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

By: Kathryn Thomas

“What do you mean?” Isabel tries to evade the question, although she knows Jamie won’t let her get away with it.

“Don’t play dumb with me, Issy. It doesn’t suit you.” Jamie levels her friend with her laser-focused baby blues.

Isabel squirms under the observation. “No,” she sighs eventually. “No, I didn’t tell him.”

“What didn’t you tell him, Issy? If you can’t say the words out loud to me, how are you ever going to say them to anyone else?” Jamie throws her hands up in despair at her friend’s lack of emotional intelligence.

“I didn’t tell him I love him, okay? And now he’s gone and I don’t know if I’m ever going to see him again!” Isabel’s voice is loud, loud enough to draw attention from a nearby table and she cringes in embarrassment.

Jamie breathes a sigh of relief and mimes wiping sweat from her brow. “Well, I’m glad you didn’t choke on the words! I was beginning to wonder if you were even able to say them.” She shakes her head at Isabel.

Isabel blinks at her friend in shock. “You baited me!” She scrunches up her paper napkin and throws it at Jamie’s head, pleased when it lands in the middle of her forehead.

“That was mature.” Jamie gives her a withering look. “I just wanted to figure out if you even knew how you feel about him. And mission accomplished, it looks like you do.”

“Yay for me.” Isabel raises her hand in a mock cheerleader pose.

“So what happens now?” Jamie looks at her expectantly.

“What do you mean what happens now? I’ve got some work to do back at the boarding house and you have to help your mom with her yard sale...” Isabel trails off at the serious amount of eye rolling she’s getting from her friend.

“I meant, what happens now between you and lover boy.” Jamie plants her elbows on the table and leans forward, as if Isabel is going to let her in on some kind of secret.

“Nothing happens, Jamie. What can happen?” Isabel looks up at the blue sky, sighing deeply. “He’s gone and he’s not coming back. He said he couldn’t put me in danger and that was that.” She shrugs, wishing her emotions could be locked away so easily.

“So call him! Tell him how you feel, that you miss him and all that other good stuff. The man is clearly crazy about you. He’d be an idiot to let you go!” Jamie snaps her fingers to illustrate the point.

Isabel shakes her head. “The problem, Jamie, is that he was right.” She holds her hand up to stop her friend from interrupting her. “I couldn’t have allowed him to bring his problems, the people he deals with, down on the boarding house. Wesley made it pretty clear that his biker friends would burn it to the ground without a second thought if they wanted to.” Jamie’s eyes widen in shock. “I couldn’t let that happen to my mom’s place. And what if the next time Jimmy or one of his friends decides to pay me a visit, Wes isn’t there to protect me? Then what?”

Jamie nods, looking down at the table as if she’s a little ashamed at herself for not realizing that point. “You’re right. I hadn’t thought of that.” Jamie bites her bottom lip, annoyed that she’d let her romantic notions override her sense for her friend’s safety.

“This is the way it was always going to play out.” Isabel shrugs, resignedly. “I knew what he did, that he led a dangerous life, but I didn’t care, because he made me feel like no one ever has before. I was this close,” she holds up her index and thumb denoting less than an inch, “this close from throwing everything away because it was getting to the point where I didn’t want to imagine my life without him.” She shakes her head, knowing she had been reckless. But, if she’s honest with herself, if she had to do it all over again, she’s not sure she would do it any differently.

“Jesus, Issy. You couldn’t have just picked a nice normal guy.” Jamie frowns at her friend.

“Oh yeah, as if those are the ones you ever go for.” Isabel narrows her eyes at her friend who has the decency to look a little sheepish.