Scout has always wanted to follow in her family’s business of custom bike building. Being female never stopped her from getting greasy and slapping on paint with the best of them, and made her work even harder at opening up her own shop someday.
When an opportunity to win $500,000 dollars in prize money presents itself, Scout and her group of misfit friends sign on the dotted line to be filmed for a reality television show to win it. But like anything in life there’s always a catch to free money.
When nightmares of the past meet dreams of the future, Scout is forced to face her demons, or be quickly over run by the memories. In the midst of her inner turmoil, family will come home, and possibly a life she never expected to have could be within her grasp.
I walked into the garage and took a deep breath inhaling the familiar scents of oil, gasoline and oranges. It smelled the same as any other shop I have ever been in; it smelled like home. I had grown up in motorcycle shops, garages, and custom paint shops, following my father around his shop and later my grandpa, Saul, learning the trade as well as picking one up of my own. Which is what lead me here, joining a team of misfits to compete for a cash prize we hoped to win then use to open our own custom bike shop. We didn’t have big plans, just a small shop that we could perform our own forms of artistry out of, creating one of a kind motorcycles for people who could afford them. I looked over at the other three members of my team, one being my best friend. We both grew up following our fathers around and later my grandpa. The other two were relatively unknown, but geniuses we had found along the way, kindred spirits in wanting to pursue this dream with us. We had all come together and created our own nonconformist family, and now we had finally found a means to an end, or so we hoped.
I looked around the shop we would be creating in for the next six weeks, there were seven stalls one for each team to work in, along with everything we would need to create works of art that would be required of us. I could build a bike, being taught at a young age had its advantages, but my particular specialty was paint. Simon, my best friend, could do a bit of everything including running a shop's business aspect. Kale was an engine expert; he could build or fix almost anything with moving parts. Then there was Liam, he was a miracle worker with metal, he could craft it, mold it in ways I had never seen before. I hoped that with all of our combined strengths, knowledge, and luck we would be able to win this competition and then the $500k the winner would receive.
I heard shuffling behind me and peeked over my shoulder, I couldn’t help the grin that spread across my face. In walked a man who I had known since birth, and still called uncle. He returned my grin and held his arms open for me, which I instantly ran into.
“Scout,” he breathed out hugging me tight.
“Uncle Matt,” I replied.
“What are you doing here, Seraph?” he asked using the name he had called me for as long as I can remember.
I shrugged. “Same as you would be my guess.”
He finally let me go only to wrap his arm around my shoulder. “Simon,” he said giving a nod.
“Dad,” Simon replied.
“So I take it Saul still refuses to help,” he stated, we both knew he would never help me; he was of the old school mind set. If you wanted something bad enough, you went out and made it happen by yourself so you appreciated it more once you had it. Not that I could find any fault in his logic, and preferred it this way.
“Yep,” I replied, “but that’s ok, I would rather do it on my own.”
“Oh I know that Seraph, you’ve always wanted to do things yourself.”
I looked over at the other five guys that had walked in with Matt, smiled and waved at the guys that I had also known a long time, they all returned it as they passed by me.
“Heard anything from Cas?” asked Matt.
“Yeah, yesterday actually.”
“How is he?”
“Doing well, ready to come home though.”
“Yeah, I am sure you’re ready for him to come home.”
I swallowed and nodded, my brother Cas was currently in Afghanistan on his second tour with the Marines, and was supposed to be home in a month. I was beyond ready for him to come home, especially since this would be his last tour; he had decided not to reenlist.
“He still plans on not reenlisting?”
“Told him if he did, he had better beg to be sent back over because it would be better off than having to face me.”
“That’s my girl, and since he’s smart and knows you, he won’t test you on this.”
“Let’s hope,” I muttered.
“I would be more afraid of you, Seraph, even with all his training,” Uncle Matt chuckled giving me another one armed hug before letting go to look around.
I looked over at my team and smiled, they all looked a little shell shocked looking around at who all was there, and I couldn’t blame them. Other than Simon, my team was newer and didn’t know Matt and his team well, only their reputation, which was well earned. I knew that we could beat them. They tended to stick to the old school ways, where we tended to pull inspiration from everything.
We continued to stand around and talk amongst ourselves as we watched more groups of competitors walk in, most of which I knew personally or knew of. I noticed Uncle Matt staying near our group, as if to protect me, who knew from what, as far as I knew he wouldn’t be competing with us. He would never lower himself to competing for money on a television show, plus, in all reality he didn’t need the money like most of us did.
I noticed a lot of the known shops were here only with the not as well-known builders being the ones to show up. I could understand that, wanting to make a name for yourself outside of the shop you worked for; this would be the way to go about it. As we stood around waiting for everyone to show up, I said hellos, and listened to how everyone’s families were doing. All the while checking out the competition and meeting those I didn’t already know, with one team still not here, we were called into a meeting with the production crew. We were quickly brought into a group and began listening to the rules, the way it all worked, and all the other info we had already been told.
I looked around wondering who the last team was. Simon elbowed me in the ribs causing me to look up and finding the producer of the show staring at me. I decided to focus up front and look around when we were finally finished.
Two hours later, we were finally released after signing all the contracts, agreeing to the rules again, and listening to more people who I didn’t really care about talk. They still weren’t telling us who the judges would be, which was fine with me, wasn’t really worried about it at this point. My largest concern was getting to the hotel so I could shower and sleep since I had been awake for over twenty-four hours at this point. I made my way to my brand new Ducati Diavel Dark, bought for me by my older brother Cas for my twenty-first birthday. I loved it, though while I loved this bike and its speed, I still preferred my 2009 Sportster Iron 883, that Saul, my grandfather, bought me for my eighteenth birthday. I was ready for my Harley to be delivered to the house we were renting while in Sturgis, Wyoming for the competition then the bike rally that was in two months.
I hated motels but I could handle one night in the hotel then we would be moving to our rental, but I was not looking forward to living with three guys. I had lived with Simon, Kale and Liam before, and knew for a fact that they are all slobs. I don’t think it was something Simon’s wife would ever break him of. Though I was looking forward to his wife, Cameron, coming soon with their infant son. I missed them both, and I am sure it would help Simon’s mood once they got here as well. I was reaching for my helmet when I heard someone clearing their throat behind me, I glanced over my shoulder and found my Uncle Matt watching me.
“Want to go get some dinner?”
“No, not really, I want a hot shower and some sleep.”
“Come on, Seraph, let's go get a burger,” he wheedled.
“Uncle Matt, I am tired, I just got here before we had to meet up for this, now all I want to do is check in and get some sleep.”
He nodded rubbing his hand against his beard that was greyer than the red I was used to. “Come on, Scout, get some food with me.”
I sighed, he wasn’t going to let this go. “Fine, but let’s make it quick.”
“Ok, follow me?”
I nodded and grabbed my helmet, pulled my hair up and tucked it in. Once my helmet was on, I swung my leg over and started my bike, its low purr vibrating throughout my body. Damn, I loved this bike. I followed Matt out of the parking lot and through the city streets, pacing myself with him and his chopper.
Once we pulled up in front of the Easyriders Saloon, I pulled up beside him turning off the bike and taking off my helmet.
“So where’d ya get that?” he asked gesturing to the bike.
I smiled. “Cas got her for me for my birthday.”
“What’d ya name her?”
“Angel,” I replied smiling over at him I stroked her tank affectionately I had plans for her.
“She’s all stock?”
I nodded. “Yeah, she’s stock, haven’t had her long.”
He shook his head mumbling something, probably something derogatory about my bike, damn old school bikers. We walked towards the restaurant in companionable silence I knew he wanted to talk to me about something, but wouldn’t get around to it until he was damn good and ready.
After we were seated and looking over menus, I couldn’t stand the quiet anymore. I was either going to fall asleep where I sat or throw something at him. I was currently leaning towards sleep. I really needed to sleep, and I had ridden through non-stop from San Diego to here. Cas and I shared a townhouse in San Diego, since he was hardly home it was more my house that he paid half the rent on. It worked out well for us since it gave me my privacy as well as a place for Cas to crash when he was in the states. Though I think the main reason he had wanted me to move into the townhouse is he wanted to make sure I was someplace safe. My eyes were doing the slow blink, like they weren’t sure if they would have the energy to reopen the next time, so when someone cleared their throat beside me I nearly jumped from the booth.
I glanced up and found an irritated looking waitress snapping her gum my direction, I looked over at Matt and found him looking at me expectantly.
“Your drink order, ma'am?” she asked sounding annoyed.
I cleared my throat and ordered a cup of coffee. I desperately needed the caffeine. When I looked over at Matt it was to find him smirking at me, that all-knowing smirk of his that used to get me to fess up to whatever I had done, and he never had to say a thing.
“What?” I grumbled.
“How long since you last slept?”
I squinted in his direction doing the math. “Thirty-six hours or so I think.”
He shook his head at me. “Why?”
“Had things to do before coming here, then there was the ride up,” I responded around a yawn.
“What was so important you couldn’t sleep, Seraph?”
“Had to get things ready for Cam to drive up, get things done around the house for when Cas comes home, and then a couple of things at the shop I’ve been working on,” I said giving the waitress a grateful smile when she plunked the coffee cup down in front of me. I took a big drink of the hot coffee scalding the inside of my mouth, it burned, but the pain helped wake me up some.
I waved her off after Matt ordered his food, not really in the mood for food. Just really wanting to find out why Matt had asked me to come out with him instead of letting me go to bed.
“When’s Cas coming home?”
“Next month, then he’s taking leave and then it will be time for his reenlistment.”
“What’s he going to do when he gets out?”
“We’ve talked about him helping me get the shop open then working there, but honestly, I don’t think he really wants to do.”
Matt nodded. “Then what does he want to do?’
“I have no idea and I don’t think he does either.”
“Well, maybe he will help out until he decides what he does want to do. You two always did work well together.”
I shrugged and looked away, we both knew the only reason my dad had taught me anything was because of Cas, so of course we worked well together.
“So what did you want, Uncle Matt?”
“Ace and Lace are competing.”
“Ah, fuck me,” I muttered gulping down the rest of my coffee and getting up to leave.
© 2013 Brei Betzold
Release Date June 18 2013
Release Date June 18 2013
Cover by Wicked Cool Designs
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