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Hidden Truths: Chapter 7

Sergei

I park my bike at the end of a long line of Harley Davidsons, remove my helmet, and lean on the handles, inspecting the surroundings. Based on the sounds of laughter and yelling coming from the bar in front of me, the members of the Black Wings MC are having a great time. I told Roman that doing business with MCs is messy, but since my brother is mister bullhead extraordinaire, he insisted I meet with them.
There’s a sound of an engine nearing, purring softer than a motorcycle, and a few seconds later, a sleek black sedan parks to my right. Looks like my babysitter has arrived. After the fuckup with Shevchenko, Roman ordered one of the guys to go with me to meetings to ensure I behave. It’s Pavel’s turn today.
The driver’s door opens and he steps out. I stare at him for a few seconds, then burst out laughing. “Are you fucking kidding me?”
“What’s wrong?” Pavel asks and looks around himself with disgust.
“What’s wrong?” I motion with my hand in his general direction. “You do not come to a motorcycle club in a fucking three-piece suit. They’ll think we’re the fucking authorities.”
“Oh, and what should I have worn to this meeting?”
“Jeans, Pasha. You do know what those are, don’t you?” I don’t think I’ve ever seen Pavel in anything other than a suit.
“I don’t have jeans.” He looks down at his gold Rolex and nods toward the bar. “Let’s get this over with.”
He doesn’t have jeans. I shake my head and dismount the bike. Pavel and I are the same age, but it feels like he’s fifty. “You should have been a banker.” I snort.
The moment we step inside, all heads turn in our direction. There are a couple of seconds of utter silence, then a roar of laughter fills the room.
“Wrong place, pal!” someone yells. “The bridge club is down the street.”
Another round of laughter follows us as we walk toward the table where the MC president is sitting. A woman is kneeling between his legs, with her mouth wrapped about his cock.
“Drake.” I nod as I take a seat across from him. “Roman said you want to discuss some kind of collaboration.”
He shoos the girl, tucks away his dick, and sizes up Pavel, who takes a seat next to me. There are seven MC members sitting around the bar, and a bunch of scantily clad women all looking in our direction, snickering. Pavel ignores them, leans back in his chair, and crosses his arms in front of him.
“I’m not discussing shit with Miss Priss here.” Drake nods at Pavel. “I thought you were a serious guy, Belov.”
“Oh, don’t let the suit trick you, Drake. I bet that Miss Priss here”—I laugh—“can beat up any of your guys.”
“Sergei,” Pavel says in grave voice.
“What? It’s the truth.”
“We came to talk. Not to play,” he grumbles.
“Oh, the candy-ass doesn’t want to play,” Drake roars with laughter, then turns toward the room. “This fine gentleman here just announced that he can take any of you on,” he yells, pointing his thumb at Pavel, and the room erupts in laughter.
Pavel shakes his head, lifts his hand, and squeezes his temples. “You act like a nine-year-old, Sergei.”
“Will you tattle on me to Daddy Roman again?”
“You slaughtered our buyer in my club two hours before opening. He would have found out anyway.”
“Well, looks like it will be me calling the pakhan this time.” I smile and nod toward the center of the room where one of the bikers is standing with his hands on his hips.
“Hey, pretty boy!” the biker shouts.
Pavel ignores him and turns to the president. “Can we discuss what we came here to discuss? I have work to do.”
“You let pussies in the Bratva, Belov?” Drake snaps, then leans over the table into Pavel’s face. “We don’t do business with fucking cowards. When you claim shit around here, you prove it!”
Pavel turns his head toward me to give me an exasperated look, then gets up and turns to the bald-headed biker standing in the middle of the room. The guy is in his midtwenties, a little over Pavel’s six feet two, and around seventy pounds heavier. I grin, grab the bowl of peanuts from the table, and lean back in my chair. This will be fun.
Another round of hysterical laughter erupts through the room when Pavel removes his watch and starts methodically unbuttoning his jacket. However, when he places it on the back of his chair and brushes out the cresses on the shoulders, the crowd goes crazy. They even start cheering.
Pavel walks toward the biker and stops two paces in front of him. They are quite a sight: the biker—in jeans, with tattoos, bald head, and a biker’s cut over his inked chest. And Pavel—with slicked back hair, perfectly pressed white shirt, and black vest.
Drake laughs. “I hope your pakhan won’t mind him ending up dead.”
“Not at all.” I throw a peanut into my mouth. “But he says that kind of shit is bad for business.” I take another handful of peanuts, then shout. “Pasha! Try not to kill him. Daddy will be mad.”
The biker picks that moment to swing his fist. His face is all confidence. He clearly thinks he’ll get Pavel with one blow. Pavel ducks. The biker’s confused look is priceless. Pavel punches him in the stomach, and the big man stumbles backward. I laugh out loud. The biker is still trying to get his bearings when Pavel executes a perfect spinning back kick. The heel of Pavel’s twelve-hundred-dollar shoe strikes the side of the goon’s head. The guy tumbles to the floor, unconscious.
The laughter dies, replaced by a few murmurs.
“Man, I love that move,” I mumble with my mouth full and turn to Drake. “Can we discuss drug business now?”
The president stares at me with his lips pressed into a thin line. “You piece of shit.”
“What?” I light a cigarette and take a big drag. “Pasha was into the underground fight scene when he was young. I told you he could take on any of your men.”
The low rumble of voices ceases, and utter silence remains.
“You came to my place to make a fool of me, Belov?” he bites out. “Was that your plan?”
“No, Drake. My plan was to see how serious you are about doing business. And based on what just happened, you seem more interested in brawling than collaborating.” I extinguish the cigarette and wrap my hand around a half-full glass of whiskey on the table. “It really pisses me off when people waste my time.”
I throw the liquor onto his chest, ignite the Zippo I’m still holding, and throw it at him.
Drake roars, jumps up from the chair, and thrashes around while flames eat at his clothes and skin. I drop to the floor, roll toward the end of the bar on my right and crouch. The sound of yelling and women’s screams fills the room. Two of the bikers run toward the president, carrying jackets, ready to extinguish the flames. The rest are already grabbing for their weapons. I pull the gun from the holster on my ankle, straighten, and shoot three of the bikers, then duck back down. When I stand up again, I dispose of two more.
The group of women are hiding under the table in the corner, screaming. There is no sign of Pavel. His watch and jacket are no longer at the table. I leave my cover, shoot the last two men trying to extinguish the flames, then walk across the room, shooting each of the fallen bikers in the center of their foreheads. Never presume someone is dead until he’s sporting a hole in his head. That’s my motto. It even rhymes.
When I leave the bar I find Pavel leaning on the hood of his black sedan, with his hands in his pockets.
“That was rude,” I say and grab my helmet.
“What it was is your fuckup. So, you should have been the one to handle it.”
“Nope. It was thinking ahead. They would have turned on us at some point. Drake was already reaching for his gun when I roasted him.”
“I’m sure Roman will value your foresightedness,” Pavel says while getting into his car.
“Of course, he will.”
Based on the amount of death threats Roman sends my way when I call him an hour later, he doesn’t. My brother is unbelievingly ungrateful.

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