Chapter 15: Given Promises
I can’t sleep and I don’t drink. We are going to ride early in the morning and I want to be sober so I can get back as quickly as I can. All I want is for this run to be over and then be back to Iris. Runner asked me if me on the edge, more than usual, has something to do with Iris. I told him I don’t know how I feel about Iris and I was honest. What I do know is that I want to be close to her, just look upon her, make her feel safe. And maybe have her touch me again. And when my fucked-up brain would co-operate I would talk to her and let her know that she is the single most beautiful thing I have seen in my wretched existence.
As I am making these thoughts, I hear Runner’s phone ring into the next room. I get up. It is well past midnight and I don’t have to be a paranoid outlaw to know that it isn’t good. The phone rings a few more times but I am already out the door and crossing the hall. I grab the doorknob and without knocking I open the door.
“Iris? Fuck!” Runner says into the phone.
The world goes red around me and my hand tightens around the knob ready to tear the whole door off its hinges. Runner instantly turns to me and his look is a mixture of agony and fear. He is building up courage to tell something bad. The thought crashes my heart and I take one step back trying to avoid reality. Something has happened to Iris. My Iris. My head is pounding and I stop breathing. My eyes are still fixed on Runner that hangs up and comes up to me with his face tense.
“What...?” I try but the word comes out as a hurt growl.
“Iris is taken.”
The words ring in my head like ominous bells. She is taken. My Iris, my woman is taken from me before I even had the chance to talk to her.
Minutes after I am on the bike and I ride into the pitch-black night. There is an explosive mixture brewing in me and I growl loudly as I ride. There is rage alright, tons of it and I am already picturing what will happen to the man that dared hurt her. But there is also pain and agony so fierce that I barely stop myself from crying. I need her. She can’t be gone. She is mine! Iris is mine!
After what seems to me like an eternity, I pull up in our street. It is dawn and the sun is up at the same hour she liked to look out her window. I throw my helmet down and push the door of the bar. My jaw is clenching and I tighten my fists. Tor is the first to react. He takes one step closer to me and holds his arm up to me.
There is nothing sane in me to talk to. All my focus is on Bjorn. I cross the room and lunge at him pushing him to the wall, carrying away all the tables and chairs in the way.
“Where were you?” I throw a punch.
Bjorn seems distraught and equally upset but I don’t give a fuck. If he hadn’t asked me to go away, none of this would have happened. I should have been there. I should have never left her. I snarl and another punch comes down onto Bjorn’s face before I feel arms dragging me away. I don’t even turn to look as I squirm to free myself but I know it takes at least three of the Riders to keep me from getting my hands on Bjorn again.
“I am sorry, brother.” Bjorn spits the blood from his torn lip.
“It’s your fault, motherfucker!” I scream “You wanted me away and now she is gone. Iris is gone.”
Saying it out loud makes it real and that weight comes down on me with force. My arms go limb and I give up steadied by the same brothers that dragged me away. The voices in my head shrill mightier than before and I kneel on the floor. I hide my face with my hands and then hit it with force. Iris is gone.
“Rage.” I hear Ava’s voice “Rage, please. We need you.”
Instead of an answer I wail deep within my throat.
“Iris needs you, Rage.” Ava’s voice is calm and steady.
I look up at her. She is on her knees before me, Bjorn towering over her, keeping an eye on me, ready to rip my throat if I do anything to hurt his woman. That is how I feel about Iris. I want to be there for her, shelter her from all that make her small body shiver. Ava’s words resonate in my head. Iris needs you. She is somewhere out there taken by god knows who and here I am giving into my own demons. I nod at Ava and got up. I fix my eyes in Bjorn’s that has pulled Ava into his arms and just beckons at me.
“What happened?” I ask.
“Someone had broken into the garage but took nothing. Iris’s door is broken down.” Tor says “And...there is some blood in the parking lot. Not a lot, though.” he adds hastily.
She is hurt. My chest moves fiercely and no torture is enough for the man that dared draw her precious blood. As I look up all eyes are focused on me. All but Stig’s. He is bend over his lap-top hitting at his keyboard fast. He is the only one able to find her.
“Stig?” I roar.
“In a minute, man. I got the face of one of the motherfuckers and running it now.”
“Sent it to me.” Ava is spurred into action grabbing her lap-top “They must have left the car further down. No cameras in the area.” Ava comments “Maybe I’ll try to trace some traffic coming this way. Not a very busy hour.”
“Can’t get a clear picture shot. Iris pulled the guy’s mask but it was dark.” Stig replies.
I walk up to Stig and stand behind him. There is a still frame of the parking lot. A guy has grabbed Iris from behind and put a cloth over her mouth. Stig lets the video play. Iris fights with all her strength and manages to pull the man’s mask off before giving up. Her eyes are fixed across the street, at the bar right up to the point she slips into darkness. I should have been there.
“Sent the picture to me. I might be able to clear it. Take over the traffic.” Ava’s firm voice brings me back.
I leave the bar and head for my room. I turn the knob and step into my room. And freeze to the spot. The room is clean and the bed is made with fresh linen and pillows. No empty bottles, no cigarette butts, no blood stains, no vomit. I close the door behind me and I lean against it. My Iris! It’s her, I know it’s her, I can feel her touch everywhere, smell her scent in the room.
No one has ever entered my room, I never let anyone in. Simply because that isn’t a room but a torture chamber, the place where the voices and the memories come rushing in to taunt and torment me till I passed out. I don’t want anyone to see how bad I really am, scratching the walls and poisoning myself with alcohol while cutting my own flesh, hitting my head into the walls and the mirrors. My room is the room of a certified psycho and even my hardened brothers would be sickened by me.
And there is Iris. She saw me, she saw who I really was, the fucking mess, the filthy mental case, the pathetic coward and she didn’t leave. She just cleaned everything, washed everything away letting the window open to let some light in. I will find her and keep her close, let her...let her in.
“Rage, we got something.” there is a knock on the door.
I go for my wardrobe and take out a black bag. I grab it and go out. All the Riders are in battle mode, checking weapons and holstering them.
“We got an address.” Ava talks directly to me “The man we are after is Carl Bundens. White supremacist asshole or something. Small time crook. This is his brother’s address. He might be the second fucker.”
Ava is shaking with fury. She is fidgeting nervously and she is rubbing her hands together, her eyes darting agitated. Then her hand falls on her swollen belly and she looks down before turning to Bjorn that is putting on his black, leather gloves. Ava is fighter and she wants in on the chase. She likes Iris and she wants blood, too. But in her condition, it is out of the question.
“I’ll get the fucker.” I assure her and she turns to me.
“Find him and gut him slowly” she hisses “And bring her back, you hear me?”
“And Rage...” she pauses “She is in love with you.”
My jaw drops. All the fight mode I was in drops with it. My ears flush and my stomach is tied up in knots. I look at Ava that has her emerald eyes fixed on me. She isn’t fucking around. Ava means every word. Iris, amazing, beautiful Iris is in love with the unworthiest man on Earth. How can this be true? My mind replays every time she was around being her sweet, caring self, looking at me with those brilliant eyes and turning me inside out. I would give up my life just to have her look upon me like that one last time. And I will die to make sure she is safe.
“We ride!” Tor yells “Iris is one of us” Tor turns to me “and we take care of our own.”