Animal Rage:Devil Dogs MC, Volume 3(2)

By: Kathryn Thomas

Isabel rubs her eyes, feeling the familiar tiredness seep through her, despite the copious amounts of caffeine she’s been taking on board as if it is going out of fashion. Since Wesley walked out, her insomnia has worsened. She’s under no illusions that she must look like a wreck. Only sleeping a couple of hours a night will do that to you, apparently. It is time to tell Jamie the full story.

Isabel keeps her voice low, conscious that she doesn’t want the nearby tables to overhear their conversation. She tells Jamie about patching Wesley up every night when he came back from wreaking whatever havoc he was employed to do. She tells her about Jimmy, the member of the Devil Dogs who had threatened her with a knife. Finally she gets to the part of the story that gets her all choked up, but she gets through it as best she can, refusing to cry in public. That was one rule that she had no plans to break anytime soon.

“He left. That was three days ago.” She’s proud of herself for getting through the telling without shedding any tears.

“So that’s why you’ve been dodging my calls.” Jamie’s tone suggests that it all makes sense now.

Isabel nods. “I knew I’d end up telling you if we spoke and I didn’t want to worry you. Besides, I wasn’t quite ready to talk about it.” Her voice cracks and she takes another sip of her coffee as if the bitter taste will do something to soothe the ache in her heart.

Jamie’s hand covers hers and she squeezes it, offering comfort. “You don’t seem all that ready to talk about it now, either.” She looks her friend in the eye. “You look like shit, Issy.”

Isabel can’t help but laugh at Jamie’s directness. The normalcy of her friend’s reaction to Isabel’s obvious distraught state is the best medicine for the craziness that seems to have invaded her life since Wesley walked into it. “Well, I’ve been reliably informed that not sleeping will do that to you.” Isabel huffs a mirthless laugh, stirring her flat white to avoid Jamie’s assessing gaze.

“Yeah, that won’t help any. But it’s not just lack of sleep I’m seeing.” Jamie pauses, tilting her head as if she can get a better read on her friend’s emotions that way. “You know, I’ve never seen you like this.” Jamie’s expression is full of wonder, as if she never expected the day to come.

“Like what?” Isabel looks down at her checked shirt and cut-off shorts. “You’ve never been overly impressed with my wardrobe decisions.” Isabel smiles, remembering the shopping trip Jamie took her on just before they went their separate ways – Isabel to college and Jamie to New York to start her career in fashion. Jamie had pretty much vetoed all of Isabel’s clothes, consigning them to goodwill and she had started from scratch. Unfortunately, Jamie’s sense of style had never really rubbed off on Isabel, and it hadn’t taken long for her to revert back to her old style.

Jamie gives her outfit a once over with a flick of her eyes. “You’re lucky, Issy. You’ve got great hair, amazing eyes, fab skin, and a body to die for. You could be wearing a trash bag and you’d still stop traffic.” Jamie sighs deeply, as if the world isn’t fair. “Your outfit could use some work. I’m not going to lie. But at least you’re rocking the ‘lumberjack chic’ look, but only just.” Jamie holds up a warning finger to her friend as if to say she should tread carefully in her sartorial choices from now on.

“What would I do without you?” Isabel rolls her eyes and laughs at the sobriety on her best friend’s face. When it comes to fashion, there is nothing more serious in Jamie’s opinion.

“Lord only knows.” Jamie shakes her head as if it doesn’t even bear thinking about. “But your wardrobe issues aren’t what I am talking about and you know it.” She gives Isabel a pointed look. “I was talking about the fact that you look like someone’s just killed your dog.”

“I don’t have a dog.” Isabel’s morose response just underscores Jamie’s point.

“Did you tell him how you feel?” Jamie ignores her friend’s pathetic attempt at comedy.