| 16 | In Six Feet Deep ||

Devlin leaned on a tree and glanced over at the woman kneeling at Lacey’s dead husband’s grave. He waited because he wanted a private conversation with the prick.

He took a swig from the canteen before he tucked it back in his pocket. The past few days, he’d been checking his damn phone like a high school girl. She didn’t even send him a middle finger emoji. There was nothing, and he felt that shit like a wrench to the fucking skull.

He knew she was going to grow sick of his bullshit eventually. Maybe it was force of habit, but it was easy to put distance between whatever the fuck was going on with him and her, hoping it would somehow go away. He kept telling himself he didn’t have time to waste over some relationship shit. He had enough as is with Duprey and the Hyann Brothers, and the damn journal.

He sighed.

It was all so confusing at first. He was struggling to set aside his own truths and try to focus on the facts, but the facts didn’t line up. What did lineup, in a cryptic ass jigsaw puzzle way, was everything Duprey was talking about. It was easy to let the complexity of his parents’ message keep his thoughts off Lacey.

He started with Duprey’s letter, the one his father sent him that led him to his father’s will. The cover sheet on the will explained how to use the comb to cypher the message from the will documents and parts of his mother’s journal. His father’s message was short. No surprise with all the Indiana Jones shit going on:

“Son,

Figured this was the perfect place to write this message, as who can even understand lawyer talk anyway? Your mother’s better at this stuff than me, but here goes.

I fucked up. I thought I could take on the world, fix my father’s mistakes. I was wrong. I started a war with Goliath with no slingshot to knock him down.

Our feud with the Hyann family goes deep. There are three things you should know. 1. Take care of your brother and sister. 2. Read your mom’s journals and letters to me. 3. As much as I love all this shit, my family was the best part of me.

Love,

Dad.”

It took some doing, but he eventually found his mother’s letters buried in a box in the basement of the clubhouse. It was those that initially brought him to the cemetery. He had to have a talk with her.

He wiped away angry tears. Hidden under abstract poems and literary musings was his mother’s scarlet letter.

He nearly ripped the first letter, it was so old and damaged from moisture and such. The ink was faded, but with the butterfly comb, he could still make out the message.

“Luscious,

We’ve never talked about it. Not in over three years. I try not to think about it, then I think about it more.

I’ve harbored guilt for so long. So long I couldn’t talk to you. Seeing you for the first time and with the news I came with was strange twisted karma I felt deep inside. The universe took Lily because of me, and I’m sorry. I’m sorry I stole her away from you.

I’m sorry I dragged you into my darkness. It doesn’t matter that it was an accident. I killed him.

I did. I killed him. I killed that man.

It feels good and horrible to say that.

I will visit you more.

Emilia.”

It was a baffling realization, a startling confession to uncover. It explained a lot about his mother’s bouts of melancholy and depression. She was good at hiding it, just like she was good at hiding her sickness which she wrote Luscious about a few months before she died. Devlin remembered his father being around at the end. He thought the man was clairvoyant, that he knew something was wrong. Devlin had.

Despite all the shit that went on with Lucas’ mom, Katerina’s outbursts of bad behavior, and the firefight that the man was in with the Hyann brothers, Luscious was there. He stuck close to Emilia right until the end. That was the only time Devlin ever saw his father cry.

His thoughts drifted to Lacey. He missed her, and it was more than her soft curves and wet pussy. He wanted to keep her safe. He wanted to keep her close, mostly because he was a selfish prick. He knew that his closeness to her put her in harm’s way. This damn war could spill over, and she could end up like his aunt Lily: collateral damage. He balled his fist when a hot rage spiked through him before he took another swig of the burning liquid.

Safe was never a word that meant anything to him. He had no place for it in his life. He liked the fast, the hard, the rough warrior, rough shit, grimy shit eating, high octave, chest pounding shit. The bikes and the long ass rides to nowhere. The Brotherhood, the fun. They were all he needed before he had to go venturing out. When he tasted Lacey five years before, he knew something got fucked up. He fought it for a long while, but it all led up to this shit.

No surprise to him he ended up at the graveyard. Well, at first to talk to his mom, but then he kept thinking about Lacey and the voice in his head telling him he knew better than to think he deserved her.  

Fuck deserve.

What the hell did that mean, anyway? He thought Luscious didn’t deserve his mother, but come to find out she was a fiend, just like him. It wasn’t the killing that got to him. It was the secrecy. She lived like she was a saint, lived like she had no burdens when she had the heaviest of them all: she took a life.

More than the secrecy, he was angry because she was his saving grace. The son of Luscious Sinn was bound to be a hellraiser, to be a fiendish degenerate, but Emilia offset that. She was the light, and as long as he had that light, there was hope. He had potential. He might have had a chance to be what Lacey wanted, but now when the truth came to light, that he was born all in darkness.

He frowned at that thought. How could one dark deed sully a lifetime of positivity? How could one fuck up, no matter the size, be the one thing that defines who you are?

The blond woman took her time as she knelt at the dead bastard’s grave, intentionally placing the flowers near the man’s headstone. She then brought her attention next to his grave, laid a flower, stood and wiped a tear from her eyes before reluctantly walking away.

“‘Bout time.” He grumbled, pushing off the tree and making his way over to “the white knight’s” resting place.

After hours on the road, he went to the chocolate shop with the intention of polishing off a nice bottle of wine and eating dark chocolate like some chick on the rag. He was successful with his plans until he left the building with a canteen full of an earthy red wine that had quite a high alcohol content. With the canteen half full, he somehow made his way to the graveyard which wasn’t uncommon, but unlike all the times before, he found himself at his grave too.

Devlin stood in front of the man’s grave and took a long-dazed look at the headstone carved from white marble. He read it out loud. “Jacob Grier. Loving brother, son, and a brave white knight to a loving wife.” He sneered and flopped down, swiping the flowers out the way so he could lean on the granite slab.

“White knight, pah! All you goodie goodies are the same.” He pulled the canteen from his shirt pocket and took a swig before turning to face the headstone, offering the drink. “Want a swig?” He poured some on the dirt next to him. “One of my favorite barrels. The cash is dwindling fast, probably because of me.” He snickered more to himself before displaying a serious expression.

“I wanted to talk man-to-man.” He slurred. “She holds you on some sort of pedestal, and I’m here to find out what the fuck you did so goddamn special?” He took a big gulp, not even bothering to cap and conceal the container any longer. “Did you have some off-the-wall position that you fucked her in so good that she lost her sense of awareness?” Another gulp. He knew that was most likely not it. “No, no Jacob. You don’t sound like you can fuck a woman wild. So, what then?” Would he ever know? Would he ever understand Lacey?

He tapped his chin with the canteen before pressing it to his lips in thought. “Fuck, what the hell does it matter? You’re dead. White knight or not, you’re gone, and I’m here. I’m here spreading her legs, bending her ass in half, and you, Jacob.” He said, his name with such malice it seemed to echo in the deserted graveyard. “You’re fucking six feet under, counting how many lint balls are in your navel.”

Devlin laughed, leaning his head on the gravestone behind him. He eventually got to his feet and looked down at the grave. “I might not be a fucking white knight, never want to be, sounds, boring as fuck.” He smirked, splashing a couple drops of wine on the dirt below. “You, you’re not a knight — not some savior. I don’t give a fuck what Lacey says about you. You’re a coward. White knight! Joke. You left her because you’re a fucking weak ass bitch. How could you leave her when she chose you?” He started pacing. “If you’re what a white knight is, I’m glad I’m not one.”

How could you leave her, coward? He perked up, pausing the container a breath away from his lips when the question whispered across his mind, somehow cutting through the wine-induced fog.

He clenched his fist, finally acknowledging his misplaced anger. He wasn’t mad at Jacob. Who the fuck was he anyway? He was pissed at himself for walking out the next morning after a near endless night of mating with Lacey, five fucking years ago. He slipped out like a coward, not wanting to deal with whatever next mornings bring. He was always piss-poor at them, avoided them at all costs but never had he looked back at the woman lying in bed. He remembered those last moments with unmatched clarity, and they haunted him, when awake and asleep.

He grumbled. Truth was, he didn’t need to know Jacob’s secret. He knew her. He knew what she wanted, and he was scared of her ass. He could imagine shit: life, children, her pretty face. He could see her when he closed his eyes, damn, the way she looked at him was―

He let out a deep breath.

He thought he was there to make himself feel better, to tell a dead man who was bigger, but he found his own ass in his face. He would never know what it would have been five years before. Maybe he missed his chance. Maybe he never had one, to begin with.

His mind drifted to the other night.

He did have a chance, and like the same old fucked up bastard, he ruined that shit. She wasn’t responding to his lame ass message and she never would. Why the hell would she? If he were her, he probably wouldn’t either. All he had to do was swallow the fucking whatever that was stuck in his throat that paralyzed him, and spend the night with her. He wasn’t sure why he couldn’t get himself to do that one simple thing.

His buzzing phone startled him from his depressing ass thoughts.

“What?” He finally answered it, after it went in his pocket, buzzing multiple times. He perked up when he heard gunshots in the background. The haze of the wine replaced by adrenaline pumping through his veins.

“We need you. Warehouse district―”

He was already at his bike when he heard the distress in Stitch’s voice. He knew the man his entire life, and he didn’t worry, or concern.

He started his bike, feeling the powerful engine rumble under him, filling him with that power, with that will, with purpose and strength.

He revved the engine and took off down the road.

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