Hyde exchanges a few more words with Jax and takes his leave as well. As Jax walks over to Dresden and I, he shakes his head. “This is going to give me a constant migraine.”
“Not my fault, Jax,” I say, instantly on the defensive.
He smiles at me. “I never said it was, Lily. This guy’s just used to people following his orders. Now he has to follow ours. It’s going to make the entire mission stressful.”
I sigh and tuck a few loose strands of hair behind my ears. Yeah, that’s an understatement.
The helicopter ride from DC to Baltimore is hell, but the car ride is more bearable. We're on our way to some wannabe beach in Baltimore County for 'Baltimore's Most Eligible Bachelor'— according to the newspaper— to have his family outing and meet more of the team.
Dresden sits next to me and I shake my head at his change of clothes. God forbid he isn't showing off his biceps and calves. I used to watch him in training, after the team first formed, and think about how stupid he looked.
His strength has saved your ass more than once though.
"Bets that this goes worse than the meeting earlier?" Dresden fishes a twenty out of his pocket. "Any takers?"
"I got twenty says Lily shuts him up real quick." Rhett leans forward, pulling his wallet from his back pocket.
I grin at him. "You just like taking Dresden's money."
"I do. He's terrible at gambling," he says chuckling.
"Fuck you, hillbilly. I make good bets all the time."
"Yeah, like that time you thought you were a better shot than Lily?"
"That was one time, man."
"She hit the bull’s eye fifteen times in a row. You hit it twice. She owned you, bro," Vlad says laughing.
Hyde stops at an entrance booth to the park and shows the gate keeper his Interpol badge. She nods, trying to glance through the tinted windows and waves us through.
"Showtime everyone," Jax says in a stern voice as Hyde pulls into a parking spot.
I throw the door open and step into the Baltimore sun. It's the end of May, but this weather is tame in comparison to where I live in New Orleans. A cool breeze caresses my face and I close my eyes, tilting my head upward.
"Don't you look all peaceful and shit," Dresden says close to my ear.
My body goes rigid as my lids fly open. I glare at him from the corner of my eyes.
He takes a step back, stuffing his hands in his pockets. "Sorry, Lily."
I shrug, trying to force the fear from my limbs. "It's cool, Dres."
Jax stops in front of us, rubbing his face with his hands. "You ready for this, Lil?"
I roll my eyes. "Yes, Dad. I'll be fine."
He smiles, warm and comforting— a smile that’s gotten me through so many nightmares and bad days. Jax really is the best thing to ever come into my life.
"Ok, let's do this." He turns on his heel and strides toward the pavilion.
We follow him and Hyde to a small group of people in the picnic area. The beach is off to our right, a single lifeguard in the tower. We stop just under the tree line and Blake saunters forward with his friends following close behind him.
"Mr. Mason." Hyde holds out his hand.