Josiah was tired. It was a five-hour drive back home from Brackettville and he’d stopped only one time, and that was for lunch.
Walking into his apartment, he dropped his saddle bags to the floor.
“Honey, I’m home,” he called out sarcastically. He then snorted as his voice almost echoed in his empty apartment.
He’d bought this apartment after Misty passed. He just couldn’t bring himself to stay in the house he’d bought for him and Misty after they’d married. It had been a house large enough for their family to grow from the two of them to the six they had wanted it to be. That dream had never come to pass, and so he’d sold the house.
Now, even this apartment he’d called home for three years seemed so much emptier then it had before he left for Brackettville.
With a tired groan, he headed into his room and flopped onto his bed. Within minutes he was sound asleep, but the ringing of his cell phone woke him up. He lay there for a moment, blinking the fog from his eyes, and looking around disoriented.
The ringing stopped just as he realized where he was and sat up. A minute later, the ringing started again, and he groaned, “My phone.”
Stumbling out of bed he made his way back to the hall where he had left his saddlebags. Digging through it he found his phone as the ringing once more stopped.
His phone log showed it was Promise who called, so he called her back.
“Why weren’t you answering? I’ve been trying to reach you FOREVER!” Promise screeched as soon as she answered.
He chuckled at her before saying, “You only called twice Mise. Now why were you calling me anyway? Did something happen?”
“No. I just thought you would call when you got there,” she answered in a worried voice.
“Sorry,” he said as he sat down on his couch, scrubbing a hand across his tired eyes. “I was exhausted when I got here and just fell in to bed.”
“Okay, I’ll let you slide this time then,” she said before hanging up.
Giving a small yawn Josiah stood and stretched.
Then, walking in to his bathroom, he took a quick shower before dressing again.
Knowing there was nothing there to eat, he grabbed his keys and headed out to grab a bite somewhere else. He stooped at the first place he came to and ate before heading toward his MC’s clubhouse.
Once there, he stepped into the cool interior, stopping to take a deep breath. The smell of lemon and pine brought back so many memories because the club had smelled of it for as far back as he could remember.
The place was empty, and his footsteps echoed as he walked down the hallway. Walking into his office, he sat down. He pulled out a tablet and pen before pausing to collect his thoughts. He then began to write down notes for the meeting today, or at least he tried to, but his thoughts kept moving to Brooke.
He wondered if she was working, if she was at her friends, or if she was thinking about him like he was her.
He wondered what she was wearing, if it was those skin-tight jeans of hers or something else.
He also wondered about whether she’d eaten or not.
Then, instead of just wondering, he began to worry. He worried that she might be crying because of what her mom had done. He worried that she might be all alone. He hoped she wasn’t alone, hopefully her friend was there to give her comfort since he wasn’t.
“Err...Josiah! You have to stop this or you’re going to drive yourself crazy!” He grumbled out loud.
Unable to stop his worry, he grabbed his phone and texted her saying, Hey, Brooke just wanted to let you know I made it. Are you okay?
After that, he laid his phone down and once more tried to concentrate on his work. He made his list of things to talk about and was fixing to dig out the books to go over them when his phone chimed that he had receive a text.
Picking it up, he read, Hey Joey, so glad your trip was safe. I’m fine, lonely without you, but fine. I must work today, so that will keep me busy, I hope!
He gave a chuckle, then replied, Yeah, good luck with that! I’m supposed to be working, but all I can do is think about you!
Her reply was a bit quicker this time, as she answered, you’re probably right, but a girl can dream. I must get ready to go now, call me later, maybe?
He bit his lip, not wanting to go. He didn’t want her to lose her job over her either since she really needed it right now. So, he quickly typed, Okay, Baby, have a good day. Of course, I’ll call you. What time?
His phone chirped her reply. She’d texted, Off at seven, so maybe seven-thirty?
He texted back, Okay talk to you then. I love you Brooke.
She replied, Love you too Joey.
Knowing that was the end of their conversation, he laid down his phone. He then leaned back in his chair and sighed as he thought, this is going to be a really, really, long week!
Hearing a tapping at his door, he glanced over. Standing in the doorway was someone, make that two someone’s.
“Hey, hey, Señor Presidente! Muy bueno verte de nuevo hombre!” Carlos said. (Hey, hey, Mister President so good to see you back man!)
Josiah grinned at his two friends, Carlos and Juan as he stood. Walking around the desk he gave them each a hug. Stepping back, he said, “It is so good to see the two of you. How has life been treating you?”
Carlos and Juan are brothers, twins, though they look nothing alike.
Carlos is tall and lean, Juan is short and... well, not fat, but broad he supposed was what you would call it.
Carlos’s road name is ‘Switch’ and Juan’s is ‘Blade’, because they both carry switchblade knives.
The whole MC says, “woe to the man who tries to mess with them”, because they know how to use those knives!
The brothers are full blooded Mexicans, and they moved here from Mexico when they were five. They knew very little English at the time when Josiah had met them, but he’d helped them learn it and they, in return, had taught him Spanish.
They had become the best of friends and Pops called them the three amigos. When they were twelve they met Promise and became the four amigos!
“Por lo que mi amigo, atrás para permanecer?” (So, my friend, are you back to stay?) Carlos asked as they all took a seat.
Switching to Spanish also, Josiah replied, “Nope, I have things to do still in Brackettville, but we will talk about that at the meeting. Tell me what brings you both so early?”
Carlos and Juan turned to look at each other, then they turned to him.
Juan spoke first, and in Spanish, he said, “We have been friends for a long time Josiah. Something has happened, or you would have come back sooner. You called Promise, but not us.
Josiah saw the hurt on their faces and groaned. He then said, “Look, I’m sorry I didn’t...I-I just...” he sighed. “Okay, I went to see a lawyer because...”
Before he could say anything more, Carlos jumped up shouting, “Josías!”
“No, no, it wasn’t a bad thing!” Josiah began almost frantically before they became more upset. “It was about Misty’s parents, they died and left me two businesses. That’s why I was gone so long, to take care of that and I called Promise to run one of them, a café, for me!”
“Explique, queremos saber todo!“(Explain, we want to know everything!) Carlos demanded.
Then the brothers sat back, arms crossed, same expressions on their faces, and waited.
So, Josiah told them everything, starting from the phone call from the lawyer. He gave them every detail and told them everything he was worried about. It felt so good to finally get it off his chest. He then sat back and waited for them to digest everything he’d told them.
Juan shook his head.
Carlos chuckled, then still in Spanish, he said, “Leave it to our friend and President to find love again in the same town he found it in the first time.”
“I’m happy for you Josiah. When will we meet this love of yours?” Juan asked, also in Spanish.
“Soon I hope. I’m already tired of waiting, and I plan to ask her to marry me as soon as I return. My biggest problem is, will she be willing to move here to be with me,” Josiah answered as he leaned back in his chair to stare at the ceiling.
No one spoke for many minutes.
Finally, Carlos spoke, this time in English, so there would be no misinterpreting what he wanted me to hear. “Josías, you are my hermano (brother), my amigo (friend) and always do I want what is best for you. I wish you to be happy, and this you have not been in the three years since your woman was taken from you so abruptly. Do not feel shame for wanting happiness, you are deserving of it my hermano.”
“My hermano is correct Josías,” Juan spoke up to say then. “You deserve to be happy, whether it be here or there. You talk to your woman, and you listen well to what she tells you, but listen with your heart, not just your head, because sometimes the head only hears what it wants to.
“If she says she will go wherever you go, then you ask about coming here. If she hesitates, that means she is not quite ready to leave her home, and you can go back and forth for a bit if needed. Carlos can run things as your Vice President if he needs to,” Juan finished. Then, looking thoughtful, he added, “Although, if things are that bad with her mother, and this man who bothers her, she may be more than ready for a change of location.”
It was Josiah’s turn to be thoughtful. He then agreed, “You could be right about that Juan. You have given me a lot of things to think about my amigos.”
Just then, he heard the outer door opening, bringing in laughter and footsteps. The rest of the MC had arrived.
So, standing up, Josiah headed to the door with a big grin, excited to see them all. The only downer being the fact that Brooke wasn’t here to greet them all with him. If he had his way about it, she would be right beside him at the next meeting though!
The meeting had been longer than usual because everyone wanted to know where Josiah had been, and if he was back for good. He didn’t tell them everything because he wasn’t ready to tell then all about Brooke, not yet anyway, but he told them everything else.
The ladies had ordered wings and pizza. So, they all gathered in the hall together to blow off steam and have a good time after the meeting was adjourned.
Josiah looked at the clock, and saw he had a bit of time before he needed to call Brooke. So, he sat down next to Parker. When Parker glanced over at him, he said, “Hey brother, I was wondering if I could talk to you about something.”
Parker grinned and said, “You know it Sandman!”
“Well, as you know one of the businesses I ended up with is a Motorcycle shop. It’s doing very well and the couple that is managing it are good people. Anyway, the shop has two mechanic bays, but it’s only used on Friday and Saturday because the man they employ has another full-time job. So, I was wondering if you would be interested in running it full time?” Josiah asked.
Parker’s grin got even bigger. “Sandman, dude, you are a life saver! I’m just about ready to knock that idiot I work for into the next millennium! He thinks I’m supposed to work an eighty-hour week, but he only wants to pay me minimum wage.
“He also seems to think that any job nobody else wants should be mine! As if that wasn’t bad enough, yesterday he gave me a car to work on that Jake had been “working’′ on,” he said, making quote marks in the air with his fingers. “Jake has it so messed up, I’m going to be there till midnight tomorrow trying to get it fixed because the man who owns if is coming by day after to pick it up,” he finished with a disgusted look on his face.
“Man, I’m sorry ’bout that, if you need help I’ll come,” Josiah told him sympathetically as he patted his back.
“Thanks, but I’ll get it done, and tell him I’m quitting. Now tell me about this job offer of yours,” Parker encouraged.
“Well, I was thinking, the way the shop is set up the mechanic bays must have been added later. It has its own entrance and lobby. There is a window where I’m thinking we could hire someone to stand and take down the owner’s info and their keys. So, I’m going to need a... receptionist, secretary, clerk...I don’t even know what to call them.”
Parker laughed. “I think they’re probably are called a clerk.”
“Yeah, I suppose,” Josiah agreed, feeling a bit stupid. “Anyway, I’m thinking it would basically be separate from the rest of the shop. So, would you want to be head honcho, or do you want me to be?”
“I think I’d like to be boss Sandman!” Parker said looking thoughtful. “Would it just be me and the clerk or...?”
“To start with it would just be you and the weekend guy, and the clerk too. I’m thinking that from what Jaydon, the manager, told me it will be a busy place once people realize it’s open six days a week. So, you might need to hire a second man and if that becomes too much, hire a third.”
Parker looked even more thoughtful. “It sounds good, really good. You know, Switch and Blade are excellent mechanics to. I think they might be willing to go too, if you ask them.”
“Ask us what amigo?”
Parker and Josiah turned to see Carlos walking up with a plate full of pizza.
“Sandman was saying he wants me to run his mechanic shop, but he thinks I might need some help,” Parker answered. “Seems it’s a happin’ place, I thought you and Blade might be interested. What do you say?”
Carlos looked from Josiah to Parker. He then answered, “You know it might be good to have a change of scenery. Marco is doing a good job of holding down the fort at the restaurant and it has become a bit boring. So, sí amigo, I’m in.”
“Alright, talk to your brother and let Parker know. I’ll be leaving here in about a week if any of you want to go with me,” Josiah said as he stood up. Stretching out the kinks, he said, “I’ve got a call to make so I’ll be seeing you later.”
Josiah gave them each a pat on the back before heading over to tell the others goodbye. He then slipped out into the night. He could hardly wait to get back to his apartment and call Brooke.