“It’s over, babe,” Horse said. I saw shock all over her face, but I had to admit, the bitch had balls, because she pulled the damn trigger.
I sighed again as Horse reached around the woman I’d fallen for, grabbing her wrist and squeezing hard as he threw her down on the table face-first. London dropped the gun, crying openly. I stood and strolled over to her, dropping down on my haunches to study her. Her eyes caught mine, expression full of pain and despair.
Appropriate, because she was well and truly fucked.
“You’d really benefit from one of the handgun classes down at the gun shop,” I told her quietly. “Learn all kinds of good stuff there. For instance, they’d teach you to check and make sure nobody’s tampered with your weapon when it’s out of your control. They’d also teach you to check and make sure it’s loaded.”
She closed her eyes and bit her lip.
I’m a sick bastard, because the sight of her laid out on that table, held down and crying? That should’ve bothered me. It turned me on, though. Even now I wanted to fuck her.
“Are you going to kill me?” she asked, her voice a hoarse whisper. Horse shot me a glance, and I considered the question.
“Haven’t decided yet,” I finally admitted. “First we’re going to get information from you. I’d suggest you cooperate, because otherwise we’ll have to convince you, and the fact that you’ve been in my bed isn’t going to help you out of this.”
She closed her eyes and nodded. The life had gone out of her completely … But just when I wondered if she’d roll over and die, she opened them again, forcing herself to reengage.
“You need to know something,” she said quietly.
“Yeah?” I asked, waiting for her to start going on about love or some other bullshit, trying to save her ass.
“They have Jessica.”
“Yeah, we kind of figured that out,” I told her, my voice dry. “Forgive me if I don’t give a shit. I don’t care why a person tries to kill me. I’m all about the end result.”
“Jessica is going to die if she doesn’t get help,” she said, ignoring my sarcasm. “Like, help in the next twenty-four hours. She’s got a shunt, Reese. Born with hydrocephalus.”
“The fuck?” Horse asked, frowning at me.
“Water on her brain,” London said. “Her cerebrospinal fluid doesn’t drain right, which means she has a little tube running down from her skull through her neck to drain the fluid. If that tube gets blocked or infected, she’s dead. Head trauma is particularly dangerous for people with shunts—I watched them throw her down. Her head hit the concrete and then she had a seizure. I know I messed up, and it was wrong to try to shoot you, Reese. But please—if you have any mercy at all—please try to find a way to help her. It’s over for me and I’m fine with that, but you have children. You’d do anything to keep them alive, wouldn’t you? Please …”
With that she seemed to fold in on herself. I glanced at Horse.
“You know about this?” he asked.
“Knew the kid had medical issues, not the details,” I said slowly. “Bills came up on the background check. This shunt shit is news, though. Fuck, London—why the hell didn’t you tell me she had a tube in her head?”
“Jessica doesn’t like people to know,” she whispered, her voice miserable. “She says it makes her feel like a freak, so we don’t talk about it.”
“None of this matters,” Puck said, stepping into the room.
“How do you figure?”
“It’s over for your girlfriend. We all know it—sucks for the kid, but there’s nothing we can do for her. You can’t let her get to you.”
“You’re a cold fucker, aren’t you?” Horse asked. Puck shrugged.
“Practical. It is what it is. You can’t let the woman who tried to kill the president of the Reapers MC get away with it.”
Horse and I exchanged quick looks. London stayed silent.
“Let’s get her out of here,” Horse said finally. “Figure out what to do with her back at the Armory—we don’t even know how useful she might be to us yet. Burn one bridge at a time, brother.”
That’s what I felt, more than anything else.
I think I was supposed to be afraid, maybe cry and beg for mercy. Instead I wanted to cry with relief just because it was finally over. Jessica would live or die, but there wasn’t a damned thing I could do about it at this point.
The instant I pulled the trigger, I’d known that I’d made the worst mistake of my life. They say God shows mercy on drunks and fools. That I believed, because despite my resolve, the gun didn’t fire. I wasn’t entirely sure why and I didn’t care—if they killed me, so be it.
It was a strange realization. Reese and I hadn’t even been together a full week. I didn’t truly know what kind of man he was, ultimately. But I knew he had people who loved him. He’d been crazy about his wife, he’d raised two children by himself, and he’d protected me with his own life.
I had no justification to shoot Reese Hayes, no matter what was at stake. Period.
Let it be.
During the short ride to the Armory I drifted, thinking about everything and nothing … They’d bundled me roughly into the back of my own van, which I supposed would have to disappear along with my body. I wondered how they’d explain things to my employees, then figured it didn’t really matter. None of them knew anything that could get them in trouble. They’d just have to find new jobs.
On the bright side, job hunting is rarely fatal.
Horse and Bam Bam drove me, with Gage in the backseat by my side. They’d cuffed my hands in front of my body, which was fairly considerate under the circumstances. I sort of expected a burlap bag over the head before being stuffed in a trunk. This seemed luxurious, all things considered.
After what felt like hours and still no time at all, we pulled up to the Armory and they opened the gate into the back courtyard. The pale sunlight showed a very different picture from the way it’d been the last time I was here. The tables had been put away, and instead of laughing people, a grim circle of men wearing Reapers colors stood waiting for us.
Reese wasn’t among them.
I opted not to meet their eyes when Gage opened the sliding door and caught my arm, dragging me out of my seat. He pushed me roughly across the pavement toward a sunken stairwell at the back of the building—a basement entrance, leading down into darkness.