Rambler: Chapter 9

After they gave the man called Wizard, the clippings, Rambler told her she was going to have a meal. It sounded like an order too, as he escorted her to the main room.

He sat her down and headed to a double swing door that she assumed was the kitchen.

Phoenix carefully looked around. She spotted the man that had spoken to her before. An older man, the one who said he’d carried her piggy back when she was a kid. She wondered if he could tell her a few things about how it was back then. She still didn’t remember ever being here in this clubhouse.

The man caught her staring. With a smile, he rose up and came over to her table. “Mind if I sit?” he asked.

Nodding, she smiled back.

He sat and stared at her face. “Dang, even your smile is like hers.”

She knew it. This man had some answers. “Um, what is your name again?”

He looked a bit surprised. “You don’t remember it?”

She lowered her head, as she hadn’t meant to hurt his feelings.

“It’s okay, Beebee.”

Her head shot up as she gasped.

He grinned. “Sure, I know the nickname and the why of it.”

Phoenix stared at him, as she felt more than hopeful now. “See, I thought you might know a lot. I have questions.”

He looked down into his coffee cup that he’d brought with him. Then back up at her. “Yeah, Thunder has been my best friend since… well diapers maybe?” He laughed.

Phoenix figured this must be the third man Thunder had said he trusted in all the world. “Can you tell me…Umm, what my mom was really like?”

He stilled and looked into space as if he were recalling just that. “Pretty as all get out, but it wasn’t just how she looked. It had been her smile and kindness. Why she patched me up more than once after a few fights I got into. Scolded me something fierce too each and every time, for being so dumb.” He chuckled. “But she took care of me like I was her kid or something.” He let out a sigh. “She filled this clubhouse with great cooking, and sunshine.” He looked into her eyes. “In fact, that was my name for her. I never called her Shelby after she patched me up. I called her Sunshine.”

Tears filled Phoenix’s eyes.”

“Now, now, Beebee.” He reached out and took her hand. “Don’t be feeling like that. You had a great mom…Thunder had a great woman. It-it crushed him when she was gone.”

Phoenix now felt extremely curious and she hoped, he would keep right on talking. “How do you know that?”

He scoffed. “Wow. Well, after the first two weeks went by, he wasn’t sober for a damned minute.”

Phoenix stared at him.

“I shouldn’t be sharing that, but it’s true. It took him months to clean up his act. It wasn’t a pretty sight. He would head outta here on that damn Harley of his and I worried he’d kill himself. Then he would come back with cuts and bruises.”

“Cuts and…” She shook her head in confusion.

“He was picking fights. He would do it on purpose. People in town at the bars actually got so used to it, they would place bets like he was in that fight club thing.”


“Yeah, well. I said enough about that…. He might skin me alive if I told you—”

“What the hell are you doing Snowman?” Rambler suddenly stood at their table glaring at him.

Snowman seemed to halt then swung his gaze up at the VP. “What do you mean?”

Looking angry, Rambler motioned his head at their joined hands.

Snowman blinked his eyes then gazed down at his hands as both of them were holding hers. He then looked back up at him. “You gotta problem with this?”

Rambler still looked furious. “Yeah, I do.”

Phoenix stared up at him, then back down to Snowman’s face. What was happening here?

Snowman removed his hands and stood up. “She’s like a daughter to me, Rambler. So, I’m gonna let this slide, but I think you better be telling Thunder.”

“Tell me what?” came Thunder’s voice from behind Rambler.

Snowman looked over at him, then back to Rambler. “I’d do it sooner rather than…” He glanced down at a confused looking Phoenix. “…later.” He grabbed his mug and moved away.

Rambler seemed to relax then his eyes met hers.

“What just happened?’ she asked. “He and I were just talking. He’s a nice man. Why would you be so rude?” She now felt angry as she stood up. “You had no right to be mad at him for holding my damn hand!”

Thunder stepped closer to the table and looked from her to Rambler. “What is she talking about?” He stared at his VP.

Rambler set down the food tray onto the table, looked his president in the eye, and stated quietly, “I intend to claim your daughter.”

Thunder stared back at him.

Phoenix looked back and forth at the two men. “What the hell does that mean?”

Thunder moved right up into his face. “You haven’t officially done so have you?” he growled.

“Done what?” Phoenix interjected again. “What is happening here? Someone please tell me?” Her voice rose.

Neither man looked at her, as they seemed to be caught in a stare down.

“I haven’t, as I told you before,” Rambler stated. “But I have decided it will happen.”

Thunder looked enraged as he swung his gaze down at his daughter to see she was entirely clueless to what this meant. He then looked back up at his VP. “This better be legit and you damn well better mean it. I won’t have her disrespected.”

Rambler didn’t seem to even flinch as he slowly nodded his head. “She won’t be. She will be entirely under my protection.”

Thunder glared at him for a full silent, tense minute. Then he stepped back. “I thought that was what you were up to. I could see it. But first, I think you’d better be explainin’ yourself to her.” He turned and walked away.

Phoenix crossed her arms over her chest. “Yes, for once I agree with my father! Do you mind explaining what just happened?”

He seemed to really relax now and he actually looked happy. “Please sit and eat.”

“Oh, no! You aren’t getting out of this Mr. Rude!” she was huffing with real anger now. “Bursting in on a private conversation like that then acting like a complete ass!”

Rambler chuckled and motioned to the table. “Please sit?”

Shaking her head back and forth in a definite no, she hissed, “You need to step up and tell me what—”

“I claimed you,” Rambler cut her off.

Batting her eyes, she didn’t stop talking, “Like I know what the hell that means. Like what? I’m airline luggage? Or a package at the post office? What the fuck do you—”

Grabbing her up, he lowered his lips to hers. “It means I want you to be my woman. Mine alone.”

Her tirade faded away fast and she thought she heard this wrong. “W-what?”

He grinned. “I want you to be my old lady.”

Batting her eyes in total disbelief, she stepped back from him. “So is that like…” Shaking her head, she suddenly sat down as she couldn’t even think straight now. Did he mean what it sounded like?

“Well at least, that shut you up,” he quipped and slid her food to her.

She stared down at it then back up at him. “My stomach is in knots and you have given me one fuck of a headache.”

He laughed as he sat across from her. “Good.”

She full on gaped at him. “I don’t understand you at all.”

He dug into his lunch as he nodded. “Also, good for me at this point.”

She stared at him.

“Please eat then I will…” He stared at her face. “We will have a talk.”

Rambler felt a whole lot better now. Hell, he hadn’t known himself that he was going to claim her so soon. He did know he would do it, but he had wanted to wait. Since Phoenix came here, he got his answers. Answers to some pain filled questions he’d had all these years

Odin had Burr kill his brother. He knew it for a fact now. This changed the course of any plans he had made. He stared at a silent Phoenix as she finally was eating. She had not been in his plans. Now he wanted something with her, something he knew in his gut… would be earth shifting. Life altering.

“So…” She pushed her plate back and took a drink from her glass. “Explain it to me.”

He raised his gaze to hers. “What?”

She beaded her eyes at him. “Don’t for a second think you are going to get out of this, Rambler.”

He smiled. “I don’t think that. In fact, I’m in it now.” He grasped her hand. “I have to take care of something first.”

“First?” Shaking her head, she glared at him as she stood up. “When you can tell me the truth and no bullshit, then maybe I will give you the time of day!” She turned and stalked off to her room.

Rambler bit at his lip to keep from smiling. He wondered if that wild temper went to passion, like if he wound her up so tight, she would burst forth and give him everything. The thought made him hard in his jeans. He watched her go down the hall to be sure she wasn’t headed anywhere else. He grabbed their plates and went into the kitchen.

Misty the cook turned and smiled at him. “I hope it was good?”

He paused as he scraped their leftovers into the trashcan. “Uh?”

“The meal.” She smiled.

“Oh.” He nodded. “It was. Thank you, Misty.”

Nodding she asked, “Is the girl okay?”

He set the tray on the sink counter. “She’s fine now.”

“Good. Poor thing.” Misty tossed the tray into the sink. “Did she remember anything at all?”

He nodded. “Some… Not sure though.”

Misty nodded as she looked down at her washing. “Well, it will all work out.”

Rambler turned and left. He hoped it would, but not in the way, Misty meant. He intended to draw blood within the next 48 hours. The blood of a killer. Finally, Mac would get justice.

He headed down to the president’s office.


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