Thankfully the next two weeks went relatively smoothly. Iris didn't nag like she had the first day home and that partly had to do with the bikers that frequently dropped by. The other part was that I'd put the help wanted sign in the window, though I had yet to have someone ask for the job. My second day home I had been surprised, but again unsurprised when a kid who looked to be still be in his teens showed up with a kutte saying that Happy had sent him. I had every intention of sending him away till I noticed the only patch on the front of his kutte, 'Prospect'. If I sent the kid back to the club, they'd probably rip him a new one. So I put him to work and he came back night after night.
Happy never said a thing and neither did Kozik when he joined Happy. Iris would shoot me knowing looks and I would ignore her. Even as annoying as she had been while she was around, it was hard to say goodbye when she had to go back to work. I knew I was going to miss her and I was going to miss seeing the boys during the weekend. I made a promise that we'd have a cool weekend together when I was healed and Jack was so excited. Ben liked acting tough and liked to think that things didn't effect him anymore since he had turned thirteen, but I knew he was excited about it too.
The police presence had been pulled before I'd gotten home from the hospital, but three days after getting home I had received a phone call from Detective Olsen letting me know that they had a man in custody and wanted me to come down to the precinct. Iris had driven me down and Detective Olsen had led me to a room with a window letting you see into another room. They had six men walk into the room and stand against the far wall. They all looked vaguely the same with similar shaggy blonde hair and thin builds, dressed in oversized t-shirts and black sneakers. Even with them all looking alike and dressed the same, I knew the guy was him, the way he twitched and walked, I knew they'd gotten him. Detective Olsen had assured me that the man wasn't going anywhere till the day of his trail and that everything was going to be fine. Unfortunately they assumed the man had managed to pawn the items he'd taken from my apartment before they got to him because they had been unable to recover any of it.
Even knowing all of that, this was the first time I was home alone again and I felt uneasy as I headed to bed. I'd had every intention of staying awake till the sun came up, but then I'd heard a bike on the street and looked out the window. The bike passed under the street light and I recognized the familiar insignia on the bike's tank. I was willing to lay money on who the rider was as they pulled in and parked in the corner of the lot. The rider didn't dismount, but I could see the flick of the lighter as he lit a cigarette. The feeling of unease dissipated and I smiled to myself as laid back down in bed. Knowing that someone was there was enough to let me sleep.
The next day Happy didn't come to the bar, but he was outside again that night. It was another couple days before he walked into the bar, though he was outside every night. Happy came in alone, taking his usual seat as I poured his whiskey like always. He gave me a nod and knocked it back, I refilled it and left the bottle on the counter. It was an unusually slow night and the bar emptied out early. The prospect shut down for me and I sent him on his way. He looked to Happy who nodded and then headed out.
"You know you don't have to sit outside." I said as I wiped down the bar. Happy didn't say anything.
"The least you can do is come inside. I've got an extra bedroom and I hate to think about you out in the rain." Happy still didn't say anything and I smiled. He stood up, leaving his money on the bar. He gave me a nod and turned to walk out.
"I'll leave the apartment door unlocked." Happy paused. He stood there for a second before pushing the door open and walking out. I smiled to myself as the door banged shut.
"He isn't the only one who's stubborn." I mused to myself. His bike roared to life as I counted out the money from the register. Hobbling down the hall, I stopped first at the office and put away the money in the safe. Ace was waiting at the foot of the stairs when I came out of the office. I locked the door behind me and shut off the lights to the bar. I let Ace up the stairs first and then followed slowly but surely behind him.
Once in the apartment I locked the door and walked across the kitchen to the other apartment door. This one lead out to a little balcony porch with stairs leading down to the side alley that served as my driveway and where my car was parked. I flipped the lock on the door and moved over to the couch and sat down, Ace jumped up and laid his head in my lap. I was curious as to how long it would take Happy to show back up. I wasn't sure whether he would actually come up into the apartment, but I knew he would show up. I reclined back on the couch and opened up the book that I had started while I was in the hospital.
The waiting was over an hour later when I heard a bike roar up the street. I was almost asleep on the couch, the book I had been reading laying on my chest, having fallen out of my hands when I could no longer focus on keeping it up. I sat up as the door knob jiggled before Happy let himself in. Ace got up with a growl and hopped off the couch.
"No, Ace." I smirked as Ace sniffed and then laid back down on the floor in front of the couch and I picked my book back up.
"There's beer in the fridge." I said without looking up from the page I was reading and heard a grunt. I heard the fridge open and close and then the hiss of the cap coming off the bottle. He walked into the room and sat down in the arm chair. Ace got up and sniffed Happy over before laying his head in Happy's lap, Happy sighed like he was annoyed but started petting his head anyway.
"Remote's on the coffee table." The room stayed quiet for a couple minutes before Happy flipped on the TV. We sat like that for a while till my eyes started getting heavy again. I marked my page in the book before pulling myself off the couch. Happy looked away from the TV as I steadied myself against the end table.
"The bathroom's the open door down the hall and the guest room's the second door down on the left. There's clean sheets on the bed." Happy nodded but remained silent.
"Good night." I said and turned to walk into my room.
"Night." He said back and I smiled to myself as I left him.
When I woke in the morning Happy was gone. I wasn't surprised to find him gone, but I was surprised to find that he'd left the apartment as if he was never there. The beer he'd had last night was in the recycling, the cap in the trash, I knew he'd slept in the guest room because the sheets were wrinkled, but the bed had been remade. I'd never met a man that made such an effort to leave a place exactly the way he'd found it.
I shook my head and set about my morning. Iris had made sure to get enough groceries to last me at least a week and enough coffee to last me at least a month. Therefore I didn't have to go to the store like I usually would on my typical Monday. Monday and Tuesday were the only days that the bar was closed and that's when I got everything else that needed to be done completed for the week. With that off my plate the only things that needed done today were meeting the delivery truck at 11 and to be back upstairs by 12:30 when the at home physical therapist came by.
The truck came on time as always. Usually I helped Mark unload, but that was made a lot harder with the crutch, thankfully Mark understood. The prospect would be in Wednesday afternoon and could put the crates away like I usually would so I just had Mark bring the crates just inside the door and stack them against the wall.
"Thanks, Mark. I'll ask my help if they can come in next week to help you." I said and Mark shook his head.
"Don't worry about it, Jade. You and your uncle are the only bar owners that have ever worried about helping unload. You sure you want them left against the wall? I can take them back to the store rooms for you?" Mark offered and I shook my head.
"Nah, it's alright. Things will get back to normal soon enough." I said with a sigh and tried to shift into a more comfortable position on my crutch.
"Well, I'm just glad that it was your leg and not something a little more important." Mark said with a smile and I returned it.
"Yeah, me too." Mark laid a hand on my arm and gave me a nod before heading out to his truck to finish his deliveries.
I locked the door and made my way back upstairs. They weren't as hard to tackle as they were two weeks ago, but it was still slow going, just with less breaks. Ace whined from the other side of the door as I got to the top, he hated that I never let him out when Mark came with the delivery. Too much risk of Ace getting hurt with the heavy crates blocking our view and pushing carts that could catch his paws, or risk him tripping up one of us because we couldn't see him and that was worse now that he only had three legs. Only having three meant he wasn't as fast as before and he was more likely to get hurt.
I moved Ace back and closed the door behind me. We snuggled up on the couch till Diana, my therapist, showed up. She was a hard ass and I think that's what I needed or I wouldn't have gotten this far, this fast. She didn't let me stop when the pain flared or I got tired, she pushed for me to do more so that I could get better faster. When she was all done putting me through the gauntlet for the day she smiled and helped me lay down on the couch before getting some ice and wrapping me up.
"You did good today, hun. You'll be healed before you know it." She said and I groaned.
"I hope so." She laughed as she packed up her things.
"I'll see you Wednesday." Diana said and rubbed Ace's head before heading out. I popped one of my pain pills and relaxed into the couch. Before long I was asleep and only woke up when I heard the bang of the door. I jumped and Ace barked and growled till we saw that it was just Happy. I relaxed back into the couch.
"You shouldn't leave your door unlocked." Happy grumbled as he took a seat in the arm chair. I looked over to the clock hanging on the wall and was surprised to see how long I'd slept. If the bar had been open I'm sure he would have been just walking in.
"Fell asleep after my physical therapist left, never got up to lock the door. You just woke me up." I said groggily with a chuckle.
"Didn't mean to." Happy said and I waved him off. I hoisted myself off the couch and grabbed my crutch to head into the kitchen. I pulled out some menus and sorted through the ones that would deliver.
"Mexican or Chinese?" I called.
"I'm good." He replied and I laughed.
"That's what Tony used to tell Iris and I. Then he'd eat half of whatever we ordered." I said and moved back into the living room, menus in hand.
"Here, pick something. Worse case scenario, we put it in the fridge and it gets eaten later." I handed Happy the menus, he rolled his eyes but took the menus anyway. I moved back over to the couch and flipped on the TV. After a couple minutes Happy flipped the Chinese menu to me.
"Tell 'em Happy Lowman's regular." He said and I raised an eyebrow, but nodded and flipped through the menu before picking up the phone and calling it in. The poor kid on the other end sounded startled when I ordered for Happy and verified what I'd said. Kid was a stuttering mess after that and promised prompt fifteen minute delivery before hanging up. I looked strangely at the phone before my eyes flickered to Happy who was leaned back in my arm chair and watching some program on the television completely ignoring the phone call. I just shook my head and set the phone down on the end table.
When the door bell rang I tried to get up, but Happy sent me a glare as he got up.
"Stay." He said gruffly and headed for the door. I sighed and relaxed back into the couch.
"There's money on the top of my purse." I said and pointed to my purse that was hanging over the back of the kitchen chair, but Happy rolled his eyes and walked straight to the door as he pulled out his wallet. Throwing open the door, the poor delivery boy looked scared as he looked at Happy with wide eyes. Happy took the bags from the kid, tossed him the money and slammed the door in his face without a word.
I fought my laughter as a giggle threatened to give away my amusement. I felt bad for laughing at the expense of the poor teenage delivery boy who had surely almost pissed himself when faced with Happy's glare. I heard the click of the lock before he headed back through the apartment toward me. He set down the bag on the end table, rummaging through the contents and pulling out whatever consisted of the 'Happy Lowman regular' before handing over the bag.
I pulled out my dinner while Happy settled back into the chair. We ate in silence while some car restoration showed played on the TV. It was strange spending the evening with someone other than Iris or Uncle Al, but at the same time it was nice. I'd gotten used to spending my evenings alone and having company was enjoyable even if Happy wasn't the warmest guest to have around.
I had known for a while that Happy wasn't much for words, but somehow the silence wasn't awkward and there wasn't a need to fill the silence with chatter. Glancing at Happy, I noticed he wasn't wearing his kutte. The observation was surprising and made me smile, I figured that Happy would have seen the obvious loop hole in my rule. I had only put that stipulation on him or the guys coming into the bar while not acting on behalf of the club, but knowing he respected me enough not to wear it into my home made me like him a little bit more.
"Happy." I said to pull his attention from the TV. My only reply was a low grunt as his eyes flickered away from the TV to me briefly.
"You didn't have to leave your kutte. I only meant for the kutte ban to be a rule when you're sitting at the bar." He shifted slightly, a brow raised in question before giving a short nod and looking back to the TV. I hadn't expected much of a reply, but I had figured there would be some sort of a comment. When none came I finished my dinner and threw the trash back into the bag it had come out of and set it back on the end table as I grabbed for my crutch. I managed to get to my feet and carried the bag of trash into the kitchen to throw it out before heading down the hall to the bathroom.
When I came back out Happy was nursing a beer and still watching the same TV program. The physical therapy earlier in the day had taken a lot out of me and my leg was protesting as I made my way back into the living room. I hobbled back over to the couch and grabbed up the bottle of pain meds and took one dry so I would hopefully get a couple hours of peaceful sleep.
"Good night." I said and Happy grunted with a nod, his eyes leaving the screen for a split second before returning to it. I shook my head and headed to my bedroom.