Picnic came to a stop at the end of the aisle, where Em and Dancer—as bridesmaids—waited to help Marie off the bike and fix her dress. Then the two women walked down the aisle before her, side by side. We all rose as Picnic held out his arm to Marie, then slowly escorted her toward Horse.
That’s when the people in the back started laughing.
Everyone around us looked confused, and I glanced up to find Horse frowning. He leaned over toward Ruger, murmuring something to him. The waves of laughter kept growing as Marie moved forward, and then I was able to see the patch—“Property of Horse”—proudly displayed on her rear end, as promised.
Picnic stopped at the end, stepping back as Horse came to collect Marie. She whispered something to him, and he looked around behind her to see the patch. His face split in a huge grin and I glanced over to see Lacey biting her lip, trying not to laugh. She winked at Marie, silently acknowledging that her daughter had won, and the ceremony started.
I don’t remember all the details. It went fast. I kept looking up to find Ruger watching me, his face serious. I did note two very interesting facts, though. The first was that Horse’s full name was Marcus Antonius Caesar McDonnell, God help him.
The second was that Marie didn’t promise to obey.
Then the minister pronounced them husband and wife, and Horse swept Marie up into a kiss that I was pretty sure could get a woman pregnant. Def Leppard’s “Pour Some Sugar on Me” burst through the speakers and Horse all but carried her back down the aisle as everyone cheered—and bikers cheer loud.
Ruger walked Dancer back down the aisle, and Em walked by herself.
“They left the second spot for Bolt,” Maggs said to me, her eyes misty. “They always leave a spot for Bolt. They’re waiting for him to come home.”
I glanced over at Cookie, whose face had gone pale.
“Are you all right?” I asked. She gave me a tight smile.
“Excuse me, I need to go check on Silvie,” she said. I must’ve looked blank, because she explained. “The flower girl. She’s my daughter.”
“Oh, she’s beautiful,” I said, but Cookie was already up and moving.
I’d noticed a few things since I started getting to know the Reapers.
They were fiercely loyal to each other. They seemed to talk in code sometimes, and they had their own rules and ways of doing things. They didn’t like cops and they knew how to get rid of bodies. The Reapers didn’t really shine, though, until you’d seen them party.
Give them a marriage to celebrate and a pyramid of kegs?
The place blew up.
Marie’s mom definitely knew how to throw a reception, too. They’d gone with casual, and I entered the courtyard to find it transformed into something that wasn’t quite elegant, but was definitely fun. There were lights everywhere, music blasting, and enough food for two armies.
Best of all? There was child care.
Yup, she’d hired the entire staff of a local day care center to come in and set up a children’s area, complete with games, prizes, face painting, and a genuine f**king pony to ride on. The kids even had their own little buffet where they could put together hot dogs and hamburgers.
Noah lost interest in me immediately.
“Wow, this is amazing,” I said to Maggs as he took off running. “I didn’t realize Marie came from money.”
“Marie comes from a trailer,” Maggs replied, laughing. “But her stepdaddy’s trying to make up for lost time, and he’s loaded. What Lacey wants, Lacey gets. Today she wants a pony.”
“No shit,” I said.
Then Ruger’s arms came around me and he leaned down into me, scenting my hair.
“Hey,” he whispered in my ear. I melted. Maggs rolled her eyes as I turned in his arms.
“Hey,” I whispered back. Then I put my hands on his shoulders and lifted up on my toes to kiss him. We’d been doing this a lot the past week. Soft, sweet, quick kisses that let me show my feelings without things getting too intense.
This time it wasn’t soft and sweet.
I guess watching Horse and Marie had inspired Ruger, because he kissed me fast and hard, just like he used to. Then he pulled away and looked down at me, his face serious.
“We okay?” he asked.
“Yeah, we’re okay,” I said, smiling up at him. “I missed you.”
“I missed you, too. One part of you in particular. Let’s get reacquainted.”
I blushed as he took my arm and half walked me, half dragged me across the courtyard. I stumbled, catching his drift but not on board with his timing.
“Where are we going?” I demanded. “We’re going to miss everything!”
“Horse already said the party can wait until he’s f**ked his bride, and he’s a smart man,” Ruger muttered, pausing next to a table to grab a backpack. Then I realized where we were headed.
“No,” I said, jerking and tugging against his hand. “Not the shed. I’m not going back into that shed.”
“No prob,” Ruger replied, changing direction without a pause. Now we headed toward the back of the Armory. I saw Dancer as we passed, and she was laughing and pointing at me.
Then we were in the stairwell, climbing back up to the third floor. Ruger spotted an open door to one of the rooms, and we walked in to find a woman on her knees, giving some man I’d never seen before a blow job.
“Need a blanket,” Ruger said to him, pulling one off the bed. The guy nodded, and then we were back out again before I could burst into embarrassed flames. Ruger took me up one more flight through a door that opened onto the roof. It was wide and open, with big parapets ringing the edges. There was a bit of a slope, but not much. We were essentially out in the open.
“This isn’t much better than the shed,” I said, and Ruger turned to me, raising his brows.
“Are you f**king serious?” he asked. “I find the one place within a mile that we can have privacy and you’re gonna bitch about it? Besides, it’s tradition. Guys take girls up here all the time. Hell, Horse proposed to Marie on a roof.”
“I guess it’s okay,” I said.
“Well that’s a relief,” he muttered, flinging the blanket down flat. Then his hands were tangling in my hair and his mouth covered mine.
I don’t quite remember how I wound up on the bottom. I certainly don’t remember what happened to my panties, although I sort of suspected Ruger stole them. He seemed to have a bit of a panty thing going on.