The detective’s voice loops in my brain: Your mother was unhappy... She was going to leave him. My mother was on her knees in front of me when she told me he was a man worth forgiving.

My gut twists. What if this parade wasn’t new? What if Mom was leaving and the stream of women was the reason why? Breaking at the seams, I burst and throw a fist into the wall.

A picture frame crashes to the floor and shatters. The woman jumps and there’s an indentation in the drywall that’s going to piss Dad off. The thought brings a grim sense of satisfaction.

“You’re not the first. Cooking bacon isn’t going to make you last any longer than the others.” It’s an asshole thing to say, but it’s also the most humane. This woman’s trying too hard and those are the ones who show here weeks later in tears trying to understand why it didn’t work between them.

“It’s not like that,” she pleads. “Your dad and I—we aren’t like that.”

That’s what he convinces the women he sweet-talks into sleeping with him. I should tell her, but this is Dad’s mess to clean up. Not mine. I walk past her, flick the switch to the light in my bedroom and grab a bag off the floor. They want to play house, I’ll let them. She can stay as many nights as she desires or until Dad decides to trade her in for a new model.

The door to the house squeaks and my drawer makes a whooshing sound as I pull it out. I toss in some boxers and socks. Slam that one shut and I dump as many shirts as I can out of the middle drawer.

Low voices. A feminine sob. My dad’s deep tone.

“He didn’t mean it,” she says. “Please, don’t. Not over me.”

I don’t need her fighting my battles. A hard yank and my bottom drawer drops to the ground. The corner cracks and little splinters of wood pepper the carpet. I jam every pair of jeans I own into the bag. The clothes are overflowing and I punch them down so I can zip it up.

“Razor!” Dad’s in my doorway, red-hot as a five-alarm fire. “What the fuck are you doing making Jill cry?”


A menacing laugh rips from my throat. He’s the one who broke the promise. He’s the one who won’t answer me regarding my mother and he’s pissed I hurt the sweet-butt-of-the-week’s feelings? I turn toward him and his eyes flicker to the bag in my hands.

He steps back. “Where are you going?”

Chevy’s, Oz’s. The clubhouse. Any of those are options. “Did you sleep around on Mom?”

Dad curls his fingers into the door frame. “Eli said he talked to you about trusting the club.”

“This isn’t about the club. This is about you, me and Mom. Did you sleep around on her?”

“That’s where you’re wrong. What happened between me and your mother was between me and her. You may be our son, but you have no right to ask that question.”

“I remember the fights. I remember how the two of you went at it, but I could never hear what you were fighting over. She was miserable. I know this. You know this and then you get pissed when I ask the obvious questions. This is between you and me. Did you sleep around on her? Did she kill herself because you couldn’t make her happy?”

“Dammit, Razor! You’re playing into that cop’s hands. He wants to isolate you. He’s been doing this shit to all of us over the past year.”

“What difference does it make if I’m being played?” I pound my open hand to my chest. “We’re legit. Our club is just that—a group of guys who ride bikes. And the security business, that’s legit, too. I ride along semitrucks full of bourbon. Babysitting it until it gets from point A to point B. If I call the cop and meet with him in thirty minutes, it doesn’t matter. There is nothing for him to get from me. I’m not playing into his hands, I’m asking questions I deserve the answers to.”

A muscle in Dad’s jaw ticks and he takes several seconds before he responds. “Is that what you’re going to do? Are you going to meet with the cop?”

I haven’t ruled it out. If I do, I’m going against the club in a way that won’t be forgiven.

“This—” he overemphasizes the word “—this is what the board’s been talking about. Why you had the longest prospect period out of anyone. Why you aren’t trusted with answers now. None of us know where your loyalties lie. Not even me.”

“Mom had nothing to do with the club,” I say.

“She was a Terror Gypsy.” The women’s support group. They are wives or serious girlfriends of members of the club and they work together to support the Terror.

“Not the same. I’m asking as your son that you answer me. I’m tired, Dad. I’m so fucking tired of not knowing. I’m exhausted thinking she killed herself. That she chose to leave me!”

There’s a strange wetness in my eyes and a loss of strength in my hands. The bag plunges to the floor and a rush of air from the impact hits my legs.

“Thomas...” Dad says in defeat.

I rub both of my hands over my face in an attempt to drive the emotions away. My arms drop to my sides, and when I glance up, Dad’s entered my room. He stands before me, hands in his pockets, looking at me with the same pity look everyone in town wears when they spot me. “Your mother’s death... I can’t talk about it.”

“You can.” I need him to. “I know it’s hard. It hurts to remember her, but if we sit and—”

“You misunderstand,” he cuts me off. “I’ve been ordered not to.”

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