~ * ~
For what it's worth: it's never too late, or in my case, too early to be whoever you want to be. There's no time limit, stop whenever you want. You can change or stay the same, there are no rules to this thing. We can make the best or the worst of it. I hope you make the best of it. And I hope you see things that startle you. I hope you feel things you never felt before. I hope you meet people with a different point of view. I hope you live a life you're proud of. If you find that you're not, I hope you have the courage to start all over again.
- F. Scott Fitzgerald -
~ * ~
I was used to it. I had lost enough in this world to know what it feels like and what it does to you.
First, it was my child. I had lost my Bruno when he was only a few months old. He died from complications at birth and a hole in his heart. When I lost him, I didn't know where to begin or what to do without him.
That's where Mama came in.
She helped me through the pain. She helped me get my life back together. Then, I watched her fade, too.
She was sick. The breast cancer had spread to her ovaries and uterus by the time they caught it. I was by her side the entire time, though, just as she was with me. I watched as she slowly began to lose who she was. Two years after she was diagnosed, I buried her.
That was a week ago.
Now, I stare up at the sky and wonder where she is now. Why she had to leave me. All I can feel is the pain coursing through my body. All I can taste is the blood on my tongue and lips. I hear the wind blowing through the trees and I know this is how I will die. At the hands of my father.
Then, I hear the roar of a truck.
* * *
- Graham Chandler -
That's all I feel driving down the back roads of town. It's the one thing my parents wanted my sister, Santana, and I to enjoy other than life itself. Being president of a motorcycle club, freedom is a right, not a privilege.
Turning onto Cherry Road, I notice something in my rearview mirror. I can't quite make of what it is, so I stop my truck to get a better look.
That's when I see it.
At the end of a driveway, I see her body. I jump out of the truck, not bothering to close the door. I crouch down in front of her. She's unconscious. I turn her face and that's when I notice the bruises.
On her nose, cheeks, eyes, down her arms and legs. Her clothes are torn and her feet are bare. I smack her unbruised cheek lightly in an attempt to wake her, but not enough to hurt her more.
"f**k," I growl. I whip out my phone from my back pocket. Rocky answers immediately.
"Gather up the boys and meet me at the clubhouse. I got something you need to see," I tell him and hang up.
I lift her into my arms gently, careful not to jostle her. Her head lifts suddenly and green eyes lock with mine.
"Who are you?" She croaks in a raspy voice.
Then, she's falling out again. I race to my truck and place her down in the seat before hopping in and speeding off.
What the f**k happened to this girl?
On the way, I gaze over to check on her breathing. It is slow, but it's there. I also take the time to notice her features. Like the full t**s that strain against her shirt, her straight hair, long legs, plump lips, and a pierced nose. And the bruises.
Fuck, there are so many bruises.
I pull into the clubhouse entrance and am greeted by the familiar Harley Davidson motorcycles and leather cuts. I stop the truck and put it in park.
"What'd you do, eighty the whole way?" Tick asks.
"Ninety-five, actually," I correct, walking to the passenger side of the truck. I lift her out and carry her inside, listening to the men curse when they take in her appearance.
Once she's taken to a room, I call Doc and have him rush over.
Who the hell would do something like this?