I went a little over the 30 minute limit. Oops. If you’ve read any of my WeWriWa snippets or read Into the Sun, you’ll recognize these characters. I haven’t actually gotten to this point in the series, and I don’t know it this will happen during the course of one of the other stories(likely Hawk’s) or if Icarus and Cassie will get their own story. And I’m hoping to come back and fill in the end a bit more, but I was already over time.
“Promise me. You’ve never broken one promise you’ve made to me.”
Icarus looked up from his bike and right into Cassie’s eyes. “What do you want me to promise? I’ve already told you I’ll come back. I’ve sworn I’ll protect Trace. I don’t know what more you want.”
Everything. But, she still hadn’t found the way to tell him that. So, she couldn’t really blame him for not knowing that, could she? But, she shook her head. “You didn’t promise. You said you’d do your best, but that’s not a real promise. I need to hear you say the words, Grady.”
She saw something in his face shift at her use of his real name. She rarely heard anyone around here use it. Except for her. He stepped around his motorcycle and came right up to her. “What words are you asking for? Because I’ve tried to give you several of them, and you won’t take them.”
Shame flushed through her at that, because he was right. She was asking him for something that she kept refusing to give him. She wasn’t sure she could do it, though. She’d never stopped loving him, though, not even during all those years of living with Henry. She’d let her own fear push that love deep into a corner, but it had never quite gone away. Now, she was afraid to bring it back out. Afraid he’d be the one to turn away from it this time. Even though he hadn’t given any indication he’d ever do that.
“Promise you won’t be the one to face Henry. Not you or Trace.”
His jaw tightened. She could see the muscles in his face flexing and knew she’d asked him for one thing he didn’t think he could give her. “Cassie, he’s threatened you. Threatened Trace. You’re both mine. I swore I wouldn’t let him do anything to hurt you. If I don’t go-”
“I know. But, you don’t have to be the one to face him. Any of the others can do it, and you can back them up.”
“But, it’s not any of their families being threatened.”
“You keep telling me you’re all family. So, if something happened to Barbie or to Raven,” she said mentioning two of the Riders wives, “wouldn’t you be defending your family? Why is this different?”
He didn’t answer, but his face remained tight. Then, Bull called out to him. He glanced over his shoulder, and she looked that way, too. It was time for them to go. Damn it. “Grady, please. Promise me.”
He looked back at her. “Fine,” he said, but she could tell he wasn’t happy about it. “I promise. It won’t be me or Trace who faces your lousy husband.”
“Ex,” she murmured even as he climbed onto the bike. Henry was well on his way to being her ex husband. If only he’d sign those damn papers.
Icarus was glad for the speed, and to be taking point on this ride. If he’d had to be stuck behind any of the other bikes, he wasn’t sure he’d be able to stand it. He still couldn’t believe he’d let Cassie rip that promise out of him. He needed to be the one to handle Henry. And for good this time. He’d thought they’d dealt with him once, got him to back off.
He should have known it wouldn’t be good enough. That man was never going to leave them alone.
He finally slowed as the house came into view. He took his bike around to the same place they’d stopped the last time they’d come here. When Henry had held Icarus’ adopted daughter as leverage to get Cassie and Trace back. He hadn’t won that time. And Icarus swore he wouldn’t this time either.
Once everyone else had pulled in beside him, he glanced around, his gaze finally landing on Bull. “I need you to take point,” he said. His oldest friend, and the biggest man there, he trusted him with his life. Or in this case, the woman he loved and their son’s lives. “I promised it wouldn’t be me.”
They worked out the details of how they would handle the rest of this mission, and Icarus followed behind Bull and the men he’d called to stand with him: Smoke, Jumper, Devil. They were all good men. Hawk and Arrow were on lookout duty, like usual. Trace fell into step beside Icarus.
“It should be us,” his son said. “We’re the ones he keeps coming after.”
“That’s not the way your mom wants it. She wants us to come back to her.”
Henry was already waiting on the porch when they crossed the street. He was expecting them. “Hiding behind your bullies, Hartson?” he called out to Icarus.
“You’re the only bully I see here,” Icarus responded, trying to remain calm. This man kept trying to take everything from him and had succeeded once, nearly two decades before. He couldn’t go back to that time.
Before he could stop him, Trace lunged forward, through the rest of the Riders. “No,” Icarus said. Again and again as he tried to grab his son. But, the other men seemed to move aside for him. He couldn’t reach him in time.
Icarus couldn’t do it. He couldn’t let this man take away his son one more time. He drew the gun from the inside pocket of his vest and aimed it at the man who once again threatened everything dear to him. “I’m sorry, Cassie.”