“Damn, Bella, this tattoo is fucking outstanding,” Butch exclaimed as he looked at the mirror. “It looks like I have a breastplate on.”
“I am glad you like it. You handled the long sessions well,” Bella said, pulling off her gloves.
“Thanks, even though there were a few times that it hurt like hell,” he laughed.
“I can understand that,” she replied, pulling up the sleeve of her shirt to show off the tattoos which ran up her arm. “Now let’s get this covered and you remember to make sure you keep it moisturized. If you see any excessive redness, come see me.”
“As you well know, this is not my first and won’t be my last.”
“It would be my pleasure to complete your next one as well. Megan will help you out front,” Bella instructed, as she put on the last piece of tape.
Once Butch left her tattoo station, Bella stood and stretched her arms above her head. She had been bent over Butch’s chest for the last two hours straight. Grabbing her pack of cigarettes and lighter, she headed out the back of the shop to the alley. Once she was out in the warm June air, she lit up a cigarette, taking a deep draw. Fuck, that was what she needed. Business was picking up and at this pace, she was going to have to hire another tattoo artist. As she let the warm evening air wash over her, the heat suddenly reminded her of Phoenix, causing the memories of her past to seep to the front of her thoughts. Damn, she had let this day sneak up on her. She couldn’t believe it had been sixteen years since she had seen Edward and it still hurt as badly today as it did then.
She had returned to her friend’s home after she had lost her virginity to Edward. Even now, she remembered his touch, the way he smelled, the way he looked at her as he came deep inside her. When the cab pulled up to the dark house, it shocked her to see her father waiting on the sidewalk.
“Daddy, what are you doing here?” Bella asked.
“I got a call from your friend’s father saying you slipped out of the house telling no one where you were going. Thinking the worst, I jumped on my bike and headed here. Then I find you getting out of a cab in the wee hours of the morning. So tell me, where the hell were you and who were you with?”
“I was out with a friend,” she said, hoping he would press the issue.
“What is your friend’s name?” her father asked, his voice hard and demanding.
“Edward,” she whispered, ducking her head so she couldn’t see her daddy’s face. No one wanted Charlie “Crusher” Swan mad at them. He was president of Satan Savages, a motorcycle club in Tucson. To everyone in the club, she was Bella Swan, but anyone who was not in the club knew her as Isa Stewart. When she was old enough to ask why, she was told for my protection. Not understanding at the time, she put it aside, but as Bella got older, she became aware that her father’s enemies would do anything to hurt him, even hurting her or her mother. Her father and all the men in the clubhouse carried guns; on more than one occasion she had witnessed them pulling their guns, pointing them at someone.
“Edward what?” Charlie demanded.
“Masen,” Bella answered.
Charlie's breath caught when he heard the name Masen. They were in Phoenix and he knew Anvil Masen’s son's name was Edward. Fuck, this was what he had been afraid of when he had agreed to allow Bella to come to Phoenix with no protection from the club members. “Get in the house and pack your bag. We are leaving in thirty minutes.”
“Daddy, I can’t leave without talking to Edward. I love him,” she cried.
Stalking closer, he placed his rough callus finger under her chin and raised it up so she was looking straight into his eyes. “You will never speak to that boy again. I am sending you to your Aunt Maggie’s house.”
“No daddy,” she cried. “She lives in New York.”
“Exactly, and if I ever hear of you coming back to Phoenix to be with that boy, I will hunt him down and take him out. Edward Masen is bad news and I won’t allow you to ruin yourself with him. Now get in the house and pack.”
Bella knew better than not to obey her father, so she went in, packed her bag. Just as she was leaving, her friend’s father came out of the bedroom and questioned where she was going. She explained her father had come to get her and she was being sent off to a school far away. Walking out the door, her heart broke. Tonight started out with Edward making love to her and now she can never see him again. She couldn’t take a chance on her father killing him just because she was the daughter of the president of MC gang. As hard as it would be, she would stay away from Edward.
Her father strapped her bag onto the bag of his bike. “Get on. I am taking you to the airport.”
“How long am I going to stay with Aunt Maggie?” Bella asked, tears still trickling down her face.
“You will live there from now on. I can’t trust you anymore and it has become too dangerous for you back home,” Charlie said. He had already lost Bella’s mother, Renee, to the violence of the club.
When Bella was only five, a rival club, the Masters of Mayhem, came after him. He, Renee, and Bella were on their way to Bella’s ballet recital when they were ambushed. A dozen bikes surrounded their car. Charlie tried to outrun them, but he couldn’t. They were herded down an alleyway. No matter what happens, he told Renee and Bella to remain in the car. As he took out his gun, the safety was released. With one last look at the love of his life and his precious daughter, he opened the door and started shooting. Before going down himself, he took out four of them. When he awoke, he was in the ICU unit of the hospital. His VP Peter was sitting by his bed. He wondered where Renee was and when he questioned Peter, he told him what they found. After he collapsed, the Masters of Mayhem kidnapped Renee, but locked Bella in the trunk of the car. When he asked if they had found her, Peter told him yes with a pained look in his eyes. The Masters of Mayhem dumped her body at the gate of the clubhouse. She had been beaten, raped, and strangled. It was at that moment he declared that every member of the club would pay with their life for taking away his wife. After he got out of the hospital and broke the news to Bella about her mother, he went hunting. It took him and his brothers six months, but they finally made sure the Masters of Mayhem would never hurt anyone else. However, he knew the Masters of Mayhem weren’t the only people who had it out for him, and Anvil Masen was one of them. Even though he hated to admit it, it was his own fault. The Satan Savages had hijacked a cargo container of guns, which was owned by the Blood Demons. Charlie hadn’t authorized the act and the prospects who had committed the theft were killed. Their deaths were an example of what happens when you don’t get permission from the President of the MC.
After Renee’s death, Charlie became overly protective of Bella. She had guards who followed her around everywhere. As she got older, they fought over her wanting independence. At last, he gave in and allowed her to go to Phoenix with her friend. Then, of all the people in the city, she befriends the son of his enemy. And as hard as it was, he suspected they had slept together. Damn, his daughter was sexually active. It was too soon. She was still his little girl. Well, he would not allow her back in the clubhouse with all those horny dogs. His sister had offered frequently for her to come stay with her.
Bella finished her senior year at a private school in New York and then went to NYU getting her degree in graphic design. Her father came several times a year to visit her and on several trips, he brought his new VP, Demetri, with him. Her father’s old VP had been found dead in his house. They assumed he had a heart attack because he didn’t exactly have a healthy lifestyle. Just like all the others in the club, he drank too much, smoked too much, and ate fatty greasy foods. Demetri was a new member and had made a good impression on Charlie. Bella couldn’t really point her finger at it, but there was something that made her feel uneasy about Demetri. The way he looked at her made her skin crawl.
After college, she got a job with a marketing firm. However, she didn’t love what she was doing. One day she was passing a tattoo parlor and as she watched the artist placing the ink on the customers, she felt excited. The next day, she went in and talked to the owner about the type of training she would need to become a tattoo artist. Going in, she introduced herself and her background in graphic design.
“Miss, how many tattoos do you have?” Waylon asked, looking at the skin, which was visible.
“None,” she answered.
“Well, if you are serious about learning about putting ink on someone’s skin, you need to experience it for yourself. Have you ever thought about getting a tattoo?”
Bella thought for a moment and there had been a time she had wanted to get something, which was a permanent reminder of her love for Edward. “Yeah.”
“Well, why don’t you sketch out the design and bring it back tomorrow.”
She thanked him and rushed home to see what she could design. Breaking out her sketch pad, she sat down and allowed the feelings which she had buried came to the surface. Lost in the thoughts and feelings, she hadn’t realized what she had drawn until she sat it down. As she took in the sketch she had drawn, she knew she had captured all her feelings for Edward in it.
The next day, she took her sketch pad and went back to see Waylon. When she walked in, she found him smiling at her. “I can tell by your face you came up with something fantastic.”
“I hope you like it,” she said, flipping open the pad and handing it to Waylon.
Waylon was shocked. He had a feeling about this young lady, but he had no clue she was so talented. If she handled getting her tattoo, he was going to offer her an apprenticeship. “I love it. The curve of the lines and the soft colors. I also love the way you styled the initials. Are you ready to get it placed on your body?”
She bit her lip and thought hard about the question. Did she want this permanently put on her body? Looking at the sketch once more, she saw it was a dedication to the man who would always hold her heart. “Yes, I am.”
“Great, now the next question is where?” Waylon asked, getting up and gathering supplies.
“On my chest over my heart.”
Ten years later, she was covered in tattoos. Each has a special meaning in her life. But she also had her nipples pierced and a clitoral vertical piercing. She had dyed her hair a soft silver color. Waylon sold her the Art in Motion Tattoo Studio three years ago and ever since then, she had been pouring her entire being into the operation. She was excited about how busy they were becoming and the clientele which were coming in. Several executives were clients, wanting detailed tattoos.
What many people didn’t know was the abundant amount of endorphins you release when you get a tattoo. Over the years, she had been the recipient of these endorphins with hot after tattoo sex in the private room. Several of the men had asked her out for dinner, but she couldn’t accept. It was okay to have a quick fuck, but she would never allow herself to have feelings for any man.
Coming out of her memories, she put out her cigarette and went back into the shop. She had no more customers this evening, but she had a desk full of paperwork before she could make her way upstairs to her apartment. Megan would lock up when the last customer left. Sitting down at her desk, Bella began the monumental task of paying bills, figuring payroll, and preparing a deposit she would take to the bank first thing in the morning. Most of their clients paid in cash, so it didn’t surprise her that she had nearly five grand in cash to take to the bank.
She really needed to be better about taking the deposit daily. When she had finished placing the last stamp on the electric bill, she turned off the desk lamp and took the envelopes out to Megan’s desk. The mailman would pick them up tomorrow. A few moments before leaving, she inspected the studio to make sure there was nothing left on. She grabbed her phone and bank bag and stuffed them in her messenger bag. Going back into the office, she unlocked the door, which opened to a set of stairs which led to the apartment above. There was another door on the side of the building she could use, but she loved being able to use this entrance when it was dark outside. Once she was inside the stairs, she locked the door behind her and made her way up the stairs.
She hadn’t known about the apartment until Waylon offered her the tattoo studio, and it was a tremendous bonus. After she moved in, she gutted the place and remodeled every square inch, making it a tranquil sanctuary. As soon as she walked in, she kicked off her boots and headed to the kitchen. Tonight she needed a drink, no she needed to drink until the ache in her chest stopped. She opened the cabinet and grabbed a full bottle of Tito’s vodka. Not even worrying about a glass, she took it over to the couch and sat down. She opened her messenger bag and took out her phone, placing it on the coffee table. Untwisting the cap, she brought the bottle to her lips and took a large swallow. For the past sixteen years, she had tried not to remember Edward, but she failed every time. She was sure he had moved on, hell he was probably married with kids by now.
Just as she was about to take another drink, her phone began to ring. Looking down at the screen, she didn’t recognize the number, but it was an Arizona area code. Sliding her finger across the screen, she answered. “Hello.”
“Bella, is that you?” a girl asked.
“Who is this?” Bella asked.
“We haven’t met, but I am a friend of your father. Look, I don’t have a lot of time, but I wanted to call to tell you some distressing news. Your father was murdered two days ago by his VP. I overheard the argument they were having, and I had to warn you as soon as I could.”
Bella gasped when she heard the news. Her daddy was dead and Demetri was responsible. With tears running down her face, she choked out a question. “What was the argument about?”
“You. Demetri wants you as his Old Lady and your father told him no,” the girl replied.
“What is your name?” Bella asked.
“Carmen. But Bella, you are in danger. Demetri and two of his loyal brothers left to come to New York.”
“Two days ago. Demetri left the others loyal to him behind to make sure we didn’t run off or run our mouths. Bella, your father loved you very much and talked about you all the time.”
“How close were you to my dad?”
“He would never call me his Old Lady, because even to this day he was still in love with your mother. However, we shared some quality time together,” Carmen said. “He would want me to help you in any way I could, so that is the reason I chanced making this call. Bella, you need to leave New York and hide.”
Just before Bella could respond, she heard the roar of motorcycles coming down the street. “Fuck, they are here already. Thanks for calling me and if I can I will try to get you out of there when I find some help.”
“Don’t worry about me. I am irrelevant and will find a way to escape. Be careful Bella and use your head when you are traveling.”
“I will,” Bella replied before Carmen hung up.
Bella took off to her room, grabbing her duffle bag and began shoving clothes inside. Opening the safe in her room, she grabbed all the cash she had, along with her passport and pictures of her parents. Before leaving the room, she picked up her charging cord. Running into the living room, she slipped on her boots and slipped on her leather jacket. As she passed the counter, she picked up the keys to her bike and headed out the door and down the stairs, which took her back to the shop. In the background, she heard the pounding of someone trying to break down the metal door. The fuckers will have a difficult time trying to break that door.
Once she was in the shop, she cautiously made her way to the door that led to the alley. She parked her bike in the parking deck at the end of the alley. Just as she was about to turn the knob to open the door, she remembered she had forgotten to pick up her gun upstairs. Fuck, she loved that gun, but was glad she kept one in the office. Going back into the office, she opened the bottom drawer of her desk and took out the Colt 45. Making sure it was loaded, she picked up the box of ammo, stuffing it into her messenger bag.
As she started out across the studio once again, her phone rang. Picking it up, she quickly silenced the ringer and looked at the screen. It was her father’s number. She knew it couldn’t be her father, so it must be Demetri. Steadying her racing heart, she answered. “Hello.”
“Bella, darling, it’s me Demetri. I’m at the door to your apartment, but it is locked. Can you let me in?”
“Oh, hey Demetri, I’m sorry, but I am not home right now. I’m out with friends at a bar uptown. And why are you calling me from dad’s phone?”
“I accidentally picked up his phone when I left Arizona.”
“Why are you here without dad?” Bella asked, hoping she sounded convincing.
“He had some club business to attend to. I’ve come to take you back home,” Demetri answered.
“You have? Daddy is allowing me back in Arizona?” Bella asked, making her way across the studio once more to the door.
“Yeah, baby. So tell me where you are, so I can come get you.”
“Uptown Bourbon on Broadway,” Bella lied. “I’ll keep an eye out for you. What are you driving?”
“Honey, there is only one thing I drive, and that is my sled. I’ll see you soon and be ready to give me a warm welcome.”
Swallowing back the bile which had escaped her stomach over the thought of Demetri touching her. “Sure thing, babe.”
When he hung up, she waited and listened for them to leave. It felt like an eternity, but finally she heard the roar of the bikes as they took off towards uptown. It really worked. Giving them another minute before she opened the door. Peeking out, it relieved her to find the alley vacant. She slipped out the door and took off running towards the parking deck and her bike. Taking the steps to the second level of the parking deck, two at a time until she reached her level. Her bike was close to the steps, covered up by a bike cover. She loved her bike and loved taking it out on warm days. She purchased it two years ago and knew her father would have loved it. It was a 1949 Harley Davidson Panhead.
Bella uncovered her bike, stored her travel bag into one side of the saddlebag . Pulling her helmet from the other saddlebag, she put it on and jumped on the bike. Before starting the bike, she pulled out her phone and made a call to the only person she knew she could trust in Arizona.
“Bella, it is good to hear from you.”
“I’m in trouble,” Bella said.
“Get your ass to Phoenix and keep off the radar.”