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  • Amo Jones

Hellraisers Reckoning

Updated: Jan 15, 2021


Prologue


I take the thick rope and dip my head into the loop. Pulling it tightly, I inhale a deep breath.

My world is lost.

I step off the chair…


Chapter One

Melissa


Caring is something I lack in the emotion department lately.

I waited for him—waited for two months. Some may think that that is hardly enough time to give the man who was supposed to be your entire world, but after that day, I knew. I threw all of my hope out the window with every word read…

Pulling open the fridge door to our home on the club property, I take out a bottle of water.

“Babe?” I called out, hollering for Hella. If he wasn’t on a job, he would always make sure that he was home when I got back from the bakery. It was his thing, our thing.

I take a swig of water, looking around the kitchen when a white note catches my eye on the kitchen counter. I pick it up, the thin paper slipping between my fingers. Placing my water down, I open it…


Melissa.

Don’t try to find me—I’ve gone. I won’t be back, and if I do, I want you out of the house. I would never be enough for you. I told you this so many times, but you never listened. I probably will never love anyone the way I did you, but that’s nothing now. All that shit means nothing.

Move on. Forget about me and this life I carelessly led you into.

P.S Divorce is out of the question. If I can’t have you, no one can.


I trembled to the ground, ran all the way to the clubhouse, demanded everyone to tell me where he is—but no one spoke. That’s the thing about men who ride in an MC. They’re a brotherhood. Sure, I was Hella’s old lady, but the moment he walked away from me, their loyalties shifted along with Hella’s presence. Truthfully, deep down I never expected any of them to tell me where he was, but what I didn’t expect, was what they did next. Pity. Everyone gave me the look of pity. I grieved for him for one whole month.

I stayed at our house, curled in a ball and sobbing into his shirt, screaming for him every damn night. Even in my sleep, I was haunted by his presence being ripped away from me so suddenly. I didn’t eat, I didn’t drink, I was too afraid to sleep just in case he came home, and I missed him. It was one whole month of sheer horror. One whole month of loss. I have mourned people before, people who have passed and who had maybe meant something to me, but nothing amounted to losing the one man I fought to get, only for him to permanently remove our battle scars and move on without a second glance back. The heartbreak continued to crack through me as every month passed, but once I hit the third, Beast had come over to tell me that I needed to leave. So, I left. Took what belongings I had without a second glance. Sometimes, we can’t control what other people do, all we can do is live with it, whether we hate it or not.

I sink into the warm water, allowing it to wipe my thoughts away. I hate thinking about my old life, with them, even my own sister. I ignore them with every turn until Millie eventually comes to my apartment or to Eat Me, my bakery downstairs. I’ll be sure to make the visit boring for her in hopes that she’d leave me the fuck alone, but it never works. She’s always back the next week, talking about baby shit. Not that my nephew isn’t cute, I mean, if I was working at a fully functional level, I would totally be bouncing him around on my hip while teaching him some Nate Dogg song, but unfortunately, his auntie is not in the grandest of spirits. In fact, Millie doesn’t bring him anymore.

I’m that tragic.

Pushing up from the ceramic bath, I swipe the water from my face and squeeze the water out of my hair. Korn is blasting on my little sound pod, it’s neurotic tune only fueling my soul into a frenzy. Reaching for the bottle of Jack, I take a swig and stand, slowly stepping out of the tub. Rubbing the condensation off the mirror, I grin at myself in the reflection.

“Oh, yeah, Melissa, you’re totally doing just fine. Just. Fine.”

There’s a bang on the door. I don’t answer. Another bang.

I wrap my towel around my brittle frame and swing it open. “What!”

Drav is leaning on the door frame. “Thought I could hear you talking to yourself.”

I shove him out of the way and make my way to my closet. “What are you doing here, Drav, and how’d you get in?” You know those people who you sort of click with, but don’t, but they have a big dick that temporarily fills the void that someone has willingly ripped from your soul? Yeah, that’s Drav for me. He wears suspenders, classes and has no muscles. He’s the complete opposite of Hella. Ding, ding, that’s what I’m about now. I fucked a guy with tattoos, muscles and then let him whisk me away on his damn Harley to marry him. Where’d that get me? Knee deep in cocaine, a bottle of Jack for breakfast, and a fucking broken heart.

No. I only mess with nerdy guys now.

The ones that can handle me, that is.

“That one night,” he answers, going into the kitchen. I continue shuffling through my clothes to find something clean and wearable. “When we came back here drunk and high as fuck, you showed me where your spare one was, but said I had to forget I showed it to you if I had a small dick.” I roll my eyes, pushing a loose V-neck over my head.

A cupboard closes. “Guess I had a big dick because I was back the next night, and the next, an—”

“—Shut up, Drav!” I yell between jumping around to shove my fishnet tights on. Once they’re securely strapped around my waist, I drag a small leather skirt up and begin towel drying my hair as I make my way back into the lounge.

“I’m just saying,” he answers around a bite of my granola. I slant my eyes on him and then catch his foot resting on my cheap knock-off coffee table.

“Feet off!”

Drav gives me puppy eyes. Shame really, bet those work on every other woman, you know, the ones who hadn’t been married to a damn Rottweiler. Drav is definitely probably not most girl’s type. In the face department, he is good looking. He has a sharp jaw, he is clean shaven, nice blue eyes and short brown wavy hair, but let’s be real. Instagram models and Channing fucking Tatum in Magic Mike has ruined these kind of guy’s chances at being the “most girls type.” Everyone is chasing the new trend, the guy with the best abs, the biggest arms, and all that shit. Drav is nerdy, but he is still attractive.

I’m making coffee and trying to think of a way to get rid of Drav when my phone starts vibrating on the counter.

Millie flashes over my screen, interrupting my screensaver. Do I answer, or do I leave it? If I leave it, she will probably make it her daily mission to come and find me, but if I answer, she will probably only be telling me that she’s almost here, or about to be here, at the very least.

Fuck it.

I hit answer and push it to my ear. “What, Millie! I told you, I don’t have time to have lunch with you because besides the fact that I’m not in the mood, I also can’t be bothered with that girl who is hanging off Miles.”

“Melissa, shut up, something has happened.” When we were five years old, Millie hurt herself on the playground. She cried for days she was in that much pain. Her tone closely matched that.

“What? Someone steal your crown?” I stir my coffee, which is a step up from the Jack. My stomach clenches in hunger, pancakes going through my head. I coul—

“—Hella is dead.”


Chapter Two

Hella

Two Hours Earlier


My club comes first, even when it doesn’t it comes first, and even when it shouldn’t, it still comes first. I’ve been here for two months now, jacked up watching the girl with red hair.

The teacher.

The suspect.

Her coffee is always a latte, and her left leg has a slight limp in it from surgery in ninth grade after a gymnastics accident. I know that she visits Adam and Eve hair salon every Friday to get her hair freshly dipped, and I know that she lives mainly alone. I know she loves her teaching job because I know that smile.

Because I know her.

The taste of tobacco penetrates my tastebuds as I flick my smoke around in my mouth. I need to get her away, well away from this mess, before shit blows up.

Running my hand through my hair, I bite down on my bottom lip as my eyes catch the patch on my left pec. The Devil’s Own MC. My brothers. I can’t pull them into this, because what this involves isn’t the MC. It involves an uptight bitch who is trying to make my life fucking complicated.

“Problem, Hellraiser?” asks the uptight bitch from the back seat.

“No.” I grind my teeth, fighting the urge to lean over and strangle her.

She chuckles as if she can sense my hostility. “There, there, angry one. It will all be over soon, and you can go back to your little wife and your little life.”

“Fuck you, Taylor.”

I’ve always hated girls who are too much of everything, and Taylor is all of that. “Do my brothers know what you’re planning?”

“Why would they? I don’t answer to anyone but The Operation.”

A laptop slaps closed. “Right, sic em, boy.”

I climb out of the car, slamming the door shut. She flinches and scowls at me from the back seat. I flip her off and slowly make my way to the small cottage with the white picket fence. It’s everything Red would have wanted, everything she spoke about needing when we were kids. I can’t let this life touch her. I promised that I wouldn’t. Let. My life touch her…


I slammed the door closed, running toward my bed. Flinging the old woollen covers up, I kneeled down, poking my head under. “He’s gone. We can go now.”

Red climbed out from under the bed, pushing her wild curls out of her face. “Brax, you can’t help me. If Mr. and Mrs. Appleton find out, you’ll get punished.”

I shook my head, my hand clinging to hers. When Red first came to the Appleton’s, I hated her. I hated her because she made me want to be good, to do good. “I want to help you, Red, and then I’m running too. Fuck this life.”

Her eyes search mine. “You’re going to run?”

A loud crash sounds downstairs and we both jolt up.

“Yes, but come on.” I drag her to the small window that doesn’t let in enough light.

“But where will you go?” Her blue eyes search mine, glassing over in emotion.

“I don’t know. Anywhere will be better than here.”

She doesn’t have time to question me again because I shove her all the way through the window and then lean down to let myself out too.

My feet hit the grass and I quickly grab her hand, running toward the forest up ahead. “Come on, Red, we don’t have time.”

“I don’t understand why you’re helping me!” she says, muffled while running.

“You won’t understand right now, Red.” I yank her again, my legs picking up to a feral speed until I’m almost dragging her into the forest with me. We duck behind a tree.

She opens her mouth, but I shake my head, pushing my finger to my lips. “Shhh.” Closing my eyes, I listen out for the traffic until a loud beeping sound signals me.

I push off the tree trunk and we’re running again. This time jumping over the logs and fallen trees, my old shoes crunching under the leaves.

She’s quiet now. Like she gets it. She understands that this is important and that when I have a beat, I’ll tell her.

The busy highway comes into view, breaking through the trees up ahead. I slow down slightly as a dark car idles toward the shoulder.

Red bumps into me, her little hands squeezing around my bicep. “Brax?”

Slowly but carefully, I shove her behind my body as we approach the vehicle. An older man, looking to be in his mid to late sixties walks toward us. He’s dressed in a suit and tie, even for his age, he rocks it.

“Brax, who is that?” Red asks.

I close my eyes. She wasn’t supposed to be here. I turn to face her, wrapping my fingers around her chin to tilt her head up to me. “Listen to me, Red. You can trust that man, he is your grandfather. Okay?”

Confusion clouds her eyes, but after a few seconds of silence, she nods her head. “But what about you?”

I smile, running my thumb down her soft cheeks. “Don’t worry about me, boo. I’ll be fine.”

She slowly starts making her way toward the car until her fingers unlatch from mine. I felt like my heart had been torn from my chest.

Once the backdoor had closed, I cut my eyes to the old man. “Look after her.”

He doesn’t answer, he just watches me carefully. “Does she know?”

My mouth snaps shut before I grumble. “No.”

“And how did you come about to knowing who she was?”

“Does it matter?” I snap, feeling the rage that had simmered since Red came into my life boil to the surface.

“Yeah, it does.”

“She showed me a photo of her mother.”

The old man sighed. “I don’t want your life touching her, kid. Don’t get me wrong, your mother was a crackhead and so was your father so that’s a shit hand you were dealt. Lucky for her,” he gestures to the car. “Her dad wasn’t.”

“I won’t let my life touch her if you promise to keep her safe.”

“I’ll keep her safe. You just stay out of her life. She doesn’t need to be side-tracked by her feelings for you.”


Padding up the front steps, I faintly hear a television playing in the background and the sound of food sizzling. Clenching my jaw, I squeeze the handle to her door and wiggle it.

“Fuck’s sake, Red!” I cuss under my breath when it opens. I slowly make my way into the house, noting how tidy it is. I’m not surprised by that either. Red would clean constantly when we were kids. I stepped inside the house, careful not to make a sound. I’m one step away from the lounge room when a gun cocks and a metal barrel presses against the back of my neck.

“Who the fuck are you and what the fuck are you doing in my house.”

I grin, my chest constricting in my chest. “Good to see everything I taught you didn’t go completely over your head, Red.”

She sucks in a breath, the metal disappearing from the back of my neck. “Brax?”

I turn around to face her, my god, she’s even more fucking beautiful up close. “Yeah, it’s me.”

The gun drops to the ground and she flings her arms around my neck. I grind my teeth, wrapping my arms around her back. “Listen,” I murmur into her red hair. “Do you trust me?”

Instantly, she nods her head. “Yes.”

“Okay good, baby. Because I’m about to walk you into a war, but I promise I won’t let a bullet touch you.”

She searches my face, her blue eyes glistening. “I know.”

My hand finds hers and I curl my fingers into them. “Follow me and follow my signals.”

She gulps, her eyes going to my patch. “You’re in a motorcycle club?”

I smirk. “I am. Go turn your dinner off.”

She leaves, running into the kitchen and then coming back.

“Do you have anyone that will wonder where you are? Boyfriend or anythin’?”

She shakes her head. “No. Divorced.”

“Divorced at twenty-six?” I ask, eyebrows high.

She shrugs. “He assumed because we were married that he could start treating me like shit.”

I still, my fists clenching. “Right,” I grit out, annoyed. “Come on.”

“She takes my hand as I lead us to the front door. “Where are we going?”

“I’m going to make sure you’re safe before raising the alarm for my brothers.”

We head out the door and I lead her back to my car that’s parked on the side of the road. Red pauses when she sees Taylor in the back seat.

“Who is that?” she asks, pointing.

“That’s Taylor. The annoying bitch I’m putting up with right now for your safety.” I pin Red with a look, recognition flashes over her face and she nods softly. Do not trust her.

Red grabs the handle to the passenger side door and slides in.

I start up the car until the loud V8 is shaking underneath us.

“You must be Red.”

Red turns in her seat to look at Taylor. “You can call me River Lee Grace.”

Taylor laughs, just as I pull us out onto the road. “Such a long name. Tell me, which of your parents named you that?”

I grit my teeth, fighting the urge to kill her, once again. Miles owes me. Owes me big fucking time.

“Shut up, Taylor, and tell me where the fuck we’re going now.”

Taylor’s phone pings in the back seat, and my eyes fly to her in the rearview mirror. I watch as a smirk pulls across her face, the light from her phone illuminating her features.

“What?” I snap.

She looks up at me. “Oh nothing. Now, about why we needed Little Red Riding Hood over here and her big bad wolf…”

I squeeze the steering wheel.

Taylor clears her throat. “River, we didn’t take you as hostage for Hella. Well, we did, but you come with a double meaning.”

“How so,” Red says, watching me carefully. She’d do this when we were kids too. Watch for my reaction to know what she should do for hers. Before Melissa, Red was the only one walking this earth that could read me. Not including Beast. Fucker.

“The Operation has found her skills to be as of an asset to us.”

“What?” My eyes fly to the rear-view mirror.

Red exhales. “Hacking.”

I turn to face her, wondering what the fuck she’s talking about.

“I missed you so much, Brax. When I was old enough, I started to study hacking and coding. I wanted to find you, but I knew that no one would help me. No one. So I had myself to do it.”

“Jesus,” I whisper. “And did you find me?”

Red turns her head to look at me. “I did. I just didn’t want to disrupt your life. It was enough for me to just know that you’re alive.” She pauses. “Congratulations on the wedding by the way.”

“Thanks,” I grunt, but before I can say anything else, Taylor is laughing in the back seat.

“Ex-wife.”

“Shut the fuck up, Taylor.”

“Oh,” Red whispers. “Sorry about that.”

“What do you want with her. With me?” I ask, my eyes going back to Taylor. “And where the fuck is Miles?”

Taylor’s eyes come to meet mine. I drop down gears and zip forward, needing to get us the fuck back to Nevada.

“Miles is where he’s supposed to be. He’s keeping me happy while I sort out The Army.”

“And why do you need us?” I hiss, fucking sick of her shit.

“Well, I need River for her hacking skills, and I need you,” she grins. “As a commander.”

I shake my head. “Fuck you. I want my wife back.”

Taylor tilts her head. “About that.”

I grind my teeth. “What?”

“She’s been up to no good since you’ve been gone.” I can hear Red suck in a breath beside me.

I hiss, baring my teeth. “Shut up, Taylor. You really don’t want to give me another reason to kill you.” Fuck. Fucking Melissa. That’s what I get for marrying the woman version of me.

Red clears her throat as we hit the highway. “I missed you, Brax.”

“Me too, Red, but there’s something I should have told you a long fucking time ago.” God, what the fuck am I doing. If I tell her this, then there’s no going back. She will one-hundred percent be inside my life. “You’re my sister.”

“What!” she squeals, jumping up from her seat.

“Yeah, sorry, babe. The day that your pops came to pick you up, we both agreed that it was best you didn’t know. We have the same mom, different dads. Anyway.” I shift gears and floor it forward. “I found out the second week you were at the Appleton’s. You showed me the only image you had of your mom and I recognized her instantly. You know how fucked up it is to have a crush on a chick only to find out that she’s your fucking sister?” I chuckle, looking toward her.

“Yeah,” Red murmurs. “Imagine that and multiply it by like, fifteen or whatever years…”

“Sorry, babe.”

Red shuffles in her seat. “So you want me to hack? Hack what?”


Chapter Three


Taylor has partially rebuilt the headquarters, only adding her own little touches every now and then. Not sure who the fuck is more terrifying. Her or Kurr.

I slam the door closed and stretch my arms above my head. Taylor gets out of the back seat carrying her laptop. “Come. We need to talk.”

Red looks around the place and gives me a questioning look. Don’t blame her. There are small cabin homes built in lines with small fences around them. That hasn’t changed since I was last here, but what has is the building that used to sit in the middle of the small community. It’s not behind the cabins and the building is more like a glass box with a complete view of the surrounding area. The desert dust kicks up around my boots as I head around the car to grab Red.

“Just go with it. Okay?” I whisper into her hair, pulling her in close to me.

She nods her head, her arm hooking around my torso. “Okay.”

We head toward the large cube, following where Taylor entered. As soon as the doors open, I’m taken aback by the architecture. The space is open with no doors. There are eight small cubicles around the edges where people are sitting at computers, completely entranced in their task. As suspected, you have a complete view of the base, even the roof is glass to see the sky.

“This bulletproof, sugar?” I ask Taylor with a smirk, not letting Red go.

“It is,” a familiar voice mutters out behind me. I turn to face it and chuckle, shaking my head.

“This where she’s keeping you holed up?” I gesture around the room while keeping my eyes on him.

Miles chuckles, but not enough to reach his eyes. “When she can.”

Taylor’s heels clink across the tiled floor until she’s back in front of us, holding a manila file. She hands it to me. “I need you to complete this.”

I clench my jaw. “Why me.”

Taylor lifts her eyebrows. “Really need to ask why?” She gestures toward a long rectangle table that sits in the middle of the room. We all follow her, Miles included. Taking a seat, I open up the file as she continues. “Aside from the fact that you’re Hellraiser, I need your expertise, and well, your sister here also helped sweeten the deal.”

I slap the folder closed. “You’ve been sending me shit about Red for two months, getting me away from Melissa and my club, for me to do all of this? Nah, I ain’t buying it. What else do you want?”

Taylor’s eyes go to Miles. “I want to make sure your club won’t get in the way of The Army again. I want an alliance between the two of us.”

“First of all.” I lean forward. “Raze handed The Army to you on a silver platter. Why would he do that and run the risk of brewing a war? This is all yours.” Stupid fucking bitch.

Taylor’s eyes come to mine. “But Raze still has The Operation.”

“With good reason,” Miles adds, his face frozen and his eyes flat. “Raze is the only man walking this earth that can come close to God. He should be running The Army too, but he gave it to you,” Miles says, looking directly at Taylor. “So handle it.”

I lean back in my chair, running my index finger over my upper lip. There’s something Miles isn’t telling me, that much is obvious. He and Raze separated are people to fear, but together, they’re damn lethal. It’s then that I realize I don’t really have to worry about much of this deal. Something is cooking under Miles and Raze where Taylor is concerned and that isn’t any of my business.

“How long do you need Red and I for?” My eyes stay on Miles and I give him a smirk. His face is blank, showing nothing in return, but I see the slight twitch on the corner of his eye.

Game on, bitch. I would not want to be Taylor.

“I need you for six weeks, but in order for this to work, there’s something else I need done.”

“Yeah?” My eyebrows raise. “And what’s that, pumpkin?”

Taylor’s mouth opens, and then shuts, and then opens again. I see the exact moment that she decides to leave my smart little pet name for her and move forward because she shakes her head. Then she grins, so deep that it makes wrinkle lines appear where they fucking shouldn’t for a girl of her age. “Everyone has to think you’re dead.”


Chapter Four

Melissa


People say that numb isn’t a feeling, but I’d disagree. The feeling of being numb is lethal. It doesn’t kick start your heart or pump up your adrenaline. It doesn’t give you butterflies in your belly or make you excited.

It’s numb. It’s the feeling of ice being injected into your veins. It’s the feeling of indescribable motions that wave through you ever so gently. You don’t feel it to the touch or feel it skate over your flesh, the feeling of being numb is caressed against your soul with its nine-inch blade.

He’s dead. Now he’s not just left me without answers, he’s left me for good. I bring the rim of Jack Daniels to my lips and lean back, taking a long swig. My phone has been going crazy all day since Millie told me, but I haven’t answered.

Until— “Lissa?” Scarlett’s voice breaks through the deep sounding jazz that’s playing on the jukebox in the old bar I stumbled into in town.

My eyes come to hers, but I don’t say a word. I don’t have to. That’s the beauty of Scarlett. She comes closer, putting her handbag on the bar beside me and then bringing her hands to my face. “I’m sorry, baby.”

I met Scarlett again, through Hella and the club. The Devil’s Own MC made an alliance with the Sons of Templar MC, and Scarlett is a part of the New Mexico chapter. She was a club girl until she shacked up with one of the brothers in their MC. I can’t remember his name, but I remember he looked like The Rock.

I don’t wipe the tears from my eyes, I let them fall over her finger.

She pulls out one of the bar stools beside me and orders what I’m having then looks back to me. “How?”

I shake my head. “I don’t know. I don’t want to know and I—” I choke on my words, unable to say that he’s gone. Never coming back. His touch is something I’d never feel, his voice something I’ll never hear and his smell is something I will never smell again.

“Let’s get drunk. Take my mind off all the bullshit that’s been happening on our side. Where’s that young lad that’s always with you?”

I take another shot of whiskey. “Drav? I don’t know. I haven’t been able to see him, or anyone.” I cough, clearing my throat from the lingering burn.

“Drink,” Scarlett says, bringing the glass up to the air. “To the men who fuck us, love us, leave us, and fucking die on us.” It’s completely inappropriate for anyone else to say those words and in fact, if anyone else had been the ones to say them I would have probably punched them square in the jaw, but it was Scarlett. It came with her personality. She would tie me over until Phoebe got here, that’s for sure.

We drank, we got messy, we danced, we took a nap down a grungy old alley, and then we woke up and drank some more. I didn’t go home for three days, she didn’t leave me. Scarlett stayed right by my side throughout. It was sunset of day three that we started walking back toward my apartment with my dirty heels in hand, my feet grubby from the past three days and my face stanching of smoke, alcohol and bad decisions.

I stop, just as we’re about to approach my apartment door, bypassing my bakery. Stupid fucking thing. What’s the point of baking if you have no one to bake for. “I lost my husband,” I whisper, letting my long dirty blonde hair hang down my face. My eyes whip to Scarlett. “I lost my best friend, my soulmate. I lost everything, Scarlett, and I don’t know if I can do this for much longer.”

Scarlett’s hand came out to mine. “Come on, sugar. Let’s get you washed and into your bed.”

After a second, I agreed, allowing her to take me upstairs and into the shower. I cried more once I was under the hot pelting water. Scarlett handed me a bottle of SKYY vodka through the bathroom curtain and I snatched it, sinking into the tub and letting the water wash through me.

I didn’t want to go on. I couldn’t go on. Not without him. I’ve never been suicidal, I’ve never considered myself to have those kinds of thoughts but losing Hella has pushed me damn near the edge.

It’s week four of losing him. Everyone has come to check on me in waves. The guys from the club, the old ladies, and even some girls who are regulars at Eat Me. I eventually get tired of their presence, but the one person who hasn’t left is Phoebe, who is still asleep on my bed.

I turn to face her, tucking my hand under my cheek. We’ve known each other since we were just little kids and having her so close to me during this time has been my magnet to earth. Either that or the small bump that’s growing in her belly.

I reach out and run my hand over it and her eyes slowly peel open. “Hey, beauty.” Hey beauty. No, “you look like shit,” or “your breath stinks.” It’s so unlike Phoebe, but I can see what she’s doing. Everyone is doing it—treading around me carefully, like I’m a ticking time-bomb, one that no one knows the second I’m about to blow.

“Hi.”

She props herself up onto one elbow. “How are you feeling today?”

I take my hand away from her swollen belly and tuck it back under my pillow. “Not sure. I think I don’t feel anything.”

Her throat bobs, the sunlight from the morning breaking through my rundown blinds. It’s a huge step down to what Phoebe is used to sleeping in, that’s for sure. What with her hotshot rock star husband and all.

“Well, I have a plan. You know how when we were kids and we used to go cliff jumping?”

I give her a judgmental look, rolling my eyes. “I don’t know if you know this, but you have a growing human in your belly and I don’t think you can do that anymore…”

She whacks me with the back of her hand, tucking her short blonde hair behind her ear. “You can. It always gave you such a rush, and I don’t know, boo. I feel like after you’ve lost someone close, you need to do the things that make you happy.”

She has a point.

“But I don’t know if I want to experience happiness without him.”

She sighs, swinging her legs off the bed and clipping her hair up. “It feels like that right now, but one day at a time, okay? And I’ll be here for it all. Also, I think Ryker wants to see you, and you know how persistent he is…”

I chuckle. “Cliff diving with Ryker Oakley? Okay. Count me in.”


Chapter Five

Melissa


Cliff diving with old friends was definitely on the top of my list as far as mourning goes, but it’s still not enough to cover the wounds that bare through my soul. If anything, they weep more now from seeing how much in love everyone is now. I probably might need new friends.

“Melissa?” There’s a knock on the door. I think. I’m cradled in the corner of the sitting room. Our sitting room. Our house. Rocking back and forth as images zap through my brain. True, coming back to our home probably wasn’t a good idea. His scent still penetrates the particles of air that floats around, and every single inch of this house is embedded with a memory of him and me, but it’s been six weeks. Six weeks and things are still not good. I don’t think they’ve gotten better, but they haven’t gotten wor