Equilibrium (Marauders #4.5)

Equilibrium

A Marauders Interlude

 

~oOo~

 

Lina Andersson

 

THE FREAK CIRCLE PRESS

 

Equilibrium
©
Lina Andersson 2015

 

All Rights Reserved

 

Lina Andersson has asserted her right to be identified as the author of this book under the Copyright, Design and Patents Act 1988.

 

This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places and incidents are a product of the author’s imagination. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, events, or locales are entirely coincidental.

 

~oOo~

 

Cover art & Design by Kalle Andersson

 

BY LINA ANDERSSON

 

THE MARAUDERS SERIES:

Arrow of Time, Book 1
Perfect Collision, Book 2
S-Duality, Book 2.5
Center of Gravity, Book 3
Speed of Light, Book 3.5
Resonance, Book 4
Equilibrium, Book 4.5

 

Dedication:

 

For Andreas

 

~oOo~

 

Acknowledgments:

 

A big thank you to all of those who’ve bravely shared their stories with me; you know who you are.

Another thank you to Sarah Osborne who convinced me this was worth sharing with the rest of the world

A massive thank you to the Freaks, who all contributed in one way or another. I love you all.

And finally, a thank you to Susan Fanetti, who made it readable.

All remaining mistakes and errors are my own.

 

~oOo~

 

Equilibrium
:

1. A state of rest or balance due to the equal action of opposing forces.

2. Equal balance between powers, influences, etc.; equality of effect.

3. Mental or emotional balance; equanimity.

 

~oOo~

 

PROLOGUE

It Doesn’t Hurt

 

~oOo~

 

“MOMMY SAID, ‘OH YEAH,’ and Daddy told her he loved her and licked her on the face, and she said, ‘god, baby, oh god,’ several times.”

“Dad’s gonna kills us,” Mac said to Mitch.

“Don’t drag me into this, she’s talking to you,” Mitch laughed. “This is big brother stuff.”

“You’re my big brother, too,” Eliza pointed out.

“Big big brother, Buttercup,” Mitch said, and then he turned to Mac. “So explain to her.”

“Uh, yeah, when a dude and a dudette really like each other,” Mac started.

Eliza was five, maybe six—she couldn’t exactly remember—but she clearly remembered that she was sitting on Mac’s stomach, he was lying down on the couch and had been reading a comic when she’d come to the TV room, and Mitch was at the other end of the couch. She remembered how much Mitch was laughing, how strange Mac looked, and how much she loved them both.

“Were they sexing?” she asked. “Because it sounded like it hurt. Does sexing hurt?”

“No,” Mac said. “Talk to Dad or Mel tomorrow, but I assure you, it doesn’t hurt.”

 

~oOo~

Eliza

 

I was pretty sure I was dying, and as things were, I felt okay with that. It felt like a good way to end it. Dying had to be better than the pain I was feeling, and it would mean that it would stop. It would be an end to it all.

Because everything was hurting, but most of all my heart. About everything. That I’d saved something I didn’t need to save, and that… I’d always be the girl who this had happened to. The few times I dared to think about what was beyond this, that was all I could think about. This would always be me. Unless they killed me, I would always be this girl—it would taint me forever. But it felt like my body was giving up, I was sort of slipping away, and it felt nice.

Comfortable.

It had happened a few times before that I had passed out, but this was another type of slipping away.

There wasn’t really much I noticed anymore, so when I heard the first shot, I thought someone had shot me, and I was relieved. But the pain was still there, and that didn’t seem fair.

Then I heard Dad, and I didn’t want that. I wanted Dad, but I didn’t want him to see me that way. So I didn’t move. Just tried to will
everything
away.

I felt a blanket over me, and then Dad was with me, and I started crying.

“Oh, god, Baby Girl. Honey… Jesus fucking Christ. Can you hear me?”

Then I heard Bull’s voice. “Round any survivors up, gag ‘em, and get them to the warehouse.”

I could hear everything, but I didn’t know how to let him know that I did. People kept yelling, but Dad was there. It was okay to let go then. He’d be there.

So I let go.

The next time I woke up, Dad was still there, but I was somewhere else. Judging by the sounds and the smell, I was at a hospital. He was holding my hand, and when he saw my eyes flutter, he leaned closer, so close only I could hear him.

“Can you hear me, Baby Girl? We got them.”

When I managed to open my eyes, I could see he was crying, and that wasn’t right. Dad didn’t cry. I’d never seen him cry. My big, brave dad wouldn’t cry.

I knew that what had happened had something to do with the club—what else could it be?—and that I maybe should hate him. But I couldn’t. I didn’t have it in me. I wasn’t sure I had it in me to feel anything.

“Are they with Bull?” I asked. My voice was kind of broken, but he was close enough to hear me.

“Yeah,” he answered with a smile and a snivel. “They’re with Bull.”

“Good.”

Bull would do things to them, horrible things, I knew he would. No matter how much everything was hurting, they would hurt more.

“Good,” I said again.

 

~oOo~

Brick

 

They’d finally found a shrink Eliza accepted. If it was simply her giving up, or if she actually liked this one, Brick wasn’t sure. He’d been in countless sessions. Some with Mel, some with both Eliza and Mel, but this time it was he alone.

He didn’t see the point. It wasn’t as if he could talk about what the actual problem was: it was his fault that his Baby Girl had been hurt. And as opposed to most shmucks in his situation, it actually
was
his fault, and he didn’t think there was a chance in hell he could get this Doctor Flores to understand. Simply since he couldn’t tell her the truth. ‘Yeah, this cartel we’ve been dealing drugs with has some other cartels as enemies, and they got hold of Eliza.’ Great plan.

“I understand this might be uncomfortable for you, but there are some things I want to talk to you about. I understand you and Eliza used to be close, maybe still are?”

“Yeah.” No, they weren’t. Eliza wasn’t close to anyone anymore.

“I often insist on talking to the father, especially when the father is a man like you are. We’ve talked about some of the things you need to be aware of.”

Yeah, that had been a great conversation. About the phases, and the possibility of Eliza becoming hypersexual in some fucked-up attempt to normalize her sexuality, drug use, claiming she’s fine when she wasn’t, and loads of things that just made him more stressed. Like how it was important that they emphasized that what she’d had wasn’t sex, for example. How the fuck do you say that to your seventeen-year-old gang-raped daughter? ‘Hey, by the way, in case you weren’t sure, that’s not what sex is like.’

“It can be very stressful for a girl to feel that someone else is taking the blame for what happened. It makes her more prone to pretend that everything is okay, and I sense you’re a man who strongly feels a duty to protect your family, which is good. She trusts you, what you say matters, and recovery from rape is not only dependent on women. If you’re silent about it, it can make her feel guilty, like it’s something dirty that has happened.”

“Okay, but you also said we shouldn’t pressure her to talk, so I’m not really sure what the fuck I’m supposed to do. Talk or don’t talk?”

“Don’t pressure, but don’t avoid talking. Let her know you’re there to talk if she wants to. It’s about finding the balance.”

“Lady, everything in life is about finding the balance,” Brick muttered and rubbed his face with his hands.

“It’s very hard for most girls to discuss their sexuality with their parents, and their fathers especially. She might try to find others to discuss this with, and they might be men. You need to let her. If she talks to you, and you’re uncomfortable,
tell
her that. Explain why you’re uncomfortable and encourage her to talk to others.”

Brick’s mind was filled with images of Eliza talking to other members, like Sisco, about sex, and he groaned into his hands. She didn’t exactly have a lot of role models around her when it came to sex. Sure, a lot of them were happily married, but most of them had fucked their way through quite a few decades before getting married.

“And the most important for you, I think, is that you have to encourage her to resume her normal lifestyle. Trying to protect her by locking her away at home is just going to make the damage so much worse. Let her interact with people when she wants to, encourage it no matter who it is, as long as you don’t think the person is an actual risk.”

“Fine.” And he once again saw Eliza discussing sex with Sisco.

“So those are some of the things we will be talking about today.”

Great, that was just her bullet-point list. She wasn’t done.

Next shrink would be someone who allowed smoking in the office.

 

~oOo~

Roach

 

Roach had heard a lot about all the border charters while he was up in New York. Obviously most of it about the Greenville charter, since they were the ones with the cartel deal. It had been considered a stable club, and their president, Brick, was infamous. The unshakeable big guy you didn’t want to piss off.

So when they called for help and Ahab had volunteered, Roach had volunteered, too. Ahab had been his sponsor. Roach had been lucky, since more than one guy had offered to be his sponsor, but he’d picked Ahab. Mostly because he never acted like his long-lost father or some fucked-up shit like that. He’d been a support, but as a friend, a guy Roach could trust, which was worth far more than someone trying to be all fucking fatherly. He didn’t need a dad looking after him; he needed people he could trust would be there when he needed it. Nothing more, nothing less.

So he’d followed Ahab to Greenville, and the welcome had not exactly been warm. Brick had complained about Roach being young. Like that necessarily meant shit. Some people, people like him, had been fighting their entire life. He’d do a helluva lot better job than some fat fuck who’d spent the better part of his life under a car.

It had still been pretty okay, though. He liked the club, most of the people, and the clubhouse was definitely a lot better than the one in New York. He even got a room—his own fucking room. He didn’t have to worry about waking up with someone else’s junk on his clothes. The room included a key and what was possibly the most comfortable bed he’d ever slept in, and Brick had been all the things people had said about him.

Then shit went to hell and the little princess was kidnapped and gang raped. Not that it was her fault. It was just luck that they hadn’t snatched more of the old ladies, but it had meant that Brick was out of commission for months. No one blamed him, not even Roach. He’d been one of those who’d gone into that house and found her. He wouldn’t have recognized her. Not that he’d seen much of her before that, but she’d shown up at the clubhouse a few times, twisted everyone’s head until she got what she wanted, and then she was out. She hadn’t paid him much attention, and it was a mutual disregard. He couldn’t be bothered with girls like her, and every fucking club had at least one of those. The female club kid in expensive pastel clothing who ‘just loved the world’ and was all sunshine, unicorns, and rainbows. He couldn’t fucking stand them.

Of course he knew she wasn’t all rainbows and unicorns anymore, but he also knew it was a very real possibility that girl would be back soon. Besides, he wasn’t the kind of guy who was supportive and understanding with people who wallowed in misery. He’d had enough fucking misery of his own in his life to start dealing with other people’s shit. People like the little princess had loads of people around her anyway. That was kind of the point with being a spoiled brat—everyone did everything for you.

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