“No wonder you hated my drinking,” she said, her voice cracking.
“It’s a disease that takes so much from a person. It took my mother’s spirit and then it took her family, and at the end it took her fucking life. I don’t want that for you. And I don’t fucking want that for us. I struggled with my love for her and my hatred of what she was doing to herself and to us. The day she crashed that car and killed herself and my father was one of the worst days of my life. And yet, I felt a sense of fucking relief. I hated that about myself. But after years of watching it destroy our family, and shatter Brooke’s life, it felt like a fucking weight had lifted.”
“You never know what’s going on in someone’s life, do you?” she mused.
“No,” I agreed.
“I mean, I knew you back then but at the same time, I didn’t. You joined Storm just after your parents died and there you were, coping with their death and looking after Brooke. I had no idea.” She paused and searched my eyes. “Why have we never taken the time to talk about this?”
“Baby, you and I spent too many years screwing and arguing to get into this shit. You knew the basics and, trust me, that was enough for me. I don’t talk to anyone about this stuff. Even Brooke and I hardly discuss it. What’s the fucking point? It’s in the past; I only want to look forward.”
“Yeah, well I was a shit girlfriend to you, and for that, I’m sorry.”
“I think as people get older, and have crap happen to them, they open their eyes more; see shit for what it really is. That’s where you’re at with all this stuff going on between you and your family. And believe me, sweetheart, you weren’t a shit girlfriend; you were exactly what I needed and still are.”
She sighed. “’I’m so glad we didn’t give up on each other. What we have now is good; so good, baby.”
I couldn’t fucking agree more. “Yeah, it is,” I said, and then to lighten the mood, I gave her what I knew she loved from me, “Now, you’ve gotta finish packing that bag so that I can take you to Harlow’s. And make sure you don’t bother with any underwear tomorrow because after a night away from you, I don’t need any-fucking-thing coming between me and your pussy.”
Her eyes lit up. “I love your dirty mouth, J.” And then she stood on her toes and breathed into my ear, “I don’t have any underwear on right now, baby.”
Fuck me, I loved this woman.
“You got a moment?” Blade asked as I opened my front door to him.
“Sure,” I said, gesturing for him to come in.
We made our way to the kitchen and then he turned to look at me.
“I don’t really know you, J, but you’re marrying my sister so I’ll be taking the time to rectify that.”
I nodded; I agreed with that fully.
He continued, “While you were away, Madison shared a lot with me. That woman loves you with her heart and soul. Only a lucky man gets that in his lifetime and you, my friend, are that lucky.” He paused and assessed me with his hard gaze.
“You gonna get to the point, Blade?” I was getting impatient with where he was going with this.
“Don’t fuck it up. Don’t take what she’s giving you and trample it, because if you do, I’ll be the one you’ll deal with.”
I nodded. “Yeah, I understand that about you, brother. And I’m with you all the way. Madison’s lucky to have you looking out for her. But you need to know that I have no intention of fucking this up. She and I have worked too damn hard to get this far; not gonna screw that up.”
He processed that silently for a moment before saying, “Good.”
I decided I liked him as he was leaving; anyone who cared for Madison like he did was someone I had time for.
“Tomorrow’s been a long time coming,” Scott muttered as he leant back in his chair and stretched his arms up, hands behind his head.
I took a swig of my beer. “Yeah it has, brother,” I agreed.
It was nearly midnight, nearly my wedding day, and Scott had dropped in earlier for a beer. Madison was at Harlow’s place with Serena, and Brooke, and my dick was fucking missing her. Christ, at this rate, I’d be throwing her over my shoulders after she promised me forever, and saying to fuck with the reception.
“Madison texted me to say Dad wouldn’t be there. She coping alright?”
“It’s fucked, Scott. I could kill him for what he’s done to her.”
He nodded, deep in thought. Then he leant forward and rested his arms on his legs. “Lotta shit going down with the club right now. When you get back from your honeymoon, it’ll be time to fix that.”
“What’s your plan? You want Marcus out?”
“Yeah, I fucking want him out. We need to figure out what he’s up to and at the moment, I’m no closer to that answer. He’s good at covering his tracks.”
“I’m betting it’s got something to do with the Adelaide chapter. Look there.”
“I’ve got Nash on that. And Griff’s finally come around to my way of thinking. He’s been loyal to Dad for so long but he’s lost all respect now. Between him and Nash, I reckon they’ll come up with something soon.”