02 – Good Little Soldiers

Jackson rolled his bike into the garage they agreed to meet at and frowns at the lack of Angels present. Their business is brutal tonight. They are supposed to be putting an upstart into his place before he can become more of a problem for the Angels of Wrath. He had been running his mouth about shipments and word got back to the Angels. Jackson knew there was trouble the moment he killed the engine. His eyes settled on the men with him, each looking more somber than the next. He is the leader of this group of young bucks, but they fear Silus Baxter more than him. Their unease irritates Jackson. The boys here tonight are all young men, handsome in their own bad boy sort of way. Jackson is tall and muscular. His sunglasses are popped up on his head, combing back his dark brown hair. The men’s boots thud against the concrete as the few men that had come to Hilton Head with him gather around.

“Where’s the rest of them?” Jackson growls.

“Kid, you always were too impatient,” the smoker’s gruff of a voice comes from the shadows as a grizzly bear of a man steps forward. Shelley’s father, Silus, the head of the Angels of Wrath, lights his cigar as he steps into view. His curly hair cut short and tight. Tattoos span every inch of his visible skin. Silus leveled his eyes on the kid with a malicious disgust. This boy dares to lay claim on his precious baby, and to strike out against other idiot boys without his permission. The rage he contains is clear in his eyes. He knows his girls are at the beach, after he told Shelley she couldn’t go. He knew this whelp of a boy wearing his colors had conned her onto the back of his bike. He would deal with the girls when they get home. For now, he needed to get rid of this pest.

Jackson sizes up Silus. The older man is a legend in the pack. His eyes narrow as he realizes there never was a brawl and his brothers-in-arms had were as screwed as him. Jackson frowns, giving a quick glance from Silus to the others around. It confirms they thought they were getting into a fight tonight. He rests his hand on his pistol. He could feel the hammer of his heart in his chest. For a twenty-two-year-old, he puts on a big front. He has suffered the bullshit of the old guard since he could ride. He has killed for these men. Drank with these men. Now, he believes he is going to die by these men. His jaw clenches and he prepares for one hell of a fight. It stings. He could give Shelley a good life. She is a pretty little thing that could be his biker momma. He wouldn’t let another soul hurt her, no matter how big a game he talks. He could not understand why Silus Baxter had it out for him.

Silus erupts into deep laughter. “Fuck, kid,” gasping between laughs at Jackson’s expense. “You got some balls, I’ll give you that.” He steps forward with all the confidence of a man with his power and clamps a large hand down on Jackson’s shoulder. He looks right into his eyes and snorts at him, puffing out hot air from his cigar.

It gives Jackson the image of an enormous dragon billowing out smoke before it breathes fire. He does not break his gaze, or he would show how scared he is of Silus. He believes he is meeting his death and will face it like a man. The twitch of his jaw gives away the contained rage he wants to rally against the older man. He grows even more agitated as the older man laughs and mocks him. Shelley is his girl. He has loved that girl from the moment she appeared in The Triple Six. He has beat every other damn fool who even came near her. This gang is his. The old man just doesn’t know it yet.

“Cool your jets, boy. I ain’t killin’ ya. Yer dumb ass’ll be back to chasin’ my girl soon enough. I’m trustin’ you with somethin’ important.” He shoves Jackson toward the cargo carriers for the bikes. There are mechanics working to hook them up to the bikes. “You get these to Mexicali without causing me shit and get back without gettin’ caught, then we’ll talk ’bout your claim on Shelley.” He gives him another rough clamp on his shoulder and a squeeze. He is trying to intimidate the boy.

Jackson’s brow furrows at the sight of the cargo pulls. He was sending him clear across the country. It would take months to get the deliveries there and get back. Weapons runs are never safe, and always full of danger, especially crossing the entire country this way. There were easier ways to get these weapons to Mexicali, and Jackson knew it. The old man thinks he’s getting rid of him. Jackson is smart enough to keep his mouth shut here, nodding in response. He’ll show the old man, and when he gets back, he’ll put him into the ground and take what he is owed.

The few hours it took to secure all the bikes, work out the routes, and get ready, causes Jackson to realize he will not get to head back to the beach tonight. That makes his temper even more unbearable. Jackson watches Silus while plotting all the ways he could murder him. Silus’s smirking face whenever he catches the boy watching only drives him to plot the older man’s death in great detail. Once Silus and his old men left, the young bucks look at each other.

“Just what did you do to piss in his Wheaties?”

“Shut the fuck up, asshole.” Jackson cuts him a look that only wins his friends erupting into fits of laughter. He throws a punch at the one who made the comment. “What the fuck? Why didn’t you tell me what was going on?”

He rubs his jaw where Jackson’s fist had connected, then holds his hands up in surrender. “Didn’t know either. Old man has it in for you, and us by association. We thought we were going to rumble with those pussies from the island.”

Jackson furrows his brow and thumps his fist on the table as they look at the maps in front of them. He allows his buddies to relax a bit, the four of them plot out their ride. His mind is on that adorable little blond that clings to him like all she needed was him when they ride together. The sweet scent of her perfume haunting him even as faint as it is with all the cigar smoke Silus left behind. He wants nothing more than to get her all alone and make her cheeks blush how they did tonight. He has it bad for her.

“Hello!” The three men snap their fingers in front of his face. “Earth to Jackson.”

“Hrmph,” he grunts at them, coming back to their conversation.

“We good man?” One of them chimes in. “Don’t know about you, but I want to get at least a couple hours of sleep before we hit the road.”

He glances at his watch. It was already past two in the morning. He hopes the girls have found a ride home by now. He sighs and rubs his neck. Still irritated, he eyes the other men.

“No. Throw this shit out. We need to plan a different route. I’m pretty sure that fuck has people waitin’ for us.”

“What? Did you fuck Shelley? Is that why he wants to kill us?”

“Nah, not yet. Sweet little thing is playing hard to get,” he boasts. “But she’ll come ’round soon enough. Now let’s look at the maps again.” Jackson lays the maps out a second time, and the boys work with him to plot a course that will take at least two months longer but keeps them off the radar of Silus Baxter’s cronies. If that old bastard wanted to play dirty, Jackson will give him dirty.

“Man, I’m wiped. We should sleep. We can leave in the morning.”

“If we’re wanting to beat the weigh stations, we’re going to get the lead out of our asses tonight.” His finger flies the universal flag to the other men as they bitch up a storm about not getting rest. “We’ll sleep at the state line.”

They stroll back to where the bikes have been loaded, and fire them up to take off under cover of darkness. Jackson hated this part, leaving behind his Angel. He would show the old man that he had what it took to earn his keep, and if he thought this brief trip would be all it took to keep him down, then Silus Baxter would learn a hard lesson. Jackson let his anger keep him awake as the row of lights lit the dark highway. The three of them roar towards their destination. He couldn’t even send her a message to let her know. It’s part of the rules to keep them from being caught. Gun running is dangerous enough that few do it with any success. Most runners end up being gunned down by someone trying to screw the deal over. The men riding with him on this trip are the closest thing to brothers Jackson has, and he would be damned if he let anything happen to them.

Read Chapter Three >>