All The Sky (Signal Bend #5)By: Susan Fanetti
The clubhouse was as packed as if it were Super Bowl Sunday. And there were a bunch of damn kids around, too, so Havoc couldn’t even get himself a lapful of chick. Not just Isaac’s kids, but town kids. Running around like they were at a playground, or Chuck E. Cheese, or some shit. And there were grandmas and shit. Fuck. Marie Bakke and Rose Olsen were sitting next to Showdown and Shannon. Shannon was sitting on Show’s lap—like fucking always. Rose was knitting. Knitting!
He sat at the bar and scowled into his glass. When he heard an eruption of feminine chatter, he turned his scowl to the television. Fucking pissed him off. He didn’t know why the holy fuck either the town or the Horde thought this was a night to fucking celebrate. It was a damn outrage, far as he was concerned.
Draining the last of his tequila, he slammed the empty glass on the gouged surface of the bar. “Keep ‘em comin’, Wrench.”
“You got it, Hav.”
Havoc didn’t think Wrench was going to earn his top rocker. Too soft, too slow, too dim. Even in these quiet times, he didn’t have much to offer. But he was eager to please and amiable enough. After all the shit with the Scorpions, and fucking C.J. putting Isaac out of commission for over a year, they’d needed the help, and he’d stepped up. Havoc wasn’t in any hurry to kick him, as long as things stayed mellow like they’d been since then.
Mikey would probably be ready for his patch soon, on the other hand. He already had a lot of the responsibility of a patch. His minimum had passed awhile back, but they were taking their time. Len had sponsored him, so he’d make the call about when to bring it to the table. It was hard to test the spine of a Prospect when the club was quiet and working legit. These days, the Horde mostly kept order in town—oh, and owned a damn pussy wine bar.
Havoc had sponsored Doogie, who’d bailed after the holidays, moving to Iowa to work his uncle’s farm. Havoc had been incensed. He’d vouched, and the kid had walked away like the Horde had been nothing more than an angle he’d been playing. People bailing. Pissed him off worse than anything.
On that thought, and as the crowd in the Hall got louder than ever, he scowled at the television again. Just in time to see Riley Chase and Bart Elstad walking down the fucking red carpet at the motherfucking Academy Awards.
Because yeah, that made any kind of sense at all.
He fucking hated seeing Bart trussed up like a damn penguin, standing a step behind his woman while people screamed her name and took her picture and stuck microphones in her face. He fucking hated that Bart seemed to be doing okay in the Scorpions, that he was married to a goddamn movie star and living in a goddamn mansion and that he was right this minute smiling down at the little blonde bitch—oh, and now kissing her while the screen practically went white from all the goddamn flashes.
Havoc knew he was being irrational, but he didn’t fucking care. He knew that it had torn Bart up to give up the Horde. He knew that his sacrifice had allowed the Horde to fucking exist at all. If he hadn’t given up his patch and his ink, the Scorpions would have flattened the Horde, one way or another. They’d either be dead now, or they’d be wearing Scorpions patches, too. Instead, because Bart did what he did, the Horde was solid. They were even strong. And their truce with the Scorpions was intact. Guarded, but intact.
Havoc didn’t think they’d ever be really solid with that club again. Too much had gone down between them. And with all this Oscars bullshit, they weren’t in the clear yet. People had gotten interested in the Horde again. But Bart was on it. Only thing was, now he was protecting the Scorpions’ interests first.
Signal Bend, the movie about what went down on Main Street a few years back, had been released in the fall. Havoc hadn’t seen it and didn’t intend to, but apparently it was the shit, because it had been nominated for a bunch of awards, even Best Picture. Riley Chase was up for Best Actress. The guy who’d played Show was up for Best Supporting Actor. And smug asshole Tanner fucking Stafford was up for Best Actor. So half the fucking town was now staring at the Horde’s television, watching people in fancy clothes be fancy.
Havoc sat at the end of the bar, picking some kind of funky, puffy cheese and olive things that he didn’t even like off the tray nearest him, sulking. It didn’t matter that it didn’t make sense. He was pissed. He’d had one best friend in his life. He’d brought him up in the club. Taught him how to build a bike. Sponsored him as Prospect. He’d ridden alongside him for seven fucking years.
It had been a year and a half since then, and everybody was doing okay now. Because of what Bart had given up, the Horde was solid. He should be glad his friend had found his way in the dangerous world of the Scorpions. He should be glad that Bart was happy and had a life he wanted. He tried to be. And he was, most of the time.
But sitting here tonight, watching all the bizarre glitz and glitter that had somehow also become part of Bart’s life as an officer in the Los Angeles charter of a notoriously hardcore outlaw club, all Havoc could feel was abandoned.
“Just gimme the bottle, Wrench.”
Wrench did as he was told. He always did.
Havoc took the bottle and went back to his room. Fuck the fucking Oscars, and fuck fucking Riley Chase and all the fucking shit she’d brought down on the Horde.
Chicks. Fucking chicks ruined every damn thing.
“What’s the damage?” Isaac glared at Dom across the table.
Dom swallowed and looked at Havoc. Knowing the kid needed a break from the heat, Havoc leaned forward. “Looks like it’s pushing 50K, boss.”
Show whistled and leaned back in his chair. Isaac slammed his fist down, making the gavel bounce on the table before him.
Then Isaac turned his ferocious stare on Havoc. “How the fuck did this go down?”
Dom had the numbers, so Havoc looked over at him and lifted his eyebrows. But Dom was nervous, Havoc could tell. He hadn’t had his patch even two years yet, and most of that time, Show had been running things, while Isaac recovered from being shot in the back. Things had been quiet, steady. No drama. Boring, in Havoc’s opinion. And Show, most of the time, was a level dude. This was Dom’s first time facing any kind of fire at the table.
He was a pretty tough kid. When the shit had gone down with the Scorpions, he’d been a Prospect, and he’d stood strong. Him and Omen both. Facing Isaac over a fuckup, though—that was another kind of test. More than a year away from the club, most of that bedridden or in a wheelchair, hadn’t mellowed Isaac as much as one might expect. He was a good man, a good President, but he did not suffer fools. In fact, Havoc admired that about him.
Dom had taken over as Intelligence Officer after Bart had patched over to the Scorpions LA. He hadn’t been a hacker—he’d barely known how to write code—but he’d been the only patch with any kind of real tech experience at all. So Bart had given him a crash course in hacking during his last month in town. And, Havoc knew, Dom had leaned on Bart long distance for months thereafter. But now he was handling things on his own and had grown much more confident. Until now.
But the fuckup wasn’t Dom’s. Havoc was in charge of the fucking bar. He was the one who’d hired Larry Bellen to manage it. And Bellen had been stuffing his pockets. From the start. What kind of a fucking moron stole from the Horde?