“Artemis and I will both draw what you’re describing, it’s easier that way. One person’s narrowed eyes might mean something to someone else. This gives us a good perspective and you a choice to pick from. All I want you to do Clio, is close your eyes and count to ten, relaxing your body as you do. Then when Artemis or I ask a question answer in as much detail as possible,” Ace instructed. Chance opened his legs and settled me in between them, and I leant back against his chest and did what Ace asked. Every time Ace or Artemis asked a question, I took a few minutes to visualise Sam and soon they both had good drawings of him.
They must think alike because apart from tiny differences both of their portraits could have passed for Slimy Sam. I nodded and told them just that and Ace folded them both up after making a few corrections and said they’d get on with finding them. Artemis took me back through my memories from when Tommy appeared with the camera. She ruthlessly dragged tiny forgotten details out of me that Artemis said could help track those who bid so ruthlessly on me.
She patted my hand gently and told me not to worry anymore and that she would see me at either Rage’s or Hellfire’s clubhouses when they had a get-together. I gave her a nod and Chance dragged Artemis close to him and whispered something in her ear before dropping a kiss on her forehead. Ace growled and pulled her back, and they both took their leave.
“Well now, when can we bust Clio from here?” Phoe asked, turning to me with a big grin.
“Docs said she could leave this morning, they’re getting her paperwork together, no woman you can’t steal my girl,” Chance warned Phoe who pouted.
“Phoe let Clio recover before she suffers the Phoenix experience,” Drake chided and received a whack in his stomach.
“I am not an experience to be suffered,” Phoe denied, and I caught the twinkle in Drake’s eyes. “I am the mother of your two children and your sixteen adopted children, and I demand respect.” My jaw dropped open yet again in surprise, eighteen children, was Phoe telling me they had eighteen children between them?
“You can have my respect when you get our daughter to stop showing body parts on that fuckin’ series she’s in. And when you get our other daughter to stop modelling fuckin’ bikinis and underwear,” Drake growled, and I felt Chance growl too.
“You need to fix my niece’s,” Chance agreed backing up Drake. Phoe rolled her eyes at the two of them as badass vibes flowed freely from them.
“Jodie and Serenity are old enough to make their own careers,” Phoe replied.
“So when Carmine strips down to his boxers that’s okay? Because you know he’s being paid to promote them,” Drake asked, and Phoe scowled. I choked back a laugh at Phoe’s double standards. Clearly, it was okay for her girls but not her boy.
“We’re not discussing this and nice try at distracting me, I want to know when I get to welcome Clio properly to Hellfire and Rage,” Phoe said changing the subject. Drake and Chance exchanged knowing looks over her head.
“Why Rage?” I asked, unsure.
“Because Hellfire and Rage are brother clubs, despite the difference in names, the clubs were founded by Drake and Chance’s fathers who were brothers. That means Drake and Chance share blood which means the clubs are tied tightly,” Phoe explained.
“I see,” I said as I churned that over, there’d always been talk of how tight the clubs were, but now I understood better.
“Hellfire getting its first old lady after Tatianna is a big thing. There’ll be parties at Hellfire and Rage,” Phoe continued to explain despite the frowns from Drake and Chance.
“Don’t be scaring Clio off,” Chance rumbled poking a finger at Phoe. She grabbed it and yanked it hard before letting go.
“I’m not!” Phoe denied and looked to me, I shook my head to back her up even though I was intimidated by Phoe and her confidence in her role.
“Take a walk Phoe, you can meet Clio when she’s more settled and secure and in a better place,” Chance said. Phoe opened her mouth to argue, and Drake squeezed her hard. Shooting them both a dark glare, Phoe rummaged in her pocket and dragged out a card and handed it to me.
“That’s my cell, a direct line to me if you need girl time, or to talk about the big hairy brute here, call me,” Phoe said, and grew serious. “Clio, I don’t know how much time you’ve spent around an MC, I’m thinking not much. But there will be questions that arise, that you may feel uncomfortable asking Chance, it’s okay to have those questions, and it’s okay to ring me and ask them.” Phoe grabbed me gently in a hug and Drake dropped a kiss on my head and gave me a slight squeeze and then they left. I stifled a giggle as I heard Phoe berating Drake as they walked away, he had his hands full, poor Drake!
An hour later, Chance was pushing me in a wheelchair out of the hospital to my mortification. I insisted I could walk but was told by two nurses and a doctor it was protocol and while I begrudgingly agreed, I couldn’t have felt more conspicuous. Outside a shiny truck waited with one of Chance’s brothers waiting beside it, I didn’t know his name, but it wasn’t Bear.
“Clio, this is Levi, he’s gonna be taking us home,” Chance said introducing Levi. Levi gave me a blinding grin and Chance helped me into the truck. As soon as we were in, Levi pulled away, and Chance turned to me.
“Know this is going fast woman, maybe too fast for you, but Hellfire, we see something or someone we want, we don’t hang about. We go after it hell for leather, I told ya I want ya, want to build up what’s between us, I’m asking for your trust now. Can see you’re a good girl, timid and shy, but Clio you ain’t going back to that fuckin’ shit hole you lived in. Takin’ ya home with me. Need you to be okay with that,” Chance said, and I stared at him in disbelief.
“Your house?” I asked, not sure I’d heard Chance correctly.
“My house, Clio darlin’, you honestly don’t think I’m gonna let you return to that shit hole you were living in? First, Ron got through the pathetic locks on your door without alerting you, and next, you’ll have nightmares. When those nightmares kick in baby, I’m gonna be there to soothe them away. Ain’t gonna be traipsing halfway across town to get to you because you’ve worked yourself up into a state,” Chance explained.
“Okay,” I agreed. Chance had hit the nail on the head, I’d put returning to my crappy home, out of my head. Not wanting to consider it because of the nightmare that was sure to await me. I’d never forget Randy Ron standing there in his grey tighty whitey’s and his hand snaking across my mouth. For years I’d been afraid of going back, and now I didn’t have to, it was so kind of Chance to consider my fears.
“Cool with that?” Chance rumbled as Levi turned onto the Spearfish Canyon Highway.
“You live out here?” I asked, surprised and almost bouncing in my seat. It was a dream of mine to own a cabin in the Black Hills, and the Spearfish Canyon was a beautiful place to live. I was a little ashamed to admit it, but jealousy surfaced, and I squashed it down. And instead just allowed the gratitude to rise, that at least for a little while, I could live my dream.
“Got a cabin, think you’ll be happy with it, it’s cosy, and you can recover there just fine,” Chance murmured as he gazed at me. I squirmed a little thinking Chance wanted something more from me, but I couldn’t guess what it was.