Shadow:Satan's Fury: Memphis Chapter(7)

By: L. Wilder

Today was no different. After a long night of dealing with Boon, I needed a distraction, and like always, she’d done just that. For a few minutes, I was able to forget about all the bullshit and clear my head. Once I felt ready to start my day, I tossed my Styrofoam cup in the trash and carried my book back over to the shelf where I’d found it. I glanced down at the title—A Guide to Healing: Finding Your Way Through PTSD—and for a brief second, I actually considered buying the damn thing. While I knew I had some of the symptoms that were associated with PTSD, I wasn’t sure the diagnosis actually fit. The years I’d spent in Afghanistan were unforgiving, especially considering the time I’d spent in captivity and the amount of bloodshed I’d seen, but nothing that happened there could even compare to the hell I went through in foster care. The torture, the endless beatings and mental abuse I’d experienced during those years were enough to scar any man. It was tough, but even that wasn’t as devastating as losing the one person who actually understood what I was going through. My life was one fucking heartbreak after the next, but looking back, I realized those years molded me into the man I am today. Knowing there was no quick fix for the issues I had, I put the book back on the shelf next to the others. I walked up front where Alex was standing behind the counter, and she smiled as soon as she noticed me coming towards her. I gave her a quick nod as I placed a twenty-dollar bill on the counter and headed for the door.

Just before I walked out, she announced, “You know … you don’t have to do that.”

She rarely spoke to me, so her comment caught me off guard. “Do what?”

“Give me twenty dollars every time you come in. It’s really not necessary. It’s not like you ever buy anything, and the coffee is free for anyone who wants it.”

While she might’ve found it unnecessary, I disagreed. Every time I’d come in, I’d invaded her space, drank her coffee, and read one of her books without actually buying it. Giving her the money was the right thing to do. “And what if I want to?”

My rebuttal seemed to catch her off guard as her demeanor quickly changed. A look of panic washed over her as she stood there staring at me, and it took her several seconds to forge her response. She seemed almost flustered as she answered, “Oh, well … if you want to … that’s fine. I mean … It’s more than fine. I just didn’t want you to think you had to do it, because you don’t.”

“Never did, but thanks for clarifying.”

A light blush crept over her face as she smiled, and while it seemed innocent and sweet enough, I could tell there was some sadness hidden beneath it, which made me curious as to what had put it there. “Umm … Okay, then.”

Her stunning, dark eyes locked on mine as I nodded, and just before I turned to leave, I repeated her words, “Okay, then.”

“Hope to see you later,” she called out in a timid voice.

I looked back over my shoulder. “You will.”

I walked outside and over to my bike. After I hopped on, I threw on my helmet and glanced back over to the bookstore. I spotted Alex sitting at the counter with her head in her hands as she slowly shook it side to side, clearly rattled by our exchange. It was at that moment an odd feeling stirred in my gut, one I hadn’t felt in longer than I could remember, and I almost, almost fucking smiled. Surprised by my reaction, I started my bike and pulled away from the curb, pushing back those unwanted feelings as I head towards the clubhouse. It was time to see if Gus had been able to track down Jasper. Like me, my president was eager to find out exactly what was going on with Jasper and his new interest in our boys. When I pulled through the gate, Blaze and his son, Kevin, were outside talking to Riggs, and as soon as I parked my bike, Kevin rushed over to me with a big smile. “Did Dad tell you the news?”

Having no idea what he was talking about, I answered, “Not sure that he did.”

“He’s getting me a dirt bike!” he told me excitedly.

“A dirt bike? That’s cool.”

“It’s awesome! He finally said I was old enough to have a bike of my own, and he said you might help me fix it up if we brought it over to the garage.”

Along with being the enforcer, I also helped Blaze in the garage. While he mainly worked on remodeling vintage cars, I focused on classic motorcycles, bringing old, beat up bikes back to life. Thinking that a dirt bike would be a cool project, I nodded my head and said, “Yeah. I could do that.”

“I knew you would help.” He practically beamed as he announced, “It won’t be long before I’ll get a Harley and I can ride with you and the guys.”

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