Secrets & Lies (Roughshod Rollers MC 3)

Page 70

“That sounds great,” she assures me, and I search her face to make sure she’s being genuine. “That’ll bring back memories. We used to sit at those tables inside and eat burgers all the time. You’d get that ridiculous large, heart-stopping meat thing, and I’d get something smaller.”
“You always stole the bacon off mine,” I remind her, pleased that she seems happy with the choice.
“I like bacon,” she laughs.
We laugh together, caught in reminiscing in the past. Is this a good thing? I’m not sure, but we’re both happy right now, so maybe it’s okay to let it happen.
Right, I’m actually happy. What does that tell me? I’m pleased to be in Jessica’s company. The dark, awful emotions that I’ve felt both in the last week and over the last three years are still there, but they’re kept at bay by the cheer I can’t help but feel as we leave the apartment and head to my bike.
“I’m looking forward to this,” Jessica says longingly.
I almost ask her if it’s the date itself that she’s looking forward to. But then I see her staring at the bike with bright eyes.
“I almost learnt to ride,” she tells me. “But then I had Owen, and I just didn’t have the time.”
I didn’t know she had ever contemplated learning to ride motorbikes. Just another thing I didn’t know about her.
“I could maybe teach you one day,” I say.
The words are out before I realize. I don’t even know if this is going to work, and I’m offering one-on-one time with her in the future? I think she realizes the foolishness of this as well, but she does smile, pleased at the suggestion.
“Maybe,” she says.
I clear my throat and unclip a spare helmet, handing it to her. Despite the way her hair is sitting so nicely, she puts the helmet on immediately, clipping it up under her chin. She barely has to adjust it; she’s still the last person to have ever worn that helmet.
“Come on, let’s go,” I say to her, swinging my leg over the bike.
She hops on behind me and scoots in closer. Her body is pressed against my back, and her arms wind unhesitatingly around my waist, gripping me tightly. I tense briefly, surprised at the contact, before forcing myself to relax. It’s okay. This is nice.
“This is amazing,” Jessica breathes, and her breath brushes the back of my neck, making me shudder.
Trying not to think about how close she is, I turn the bike on. It thrums beneath us and I kick it into gear, pulling out onto the road. Her arms briefly tighten before she leans back slightly.
I can’t help but grin at her excitement. Maybe, regardless of however this relationship goes, I will teach her how to ride. It would be nice to have a student as enthusiastic as her about bikes.
It doesn’t take us long to get to the burger place. Several people look
up as we arrive, caught by the sound of the motorbike, but they look away as we dismount and lock up the bike, uninterested. Jessica clips her helmet back into place.
“I really did miss that,” she says, laughing. “It’s such an amazing feeling, you know.”
“I know,” I laugh.
After all, that was the reason why I decided to start riding in the first place. At one of my few foster families, one of my older foster brothers, who had just turned twenty-one, had a motorbike. He used to take the fifteen-year-old me out on it all the time. I was devastated when I was moved on from that family less than six months later, all because they didn’t have the funds to support me. It was one of the few emotional goodbyes I ever had, and I never saw them again.
But I never forgot the kindness they showed me, and I was obsessed with learning to ride a motorbike from that moment on. It was families like that who kept me afloat during some of the darker times in my childhood.
“You alright?” Jessica asks, noticing that my mind is wandering.
“Yeah,” I say to her with a small smile. My stomach rumbles and I can’t help but laugh. “I’m starving.”
“Same,” Jessica laughs. “Is the theater far from here?”
“Just there, actually,” I say, pointing to a large building.
“Great,” Jessica says, grinning. “That means we still have lots of time to eat.”
The restaurant we’ve found isn’t amazingly large, but they have a nice selection of lots of different things to eat. I’m half tempted to get the steak, but I really do want burgers with Jessica. Maybe we’ll come back here another day?