Beautifully Broken:Reckless Bastards MC(5)By: KB Winters
“If this wasn’t so good, I would throw it at you,” she pointed at a nacho before tossing it in her mouth. “I know you don’t know this, but it’s kind of the girl code. If a guy doesn’t like your best friend, he’s toast.”
I swallowed and tried to ignore the warmth that spread through me at hearing her call me her best friend. We were friends, sure, but I assumed she had other friends she shared things with or went on shopping trips with in those fancy casino shops. “Oh.”
She laughed. “You know what I love about you Jana, you’re like a robot with your big brain and super observation skills. I feel like I’m teaching you about regular humans.”
I smiled because I knew she meant it as a compliment. “I’m saying thank you only because you’re my friend.” My best friend, apparently. We finished our food and paid the bill, but as we were leaving I felt a prickle of awareness, of being watched, wash over me. I’d felt that feeling once before and I’d reacted too late to save myself a lifetime of heartache and a world of pain. I scanned the restaurant but I didn’t see any faces I recognized, not that I would. I ran far from my last foster home in Detroit and changed my name so that when he got out, the bastard who did this to me could never find me.
I picked up the speed and hauled ass to Teddy’s fancy ass Benz she insisted I drive. I did love the cool gadgets though so I only put up a token protest before driving us back to my place.
“He thinks taking an art class will help. Why can’t I just paint in my own damn yard?” Carl Brandt was my commanding officer for years and a good friend even longer, and right now he was my sounding board.
“Man up, Ellison. You can take off a man’s skull at a thousand yards, you can damn well go and paint some fruit in the desert.” He also didn’t ever pull a fucking punch, no matter how much you wished he would. He didn’t sugarcoat or coddle.
“Just like that?”
“Hell yes,” he grumbled, voice thick like a man who indulged in expensive cigars a little too often. “One of these days Max, you’re gonna want to get laid again, or maybe make some little frogs for me to command. To do that, you’ll need to get your head on straight. If painting gets you there, do it.”
I nodded even though he couldn’t see me, because I guess I just wanted someone I respected to tell me what I’d been thinking. “Thank you, sir. Class starts in an hour.”
His deep thunderous laugh sounded down the line and I couldn’t help but smile. “Sounds like you’re ready.” He let his words hang in the air for a minute and I soaked them in. Could it really be as simple as being ready to be better? “Any word on your brother?”
I sighed. “No. Tate wrote me about six months ago, saying there might be some new evidence in his case but he won’t call me back or see me when I go visit him.” It gutted me to have my baby brother locked up for a crime he didn’t commit. But I hired everyone I could to help get him out and now he’d shut me out. I wanted to help but he was a man, and if he felt the need to fight this battle on his own, I had to let him. Even if it killed me.
“My wife keeps him in her prayers, son. Six years is a long time to spend in prison in general, but especially for another man’s crimes. Want me to see if I can find out anything?”
“If you wouldn’t mind, it’s just I can’t have both things weighing on me.”
“Then you won’t have to. Go to your class. Flirt with a pretty girl and paint something. Talk soon.” He disconnected the call before I could express even more gratitude.
With a shrug, I stood and scanned the living room since it was time to go. I stared at my kutte for a long minute, unsure if I wanted to wear it. In the end, I opted not to wear it, not because I was ashamed of my club. I wasn’t. Reckless Bastards MC saved me when I needed it. Two years ago, I was fresh out of the SEALs and my mind was all fucked up, and all I wanted to do was come see my baby brother. Only to find out he was in jail. No, not jail, fucking prison, and he’d already been there for years. But his club took me in, kept me safe when my mind would have me hurt myself and others. They treated me as one of their own, and eventually I was.