From previous experience I knew that things changed in a relationship once things got physical. My last relationship had ended not too long after the first time we'd had sex because he thought putting his dick in me made me his forever. He said those three little words the next morning and had become consumed with knowing where I was at all times, knowing what I was doing, what I was wearing, who I was with, when I would be home, when he could see me next, and anytime we were in the same room he was all over me. If he wasn't holding my hand, he'd have his arms around my shoulder or my waist or a hand would be on my lower back or holding onto my elbow. It had driven me crazy to have someone so up in my business and trying to strip away my independence. It hadn't been a struggle to decide to break up, any feelings I'd had for the guy before we'd slept together had been replaced by hate and I wanted to be as far away from him as possible. Everything had been over so fast that he didn't get the chance to introduce me to his parents like he had been planning and I had gone as far as installing new locks to keep him out.
I didn't expect Happy to change like that, I knew a change like that wasn't normal, but I also knew that getting physical was going to change things. When we had laid in bed after our first time I was bracing for the 'what are we now' talk, but it never came. He just got up, got dressed and said he was going to fix my car before heading out the door. There was no post-sex awkwardness and for that I was grateful. The only thing that changed was Happy began sleeping in my bed, even when we didn't have sex. Happy remained as aloof about our arrangement as he had been before, sex didn't seem to change anything between us and I was over the moon about it.
The only hitch in the road had been the night before a run, the first run since we'd started sleeping together. Happy and Kozik had been sitting at the bar the night before the club was due to set out. Hap had slipped away to go to the bathroom when Kozik had signaled for another beer. I set down the beer and went to walk away when Kozik caught my arm.
"Did Hap talk to you about run rules?" He asked and I wasn't sure how to answer. Hap had gone on runs before and Kozik hadn't brought it up before. I had thought run rules had been self-explanatory since Hap didn't bother to say anything.
"Hap's never told me about his runs." I answered hoping it was the answer that Kozik was looking for. Instead it made Kozik look irritated as he glared toward the bathroom door.
"Figures. Hap isn't the standard relationship type. This is all new to him, but that's not an excuse. Ask him about it." Kozik said seriously and I nodded. Kozik nodded back and removed his hand from my arm, though he still didn't look pleased.
"Thanks Koz." I said and he nodded before sitting back and taking a drink from his beer while I moved down the bar to serve the other customers. Questions started buzzing in my head as I worked. Koz had never come across as the nosy type and the one time I had been at the clubhouse to pick up my car no one had said a thing, just looked curiously between Hap and I before continuing on with their day. Koz sticking his neck out like that made me worry about how important this question could be.
The night seemed to drag after that despite how occupied my mind was. Kozik slipped out before closing, probably not wanting to be close by when I asked Hap about the run and Hap helped with the chairs while I locked up. He took a smoke break while I got ready for bed, I was already lying down when he came back in with Ace. I knew now wasn't the greatest timing but it was the only chance I was going to get before he left in the morning.
Hap sighed as he laid down on the other side of the bed and relaxed into the mattress. I waited a moment before rolling onto my side to face him. I hesitated as I looked over at Hap, I didn't want to bring up something that was going to ruin the image in front of me, Hap was by no means old, but somehow, he looked younger when he was here, away from the club and his brothers. I liked to think that it was because being here made him happy, that he didn't have to worry about anything else while he was here and I didn't want that to change with whatever was so important about this question.
"What?" Hap groaned and opened his eyes, staring at me questioningly. I hesitated a moment longer before sighing.
"What is the run rule?" I asked. Hap groaned and rubbed a hand down his face.
"Who told you about that?" He grumbled and I sat up now more worried about whatever this stupid rule was and what it could possibly mean.
"Doesn't matter. What's the rule?" Hap groaned and sat up, too.
"It's a club rule. What happens on a run, stays on a run. Kozik told you didn't he?" Hap scowled at the last part. I ignored it, Hap and Kozik would deal with their issues tomorrow.
"How is that different than the last couple times you've gone on a run?" I asked and Hap sighed as he reached over and flipped on the light. I winced at the sudden brightness, but refused to move my eyes away from him.
"Because we weren't fucking then." Hap grumbled and I frowned.
"And why does that matter?" I demanded, not seeing what that had to do with his club business.
"Because some club members use the rule to step out on their old ladies. Anything that happens while we're on a run gets left behind when we come back." I scowled at him.
"And you didn't want me to know you'd be sleeping with some skank while you were gone?" I demanded.
"No. I knew you wouldn't be okay with that. I had no intention of stepping out on you. I thought I was saving myself some time and you the worry. If the pussy ain't worth staying loyal to, it ain't worth the hassle of keeping it around." Hap grumbled out and flopped back into the pillow, making it obvious that he wanted this conversation to be over. Despite the crassness of his statement, I smiled.
"You always say the nicest things, Hap." I said sarcastically as I leaned over to press a kiss to his lips. He rolled his eyes as I pulled away.
"I'm willing to work through a lot, but I draw the line at two things." Hap quirked a brow and I held up one finger.
"Another chick shows up at my door to flaunt that she's been with you." I held up another finger.
"And if you give me an STD, your shit will be thrown outside and the locks will be changed before you can say 'oops'." Hap's lip twitched in amusement. He reached his arm up and pulled me into his side as he leaned over to switch the light back off.
"I won't give you an STD." Happy said solemnly and I relaxed into his side.
"Good. I'd hate to have to shoot you." I said as I laid my head on his chest. This time I could feel the laugh he was holding back.
"Will you call me? When you get wherever you're going. I just want to know you got there safe." I said softly as I closed my eyes.
"Sure." He said easily and with that my mind was finally at ease, no more swirling questions, no more fear that our shaky relationship was falling apart. Within minutes Hap drifted off and I was lulled to sleep by his soft snoring.
The next morning started bright and early as I made sure to send Hap off with something to remember while he was away and then shooing him out the door to meet up with his brothers. I didn't bother watching the clock as I kept myself busy cleaning and getting the bar ready to open, knowing it wouldn't make the time pass any quicker. Plus, not knowing where they were going made it hard to even try to estimate his time of arrival, though I didn't have to worry. Happy called just like he promised a day and a half later when the club made it to where ever they had gone. I could hear the party that was going on in the background and rolled my eyes at the fact the man hadn't thought to go outside to call, but smiled anyway knowing that whether he was outside or not, he had kept his promise.
"Made it. Already miss your pussy. See you in a few days." I could barely hear him over the loud music that was blaring behind him and by the slur to his words I knew he had already had a couple drinks making him a little harder to understand, but the sentiment was there and that meant everything to me even though the words weren't sweet, nor were they ever likely to be. I didn't get the chance to say anything back before the line went dead, but I just laughed to myself as I put the phone back on the hook.
If anything, Hap's lack of romanticism was refreshing. I didn't have to worry about if he was just being sweet to get in my pants or if he liked what we had going. If he wanted into my pants he would say so and if he didn't like our relationship then he would leave. As complicated of a man as Happy seemed from the outside, once you got closer he was completely transparent. I knew exactly what I was getting into with Happy, even without him giving me every detail. He was loyal to everything he found deserving, he was honest, leaving no doubt about what he thought about anything and smart, he studiously made sure that what happened with the club, stayed with the club, he didn't let it leech out into our relationship. I knew that loyalty brought darkness with it, I'd heard the nicknames and had an idea of what he did for the club, but that darkness seemed to reside in the kutte on his back, a kutte that he shed when he walked through my door.
I knew he would never be the type to bring me flowers or chocolate. He wouldn't shower me with affection or hold my hand in public. He wasn't going to be the standard boyfriend who made sure to do the big shows of affection to make up for the little things they never bothered to do and I was okay with that because he'd already shown that his affection was in the little things like cleaning the dishes, taking out the trash, letting me hog the blankets, taking Ace out before leaving in the morning and helping me close up at night even though he could already be in bed.
I wasn't surprised when Kozik showed up the night after they'd returned from the run with a fading bruise on his cheek and a black eye. He didn't let my concern of the bruise faze him as he leaned across the bar to give me a peck on the cheek, earning a glare from Hap as he downed his shot. Kozik shot me a cocky grin and I rolled my eyes, but smiled as I set a beer in front of him.
"He stayed loyal." Kozik declared, not caring that his comment earned him another death glare and would probably gain him a bruised rib.
"I know. I knew I didn't have to worry about that." I stated and smiled at Hap before walking down the bar and ignoring the movement out of the corner of my eye as Happy gave Kozik a quick jab to the ribs.