Racers Ch. 07byMygypsy©
Cheandra was in no mood to talk or even listen to the others talk about the ride the team had to do the following day. Ryker's decision to take on a job at such short notice was out of character and made Cheandra feel uneasy about the following day. She glanced at the small watch she wore and saw that it was nearly time for Shari to arrive. Wanting to have the room ready for her to move into Cheandra headed back towards the kitchen where the others were talking.
"I need that bed moved now." Cheandra said firmly.
"Can't it wait?" Ryker demanded in irritation.
"I need it done now!" Cheandra snapped angrily.
"It can wait. Now sit down so we can discuss the ride for tomorrow." Ryker ordered.
Cheandra glanced towards Mace hoping he would catch on that it was important she get the bed put in the room. Seeing no help from that quarter she sighed and turned towards Ryker trying to keep her temper under control.
"If the bed gets done now I will sit down and talk about the ride you have on tomorrow without any arguments." Cheandra said tightly.
Ryker lifted his head to study her closely, he realised the bed issue was an important one for her.
"No arguments? You'll do as I say?" Ryker demanded.
Cheandra gave a curt nod of agreement. The look of annoyance on her face turned to anger when there was a loud knocking at the front door.
Mace got to his feet and went to answer the door.
"Hey Tristis! Someone here for you!" Mace called happily.
Cheandra watched as Shari preceded Mace into the room, she carried a small bag and Mace carried a larger one.
"Welcome to your new home." Cheandra said. "The men were just about to put a bed in your room for you."
Shari looked at Cheandra confused. "I thought I would be moving in with Tristis."
"You get your own room, your own space. You are thinking of becoming a rider aren't you?" Cheandra asked.
Shari looked at Tristis shocked.
"I...I..." Shari was unsure of what to say.
"Come with me. Tristis can go pick out a nice bed for you." Cheandra said as she took the younger girl by the arm and guided her towards the bedrooms.
"Life as part of a team is different to what you're used to. But don't worry; I'll explain it to you. Firstly, you have your own room. Your own space. No one can enter without your permission. It is entirely up to you where you sleep and with whom. But it is your choice if you want to have sex with one or more of the men. In the house what us women say goes, we are in charge. Outside of the house Ryker is the boss. Any and all of our team will protect you and I from other male riders. We can socialize with whom ever we choose but mostly relationships are kept within teams." Cheandra said as she stopped inside of the large bedroom beside her own.
Shari looked around the large room taking in the large amount of hanging space for clothing and a rather comfortable looking large chair.
"This will be your room. I have the room we passed with the closed door. In this house my room is the only room you may not enter. Although it does go down better with the others if you ask before you go in their rooms. Now there is one thing I will warn you about, Ryker will probably try to get you to let him have sex with you. You don't have to if you don't want to but be aware he will probably try to seduce you. He's team leader so he is Alpha." Cheandra said evenly. "You will be expected to help me run the house but I don't expect you to stop working in the bakery just maybe cut down on the time you're there."
Shari nodded, too overwhelmed to speak.
Shortly there was a knock on the wall beside the door and both women turned around to face the door.
"We've got the bed." Mace said from the doorway.
Shari stepped aside and Cheandra glanced her way.
"They are waiting for you to tell them to bring it in." Cheandra said softly.
"Oh! Bring it in here please." Shari rushed to say.
Cheandra watched as Mace, Tristis and Ryker carried in pieces of the bed and began setting it up. She noticed that Ryker looked over Shari pretty thoroughly before setting about helping the others.
"Come give me a hand checking on the food I'm cooking." Cheandra said and headed for the kitchen.
In the kitchen Cheandra checked on the food in the oven and added two trays of dough that she had set aside to rise. She glanced over her shoulder at Shari as she shut the oven door.
"We like fresh hot bread with most of our meals. The men eat plenty of meat, I suppose that is one thing your not used to having a lot of." Cheandra commented.
"We managed to have meat every second day. Sometimes there was even enough left for the next day as well." Shari said proudly.
Meat was mostly in short supply and only those who could afford to pay high prices for it got to have meat regularly.
"Are you and Tristis going to be mated?" Cheandra asked.
"Doesn't it mean we are mated with me moving in?" Shari asked startled.
"No, it means that I have accepted another woman in my house, with my team. Riders are mated if they are trying to have a child. Some riders sleep only with one partner and claim they are a couple." Cheandra explained.
"Oh, I .. um.. " Shari was lost for words for several moments before she lifted her head to glance at Cheandra. "Can I ask what you think I should do?"
Cheandra was silent for several moments as she looked at Shari. She was very close with Tristis and wanted for him to be happy.
"We got the bed set up." Ryker said as he walked into the room. He walked over to Shari and moved around her; he looked her over with a roguish grin.
Cheandra bit back the urge to tell Ryker to leave Shari alone, she realised with a start that she was jealous of the attention he was paying her.
"I'll show you where I keep the sheets and bedclothes. You can fix your room up a bit before we eat." Cheandra said as she headed for the hallway near the bedrooms the men used.
"You're welcome to share my bed if you don't want to make your bed tonight." Ryker said in a coaxing tone.
Cheandra clenched her teeth so she didn't say anything as she heard Shari making shocked little noises. Cheandra knew him well enough to know that he had probably patted her on the rear as she walked past him.
Suddenly Shari let out a startled squeal and brushed past Cheandra.
Cheandra spun around to face Ryker; he had a wide grin on his face as he glanced towards Tristis who was glowering at him darkly.
"Come on Chea, show Shari where the stuff is so she can escape to her room." Mace said from behind Ryker.
"How many times do I have to tell you to use my full name?" Cheandra demanded angrily as she turned and hurried to the storeroom door. Behind her she could hear Ryker chuckling and knew he would use the shortened version of her name that she hated.
"How long before we eat.. Chea?" Ryker asked.
Cheandra ignored him as she sorted through folded sheets to find some to fit the bed that had been moved into Shari's room. She passed the sheets to Shari then selected several warm blankets.
"Come on, I'll help you make the bed." Cheandra said, as she turned away from the shelves of folded bedding.
"Don't be like that." Ryker scolded as Cheandra refused to rise to his taunt. He laughed softly as he watched the two women retreat to the bedroom that Shari would be using as hers.
* * * * *
The meal had been tense with Ryker alternating between making advances to Shari and stirring Cheandra by using the shortened version of her name that he knew she detested.
Cheandra was washing the dirty dishes while Shari dried them and Mace helped by showing Shari where everything went when put away.
Ryker had the map laid out on the kitchen table and everyone else was gathered around as Ryker went over the route.
Zack was careful to keep the table between himself and Cheandra as her temper became more and more in evidence thanks to Ryker's actions. At present he was standing where he had quick access to the doorway into the lounge room incase Cheandra decided to take her irritation out on him.
Cheandra finished the cleaning up and washed her hands before pouring herself a mug of coffee, she took the drink and walked over to the table. She caught movement out of the corner of her eye and looked up to see Zack watching her apprehensively. Anger that he had the job of Racer the following day warred with anger that Ryker's dislike of her was indirectly affecting Zack.
Tristis caught the look Cheandra flashed Zack and then Ryker and moved around the table to where Shari was finishing the work she had been doing. He slipped his arms around her waist from behind and she started nervously as she glanced over her shoulder to see who it was.
"Oh Tris! You gave me a start!" Shari exclaimed with a nervous glance towards Ryker who had stopped what he was doing to watch them.
"Unless I miss my guess he wants to give her something and it sure aint a start!" Ryker said with a grin at the other men.
A faint sound of annoyance came from Tristis and Ryker looked over at him several seconds before indicating the map on the table.
"Okay, let's all concentrate on the job tomorrow ... here's the route we shall be riding..." Ryker began outlining the ride for the following day.
Cheandra frowned as she realised that they would be riding on one of the most dangerous routes that left plenty of chances for an ambush to take the package that would contain the item they were delivering. She glanced at Tristis and Burtie who would have the job of protecting Zack during his ride but neither of them seemed concerned.
"It seems straight forward." Burtie remarked.
"That route is full of places perfect for trouble! Either pick a safer route or let me ride Racer!" Cheandra snapped.
"Zack is riding tomorrow and that is final." Ryker said in an ominous tone as he glared at Cheandra.
"Zack doesn't have the skill to ride that route with someone hot on his back wheel!" Cheandra declared hotly.
"No one will be expecting us to take that route when it is seen Zack is riding instead of you and that is where we will have the edge." Ryker said calmly.
"I'll ride tomorrow!" Cheandra stormed.
"No you will not! I will not have you riding injured and I will not have you riding when I can't be sure of your loyalties!" Ryker said angrily.
Cheandra stared at him in silent outrage; there was not a sound from any of the other riders as Cheandra and Ryker glared at each other.
"My loyalties have always been with my team!" Cheandra said hotly.
"You expect me to believe you have no loyalties to who ever fucked you the other night?" Ryker demanded angrily.
Cheandra sneered coldly at him as he regarded her with distrust.
"In all the time we have been in the same team you have never once ensured I had reason to keep my loyalties with this team! In fact in the last year you have done all you can to drive me from this team! You don't want me in your bed but you sure as hell don't like the idea someone else might!" Cheandra snapped with cold disdain before walking from the room.
Ryker walked to the doorway and looked for her but she was already heading out the door with her helmet. He turned back towards the others and glanced around the table at their faces.
"I never tried to bed her out of respect for you Mace." Ryker said to the older man. Ryker glanced at Tristis who had his arm around Shari who was visibly upset by the argument that had just taken place.
"And that is why you don't go bedding riders from other teams." Mace said dryly. "Or everyone starts doubting your loyalty."
Ryker looked at Mace with a hard expression. "Are you saying I'm out of line?" Ryker asked angrily.
"No, just telling it like it is. I don't want to see the team fall apart." Mace said evenly as he waited for Ryker to realise that the comment had insinuated that Cheandra was involved with another rider.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~
Cheandra rode her bike through the buildings that made up the town then headed for the open road. The bike's headlight picked out the road as she sped along, long familiarity enabling her to travel down the road at top speed.
Finally the whine of the engine as the bike climbed a steep hill in top gear broke through Cheandra's anger and she changed down gears until the bike slowed and she stopped on the crest of the hill.
A cold breeze blew against her face as she took her helmet off and ran her fingers through her short hair before looking back the way she had came. She watched as a formation of bike lights moved along one of the roads below and knew that some team was making a delivery. The knowledge set her thinking about her own team and she put her helmet on with a sigh. Trouble or not she knew she had to return to the compound to be there to cook breakfast for the team in the morning.
Deciding to cut across country instead of stick to the road Cheandra switched her bike to hover mode and started down the side of the hill. The powerful bike sped down the incline onto the flat valley below and Cheandra could not resist the urge to race across the flat ground at high speed. She almost didn't see the narrow gully in time but her fast reflexes showed why she was the top Racer as she spun to the side before turning and jumping the bike over the gully where the ground was the smoothest. A fence proved no obstacle as she spun the powerful bike in a tight circle before bringing it to a near stop. The front wheel rose up the post and suddenly the bike was airborne as she gunned the powerful engine. The landing was bumpy but Cheandra was laughing as she eased the bike onto the road once more.
The lights were on in the main rooms as Cheandra pulled her bike to a halt in front of the house and shut off the engine. Almost reluctantly she began to walk inside, pulling her riding gloves off as she went.
The warm air inside the house was a welcome change to the cold air outside as she stepped inside the door. In the lounge room Burtie and Mace were talking quietly as she walked in and both glanced over at her before resuming their conversation. Cheandra walked over to her favourite chair and sat down, she took her time removing her boots as she listened to the men talking.
"Where are the others?" Cheandra finally asked.
"Tris and Shari are in his room. Zack and Ryker have gone to bed. About time we headed there too." Mace said.
"His Lordship still in a bad mood?" Cheandra asked.
"He is going to make you pay for your insolence you know." Mace told her.
Cheandra gave a faint sound of disgust before getting to her feet. "Well I'm going to bed. Turn off the lights when you turn in."
Cheandra walked to her room and shut the door behind her; she hesitated for a moment then grabbed clean clothes and headed for the shower. She cursed when she found there was no hot water left and hurried to wash under the icy cold stream of water. She dried herself briskly before pulling her clean clothes on and heading for her room once again.
In his room Ryker listened as Cheandra moved around the house, he smiled to himself when he heard her swear knowing she had just found the water cold. He rolled onto his side and listened as her footsteps travelled lightly past his doorway on her way to her room. His body hardened uncomfortably as he imagined her slipping beneath her covers, her body naked and still damp from the shower. With a groan of unfulfilled desire he rolled over and tried to find a comfortable position to fall asleep. The image of Cheandra damp and naked in her bed refused to leave him alone as he tried to go to sleep.
The smell of fresh brewed coffee woke Ryker and he climbed out of bed as he became aware of noises from the kitchen. He pulled his riding clothes on and headed for the kitchen ready to do battle with Cheandra over who was riding as Racer today. In the kitchen he found both Cheandra and Shari cooking plenty of food while Tristis and Burtie sat at the table drinking coffee.
"I hope your cooking flapjacks." Ryker said as he helped himself to a cup of hot coffee.
"Flapjacks, steak, eggs and hash. Please yourself what you eat." Cheandra said dryly.
"Last lot of flapjacks you served up were little better than charcoal!" Ryker told her.
Cheandra turned around to face him angrily, she was just about to lash out at him verbally when Zack came into view in the doorway and halted when he saw her anger.
"Come in, have some coffee and a feed. Then I am going to check your armour myself and make sure your outfitted properly! I will not have it said I let one of my team go out not wearing the right gear." Cheandra said tightly and turned back to the food she was cooking.
Zack walked into the kitchen hesitantly, he didn't want to get caught in the crossfire if Ryker and Cheandra started arguing again this morning.
Cheandra paused to pour Zack a cup of coffee and fix it with sugar the way he liked it before placing it in front of his usual chair. "What do you want to eat?" She asked with a quick glance his way.
"Whatever you got cooked." Zack said quietly as he moved to his seat and reached for his coffee.
Cheandra grabbed a plate and filled it with his preferred steak and eggs before placing it on the table in front of his chair. She turned back to the stove and began dishing up plates of food as the men moved forward to take their food.
When Mace came into the room he was immediately aware of the tension in the room but was glad to see that both Ryker and Cheandra seemed to be avoiding an argument. He saw the tight smile Cheandra sent his way and grinned in return, he also saw the quick glance she gave Zack.
"We need to finish eating and get underway." Ryker announced as he helped himself to a second serving of food.
"I don't think I can eat anymore." Zack said pushing his half eaten food away.
"Go get your riding armour on so I can make sure it's fastened properly." Cheandra ordered as she dished food up for herself.
Ryker was silent as he watched Cheandra eating when Zack left the room. He was ready to intervene if Cheandra started harassing Zack.
Mace felt the tension in the room escalate when Zack returned in his full protective armour over his riding gear. Mace glanced at Ryker as he got to his feet and moved closer to where Cheandra had approached Zack. They all knew that Cheandra had the right as Racer for the team to step in and forbid Zack to ride in her place.
Cheandra carefully checked each buckle that held the protective padding in place on Zack's body. She tested the tightness of each item and moved his arms to ensure he had full-unimpeded movement. She took a step back and lifted her head as she glanced beyond Zack. Ryker was watching her closely while all the others stood back uncertainly.
"As you said, Comps are only a week or two away." She said to Ryker before turning away.
"Make sure you have a good feed ready when we get back this afternoon." Ryker ordered.
"You've got to be jesting! I will be out all day checking to see which teams are looking for a new Racer or who is aiming to form a new team." Cheandra said declaring her intentions to leave the team.
"Will you be looking to leave as well?" Ryker asked Mace with a frown.
"I haven't been planning to." Mace said levelly.
Ryker glanced between Mace and Cheandra, he wanted to stay and see how serious Cheandra was about leaving the team but there was the pressing need to do the delivery run.
"Come on everyone! We got a job to do. Every one knows their piece so lets get to it." Ryker commanded with one last angry glance at Cheandra before leading the way from the house.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~
Cheandra and Shari cleaned up the kitchen before Cheandra gave Shari a lift to the bakery where she worked. She dropped the younger girl off without a word before heading off on her bike.
Deciding to keep her options open she rode past several bars frequented by different teams and pulled into the parking lot of one when she saw the familiar bikes of Skeeter Squad. She got off her bike and took her time removing her helmet and gloves as she studied the bikes in front of her. Finally with her helmet and gloves tucked under her arm Cheandra headed inside the already busy bar.