| 23 | A Game to Plan ||

His head wasn’t in the game.

At least, not the way it needed to be. He looked down the hall and found several pairs of eyes looking back at him. Familiar faces. Men he would give his life for. His loyalty was not in question, but his focus was.

Hurricane fucking Lacey came through and washed away all his grit. He was stuck in his head at the worst possible time.

He had the sudden urge to get shit-faced and fuck a bunch of sluts. He had no idea why the hell that was what came to mind, maybe it was to get him back to things he understood. He shook the thought and collected his mind.

“You said it couldn’t wait. What is it?” His attention was on Stitch.

“Him.” The man said, moving aside and presenting Duprey. “We’ve got shit to discuss, and we’re going to need the whole team.”

Devlin stepped aside, letting the men file into the office. They were all belching and rubbing their stomachs, the room filled with various bits of chatter as everyone got settled. For some strange reason, he smiled thinking about her making meals to feed their family. They’d have boys, five at least. They’d all look like her and act just like him.

Devlin pushed the thought to the back of his mind and took his seat at the head of the table. He looked around and noted that Lucas was not present before his attention focused on Stitch.

“Duprey has some rather interesting information, but I should preface this with: I did my part. Talked to some older members that knew Duprey better than any of us. He was solid then and solid now, but given the situation, I think we should still put his readmission to a vote.”

Devlin nodded. “Fair. All in favor?”

Hands went up around the table; a few were hesitant. All eyes landed on Devlin, the final vote.

“Well, Prez,” Stitch said. “It has to be unanimous. What do you say?”

Devlin looked at the man that for the past many years he hated. He wanted the man to suffer, more than die, but all the information he obtained. The man’s insight, the man’s warnings. Was he really up to no good? Once free, he could have made a run for it. That would have been the smart thing, but instead, he stuck it out. Why the hell would he do that? Devlin nodded. “Do you still have your cut?”

The man frowned. “The Devil himself would have to pry it from my cold, dead hands.”

Devlin smirked, remembering his father saying the same thing. “Welcome back, brother.”

The man nodded in Devlin’s direction with a slight smile on his mouth and relief on his face. Stitch started talking again. “We’ve found some disturbing developments. I’m going to turn it over to Connor.”

He cleared his throat. “Your brother should hear this too.”

“Where the fuck is the little mite, anyway?” Stitch said, looking around.

As if right on cue, in strolled the hellraiser. “Pity, you started the meeting without me.”

“Where the fuck have you been?”

“Doing work, what have you been doing?”

Stitch growled.

“Down Cujo.” Luke smirked. “I found out some very interesting news.”

“Sit down, Luke,” Devlin demanded. “Duprey, you first.”

“I heard it on good authority that the DEA is planning a bust on a dock in a couple weeks.” He took a breath, then added. “Anonymous tip. I bet I can guess which dock that will be.”

“Fuck!” Devlin threw the gavel across the room and stood. “Those fucking bastards were trying to set us up.”

“It’s alright, nephew. I understand what you’re trying to do, but the Hyann Family grudges like no other. Some say it’s their Irish blood.

“Isn’t your mom Irish?” Luke had a smirk on his face that Duprey returned.

“Which is why I believe that whole-heartedly.” Chuckles echoed around the room. Everyone found humor, except Devlin. He started pacing away from the table; the light chatter faded around him.

Dread was the first thing that filled him when he found out that his father died. He knew the burden of leadership would be on his shoulders, and he never wanted that. He told his father just that, a while back. It was never his calling.

The road was. Sinnful Delights was. Managing the laundromat was. He earned those things.

But this?

He found himself crouching to pick up the gavel. The handle had popped out the head again.

He wandered over to his desk while the men kept talking about the issue at hand. He found the super glue in his desk and did what he’d done many times before to fix the old piece of shit. He should have gotten a new one a long while ago, but he was stuck on tradition. He looked up at the men sitting around the table.

They should have got another leader a long time ago too, but they were stuck on tradition.

“I didn’t earn this.” The room became heavy with silence as all the men looked to him.

“What are you talking about?” Stitch wanted to know. He was a good man, organized, resourceful. He was a great VP and would make an even better President.

“My dad, my grandfather, would have known better―”

“You can’t compare yourself to them. You’re trying to do something different, something better.” Duprey broke in.

“Trying isn’t fucking good enough when lives are on the line, fathers, families.”

“Shit,” Duprey’s voice broke through the thick air. “These kids would be better off than having some of these bastards as fathers.” Chuckles, insults and gruff denials whispered around the room. “Your father, he knew a change had to happen. Because, the way things were going, we’d all be calling home like him.”

“Doesn’t look like I’m heading us on any different course.” Devlin ran his hand down his face. “The DEA would have locked all of us up, or we would have died in a shootout.”

“Pull up your fucking panties, Dev.” All eyes shifted to Lucas looking out his favorite window. “Dad thought he was doing this shit all by himself. That’s why he’s dead. You, have me.”

“Don’t you mean us?”

Lucas smirked at Stitch. “Nope. I meant me. I don’t know how he survived this long with you lot.” Grumbles and some objects flew in his direction.

“Fuck it,” Stitch said, breaking the hostility. “Even if the DEA did arrest us. I mean, for stolen shit, it wouldn’t be but ten years, less with a good lawyer.”

All eyes went back to Lucas tisking and shaking his head. “That’s why he needs me. Remember little Miss Mary Mac?”

Stitch frowned and scratched his head.

“Mousey, glasses, skinny, works as Taddin Hyann’s secretary at his dock office. Underpaid, overworked, generally under-appreciated. Ring a bell?”

Stitch’s eyebrows lifted then he laughed, finding Joker’s laughing eyes. “We were calling her Mary Magdalene. What of her?”

“Seems like she only needed a glass of wine and a sympathetic ear to tell me just about anything I wanted to know about our mysterious shipment.”

Gruff shouts of approval echoed around the room. “You little Devil you.” Stitch remarked, smirking at Luke. “What she say?”

“Well,” he started strolling around the room, acting like the nick-nacks scattered about were more interesting than the silent room that was watching his every move, “She told me that stolen artifacts were a cover for the real loot.” He faced the waiting room. “People.”

“The fuck?” Flesh near shouted.

“Human trafficking. Imagine doing time for that.”

The news just made Devlin angrier. He wanted to put his fist through a wall. He settled for the table, instead. The ungiving solid oak monstrosity didn’t even consider budging, but his red knuckles felt its resistance. “Fuck.” He whispered, sliding into his chair. He almost fucked all their shit up. Almost destroyed everything. He would have used all of his brothers for that run, and they would all be behind bars, probably forever with the records they all had.

He balled his fists at his side channeling the rage into fuel. Luscious Sinn had the right idea. The Hyann family had to go down. Not one of their operations, but all of them. “My father’s right. The Hyann brothers need to be humbled. ”

“I can’t wait to peel back Taddin’s manicured fingernails,” Flesh said, through gritted teeth.

“That’s not good enough. We need them to fall. The entire operation. The question is how?”

“Glad you asked,” Lucas said. “I have a few ideas. Who’s the DEA agent in charge of the case?”

“Gretchen Holiday.” Duprey said, raising an eyebrow look from one Sinn brother to the other.

Luke smirked. “Oh, Gretch. It’s been a while since I paid her a visit.”

“You’ve got friends in weird places,” Stitch said, with a skeptical glare.

Luke shrugged. “Friend is such a loose term. If my memory serves me, she liked that handcuffs couldn’t hold me, but they held her pretty good.” He tapped his chin in mock thought. “I do wonder how she got free; since, I took the key with me.”

Stitch whooped. “Holy fucking hell boy! What are you, fucking Rico Suave Houdini or some shit?”

Luke shrugged. The other bikers were shouting detestable things at Luke’s conquest or far-fetched story, Devlin wasn’t sure.

He banged the gavel, getting everyone’s attention. “I want Stitch to oversee the entire operation. I want to know every fucking thing they own, from the docks to the smallest plot of land, and I want us to figure out how to take it from them. I’m talking about them not even having their own toilet to take a shit in.”

“Got it, Prez,” Stitch said.

“And, this docks thing. Seems like Luke has some ideas to turn this shit around, maybe give us the upper hand, and I want him to lead it.” There were nods around the table. “But first, we need to put his membership to a vote. All in favor of adding Lucas Sinn to the brotherhood, raise your hand, and remember it must be unanimous.” Devlin was the first one to raise his hand. The hands went up around the room, and everyone had voted in favor, except Flesh.   

“Well, Sergeant?” Devlin said. “What do you say?”

The scarred man frowned and rubbed his chin. “I don’t like him.” He crossed his arms over his chest. “He’s got the fucking Devil’s tongue on him, that’s for sure.” He glanced over his shoulder at Lucas who was still by the window looking at his feet. “But I don’t have to like him to love him like a brother.”

Gruff celebratory cheers echoed in the small space.

Devlin slammed the gavel. “It’s settled. Lucas Sinn, you are officially a brother.” Devlin went behind the desk and retrieved his father’s old jacket with the club’s logo on the back and brought it to Lucas, who Devlin could see was shoving down emotional turmoil inside him. He handed the man the jacket and pulled him into a one armed hug. “Welcome aboard, little shit.”

“I hate you.”

“As long as you’re not indifferent, we’ll be okay.”

Devlin returned to his spot at the head of the table. “Stitch, Luke, use who you need to implement your plan. Let’s bring these grimy bastards to their fucking knees. He smashed the gavel to adjourn the meeting, and everyone started heading out the room.

Joker stopped and clapped Devlin on the back. “You’ve got a good lady in there. She got a sister?”

“None that would want you.”

“Oh, you hurt my feelings.” The man presented his terrifying smile and filed out the room.

Devlin exhaled when he thought he was alone. His wary gaze landed on Lucas who was still hanging out by that damn window.

“When I smash the gavel, that means the meeting is over.”

Smirking eyes met his. “There’s something you told me to look into, Prez.” He overemphasized Devlin’s title. “About Duprey.”

Devlin took a deep breath.

“And?”

“DNA tests confirmed, he is dad’s biological half-brother.”

Devlin nodded. The longer it stewed, the less skeptical he was.

“And,” Luke said, in his usual bating way.

“Get to the point.”

“Ooo moody.” Luke smiled. “You asked me to find out how he got out of prison.”

Devlin took a seat behind the large wooden desk and massaged the bridge of his nose. “And?”

“Erin Temple.”

He frowned. “Is that name supposed to mean something to me?”

Luke rolled his eyes. “Ignorant like a baby.”

“Luke―”

“Erin Temple, daughter to Emily Temple, formerly Emily Mason.”

Devlin’s eyes grew in size. “My Aunt Emily?”

“One and the same.”

“How the hell does he know them? Aunt Emily moved off before I was even born. Hell, that’s where Katerina’s been skipping off to.” He frowned. “I didn’t know she was married.”

“Well, you aren’t the best at keeping up with your family.” Luke raised an accusatory eyebrow.

Devlin got out of his chair and gazed out the window next to him. “Why would she help him? How does my cousin even know about Duprey?”

Luke shrugged. “Sounds like family drama that I’m not a part of, so I’ll be going.”

“Hey, Luke?”

The man turned back to look at Devlin.

“Thanks for looking into that stuff, fucking, Houdini.”

The man laughed and crossed his arms. “We all have our talents; well, except Stitch. I’m not sure what the man is good at.”

Devlin waved him off. “He’s loyal as fuck. I’m lucky to have him as a second. You’d be just as lucky to have him or someone like him when you’re leader. Assuming you don’t get your ass blown off.” Devlin laughed.

“What the hell does that mean?” Luke adjusted his stance.

“Oh come on. Don’t be a pussy. I’m fuckin’ with you. Probably have a better chance of getting handcuffed to the wrong bed.” Devlin frowned when he met his brother’s serious face

“Not that, shit head. The whole when you’re leader thing.”

Devlin shrugged. “Sinn as a leader. It’s a tradition, right?”

Luke grunted. “Plan on going somewhere?”

Devlin shrugged again. “In this life, you never know.”

“True.” Silence spilled between them. “Guess I have a battle to organize.” Luke rubbed his hands together.

“And you better not get anyone killed.”

Luke bowed. “Oh yes, mighty evil one.” He laughed on his way out the door, leaving Devlin to his thoughts.

So many questions, so much shit to wade through. He exhaled and went back to his chair. All of the Hyann Brothers’ shit would work itself up to a point, and the chips would fall where they may. He hoped, of course on the side he was bettin’ on.

Never in a million years would he believe he’d be putting his chips on Luke. Never in a million years did he think he’d actually not hate the man. Then again, never in a million years did he think his mother would have killed someone. It was all heavy ass shit.  

Tomorrow, however, he had Lacey for an entire day, and the only thing he had planned was to ride, and that was more than enough.

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