Liam(4)By: LeAnn Ashers
Eight Years Later
I am dead on my feet; I just finished a twelve-hour shift. Now that I am clocked out, I look at my phone for the hundredth time in the last hour. Dad told me a few days ago that shit has gone down in the club and to be on my toes.
“I don’t know about you, girl, but I am ready to pass out,” my best friend Vanessa says. We walk into the locker room and grab our things.
“I am exhausted myself, girl, my feet are killing me.” The emergency room has been absolutely bonkers today, and I haven’t even gotten a chance to have lunch yet, so I am stopping at the local burger place and stuffing my face. Vanessa waits while I gather my things; then she pushes the door open and steps out—and freezes.
Fear shivers up my spine. “Vanessa?” I ask. I slide past her and follow her gaze.
My heart stops right then and there. He is leaning against the wall, across from the locker rooms. He is huge, tattooed, and beautiful.
He is my Liam.
“Oh my god!” I drop my stuff and he grins at me.
I haven’t seen him since he was deployed two years ago. I knew he was getting close to being done, but I hadn’t heard from him. I run to him, jump up, and wrap my arms and legs around him. His arms wrap around me tightly, his face pressed against mine.
“I have missed you so much,” I whisper, hugging him tighter. You don’t know how much you miss someone until the very moment he is back in your life. He has been my best friend since I was sixteen years old; I am now twenty-six.
“I missed you too.”
I close my eyes and breathe in his scent. It wraps around me like a blanket, bringing warmth, protection. He sets me down on the ground, and I grin at Vanessa, who is looking from me to Liam with her mouth agape.
“This is Liam?” she asks.
I nod my head frantically, smiling up at him. “You’re home now, right?” I ask him.
Vanessa grins at me, because he is all I have talked about since she and I met. I can’t help it. I look at him from the corner of my eye, and he is just beautiful.
I am home. After many years of being deployed and based here or there, I am finally home.
I was planning on stopping at the Grim Sinners’ on the way back to the Devil Souls’, because it was on the way, only to find out that the shit has hit the fan.
A cartel has moved in on the Grim Sinners, and they have already set up shop in Raleigh, my town. The Grim Sinners caught one of the fuckers, so I took over doing what I fucking do best, getting information any and every way possible.
I learned that they had a plan to attack the women and kids of the club, threatening right where it hurts.
My first thought was Paisley. She is the princess of the Devil Souls; she was the only girl for many years. She lives alone. She would be the perfect person for them to go after first. Good fucking thing I am home, because touching her is the last thing they will ever do.
“Bye guys!” her friend says and walks down the hallway, leaving me and Paisley alone. She looks at me, excited.
“I can’t believe you’re home,” she whispers.
“I am.” I touch her jaw, smiling down at her. I have not fucking smiled like this in years; the only time I do is when I am around her.
Fuck me, isn’t she beautiful?
I have waited eight years to be home, and I am going to do this shit right—the way it’s supposed to be—like this is the first time I have met her.
He is Liam, but I can also tell he is different. Every single time I have seen him over the years, he has seemed different. He is aware of everything around him—his eyes looking at everything around us—ready for an attack.
“I drove my bike, I will follow you to wherever you want to eat.”
We walk out of the hospital to the dark parking lot. Liam puts his hand on the small of my back, pressing me into his side without a second thought.
Just like he used to.
I know it’s going to take a while to get used to him being home; it’s been eight years. He used to be my best friend—we were inseparable—but things are not the same. It’s not like we can go back eight years. Things are different; I am different and he is different.