“It’s a garage sale, sister.” My brother’s lazy drawl came from the porch. I swung, seeing him lounging on a chair with a beer and bunch of his friends. Guys from school. Guys who had no business being in my house.
“Xavier?” I stepped closer. “What are you doing?”
“It’s my house sis. Has been for the last 12 months. Means you’ve been squatting illegally. I’m recouping the money you owe me.”
My heart stuttered to a stop. “What?”
He held up the letter, the same fucking letter I’d received yesterday, and waved it at me. “Don’t you remember? The judge wrote it down for us. It’s all mine. The house, the garage, the cars, the bikes, the money. All mine.”
Helpless rage simmered in my belly. “You can’t do this.”
He lifted his bottle and pointed it at one of his friends. “Remember Tim? Tim’s a cop now. And he says this is all legal-like. Doncha Tim?”
Tim nodded, lifting his own bottle. “Yep. Squatting is illegal in this county. Could end up real bad for you.”
I clenched my fists. “I’ll pay you-“
“No.” Xavier dropped his feet from the fence and leaned forward, arms going to his knees. “Get off my property.”
“First warning. Second and I call the cops. And fancy that, they’re already here.” They all started laughing.
I felt a strong presence behind me. Ice. His hand settled on my shoulder.
“Ice.” The men on the porch were silent now, their eyes watchful. “Got nothing to do with you, man.”
Ice moved to block me with his body. “Way I see it, it does.”
They all got tight. I glanced around, the people who’d come to pick over my things were making themselves scarce. I’d say it was Ice’s Cut rather than the scene with my brother. People around here got mighty antsy seeing a biker.
“We got no issue with you or the club.”
Ice rubbed his chin. “Well see, here’s the thing. Your sister is part of the club. Issue with her, issue with me, issue with us.”
Xavier’s face went red, mottling with rage. I recognized that look, it’s the same one he gave me when Dad had told him to get out.
“She fucking you?”
“Yep. Old Lady.” Ice returned. He glanced over. “Call the Prez. Tell him we need a truck and some guys.”
I nodded, already reaching for my phone.
The voices behind me rose, yelling. I left that for Ice to handle. Instead I called, the Prez – Flo’s husband Lincoln – listened as I filled him in.
“Fucker. Your Dad’s Cut still there?”
“Don’t know. Hope so.”
“Be there 20. Hold tight Aggie.” I clicked off, tucking the phone back in my pocket.
Tim was standing before Ice, his badge on display. They were talking in hushed tones, Tim looking pissed off.
Xavier’s eyes were on me. I glanced at my brother and then looked away. Dad’s Will had been the same as his father and his father’s father. All goes to the boy child, who is expected to look after everyone else.
Only my brother was the type who never looked out for anyone but himself. We were twins, but we’d never been blood.
Twenty minutes later a pissed off Lincoln rolled up to the curb in a truck he’d obviously borrow from the depot. A rumble of bikes in the distance let me know that he’d called in the cavalry. He kicked the door open, swinging out. He twisted, pulled his Cut from inside, and shrugged it on. No man worth his weight would be caught dead wearing colours while driving a cage.
Settled, he stalked over to us, eyes going to me. “You good?”
I nodded. His eyes flicked to Ice then over to Xavier. “We got a problem?”
Tim stepped forward. “As Ice has kindly reminded me, rules in this county state that squatters have one hour to remove their things.” I could see the frustration on his face. “Time starts now, Agnes.”
I headed straight for my Dad’s room. Located at the back of the house, it was a den-come-study. Above his desk, nestled in its frame sat his Cut. I pulled it down, handing it over to Lincoln.
“This belongs on the wall in the club house.” He nodded, pivoting on his heel and leaving the room. He’d get it out past Xavier. It was the clubs, not for me or my brothers.
The Prospects had all arrived and were wandering around the house, shoving items into boxes and generally attempting to move things. More and more people arrived- all of them trying to get what I needed, what was mine, out of the house before the hour was up. Most of my stuff sat on the lawn, but the photos and memorabilia my parents had collected over a lifetime was personal.
I headed up the stairs to my room, Ice hot on my heels. It had been trashed. Clothes were slashed to pieces, draws pulled out, bedding destroyed. I paused for a moment looking at the carnage of hate.
“Aggie?” I shook my head.
“I’m good. I knew it wouldn’t be pretty. It’s all good.” I turned to the dressed and started to shuffle it away from the wall. Ice gently moved me out of the way, before heaving it forward in two quick movements. Seated into the plaster was my wall safe. Dad had installed it when I was in my mid-teens. Xavier had been stealing from me and, despite all efforts, Dad had felt this was the best option at the time.
Nothing had really changed since then, all my valuables, paperwork and important items were kept in there. I entered the code, spinning the dial this way and that before it sprang open. Money, jewelry my mum had left me, paperwork, birth certificates and what-not, and two guns. I didn’t openly carry, but I knew how to use a gun – dad had made sure of that.
I handed the guns over to Ice who tucked them into his waist band. A small backpack was slouched against the wall – its contents strewn about the room. I pulled it over and started loading up my items. This was the important stuff. Photos on USB sticks, insurance and cash. I was about to start my life over and this was what I would need to do it.
The rest of the hour went quickly, guys were pulling anything they could into the van. Tools from the garage, Mum’s clothes, pictures and photoframes, couches. The big screen TV and projector. Xavier didn’t say a word as the club lugged items to the truck. I saw his eyes, he was angry. The only thing preventing him from hitting me was Ice’s claim that I was club property.
I knew what that meant. It meant I’d now have to become that. A worry for tomorrow.
The car had been in Dad’s name, so I left it. As much as I wanted to take her, I knew Xavier would try something. Cherry Red, the Convertible had been a labour of love between Dad and I. I took a few minutes to say goodbye.
The voice came from outside. I pressed a hand to her bonnet and followed Ice as he led me out. The Prospects were closing the doors to the truck.
“Let’s roll.” This came from Lincoln, who was standing at the curb. Ice looked back at the house then shook his head. “Wait.”
He jogged back to my front porch and moved to the windowbox I’d just planted. It took him two heaves before it ripped loose of the railing. He strode back to the truck, handing it to a laughing Lincoln.
“Now we’re good.” I nodded but paused. Turning to Tim and held out a hand.
“Thank you Officer, for your assistance.” He hesitated then shook it once before turning away. My eyes landed on Xavier and his band of merry-men. “Gentleman.” I nodded at them before looking directly at my brother.
“Have a nice life, Xavier. I hope you find the happiness you’re looking for.”
Ignoring his muttered cursing, I turned and followed Ice to his bike. Swinging on, I strapped the helmet down as I looked back at my childhood home. Ice’s hand came to my leg.
I breathed deeply then nodded. “Yeah, let’s go.”