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It was the middle of July and the day was uncommonly chilly for that time of the year. The temperature showed only 16 degrees on the large billboard the quite beaten up black 1979 Chevrolet Silverado passed by. The mentioned truck had seen some rough years and looked rather worn out. Rust was on the doors and the body of the car had more than a few scratches on it. It made a tired sound as it rolled on the road, almost ready to take a holiday.


The highway was empty, save for the aforementioned truck, and the day was already ending as the Sun was slowly setting down by the horizon. Darkness was slowly engulfing the surroundings. The driver of the truck gazed at the time – 5:15 PM. Both of the windows of the truck were closed and the heat was up, the cabin was warm and cozy. Music was playing from the radio, 'I put a spell on you' by Nina Simone, soothing to the driver's racing mind. The song was followed by many alike. The destination unknown as the driver decided to ride and see where the roads take them.


After a while, a sign reading 'Trestlehaunt - 20 miles' passed by and the driver felt a small relief as the tank of the car was half empty and it was starting to make an odd sound. The driver prayed the car would not break down in the middle of nowhere. 15 miles later the truck started making a couching sound.


„Come on baby, don't fail me, not now, not yet,” the driver said while looking ahead on the road, noticing a gas station.

The sound was getting worse and the young woman was almost caressing the wheel and hoped to reach the gas station before the car gave up entirely. The machine gave up with a cloud of smoke coming from under the hood a few meters from the station and the woman sighed in relief. She sat in the car for a good 10 minutes before reality hit her – she got stranded in an unknown part of the continent with no working car and almost zero amount of money. She opened the glove box and clutter of paper and other stuff fell out. The woman cursed under her breath and raised the stuff on the passenger seat and started sifting through it with small desperation. A small, almost empty, package of white powder drops on the floor and the woman pauses for a moment. She looks at it and breathes heavily and then continues to sift through the papers and other crap and finds what she's looking for. She counts through it – only 70 bucks. The woman sighs as she was sure she had more tucked away.


“Can 70 bucks get my car fixed, fill the tank, buy food and accommodations,” she asked no-one or perhaps the car she was sitting in.

She hit the wheel in frustration. “Obviously not!” She lay her head against the headrest and looked at the gas station that was 10-20 meters away. Luckily the car broke down close to it. However, it seemed rather abandoned. Was it even functional the woman wondered.


It looked old and worn out. It had two gas pumps and lights were lit over them but when she gazed at the small building next to them, it was dark. It indicated no-one was there and it worried the woman. Did she get stranded at an abandoned gas station? She contemplated getting out of her car and going exploring. Perhaps it had a working payphone on the other side. But before she even bothered getting out, she slumped back against the chair.


“Who would I call,” she said sadly.

Once again she looked at the station, reading all the signs she could see from here. There was a big 'Coca Cola' sign, general advertisements of cheap gas, oil, tire repairs, the station even had a small windmill and the woman rolled her eyes. The building was wooden, had one story and the entrance was through a small dark brown wooden door. She briefly wondered if there was a back door but didn't know why it would matter. She looked one last time at the station when her eyes finally caught the name of it and she laughed at the catchy sound of it – 'Kaz's Gas'.
Whoever that 'Kaz' was, he or she had either a great sense of humor or a knack for catchy names.


The woman kept sitting in her broken-down car. The steam that came from under the hood before had dissipated entirely and she noticed how eerily quiet the evening was. No other cars were in sight, the ghostly looking gas station alone in the middle of nowhere and the entirety of the situation suddenly hit her.


Her car didn't work, she barely had any money, no cars to stop for a ride to the town 5 miles away, no food, nothing! Her eyes slowly turned to the small white package on the floor and she picked it up. She played with it in her hands, aware that the amount of the white powder was not enough for a good escape and a new wave of despair hit her, tears threatening to fall. She was so tired of it all, the bad luck in life, things constantly going awry. She opened the package and was ready to use the almost non-existent amount of powder when she noticed a single light from afar. It was coming from the highway leading out of the town and it was still quite far away. As if on instinct she hurriedly put all her papers back into the glove box, closed the package and put it in her pocket and waited. She hoped the light would stop at the station. That might give her a chance.


The light got closer and the woman realized it was a motorbike and it sounded like one of the classic Harley Davidsons. She slid lower on her car-seat, almost hiding for an unknown reason, as the biker pulled in to the gas station and came to a stop right next to the pump closest to the broken-down car. The woman had no good sight of the biker whether it was a man or a woman but the person seemed large or rather fat if she were honest. It was dark and she was 10-20 meters away so she hoped her car went unnoticed for now. She needed to see what the biker was there for before announcing her presence. One can never be too careful in the unknown parts of the world.


Not 5 minutes had passed when another set of lights was seen from the same direction the biker came from. This time it seemed like the lights of a car. The approaching car turned its lights off before closing in and it stopped right across the biker next to the second pump. It was a small truck and it had one person in it. The driver got out and smiled at the 'fat biker' as she had lovingly named the person, as they fist-pumped and then hugged. Obviously they knew one another. She didn't hear what was said but words were exchanged. After some time she saw money and a big package of, did her eyes deceive her, pills and powders being exchanged.


“A drug deal,“ she muttered to herself.


The truck took off after some minutes, leaving the biker at the station alone. She noticed the biker wasn't planning on leaving so perhaps it was her chance to score? Would she dare? Could she even get some for 70? She had to and as a bonus, she might get some information out of the person. She checked herself over in the back view mirror, she looked horrible – blonde hair was messy, eyes tired and red with bags under them, unhealthy – but it had to do. She re-opened the glove box and took a small knife out and put it in the pocket. She also made sure she had the money as she exited the car and slammed the door shut unexpectedly loudly. She was sure she was heard. She took a deep breath and started walking toward the station slowly.


The woman approached the biker from behind hoping for some sort of secrecy even though she was sure the slam of her car door was heard to Trestlehaunt. While on approach she could see the biker more clearly and the bike as well. It was a 2014 Heritage Softail, plum-colored, with chrome wheels and shiny all over. It had 2 seats and side bags and the woman was sure that's where the big bag of drugs went to. The biker was wearing jeans, typical riding boots, and a leather jacket. The jacket was what caught the woman's interest as it seemed the biker was a part of a gang – Red's Rebels. She briefly wondered who this 'Red' was? The jacket was black with 2 red stripes on the back and 'Red's Rebels' proudly in the middle in red letters. When she was close enough the person got up from their bike and turned around. It was a woman so she felt a little relieved but didn't drop her guard. After all, women can be as dangerous as men, if not more so. The biker gave her a satisfied smile and she inwardly cringed.


“Well well, who are you little lady,“ the biker asked in a curious tone of voice.


She looked the biker up and down, taking her appearance in. The woman was shorter than her and definitely wider and heavier. Definitely older. Short hair, almost your typical lesbian style. Under the leather jacket, she was wearing a t-shirt with a skull on it and the younger woman almost rolled her eyes but restrained herself. She needed information and perhaps some gear, so offending the person was not the best choice right now.


“Just passing through and took a....pitstop,“ she eventually replied, surprised at her voice that came out a big raspy.


The biker raised her eyebrows in disbelief.


„A bit of a strange place for a pitstop.“


„I'm new to this area so I was hoping for some directions,” she fished.


She saw how she was being checked out as the gaze of the other woman was leering. It made her uncomfortable.


„What do you need to know,“ the older woman asked with a smirk and a wink.


„Is Trestlehaunt the only closest town or are there any other?“


„It depends,“ the woman said while taking a seat on her bike, „on which road you're gonna take. If you follow the road North, you'll end up in the small town Trestlehaunt. It's only 5 miles from here. If you drive back South for a few miles and turn left at the first crossroads you'll get to Bert that's almost 100 miles from here.”


The younger woman was taken back and almost slumped. Her choices were limited and she was definitely not gonna ask for a lift from this...person.


„What's your name sweetness? I'm called Juice.“


The way the woman asked the question told the younger one to wrap things up soon. She didn't even wanna know why she was called Juice.


“Oh? You don't wanna tell me? Fair enough. I'll call you Princess then.” She laughed loudly. „Anything else you wish to know Princess?“


She wasn't impressed by the nickname she got but it was better than telling her real name or making one up. Surely she wasn't gonna meet this Juice again. She also wasn't sure which way was best to approach the 'drug' subject, so she decided to be straightforward.


“There was one other thing. I was hoping to score from you.”


“You could if you'll tell me your poison and I'll see if I have any,” Juice replied with newfound energy, her personal interest toward the pretty blonde forgotten.


“Snow.“


„You're in luck Princess. I happen to have some.“


Juice opened the side-bag on the other side of the bike, the one that was out of view for the younger blonde. She rummaged around and a few minutes later produced a small package of the white powder.


The younger woman was relieved yet stressed at the same time. She only had 70 bucks and knowing the prices it wasn't enough. She played with the small roll of money in the pocket and asked how much for the small bag, hoping to hear a low price.


Juice laughed heartily and closed the side-bag. She stood up and walked closer to the blonde. The younger woman took a small step back.


„Don't be scared Princess, I'm not gonna hurt you. Tell you what. It's obvious to me you lack the necessary funds for this small bag so how about a discount,” she almost sneered and the younger woman panicked.


Surely she didn't mean the sexual kind of discount. There was one thing she'd never do and that's offer sex as payment, she was not that desperate.


'But you're desperate enough to approach a random person in the middle of nowhere and ask for it. She could be a serial killer you know,” her inner self commented.


“25 bucks.“


The younger woman was surprised and happy about the offer. She accepted it almost immediately, without further comments.


Once the trade was done, Juice got back on her bike, put her helmet on and started the monstrous machine, revving it for show.


„I'm off, got things to take care of. If you decide to visit Trestlehaunt and should we meet again, I might tell you how I got my name and you might tell me your real name,” she said, winked and in a burst of booming laughter took off.


She cringed hoped they'd never meet again. That was quite an unpleasant encounter. She walked back to her car and got in, slamming the door. The small bag in her hand was a blessing and a curse at the same time. She looked at the highway and bitterly thought she was gonna walk the 5 miles tomorrow. Perhaps it was a decent town and maybe she could get a temporary job to earn some cash and move onward.


“With my luck? I'll end up sleeping on the streets and steal food to survive.”


She looked at the bag again and then at the gas station. Tonight she needed the escape.

Chapter Text

The new day started sunny and very hot. Summer was hitting hard! It was avidly felt by the two women in the Chevrolet Colorado, as it drove down the highway toward the gas station. The windows were open but almost no air was moving and if it did, it was too hot.

“Close the windows and turn the conditioning on. This heat is too much,“ one of the women complained while trying to generate some air with a makeshift fan made out of paper.

The woman had blonde hair which was in a ponytail and large sunglasses adorned her face. She was stout as opposed to her counterpart, who was driving the vehicle. The driver also had blonde hair which was in a messy bun and smaller sunglasses were resting on her nose. Both were dressed lightly with sleeveless shirts and shorts.

„I'd love to Liz, but it's broken. Haven't gotten around to having it fixed,” the driver replied with a more calm tone but feeling the heat excessively.

“Why do you keep the gas station operational I'll never understand, Kaz. We have a perfectly fine one back at the town. We even have three stations. Do people even use yours?”

“They do use it and I have other reasons for keeping it operational. You know, you didn't have to come Liz. I was perfectly fine going alone like I always do,” Kaz said with a small roll of her eyes. She had been driving out to check the station every month alone so far but today was one of those days where Liz, who was her best friend, asked to come with. A 'road trip' as she had said so Kaz didn't oppose.

Also the reason for keeping the station operational wasn't entirely her choice but she'd do what has to be done to avoid misunderstandings with certain people. She didn't want to involve Liz or any other of her friends, so she kept it under the hood or just avoided the topic when asked.

“Fine, keep your secrets Kaz. I'll figure it out someday,” Liz smirked but let it go for now.

Kaz let out a small breath of relief. She really didn't wanna play the 'avoid the gas station topic' game with Liz or with anyone for that matter.
Few more minutes later and the station came into view. As they neared it, both of them noticed a car standing by the road, some meters away from the station.

„Did someone's car broke down,” Liz wondered out loud, „odd place to park it otherwise.“

„It's possible,” Kaz replied while slowly pulling into the station and stopping the car at the second pump, which was closer to the car they noticed. „Let's check it out.“

They both got out and moved towards the lonely truck standing on the side of the road. They approached it slowly as if expecting something to burst out of it or not startle the person inside the truck. Overall they were cautious as one could never know who they'd meet and if they were dangerous. Liz had less patience than Kaz and she approached the truck with more haste. She immediately looked inside and scanned the scenery.

„There's no-one inside Kaz,“ Liz said.

By now Kaz had also approached the truck and checked the door which, to her surprise, was unlocked. She opened it from the passenger side and scanned the interior. Papers were scattered all over the floor and seat and it was obvious someone had been looking for something. Liz opened the driver's side door and frowned. Kaz rummaged through some of the papers and things, looking for any information on the person who owned or drove this truck. She found a half-used lipstick and wondered if the person was a woman or a man who liked to put lipstick on? She was not going to judge either way.

„Really messy,“ Liz once again commented and looked at her friend who was still rummaging through stuff that didn't belong to her.

„It is,“ Kaz replied finally, „I can't see any identification documents. Either the person who was driving it took them with or they didn't have any.“

„You think this might be a stolen truck? Should we call the cops?“

„I don't know what to think yet and no cops Liz. At least not until we know more,“ Kaz said and closed the door. „Let's check the station,“ she added.

Liz closed the door as well and followed her friend. Kaz stopped at her own truck while Liz went behind the station to check the area.

„Kaz! Come here quick,“ she yelled and her friend was by her side almost immediately. „Do you keep the back door unlocked?“

„No, I keep it locked.“

Small panic entered both and for quite different reasons. Liz panicked because someone obviously got in but the lock didn't seem to be broken. Were they still there? Were they dangerous? How did they get in? Perhaps it was a wizard who teleported in?
While Kaz also was concerned about the 'break in', she also worried if all the 'assets' were safe. It didn't go unnoticed to her as well, that the lock was not damaged so her mind instantly thought about someone who might've had a key. They got closer to the door and Liz pulled it open but stopped at the entrance and didn't move further so the other woman decided to lead the way and entered. Liz immediately followed and harshly whispered 'be careful' to Kaz who just nodded. They checked the main area of the closed station store and found no-one. Also things seemed to be in order and nothing taken. The store hadn't been operational for years and thick layer of dust was on almost everything and undisturbed. Kaz didn't bother dusting as it was not in use anyway.

„Well nobody's been in here or if they have nothing has been touched,“ she commented and turned around bumping into Liz who was less than a centimeter away from her. „Jesus Liz!“

„I'm scared alright. There could be an ax murderer hiding here,“ the woman whispered.

„Honestly,“ Kaz rolled her eyes, „you should watch less horror shows. Ax murderer? Really Liz?“ She moved past her friend and motioned for her to follow as they kept looking through the small building. If the person was still there, it would be in the storage area or the 'staff room' as Kaz referred to it. She hoped it was the latter as the idea of showing Liz the storage area was not the smartest nor the safest. So she moved in front of the staff room door and opened it. The room was dark but a silhouette of a desk, chair and a desktop computer was seen. Kaz moved in and flicked the light switch but no light came on. Probably a light bulb has gone out. The window was boarded shut so she turned her phones flash light on and moved it around the room. Liz had also moved in by now and with her own flash light notices something or someone on the floor on the far end of the room, next to the desk. She nudges Kaz and points to the person. Kaz, of course, moves closer and Liz slowly followed behind, cautious and still scared.

“It's a woman,” Kaz whispers to her friend, „ probably the owner of the truck.“

„Is she dead?“ Liz takes a step back, afraid of the answer. She had quite a weak stomach when it came to gory stuff or death in general which she tried to 'heal' by watching horror movies. Didn't help obviously.
Kaz bends down and puts her hand close to the woman's mouth and feels a breath.

“She's alive,” she replies and slowly moves the light around the unknown woman. Almost immediately she notices an empty coke bag one the floor which she picks up and looks at. It had the small letters 'HP' on it and she frowned, clearly displeased. She pockets the bad and glanced behind her, glad Liz didn't notice her finding. The woman was standing near the entrance and Kaz became annoyed.

“Do you see an axe anywhere? It's just a woman sleeping. I checked the area and there's no dangerous weapons, so come on already,” she whispers at her stouty friend harshly.

Liz came closer and got a better look at the woman. She seemed young, probably in her mid or late twenties. Had long blonde hair, which was quite dirty. She seemed skinny, almost sickly and Liz realized why – the woman was a drug addict. There was a small trace of blood under her nose, when she moved the light toward the woman's face, so Liz assumed she had snorted some drug, which caused the bleed. She looked at Kaz and saw that she had come to the same conclusion.
Kaz kneeled down and shook the woman lightly, trying to wake her up. She was successful as the young woman stirred and opened her eyes, immediately becoming alert, jumping up and pushing herself against the wall. Both Liz and Kaz took a step back, not to panic the woman more.

“We're not gonna hurt you love,” Liz said and Kaz nodded but stayed silent.

The woman's eyes darted from Liz to Kaz and back and after taking in what she saw, she relaxed a bit. Kaz dared a small step closer, keeping the light of the flash light away from the woman's face.

“I'm Kaz and this is my friend Liz,” she said, „we're not her to harm you. What's your name?”

Sensing no real danger from the two women, she relaxed and coughed to get her voice clearer. Her mouth was dry and felt like a sandpaper.

„Allie.“

Chapter Text

„Nice to meet you Allie,“ Kaz said while giving the younger woman a reassuring smile.

While Allie had relaxed, feeling no immediate threat from the women, she still seemed rather tense. They were all aware that technically she had broken in. Allie wasn't sure if they'd realized she also got high the previous night. She actually thought they'd have called the cops by now but neither Liz or Kaz made a move to call anyone and just stood there. The young woman felt uncomfortable and nervous. She also felt cold, like she was coming down with something but it was just the aftermath of the coke she snorted. One of the negative sides to her habit.

„I didn't...“ Allie started and then suddenly started couching. Kaz took a step forward and wanted to help the younger woman but Allie jumped back not wanting to be touched. Kaz raised her hands and stepped back once again.

„Go on, what did you want to say,“ Liz said once Allie stopped couching.

„I didn't take anything.“

„But you broke in,“ Kaz added as a fact.

Allie looked at Kaz in disbelief.

„I admit I entered without permission but I didn't break in. The door was unlocked.“

Liz and Kaz were both taken back by this little piece of information.

„Didn't you say you keep it locked,“ Liz asked her friend curiously, raising her eyebrow. Her friend had sworn she keeps it under lock and key.

„I do but I must've left it open then last time I came here. My bad then,“ she replied with an apologetic and a bit dismissive tone. „Did your car break down?” she asked turning her attention back to Allie also changing the topic effectively.

„Yes unfortunately. I had hoped it would last until I reached the town but had no such luck,“ Allie said while looking at the floor. „I was...,“ she hesitated for a moment and looked at both of the women. Her gaze locked with Kaz's and it was met with understanding. „I was just looking for a warmer place to spend the night than my car. That's why I entered this place.“

„It's OK,“ Kaz said and smile at Allie. She didn't address the package she found nor the fact that she knew what Allie was really doing last night. Why make the girl more uncomfortable? Kaz then looked at Liz and gave her a look that said 'play along'. Her friend nodded briefly.

„Do you know anyone in town or have someone to call?“

Allie's demeanor slumped and her eyes moved to the floor once again.

„No I...I have noone,“ she replied with defeat.

„Alright, you're coming with us,“ Kaz said surprising both Liz and Allie. „We'll take you to town and we can see if we can help somehow. Your car needs fixing and I am sure you won't say no to a warm meal and a shower.“

„Why would you want to help me? You don't even know me.“

Why would these women want to help her? Was there a hidden agenda? Should she just say no? Allie was confused and worried. She'd had bad luck following her constantly and now, suddenly, it ends? It was a bit suspicious to her.
Kaz took a deep breath in and then sighed. She looked at Liz and then back at Allie.

“I'll go get the car ready,” Liz said and left the room, getting the hint Kaz sent her way.

„Why would I help you? Because I know what it feels like to be alone and to have no-one care about you. I also know quite a bit about addiction Allie and I'd like to offer you any help I am able to. First and foremost the things I mentioned before.”

Kaz realized she got a bit too personal with Allie. They had only just met but the older woman felt the younger one needed someone for support. Even if it was only briefly. Allie nodded an 'OK' and Kaz motioned for her to follow her out.

Once they got out, the Sun hit them both hard and the younger blonde felt a bit woozy and became unsteady on her feet. The coke, lack of food or normal sleep and dehydration were taking it's toll. Kaz was immediately by her side, supporting her and helped Allie walk to the car. Liz noticed them coming and hopped out of the truck. She hurriedly walked towards them and asked if everything was alright.
Kaz gave a small overview of events and asked her to get the water bottle for Allie. Liz did as she was asked. Some time later Allie was seated on the backseat of Kaz's truck and was feeling a lot better. Liz had found a small granola bar in the car's glove box and gave it to the younger woman. After she had eaten it, Allie was definitely feeling much better and in her mind she was actually overjoyed these women found her when they did.
Kaz had returned to the station to 'check on something' as she had said. While Liz was a bit concerned and suspicious, she didn't comment on it. She'd have to talk to her friend about her 'strange behavior' eventually. She then glanced back at Allie and got an even better look of the girl. The young woman was beautiful, it was clear to see. She had crystal light blue eyes and the fullest of red lips Liz had ever seen. If Liz batted for the women, she'd probably fall in love. She chuckled gently at those thoughts. It was also very obvious Allie's life hadn't been easy and Liz felt sorry for her.
'We find comfort where and how we can' she thought, not a stranger to addiction herself.

They sat in the truck for a few minutes and Kaz had not returned yet. Liz became impatient.

„I'll go see what's keeping her,” she said to Allie and got out of the car. „Stay here, I'll be right back.”

Allie had no plans on leaving so she settled in better at the backseat of the Chevrolet truck. She took a glance around. It was a very nice truck, spacious and with leather covered seats. The backseat windows were tinted black and she briefly wondered why people do it, unless they were celebrities or had something else to hide. She glanced at the panel and wheel and realized Kaz had been taking good care of her truck. Everything was clean and almost seemed new. Allie always hated when the inside of the car salons looked like a dumpsite. She was a bit of a clean-freak when it came to cars. She was suddenly reminded about things she needed to get from her own car before the women took her to town. She got out and walked to her own, less looking, truck and grabbed the stuff she needed – some papers, her wallet, which she had cleverly hidden and other essentials. She put them all into a small backpack she had on the backseat and once done went back the the other truck. She noticed Liz and Kaz had not yet returned, wondering what was keeping them.

 

„Kaz?“ Liz called out once she entered the station. She was aware there were no murderers running around but she was still cautious while walking. Getting no answer, she checked the room they found Allie in and the main area, still no Kaz. She moved towards the storage room and called out once more with a more louder voice. Immediately her friend burst out of the storage room and closed the door behind her, locking it with a padlock, which Liz found odd. Why would an old, barely used gas station need a padlocked storage room? She frowned.

„Liz,“ the woman smiled, „sorry, had to organize some things before we go.“ Liz nodded, not exactly buying the 'cover' but let it go for now. Whatever her friend was up to, she was gonna find out.

They left the station and Kaz made sure the door was locked this time. Once arriving at the car, they both noticed Allie had a backpack with her and they gave her a questioning look.

“Just some things I grabbed from my truck that I might need,“ the young woman said noticing their looks.

They just nodded, their curiosity satisfied, and got in the car. Liz and Allie had both buckled up and Kaz was doing the same when they started hearing a low deep roar of a motorbike from a distance. Allie got nervous for a moment, thinking it was Juice's Harley they were hearing. Perhaps she was returning to ask for more money but as the sound got closer and the rider came into view, Allie realized it was someone else. The young woman didn't have a good view from the tinted window but apparently Kaz did as she got out of the car, closed the door and told them to stay here. They watched Kaz stand on the side of the highway and wave as the biker came closer until stopping right next to her.
They seemed to know each other as they started talking but nothing was heard by the two women in the truck. Allie had most trouble as she didn't get a good look at the biker and she became a bit frustrated.

„Who is that?“ she asked Liz, hoping the other woman had a better look or knew something. She didn't wanna pry but she was, for some odd reason, very curious.

„That's Red,“ was Liz's only reply and they both fell silent after it.

Immediately Allie's mind was filled with thoughts. Juice had a jacket with 'Red's Rebels' on it and now Red himself appeared. Was Kaz involved with the drug business somehow? What kind of a person was Red? Did Juice tell this Red person about her and the drug-deal she witnessed? Allie was curious, intrigued and scared but at the same time oddly drawn to this Red. It was ludicrous! She didn't even know that person. She didn't even see him correctly due to these tinted windows. 'Idiot' she chastised herself in her mind.
After 10 minutes or more, Red drove away towards the town and Kaz returned to the truck. She buckled in and started the car and then looked at Liz who gave her a questioning look.

„What?“

„Was it Red?“ Liz asked even though she kenw the answer.

„Yes it was. So?“

„What did you talk about?“

Liz was fishing and Kaz realized it.

„Nothing important. I just set up an appointment to get my hair done and perhaps some coloring,“ Kaz tried.

„Really Kaz? Hairdressing appointment here? Couldn't you just call her?“ Liz wasn't buying it and called her friend out on her bullshit.

„She never picks up when I call. Come on Liz,“ Kaz replied smiling while pulling out of the station, „there is no national secret between me and Red. It was just a casual chat.“

Liz just sighed. The explanation Kaz gave was bullshit and they both knew it. Red came to the bar, Kaz owned, almost daily but she was not gonna find out what the real chat was about now. Kaz was not gonna budge and the last thing Liz was gonna do, was ask Red about it. She didn't need that crap right now and let it go, once again. She was becoming rather pissed at Kaz as she was convinced her friend was into some shady stuff. She hoped Kaz was not too deep into it.
On the backseat Allie was relieved this Red persona was a woman after all. Her first assumption, that it was a man, was wrong and she was suddenly very intrigued and looked forward to meeting her in person. Why, she wondered? Why was she so drawn to the mysterious Red? She hoped to find out and hopefully soon.
They drove for a while when they passed the town sign „Welcome to Trestlehaunt!“ and under it a smaller sign with 'Pop. 8500'. Not a large town but big enough. Allie became a bit anxious and Kaz noticed from the rearview window.

„Relax Allie,“ she said smiling, „people are really nice here. Don't worry about it.“

Allie couldn't help but feel anxious, nervous even. She felt like something was gonna happen. Was it good or bad, remained to be seen.

Chapter Text

Allie didn't know what she was expecting but the town seemed like any other. It had buildings, people and cars. The name of the town must have thrown her off but everything seemed absolutely normal. Yes it was a smaller town than the ones she'd been to before but all seemed really nice to her. They passed a MacDonald's and a Starbucks and Allie almost felt like home already.

“Drop me off at the bar will ya,“ Liz said, „Doreen sent me a message Josh is sick so I guess I'll be covering her shift tonight. Better start early.”

“You sure,“ Kaz asked and turned left at the next exit. „You did two shifts in a row. I can cover it myself tonight....“

„Nah nah Kaz, it's alright. You got Allie to take care of today and I need the extra money. I'll be fine.”

Kaz just sighed but agreed.

„You'll call me if you need extra hands?”

“Yes of course, relax Kaz.”

“You guys work in a bar?“ Allie asked becoming rather curious.

„Kaz owns a local bar called the 'Rusty Saloon'. It's popular but mostly among the,” Liz paused, „shadier folks.“

„Meaning?“

„Bikers mostly, luv,” Liz replied and smiled.

In all fairness, it was just a normal bar but Liz didn't lie, mostly bikers did frequented it. She was not one to complain as they were quite an OK bunch and always spent loads of money by drinking until the dawn. The odd tourist also happened to wander in once in a while and occasionally some local cops, who were also welcome. Kaz's bar was a neutral ground to all.

“Sounds cool,“ Allie said, „ would lvoe to check it out at one point.“

„We're here Liz,“ Kaz said and stopped the car right in front of the bar. Allie got a good look of the exterior of it.
Liz got out of the car and closed the door. Kaz was about to say something but her friend beat her to it.

„I'll call you if I need an extra pair of hands. I promise.”

Once Liz was gone, Kaz asked Allie to sit in front and the young woman complied. On their way to Kaz's house, they stayed in comfortable silence, both deep in thought. Only when they arrived tot he destination Kaz spoke.

“Here we are! Come, let me show you around,“ she said while getting out of the car. Allie followed and got a good look of the house. It was a simple mahogany colored 2-story house, nothing too fancy but it seemed large enough to have at least two bathrooms if not more. They entered the building and Allie was impressed. Simple on the outside but much nicer on the inside. It was nothing fancy. The furniture Allie passed had a vintage look and was colored in dark tones, mostly dark brown. The house has 2 stories as she saw from the outside but on the inside it seemed much larger. Kaz lead her upstairs and showed her to a room.

„You can use this room as long as you need Allie,“ the older woman said while pulling the curtains aside from the windows letting some light in.
The younger woman was a bit dumbfounded and asked what Kaz meant by that. The other woman smiled.
„I mean exactly what I said. I don't plan on kicking you out. Stay as long as you like. Now, the bathroom is down the corridor and all the essentials like shampoo, shower gel and towels can be found there. Leave your clothes here and I'll give em a wash. I'll find you something else to wear, don't worry.”

“I don't mind walking around naked,” Allie smirked, trying a bit of humor on Kaz. It worked as the other woman started laughing.

„I wouldn't mind but I got people coming and going and I need their attention on things other than your naked butt,” she shot back with equal humor and a small wink. „I'm gonna go see what I have for food,” Kaz said with a smile and then left the room.

Allie was left alone for now and she took a seat on the edge of the large bed. She lied down on it and took in the ceiling and the entirety of the room. She then got up and walked to to the window. She was overcome with a foreign feeling, the feeling of home but before she got too into it, she pushed it back down. She was grateful to Kaz for helping her out but she wasn't making long term friends. It was just temporary solution until she got her car fixed and hit the road.
'I can't get attached...not again,' she thought and decided to take the shower. She got undressed, leaving her clothes on the bed as instructed and walked to the bathroom naked. Everything was there as was said by Kaz. She got the water flowing, stepped in and the second the water hit her body, she relaxed.

Kaz was busy looking through the fridge for something edible, finding eggs mostly, when she heard the shower turn on upstairs. She was glad Allie took her advice. By the time she was done making the omelet, she heard Allie coming down the stairs.

“Smells delicious,“ the younger blonde comments as she takes a seat behind the counter adjacent the cooking station.

„Hope omelet is OK, have little else to eat for now,“ Kaz says as she places a plate with a large portion of it in front of Allie. „I can order in of course...“

„It's OK Kaz, I love omelet. Relax already” Allie reassured her smiling.

While Allie ate, Kaz made herself a cup of coffee and sat back down. She observed how the younger woman almost shoveled the food in and smiled. She also looked Allie over as she was wearing the clothes she had picked out for her – a figure hugging shirt with 'LOVE' written on it and simple black slacks that were a bit short but fashionably so. Allie was a bit taller than her but the clothes seemed fine on her.

„Thank you, this was delicious,“ the younger blonde said once done.

Once Allie had finished washing her dishes, Kaz motioned for the follow her. They moved to the large living room, which was decorated similarly to the rest of the house. It looked very comfortable and warm. They sat down on the large couch and Kaz turned so she was facing Allie.
„Now that you've eaten and gotten a shower, tell me a bit about yourself,“ Kaz said, eager to know more about the lovely Allie.

Allie hesitated as she was not sure how much she should share or how much was wise to share. She wasn't even sure what the point was if she was to stay for a while only. Kaz noticed Allie's hesitation.

„Alright, let me start then and I'll tell you about myself,“ she said with a warm smile. Allie nodded slowly.

„My full name is Karen Proctor but I'm mostly known by my nickname 'Kaz'. Everyone calls me Kaz. I've lived in this town for all my life, born and raised. I own the gas station and the bar you saw a while ago. From my spare time I help people......people who need help.“

Allie understood that Kaz meant drug addicts and the sort but took no offence.

„What you're doing is admirable,“ Allie said, „ can't say I have met many people like you and I am grateful for the help. Usually people call the cops on me, but you didn't. Thank you.“

„You don't have to thank me but you are very welcome. So come on, your turn, share something about yourself.“ Kaz urged Allie.

Allie smiled and once again nodded.

„My full name is Allie Novak. I had a happy childhood with your traditional loving family of mother, father and an older brother. It all changed when I came out as a lesbian to them and my parents didn't take it well. When I was 16 they invited me to leave if I chose to continue living such lifestyle under their roof. It got pretty bad so that's exactly what I did – I left. My brother was fine with my 'lifestyle' and he gave me some money to help. Long story short I ended up on the streets. I worked part-time on different jobs and did earn some money. That's how I bought my truck but it has not been easy. There were times it got really bad.“

Telling Kaz about her past brought some memories back and Allie fought the tears back. It was still evident on her face and the older woman gave her an understanding smile while gently squeezing her arm.

„It's OK Allie. How long have you been using?“

The question didn't surpise Allie, she was expecting it an one point.

„On and off for 3 years. More often recently, mostly cocaine,“ she replied, deciding to be entirely honest. There was no point of lying to Kaz.

„I appreciate your honesty. Here's what I've been thinking....“ Kaz said when her cell phone started ringing. She saw Liz was calling. „We'll continue in a minute, I gotta answer it.“

The phone conversation was short as Kaz only said 'OK', 'Alright' and 'See you soon' before ending it. Allie gave her a questioning look.

„Liz called. One of my workers quit so Liz is pretty much alone, so I gotta go in and help out. You wanna come with and check the place out or stay here?“

„I'll come with. Perhaps I can even help out as I've bartended before,“ Allie said rather excitedly while getting up.

Kaz's eyes started shining as she got an excellent idea. Allie's little money issue was about to be solved. But first things first.

„That's great. Let me get my stuff and then we can go.“

With that Kaz went upstairs and grabbed some things – keys to the bar, another cell phone and a black calendar type notebook. Some minutes later they were both seated in the truck and on their way to the bar. They arrived shortly and as the front parking lot was quite emtpy, Kaz parked the car out back.

„Customers park in front and employees here,“ the older woman simply said.

They got out of the car and Allie followed Kaz as they entered the building. The interior was like any other bar Allie had seen but this one seemed much tidier. Kaz made a beeline to the front where Liz was busy pouring beers out into the glasses, 3 full and 4 still waiting. It wasn't very packed yet but busy enough.

„Liz, I'm here. Let me get changed and I'll join you,“ Kaz said and Liz gave an acknowledging nod.

Allie stayed with Liz and observed her working. Once the other blonde had given out the beers she turned her attention to Allie.

„So what do you think of this place?“ Liz asked.

Allie took it in. It had an old feel to it but cozy. The bar counter was wide and reached from one wall to the other almost, but not quite. A bit left from the counter, she could see the lavatory signs for both men and women. The desks were spread out in front of the counter all over the room, save for the right side of it which had a pool table, few slot machines and darts game. On the far end of the large room, there was a small stage with large speakers and different sound machines. Allie noticed a karaoke machine as well and an old jukebox was right next to it. The jukebox was playing a familiar jazz tune and the atmosphere was very warm and calm.

„I absolutely love it Liz! Wow! If i'm honest I didn't expect such a cozy place, I'm blown away,“ Allie confessed with a gushing tone. She was truly impressed. Kax had returned by now and saw Allie's excitement.

“I see you like the place.” The younger blonde nodded, eyes shining and a smile on her tired face. Kaz was pleased. „Come, let me show you where things are so you can help us tonight. We need all the help we can get.”

While Kaz was busy showing Allie the ropes two burly looking men stepped into the bar and walked straight up tot he counter. Liz was ready to serve them whatever their poison for tonight was.

„Evening Liz,“ the taller of the two men said and winked at her.

Liz frowned but then smiled at the man.

“Evening Fletch. Did you come to pay your last night bill or make it bigger?”
„Aww don't be like that Liz. I forgot yesterday. I'm gonna pay my last night's bill and tonight's. Matthew Fletcher pays all his debts!” the man proudly said.

With that the man payed his debt from the previous night and ordered 2 beers for himself and his companion. Once they had their beers, the men moved to the largest table in the room and sat down.
From the corner of her eye, Allie noticed the tall man, who Liz called Fletch, was wearing a leather jacket with the same text 'Red's Rebels' on it, as Juice was last night. She wondered if the whole gang was dealing drugs?

Chapter Text

„So that's pretty much it," Kaz finished but noticed Allie's attention was elsewhere. She followed her eyesight and noticed the young woman seemed fixed on Fletcher.

„You know him?" she asked Allie which brought the woman's attention back to Kaz.

„Oh no no, I'm just admiring his jacket. It looks cool," Allie said. It wasn't a lie, the jacket did look cool, but she was not gonna reveal to Kaz what she really thought.

„It is cool. Now about the stuff I showed. Is there anything you didn't understand or need me to explain again?"

„I understood all. It's really no different from the other bars I've worked in so I'm ready to help," Allie said smiling. „Send customers my way!"

„I'm glad you're so eager because I have to leave for a while and Liz is gonna need all the help she can get. Of course, I'll be back later," Kaz smirked.

„Don't worry, everything is under control."

A few hours later the bar was pretty packed. Both Liz and Allie were working like squirrels in a wheel to have everyone served as fast as was possible. Once all current customers had been served and no new ones had appeared, Liz nipped to the storage room to get a fresh barrel of beer. Allie leaned against the counter and sighed. For a first day not too bad, she thought.

„What does a girl gotta do to get some booze around here?"

The question startled Allie and she got up from against the counter. She noticed a woman sitting at the counter and she wondered where she'd come from. The woman seemed young and was good looking. Her make-up was dark around the eyes but overall not overly painted. She had shoulder length dark brown hair with a long braided rat-tail hanging from the side. She was wearing a sleeveless t-shirt and her arms were covered with different types of tattoos. Her demeanour seemed friendly and a flirty smile adorned her face.

„A girl has to only ask," Allie replied smiling and moved closer to the mysterious woman. She noticed the woman check her out but she didn't feel uncomfortable.

„I'm Franky." the woman introduced herself by extending her hand. The woman was being friendly so Allie accepted and shook the offered hand and replied with her own name.

„Pretty name for a pretty girl," Franky winked mischievously. Allie almost rolled her eyes at her.

„What can I get you," the blonde asked while totally ignoring Franky's not so subtle flirting.

„Whiskey on the rocks," Franky said and after a short pause added, „and perhaps a date tomorrow night?"

Allie shook her head in disbelief and poured the drink. She handed Franky the glass, which the other woman accepted and their fingers brushed. Franky winked once again. Allie was about to reply to her 'date' comment when Liz returned with the fresh beer barrel.

„Fancy seeing you here Franky. You off duty tonight?" Liz asked while setting the barrel in place.

„Yeah, a well-deserved day off. I was just making an acquaintance with the gorgeous Allie here. Asked her out on a date and she hasn't said no yet." Franky drowned the whiskey and motioned for a second one.

„My answer is gonna have to be a no I'm afraid," Allie said and poured her a second glass.

„Buzz-kill! I was already planning a nice night out on the town, just you and me," the dark-haired woman winked playfully.

„I do wonder what Bridget would say if she saw you trying to pick up women. Aren't you two in a 'happy relationship' as you so proudly told me last week?" Liz asked with a raised eyebrow.

„Oh relax Liz. It's just a bit of innocent fun and Allie here," the brunette licked her lips, „doesn't fancy me anyway."
Allie just smiled at Franky while Liz waved her hand in dismissal at the brunette and served some new customers who had walked in.

„So tell me, Allie, if you don't fancy me, what kind of a woman gets your juices flowing?"

Allie couldn't believe it. This Franky was awfully bold and forward and shameless.

„Not your kind," Allie hit back with an equal smirk.

Franky made a fake 'hissing' sound with her mouth and grabbed her chest, imitating getting hurt. Allie just shook her head and asked if Franky needed a refill, enjoying this little banter. The brunette didn't let it go that easily and kept pestering the young blonde with personal questions. Allie didn't mind but she wasn't gonna reveal everything. Franky asked Allie once again, which kind of woman she fancied and this very moment the door to the bar opened and a woman walked in, catching Allie's attention almost immediately. The woman walked to the large table where Fletch was seated and threw her riding gloves on it. Allie's mouth was agape and Franky noticed. The brunette turned to see what had gotten her attention and she smirked knowingly.
Allie was following the woman's every movement and fully checked her out. She was wearing ripped dark blue jeans which were very tight, or it seemed so to Allie, as the butt was perfectly in view. The jeans hugged the right curves on her body and the young blonde felt her heart-rate increase. She moved her eyes lower and black riding boots accessorized the jeans. The woman had taken her leather jacket off and revealed a black loose sleeveless top with a Harley Davidson logo. The logo was faded giving it an old look. Allie's eyes almost bulged out when she noticed the black bra straps and she gripped the side of the counter. The woman was ripped as was obvious by her arms when she leaned on the table, saying something to Fletch. Her hair was long and wavy and Allie suspected when untamed, it was naturally curly. She didn't see her eyes as the woman was wearing sunglasses but her gaze dropped to her lips. The blonde unconsciously licked her own as she took that perfection of a woman in.

„Well that answers my question," Franky commented while barely keeping her smirk at bay. Allie looks at the brunette with a questioning look.

Franky has no time to elaborate as the woman, Allie had been undressing with her eyes, stepped to the counter.

„Ah, Red did you come to ask me out?" Franky immediately asked.

„Not today Franky," the woman replied and turned her attention on Liz who was washing glasses by the sink.

Allie had been gobsmacked. Not only was the woman blindingly gorgeous, she also had the deepest, sexy and raspy voice she had ever heard. Franky noticed Allie's white knuckles as she was forcefully grabbing onto the counter and the way the blonde was trying to breathe steadily through her nose.

„Liz, have you seen Kaz around today?" Red asked the other blonde who was still busy washing glasses.

„I have but she took off on some errand. Should return soon," Liz replied while drying her hands on a small towel.

„Alright then. Just the usual tonight," Red said and put some money on the counter, „ and keep them coming."

Liz accepted the money and filled a glass of beer and a glass of scotch and handed them to the red-haired woman. Red took the glasses and joined her companions back at the large table.
Franky started chuckling.

„What's so funny," Allie asked, taking offence.

„So that's the kind of woman you go for." A fact, not a question. Franky couldn't blame Allie. Red was truly a hot woman and many have tried to catch her interest, both men, and women. However Red gave no-one the time of the day.

„Who is she? She's gorgeous," Allie breathed out, clearly smitten by the redhead.

„Are you wet for Red?" Franky laughed.

Allie wasn't impressed by Franky's boldness but wasn't denying it either.

„Just intrigued," the blonde said.

Franky smirked knowingly.

„She's known by her nickname Red because she has red hair. No mystery there. Her real name is Bea Smith, 38 years old. She leads the biker group Red's Rebels and also works as a hairdresser. But I haven't seen her with anyone for years - men or women. So I wouldn't get my hopes up," Franky mused.

„Bea Smith...." Allie echoed dreamily and the brunette let it go. Allie was gone and she was not gonna interfere. If she gets burned, she won't try again.

Some more time passed and Kaz returned finally. She checked if everything was in order and asked Liz how Allie had managed. Satisfied with the answer she went to the table where Red was and sat down.
A couple of minutes later Kaz returned to the bar and resumed working.
Allie was distracted most of the evening, her attention on Bea majority of the time. She had a hard time dragging her eyes away from her. By 9 PM the table had filled up with more people, which Allie assumed, were the rest of the biker group members. Here gaze rarely left the redhead. Franky had called it a night when someone had phoned her and the brunette left around 8:30.
Sometime later Red got up and walked to the counter. Allie became tense immediately but the woman didn't even look at her.

„Kaz, can I use the back?" she asked showing her cellphone, indicating she needed to make a private call.
Kaz nodded. Allie's eyes followed Red and 'accidentally' dropped on her butt. The blonde woman blushed and resumed working.

A few minutes later Allie asked for a small break and left by the same door Red has gone through previously. She approached the back-room slowly and was thinking of any excuses to barge in there but coming short. She stepped closer to the half-opened door and heard a bit of the conversation.

„I can't make the deal sooner, it has to wait until Friday. I'm being observed so moving now would result in failure. Are you willing to risk that?"

Chapter Text

Allie moved even closer to the door and tried to hear a bit better. Eavesdropping on a shady conversation wasn't exactly her goal but she needed to hear more.

“I won't risk it yet not until they stop watching me and my crew.” Red said in a hushed tone. „I know it's important for fuck's sake! If I end behind bars because of your lack of patience I'm taking you with me. Don't think I won't.”

The conversation was serious and Allie regretted listening in. She took a small step back and knocked a box over with a loud crash. 'Shit!' Allie thought, she was in trouble now.

“We'll talk later,” Red said and then hung up.

Allie was panicking. Should she run? Should she stay there? Should she pretend she's drunk and say wandered the wrong way? Should she drop on her knees and ask Red to be her girlfriend?

'Yeah that last one will probably end in my death,' she bitterly thought.

The door to the room suddenly flew open and Red looked at her with determination. Allie gulped.

“Who are you and what are you doing here?“

Simple questions and straight to the point. The blonde loved the fire she saw in Red's eyes and her voice, the deep sexy voice, got to her momentarily as a strange yet not unwelcome wave of heat shot down to her core. Seeing the redhead was becoming impatient Allie thought fast and went for probably the worst of the scenarios.

“Uh I'm Allie, I work here..kinda, I mean it's my first day,” the blonde chuckled. Red didn't smile back. “Kaz hired me. Well anyways I was hoping to get my hands on some cocaine and thought you'd be able to help?“

„Excuse me? Is this a joke?“ Red was in disbelief.

„No I'm quite serious,“ the blonde said but before she could add to it, Red pulled her into the room and almost slammed her against the wall. Allie was suddenly scared but oddly excited at the same time. Red has fire and she loved it.

„You got some nerve I give you that,“ the redhead said while keeping Allie flush against the wall, not letting her move much. „Who sent you?“ she asked while pushing closer to the blonde. Allie was starting to sweat.

„No-one! I just made a mistake, I'm sorry,“ the blonde almost gasped. She was oddly excited by Red's aggressive side but also worried that she'd miscalculated the situation and gotten herself in a pinch.

„What's going on here?“ came a voice from the side suddenly. It was Kaz who had come looking for Allie after she was gone for too long. Red let go of Allie and took a step back. The young blonde let a breath out she wasn't aware she was holding.

„It's fine Kaz. Just a misunderstanding, a mistake from my part,“ Allie said and kept her eyes of the fiery redhead who was looking at Kaz.

„If it's a game you're playing then it failed,“ Red said to Kaz and brushed past her leaving the room.

Kaz was confused. What happened here? What game? She looked at Allie who was fixing her clothes.

„Allie what happened? Why is Red pissed?“

„I'm gonna return to work,“ the blonde said while looking a bit uncomfortable. Their gazes met. Kaz just nodded in understanding and let Allie return to the bar. She was gonna ask Allie again once they've closed up but let it be for now.

She returned to the bar and checked the time – 11.05 PM. Still 5 hours before closing. During workdays she kept the bar open til 4 AM but weekends 24 hours. She had thought about going 24/7 with it but with the current lack of people to tend to the bar it was not the best choice. She was sure Liz would take most of the shifts but it wouldn't be fair on her friend.
Kaz took a glance at Red's table and saw almost the whole gang was present, save for Juice. They were all jolly and the table was covered with glasses filled with booze. They were gonna stay until closing for sure.
Allie was busy pouring 5 glasses of beer to a group of rather rowdy women as her mind started to wander. Why did she say what she did to Red? She could've made a much better excuse but drugs? Was she so desperate for the redheads attention already so she'd put herself in such a dangerous position? What if Kaz hadn't interrupted them, what then? Was this Red a violent person or just passionate? Allie had to admit she felt aroused when the woman had slammed her against the wall. She felt herself blushing at such daring thoughts and smiled.

An hour later the Red's group got rather loud and the word 'karaoke' kept flying from the man Fletch and a rather large woman, who Allie heard, was named Boomer.

„Ah come on Red! Sing us a song! We know you have a great voice. Don't be a party-pooper,“ Fletch loudly said and Red rolled her eyes.

„I really don't feel like singing.“

„Aww Bea, please? Pretty please? I'll choose a song you can sing,“ Boomer added while emptying a rather large glass of beer and burping. „I'll even join ya!“

„Go ahead Bea,“ Maxine patted Bea's back and pushed her a little indigating some karaoke was a good choice tonight.

„Maxine! You traitor. I hoped you'd at least have my back,“ Bea faked hurt but got up nonetheless.

Boomer rushed ahead and started scrolling through the song choices. Once Bea arrived at the stage and next to Boomer, a song had been chosen. Bea shook her head 'No' at her friend but as the soft and sexy tunes of the music started, the redhead had no choice but to pick up the mic and get into it.

Mississippi in the middle of a dry spell
Jimmy Rodgers on the Victoria up high
Mama's dancin' with baby on her shoulder
The sun is settin' like molasses in the sky

Allie almost dropped the glass she was washing when she heard the raspy tones coming from the redhead on stage. The ageless song was a good choice as the notes and lyrics hit the blonde straight into her heart. Something awakened in her, something she had not felt for a long time and she dared to raise her gaze and look Red straight in the eyes. To her surprise Red held her gaze for a while as the next lines were sung out.

The boy could sing, knew how to move ev'rything
Always wanting more, he'd leave you longing for
Black velvet and that little boy smile
Black velvet with a slow southern style
A new religion that'll bring you to your knees
Black velvet if you please

Allie was blown away by the passion the woman put into this song. As Red broke their gaze and continued the song, Boomer joined in and they sang the rest of it together. Once it was over everyone clapped and cheered but Allie had trouble staying up on her feet after that performance. Her heart rate was out of control, she was panting and a blush adorned her cheeks and neck. Red's voice and gaze had a quite unexpected effect on Allie and she wanted to, no, needed to explore it more. She needed to get closer to the enigma, that was Bea Smith.

The rest of the night passed without much incidents and by 4.15 AM the 'Rusty Saloon' was closed.
Kaz picked up all her things and 5 minutes later both she and Allie were on their way to the house. Kaz would have to open the bar later tomorrow as Doreen was still home with Josh and Liz had a doctors appointment in the morning. Also Allie and herself needed some rest. Kaz also needed to ask Allie some things, so opening the bar at 3 PM would have to suffice. Once they arrived Allie said she'd turn in immediately as she was tired and the older blonde didn't protest. They could talk in the morning.

Morning arrived early for both and by 8 AM they were up and about. Breakfast eaten and coffee cups in hand they sat down on the couch in the living room.

„Previously we were interrupted by Liz's phone call so I'm gonna continue my thought,“ Kaz said and took a sip of her coffee.

„I wanna stay in town Kaz,“ the younger woman said, „I wanna work and live here.“

Kaz smiled.

„I am glad you decided to stay. So this was my initial thought. You can work full time in my bar, if you want. The pay isn't something to write home about but it should get you on your feet and support you in the long way. You can also live here in this house. I have plenty of room and before you start protesting, it's no problem. I've also talked to someone about fixing your truck and it's doable. I got some friend discount but it should be fixed by the end of this week.“

Allie was speechless. The woman's generosity had no bounds.

„I don't know what to say. Thank you! I'm gonna work hard and pay you back for all that you've done. Especially the car. It's an old piece of shit so discount or not, it couldn't have been cheap.“

„Don't worry about it for now Allie. There is one or two things I need from you. Think of them as terms of you staying and working. Terms of my support.“

„Terms?“

„Nothing shady,“ Kaz assured the young woman.

Allie stayed quiet for a while but then told Kaz to continue.

„The most important term is that you get clean from drugs. I know you don't use regularly but you're still an addict. I can't have you working for me and living here if you're still on the gear.“

Seeing that the blonde wasn't replying or reacting much, Kaz added.

„Let me tell you something about my past. A long time ago, when I was in my early twenties, I was doing drugs almost daily. I had no steady job, no family, no friends unless you call your dealer a friend, no-one cared, no-one wanted to care. It was bad for me Allie. I lived on the streets, ate from dumpsters most of the times, I stole and did other kinds of stupid things to feed my habit. One night I had scored a new and fresh patch of the poison of my choice but it was a bad patch. I almost overdosed. I was lucky though as a woman found me and called the ambulance. I survived but it was a wake-up call for me. When I was released from the hospital I tracked down the woman who helped me, to thank her, and found out she was not much different from me being an ex-drunk. She helped me get clean and enrolled me into different programs – AA, charity work and so on. I did fall off the wagon a few times and by then I was lucky enough to still have people that wanted to help me. Eventually I got clean 100%. That's how I found my, let's say 'calling'. I've worked hard ever since by staying clean and I've achieved almost everything I've ever wanted in my life. The point of this story is that I understand what it feels like to be lost and alone. Getting clean is essential to achieving what you might want from life in the future.“

„I never realized Kaz, I'm sorry. I understand and I promise to you I will get clean and will not take drugs again. I don't wanna go to any rehab center,“ Allie finally said, eyes filled with un-shed tears.

„You don't have to go if you don't want to. I'll help you here. Don't worry about it please. We'll take one day at a time.“

She pulled Allie in for a hug which the younger woman reciprocated and they stayed like this for a few minutes.

„You said terms, as in plural,“ Allie then muffled against Kaz's blouse, „what's the other one?“

They pulled apart. Allie dried her eyes as Kaz set a strand of her blonde hair behind her ear in a motherly fashion.

„Red or Bea Smith. I need you to tell me what happened between you two last night.“

Chapter Text

Allie hesitated for a moment but then told Kaz all that had happened between her and Bea. She included the phone call she eavesdropped on and the panicked lie about looking to score and so on. Kaz literally facepalmed at what she was hearing but a few minutes later started laughing when Allie says she was afraid Bea was going to beat her up.

„Oh Allie, Bea is many things but she isn't violent. But don't misunderstand, she will fight for her own.”

„I made a mistake obviously,“ Allie then added.

„What made you think she deals drugs in the first place? Surely the call you eavesdropped on didn't give that indication.“

Kaz was curious how the young blonde came to that conclusion in the first place as the cocaine bag with the initials 'HP' re-entered her mind. Allie stayed quiet, contemplating her choices. Should she tell Kaz about the gas station?

“Back at the gas station, the evening before you and Liz found me, I think I saw a drug deal take place. One of the dealers was wearing a 'Red's Rebels' leather jacket.”

“Was it Bea?“ Kaz knew it wasn't but she had to ask.

“No, it was someone else. I don't know if it's OK for me to say who it was, I mean won't we get into some kind of trouble? It was an accident I happened upon the deal in the first place and I'm kinda surprised no-one has come knocking,” Allie said a bit nervously.

„You've been watching too many movies. Don't worry about it, we're both safe. Now tell me, who was it? Can you describe what they looked like? It might help me identify the person.“

“I can do you one better. She told me her name,“ Allie stated and waited for Kaz's reaction.

The older woman literally rolled her eyes.

“Who would be stupid enough to tell their name to a stranger who witnessed a shady deal out of nowhere?“

„Well I am not sure about her intelligence level but she told me her name's Juice,” Allie shrugged and smirked at Kaz's question.

Kaz sighed and flopped back against the couch.

“I am surprised but not surprised at the same time that it was Juice. OK Allie, here's the thing. You have to promise me you won't tell anyone else what you told me, especially the part about Juice and especially to Bea. Before you ask, I can't tell you right now why, but you have to trust me on this.”

“Who am I gonna tell? Bea will probably beat me up next she sees me and I haven't seen Juice since that dreadful night. I don't know anyone else, besides Liz and Franky but why would I tell them any of this? Don't worry about it, I'll keep my trap shut until you say otherwise,” Allie assured Kaz with a small wink and she meant all she said. She had no plans nor desire to go telling anyone about drug deals, drug use and so on.

„Now, regarding Bea, that situation has to be fixed as well. She's a good friend of mine and if you are gonna work at the bar we need to fix our relations with her,“ Kaz said with a determined tone.

„How?“

„I have a plan but first things first. We need to get you clean and off drugs and it's not gonna be easy,“ the older blonde said and got up from the couch. „Come with me,“ she said and walked upstairs. Allie followed her without questions.

A week later things had settled into place for Allie. Getting clean was the hardest part but she hadn't touched the stuff for exactly 7 days now. She still craved it but that feeling most likely will never leave. What she could do was replace it with something else, perhaps more productive like work and Bea Smith. The last thought brought a blush to her cheeks. The elusive Bea Smith aka Red. Allie was ready to do anything to get to know Bea better and closer, but she had to be smart about it.

„Good news,“ Kaz said as she burst through the door to Allie's room. It startled the young woman who was sprawled out on the bed and daydreaming about a certain redhead.

„Jeez, Kaz! Give me a heart attack will you!“

„Sorry sorry,“ the older woman laughed and sat down on the edge of Allie's bed.

The younger woman sat up and slid closer to Kaz.

„Anyways as you've gotten clean and have settled in better, there's one more thing you need to do.“

„What thing,“ Allie asked curiously.

Kaz slid her hand into the younger blondes hair and scoffed.

„Get this rats nest fixed. You're gonna get your hair cut and the appointment has already been set at a local, yet popular salon, owned by none other than Bea Smith. The best part is, the appointment is with her and this gives you a perfect opportunity to,“ Kaz paused here but then continued, „interact with her.“

Allie wasn't exactly following. What did she mean by 'interact'?

“Don't play coy with me, Allie,“ the older woman said with a smirk, “the whole week you've been asking about her. Bea this and Bea that and so on. I think you have a crush!”

“I do not! I'm just curious about her, nothing more and nothing less. You've been on how she's your friend and how you're so close. It's only natural I wanna know more about your 'good friend', Allie hit back playing dumb when it came to the obvious crush she had.

“Sure, whatever you say,“ Kaz said not buying Allie's bullshit but winking.

It was cute really. Bea really had an effect on the poor girl and Kaz was excited to see if it went any further than that eventually. She hadn't seen Bea taking much interest to anyone after her disaster of a marriage and the whirlwind of a relationship she had with her ex Izzie. If anyone had shown interest, Bea had ignored it. Kaz even once thought she had a crush in Bea but it had been just admiration after all. But the way Allie got flustered when Bea's name was mentioned was adorable and Kaz was intrigued to see if those two could become friends or perhaps even more.

Allie drove her own car to the salon as it had been fixed and ready to go only a few days ago. She already owed Kaz a lot and planned to work her ass off to pay her back. She arrived at the salon quite early – 40 minutes early to be exact but got out of the car. She looked around, getting familiar with the surroundings and noticed two Harley Davidson's parked in front of the entrance of the salon. One of the bikes got her attention. It was a Heritage Softail Classic with the colour scheme of red and black. Allie was truly mesmerized by it. She wouldn't mind a ride on it as she was quite sure who the owner of this fine monster of a machine was. 'Probably Bea's,' she thought to herself as excitement overtook her. Tearing her eyes away from the bike, she ascended the few steps and entered the beauty parlour.
It was a simple looking salon, nothing too fancy and not too big. It had three working stations and, what looked like, an admissions desk. The decor was modern and in warm colours – white walls with a dash of beige added to it. It was clean and very welcoming.
No-one was present though as she looked around but noticed the small bell on the admissions desk and pushed it. Few second later a tall woman came out from the back room with a smiling face.

„Hello there,“ the woman said coming to a stop in front of Allie.

„Hi,“ the blonde replied a bit shyly, „I'm a bit early for my appointment.“

„Ah let me check. Can you tell me your name?“ Maxine stepped behind the admissions desk and opened a book on the counter.

„Allie Novak but the appointment might be on Kaz's, I mean Karen Proctors name.“

Maxine checked the book and smiled.

„It's under Kaz but I see a note saying 'Allie Novak'. It's all good. You are a bit early but since we're both not that busy I'm sure Bea can take you on now.“

Maxine closed the book and walked the few steps to the backroom door and opened it. It gave Allie a clear view into the room and at the figure standing there. Allie swallowed hard as the cursed blush re-appeared on her cheeks and neck aggressively. In the room, there was Bea Smith in all her glory and half undressed. She was clad only in her black bra and her jeans were unbuttoned giving Allie and Maxine a glimpse of her black panties. The young blonde grabbed the desk as her heartbeat increased and a hot wave of heat hit her core. Bea Smith was a goddess in human form for her. The abs, the arms – everything – Allie had difficulty staying upright.

„Bea, your 1 PM is early. Can you take her on right now?“

„Yeah no problem, give me 5. Be right out.“

Maxine closed the door and turned to Allie.

„She'll be right out,“ she said but noticed the younger woman's flushed state. „Are you alright love?“

Allie smiled. She was embarrassed at how she reacted. She's seen half naked and naked women before, nothing new but Bea somehow affected her extra. She needed to calm down.

„I'm alright, just a bit woozy. It'll pass. It's fine.“

„Here,“ Maxine moved to Allie and put her arm around her shoulder, „ have a seat.“

She guided the young woman to the couch and sat her down. She then went to the small kitchen in the back and grabbed a bottle of water out of the fridge. Allie accepted the water as it was cold and drank almost half a bottle. After a while, she felt herself calm down and was back to her normal self. Maxine was about to ask if she was feeling better when Bea came out of the backroom all dressed and ready to work. She noticed Allie sitting on the couch and approached her.

„Allie right,“ Bea asked and extended her hand towards the blonde with a small smile.

Allie was a bit taken back and surprised not expecting such warm welcome. She had witnessed a tough and authoritative Bea before but this was new. She stood up, accepted the hand by shaking it gently and nodded.

„Kaz called me and told me you were coming instead so please have a seat,“ the redhead said pointing towards her workstation, „I'll be right with you.“

Allie did as was told and took a seat on the comfortable chair. She felt tense and was trying hard to control her erratic heartbeat.

'Calm down you idiot, calm down' she kept telling herself but her body wasn't listening. She cursed her choice of clothes – a tight t-shirt and jeans – as her physical reaction was seen through the shirt and the heat inside the panties was almost unbearable to control. She could only hope Bea would not pick up on any of those things and decided to try and act cool. Bea returned to her after a few minutes. She stood behind Allie and looked her straight in the eyes through the mirror. She put her hands on the blonde's shoulders and smiled warmly.

„So Allie, what's it gonna be?“

The young woman swallowed a lump in her throat and tried to smile back. It took effort as Bea's hands on her shoulders gave her feelings where a moan was more appropriate.

„Definitely a cut,“ she finally managed to say and pulled on her hair.

Bea laced her hands into Allie's hair as well, feeling them between her fingers. Once again the younger woman fought hard not to moan.

„Perhaps a colour as well,“ the redhead said matter of factly.

„I'll leave it you, you're the expert,“ Allie said nervously.

Bea removed her hands and covered the blonde with a cape. She then grabbed a comb and scissors and got to work. For a while they were both silent – Bea working her magic and Allie observing her, mapping out all the features of Bea's face. But an air of uncertainty hung between them.

„I'm sorry about last week. About my stupid question regarding the drugs,“ Allie broke the silence. „I wasn't thinking and made a mistake.“

Bea stopped cutting and looked into the mirror, meeting the blonde's crystal blue gaze.

„Don't worry about it. Kaz explained everything. I should apologize as well. The way I reacted was uncalled for and you didn't deserve it. I'm sorry if I hurt you.“

„You didn't hurt me. I was just surprised,“ Allie replied with a smile. 'And incredibly turned on, don't forget that,' she added mentally.

Allie was still surprised at Bea's warm and friendly nature. What had she witnessed at the bar was just an act? Was the 'tough' exterior just that? A mask? She was very eager to explore more.

Bea had felt quite uneasy about the encounter she had with Allie back at the bar. When Kaz called her and explained the situation by shedding some light on Allie's past, it became all clear. Kaz didn't reveal much but hinted that the young blonde was a user and just mistook Bea for a drug dealer because of the biker vibe. It wasn't the first time someone had assumed she was dealing but she acted the way she did with the young woman and regretted it immediately after leaving the room. She did wonder if Allie had heard her phone call but probably not.

„Have you lived here your whole life,“ the blonde then asked hoping to get more info about Bea.

„In the beauty salon you mean,“ the redhead shot back with a smirk. Allie laughed.
„I meant the town of course but a good one.“

Bea didn't want to give much personal detail away for now and kept it generic.

„Yeah, I was born and raised here. 38 years of ups and downs and here we are. What about you? You're obviously not local, I would've remembered you otherwise. I wouldn't forget such beautiful eyes,“ she replied and realized how her last comment might sound.

Allie blushed at the compliment about her eyes but decided to not read too much into it. She had made mistakes before by assuming someone was flirting with her when they were not. Sometimes a compliment is just that – a compliment.

„You are right, I'm not from here. I just....I was driving through but decided to stay. Kaz has been a big help in making it a reality.“

„You'll be working at the saloon then?“

„Yeah! Kaz had an opening and I am perfect for it,“ Allie said with a wink and a smirk.

Bea just smiled.

A few minutes later the hair was cut and Bea was applying the blonde dye on it. Once she was done applying it, she told the blonde it had to be on for 20 minutes at least. Allie nodded and moved to take a seat on the couch while Bea adjusted her workstation and got all the necessities ready for washing the dye off, blow-dry and of course more cutting where it was needed.
Bea took a seat next to Allie surprising herself and the younger blonde. If she were honest, she felt drawn to this woman and wanted to know more about her and while they waited on the dye it seemed like a perfect chance to ask more questions.

„So Allie, how do you like it in this town so far?“ Small talk was always the best choice so Bea went with that.

„I love it that it's a small town. I've lived in big cities most of my 29 years of life and trust me, you'll get either overwhelmed or really tired of them fast. Seen one city seen them all. So Trestlehaunt is like a breath of fresh air.”

Allie smirked and captured Bea's gaze with her own crystal blue ones and held it.

“But the town alone didn't catch my attention. It's the.....people who've made me consider staying and making a life for myself.”

Bea didn't break the gaze and smirked back.

“Oh? You mean Kaz?” she asked already knowing the answer.

„Well yes of course. But someone else might've caught my interest. They ride a red Harley Davidson, I wouldn't mind a ride myself.”

It was quite bold of Allie to subtly flirt with Bea so openly. She barely knew her but for some reason, she couldn't stop herself, consequences be damned. The redhead wasn't surprised at the flirting, she was no stranger to the advances of both men and women. But there was something about Allie, they way she said those things, the way she looked at her, that she was tempted to just go with it, to say yes. Right, this moment Maxine returned and saw them on the couch sitting rather close. She smiled apologetically at Bea. She knew she interrupted a moment. Bea got up from the couch.

“Perhaps someday Allie,“ she smiled. „Come, we need to wash it off.“

15 minutes later Allie was done and she was checking herself out in the mirror. Bea had done a wonderful job. Her long tresses were now gone and hair was only shoulder length. The dye made her natural blonde colour stand out more as it had faded due to neglected hair-care. She absolutely loved her new look and hugged Bea as a thank you catching the redhead quite off guard. Bea reciprocated the hug to Allie's surprise. Once they broke apart the blonde blushed from embarrassment.

“Sorry about the hug but I just love what you did with my hair so much,“ she explained.

“It's OK, don't worry about and you're very welcome.”

“How much do I owe you?“

„Kaz has it covered love,“ Maxine said from the admissions desk.

„I feel a bit uneasy for not paying myself,“ Allie said and then turned to Bea, „but let me repay with a drink or two at the bar next time you come for a visit. Drinks are on me.“

Bea thought on it for a moment but then accepted. Allie got her things and got ready to leave.

„It was nice meeting you, Maxine.“

„Likewise Allie.“

„Bea thank you again and regarding the drinks....it's a date then,“ the blonde said and hurriedly left not giving Bea a chance to respond.

Chapter Text

The next few days went by without much commotion for Allie. She returned to work at the bar and made herself busy. She kept her eye open for Bea but the redhead didn't visit during those few days. The blonde got worried that perhaps she got too bold with her 'subtle' flirting and Bea is now avoiding her. Surely not as the older woman didn't seem offended by it. Still, Allie's mood dropped a little and it was noticed immediately by Franky who was seated across from her.

„Why the long face,“ the brunette asks Allie, her signature smirk ever present.

„No reason,“ the blondes replies with a scoff.

„I see you've changed the hair. I like it. Very hot. Did you go to Red's? She is the best after all.”

“She is,“ the blonde sighs and Franky's eyes light up.

“Oh? I bet she has skilful fingers,” the brunette said while looking at Allie and grinning.

The young blonde was in a dreamland and agreed once again. A small blush appeared on her face and Franky fought hard not laugh out loud. Poor Allie had fallen for Bea Smith and Franky didn't know whether to cry or encourage it.

“You've got it bad,“ Franky snickered which brought the blonde out of her dreamland.

„I guess I do,“ Allie replied with a smile.

Franky scooted closer to the blonde and smirked.

„You could be good for Red. I mean she's been alone for so long after those disastrous relationships she's had and she definitely needs some love. Also, she's so tense all the time so a good fuck would probably loosen her up.“

„You are awfully concerned about my love-life Franky,“ came from beside them suddenly startling both Allie and the brunette. „You think I need a good fuck?“

Bea had come in without Allie noticing and was stood right beside Franky so naturally, she heard what the brunette said.

„Just trying to help Red,“ Franky smirked and took a sip from her beer. „That's what friends are for. Think of me as your wing woman. And yes, I think you need a really good service down there,“ pointing to Bea's lower regions.
Allie stayed quiet but her eyes darted between the brunette and the redhead.

„I appreciate your concern but I assure you I am quite fine and not in dire need of service down here,“ Bea replied but to Allie's surprise, with a friendly tone.

„Whatever you say Red. Don't kill me for trying to help,“ the brunette hit back, „but if you ever need service and Allie here is not good enough, don't hesitate to give me a call.“

Franky then winked at them both, finished her beer and excused herself. Apparently, she had a date planned for her and Bridget.

„I'm sorry, she just started saying that stuff and....“ Allie tried to apologize.

„Don't worry about it,“ Bea cut in, „that's just Franky. I'm not offended or angry. It's just her typical self. I know she means well but sometimes she says stuff without really thinking them through.“

„I think I know what you mean. The first day I met her, she immediately started hitting on me,“ Allie laughed, „she seems to be very aggressive in that department.“

Bea laughed as well and commented how Franky has probably flirted with every woman in town before finally settling for one. The brunette was actually in a stable and happy relationship with one Bridget Westfall but her flirty demeanour never diminished.

„Bridget is fine with it?“ Allie asked with disbelief in her voice.

„Franky never goes further than a flirt, it's harmless. Bridget's fine with it,“ Bea replied with a smile.

The blonde just scoffed but didn't inquire further. Bea ordered a beer and Allie poured it immediately.

„We're open til 2 AM today and I recall I promised to buy you a few drinks."

„You did,“ Bea said and sipped on her beer.

„I don't wanna step out of line but how about after closing you stay and we can have those drinks? Perhaps talk some more?“

Allie was very bold. She has never flirted with any woman like she did with Bea and the invitation to have a drink here after hours might be taken as an invitation to something else. She was a bit worried the redhead might say no because she was too aggressive.
Bea was intrigued and excited which was quite out of character for her. She was eager to get to know Allie better but afraid at the same time. The young blonde interested her, she was almost drawn to her and it scared her. She's never felt like that about anyone - not even Izzie and she was sure she had been in love then.

„I won't be staying here until 2 AM. After this beer I need to go and get some things done at the salon,“ Bea replied after a small pause. Allie face dropped a little, disappointment visible.
„But I could return after 2 and you can buy me those drinks,“ Bea finally added.

The blonde perked up and smiled widely. Her crystal blue eyes were shining almost and Bea was once again mesmerized, drawn to them.

„I'll be waiting then. I'll lock the front door but the one in the back will be open, so you can use that.“

The redhead finished her beer and stood up to leave.

„It's a date then,“ Bea said with a smile which made Allie blush immediately.

----

Bea had returned to her salon and was getting ready for her next customer. She didn't know who it was as the appointment was booked under a name of Ms J. Doe. Bea rolled her eyes at the name. Either it was someone's actual name or quite likely a fake one. She didn't have to wait for long as 5 minutes later the next person to step through the front door was someone quite unexpected.

„Good afternoon, Beatrice.“

„Jacs or should I say, Ms Doe?“

The other woman gave a satisfied smile and moved to Bea's workstation.

“Just need a trim and while you're at it we will discuss some business,” Jacs said and took a seat in the chair.

Bea covered Jacs with a cape and picked up scissors and a comb. She got to work but kept a close eye on the woman. Jacs was someone she couldn't trust. She was an equal but a rival at the same time. They had an understanding where it came to 'business'. Both were free to do their thing as long as it didn't interfere with the other. It had worked well so far.

“Business Jacs? What business could we possibly have,“ Bea asked while getting to work on the woman's hair.

“Something of value has been stolen from me. A small shipment of different drugs – cocaine, heroin and so on. I'm sure you don't need the full list to get the point.”

Bea scoffed in disbelief, disapproval visible on her face.

„I don't deal in drugs Jacs, you know that. Why tell me of the theft?”

“I am glad you asked Beatrice. I tracked down the man responsible for the sale and had him questioned,“ Jacs replied.

„You mean tortured and beat up,“ Bea said matter of factly. Jacs smiled but didn't deny nor confirm that fact.

„It seems someone from your crew was the buyer or more appropriate would be the thief. I didn't get the name, unfortunately. Now I wouldn't be so concerned about a loss of a small shipment but we all have a business to run. Nobody steals from me Beatrice, nobody!”

Bea was done with the trim and had coiffed Jacs' hair. It was a fast yet quality work. She removed the cape.

“My crew isn't involved in this,” she finally confidently said not standing down and not afraid of the other woman.

Jacs got up and admired herself in the mirror. Satisfied with the cut she turned around and faced the redhead.

„It's a matter of principle. I'd let it go but if I let one person steal from me, others will as well. An example must be made. The thief must be held accountable. I know your stand against and I respect that. I am also convinced you didn't give the order to steal from me as you wouldn't be that stupid, Beatrice. However, it means you have someone in your crew doing things behind your back. I want my shipment returned!”

Jacs stepped closer to Bea and they now faced each other.

„Surely you don't want an 'accident' to happen to someone close to you,” the woman said with a smirk on her face. Bea stayed silent, not bothering to answer.
„Love the hair, excellent work as always. You are still the best.“ Jacs then moved to the admissions desk and put a few bills on the counter. „For your trouble. Clock's ticking Beatrice, find the thief and my gear. I'll be in touch,” she said and then left.

Bea was angry as she grabbed her phone and dialed Maxine. The other woman took a trip to Bert a few days back, to visit her boyfriend who lived there, but she needed to get a hold of her. While waiting for Maxine to pick up, she locked the door to the salon and put a 'Closed' sign up. Bea eventually got the voicemail.

„Maxine, I know you're still in Bert but call me as soon as you get this. It's urgent. We have a huge problem.”

----

Allie was smiling and in a good mood for the rest of the day and she felt like anything was possible. She was excited and nervous about the 'date' with Bea and it was easily seen on her face. As it was a bit slower than usual for 11 PM since Bea's crew wasn't here, Kaz approached Allie.

“You're in a good mood today. Did something or, dare I say, someone, happen? Say a tough yet mesmerizing redhead?“ Kaz asked with a large smirk on her face.

Allie rolled her eyes yet her smile got wider and a blush appeared on her cheeks.

“Adorable,“ Kaz laughed, „you DO have a crush!“

„Stop laughing, it's not funny,” the young woman protested. Allie was embarrassed.

„Relax Allie, I'm just joking. Calm your blush.” Kaz calmed the other woman but was still quite amused by her reaction. „I'm happy to be honest, that you two hit it off and seem to be becoming friends. Bea is a good person and I truly believe you both will benefit from this friendship. And if it does evolve into something more than that, you have my full support.”

Allie was truly touched by what Kaz said and it gave her courage to pursue Bea more aggressively. She wanted to know more about this Izzie person Franky had mentioned but decided not to ask - it wasn't her place.

“Thank you, it means a lot, the support I mean,“ Allie became emotional. „My family never supported my 'lifestyle' and hearing you say you do, it truly means the world. I don't want to offend or anything but I have come to view you as a mother figure, so thank you, Kaz.”

“You are very welcome but,“ the older woman lowered her voice and moved closer to the blonde, sounding almost panicked, „how about you view me as an older sister or the jolly, yet wise, aunt instead?“

Allie starts laughing at Kaz's small panic and agrees to change the mother to an aunt.

“A jolly aunt, not sure about the wise part though.“ Allie chuckled. It earned her a playful punch on the arm from Kaz.

„Alright, you smartass I'm gonna go. You sure you're OK closing up tonight?”

“Yeah sure no problem,“ Allie replied.

„Liz will leave 1 AM so you'll be alone until closing but,” the older woman took a look around the bar, „it's a slow night so I doubt anything exciting will happen.”

Kaz got some of her things, said goodnight to Allie and Liz and left. By 1 AM they weren't swamped, so Liz also left for the night. The young woman was left alone with a few regulars who were having their last drinks for the night. She kept busy by washing the glasses, organizing the bottles and cleaning the bar and to her relief no new drinkers came in. By 2 AM all of the people had left, so Allie locked the front door and made sure the 'Closed' sign was visible. Bea hadn't shown up yet so Allie cleaned the tables, put the chairs up and swept the floor. She was so busy she didn't realize 40 minutes had passed and that she was being watched. When she realized the time, she got worried that Bea would not come and once again her mood started dropping.

“Are you all done?“

The question sounded from behind Allie and she recognized the voice immediately. She turned toward the voice with a beaming smile.

“How long have you been here,“ the young woman asked while moving closer to the redhead.

Bea was seated on one of the stools at the bar, looking very comfortable.

„Not long. I believe I was promised a drink and some conversation.“

Chapter Text

“I always keep my promises,” Allie replied with a smile and a small wink. “So what's it gonna be? Beer? Water? Lemonade?”

“With the day I had definitely something stronger,” the redhead said with a smile.

Allie grabbed a bottle of the finest whiskey, two glasses and motioned for Bea to take a seat at the table closest to the bar. She had left the chairs down on purpose so they could sit more comfortably. The blonde set the glasses on the table and poured some liquor into each of them. They both sat down and got comfortable. Bea took one of the glasses and emptied it with one go. She set it back on the table and poured herself another one.
Allie took this chance to observe and admire the redhead. Allie had always been a sucker for fit women but Bea took it to the next level with her body and looks. Her arms were in full display as the sleeveless t-shirt appeared once Bea removed her leather jacket. The shirt was a bit crumpled and fell off one shoulder showing a red bra strap this time. The smooth looking darker skin gave the younger woman a wave of excitement which dropped down to her stomach. Allie swallowed a lump in her throat and took a small sip of her whiskey. She had a difficult time keeping herself calm. Her body reacted immediately to the redhead and they haven't even touched yet. She took a deep breath in and told herself to relax. She didn't need to appear as some sex-crazed maniac in front of the woman.

“You seem a bit flushed. You OK,” Bea asked Allie noticing the blonde squirming in her seat.

“Oh yes, I'm good. It's just a bit stuffy in here.”

Allie wished the ground would open and swallow her up. She felt so embarrassed that Bea noticed. She decided to stir the attention away from her aroused state.

“When did you start riding Harley's?”

Bea was aware that the blonde got a bit flushed because of her but she wasn't sure if she liked it. To be an object of someone's interest wasn't new to Bea. But Allie seemed different from everyone else who had shown interest and Bea couldn't exactly understand why she was so drawn to her. Perhaps it was that the younger woman didn't hide who she was or maybe the reason was that the interest she showed seemed genuine? Should she let things flow or put a stop to it early? Should they stay just friends?
She decided to take the step forward with Allie and see where it goes.

„I've been fascinated by Harley Davidson's even since I was a child so as long as I can remember really. They have always attracted me and one of my dreams was to own one. Money was the issue back then of course. I worked part-time during summers – fast food places mostly – and half of the money I earned I put aside into the 'Harley fund'. By the time I was 15 I had enough to buy one but things didn't go the way I wanted so eventually I acquired my first Harley Davidson when I was 22. So 16 years ago, give or take few months.“

Bea smiled at Allie when she noticed how engulfed the younger woman was into the story.

„What happened? I mean why didn't things go the way you wanted?“ Allie asked.

Bea rested her elbows on the table and scooted closer to the blonde. Allie was once again blessed with a view of perfectly sculpted arms, ripped even and her cheeks got covered with redness. The redhead noticed Allie's reaction and smirked. It seemed her effect on the blonde was excessive. It was remained to be seen if Allie's interest went further from physical attraction and Bea hoped it would.

„I got pregnant one month before my 17th birthday. It was due to my own stupidity but abortion was not an option. My daughter, Debbie, was born when I was 17, so I became a mother at an early age.“

Bea kept looking at Allie to see her reaction, to see if the blonde was taken back or uncomfortable by this information. The look on Allie was quite the opposite – she was smiling. The redhead felt relieved that Allie didn't seem turned off by that information as many younger women would be.

„I got married to Debbie's father not long after her birth, at 18. Overall my dream to own and ride a Harley Davidson came true much later.“

„So Debbie is 20 now? Does she live in Trestlehaunt?“

Even though Allie had not been that naive to think Bea had no children but the information about Debbie still surprised her. It didn't scare her away from the redhead though. If anything it made her want to get to know the woman more closely.

„Yeah she's 21 soon and she's away at college, studying to become a lawyer,“ Bea replied with a small chuckle.

They fell into a short but comfortable silence. Their eyes met. Bea was captured by Allie's crystal blue gaze, it was almost seducing her. The blonde was mesmerized by Bea's deep brown eyes that showed passion and strength. Allie licked her lips as she was drawn to the woman opposite of her. Bea took Allie's hand in her own and their fingers intertwined. The older woman noticed Allie's pupils dilate and she was pleased with the effect. Allie was tempted to move closer, to bend closer and kiss Bea, she wanted to.

„What about your husband,“ the blonde suddenly asked, breaking the magical moment.

Bea didn't break the contact of their fingers but smiled, clearly amused by the blonde. They had a moment which became a bit heated and Bea had been curious where it would lead. The way Allie licked her lips had clearly stated she wanted to kiss her and she would've probably let her. She wanted Allie to kiss her, almost yearned for it.

„He left me for someone else when Debbie was 8 years old. We're divorced.“

„I'm sorry.“

„Don't be. He was and still is a massive asshole. I have moved on with my life and he has done the same.“

Bea looked down on their hands which were still intertwined and caressed Allie's palm slowly. She heard the other woman's breath hitch but didn't look up.
Allie's hand was at the mercy of Bea's fingers against her palm. She didn't understand if the redhead did it on purpose or absentmindedly but the effect was real.
„My first Harley was a gift from a friend actually,“ Bea said, her hand still caressing the palm. „It was an old one but got me from point A to point B without a fuss. The one I'm riding now is my third and newest.“

The redhead raised her eyes to look straight at Allie. The blonde was flushed, the redness covering her cheeks, neck and probably went lower. Bea didn't dare to look lower, she was being bold enough which was already quite out of character for her.
Allie's flush went lower, much lower, and she was embarrassed yet again.

„I don't mind taking you for a ride on it,“ Bea said with a small wink.

Allie dared to look into Bea's eyes as the urge to kiss the woman returned more aggressively.

„I'm yours...I mean, I'm free for the next two days,“ she replied. She was sure Bea noticed her slip-up but didn't show it.

The redhead moved her fingers higher as they brushed the blonde's wrist and forearm gently. Allie's core literally started pulsating as it came alive.

„I am quite occupied this week. How about next week?“

„I'll have to check with Kaz. Next weeks roster isn't set yet,“ the young woman barely got out.

Bea let go of Allie's arm and took her phone out of her pocket.

„What's your number? I'll message you mine, so you can contact me whenever you want.“

Allie dictated her number and less than a minute later her phone beeped. She activated the screen and Bea's message with her number was seen, ending with a wink emote. The redhead got up and put her jacket on.

„I gotta go, it's getting quite late. Are you OK getting home?“

Allie said she's OK as she has her car and the few drinks they had didn't get her drunk. The blonde then also got up and led Bea to the front door, which was locked. Bea turned toward the younger woman and smiled.

„This was nice,“ she said almost shyly and Allie blushed once again. „We should repeat it over some food next time.“ The redhead gave a small unexpected kiss on Allie's already overheated cheek, unlocked the door and left.

--

Allie woke up quite early and moved downstairs to make coffee. Kaz was already up and seated on one of the stools and she seemed to be working. Allie greeted with a 'Good morning' and poured herself a cup of much-needed coffee. Kaz stopped her paperwork and looked at the blonde.

„You got home quite late. Was everything alright with closing?“

„Yeah it was OK, I closed up at exactly 2 AM.“

Kaz was still looking at Allie, still interested why she got home around 5 AM. The younger woman blushed at the piercing gaze and set her coffee cup on the table.

„I had a date with Bea Smith,“ she simply said.

Kaz was shocked and surprised at the same time. The combination of 'date' and 'Bea Smith' in one sentence was something one didn't hear often. How did Allie manage that so fast and so soon? What kind of a date? Romantic or friendly? So many questions flooded her mind.

„A date? With Bea? Did I hear you correctly? How did you manage that? I mean how did it go? Tell me everything!“

Allie started laughing at Kaz's eagerness and questions but told her almost everything, leaving very little out. The older woman listened intently.

“You really like her Allie?” Kaz asked once the blonde had finished telling her the highlights of the previous night.

“Like? It goes deeper than that,” the blonde sighed. “I don't know how to explain this.”

“Try.“

„I've had relationships with women and all of them left me unfulfilled. Something was always lacking and missing and that's why those relationships never lasted. I think the longest was 3 months. I wasn't even sure what I was looking for but when I saw Bea, I knew I had found it. She affects me, Kaz, deep within my heart and last night when she....touched my hand...there was the connection I have been looking for, yearning for” Allie lowered her eyes and became uncomfortable suddenly. „You must think it's stupid....”

“I don't Allie,” Kaz replied while grabbing hold of the younger woman's hands gently. She squeezed them in support and understanding. “I am happy for you.“

Kaz releases Allie's hands and retreats her own. She stands up, pours them both a cup of fresh coffee and then sits back down. She looks serious and the younger woman gives her a questioning look.

“So Bea told you about Harry?“ Kaz asked.

„I assume Harry is her ex-husband's name,“ Allie said and the other woman nodded. „Only that he left her for someone else when Debbie was 8 and that he's an asshole.”

“That he is is,“ Kaz laughed.

There was a small pause as they both sipped their coffees. Kaz briefly wondered why Bea didn't tell Allie about Izzie? However, she decided to honor Bea's choice and not spill any beans without her say so as well.

„He left her for me,“ the older woman simply said after a while, surprising Allie.

„You and Harry?“

Kaz gives a smile as she thinks back on her past. She decides to tell Allie and give a small glimpse of her own and Bea's past. She took yet another sip from her coffee and sighed.

“I met Harry at a local bar. It was a place I frequented and that night was no different. I was looking to score and I was quite frustrated as no one was there to help me out. I bought myself a drink and decided to drown my frustration in alcohol. Harry appeared out of nowhere – he was charming, nice and she offered to buy me my next drink. At this point, you have to understand Allie, I was tipsy and any nice word from a man or a woman was very welcome. I accepted the offer for a drink and we got to talking. A few hours later he informed me that he had some drugs at his place and he was more than willing to share them with me. We went to his place, a flat on the shady part of the town, and he showed me his stash. But you know how those things go, one thing led to another and we ended up in bed together having sex. I didn't get high that night though. Long story short I had this on and off affair with Harry for 2 years. He provided me with drugs when I needed them, I provided him with whatever distraction he was looking for and it worked for the both of us. At one point I was sure I was in love with him and he probably thought the same about me, because the night he announced he had left his wife and daughter for me my spiral down the hill had started. The next day was the day I almost overdosed and you know the rest.”

Allie was speechless and shocked. She didn't expect such a revelation from Kaz, but she didn't judge. The past is the past but questions started swirling around in her mind.

“Did you know Bea and Debbie?“ she asked, curious if Kaz had been aware of them at all.

“I knew who they were. I mean I grew up with Bea in the same town and things like relationships are never secret for long. So yes I knew Harry was Bea's husband and Debbie's father.”

„Did Bea know you were the woman Harry was seeing?“

„We never talked about it, to be honest. I always assumed she knew. If you're wondering if we ever got into a fight with her over Harry, the answer is no.“ Kaz replied while thinking back.

If she were quite honest, Bea never, no once accused her. She never blamed her that Harry left.

„I guess Harry didn't leave her for me. I think it was just an excuse to avoid his responsibilities. When I ended up in the hospital, he never visited me and even after I got out and started getting on my feet, he never showed his face. I did track him down eventually, few months after my hospital incident, and he had moved on – he had a new woman and was more into the drug business than before. I don't know if Bea told you but Harry is riding with the 'Hell's Pagans' crew and they're known for buying and selling drugs and other misdemeanors.“

Allie became a bit uncomfortable after hearing all this information about Bea's ex-husband.

„She didn't say any of that. He seems like a pretty bad guy then,“ the blonde said with an uncertain tone of voice.

„I'm not entirely sure about Bea and Debbie but he was good to me. Regarding his drug business and the gang, I never asked so I guess that spared me in a sense. I'm not protecting him, don't misunderstand, but I don't know Bea's side of the story as she's never told me and I never asked.“

„You haven't seen him since?“ Allie asked.

„He comes by the bar to drink with his gang. I have no restrictions about who can come to my bar or not but he hasn't said a word to me aside from ordering a drink. Where I stand, things are in the past and whatever I had with him was just a fling. My feelings were misplaced because of the drugs and once I got clean I realized what a mistake it had been. Harry Smith was one of my biggest mistakes.“

„I guess we've all had those relationships in our past, the good and the bad,“ the younger woman mused out loud.

A comfortable silence fell between them. Kaz was reminiscing about her past and Allie's mind was consumed with Bea Smith and currently the enigma that she was. The blonde wanted to know much more about the redhead but at the same time, she was afraid to reveal the darker parts of her own past. She feared Bea would turn away from her not wanting to continue whatever they were doing and it almost crippled Allie. She didn't want to lose something she was so close to gaining.

The didn't return to the 'Harry' topic and resumed their day. Sometime later they discussed next weeks roster. Apparently, Doreen was back as her son Josh was well once again, so Allie got the next weekend free. This also meant she could call Bea and 'cash in' the ride on the Harley Davidson. She decided to call her next week.

A few hours later Kaz was alone in the house. She made herself busy once again with her bar paperwork and roster. She was glad Doreen was back from sick leave as it meant she could spread the girls out a bit more so they wouldn't have to work 24/7. She was still short by one person and decided to start looking for an extra pair of hands. But for now, she applied her current workers – Liz, Allie, Doreen and herself – as best as she could manage. Allie had left some time ago to explore the town. The blonde was still new to everything so it seemed like a great idea. She was very glad Allie was doing so well and she hoped she'd find what she is looking for with Bea. As if on queue she received a message from the redhead and she opened to read it.

'Meeting at the base on Sunday. An issue has arisen, Jacs related.'

Chapter Text

Allie was enjoying herself while walking in the town. She had parked her car and had decided to just stroll around and take the sights in. The younger blonde had been 'sightseeing' if you can call it that and was loving the small town more and more with each passing minute. It was a good choice settling down here and she wasn't regretting it at all. It was a Friday and Allie was aware she had yet to call Bea, the woman that made her heart beat faster and heat hit intimate places, and set up a 'date' for the Harley ride. She was nervous to dial the number and afraid her voice would fail once the redhead picked up. Her hands started shaking when she found 'Bea Smith' in the contacts and she decided to not call yet. She needed more courage to make the call. Allie was so deep in thought she bumped into someone and almost fell on the ground.

“I'm so sorry!“ Allie apologized when she noticed who she had bumped into.

“It's quite alright, Allie,” the other person replied while helping the blonde keep steady.

“Maxine! This is unexpected.”

“It truly is,” the other woman laughed, “what are you doing here?”

Maxine was taller than Allie and had quite masculine features. She was wearing a pair of black jeans, a simple light pink shirt and the trademark leather jacket with the 'Red's Rebels' on it. Allie was glad she bumped into her. Maxine seemed to be Bea's good friend, so an idea struck her.

“Just getting to know the town, so instead of driving my car around, I decided to walk,” the young blonde said with a smile.

“We don't exactly have any notable places except them asylum and the cemetery,” Maxine said while smiling.

“Oh? An asylum? I'm intrigued.”

This perked Allie's interest, an asylum? In a small town like that? She assumed every town had it's crazies after all.

“It's a small asylum, at the outskirts of the town. I wouldn't venture out there alone,“ Maxine warned.

Allie nodded taking the small warning seriously. She was not one for the macabre and strange places but at times it piqued her interest. Mostly she kept to watching horror movies or tv-shows from Netflix and had never wandered into haunted houses herself.

“Wouldn't even dream of going out there to check it out alone,” she laughed. „Are you free?“ she continued. „Was wondering if you'd like to grab a friendly coffee or a bite and chat for a bit?”

“I'm sorry Allie,” the other woman apologized, „I'm tied up today. I'm on way to the Police station right now and I'm booked to my eyeballs back at the salon. Definitely some other time. I'll see you at the bar anyway so we can set something up then.”

“Yes, of course,“ the blonde said with a smile. It was silly of her to assume Maxine was free.

„I'll be on my way,” the taller woman said and squeezed Allie's shoulder as a small gesture of support and understanding. “You should call Bea soon,“ Maxine then said, winked and turned the corner, disappearing from Allie's sight.

Maxine's last comment made the young blonde nervous as her mind drifted back to the intriguing and gorgeous redhead. She was in awe of the older woman as no other has ever evoked such feelings in her. Allie's face became flushed because of embarrassment as she continued walking the way Maxine had come from.

Maxine approached the medium-sized Police station with Bea in her mind. She was actually very happy for the redhead. Allie seemed like a decent young woman and her best friend needed someone other to love and care for than her daughter. The young blonde was obviously interested in more than friendship and Maxine hoped Bea would allow things to evolve further. 'Don't fuck this one up Bea', Maxine thought as she stepped inside the station.
She approached the front desk and a small woman was sitting behind it, engulfed in whatever was on her computer screen. The woman seemed to be in her mid or late thirties, had brown hair pulled up into a bun and she wore the police uniform as was standard for Trestlehaunt PD.

“Hi Vera,“ Maxine greeted with a wide smile as she stood in front of the desk.

The smaller looking woman raised her eyes from the computer screen and a smile appeared on her face the moment she saw who had greeted her.

„Hello Maxine,“ she replied more politely and turned off the monitor. “How can I help you?“

The taller woman realizing it was business as usual with Vera when she was at work, straightened herself and became more serious.

„I'm here about Fletch and an incident he was involved in,” she said with a raised eyebrow as if unsure why she was there.

„I was under the assumption Bea was supposed to come?“

„Ah yes, initially she was supposed to, but we're really swamped at the salon, so I offered to come instead,” Maxine explained as the shorter woman nodded in acknowledgement.

Maxine understood why Bea was expected to show up - she was the leader of the 'gang'. However once the call came in about Fletch and a fight, the redhead had almost begged for Maxine to come instead, not wanting to deal with the issue herself today. Of course, Maxine had agreed and Bea had accepted to take some of the other woman's customers while she was gone.

“What happened,“ Maxine asked, hoping to get more information about the incident, fully aware Vera had no obligation to tell her anything.

The timid looking woman contemplated for a moment.

„Mr. Fletcher got into a fight with Jerome Laughlin in front of the Rusty Saloon. It got pretty out of hand so police officers were called and it was under control after some time. Mr. Fletcher and Mr. Laughlin were both arrested by officers at the scene. Once they were transported here, a new fight started between them so Will, I mean Inspector Jackson had to interfere.“

Maxine had no words she wanted to express in front of Vera. She was appalled, angry and in disbelief and it was all directed towards Fletch at this point.
„Were they drunk?” was all Maxine managed, for now, keeping her calm.

„They were both under the influence of alcohol,“ Vera replied staying professional. „Mr. Laughlin was released an hour ago and Mr. Fletcher is being kept her until tomorrow.“

„Why was Jerry released?“ Maxine almost demanded to know.

„Mr. Fletcher started the fight out of nothing and Mr. Laughlin claims he didn't provoke him.”

The taller woman shook her head and sighed.

„That's bullshit and we both know it. Fletch doesn't get into pointless fights,” she tried to protect her friend.

„It's not for me to find out nor decide. For more information, you need to talk to Will but he's not in right now. If you wish to speak with him, he'll be back in the evening.”

Vera knew Maxine was probably right. She never knew Fletch to start a fight out of thin air and it was quite likely Jerry had provoked him but she wasn't going to get involved more for now.

“It's alright Vera. Sorry if I seemed a bit aggressive, I'm just trying to help Fletch. I appreciate you telling me all this and I know you didn't have to.”

Vera raised her hand and just waved it indicating it was alright.

“Can I talk to Fletch?“ Maxine asked, testing if her luck with forthcoming Vera had run out yet.

The fidgety woman hesitated, her expression showing discontent.

„Just to talk Vera. I'm not gonna bust him out but I'm sure if he sees a friendly face he'll co-operate more. You know how he can get.”

“OK, 10 minutes Maxine, and I mean it,” Vera eventually agreed as she opened the side door and let the woman in.

Vera did a fast search of Maxine's pockets and clothes and confiscated a small pocket knife.

„You'll get it back once you leave,” she said as she put it in the upper left drawer of her desk.

Maxine just nodded with a small smile, understanding it was all protocol. Once the timid woman was satisfied and ready, she led Maxine through a second door until they reached an area which was filled with cells. There weren't many, 5 or 6 as Maxine counted, but they weren't all empty. The first cell they passed had a known drunk Leroy Miles in it and he seemed to be out cold on the uncomfortable looking bed. Vera said nothing as they passed his cell. The last cell had Fletch in it and the man was sitting on his bed with his face in his hands.

“10 minutes Maxine,“ Vera repeated with a strained smile and then left hurriedly.

Fletch had stood up and moved closer to the bars as his gaze followed Vera's retreating form. He closed his eyes, sighed and then looked at Maxine who was looking rather pissed.

“Hey Maxi,“ he said with a frightened smile.
„What the hell Fletch? Getting into a very public fight with a Pagan? Is that your way of keeping a low profile? Bea specifically asked for us all to stay low and off the radar. Each one of us has complied and then you go and get into to this shit?“ Maxine bombarded the man behind bars with questions.

„Alright already, calm down,“ the man tried. „It wasn't my intention to beat the bastard up, but he was asking for it,” Fletch said in a more hushed tone not wanting Leroy to hear if he was awake and eavesdropping.

„What happened? Give me the short version,“ Maxine demanded.

„I was at the Saloon, having a beer or two...maybe 5. Jerry was there with a few of his mates, including that mama's boy Brayden Holt. They were drinking, playing pool and mouthing off. I didn't pay attention to them until Jerry started talking about Bea disrespectfully. I won't repeat the words here but I got up and called him out. Long story short he said some stuff about someone else I care about as well and I punched him. Liz yelled at us to take it outside, so we did and at one point the cops came and now I'm here.”

„Fletch...“ Maxine sighed and leaned against the bars.

„I only wish I would've beaten more shit out of that asshole before the cops arrived,” the man said angrily.

„Who was it? The other person you care about that made you punch him?“

Fletch suddenly became embarrassed. A tall and burly man was reduced to a shy boy in mere seconds.

„Come on Fletch, tell me.“

„Vera,“ he mumbled.

„Vera Bennett?!“ Maxine almost yelled.

„Shhh,“ Fletch hissed at her, „I don't want everyone to know, least of all her.“

“You like Vera?“ Maxine didn't believe what she was hearing.

This was such an unlikely match – Vera has always been silent, shy, timid, stuttering and Fletch was a large, loud, burly, party-loving hothead. But the more she thought about it the more normal and cute it seemed.

“Yeah, for a while now and don't tell her,” he said.

„Relax, I won't. Just be co-operative with them and you'll get out tomorrow. If Jerry doesn't write a complaint they have nothing to hold you on and I doubt they'd want to keep you here any longer.”

Fletch promised to 'be good' and they said their 'Bye's' as Maxine left. She retrieved her knife from Vera and started leaving. Before she was out of the door, she turned around and returned to the desk the small woman was seated behind.

“Vera,“ she said catching the other woman's almost immediate attention, “you should come to the saloon sometime and take a load off.“

„I don't know Maxine, doesn't seem like my scene,” the woman replied.

„It's just a bar and you know Kaz's rules – we're just people while inside the Rusty Saloon. No work allowed so cops and gang members are just people. Also, you might find some pretty interesting conversational partners there. Think about it,” the taller woman said with a smile and then left.

Vera was a bit confused about Maxine's suggestion but found the idea of visiting the Rusty Saloon quite intriguing. She might take her up on it. She smiled and continued to work.

 

Allie was seated at a small cafe she found while roaming the town. The day had been quite productive as she had seen most of it, at least the centre area. There were still parts she needed to explore but decided to do it some other time. She found this small and cozy cafe by accident as she quite literally stumbled on it and decided to rest her feet. She'd ordered a cup of coffee and a small danish. He mind had drifted once again to Bea Smith and Maxine's cheeky comment about giving her a call. She took her phone out of her pocket and scrolled to Bea's name in the contacts. Taking a deep breath in, she pushed the 'Call' button.

Chapter Text

Bea had been on her feet since 9 AM as she had customer after customer, including few of Maxine's. Luckily some of them re-scheduled. Now she had half an hour or so before the next one and decided to sit down for a well-deserved break. She poured herself a large cup of coffee and got comfortable on the chair behind the reception desk. She briefly entertained a thought of hiring an extra help. Business was good but between herself and Maxine, it got too busy at times. Not only did people schedule times but there were plenty of walk-ins who asked if they could get a quick haircut. Bea sighed. Extra help was needed and decided to put up a 'help wanted' ad later.
Maxine had yet to return from the Police station and the redhead was both curious and worried about what had happened with Fletch. She assumed the man had probably gotten into a fight but it had to have been a serious one if the police got involved. She wasn't pleased as she had asked all her crew members to keep a low profile for a while and they had all agreed to do so. The only one she couldn't get a hold of was Juice, but she just assumed the woman had found a new girl and was occupied by her. She always re-appeared after a few days, so she wasn't worried.
Bea had enjoyed her cup of coffee for a while when her phone started ringing. Thinking it was her daughter, as she had promised to call today, she answered without looking at the 'Caller ID'.

„Hey baby, I've missed you,“ she said into the phone lovingly.

A small gasp came from the other side and the line fell silent for a moment. Bea was about to say something but the person spoke.

„Hey Bea, it's me, Allie,“ came the uncertain reply and the redhead immediately cursed in her mind at her slip-up. She should've checked the 'Caller ID' before answering.

„Hey,“ the redhead replied but didn't take her previous greeting back.

Allie wasn't sure how she should reply. She was a bit confused by Bea's greeting and excited at the same time. She felt her cheeks get flushed as the feeling of warmth moved lower into the nether regions. She swallowed a lump in her throat.

„Sorry about the 'miss you' comment,“ Bea then suddenly explained putting Allie out of her misery, „I thought my daughter was calling.“

„It's alright,“ the younger woman said with a small disappointment in her voice.

„I'm glad you called though,“ Bea added. „Hope it's about the ride I promised you?“

Allie perked up immediately and nodded her head forgetting that the other woman couldn't see her.

„Yeah I'm free next weekend so if you are as well, we can make it another date,“ the young woman said quite boldly.

The redhead smiled at Allie's straightforwardness.

„Next weekend is perfect actually. I don't have anything planned so I'd be glad to take you for a ride outside the town. You're gonna love it.“

„I'm positive I will,” the younger woman replied with a hint of seductiveness in her voice.

„What are you doing right now?“ Bea asked wanting to talk to the blonde longer.

She had missed the other woman and it was a new, strange, yet not an unwelcome feeling. However such emotions and feelings were still quite foreign to her and she didn't want to get ahead of herself and scare away the gorgeous blonde by being too aggressive. She kept the conversation light.

“I took a tour of the town actually,” Allie chuckled softly, eager to tell all about it to Bea. “I feel like a tourist exploring every nook and cranny I can find. Right now I'm seated at a small cafe at the corner of Raven street.”

“Ah at Nanny Giggles',” the redhead acknowledged as she was familiar with the small cafe with a funny name.

They both laughed at the cafe name and Allie asked about it. Bea explained that a long time ago it was owned by an elderly woman named Rose. The cafe used to be just a coffee shop which also sold all kinds of sweets and pastry. The owner was mostly known around the town for her laugh, which sounded like a little girl giggling. She had also always been very nice to children, offering them free sweets and soda, so after a while, she got a nickname 'Nanny Giggles' from the kids. Soon everyone around the town called her that and as a result, she changed her cafe name to that also. Allie listened to the story eagerly, becoming more and more fascinated by this little town and expressed an interest to explore it more to the redhead.

Besides her daughter Debbie, Bea had never felt that at ease with anyone before. Not even with Maxine who she considered her best friend of all the people she knew. There was just something about Allie, something that kept drawing her in for more and she hoped to not get burned like a moth drawn to a flame.
They kept talking for a while until Maxine returned from the station and burst through the door with a loud 'Bea!'
The redhead apologized to Allie for cutting their talk short and promised they'd see each other at the Saloon during next week to set up some details for the ride. Allie excitedly told Bea she was hoping they would as they said their farewells and hung up.

“Oh? Did I interrupt something with Allie?” Maxine asked while she hung her leather jacket and started getting ready for her next customer.

Maxine was curious to know who called who? Did Allie call Bea or the other way around?

“I promised to take her on a ride on my bike the other night and she called to let me know when she was free. We set it up for next weekend,” Bea simply said as she took her cup and moved to the small backroom to wash it.

“That's all?” Maxine asked with a mischievous glint in her eyes.

Bea returned to the work area and dried her hands on a small towel over the chair at her workstation and, to Maxine's disappointment, wasn't taking her bait, however.

“That's all Maxi. How did it go at the station?” the redhead asked and successfully changing the subject.

Maxine just smiled understanding why Bea changed the subject so quickly. The redhead has always been quite private about her personal life and Maxine wasn't surprised she didn't wanna talk about Allie. She told everything she had found out about Fletch’s situation and Bea wasn't pleased.

“He was clearly being provoked,” she almost snarled after Maxine finished, “and the idiot fed the fire.”

“He was just doing what he thought was right,” the other woman reasoned.

Bea sighed heavily.

“Maybe so Maxi, but I’m the one who has to deal with it later.”

They didn't discuss it further as the next customer had arrived. An hour and few more haircuts later, Bea had a chance to take another breather. It was still a busy day even though some people rescheduled. Maxine was working on one of her regulars as they chatted away about random things like latest fashion, men and makeup tips. The redhead took this chance and retreated to the backroom but left the door ajar so she would hear if anyone needed her. She took a seat behind a small desk that had a laptop and a small lamp on it. On the left, there was a moderate pile of papers and Bea just pushed it aside to make more room on the table to settle down her freshly made coffee. She thought about the recent events and had a feeling this was about to take an unpleasant turn. The Fletch situation wasn't helping and she wondered if pissing the man off was some sort of elaborate scheme by Jacs to catch her off guard or distract her.

“What are you playing at Jacs,” Bea muttered to herself.

Was she being paranoid about Jacs? Would Jacs go to such strange lengths to distract her? Perhaps get a rise out of her? What for? They'd had quite a peaceful co-existence in this town – both groups kept to their own and got in each other's faces quite rarely. A few misunderstanding and fights here and there but overall they were civil.
Bea felt a headache come on as she sipped her now lukewarm coffee and grimaced at the mediocre taste. She decided to do some unfinished paperwork for the salon but her mind kept drifting back to Jacs, her crew - 'Hell's Pagans' - and her own path and how she had gotten here. A headache was increasing and Allie’s smiling face suddenly entered her mind in the midst of all the strained and stressful thoughts. This brought a smile on Bea's face and she took a moment to ponder. One good thing had happened amidst all the uncertainty and looming danger. The second ‘date’ she was planning with the younger blonde, was truly something she looked forward to. Meeting Allie had turned out to be one of the more pleasant surprises life had thrown at her and life had not been generous with her previously.

Bea had spent almost an hour in the back room and decided it was time to return to Maxine and see what she was up to. She re-entered the work area and noticed her friend was finishing up a quite nice hairdo of yet another regular customer, Maggie Miles. The woman was in her early 70s and was a nice person, never judging and never unpleasant. Maggie was married to Leroy Miles, who was known as the 'town drunk' with a 'big mouth', but they'd been married for 35 years.

“Thank you, Maxine,“ the elderly woman said as she got up from the chair and admired the new and fresh hairstyle she was now sporting. „Leroy will definitely like it.“

„I'm positive he will,” Maxine replied while putting away the scissors.

Apparently, Maggie was on her way to the police station to get Leroy and decided to get a new hairstyle to surprise her husband. She was looking for her wallet in her purse and noticed Bea had entered the room and immediately smiled warmly at her. The redhead nodded in return with a smaller smile. The elderly woman paid the fee and added some extra for a tip even though Maxine protested and as her gaze once again rested on Bea, she became sad.

„You should have never married that boy, Harry, but it was not my place to say anything back then. He was no good then and he is no good now.“

„I had no choice on the matter, Mrs. Miles,“ Bea said with a small smile, „both of our parents thought it was for the best.”

“I am sorry you had to go through it. I know my Leroy is not the best man out there. He drinks, swears, sticks his nose into things he shouldn't but he has never cheated on me and when at home, he's a sweetheart. Harry has never been a good man.”

“I know Mrs. Miles. He was a bastard then and an asshole now,“ the redhead said.

„Maybe both at the same time?“ Maxine added as they all started to laugh.

„He is still Debbie's father and she loves him,” Bea assured the old woman.

She understood Mrs. Miles meant well and was just concerned for her. While Bea tried to deal with Harry as little as possible, she had to endure his occasional visits and calls, when it came to Debbie. For her daughter's sake, she put on a good face when needed.

„I just hope you'll meet someone who will love you the way you deserve Bea,” Maggie confessed as she put her hand on the redheads and squeezed it gently.

„I'm sure I will. Thank you, Mrs. Miles,” Bea replied as her mind immediately thought of Allie and a small, barely visible blush, adorned her cheeks.

They bid farewell to Mrs. Miles and Maxine was tempted to re-visit the 'Allie' topic with Bea. At the same time, she was certain her redhaired friend would not get into it and she didn't want to piss her off. It was obvious to her that Allie, most probably, was that someone Mrs. Miles had hoped for Bea and she was gonna make sure that relationship evolved its natural course – no distractions, no fuck-ups.

A few hours later they closed the salon and Bea decided to end her evening at home, skipping on offered drinks at the saloon for now. All the thinking and planning had tired her out so she wanted to turn in early just this once.

„Not tonight Maxi, I'm beat and I'm just gonna make it a quiet evening.”

“It's alright. I'm just gonna grab a few and then also head home. Maybe tomorrow? I know Allie will be working then,” the other woman added with a small smirk.

„Don't forget the meeting tomorrow at the barn. I invited Kaz, as it concerns her as well,” the redhead said, ignoring the Allie comment and Maxine almost rolled her eyes in amusement. “Goodnight,“ she added and left the salon.

Maxine finished closing up and as she was seated on her black 2015 Harley Davidson Touring Road King, revving it up, she shook her head at Bea's avoidance of the 'Allie' topic.
“You will talk about her eventually,“ she said out loud and took off towards the Rusty Saloon in a cloud of dust.

Chapter Text

Sunday morning had started well for Kaz. She got out of bed quite early but despite the early hours, she felt energetic and full of enthusiasm. She did her usual morning procedures – quick shower, getting dressed, making her bed, adding some very light make-up, combing hair. Once done and satisfied with the way she looked, she left her room to descend to the kitchen and start on breakfast. As she passed Allie's room, she noticed the door was ajar and peeked inside to see if the young woman was sleeping. To her surprise, the bed was empty but not made up. Either the younger woman was in the loo or she had already gotten up. Kaz continued walking to the kitchen and as she got closer she saw that Allie was up after all.

„Good morning,“ she said once she entered the kitchen, startling the younger blonde.

„Jeez Kaz, you scared the shit out of me,“ the other woman said with a gasp.

„Sorry. Why are you up so early?“

Allie had taken a seat and was sipping her coffee.

„Liz asked me to take her morning shift. She had some stuff she needed to handle. Since I had nothing planned for this morning anyway, I agreed and if it's busy tonight, I can stay on until closing.“

Kaz had started to make some sandwiches as an easy breakfast and pondered what 'stuff' Liz had to sort out.
She assumed it had to be some personal issues and decided not to stick her nose into her business. Last time she did so, Liz almost bit her head off and told her to mind her own business. Kaz shook her head in amusement at the memory.

„Alright just don't overwork.“

„It's OK. Liz will come after 2 PM so I'll be alone until then and mornings are usually quieter,“ Allie replied, assuring Kaz. „Besides Doreen will also join us at 5 PM, so I think we're well covered.“

The older woman was still worried that Allie was going to overwork herself and burn out too soon. Once again the thought of hiring an extra bartender flowed into her mind. With Doreen working only part-time, someone else with same preference was fine. She decided to post an ad later once she got to her computer and made a mental note to put one on the door of the bar as well.

„I see you got it all covered then. Don't stay longer if it's not too busy tonight. I'll pop by later as well to grab some things but I'll be busy for the rest of the day.”

“Ooh? A hot date perhaps?” Allie immediately asked while wriggling her eyebrows.

“Definitely not,” Kaz laughed, “just some business I need to see to. I'll be reachable by phone, so call me if I'm needed.”

Not much else was said as Allie left for the saloon half an hour later, leaving Kaz alone in the large house with her thoughts.
She wasn't excited about the meeting tonight, especially if the topic involved Jacs, but she was interested to hear what Bea had to say. She was concerned but curious at the same time as it affected her as much as it affected Bea and her crew.
An hour later Kaz was ready to leave the house. She had few errands to run before the meeting and it was an hour-long drive to get there. She grabbed her purse, keys and left.

 

Bea Smith was, rather rudely, awoken from her heated dream by the phone ringing on the bedside table. She let out a frustrated growl and answered it with an angry voice, clearly not pleased by the interruption.

“What?!”

“Grumpy much. Why so angry in the morning? No wait, don't answer, I know why ” Maxine chuckled.

“I dare you to finish that thought,” Bea grumbled back, not impressed by Maxine's assumptions.

“Was only joking, lighten up.”

“Yeah sorry, just got out on the wrong side of the bed. So what's so urgent you have to call me,” Bea checked the clock, “at 7 AM in the morning?”

“Just wanted to know if you're opening the salon today or leaving it closed?”

“I'm gonna open it for a few hours. I have few of my regulars Mrs Nguyen and Ms Wilson coming and you know what happens if I'd turn them away.”

“Oh yes they'll probably let everyone know how unreliable you are and how you don't care about customers,” Maxine laughed. “I don't have any customers written up for today but if you need, I can come in.”

“I'll be fine Maxi and don't think I don't know Martin is visiting. So spend the day with him and I'll see you later tonight at the meeting.”

Bea didn't really need Maxine at the salon today as a few haircuts and some light banter was nothing too difficult for her to handle. Also as Maxine's long-term boyfriend, Martin drove to visit from Bert, it was better for her friend to just enjoy the day with him. She smiled at the thought. Martin was truly a wonderful man and treated Maxine like a queen – just the way her friend deserved. Bea liked the man and was very glad Maxine found him.

“Alright, thanks. Also, try the relieve some of that morning tension. Laters!” the woman said and hung up before Bea could reply.

The redhead just shook her head at her friend's comment and put the phone back on the table. She stretched her back and arms. The forgotten, yet not unfamiliar sensation down below brought back the memory of the dream she was having before her friend called. Bea blushed and buried her face in her hands. She groaned as she felt quite embarrassed about the dream. She got up from the bed as the scenes from the dream flashed in her mind. The pulsing between her legs was becoming harder to ignore and she tried to not think about the dream -obviously failing. The dream had been quite straightforward – Allie and her making love – but the impact of it was much more severe. Bea refused to do anything about it and pushed the thoughts to the back of her mind.
With Allie, it was so much more than just bodily needs or carnal desires and she was not about to fall down that pit. It was not some one-night stand one meets at a bar, but much deeper and she was determined to see it go smoothly and well with the younger woman - if anything was to come of it at all. Bea was not that naive and she was aware it could lead nowhere, that they'd just stay good friends in the end. She hoped not of course. As she calmed the fire from within, Bea took a fast shower, got dressed and hopped on her Harley and decided to grab something to eat and a large coffee at 'Nanny Giggles'. On her way there she recalled the chat she had with Allie about the cafe and the backstory, which was quite a funny one. She smiled and thought how at ease she felt with the blonde. She hadn't felt that at ease with anyone in the past years, save for Debbie and Maxine.

As it was a Sunday morning, the road was pretty empty of other vehicles, so Bea took this chance to enjoy the ride to the centre of the town and slowed the bike down, just cruising. She was enjoying the ride as her mind drifted back to Allie and her beautiful face. She kept her eyes on the road but her mind was fully on the young blonde. As a result, Bea didn't notice another bike closing in from behind and she kept going without much worry. The other bike closed in slowly and in less than a minute it was side by side with Bea. When the redhead finally noticed the other Harley Davidson, a black Fat Boy FLSTFI 2009, next to her, she turned to see who it was. She was met with a gun pointed at her and she made a hard turn to the right, hitting the sidewalk. Bea fell off her bike as her Harley hit the pavement before sliding into a bush, that was few metres away, on its side.

“Fuck!” the redhead cursed as she pushed the helmet off her head and tried to get up.

She hit her knee hard when she fell and dropped back down on the pavement. She rubbed her knee and looked up to see if the other biker had driven away. To her surprise, the other bike had also stopped. The driver raised the visor of the helmet and revealed his identity – Jerome Laughlin.

„What the fuck Jer?“ Bea asked as she tried to get up and barely managing it.

Jerome was still pointing the gun at her and she raised her hands. The redhead was contemplating her choices but decided to try and talk to him.

„Are you gonna shoot me? What's this about?“ she asked while taking a small step back from him.

“No, I'm not gonna shoot you. Take this as a reminder of Jacs getting impatient and needing answers about the 'issue' soon,” the man replied. “Next time you won't be this lucky.”

He lowered the gun and put it away. He looked at Bea for a moment and then put the visor down, riding away with a half-loud, half-muffled laughter, leaving the redhead standing on the sidewalk.

Bea was relieved it ended well but the way Jacs was dealing with the 'issue' was a cause for serious worry. Jacs had never been this violent towards her or her crew but it was obvious, something had changed for the other woman to act so aggressively. Surely a stash of drugs wasn't the cause of it – principle or not.
She almost hopped to her Harley Davidson on one foot and through gritted teeth raised the bike up. Pulling the machine up put pressure on her bruised knee and an almost unbearable shot of pain hit through it.

“Fuck this shit,” Bea mumbled as she kicked out the bike stand and rested the Harley on it.

She hobbled to the other side of the machine and noticed a long and ugly scratch on the right side of it, where it had fallen down before hitting the bush and she sighed.

“Oh my God Bea, are you OK? Did you have an accident?” a voice suddenly asked from behind her and startled the redhead.

Bea turned around to see Maggie Miles looking at her with a worried expression. She only now noticed she was right in front of the Miles residence.

“I'm alright Mrs Miles. Just took an odd turn and lost control of the bike,” the redhead replied, making sure not to mention Jerome and the gun.

Maggie looked her up and down and noticed Bea's jeans were ripped where she had hit her knee and some blood was seen.

“I could clean that up for you dear,“ she said pointing at the bruise, „won't take a minute. I won't take 'No' for an answer. Come.”

Bea decided to accept the offer as declining it would probably raise questions in Mrs Miles. The last thing she needed was, even more, attention on her. Glad the redhead accepted her offer, Maggie supported Bea as best as she could and helped her into her house.
Once inside, Maggie had Bea take off her jeans, so she could get better access to the knee and the redhead complied without a fuss once again. Bea took a seat on the simple chair in her black underwear and cursed Jacs under her breath. The older woman breezed back into the room after a few minutes with some tissues, antiseptic and bandages in her hands. She cleaned the knee and noticed a large bruise forming around the general area as it started swelling up. Bea also had some smaller bruises on the upper leg – another result of her falling off the bike. Maggie just shook her head and sighed. She bandaged the knee and part of the leg and told Bea to put her jeans back on.

„Thank you, Mrs. Miles,“ Bea said as she buttoned up the jeans.

„No problem.“ The old woman almost scowled. „Bea....I don't know what really happened but it was no simple accident. I'm not gonna pry as it's not my business but do be careful. I do know some things and whatever the issue is with Jacs Holt and her gang of miscreants, I do hope it will be resolved positively. I don't want you or Maxine to get hurt over something silly.”

“It's going to be fine Mrs Miles, I promise,” the redhead replied.

Bea was a bit surprised that Mrs Miles knew about the strained relationship with Jacs but she only assumed it was thanks to Leroy and his big mouth again. She realized the old woman meant well and only said what she did out of worry and care.

“Get that knee checked out if it doesn't get better. The bruise doesn't look good from here.”

“I will, thank you again. I should probably get going Mrs Miles.”

The redhead got up and limped to the door and opened it.

“Will you be OK on the bike,” the old woman asked in a concerned voice.

“It will probably hurt but I'll manage.”

Bea put her hand on Maggie's shoulder and squeezed it with a small smile. She left and hobbled back to her Harley. She once again looked at the large scratch on the side and decided to have Fletch look at it and get it fixed later this week. Fletch was the best mechanic she knew and he specialized in Harley's including trucks. She mounted the bike and her knee did hurt like hell. Once her helmet was back on, she revved the engine and drove off towards the centre of town, deciding to skip the cafe trip for now.
Jacs' aggressive action towards Bea wasn't forgotten and the redhead thought about ways to return the favour. How she was going to do it, remained to be seen.

Chapter Text

Allie was already tired and it was only 5.20 PM. She didn't expect that many people on a Sunday evening but Liz informed her it was their weekly karaoke night. Apparently, it was a popular night, because the bar was packed. Allie didn't see any unoccupied seats, save for one at the bar next to Franky. The flirty brunette was on her third beer and didn't pay much attention to the surroundings. Kaz hadn't also mentioned anything about the karaoke but Allie assumed she had just forgotten about it. Kaz seemed to have a lot on her mind recently and the younger blonde didn't want to pry. The young blonde took a glance around the saloon and noticed some familiar faces, specifically Bea's crew, but not all of them were present. Fletcher emptied a beer glass and slammed it on the table with laughter and Boomer was nervously flipping through the song choices in the large binder in front of her. Allie also noticed Juice was present and became anxious. She hadn't forgotten the night where she had witnessed a strange drug deal go down and her shady encounter with the woman. Allie wasn't proud of what she had done, the buying of drugs and using them later that same night. She was not proud of her past and wrong choices but what she had seen that night brought her worry. Allie was now aware that Bea's crew did not deal in drugs – that was certain. Whatever the read-heads crew was into, it was not that. Did Bea know what Juice did? If she didn't should she tell her, even though Kaz told her not to? Million thought ran through the young blonde's mind and she didn't notice Juice approach the bar.

„Hello Princess,“ Juice said as she rested her elbows on the bar and smiled. „Have you found your Queen yet?“

Allie immediately felt uncomfortable and contemplated on how to reply. The last thing she wanted to do was give the oppressive woman an excuse to make a move on her.

„I have,“ the young woman replied and smirked satisfyingly as Juice's face dropped for a moment.

The larger woman regained her usual demeanour quickly and leaned closer toward Allie.

„Well if it doesn't work out, let me know. I'd love to be your Queen,“ she winked at the young blonde.

„I'll keep it in mind. What can I get you?” Allie had no time for more bullshit from Juice and tried to direct the attention away from herself.

Juice licked her lips and smirked at Allie. It almost seemed like she was leering at the younger woman.

“I'll tell you in private if...”

“How long does ordering beers take you Juice?!” Fletch yelled from the table and was almost on his feet ready to join her at the bar.

“Yeah,” Boomer added, “stop flirting with the bartender and bring the booze,” she almost cackled.

Allie was relieved the others joined in. She hoped Juice would stop trying to get into her pants.

“Three beers Princess,” Juice said and threw some bills on the bar.

Allie took the money and started pouring the drinks.

“I'll bring them to the table,” she said, eager to get rid of Juice and her aggressive presence.

To her luck, the unpleasant woman nodded and returned to her table, leaving her in peace.
Allie once again wondered how a person like Juice was a part of Bea's crew. She stood out like a sore thumb. She seemed rude, lecherous and untrustworthy – at least that's how the younger woman saw her. Allie also shuddered at the random thought on how would any woman find Juice attractive and even entertain a thought about having sex with her? While Allie was not one to judge people easily, the idea of being intimate with the woman repulsed her.
Once done, she took the beers to the table and settled them down in front of Fletcher, Boomer and Juice.

„Thanks, Princess,“ Juice said with a wink and put her hand on Allie's butt, squeezing it.

Allie pushed the hand off her butt forcefully and glared down at the woman.

„My name is Allie and touch me again and you'll lose more than your hand.“ With that the young woman walked away, clearly pissed and displeased.

Juice turned to her friends at the table and took a sip of the beer.

„She's a feisty one, just the way I like it.“

„I dunno Juice,“ Boomer said, „she might be spoken for by someone already.“

„Really? By whom? Don't tell me she's straight?“

„Last week when we had the karaoke...I mean I'm not certain but..“

„Oh for crying out loud Booms,“ Fletch suddenly yelled, „spit it out already!“

„Yeah alright already! Bea might have an interest in Allie.“

Boomer wasn't exactly sure of it but what she had witnessed last week during the karaoke, was pretty obvious.
Juice started laughing loudly and almost knocked her beer glass over.

„Bea!?“ she kept laughing and Fletcher joined in not believing it himself either.

Boomer wasn't exactly impressed by the reactions but assumed she was probably wrong about it. She laughed with them eventually, realizing what she had said was quite silly.

Franky seemed quite annoyed by the loudness of Bea's crew and demanded a new scotch from Allie who fulfilled the order almost immediately. She set down on the bar in front of the brunette with a sympathetic look.

“Rough day?”

Franky drowned the scotch and slammed the glass on the surface.

“You could say that,” the woman smirked and wriggled her eyebrows at the blonde. “Saw how you handled Juice and her unwanted attention earlier. I was ready to step in if no-one else had. I'm impressed.”

Allie scoffed and poured another scotch for Franky.

“Yeah well I've had plenty of experiences with people like her, so it was no issue for me. I hope she can take a hint.”

“I do hope so myself but a word of caution, Allie. Juice shouldn't be underestimated and I'd watch my back if I were you. Just be careful, OK?”

While Juice had backed off and didn't seem interested in Allie anymore, Franky knew better and she truly hoped no issues would arise. She had the offensive woman behind bars quite a few times and the charges, while dropped, were not for smoking weed or public lewdness.

“Yeah, don't worry, I'll be fine and I promise to keep my eyes open and guard up,” the blonde assured the flirty brunette. Franky just smiled as worry was still etched at the back of her mind.

“Why are you so gloomy today,” Allie pushed on, “did something bad happen?”

“Got into a fight with my girlfriend Bridget. It's stupid really and I probably overreacted but we had some words and I just stormed out and came straight here,” Franky explained with an exasperated sigh and a wave of her hand.

“Sorry to hear that. Can you fix it?”

“I don't know, to be honest. I just don't know.”

“Listen,” Allie leaned on the bar in front of Franky, facing the brunette, “do you love her?” Franky nodded. “Does she love you?” The other woman once again nodded. “Then you can fix it.”

Allie poured Franky yet another scotch and set in front of her.

“On the house,” the blonde winked.

“Thank you and I mean it.”

They chatted some more while Allie served drinks until she had to go and set up the karaoke station. The event of the evening was about to start and both Liz and Doreen were busy with bartending. The task fell on her, which she gladly accepted. Once the blonde stepped away, a tall and muscular man took a seat right next to Franky. He raised his hand and with a gesture ordered a beer from Liz. Once he had his drink, he took a sip and set it down on the bar. He nudged Franky's shoulder and gave the woman a smile.

“Shit day, Doyle?”

“Had worse. What are you doing here Will? I recall you naming this place 'the crook-hole' and refusing to step foot in here.”

The brunette smirked and Will looked at her with a serious face, no smile or amusement evident on his face. They stayed like this for a while until bursting out into laughter. Will pat Franky's arm in a friendly manner and took a large sip of his beer.

“I have the evening off so decided to come here and hang out. And the comment about this place...I was new in town and mouthed off where I should've kept quiet. Don't think Kaz ever forgave me for talking shit about this place.”

Franky ordered a beer and rested her chin on her hand, looking at her friend and boss with a small smile. She remembered when Will first came to Trestlehaunt, so ready to grab his new job by the horns. The man had changed the scenery from loud and dangerous life in Felbourne to the, supposed, quiet and safer life in Trestlehaunt. He was full of fresh views and enthusiasm and showed his dislike and disapproval where he could. Franky herself took time to warm up to the man as his idealistic views and “big city” demeanour pushed her away. Now, 3 years later, Will had settled in the community and was a well-respected man, a great friend and an honest cop. He used to be a detective back at Felbourne but the life and crime got too much for him and a spot as the Chief of the Police was offered to him here. He had gladly accepted it. While the position offered less pay, he had been attracted to the low stress and low crime part of it.
Franky almost laughed at the thought, as the crime wasn't exactly low but thankfully nothing too dangerous. The town offered the usual suspects – drunks, occasional drug addict, loitering, bar fights, public urination and last but not least, the two shady biker gangs 'Red's Rebels' and 'Hell's Pagan's'. Both gangs or as many preferred to call them – crews – kept a low profile but shady deals and questionable business affairs kept them on Will's radar. As Franky was Will's deputy, they were on her radar as well.

“How's the love-life,” the man suddenly asked.

“Right now? Precarious.”

Will gave her a questioning look.

“We had a fight, I was a bitch to her, relationship status is pending,” she simply stated.

“You'll be fine. Whatever you said or did, she has forgiven you for much worse and she will forgive you this time as well.”

The tattooed brunette just nodded and hoped Will was right. There wasn't much she could do about it tonight. She has some grovelling to do tomorrow but right now she planned to enjoy herself and let loose. As Franky was emptying her beer glass, Will asked about Bea.

“Don't think she's coming tonight,” she said while glancing at the table Bea and her crew usually occupied. She also noticed Maxine wasn't there and wondered about it. They were present almost always for the karaoke night but not today.
Will glanced around the room as Jacs and her crew entered and settled down at a table quite close to Bea's crew. Will turned his back on the crews as his grip tightened around the beer glass. Franky noticed her friend tensing up and glanced at her. She noticed Jacs and her 'gang of dimwits', as she lovingly called them in her mind, getting comfortable. It was not unusual for them to attend the karaoke but waves of danger were oozing from both of the crews. With Bea and Maxine, not present, things could take a turn for the worst. Franky put her hand on Will's arm and gave a small squeeze. The man's grip loosened on the glass and he smiled at her.

“Things could get interesting,” he commented and gestured for a refill.

Allie had returned to the bar and was the one to fulfil his request. As she set the freshly filled beer glass in front of Will, she took this opportunity to eavesdrop.

“It's gonna be fine, Will. They all know Kaz's rules – no business, that includes policing and gang stuff – while in the saloon. They wouldn't stir shit up right now.”

“Kaz isn't here if you've noticed and neither are Conway and Bea,” Will sighed.

Things had been quite calm between Jacs and Bea and only minor fights had broken out with the crews. The bigger conflict had been between Fletcher and Jerome, but that was solved without further incidents, as all the charges were dropped. Things had gotten tense with the crews and Will didn't know why. He had tried to talk to Bea and even Jacs, but both of them blew him off rather rudely. He couldn't put his finger on it. Something was going on and it frustrated him to no end that he didn't know what. Their small police station was not equipped to handle a full-out gang war, should it happen, as he lacked the manpower for it. They barely handled the more serious incidents in the past and a war would leave him in disadvantage. At one point Franky had suggested to let them fight it out but Will was adamant – what if innocent people got hurt? In such disputes the wrong people mostly always suffered, the experiences he'd had in Felbourne, were proof enough.

“Cheers for a peaceful evening,” Will said while raising his newly filled beer towards Franky with a half-smile.

Franky just nodded with a serious face and took a sip of her own beer.

A few moments later, the karaoke started and people were taking turns to sing popular songs. Some did it well, almost professionally, while others failed miserably and couldn't even hold a tune.

“Are you gonna sing as well Jacs?,” Fletch suddenly asked loudly so all could hear. “If you do, let me know in advance so I can ask for earplugs to avoid the pain to my ears.“

Almost everyone, save for Jacs and her crew, started laughing loudly. Jerome, who was seated right next to Jacs, stood up and glared at Fletch menacingly.

Will side-glanced at Franky.

„Here we go.“

Chapter Text

Jerome and Fletch were standing face to face, both holding their own. Fletch was already drunk and Jerome half way there but neither was standing down. Everyone else in the bar had also quieted down, anticipating a fight or something worse. Will was ready to step in and Franky was on standby, ready to call for backup, should it be needed. Liz walked towards the two men, her intention clear – to break it up.

“Take it easy, boys, you know the rules. No fighting in the saloon. Take it outside,” Liz tried but was pushed aside by Fletch who took a step forward, coming nose to nose with the other man.

“Are you granny's personal bodyguard now?” Fletch smirked at Jerome who scoffed.

Jerome, who stood an equal 6,4 feet in height to Fletch, took a step closer and almost snarled at him.

“Sit down Jerome!” a commanding voice came from the table behind them and the man reluctantly took a step back but didn't take a seat. “I will assure you, Matthew, I will not be taking part of the singing and I'm sitting this one out. There is no need for rudeness.” Jacs said and took a small sip of the coffee in front of her.

Jacs had spent most of her life in Trestlehaunt but for a few years lived in Prizbane and there she first got her toe wet in the drug business. Her ex-husband, Vinnie, was well-known and feared drug lord and once he died – killed by a rivalling drug lord – Jacs took over the business. She ruled her 'empire' with an iron fist but rarely got her own hands dirty. Thanks to that the cops never had much evidence to pin anything on her and she'd been quite lucky with avoiding jail time as most of the cases were dropped. She had retreated back to Trestlehaunt as things had gotten a bit out of hand back in Prizbane. A new drug lord had entered the scene and started taking out Jacs' people left and right. She made a strategical call and took her business out of the big city and into the small town. She still 'branched out' to nearby towns and was doing quite well. However, competition showed it's head at the most unexpected times and thus Jacs was facing with Bea Smith and her crew. To be fair, Bea did not deal in drugs, but Jacs had made it her missions to be the only drug lord and smuggler in these parts. She had to be smart about it as Bea was not one easily deceived and a fight between her crew and the redheads was not the best idea – all in good time.

“I recommend to calm down Matthew and let the karaoke continue. Susan there,“ she said while looking at Boomer, „seems rather eager to sing a song.“

Boomer almost choked on her beer but nodded eagerly and looked up at Fletch, who was still pretty agitated.

„She's right Fletch, I do wanna sing one,” Boomer said shyly.

The tall man relaxed and took a step back as well. He turned to look at his mates by the table, who were all giving him a sympathetic look, save for Juice who was more interested in the blonde behind the bar. Allie was pouring some beers and once done brought them over to their table. Fletch had reasonably calmed down and was about to take a seat but Jerome had taken a step closer to him and kicked the chair from under him. Fletch fell down, pulling Allie, who was about to set the beers on the table, with him. They both took a rather hard fall on the hardwood floor. The beer glasses fell as well and broke on impact. Glass shards, small and large, were everywhere. The blonde tried to get up and supported her weight on her hands but cut them with glass shards in the process. Liz jumped in and pulled Allie up by her elbow. Allie turned her palms out and small shards of glass embedded into her skin. Her hands were bleeding.

„Shit,“ she mumbled and Liz led her away from the group of people.

„Doreen, will you clean the mess up while I tend to Allie's hands,“ Liz almost commanded. Doreen didn't need to be told twice and she rushed to collect all the glass on the floor and then wash and dry the beer.
Liz turned to everyone left standing and scoffed. Allie was by her side, hands still bleeding and the pain was evident in her eyes.

„Resolve it outside or be thrown out. You all know the rules of this bar!“

The women retreated to the back room.

Jerome was not about to step down though and flipped the bird at Fletch which aggravated the other man further. Doreen hadn't managed to tidy up when Fletch punched Jerome in full force. The man stumbled back against a table and fell over it and to the floor. The force of the punch was so hard, Jerome had blood coming from his nose and mouth. He snarled at Fletch and rushed toward him. He got the upper hand and punched Fletch in the stomach, making him take a step back. He used this chance to kick his rival in the legs, so Fleth fell down on his knees. Things were getting out of hand and people were backing up to make room for the brawl. Jacs had also gotten up and moved to the bar, taking a seat right next to Will and Franky acknowledging them both with a small nod. She turned so she had a good view of the fight but made no move to stop it.
Jerome and Fletch were fighting it out – fists were flying, arms were twisted, tables and chairs were broken. Both men were quite out of breath. Their faces and fists were bloody but they had no intention of stopping. As an addition to punching, words were exchanged and the fight was getting really violent. Eventually, Will got up, having had enough of it, and tried to separate them. This only earned him a punch in the face from Jerome and a heavy push from Fletch. Will stumbled back but Franky caught him.

„I've called for backup,“ she simply said and they both returned to the fight trying to calm the two men down.

15 minutes later it had finally ended. The backup had arrived and helped break up the fight. Both, Jerome and Fletch, were arrested and taken away to sleep it off back at the station. They were both accused of assaulting police officers and starting a fight in the first place, so they were gonna be locked up for a few days at least.
Things had settled down as Franky and Will helped Doreen tidying up the place. Chairs and tables were broken, glasses on the floor – it was a total mess. After a while, Liz emerged from the back without Allie. She took a look at the place and a look of anger and dissatisfaction were clear on her face.

„Everybody out! The saloon is closed!“ she yelled and started showing people the exit.

„Oh come on Liz,“ Boomer protested as Liz was pushing her toward the door, „we can clean this mess up and I'll even help.“

„Out!“ Liz didn't budge on the matter.

„I wanna sing and enjoy the evening. Come on Liz, please?“ Boomer tried again.

„I'm closing the saloon and karaoke is cancelled! Thank the two idiots who got arrested. Out!“ Liz kept pushing Boomer to the exit and succeeding after a medium effort.

„Liz, be reasonable,“ Boomer tried again with an almost puppy-dog look.

„I am being reasonable Booms.“

Liz put the 'Closed' sign on the door and slammed it shut with enough force for the windows to shake.

Boomer stumped her foot and went to her bike and started to get on it.

“You're not gonna ride after all those beers,” Franky said, catching the other woman by surprise. “You're drunk. Walk home.”

“Piss off Franky,” the larger woman said but started walking towards, what Franky knew, was her home.

“You've still not made up with her?” Will asked.

“Not yet but I will. Boomer is still my best friend. She'll come around.”

„Get in, I'll drive you home. I had a few beers only so it's safe for me to drive. You on the other hand...”

“Yeah yeah, I get it,” the tattooed woman said in annoyance and got in the Jeep Will was driving.

They drove in silence, both deep in thought. The events at the bar were just the beginning and with limited resources, they hoped they were prepared enough to withstand the wave.

 

Kaz was 5 minutes away from her destination when she received the phone-call from Liz about the fight at the saloon. She was not satisfied with what she heard, especially Allie getting hurt, and she planned on addressing all this with Bea. Liz had assured her the situation was resolved and Allie taken care of but Kaz was far from happy.
She approached the meeting place, an abandoned looking farm on the far outskirts of Trestlehaunt, and slowed down when she turned left on the dirt road leading to the house. She recalled to whom the place used to belong to. Old man, Pavlov used to own it, an angry and bitter man to Kaz's memory. He died of natural causes some years ago, leaving no family or inheritors behind, and she had always wondered how Bea got the deed to the property. However, she was smarter than that and never asked. It was not her business.
Kaz pulled up in front of the worn down house and saw two Harley's already parked there. She recognized them both belonging to Maxine and Bea. She got out of the car, slammed the door shut and walked towards the front door. The lights were on inside and she didn't bother knocking. She opened the door and was greeted by Maxine but Bea was not in immediate sight. She got in, closed the door and took her jacket off hanging it by the door. She gave a quick look around to take in her surroundings and noticed the fireplace was lit and that explained why it was so warm. The desk in front of the fireplace was covered with some food, drink and glasses and a sofa and an armchair was right next to it.

“Hey Maxi, where's Bea?” Kaz asked as she took a seat on the sofa and got comfortable.

“She went to the barn, she'll return shortly.”

Maxine took a seat in the armchair and grabbed the bottle of red wine standing on the table. She poured herself a full glass of it and offered Kaz as well. The other woman refused for now. They sat in silence for a while, neither sure what to say as the reason for this meeting lay heavy in their mind. Maxine was on her second glass of wine when Bea finally emerged from the front door, slamming the door shut behind her with quite a force.

“Good, everyone's here,” the redhead said as she also hung her leather jacket and moved to the table but not taking a seat.

“What's this about,” Kaz asked quite impatiently.

Bea stood in front of the fireplace, the hue of the burning fire bringing the colour of her red hair forward. It almost seemed like her hair was on fire.

“I've received a call about a fight at the saloon and I assume you have as well, Bea said while looking at Kaz, “and that is partly why I have asked you both here tonight.”

Kaz turned her gaze on the table and eyed the bottle of beer on the far corner of it. Maxine pushed the bottle closer and the blonde woman gladly accepted it. She opened the bottle and took a rather large swig of it.

“We have to discuss certain topics and incidents,” the redhead continued with a sigh, “and Jacs is one of them. Decisions must be made.”

Maxine just nodded but Kaz seemed confused.

“Gang war isn't my problem. Why exactly am I here?” The blonde woman almost snapped at the redhead, clearly displeased.

“You are both here because I trust you with my life, and if a war starts, you'll be affected as well, Kaz. I'd like to avoid it if I can of course.” Bea explained calmly keeping her own emotions in check.

“Alright then, let's get to it,” Maxine said and they all settled down.

Chapter Text

Bea took a seat on the sofa next to Kaz and grabbed a bottle of beer from the table. She gazed at the fire, which was crackling in the fireplace and took a sip from the bottle.
Maxine kept her eyes on her red-haired friend with a look of concern. Bea rarely seemed worried or nervous but to Maxine, the redhead seemed almost shaken. It also didn't go unnoticed that Bea was limping a bit and the brunette made sure to ask about it.
Kaz shifted away from Bea unconsciously and wondered why she was here? She was not part of any crew and wished no part of any crew activity. However, she respected Bea enough to at least hear what she had to say. It was only fair as the redhead had offered her the same respect in the past.

„Jacs is moving in on our territory and making demands,“ Bea finally broke the awkward silence in the house.

„Such as?“ Maxine asked.

„She came for a haircut the other day and told me a story of her drugs being stolen. You can imagine my surprise. Why would she tell me about it? I don't deal in drugs. As it was revealed by Jacs, someone from my crew took them. I didn't wanna believe it and I called on her bullshit, trust me on that, but she was adamant it was someone from us. Here comes in the 'demand' from Jacs. I am to find out who the idiot was and hand them over to her.” Bea almost spat the last part out and took yet another sip of her beer.

Kaz tensed up the moment Bea mentioned the drugs and turned her gaze to the fire. Maxine noticed but remained silent for now. The blonde became fidgety on the sofa next to the redhead and she grabbed a bottle of beer on the table. Bea didn't pay attention to her nervousness but the brunette opposite of her became more suspicious.

“Who'd be stupid enough to steal from Jacs? Especially drugs,“ Maxine asked and kept her eyes on Kaz.

“Well, I am positive it was not you Maxine. I trust you with my life and I know you'd gain nothing from stealing from Jacs. Also, let's be honest here,” Bea laughed, „you wouldn't even know what to do with a bag full of drugs anyway.”

Maxine laughed as well but agreed. She didn't start riding a Harley Davidson and become Bea's friend because she wanted to be part of the shady underworld dealings. She does it all for the sheer fun and enjoyment of the life – the ride, the lifestyle – also her boyfriend loves the 'biker' vibe. Meeting Bea was one of the best things that ever happened to her. The redhead never judged her for her past and they became the fastest of friends. Maxine would never screw Bea over and she'd definitely never in her wildest dreams steal from Jacs Holt.

“Kaz, I also know for sure you didn't do it either.” the redhead turned to the blonde sitting next to her with a small smile. Kaz seemed to relax a bit but Maxine kept her keen eye on her for now. „You have a past with the drug use and I really doubt you'd fall back to it. Also taking into account how you help others with the same issues and the rules you've set on the saloon, I don't think for one second you'd steal from Jacs.”

Kaz nodded and whispered a 'thanks'. She took another sip from the beer and decided to play the devil's advocate here.

“What about you Bea?“ the blonde asked.
„Kaz!“ Maxine yelled and slammed her wine glass on the table.

„No Maxine, how do we know she didn't take the drugs? Sure she's the leader of her crew but that doesn't excuse her.”

Kaz knew Bea wasn't the culprit here but she had to raise that question, damn the consequences.

“It's alright Maxi,” the redhead calmed her friend who was now standing up and was ready to protect her. „It's an honest question and Kaz is right. I could easily be the one stirring the pot. I'm not though. You both know my stand against the drugs and would I shoot the bullet into my own leg?“

„No you wouldn't,” the brunette said with a sigh and sat back down.

„Sorry Bea, I had to ask,“ Kaz said and settled back into the sofa.

„Honestly it's fine,” the redhead said and looked sternly at Maxine who just smiled apologetically. “If you don't question me or my motives, this,” Bea pointed her finger between the three of them, “wouldn't work. There would be no trust and it's an integral part of the relationship.”

They all had to agree. Keeping each other on their toes and occasionally questioning they choices and motives were refreshing. Most importantly, there were no hard feelings. Kaz, however, still remained tense. She knew the answer to Bea's question and was afraid to voice it.

“You think it's someone from the others? Boomer, Fletch or Juice?” Maxine put it out there.
The fact that there were only three of them present and Bea had left out the others? Took no genius to realize it had to be on of the named people.

“Boomer is too stupid to pull something like that off. She might be a protective or aggressive while with all of you but alone, she's quite the docile thing. Stealing from Jacs? Not Boomers style,” Kaz mused out loud.
She realized she might've sounded a bit harsh when it came to the lovable Boomer, but it was the truth. The large woman would never do something this ballsy. Also, Kaz wanted to approach all the options before revealing the truth.

“I agree,” Bea said, “Booms is definitely not the one. Her biggest flaw is her big mouth but she wouldn't steal from Jacs. At least not without my say so.”

“So what? You guys think its Fletch?” Maxine asked with a bit irritate tone of voice. She refilled her glass of wine and almost drowned it in one gulp.

“While he is a good candidate, he is a more physical person. He prefers to use his fists and words as opposed to behind the scenes drug deals. It doesn't exclude him entirely but....”

“It's not Fletch!” Kaz interrupted Bea with an aggravated tone of voice startling both Maxine and the redhead.

Silence engulfed the room. Kaz looked into the fire and thought about her next words carefully.

“Bea, before I say anything, I need you to promise me that Allie will stay out of all this.”

“Allie?” the redhead questioned in surprise.
“Promise me, Bea,” the blonde almost demanded.

“If it's in my power, yes Allie will stay out of this. I'll keep her safe to the best of my ability. I promise. Now, what's this about?”

Kaz seemed satisfied with Bea's promise but she was aware asking the other woman to keep Allie away was for nought really. The younger blonde was too smitten with the redhead to keep her nose out her business, whether she wanted or not. She was not an idiot. It was obvious Allie and Bea had a strong attraction and both of their worlds would collide inevitably. But if there was something Kaz could do about it, she preferred the worlds to collide later than sooner.

“Your thief? It's Juice,” Kaz simply said.

“Juice?!” Maxine laughed. “Come on Kaz! She can barely get on her Harley straight, let alone steal a stash of drugs from Jacs. She's got mush for brains. I'd sooner believe it was Boomer than Juice.”

Bea raised her hand and motioned for Maxine to zip it, which she did.

“Are you sure?” Kaz nodded. “How are you sure?”

“Allie witnessed the exchange of the drugs at my gas station. That's why she initially assumed you were dealing them when you two first met back at the saloon, remember? You went all 'Bea the Warrior Princess' on her.”

“I remember,” the redhead sighed. She still felt guilty about lashing out at Allie like that. “How is Allie sure it was Juice? Could've been anyone.”

“Juice told Allie her name when she sold a small dose of coke to her,” Kaz explained.

“Told you, mush for brains.” Maxine chipped in. “Who tells a stranger their name during a drug deal.”

Kaz just shook her head.

Bea stood up and moved to the fire, settling her gaze on it.

“I need to talk to Allie about it, of course. I need details of the exchange. Don't worry Kaz, I'll just ask a few questions and Allie won't be involved any longer. But overall it isn't good. I had hoped Jacs was pulling my leg and lying but...,” the redhead said in a defeated tone. “We need to decide what to do with that information. Do we hand Juice over to Jacs who will make an example of her, and you both know what that means or we decide on an alternative plan?”

Chapter Text

„It's not an easy decision, Bea!” Maxine said and sat up on the chair. „Juice is a part of our crew, not some piece of meat we can throw away when it starts smelling.“

„I know and I had no intention of deciding this on my own. That's why we're all here, now that we know who it is. I expect both of your input on the matter.”

Bea was becoming frustrated and the pain in her knee didn't help, if anything the pain just got worse. Momentarily Bea was worried if taking Allie out on that ride on the weekend was a good idea and perhaps she should postpone it. However, she had bigger problems to solve and this one wasn't gonna go away on its own. The redhead glanced at the two other people in the room and sighed. Kaz seemed uncomfortable but deep in thought and Maxine was wired and ready to protect Juice. Bea almost shook her head in disbelief. It was only a month ago her brunette friend was ready to beat the crap out of Juice for being disrespectful towards a woman who was walking by and now Maxine is ready to defend her. How the tables can turn.
Without even realizing, Bea was massaging her knee and once again Maxine became curious.

“Your knee giving you trouble?“ she asked with a concerned tone. „You were limping earlier. What happened?“

This brought Kaz out of her thoughts as well and she looked at Bea's knee with interest.

“I fell off my bike,“ the leader of the crew simply stated.

„Yeah right, you fell off. Come on Bea! You're one of the best riders I know. The only way I believe you fell off is that you were drunk.”

Maxine wasn't buying it and Bea was actually thankful for that. She could rarely get away with lying to her and this time was no different.
Kaz sat up and inched a bit closer to the redhead and put her hand on her shoulder, urging her to tell them what happened.

“Alright! I can see avoiding the truth is a bad idea here. Jerome pushed me off the road today by pulling a gun on me. I took a violent turn to the right to avoid it, hit the sidewalk and fell off and hit my knee. It was an unfortunate fall.“

„Jerome?!“ both Kaz and Maxine yelled.

“Oh my God Bea. Why didn't you say anything?” Kaz asked in shock.

„I didn't want to add more problems to the already big mountain of it. However, what Jerome did, was a clear indication that Jacs means business. He told me his action was a reminder about the stolen drugs and Jacs was getting impatient.“

The other women stayed silent and just looked at their friend with looks of horror which were mixed with worry.

“I'm fine though, it's nothing really. Nothing some ice and painkillers won't fix. My Harley got the worst of it and needs a paint job.”

But Bea wasn't an idiot and she understood things were going to take a bad turn sooner or later. Their decision about Juice would set things into motion but which way, remained to be seen. Jerome's aggressive move was proof enough of the oncoming shitstorm. Could they avoid it or fight it?

„I say fuck Jacs,“ Kaz almost spit out, surprising both Bea and Maxine. „Why should we do what she says? Fuck her!“

The other women stayed silent, not sure on what to say or how to react.

„So what? Juice obviously made a mistake by stealing those drugs. She was at the Rusty Saloon today, so this tells me she isn't even aware those drugs belonged to Jacs. Why should she pay harshly for one stupid mistake? Jacs has no right to demand we hand her over so I vote that we handle it ourselves and leave Jacs hanging.“

„I agree with Kaz,“ Maxine suddenly added. „If Juice was at the saloon today, she doesn't know the consequences of her mistake, so this is wiser to be handle amongst ourselves than let Jacs do it.“

Bea thought on the matter for a bit but overall had to agree with the others.

„If we give her over to Jacs, she'll most likely be killed and made as an example. To be quite honest, Jacs already got her revenge on the man who sold the drugs to Juice in the first place. This also tells me she knows who bought them. Jacs is playing and demanding I hand Juice over to her is probably just a test.“

„A test? What do you mean?“ Kaz asked confused.

„A test to see if I'll play as well. A test to see if I'll fight back or lie down in front of her feet like a docile dog,“ Bea almost sneered. „I am no dog and neither are you, so I agree with you both. We will handle Juice on our own and I'll tell Jacs to piss off!“

„What happens if she doesn't like your answer? I doubt she'll be happy we're gonna fight back.“

Maxine brought a valid point out. This could have some serious consequences.

„I have thought about it, Maxi. I will try to reason with her at first. The loss of the drugs, as she said herself, wasn't an issue. It was the principle of thievery as no-one steals from her. If she doesn't like my answer then we'll just have to wait and see what her retaliation will be. We will have to be cautious from now on of course. That includes you, Kaz.“

„I'll be fine, don't you worry about it,“ the blonde woman waved it off.

„I mean it, Kaz. You might not be officially in my crew but everyone knows you're almost a part of it due to our friendship. That puts you on the line as well. I don't know how she will retaliate but we will all have to be careful. What Jerome did this morning proves to me that Jacs means serious business.“

Bea was worried about them all and she knew for certain Jacs was not gonna leave it be. Whether the other woman was going to use physical force or not, remained to be seen. That meant all of them had to be cautious and it included Kaz and Allie as well. Which reminded her...

„I still want to talk to Allie about the drug deal. Just some simple questions like what was said and so on. I won't involve her more and I will make sure Jacs knows nothing about her involvement.“

The blonde woman sighed and got up from the sofa. She stood in front of the fireplace and massaged her temples as a headache was coming on.

„I don't like this Bea, not one bit. I don't want Allie to be anywhere near this,“ she waved around with her hand, „this life.“

„Allie will be involved at one point whether you want it or not,“ Maxine reasoned and gave a mischievous look at Bea. „She can handle herself when necessary.“

„I know, I'm just worried OK? She's new to the town and has been through enough shit already. I don't want her to step into a fresh pile of it.”

Kaz was very protective of young Allie and both, Bea and Maxine, understood that. The last thing the older blonde wanted was Allie to get hurt over something stupid. However, Bea had no intention of hurting the younger blonde and she would do anything in her power to protect her from Jacs and her crew as well. She did need to talk to Allie about the drug deal that went down with Juice as the woman could have some vital information she didn't tell Kaz. It also could be nothing at all but the redhead wouldn't know unless she spoke to her.

„Allie is already involved. She was involved the moment she witnessed the deal back at the station. We have to deal with this whole situation wisely and locking her up in her room won't serve any purpose. I will need to talk to her and I'd prefer to do it at your place.“

Bea was losing her temper slowly. She understood that Kaz wanted to protect Allie and it was all fine but it was becoming ridiculous. Allie was a grown woman after all and hiding her away from the problems in the town would make things only worse.

„I'm gonna give her a few days off as her hands got hurt today. I guess you can visit when it suits you,“ Kaz sighed, „just not at early hours in the morning.“

The redhead just nodded and decided to give Allie a visit the day after tomorrow.

„What are we gonna do with Juice?“ Maxine asked as she sat back down on the chair and got comfortable.

„Teach her a lesson,“ Bea simply said. „Jacs won't have her own way with her, which might end badly, but Juice won't get off easier because of it. I'll think of some strategies and let you both know but for now, we lay low. Don't tell the others anything before I say to. We don't need Boomer mouthing off and Fletch getting ahead of himself again.“

There were times where Bea really hated the crew leader role and today was no different. This crap with Juice and Jacs, if it were her choice, she'd avoid the issues entirely. However, luck was not on her side and she was forced to deal with it. 'Better sooner than later', she bitterly thought and fell down on the sofa with a thump.
Kaz got up and notified them she'd be heading back to town even though it was late. Maxine took followed her, the same idea in her mind, hoping for a few more hours with her boyfriend tonight and tomorrow morning, before he had to leave. They both stopped for a moment at the door and looked back at Bea, who wasn't moving.

“Bea, aren't you coming,” the brunette asked with a confused tone of voice.
The redhead was snapped out of her thoughts and she smiled at her two friends.

“Nah, I'll stay the night. The sofa is comfy enough for sleep so I'll be fine. Also, it's not OK for me to ride with the knee tonight so hopefully it's better by the morning.”

Bea wasn't lying, her knee was giving her serious grief right now. Even though she could ask for a ride from Kaz, she preferred to spend the night here and think about things more – alone and without distractions. Besides the house, while old, was solid and all the door lockable. Bea could handle herself if someone broke in but quite honestly, who would break into an old building out of nowhere?

“You two go,” the redhead said, “I'll see you tomorrow or the day after.”

“Well alright,” Kaz said as she put her jacket on on feeling for her car keys in the pocket. Maxine followed suit after giving Bea a small, yet reassuring hug.

“Drive safe!” Bea yelled after them as the door to the house was shut, leaving the woman alone.

After the sounds of the car and the bike were no longer heard, the redhead finally relaxed on the sofa. She eventually got up, locked the door and closed the windows, leaving one partially open for some fresh air movement. Other than that, the house was fully locked. She also closed all the doors leading to the front room, leaving her entirely alone with the flames in the fireplace and her thoughts.
She took her jeans off, before taking a seat on the sofa and got a good look at her knee which was looking a bit swollen and blue. She really had an unfortunate fall. The knee hurt and she made a mental note to have it checked by the doctor tomorrow if it's not better by the morning. Bea got up after some time and limped to the cupboard in the room. She opened the doors and was met with some pillows and a blanket. She grabbed them all, slammed the doors shut and limped back to the sofa. The redhead made a bed for herself, got down to only her t-shirt and settled in under the covers. The fire was casting a warm glow to the room and Bea realized how tired she actually was. Her eyes started closing slowly and a smiling face of a blue-eyed goddess entered her mind.

'Allie.'

Chapter Text

The new day arrived roughly for the redhaired gang leader when she fell off the sofa and right on her busted knee. She had fallen asleep at a weird angle so falling was rather inevitable but it was unfortunate she dropped on the knee. Pain shot from her knee up her thigh and all over her body as she lay there. She cursed under her breath and damned Jerome and Jacs to Hell and back. She punched the side of the sofa, the pain almost unbearable but, luckily for her, it didn't last long. Bea tried to get up after a few minutes on the floor but accidentally leaned on the leg that was busted and fell back down on the sofa.

„Fuck!“

Bea realized she was not gonna get back to town easily, let alone on her Harley. She removed her jeans with some struggle and looked at her knee. It wasn't looking good – the cut she got when falling down seemed infected and the knee and it's surrounding area looked swollen and had a blueish color. She decided to make an appointment at the local clinic but first, she had to get herself back to town somehow. She knew just the person to call.

Maxine had a positive start to the day. Her boyfriend, Martin, didn't return to Bert as he initially planned and had stayed for another night. So Maxine woke up with him snuggled against her. After some steamy morning activities and breakfast, their paths separated. Martin returned to Bert and Maxine had to open the salon. She was late already.
At times the long-distance relationship, she and Martin had, took a toll but somehow it worked. They were going strong. The brunette woman hoped in the near future to move to Bert and live with Martin but the issues arising with Jacs and her crew made the dream less likely to happen. However, the tall brunette always kept a positive mind and didn't let it pull her down.
She got to the salon much later than she had wished for, opened it for business and her first customer, Mrs. Baxter, stepped in only a few minutes later. While working on Mrs. Baxter's hair, Maxine glanced at the large clock mounting the wall and was aware Bea had not come in yet. She assumed the redhead took the day off but she was still a bit concerned. Usually, Bea would let her know but this time there wasn't even a message from her. Pushing her worried thoughts aside, she made a mental note to cancel Bea's appointments or just move them to another day later.
After Mrs. Baxter had left and Maxine had an extra half an hour before her next customer so decided to change Bea's appointments. She had just taken a step behind the counter when her phone rang. She took it out of her jeans pocket and saw Bea's name flashing so she immediately answered.

„Bea, where the hell are you?“

„I'm still at the farm,” the redhead started but was cut off by Maxine almost immediately.

“It's after 10 AM, what's keeping you?”

“If you'd let me finish, I'd tell you Maxi!” Bea became annoyed at her friend for a moment.

“Yeah alright! I'm just worried, OK?”

“I know, I know and I'm sorry. I'm not good Maxi... My knee, I can't ride and standing on the leg is unbearable.” Bea breathed into the phone, clearly in pain. “Can you come and get me?”

“Yes of course!” Maxine almost yells into the phone. “Just give me an hour or so and I'll be there.”

With that, they hung up and Maxine started collecting her things. She decided to reschedule as many of the appointments she could while driving and almost darted out of the salon. Once outside, she almost bumped into Allie. The young blonde was startled but immediately smiled when she saw Maxine's face.

“Hey Maxine!” she cheerfully greeted with a small wave of her hand.

The brunette noticed Allie's hand was bandaged and was instantly reminded of the accident last night. She felt guilty and sorry at the same time.

“Hi Allie,” she replied with a smile. “What are you doing here?”

Allie had a defensive and an uncertain body language and Maxine wondered if everything was alright with her.

„Is Bea in?“ the blonde asked almost hesitantly.

„Unfortunately not Allie,“ Maxine replied with a small smile. „She won't be in today.”

The brunette was curious why Allie was looking for Bea all of a sudden and decided to try and get more info.

„Do you need me to give her a message from you or ask her to call you? Perhaps it's something I can help you with?“

„Ah no, thanks, I'm just,“ the younger woman stumbled with her words and took a few steps back and away from Maxine. „I don't know why I came. Forget it, I'm just gonna go.“

Maxine tried to ask the woman what was wrong but Allie took her leave hurriedly and almost ran behind a corner. The brunette didn't run after her. Allie seemed a bit distressed and Maxine briefly wondered if she should just call Kaz about it. After contemplating for a moment. she decided against it.
She got on her Harley and instead of setting her heading out of town, she turned right before the exit. Sometime later she arrived at a raggedy looking garage with a simple sign „Fletch's Garage“ on it.
She couldn't go get Bea with her bike, so she needed a car and as Fletch was behind bars at the moment, she decided to borrow his truck. She knew where he kept his spare key and let herself in from the back. The truck Fletch used to transport motorcycles with, a Ford F350 with a Harley Davidson bodypaint, was resting pretty in the garage and Maxine thanked her luck. She parked her Harley next to the truck and got the keys to the car from the wall. She made sure the garage was locked before setting off towards Bea, the drive would take up to an hour, so it gave her plenty of time to reschedule some of the appointments. Their customers at the salon were a very important part and the last thing Bea needed was gossip around town about their 'unprofessionalism'.

Bea was pretty restless while waiting for Maxine to arrive. She was aware only half an hour had passed and it would be a good hour still before her friend arrived but sitting with her hands in her lap and doing nothing, drove her nuts. She had always been an active person, whether it was tennis in school, charity events for the community in her youth, riding around with her Harley, playing all kinds of games with Debbie or gym. She never liked to just sit around and do nothing. Right now it was out of her hands as putting pressure on the knee by walking around, would be stupid and would make things just worse.
She took her phone and started scrolling through the contacts list absentmindedly until Allie's name was right in front of her. The young woman's face entered her mind and she smiled. It was very intriguing how drawn towards Allie she felt like the woman had some magical pull and she just wasn't able to resist it. It wasn't anything carnal or sexual what she felt but pure interest and intrigue. She yearned to get to know Allie better but at the same time, it still scared her. She had never felt like this about anyone. Was it a crush? Was she falling in love? Bea had contemplated on the matter almost daily after meeting Allie and she could not yet name the feelings she had. What added to her nervousness was Allie's mutual interest towards her.
The impending doom that was Jacs and her ambitions, threatened Bea, her crew and all the people they cared about, so exploring anything deeper with Allie would not be wise. But would it be wise to let Allie pass her by? Would she not regret not exploring the possible relationship later? She didn't exactly know what to do in the matter and, for now, decided to let things unfold on their own. This also reminded her about the rumble in Kaz's bar last night and Allie getting hurt, so without much thought, she dialed the blonde.

Allie had returned home and she felt really stupid right now. She didn't even know why she went to look for Bea, she could've just called her or sent a message. What made it worse she ran away from Maxine when the other woman just wanted to help.

'Stupid idiot,' Allie mentally yelled at herself as she flopped down on her bed quite ungracefully.

She hit the bed with her fist and momentarily forgot about her bandaged hands, hurting herself in the process. She cursed under her breath as one of the cuts re-opened and the thin bandage got bloody. Allie beelined to the bathroom and got a fresh bandage. She returned to her room while grabbing some extra things – disinfectant, small scissors – on her way and sat back down on the bed. The blonde was half-way done with her hands when her phone started ringing with an 'I'm so excited' by Pointer Sisters tune. She usually kept the phone on vibration or silent but decided to have the volume on today. With one hand holding the scissors and the other half bandaged, she grabbed her phone from the cupboard next to the bed and almost dropped it when she saw who was calling.

“Bea?” she answered the call with a surprised tone of voice.

Immediately the thought that Maxine probably told the redhead that she was looking for her and it made her feel embarrassed. Their relationship was still new and Allie didn't know how to categorize it. Were they friends, acquaintances, more than that? As it was still new and fresh, the young blonde didn't want to fuck things up so early and her previous behavior back at the salon might be a red flag to some.

“Hi,” came the raspy voice from the other line. “I uh, heard about the fight at the Rusty Saloon last night and about you getting hurt, so I uh, thought I'd give you a call and ask how you were and apologize.”

Bea felt guilty about the fight and it actually angered her that Allie was caught in between, accident or not. If it weren't for the meeting she had with Maxi and Kaz, it could've been avoided. Bea wasn't an idiot. Allie would most likely get involved more and there would be nothing she can do about it but she'd do her best to at least protect any more harm coming to the woman.

“It really was an accident, unfortunate one. I tried to get up fast and leaned on the broken glass with both of my palms and my full body weight so I cut myself. I'm all bandaged up and on mandatory free days from work by Kaz's orders,” Allie chuckled.

“I'm really glad you're OK, Allie and if Kaz orders something, you better comply,” Bea laughed back.

“It's not your fault Bea,” the blonde suddenly said, turning the tone of the conversation more serious. “They were winding Fletch up from the moment they stepped in so it was inevitable. This Jerome guy was the main instigator and I was just at the wrong place at the wrong time.”

She didn't want the redhead to feel any guilt over a freak accident. Her palms would heal and in her mind, the incident was almost forgotten.

“I know, Allie, I know but I am still gonna apologize. Fletch is a hothead and he should control his emotions better, especially in public. Let me make it up to you somehow and I won't take no for an answer.”

“I could never say no to you,” Allie replied without thinking and realizing her little slip-up too late.

“All the better,“ Bea shot back without losing a beat. „The bike ride I promised will have to be moved forward, I'm afraid. Some unforeseen circumstances have made me unable to ride right now. But I'm offering a friendly dinner at my place, just you, me and some good food. I'll even cook!”

Allie laughed at how proudly Bea said the 'I'll even cook' part but she accepted the dinner invitation. If the blonde was quite honest, she didn't care what they were gonna do and where, as long as she was able to enjoy the redhead's company. She was a bit bummed about the Harley ride as she was really looking forward to it and wondered what unforeseen circumstance had happened. She didn't want to pry, for now, afraid of overstepping any boundaries.
They didn't set a date for the dinner yet. Bea said she'd let Allie know when and all the blonde had to do was just show up and bring her good mood. They ended the call with a simple 'bye' and 'see you soon.'

Bea felt relieved after the call and was glad she decided to call her in the first place. She looked at the phone in her hands, as she had to make another phone call but an unpleasant one this time. She reopened the contacts menu and scrolled down to the letter 'J' and eventually 'Jacs'. She almost wished Maxine would just step in but as luck was not on her side right now, she just dialed the number.

Chapter Text

Maxine let Bea know of her arrival by honking the car horn with maximum force. She got out of the truck and slammed the door shut. She approached the door of the house and glanced at Bea's Harley parked right in front of the house. She noticed the scratches on the side and was reminded of the story the redhead told them the evening before. Her friend was lucky she only got off with a busted knee as Jerome was known to be quite the violent guy with a little or no conscience. He was perfect as Jacs' muscle but Maxine knew little of the man's past or how he met Jacs and wondered if, underneath the violence, he was someone different entirely?
She finally knocked on the door and entered the house. She was greeted with her best friend sitting on the sofa and looking quite disheveled. Bea seemed tired but she greeted Maxine with a healthy wave. Bea's leg was elevated and a pillow was under it. Maxine noticed the redhead had ripped or cut the jeans around the area of the bruised knee and what greeted her sight was not pretty.

„The knee doesn't seem good,“ she commented as she neared the woman on the sofa.

Bea chuckled.

„It's certainly seen better days.“ the woman sighed and cringed when a shot of pain shot through the knee. „I'll need you to drop me off at the hospital. I already called them and I'm being expected.”

“Yeah, no problem. I got Fletch's truck. Doubt you wanna leave your Harley here.”

“Good thinking. Leaving her here would not be beneficial and I need Fletch to fix her up after I get him out.”

Bea got angry for a moment at Fletch. That idiot constantly got into trouble and she was the one who had to clean the crap up later.
Maxine noticed her friends short flash of anger and took a seat in the chair opposite the sofa.

“You think you need to go and get him out? Maybe they'll let him go like last time,” the brunette offered.

“It was a full out fight and he punched Will a few times. That will earn Fletch more than 24 hours behind bars and I know Will and Franky were off duty that night but they're still cops. That's why I need to go in and try to smooth things over but not before I get my knee looked at.”

Maxine agreed once Bea explained. Neither of them knew what kind of a man Will really was. Allt hey really knew was what everyone else knew – big city cop moved to small town and overall he seemed like a nice guy. But they didn't really know his stand on gangs, drugs and so on. What Maxine also had noticed was Wills soft spot for Bea and perhaps it would help her red-haired friend get Fletch out easily.

They didn't talk more for now as Bea tried to get up on her own and failed miserably. She fell back on the sofa with a thump.

“Let me help you,” Maxine jumped up and supported Bea while the redhead almost jumped on one leg to the truck parked outside.

He brunette helped her get in the passenger's side and left the door open.

“How's the knee?”
“Hurts like a bitch,” Bea laughed but the pain was evident in her eyes.

“I'll be quick with the bike and we'll be on the road. Give me a few minutes,” Maxine said and darted behind the car to get to work with the Harley.

Bea didn't have to wait long and Maxine had the bike neatly tucked in the bin in a matter of minutes. She heard the back of the bin slam shut and the brunette hopped in the truck sometime later. The redhead slammed her door shut as well and they were on the road a minute after that.

They drove in silence for 10 minutes or more until Bea decided to break it.

“I called Jacs and set up a meeting” she simply stated.

Maxine tensed up and gripped the wheel.

“When?”

“Tomorrow, at the salon and after closing. I'd like you to be there...,” Bea paused for a second, “just in case she tries something. I don't think she will but I'd better be safe than sorry.”

“Yeah, of course, I'll be there,” Maxine reassured her.

“Thanks.”

They drove for a while longer until the brunette decided to speak her mind. It was now or never.

“This whole business with Jacs and Juice's mistake, I don't like it. I have a seriously bad feeling about it, like something really bad is gonna happen. Maybe we should just let Jacs do with Juice what she wants to avoid unnecessary problems?”

“Then wait for the next time Jacs finds an excuse to fuck us over? We both know what she wants and why she wants it and if I need to get my hands dirty again, I will.”

“And I will help you,” Maxine said with determination, “I just don't want anyone getting hurt.”

“I'll do everything I can to keep everyone dear to us safe but I can't predict what Jacs might or might not do. We have to be on our guard at all times until all this...this shit is solved.”

Maxine nodded in agreement once again as they continued to drive. They drove in silence for a while, both deep in their own thoughts until Maxine remembered her encounter with Allie this morning.

„I bumped into Allie earlier. She came to the salon and was looking for you.“

The piqued her friend's interest almost immediately.

„Oh? What time was that?“

„Few minutes after you called me as I was about to close the salon. Long story short, when I told her you weren't in and tried to offer to take a message to you, she kinda ran away from me.”

Bea really didn't know what to think of that.
“I'm sure it's fine,” she finally said. “I did call her today to apologize about the rumble at the Saloon and asked about her hands. She sounded normal to me. Also, I kind of set a new date with her as I can't take her for a ride on my Harley.”

“You're serious about Allie then?” Maxine inquired.

“I guess I am,” Bea smiled.

“Never thought you'd consider a relationship with a woman.”

The redhead smiled at her friend but didn't take offense.

“I didn't either.”

Bea didn't say more but she didn't lie to Maxine. She had never considered a relationship with a woman, not once in her life. Franky constantly flirted with her for fun and even Juice tried to hit on her once and while Bea was fine with it all, she'd never imagined showing an interest for a woman herself. Allie has proven her wrong and she was excited to explore it further. It also helped the young blonde seemed to have a mutual interest in her and it made things quite easier. She just hoped she didn't fuck this up.

They didn't talk much the rest of the journey back to town, only Bea's occasional questions about Martin. Maxine beamed when she spoke about her boyfriend and it made the redhead happy. Not many would be OK with Maxine's transgendered status and she was truly glad Martin didn't care about it. In Trestlehaunt only a select few were aware of Maxine's previous life as a male and they were fine with it, but Bea knew for a fact many would not be and kept it under wraps for her friend's sake. However, Martin and Maxine seemed genuinely in love and Bea hoped her friend would settle down eventually. Of course, it all depended on how she resolved the issues with Jacs and her crew as they were the biggest threat right now. The last thing she wanted was for anyone to get hurt, both in her crew and Jacs's but she also feared the worst outcome.
They drove in silence for a while longer until Maxine drove through a hole with quite the speed. The truck jumped for a bit and Bea's knee hit the panel. Pain shot through her whole body.

“Jesus fuck, Maxi!” Bea yelled as she grabbed her busted knee.

„Sorry sorry, didn't see that hole.”

Maxine glanced at the back-view mirror and saw the bike was OK and continued at the same speed. She was worried about Bea's knee but had hoped it would not be something too serious.
They arrived at Trestlehaunt 15 minutes later and the brunette took the short-cut to the hospital. She passed 2 red lights but didn't worry much as the traffic in town was slow today. The redhead didn't say anything, eager to get help for her knee. Maxine slammed the brakes only a few meters from the entrance of the hospital as the tires almost screeched under them. She jumped out of the truck and ran to the other side, opening the door for her friend. Bea stumbled out of the passenger's seat as Maxine supported her. The brunette supported her weight so well, Bea didn't have to put any pressure on her busted leg, as she hopped on one leg through the entrance of the hospital.
Once inside, Maxine grabbed the nearest wheelchair and seated Bea in it. The redhead protested that she didn't need it but in this case, the brunette had the upper hand.

“You said you called in advance, so where to?”

“Doctor McQueen. Just go right at the end of the hall,” Bea directed and Maxine complied.
James McQueen was a known orthopaedist in Trestlehaunt and surrounding towns and he also owed Bea a few favors. So getting to see him on such a short notice was not difficult.

“You go ahead home,” the redhead said as Maxine stopped the chair next to the doctor's office.

“It'll be no problem waiting for you. I got no real pressing issues to attend.”

“I'll be fine Maxi,” Bea smiled and waved her hand, indicating for the brunette to just take a hike. “After I'm done here, I'll go to the precinct and see about Fletch, so that'll take time. There's no point for you to hang around.”

“If you're sure?”

“Yes yes, I'm sure. Go.”

“Call me when you're done here. I wanna know everything,” the brunette said as she started walking away towards the exit.

“Yes, mum!”

Bea left the hospital a few hours later with a supportive cast on her knee and 2 crutches. The damage to her knee wasn't too serious and it would heal nicely but it had to be fixed and any pressure on it from now on was a big no. She protested the crutches but the doctor had been adamant and demanded she uses them to move around. That also meant she was not able to ride her bike for a while and probably had to use Maxine as a chauffeur to get her to places. The redhead scoffed as she slowly exited the building. Moving with crutches was more difficult than one could imagine and she struggled for a bit. After a while, Bea had it figured out and was now moving, albeit slowly, towards her next destination. She didn't wanna call Maxine and ask for a lift. Walking with crutches was tiring the redhead out and she decided to rest as she leaned against the wall of the building she was next to.

A police car, a Dodge RAM 1500, stopped by the sidewalk, catching Bea's attention as she stood up straighter on the crutches. Even if she hadn't done anything, cops always made her nervous.
The window of the car lowered and the smugly smiling face of Franky Doyle greeted her.

“Hey Red!” the brunette officer greeted.

Bea nodded in acknowledgment not really sure what Franky wanted. Bea was always strong on keeping business and private lives apart and she did consider the flirty brunette a friend. However, on certain occasions she was reminded Franky was a cop and now was one of them. The events at the Saloon and other things were still quite fresh and Bea had to wonder if the woman was here to arrest her.

“Where you limping to?“ the brunette asked cheerfully, which also indicated to Bea that she wasnät here to bust her.

„Come on Red! You seem to be in need of help. I'll give ya a lift, so where to?”

“To the precinct,” the redhead hesitantly said and looked straight into Franky's eyes.

“You're in luck, my friend! I'm heading the same way. Come on, hop in.”

Confident that Franky had no police business with her, Bea grabbed her crutches and limped to the truck's passenger side. She opened the door and with quite the struggle got in the seat. She set the crutches on the right side of the passenger door and put her safety belt on. Franky kept smiling but a hint of seriousness was lurking behind her brown orbs.

“What happened to your knee,” she asked and pointed towards the redhead's limb.

“An accident fell off my Harley and hit the knee.”

“Fell off your bike? I don't buy it Red. Was it Jacs and her goons?” the brunette demanded to know.

“I had an accident, Franky, leave it!”

Bea didn't want to tell the woman all that had happened. She was a cop after all and the last thing she really needed was the police up her ass.

“Fine, don't tell me but this shit is gonna get out of hand and you know it. You need all the allies you can get and whatever you might think, I am one of them.”

“Like you were an ally when you told Will about the two deals happening after Boomer let her mouth run?”

“That was police business and I needed to gain some brownie points with Will. He was suspecting me working for you and by providing the information about those drops, was my way of proving to him I'm not.”

Bea stayed silent. She understood the brunette had to cover her own ass but it resulted in serious money and reputation loss for the redhead and Franky and Boomer having a fall out as friends.

“You should patch things up with Booms. She misses her friend.”

“I will or at least I'll try,” Franky replied and sighed.

She had fucked things up between her and Booms but what was she supposed to do? Boomer got drunk and spilled the beans, freely, on the upcoming deals. It was too good of a chance to just let go. She didn't tell Will where she got the information from but Boomer figured it out. It hurt Franky when she saw the look in her friend's eyes, a look that showed disappointment and betrayal. They haven't really spoken ever since.

They arrived at the police station some minutes later and Bea got out almost immediately. She slammed the door shut and adjusted the crutches.

“Bea...,” Franky started when a voice came over the car radio.

'Franky? There's a fight about to happen at Bobby Salem's joint and Jake needs backup. The perps are armed. '

“I'm on my way, Vera. ETA 5 minutes.” the brunette responded and put the radio back down.

“Bea,” she turned to the redhead once again, “whatever you're planning or whatever your overall goal is, get it moving. I don't wanna be the first one to find your dead body in an alley somewhere, and Jacs means business.”

After that Franky took off with a screech of the tires, leaving the redhead in a small cloud of dust.

“I know, Franky,” Bea whispered, “I know.”

Chapter Text

Franky was right, of course, but the redhead had to tread carefully and wisely. Going at Jacs with guns a-blazin' wouldn't solve anything and it would only make things worse. It didn't stop the other woman coming at her with almost full force but Bea hoped to solve it with words not with fists this time. Last she needed was innocent people getting hurt.

„First things first,“ she mumbled as she literally stumbled into the small police station and hit one of the crutches against the door with a loud bang accidentally.
The noise alerted the small woman at the reception desk to attention, as she stood up with worry on her face. Bea noticed her standing up and gave her a forced smile as she got closer to the desk.

“Are you alright?” Vera asked and concern was strongly evident in her tone of voice.

Vera had always had a strong respect for the redhead. Even though the woman dealt with illegal things and could be said to be a criminal, Vera never wished her ill. She often wondered if things would've gone differently for her, would she have joined Bea's crew? The idea of riding a Harley Davidson with little care in the world had always attracted her and she often dreamed of a life like that.

“Been better, to be honest. Just getting used to the crutches but they're just temporary,” Bea almost huffed as she rested against the edge of the table.

The smaller woman gave her a raised eyebrow as she looked the redhead's legs.

“An accident,” Bea smiled, “fell off my bike.”

Vera frowned but didn't say anything.

“How's your mum?” Bea asked changing the subject.

It was obvious Vera wasn't buying her accident story but she was damned if she had to elaborate further.

“She's good,” the small woman sighed and took a seat back down on her chair. “How can I help you today?”

“I'm here about Fletch.”

“Will wants to talk to you,” Vera stated, changing the subject and picked up the phone on her desk. She pushed a number and waited. „She's here,” she simply said and put the phone back down.

The redhead frowned. Nobody asked her if she wanted to talk to Will, but she supposed she had no choice on the matter.

She stood there in silence for a good 5 minutes when the large door on the left side of Vera's desk flew open and Will Jackson burst through it with a determined look.

„Bea, come with me please,“ the large man said and stepped aside to give way for the redhead.

Bea didn't protest nor ask questions and just complied, stepping through the door. Will closed the door behind them and led the woman to the end of the corridor and into his office.
He took a seat behind his desk and set his gaze on the redhaired woman who was still standing.

„Take a seat,“ Will almost ordered and Bea did so but cautiously.

Once they we both settled, Will smiled with a glint in his eyes. Ever since he moved to Trestlehaunt for a quieter life and finding out about the little gang business going around, he had become interested in Bea Smith – both professionally and personally. Something attracted him to the redhead, even though his professional mind kept telling him it was a bad idea. He would've never entertained a thought about a relationship with someone like her – a criminal – back in Felbourne but there was more than that to this elusive, yet gorgeous woman.

“Let's talk about your relationship with Jacs Holt.” the Lieutenant began quite straightforwardly.

There was no point in beating around the bush with Bea, so 'to the point' approach seemed the best.

“I prefer them quite younger, Lieutenant, so there's really no relationship to talk about,” Bea shot back with a small smirk.

“I'm glad you find it funny but you know what I mean. Jacs is moving in on your territory and I want to know how you plan to take care of it?”

“I'm a hairdresser. Unless Jacs is opening a rivaling beauty salon, I think we're good. Doubt she knows how to cut hair.”

“She can cut off heads,” Will shot back, “or so I've heard.”

Bea was still not admitting to anything Will was implying. She was testing the waters to get a feel what the man's objective was. Was he baiting her so he could arrest her later?

Will smiled at the redhead's avoidance. She was good.

“You have a very strategic way of dealing with things if your past is of any indication.”

“Meaning?” Now Bea was intrigued. What did he mean by her past?

“Your marriage for example or other events I'd rather not name right now,” Will tried.

There was a chance Bea would tell him to fuck off and leave as she had no obligation to speak to him but he was gonna risk it. It really was not his business how the redhead lived her life but desperate measures.

“You seem to know a lot about my past, Lieutenant.”

“I tend to do my homework.”

“Then you also know I tend to deal with things at my own pace and pressuring me won't gain you any brownie points,” the woman shot back not letting the cop get the upper hand.

“I don't plan on pressuring you into anything, Bea. I just need some assurances you'll come out on top when dealing with Holt. Looking at the state you're in...” Will said but was interrupted by the redhead.

“You're a cop, Will,” Bea said using his first name, “why do you care so much who is gonna come out on top? Isn't it your job to arrest people like me?”

“Hairdressers?” Will laughed. “For what? Bad hairdo's?”

Bea wasn't impressed by his attempt at sarcasm and it was evident from her face. Will took it back a notch.

“I'm just choosing the lesser of two evils, so to speak. I'd rather have you run the shady side of the businesses than her. Jacs Holt is a poison to this town and if she gets power here, I don't think we can manage it. We don't need drugs, hookers here and God knows what else.”

Will wasn't lying. He was more OK with Bea in charge than Holt. Bea mostly dealt in booze, tobacco and other illegal goods. It also was clear to him the redhead was against drugs and human trafficking. He was also very aware most of the merchandise in local shops and bars were thanks to Bea. He was willing to look away if it meant Jacs Holt would be driven out of town.

“I hear you,” Bea simply said, “but if you want to help in any way, release Matthew Fletcher.”

“I can't do that. He assaulted police officers. I can't just let him go.”

The redhead sighed as she sat upright in the chair. She didn't expect him to say yes but she hoped for an olive branch of sorts.

“I have a small crew and without Fletch, I can't do much with Jacs. Guess I'll let the old bat roam around for now. Now if you won't release him, at least let me speak to him. Can you do that?”

“Alright, you can speak to him.” Will said as he phoned Vera to come to his office. “Vera will take you.”

Bea got up and was ready to be led to her friend the moment Vera would arrive.

“Bea, I'm sorry but I can't let him go like that,” the large man tried to assure the redhead it was not that easy of a task, even for him.
There was a lot of red tape to avoid and if he released Fletch now, it might seem to the higher-ups he was working with the gangs. He had suspected Franky of the same crime before and could only imagine how it would feel to be accused himself.

“No I get it,” she said turning to face him, “you want me to stand up against a violent woman with a much larger crew but you won't give me the means to do it. You know I need Fletch to balance the numbers out. Thanks for the help.”

Right this moment Vera arrived and Will instructed her to escort Bea to the holding cells to speak with Fletch.

“I am sorry, Bea,” he tried one last time.

“So am I,” the redhead almost spat as she pushed past the smaller woman by the door and left his office.

Vera forced a smile at her boss and closed the door behind them.

Fletch had calmed down after the fight in the Rusty Saloon and waited for the verdict from the cops. Jerome was also locked up and a few cells away. It didn't stop him talking though.
“If the cops would've not interfered, I would've kicked your ass!” the other man almost yelled.

“Yeah, keep talking! I had you where I wanted you.”

“This isn't finished and you know it. What Jacs wants, she will get,” Jerome threatened.

“Jacs will settle this with Bea, so calm your ass.”

It was puzzling to Fletch why Jerry followed Jacs so blindly. What was their relationship? We're they fucking? Was that it? Surely not as imagining it almost made him puke. It had to be something else. Jerry used to be a normal guy he could hang out with. Sure he was as much of a loose cannon as he himself was but they used to be friends. What was Jacs offering him to make him like this? Was it drugs? Women?

Jerome calmed down after a few minutes and sat down on the hard bench in his cell.

“How's it going with Vera? Made ya move yet?”

“Haven't had the chance,” Fletch replied thankfully the topic had changed from gang business to matters of the heart.

“Chicken! You're just scared to say anything,” Jerome laughed loudly and the whole holding block echoed.

“Oh piss off! I can't exactly hit on her behind bars, can I? Or perhaps when you're beating my face in, I'll send her a text and invite her to dinner?”

“Yeah alright, I hear ya. I always thought you'd hook up with Bea Smith though. You seemed to have some chemistry going. And she's hot!”

Fletch laughed at that. Bea had always been his best friend and was like a sister to him. He never entertained thoughts about more with her.

“Nah, nothing with Bea. She's like a sister to me, so definitely a no there.” Fletch explained as shortly as he could. “You're awfully concerned for my love life, mate. Getting info on fresh targets for Jacs to threaten my crew with?”

Jerome was about to answer when the large metal door of the holding block was unlocked and slid open. The red-haired crew leader of 'Red's Rebels' stepped through first, now more steady on the crutches than before and Vera following close behind. Once through, the smaller woman locked the door and with a gesture of her hand, asked Bea to walk forward.
They passed Jerome s cell and the man sent a kiss towards Bea with a wink. The woman ignored him as best as she could and hobbled right in front of Fletch's cell. Vera was stood next to Bea and she nodded in acknowledgment toward Fletch. The large man smiled in return and with a quiet voice said 'Hi Vera'.

“Fletch,” Vera acknowledged once again and looked at Bea. “10 minutes tops. Once done, bang on the door and an officer will let you out.”

Bea nodded and said 'thanks' silently and Vera took her leave. The redhead waited until the policewoman was out of sight and turned to Fletcher with a stern look.

“You can't help yourself, can you? Always getting in fights and always behind bars.”

“Sorry Bea but Jerry had it coming,” Fletch said.

“Next time control yourself!” Bea almost yelled but calmed down rather quickly. “Listen, I don't have the means to get you out of here and it all depends on Will. If you can help it along from here, do it.”

Fletch just nodded. Bea took a step closer to the bars and whispered.

“I'm gonna try and make some sort of a deal with Jacs regarding Juice but I'll bet my life on the fact it won't end there. Jacs will come for me, she'll come for the whole crew and I need you Fletch – sooner not later. Get your ass out of here asap.”

The woman took a quick glance at Jerome, who tried his best to look like he was not trying to listen to the conversation.

“What happened to your knee?” Fletch asked in a worried tone.

“Apparently Jacs got impatient and sent her goon to remind me about it,” Bea said loudly, making sure Jerome would hear that part. She lowered her voice for the next part. “Don't do anything stupid, Fletch. The knee will heal and I need you out of jail not behind bars all the time.”

“Alright, I promise,” the tall man said and smiled at his friend.

“I will need you to keep that promise Fletch. As I said I have a plan of sorts and if it goes south, I will need you by my side, not behind bars.“

Not much else was said as Bea took her leave, wishing Fletch good luck. There really wasn't anything more she could've done for the man and now it all depended on him and Will. She passed Jerome's cell and the man decided to speak.

“Fancy a shag once I get out, babe,” he said winking at the redhead with a sneering smile.

“Oh Jer, thank you for the offer,” Bea said with fake gratitude, “but I'm afraid I prefer my men with balls and you don't seem to have any.”

“Bitch,” he replied with anger as the redhead obviously wounded his ego.

“Thank you,” the woman said with a more serious tone, which meant business and banged on the door to be let out.

Once Bea was gone, Fletch started laughing.

“Man,” he barely could, “I'm glad you had the bars between yourself and Red. She would've cut Jerry Junior off otherwise.”

“Fuck off! At least I'm not a pussy by letting my desires known. Unlike you, who can't even look Vera in the eyes without blushing like an idiot.” Jerome hit back, hoping it would make the other man shut up.

“Piss off!” Fletch yelled and hit the bars with his fist. He calmed down fast as his promise to Bea came to mind. He had to take it easy and the first step was to not let Jerry derail him. He took a step back from the bars and sat down on the hard bed in the cell. He ignored whatever Jerry was trying to say and kept his mind calm. His thoughts circled to Vera Bennett and he found solace in them – at least for now.

Chapter Text

Franky had finished up back at the precinct, booking three men for disturbing the peace and misdemeanors, which really meant they were just picking fights with people passing by too close. Jake had needed backup and the brunette had happily been the one to aid him. Taking down the three men was really not that hard but it worried Franky. The three brothers, Duke, Dave, and Dalton, were not usually your aggressive types, so it surprised the policewoman, when she arrived at the scene, how they were behaving. The guys were drunk, probably even high, throwing fists around, not caring for the people around them at all.
It was true there has been quite a high peak in crime recently and she definitely knew who to blame – Jacs Holt. The moment Holt returned to Trestlehaunt, Franky knew she meant trouble and she wasn't wrong. Will's hands were tied as he couldn't do much without actual proof and witnesses and no-one with half a brain would want to testify against Jacs. The only one who would dare stand up against Holt was Bea, but Franky doubted the redhead wanted to get into a full-on war with her. The talk with Bea was still fresh in her mind, especially the part about allies and friends.

'Booms,' Franky whispered to herself sadly as she got into her truck.

The brunette cop was off-duty officially now and she decided to visit Boomer and try an patch things up. During times where danger didn't warn when coming, she needed her friends, especially her best friend. Even if the other woman would throw her out, she would still try.
She drove to Boomer's house in record time was probably breaking some laws by getting there, but she quite frankly didn't care. Franky got out of her truck and slowly walked to her friend's door. Boomers Harley was parked in the driveway which meant the woman was home. Franky collected herself and prepared for the worst. Boomer was quite the emotional woman but her heart was in the right place. She hoped for the better outcome this time, as the last one was quite the disaster. She knocked on the large wooden door, a bit harder than she intended, and waited. No reply came so Franky knocked once again, now harder intentionally.

„Booms, it's me, Franky. I know you're home. Come on open up.“

Still no reply. The brunette knocked again.

„I can see your Harley in the driveway, Sue! I just wanna talk, please.“ Franky tried again.

Few moments passed and the policewoman was about to give up. Suddenly the door flew open and quite disheveled looking Boomer emerged.

„Only my mum calls me Sue! What do you want?“ Boomer boomed, but Franky just smiled.

„I want us to be friends again. Will you please hear me out?“ Franky asked.

The larger brunette stayed silent but then turned around and went back inside the house, leaving the door open behind her. Franky took this as a 'yes' and an invitation in, so she followed her friend and closer the door behind her. Boomer had taken a seat on the large couch in the living room and had opened a fresh bottle of beer. Franky joined her and took a seat across from her on the chair. No words were exchanged for a few minutes.

„I need to explain why I did what I did,“ Franky started and seeing no objections from Boomer, she continued. „Will was becoming suspicious. As I'm often hanging out with you and Red, he assumed I was helping you guys, giving tips and heads up before raids.”

“You weren't helping us,” Boomer interjected.

„He didn't know that. We had a staff meeting a few weeks back, discussing the situation in the town, crime, and the whole thing and he did mention Red and the 'business' you all are conducting. He said it was odd how Red seemed to know in advance when a raid would be happening and either Red is psychic and sees the future or we have a mole in the precinct. And he looked at me when he said that. I got the hint – loud and clear.“

Boomer had put another beer on the small desk between them and pushed it towards Franky. The tattooed brunette thanked her with a nod, opened the bottle, took a long sip and continued.

“I needed proof, Booms. Proof that I wasn't and aren't part of the crew and that I'm not or ever have helped Red. I've worked so hard to become a cop, you know that. I couldn't afford to lose the job because of something I didn't even do.”

“I could've told him that! You should've asked for help!” Boomer yelled, clearly still upset about the matter.

“I wouldn't have helped. I thought about it but he would've not believed your word nor Reds. I had to come up with something better.”

Boomer 'humphed' and turned her body away from Franky.

“Then we had that little girls night here and we both got drunk. You told me about the two shipments Red had coming in and it was how I was gonna get Will's suspicion off my ass.”

Boomer stayed silent but Franky heard a whimper coming from her friend. Was she crying?

„I'm sorry Booms, I just saw no other way out. I had to tell him about the shipments.”

“Because of you, I was in shit with Bea!“ Boomer yelled, throwing the now empty bottle of beer across the room, past Franky's head.

The tattooed brunette stayed silent but lowered her head. She was aware Red punished Boomer but she didn't know how. She only hoped her friend wasn't hurt.

“She banned me from the 'Rusty Saloon' for a month and I wasn't allowed to sing karaoke for two months,” the larger brunette elaborated.

Franky couldn't believe her ears. That was it? That was the 'awful punishment' Boomer had said Red awarded her with? No karaoke and no visits to the Saloon? She couldn't hold back and started laughing.

“Not funny, Franky!“

„I'm sorry but,” the tattooed woman barely managed, „I thought Red got you beat up or worse, but this? The karaoke and Saloon ban?“ She kept on laughing quite loudly.

Boomer wasn't impressed and tried to take offense but she eventually realized how stupid she had been. Franky was right. Bea could've had her beaten up or even worse, the redhead was surely capable of it, but she let her off easy.

“Did the hunky Will Jackson believe you or does he still suspect you working for the crew?“ Boomer asked curiously.

„I'm off the hook and in good books with him. I am sorry though. I should've never used you like that and I can't take, what I did back. However, if you'll let me, I can make it up to you or at least try.” Franky offered.

Boomer nodded and opened a new bottle of beer.

„Well now that I know the um.... punishment you got, how about I sing karaoke with you?“ the tattooed cop said with a smirk.

„You hate to sing Franky,“ Boomer said matter of factly but was surprised about the offer.

„Well yes, I do and in any other circumstances, I'd rather tongue kiss Jacs Holt, before singing publicly. But this is you Booms. You're my best friend, always have been and this is the best way I can make it up to you. Unless you have a better idea, of course.”

“Any song?“
Franky knew she was gonna regret it but to patch up her stupid mistake, she was willing to do anything. She had missed Boomer and her silliness, so if she had to sing some stupid songs to regain their friendship, she was game.

„Yes, any song of your choice. And to make this even better, I'll sing 3 songs with you!” Franky proudly said.

Boomer jumped up in happiness and ran to Franky. She pulled the smaller woman up from the chair by her arm and hugged her with quite the force. The tattooed woman, while happy Boomer has forgiven her, was struggling to breathe.

“Booms! I can't breathe,” Franky half gasped, half laughed as she patted her friends back with the hand.

Boomer let her go immediately but stayed close.

„Sorry, Franky.”

They both smiled until Franky's face fell.

“I am truly sorry Booms. When I did what I did, I was blinded by my own ambitions and forgot what truly matters – my lifelong and probably only true friend – you.”

“It's alright, Franky. Bea explained to me why you did it, so I understood, sort of but I was still angry...angry at you for doing it and at myself for even telling you it all.”

“It's alright Booms. I guess we're both at fault but it's time to put it behind us and move forward. Now as I got tomorrow off, let's celebrate our reforged friendship and you can tell me more about how you find Will Jackson 'hunky'.”

„Great idea. I also stashed away a few bottles of your favorite whiskey, so we can celebrate with that,“ the larger woman said as she disappeared into the kitchen.

Franky shook her head in disbelief. Things were looking up between her and Booms and she'll even support the crush her friend seemed to have in Will. She was also glad to hear about the whiskey. The stores in town were lacking it ever since she told Will about the shipments, which contained the liquor she liked.

'I'll never make such a stupid mistake again' she thought to herself and sat down on the couch. Boomer returned with two glasses and the bottle of Charbay Release III. She plopped down right next to Franky, popped the bottle open and poured them both a full glass. They toasted to friendship, karaoke and successful romance and Franky couldn't help and think about their newest citizen in Trestlehaunt, Allie Novak. She truly hoped the shitstorm that was on the horizon, was not gonna get the young woman hurt or worse, especially at the brink of the slowly blossoming romance with Red. Franky smirked and took another sip of the whiskey.

'Deal with Jacs, by any means necessary, Red, and I will help you if you need me to', she bitterly thought.

Chapter Text

Kaz was seated in the living room going over the paperwork once again. Being an owner of the 'Rusy Saloon' came with its advantages and disadvantages, and paperwork and management were the more unpleasant parts of the job. She loved the saloon and had worked hard to finally own it but certain chores she loathed, especially the paperwork. She was going through the roster and all the worked hours and frowned. Allie had been taking a lot of extra shifts from Doreen and Liz recently. While she didn't mind it, she was still worried the young blonde only worked and didn't have time to do anything else.
Doreen had only recently returned to work from maternity leave but only part-time. So when Josh, her son, got ill, she had to take a day or more off and others had to cover for her, including Kaz herself. Once again the thought of hiring some extra help, part-time if necessary, would help. But the number of shifts Allie had done by now was more than enough, the woman was almost living at the saloon. She had to talk to the blonde about it. Right this very moment, the large door of the house opened and Allie walked in with a large smile on her face.

'Speak of the devil,' Kaz thought humorously and waved the woman over.

Allie put her bag down, took off the shoes and took a seat opposite of Kaz.

“What's up?” the younger blonde asked a bit nervous.

The way Kaz had waved her over, made Allie quite nervous. She felt like she was gonna get a scolding even though, to her own knowledge, she'd done nothing wrong.

“So I've been going through the paperwork and I just had a question,” Kaz said matter of factly, making the younger woman fidget more nervously.

The older woman almost laughed at Allie's reaction. In reality, she had done nothing wrong but she acted like she had just stolen a million dollars from the saloon's safe. She was extremely tempted to make the younger woman squirm more but eventually took pity on her.

“Do you ever take days off, Allie? You've been working almost every day at the saloon and I'm worried you're overworking yourself.”

Allie was visibly relieved at what Kaz said. There was a moment, the young blonde thought, she was in serious trouble.

„I'm just helping out, Kaz, it's no biggie. It's the least I could do to repay you and the other for the help and the kindness.“

Allie wasn't lying. The main reason she did take all those extra shifts was to thank them, especially Kaz. She didn't mind the work.

„I am grateful but there is no need for you to kill yourself,“ Kaz retorted dramatically.

„I'm not! Jeez Kaz, relax! Just some extra shifts and the days were not that busy. I handled them just fine. Doreen needed a couple of shifts off due to Josh being ill and Liz had some personal emergencies.“

Kaz still wasn't pleased. She felt as if Liz and Doreen were taking advantage of Allie and she didn't like it one bit. She could've very easily taken the shifts herself but they offered to Allie instead.

„You're young Allie! Spending 24/7 working is not what I want for you.“

„It's not 24/7, Kaz but I hear you, OK? I won't take extra shifts anymore. If they need a day off, I'll let them call you, alright? I'll take more work only if you approve.“

„That sounds more acceptable.“ Kaz finally relaxed.

When she took the young woman in, she didn't do it so she could use her a slave in the saloon. She wants Allie to enjoy life, a better life from what she had before. A life which was free of drugs and constant working. She also wondered what was up with Liz and Doreen and their constant need for free days. She had to have a talk with them.

„I think I need to hire an extra pair of hands, part-time at least. Someone to help out when it gets tough.“

„That would help,“ Allie agreed while taking a sip from the Coca-Cola bottle Kaz had on the table.

„Also,“ the younger woman continued, catching Kaz's interest, “I won't be grabbing extra work, even if I wanted to. At least not as often as before.”

The older woman raised an eyebrow, thinking her previous dramatic episode about the blonde overworking was for nothing.

„I joined a gym!“ Allie stated matter of factly.

„You joined a gym?“ Kaz mirrored the statement back as a question. „Why?“

„I needed something other to do than spend my time at the saloon, back here or driving around the town. Also eating all this good food and getting a little exercise...I gotta get into better shape.“

„You're in perfect shape, Allie,“ Kas laughed, waving her hand in the air.

„I wanna get into even better shape,“ Allie retorted while taking yet another sip from the Coca-Cola.

„Drinking all that coke won't help, you know.“

„Oh shut it, Kaz.“

„So which gym did you join? For a small town, we got quite many of them.“

Allie shifted in her seat and emptied the bottle of Coke before replying.

„I think it's called Moody's Gym.”

“Moody's?!” Kaz blurted out both surprised and shocked. „That's a...bold choice.”

“What do you mean?“ Allie asked confused. To her, it seemed like any other gym she's seen, smaller than most but inviting.

“I mean there is a bigger gym in the center of the town which is less frequented by people of questionable careers or life choices. How'd you find out about Moody's in the first place? The owner doesn't exactly advertise.”

“Ah...Maxine recommended it, so I checked it out. Questionable careers and life choices?”

Allie didn't exactly understand why Kaz seemed a bit worked up about her choice in a gym. Surely this small gym was as ordinary as any other.

Kaz sighed. She got up from the couch and went to the kitchen to grab a few beers. She returned to the living room and sat back down. Allie was eagerly waiting for any kind of explanation for her comments and the older blonde was ready to give it. She opened one of the bottles and almost drowned it in one go.

“Moody's gym is frequented by gang members and other shady characters. Almost all the members of Hell's Pagans and Red's Rebels work out there. However, besides them, all the other scum of Trestelhaunt also goes there. Are you sure it's such a good choice for you?”

Allie was taken by surprise, she had to admit. Maxine recommended it. Surely the brunette woman didn't do it out of malice but friendship. Bea goes there, she assumed, so it was fine...right?

“Well, I doubt Maxine recommending it was done out of the need to harm me or put me in danger. I've paid for 3 months and gotten myself a personal trainer. So I'll see how it goes OK? If I feel threatened or in danger in any way, I'll change the gym's.”

“Personal trainer?“ This got Kaz's attention all over again. “Who?“

„Uh, some guy named Stanley Devlin. Apparently, he's the best they have. At least that's what the woman at the admin desk told me.”

„Stan?“

„You know him? Is he any good?“ Allie asked noticing Kaz's intake of breath after she told her his name.

“I uh...,“ the older woman started but paused.

Realizing it was a raw topic for Kaz, Allie patiently waited.

„I do know him. You could say intimately.”

Kaz was weighing her options. Should she reveal more of her past to the younger woman or just keep her mouth shut? Overall she didn't see any harm coming to Allie if she did know about her stupid mistakes. Perhaps the girl would learn from them. Seeing as Allie wasn't drinking the second bottle of beer, she opened it for herself and took a sip.

“When I was in my early twenties, barely out of puberty, I was already hooked with drugs. I didn't have a permanent job, working part-time in a local diner. It's no longer open today but back in the day, it was quite popular. It didn't pay well but I got by. So naturally, I used half of the money, if not more, buying drugs. The best place to get them in past was the 'Rusty Saloon'. I obviously didn't own it back then. I spent most of my free time there. It had all I ever wanted – drugs, booze and, of course, men. Every scum of the town and from all over visited the bar, including the infamous gang Hell's Pagans, lead by Joseph 'Wolf' Sawyer.”

“Love the nicknames all these gang members have,“ Allie interrupted with a small laugh.

Kaz joined in with a laughter of her own. She had to agree, some of the nicknames were a bit funny.

„Joseph got his nickname due to keeping two wolf pups, he rescued from the woods, as pets. Those wolves followed him around like loyal dogs and he was the only one they ever listened to.“

The older blonde recalled the two wolves, majestic creatures and very loyal where Joseph was concerned.

„Wolves? Hardcore,“ Allie cringed imagining it her mind. Who'd keep wolves as pets?

“The Pagans didn't deal drugs then. They were mostly a muscle for hire or made money by other means, like stealing etc. You got drugs off dealers who visited from other towns or local people but you had to know who. So I spent most of my time there, getting drunk, doing drugs and flirting with different guys who caught my eye. That's how I first met Stanley. He approached me, out of the blue, and offered to buy me a drink. Back then I was all for a 'bad boy' as they were my weakness, so naturally, I accepted his offer.”

“What did he look like?“ Allie asked, clearly intrigued by the mysterious Stanley.

Kas smiled, almost dreamily.

„He was not a handsome man, at least not by today's standards but he was pleasing to my eyes. He was tall, 6 ft or so. He had a mustache and not a too long beard - he was well groomed. He wore the trademark 'Hell's Pagans' leather jacket, black jeans and a simple black t-shirt. Overall he seemed to be the cleanliest of the Pagans,” the older blonde laughed. „But what caught my attention most was the look in his eyes. It was a kind look. It caught me by surprise as most guys always looked at me with lustful looks or generally kept their gaze on my ass or tits. But not Stanley, he looked straight into my eyes and smiled.“

Kaz drifted off here, not continuing
for a while.

„Kaz?“

This brought the woman back to reality and she smiled. There was a hint of unshed tears in her eyes but Allie decided to not ask, for now.

„Right...long story short. Stan and I, we became a couple. We had it good for 8 months or so. He helped me get clean and things were more or less wonderful. He was always good to me, kind and loving, never raised his voice or his hand at me. In the gang, he was quite the opposite – determined, occasionally ruthless, mean – but I always assumed it was just for show. He clashed a lot with the leader, Wolf, but it was due to their different ideas on what direction the gang should go. When Wolf was killed, Harry Smith took over as the leader. Not exactly the better choice.“

„Why is Stan's nickname 'Moody'?”

“When he was working, he was known to get from hot to cold in a matter of second. It earned him the nickname but I always called him Stan. It brings me to his gym. He opened it a few months after we started dating. His idea was to keep the boys in shape and also offering the same service to the other people in town, whoever wished it. So as a personal trainer, he is the best choice that I know of. He whipped me into shape quite fast.“

„You're no longer together, did something happen?” Alle was growing more interested in Kaz's past. The whole topic seemed sore for the woman.

“In the end, it didn't exactly work out so we broke up. He's no longer part of the Pagans though. He quit the gang after Jacs Holt took over. Seems he works at the gym full-time now.”

Kaz didn't want to tell the younger blonde the real reason why they broke up, at least not now and she was thankful Allie didn't pry any further.

“I know Bea trains there almost daily, probably why Maxine recommended it,“ she changed the topic, winking at Allie, making the younger woman blush like a school-girl.

It was quite adorable how Allie was reduced to a puddle of mush at the mention of the red-haired woman.

„I'm sure she did not. I'm gonna get ready for my shift.” Allie stood up, trying to control her blush. She passed Kaz but stopped and put her hand on the older woman's shoulder, squeezing it gently. “Thank you for sharing a bit about your past. I know it probably wasn't easy.”

Once Allie retreated to her room, Kaz let her emotions go and let the tears fall.

Chapter Text

Allie was tending to the bar alone for the next few hours. Kaz had promised to come in after she took care of some business in town and Doreen's shift, that was supposed to start at 2PM, was moved to 6PM due to some unforeseen circumstances aka personal reasons.
Allie didn't mind as the place was pretty quiet so early in the day and she was more than capable of tending to the needs of the customers for now.

She looked around the place and noticed the table, where Red's Rebels usually were seated, was empty. It was too early for them to be there but Allie felt a strange feeling of loneliness as her mind drifted to the events some time ago. She looked at her hands, still bandaged, but was relieved they were healing well. Luckily for her, the bandages didn't interfere with her work. The only inconvenience was washing the glasses as she had to wear latex gloves to do it.

“What happened to your hands?“

Allie was startled out of her thoughts by a friendly sounding feminine voice. She looked towards the counter and a woman of small stature was seated there. She had blonde hair and wore a simple business suit.

“Just a little accident,” Allie smiled. “What can I get you?”

“Coffee, black.”

While Allie was making the beverage, the woman looked her over.

“You're a new face around here,” she commented with a small smile when Allie set the cup of coffee on the counter in front of her.

„So are you. Never seen you before.“

„Fair enough,“ the woman replied while adding some sugar in the coffee and stirring it with a small spoon. „Bridget Westfall, local shrink.“

She offered Allie her hand which the blonde accepted and shook gently.

„Allie Novak, bartender.“

„Nice to meet you. You are quite new in town? I know almost everyone and I'm certain I haven't seen you before.”

Allie considered Bridget for a moment. The woman seemed friendly and no malicious intent was visible nor evident in her voice. She ordered coffee at the bar known for rowdy customers and didn't have any signs of belonging to a gang. Allie had to be careful when it came to new people she met. Also, she had heard the name before and briefly wondered if she was the same Bridget who was Franky's girlfriend.

'Not a way to continue a conversation with a stranger. Oh, by the way, are you Franky's girlfriend? Bad idea, Novak.'

“Haven't been to Trestlehaunt for long. Originally planned to drive through but I was persuaded to stay. I'm glad I did.”

Bridget smiled and took a sip from her coffee. She looked at her phone for a moment and then put it away as a look a disappointment washed over her face.

„Everything OK?“ Allie asked.

„Ah yes, nothing to worry about. Just waiting for a message or a call from someone.“

„So....,” the blonde bartender continued, trying to get to know more about Bridget. „Local shrink?“

Bridget laughed and waved her hand aimlessly.

„I have a private practice in town. I'm not the only one, of course, there are a few others who offer the same service, but I'd like to think I'm the most experienced one. I do occasionally help out the police when needed and also work part-time at the asylum.” Bridget smiled almost mysteriously and emptied the coffee cup. „But you know how most of the folks are. They don't always trust people of my vocation so my loving nickname is 'shrink' or 'local shrink' or sometimes even worse.”

Allie offered to refill the cup and Bridget nodded.

„I somewhat agree,” she said as she set the freshly filled cup on the counter, „with the trusting part as I've never been a fan of shrinks myself.”

They fell into a comfortable silence. Allie served some of the customers that had come in and refilled some of the orders of the already seated people and Bridget sat there nursing her cup of coffee and occasionally checking her phone.

„So what is this asylum I keep hearing about? Someone told me to not go there alone. Is it some dangerous place?“

This brought Bridget's attention back to Allie and away from the phone.

“The asylum used to be the biggest in this side of the country. It's very old, built in the 1700s if I'm not mistaken.”

“Wow, that's really old, ancient almost,” Allie commented in amazement.

„Yeah, 300 or so years, so you can imagine it's quite worn down by now. It was closed off in the early 1900s, due to the questionable ways they used to treat mentally ill patients and was reopened at 1965. But not the whole asylum, only a small part of it was reopened. It's pretty much a smaller building than the rest of the complex. I think it used to be the crematorium for the main complex but it was remodeled to suit the demands and needs to this day. It's of course been restored a few more times in the past few years and has all the high-end technology of a modern day. The main complex is pretty much a ghost town, falling apart and it's even rumored to be haunted.”

“Haunted? Are you serious?“

Allie couldn't believe her ears. It was something out of a classic haunting movie – an old asylum, haunted – she was suddenly eager to check it out.

“Only rumored, Miss Novak. There's been no real proof of any paranormal sightings, so don't get too excited,” Bridget laughed.

„I'm a fan of the paranormal and all that comes with it – ghosts, orbs, sounds from the beyond – you name it. With a town name like 'Trestlehaunt', I was hoping there would be some haunted places.”

„The asylum isn't the only haunted place,” came a voice from the right as both women turned their attention to the third person joining the conversation.

„Didn't see you come in, Booms. What can I get you?”

“The usual but add a shot of whiskey as well.“

Allie filled out the request in record time, eager to hear more what Boomer had to say.

„Fancy seeing you here, Bridget. Looking for Franky?“

Bridget shifted in her seat uncomfortably but shook her head. Allie moved to the side to serve a customer.

„Actually no, I was looking for Bea, to be honest, but I guess she wouldn't be here so early.”

Boomer downed the whiskey and took a large gulp of the beer.

„Doubt she'll be coming for a few days, especially after her accident.”

This got Bridget's attention.

“What accident? Is she alright?”

„She fell off her bike a few days ago and hurt her knee quite badly. Walking around with crutches and all. She won't be in a drinking mood for a while, at least that's what Maxi told me. I don't know much else.”

Allie kept herself busy cleaning the counter, washing the glasses and filling out orders but she kept her ear open towards the conversation. She knew Bea had had an accident but she wasn't aware it was this serious. She became worried. Was Bea OK? Did she need anything? Was it really an accident?

“I need to go. Allie, it was nice meeting you and I hope we can continue our conversation some other time.” Bridget put some bills on the counter, told her to keep the change and almost ran out of the bar, the door slamming shut after her.

Boomer didn't seem phased and continued drinking the beer.

“So want me to tell you about the other places that are haunted?“

While the whole 'Bea falling off the bike' thing seemed a bit shady to Allie and the fact that Bridget, a psychologist working with the cops, was looking for her was also a bit odd, the blonde decided to investigate those things at a better time. Like, ask Kaz or Maxine, even Franky.

“Sure, tell me all you know.“

Chapter Text

Bea had taken a few days off work due to the knee issue. Maxine and Boomer could handle the salon just fine without her, she was confident in that. What she wasn't confident about was the 'Juice situation'. She hadn't seen the woman for a few days now and all hopes in having a chat with her, before she made the dreaded phone-call to Jacs, were shattered. She scrolled through her contacts list on the phone until she came to a stop on Jaqs Holt. With a groan, she pushed 'Call'.

“Beatrice, what a nice surprise.”

“Jaqs.” Bea simply said.

“How's the knee?”

“I'm not gonna give Juice to you. We will have to resolve her lack of judgment some other way.” Bea stayed neutral, her lines to the point, ignoring Jaqs' question about the knee. Quite honestly, the knee was a bitch but she wasn't gonna admit that to the woman on the phone.

“You disappoint me, Beatrice but very well. I am known to occasionally offer alternatives.”

Bea cringed at the way Jaqs said it but told her to name the alternative.

„You will pay the full worth of the package Miss Gambaro stole from me, no interest. I am a reasonable businesswoman after all. However...“ Jaws paused here, giving Bea time to process the first part of her generous offer.

Bea was surprised that Jaqs didn't demand more money. She was glad to pay the amount asked and more, If necessary but she was certain there was an additional price for her kindness.

“You will take care of Miss Gambaro for me.“

„I will not kill her if that's what you're insinuating,” Bea spat back, the whole idea of it preposterous and, quite frankly, cocky coming from Jaqs.

“It shouldn't be anything new for you, Beatrice, taking into account your past but no, that is not what I meant. I'm not a monster. “ Bea rolled her eyes. “Teach her a lesson, a good lesson, so such activities won't happen again. I don't know much about Miss Gambaro, but what I have heard, she understands hands-on approach most effectively.”

Bea understood what Jaqs meant – she needed to beat Juice up and she hated that idea with a passion.

“Very well,” the redhead agreed after a while.

“Excellent! You will have 24 hours to have my money delivered, in cash, and proof that Miss Gambaro has been taught a lesson. Whatever proof you choose to send, is up to you.” With that Jaqs hung up.

She wanted to throw her phone across the room and scream out of anger and frustration but at the last minute decided against it. She supposed what Jaqs offered was lesser of the two evils and she had to take it. She assumed, if she'd not do what Jaqs asked, the woman would take matters into her own hand and the outcome of that would be much worse.

She dialed Maxine next. They only had 24 hours to fulfill Jaqs' demand and better get it done sooner, rather than later.

Maxine picked up after a few seconds.

“Bea, what's up? I hope you're resting that busted knee.”

“Yes, I'm resting, lying on my fat arse on my worn down couch,” Bea laughed back but took a serious tone a few seconds later. „I called Jaqs.“
„I'm afraid to ask the outcome,” Maxine replied with a huff.

„Well I expected something worse quite honestly,“ the redhead sighed. „I told her giving her Juice was not an option so she offered an alternative.“ Maxine stayed quiet, letting Bea finish, dreading what Jaqs might've offered. “I'll have to pay for the drugs Juice took, full sum, no interest – not so shocking, but we gotta teach Juice a lesson and show proof of it to Jaqs.”

“So we gotta beat her up,“ Maxine finished the thought.

„We have 24 hours to deliver.“

 

Juice was riding her Harley Davidson Electra Glide Ultra Classic down the dusty desert road. She was on her way to the warehouse their crew usually had their meetings set up. It wasn't unusual for Red to give her a call personally and notify of a meeting but this time Juice was a bit on edge. Red's tone of voice was more commanding, more serious and definitely more angry than usual and Juice was left to wonder if Red knew about her little side-business with drugs. She knew Red's position when it came to drugs and worried what the outcome would be if Red indeed knew.

She pulled up in front of the warehouse and before she got off her bike, took a look around. She didn't see Red's bike or anyone else's except Maxine's dark blue GMC Sierra 3. She did wonder why Maxine had come with her truck, instead of on her bike. She got off her own vehicle and decided to go in.
She opened the small worn down door that led to the large warehouse and took a tentative step in.

“Juice!” Maxine saw her immediately and waved her over.

“Maxi...” the other woman said while slowly walking towards her. She scanned the large space with her eyes, seeing no one else there. “Where is everyone? Red called me and said there was a meeting.”

“There is but you know how others are, always fashionably late, especially Booms,” Maxine laughed, keeping it light.

They both took a seat on a couch that was adjacent to a large wooden table. Maxine grabbed a beer from the floor, next to the couch and handed it to Juice and took one for herself, popping the lid off with ease. She took a sip and with a look told Juice to do the same. The larger woman hesitated for a moment.

„Loosen up, Lucy! Have a beer and relax.“

Juice huffed, popped the bottle and drowned half of it, half in anger and a half in nervousness.

„Don't call me Lucy, man-maiden!”

They looked at each other in total seriousness and then started laughing, settling more easily on the couch.

„So,“ Juice said and emptied the beer bottle, „why'd you take the truck? You usually love riding your bike.”

“I do but I had to give Bea a lift here, she can't drive or ride with her busted knee,” the taller woman replied and set her beer bottle on the table.

“Busted knee? Red's here?” Juice suddenly became nervous again as her eyes darted around the warehouse.

Two hands settled on her shoulders suddenly, keeping her down on the couch as a raspy voice spoke almost in anger.

“That's right, Juice. The busted knee that I got as a present from Jaqs Holt for your stupidity.”

Chapter Text

Juice tried to get up but Bea kept her solid on the couch with her hands on her shoulders.

“Where's the rush, Juice? You just got here,” Maxine asked and took a seat on an empty chair facing the couch and smiled.

Juice laughed nervously and turned her head to get a better look at Bea.

“My stupidity? I'm sure I have no clue what you mean.” Juice was definitely nervous and it was evident from her body language.

Bea limped around the couch and stood before the larger woman in her full height – at least what she could manage with her busted knee and a crutch.

„Imagine my surprise when I got a call from Jacs Holt and her accusing my crew of stealing her drugs.“

Juice swallowed nervously.

„Of course I thought it absurd as I've stated clearly – my crew does not, nor it ever will deal in drugs. My second surprise came when she named you specifically.“

„I didn't steal anything from Jacs, Red. You gotta believe me.“

„I want to believe you, Juice, I really do. The issue is – I don't. The jackass you bought the drugs from, named you specifically and trust me when I say, he had no reason to lie.“

„Well he did, I never bought any drugs,“ Juice tried to squirm her way out with half-assed lies.

„He's dead,“ Maxine said.

„D...dead?!!“

„Courtesy of Jacs Holt,“ Bea added and settled more comfortably on the couch, her knee clearly giving her grief.

„Ok, ok, ok, listen,“ Juice flailed with her arms, „I just wanted to make some extra cash, you know. I thought it harmless, the amount of the drugs wasn't that much, yeah? I mean, Jacs won't miss it and the guy who sold them to me, told me, it was OK. He told me the drugs weren't going to Jacs as he had bought them from her, so it was all good.”

Maxine rolled her eyes as Juice's stupidity and got up from the chair. She grabbed a beer bottle and took a long swig from it, slamming it down on the table, making Juice jump.

“Are you an actual idiot?“ Maxine asked in disbelief. „Did you honestly think, Jacs Holt, known for her drug dealing and cutthroat business model, would sell good quality drugs to some lowlife of a courier so he would sell them off with half the price?“

„I didn't think...I...honestly...Red, please...I'll make it up to you, I'll do whatever, anything, I swear,” Juice tried to get herself out of it.

Bea pushed herself up from the couch and sighed heavily.

„It's a bit too late for that,” the redhead said and limped a few steps away from the woman still seated on the sofa. „Maxi, do you mind getting things ready?“ The taller woman nodded and disappeared into an adjacent room.

„What do you mean too late? Red?“ Juice was beginning to panic as her eyes kept darting to the room Maxine had gone to. She heard things moving around, some lifting, a crash and something being dragged over the floor. She gulped heavily, eyes moving to the exit but she didn't dare run for it. One thing she had learned from working for Bea Smith – while the woman was kind to her friends, she could be ruthless to the ones that betrayed her.

After a minute or so, Maxine emerged from the room, a baseball bat in her hands. As she passed Juice and set the bat on the table, she smiled at Bea who cracked her knuckles as a result. Maxine grabbed Juice by the arm to a standing position and led her to the chair she was seated in before and pushed the larger woman who stumbled and dropped down on it with a thump.

“Stay there,“ Maxine said to Juice in a commanding tone, grabbed the bat from the table and handed it to Bea.

Bea accepted the bat and took a step closer to Juice, towering over her.

„Oh Juice. I am disappointed in you, I truly am,“ the redhaired woman started. As Juice tried to respond, she raised her hand to silence her. „Have I not been good to you? I took pity on you when no one else would. Bailed you from the jail, helped get you clean, giving you a job...a job that pays very well, even though you're not actually working. I offered my friendship, my protection, I stood up for you when no-one else would and this is how you decide to repay me?”

„Bea-“ Juice tried once more but the redhead didn't let her.

“Drugs? Of all the things, Juice...drugs? The one thing I stand so strongly against, the one thing I swore to never touch, to never sell, to never have in my crew...you go and buy them, then sell them for a profit. Because you needed money?“

„I kept some for myself-“ the scared woman said and Bea sighed in disappointment. „I sold the rest, for extra cash and...“ she hesitated, worried that Bea would use the bat on her.

„And?“ Maxine interjected impatiently.

„Needed to impress a woman.“

„You are an idiot, aren't you?” Maxine said and shook her head.

„Hope this all was worth it,“ Bea continued, clearly not impressed by Juice's choices, “because I have to clean this mess up, as usual.“

„I'll pay back for the drugs, Red, I swear! I can get the money! I'll apologize or whatever, I'll do anything.”

Juice was pleading for her life hoping Bea would take pity on her. She knew the consequences were gonna be painful and if Jaqs was involved, even worse. She made a mistake, a stupid mistake, and she'd be damned to lose her life over it.

“It's too late for that. Jacs wants blood and to have at least some resemblance of peace between our crews, I'm gonna give it to her.” Bea moved a bit closer to Juice, gripping the baseball bat, hands ready to take a swing. She peeked behind her and was pleased Maxine had her phone out, ready to record what was going to happen. It made her sick to her stomach.

Juice had nowhere to run, even if she tried, Maxine would catch her in a matter of seconds. She sat there, scared of what was going to happen, praying to God she'd come out of this alive.

Some hours later, Maxine and Bea pulled up at one of Hell's Pagan's hideouts. Not exactly a secret hideout but if you were smart, you'd keep away from it. Bea had asked Maxine to accompany her, just in case Jacs or any of her idiots would try something. She wasn't exactly afraid but having her best friend there with her, offering backup, calmed whatever nervousness she might've had.

They got out of the truck and Maxine grabbed the money from the back-seat. The not so large amount was neatly tucked in a black plastic bag, making it look like she was carrying clothes. The last thing the needed this dreadful day was cops pulling them over and questioning the cash.

The door to the shady looking building flew open and Jacs Holt, in all her glory, stepped out with a large smile on her face. Bea frowned, the woman's smile always irritating her.

“Beatrice!”

“Jacqueline.”

“Fancy a cuppa inside?”

“I'm not here for chitchat about our adventurous lives and torrid love affairs. I believe we have some unfinished business.” Bea stretched her arm out towards Maxine who handed her the plastic bag. The red-haired woman threw the bag down in front of Jacs' feet. “The money I owe for Juice's lack of judgment.”

Jacs smiled, clearly impressed by Bea's tough nature. She waved inside the house and Jerome came out with a half-eaten chicken leg between his fingers.

“Count it,” the woman ordered and Jerome, throwing the chicken leg aside, kneeled down and got to the task. “It's not that I don't trust you, Beatrice, but in my business, I have to be certain. No offense, I hope.”

“None taken, I'd do the same.”

They waited for a while and Jerome gave a thumbs up.

“Good! Now, there's the other thing I was promised.”

Bea nodded and Maxine handed Jacs her phone.

“Just push play,” the tall woman said and took a step back.

Jacs did as she was instructed and after watching the whole thing, smiled in content.

“Do be a dear and send it to me directly. I am sure you have my contacts,” Jacs said as she handed the phone back to Maxine. “Beatrice, I am very pleased with your delivery, consider your debt cleared.”

“I need your assurance, your word, you won't touch Juice,” Bea said and straightened her posture, offering a 'no bullshit' look to the formidable woman.

“You have my word, Beatrice. Lucy will not be touched or hurt...unless she does something similarly stupid again.”

“Good,” Bea responded and turned to Maxine. “Did you send it to her?”

Her best friend nodded and put the phone in her pocket.

“Then we're out of here.”

Bea climbed into the truck, ignoring the pain her knee was still giving her and slammed the door shut in anger. Maxine followed her on the driver's seat and started the car.

“Don't be a stranger, Beatrice,” Jacs managed to yell as Maxine slammed the gas and they took off in a cloud of dust, leaving the leader of Hell's Pagans smirking knowingly.

Chapter Text

A week later, back at the Saloon, Maxine acted like nothing interesting had happened, her face neutral. Kaz wasn't fooled that easily though – she knew Bea had planned to deal with Juice and she needed to know the details of it now. She approached the woman with a large smile and offered to refill her beer. Maxine nodded. Kaz looked around the bar to see if anyone was listening but found it surprisingly empty, most of the customers seated behind tables and immersed in their own conversations. It was in the middle of a work day so the half-empty Saloon wasn't a massive shock but usually, there were some patrons nursing their beer behind the bar or weeping into a whiskey glass at this hour.

“So did Bea handle the Juice situation?”

“She did.” Maxine's reply was as neutral as her face but she exchanged a look with Kaz that told the other woman there was more to it.

“How?”

“She dealt with her, let's leave it at that.”

Kaz sighed understanding Maxine's reluctance to tell her.

“You can trust me, Maxi.”

“It's not that, Kaz...it's...listen Bea might trust you with her life but others, including myself, don't. You're not a part of our crew so I don't why I have to tell you how Juice was dealt with?” Maxine was testing the other woman. She might've been a bit cruel with her words but she needed to know where exactly Kaz's loyalties lied. Things were gonna get out of hand with Jacs eventually and Bea needed all the allies she could get – Maxine hoped Kaz was one of them.

“Ok, I get it. Now you listen to me, Maxine Conway. When Bea needed a friend, I was there for her. When she needed someone to help her with Debbie, I offered my help. When you, Boomer, Fletch, even Juice needed someone to vouch for you or help bail you out – I always pitched in and did all I could to aid Bea. I might not wear your trademark leather jacket or ride a Harley 24/7 but I am a part of Red's Rebels. Even now,” Kaz lowered her voice into an intense whisper, so only Maxine could hear her, “I help you guys hide the contraband you smuggle in and more. So don't come and tell me I can't be trusted while you know full well I'd do anything for you guys – well almost anything.”

Kaz held her gaze with Maxine's until they both softened and started laughing. The taller woman barely keeping herself upright on the chair.

“I'm sorry, Kaz, I really am,” she wheezed through the laughter, “I had to do it. Forgive me.”

The blonde woman patted Maxine's arm, reassuring her it was all fine. She truly understood. Maxine was Bea's best friend and she did what she thought was right to protect her and the crew.

“It's fine, don't worry about it. I will charge you double for the next beer though.”

“I'll pay triple!”

They both laughed again as Kaz poured Maxine a fresh glass of cold beer and a cup of coffee for herself. Maxine nursed the beer for a few seconds and got serious.

“Why don't you ride the Harley we gifted you or ask for a jacket then?”

“If I put on the jacket, there's gonna be a bullseye on my ass 24/7 – I'm quite an easy target, especially for Jacs. The cops are already sniffing around my bar and house, don't really need the extra attention the jacket would produce. And don't think for a second I'm not riding the Harley, because I am, every free moment I can. I can't thank you all enough for that gift. I know it wasn't cheap.“

“It's a 2014 Road King and in your favorite color red – it wasn't cheap indeed but Bea said – the best for the best,” Maxine winked, “and you're very welcome.”

“Now please tell me how did you handle the Juice issue?”

After Maxine was done explaining the situation and all they had to do to get Jacs off their back, at least for now, Kaz viewed Bea in a whole different light – she had a new respect for the red-haired woman. Bea could've just let Jacs have Juice, to do with her as she pleased, but she didn't. She stood up for someone who constantly failed her and the rest of the crew. Juice wasn't someone you could trust fully, be it a job given to her, fetching a glass of beer or paying the water bill – you never knew what the woman might do or where she might go to during the task. Still, Bea protected her but for how long, Kaz wasn't sure.

“Where's Allie,” Maxine asked changing the subject to a more pleasant note.

“Boomer demanded a karaoke night today and I expect a full Saloon. So, even though Allie had the day off, I called her in from 4 PM to manage the masses.”

“Ah yes, the karaoke. Boomer is taking that personally now, ever since you banned it.”

Kaz laughed at that but got serious immediately.

“That wasn't OK, Maxi. What Jerome and Fletch arranged, the fight, Allie getting hurt and all inside the Saloon, knowing full well my rules – banning the karaoke was just a small thing but it had enough of an impact on others. Boomer literally begged me to unban it, she was on her knees, Maxi!” Kaz half-smiled. “I've had no trouble inside these walls ever since the fight but we'll see tonight. I assume Jacs and her crew are gonna attend. What about Bea?”

The taller woman took a large gulp of her beer, emptying the glass and set it on the counter.

“Bea has a doctors appointment today about her knee. It's much better now and she should be crutch free by tonight. If it's good news, she'll definitely come. If she's not gonna sing, she'll come to keep an eye on us all. Suffice to say, Juice won't be attending. We did her in good but she's alive and soon well enough to fuck things up for us again.”

Kaz was just about to reply with a joke about black eyes and beer when Will Jackson stepped into the bar. Kaz grabbed Maxine's empty glass and warned her with a whisper 'Jackson right behind you,' and got busy.

“Conway!” Will said in a loud voice and sat down next to her.

“Lieutenant Jackson,” Maxine replied, keeping it professional, unsure of what he wanted from her. They weren't friends – he was a cop and she was still, by the standards of the law, a criminal.

“We need to talk about Juice and what happened to her.”

“Hold on, Will Jackson,” Kaz interjected. “You know the rules. You wanna talk shop, take it outside. I won't have you interrogating my customers here.”

“Come on Kaz, this isn't an interrogation.”

“I'm not going outside,” Maxine said in a neutral tone and ordered a fresh glass of beer. “I intend to stay here until the closing. You'll have to arrest me to get me out of here.”

Kaz set the fresh glass down in front of the taller woman and smiled.

“You heard her, Will.”

“Alright, alright,” Will sighed, “I only need to ask a few questions. Now if I order something,” he turned to Kaz, “will you let me?”

Kax exchanged a look with Maxine and eventually nodded.

“Good, OK. A cup of coffee and a shot of your best whiskey.”

They waited for Kaz to fill out the order and after Will paid for the drinks, the woman moved on to other customers, who had walked in, leaving Maxine and Will alone.

„So Juice...,“ Will started and stirred the sugar in the coffee.

„What about her?“

Maxine really didn't want to delve into what had happened with Juice and hoped the woman kept to her story.

“She was brought in to the Hospital a week ago, looking like she's been through a dozen boxing matches with Tyson.“

„And?“

„The explanation she gave was an accident with her Harley,“ Maxine flinched but hoped Will didn't notice, „but the funny thing is, her Harley was fine – no scratch on it. Any ideas about what really happened?“

Will was fishing but Maxine was determined to keep her mouth shut. She cursed in her mind, cursed Juice for changing her story. They had agreed on not remembering what happened – amnesia was the safest bet – or if she had to, she could always blame some asshole from Jacs's crew. Maxine was certain the cops would not follow those leads but an accident with her Harley? Did she hit Juice too hard?

„No idea,“ Maxine deflected and took another sip of her beer.

Will wasn't impressed by her tactics and emptied the whiskey glass and took a sip of coffee to balance it out. He was, technically, still on duty.

„Come on Maxine,“ he tried but the woman didn't budge.

He realized pushing her further would get him nothing and he had no evidence to accuse Maxine or anyone else for the obvious beating.

After sitting at the bar for a good 5 minutes in silence, Maxine finally turned to Will.

„It's my day off and I have a birthday this weekend, so I'm in a good mood.“ Will wasn't sure where Maxine was heading with this talk. „So let me offer you some advice.“

He turned towards Maxine and nodded.

„I get it, OK? You came from a big city, from all the crime, the dirtbags, the drugs, the gangs, murders and whatever. You came here to have a more peaceful life, a small town with a low or almost non-existent crime rate. Stop me anytime if I get things wrong.“

Will didn't, she was right. A peaceful life was what attracted him to Trestlehaunt in the first place.

„What you got was two gangs – two rivaling gangs – Hell's Pagan's and Red's Rebels. And I understand your big city cop senses started tingling. You want to bring order into the town, without anyone innocent getting hurt in the process.“

Once again Will nodded but with a raise of his arm, asked for a refill on the whiskey. They waited until the order was filled and Maxine continued, taking small sips from her beer.

„And that's totally fine, I get it. But you're going about it wrong.“

„Do enlighten me, Conway,“ Will said with a more irritated tone of voice.

„Before Jacs Holt rolled back to Trestlehaunt, Hell's Pagan's were small pickings. They didn't do anything serious besides vandalism, robberies and other pretty petty crimes. The gang was in shambles after their previous leader died and that bumbling moron Harry Smith took over. The man can't even find his own underwear let alone lead a gang. We were solid, however – business was really good and
we hurt nobody, at least not physically. I'm certain some wallets got hurt though,“ she gave a burst of small laughter.

Will rolled his eyes. What Red's Rebels did for money wasn't exactly a secret to him but he was always certain there was more. After all, the money they seemed to have didn't just come for selling booze and cigarettes, there had to be more going on.

„Jacs game back took the leadership from Smith and things got more serious as she started moving in on our territory. So naturally, things got more serious.“

„They started dealing in drugs.“

„Yes, and it pissed Bea off. You know she has never touched and never will nor sell that crap and she has zero tolerance for anyone who does. So naturally Jacs and her butted heads from the start. And you have made things even worse.“

„I and my deputies are doing their job!“ Will defended.

„You asked for Bea's help in dealing with Jacs and Bea agreed to do what she could and as much as she could. But let's be honest here, Will...you haven't helped her at all in achieving any milestones. Which is the worst evil here? The Rebels or the Pagan's?“

Will didn't reply.

„You gotta back off. Sitting on Bea's ass won't get her to do anything, you'll only piss her off more than you already have. You forget – in this war, we are your allies, not enemies. Busting our shipments, locking up our members, hassling us won't do you any favors. You'll lose any respect Bea still has for you if you don't back off.“

„Bea's accident and Juice's weren't really accidents were they?“

„It's only advice but back off, until someone truly gets hurt.“

Will heard Maxine, of course, but was he gonna take her advice?
He was about to reply but the door to the Saloon flew open and Franky Doyle, her girlfriend Bridget Westfall and the biggest surprise, Vera Bennet, walked in. Franky immediately noticed Will and beelined to him, patting him on the back heavily.

„Fancy seeing you here, Lieutenant,“ she loudly declared and ordered herself and Bridget a drink. Vera followed them quite tentatively but placed an order with a firm tone - a glass of wine.

„Just having a friendly drink with Conway.“ He glanced at the clock. „Besides, my shift is over so why not let my hair down.“

Franky laughed loudly and offered to occupy a table not too far from the bar. She invited Maxine to join them all but the taller woman declined with a smile. She was waiting for her crew to arrive at any moment.

Kaz approached Maxine the second the others moved away from the bar.

„So? How'd it go?“

„Good, I guess. I might've overstepped a bit but...it was for a good cause. Will's too stuck on Bea and her doing's and he keeps letting Jacs get away with shit because of it...I had to say something.“

„Maybe he fancies Bea.“

„Don't be stupid, Kaz. He's been busting her balls the minute he took over the job...“ Maxine stopped and thought about it for a moment. „You don't mean to say...“

„I mean it could be a possibility. You know how boys pick on girls they like and Bea is a very attractive woman.“ Kaz replied, not believing her own words for a second but it did make sense.

Will wasn't exactly an unattractive man himself but the way he kept seeking Bea out, all the time...it had to be more than 'I'm doing my job'. Right?

„You mean to tell me Will has been making our life difficult because he wants attention from Bea? Because he fancies her?!“

Kaz nodded.

„Well fuck me,“ the taller woman took a long gulp of her beer. „Bea's gonna lose it when I tell her.“

Chapter Text

When Allie arrived for her shift at the Saloon, almost an hour early, the place was already pretty packed. She wasn't really surprised as the karaoke night was back on but it was still pretty crowded for such an early hour - it was only 3 PM - it was quite early for drinking.
Kaz and Liz were both tending the bar and Allie noticed the empty glasses piling up on the tables. Kaz waved her over and asked her to start immediately. She didn't need to be told twice as she dashed to the staff room to change her clothes.

She had spent her free morning and afternoon cleaning her room, shopping for essentials and before her shift put a few hours in at the gym. She wanted to get into better shape and of course, filled her free time as efficiently as possible. Stanley aka Moody was really working her hard and Allie certainly felt the effects now as she was changing her shirt and jeans. Her muscles were already sore and starting to hurt. She didn't complain though – going to the gym already made her feel much better health wise than just sitting around and doing nothing.

Once she was done changing, she checked herself over in the mirror and pleased with what she saw, was ready to face the difficult shift waiting for her.

Allie burst through the door and immediately Liz told her to go a clear the tables of used glasses and see if anyone needed a refill. The younger blonde happily obliged and approached the table furthest from the bar – Red's Rebel's spot. The table was pretty full and Allie recognized some of the faces – Maxine, Boomer, and Fletch. There were also a few faces she didn't recognize but she assumed they were just friends of the Rebels or acquaintances. Allie was pretty disappointed Bea wasn't there and she wondered if her knee was still giving her grief, she was ill or something worse.

Maxine noticed Allie the second she had approached.

„Hey Allie,“ she greeted with a pleasant smile, „it's been a while.“

Allie was grabbing the empty beer glasses and offered a smile in return.

„Hey! It's only been a few days. How're you doing?“

She wasn't exactly best friends with Maxine but they seemed to get along. She also felt that if she was ever gonna become more than friends with Bea, Maxine was someone she needed in her corner – a good friend and someone who could offer support and extra advice if needed.

„It's been alright. I dare say even good,“ the brunette woman laughed heartily. „How are your hands?“

Allie looked at her hands briefly and just shook her head and assured the woman they were much better now. The cuts weren't that deep and it was only a few scars now and slight soreness.

„Good,“ Maxine said and emptied her beer glass.

Allie took it from her and asked if anyone at the table needed a refill. Everyone at the table cheered and asked for a refill and Allie hurried back to the bar. She was filling up the fresh glasses with beer and an occasional whiskey, lost in her own world, thinking about a certain redhead so she didn't notice Maxine approach the bar.

„Allie,“ the taller woman said startling the blonde.

„Maxine! Jeez, you scared the shit out of me. God!“

„Sorry sorry,“ the Rebel laughed embarrassingly.

„I'll bring the drinks to the table shortly-“

„It's not that, Allie. Listen...it's about Bea.“

„What about her?“ Allie asked, trying to not look too excited at the mention of the redhead.

Even though Bea had not called her after the offer of a dinner date, Allie still had hoped something more could come of their friendship. Her heart had survived many breakup wounds but she had a feeling her luck when it came to romance, was about to change for the better. She really hoped.

„I know she hasn't called you or been in contact,“ Allie nodded with a small frown while filling the last glass with beer and setting it on the tray. „There's been...stuff happening the last few weeks. Her knee and the-“

„Beef with Jacs Holt?“ the younger woman asked with a cautious smile, surprising Maxine.

„Yeah,“ Maxine said slowly.

„Relax, it's not my first time living in the midst of gangs and their wars. I'm sure whatever it is, it will be solved eventually.“

Allie moved to pick up the tray, thinking this was it but Maxine set her hand on the tray indicating she had more to say. She leaned over the counter, closed to the young woman.

„Listen...Bea likes you a lot. This crap with Holt has been dealt with and Bea's health...her knee, should be almost healed by now. Yesterday she mentioned you and some date you guys had planned? I didn't pry but what I'm trying to say is – give her a chance, Allie. It isn't easy for her, considering you're the first person she's taken a liking to in the past decade or so.“

Allie smiled. Her heart warmed at Maxine's attempt to patch things up even though there was really nothing to actually patch up. She could only wish for a friend like Maxine, someone who'd stand up and protect her and play the occasional matchmaker.

„It's OK, Maxine. I wasn't mad at her and I most definitely aren't giving up on her. I am very invested in whatever relationship I might have with her and if it takes time before we get there, it's totally fine. I've rushed plenty into different relationships and mostly for wrong reasons but this time I wanna do it right. Slow is my preferred pace. But thank you for telling me. You're a true friend to Bea.“

They both walked back to the table. Allie set the drinks down and with a small smile at Maxine, moved to the next table of people to continue with her tasks.

„What was all that about, Maxi,“ Fletch asked while burping loudly, getting cheers from everyone at the table. „Moving in on Bea's girl?“ He laughed loudly at his own lame joke.

„Very funny. You might worry about your own prospects.“

„I don't fancy Bea's girl-“

„Vera Bennett, you drunk mammoth! If you haven't noticed yet, she's here in the Rusty Saloon! Don't you think this would be an ideal situation for you to go and talk to her? Would be a change of scenery for her – you're not behind bars for once.“

„I noticed but I don't know,“ Fletch hesitated, „she's with her cop friends and-“

Right this moment, the door to the Saloon flew open and none other than Bea Smith, in her glory, stepped in. She noticed her crew immediately and after slamming the door shut, made her way to them. She was dressed up. Well in Bea Smith standards, dressed up meant - new figure and butt hugging blue jeans, a tight new Harley Davidson t-shirt that also hugged her torso, showing off her arms and chest and shiny new riding boots. Her hair was loose, the red strands wavy and wild.

„Didn't expect you today,“ Maxine said and pushed a full glass of beer towards Bea.

Bea grabbed the glass and emptied it almost in one go.

„Neither did I but I got some good news and like hell would I skip karaoke night,“ she sat down at the table, next to Maxine. „Also, gives me a chance to keep an eye on the Pagan's. I'm sure Fletch here has learned his lesson,“ she shot a stern glare towards the man who raised his glass in agreement, „but I can't be so sure about Jerome. That guy is a loose cannon if Jacs isn't telling him otherwise.“

„So what's the good news?“ Maxine changed the topic.

Bea settled more comfortably in the chair and raised her glass towards her friend.

„Had an appointment with the good old doc today and it's good news. My knee is almost healed! I am back to my old self, Maxi. I came here on my Harley and while the knee is still a bit sore, I barely notice it. I still need to take it easy and I won't be running marathons for a few more weeks but it's as good a new.“

„That is good news, Bea.“ Maxine half hugged her friend and Fletch called for a toast after hearing the news as well.

The next half an hour went without much incident, as more people arrived for the karaoke and an overall good time. It was still a few hours before the karaoke would start but half of the patrons at the Saloon were already quite drunk. That also included most of Bea's crew and friends who were sat at their table.
Bea herself stayed quite sober, only keeping her drink menu to beer. She needed to be alert should anything go awry. She also noticed Allie moving around behind the bar and collecting empty glasses and dishes but their eyes never met. She assumed the younger woman was too busy to pay attention and decided to go for the next refill herself sometime later in hopes to have a short chat with the woman.

Maxine was talking to Fletch, trying to get him to go and talk to Vera. For a large guy, he was suddenly reduced to a teenager when Vera's name was mentioned. It was adorable really but he had to make a move of some kind.

„If you're not gonna go and talk to her, I will,“ Maxine declared and made a move to stand up. Fletch put his hand on her arm and kept her in place.

„Don't you dare, Maxi!“

Bea leaned in and asked what the fuss was about? Maxine hurriedly explained Fletch's crush on Vera and Fletch did all he could to deny it.

„I don't have a crush on her,“ he whispered as loudly and as quietly as he could manage. He didn't want everyone to know his business.

Bea wasn't exactly unaware of her friend's infatuation of the timid policewoman but she didn't realize it went quite that deep. Poor Fletch, while obviously quite drunk already, was flustered and having difficulty forming sentences when Vera was mentioned. It was an odd match, to be honest, but weren't she and Allie the same?

Maxine then turned towards her and whispered into her ear.
'You go talk to Bennett. I know she's a good singer so go and ask if she's up for singing a duet with Fletch but be subtle. If she is up for it, send her here and I'll do the rest'

Bea nodded, got up with the excuse of needing a refill and instead of the bar, went straight to the table where Franky, Bridget, Will, and Vera were seated. She heard Fletch's hissed curses of 'come back', 'stop', 'don't you dare' with each step she took towards the cop table, as Boomer had so lovingly named it. But Bea was on a small mission, or rather two – keep friendly with the cops and help Fletch in his romantic crusade.

As she neared the table, she kept a smile on her face. The first to notice her was Franky, who waved her over excitedly and loudly as was expected of her.

„Red! You're looking fresh and ready to be plucked. Come, have a seat,“ Franky all but shouted and patted the empty chair next to her.

The redhead took a seat and greeted everyone. They seemed to be in a good mood and judging by the number of glasses on the table – beer, whiskey, wine, and vodka – quite drunk.

„You guys gonna take part of the karaoke?“

Franky laughed as her gaze turned mischievous.

„We dared Vera here to sing us a song but she's too shy. We all know she has a good singing voice but she refuses to do it.“

„Oh? Is it true,“ Bea asked the timid looking woman to her left.

Vera smiled shyly and nodded avoiding Bea's gaze, clearly embarrassed.

„Well, how about this? One of my crew members showed an interest in singing a song but needs a partner. Apparently, it's a duet. I thought I'd come to ask if any of you ladies here wanna do it? Boomer can't sing and there's really no one else I can offer.“

„What about you, Red?“ Franky asked and emptied her whiskey glass.

„Not today. I'm not taking part in the karaoke tonight.“ Bea turned back to Vera. „So how about it? You up for it?“

„If it's a duet, I suppose I could do it. Do you know which song?“

„Ah sorry, I didn't ask but you can go and ask him? Apparently, he has it picked out.“

„Who?“

„Fletch.“

„I don't know Bea-“ Vera was about to say, wanting to suddenly back down. A small blush was covering her cheeks.

„Oh come on, he doesn't bite. Just go, it's all for fun.“ Bea ushered Vera out of her seat and pushed her towards the table.

They all followed the small woman's hesitant walk towards Fletch and Bea let out a breath, she wasn't aware she was holding when Maxine took the reigns.

Franky inched closer to the redhead and in a hushed tone asked what she was doing or planning?

„Just a little nudge towards something good. I hope.“

„Bea Smith - Cupid in disguise?“

„Hardly but a well-wishing friend definitely.“

Will took this opportunity to take Vera's seat and ask Bea all the burning questions he interrogated Maxine over but right this second Allie appeared, seemingly out of nowhere, and started collecting the empty glasses from the table.
As she was taking Franky's whiskey glass, her eyes locked with Bea's and she felt a hot blush crawling up from her neck and hitting her cheeks at full power. It didn't help that Bea was smiling at her – she almost dropped the glass. She really needed to return to the bar, otherwise, she'd make a fool of herself or worse - melt.
As she was moving away, Bea's got up and stopped her with her hand gently on her shoulder. She felt the redhead move a bit closer.

„Can we talk privately later? We have a pending meeting and I'd like to talk through some details.“

„Uh...I mean, yes, yes we can. I have a break coming up in an hour and we can talk in the back room.“

Bea nodded and let Allie continue with her work. Allie cursed in her mind.

*Uh? Very smooth Novak, very smooth.*

As Allie was moving away she heard Franky asking Bea if she was gonna snog her in the back room later. But she didn't hear Bea's reply. Quite honestly, while slow was her new middle name when it came to relationships, she wouldn't mind a snog. Especially a snog from Bea Smith. Her face flamed up at the thought. She felt quite silly.

Kaz noticed Allie's flustered state and was about to ask the girl if everything was alright. Was she ill, feeling under the weather and so on but her attempt was interrupted with Jacs Holt and the rest of Hell's Pagan's stepping into the Saloon.

The whole place fell silent in anticipation of how things would turn out.

Bea got up from the cop table and moved towards Jacs, the other woman's meeting her half the way.

They stood face to face, chest to chest.

„Beatrice.“

„Jaqueline.“

Chapter Text

They stood like that for a good long minute before Jacs smiled and relaxed her stance, giving Bea a hint to do the same.

"I see your leg is better."

"As good as new," Bea offered back with a smile of her own, staying polite. "No thanks to you or your crew."

"No hard feelings, Beatrice. It's just business."

"Indeed. However, as that particular business has been settled, let's not ruin tonight for everyone here. It's after all, the long-awaited karaoke night. I propose a truce...for now."

Jacs thought about it for a moment. She scanned the Saloon with her eyes, looking at Bea's crew, her own and eventually at Kaz, who stood behind the counter, looking ready to attack if things went wrong. Jacs was amused but realized the offer wasn't half bad. A break from the little war they had was welcome. Jacs might be always on her toes and careful but even she needed time off once in a while.

"I accept. A truce for a whole week," the woman declared in a loud voice so everyone in the Saloon would hear. "That of course means, no shenanigans and fights between your people and mine."

Jacs Holt was many things but she was known for keeping her word. Bea nodded cautiously but her eyes darted between the Pagan's and her own crew, a hint of danger in the posture.

"I can vouch for my crew. As I recall the last fight was instigated by Jerome, so can you vouch for yours?"

"Oh Beatrice, you're not the only one who keeps her crew on a tight leash. Mine will honor this truce and as a show of good faith, next round is on me – for everyone in the Saloon."

Everyone cheered – free drinks were always welcome, no matter where they were. The patrons were also glad the women decided to take it easy. The last thing anyone wanted right now, was a fight. Kaz also let out a small sigh of relief and continued with her work.

Jacs settled her crew at their table in the far corner of the place, quite far from Bea's. Kaz had them change tables after the last incident. Having the Rebels and pagan's sitting so close together never ended well. Last time wasn't their first and certainly not the last incident so seating them far apart would prove beneficial in the end. At least Kaz had hoped so.

Bea sat down at her table and kept her eyes on the Pagan's. The woman had agreed to a truce rather easily and Bea was certain it was gonna come and bite her in the ass later in the future. However, for now, she was gonna make sure the truce was being held. Thus meant her own people being at their best behavior.

“Was this a good idea,“ Maxine asked in a concerned tone of voice.

„ We need a break, Maxi. All this crap with Jacs, her need to control everything and the feud over territories...this short truce is a gift. Don't misunderstand, I am surprised she agreed to it in the first place, but I suppose she's in the same spot as us. We both need a breather, to collect our thoughts, regroup and make new plans.“

„Ha! I bet the Pagan assholes will be the first to break it,“ Fletch laughed and drowned the rest of his beer.

Bea slammed her hand on the table, getting the attention of everyone at their table.

„Ha indeed! If anyone of you will do anything to fuck this up, anything at all...,“ she looked at Fletch and Boomer particularly, „then you'll have much bigger things to worry about than Jacs Holt!“

„Things like what, Bea?“ Boomer asked, clueless as to what Bea meant.

„Like my Harley deep up your ass!“

The larger woman shrunk in her chair, clearly regretting she asked in the first place. She knew telling Franky about the deals didn't help things along but it was a mistake she had made and had paid for it.

„Listen,“ Bea continued with a more lower voice, so only her crew could hear, „Jacs is gunning for us all. It's all just the beginning. As I told you all weeks ago – keep a low profile and I didn't just mean from the cops. I want Jacs to take the next step and it would help if you lot didn't taunt her crew. And Fletch, just this once, when Jerry comes to mock you, be the bigger man and walk away.“

Everyone, including Fletch, promised to behave and Bea hoped they'd have a moderately peaceful week. A few minutes later, once Fletch went to the bar for a refill, Bea got Maxine's attention and asked how the thing with Vera go.

"After some awkwardness I got them to sing a duet later. Vera was surprisingly willing to do it but I could see she was a bit uncomfortable with Fletch – at first. I only hope that idiot won't get too drunk and scare Vera off. His first impression, when Vera came here, was to burp into her face."

"Tell me you're joking," the redhead laughed.

"No, I swear. Ask Boomer. I waved Vera over after you pushed her towards us and told Fletch to be gentlemanly and polite. He gets up and instead of a 'Hi' or something better, her just burps straight into her face."

„No way!“

„Yeah, and the best part of it – Vera wasn't phased by at all. Can you believe it?

"What did she do?“

„She took a seat right next to him and chastised him regarding his lack of manners.“ Bea laughed even harder at that. „Fletch apologized like a bumbling idiot.“

„I'm telling you, Maxi, they're made for each other. When will they sing?“

"They're first up but there's an hour or more before all that starts. But enough about them, Bea. Let's talk about your love life. I saw you talking to Allie before. You two OK?“

„I hope so,“ Bea sighed and stole a glance at Allie, who was busy filling up a beer mug. „She's gonna have a break soon and we're gonna talk.“

The redhead seemed a bit uncertain. All this dating and romance thing were so fresh for her and her track record, when it came to relationships, wasn't the best. She thought about Harry, her ex-husband, and cringed. Not exactly a good example of a successful relationship. She stole another glance at Allie, who was now chatting to Bill McMillian, the local carpenter and a known womanizer while filling him a shot. The redhead assumed Bill had tried to hit on the blonde but seeing him walk away after receiving his show, told Bea Allie had shot him down. Before she turned her attention back to Maxine, she noticed Franky and Kaz going to the back and wondered what was up with that. She made a mental note to ask Kaz later.

„Well, I talked to her before you arrived and she told me you two are fine,“ Maxine said bringing Bea's attention back to her.

„Butting into my business again?“

To any bystander, that question might've seemed aggressive but there was a glint on mischief in Bea's eyes that told Maxine, she didn't really mind her butting in. Bea had helped her with Martin a few years ago when she was too afraid to take the first step and it seemed only right to help with Allie now.

„Was trying to get a feel of her, where she stood and all that jazz – trust me when I say – you two are totally fine. Just don't burp into her face. I have a feeling she'll slap you or worse if you do. I'll bet 100 bucks she has claws and isn't afraid to use them.“

„Oh, funny, hilarious even.“ Bea faked a laugh but thanked Maxine for her support.

The redhead emptied her beer glass and set it down on the table, getting ready for the talk. She wasn't exactly sure what she was gonna say, she had no real plan, no idea what to do or how to act, what was appropriate and what wasn't. She groaned. She could lead a biker gang, do business with criminals, sell questionable goods, almost take a bullet and if necessary fight men like Fletch with bare hands, stand up to rivaling gangs and cops but throw a pretty woman like Allie her way and ask her to date her – Bea was petrified.

„You'll be fine. Just be yourself, go with the flow. Use your gang leader charm.“ Maxine smiled.

„Your jokes are getting worse Maxi, but I hear you. I can't help but feel nervous, I'm like a teenager with her first crush.“ She looked over Maxine's shoulder and saw Allie pointing to the back room, indicating her break had started. She got up and let out a breath. „Let's hope I won't fuck it up.“

Bea followed Allie to the backroom in silence, neither of them saying a word. Bea noticed Kaz and Franky weren't back yet and made an extra mental note to pry into it later.
Once they got the to doo, Allie opened it and went in, Bea followed her slowly and closed the door behind her. The blonde stood a few feet away from her, resting against the edge of an old desk.

„So...,“ Allie said with a shy smile.

Bea stood there, unsure of what to say. She stepped closer to Allie, close enough if she reached out she could touch her but far enough to not invade the younger woman's personal space.

„I'm sorry,“ she finally said, her voice coming out more raspy than she expected.

„Why?“ Allie was confused. Bea had nothing to apologize for.

„For disappearing and not calling,“ the redhead replied and looked straight into Allie's eyes.

„It's fine, really, I'm not mad or anything,“ Allie said and blushed. Bea's gaze was smoldering.

„I am still sorry,“ she took a small step closer. She made a motion to take Allie's hand and she was glad it was reciprocated. Bea played with Allie's fingers, turning her hand over to check the now fading scars on her palm. „These are healing well,“ she whispered.

Allie was dazed, she felt like she was under a spell. Bea's hands had seemed rough but her touch was surprisingly gentle and soft. She wondered how her hands would feel like on other parts of her now overheating skin.

„Uh,“ the blonde struggled with her words, „yeah. I mean the cuts weren't that deep...it was a stupid accident.“

The redhead looked at Allie, her gaze caring.

„Perhaps so but I do apologize for my crew's stupidity.“

„They didn't start the fight.“

„No, but they played a part in escalating it. I guess it doesn't matter now. I've assured Kaz such things won't happen again, at least not on her turf.“

They stood there for a while, neither saying a word.
Bea was still caressing Allie's hand and the blonde wasn't stopping her. She enjoyed it too much.

„I recall I made big promises previously,“ the redhead finally said with a smile.

„Such as?“ Allie was mesmerized.

„I promised you a ride on my Harley and dinner at my house, which I proudly said I'll cook myself. I am a woman who keeps her word and sticks to her promises. Ask anyone.“

„That's good to know,“ Allie smiled and subconsciously leaned towards Bea.

They were now pretty close, definitely in each other personal space. Allie took this chance to look at Bea, truly look at her and take in her beauty. Bea Smith was a gorgeous woman. She had met many women during her life, many of them beautiful but Bea Smith was on another level. It took Allie's breath away. She hoped Bea didn't notice her intake of breath when their eyes finally met again.

„So,“ the taller woman continued in a low voice sending Allie's already overcharged mind into overdrive, „I was thinking I should deliver on my promises.“

„Wha...what do you have in mind?“ Allie cursed at her stutter but Bea just smiled.

„When is your next day off?“

„This Saturday..“

„That's perfect. What do you say we have that dinner then? I'll do the cooking, as promised and you can bring your lovely self,“ Bea winked at her. „What do you say?“

Allie was speechless and the redhead became a bit nervous she had maybe rushed things. She gave Allie the time she needed to respond but leaned a bit closer to her, their chests now almost touching.

„Yes,“ the blonde finally said, realizing her silence was way too long. „I'd love to have dinner this weekend.“

„Ah! Excellent! How does 7 PM sound?“ Bea offered her a full smile.

„It sounds good, I'll be there. Should I bring something?“

Allie didn't really wanna go empty-handed but as she didn't know Bea that well yet, she wasn't exactly sure what to bring.
Bea leaned even closer to her, their bodies now touching and the shorter woman's brain short-circuited.

„Just bring your beautiful self, a good mood, and some beer.“

„Alright.“ Allie breathed out in a desperate tone of voice.

They were so close now, dangerously even. The alarms in Bea's head went off, that she was rushing this, to step away from the woman, to not dip into those waters so soon. Allie was having the same battle in her mind but her body wasn't listening to her. Bea lowered her head as Allie raised her own – so close, centimeters apart from their goal. The distance was closed, their lips about to connect for the first time when there was a hard knock on the door.

„Stop making out,“ came a loud voice from the other side, „Allie, I need you back at the bar.“

It was Kaz. Bea and Allie jumped apart just moments before she opened the door and stepped in. Allie was blushing heavily, her breathing heavy and Bea looked like she had been caught doing something very illegal. It was obvious to Kaz she had interrupted something but work had to be done and she needed to talk to Bea.

„Sorry Kaz,“ the younger blonde said and walked towards the door. She looked back at Bea and blushed. „I'll see you on Saturday.“

Once Allie was gone, Kaz took a step towards Bea and shook her head. She thought to herself how this little blooming romance was adorable but important things first.

„I need to talk to you.“

„If it's about Allie, we're taking it slow and-“

„It's not. It's about Boomer.“

„What about her?“

„I just had a talk with Franky, privately of course, and she told me Boomer didn't tell her about the latest shipment – the important one?“ Bea seemed surprised.

„The shipment before – with the booze and other stuff – it was her but the big one you didn't get, wasn't.“

„Are you sure? Franky could've just lied to cover her own ass.“

Bea wasn't buying Franky's word. The cop had lied before to save her own neck, many times, and she didn't put it past her now.

„Yes, but the cat was let out of the bag when she had a row with Boomer all those months ago. Why cover her ass now? A bit too late for it now, don't you think? It wasn't Boomer who told her about the shipment. Franky also said, the tip about it went straight to Will – apparently it was anonymous. Whoever it was didn't specifically say it was yours and that's why he hasn't come for any of us yet. But it was a good day for the cops.“

„I bet it was! Fuck! I don't need this right now!“ Bea started pacing.

„It gets better – Jacs was fucked over as well. Same ship – all of her drugs were confiscated as well. Of course, Jacs thinks it was you or someone from your crew who squealed.“

„No wonder she's up my ass all the time. This is bad Kaz. If Boomer didn't blow the whistle and neither did Juice.....,“ the redhead was confused and angry. „Maybe someone from the Pagan's?“

„Has to be someone who gains something from fucking you and Jacs over and making you two butt fists and heads. Those were important shipments for both of you. It could be someone else?“

Kaz could name a few names who they could suspect. She only hoped it wasn't someone close to them.

„It could be anyone honestly,“ Bea sat down on a wooden box. „The ship's crew, someone from the Pagan's, someone from my own crew, anyone who even had a whiff of it.“ She groaned.

Nothing stayed secret in a small town like Trestlehaunt. It could've been Miss Baxter, the 90-year-old woman from down the street from her own house, the mailman or the guy selling 3-day old donuts on the corner of Wide street. People were aware of what went on behind the curtains of the seemingly sleepy town and there were rumors and talks. Bea had no power over what was said when she wasn't around and she wouldn't be surprised if someone had spilled some beans about potential shipments. Bea wasn't stupid, she didn't bring it all in by one ship and most of the stuff came either by train or was brought in by a car. Most of the deals she made, she kept to herself, only sharing the lesser ones with her crew if she needed them to receive it when she wasn't around. But the large shipment she lost to the cops – only a handful of people knew about it and she was gonna have to go through them cautiously.

„I can't deal with this now, Kaz.“ She hit the box she was sitting on previously with her foot in anger.

„Bea-“

„Don't misunderstand, I will deal with it thoroughly but not now, not this week. This is the calm before the storm. I intend to enjoy the calm for now. I have a date to plan. But I swear, if I find who did this, be it my best friend or the chief of Police – there'll be no God to save them. I'll fucking kill them!“

Chapter Text

Saturday arrived faster than Bea had anticipated. She slammed her hand over the alarm clock to silence it and with a loud groan fell back down on the bed. She thought back on the karaoke night at the Saloon, her chat and almost a kiss with Allie and the not so pleasant news she received from Kaz.

The karaoke had been a success, as was expected. The event had always been successful, even since Kaz first announced it, but two nights ago, after the small hiatus, was a super success. Everyone brave or drunk enough attempted to sing - some were good, some were great and some were bad. Bea laughed at the memory. She briefly remembered Boomer's rather drunk attempt of singing 'All by myself' but it had turned out as a really sad and somewhat of a rock version of it and which was mixed with hiccups and burps here and there. It had been quite a performance, Bea chuckled to herself.

She got more comfortable in bed, still lazy to roll out of it even though the first half of the day was pretty booked with silly chores and errands. She decided she had earned a few extra minutes of laziness. She recalled the most famous performance of the night – Vera and Fletch. They were roped into singing a duet by Maxine and to Bea's surprise, it had gone exceptionally well. She had been convinced if not Vera, Fletch would fuck it up somehow.

The song chosen for them was "You're the one that I want" from Grease and both of them had protested at first - strongly. Vera had reasoned the theme of the song, which was romantic, was not appropriate and Fletch's excuse involved him not being able to shake his hips as John Travolta had done. Bea distinctly remembered Vera roll her eyes to that. It had taken Maxine quite a lot to convince them but she came out victorious in the end. Her intentions were good after all.

By the time they went on stage, Fletch had considerably sobered up because Maxine had confiscated his alcohol and replaced it with water, and Vera had been assured by others at the table it's just a fun duet to do with a friend. She had nodded but looked embarrassed stepping on to the stage. Fletch was no better. They performed the song - both of them had a wonderful singing voice. It had astounded Bea Fletch could sing and so well, almost professionally, and she had known the man for over a decade.

Once the song was over, everyone cheered and demanded more but Vera politely declined and moved back to the table where Will, Franky, and Bridget were seated. Fletch was a bumbling mess after and once he got back to their table, drank himself under it to settle his nerves and heart. Bea laughed out loud - poor guy is truly smitten with Vera and it was an adorable sight. She couldn't remember the last time he had taken such a serious interest in any woman. Nevertheless, she was happy for him. The guy deserved some love.

Her mind drifted to the little chat she'd had with Allie and her face flushed instantly. The talk had almost taken a more intimate turn and because of Kaz it had been avoided. Bea wasn't sure if it was a blessing or a curse Kaz had come looking for Allie, but she couldn't wrap her mind over 'what if they'd kissed'? This was all so new to her but the pull towards the younger woman was evident and the few times she had tried to fight it off as simple infatuation, it had failed. Bea Smith was falling, and after the chat, falling inevitably deeper. She shook her head, denying it. It's not possible, she can't allow herself such luxury. Times were dangerous, starting something with Allie, something serious would only put a target on the blondes back. Jacs would jump at the opportunity to hurt Bea through Allie and she was ready to bet money on the fact that there were others who'd at least consider the same action.

But...it had been too long. Too long she's felt something for another, she's allowed herself to lose herself in another person. Harry was a joke, quite literally. The only good thing that came out of that disaster of a relationship, was Debbie. If she were honest, she never loved him, it was a marriage out of necessity, of comfort and expectations put on by others. She was glad it never worked out between them. But Allie...

„Stop masturbating and be decent, I'm coming in!“ The door to her bedroom opened and Maxine stepped in not caring if Bea was decent.

„I wasn't masturbating, if you must know,“ the redhead said with a pointed voice, „ and what are you doing in my bedroom, furthermore, what are you doing in my house?!“

Bea got out from under the covers and tried to look intimidating while only in a tank top and knickers. Maxine snickered, holding her laugh back and raised her hands in defeat.

„Relax! I'm here to help you-“

„Help with what?“

„With your date, of course, what else? Besides, I tried to call you to warn you that I was coming but you didn't pick up. So I decided to just come over.“

Bea sighed and sat back down on her bed.

„I gave you the key to my house for emergencies, Maxi.“

„I think you have an actual date IS an emergency. So come on, loosen up. Get dressed or whatever you do in the mornings to get ready and come down. I'll prepare some coffee and then, before I help, we need to talk about what Kaz told you.“

Bea just nodded and Maxine left the room.

She couldn't avoid the elephant in the room for much longer. When she mentioned to Maxine what Kaz had told her a few nights ago, the other woman was shocked and angry. Bea had calmed her down, saying it wasn't the place and the time for it, that beating and shooting the usual suspects, which included Jacs Holt, to get answers, was not the way and, luckily for her, the taller woman had listened to her then. Another fight on Kaz's neutral turf would've been the epitome of idiocy. She had promised Maxine to discuss it, to think of a plan, but she didn't expect it to be today of all days. She sighed again, got up from the bed, grabbed a towel and went to the bathroom.

20 minutes later, Bea descended the stairs and went straight to the living room. As the day was already hot, she wore her usual sleeveless t-shirt and a pair of older ripped jeans. She had her red hair in a messy bun and her face was free of any make-up.

Maxine had set the coffee cups down on the table and motioned for Bea to take a seat.

„I know, I know. Today is not the best day and I don't wanna ruin your mood before you start wooing Allie tonight, but we need to talk about it.“

Bea took a sip from her coffee, enjoying the taste and warmth of it as it went down her throat.

„It's Ok. It's my fault for putting it aside. Besides, my mood was ruined when Kaz told me about it, so it can't get any worse,“ she smiled.

„You think it's Jacs?“

„I suspected it at first but the more I think about it now – no. Jacs is many things but she wouldn't sabotage herself to get back at me. We lost a lot when the cops seized the cargo on that ship. The loss was substantial, trust me on that but Jacs lost more. Most of the cargo was hers and drugs at such a quantity aren't cheap.“ She took another sip of her coffee. „I'm more surprised neither of us or anyone from our crews got arrested, but I suppose the cops have no idea whose cargo it was. What Kaz told me, it was an anonymous tip and it seems whoever the snitch is, didn't tell Will any names.“

„That doesn't leave many options. Who else is there? Juice?“ Maxine grimaced at that.

„Definitely not her. She hasn't got the brains to pull something like that off. I don't think it was any one of us. I trust you with my life, Boomer's name was cleared, Fletch doesn't have any agendas, besides beer, cars and Rebels and Kaz, while not an official member, has her problems to deal with than creating more problems for us or Jacs.“

„Anyone from the Pagans?“

„Seems like her crew isn't much smarter, to be honest. I don't see anyone there, besides Jacs, pulling it off. What does annoy me is the motive. What would it be?“

„Money?“ Maxine offered.

„Yeah but all the stuff that the cops seized is still at the station...,“ Bea trailed off.

„Bea?“

„I don't wanna jump the gun here but...what if the culprit is a cop or cops?“

„That would complicate things. You don't think it's Will? I mean he is very passionate about ending crime in the town and that will most definitely include us all behind bars. But that doesn't explain why no arrests were made after he got the cargos seized?“

„Maybe he needs more proof, like catching us in the act? Seizing some crates doesn't prove it was ours or Jacs'. Even if the captain of the ship would squeal, it would still be he said, she said type of situation – all of it would be circumstantial at best.“

„What about the tip then?“

„Franky said the tip came anonymously and straight to Will's office. It means it didn't go through Vera, as most calls do or anyone else. That would also mean that someone knew Will's personal line and not many do. To get connected with him, you'd have to do it through Vera. If it is him and let's say another cop, then how did they know about the shipment in the first place? Did someone from the ships crew snitch? Someone from ours or Jacs'? Arghh!“

Bea got up frustrated and started pacing. „I'm tired of this bullshit, Maxi! We have enough of crap with Jacs around, her poking her nose into our business and now this?! This has to be dealt with. We have a new shipment coming in on a different ship in three weeks. I can't risk it being sabotaged and lost. On Monday, we're having a crew meeting, at the usual place. I want you to make sure everyone comes, that includes Juice and Kaz. Make sure no-one else finds out about it. As of now, everyone, besides our crew, is a suspect. I don't care how we get to the truth – we'll punch or shoot through to it – but we'll get to it. We'll leave no rock unturned and no crack on the wall or the floor unchecked.“

Maxine nodded and agreed. A meeting, a plan to take steps to intercept the next attack against them was the best move. She just hoped they'd solve that riddle peacefully and without much bloodshed.

„Now, enough about work-related stuff. You mentioned something about me dating an emergency and you coming to help? Do I look like I need help?“ She sat back down, relatively calmer than before.

„Oh yes.“ Maxine smiled, glad Bea changed the topic. „It's your first date in ages. I doubt you even know how to date.“

„I feel so much more confident now.“ Bea rolled her eyes. She wasn't that bad, was she?

„Your last date was with Harry before you two got married. He took you to Beaver's Beefy Burgers for dinner and you had sex after it. He wasn't much of a role-model.“

„Point taken.“

„Unless you plan on having sex with Allie tonight and treating her to take-out, you'll need my help.“

„That is not my intention for tonight. The thing with Harry was pretty straightforward, as I've told you, but with Allie it's different. I have no desire to ruin my budding relationship with her by having sex on the first date. The idea for tonight was to get to know each other better-“ Maxine snickered and made kissing sounds. „Maxi? How old are you?“

„Sorry, sorry, had to do it but I hear you. And you're in luck. I happen to know a lot about dating and women in general. Also, I've had some chats with Allie and I can fill you in on her favorite foods. I do recall you threatened to cook!“

„My cooking is fine!“

„It has to be at least adequate, Debbie is the living proof.“

„Maxine, I swear-“ and they both started laughing at Maxine's attempt of a joke at Bea's expense. Bea could barely catch her breath. „It is fine. I'm not the greatest cook but I'm confident I can pull it off. Of course, if all fails, I can always order a pizza and offer some 'Netflix and chill' to her.“ The laughter continued.

„I don't think she'd say no to it, you ought to just go with it,“ the taller woman managed to croak out. Tears were flowing from the laughter. „You don't even have to change clothes. Those are much easier to get off.“

„Stop,“ Bea gasped, „no-no, that's not what I want from tonight,“ she dried the tears from her eyes and with a newspaper, she had grabbed from the table, fanned herself to cool down. „You're impossible, Maxi.“

„That's why I'm your best friend,“ she winked at Bea. „Jokes aside, I am here to help. That means I took the liberty of checking out your fridge while making coffee and saw a rat has hung himself in there.„ Bea rolled her eyes once again. „We have a grocery store to hit. You need food and booze for tonight. So grab your keys and let's go. I'll brief you on the way.“

Maxine got up and beelined to the front door, Bea following her with a low groan.

Chapter Text

To Bea's surprise, Maxine had been a lot of help today. When the woman first said she was there to help with the date, Bea fought back laughter. Surely she did not need help in that department? She had been tremendously wrong. On their way to the grocery store, Maxine filled her in on all the small things she had learned from Allie through their occasional chats. Bea wasn't even aware those two had chats but she has been so engrossed with Jacs, her knee, and other things, she had missed the most of what went around her – mostly with her crew.

For example, she wasn't even aware Franky and Boomer had made up and were now back to best friends, let alone the fact Maxine and Allie had 'chats' when she wasn't around. Or recent news from Maxine, that Juice was apparently in love. Bea was skeptical about that piece of information. Juice and in love? Had to be a joke, right? She had always thought the woman was incapable of loving anyone but herself. Sure, she had helped her when she needed, given her a job in the crew and considered her a friend at one point but her last fuck up was the last straw for Bea. Maxine had assured her that the last fuck-up was because of a woman, that Juice just wanted to impress her and thus the stupid stuff with Jacs' drugs. Then again, if you almost die because you wanted to impress someone, it could be love...right? Bea was still skeptical but hoped to meet the lucky woman who had, apparently, stolen Juice's heart.

All of the things combined, Bea had to pay more attention to what went around her. She couldn't lose focus due to Jacs Holt and the cops sniffing around her backyard. She made a mental note to approach her crew's personal lives and other doing at the meeting she had planned.

However back to the current task at hand, she looked around the living room where she had the table set up. She didn't want it to be overly romantic, it was their first official date after all and she really planned for it to be more of a 'getting to know each other better' kind of date. The bonus was, hopefully, good food, drinks and of course wonderful company. The table had two seats, a white tablecloth, two sets of tableware, glasses and two candles ready to be lit to make the atmosphere a bit more romantic but not too much. The music choice was also made by Maxine, soft jazz and blues – something soothing to play in the background while they ate, talked and flirted.

Maxine had said 'Every girl wants to feel special, so why not add a few candles and some sexy music, hmm?'

Bea had to give her that – she truly knew how to set up a date. Without Maxine, she would've probably ordered take-out, lied about making it herself, offered to sit on her couch, drink beer and watch some stupid movie – lovely.

What Maxine did let her in on were few of Allie's likes. It came in handy when she was thinking of what to cook. She decided on something simple and not fancy and hoped the younger woman would enjoy it. Allie's second like helped Bea in deciding what to wear and how to look pleasing for the woman. Apparently, Allie liked it when Bea wore jeans and sleeveless shirts and her hair was loose. She had blushed when Maxine shared that part of the information but was flattered nonetheless.

She didn't have to be a genius to realize why Allie liked her dressing that way and she was very happy to please the woman.

Bea felt really silly right now, like a schoolgirl on her first date ever, taking advice from her best friend on how to act and talk. Pathetic! She was the leader of Red's Rebels not some flustered girl with her first crush! But Allie was different. She didn't understand why but every time she looked at her or was in her vicinity, her body reacted – her heartbeat quickened, breathing got erratic, she became nervous, palms started sweating and certain other parts of her body kept heating up. It wasn't something she disliked but she barely knew the younger woman. But all she could really think about was how it would feel like to kiss her, touch her, how she'd taste and what noises she'd be able to get out of her while giving her pleasure.

„I gotta pull it together,“ Bea said to the empty room, her face flushed red, „I can handle a date! I've handled armed men and Boomer when she is drunk!“

She planned on drowning a shot to calm her nerves when the doorbell rang and Bea's nerves appeared tenfold. Allie was here. She got up, dried her sweaty palms against her jeans. She took controlled breaths and with every breath a step closer to the door.

'Act cool and calm, she's only a woman' she ordered in her mind and with a deep breath to try and calm herself, she opened the door.

„Hi,“ Allie said with a beaming smile, looking straight into Bea's eyes.

Whatever worries Bea had, they were forgotten the second Allie spoke.

„Hey! Come in,“ Bea stepped aside letting the younger woman in.

Allie passed Bea, offering a shy smile and stepped inside. Bea felt a shiver when the blonde passed her and took yet another deep breath. She collected herself after a moment and closed the door behind them, making sure to lock it. Allie took a few steps further in and a short look around before turning back to her redhaired host. She held out a 6-pack of beer and a bottle of red wine.

„I know you said bring beer but I ended up getting both,“ the younger woman said as Bea accepted them.

„That's alright. I'm sure we can find a use for both.“ She held them both up and smiled. „So...beer or wine?“

„Beer.“

„Great choice. I'll go put these in the fridge. You go-ahead to the living room, I'll be right there.“

Bea motioned to the left of them and disappeared into the kitchen.

Allie walked into the living room, taking in the house. It wasn't anything fancy and she didn't expect it to be but she was pleasantly surprised it seemed very homey. She moved around the room, tracing the surfaces of the furniture pieces with her hand and smiled. She looked at the few photos that were displayed on the small table near the window. She picked one of them up. It had two women on it. One of them was Bea, a fair amount younger, eyes shining with happiness and the other one seemed to be a teenage girl. Bea's daughter, Allie assumed. They both seemed carefree and happy on the photo. It warmed her heart to see now more serious and tense Bea happy.

„My daughter, Debbie,“ Bea said close to Allie suddenly, startling her. She took a step back not wanting to crowd her.

„I remember you told me about her. She's away at college, studying to become a lawyer.“

„Yep. Here,“ Bea handed her a beer.

Allie accepted it with a nod and took a small sip from it, suddenly feeling parched. She was too nervous around the older woman – nervous and excited. She took this chance to check Bea out as subtly as she could. Bea was wearing what she liked on her the most – ripped jeans, a sleeveless t-shirt which showed off her toned arms and her hair was loose and free and Allie fought the urge to bury her hands in it right now.

Oblivious to the blonde's heated gaze, Bea glanced at the photo in Allie's hand with a melancholy look and reached out to gently take it from her.

„I miss her,“ she said in a low voice, „but she visits during the holidays and calls as often as she can.“

Allie's daze was broken and wasn't sure what to say. Instead, she dared a little physical contact and gently touched Bea's forearm in understanding. The redhead didn't jerk away from the contact, even welcomed it by leaning closer but caught herself at the right moment. She straightened her back, set the photo back down on the table and smiled at Allie.

„Come,“ she suddenly said and walked to the table in the middle of the room. She set the beer bottle down on it and pulled a chair out for Allie. „I promised you dinner.“

She watched Allie come closer and took in her choice of clothing. A skirt and a thin blouse. Bea could see the outline of her bra and desperately held back her blush. The blondes choice of clothing could be taken in many ways but she settled on the 'It's hot outside' excuse.

Allie sat down with a smile. She noticed the way Bea looked at her and had enjoyed it. She was glad she chose to wear more revealing clothes and hoped the redhead got the chance to appreciate them more tonight.

„You did and I am famished.“

„Good, because I used my best skills to create tonight's menu. It would put the greatest of chefs in shame when they taste it.“

Bea hurried to the kitchen and a few moments later emerged from it with a medium-sized saucepan in her hands. She set it in the middle of the table and told Allie to wait. She skipped back to the kitchen and emerged with a bowl of a simple green salad and set that also on the table.

She sat down on the other chair and smiled.

„This is probably the fanciest dinner I've created in the past 10 years.“

„Really?“ Allie said with a smirk but curiosity got the best of her. „What's in the pan?“

„I am told it's one of your favorites.“ Bea raised the lid and Allie was met with the most delicious smell.

„Spaghetti Bolognese?“

„Unless my information was wrong.“

„Nope, it was absolutely correct. This is in my top 3 favorite foods,“ the blonde replied with laughter and dug in.

Bea was relieved Allie seemed pleased and she was glad she had Maxine to help her out previously. She made a mental note to thank Maxine properly.

The conversation was light and on safe topics and after a while they had finished their food and had moved to sit on the sofa in the room. Bea had grabbed a few more beers for them and they both were settled quite comfortably on the large and soft piece of furniture.

„That spaghetti Bolognese was wonderful,“ Allie said and rubbed her stomach. „The best I've had in years. Thank you.“

„I'm glad you enjoyed it and it was my pleasure.“ Bea winked at the woman.

Allie's face flushed and she averted her gaze to take another
look around the room. She cleared her throat, drank some beer and prayed to whatever deity or deities there were to calm her nerves.

„You have a nice house,“ she asked hoping to cool down her emotions and body.

„Ah yes, thank you. It's my second house. I sold my old house a few years back. It was too small and I just needed a change, I guess.“ Bea waved her hand around. „I got a good deal on this one, the price was pretty low even though its three times larger than my old one.“

„Why the low price?“

„Well, apparently this house is haunted-“

„Really?!“ Allie squeaked excitedly, leaning closer to Bea.

„That was the information given but so far I've no proof of any hauntings in the house. It's an old house and it makes noises but I doubt it's from a ghost. Allies face fell. „Are you into the supernatural?“

„I've always believed there was more to what we see and ghosts and anything supernatural has always excited me. I've always been drawn to it. I'm not saying it's real but it is nice to believe there is something out there, one the other side of the veil that separates our worlds. You don't believe?“

„I do believe in ghosts, in a way, but there is a thin line of skepticism lurking in me as well. Let's just say, before I actually see one or experience something supernatural, I won't believe it fully. Trestlehaunt is not a town without its ghost stories though. If you're interested, our library has documentation on supposed hauntings and supernatural events – anyone can access it.“

„I'll have to remember to check it out then.“

They fell into a comfortable silence after that. Occasionally they looked at each other and smiled. Allie couldn't help but blush all the time and it was becoming quite hard to control her raging emotions. The beer didn't help.

Bea wasn't any better. Allie truly had an effect on her – a positive effect. She was drawn to her and without even realizing it, she had scooted closer to her, their thighs touching. She could swear Allie's ever so evident blush went deeper red. Bea was in a daze, leaning closer to her.

„How did you...I mean how did Red's Rebels happen?“ Bea was brought out of her daze by Allie's small voice. „You don't have to say if you don't wanna but I'm just curious.“

The redhead contemplated for a moment. Telling Allie how it all came together would be revealing some parts of her past she wasn't keen to. She was afraid to scare the woman away. She took a large sip of her beer and decided to tell her the truth, at least part of it.

"It didn't start out as a gang, to be honest. Maxine and I, we always enjoyed riding with our Harley's and we did it together as often as we could. We rode in the countryside during the days and on clear nights, enjoying the feel of the freedom it gave us. Slowly people joined us. First one to join us was Fletch. He is a long-time friend of mine so we didn't mind him joining in.“
„Must've been wonderful, just driving around and feeling the wind,“ Allie commented, clearly into the story and feeling it.
„Yeah, it truly was. Eventually, there was 5 of us – me, Maxine, Fletch, Boomer, and Franky. Franky is a deputy for the Trestlehaunt PD now but before that, she was a potential member of our little crew. But additionally, for just riding around in our Harley's, some of the guys got into constant troubles in bars. Fletch, when drunk, liked to get into fights and Boomer, when drunk, liked to talk shit so that also got us all into fights.“ Bea laughed, recalling those incidents. „I tried to solve those fights with words but they rarely helped. Cops had to bust some of us occasionally and we had to spend a few nights in the brig. Debbie was a teenager by then, so when I got locked up she either bailed me out or let me spend the night. It depended on her mood. You know how teenagers can be. However whenever people saw us or passed us in the streets, they called us Rebels and as I appeared as the leading figure, eventually Red's Rebels happened.“
Allie laughed, imagining Bea behind bars and constantly eye-rolling for her friends' stupidity.
„Well, eventually Franky left our merry crew and joined the PD. Come to think of it, she was the only one of us never busted. She probably flirted her way out of any trouble she was in.“
„Yeah. The second she saw me, she started flirting but I didn't take her seriously. I realized it's all talk.“
„That's our Franky but don't be fooled, she has plenty of action as well. But I feel she is more settled now with Bridget than she was before. The flirting is just something she does for fun and entertainment.“
„Trestlehaunt seems pretty fine with the...umm,“ the blonde lost her words, unsure on how to say it.
„You mean gays?“ Bea helped.
„Yeah.“
„As small towns go, you have your supporters and haters, mostly haters but I guess in the case of Juice, people don't really say much. Franky has gotten hate as has Bridget but they've just ignored it but nothing violent has ever happened. So I'd say Trestlehaunt is mostly tolerant. You won't be seeing any gay parades though.“
„Ah, that is the deal-breaker for me. I'm moving!“ Allie laughed, lightening the mood.
„That's a shame,“ Bea said taking Allie's hand in her own, „I was hoping to get to know you better. But if you gotta move, I won't stop you. I can help you pack and organize a farewell party.“ She faked a dramatic look but a glint in her eye told Allie she was only joking.
„Perhaps there is someone who could change my mind and persuade me to stay?“ Allie leaned even closer.

She kind of liked this playful side of Bea, the innocent jokes with flirty undertones. It was very welcome and she was eager to explore it further.

Bea smiled and was excited about their blooming relationship. They hadn't done anything intimate, let alone kiss, but the redhead was open to taking it further.

„Tell me about yourself,“ Bea finally said, her voice low and husky making the younger woman shiver. „I only know the obvious things but I'd like to know more.“

„Oh? What obvious things,“ Allie was intrigued, pleasantly aware of Bea's caress and closeness – heat radiating off her body.

„Let's see,“ Bea said and pulled Allie closer to herself by her hand.

The blonde complied, almost in Bea's lap.

„You're kind and friendly,“ Bea raised the hand to her lips, kissing the fingers gently, „you don't seem to take yourself or anyone around you too seriously,“ she opened the palm and left a kiss in the middle of it.

Allie was is a daze, her mouth dry, heart beating erratically and arousal growing in a rapid state.

„You have a great sense of humor,“ Bea kissed the wrist, lingering there for a second, her lips against the blonde's skin. She raised her eyes to meet Allie's and moved closer, their lips dangerously close, breaths mingling. „You're beautiful, breathtakingly so. I dare say you're the most beautiful woman I've ever met.“

If Bea was shocked at her own boldness, she didn't show it, appearing totally in control. It drove Allie crazy, she wanted her right now on this sofa.

Allie closed the short gap between them and smashed their lips together. The kiss was desperate and sloppy, their angle a bit weird but the redhead reciprocated with the same amount of need. The blonde moved over Bea, sitting in her lap, her arms on either side of the older woman's head, resting part of her weight on the headrest.

Bea grabbed her butt and pulled her closer, their bodies now flushed together as they kissed. Allie moved her hips against the other woman and moaned into her mouth. She was impossibly aroused and she was certain Bea could feel her growing need without touching her. Allie broke the kiss, catching her breath and reinitiated the kiss again.

The second kiss was slower and Allie tried to take control of it. Bea wasn't having any of it. She pushed against the blonde, sliding her hands from her butt to her lower back. She let her fingers slip under the thin fabric of the blouse Allie was wearing, tracing the smooth skin. The blonde shuddered against her, the feel of Bea's fingers on her skin making her want more. She faltered, losing focus and Bea took this chance to attack.

She parted Allie's lips with the tip of her tongue, demanding entrance. Luckily for her, the woman was already too gone and the lips easily parted letting her in. Bea explored the hot mouth moving against hers, taking in all the sensations - the taste, the heat, the wetness, and the passion.

She's kissed a few people in her past but had never before experienced something like this. She was losing herself in Allie, a fading tiny voice telling her to stop, that this shouldn't go further than that – a voice barely a whisper now. She ignored it and deepened the kiss even more. The blonde moaned pushing her hips down and against Bea to get more friction and pressure where she so desperately needed it. Bea's fingers kept traveling along Allie's back – up and then down. One of her hands moved to Allie's thigh and she raked her short nails over it.

They broke for air and Bea latched her lips on the other woman's neck, kissing her smooth skin. Her hand moved up from the thigh and between Allie's legs. She could feel the heat radiating from there. Her heartbeat quickened, excitement grew, her own desire intensified.

This could be it, she could claim Allie right now, make hers. She could move, push the soaked panties aside and touch the prize and bring the younger woman to her climax. It wouldn't take long, the blonde was so ready, almost begging for it.

Allie was waiting for Bea's move. She realized their situation – she made them move too fast by kissing Bea, by climbing in her lap and grinding her hips for her need to make itself known. It was a bold move from her part – bold and perhaps stupid. But would she stop Bea, if she chose to go for it?

„Allie,“ Bea whispered and searched for the blonde's lips with her
own once more.

Allie reciprocated, desperately needing more, needing for Bea's hand to move, damn the fast pace and damn the awkwardness they might have later. She pushed her hips forward, hoping to nudge Bea along and succeeding. The move made the redhead's hand move and her fingers touched the soaked heaven.

Allie gasped into Bea's mouth, her hands grabbing the older woman in a tight grip. She wanted more.

The blonde's gasp urged Bea along and she all the stops was removed. She continued kissing the younger woman while her hand worked below. She pushed the soaked knickers aside and with her finger explored the heat. Allie broke the kiss, the sensations too much, the pleasure she felt making it hard to breathe as she gasped and moaned. She buried her hands in Bea's flaming red hair, grabbing and pulling and her hips moved to get more friction. Bea kept her ministrations light and slow, she decided she didn't want to rush it but wanted to make the woman squirm more – just a bit more.

Their position, while not unpleasant, was a bit uncomfortable as Bea's hand was at an odd angle and beginning to tire from the strain. She moved and after a moment they ended up lying down on the sofa – Allie on her back and Bea on top of her.

„I rather like you in this position,“ Bea said huskily and leaned down to recapture the blonde's lips.

Allie mumbled something incoherent against her lips and wrapped one of her legs around Bea's backside, pulling her closer. Her need didn't go anywhere. It came back in a raging fire when Bea rested her weight on top of her.

They continued kissing, both panting and moaning as their hands explored what skin they could reach. Bea pushed Allie's skirt up and pushed her knee against the waiting heat. She added pressure and Allie tried her best to grind against it. When their kiss broke once more, the younger woman groaned in pleasure when Bea pushed her knee harder against her.

„God, Bea! Please!“

„You're so beautiful,“ the redhead whispered and nipped at the blonde's neck.

Allie moved her hands on Bea's body. She pushed the sleeveless t-shirt up revealing the redhead's flat stomach. She traced her fingers over it, feeling the muscles there. Bea obviously kept herself in excellent shape and Allie briefly wondered if she went to the gym.

The redhead moved and slid her hand down Allie's neck, chest – taking her time to caress shirt and bra clad breasts – then moving lower to her stomach and waistband of her panties. She slid past the waistband torturously slowly making Allie squirm and pant into her ear.

Bea smiled mischievously at the woman underneath her and initiated another kiss. Allie returned it with such passion and need, Bea had trouble controlling the flow of it. This had to be remedied. Her fingers reached the prize once again and this time she didn't hesitate – she moved lower and straight into the wetness.

The second Bea's fingers touched her overheated clit, Allie broke the kiss and moaned. The redhead kept her ministrations steady, keeping her attention on and around the bundle of nerves and her mouth busy on Allie's neck and lips.

„More, please, Bea...more,“ the blonde begged.

The redhead didn't need to be asked twice as she moved her middle finger lower and hovered over the entrance. She looked Allie straight in the eyes.

„Are you sure?“

„Yes!“

Bea smiled, adjusted her position which spread Allie's legs wider, giving her better access. She kissed Allie once more as her finger moved, when the loud ringtone of her phone started on the table right beside them, halting the redhead.

She sighed against Allie's neck and glanced at the phone to see who dared to interrupt them. Maxine's name flashed on the screen. Her best friend knew she was in the middle of the date and unless it was important, she wouldn't interrupt it.

„I have to take this, could be important,“ she said while still on top of Allie and reached for the phone.

The blonde nodded. While the situation they were in was a bit messy – she was ready to give in on their first date, while they both swore to take it slow – she didn't wanna complain. The last thing she wanted to do was get in the middle of Bea's and Maxine's friendship. And what if it was important and Bea missed the call because they were fucking?

„Maxi, it better be important,“ Bea said immediately after accepting the call.

Allie kept her eyes on the woman's face and witnessed it turning from flushed and happy to shocked, worried and angry in mere seconds. The redhead pushed herself off Allie and got up. She started pacing the room as she listened to whatever Maxine was telling her.

„I'll be there as soon as I can. Try to keep the others calm and dodge the cops' questioning. Once I get there, I'll... I'll see you then.“

Bea looked back at the blonde who was still on the couch but had gotten into a sitting position and fixed her clothing.

„What's wrong? Did something happen?“

„I'm sorry...I...I have to go-“ Bea looked defeated and confused.

The blonde got up and moved to her. She stood in front of her and caught her hands, putting them on her chest.

„Before you go, tell me what happened? You can trust me.“

„You can stay here, Allie, if you want. There's a spare bedroom on the second floor. Just go left and it's at the end of the hall.“

„Bea, please tell me,“ the blonde tried again, hating the way Bea looked right now.

„Fletch got shot.“

Chapter Text

Bea burst through the doors of Trestlehaunt General Hospital out of breath. She immediately scanned the area and found Maxine pacing the lobby.

"Maxi!" Bea jogged to her friend. "How is he?"

"It's nothing critical thankfully. He got shot but it went through his left shoulder from the back. It was quite a scare." Maxine explained, trying to keep her voice calm but it was evident she was in shock.

"How the fuck did this happen," Bea demanded not expecting Maxine to know the answer, "and where?"

"All I got from him before he was rolled away, was he was in his garage, fixing his truck. His back was to the entrance. He heard no one come in but he heard the shot and the unbearable pain in his shoulder. Whoever it was took off immediately. Sometime later the cops arrived, a neighbor must've heard the gunshot and called them and the cops called the ambulance. He didn't tell me anything else."

Bea took a seat on the empty chair next to them and groaned.

"Have the cops been here?"

"Not yet. How do you wanna deal with it?"

The redhead got up and started pacing back and forth agitated. She looked around the lobby, eyes darting from door to door making sure no unwelcome ears or eyes were zoning in on their conversation. The nurse's station, which was a good 10 meters off, had one nurse in it but Bea assumed she was too far off to hear them unless they shouted.

“I'm thinking we should handle it ourselves.“

„Are you sure?“

„Fletch's shooting was a warning or a prelude of things to come. A similar warning was given to me not so long ago but I got away with only a bruised knee. You'll agree with me on who is responsible for this.“

„Well,“ Maxine hesitated, „I do agree but this begs the question – why now and what does she have to gain? If she wants the goods, it's all tied to you. Even is she takes us all out, she'll have no access to it.“

„I don't know honestly. But who else could it be? The only rival we have is Jacs Holt and her crew. Shooting Fletch from behind was a truly cowardly act but I wouldn't put it past Jacs to orchestrate it. I'm not sure what she hopes to gain but this can't stay like this. Will is gonna be useless, he won't help us, he's made that clear so whether we like it or not we are on our own.“

„So how do we approach it?“

Bea sighed, dreading the outcome.

„Guns blazing if necessary but I'd prefer to try and talk to her first.“

Maxine noticed the double doors to the hospital opening and Vera Bennet walking through.

„Vera just walked in,“ she warned Bea whose back was facing Vera.

The timid woman walked towards them at a fast pace occasionally looking behind her as if making sure no one was following her. Both of the Rebels found it odd.

„Vera,“ Bea said when the smaller woman stopped in front of them.

„Bea, Maxine,“ she said breathlessly. „I heard about Fletch, is he...is he alright?“ She swallowed hard, hoping the two women didn't laugh at her for worrying.

„Last I heard, he was. They rolled him off to surgery, I guess the shoulder wound was more serious than I thought,“ Maxine said in a worried tone of voice.

„It's probably worse than you thought. He was shot with a .357 caliber round. That can shatter a shoulder or worse. Whoever took a shot at him, either wanted to wound him or is a lousy shot.“

„.357!“ Maxine and Bea both shouted, alerting the nurse from the nurse's station who made a motion with her hand to keep it down.

„Yes, that's the info they have right now.“

„Not many guns using it,“ Maxine muttered.

Vera stepped closer to them and continued in a more hushed tone.

„It had to be a handgun. A shotgun or something similar would make too much noise. The witnesses say it sounded like a normal gun, only louder.“

„Wait,“ Bea raised her hand, „why are you telling us this?“

„I...care about Fletch, a lot and I don't wish for anything bad to happen to him. He also made it clear to me you guys are his family, so even though I am a police officer and breaking all the possible rules, I wanna help him and help you get justice for this. Or whatever you guys do to set things right. Will won't tell you any of this and I would also appreciate you'd keep my name out of it, should he ask where you got all this information.“
Both of them nodded. Keeping the information from the cops wasn't that hard, especially from Will.

„Alright, go on.“

„As I'm pretty much a secretary at the station, I did some fast research. I have access to all the systems, so it was no hassle. I compared the .357 with the registered and unregistered weapons in Trestlehaunt. So my conclusion would be, and it might be wrong, that it was a Desert Eagle and there is one person who we know uses it – Jerome Laughlin.“

„If we assume the shooter was from Trestle,“ Bea said, contradicting her previous assumption as well, „it could've been anyone at this point. We can't just assume it was him, I mean what would be his motive?“

Maxine nodded. While the theory would support their initial thoughts that it was Jacs who orchestrated it, would she be this stupid and send Jerome to do it with his actual weapon.

„There's something else you need to know. Something I've been looking through on my own time but,“ Vera looked around noticing more people, „we should find a more private spot. I'd prefer no one but you hear this.“

Sometime later they were all in a small room, a very tight one but it was as private as it would get.

„A janitor's closet? Really, Maxine?“

The taller woman chuckled. „It was the best place I could come up within a short notice.“

„Very well,“ Bea sighed, resting her back against the door, trying to get more comfortable. She looked at Vera and motioned for her to tell them whatever she needs to.

„Ok. So when Jacs rolled back into town and took over the Pagans, I got intrigued by what she had been up to before. I didn't tell anyone I was doing it and I've been keeping it to myself ever since. But after Fletch got shot and the other stuff happening, I figured you should know.“ She stopped for a moment looking at Maxine and Bea. They seemed both very interested so she continued. „She resided in Felburn for the past 20 years and got married to one Vinnie Holt who was a notorious criminal and known for his rather extreme ways of doing business or handling problems. The important part is that Vinnie's rival was a man named Mickey Laughlin who was killed by Vinnie rather brutally. I got a glimpse at the autopsy report and apparently, Laughlin's manhood was cut off and he was shot in the head 10 – 12 hours after.“

„That murder was very personal,“ Bea commented.

„Yes, that's what I thought as well. Some times later, Vinnie was shot by a man who was hired by Mickey's daughter, Laila Laughlin, for revenge. Now I don't know about Jacs, her name was never mentioned so it's possible she didn't take part of that feud but 2 months after the murders, Vinnie's business all but disappeared and Jacs appeared back here taking over the Pagan's almost overnight.“

„Are you thinking that Jerome is somehow related to Mickey? A son? A cousin? And if so, he isn't hiding his last name, so how come Jacs is keeping him in her crew?“

„Laughlin isn't exactly a rare name, so it could be possible he isn't related and that's what Jacs assumes or he is related, she knows it and....here is where my theory is falling apart. If Jerome is related to Mickey and Jacs doesn't know about it, then that gives him a motive. If he's not then...I don't know.“

Bea nodded in agreement. Maxine seemed confused.

„Attack us, making it look like Jacs was behind it, we get up in Jacs face, things will get out of hand – it would be a win-win situation.“ Bea thought for a moment. „I find it a bit hard to swallow. I mean Jerome hasn't exactly appeared as someone smart so planning and pulling all this off? That would require someone else pulling the strings.“

„That's all I know,“ Vera said and crossed her arms. „I might not be ok with the criminal part of your business, Bea, but we have the same goal – get rid of the Pagan's, especially Jacs Holt. When it was just you running the things, we had minimal problems. Besides, my mum has particularly enjoyed some of the goods you smuggled in, especially Rémy Martin Centaure Extra Old.”

“Yeah, Franky has also given me grief over the booze department. I'll have the situation remedied as soon as things calm down more. In any case, thank you for the info, it's certainly more than we knew and gives us something to fall on, should we confront Jacs.“

Vera nodded and made a move to leave. Bea stepped away from the door letting her go.

They stayed in the janitors closet for quite a while and in silence.

„How do we handle this?“ Maxine asked once more, clearly worried. The information Vera gave them, whether it's true or not, unnerved them both.

„I don't know. On a bright side, Vera might be the ally we need. Maybe we should wait? I mean jumping on Jacs now wouldn't be wise. If Jerome is who we suspect, it'll just make the supposed plan come true. Perhaps we should talk to Fletch, have the meeting I planned and discuss things through and maybe Vera can tell us more in the meanwhile?“

„If she will. All we know this was a one-time thing. She might bust us tomorrow for jaywalking.“

„Yeah, could be but I'd still sit on it for a while. Our priority right now is to check on Fletch and see if he is alright and we can go from there.“

On their way back to lobby Maxine asked about the date, she interrupted, trying to lift the mood. She got a crimson red blush in return and a weak 'It went fine' in reply from Bea.

„Oh my god, did you two have sex on the first date?!“

Chapter Text

Allie wandered around the house taking it all in. She loved the simple decor, nothing was too colorful, too full and there was minimal furniture – just enough for one or two people. If Bea lived here with Debbie previously, it was enough for them. More than enough. Looking at the photos around the house, Debbie had a happy childhood and looking at Bea, even if she had gone through hardships, she seemed equally as happy.

Allie became nostalgic for her own home, a time when her parents accepted her, a time before they knew of her orientation and kicked her out. She had been a happy child, her childhood carefree and loving. She didn't need for anything and didn't want for anything. But it had all changed overnight. Her whole world changed – suddenly her parents looked at her like she was a monster, something disgusting and repelling – and the invitation to leave didn't exactly come as a surprise. It had broken her nonetheless.

„No, I won't cry for their mistake, for their lack of understanding or inability to love me as I am,“ she told to no one and pushed back any tears that threatened to spill. She cleared her mind of negative thoughts. Allie was on the brink of her happiness, she hoped so and mudding it with the thoughts of her parents wasn't wise.

Moving to the guestroom, she had decided to stay and take upon Bea's offer. She was in no hurry to leave and if Bea did return tonight or the next morning, Allie was eager to find out about Fletch's condition and, if needed, be there for the redhead – for comfort.

As the rest of the house, the guestroom was also very simple – a large bed, a closet, a cupboard, and a door, what Allie suspected, took to the bathroom. Overall it was comfortable. She opened the drawers of the closet finding a t-shirt to sleep in and throwing it on the bed.

„Might as well get ready for bed,“ she mumbled and with a towel, she found on the foot of the bed, stepped into the bathroom.

Sometime later she was snugly in bed under the covers. She grabbed her phone, thinking of checking on different social media sites, not sleepy yet. As she was scrolling through a random site she opened, her mind drifted back to Bea and the fact they almost had sex. Allie blushed at the memory and frustration hit her when the phone rang at the most important moment. Her body hadn't calmed down exactly, still buzzing from the arousal she still felt. She could take care of it, end the unfortunate events with just a few flicks of her fingers. Allie moved her hand under the covers, the pulsing between her legs evident and ready to be touched. She moved the cover and noticed her nipples rock hard under the t-shirt she was wearing.

'It would only take a minute', she thought as her hand kept moving closer to the heat. Her phone now forgotten, her other hand snaked it's way under the shirt and started massaging her breast. She pinched and pulled on her nipple, imagining it was Bea doing it. She was becoming overheated, her breath erratic and panting. Her hand moved over her sex and she started rubbing herself through her knickers. She closed her eyes, letting her imagination take over. Bea on top of her, Bea's hands working on her breasts and fingers moving inside the knickers, seeking the wetness. The cover was forgotten, thrown aside as she worked herself closer to the climax. She entered herself, imagining Bea's strong fingers instead, going as deep as she could manage.

„Yes, Bea!“ she moaned as she moved in and out of herself, the heel of her palm adding sweet pressure on her nub of nerves. She was so close, just a bit more. Her hips moved in rhythm with her hand as she imagined Bea moving lower on her body, kissing her way down until she reached her heat. Just a bit more, when she imagined Bea's tongue on her clit, rolling it around, her fingers moving in and out, caressing her inner walls. „Oh yes, I'm so close,“ Allie moaned, her eyes still closed. She continued the ministrations until the dam broke and she came in a giant wave of pleasure moaning out Bea's name into the empty room.

Once she had cooled down and settled back under the covers, she felt guilty. She was in Bea's house, her guestroom, masturbating and thinking about her while doing it. Guilty and embarrassed were kind words for such activity. She sighed and settled more comfortably in the bed. She heard a familiar ding from her phone which announced a new post by someone. She checked it over only to drop her phone in shock.

There was a post by her brother, her sweet older brother, looking for her. New kind of guilt hit the blonde as she re-read it: Alison Novak, if you are alive and well, please let me know. I am worried. Please call or text and let me know you're ok. Your brother, Nick.'

Under it was a request to his friends to share it so it would circle.

Living on and off, never knowing if she'd wake up the next morning or not, for years, didn't give Allie the liberty to keep her old social accounts up to date. She deleted her more popular accounts immediately after she was kicked out and a week later had to sell her phone for extra cash. So for years she didn't have a permanent phone, let alone any social media presence. Now, as she has pretty much settled down in Trestlehaunt, she had a new phone but the few social accounts she had, she used the nickname Juice gave her 'Princess!' or 'Princess Allie'. Her brother didn't have any way to contact her and it was her fault.

She clutched her phone in her hand, crushing it almost as tears threatened to fall. She had promised her brother to stay in touch, to call once in a while to let him know she was fine. But life didn't go the way she had hoped and she never did call him, at least not as often as she promised.

'It's now or never,“ she thought as she started dialing a familiar but rarely used number. It rang a few times until a deep male voice responded.

„Yeah?“

„Hi, Nick.“

 

Bea and Maxine walked towards Fletch's room. Their moods were conflicted. Bea was glad Fletch was OK but concerned over how or why it had happened. Maxine was relieved Fletch was fine but worried what it would all mean. The information Vera had given them was equally unnerving, neither sure on what to do or how to tackle it.

They stopped in front of the door to his room.

„Should we tell him what Vera said?“ Maxine asked wanting clarity on how they should act or what was allowed to be said.

„I think it's best we don't, at least not yet. I'd like to keep certain aces up our sleeves and reveal them only when necessary. Besides, if we tell him Jerry is a suspect, he'd go after him himself. We don't have anything substantial besides a bullet and a presumption the bullet might be from his gun. We shouldn't add more to the already overgrown shitpile.“

„This pile needs one big shovel,“ Maxine groaned.

„I think we need an excavator if it gets any bigger.“

Bea sighed. She was so over it all. Just give her a rocket launcher and she'd blow Jaqs Holt and her crew off this Earth. She'd do the time with a smile on her face.

„Shall we?“ Maxine pointed towards the door and Bea went through it first, a big smile on her face.

Fletch was looking good for a man who took a cannon into his shoulder, smiling and acting all chivalrous with the pretty nurse who was refreshing his pain medication.
Bea couched loudly, catching their attention and the nurse excused herself and fled from the room.

„Tsk tsk, Fletch,“ Maxine teased, „flirting with sexy nurses. What would Vera say? She'd have your balls.“ Bea snorted.

„Oh come on, Maxi. I was just being friendly. She came in, looking all gloomy and sad, so I thought I'd tell her a few of my stupid jokes. And it worked! She had a smile on her face, did she not?“

„She did,“ Bea said trying not to laugh. This was too funny.

„Alright! Was just teasing you. Just don't make sexy nurses feel good when your girlfriend is around.“

„Vera and I, we're not...I mean I want to but I don't wanna rush or frighten her. Just don't tell her, alright? I meant what I said – was just trying to lighten the nurse's mood.“

„Your secret is safe with us,“ Bea said, taking a seat next to him and Maxine settling on the lonely chair on the other side. „How are you? How's the shoulder?“

„It hurts,“ the man confessed wincing in pain when he tried to move the shoulder. „But I'll live.“

„You gave us quite the scare,“ the redhead said and took one of his hands into her own, squeezing it in comfort. „I thought-“ she stopped her gaze falling on their hands.

„Bea?“

„Never mind, you're ok and that's all that matters.“

They sat in silence for a while, comfortably so but the elephant int he room had to be addressed.

„Fletch,“ Maxine caught his attention, „I know you told the cops you saw nothing but are you sure?“

„I swear to you both, I didn't know anyone was there with me until I heard the shot and felt pain in my shoulder. But-“

„But?“ Bea urged him on.

„I think I saw a glimpse of their boots when they ran away.“

„Boots? What's so special about a pair of boots?“ Maxine was confused.

„Usually it isn't but I can swear the shooter was wearing brown snakeskin boots. I could be wrong, I only saw a glimpse but-

„If you saw them again, could you identify them?“ Bea stood up, suddenly pumped. It was something. Not much, snakeskin wasn't exactly rare in these parts, but it was better than nothing.

„Yes, I think so.“

„Whoever it was, we'll catch them, Fletch. I promise. You don't get to shoot one of us and get away with it. Not on my watch.“

„You don't suspect it's Jaqs,“ Fletch asked and sat up to get more comfortable. His butt was getting numb from lying around and doing nothing. „I mean it would be my obvious go-to.“

„Would Jaqs be so stupid and risk an attack like this?“ came a voice from the doorway.
Everyone turned to see who it was, surprised to see Franky Doyle.

„I mean, I'll give it to her, she's made some questionable choices in the past but to attack one of you in broad daylight? I don't think it's her doing.
She has some steel cojones but they're not made of titanium.“ Franky strolled in and walked right next to Fletch with a smile.

Bea was immediately suspicious. Not only did Vera come and give them vital information, now Franky openly discussing the shooting with them.

„Relax Red! I'm here as a friend, not as a cop. Untwist those knickers of yours,“ she winked and looked down at Bea's crotch. „If you're wearing any. I've always wondered if you were the type of gal to go commando-“

„If you must know,“ Bea interrupted her, „I do wear knickers and they're not twisted. How long were you standing there before announcing your presence?“ She stood face to face, chest to chest with Franky.

„Alright, alright Red. Jeez, calm down,“ she took a step back. „I got here when Fletch suggested it's Jaqs. Whatever you're worried about I didn't eavesdrop before. Not my style, Smith.“

Bea seemed to relax and tension in the room cleared up.

„As I said, I came here a friend.“ She turned her attention on Fletch. „Heard from your girlfriend you got shot. Glad to see you're ok,“ she smiled at the man and patted his back in encouragement.

„Yeah, could've been worse. Can't wait to get out of here.“ He didn't even bother correcting Franky about the 'girlfriend' comment.

„Your little lady seemed pretty worried. You better sweep her off her feet once you're back to normal. Perhaps some flowers? I know she likes them Belgian chocolates but you didn't hear it from me,“ the woman winked again. She was glad Vera had found someone and Fletch, while a member of the Rebels, was a decent man. She was certain Vera could tame him. She almost snorted at that, her mind drifting into the gutter. „Anyhow, I'm glad you're well so I'm just gonna go.“

Franky walked to the door, ready to leave but turned back to Bea.

„Bridget wanted me to remind you about your sessions with her. You've skipped on three already.“

„I've been sort of busy, Franky.“

„Hey, don't shoot the messenger.“

„I'll give Bridget a call later.“ Bea waved her off.

„We both know you won't. I'll tell her to call you. Laters!“

Silence fell on the room once again.

„Sessions, Bea?“ Fletch was surprised. He wasn't aware Bea needed any help in that department.

„It's nothing to worry about.“

„Bea, come on. It's me. You can tell me. Maxi did you know about it? What sessions? Why does she need to see the shrink?“ Fletch was worried. Bea had always seen so strong and unshakeable. Did he miss something?

„Let it go Fletch,“ the taller woman tried to reassure him. Bea decided to tell him or not - if ever.

„It's nothing to worry about, I promise. I'm all right. It's just something I have to do, for a mistake I made.“ Feltch was about to respond but the redhead got up and raised her hand to silence him. „Please, let it go, alright.“

„Fine but you'll tell me why eventually.“

„Perhaps. When are you gonna get released?“

„Tomorrow.“

„Ok. I'm gonna go then, got things to do. I'll see you both at the meeting, if not sooner.“ Bea started to leave and opened the door.

„Oh, would those things you need to do happen to be Allie Novak?“

„Piss off, Maxine!“

Chapter Text

When Bea got back to her house, she was exhausted. She wanted to drop down on her bed and stay there until the morning. She stumbled in the door, slamming it shut behind her with a much larger force than intended, hung her coat and seeing another one hanging there, she was suddenly reminded, she invited Allie to stay the night if she wanted to. And it seemed the younger woman took her up on the offer, unless she left, leaving her coat and shoes behind – rather unlikely.

Bea checked the dining room seeing the dishes were all gone and ventured into the kitchen to see they were also washed. Everything was in perfect order.

„I guess Allie tidied up the place,“ she murmured to herself and opened the fridge to check if she had some beer left.

Finding two bottles, she grabbed one, opened it and took a large swig from it. She rested against the kitchen counter and emptied the bottle. She grabbed the second bottle and after opening it, made sure the front door was locked and doused all the light before moving up the stairs. She decided to go see if Allie was still up and tiptoed to the guest room door, which was ajar. The light was on, so Bea peeked inside to see the blonde fast asleep with her phone still in her hand.

Bea set the beer bottle on the nightstand and took the phone from Allie quietly, to set it down next to the bottle but her eye caught a message from someone named Nick.

'Can't wait to see you. Counting the days. Love ya, Nick.'

A small wave of jealousy hit Bea as she set the phone down. Who was this Nick person? She didn't know much about Allie but the green-eyed monster kept telling her, Nick might be a boyfriend or an ex. Would Allie lead her on while she had a piece on the side? She shook her head. She couldn't believe Allie would that – the younger woman had been honest with her all the way. Bea herself was the one keeping things from her. She swallowed her jealousy down and made a mental note to ask Allie about Nick in the morning.

„It's probably nothing,“ Bea whispered and leaned down to kiss the blonde's forehead.

She took her beer, killed the light and silently closed the door behind her after leaving the guestroom. Half an hour later, Bea had showered, finished her beer and had fallen asleep in her bed.

While Allie's dreams were pleasant, Bea's sleep was restless and dreams full of omen's of things to come.

Allie woke up feeling rejuvenated and well-rested. It was odd. Usually, when she slept in a bed that was not her own, she always felt more tired and weary. She smiled thinking it must be because it's Bea's house and she felt safe here – safe and protected. It had been a long time she felt this way.

She turned on her side, the smile growing as another familiar wave of emotions were rushing through. She had only ever felt it for one other person – these feelings, this warmth, and the need – but it hadn't ended the way she had hoped. For years she thought she'd not feel it again but Bea Smith proved her wrong. Allie buried her head under the covers in embarrassment and excitement.

She popped her head back up in a search for her phone. Wasn't it in her hand when she dozed off? She immediately started looking under the covers and on them but didn't find it. She sat up in frustration and scanned the room when her gaze set on the nightstand and found the phone there. She grabbed it and checked the time – 7:15 AM – it was still early. She also noticed the message from Nick and replied to it immediately.

She fell back down on the pillows when a realization hit her – Bea must've come home last night. That would explain her phone on the nightstand and closed door. Allie felt a bit disappointed she missed the redhead by falling asleep but they had this morning to continue whatever they had. She instantly blushed crimson when she remembered last night – they were so close, she had been so close before that blasted phonecall. She shouldn't blame the caller for interrupting their session but she still felt the frustration for not receiving the release she so needed then. Her little self-pleasuring session wasn't the same. Nothing beats another person's touch.

„Mind out of the gutter, Allie. You're supposed to take it slow, not start screwing the second you're alone and on the first piece of furniture you can find.“

She laughed out loud. It was true. The whole plan was to go slow but she couldn't help it, Bea Smith was irresistible and last night was proof the biker thought the same about her.

She finally got out of bed but didn't bother changing our of the large t-shirt she was wearing. She did put her knickers back on. While the idea of going commando in front of Bea was very tempting, she decided she didn't wanna tease the other woman too much. Wearing the t-shirt and knickers was teasing enough.

As she went down the stairs towards the kitchen, she passed Bea's room. No sounds came from it so Allie was certain the redhead was still asleep. Deciding not to disturb her sleep yet, she continued to the kitchen and started looking through the fridge and cupboards to see what was there to eat or if there was anything she could use to prepare some sort of breakfast. After rummaging through stuff for a good 10 minutes, she found some white bread, jam, and coffee.

„Toast with jam and coffee it is,“ she mused and got busy.

 

Bea was aroused from her sleep by the smell of freshly brewed coffee. 'Allie,' she thought fondly.
She sat up and grabbed her phone – 7:45 AM – early but gave her more than enough time to get ready for the day. Without further dallying, she got up, grabbed her robe and put it on and combed through her hair with her fingers. Pleased with the way she looked – for now – and made the trek from her room downstairs and into the kitchen. She was met with the blonde's backside her body hunched over the table.

„Stupid toaster! How long does it take for you to toast some bread!“

The younger woman was frustrated at the small machine on the table in front of her. Bea stifled a laugh. She moved a bit closer to Allie, only a few centimeters between her and her backside. She leaned over her and pushed a button on the side.

„You have to turn it on first,“ Bea said into Allie's hear.

The blonde startled as she jumped back and straight into Bea. The redhead caught her with her arms and turned her around.

„You startled me!“ Allie was flushed, embarrassed by yelling at a toaster and being caught.

„Sorry, but it was quite sweet. Didn't wanna disturb your little moment.“

„Wanted to make some breakfast but you don't have anything to eat besides last night's leftovers.“ Allie blushed more crimson.

„Coffee and toast are just fine for me. I'm not exactly the breakfast type of person. Coffee gives me all the fuel I need,“ Bea winked, stepped away from Allie and grabbed her favorite cup to pour some coffee into it.

Allie checked on the toaster. Pleased that it was now working as intended, sat down and took a sip of her coffee. Bea sat down next to her and grabbed a piece of the ready toast and dropped it on the plate.

„It's an old toaster,“ she said looking at the too brown piece on the plate. „Likes to burn stuff but it'll have to do.“ She smeared too much jam one the toast and motioned for Allie to do the same. "I'll invest in a new toaster when I have time."

The blonde was a bit taken back, her confidence from before flying out the window the second Bea had appeared. She grabbed a piece as well and with much less jam on it took a bite. It was a bit too crispy but worked fine for a light breakfast.

„How did you sleep? I got in quite late and didn't wanna wake you.“

Allies' mouth was full of toast but she nodded.

„Oh I slept like a baby,“ she offered a smile. „Best sleep I've had for a while.“

„I'm glad you decided to stay. Last night ended a bit abruptly and I wanted to apologize.“

„Apologize? For what?“

Bea took a deep breath and smiled at the blonde.

„We did agree to take things slowly and last night...I got carried away. It's not how I wanted things to escalate, at least not so early and I apologize if I made you uncomfortable or did anything you didn't agree to.“

Allie took one of Bea's hands into her own and rested it against her heart.

„You did nothing wrong. I agree that we did lose control but there was nothing I didn't like. I enjoyed and liked everything you did and I was frustrated after you left,“ she laughed nervously recalling how aroused she was. „I should apologize for pouncing on you and I'll try to control myself more in the future.“

Quite honestly she had a hard time controlling herself now when all she wanted to do was kiss Bea and be claimed on top of this table.

„However, just maybe,“ Bea moved a bit closer and the hand against Allie's heart moved lover to cup her breast through the t-shirt. The blonde gasped. „I don't want to control myself.“

She pulled the blonde towards her and crashed their mouths together in a searing kiss. Allie was truly powerless against the dominance Bea showed as she became putty in her hands. Her mouth was claimed by a passion Allie had never felt before and she reciprocated with the same aggression. She tried to push Bea back, to gain some of the control but was slammed back against the counter. When Bea pushed her thigh between her legs, a deep moan escaped her throat. The redhead pushed her tongue into her mouth and Allie surrendered, letting her explore and take what she wanted. She needed the thigh harder against her and she tried to grind against it – it wasn't enough.

Bea broke the kiss suddenly and moved to Allie's jaw and neck, her open-mouthed kisses leaving a hot trail. Allie was squirming against her. The coffee and toast were forgotten. All she could feel was Bea Smith kissing and touching her and she didn't want it to stop. Allie was getting very worked up, grabbing at whatever clothing she could on
the older woman, pulling her closer.

Bea moved to her ear, her hands under Allie's t-shirt gently massaging her breasts. She pinched a nipple making the blonde gasp loudly into the kitchen.

„I could make you come right now,“ Bea whispered into Allie's ear. The blonde's breath hitched. „Drop on my knees,“ she moved one of her hands from Allie's breast between her legs, feeling the damp knickers, „your leg over my shoulder,“ her finger grazed the dampness as Allie's hips buckled, „I'd eat you out,“ she imprisoned her between the counter and herself, „and the sounds you'd make and the way you'd beg for release would push me over as well.“

„God, Bea,“ Allie fought to keep her breathing even. She had a vice grip on Bea's shirt as she tried hard to stay upright, to keep calm.

Bea moved so she was now facing Allie, pleased with the flush on her face and rather erratic breathing. She smiled and captured her lips in a slow kiss. She slowed down her ministrations, her hands falling from Allie's breast and intimate regions and settling on her back and shoulder. She broke the kiss and pulled away.

„But it can't be now.“

Allie was still in a daze.

„What? Why?“

„I gotta open the salon soon and while I'd love nothing more than to make you scream my name in pleasure, I'd like to take my time with you and that doesn't include a quick fuck in the kitchen.“

„You're such a tease,“ Allie pouted, regaining her self composure and took a deep breath in.

„I aim to please,“ Bea winked and moved away from Allie to the other side of the counter and resumed eating her now cold toast.

They settled into a comfortable silence for a few minutes, occasionally stealing glances and when Bea shamelessly winked, Allie blushed.

„You're impossible, Bea!“

The redhead laughed and poured them both a fresh cup of coffee.

„How's Fletch? You told me he got shot. Is he alright?“

The mood went from playful to serious in a second. Bea sighed and offered a strained smile.

„He's gonna be ok. The bullet went through his shoulder. And before you ask, we don't know who it was. The cops are on it and I'm gonna try and figure it out as well. Could be anyone, to be honest.“

„You're gonna figure it out I'm sure of it.“

Bea nodded and took a sip of her coffee. She looked at Allie doing the same when the text message she read last night started nagging at her.

„Anything new on your side? We didn't talk last night so...“ Bea fished, hoping Allie would mention the mysterious 'Nick'. She was still a bit jealous over that.

„There is...I...,“ Allie took a moment to think how to tell Bea.

No one knew about her family situation, save for Kaz but she didn't tell her everything. But she trusted Bea and if she wanted their relationship to last, honesty was the key ingredient.

She told Bea about her family, specifically about her brother Nick. How he helped her as much as he could and how they lost contact for years due to Allie's fear and embarrassment.

„I was foolish. Drugs, women, wrong choices, bad choices, worst choices...I didn't want Nick to see me like that. He had helped me so much and all I did was dig myself into a deeper hole.“

Bea remained silent but offered her support over the counter by rubbing Allie's hand.

„Last night, I was randomly scrolling through some of the social media and I saw his post where he was looking for me and...I just called him, you know? It was the most logical thing to do. It was also the right thing to do. He was so happy to hear my voice and I didn't even realize how much I'd missed him. So I told him how I'm clean now and living here in Trestlehaunt and how I got help and have a job and that I'm finally happy. Long story short, he said he'd try to get a week off work and come visit me.“

„That is good news indeed, Allie.“ Bea was feeling rather stupid herself. She had felt jealousy over Allie's brother. She felt like an idiot.

„Yeah, it is. I was so worried he'd be angry at me or disappointed but he was just happy I was alright.“

Bea moved to Allie and pulled her into a hug.

„Of course he's happy you're alright. From what you told me, he seems like a decent guy and why would someone like him be angry at you? He is your brother and loves you very much.“

„Thank you, Bea. It means a lot.“

„You're welcome,“ the biker checked the time, „but I gotta start getting ready. Shootings and family dramas aside, I have a busy day at the salon today. The world can turn to hell but I can't reschedule today's clients,“ she laughed.

„Must be some serious clients,“ Allie laughed as well at the absurdity of it and cleaned the counter.

„You have no idea what Mrs. Lowly and Mrs. Dent will do if I dare to reschedule. They take their haircuts very seriously. And don't get me started on Maxine's regulars Ms. Salvador and Mrs. Wilson.“

„It seems owning a beauty salon is more dangerous than leading a biker gang.“

„Yup,“ Bea slapped Allie's ass. „Now go get dressed, I gotta run and that means I gotta evict you.“

„You're so bossy, Bea. Gimme 5 minutes.“

10 minutes later they were both out of the house and Bea locked up.

„I got a hectic work week ahead of me,“ Allie said after she found her car keys. „But maybe we can schedule a new date or something the week after? If you're free.“

Bea stepped into Allie's personal space, not caring if anyone saw them. She was long past caring.

„I still owe you that ride on my awesome bike.“

„You do.“

„I propose a ride to a secret spot I know that has a magical sunset and perhaps later we can stargaze and shamelessly make out?“

„I like that proposal and I accept.“

„Excellent. I'll call you or text you and let you know when I'm free.“

She pecked Allie on the lips and beelined to her bike. She got on it and revved it to life. She put her helmet on and was ready to set off when she turned to Allie.

„I can guarantee you'll see stars even if it's cloudy.“

The biker sped off and didn't hear Allie yell 'Bea!“ after her.

 

Jaqs Holt was standing in the middle of the Hell's Pagan's headquarters surrounded by the members of the gang. She was angry, that much was evident but none of the people knew why.

Harry Smith was late to the party as he stumbled through the door all smiles, not a care in the world.

„Sit down, Harry!“ Jaqs barked at him and he sat down on the nearest empty chair he could find.

The room was tense and no one dared to say a word. It wasn't often Jaqs called a meeting like this and it was even rarer to see her so pissed off.

„Good, everyone is here. Now, let's get down to business. I'm sure some of you already heard, but to those who haven't – Matthew Fletcher of Red's Rebels was shot last night.“ There were surprised looks, relieved sighs and few satisfying smiles in the room. „What I wanna know is which one of you idiots did it?“

Chapter Text

Jaqs looked around the room and checked out everyone’s reactions to her statement.

„Come on, don’t be shy now. Who was it?“

Harry fidgeted in his chair, looking suspicious. Jaqs stepped closer to him.

„Harry?“

„No no, don’t look at me, it wasn’t me, I swear. Come on Jaqs! I wouldn’t be this stupid. I know better. Besides you told us to stay low and not piss the Rebel’s off and I’ve done exactly that. The last thing I need is Bea loose on my ass.“

Jaqs regarded him for a moment but bought his excuse. Harry Smith might be an asshole and an idiot but he wasn’t that stupid to piss Bea off.

She grabbed her gun from the table on the side and cocked it. She started aiming it on each of the men and women in the room and assessed their reactions.

„Someone here is responsible and I wanna know who!“

„What’s the big deal, mum?“ Brayden asked seeming not impressed by the display his mother was putting on. „The Rebel’s are harmless! What’s Red gonna do? Threaten us with a hairdryer and nail polish?“

Some of the guys laughed at that but shut up the second Jaqs turned her gun on them.

„What’s the big deal?“ She looked around the room again, letting her frustration known. She grabbed Brayden by the shirt on pulled him up to stand in front of her. „The big deal is I gave a direct order to stand low, to not aggravate them or give them any excuse to retaliate and someone ignored this order. Do not think I won’t shoot your knob off if I found out it was you!“
She pushed him back away from her. He stumbled and fell on the ground, speechless and afraid.

„The cops are on it, Rebel’s are probably gunning for us already. I won’t be surprised if you step out of this shithole and get a bullet between your eyes as revenge for the shooting.“

„Bea Smith is harmless, Jaqs. She’s all talk and no game. Even if it was someone from us, she won’t do a damn thing about it. Brayden’s right, she’ll throw curlers at us at best.“ Jerome added his thoughts on the matter, not afraid of Jaqs.

„You’ve already tested that, haven’t you Jerome?“ Jaqs turned her attention to him.

„I don’t know what you mean.“

„When I told you to go and remind Smith of the agreement we had, regarding Juice and the money they owed. I don’t recall telling you to hurt her. That was all you.“

„I only scared her with a gun. She pulled aside and fell on her ass. That’s hardly my fault but it got your point across, didn’t it? The matter was resolved.“

„What says you didn’t go rogue on Fletch?“

„Shooting someone is different. You should know me enough to know I wouldn’t do something so stupid. I might have had my differences in the past with Fletch but I consider him a friend. Why would I shoot him?“

"Why indeed."

While she wanted to disagree or argue, his explanation was valid and Jaqs had to agree. Jerome hadn’t given her any indication he’d wish to harm Fletch. They’ve had their fights and misunderstandings but so far all of them have been solved.

It was clear no one would confess to the shooting so she dismissed everyone and told Jerome to stay behind.

„We need to find out who is responsible.“

„Why? If it’s not one of us then why should we care who takes the Rebel’s out? Wouldn’t they be doing us a favor?“

„We don’t know their agenda. Currently, the target was Fletch. Now, who is to say someone from us isn’t next? I can’t take that risk, Jer. I need to be prepared and if necessary retaliate. I want you to try and find out what the cops know. You still have that contact?“

„Yeah, he’s solid. I can poke around.“

„Be discreet. I don’t want any unnecessary attention from the cops.“ She put the gun in her purse, grabbed her keys and phone from the table and checked her messages. „I gotta take care of something. Call me the minute you hear something. And Jerome...this stays between us for now.“ The man nodded in understanding.

Some hours later Allie pulled up at the Rusty Saloon. After she left Bea, her emotions were all over the place. Mixed with surprise, happiness, sadness, longing, and yearning, she felt rather restless at home. She felt like she needed to unload what she had experienced and feels for the redhead. So when she entered the Saloon using the back door, she immediately searched the place for Kaz. She figured as the older woman knew Bea pretty well, she was the perfect candidate to unload her emotions on. Her shift didn't start for another hour so she wasn't in a rush but the sooner she found Kaz the better.
After a few minutes looking around – she checked the bar, the storage, and the break room – she found Kaz in her office. It wasn't unusual to find the woman there but it was certainly a room everyone searching for her checked last.

„Hey, Kaz!“

„Hey, you're in early. Everything alright?“ Kaz replied with a smile and closed her laptop.

„Yeah yeah, I'm fine. I just felt restless and needed someone to talk to, you know?“

„Close the door and take a seat.“

Kaz motioned to the worn-out small sofa and joined Allie.

„You sure? I don't wanna interrupt your work or anything. I mean we can talk later...“ Allie started rambling, suddenly feeling like she was imposing.

Kaz laughed and calmed her down with a hand on her knee.

„Relax, ok? You're not interrupting anything. I was just going through some orders and bills – nothing that won't wait or can't be resumed later. So come on, tell me what's on your mind?“

„What isn't on my mind? I don't even know where to start, it's a bit much.“

„How about starting from the beginning? I hope I'm not wrong to assume it has to do with a certain red-haired biker named Bea Smith?“

Allie blushed at the mention of the woman and avoided Kaz's gaze.

„Ah! So the date went well?“

„It was perfect. I mean as compared to all my other experiences it was certainly the best date I've ever had. We talked and she cooked and was charming and nice-“ she rambled on.

„Take a breath,“ Kaz tried to calm her again. „Sounds like Bea was the perfect gentleman or should I say, gentlewoman.“

„She was. It was so different and overwhelming. I don't know what I was expecting but I've had so many shit experiences I guess I thought it would be as well.“

„I've known her for a long time and she has always appeared polite and nice? It's a bad way to describe her but I would be surprised if she were an asshole to you on your first date. She likes you and is interested in more – that much is evident.“

„Yeah, that she is and I feel the same. God, Kaz, you have no idea. This is the first time in my life that I've felt this way. And when we kissed, I just knew-“

„Wait! You kissed?!“ Kaz interrupted her and Allie nodded shyly. „So how was it? Come on, tell me everything and don't skip the details.“ She winked at the younger woman.

„You're a perv, Kaz!“ They both laughed. „It was amazing. You know what they say about kissing someone right? You'll see stars behind your eyes and butterflies in your stomach and the world just fades away? I never believed in that crap but after last night – they were right.“

„Ooh! She swept you off your feet!“

„We were on the sofa and I have to confess, we got pretty carried away.“

„I thought you wanted to take it slow?“

„Yeah, we sorta forgot about slow and went extra fast.“ Allie groaned at the memory.

„Well did one of you orgasm at least?“

„I almost did but Bea got a call from Maxine and our night was cut short.“

„I heard about Fletch,“ Kaz said and rested her elbows on her knees. „He's gonna be fine but they still don't know who took the shot.“

Allie just nodded, unsure of what to say here. She wasn't familiar with the gang side of Bea's dealings and she wasn't sure she'd wanna get involved. She was glad Fletch was alive though. He seemed like a nice guy and didn't wish him ill will.

„Gang shit aside,“ Kaz focused back on her friend, „you said the night was cut short. Any plans of continuance?“

Allie told her all that happened in the morning and Kaz got to laugh through the entire thing.

„It's not funny, Kaz! Bea is the biggest tease. She truly left me hanging!“

„I'm sorry Allie,“ the older woman was recovering from the laugh, tears in her eyes, „I should've warned you. It's too good.“ She continued laughing.

„Stop laughing. Come on!“ Allie pouted. „Warned me from what?“

„What a tease she can be. Ok ok, I gotta tell you something. It's not something everyone knows but as her girlfriend, you should.“

Allie was worried for a moment.

„You're not the first woman she's been with.“

„You're shittin' me?“

„Nope. As far as I've known, besides Harry, she's never been with other men. I don't exactly know the story behind her marriage but what I've seen and heard, she's been with women before and after the marriage. That's also why she didn't blow up when Harry and I had that affair. She didn't care because she didn't love him. I think she was more angry at him for being a shit father than a cheating bastard. “

„Wow.“

„The longest relationship she's had was a few years ago. It lasted for 6 years to the best of my knowledge but I don't know how or why it ended. You have to ask her about it but the reason I'm mentioning it is to let you know she is a keeper and doesn't do flings or one night stands. So whatever you two have it's long term if you want it.“

„I want it, Kaz. More than anything. I'm just so terrified to fuck it up. It's so perfect right now. I mean we've been to like two dates and made out and stuff but I just feel it in my heart. She's the one. I can't believe it took all the shit I had to go through to reach this point but I'm trying very hard to not fuck it up.“

„You're not gonna fuck it up, Allie. I'm gonna give you the most cliche advice but just be yourself and let things flow. If you overthink or try too hard – then it can fall apart. And it takes two to tango. Bea has to also put work in for this to succeed.“

„You're right. Thanks, I needed this.“

„My pleasure and I'm
certain there'll be tons of more teasing in your future, so be prepared for long foreplays and denial of orgasms.“

„Kaz!“

A knock on the door interrupted their time as Doreen opened the door and peeked her head in.

„Sorry Kaz, I thought you were alone. I can come back later.“

„It's alright,“ Allie jumped up from the sofa, „I need to get ready for my shift.“ She walked to the door as Doreen stepped in. „Thanks again, Kaz.“

„No problem.“

Allie shut the door quietly and headed to the changing room. She felt much lighter after her talk with Kaz and it felt really good to share it all. She was truly grateful for Kaz and her friendship.

The door to the changing room flew open as Liz burst in throwing her bag on the chair next to Allie's.

„Hey, Liz. Everything alright?“

„Hey, yeah it's fine.“ She sat down and started to take her sneakers off. Once she got them off she huffed in frustration.

„It's not ok.“

Allie sat down next to her looking concerned.

„Wanna talk about it?“

Liz sighed.

„One of the guys I was helping through a rough patch at the center - he used to be a drunk and homeless for years. It was a struggle but I helped him off the streets and got him sober. Things seemed to hit off for him. He found a job, rented a flat – I thought he was back on the wagon. I found out last night he took his own life.“

„I'm sorry Liz.“

„What I don't understand is why? He was doing so well, there were no signs...“

Allie didn't know what to say so instead she pulled Liz into a hug. Liz pulled away after a while, drying the tears she wasn't aware had fallen and thanked Allie.

„I shouldn't burden you with my problems. I'm sure you have your own.“

„Nonsense Liz! You've listened to my crap ever since you guys found me at the gas station. It's only natural for me to repay by listening to yours. Besides even without my crap, I'd still listen. That's what friends do.“

„Thank you, Allie. You are a good friend. But life has to go on, at least for today. It's gonna be a busy night. So come on, let's open the bar and let the first thirsty people in.“

The younger blonde nodded with a smile and followed Liz out of the room and straight to the bar.

„Any news on the shooting,“ Will Jackson asked Franky Doyle as he entered the squad room.

„Nope. We have a bullet casing that can come from many guns but the closest would be a Desert Eagle and half of Trestlehaunt owns one.“

Will poured himself a cup of stale coffee and moved to Franky's desk.

„Hmm, it's a popular gun. A 'bad boy' type of weapon. Is there no way to find out which one?“

Franky shook her head.

„With all the tech we have,“ he sighed. „Anything from the witnesses?“

„We can't identify who made the call to the ambulance. Payphone could've been anyone at this point. One of the neighbors said the shooter seemed like a tall guy, wearing black but that was it. So far we have nothing to go on, besides the casings.“

„Alright. Pull up a list of everyone who has a registered Desert Eagle, especially people that are part of either the Rebel's or Pagan's, and an alternate list of names of those who own an unregistered one. We're gonna have to start eliminating suspects the old fashioned way – by asking questions. Someone knows something.“

„I'll get on it.“

„And I'll talk to Red-“

„Doubt she's gonna be very forthcoming,“ Franky interrupted him. „I mean his friend was shot and something tells me the cops are the last people she'd help.“

„You know her well. Would she say anything is she knew something?“

„I don't know her that well but I know she respects you, Will. If you're gonna talk to her, do it on her turf and don't drag her in her as a criminal.“

„Alright. Thanks for the tip.“

He got up and grabbed his jacket from the chair.

„Let me know when you have those lists together so we can start knocking on doors.“

„Will do.“

Bea and Maxine were halfway done with the customers for the day. They had some free time before the next one, so they decided on a quick lunch – pizza.

„Oh, this is heavenly,“ Maxine moaned after chewing on a piece of the pizza. „Could be better than sex.“

Bea snickered from her seat as she indulged on a second piece of said pizza.

„You must have crap sex then,“ she laughed. „Do I have to call your boyfriend and teach him how to pleasure a woman?“

„You're so funny, Bea. Use those tips on your girlfriend instead.“

Bea winked at her best friend.

„I plan to.“

„So how's Allie? I know the shooting ruined your night but what about the morning?“ She wiggled her eyebrows.

„If you're asking me If we had sex in the morning, then the answer is no but we had a wonderful time. It felt right having her there, new and different but right. I dare to hope for more morning like that.“

„Wow, you're serious about it then.“

„Yeah, I am. I truly am. You know after the shit with Izzie, I thought I'd never find anyone ever again. I was derailed and off any kind of romance that was thrown my way. I didn't pay any attention to any potential lovers but the minute Allie entered my life...I was back on the tracks.“

Bea smiled and grabbed another piece of pizza.

„I think I'm falling for her, Maxi and it's both exciting and scary at the same time. What if something happens or I manage to fuck this up as well?“

„You have to forget Izzie, OK? I know it was the longest relationship you had and you guys were good but in the end – she didn't care about you and left you hanging. She used you for your connections and I dare say even for pleasure. She is a bitch. I'm not sorry for saying it. Allie is different – she's nice, friendly, definitely won't use you for your business connections, she might use your for pleasure,“ Bea laughed at that, „but she's different from Izzie and I dare say different is just what you need. Embrace it.“

„Yeah, you're right, Izzie can fuck off to the past and I should welcome the future. Nothing can go wrong.“

„Nothing will go wrong,“ Maxine toasted her with a piece of pizza. „What about the Fletch incident? I know you called for a meeting but do you have a plan?“

„No plan, Maxi. I got nothing. I'm in the dark as you are and for the first time in years – I'm scared shitless.“

Chapter Text

After Fletch's shooting, everyone expected a huge blowout between the Pagans and the Rebels. People were tense and wary of any of the gang members passing them by. If not for their safety then for the safety of others who might get in the crossfire. However, aside from the few random fights between the members of the gangs, nothing significant had happened.

Jaqs Holt kept to herself mostly, only visiting the Saloon a few times, keeping to her hideout on most days and Bea Smith, while quite a regular at the bar, avoided the Pagan's as best as she could. The latter being rather difficult as the Saloon was open to everyone and if the Pagan's had no pressing jobs to do, they spent most of their free time there drinking and having a good time. None of them tried to mess with Bea but they did poke fun at other members of the Rebel's when they could.

Overall things never escalated much and if they happened to be on a brink of a fight, Kaz threw them out and threatened with a ban – that always worked liked magic. As there were no other decent bars around and none of them were stupid enough to be banned again.

Kaz kept an eye on everyone who came through her bar. She was thankful for any customers but she tolerated no fighting, especially over matters that should be handled privately. There was a time and a place for everything.

Allie on her part tried to stay away from the gang business. She seemed interested in it but decided to keep a low profile as her relationship with Bea was still very fresh. The last thing she wanted to do was to fuck things up by sticking her nose into things that didn't concern her. If Bea decided to share anything from the darker side of her life, Allie would gladly listen and help but other than that, she kept things strictly on the sunnier side.

That said, all this business about who shot Fletch and who didn't, their date plans had, once again, moved forward. Allie found herself slightly annoyed. She understood that Bea had more pressing issues to take care of but she was being needy and wanted some private time with the redhead.

„You're new here,“ came a feminine voice from Allie's left.

Allie looked at the woman who was now seated behind the counter looking very smug. The woman was very striking with long black hair, dark brown eyes, and full luscious lips. She wore expensive-looking clothes but they didn't stick out, keeping her in the background if one wasn't specifically looking. Allie didn't even notice her enter the bar, let alone take a seat mere two feet from her. She moved to stand in front of the woman and offered a smile. While the woman oozed danger and something seemed off about her, Allie decided to keep it on the friendly side. There was no need to be impolite after all.

„What can I get you?“

„Beer and you never answered my question.“

Allie filled a glass with beer and set it in front of the mystery woman.

„Never heard one.“

The woman laughed and took a sip.

„You're feisty, I like that. I do apologize, perhaps my previous statement was just that. Let me rephrase it – are you new here?“

„You could say that – a few months.“

„Ah, I thought so. I know most people in Trestle and you seemed like a new face – a pretty new face,“ she winked.

Allie wasn't impressed by her, the subtle flirting and over the top charm not her cup of tea. The woman noticed Allie's coldness and feared she'd been wrong about any vibes she got from her. She introduced herself.

„Forgive me, I sometimes forget myself. I'm Isabel Morales but people call me Izzie.“

„Allie Novak.“

They shook hands.

„Allie,“ Kaz appeared on her right and motioned to a couple of guys who had just entered the Saloon. „Mind serving them? I'll help this lady with her next refill.“

„Sure, no problem. It was nice meeting you Izzie.“

Once Allie was a fair distance away, Kaz turned to Izzie.

„What are you doing here?“

„Visiting my home town, having a nice glass of cold beer, meeting old friends.“

„You're not welcome.“

„Come on Kaz, you wound me. We're friends-“

„Used to be friends, Izzie. Past tense.“

The dark-haired woman emptied her glass and Kaz refilled it without a word.

„Did you honestly think you'd waltz back in and we'd welcome you with open arms? Perhaps you expected a party with a cake and strippers?“

„No, of course not but I admit I made a mistake. I've returned to make amends.“

„Expect no sympathy from me but I won't dirty my hands with you or your scheming again. What you need to do is hope that Bea won't murder you on the spot when she sees you. Myself and others aside, you hurt her the most. You betrayed all of our trust, you lied, cheated and stole from us but above all you broke Bea's heart.“

„I'm sorry.“

„Yeah? Are you really? You know I've known you all my life and while I didn't always approve what you did with it I always hoped you'd find your way and pull your shit together. When you a Bea started dating I thought it an awful idea and let my thoughts be known. Bea swore to me you'd changed, that you were different and that you two were in love.“ Kaz laughed in disbelief. „It didn't surprise me to hear you had cheated on her, I expected it at one point but to steal from her and then lie about it? Leave us all to hang for the cops? That was the last straw for me. If Bea hadn't stopped me that night, I would've shot you myself – no regrets. So don't come here and tell me how sorry you are. Spare me the bullshit." Kaz sighed. "I can't throw you out of my bar as I have an 'everyone is welcome – even assholes' policy but I'd recommend you finish your beer and piss off before anyone you don't want recognizes you.“

Kaz didn't give her the chance to respond and busied herself with other tasks. Little did she know that Allie had returned behind the counter when she was half-way into her rant with Izzie and had heard almost everything.

Kaz had told Allie about the ex Bea had but it did come as a surprise it was Izzie including the other bits.

Izzie paid the bill, leaving extra for their trouble and turned to leave. She was stopped by none other than Jaqs Holt.

„Izzie Morales,“ she greeted her with a smile, „it's been a long time.“

„Jaqs.“

„Come, have a seat and let's catch up. Drinks are on me.“

From the other side of the room, Lucy 'Juice' Gambaro was drinking her daily beer when she noticed Izzie and Jaqs move to a table further away. She got her phone out, took a photo, typed out a message and sent them both to one of her contacts. With a satisfied smile, she continued emptying her beer glass.

Jaws and Izzie down at a table in the far corner which gave them the privacy they might need. Jaqs waved with her hand and Allie walked over.

„The usual for me and Izzie?“

„Your best whiskey and keep em coming.“

Allie nodded and walked off.

„Noticed you had a chat with Kaz. Did she chew your ass off?“

„You could say that but it wasn't entirely undeserved.“

„Yeah, I am aware of the stunt you pulled with them and I gotta say you have some balls. When I heard I laughed for a good 20 minutes and now you roll back into town. You must have a death wish. Smith won't leave it be and you know it.“

Izzie shrugged like it was nothing.

„Don't act like you're not at least a bit worried. You fucked her for what? 5 years? Can you honestly say you don't know what she's capable of?“

„Here you go ladies,“ Allie appeared and set the drinks down on the table. „Anything else?“

Both of them shook their heads and the blonde returned to her duties at the counter.

„You're suddenly very concerned for my safety, Jaqs. It almost seems like you care, I'm touched.“

„Take it as you want but I'm a businesswoman and when I see an opportunity, I grab it. The opportunity here is you.“

Izzie drowned her whiskey and set the glass down on the table with a bang. She waved Allie over.

„Bring me the bottle, Jaqs will cover the cost.“

The older woman smiled and nodded to Allie that it was ok. They waited for the blonde to bring the bottle and a refill for Jaqs. Once Allie had returned to her other tasks away from their corner, it was safe to continue.

„What could you possibly offer me?“ She refilled her whiskey glass, raised it with a smirk and then downed it in one go.

„Money, of course, and I know how much you love money.“

„What makes you think I'll agree to anything you offer, let alone trust you?“

„I'd be a fool to think you'd trust me. I don't trust you, Izzie. After what you pulled with Red – I never will. However, the offer I have might tickle your money bone. You know people and I know people. We bring those connections together and lots of money could be made. The proposal, the little job I'm offering, will earn us both a nice income.“

„What I heard is you lost some merchandise not so long ago, you and Bea. There must be a rat amongst you to lose valuable goods so easily. That hardly attracts me to do business with you.“

„It was a minor setback and this little proposal would be between you and me. Think seven figures large. No one else would know. Take it as side earning from all the major stuff.“

„Seven figures? Sounds nice on paper. Easy money, you say? Perhaps too easy. I dunno, Jaqs. It seems shady, there has to be a catch. Not sure I wanna risk it.“

„I'm surprised. There was a time you'd risk everything for some easy cash. Or is there another reason?“

„What reason could there be?“

Izzie was becoming irritated. Jaqs always had a way to push her buttons.

„Bea Smith? Are you still burning a candle for her? Hoping she'll forgive all and welcome you with open arms and hot kisses?“

Izzie just poured herself another glass, ignoring Jaqs' questions.

„I gotta tell you, she's moved on to better fields so to speak. Whatever you two had is long over.“

„You don't know that. She might still take me back.“

„I hate to burst your bubble, Izzie but Bea has another woman in her life now. Dare I say
better? I'm not one for relationship dramas and all the crap that comes with it but if you ask me, Bea and her new bird seem tight.“

„You're bluffing, Jaqs,“ Izzie stated angrily and poured yet another glass. The whiskey was working on her fast and she felt the buzz coming. „Who could she possibly be dating in this shithole?“

Oh, she was jealous alright, it was evident in the tone of her voice and Jaqs reveled in it. The older woman pointed her finger towards the bar and right at Allie.

„You're shitting me?“

Jaqs shook her head. Izzie felt anger bubbling inside her chest and she gripped the half-empty glass with a vice. Her older companion noticed this and lay her hand on the desk catching her attention.

„My point is made.“

„Piss off, Jaqs!“

„Don't shoot the messenger. If hoping that Bea Smith takes you back and avoiding me will earn you brownie points is the only reason you don't wanna partner up with me, so be it. I won't bother you anymore but this offer is good. If you ask me, I wouldn't let it slip past your greedy little fingers.“

Jaqs got up and patted Izzies shoulder.

„I'll get the bill. You have my number.“

Izzie was still boiling inside. To think Bea exchanged her for some blonde bimbo, someone young and - she glared at Allie – gorgeous. She laughed hollowly while staring at the whiskey bottle. This blue-eyed cunt would run a thousand miles if she knew half the stories or things Bea had done. She wouldn't stomach it. The little bitch. She poured yet another glass and downed it in one go.

After most of the bottle was gone and Izzie felt pleasantly drunk, she decided enough was enough. She got up and stumbled her way to the door. She bumped into a chair on her way and cursed when she hit her knee. She was about to make a move for the door when a body stepped into her line of sight.

Izzie was about to be rude to the person, to tell them to watch where they're going, to step aside and other threats her drunk mind could conjure. A raspy voice sobered her up quite a lot.

„I'm surprised you dared to show your face back in here,“ the woman's voice oozed anger and disgust.

Everybody, including Allie and Kaz, went silent. Kaz looked at Izzie and then back at the woman in front of her. She lowered her hand under the counter and rested her fingers on a weapon, a shotgun she kept there – for emergencies. The air was suddenly thick with tension – you could cut through it with an ax. Allie's eyes darted from Kaz to Izzie and then to the woman who had entered the bar like a firestorm. An aura of anger and authority surrounded her form.

Izzie took a step back and hit the same chair she had stumbled into previously.

„Bea...babe...I'm back. I missed you,“ she said weakly knowing full well all the words that left her mouth only poured more salt into the open wound that was standing in front of her.

„Oh, I've missed you too, babe.“ The words oozed sarcasm and hostility. „Let's reminisce.“

Chapter Text

Bea grabbed Izzie by her shirt and pulled them face to face.

"It's been a long time, Iz. I've dreamt of this moment."

Everyone was standing still, observing the scene unfolding in front of them. To most of the patrons at the Rusty Saloon and those more observant, it wasn't a secret what Izzie had done to the Rebels and Bea personally.

Kaz looked at Bea, they exchanged a look and, what appeared to be, a silent conversation. Allie was confused and wasn't sure if she should duck behind the bar, dial the cops or join Bea's on the other side of the bar. After a moment, Kaz withdrew her hand from under the counter and rested it on Allie's arm, calming her.

"Come on Bea. You don't wanna make a scene in front of these people, especially in front of the blonde slut you're fucking," Izzie half-slurred her words, the whiskey strong in her system.

Bea was ready to punch her just for the comment about Allie but held back.

"You're one to talk," she sneered back at her and hauled her towards the door. Izzie stumbled and hit the door face first. It hurt when she moaned in pain. "We're taking a ride."

She dragged Izzie out the door towards Maxine and her truck. Maxine grabbed the drunk woman, pushed her into the backseat and slammed the door shut. They both climbed in the truck and Bea locked the back doors – it kept Izzie from jumping out. In her drunken state, she'd consider it and might take it further. Maxine started the engine and was ready to take off, when a hand appeared on Bea's scrolled down window, catching them both off guard.

"Franky," Bea smiled at the cop peering into their truck with interest.

"Bea, Maxine," the woman said and checked behind them.

She saw Izzie lying on the backseat and it seemed she was unconscious. She probably passed out from all the whiskey in her system.

"Everything alright here?"

"Peachy," Bea smiled offering her most honest look.

"Didn't know Morales was back in town. Is it gonna create problems?" Franky eyed them both with suspicion.

She, like everyone else, knew about the issues they had and she is damned if something happened on her watch. She loved Bea and most of the Rebels – they were her friends on most days – but when push came to shove, she was a cop and had to do her job.

"We are taking care of the problem," the redhead laughed and pointed at the passed out woman in the back. "She always loved her whiskey and knew no limit once she smelled it. We are just taking her home to sober up."

"I hope that's all this is."

Bea got serious and leaned over so she was face to face with Franky.

"What are you insinuating here?"

"We both know you and she isn't on 'best buddy' terms and I sure as hell hope you're not planning on doing something stupid." Franky was treading on eggshells.

Bea was amused at what Franky was hinting at.

"Relax Franky," the redhead looked at Maxine, who eye-rolled at the absurdity of it. "Ask Kaz, if you don't believe us. Now if you'll excuse us, I'd like to get Izzie home before she throws up all over Maxi's new interior. She had it custom made."

Franky stepped away from the vehicle with a nod and let them leave. Watching the truck breeze off, she was still suspicious and decided to do what Bea had said – ask Kaz.

Franky flew into the Saloon and walked straight to the counter. She sat down and called for Kaz's attention.

"Hey," the older woman greeted her. "What are you having?"

"What the fuck happened in here?"

"Meaning?"

"Izzie Morales and Bea Smith. Ran into them and Maxine just outside your bar. Told me they're taking Izzie home to sober up but I know something's not right."

"Oh come on, Franky," Kaz set a pint of beer in front of the agitated woman, "what could you possibly think they'll do to her? Whatever beef they had was what? 5 years ago? You think Bea holds a grudge for that long?"

"Are you serious? That's the game we're gonna play? Fine." She pushed the beer aside and leaned closer to the older woman. She lowered her voice so only Kaz could hear her. "Izzie Morales cheated Bea and her crew out of nearly 8 million bucks." Kaz seemed surprised that Franky knew. "Yeah, that's right, I know about their beef. 8 mil, Kaz. That's a lot of dough. Bea's not gonna let it slide. Izzie played her and left her and her whole crew out to dry. Now we both know there wasn't enough to put them away but it still left a stain and we've been keeping an eye on the Rebel's ever since. I'll bet on my perky butt, Bea's business isn't the same after the shit Izzie pulled."

Kaz remained silent but the anger on her face was evident. It wasn't directed at Franky but it was easy to see even Kaz herself was holding a grudge.

"I don't know why Izzie returned but I know for certain Bea won't let her walk without getting her money," Franky added. "If Izzie can't pay, I fear the worst."

"Why are you even here? If you're so worried Izzie ends up dead in some alley, why not call your cop buddies and track Bea down? Arrest her for whatever you guys can think of and be done with it."

"Despite what you might think of me, I'm still your friend and Bea's. I am a cop but I still care what happens to you guys and the last thing I want is to see you all behind bars for something moronic. I'm not gonna butt into this more but if you have any pull in the crew, I advise to make sure Izzie walks out of this shithole on her own two feet. I don't need another body in the morgue."

Franky didn't drink the beer, left some money on the counter and left.

Allie witnessed Franky and Kaz whispering but didn't dare to listen in. It wasn't her business. But after Franky had left, Kaz seemed rather distraught.

"You ok, Kaz," she asked the older woman when she came to fill an order from a table in the corner.

Kaz snapped out of her daze and offered a smile to Allie.

"Yeah, I'm fine, don't worry about it."

Allie wasn't buying it and decided to probe a bit.

"You don't seem fine to me. Did something happen?"

"It's nothing-"

"Is it about Izzie and Bea? I know she's the ex you told me about."

"You know?"

"I heard you before, when you spoke to Izzie so yeah, I know."

"That's not how I wanted you to find out about her. It was Bea's choice to share that information."

Allie wasn't supposed to find out, at least not like this. Kaz was worried it might stain their still young relationship.

"Kaz, relax. I don't care who Bea has been with before me. It doesn't matter as long as it's over. What I do care about is if Izzie is dangerous or means to hurt Bea."

"I admit their past is complicated. Hell, their whole relationship was strange at best but-" Kaz fell into thought.

"Kaz?"

"I need to go. There's something I need to check," the older woman looked around the saloon. "You'll be fine here, Doreen's shift will start in an hour and then there's Liz, you'll be fine." Kaz grabbed her things and made sure she had her car keys.

"Yeah, I'll be fine. You do what you gotta do."

Allie grabbed the beer she poured earlier and delivered it to the table. When she looked back, Kaz was gone.

An hour later, Maxine pulled up in front of an old-looking farmhouse. It wasn't abandoned, evidence of someone living there was seen all around – curtains on the window, new door handle, well-tended front yard and other hints – but whoever lived there, was nowhere to be seen. Maxine checked the back seat and was relieved Izzie was still out of it, the whiskey did its number on her.

"The basement is free for use. The back of the house. You can approach it from there," Bea pointed to the left of the house.

Maxine nodded and slowly approached the destination. As she got closer, she didn't notice a shed or an entrance that might lead to a basement so she looked at Bea in confusion.

"There's a hatch under the tarp over there," the redhead pointed towards a barrel and got out of the truck. She waved at her friend to follow her.

The taller woman approached cautiously, confused and a bit alarmed by their location and the overall situation. What was Bea planning?

"Help me open this." Bea reached down and pulled the tarp away. A hatch came into view and Maxine wondered what lies underneath it. They opened the hatch to reveal a set of stairs leading into darkness.

Maxine made no move to descend the stairs, still wondering the purpose of all this. She trusted Bea with her life but she was also aware of how dangerous her friend can be or the actions she'd take to reach her goal. She wasn't exactly sure if her plans with Izzie were entirely safe.

"Come, let me show you what this is all about," Bea said and disappeared into the darkness. Maxine stood there for a few seconds and then followed her, curiosity getting the best of her.

When they reached the bottom, Bea turned the lights on and Maxine was greeted with a simple basement. It had two chairs and a metal barrel full of water. Nothing odd but a bit weird. Why would a large basement have two chairs and a barrel?

"What is this place?" Maxine kept observing her surroundings.

"The place where I'm hoping to get information and answers out of Izzie. Let's get her down here."

As the woman was still unconscious, they set her down on the floor and left. Bea made sure the hatch was locked and looked around the property.

"Expecting someone?"Maxine inquired.

"Yep, the owner of this property – CC Sawyer."

"Sawyer? Like Joseph Sawyer? The Wolf?"

The redhead nodded and offered a small smile.

"CC is his daughter."

"Wow," Maxine was surprised, "didn't even know he had a daughter. Didn't he have a son?"

"He did. Joseph Jr., As far as I know, he was killed in a car accident but Wolf always believed he was murdered. No one believed him though. Least of all the cops. However, that's the reason he kept his daughter away from the criminal life he led."

"Kinda impossible in such a small town like Trestle," Maxine mused.

"I thought the same but no-one knows of her because Joseph Jr. And CC have different mothers. CC's mother did a good job keeping her a secret. She didn't even tell Wolf about her before CC was 14. Talk about a surprise. But he did all he could to keep her away from the gang shit and CC was glad to stay away."

"This is like some Spanish soap opera," the taller woman sighed and walked towards the truck. Bea followed her. "How do you know her then? Old flame perhaps?"

"I don't fancy every female I set eyes on, least of all sleep with them all." Maxine smiled apologetically. "It was a chance meeting at the Saloon some years ago. We happened to be buying drinks at the same time, got to talking and became fast friends. Some months later, she told me who she was, revealed some stuff about Wolf and wanted to help me and the crew – anonymously."

"Has she? Helped us then?"

"Oh plenty," the redhead checked her phone and smiled. "I'll tell you about it some other time. Right now, we need to get to work on Izzie."

"Doing what exactly?"

"Scare her a little, a bit of revenge and hopefully the money she owes. If our methods fail, I'll ask CC to help out."

"I take it you have a plan?"

"CC Sawyer is exactly the type of woman Izzie goes for and I intend to use it to our advantage – if necessary."

Kaz arrived at her gas station, slammed on the breaks and hopped out. She looked around to make sure no-one was around and hurriedly walked to the building. She let herself in, locked the door behind her and ran to the storage part of the place. She came to a halt – the padlock was cut off and the handle smashed off – someone had broke in.

Before she took a step forward, she went to the room next to it, grabbed a gun and returned to the storage. She pushed the door open with her foot and with her gun in front of her, stepped in, ready to take on anyone who might've still been there.

She looked around the room and lowered her gun. The storage had been emptied, bits and pieces lying on the floor – a packet of cigarettes, a bottle of cognac in the corner and so on. She walked around, checking if anything was left behind but she had been cleaned out. When she turned around to leave the room, she noticed a message written on the wall next to the door.

The message read: 'I'm back and with a vengeance. See you soon.'

Chapter Text

She was in the water. It was soothing on her skin and sun high up in the sky warm. The water was still, and she could see her reflection - the water was like a mirror. She felt at peace and calm, like all the worries of the world had disappeared. She moved her arms and swam but she wasn't looking for land. It was so peaceful she could get used to this.

She kept on swimming in bliss but something kept nagging at her, like something she had forgotten – something important. She kept thinking, concentrating on where she'd been before all this and with whom. Suddenly the water was no longer calm and waves that got bigger and bigger had appeared. She tried to swim away, a futile attempt as there was nowhere to go but the waves caught up to her and pushed her under the water. She tried to swim for the surface but something was holding her down and she couldn't shake loose. She struggled and as strength was finally leaving her air became an issue. She gasped for air and kicked with her legs but it was pointless. Her strength was spent and she let the water claim her. Her eyes were closing but in her last attempt, she screamed out into the water and felt herself being pulled out.

She fell on the floor with a loud thump and started coughing. She was confused and alarmed and didn't know what was going on. She hurriedly looked around her surroundings – two chairs, a barrel and someone's feet in front of her. She crawled back but was stopped by someone else.

"Wha-" she coughed and tried to get up but a hand pushed her back down. "What's going on!"

"You're awake finally," a raspy voice said, "I thought we're gonna have to drown you."

"Bea...," Izzie still coughed, "what the fuck!"

The redhead laughed and sat down on one of the chairs. Maxine grabbed Izzie, dragged her to the other chair and sat her down on it. She kept her hands on her shoulders to keep her there if she should try and attack Bea.

"You were out of it and I got tired of waiting for you to sober up. A dunk in the cold water was just the medicine you needed it seems."

Izzie looked around the place once more. There were no windows and the only hint of an escape was the stairs behind Bea.

"You're not leaving this place before I get what I want."

The dark-haired woman settled down on the chair, wiping water from her brow and smiled – taunting Bea.

"I believe I gave you all I could," she spat out eventually.

"You gave very little, Iz and took your fair share. Would you like me to give you a list of the things you took and the shit you did?"

Izzie scoffed and then shook her head in disbelief.

„Are you still bitter about me leaving? Or is it because I slept around during our relationship?“ She laughed.

Bea suddenly got up from her spot and hit Izzie making the woman lose her balance but Maxine kept her on the chair. The redhead grabbed iIzies wet shirt and pulled her up – eye to eye, nose to nose – and sneered. Blood was running from Izzies' nose and lip, the hit impactful.

„I am bitter about many things,“ Bea growled into Izzies' face, „but you don't get to mock me!“
She pushed the woman back down on the chair and paced around calming herself. Izzie always knew how to push her buttons. Bea wasn't sure if she did it on purpose or not but it always angered her. She took a deep breath and focused on the real reason they were her. Bea turned around, walked back to her chair and took a seat.

Izzie tried to clean the blood from her face but it only smeared it all over so she gave up.

„I suppose something to clean my face is out of the question?“ Silence. „Didn't think so.“ Izzie sighed and settled back into the uncomfortable chair. Maxine was still hovering above her, waiting for Bea's instructions.

„I guess I had it coming,“ Izzie chuckled and pointed to her face.

„It was long coming,“ Bea said with a hollow tone.

The redhead scooted closer and captured Izzies' eyes. She saw fear and a hint of defiance in them. 'Yes, that's right,' Bea thought to herself, 'be afraid. You didn't expect this side of me.'

After a while Izzie dropped her gaze, unable to hold it longer. Bea always was the more willful one.

„I long forgave you for the cheating, Iz,“ Bea finally said in a much calmer tone. „Our relationship, while lasting for 5 years, was mostly sex and we both know it. Perhaps, in the beginning, I had hoped for something deeper and I was foolish enough to think I was in love with you, but I knew you weren't one to commit. Don't you recall suggesting we see other people as well? Each has many lovers?“

„I did,“ the raven-haired woman croaked, happy that Bea had calmed.

„While I said no from my part, I never expected you to do the same. It was an unspoken thing between us and while I hated it and hated you for it, I accepted it. I don't know why I let it go on for so long – perhaps I had hoped you'd change your ways or get tired of me first - but no, the reason you're here today, isn't because you fucked half of Trestlehaunt while sleeping with me.“

Bea looked at Maxine and nodded. The taller woman took a step back giving Izzie some breathing room. The battered woman breathed in relief but was still wary.

„Then what the fuck do you want from me?“ Her eyes darted to the redhead.

„Well there is the case of the money you owe me-“

„I owe you nothing!“

„Oh, but you do. The shipment that was coming in and the stuff I had waiting in the warehouse. I don't know how you did it, but you stole from me and my crew. All of it was worth 12 million and it was money well needed by me and my crew.“

„I didn't steal anything. You have your facts mixed. I never knew of any shipments nor any crap you kept in some warehouse.“ Izzie tried her best to deny her misdoings.

„Wow,“ Bea got up and pushed her chair away. „You're something, Iz.“

She waved her arm and Maxine grabbed Izzie by her clothes and dragged her up from her seat. She pushed the woman towards the barrel of water and stopped once they were close enough.

„Last chance to tell me why and how you did it or you're gonna go for a swim.“

„Fuck you!“

Maxine dunked Izzie into the water and kept her under. The woman struggled, kicked and flailed but Maxine was too strong for her. After a while, she was pulled up to give a second to catch her breath and then pushed back under. This time Maxine held her down longer until Izzie's struggles became weaker.

„Bring her up,“ Bea said and Maxine obliged.

Izzie was coughing and gasping for air.

„What the fuck! You're crazy!“

„Just determined to get what I want. It will stop if you tell me what I want to know. It's your choice.“

„I'm gonna fucking kill you!“

Bea nodded and Maxine pushed Izzie back into the water. She did it a few times, the last time longer than the previous ones. Izzie was pulled back out and Maxine held her up and facing Bea.

The black-haired woman started laughing in between coughing.

„Too chickenshit to do this yourself so you have She-Hulk here doing your dirty work?“

„No,“ Bea smiled, „it allows me to do this instead.“ She hit Izzie in the stomach a few times and a few punches landed on her face. The woman was too weak to stand but Maxine kept her upright. „I can do this all day.“

Izzie groaned in pain and tried to push away but Maxine's hold was too strong.

„Do you want us to stop? Tell me what I want to know and I'll show mercy. You can be home in your bed by the evening.“

„Piss off,“ Izzie said weakly.

„Suit yourself.“

Maxine dumped her back into the water but this time she held her down the longest. Izzie fought with all her might but it was futile. She felt the strength of leaving her body and stopped struggling. If they killed her, so be it. However, she was pulled out of the water and Maxine dropped her on the dirty floor.

She crawled on the floor. She coughed and gasped and tried to get away. Maxine stepped in front of her and pushed her on her back with her foot. Blood was trickling from Izzies' nose and mouth and she held her stomach.

„Come on, Iz. Is it worth dying for?“ Bea taunted her. „All you need to do is tell me and you're free.“

„I didn't-“ Izzie tried.

„We all know you did. Now start talking!“

Bea was losing her patience with the woman and hit her side with her foot. Izzie crawled up into a ball, trying to lessen the pain. A few more hits and Bea kneeled and grabbed her by her collar.

„Do you want to go back in the barrel?! Are you enjoying the pain?!“

She landed a few more punches on Izzie, the blood was coming more freely now. Her vision was blurry from all the hits and she couldn't take anymore.

„Stop!“ Izzie cried. „Please, I'll tell you what you need.“ Bea let go of her and she dropped back on the floor. „Just...stop.“

„Get her on the chair.“

Maxine pulled the woman up and set her back down on the chair. Bea brought her own back and sat down opposite of her.

„Speak.“

Izzie spits on the floor, her saliva full of blood and wiped her mouth.

„I owed some money, OK?“

„12 million?“

„Of course not, I owed 5 million,“ Izzie said but realized her mistake too late.

„Yet you took 12.“ Bea looked at her ex and became suspicious, more so than before.

„Izzie,“ Maxine finally said, stepping around so the raven-haired woman could see her. „Theft aside, how could you owe that much money? 5 million?“

„Gambling, failed investments, business deals that flopped – I did a lot of shit I'm not exactly proud of. But I loaned the money from the wrong person.“

„Who had 5 million lying around?“ Bea asked in disbelief.

„It was 10k here and 100k there, then another 25k and so on. Before I knew it it was around 5 million with interest. I loaned it from Mickey Cordero – the biggest and stupidest mistake I've ever made.“

„Mickey 'The knife' Cordero? Were you out of your mind, Iz?!“

Bea couldn't believe what she was hearing. What led her to loan money from the most infamous mobster known
to the continent. Not only was the man wanted for theft, blackmail and fraud, he was also associated with murder, torture, human and drug trafficking and many other hideous crimes.

„Desperation? The feeling that I could make it all work? I was younger and lacked obvious brain activity - that's the only excuse I can offer. Long story short, the date to pay him back was nearing and I did all I could the either avoid him and his thugs or get an extension. I didn't work. He sent his men to rough me up one day – they broke my arm and promised to break a lot more if I didn't pay up.“

Bea recalled the broken arm. Izzie had said she fell or something along the lines and, of course, she had believed her.

„I didn't know what to do. So when I heard about your shipment I saw my opportunity and took it. Called a few contacts and before I knew it, I had your stuff sold and I could pay my debt to Mickey.“

„Well it's all good and well that Mickey got his money but you stole from me. What did you do with the rest of it?“

„The same I did with Mickey's loans – repeated my mistakes. It's all gone – I got nothing left.“

Bea got up and started pacing. Maxine stood between them, ready to react should Bea need her to. The redhead let out an amused laugh.

„You wanna tell me, you spent the rest of the money, just like that? Unbelievable. I ought to shoot you right now and be done with it.“

„Bea...“ Maxine started but Bea raised her hand.

„No no, it's all good, Maxi. It's wonderful. Izzie here enjoyed life while we were investigated and probed by the cops. Or you forgot she ratted us out after she stole from us?“

Maxine dropped her gaze. Bea was right, it was a miracle they weren't locked up for good. Bea stepped around her best friend and stood in front of Izzie.

„If you didn't return to settle your debt, why the fuck did you return? I'm not the only one out for your blood. I'm sure, given the chance and opportunity, they'd kill you without a second thought.“

„Yeah, I know, OK? But I had to return. There's something you need to know.“

„The phone was invented in the 1800s,“ Bea sarcastically said.

„You would've hung up or not believed me. I figured it was best done in person, consequences are damned.“

„Well, it better be good. Spit it out.“

„Eric is out.“

„What?!“ Maxine and Bea both yelled.

„Early release due to good behavior a month ago.“

 

Allie was glad the needs of the customers had lessened so she could allow a small break. She decided to text Bea and ask if everything was alright. The way she had grabbed Izzie and left worried her. True, she had no idea what Bea was planning, if anything at all, but it still worried her. She cared about Bea, a lot, and hoped the redhead wouldn't do anything she'd regret later.
Kaz also hadn't returned yet but everything was under control – Liz was stocking the shelves and anything else needed and Doreen, who arrived late for her shift, was dealing with the two new customers who had entered a minute ago.

Once she was done with her text and sent it, she returned to the bar. She was greeted by a new face waiting for service. It was a man – tall of stature, well dressed and groomed. He wore a long coat and a cowboy hat. Allie briefly wondered if this was the Wild West. The man noticed her and offered a smile. It made Allie uncomfortable but she returned the smile nonetheless.

„Hey there sweetcheeks,“ the man said, his voice raspy and deep. „Can a man get some service in this dump?“

„Of course, sir. What can I get you?“

„The best scotch you got and make it a double. Hurry up!“

Allie got to work immediately, the way the man ordered her, sounding dangerous and the last thing she needed was to anger some stranger. She set the scotch in front of him and he downed it in one go. He snapped his fingers for a refill and Allie obliged.

„So tell me,“ he said after emptying his second glass, „who owns this dump these days? I've been away for too long.“

„Uh,“ Allie stuttered for a second, „Karen Proctor owns this place.“

„Well I'll be damned, little Kaz – I'm impressed. I thought she'd be dead by now – overdose or something similar. So she turned things around.“ Allie just nodded. „Is she here?“

„No, she's running some errands. She'll be back later.“

The man got up, dropped some bills on the counter and grunted.

„Give her a message from me. Tell her Eric Corruthers is looking for her and I need to talk to her about my daughter.“

Chapter Text

Kaz was trying to get a hold of Bea for the past hour but each of her calls went to voicemail.

“Answer your damn phone,” she slammed the phone on the table. It was pure luck, the screen didn't crack. “Fuck!”

She looked around the large storage room and there was nothing left, save for a pack of cigarettes and a broken bottle of cognac. She rushed to her office and checked the camera footage. The station had cameras inside and outside so they must've gotten the bastard’s red-handed but scrolling through the footage, each camera cuts off abruptly.

“The fuck...” she muttered in disbelief.

It seemed to her, whoever did this, knew exactly where the cameras were, and it definitely complicated things. Bea was gonna lose her shit but she'd get the news to the elusive redhead faster if she'd pick up her phone. Kaz huffed in anger.

She continued looking around the storage room in hopes of finding something that would hint at who was behind this. The writing on the wall was a clear hint that it might be personal.

'But who?' Kaz wondered.

Her phone rang at that very moment and thinking it was Bea, without checking the caller ID, she answered it.

“About time! I've been trying to call you for the past hour!”

“Kaz, it's me,” came a timid voice from the other side, letting the older woman know it was Allie.

“Allie? I'm sorry, I thought you were...,” Kaz said and rested against one of the cleaned out shelves, “never mind. What's up?”

“I wasn't sure if you planned on returning today but I thought best to give you call instead. There was a man here today-”

Kaz became worried immediately.

“What man?”

“Unpleasant man. I mean he gave off this vibe...like if I do or say something wrong then he'd hurt me. It just rubbed me wrong.”

“Are you alright?” Kaz was concerned.

“Yeah, I'm fine. Thanks. Long story short, he said he wanted to talk to you about his daughter and he said his name…umm…Eric something...,” Allie tried to recall his last name.

“Eric Corruthers?” Kaz offered.

“Yeah, that's it, Corruthers. You know him?”

“A blast from the past so to speak,” Kaz's face paled. She was thankful Allie didn't see her reaction, she'd have questions for sure. “Listen, I'm gonna be back in a few hours, gotta handle a few things. If he should return before I return, call me immediately.”

“Sure, Kaz.”

After the call, Kaz grabbed her things, locked up, and sped towards the town.

Maxine and Bea were driving away from the hotel they dropped Izzie off. They had managed to make the woman presentable – cleaned off the blood and fixed her clothes – but the evidence of being roughed up and beaten was still clear as day to anyone with eyes. Luckily for them, the few people they did bump into, didn't ask or they just didn't care.

“Best hotel in the town and best room? And the car? That was a Dodge Challenger Hellcat,” Maxine was in disbelief. “Didn't she tell us she had no money left?”

“I know, Maxi, I know. I was waiting to get out of there to address all that.” Bea sighed and rested her face in her hands. “I didn't believe a word she said about the money. I mean the story about owning some to some mobster is plausible but the part about not having any left? Bullshit!”

She supposed it wasn't something new when it came to Izzie. Lying was her most common personality trait, that and finding different ways how to make money. Or steal it.

“So what are we gonna do? Let it slide?”

“Fuck no!” Bea said and slammed her foot down on the floor of the car. “She owes us and I intend to get it all back. The issue here is – we can't just beat it out of her or force her to pay up. This has to be handled differently and I know just the person who can help us.” She smiled mischievously.

Maxine was confused. Who could possibly help them? She couldn't think of anyone who'd fit the bill.

“You know Izzie's type – tall, gorgeous, and fit – and CC Sawyer is more than that.”

“I dunno, Bea...,” Maxine wasn't really sure about this plan.

“Izzie doesn't know her, hasn't even met her. No-one actually knows who CC is, besides the people closest to her and that’s like three people, including myself. She'd be perfect for the job.”

“What job exactly? What's your plan?”

“CC could seduce Izzie or let Izzie seduce her – the minor details can be discussed later – but the point is to get close to Iz and then try and find out about her financial situation and get the money from her. I'm sure she wouldn't expect the same shit being pulled on her as she did on me.”

“The idea isn't bad,” Maxine commented, “but what guarantees Izzie falling for CC or CC even getting close enough?”

Bea sighed and offered a shaky smile.

“I guess we need to discuss it through with her and hope for success. If Izzie hasn’t changed, a chance to even try something with CC would be a challenge she’d take. I don't know but somehow I'm certain it'll work out. Let me give CC a call right now,” she searched her pockets for her phone and not finding it, searched the backseat, and the floor at an odd angle. “Where did I put the damn thing,” she muttered.

“Check the glove box. You always shove stuff in there. Maybe your phone is there as well.”

Bea rummaged through the compartment and found her phone. She activated the screen and was ready to punch her code in when she noticed over 20 missed calls and 8 messages from Kaz.

She showed the phone to Maxine who immediately became worried.

„Call her back, maybe something happened? “

„Yeah, “the redhead agreed and dialed Kaz’s number and put the phone on speaker so Maxine would hear as well. Kaz answered instantly.

„Finally! Where the fuck were you? I’ve been trying to call you for hours! “she screeched into the phone.

„I was taking care of some stuff and forgot my phone in Maxi’s truck. Calm down. We’re here now, so what’s wrong?”

Kaz filled them in how they’d been cleaned out, including the message on the wall and they agreed to meet at the Rusty Saloon to discuss things more privately.

Once Bea and Maxine arrived, they both beelined to the bar. Kaz hadn’t arrived yet but she was driving from the gas station so it would be a while. They were met with Doreen’s smiling face.

“Hey,” Bea greeted the woman and offered a smile in return. “How’s your little rascal? Still any issues with his health?”

“He’s much better now, thanks. Besides, I have my mum to help out now, so hopefully no last-minute departures from work due to a child emergency.”

“Oh come on,” the redhead laughed, “Kaz understands.”

“I know but if it weren’t for Allie, she would’ve been in quite a pinch. This place gets way too busy for one bartender.”

“Tell me about it,” Maxine added with an eye roll as people already started pouring in and it was quite early yet.

Kaz really did well with the saloon. It used to be a total shithole with minimal attendance and that’s why it went under but under the other woman’s iron fist and good business sense – it was blooming. The place was constantly packed but in Maxine’s honest opinion, if anyone cared to ask, it was due to the rules the owner enforced – no fighting, no squabbling, everyone was equal here and if you started something you either got thrown out or got a permanent ban from the place. And people knew better than to fuck with the rules as it was the only decent bar in town.

“What can I get you? The usual?” Doreen interrupted Maxine’s musings and brought her back to reality.

Maxine nodded and Bea changed her order a bit – instead of beer and scotch, just a whiskey on the rocks and asked to keep it coming.

They sat down at their usual table, which was now moved to the corner for more needed privacy, and waited for the drinks to arrive. Kaz was still nowhere to be seen so they settled in. Bea had no intention of leaving early tonight and prepared to get drunk and have some fun.

After a minute or so, Doreen brought them their drinks and left the whiskey bottle on the table. Bea was thankful for her thoughtfulness as it would be a pain in the ass to go to the bar each time she needed a refill. She downed the first shot and immediately poured herself a new one.

“I should call CC before I get drunk,” she said and downed the second shot. She didn’t have a chance before as the news from Kaz threw her off.

“Would be best,” Maxine laughed and took a large sip from her beer. If Bea was gonna drink tonight, so was she. She took this opportunity to message everyone in their crew who was free, to join them.

Bea dialed CC’s cell and waited for her to answer. She didn’t have to wait long as a smile appeared on her face after a few seconds.

“Did you enjoy my basement?” CC said with a small laugh.

“Tons,” the redhead laughed back. “How you been?”

“Can’t complain. How about you and your merry gang?”

“There’s plenty to complain about and that’s why I’m calling.”

“Well, let’s hear it then. What can I do to help my favorite bad girl of Trestlehaunt?” CC added her trademark charm and flirting.
Bea ended the call after almost 10 minutes of explaining the situation and getting CC’s agreement. They had agreed to meet up later this week to think things through but CC wasn’t opposed to some role-play and acting. Her exact words were ‘If I can nail the bitch who robbed you and broke your heart, I’ll be glad to do it.’

“She said yes,” Bea told Maxi and poured herself another shot of whiskey.

“That’s good. Let’s hope it all works out.”

“Hey,” Bea clinked her glass against Maxine’s, “if CC shoots Iz or hits her over the head, I’ll turn a blind eye, but hopefully she’ll do it after she gets our money, not before.”

They laughed loudly at the joke and caught Allie’s attention who had just returned from her lunch break. She made sure Doreen and Liz were fine without her for a few more minutes and walked to the table where the two bikers were seated.

“Hey you two,” she greeted them warmly and offered them a smile.

“Allie! Just the woman I needed to brighten up my day,” Bea said and patted the chair next to her. Allie slid down on it without hesitation.

“How’s it been,” Maxine asked and emptied her glass. She waved to Doreen for a refill.

“Good, good,” the blonde said distractingly as Bea’s hand moved on her thigh and gave it a small squeeze. “You’re both in a good mood,” she commented while feeling the heat from Bea’s hand.

“Yeah,” Maxine replied, “just some business-related stuff,” keeping it as vague as possible.

She knew Bea didn’t want outsiders to know about their dealings and while she was dating Allie, she was still considered an outsider to the crew.

“Say no more,” the blonde laughed nervously, understanding what Maxine meant. The last thing she wanted to do was to stick her nose into things that weren’t her business.

“Oh yes,” Bea finally said as she turned her full attention to Allie. “My mood got better now that you’re here.” She slid her hand higher on the blonde’s thigh.

“I missed you too but I’m at work,” Allie said slowly and rested her own hand on Bea’s, trying to stop it from wandering to dangerous territories.

“Pity,” Bea pouted, “I had such wonderful plans for you.” Allie’s face went red from the insinuation.

Maxine made a face and pushed Bea’s shoulder.

“Those plans will have to wait,” the blonde tried to regain some of her crumbled composure.

“It seems so but will you deny me a small kiss?” Bea was relentless in her conquest and teasing. Allie was reminded of Kaz’s little warning.

She leaned closer to the redhead, moving in for a kiss but at the last second changed her direction and said into Bea’s ear.

“I remember this one morning, not so long ago, you denied me something really important, so I think I’ll deny you this kiss.”

She saw Doreen coming over and pulled away from Bea and got up from the chair. If Doreen saw anything, she didn’t seem to mind or decided to just ignore it. Allie still wasn’t certain who was OK with her lesbian status and who wasn’t, so she tried to act under the radar – at least for now.

“Holler if you need anything,” the blonde said and walked back to the bar, smiling the whole way there.

Bea was dumbstruck, to say the least. She certainly didn’t expect Allie to know how to play the same game. The younger woman had seemed so innocent. Once Doreen had left, Maxine patted Bea’s back.

“Seems you’ve got to up your game,” she laughed, “or Allie will have the upper hand. Hmm,” she mused, “I can’t imagine you as the bottom in this relationship.”

“I’m very versatile,” Bea hit back with a laugh, “I’ll easily bottom for her, should she wish for it.”

They continued their ‘lesbian sex’ jokes until Kaz arrived, looking like the Devil had been following her – hair a mess, clothes wrinkled and sweat dripping. She came straight to their table and sat down with a slump.

“I need the biggest glass of scotch you can get me,” the blonde muttered face down on the table.

Bea motioned for Maxine to fill the request. The taller woman returned after a few minutes and set the scotch glass down in front of Kaz’s head. She raised her head and downed the liquor in one go.

“Should we go to the office?” Bea asked once Kaz seemed better.

“Fuck the office, we can discuss whatever we want right here.”

Maxine looked concerned for a second but looking around the saloon there wasn’t anyone near them. She supposed it was safe enough to talk business.

Kaz settled in and waved to Allie for a refill.

“Now before I get to the latest shit-pile and news, you go first,” Kaz said.

Bea and Maxine looked confused.

“Izzie? You dragged her out of here. What did you do to her?”

Allie brought Kaz her refill and before returning to her post, she winked at Bea which brought a small smile on the older woman’s lips. Once Allie had gone, they were free to continue.

“Nothing serious. We roughed her up a bit-“

“Meaning?”

Bea sighed.

“Interrogation with our fists and some water therapy but we didn’t get much out of her. Now before you lose your knickers, she’s fine. We dropped her off at her hotel, just minutes before I called you.”

“Ok,” Kaz muttered, “and you’re done with her?”

“Far from it. I still intend on getting back what she owes me but that’s a plan for another day.”

“Bea-“ Kaz was about to voice her concerns about the ‘Izzie’ situation but Bea cut her off.

“Did you find anything out about the other thing?”

She’d have to broach the Izzie subject some other day then.

“I checked the cameras but they all cut off before I could see anything relevant. Tells me whoever it was, knew exactly where the cameras are, and knew how to dispose of them. And there's another thing...” She emptied the new glass of scotch. “Eric's back in town.”

A look of acknowledgment was shared between Maxine and Bea. Kaz raised an eyebrow.

„You two don't seem surprised.“

„Izzie,“ the redhead said, „apparently she returned to town to tell me about Eric. According to her, he got released a month ago, but...I dunno,“ she stopped for a second, „I didn't believe her. But you just confirmed her story.“

Maxine slammed her empty beer glass on the table in anger.

„This is the last thing you need,“ she commented angrily, „ that asshole doesn't deserve freedom.“

„I hear you, Maxi but what can I do? Besides we don't know his goal yet. How did you know he was back?“

„Allie told me. He was here and asking for me.“

Bea was momentarily concerned for Allie but Kaz would've mentioned if Eric did something to her.

„He's got balls, I give him that but what the fuck does he want from you?“

„Dunno,“ the older woman shrugged. „One way to find out. I'm guessing he'll return here at one point and if he does, I'll be ready.“

„Is no one gonna point to the elephant in the room?“ Maxine suddenly cut in.

Kaz and Bea looked confused.

„The message on the wall, Eric's return?“

„You don't think-“

„That is exactly what I think, Bea. I mean who else might want any sort of vengeance?“

„How could he possibly know where we stash the goods?“ the redhead lowered her voice. „We're the only people who know. Back then, when he was still a free man, Kaz didn't even own the bloody gas station, and how the fuck would he know I smuggle shit? No, my money's on Izzie or Jaqs.“

„Or both,“ Kaz said.

„Yeah.“

„I’ll make a shocking offer,“ Maxine exclaimed after a moment of silence, „how about we try to deal with all the shit some other day and just have some fun tonight? I messaged everyone in the crew to join us so why not make a night out of it and forget the looming doom?“

„You’re so positive,“ Bea laughed but agreed. Kaz got up.

„I’m gonna go and finish some last-minute paperwork, while I’m still sober and then I’ll join the fun.“

„Ooh, can we hope for some singing from you tonight?“ Bea slapped the older woman’s behind playfully.

„Keep that up and I’ll make singing mandatory for everyone,“ Bea made a face that resembled horror, „but if you behave I might surprise with a song or two.“

Kaz left them to their devices and disappeared to the back. An hour and a few more drinks later, the rest of the Rebels had arrived, surprisingly all of them, and they were as rowdy as ever.

Boomer challenged Maxine into a rock paper scissors game and the loser had to buy the next three rounds for the whole crew. Juice came with her new girlfriend, a pretty thing named Melody and tried to talk her into karaoke which included them kissing and almost making out. Bea had to remind them a few times they were in public. Fletch had arrived all out of breath and took a seat right next to Bea. He was wearing his good and clean clothes, cologne, and even his hair was combed. He leaned toward Bea and looked nervous.

„How do I look? Do I smell alright? Give me your honest feedback and don’t you dare lie.“

„You look fine and you smell good. What’s going on?“

„I uh,“ he puffed, „invited Vera to join us and I wanna look good, you know?“

„Is it a date?“

„I dunno, I mean I didn’t tell her it is but it could be, right? What do I do?“ Fletch was really nervous.

„Well first, let’s get you a drink to loosen you up,“ Bea waved to whoever was available at the bar to come over, „ you’re way too tense. Relax.“

Allie came over with a huge smile on her face.

„What can I get you?“

„A large beer for my friend Fletch and refills for everyone else here – this round’s on me,“ Bea declared which earned a cheer from everyone.

„Coming right up,“ Allie said and turned to leave but Bea caught her hand. She turned her attention on the redhead, her cheeks already red from the blushing. „Anything else?“

Bea pulled Allie a bit lower by her hand.

„Do you have a break coming up? I’d love to have a few minutes alone with you.“

„In an hour. I’ll let you know,“ Allie smiled.

Bea kissed the back of her hand and let her go. She returned her attention back to Fletch.

„Ok, are you certain Vera will come?“

„Yes, she told me would.“

„Good. There’s nothing to worry about. Don’t say anything stupid and try not to get into fights. If Vera likes you the way you like her, the rest will just come naturally. Honestly, Fletch, is it your first time on a date?“

„No, of course not but it’s the first time I’ve truly liked someone. Vera is different and I don’t wanna hurt her or be an asshole. I want this to work and I fear I’m gonna make a fool of myself or act like a total ass!“

„There’s an easy solution – don’t get drunk then. Drunk you versus the sober/half-sober you are two different people. So keep your beers to a moderate amount.“

Fletch nodded, still nervous, and took a deep breath. After a while, their drinks were delivered and Fletch downed her beer in one go.

Everyone laughed at his nervousness and Bea tried her best to calm his nerves.

After a while, Vera arrived and walked straight to Fletch. Bea was surprised that the usually timid and shy woman acted rather aggressive when it came to Fletch. She elbowed Fletch to get up when the man just gaped at Vera standing in front of him. He jumped to his feet, looking embarrassed.

„Hi Vera, uh you came.“

„Hi,“ the shorter woman said with a strong voice, „I promised I would.“ She looked at everyone seated and offered a smile.

Bea hit Fletch’s leg with hers.

„Yes, good, I mean, have a seat,“ he stuttered and pulled out a chair for her.

The woman gladly accepted it and sat down. Fletch sat down next to her. Bea rolled her eyes, leaned over to the man’s ear, and whispered harshly.

„Ask if she wants something to drink and get it for her!“

„Ah yes,“ Fletch blushed but was thankful for Bea helping him out, „Vera, would you like something to drink?“

„I’ll have a glass of red wine for starters,“ Vera said and Fletch got up immediately to get it.

Bea turned to Maxine who was long done with the game with Boomer and was met with silent laughter.

„He’s hopeless.“

Chapter Text

Due to many customers that poured into the Saloon unexpectedly, Allie’s long-awaited break was pushed further. So instead of an hour, she could take it two hours later. She looked at the table where Bea and her crew were seated and saw that they were all pretty drunk – even Kaz had eventually re-joined them and was 4 rum with cokes into the evening. She wasn’t certain if Bea was drunk as well, but after 8 beers – who wouldn’t?

Bea’s previous invitation to spend some private time during her break was very tempting. Allie had missed the redhead, even though they had been apart for barely a few days and she didn’t want to seem too clingy. Also, the incident with Bea’s ex was still fresh in her mind. She wasn’t particularly worried about an old flame as everyone had their share of ex-lovers but the dark-haired woman had unnerved a little. But she trusted Bea.

After a while, as her break was nearing, she walked to their table with the intention of collecting the empty glasses. She walked around and collected the glasses and once she was beside Bea, she felt the redheads hand on her butt. Allie’s face flushed at the sensation and she sent an alarmed look towards the woman but Bea just smiled, looking innocent. Allie was glad the dim lighting had hidden her reaction. In any other case, she’d slap the hand away but not this time. Even though the redhead surprised her, she was enjoying the attention.

Bea tugged at her pants and Allie leaned down.

„When’s your break?“ Bea asked, sounding very lucid.

Allie was pleasantly surprised that after so many beers, Bea was still OK. If she’d drank so many beers, she’d be under the table already

„Right now,“ Allie smiled. „You wanna go somewhere private or should I join you here?“

„Definitely somewhere private.“

Allie grabbed the last empty glass on the table and told Bea to meet her in the back room. The back room was the safest place for privacy as no one really went there.

A few minutes later, Allie was walking towards the room. She was nervous and chastised herself to calm down, it wasn’t the first time they’d been alone. She took a deep breath and opened the door. Darkness. She wondered if Bea wasn’t there yet.

She stepped in and reached for the lightswitch but was suddenly grabbed and thrown against the wall with a small thud. The door slammed shut and, once again, darkness surrounded her. She wasn't hurt, the throw was mild but she was surprised and her first instinct was to scream. Before she could, however, her lips were captured and she was drowned into a deep kiss.

’Bea.’

Allie moaned when a tongue forced it’s way past her lips and met her own and she pushed against the body pinning her against the wall. The kiss was broken after a while and their gazes met.

„You surprised me,“ Allie said still rather breathlessly.

„Sorry,“ the redhead apologized but then smirked. „I recalled our meeting not so long ago and wanted you to relive it but more,“ she pecked Allies’ lips, „pleasurably.“

Allie blushed furiously. She remembered the meeting alright and the intense arousal she had felt when Bea had slammed her against the wall with more force than intended.

„I have to confess,“ the blonde said shyly, „back then the way you...handled me, turned me incredibly on.“

„Is that so?“

„Yeah,“ Allie laughed. „I was scared and confused and I was torn between begging you to take me and running away. Luckily Kaz came looking and made the decision for me.“

„How long is your break?“

„Half an hour. Why?“

Her lips were recaptured and Allie immediately melted into the woman. They kissed slowly and deeply and the blonde felt her arousal growing with each roll of the tongue and each bite on her lower lip. Bea’s thigh between her legs didn’t help and as she ground against it, she could feel her own wetness.

She growled into Bea’s mouth when the redhead’s hand moved from the wall and under her tight t-shirt. Bea pushed one of the bra cups up and covered the exposed breast with her hand. Her kisses moved to Allie’s jaw and neck and her hand pinched and pulled the nipple which sent waves of heat to her core.

„Bea,“ Allie gasped.

Bea continued her sweet assault on Allie.

„Weren’t we gonna take it slow?“

„I know but I missed you and last time we were so rudely interrupted.“ Allie nodded frantically as Bea’s hand was still working on her exposed breast. „I don’t wanna wait any longer. I would like to make you come right now, right here,“ Bea whispered against her lips, „but if you don’t wanna, I can stop.“

Allie shuddered at the mention of ’coming’ and shook her head. She didn’t wanna stop. She reinitiated the kiss which was an instant confirmation she wanted to continue and the biker didn’t disappoint.

Bea slid the hand that had worked on Allie’s breast down her body and unbuttoned the dark blue jeans the blonde was wearing. The jeans were too tight so she pushed them lower on the hips to gain better access to the prize. She kept Allie pinned to the wall and urged her thighs apart a bit more – as much as was possible in these tight situations. The blonde complied with a moan when Bea’s fingers pushed the panties aside and straight into her wetness.

„You’re so wet,“ Bea breathed into her ear.

Allie shuddered again when she traced the wetness with her fingers.

„Jesus, Bea!“

Time was running out. Bea kissed her again and at the same time started working on her oversensitive bundle of nerves. She was fast and effective – Allie orgasmed within a minute, her loud moans and gasps filling the room.

„Where’s Bea?“ Boomer loudly asked when she noticed their leader absent.

„Probably showing her Princess why her other nickname is Queen Bea,“ Juice cackled.

„Who cares!“ Kaz suddenly flew to the table. „Come on you slackers! Let’s sing. Time to get this boring evening rolling.“

Kaz Proctor was drunk like a skunk and she didn’t give a fuck about what anyone thought about it. All the shit that was going on with the crew – Fletch’s shooting, the robbery – and Eric’s sudden return, stressed her out and the only way to destress, besides having sex, was to drink, dance and sing.

„It’s not a karaoke night,“ Boomer said.

„It’s my Saloon and it is a karaoke night today. So come on! Don’t leave me hangin’. I know you love to sing.“

Boomer got up immediately and after high fiving Kaz, they both moved to the stage. Kaz grabbed the mic, tested if it’s on, and decided to say a few words. Boomer got busy with the song selection.

„Everyone!“ No-one wasn’t really paying attention, besides the Rebels. Kaz thumped the mic. „Yeah, here, can I have some attention please?“ That seemed to work. „I know we usually have karaoke night on Fridays and Saturdays but today is a special occasion and I decided to move the night forward. So text your friends and everyone you know to come and join the fun.“

She laughed at her own lame joke but still didn’t give a fuck if others didn’t laugh. However, people seemed to go along and lined up to grab the necessities to start choosing the songs they wanted to sing. Kaz waved Doreen over to help put the songs on.

„Allie isn’t back from her break yet,“ Doreen grumbled, worried that leaving Liz alone to tend to the bar would bring problems.

„Relax! We’ll be fine and I am in no state to do either today, so come on, be a good sport.“

Doreen didn’t protest longer. She understood that even Kaz had to let loose once in a while. She did felt a bit guilty, as her constant absences due to Josh’s illnesses had probably put extra stress on the older woman.

After a while, Bea returned and Maxine patted her shoulder with a knowing smirk.

„Why so smug,“ the redhead asked, acting innocent.

„Looking at Allie over there I take it one of you is satisfied.“

„Nothing happened, we were just talking.“

„Sure and were actual words exchanged or by talking do you mean your tongue did most of the work?“

Bea refused to answer and averted her gaze.

„I’m just teasing you,“ Maxine laughed and emptied her latest glass of beer.

After a few seconds, Bea smiled and leaned closer to Maxine.

„If you must know, my hand did most of the work and the result was successful.“

„Congrats but didn’t you guys wanna take it slow?“

„As it’s not some fling we’re having, we can properly date as we get time. Right now? We just went with the flow.“

Maxine nodded and waved for a refill.

„What’s going on there,“ Bea pointed at the stage where Boomer was trying to get into some kind of position to sing and Kaz was looking for something.

„Kaz decided it’s karaoke night and there they are now,“ the taller woman groaned, the thought of hearing Boomer sing the last thing she needed tonight.
„We need more beer.“

„Oh definitely.“

After an hour the Saloon was packed and the karaoke was in full swing. Even some of the Pagan’s had dragged their asses there and took part. The Rebel’s kept their distance and so far only Fletch had left. Vera had offered a more quiet place to spend some time – namely her place – and after some stuttering, Fletch had agreed. The Rebel’s whistled when the two started leaving and it earned them a ’fuck off’ from Fletch.

They were all having a good time and none of them noticed a new patron had entered the Saloon. None of them noticed him walking towards their table and stopping close to Bea.

„Hello, pumpkin,“ the man said which caught everyone's attention immediately.
„It’s been a while.“

Bea got up in a rush, her chair falling back and she took a step back. Her crew started whispering ’Eric’, ’When did he get out’, ’the fuck he wants from Red’, but Bea raised her hand to silence them.

„Not long enough,“ she spat back, clearly annoyed. „Why are you here?“

„Aren’t you happy to see your old man?“ the man said, taking a step forward but Maxine jumped off and put herself between them. Eric laughed.

„You died the day you got locked up.“