Bouncer by Kim Jones
There’s a storm coming.
Bolts of lightning flash across the sky, illuminating the dark, ominous clouds hovering over Uprising. Strong gusts of wind hammer into me from the north just as the first drops of rain start to fall.
With only eleven miles to go, I twist the throttle back and the monster between my knees surges forward—the eight hundred pounds of steel muscle gliding across the pavement with ease. The soft rain becomes sharp needles and the wind slices through my leather cut as my speedometer edges on 120mph. The pain and the exhilaration are welcome after the six hundred mile journey I’ve made today. It distracts my thoughts. Helps me focus on the physical. On my reality.
Even if I shouldn’t be.
The lights of the clubhouse come into view and before long I’m easing my way down the narrow, gravel drive that’s lined with cars. The tightness between my shoulder blades and the worry between my brow intensifies. My eyes scan my surroundings. Taking in every vehicle. Every county on every tag. Searching for a sign that these cars belong to the club or club affiliates.
Chaos told me there was a party tonight. But he failed to fucking mention the number of civilians that would be here. If I had known, I wouldn’t be here. Which is probably why he didn’t tell me.
I pull up to the covered garage that’s already filled with bikes. I’m forced to wait in the freezing rain while two Prospects rush to rearrange shit so I have a place to park. I take the time to survey the area around the clubhouse. It’s secluded. Backed up to hundreds of acres of woods that lead to nothing. I like the seclusion. I don’t like that we’re boxed in.
I’m mapping out the best secondary exit--in the event the driveway is barricaded--when the guys wave me in. By the time my kickstand is down, and my helmet is off, someone is handing me a towel and a fresh shirt.
“I can get my own fucking towel,” I snap, jerking the towel out of the guy’s hands.
Mother’s name is Sue.
I look over at the other Prospect holding out a dry shirt to me.
Lives on Oak Drive.
Has a kid he never sees.
Allergic to codeine.
“And I have my own fucking clothes.”
I shouldn’t be a dick to them. It’s not their fault I’m wired like this. But I’m on edge because the driveway is partially blocked. And there’s not a clear exit through the back of the property. And some of the people at this party aren’t part of my world. And I didn’t know they were fucking invited. And it pisses me off that these two Prospects are looking at me like I’m some kind of god, when I’m just a man—a mere motherfucking mortal—wearing the same patch one will have in eighteen days and the other one will have in seven. And I know this because I know everything about every man who steps inside my motherfucking circle, yet I don’t know shit about half the motherfuckers on this acre.
Quincy shifts his weight to his left foot. “You okay, Bro?”
I’m burning up on the inside. Like I’m in a goddamn microwave. But my teeth are chattering, and the tips of my fingers are blue. I probably look to them like some kind of animal.
You are an animal.
“Walk the perimeter. If something don’t look right, I want to know about it. And I want every make, model, and plate number of every piece of shit on four wheels lining that driveway.”
He nearly trips over his own feet to do as he’s told. There’s a part of me that wants to call him back over and apologize for being such an asshole. But it’ll have to wait for the next time I see him. I’ve got more important shit to handle.
“Anybody got you on a mission, Boots?” I ask, looking him in the eye and hating myself a little for the uncertainty I see there.
“Jinx gave me this post. Told me to watch the bikes.”
I hang my cut on the throttle then shrug out of my jacket. “How many days you got in?”
“Hundred and ninety-four.”
“Got all your signatures?”
He smirks. “Almost.”
The small talk is my way of putting him at ease. I don’t like it, but I think it works. I cut my eyes at him every now and then as I dry off and pull a fresh shirt from my saddle bag. He doesn’t look as nervous as he did a few minutes