His name was Bug. I assumed it was because he was nuttier than a bed bug until he saved me when I was attacked. For reasons known only to him, Bug thought it was his duty to keep me safe. I was the sergeant-at-arms of the Soldiers of Fortune MC. I didn't need saving, but I couldn't bring myself to tell him so, especially not after I discovered he was my mate.
His name was Bear. It fit. He was tall and scary and built like a bear. He was also my savior, even if he didn't know it. When I saw someone attack him in an alley one night, I knew I had to save him. When everyone brushed off my concern for his safety, I knew I was the only one who could save him. But, when he started talking about mates and bear shifters, I had to wonder if he was even crazier than I was.
When troubles comes for the Soldiers of Fortune MC, convincing Bear and his club brothers to listen to the whispers I hear from the shadows might be harder than accepting the fact that shifters are real and I'm mated to one of them.
"Roses red, violets blue, sugar sweet and so is you, but roses wilting, violets dead, sugar lumpy, and so is you head. So is you head. You head. You head. Lumpy you head."
I cracked an eye open and looked up at the man softly singing as he stroked his fingers through my hair. I wasn't exactly sure what was going on. The world around me was a bit fuzzy, all except the man hovering over the top of me.
Pale skin, a thin face with high cheekbones, hollow, sunken eyes, and a wicked looking scar that went from his cheekbone back into his hairline. Long, stringy hair that might have been blond if it hadn't been so matted and dirty. But it was the pale moss green eyes that held my attention the most. There was a world of pain and anguish in those little green orbs.
I frowned when a flower was placed on my cheek. When I went to reach for it, the grungy little man gasped then scurried back several feet. He stayed crouched on the floor, hunkering down as if trying to make himself as small as possible and covering his head with his arms.
"Lumpy, lumpy, lumpy," the man whispered, but maybe he was more of a boy.
I couldn't quite tell.
I started to sit up then groaned when shards of pain sliced through my skull. When I reached up and felt the nice sized egg on the back of my head, I suddenly understood what the man had meant by lumpy.
No wonder my head ached so damn much.
I sank back down onto the cold concrete and closed my eyes. I breathed in through my nose then out through my mouth, trying to calm myself enough to get through the pain slamming into me.
I opened my eyes again when I heard a scraping noise. The man moved closer, once again placing flowers on my face and down my neck, then over my chest as if the last thirty seconds had never happened.
He started chanting that stupid rhythm again.
"What is your name?" I asked.
The man froze. He didn't even blink. He might not have even been breathing.
"What is your name?" I asked again, in the softest tone I knew how to make, which wasn't easy. I didn't exactly have a soft tone, but I didn't want to scare him.
"Bug. I'm Bug. I scurry around and hide in dark, so yeah, I'm Bug. Not bad Bug. Not cockroach Bug. Good Bug." He held up a handful of flower petals. "Maybe ladybug, but not lady. No, no, not lady. Boy Bug. Boy Bug. So, I'm Bug."
"Bear." Bug nodded and started with the flowers again. "Bear. Bear. Big, bad Bear. Teddy Bear." Bug patted my chest just open the collar of my shirt. "Furry Bear."
Okay, apparently he knew who I was.
"Where are we, Bug?" It was dark and all I could see were shadows cast by a sliver of light coming in through a crack in the wall.
"Hole. Hidey hole. Small little hidey hole." Bug's brow flickered. "No bad guys here. No. No. Safe here. Bug keep Bear safe." Bug shot up and hurried over to the corner. I watched as he dug into a pile of stuff stacked on the floor. It looked like garbage, but what did I know.
When he came back, he set a gun down on my chest then held his closed fist out. When I opened my hand, he dropped a handful of bullets into my palm. "Safe. Yes, Bug keep you safe. No more wilting flowers. No more lumpy."
I moved slowly when I sat up, trying not to scare Bug, but he still scurried out of arm's reach. I checked over the pistol. It wasn't mine. I had no idea who it belonged to.
"Is this your gun, Bug?" For some odd reason, it didn't sit well with me thinking that Bug needed a gun to protect himself.
"No, no." My eyebrows shot up when Bug laughed. "Bug no like guns. Guns hurt. Guns loud. Guns make people go away. Guns bad."
All of that was true.
"Where did you get the gun, Bug?"
"Mmm," Bug hummed to himself as he tapped the side of his head with his fist. "Bad man, bad, bad, bad man. Hurt Lumpy. Hit Lumpy. Make Lumpy bleed. But Bug got him, yes he did. Bug make bad man go away. Bug keep Lumpy safe."
"Someone hurt me?"
"Mmm," Bug hummed as he nodded.
"And you...made him go away?"
Bug nodded again as he patted his own chest as if proud of himself. "Bug protect Lumpy."
I wasn't thrilled with being called Lumpy, but it seemed like I had something to thank Bug for, so I let it slide. For now. "Where is this bad man, Bug?"
"Alley by bike. Yes, he is. Left him in alley by bike. Bike, bike, big shiny Lumpy bike."
"My bike?" I growled.
The last thing I remember was parking my bike in front of a warehouse where I was supposed to be meeting a contact. I had turned off the engine and climbed off my bike, then nothing but darkness until I woke up with Bug putting flowers on my face.
"Is my bike still in front of the warehouse?" I asked, hoping Bug knew about the warehouse. I'd be pissed if something happened to my bike. I'd spent four years customizing that damn thing.
"No, no, no." Bug chewed on his thumbnail for a moment. His eyes moved to mine then darted away. "Moved big shiny bike. Hide big shiny bike. Bug protect Lumpy. Bike belong to Lumpy. Bug protect bike."
I just had no idea what to say to that other than, "Thank you, Bug."
The corner of Bug's mouth twitched before lifting just a bit at the corners. "Welcome, welcome, welcome," he sang softly as he tucked a flower into the pocket of my shirt. "Lumpy welcome."
Still wasn't thrilled being called Lumpy.
"I need to get my bike, Bug. Can you take me to it?" I felt as if I was dealing with a small child. Bug was sketchy and jumpy. He chewed on his fingernails a lot. They were practically nubs. "I really need my bike, Bug."
I also needed to check in with Butch. I don't know what happened, but if someone jumped me, I wanted to find the bastard and teach him the error of his ways. Filling my MC President in on who I was going to rip apart before I did it was always a good idea.
I patted my vest down, looking for my phone. I was not happy when I didn't find it. "Bug, did you take my phone."
Bug frowned. "Ring, ring, ring. Not good for Lumpy. Too much noise. Lumpy hurt. Need rest. No noise."
"I need my phone, Bug. I have to call my...uh...boss."
Bug huffed before turning to the pile in the corner. He rooted around for a moment before coming back with my cell phone. "Call boss man," he snapped as he slapped the phone down in my hand. "He not protect Lumpy. He...he...he bad."
I sighed. "He's not bad, Bug. I promise." Well, he was kind of bad. He wasn't exactly a law abiding citizen, thank god, but I trusted him with my life. I needed Bug to trust him, too. "He didn't know I was going to get hurt."
"Jumped. Lumpy get jumped. Bad man with pipe hurt Lumpy. Was waiting behind dumpster for Lumpy." Bug's green eyes grew a little wild. "Bad man wait and wait and wait. Smoke a lot and wait more. Make phone call when Lumpy come then hurt Lumpy."
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