As little girls we are told that somewhere out there, we have a Prince Charming. If a boy teases you, that means that he likes you but doesn’t have the balls to tell you. Pulling your hair or calling you names like ‘freckle face’ or ‘four eyes’ should be considered terms of endearment. If you do the right things, wear the right clothes, and be the right person, then we will get our happily ever after. My name is Alexandra Scott, here is my story, and why I call complete and utter bullshit.
The phone rang for the hundredth time forcing Alexandra to stop typing and put her head in her hands. This is not what I signed up for, she thought, turning away from the computer screen and reaching for the phone.
“Good morning, Sun Dispatch, Alexandra speaking.” When she applied for the editorial assistant position, Alexandra figured that she would be doing research, assisting on news articles, maybe even going on assignments a few times a year. Not writing quick news briefs that usually got tossed out at the last minute or answering call after call of ‘sightings’ from delusional people seeking their fifteen minutes of fame, and definitely not ordering lunches for every meeting they could possibly come up with. Most certainly she did not think that she would become the lackey for one particular journalist; picking up their dry cleaning and keeping their personal calendar up-to-date was a waste of her time and skills. How many waxing appointments can one chick have?
“Yes, I see that she has a meeting with Mayor Hernandez next Wednesday at ten o’clock in the morning. Yes, the Plaza Hotel restaurant. Thank you.”
Placing the phone back on the cradle, she remembered that she was also working on Elise’s vacation plans and returned to the payment screen to finalize the flight information only to find the screen had gone back to the homepage; it had timed out!
Beyond frustrated, she readjusted her glasses and grabbed her coffee mug before huffing to the break room. Filling her mug, she took a fortifying sip and looked out the window. The sky was bright, clear, and blue. Several stories below, she saw people driving to and from unknown destinations and longed to join them.
Katy Perry’s “Dark Horse” began to sound from her back jean pocket. Fishing her phone out and looking down, she saw that it was her best friend, Sasha.
“Wanna go to Jake’s tonight?” Sasha asked in lieu of greeting.
Thinking of all the news briefs and research to complete, plus writing her own piece to try to get the editors to look at, Alexandra was sorely tempted to say no. “Come on, I know you need a drink… or three…” Sasha urged.
“Alexandra! Have you placed my nail appointment on the calendar yet?” Elise asked as she walked past the break room. “Or picked up my dry cleaning?”
“Meet you there at six-thirty,” Alexandra sighed before hastily hanging up.
“Doing it now, Elise.”
Elise Mathers was one of the most respected print journalists in the county. She had guest anchored on Good Morning America and Dateline, as well as making appearances on Oprah, Ellen and The Wendy Williams Show. Why she chose to stay at the Sun Dispatch was anyone’s guess. Alexandra felt extremely grateful to be working for her; she just wished it was with her. How many times have I asked her to mentor me? She could be teaching me so much, but no, all I am is her errand girl.
After updating the calendar, she scribbled a quick note on the mini whiteboard by her desk. Then she grabbed the keys to her old Honda and ran off to pick up Elise’s outfit for the next day.
Jake’s Tavern was located on the edge of the University of Arizona’s campus, a little hole in the wall with prices low enough for the average starving student, but older bar décor and a no-nonsense owner and his family to keep it in line. Alexandra and Sasha had discovered it one afternoon while needing a quiet place to study with an unlimited coffee supply.
Waving at Jake Jr., she nodded toward the corner table letting him know where to bring the drinks, and a few minutes later, Sasha followed.
“Hey, hooker, what’s up?” she asked, giving Alexandra a quick kiss on the cheek. Jake Jr. already had their wine glasses in hand; white for Sasha, red for Alexandra.
“Today was dry cleaning day and vacation planning day. Tomorrow will be veterinarian, birthday, and bikini shopping day!” Alexandra squealed with fake enthusiasm.
“That woman? In a bikini? Girl, please! Why are you still there? Did you try for the position with the Desert Weekly I sent you?”
“No, I want to stay with the Dispatch, I can learn so much there, and do you know how many doors would open for me with Elise’s endorsement? I just need her to stop being a bitch and tutor me.” She paused to take a sip of her wine. “I just need to bide my time and continue to work on my column, and once it’s perfect I’ll turn it in.”
Sasha rolled her eyes. “First off, you have way too much patience, for anything. Secondly, you’ve been saying that for the past year now, you know this, right? Seriously, are you ever going to think that it’s good enough?”
Alexandra stuck her tongue out defensively. “For your information, I’m switching direction.”
“Oh yeah, what’s it about now?”
Alexandra shook her head and gave her a coy smile. “All I’m telling you is that I’m going for a more… personal angle.”
Sasha wanted to keep pushing but knew better, Alexandra was stubborn as hell and would tell her when she was ready to share. “Fine, you brat. So where is her majesty going this time?”
Jake Jr. laid mozzarella sticks and soft pretzel bites down in front of them. “Same, ladies? Or something different tonight?”
“Same for me, and keep the drinks coming, JJ.” Sasha winked at him.
“Ditto.” Alexandra smiled.
Jake Jr. returned her smile and went to put their orders in.
“Girl, when are you going to give that man a chance? You know he likes you,” Sasha pointed out, popping a pretzel bite into her mouth.
Alexandra shook her head. “Thank you, Miss Obvious, but Jake Jr. took me out on one date during our senior year of college after we became regulars here, and let’s just say it was more like hanging out with a younger brother than a potential lover.”
“Well you can’t lie and say he isn’t attractive. I mean, look at him with his sandy-brown hair and those deep-green eyes, hell even if you hadn’t clicked on that level, from the way he keeps looking at you every time we come here, he’s still holding out on hope. I mean, come on, at least get your feet wet.” Sasha waggled her eyebrows.
Sure enough, when Alexandra checked out the counter, Jake Jr. was standing there looking toward them, but she had the feeling that it wasn’t her that he was waiting to smile at.
“I think that you are the one holding out hope,” Alexandra teased, throwing a pretzel at her. “Maybe you should ask him out. Plus, you know I don’t do the casual sex thing,” Alexandra finished off her glass of Moscato and raised it toward the bar to indicate a refill. Jake Jr. brought over another glass of wine and their dinner plates. Checking to make sure they had everything they needed, he returned to the counter to wait on a couple that had just walked in. Alexandra secretly wondered if he started their meals as soon as one of them showed up because they never waited more than a few minutes for anything.
“I have no idea how people do it. How does one jump into bed with someone they don’t know, keep their feelings out of it, and have meaningless sex? I mean, I guess I get the whole lust and attraction thing, but I’m sorry, I just can’t give that part of myself away without anything… something in return. Some promise of a future, even if it doesn’t work out.”
“But you are getting something in return… you’re getting laid,” Sasha stated pointedly while cutting her steak. “So, what if you won’t see the guy again? Make sure he doesn’t know your real name or where you live and definitely make sure One-Eyed Pete is wrapped up and you’re golden.” The sound of clicking billiard balls drew Alexandra’s attention away from her cavalier friend. She longed to play, but it had been several months since she had picked up a stick.
“You should go pick up a game.” Sasha smiled, the glass of wine beginning to make her feel warm and fuzzy.
“Nah, it’s been forever; I would get my ass kicked.”
Taking in the guy’s standing around the table, Sasha began to giggle. “No, not true. You might get it spanked, but definitely not kicked.”
“One glass of wine, and you’re already on a mission! You truly do not give up, do you?” Alexandra laughed.
“Not one bit.”
The conversation continued to flow between the friends. Sasha told Alexandra about her latest date. Alexandra informed Sasha that her parents had decided to go on an Alaskan cruise for their thirty-fifth wedding anniversary. Both complained about their jobs. Two glasses of wine and a shared slice of chocolate decadence cake later; it was time to call it a night.
Knowing Sasha’s low tolerance levels, Alexandra inquired, “You didn’t drive, did you?”
“Moi, the lightweight? No way. I left my car in the parking garage and am going to cab it.” She held up her hand before Alexandra could speak. “And don’t even ask if I want a ride. I don’t want you taking me across town and having to double back.”
Alexandra paid the bill while Sasha called for a taxi. They continued to sit at the table, each caught in their own thoughts. When a horn blared, Alexandra hooked arms with Sasha and helped her into the cab.
Behind the wheel of her own car, Alexandra blasted the all 90s station as she made her way to her apartment. Even though she had missed out on most of the decade, singing along helped her pass time during the drive. Glancing in her rearview mirror she saw several small headlights rapidly approaching, and when she stopped at a red light, a group of bikers surrounded her car.
The men began to whistle and shout cat calls in her direction. Annoyed, she ignored them and turned the radio up to full volume. Startled by the sound of fists hitting various parts of her car, she screamed.
“Come on, sweetheart, don’t be that way. Me and my boys are real friendly,” the man at the window slurred. He had a scruffy beard and wore a dirty bandana around his head. His leather cut was dusty and the patches were worn. ‘Happy’ was embroidered on one, right below ‘President’.
“Come on, baby, let me in.”
Frantically reaching into her purse for her cell phone, she cursed when it slipped from her grip and fell between the seat and the console.
Seriously! Why is there a gap here?
Happy laughed at her clumsiness and grabbed the door handle; she had never been more grateful in her life for automatic locks. Alexandra gripped the steering wheel and considered her options, but she was surrounded by bikers. She would either need to run someone over or wait, hoping they would get bored and leave her alone, or by some grace of God another vehicle would come along.
Looking in the review mirror she saw one of the bikers approaching with a crowbar—waiting it out was not going to be an option.
She let her foot off the brake for a split second before stomping back on it.
Can I really do this? She knew she had to protect herself, but to run someone over? The sound of shouting from the rear of the vehicle made her turn around. Her eyes grew large as she took in the largest dark-skinned man she had ever seen who had seemed to appear out of nowhere.
He had his earbuds in and Aerosmith blasted through his brain on the loudest setting possible. His midnight-blue Harley Road King purred like a kitten as he accelerated through town. This is what he needed—the night air, the solitude… an escape.
Even if it was an illusion.
He didn’t hear the sound of the multiple bikers approaching him due to his music, but also didn’t give them a second thought as they flew past, only to slow down and surround him. Keeping his focus on the road, he let out a huff of air as he took one hand off the handlebars and pushed up his sleeve to show his branding. The biker to his left gawked, then hit the throttle and took off, motioning for the others to follow.
The sudden departure wasn’t unexpected, the Eternal Riders MC had quite the reputation and that suited him just fine. Zoning out once he was alone again, he focused only on the road in front of him and the music flowing through his head. He wanted to forget his commitment to the club, to being stuck on this Earth for the rest of eternity, to being alone.
He laughed at himself for acting like a bitch. He could go to any bar tonight and have his pick of any woman there, but after two hundred years, he was over it. He wanted something more, something… permanent, which was unattainable for a creature like him.
Several minutes had passed before he rode over a hill and he saw the group of bikers again, but this time it looked like they were surrounding a car, harassing whoever was inside.
Great, just fucking great.
Garrick knew that he could just speed around these idiots and go on his way or even turn around, but he also knew that they would either chase him down or worse… take out their anger on whoever was trapped inside that car.
Coming to a stop a few yards away, his heavy black boot hit the kickstand with a bit too much force and he heard a faint pop. Smiling, he took off his helmet and dismounted his bike. He watched as two of the jug heads turned in his direction. He knew they were taking in his appearance, and standing at six feet seven inches, he was a bit larger than most of the biking community.
Looking at the car, he could make out one person—a woman—sitting behind the wheel with her eyes narrowed, hands firmly on the wheel.
She’s a fighter, this one. He chuckled to himself. I like her.
“Evening, fellas, we got a problem?” he addressed them, kneeling to adjust the laces on his boot and to slide the secret compartment on the bike open. Then he transferred his matte black Jericho 941 to the small of his back. He didn’t need the human-made weapon but it was a hell of a lot easier to explain bullet holes than scorch marks.
“Yeah, we got a problem, boy,” the man closest to the car answered him, beginning to limp toward him. “We want to know what a person like you is doing with a Riders brand. Everyone knows that they don’t allow them colored boys in that club.”
Garrick let the corner of his mouth lift up as he snorted. “Well as I can’t see any club affiliation patches on you fellas or any particular colors, I can’t see why that’s any of your damn business. Now, how about you let the lady go and we can all be on our way.”
All the other men began to laugh, banging on the car, making it shake. The woman’s terrified cry made him clench his teeth. Garrick took in the man before him, noticing that his entire demeanor changed when Garrick did not back down. As Happy continued to try to square up his lanky, average body, Garrick determined that this was the leader.
“All I wanted to do was get out of the house, go for a ride, and clear my head, but no,” he groaned under his breath.
“You sure don’t know who you’re messing with do you, boy?” the man asked, and before Garrick could blink, four of the men pointed guns at him. “We’re the Blood Wolves and we don’t like no posers.”
“Yeah? Well I don’t like men that harass innocent women and let’s be honest, the only ‘posers’ around here are you. The Blood Wolves aren’t a recognized charter and you know what happens when Felix finds out about unrecognized charters.”
The man’s swagger faltered and Garrick saw him glance around at his men.
“You know Felix?” he asked, licking his lips nervously.
To answer his question, the sound of Garrick’s Jericho echoed through the night and two of them fell. Pointing it toward the leader’s head, he looked him dead in the eye. “Yeah, I do. Now, as I said before, you can let her go and we can all go about our merry fucking way or it can get messy. Up to you.”
He hadn’t noticed that the woman was now out of the car, hunched down by her door, memorizing everything that was happening. Unfortunately, Happy had.
“Guess we’re going to get messy,” Happy answered, his voice high-pitched with nerves. Pulling her by the hair, he held her in front of him like a shield. Garrick wanted to double over laughing but kept his focus on rescuing the woman, clearing his throat instead.
Happy smiled when he mistook Garrick’s cough as nervousness. Alexandra struggled against his grip but Happy just laughed and held her tighter by both arms. “Oh, a fighter, I like that in the bedroom,” Happy whispered into her ear as he licked the side of her face.
Alexandra’s stomach rolled with disgust. She raised her knees into her chest and pushed her feet back as hard as she could; her three inch heels made contact and the howl that escaped his mouth was beyond satisfying to Garrick. Losing his grip, Alexandra spun around and punched him square in the nose.
Garrick wanted to stop and applaud but it would have to wait; he was engaged in his own battle. Taking on the two remaining men, he had decided to put away his gun. One of the men laughed at the move and pulled out a switchblade before lunging at Garrick.
With one swift move, Garrick side-swiped the man, grabbing his arm and twisting it behind his back, making him drop the knife. Raising his leg, he delivered a kick directly to the last man’s chest, knocking all the air out of him before turning around and delivering a head butt to the man he was holding that should have knocked them both out cold.
Free from her predicament, Alexandra rushed back to her car and frantically searched for her cell phone.
I’m in the biggest story of the night and I can’t reach my cell phone because I have hands the damn size of Sasquatch! Damn you, Dad!
She continued to curse her father’s name until she finally fished the phone from between the console and seat.
Garrick had subdued the other men and now had Happy, blood pouring from his nose, pinned against the back of her sedan when he heard the distinctive click.
You’ve got to be kidding me. He sighed. I stop to do one good thing, he thought as he gave Happy a left hook to the temple, watching as the man crumpled at his feet.
Another click sounded, then another and another. Alexandra didn’t want to miss one shot. Leaning over to get a close up of one of the men’s faces, she jumped when Garrick grabbed her hand.
A bolt of electricity passed between them as he held her hand, wrestling the phone away. Their eyes met for a brief second before he took it from her grasp.
“Hey!” she protested as he began to scroll through the pictures she had just taken. “Give that back!” she cried as he began to systematically erase all photos that contained his image. Alexandra tried to regain the phone but even in her heels she couldn’t reach his outstretched arms.
“You bastard!” she cried, whatever gratitude she had felt moments ago completely forgotten.
“Now, is that any way to thank the man that saved your life?”
“You ruined my big story!” she moaned, aware that she was acting childish and should be thanking him. She couldn’t gather her thoughts as the adrenaline that raced through her veins began to fade away, making her feel confused.
“Yeah, I’m a journalist, well… I’m trying to become a journalist, a columnist, really. I studied journalism in college…I’m rambling. My point is this could have been my big break.”
“Well, that’s my cue.” He turned on the heel of his black boots and strolled to his bike.
“Wait! What’s your name?” She ran after him, pulling on his massive arm, barely slowing him down.
“You should get going before these boys come around; they won’t be too ‘happy’.” He smiled at his little joke. Alexandra wanted to continue her protest, but the first wave of nausea hit, hard. Doubling over, she took several heaving breaths, trying to make the sensation go away.
“I just want to know your name, I won’t use it, promise,” she managed, removing her glasses and wiping her brow with her arm.
“Shit,” she heard the man mumble. “You’re in shock. Come on, we need to get you off your feet.” Before she could blink he had swept her up into his arms and began to walk to her car. Garrick tried to ignore the way she felt in his arms and the soft sigh she let out against his chest, but he couldn’t ignore the feeling of warmth that spread through his body.
He opened the driver’s side door and slipped her behind the wheel. When he caught her fumbling with the keys, he pulled them from the ignition and pocketed them. He heard her muttering something before she flung herself toward him and threw up. Jumping out of the way, he wondered why in the hell was he still there.
Jogging back to his bike, he took a look around. Sure that no one was watching, he pushed the bike into the shadows and with a caress of his hand it disappeared. Taking one last look around, he ran back to the car.
Alexandra was leaning her head against the steering wheel, moaning and visibly shaking. He gently coaxed her over to the passenger seat before running his hand over her head, gathering her address and putting her into a peaceful sleep at the same time.