“Been seeing a lot of her. Not sure where it’s going. I’m not seeing anyone else though. I don’t think she is either, but I haven’t asked. I’m not there yet with her. It’s only been a month.”
“I see.” He taps his fingers on the desk then pulls a joint out of the top drawer. “I’m gonna share something with you that few people know, and it doesn’t leave this room. I liked your old man. He was one of my best men. Shit father but a damn good brother. You have his blood and I don’t think you’d turn on me. I trust you. It’s why I took you with me to Alexa’s place and trusted you to take care of her girl. It’s why I personally recruited you to be a Royal Bastard.”
Murder pauses to light up the joint. He takes a hard hit and passes it to me while choking out a succession of coughs. I take two hits while he continues to talk. “About nine or so years ago, Ruthie and I was having problems. She wasn’t happy, and I wasn’t the greatest husband. She kept accusing me of stepping out on her and at first, I wasn’t doing shit. I was faithful though I had every opportunity to tap some strange. You know how the club bunnies are. Sometimes it’s hard to say no. Alexa had been coming around the house with Rochelle for a few years. They were always attached at the hip. I don’t even remember how it happened, but Ruthie had been running her mouth, and I told her if she wasn’t happy then to go to her mom’s for a few days. She said fine and she went. Rochelle was upset and went with her, forgetting she had promised Alexa she could stay over all weekend while her folks were out of town. She showed up and I had been drinking. It’s no excuse, it’s just the facts. She was there and came on to me. I should have told her ass no and sent her home, but I didn’t. She was seventeen and it was a mistake. One that cost me my daughter. The night of the accident Alexa was in the car with her and they were fighting. Alexa had found out she was pregnant. Rochelle wanted to know who the father was, and Alexa told her everything. Rochelle was so upset she wasn’t paying attention to the road. She was crying and screaming at Alexa and lost control of the car. Least that was the way Alexa told it.”
Fucking hell. He’s Wylla Mae’s father. Goddamn. What the hell am I to make of this shit? I should have picked up on it. Some of my brothers warned me but I ignored them.
“Ruthie doesn’t know about Alexa and me or that Wylla Mae is mine. And you’ll fucking help me keep it that way. Losing Rochelle nearly killed her, but we found our way back to each other. If she knew I don’t know that she could handle it. She loves Alexa like she loved Rochelle. She thinks I give her money and help out because I am honoring Rochelle, but it’s because I made that kid, and I take care of what’s mine. Alexa though…she wants more. Wants shit I can never give her, but maybe you can be the man she needs.”
This shit is more fucked than I ever imagined. I’ve been fucking around with Prez’s side piece.
“I gotta ask. Are you still fuckin’ her?”
Murder takes three more hits. “Not since you started.” That’s definitely not what I wanted to hear. I should have known. Should have seen this shit coming. “I need you to keep Alexa happy. Distracted. I need her to move on. I’m getting too damn old for her games.”
“And if it doesn’t work out?”
“Then it doesn’t, but it’d be better for us all if it does. Think about it. She’s a fine piece and the kid thinks the world of you.”
Christ on a cracker. I scrub a hand over my face. “So what? I’m supposed to just step into your shoes and take your readymade family.”
“They need you. You’re a good man, East.”
My mind flashes to Wylla Mae. That fear in her eyes. The way she clings to me every time I go over there like I’m some sort of goddamn hero. Then there’s Alexa. Sexy. Tempting. Everything a man could want if she wasn’t a big ball of fucking crazy and so damn wild. If she wasn’t in love with Murder.
When I started seeing her, I thought I could handle her, but I was wrong. Hell, I didn’t even know she was a stripper at the Kitty Kat’s Den until a week ago when she asked me to watch the kid when her sitter canceled.
“Don’t let my history with her fuck up something that could be the best thing to ever happen to you both.”
I’m no idiot. I know he wants her out of his hair. Wants me to take care of the responsibilities he’s neglected. It’s not Wylla Mae’s fault her mother is a cra
zy whore and that her daddy is cheating bastard who won’t lay claim to her. Truthfully, I don’t give a fuck about Alexa, but I do care about that kid.
Speak of the damn devil. My cell goes off with a call from Alexa. “Hey.”
“Can you do me a huge favor?”
“Can you go get Wylla Mae from school? I’m at this interview for that office assistant position. I really need this job, East.”
“What’s wrong with Wylla?”
“She got into trouble for punching some kid and they need a parent. I know it’s not your place and I have no right asking. But…East, you’re all I’ve got. If I call my mom, she’s gonna be on my ass about how I’m not a good mom, and I know I’m not the best, but I’m trying.”
“Text me the name of the school and if there’s anything I need to pick her up.” I click off the call.
“What’s wrong with the kid?”
“Nothing I can’t handle.”
Murder nods and leans back in his chair. “Need anything, you let me know.”
I trade my Harley for my cage, hanging my cut behind the driver’s seat. Figure it’s best not to wear it inside the school. Don’t need them passing judgment on the kid for my lifestyle. I know the drill. I know the way fuckers looked at me when they learned who my old man was. I crank on the heat. It’s getting colder. Too cold to have Wylla Mae on my motorcycle. I’m going to have to park it for winter soon enough. I light up a cigarette, getting one in before the kid gets in my ride. I try not to smoke around her.
Hate to hear her bitch about it.
I arrive at the school, parking in the visitor area. I flick my cigarette to the asphalt and stroll to the door and hit the buzzer. “Easton Reed here for Wylla Mae Neville.”