Their Protector: An MC Outlaw Halloween Romance, page 4
"Calm down," Jensen tells me, knowing how I get and sensing my impatience. "Brynn will be here with Riley before we know it."
"She'd better be," I tell him. "Because I need to stare at that fine ass to make this wait in line a little more bearable."
"I didn't mean it for that reason," Jensen hurries to add, always the loyal family man. "I meant that once Brynn gets here…"
“I know what you meant, you fucker,” I tell him.
"Sorry we're late," says Riley, coming up to Jensen and smacking him on the ass.
He bends down to kiss her. Those two make me sick with their public displays of attention. Don't get me wrong— I'm happy for them and I never thought my buddy Jensen would be in such a good relationship.
I met him when we were in pararescue school together, training for the SEALs. He was always kind of a mopey guy because his father had died. I always thought he'd do all right for himself because at least he was close to his two brothers, Harlow and Ramsey. Those Bradford brothers always had at each other, at least.
But Jensen had a hard time when his copter was shot down over enemy territory and his brother Harlow nearly died in the crash. But Harlow made it through despite a long recover process.
Jensen really took a turn for the worse when he was arrested and forced out of the military, all for trying to help his mom through some tough times. Sadly, she'd always been a piece of shit mom but all three of those Bradford boys had consistently done their best to help her. They knew how much their dad had loved her, for some crazy reason, because she'd been just as bad of a wife to him as she was a mother to them.
I'd tried to help by inviting Jensen to check out the Desert Dogs. I’d joined when Jensen was still deployed and I knew he wasn’t that into motorcycle clubs and that he didn’t see himself as a motorcycle club kind of guy. But I figured that the Desert Dogs could give him a sense of community and support. I know that being in the club has sure helped me through my hard times.
I sponsored his membership and helped him through the prospect phase. Some of the guys were a bit rough on him but, being a tough SEAL, Jensen was able to handle it. He knew that Desert Dogs was a good MC that didn’t hand out patches to just anyone and that he was expected to earn it.
Even though I knew he’d have no problem becoming a member, Jensen impressed me. He attended all the club meetings and asked for new assignments as soon as he’d completed the ones he’d been given.
He showed up early for meetings and rides, always prepared, gassed up, with the new bike he’d bought in top shape and ready to ride. The Desert Dogs want members that will be long term assets, not short term liabilities, and Jensen did everything in his power to prove that he was worthy of membership.
But even though hanging out with the Desert Dogs and riding the desert mountain roads did help Jensen clear his head to some extent, at first it wasn’t enough to clear him of the blues. Jensen was in too much of a depressive funk to even be motivated to start to come out of it. It wasn't until he met Riley that he started to improve.
My one worry was that Riley would have a problem with it. I feared he’d back out of everything due to getting tied down to someone from a completely different lifestyle, and even that my fellow members would be pissed at me for recommending a prospect who would ditch us as soon as he met a woman he was ready to settle down with.
Surprisingly, though Riley didn’t have a problem with it. She has always seemed to understand and accept that Jensen is who he is and that he actually enjoys riding. If I had to guess, I’d say Riley enjoys it herself, much more than she thought she would— she seems to have blended right in as a biker mama. So, with Riley in his life— and on the back of his bike— Jensen seemed complete, and now he is much more content than the troubled spirit he used to be.
I’m happy for my friend, because I personally plan to ride solo for the rest of my days. Since I don’t have an old lady and don’t plan to get one, I’m glad he’s found the perfect one in Riley.
I'm glad he found someone to help him through everything. But that doesn't mean I want his cheesy happiness rubbed in my fucking face all the time. So, right now, I roll my eyes to indicate my mock disgust.
"Nice costume," Brynn says, looking me up and down.
I'm dressed like a football player. Fucking shoulder pads and all. I'd been in that damn costume store, staring at all the options and I just figured, fuck it. Brynn's a cheerleader, I'll be a football player. I might as well make my intentions obvious. Just in case she has any doubt.
Now you can laugh at me for being just as much of a douche as the guys who are in line dressed like fucking cartoon characters. Except, at least I’m doing it for some tail. These guys seem to be either pussy whipped by ladies they’re already tied down to, or completely single with no potential hook up partners in sight— and if that’s true, I’m not sure how they expect their costumes to help them out in that department.
"Yeah, I decided to go with the theme you started," I tell Brynn. "So we can match these two lunatics."
I hook my thumb towards the soap and loofa set that is Jensen and Riley tonight. Brynn laughs. As sad as I've been, I surprise myself by being happy that I've made that beautiful sound happen. Even if it took getting dressed up in this ridiculous costume.
"Well, Quarterback Larson and sidekick Soap Bar Jensen, why are you waiting in line?" she asks.
I just look at her, confused. Jensen seems to be as clueless as I am.
"Where else are we supposed to wait?" I finally ask her.
"Nowhere," she says. "You're supposed to come with me."
"Well, well, well," I mock, but I'm seriously impressed. And glad to be escaping Line Hell.
"Honey, did you forget?" Riley asks Jensen. "I told you we had VIP entrance. You must not have been listening."
She tsks her tongue at him.
"I was listening," Jensen says, mockingly defensive. "I was just telling Larson that once you and Brynn showed up, good things would happen in terms of the party. I just didn't know what exactly would happen. Because I didn't know what VIP meant. I told him you’d be here to bail us out but that was just to settle him down because he was getting antsy. I thought maybe we would get free drinks or something. Or I was hoping, anyway."
"We do," Brynn says.
Jensen shakes his head in amazement. I’ve already been doing the same.
Free drinks. Now that's what I'm fucking talking about. Guess it's a good thing I decided to give up my resistance to lame Halloween parties. Even if I’m subject to Jensen’s ridicule about getting impatient, and his lame ass attempts to pacify me.
"Brynn's got the hook up," Riley says. "How did you think we got invited to this exclusive party anyway? Tucker only invites a select few and their friends. We wouldn't even be here if it weren't for Brynn."
I shoot a quick glance at her.
What did she do? Sleep with the guy?
Not that I'd be able to judge. I've probably slept with every fucking woman in this city. And Tucker's a billionaire. The richest guy I know, he spares no expense at his lavish events and likes to show off every penny. If I were a chick, I'd probably sleep with him too— not that that’s something an alpha male like me would ever admit out loud.
"Tucker is a client of my firm's," Brynn says quickly, as if following my train of thought and wanting to disclaim it. "Halloween parties really aren't my thing, but schmoozing with the bigwig clients is part of my job as an associate."
"Don't I know it," Riley says, looking disgusted. "It's one of the things I definitely don't miss about working at my old law firm, Holt. But then again, I never would have met Jensen if I weren't required to represent people through nonprofit organizations, so I guess I shouldn't complain. I'm just glad he helped me see the light and get out of there."
"Well, I don't really have that option," Brynn quickly says, as we continue to make our way through the huge throng of people and to the front of the line.
"There are things about working at my law firm that I don't particularly love," Brynn says. "I'm not a big people person. Not a schmoozer. I don't have those natural talents. I hate the long, stressful hours, the political shit between the partners, and having to be at the mercy of their whims, to name just a few more down sides to the job. But I do have a kid. And a huge student loan bill. So those two things outweigh all the other stuff."
"I understand." Riley nods her head. "And I completely sympathize."
"So, when my firm says I have to go to the Halloween party hosted by the billionaire client who lives in my city and who throws it every year, I go, no questions asked. And I bring my best friends, of course. I obviously take advantage of that one job perk."
"Thanks, Brynn," Riley says, hugging Brynn hard. But not in the same way that I want to fuck Brynn hard later, of course. "I'm so glad you brought us here."
"And I'm glad you can get us through the door quickly," I joke.
Brynn turns around and smiles at me, and I know she'll let me cram my big cock into her later, just like she's letting me into this party now. This is turning out to be one hell of a happy Halloween.
Chapter 7 – Brynn
As we approach the entrance to the Tucker Mansion, the men who looked from afar like bodyguards and servants dressed in nice tuxedos turn out to be vampires. One of them is standing so still against a column that he nearly scares me to death when he comes alive and says "I want to suck your blood!" as I'm handing our tickets to the girl at the door.
I jump, and Larson puts a strong arm around my shoulder.
"Well, they've really got this whole haunted house thing down," I joke. "Very realistic."
But I lean up against him, grateful he's here because I was honestly scared. And it feels nice to have his hand on me too. I want him to stay close to me all night for multiple reasons.
As we start to enter the mansion, two people dressed as clowns run out and knock over the vampire who just scared me.
"Out of the way, Dracula!" one shouts, his face a twisted, creepy mess of distorted clown makeup. But the makeup isn't typical clown makeup and is instead more gothic: black and white and morbid looking, and offset by wigs containing bright and varied colors. "There are new villains in town who are scarier than you."
The other clown laughs a sadistic, manic chuckle.
"And we aim to do our job well."
They both get up close in our face and laugh some more before running inside and hiding behind a curtain just out of view, waiting to scare the next group of people who enter the Tucker Mansion.
"Holy shit," I say, leaning into Larson all over again.
"Wow," Riley says. "That's some freaky shit."
"It's okay, honey," Jensen says, patting her back and hugging her as best as he can in his square, cardboard costume. "It's just a scary prank."
"Yeah, who would have thought that clowns would be scarier than fucking vampires?" Larson proclaims.
I shake my head.
"Orange is the new black and clowns are the new vampires," Riley says, in an obvious attempt at a joke.
But her voice quivers as she delivers it, betraying the fear underneath her humor.
"I know it's just part of the act, but I think it was in poor taste," I say, shaking my head. "I mean, they were just saying on the news that people shouldn't dress as clowns for their Halloween costumes."
"I heard that Target banned them from the shelves," someone behind us pipes in.
"I'm pretty sure that Target stopped selling all Halloween costumes," someone else in their group says.
"Well, they can't be seen as discriminating against clowns," I say, and everyone laughs.
I'm glad to have made a decent joke, which eases my social anxiety. I hear Larson's deep, almost guttural chuckle and I'm happy to have made him laugh. It also eases my fear a bit.
"We'll have a good time," he says, his hand falling to my hip and lingering briefly before he lets go to open yet another door for me.
"I know," I tell him. "I'm sorry that I've been such a spoilsport. I'm starting to get more into the Halloween spirit."
Having this sexy biker in a tight-fitting football uniform at my side sure helps aid that effort , I think.
But I already feel more cheerful. I didn't mean to whine and complain so much, but my job has really got me down. It's nice to be here with my best friend and new fling— at least, I'm hoping that's what this will turn out to be. A night of hot passion that will give me enough of a boost to be able to return to the job I'm starting to get burnt out from.
"This mansion has like eighteen lobbies," Riley jokes. "But I think we're finally inside."
Now that we've officially entered the party, the music is loud and everyone's dancing. There are some great costumes here and I feel a little silly for dressing as a cheerleader. But at least I'm in good company— as no one can top the ridiculousness of what Riley and Jensen are wearing— and I'm glad that Larson joined me as a football player.
"This is a great party!" Riley says, squeezing my shoulder so we don't get separated in the crowd. "Thanks so much for inviting us."
"Any time," I tell her, and I'm glad she's here because I'm not much of a people person.
I do appeals work on transactional and contract cases for corporations, so my job involves mainly legal research and writing, not the typical grandstanding stuff people think of when they think of a lawyer. That's more litigation. More like what Riley does.
I always just hung out in the background in law school, keeping my nose in the books, excelling as a writer and editor for the school’s law journal and acing my exams. Meanwhile, Riley was the star of mock trial and great at networking with other lawyers.
She liked to drag me out to a party on Friday nights after class or a Bar Association happy hour, or on Saturday nights after a day spent studying for finals. Although I was always shy at first, once I got some liquid courage in me, I usually ended up having a lot of fun.
I was always grateful that Riley was able to bring me out of my shell and show me a good time. So, I'm happy to finally be able to repay the favor.
This Halloween party is reminiscent of law school and the good old fun times we used to have. I don't think either Riley or I have really let loose since we had our kids. I decide to throw caution to the wind tonight, and relive those days.
As if reading my mind, Larson takes my hand and says, "Can I buy you a free drink, Doll? It’s on me. And it’s on the house."
I laugh. But I don't let go of his hand. Instead I follow him to the bar.
"Have fun!" Riley says, and winks.
She and Jensen are already cutting up the dance floor. They look like they're trying to remake Dirty Dancing, but failing miserably due to the fact that he's wearing a cardboard box that gets in the way. Clearly, they want some alone time so it's good that Larson and I are unexpectedly getting along so well.
We approach the bar, which has another enormously long wait. But Clay Tucker approaches us, with wristbands.
"Hello my dear," Clay says, giving me a hug and a kiss on the cheek. "I'm so glad you could make it to my haunted house Halloween party, all the way from New York City."
"Anything for the firm's favorite client," I tell him, returning the hug. "And thank you for inviting me."
"Of course," he says. "I've been inviting you for years but this is the first time you actually showed up."
I've been a little busy, I want to tell him. Having a kid and raising him. On my own.
But I don't say that. I can't. I have to schmooze. And nobody wants to hear any more of my sad sob stories. Especially not the firm's biggest client and the host of tonight's party.
Larson clears his throat and I nearly jump.
"Clay, this is... my friend. Larson."
"Nice to meet you, man," says Larson, shaking Clay's hand. "Great party."
What is Clay going to think? I wonder. Here I am bringing a biker, a known— although mysterious— outlaw, to his posh party.
But Clay just smiles and says, "I aim to please."
I guess tonight Larson is just one of many party goers, dressed in costume and blending into the crowd. I feel a pang of guilt for being a bit worried about the fact that I brought him.
But to be fair, he's from a completely different world. And he's made it clear that this type of gig isn't really his thing either.
It's good that tonight he and I can just get lost in the spirit of Halloween. We can both be someone different from the person we normally are. And maybe he can show me what a bad boy biker knows how to do to a woman.
I blush at the thought. Clay waves one of the bartenders over to us and then hands me a pile of wristbands.
"Take good care of these two," he tells her. "And whoever else they're with."
"You got it, babe." The bartender winks at him. "What'll the guests of honor have?"
"A Corona," I tell her.
"I've gotta make the rounds, and I have some announcements to make, but these wristbands will let you come right up to the front of the line at the bar and drink whatever you want, all night long," Clay whispers into my ear. A little too close into my ear for my liking.
"You're welcome. I'm really glad you're here. Whenever I've dropped by the office for a case meeting, you've always caught my eye because you're gorgeous. But you always seem so serious and studious. I hope you have a blast tonight."
I blush again, wondering if people think I'm too reserved and stuck up. I want to tell Clay that I have a kid, that I can't go gallivanting around town getting free drinks at crazy parties all the time.
I already had my party stage, in law school with Riley. Since then I've had to grow up a lot. And I don't regret it because Caleb is my world.
But I know I can't go into all of that right now. Everyone is here to drink and have a fun time. I'd best get on board.
"Happy Halloween," I tell Clay.
"Happy Halloween. Have fun."