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Rambler: Chapter 4

“Like hell you are!” came a growling voice from behind her.

Phoenix twirled around and confronted a very angry Thunder. “Look you could care less whether I’m here or not and I don’t stay where I’m not wanted, so if I leave, we both get what we want. I really can’t remember what happened that day. I came here hoping you would have some answers but as you don’t know anything either, I guess we both lose.”

“You still aren’t leaving,” Thunder insisted.

“Well, I’m certainly not staying where I’m accused of being party to a murder or worse.” Phoenix stood her ground.

“I got questions about what happened after you and your mother left here,” Thunder grumbled.

Phoenix shook her head. “I’m not sure if your men told you or not but I can’t remember much about that time. I’ve been trying for over a decade already and I just can’t remember. Whatever I knew back then is long gone.”

“You came here for a reason, girl. And I want to know what that reason is. And why now?” her father insisted.

Phoenix frowned. “What do you mean why now?” She looked around. “Is there something going on here?”

“That’s none of your business now is it?” Thunder barked. “But you can’t leave right now.”

“Says who?” Phoenix asked.

“Me. I say so and that’s all you need to know at the moment.” Thunder sneered at her.

Phoenix smirked at him for a moment then replied, “Except I’m not one of your men and I don’t have to listen to your orders.”

“The fuck you don’t girl. I’m your father. So yeah, you do have to listen to me.”

“And where have you been the last dozen or so years of my life, father?” she asked him quietly. “Did you even look for me and mom? Or did you just get on with your life without us?”

Thunder just stared at her for a moment then turned and walked away.

He didn’t see the starkness in her eyes as he walked away and didn’t look back. But Rambler did. He could almost see her heart breaking as she watched him enter the clubhouse.

Phoenix turned and opened the car door. But she didn’t get very far. Rambler stopped her by putting his hand on the door and he wouldn’t let her open it.

“Move your hand buster. I don’t stay where I’m not wanted and he doesn’t want me here.”

“You can’t go,” Rambler repeated.

“You can’t stop me.” She huffed. “I’m not part of this MC and he can’t stop me from leaving!”

“Yeah, baby, he can and I believe he just did.” Rambler stood in her way.

“Can I ask you something?” She stared at him.

“You can ask but I’m not sure I can give you an answer.” He shrugged his wide shoulders.

“Is there something going on around here? Something I should know about?” she hesitated to ask but she needed to know.

“Well, as you don’t plan on staying like your dad said, it’s none of your business, now is it?” Rambler tipped his head to one side.

Phoenix turned her head and stared off into the distance her father disappeared to. “Did he ever look for us? After we were gone… I mean? Did he ever try to find us?”

“That’s not my place to say,” Rambler finally said.

“I didn’t think so.” Phoenix wiped the single tear she couldn’t hold back from her cheek.

Rambler motioned for her to head inside.

“Hmmph!” She stomped her foot then whirled around to head where her father had gone.

Rambler watched her. Yeah, it seems she had her father’s temper and didn’t seem to know it. This would be interesting, the standoff between these two. Then he sobered a little. This woman had the answer to why Mac died, to who actually killed him. This made her the most important person in Rambler’s world now. He paused a minute. She could give him closure at least and lead to getting justice for mac.

He followed her in. His prez told him to stay with her and he would do just that.

Rambler sat at his table in the corner of the room and watched Thunder standing at the bar. Thunder was ignoring the elephant in the room sitting in the dining area not far from where he was standing. She wasn’t looking at anyone and hadn’t since she entered the clubhouse hours ago.

She’d just sat there and ignored everyone while they ate their dinner. She hadn’t spoken a word to anyone. Everyone kept looking at her but she ignored them.

Rambler had sat down with her to eat but she ignored him and the plate of food he set in front of her. Her food had grown cold while she completely ignored what was happening around her.

Rambler wasn’t the only one in the room to feel the tension growing while Phoenix and Thunder ignored each other.

Hunter, Bearcat, Raven and Snowman, all sat quietly as they avoided staring at the tense scene,

Thunder stood at the bar nursing his bottle of beer, glaring into the mirror behind the bar. From this vantage point, he could see her just sitting there doing nothing.

For some reason, Rambler thought it pissed Thunder off the way she was acting. Shaking his head, he finished his own beer and got to his feet. He was going to bed. Walking over to the bar, he set the empty bottle on the bar and told Thunder, “I’m going to bed. It’s been a long day.”

Thunder grunted then looked into the mirror. “Put our guest in the room next to yours. I want her to be here in the morning.”

“Did you hear anything she told us earlier?” Rambler wanted to know.

“I heard,” Thunder admitted. “Bearcat told me everything she told you.”

“What did you think?”

Thunder turned to him a snarl on his lips. “What am I supposed to think? You were here twelve years ago when she and her mother disappeared. Shelby shot your own brother dead and left him lying in the street. How do we know this girl is telling the truth about what happened?”

“You saw the fucking rope burn on her neck didn’t you?” Rambler snapped. “You saw her reaction when you first met, right? Did that seem normal to you? Like would her own mother do that to her? Do you think she’s hiding something from you?”

“I don’t fucking know now do I?” Thunder growled. “Where the hell has she been all these years? Where is her mom? She claims she doesn’t remember anything, how do I know she’s telling the truth?” As his rant went on, his voice got louder and by the end, he was almost shouting.

The silence after his last statement was profound.

Everyone had heard him. The men all felt his wrath and to some, it reminded them of the days in the past after Shelby and his daughter first disappeared.

Thunder looked around the room and finally, looked to where his daughter was sitting.

Her face looked pale and she had tears running down her face as she stared back at him. She got to her feet slowly and spoke softly, “You really are a bastard aren’t you? If my mother left you, I can sure understand why. I’m not sure why but I don’t think that’s what happened here. Did you ever love her or was she just someone for you to fuck?” She walked over to Rambler while refusing to even look at Thunder now. “Do you know where I’m sleeping tonight? If so, please take me there, so I don’t have to look at him anymore.”

Rambler took her by the elbow and led her down the hall to the room next to his.

He opened the door and as she stepped inside, she looked around the room. A large bed sat up against the wall and an overstuffed chair sat by the window. “I assume the window is nailed shut, so I can’t escape?” she asked him. At his slight nod, she walked over to the bed and sat down. “Please lock the door on your way out. I’ll try not to disturb your sleep but I can’t promise anything. Sometimes…” she paused as if regretting saying anything and hung her head.

“Sometimes?” he asked quietly. “What?

She lifted her head and avoided his eyes. “W-when I’m upset, I sometimes have nightmares. I wake up screaming but I can never remember what the nightmares are about. Moon was concerned at first but I just couldn’t unlock what the night terrors were all about.”

“Moon?” Rambler frowned.

She nodded. “The old man who found me in the desert. He saved my life.”

“Ok, yeah, I remember you saying that before.”

She kept her head turned away as she whispered, “Sometimes I wished he’d have left me there to die.”

“Don’t say that.” Rambler crossed the room and knelt in front of her.

“Why not?” she asked. “I have a mother who everyone thinks killed your brother. I was shot, beaten, kidnapped and left for dead by someone, and I have never known exactly who or why. Now I come here to a father who hates me, who never searched for me, and who doesn’t want me around. He can’t even look at me.”

Rambler let out a sigh. “Look, he’s just confused right now.” Rambler tried to smooth things over. “He never expected he’d see you again, that’s all.”

She laid down and turned her back to him. “You mean he’d hoped he’d never see me again. I get that. If I can I’ll find a way to get free, then he’ll never see me again. I promised you that.”

Rambler sat back on his heels and stared at her back. Damn, this was going to be a problem. If Thunder didn’t talk to her soon, they might lose her and all the answers she might have in her head. He stared at her back. She had taken off the scarf and he could see the rope scars even on the back of her neck. He could also see the stiff set of her shoulders and back.

He got to his feet and before he turned to leave, she asked him, “Can I ask you something?”

“Sure.” He cocked his head while wondering what this might be about. The girl would act angry one minute then she’d be curious the next.

“Does anyone here have a snake tattooed on his wrist?”

Rambler frowned at her question. “Why do you ask?”

“I-I lied when I said I couldn’t remember anything from my nightmares,” she admitted in a small voice. “I remember a tattoo of a snake. It was on the inside of a man’s wrist and it was done in shades of blue. But that is sadly, the only thing I can remember about him. Just that fucking snake.”

Rambler thought for a moment then shook his head. “I’ve never seen a snakelike that before and I’ve been here fourteen years.”

Phoenix let out a sigh. “I’ve never seen it either except in my nightmares.” She shivered. “That’s so weird isn’t it?”

Rambler shrugged. As there was nothing more he could say, he quietly left the room, carefully locking the door behind him.


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