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Posts tagged ‘Bull’

A to Z: U is for Understanding

Last time, we saw how Henry’s men got to Cassie. Today we’re back with Icarus as he starts to understand what happened.

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Icarus stared at his phone even after he’d ended the call with Chief. He couldn’t do anything else. He felt some of the men gather around him, but he couldn’t even make himself look up.

“Dad, what’s going on?” Trace asked from right in front of him. “What happened to Mom?”

Icarus wasn’t even sure he understood it. Actually, he did. Only too well. “He sent men after your mom,” Icarus said, his voice dull. “Chief didn’t give me all the details. We’ll talk about it when we get back to the clubhouse. But, he has her. I failed her.” That’s what he understood best of all.

“No, Dad,” Trace said, but Icarus couldn’t listen to him right now.

“Everyone, on your bikes,” he ordered. “There’s nothing we can do here. We have to regroup and come back.”

“We can’t just leave her with him,” Trace argued. “You don’t know what he’ll do.”

Icarus forced himself to meet his son’s eyes. “I do. But, there’s nothing we can do right now. We have to figure out what happened and how we’re going to get her back. I won’t stop until we do, though.”

He expected Trace to argue, but his son seemed to understand how things were as well. He hated it just as much as Trace did, but he wasn’t going to risk Cassie getting killed by going in half-cocked.

But, he could barely focus on the road in front of him as they headed back toward the clubhouse. All he could remember was the look on Cassie’s face as he got ready to ride away. The fear. That’s what had stood out the most. That he wouldn’t come back to her, that he’d fail.

Well, those fears had been realized, hadn’t they? He’d failed her. Icarus slapped his palm against the handlebar as they stopped at a light. It didn’t help diffuse any of the emotion surging through him. Yet, he did it twice more before Bull glanced over at him and shook his head. He knew it didn’t do any good.

When they pulled into the yard, Chief stood on the porch as if he’d been waiting for them. He probably had been. Barbie stood beside him. As they started climbing from the bikes, she hurried down into the yard toward Bull. Except she came right to him instead of her husband. “I’m so sorry, Grady,” she said, her arms wrapping tight around him. “So, so sorry.”

“It’s not your fault,” he told her but glanced over her head at Bull. As if he could explain it. But, his friend only shook his head.

“It is,” she told him. “I should have stopped it.”

He felt Bull stiffen next to him. “What are you talking about, Barb? You promised me you wouldn’t take any risks right now. How could you have stopped anything without breaking that promise to me?”

Chief walked down to meet them. “She went on her walk, Eric,” Chief said. “They grabbed her then. And drove up here shortly after you left. Cassie and Raven were still on the porch.”

Bull was suddenly pulling Barbie away from Icarus, his arms going around her. “Are you all right? Did they hurt you?”

“I’m fine,” she said. “We’re fine, Eric.”

That last part struck Icarus as odd, but Chief was already continuing. “They threatened Barb. If we didn’t send Cassie out, he’d shoot Barb right there.” His lip twitched slightly, but Icarus didn’t see anything funny in the situation. “He thought she was my old lady. Didn’t realize she’s even more important than that to me. Because she’s yours,” he said, looking at Bull. “But, I wasn’t going to hand Cassie over. Because she’s yours,” he said, nodding at Icarus. “And both of you are mine.”

Barbie set her hand on Bull’s chest. “I think she figured it out,” she said then reached out for Icarus’ hand and placed it on her stomach. “She wouldn’t let me, us, be sacrificed.”

Icarus looked up into her face then and realized why she and Bull had been acting odd the last couple weeks. “A baby. You’re having the first baby of the club.”

“I tried to stop her,” Chief said. “I couldn’t fail you like that. But, she took the impossible choice out of my hands, Grady. I’m so sorry.”

“It’s not your fault,” he said, choking on the words. “It’s not any of your fault.” He made sure to take Barbie in with that. “Henry sent those men here and ordered them to take her. And I’d have never forgiven myself if you’d been hurt,” he told her. “But, now we have to figure out how we’re going to get her back. Because I won’t leave her in that hell a second time.” He turned away. “I need a few minutes then we’ll meet to discuss this.”

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How will they get her back? Will they get her back? Icarus isn’t putting blame on them, but will he forgive himself?

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A to Z: Q is for Quitting

Last time, we left Icarus giving Cassie a promise he really didn’t want to. But, that put other thoughts in his head and a conclusion he hadn’t expected to come to.

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Icarus couldn’t believe he’d made that promise to Cassie. All he’d been able to think of the last several days as they put this plan together, and Arrow and Hawk came back from town with more evidence Henry wasn’t going to back down, was being the one to take the bastard out. But, she had asked it of him now. And he wasn’t sure there was anything she could ask that he wouldn’t do.

He wasn’t sure how he was going to keep this promise, though. He couldn’t put the other men in danger and not be there to back them up. This was his problem, one he really should be the one to deal with. But, Cassie had taken that choice right out of his hands. He didn’t even know what move to make. He could lose Cassie for good no matter what he did. There was only one thing he was sure of that would mean not losing her at all.

“What’s going on with you, Icarus? You’ve barely said a word since we came in here.”

Icarus looked over at Bull. They were supposed to be going over final plans for this mission, but he couldn’t keep his focus on it. “I’m thinking about quitting,” he blurted. Even just saying the words had his skin prickling. This club had been his life for the last five years. But, Cassie was his heart and soul. If he lost her again…No, it didn’t even bear thinking of.

“Don’t give me any of that,” Bull demanded. “You aren’t leaving.”

“I have to, Bull. Don’t you see? It’s the only answer here. If I’m not here, Henry won’t come after the whole club. He can’t use it as a way to get to me. To get to Cassie and Trace through me. I have to go.”

“No, you don’t. That’s why we’re doing this. We’ll get him to leave us alone.”

Icarus smacked his hand against the wall. “It’s not just Henry. Me being here has brought trouble to everyone I care about. With Henry taking Birdie, and coming after Cassie and Trace. The Crows coming after Birdie and Trace. Even Devil and Hawk getting hurt.”

“That didn’t have anything to do with you, Icarus,” Bull argued.

“You go back far enough, and it does. I let Brad in here, I didn’t see through his lies. And that gave him the opening to get deep with the Crows and take them down. And with our connection to him, it led them back to us. If it wasn’t for me-”

“If it wasn’t for you, this club would have fallen apart long ago. I can’t believe you can’t see that. Dad might be the president, but you are this club, Icarus. You quit and you might as well disband the club.”

Icarus shook his head. “That’s ridiculous. The club isn’t just one person. We all make it work. I didn’t say I’m definitely going. But, if that’s what it takes to make sure my family is protected, it’s what I’m going to do.”

“Let’s take care of this business with Henry first,” Bull said, his voice subdued now. “Then, I’ll convince you you’re better off staying.”

Icarus let out a rough laugh. If only it would be that easy.

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Will Icarus really leave the club? Will Bull convince him he really is better off staying? Will he end up breaking his promise to Cassie?

A to Z: N is for Never Again

When we last left these characters, Cassie had just had a fairly meaningful and civil conversation with Molly(or Medusa as everyone else calls her). This scene skips ahead a couple days and we see how Icarus is handling things.

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Icarus pounded his fists against the heavy punching bag. It had been a long time since he’d taken his frustrations out on one, but nothing else seemed to be helping lately. Except being with Cassie. If only he could make that a permanent condition.

But, he couldn’t hold back the waves of anger that kept sweeping over him. And he didn’t want those waves to even touch her, not come even close to frightening her. Which meant he’d had to keep his distance as much as he possibly could.

And that wasn’t helping his own state of mind. And so went the vicious cycle he’d been going around the last several days. It needed to end, but he couldn’t find the best point to put the brakes on. If he let Cassie see this violence in him, he’d lose her anyway. But, staying away only made him feel more violent.

He let his arms drop and staggered away from the bag, dropping back against the wall, his chest heaving. “A bit out of shape?”

He spun toward the voice, saw Bull step away from the stairwell, and dropped his hands back to his sides. “Apparently,” he said, a slight wheeze in his voice.

Bull smiled and put one hand against the bag, standing there watching Icarus as he attempted to catch his breath. He undid the gloves and let both of them fall to the floor. He’d pick them up later. Right now he couldn’t even think about it.

“I’m losing her,” he finally said. “He doesn’t even have to do anything, and I’m losing her.” He brushed damp hair away from his face. “I think I’ve lost count of the times I’ve told myself never again. I’d never again let myself love. I’d never again let someone get the drop on me. Never again let Henry Kearns take what I love from me. And it seems I’ve failed every single time.”

“You haven’t failed, Grady,” Bull said. “Not at anything.”

Icarus snorted and pressed his fingers over his closed eyes. He was obviously in bad shape if Bull was using his real name. “Try everything, Bull. I lost Cassie once before. Got pushed out of a job I loved. Never even knew I had a son for eighteen years. The girl I raised was used as a pawn and nearly…” He shook his head instead of finishing that. “Seems everything I’ve done turns into a failure.”

“That’s bullshit, and you know it. You loved Cassie, and at no fault of yours, she was taken from you. And how would you know you had a son when no one damn well told you. You did the right thing even if it did cost your job, and you know that as well. And what Brad did to Birdie, you know that wasn’t your fault either. His agenda had nothing to do with you.”

Maybe not, but he was the one who had brought the boy into their midst, had vouched for him, and he’d turned that on them. “Maybe it was better for them they spent all those years away from me.”

“Now, you’re just being stupid, and that’s not something you’re known for. Seriously, Grady, beating yourself up like this isn’t doing you or them any good. Cassie is worried for you. She wants to be sure that you are okay, that you’re not drowning here by yourself. Does that really sound like someone who is ready to leave you?”

Maybe she should, though. He couldn’t help the thought, even though he knew it was wrong. He pushed away from the wall, stooping to pick up the gloves on his way by.

“I’m not going to let anything happen to them,” he said. “No matter what else comes of it, I’ll never let him hurt them again.”

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Will Icarus be able to keep that promise? Will he figure things out and get off this vicious cycle already?

Stream of Consciousness Saturday: “Give”

“Don’t give me any of that. You aren’t leaving.”

“I have to, Bull. Don’t you see? It’s the only answer here. If I’m not here, Henry can’t come after the whole club. He can’t use it as a way to get to me. To get to Cassie and Trace through me. I have to go.”

“No, you don’t. That’s why we’re doing this. We’ll get him to leave us alone.”

Icarus smacked his hand against the wall. “It’s not just Henry. Me being here has brought trouble to everyone I care about. With Henry taking Birdie, and coming after Cassie and Trace. The Crows coming after Birdie and Trace. Even Devil and Hawk getting hurt.”

“That didn’t have anything to do with you, Icarus,” Bull argued.

“You go back far enough, and it does. I let Brad in here, I didn’t see through his lies. And that gave him the opening to get deep with the Crows and take them down. And with our connection to him, it led them back to us. If it wasn’t for me-”

“If it wasn’t for you, this club would have fallen apart long ago. I can’t believe you can’t see that. Dad might be the president, but you are this club, Icarus. You quit and you might as well disband the club.”

Icarus shook his head. “That’s ridiculous. The club isn’t just one person. We all make it work. I didn’t say I’m definitely going. But, if that’s what it takes to make sure my family is protected, it’s what I’m going to do.”

“Let’s take care of this business with Henry first,” Bull said, his voice subdued now. “Then, I’ll convince you you’re better off staying.”

Icarus let out a rough laugh. If only it would be that easy.

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I almost didn’t write anything for this week’s Stream of Consciousness Saturday prompt of “give/given/giving” then the start of this conversation popped into my head while we were grocery shopping. This will end up being part of my Q post for the A-Z challenge as well(which I’m currently in the middle of drafting).

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