One Step Too Close

By: K.A Merikan



Tom moaned in protest. “I could be the background noise… and I think Dana’s left.”

Ryder raised an eyebrow. “So?”

Jess leaned back and looked at him with her brows low. “She’s his girlfriend. Don’t put any ideas into his head.”

Jed grinned and pulled out some cigarettes, only now realizing he must have left his half-empty bottle of beer at the picnic table. “Those kind of ideas are clearly in Ryder’s head… I’m a saint compared to this guy.” He nudged Ryder with his elbow, enjoying how hard the muscles of his stomach felt.

Jess looked at Ryder, who gave her a blank stare, which must have turned a switch in her head, as she started slipping out of Ryder’s arms. He held her still and finally looked up at Jed, splashing venom out of his eyes. “Don’t joke around like that!”

Ryder was usually totally fine with this type of jokes. What was the big deal that Jess was there? Didn’t she have a sense of humor?

Jess burst out with an odd laugh. “Why not? With that patch, no girl’s gonna resist you. Your life will be so much easier now,” she said in a sour tone, and Ryder’s eyes became wider as he looked at her.

“Christ on a stick!” Jed rolled his eyes. “It’s not like she doesn’t know you’ve fucked tons of pussy.”

Ryder’s eyes narrowed, and he grabbed Jess’s wrist so abruptly it must have hurt. “What the fuck? My woman’s standing right here! Maybe you should have a doctor pour some brains into your head, because something definitely fizzled out just now!”

Jed pursed his lips with a groan. He didn’t like how serious Ryder was about Jess. It was always supposed to be the two of them against the world, in their little biker family, going to parties, and pissing off the cops.

“Sorry, Jess,” he hissed, and tried to lean down to kiss her hand, but she pulled it away as soon as he touched it.

“Take a hike and sleep it off,” said Ryder with a shake of his head.

Tom gently pulled on Jed’s sleeve, and Jed didn’t even want to look at Ryder again, going off to the other side of the yard.

As soon as he approached, the guys sitting there got up and made room for him. At least some people knew their place. This was club grounds, and the patched members were royalty.

“Is he proposing to her, or something?” asked Tom, only fueling the ugly fire in Jed’s heart. “The bitch clearly can’t take a joke.”

Jed turned to him with a frown, and took a big drag of smoke. “I know, right? There’s a fucking stick up her ass, that’s for sure. And no, he’s not proposing to the bitch. I would know!”

Tom pressed his lips together and shrugged, fidgeting in the seat. “Yeah,” he said, clearly not convinced, which only infuriated Jed more.

“I’m sick of sitting here. Let’s go do something.” Jed tapped his foot against the dirt. If Ryder got married, he’d be even less available. It was enough that he lived with Jess. She was his most serious girlfriend so far, possibly on the way to becoming Ryder’s old lady, and Jed hated the way her presence reduced the time Ryder had for Jed. They used to be inseparable, but that had changed since Jess came into Ryder’s life with her colorful sheets, fresh flowers, and fluffy slippers. Ryder even gave her a cat, a pretty tabby she called Daisy, probably the least rock ’n roll name ever. If Ryder gave Jed a cat, he’d name it Dr. Martens, shorten it to ‘Doc’. The cat would be much cuter than Daisy too.

“What?” asked Tom, spread out on the table. Jed didn’t even notice him climbing on, too absorbed in grim thoughts.

“Go find someone who wants to race me. I’m putting down fifty bucks that they lose.”

Tom rolled to his stomach and slid off the table, almost falling over on a stack of beer cans. “Do I get to be the judge?” he asked, rubbing Jed’s shoulder in vigorous strokes. Even his voice sounded excited, with its higher pitch and warmth. At least someone was eager to spend time with Jed.





Ryder



Ryder took a sip of his beer as he watched Jed’s pale form under the tree. The bright spot of the burning cigarette kept trailing between his mouth and the knee where Jed was resting his hand in a gesture that felt more erotic than it should. Stretched out so that he was taking up half of the bench, he looked incredibly handsome with the plaid gray shirt revealing a white top that hugged Jed’s body. Jed had always been a bit of a pretty boy, but he was able to grow a short beard, which gave him a more masculine look. The blond hair was tossed all around Jed’s shoulders, creating a picture every girl could dream of before falling asleep. Jed could have someone much better than Dana.

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