanted with Eric. There were some Old Ladies who didn’t mind their husbands screwing around behind their back, but I wasn’t one of them. Cheating was something I couldn’t let go of. I remembered the look my mother used to get on her face when she knew that Pop had been with another woman and it wasn’t how I wanted to spend my life.
It wasn’t the right time to have that conversation, however.
There were too many people around and I knew he had been taking shots of one hard alcohol or another for the last few hours. Cleaning up after him was going to be fun.
Assuming he didn’t end up in the emergency room.
I finished off my beer and went back into the bar. My timing couldn’t have been better.
I walked in just in time to see a drunken Eric attempt to stand up, only to promptly fall flat on his face. Bad news for his already broken nose. At the same time, out of the corner of my eye, I saw Debbie slap Animal like he was a redheaded stepchild. She owned his face for the tenth of a second. Before he could slap her back a couple of the guys held him back. Quinn, meanwhile, grabbed Debbie and hauled her out of the bar. He carried her leather-clad ass past me, kicking and carrying on like a wild animal.
“Crazy bitch,” I muttered as they exited the bar. If she damaged anything I was going to personally twat punch her.
I set my empty bottle down and crossed the room to make sure Eric got back to his feet okay. He did with Jase and Andy’s help.
“Hey, Baby Doll,” Eric said with a smirk. He was definitely throwing the drunk version of bedroom eyes my way. “Wanna come released the Kraken?”
I laughed, as did Andy, but Jase wasn’t really that amused.
My brother was on a first name basis with double standards. It was okay that he lost his virginity at fifteen to some stripper six years older than him, but he lost his shit when I lost mine to Sam Merlotte, my high school boyfriend, after being together for almost a year.
Contrary to what a lot of people might think because of who my parents are, I wasn’t brought up with no values or loose morals. If anything, I think I’ve learned to really appreciate my family and know my own value. I also don’t give a fuck what some two faced bitch like Debbie Pelt says about me, since she’ll ultimately go back to her boring suburban life and marry the guy mommy and daddy chose for her because they think he’s a good fit.
“Think you’re sober enough for that, Northy?” I snickered.
“Guess we’ll find out.”
He tried to walk on his own but that wasn’t happening. With Andy’s help, I got Eric back to his room. The MC owned a compound – for lack of a better term – in case the club and its associates needed a safe place to lay low. Sure it was a little paranoid but it was a necessity. Protection for friends and family was paramount to the club. Pop took it very seriously that Mom and us kids were safe if something popped up, and even though the club wasn’t too involved in criminal enterprises, there were a few pimps that tried to flex their muscle.
The only thing worse than going after a member’s Old Lady was going after his kids.
“Good luck with him,” Andy said after he got Eric settled on his bed.
“Thanks. I’ll holler if we need a medic,” I snickered.
Andy had some training thanks to his previous career in law enforcement, which came in handy every now and then. Guys got hurt and there were the occasional fist fights to settle beefs between the guys. It was best to just let them fight it out. I didn’t understand it, but it worked for the guys. They could beat the shit out of each other and that was it. Problem solved.
“Baby Doll, come here.” Eric held up his arms to me.
I walked over to him and straddled his thighs. He pulled me down to lie on top of him and his thick arms closed around me. Eric smelled of smoke, booze and skanks.
“Baby, you need a shower,” I told him.
“Later,” he whispered. “I just want to hold you for a while. I don’t want you to be gone when I wake up.”
“I won’t be,” I promised. “I’ll be right here, baby, I promise.”
I feel Eric playing with my hair. His breathing evens out pretty quickly and it doesn’t take long for him to pass out. I unlocked his arms from around me and carefully get off the bed so I could clean him up a little bit. I got his boots and clothes off, making sure to lay his kutte over the top of a chair. That piece of leather was officially his most prized possession.
Someone taking it or doing damage to it… It was parallel to castration but a hundred times more shameful.
Most guys in the club would rather lose a but than that piece of leather.
To them it wasn’t just a piece of dried up cow hide. Earning a kutte was no easy feat. There were plenty of guys who thought they had the right shit to get into an MC. Being made a prospect was tricky; making member status? That was damn hard. It took years to rise up the ranks of the club. Trust had to be established and battle tested.
Eric, however, had already proven his loyalty by taking the bid for Terry.
Honestly, even though I loved the old man I had to wonder if Eric was a little insane for taking the fall like he did. It was his life, but he was going to have to start thinking about something other than himself when he made decisions like those in the future. He was going to have a wife and kids to think about. I didn’t want my kids to have a dad who was constantly in and out of jail. That was the hard part of living the Life. Relative normalcy could be ripped away at any time, and it was usually at the worst possible time.
After I got Eric cleaned up a little bit I got undressed as much as I dared and climbed into bed with him. There were still details to work out, but I was happy he was home.
That is until he suddenly threw up.
All over me.