The clouds were getting thick and angry over the horizon. Another one of those sudden summer storms was coming. Corey flicked away his cigarette butt as he enjoyed the slightly cooler and stronger wind. The storm will only bring some lightening and a little rain that probably will be only good for making the air more humid, and him to look like some red sheep, really...
Almost two months have passed since he was sentenced behind bars in this nice little place at Chicago. It already seemed like a lifetime, though. He got into the business from head to toe, arranging many orders and running errands for Jim in all his free time. The work and nights were sweet and filled with kinky loving. Even thinking back made him smile there as he sat on the bench, waiting for Jonathan's man Munky and was trying to avoid Jay peeking on him, like always...
Like with every couple, their first burning flames ebbed down, naturally. Instead of the heated and rushed release-oriented fucks they started to play out more kinks and had deeper lovemakings, making them connect on a different and deeper level. But neither of them said it out loud. This place was not for love confessions and such romantic shit. But they knew either way... And from the comments of Mick and some other inmates, their surrounding knew as well...
Munky, a lean guy with brown dreadlocks plopped down next to Corey on the bench, looking up at the grey sky as he was waiting for Corey to slip him the usual folded paper with the orders.
"A storm is coming..." he mused, watching a lightning strike somewhere in the distance. But there was something in the way he said it that gave the statement a double meaning. "Anyways. Everything went smooth? Next week's supply might be a day late," he informed Corey.
Meanwhile Jim was by the "gym area" with Alex, standing by his head as the latter was pushing out some weights. With one eye on Alex – in case he needed Jim's help – the other always found its way back to Corey's figure in the distance.
"It shows, you know..." Alex said low enough that only the two of them could hear it, the other inmates giving them their space.
"What are you talking about?" Jim glimpsed down at the buff guy, one of his most loyal men. Outside Jim would've considered Alex his friend.
"It's in the way you look at him... or act around him," he added then pushed out the weight before slowly lowering it down toward his chest. "Be careful, Jim..."
The tall man stayed quiet. There was nothing to deny. Alex was right.
"Yeah everything went fine," Corey said and with a gang handshake he slipped the small folded paper into Munky's palm. The tone he used to describe the weather was fitting. He also had a strange feeling with everyone around. The calm before the storm... All was just too smooth and easygoing... Their newly found happiness was a strange and foreign thing here inside and Corey wouldn't be surprised if some frowned upon and acted against them... Someone like Jay for that matter…
The business talk went okay and he already made plans of how to inform his clients about the one day slip as he was on his way to the other side, feeling Jim's caring gaze over him. They had to be careful...
In the last two months they got close with Corey. Maybe a bit too close. The old Jim would've been more careful and suspicious and certainly wouldn't have shared so many personal memories with his cell mate. But he couldn't help himself. He's been trying to find the words to describe Corey, but up to day he failed to do so. Yeah, he was something else. And he was Jim's. The tall man couldn't help it that his caring and protective side was showing. And yeah, his love too.
It was stupid, he knew. They both knew although they never said it to each other. Yeah, he loved Corey already and sometimes he dared to believe that the other man felt the same way about him. Stupid, stupid heart...
But more importantly why now? Why here? Jim couldn't remember the last time he was in love. It was both exhilarating and dangerous. The more people who knew about it, the more they had to be careful, because it could be used against them and there were some fuckers here who would do that without any hesitation.
Yet as Corey was approaching them, Jim couldn't help his heart beating just a bit faster.
Corey had to look down as he got closer, biting on his tongue hard inside to not grin sweetly like a lovesick puppy at Jim. Damn he was fucked... His heart throbbing in his throat and his insides all giddy as the warmth spread inside him from being close to Jim again.
"All went smooth, boss," he managed to say on a neutral tone. But they needed to talk. He heard some half things here and there and their afternoon off in the privacy of their cell was a great opportunity to talk about it.
Jim had the same "problem," but the years spent as a biker and then "boss figure" here gave him a pretty good poker face, even if his eyes couldn't lie as he looked at Corey – Alex's warning ringing in his ears.
"Good. I didn't expect less from you," he nodded and helped Alex put the bar back to its place just when the bell rang that signaled that their time outside was over. None of them minded since the wind was getting stormy and the thunders louder. A few hours in their cell sounded good enough.
Back there Jim sat down on his bed, kicking off his shoes and while doing so he knocked his book off, which slid towards Corey on the floor, an old-looking picture of a long dark-haired woman hugging a younger Jim slipping out of it, stopping near Corey's foot.
Corey picked it up and took a good long look at it. His plump red lips pressed together as the bitter taste of jealousy took him over.
Jim looked happy, thinner and more blonde. Without a beard and his kinda round face shown with a cute boyish smile, having shoulder-long wavy hair. The woman was pretty and clinging to his side.
"So you have someone out there after all?" the small man asked with a bit of harshness in his voice, even if he tried to hold it back. After all... he was just Jim’s cell mate. Two dudes locked up for a very long time and making the best of it....
First the tall man didn't notice that the picture was in Corey's hand, but hearing the harsh tone he frowned and looked at the back of the picture and the book on the floor, putting two and two together. Jim's expression immediately darkened and his face closed up as he reached down to pick up the book.
"No, I don't," he said shortly, letting his hair fall into his eyes as he looked down at the book in his hands, absently flipping through the pages, the shadows of his past lurking in the corner, ready to jump and tear into him. Again.
Corey stood there and watched the man he felt so much for and tried to think of a way of not letting him close up. He wanted to know, but he saw that it was something dark and deep for Jim and he wanted to help on his lover too. And tried to calm the stupid and totally unreasonable jealousy, ‘cause let's face it… Jim got life… So the biker stays here. That old picture or old girlfriend didn’t matter...
"We need to talk," he blurted out after a long minute. "Seriously... About... this thing and what it can cause... And about the story of that photo…"
The other man's heart sunk for a moment when his lover started with the "we need to talk" line. The oldest one in the break up book. For a split second Jim believed that this was it and the other would simply end it. Corey knew the biker enough by then to know that he wouldn't hurt him for it or force him to stay. What a fucked up thought, right? Dark shadows and fears, remember?
Snorting Jim slid back on his bed, leaning his back against the wall, one leg pulled up to rest his arm on it. His long fingers were moving restlessly while he was staring at the opposite wall, trying to rein in his sudden angry feelings. Partly because of phrasing his words like Corey did and partly because he didn't want to talk about that photo.
Still, he didn't say anything about it as his jaw tightened and he stroked down his beard. "Then let's talk about this 'thing'..." he grumbled, still not looking at Corey. "What do you want to do about it?"
"Well we sure should try to do something! I think you're not blind and neither the others. They saw what's... between us... And it can be used against you or me," Corey huffed as he tried to keep his voice down and decided to sit onto Jim's bed a bit closer, but not moving up to his lover's side. "And what happened to that woman? It makes you upset so why did you keep the photo?"
"Yeah. Alex warned me too today," he said on a less pissed off voice as he rubbed his hair back and forth, the light curls getting messed up. Jim instinctively turned his face towards Corey, finally meeting his eyes. "And what's between us? What's the 'this thing' to you?" he asked even softer, deliberately not answering the last question.
Corey looked back at the bit sad eyes of his lover and bit his lips. What did he have to lose??? He had nothing. Just this fucked up thing with this fucked up man in this fucking prison...
"We are… We're more... We are lovers Jim. I love you… And you know that… " There... At least now his skin color matched his red stubble...
Well. Corey being so straightforward about his feelings was something Jim didn't dare to expect, but there it was. The truth. Those three fucking words. Whispered behind bars, in their cage. Such a pure and innocent thing in such a fucked up and dark place...
It blew Jim's mind and his heart started racing, the anger vanishing as if it was never there while warmth spread through him. He wanted to touch the blushing Corey, to pull him close and keep him there maybe forever. Damn, his well-hidden sappy nature was showing...
Without knowing he came to the same conclusion as Corey: he had nothing to lose. But if he said it, that would change. If he confessed, he'd have something to lose again. And he'd probably lose it sooner or later. That's just the kind of cards he always got from fate.
But he didn't care anymore. It's been a while that he wanted something... someone so badly. Especially if someone was looking at him with those damned hopeful blue eyes. He couldn't hold back and crush Corey. "I know..." he finally whispered a bit hoarsely. "I love you too. I can't help it."
"I know you do…" Corey whispered back and swallowed hard. The weight of their confessions heavy on them as he moved to sit right next to Jim, keeping his emotion-filled eyes locked with the tall man’s. Okay... They said it. And now they felt so vulnerable. They suddenly had so much to hold onto and in danger of losing so… "I don't have anything or anyone outside. And from a while I feel like I don't want to go out but stay here with you…" he whispered touching his thigh to Jim's.
A sad little smile played on Jim's face. Because he knew that the day would come when Corey would have to leave. Yes, this relationship was dangerous on so many levels.
Watching the smaller man slide closer, he looked down to where their thighs were touching. The subtle peace offer made Jim swallow hard and he put a big hand onto Corey's thigh, lightly rubbing and squeezing it. "I want you to stay too,” he sighed then took the picture from Corey's hand with a bitter expression and taste in his mouth. "I don't have anyone outside either. Just maybe a handful of bikers."
Putting two and two together Corey nodded and stroked Jim's hand on his leg, whispering a "sorry". He moved closer to the biker and leaned his head onto his shoulder, not forcing the topic more, though he hoped Jim would go on, ‘cause let's face it.. Corey was curious and also he felt that it would help his love to give it all out.
Silence filled their small cell, only the noises from the other inmates or guards filtering in as Jim brushed his thumb along the picture. He didn't pull away, just let Corey nuzzle him. Frankly, his silent support felt good. It was much better than the jealous way Corey talked to him a few minutes ago. But then, he didn't know the story behind that old picture.
"She used to be my 'old lady' back in the Las Vegas biker club I started out with. We call our steady girlfriends or wives that," he explained in case Corey wasn't familiar with the term. "Her name was Cristina. A tough chick, really. She loved to ride on her own too, even if she couldn't become a full member of the club because of being a woman. Many MCs are only-men groups."
Here Jim paused for a moment, finding it difficult to go on. But he knew that he should finally share this burden with someone – then some more. After all Corey just confessed that he loved him. Maybe he'll find it in him to accept Jim with all his fuck ups too.
"She died. Because of me," he finally said a bit choked up, but he cleared his throat and forced himself to go on. "She was my first big love. Aside from you she's the only one whom I ever truly loved. We were young and reckless and outlaws. Ready for adventure. I wanted to ask her to marry me and maybe later start a family too. But life in and around an MC can be dangerous. Especially in the city of sin. Our MC got into a fight with another one for territory or some shit. I helped a lot to settle that. Their revenge was to drive Cristina off the road with their van when she was riding her bike alone despite my warning. Our revenge for her death was bloody. Not long after I scattered her ashes near a cliff in the desert she loved, I left Vegas and became a nomad. Running errands for MCs here and there. Moving as far as I could go. But guilt is something you cannot outrun. The past will always haunt you. I will probably always feel guilty for cutting her life short because my stupid desire to prove myself as a man in front of my MC..." he sighed, closing his burning eyes to keep a few tears back. "Maybe that's part of why I pulled the trigger and ended up here years later. To pay for my mistakes that had cost an innocent life. I keep the picture to remind me of that."
As the younger man listened his arm moved around his love and held him strong to his body. He wanted to comfort Jim and make him know that he was there for him and accepted and understood. "Is that gang you shot… Was it the same as...?"
Jim welcomed the silent support of his lover, allowing himself to lean into the embrace. Something many in there (and in the outside world) would consider a sign of weakness. But now Jim didn't care. He knew Corey didn't see it that way.
"No. The four I killed last were part of a Chicago MC. My last club has always been fighting with them..." Jim murmured, opening his sad and slightly red eyes to stare into nothing again as this episode of his past came alive in front of his eyes too.
"We got a worrying Intel from our inside man that they were planning on killing our MC's president. And his family. He has a wife and three small kids. In better MCs the families of members are usually left alone, but these worms would've killed those innocent kids and woman too... I couldn't let that happen. Not again. So I killed them myself and took the fall as the vice president. This way our president could keep and stay with his family. He's a decent guy. Sometimes even visits me or sends some package. He had a lot to lose. I had nothing," he shrugged. "I never told this to anyone. Please, keep it that way."
"Of course I will keep it," Corey whispered lifting his head to kiss Jim's lips gently with love, his hand stroking over the heaving chest caringly.
He understood Jim's reasons and even if he was a cold hearted killer four times over, there behind bars it mattered differently. All he could feel right there and then was that he wanted to stay in this man's arms and the thought of going away once scared him on many levels. "What's gonna happen now? I don't want to bring danger on you with… our love…" There it was again… Blushing like a lovesick teen... Dammit Taylor!
The bearded man returned the gentle kiss, squeezing Corey's thigh a bit as a silent thank you. "I... I don't know," he mumbled, lifting his hand to stroke along his lover's flushed cheek, admiring the sight silently. Jim felt uncertain and vulnerable after revealing the two biggest secrets of his life to Corey. If that didn't tell him how much he trusted the redhead then he didn't know what would. "I guess I should force myself to be stricter to you in public. And stop sneaking in touches? Something's in the works and I have a bad feeling from not knowing what. It's probably against our business and us if I don't know about it."
"I can't shrug the feeling that Jay will try to cross you and us through the business somehow. I keep seeing him following me. And I saw Shawn's men talking to Jonathan's a lot more lately," Corey added peeking out between the bars into the corridor, then climbed onto Jim's lap, facing him and hugging the biker to him fully. "Act as you need to with me outside. I will bark back a few times too, just to keep the others think we're not close. But here during the nights I am only with you. And love who you really are..."
Jim frowned from what Corey was saying. The information was concerning to say the least and matched his own observations, confirming that he wasn't seeing shadows where there were none.
His thoughts were interrupted by Corey climbing onto his lap and Jim's hands instinctively moved to hug him back and keep him close. "Sadly I saw the same things you'd noticed. I'll arrange it that I can talk with Jay alone. We don't have proof, but we don't need any either..." he chuckled dryly. After all they were all killers who didn't play by the books.
Stroking Corey's back lovingly, Jim sighed. "Okay. That should work. Building up some tension between us in public. That should keep most at bay. I might have to get physical with you for the back-talking. Nothing major though. Just twisting your arm or such shit," he shrugged. "But then again, I do that and some other crazy shit with you all the time anyway." Here he finally smiled and pressed a kiss to the shaved side of Corey's head then sighed heavily again. "Who I really am, huh..." Jim was afraid he himself didn't know anymore who that was.
A few days later Corey sat outside the yard on a bench. According to the plan he kept a bit more distance from Jim and tried to act more cold towards him. He was not sure how much everyone was buying it, though, but it was worth a try anyway...
The kitchen duty was more about him learning from Jim and one of the cooks about the dishes and he was let to the stove more often, which he enjoyed more than he thought he would.
While sitting and smoking he could see Officer Thomson watching him with suspicion in his piercing blue eyes. In the past days Jim and his men kinda investigated after the guard too. He was found clean and surprisingly loyal to the Root gang. But now Corey kept the bit more distance with everyone.
It was one of the afternoons outside times and the little man couldn't wait it to be over. Jim was talking to Jay privately and he wanted to get back into his cell and hear what was up.
Appearing irritated and grumpy wasn't hard for Jim after the days during which they had to act as if there was tension between him and Corey. True to his words, the tall man had to publicly put his cell mate in his place a few times. A twisted arm here, a back pushed against a wall there could do wonders. They certainly made most think twice about what was going on between the two. Jim just hoped he wouldn't put Corey in harms way any more than he unwittingly already did.
At least Mick proved to be loyal to them, because – aside from the subtle investigation about him – the big guard offered Jim – on his own way – that he'd gladly teach the little shit a lesson if Jim wanted it. He thanked Mick but refused, saying that he was going to deal with the problem and sort it out. The biker, of course, wasn't stupid. This wasn't only about Jim's well-being. From Mick's side it was about protecting a fairly well-paying business organization too. To which "love affairs" like Corey could mean harm. Now the trick was how to balance on the edge not to overdo this little act between them, because that might put some ideas into certain people's mind, maybe wanting to impress Jim by offing Corey. Which was the last thing the bearded man wanted...
But there was one thing Jim asked from Mick. And it was some alone time with Jay...
That morning after breakfast while the other inmates were escorted outside for the walk, Officer Mick arranged things so that he could pull Jay aside and before he knew, the door of an otherwise empty waiting room was closed behind the long-haired young man.
"What's this?" he asked Jim, looking around suspiciously as if expecting Jim's men to jump out of nowhere to rough him up.
"Oh I thought you wanted to spend some more time with me..." Jim said, unfolding his tattooed arms from in front of his broad chest and slowly walked closer to the confused Jay until the other man's back hit the wall and Jim placed a big hand next to his ex-cell mate's head.
The young man swallowed glimpsing at the arm way too close to his face. "I… I don't know what you've heard, Jim... What do you want from me?" Jay whispered looking up at the biker towering above his lithe frame.
All the thoughts running over his mind… He loved that man cornering him, did all his messed up and rather clumsy self could do and only wanted affection back. Even if it was kinda forced out… In his twisted mind it was all Jim's fault. How could he not love him like he did??? And even arranged to be taken away from that cell. All the mess Jay did was because he wanted Jim to react. To see that Jay was more important.
Then that red kid came... "They" were all in the past but the injustice was burning inside the young bearded guy like a bonfire. From all those feelings and thoughts he could only blurt out one line.
"I know what's going on… You didn't fool me… You wanted him and fell for him head over heels…" he hissed into Jim's face.
Jim grimaced pitifully down at the cornered boy, because that's all he saw in him. "You silly boy..." he lifted his other hand to stroke along the bearded face seemingly gently then his fingers slid down onto Jay's throat and squeezed, the fake gentle expression melting from Jim's face as if he took off a mask.
"Stop playing your games with me and my men. I know why you're doing this, Jay. Maybe I should've said it into your face before I had you removed from my cell, but then I say it now. I don't want you nor do I love you. Accept your defeat and move on. Leave me and those who belong to me alone or I swear to everything you hold dear that you'll regret it and it will hurt. A lot," he hissed back even more menacing, his darkened eyes dead serious. Yes, it was a clear death threat. He made no attempts to disguise it to anything else as his impressive figure was towering over Jay, whose face was starting to play in a nice shade of purple.
Only then did Jim let his throat go and waited for a moment or two until the boy could focus on something else than gasping for air and coughing. "Look at me!" Jim shouted at him on a demanding tone and waited until their eyes met. "Are we clear?!"
The slim small guy dropped onto his knees even as he tried to learn to breathe again as fast as he could. For a good minute he was balancing on filling his lungs and cells with oxygen again and tried not to throw up.
Once he gathered himself somehow, he stood and looked up at Jim, clearly pissed with the insane rage glowing in his dark eyes. He only muttered "Yes, we are crystal clear" and stormed out of the room while gritting his teeth.
As Jim watched the door close behind his ex-cell mate, he didn’t feel calmer at all. Maybe he overdid it, but he never knew what kind of approach would get through to this asshat. He knew why Jaw was sentenced and Jim was worried a bit, knowing that the guy was kinda unstable and unpredictable. He just really hoped that he scared him enough to make him back off.
“Fucking twisted fucker…” he mumbled just when Mick’s head popped into the room.
“Everything okay, Jim?” the officer frowned.
“Not sure,” the snorted reply came as he walked towards Mick, who fully opened the door. “I appreciate the opportunity though.”
“No problem. Let’s get you outside too. We don’t want to try our luck, do we?”
“Luck hasn’t been on my side for a fucking long time, man,” Jim shook his head and followed him.
Outside he quickly found the others around their usual spot, minus Craig and Sid, because they were off to do business. Corey was sitting on one of their benches while Alex and the others were kinda… “guarding” him too with the benches.
Sitting down next to his lover with a tense expression – only partly for the show – Jim lit a cigarette and not waiting for Corey’s question, he summed up what’d happened. At least he didn’t see the scum anywhere near them this time. But he wasn’t sure it was a good sign.