“Yeah, she told me a little bit about your mom,” Ryder admitted. “Sorry man—that couldn’t have been easy for either of you. Why didn’t you tell any of the rest of us about her?”
Hart shrugged, “I had just joined Savage Hell and it wasn’t the time. Plus, I’m not a sharer, if you haven’t noticed.”
“I picked up on that,” Ryder said.
“So, things aren’t going well with Tatum?” Hart asked.
“Yeah—don’t sound so happy about that, Hart,” Ryder grumbled.
“Honestly, I just want for my sister to be happy, man,” Hart said. “She’s been such a loner, I worry that she’ll never find someone to share her life—you know, someone to take care of her.”
“She’s quite capable of taking care of herself,” Ryder said. She was the most capable person he’d ever met. She had more determination in her little finger than he had in his whole body.
“You know what I mean, Ryd. I just want her to find happiness, she deserves it.” Hart said.
“Is that your way of giving me your blessing?” Ryder asked.
“No,” Hart said, “but, I won’t stand in your way if you’re what Tatum wants, Ryder.”
“That’s close enough,” Ryder breathed. “Thanks, man.”
“How have you been, Hart?” Ryder asked.
“All right,” Hart lied. Ryder wondered what was going on with his friend, but he could tell by his tone that something was up.
“Want to talk about it?” Ryder offered.
“I got it under control,” Hart said. Ryder was beginning to worry because, from Hart’s tone, he didn’t have whatever was going on with him under control at all. “Just some old shit with the Dragons. Nothing I can’t handle.” The Dragons were Savage Hell’s rival MC and they were made up of some pretty bad guys. But, last Ryder heard, their new Prez was one of the good guys.
“I thought that Outkast was on your payroll,” Ryder said.
“He was, well—he used to be when I was on the force. He’s still undercover and my problem isn’t with him. It’s with his superiors in the Anarchy Kings. Outkast only holds so much power when it comes to the Dragons, even as Prez. He has to answer to their charter organization and that leaves him very little leeway when it comes to what he can and can’t do.”
“What exactly does that mean?” Ryder asked.
“It means that the powers that be in the Anarchy Kings want my head on a platter for what I did to the Dragons. They take care of their own and the Dragons are a part of the Anarchy Kings,” Hart explained. “They’ve been coming for me for some time now and I’ve been able to lay low and stay out of reach but I’m worried about my sister,” he admitted.
“Tatum,” Ryder said. “Why are you worried about her?”
“I’m afraid that if they can’t get to me, they’ll come after her. Did she tell you about her old roommate, Hugh?” Hart asked. She had told Ryder about that asshole and how he wanted sexual favors to help pay her rent after she lost her job.
“Yeah,” Ryder growled. “She told me about that asshole.”
Hart smiled. “After she moved out, he ended up in the hospital, beaten half to death. When I heard what happened, I went down to snoop around and ask some questions. I talked to a buddy of mine from the force and he said that when they took Hugh’s statement, he swore that the three guys who beat him had dragon tattoos on their forearms.”
“Shit,” Ryder spat. “They went after her old roommate to find out where she was.”
“That’s what I’m betting,” Hart said. “It’s also the reason I haven’t pushed my sister to move out of your place. I figured it will take them some time for them to find Tatum at your place. That will give me time to figure out just what’s going on.”
“You need any help with that?” Ryder asked.
“Not really,” Hart said. “What I could use help with is keeping Tatum safe. If she knew what was going on, she’d balk at either of us protecting her. You’ll have to be sneaky but I’d appreciate you keeping an eye on her.”
“Of course,” Ryder agreed.
“Where is she now?” Hart asked.
“She started a new job over on Bridge Street at a little boutique,” Ryder said.