| 15 | If the Devil Had a Brother |

“You don’t need your gun, Devlin.”

“I’ll be the one deciding that.” He kept his gun pointed at the man as rage filled him. “You have some heavy sack coming here after the shit you did.”

“And what shit might that be, nephew?” The man adjusted his stance.

“Don’t call me that. You’re not my blood.” He kept Duprey in the crosshairs of his weapon.

The man’s rusty laughter echoed off the interior walls.

“That’s not what the Brotherhood oath says. I bled for the M.C―” He paced a few steps but didn’t make a threatening motion.

“Shut the hell up. You don’t get to quote my Brotherhood’s laws. They don’t protect traitors.” All he could see, all he could think about was his father. All he could think about was if this coward hadn’t been there, hadn’t been a snake in the garden, his father would still be alive.

The man tisked Devlin, which made him even more upset. He adjusted his stance, still pointing the gun at the other man.

“Guilty with no trial? Only with Allegations.”

Devlin pierced his lips and adjusted his aim. His father always said the man had words for anything, everything. “You trying to tell me that you’re innocent? Like every other bastard that got locked the―” Devlin caught the item that was tossed in the air. He froze when he saw his father’s missing ring. “Thief too?”

“You know well as I that that’s not true. Your father was either wearing those rings or they were locked up somewhere he put them. You found the other ring in the safe, didn’t you?”

Devlin kept his gun pointed at the man. “What the hell do you want?”

“You need to lower the weapon and listen.”

“Only after you answer one question. The hairpin. Did you send that to Lacey?”

“That’s the young beauty’s name? Yes. As a message to you.”

“As a threat?” Devlin’s voice was calm, but everything in him was on fire at the thought of anyone thinking they could put Lacey in harm’s way.

Duprey hung his head. “You think I’m the worst person.”

“You didn’t even try to deny that shit during the trial. Silent on the stand.”

“Things played out the way they did for a reason. It was by design.” Duprey’s voice was tight with frustration. “By your father’s design. Under his orders, I took the comb from his grave, right where he said it would be. To this day, I’m not sure if he planned his death or if that was a flaw in his plan.”

“What the hell are you talking about?”

“Put the gun down and I’ll tell you.”

“Fuck you, Duprey.” Devlin held his ground. The two men stared at each other, waiting for what? Devlin didn’t know, but he wouldn’t get cold like his father did trusting this man. “Tell me why you gave the butterfly to Lacey. Depending on your answer, I might be willing to listen, but so help me if I hear an ounce of a lie. There’s a bullet in this chamber with your name on it.”

The man held up his hands. “You weren’t heeding my other warnings. This deal you’re about to do with the Hyann family is a bad idea.”

“We’ve had differences in the past, but people get over shit.”

“Or not. The comb made those legal documents a bit more 007, eh?”

Devlin frowned. “The fuck are you talking about?”

“You read the diary, didn’t you?”

Devlin averted his eyes for a second.

The man grumbled. “Do you know what I had to do to get you that damn book?” He rubbed the bridge of his nose before addressing Devlin again. “I know she told you the story about the black butterfly.”

Sure, Devlin heard some stories. Most of them were when he was younger, so he didn’t remember all the details.

“An omen.”

“A friendly warning. A marker of death and hope. Something happened ‘tween Luscious and Emilia, something neither of them told anyone except each other. Your mom would write to him in this language she created. That’s what he told me, anyway. Said he kept the letters.” He wandered over to one of the bistro tables in Sinnful Delights’ showroom. “She made that comb. She was an artsy sort. Strange in that she’d kick you square in the pants, same as knit you a sweater. Put together a bike, same as bake an apple pie. That said, you could never take Emilia for face value. She made that comb pretty as it was for another reason too. Trade secrets.”

Devlin growled. “That doesn’t sound like my mom at all.”

The man laughed. “Perhaps you don’t know her at all. No one really did, no one except maybe your dad.”

“Get to the fucking point, old man.”

“I didn’t kill your father.”

Devlin felt raw rage consume him. If the bastard thought it was going to be that easy to weasel out of this―

“I tried to save him, but he didn’t want to be saved.” He wandered to the window, crossed his arms and looked out. “Millie’s death broke somethin’ in him.”

Devlin lowered his weapon at the way the man used his mother’s nickname. Not many people did because they knew what she’d give ‘em if they called her anything but Emilia. He didn’t know Duprey was so familiar with her. Then again, she was always around the M.C, even though she was animatedly against everything the M.C stood for. She lost her father, brother and best friend to the turmoil. She never understood Devlin’s father and his loyalty because he lost as much, or more too.

Devlin tucked the gun in his waist band. “Any bullshit at all.”

“Yeah, I get it, Prez.” The man’s low voice rumbled over the words.

The place was empty. He left Lacey’s warmth to get to some truth. No one understood why Devlin gave the man the time of day. Truth was, he was the only living man that knew what went down the day Luscious died.

“Your mom would be proud of this place―”

“Start talking.” Devlin crossed his arms over his chest.

“We were trying to get out of dealings with the Hyann family. They were encroaching on our territory, and we couldn’t have that. It would have set a bad precedent for other rivals.” The man crossed his arms. “Your father worked up a plan to get their leader locked up, but he would have to be locked up too. The club needed him more, so I volunteered to take the charge. Your father had priors anyway, so they would have sentenced him worse. Everything went according to plan, except for the retaliation portion. We expected them to retaliate, but not how they did.”

“Why was father the only one that died?” Devlin was struggling with what the man was saying. He’d set in his mind for so long how things went down.

“He saved everyone else but couldn’t save himself. The explosion was too big. I tried.” Duprey lifted his shirt, revealing burn marks up the side of his body. “Chemical burns.” They had to have a closed casket as his father’s body was so destroyed.

“A hero? That doesn’t sound like Luscious Sinn at all.” But wasn’t it? He led the club for years, decades, and his father before. He was a natural leader. He built up most of the relationships they had with authorities, with judges, with high-ranking people. He was more a politician than Devlin’s grandfather who was the rogue outlaw if there ever was one. He never settled down, never had a wife. Had children, though. Had lots of children.

“He was a loyal man to his brethren. That I can and will always respect. Please, if you hear nothing else I’ve said, hear this. Don’t go through with the deal.” He turned and walked toward the door, paused there, dug in his front pocket and handed Devlin something. “Find your father’s will and read your mother’s journal. Your father believed we were trapped in cycles. That was part of the reason why he claimed your brother. He didn’t want him to end up like me.” The man turned and walked out the front door.

He locked locked the door after the man. His mind was burning, was churning with more questions. Surely, the man had to have an agenda. He started to question, question everything he thought he knew. Started to question the facts, which could be just circumstantial. He rubbed his forehead. He couldn’t afford to take the man’s word for it. He opened the piece of paper handed to him. It was from his father and addressed to Duprey.

His buzzing phone pulled him from his heavy thoughts.

“The meeting is set. Docks in three weeks. Dock number will be forthcoming once they iron things out with the port authorities.” Lucas’ voice sounded through the receiver.

“Thanks.”

There was a bout of silence. “Were you just polite to me?”

He shrugged, as if the man could see, and started pacing. “I need you to do some more digging on Duprey. You may have to get creative.”

“What type of information you looking for?”

“Anything.”

“Yeah, that’s real specific.”

“Don’t be a smart ass. Just do it.”

“Yes, Mr. President.”

Devlin rolled his eyes at the man’s humor and ignored the smirk it forced on his face.

“He paid me a visit.”

“What?”

“Let’s find out where he’s held up.”

“I found the judge that helped him. Should I squeeze him?”

Devlin tapped his chin. “Yeah, but tread softly. He might come in handy later on.”

He hung up the phone, his mind sorting through all the information that was laid on him.

How dare the man insinuate that he didn’t know his mother. She raised him; he saw her every day, of course, he knew her. He dug the butterfly comb out of his pocket and gave it a closer look. Did she really make this? It wouldn’t surprise him. She was always busy doing something. The woman couldn’t sit still, that was the truth. He frowned when he saw the butterfly’s wings, which were vertical on the insect’s back, could pull down. There in the dark spots that at first glance looked like it was a part of the butterfly’s markings, was a magnifying glass on each side.

Devlin frowned. If Duprey was right about this, what else was he right about?

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