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I heard her as soon as I entered the building.
“It’s a classic, sonny boy, and you don’t fuck with the classics. Do you hear me? Or has that combover blocked your ears?”
I couldn’t help but grin. The voice belonged to Sybil Calley, my formidable, charismatic grandmother. Seventy-something-years old, she was a force to be reckoned with and very rarely backed down in an argument. Any poor soul who took her on was in for a fierce fight, and by the sounds of it, Tito was about to feel the full force of hurricane Sybil.
“It’s blasphemy! That’s what it is. Blasphemy! Why, I bet Deborah Kerr is rolling in her grave, God rest her beautiful soul. How dare you stain such a beautiful story with your weirdness, you rude little boy!”
As I rounded the corner, Sybil and Tito came into view. Tito was standing with his back to the wall with his arms in the air, while my formidable grandmother yelled at him. He looked terrified.
“Grandma Calley,” I interrupted, trying to contain my grin. Seeing me walk in, Tito looked relieved and relaxed his arms.
Sybil wasted no time in getting straight to the point. She held up a DVD so I could see the cover. “Did you know about this?”
I took it from her and couldn’t help but grin at the cover. Pure spank bank bullshit that sells. But definitely not what you wanted your grandmother looking at in front of you.
“How on Earth did you even know about it?” I asked.
“I might be edging close to buying the farm, Cade, but I’m not quite dead yet. You know I like to keep my finger on the pulse. It’s Tuesday, and I know you drop into this pit of despair on Tuesdays, so I came down to speak with you.” She gave Tito a withering look. “Ran into this little twerp and found this . . .”
She ripped the DVD out of my hands and held it up. The cover was a rip-off of An Affair To Remember, except it was titled, An Anus to Remember. Gay porn. It was a bestseller.
“It’s a disgrace, Cade. An absolute disgrace.” She pushed the DVD into Tito’s chest. “You should be ashamed of yourself.”
“Ain’t nothing wrong with a bit of man-on-man love, Grandma,” I said, trying to diffuse the situation. Sybil could be unpredictable at times.
“I know that! Man on man. Woman on woman. I don’t give a goddamn! What I do care about is taking a classic and turning it into smut. Now that is not right, Cade. Not right. You don’t fuck with the classics.”
“Cade, this can’t keep happening,” Tito moaned.
Sybil turned back to Tito. “I’m seventy-three years old but I ain’t dead yet, sonny. I’m the original biker queen and I’m still packing as much attitude as I did back when my old man started the Kings of Mayhem more than fifty years ago. If you ever mess with one of the classics again and put your perverted stamp all over it, I will knock you on your ass, do you hear me?”
Again, I struggled to contain my grin.
Tito, however, looked unraveled. And he had every cause to be because I had no doubt Sybil meant what she said. She was a classy lady who never left the house without taming her bright red hair and putting on a thick coat of red lipstick. But she was a biker queen first. Tough. Fierce. With a mean right hook.
You didn’t fuck with Sybil Calley.
Taking pity on Tito, I slunk an arm around Grandma’s shoulders and guided her toward the front door.
“Now, Grandma, you can’t come in here and get up in Tito’s grill about things. Head Quarters is off limits to MC women, remember?”
That rule had come about after Sybil had swept through Head Quarters like a hurricane and upset an entire cast of actresses on the set of a movie we were making called Some Like It Hard. Sybil was a die-hard Marilyn fan and managed to put the fear in all the actresses who were on set, leading to a mass walk-out and halting production for three days.
Not that Sybil paid any attention to rules. She was the original rule breaker. She did what she wanted, when she wanted. And if it suited her, she’d blame her forgetfulness on her age to get away with it, despite being sharp as a tack.
She waved off the mention of the rules.
“If that little pervert can’t handle a seventy-year-old woman, then he needs to take a cup of cement and harden the fuck up.” She glanced over her shoulder and narrowed her eyes at Tito as we were walking away, and muttered, “little pussy.”
I tried not to laugh because that would only encourage her, so I asked, “Grandma, why are you here?”
She relaxed and smiled. “Now, Cade, you know you’re my favorite grandson—”
“You say that to all your grandsons . . .”
“. . . and I love you. So I wanted to see how you were feeling about Indy coming home.”
“This isn’t her home anymore, Grandma. She lives in Seattle now.”
“Thank you, Captain Obvious. But you know what I mean.” Her face softened as she took my hand. “I know the affect that girl has on you. I just wanted to make sure…”
She smacked me hard on the arm. “That you’re not going to be an ass about it.”
I couldn’t help but grin. Good on Grandma Sybil.
“A lot of water has passed under the bridge, Grandma. I’m not an eighteen-year-old psychopath anymore.”
Sybil didn’t look convinced. “You’re a Calley and we’re passionate sonsofbitches. When we love, we love big, and if that love dies, then we die a big death along side it. I should know. When your Pappy died, my heart went with him.”
I couldn’t help but smile at my feisty grandmother.
“I’m sure Jury wouldn’t like to hear you say that,” I said.
Jury was my grandma’s sixty-year-old boyfriend.
“Jury isn’t the love of my life. Your grandpappy was. Jury knows I’m just after his body.”
I raised an eyebrow at her. “Grandma, there are certain things a grandson should never hear his grandmother say, and that’s right up there with them.”
She waved me off. “The body may be old and the reflection in the mirror might be slightly different, but the mind is still twenty years old. I might not be able to do it the way I used to but—”
I stuck my fingers in my ears. “Lalalalalalalalala . . .”
She rolled her eyes. “Fine. I’ll let you think that I don’t do the things I still did when I was twenty.”
“Seriously, Grandma . . .” I begged, pained by the mental images.
Sighing dramatically, she changed the subject. “Your mom is making dinner for Lady and Indy. Somehow I was extended an invitation. I assume you’ll be there.”
To say Sybil and my mom didn’t exactly get along would be an understatement. The civil unrest had ended years ago, but in its wake was a frosty cold war of mammoth proportions. Mother-in-law and daughter-in-law didn’t exactly see eye to eye.
I nodded. “I’m heading over there now.”
“Fine. I’ll follow you. Lord knows I’ve had my fair share of pussy and cock today.”
I opened the front door for her and shook my head. “Jesus Christ, Sybil. My ears are bleeding.”