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Remy dug the knife deeper against his neck, shaking with unrestrained anger as he shouted, ’’And women are f*kin\ sacred, you piece of shit. Being a Jackal means protecting everybody you love - especially your woman.’’

’’So that\s it then?’’ Prez\s nose flared as he angrily glared at Remy. ’’You\ e going to kill me just like that? Over a woman?’’

Remy stood up and, with a cool nod, said, ’’Yeah, Manny. I\m going to kill you. Not just for the woman, but for the f*kin\ money you were handlin\ under the table that should have been the club\s decision to make. Not yours. Besides, Frank\s worked hard diggin\ out your f*king grave. Would be a shame not to use it.’’

He gestured behind him. Logan and Fritz hurriedly grabbed Prez. While Logan wrestled him still, Fritz cuffed his wrists together. They then dragged him further into the bush where his freshly dug grave awaited him.

*****

Two hours later and Remy was walking back to his bike. He stopped in the middle of the road and stared down at his bloody hands. He waited for it. He waited and waited...

It didn\ come. The revulsion was not there. He... He didn\ feel anything.

Bloody fingers and all, he pulled out the carton of cigarettes in his back pocket, tucking one behind his ear and one in his mouth. He lit it up and leaned against his bike.

His first ever smoke in three years.

He waited while Logan and Fritz were busy burying the... remainder of what was left of Prez - no, Manny - into the ground. No one had said a word, nor did they flinch when they heard Manny\s screams fouling the air around them. Remy had expected some hesitation - maybe even a tiny bit of abhorrence at him for what he\d done to their former President, but they didn\ look at him that way at all.

In fact, they... they f*king pitied him.

Frank emerged from the forest and walked straight in Remy\s direction. He owed the man gratitude. After all, he\d been the one to call Remy about the video footage. He\d been tired of men pissing on the walls of his store on their drunken strolls home. He figured a good beating was required for their lack of f*king mannerism. Never did he expect to find Manny exchanging money with a killer in the back alley of the bar.

At first doubting the possibility, Remy had demanded to see the footage. But when he saw the same man he\d killed in the bunker... That was evidence enough. He kept a close eye on Manny and was increasingly disturbed by the level of communication he was having with Finley. He knew, without a doubt, Finley had something to do with it. Then Fritz came across the information leaked from the Scorpions about an under the table deal and... well, the rest was f*king history.

Frank stopped beside Remy and stood for several long moments. Each man stared ahead, but not at anything particularly interesting.

’’The satisfaction you feel now,’’ Frank finally spoke sombrely, ’’it\s going to wash away by morning.’’

’’How the f*k would you know?’’ Remy retorted, for he felt like the f*king Pope.

’’Because I killed a man as revenge for the woman I loved, too.’’

Remy blew out a cloud of smoke and raised his brows. ’’No shit.’’

’’He came back to destroy her... or whatever left of her there was. Tortured him for hours. Put a bullet to the back of his head. I felt like I was a god. I thought it would bring me peace because the woman I loved... she didn\ want me the way I wanted her. Yet I wanted to protect her. Joanne never knew I killed Norman.’’

Remy stilled and looked at Frank in surprise. Joanne? He loved... loved Joanne? Not f*king possible... Really?

’’This was before she met him,’’ Frank mumbled, ignoring the heat of Remy\s gaze, ’’We were together for a year. Then she got raped and wanted nothing more to do with me. She changed. Wouldn\ even tell me what was wrong. Then I found out she was pregnant, and I tried to help her, I really did. I told her I\d help her look after the baby. I didn\ care that it wasn\ mine. But... still. She pushed me away. So I put her in the past for as long as I could until she cleaned herself up and he came back.’’

Remy didn\ say a word. What the f*k was he meant to even say?

’’Don\ hate her,’’ Frank quietly said. ’’Sara, I mean. Don\ regret you ever loved her, either. Regret only the time you could have had with her. Time that was wasted on... Jackal shit.’’ Frank made a distasteful face at the end. ’’God knows I wasted time on the Jackals myself.’’ He looked Remy in the eye and added, ’’I\m glad you didn\ kill him, by the way. You did the right thing.’’

Frank patted him once on the back and strode to his car.

’’Frank,’’ Remy called.

Frank stopped and turned to him.

Remy looked at him carefully. He let a moment or two pass before he said, ’’She has your eyes.’’

Frank let out a trembling breath of air. Then he turned and hastily made his way to the car, quicker than before.

Remy watched him disappear down the road, reflecting on his words. Then he reflected on him.

Looking at the blood on Jaxon\s shirt, Remy said, ’’Looks like you\ve had a shit day.’’

Jaxon, standing in the middle of the street a block away from the Jackals\ clubhouse, nodded. ’’It\s been like that.’’

Remy saw the tired look in Jaxon\s eyes. This was the man that had stolen his woman - his happiness. This was he who ripped her from his hands and let her take his heart away with her. He should have felt anger. He should have wanted to put a bullet in the man\s head.

But he didn\ .

Because Remy, too, had reached the end of the line. He\d given it all he had. What he had wasn\ enough, and it never would be. No matter what, she\d always go back to Jaxon. The f*king douche.

Besides, he\d put the guy through hell and back. He really did believe he was behind her disappearance all those years ago. He was responsible for Jaxon\s current disposition... but you\d never f*king hear him admit that.

He wanted to know if she was alright. Logan had asked Jaxon where she was, and Jaxon shook his head in defiance. ’’She\s been through enough the last twenty four hours. You have no idea what we just walked out of. Finley sent two men.’’ His words terrified Remy, and he wanted to ask if she was alright. But at the same time, he wanted to keep intact the last shred of pride he had. To show Jaxon his weakness would not only humiliate him, but kill him too.

’’What happened exactly?’’ he asked casually as he scratched his head with the tip of his gun.

Jaxon watched the gun guardedly. ’’They came to rape and murder her in front of me.’’

Remy\s chest constricted. Was she hurt? Had they...? He gulped back the questions and the emotional havoc he was feeling within and continued to stand stoically.

’’Anyways, they got what they deserve.’’ Jaxon\s eyes darkened, looking down at his hands as if they told a story he couldn\ erase.

’’How do you know it was Finley that sent them to you?’’

’’I got it out of one. He\d put a tracker on me a while ago, I guess. Plus the guys said they saw him make a call before he... disappeared.’’ When Remy didn\ respond, he continued. ’’Look, Remy, whatever you do, please, leave her out of this. You wanna kill me? Fine. Do it. Don\ touch her, though. She... She didn\ want to hurt you. She\s hurt herself. She loved you. No... she loves you.’’

Remy kept up his silence for some time. It felt as though his body had been through the presser. The air around him disappeared and for a few seconds he didn\ know how to breathe. He couldn\ ... He wouldn\ feel for her. No, she didn\ deserve his love.

But f*k, he loved her.

He loved her enough to let her go.

’’Finley disappeared because we picked him up. He\s dead, and Prez is next,’’ Remy announced. ’’I\d been on their backs for a while now. They were doing things that benefitted themselves than the good of the club.’’

’’Yeah, I know all about that.’’

’’Yeah, well, that shit\s unacceptable.’’

Jaxon looked... disappointed. ’’I was hoping for a bit of revenge after Finley sent the men after us.’’

’’Believe me,’’ muttered Remy with a bored look, ’’he sang loud and clear a lot of things. He got what he deserved.’’

’’I guess I\ll take your word for it then.’’

Remy sighed. Time to end this shit. ’’I know you took her because you hoped the Jackals wouldn\ jeopardise the arrangement over a woman. You\ e right. My guys want peace. We can keep the business relationship going as smoothly as before and vow no more trouble with your men. I want their heads pulled out of their asses, though. You\ e in charge now, I take it?’’

’’Yeah, I guess so.’’

’’Yeah, well, you clean up that shit mess of a club you got then. Give them a code to abide by. Teach them to f*king respect their women. You got that?’’

Jaxon licked his bottom lip as he stared unwaveringly into Remy\s eyes. ’’I got that.’’

’’Then get the f*k out of here.’’

Jaxon went to turn when a hand grabbed at his arm. He looked at Remy, a foot away from him now, thunderously eyeing him.

’’You do anything to hurt her,’’ he began, his voice taking on that Reaper\s edge in him, ’’I will kill you without thought.’’

With just as much resolve, Jaxon replied, ’’I\d kill myself before you got to me. I would never hurt her.’’

Remy believed it. Jaxon had risked everything for her. The man loved her with everything he had.

But he was still a f*king douche.

When Remy let go, he knew that would be his last encounter he\d ever have with Jaxon Barlow again.

Jaxon

He watched her standing there, outside of Damien\s house with tears in her eyes and the look of clear shock on her face.

She didn\ think he\d be coming back. To be f*king honest, Jaxon didn\ think so either. He thought that was it, he was a dead man. While he hoped the Jackals wouldn\ come after him, he figured Remy would. That man had a terrifying reputation after all. Jaxon never thought there was a merciful bone in his body, especially when it came to Sara. And yet... Remy let her go. He put aside his selfish need when he didn\ have to. He gave her up, and Jaxon had never felt more grateful.

’’It\s done,’’ were Jaxon\s first words. ’’We\ e okay, Sara.’’

Six years of pain. Six years of wondering and aching. Six years down a road that was destined to tear them apart, and yet they fought for each other. Now they were here, finally, and the hope was raining down on them as bright as the sun in the sky.

She went to him, uncaring of the filth on his clothes, and hugged him. He took her tightly into his arms and felt his heart expand in his chest like never before. She was his, and she wasn\ going anywhere ever again. It was done.

’’I love you,’’ she whispered into his ear.

’’I love you, Tiny.’’

Love. The word wasn\ enough for him. How he\d always felt for Sara went far deeper than a four letter word. She\d been his weakness since he was ten years old, and yet she was his strength in the darkest of times. She had lived in his thoughts every waking moment, always present in him, but it was never enough. He needed her by him, needed her to fill the emptiness he felt without her.

She was a match, lit with fire the second he drew near. And if he got close enough, she ignited him, and together they burned.

Epilogue

Bad things f*k you up. But good things heal you just as much.

It wasn\ easy returning to life after leaving the clubhouse and all the horror I\d endured behind. At first the wounds were fresh, and I\d buckle under the memories of everything I\d done and feel the worthlessness consume me. What made someone a good person? Could I be one after everything I\d done?

Dreams of blood and the dead faces of those I\d witnessed die had plagued me for months. I was too scared to close my eyes and relive it all over again.

But time did heal me, and so did the people around me.

Every time I opened my eyes, tears streaming down my face, and whimpered from the memories that wouldn\ go away, his warmth closed around me and pulled me into the safety of his arms. There he\d whisper things into my ear while he stroked my hair and kissed my face until the tears dried and I could breathe again.

For the first few months the only thing I wanted was the feel of him. I never wanted it to stop. I wanted his touch the second I woke up and the second I fell asleep. I did nothing but live inside our apartment, unwilling to leave in fear of the outside world disrupting our bubble.

After four months, he had enough, and the speech he gave me forced me out of my fear and back into the real world.

’’You have to stop being so scared,’’ he\d said after cornering me in the bedroom of his apartment - or, rather, our apartment now. ’’Look at all we\ve been through, and look how amazing things are for us now. We\ve been through hell and back, and we have nothing to be afraid of anymore. Mom will be with you every step of the way when I\m not here, and with me running the businesses, you\ve got nothing to worry about. The clubs have never been better.’’

He was right about that. He was running the club now with Damien, and they cleaned it up since Finley\s passing. Though the men were just as rowdy with the women as before, there was more respect all around. It allowed some men to actually venture off into their own relationships without the old expectation of sharing to taint it.

Jaxon was still a ruthless bastard nobody wanted to cross, but he wasn\ violent like Finley had been. He even got along with the new President of the Jackals.


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