Chapter 15 – Oh Brother, Where Art Though
I do not own SOA. I claim all original characters and give no one permission to use them.
“Jackson…” Riona called as she shook him awake.
“You’re burnin’ up.”
Jax had been groaning out off and on in his sleep. The president cleared his throat and gathered his bearings. Riona had her hand along his forehead.
“Ya gotta get that down love.”
Jax covered his mouth as he started coughing.
“I’m alright.” He said and went to lie back down.
“Ya most certainly aren’t! You’ll give yourself pneumonia if you go and ignore this!” Riona scolded, and Jax chuckled.
He pulled her into the bed with him and wrapped his arm around her.
“Jackson…” She reprimanded but with laughter as he had his face buried in her cleavage.
“Hmm,” he hummed but turned his head as he coughed again.
“You need to take somethin’.”
Jax wasn’t the only one feeling under the weather. Kip was on his way to the men’s room when he upchucked.
“Kip?!” Aislinn called and was looking over from her bed.
The prospect went to say something, only to end up vomiting again. Aislinn jumped out of the bed, and Abel pointed towards the mess on the ground.
“Oh nooo, Kip no feel good.”
Aislinn covered her mouth with her shirt and was trying not to gag. The young woman helped Kip to his feet and escorted him into the bathroom. He too was hot to the touch. Abel climbed on down but heard his daddy coughing. Riona was running a wet cloth along his father’s face and neck.
“Daddy sick too?”
“Fraid so lad,” Riona replied.
Abel stepped around the vomit and made his way to Chibs’s bed.
“Uncle Chibs no there!” Abel said with his hands in the air.
The boy grabbed Chibs’s medical bag and dragged it towards his father’s bed.
“Here Riona… Uncle Chibs put everything in here!”
“Thank you, Abel!”
“We take good care of daddy, right?”
“You know it!”
“And Kip too because we’s all friends.”
“Very true,” Riona said as she picked up Chibs’s medical bag and dug through it.
She grabbed a bottle of Tylenol and some Motrin to go with that. Riona stuffed a couple of pills into Jax’s mouth and had him swallow them down with a bottled water he had propped up against the wall of his bed. The young woman shook her head as Jax was out, within the matter of seconds. She poured some of the water from the bottle onto the cloth she was using and went back to cooling him down.
“Daddy do that too when I sick,” Abel said as he crawled into the bed with his father.
“Then he make me soup and say drink all your water!” Abel said while mimicking his father and Riona laughed.
“Sounds like he takes very good care of you.”
“Yeah, cause I no has a mommy and daddy has to take care of me all by himself. Well, sometimes grandma help but not always. Daddy says we no need her, but grandma says we do. Daddy say she no listen and wishes she would.”
Riona gave a simple nod as she wasn’t sure what to say to that. She thought back to Clay however and recoiled. How was Jax going to handle that news when he got back to Charming? He just killed his mother’s husband. Then again, Riona’s main concern was that of Abel. She wondered how he would take the news of his grandfather “missing.”
“Easy lad…” Aislinn said as Kip was hovered over the toilet and puking his guts out.
Aislinn had a sensitive stomach as it was and she was doing whatever she could to keep from smelling it, much less seeing it for that matter. But hearing him… didn’t help matters. The young woman made her way towards one of the sinks and cut on the faucet. She hoped the water would cancel out the sound.
“Mind doin’ a courtesy flush, love?” She asked politely as possible.
The smell was getting to her something fierce.
“Sorry,” Kip uttered before flushing.
“Don’t be.” She said while splashing her face with some cold water.
Aislinn closed her eyes for a brief moment. She felt terrible considering she was supposed to be helping Kip, yet here she was about to toss her own cookies. Riona had always teased her about her sensitive stomach. Aislinn cleared her throat and held her breath as she went to check on Kip again.
“How ya holdin’ up there?”
“Been better.” Kip playfully put, and Aislinn laughed.
“Aye, I bet!”
Aislinn placed a cold and wet paper towel on his neck.
“You don’t have to do this you know,” Half-Sack said.
“Oh thank god.” The young woman replied and acted as if she was going to leave the room.
Kip gathered this wounded pup expression, and Aislinn resisted the urge to laugh.
The prospect shook his head but chuckled.
“That was fucked up.” He weakly murmured.
“Aye, but I made ya laugh! Didn’t I?!”
A couple of men entered the bathroom, and they nodded Aislinn’s direction. She greeted them in return but turned her head as one of them went to take a piss at one of the urinals. The other headed for one of the stalls. Kip tossed his cookies once again, and the guy standing at the urinal laughed.
“Kid can’t hold his liquor?” The man taunted, and Aislinn regarded that individual through the mirror.
“He can hold his liquor just fine.” She defended, and the man cocked a brow at this.
“He’s what? Ninety pounds soaking wet and you’re what eighty?”
“Not sure, never weighed myself soaking wet.” She witted in return.
“Now that’s a crying shame.” The man uttered with a flirtatious wink.
Aislinn recoiled after realizing she walked right into that one.
“So that little wiry dude your man?”
“So you’re available?”
“Available? What’s that even mean?!” Aislinn asked as she always thought that was a strange way of putting it.
“I think we both know…”
“Oh, I know what ya meant. Just don’t particularly care for the phrase.”
“You know… ‘I couldn’t help but to notice that you look a lot like my next girlfriend.’”
Aislinn had a good laugh at this.
“Can’t come up with your own pickup lines, so you have to steal them from movies like Hitch?!”
She headed back towards the stall Kip was in and got him to his feet. She led him to the sink and helped him wash up.
“You’re a difficult woman, aren’t you?” The man asked as he leaned against the bathroom counter.
“You’ve no idea. Now as you can see I’m takin’ care of my friend here.”
“Point taken. Sorry, I wasted your time.”
“Not as sorry as I am.”
“Damn girl… You’re fucking jaded as hell.”
“And you know that just from this little exchange?”
“Oh, I know a bitter woman when I see one.”
The young woman couldn’t believe the nerve of this man.
“Alright… Look, you came in here and saw that I was takin’ care of my friend, who is clearly under the weather. You poked some fun at his expense even with the assumption that he might be my boyfriend. Then ya go and make a sexual insinuation. When that didn’t gather the attention, ya were hopin’ for ya went and stole some line off a movie. Then ya go on to tell me how difficult I am when I called ya on it. Perhaps my jadedness has to do with lads like you.”
“Like me?” The man challenged.
“That’s right. Lad’s like you… We had a minute long conversation, and ya done know everythin’ about me and my friend here. Ya came in here with negativity, and ya ended this conversation with negativity. So don’t ya stand there and tell me I’m the jaded one. I had every reason to be a little annoyed considerin’ I wasn’t up for anyone’s company, and ya just assumed ya could weasel your way in while showin’ no compassion for the situation we were in. So ya can take that bitter comment of yours and shove it right up your arse!”
Aislinn left the room with Kip, and the man shook his head. His friend exited the stall and was laughing.
“Man, she told you.”
“Eh, girl was an uptight bitch anyhow and clearly a whore with the company she keeps. I bet she’s spread her legs for each and every one of those bastards.”
The men narrowed their eyes as they heard someone flush and the door to that specific stall opened. The Scot gave a mere nod as he headed for one of the sinks. He washed his hands then dried them off.
“Ye called her a whore because she showed no interest in ye,” Chibs uttered as he glanced upon their reflection in the mirror.
“Whatever you say, man.”
Chibs made no comment as he started towards the door. He had his hand along the doorknob when he spun back around.
“Ye’ve no idea who that was, do ye?!”
The man shrugged, and Chibs smiled.
“That’s aboot what I thought.”
Chibs gave no warning as he leaped on over and drove the man’s face through the mirror.
“HEY!” His friend shouted and was about to come to his buddy’s defense before Chibs revealed that he was carrying.
The man nodded and raised his hands in the air.
“I’m the fuckin’ VP, and that “whore” is MY old lady.”
Chibs sent the man flying towards one of the stalls. The impact was hard enough to knock the door right off the hinges. The Scot spit in the man’s face then marched on out of the room.
“Think ya can keep some meds down?” Aislinn softly questioned once she got Half-Sack back to bed.
“I’ll get ya a bucket or somethin’ just in case.”
“Why are you doin’ this?” The prospect asked, and Aislinn had this baffled look about her.
“I mean… you don’t even like me.”
“Now why would ya think such a thing?!” Aislinn said looking slightly offended.
“I just figured…” He trailed off looking rather embarrassed.
“So you’re a bit of a perv… You have your redeemin’ qualities as well.”
“Sure…” The prospect uttered in a scoffing manner.
“Aye now, I happen to know a lot more than ya think and if I say you’re a good man, then you’re a good man. Trust me when I say those are few and far between.”
“Just not good enough to date, huh?” Half-Sack rather teased, and Aislinn smiled.
“Sorry love, but no man could ever compare to Scotty.”
Half-Sack nodded in understanding and full agreement.
“He’s a lucky man.”
“I’m the lucky one. Now hold tight, and I’ll get ya that bucket and somethin’ for your fever.”
“Thank you, Aislinn.”
Aislinn smiled as she passed by her sister taking care of Jax. Abel was off to a corner the bed and coloring.
“I’m headed to the kitchen. Do ya need anythin’?” Aislinn questioned, and Abel perked up at this.
“I wants chocolate milk!”
“Aye, how about ya go with me?”
“Okay!” Abel excitably put.
“Jackson could use some more water, and I wouldn’t mind some chocolate milk myself.” She said with a wink Abel’s direction, and he smiled.
“Okays, we gets daddy some water and yous some chocolate milk!”
Riona took her sister by the hand before she went to head out.
“Grab one of the lads and take them with ya.”
“I was gonna have Bobby or Happy tag along.”
“Dat gross,” Abel said as Aislinn sipped at a cup of coffee.
“How do ya know have you ever had coffee?”
“Yes. I try some of daddy’s once it no taste good at allll!”
Aislinn laughed and went on to grab the others requests. She, Abel, and Bobby exited the kitchen to see Chibs eating breakfast at one of the tables. He nodded their direction then sipped on his coffee.
“There you are Uncle Chibs!” Abel said as he ran on over and hugged him.
Chibs kissed the boy on the forehead then handed him a piece of bacon.
“Ye ate yet?”
“No. Daddy and Kip they is very sick Uncle Chibs. They needs a doctor. So they needs you Uncle Chibs!”
“Is that so?”
Abel nodded, and Chibs sat the boy down beside him.
“I’ll feed the lad and take over after we finish breakfast.”
Aislinn pecked the Scot on the lips and handed Abel his chocolate milk before they headed off. Chibs looked over however as Abel giggled and looked to be blushing.
“You has your hand on her butt when she kiss you!” Abel squealed, and Chibs chuckled.
“Aye, I sure did!”
“Why’s you do that Uncle Chibs?”
“You’ll understand when you’re my age kid.”
“That will be a very long time…” Abel said, and Chibs frowned.
“Watch yourself kid…” He said and tickled the boy’s tummy.
“No do that Uncle Chibs!” He said with a fit of laughter.
“Don’t be callin’ me old.”
“I no call you old… but you is a little bit.”
“Thanks for the reminder…”
“You is welcome!” Abel said, and Chibs had him stay put as he grabbed him a plate from the kitchen.
“Anyone seen Clay?” Opie asked as Riona was looking after Jax.
Happy and Riona shook their heads no.
“Can’t find him anywhere…” Opie murmured looking flustered.
“Maybe he’s havin’ breakfast?” Riona offhandedly threw out, and Opie shook his head no.
“Trust me. I’ve looked everywhere.” He said but thought he might as well try the dining area again. Maybe he just barely missed him.
“It’s a big ship; he’ll turn up.” She said with a shrug, and Opie left the room.
She and Happy nodded amongst one another but said nothing on it.
“You guys seen Clay?” Opie asked as he passed Aislinn and Bobby on the way out.
“Not since yesterday.” Bobby slyly put and with a shrug.
“Same.” Aislinn murmured but acted as if she was in a hurry and kept on walking.
Opie shook his head in frustration and entered the dining area where Chibs and Abel were.
The Scot lifted his eyes as Opie pulled up a chair and asked about Clay. Chibs took a drag off his cigarette and played dumb like everyone else.
“That’s strange…” Opie said then leaned back in thought.
“Maybe grandpa still sleeping,” Abel said then took a bite of his scrambled eggs.
“Wasn’t in his bed.”
“Is it gonna storm again tonight?”
“I doubt it.”
“Good, cause I no like it. I nearly fell out of my bed and the thunder it sooo loud!”
“I think we’re in the clear till we get to the states.”
“How long dat be now?”
“Five maybe six days.”
“But dat still a long time,” Abel said with a frown.
“It’ll go by faster than ye think,” Chibs uttered but thought back to Jax’s plans.
The Scot volunteered to be the bad guy when that day came, and he’d been thinking of a way to rip that Band-Aid off ever since. Kid would be heartbroken, no matter how he put it. Abel just got his father back, and he’d be saying goodbye all over again. Chibs prayed this situation with Galen got handled and quickly, without costing anyone their life.
“Girls still staying with you?” Opie asked, and Chibs nodded.
He wasn’t about to let Opie in on Jax’s plans for them.
“It’ll be a tight squeeze.” Opie murmured as Chibs only had the one bedroom.
“Aye, but it’ll do.”
“You know I got room… Hell, two extra rooms at that.”
“Aren’t ye in the process of losin’ yer house…?” Chibs reminded, and Opie narrowed his eyes.
“How’d you know about that?”
“Let’s just say I know more than ye realize. I think ye should worry about keepin’ on yer own two feet and let me worry about the girls. I’ll take care of em.”
Chibs came to his feet and went to grab his and Abel’s trays.
“Like you took care of your family?” Opie cruelly put, and this had the Scot snapping a look his direction.
“Yer one ta talk. Do ye even know where yer wife and kids are?!”
Opie half laughed.
“So you gonna tell me what that was about?” Opie hinted as to their little encounter not too long ago.
“Why’s you mad at Uncle Chibs?” Abel questioned, and Chibs couldn’t believe Opie’s reaction. The Son cut the kid a dirty look. Opie was acting rather ‘off,’ but the VP couldn’t quite peg what it was.
“He isn’t your uncle. I was there long before he ever was!”
“Yer not draggin’ the kid inta this. Take a lap and cool off, or better yet… sober up.”
Chibs could smell the liquor with every word Opie spoke.
“Whatever,” Opie said as he came to his feet and left the dining area.
The Scot looked over seeing as how Abel was crying his little eyes out.
“Aye now…” He said and pulled the kid into his arms.
“Ye don’t even worry on it. Op’s just in a rotten mood. Alright?”
“Why he say you no my uncle when you is?” Abel cried.
The Scot had the boy calling him Uncle Chibs and had ever since the day Abel could talk, and nothing about that was going to change. It wasn’t his or Abel’s fault that Opie never took that initiative, but the Scot knew what this was really about. Opie was starting to feel left out. But once again… the man brought it on himself. His lies and betrayal is what led to Jax’s mistrusting ways, and their friendship would never be the same. The Scot lifted the boy into his arms and wiped his tears away with this thumbs.
“Like I said… Just ignore him. He’s not himself today.”
Opie spent most of the morning asking the crew about Clay, but like that of SAMCRO, no one had seen or heard from him. The Son was hitting that flask of his when he entered the rec room. Riona was sitting at the bar; reading a book, and sipping at a Dr. Pepper. Opie asked her about Clay once again, and still, she hadn’t seen him. Riona turned one of the pages to her book, and Opie let out a sigh of sheer annoyance.
“Can’t even look at me?” He said, and Riona regarded the man in disbelief.
She closed her book then put it down.
“It’s a good book!” She playfully teased, and Opie shook his head.
The Son grabbed the book and was looking it over.
“What is this?! Some sort of romance shit?”
He flipped through the pages, and her bookmarker fell out. Opie placed it back but in the wrong area. The Son handed it over, and Riona went to find the page she was on.
“REALLY?!” Opie snapped.
“I’m trying to talk to you. God, what is it with you women?! You go on and on about men not listening, and you won’t even give me the motherfucking time of day!”
Riona slammed her book shut with a frustrated sigh.
“There you go! Was that so hard?!”
“And what is it ya need?” Riona bitterly asked, and Opie took another hit off that flask.
“Now that’s a loaded question. You sure you want me to answer that?”
“Isn’t that what ya olagonin’ about?! Wantin’ my attention?! Well, ya have it, so go on, tell me what ails ya?!”
“Just forget it,” Opie uttered and came to his feet.
The man lost his footing and Riona was quick to break his fall. Opie lifted his eyes, and they locked with hers.
“Are ya alright?” She questioned with concern.
The man gave no warning whatsoever and kissed her, not just any kiss. Riona pushed against his chest as he had his tongue in her mouth. He lifted her up on the counter and got a little more forceful with that kiss. Riona bit down, and Opie let out a painful grunt.
“JESUS!” He hollered as blood oozed out of his mouth and into the palm of his hand.
She’d gotten his tongue real good.
“A little uncalled for don’t you think?!”
“UNCALLED FOR?!” Riona hollered in return, and Opie responded by backhanding her.
“Shit…” Opie muttered once he realized what he’d done.
“WHAT’S WRONG WITH YA?!” She shouted with a hand over her cheek.
He’d hit her pretty hard as it was enough to bust her lip open.
“Jesus… I’m so sorry, Riona. You gotta, believe me, I’d never…”
“But ya did… Now get out of my face!” She said with the beginning of tears.
“You’re not gonna tell Jax are you?”
The nerve of this man… Riona thought with gritted teeth. She’d never seen Opie Winston like this. It was unsettling, to say the least.
“Tell me what?”
They heard as Jax entered the room. He was awfully pale and sounded like he was hacking up a lung.
“Jackson, what are you doin’ up!” Riona scolded as he was supposed to be in bed.
She darted on over, but Jax was looking to her lip in question. The president ran his thumb along the trail of blood then looked at his thumb. The man craned his neck Opie’s direction and saw the blood oozing from his mouth.
“SOMEONE HAD BETTER EXPLAIN WHAT THE FUCK IS GOING ON AND NOW!” Jax shouted.
“Jackson…” Riona said with her hands along his chest.
“Please…” She pleaded as he was hotter to the touch.
“OP…” Jax growled.
“WHAT DID YOU DO?!” Jax shouted.
The president was shaking all over, and he was mapping it out in his head. He knew Opie must’ve put his hands on his old lady and she was the reason behind his bloody mouth.
“I kissed her.” Opie shamefully admitted, and Jax’s eyes went wild.
“I’m sorry. I wasn’t thinking. I…”
“NOOO!” Riona screamed as Jax moved her out of the way and charged right for Op.
Her trying to stop him hadn’t anything to do with Opie. The man had it coming, but Jax was in no shape to be fighting. Jax drove Opie through one of the tables, and they crashed right through it. They were lying in the debris when Jax grabbed Opie by the cut.
“Tell me that isn’t your handprint on my old lady’s fucking face…”
Opie recoiled, and Jax socked the living hell out of him. Jax went to hit him again, and Opie blocked that attempt.
“That’s it, man… I’VE HAD ENOUGH OF YOUR SHIT!” Opie announced before reversing the pin Jax had on him.
Riona gasped back as Opie waylaid him.
“STOP IT!” The young woman cried.
Opie wouldn’t let up, and he drunkenly went on about Abel referring to Chibs as his uncle, Jax getting the girl HE wanted, and how Jax turned out to be nothing more than a fake friend in the end. It wasn’t until Riona took a chair to Opie’s back that they realized Jax had passed out and that was the only reason he hadn’t fought back. Before Riona could even get that across to Opie he shoved her back, and she fell, hitting her head on another table.
“Where is he?!” Opie demanded as he towered over her.
“WHO?!” She cried.
“Clay! I know you-you know something!”
“Back away from my sister.”
Opie lifted his eyes, and they met with Aislinn’s as she was standing at the doorway. She had her gun aimed his direction.
“I’m not going to hurt her,” Opie said while rolling his eyes.
Aislinn looked to her sister’s busted lip and saw that wasn’t the case.
“You already did.” She said, and Opie curled his lip on this.
“NOW I SAID BACK AWAY!” She shouted and fired a warning shot.
Aislinn kept that gun on him and helped her sister to her feet. Riona went on to check on Jax.
“You do realize I’m carrying too, right?”
“Aye, I’m well aware. If ya wanna go about this like a western, we can do that. I’ll even meet ya at sunset, but you’re not layin’ another hand on my sister or Jax!”
Aislinn kept her eyes glued to his as she got on the intercom and called for SAMCRO. Opie shook his head and let out a miserable laugh. Riona burst into tears when she couldn’t get Jax to come to. He was beaten to a pulp and covered in blood. She used her shirt to wipe some of the blood off his face and neck. Opie recoiled once he saw how bad Jax was. The guilt was there but so was the knowledge of what was to come. He hadn’t meant for it to take him over like this but it did. This had been building and building, and the man was a volcano just ready to erupt. Clay coming up missing sure didn’t help matters. Opie had been counting on Clay for a lot of things. One of those things was having a roof over his head.
If it hadn’t been for Clay, Opie would’ve lost the house and everything in it. Piney hadn’t done shit to help, not since Donna and the kids walked out on him. Piney blamed him and had no qualms in shoving it in his face. His father reminded him constantly of how bad of a husband and father he was. Donna warned Opie, repeatedly, but he never listened…
Aislinn pushed the button ending that call. The Sons would be arriving any minute now.
“JACKSON!” Riona hollered and was quick to prop him up as he was choking.
Aislinn’s attention went to their situation, and Opie took advantage by sneaking up on her. The young woman cried out as he slammed her hand up against the counter and the gun tumbled to the floor. Opie sent her an apologetic look as he grabbed ahold of her and put his gun to her.
“It’s nothing personal. I’m sorry. “ He softly put while holding her captive.
“Oh, Opie you big idiot.” Aislinn whimpered and went to lower the gun.
“Don’t,” Opie warned.
“You’re drunk and on somethin’… Lower your gun before they gun ya down.”
Opie narrowed his eyes as she spun around and faced him.
“Take off your cut and turn it in. You have to do this the right way love.”
The Son thickly swallowed and put his forehead to hers. Tears were streaming down the man’s face as he tossed his gun down beside hers.
“Now tell them the truth… about everythin’.”
“Why are you doing this?” Opie asked.
“Because we all deserve a second chance.” She only said that to get her sister and Jax out of the situation.
“What’s goin’ on?!” Chibs called as he was first to enter the room.
Aislinn gasped back in shock when Opie snatched one of the guns off the floor. She went to kick it out of his hand only to have him grab ahold of her. He brought her against him and put the gun to her head.
“Like I said… nothing personal.” He whispered.
Aislinn recoiled once she saw the look on Chibs’s face.
“WHAT ARE YE DOIN’ OP?!” He hollered in full-blown panic.
“Drop the gun,” Opie ordered.
“YOU AREN’T GONNA KILL HER AND YE KNOW IT! THIS ISN’T WHO YE ARE! WHAT’S COME OVER YE?! ME GIRL HASN’T ANYTHIN’ TA DO WITH THIS. YER PROBLEM IS WITH ME, SO IF YER GONNA POINT THAT THING AT ANYONE IT HAD BETTER BE ME!”
“Opie…” Aislinn whispered as she could feel him shaking.
He was shaking so bad she was starting to fear for her life. Opie lowered the gun and Aislinn pivoted around.
“STOP!” She screamed as he put the gun to his head.
He apologized once again and fired. Chibs and the others hollered out in shock. But Aislinn… just stood there shaking her head.
“Ya gimp (fool)… ya grabbed my gun instead.” She uttered in such a way, and Opie staggered back at the reveal.
The man opened the cylinder and saw that it was empty.
“I tend to get a little trigger happy and didn’t want to make that same mistake.” She said, and Opie just stood there in a daze.
“So what are ya on? Coke? Speed?” She whispered, and Opie flinched.
“Ya ever done it before?” She asked wondering where the hell he got drugs from.
“It’s been awhile…” He admitted, and Aislinn nodded as it all made perfect sense now.
“Well, I think ya overdid it… feelin’ a little too paranoid, aren’t ya?”
“How did you know?”
Aislinn gathered this shameful presence.
“I’ve done my share but never mixed the two. Are ya aimin’ for a heart attack?! Cause that’s how ya get one!”
Riona overheard this as she and Chibs were helping Jax to his feet.
“Wait… Ya, what?!” Her sister barked in downright shock.
“I’m not proud of myself. I did a lot of things I wasn’t proud of…”
Aislinn thought back to some of the parties she went to and how she swore she’d never do anything drug related again. That was one of the times she called her sister scared out of her mind. Riona hadn’t a clue. But Aislinn had fallen into a major depression when Alastar turned his back to them. She loved that man with all her heart, and there was a time she didn’t care what happened. Aislinn would try anything just to feel good, even if temporarily.
The Scot himself was blown away by this reveal. Aislinn didn’t strike him as the type. She seemed so innocent. He couldn’t picture it.
“Ya aren’t doin’ that shite now, are ya?” Riona questioned.
“No. Trust me I’m done with all that and have been for some time. I just recognized the signs, that’s all.”
Aislinn drew back a hesitant breath.
“Hand it over.” She whispered, and Opie was discreet as he handed it over.
“This wasn’t you… Alright?”
He gave a simple nod, but the man was a mess.
“I’ll remind you what you did tomorrow. If that doesn’t scare ya straight, nothin’ will.”
Chibs wanted to hear more about this past of hers but had to focus on Jax at the moment. The Scot and Riona rushed the president on out of the room and went to take care of him. The others dragged Opie away leaving Aislinn on her lonesome. The young woman drew back a cautious breath as she looked to the dime bag. She opened the bag, licked her pinky finger then stuck it inside the bag. She nodded amongst herself after licking the substance off her pinky. She could feel the numbness against her tongue. Aislinn turned the handle to the faucet and emptied the contents. She washed everything down the sink then grabbed hers and Opie’s guns. She checked her’s over once again. She emptied the bullets to Opie’s gun and placed them in hers instead. The man was on official suicide watch and she wasn’t taking that chance. But as she did this Nicholas came to mind. He was the first man she ever killed. Never did she imagine that she would take another life. But it truly was a man eat man world or in her and Riona’s case… man eat woman world. They had no choice but to defend themselves. Still, this had the young woman looking to her hands wondering what she’d become.
“Keep an eye on him, will ya?” Riona said with her hands along Abel’s shoulders.
Happy took the boy by the hand and sat him down on the couch.
“You alright?” The Son questioned with concern.
Riona shook her head no but started on out of the rec room. Happy took it upon himself to escort her out.
“He’ll pull through. Always does.” Happy murmured.
“I don’t understand. That was his childhood friend. How could he do this?!”
Happy himself wished he knew but hadn’t the answers.
“Keep that bastard away from me, or I’ll kill him.” Riona hinted, and the Son gave a simple nod.
“I mean it. He hurt the two people I love most. I won’t hesitate. I’ll just fuckin’ do it!” Riona firmly put.
“Now that’s a queen.” Happy admirably whispered as she walked away.
“Really?!” Opie snapped as the boys shoved him into the area where their bikes were.
“Yes really,” Bobby said, and Opie sneered at this.
“Clay was right. He knew you’d betray us!”
“I didn’t betray you or Clay. We betrayed Jax.” Bobby firmly stated, and Tig and Juice nodded in agreement.
“So you all played a part… What’d you do? Kill him? Dump him overboard? WHAT?!”
Juice narrowed his eyes as he was just as lost by this. Tig and Bobby sighed as they glanced at one another.
“Get him up to speed,” Bobby said, and Tig nodded as he led Juice off into a corner of the room.
Bobby kicked back and had his gun aimed at Opie.
“Wow… unfuckingbelieveable. So I’m the bad guy now? Is that how we’re playing this?”
“No brother. That’s how YOU’RE playing it. We all knew this was coming.”
“All of this goes back to that fucking kid man!”
This had Bobby rearing back in absolute disbelief.
“What’d you say?”
“We all played a part, but he puts the blame on me,” Opie growled.
“Do you have any idea how FUCKED UP that is?!”
“How do you think we felt when he expected it out of us but not you?!” Bobby threw back.
“So quit your sulking, asshole. He expected more out of you, for a good reason. Bottom line, we all failed him. So here we are… Watch yourself, or you’ll be joining Clay at the bottom of the ocean. Jax isn’t fucking around. He’s done.”
“And Tig…” Opie implied with a sneer.
“Is relieved… In fact, he took it better than you. Talk about a role reversal. He didn’t shed a fucking tear over that prick, no one did, only you and not because you’re going miss him.”
(The end is the end)
(Don’t bless me, father, for I have sinned)
Father did you miss me
I’ve been locked up a while
I got caught for what I did but took it all in style
Laid to rest all my confessions I gave way back when
Now I’m versed in so much worse
So I am back again
And he said
For the lives that I take, I’m going to hell!
For the love that I make, I’m going to hell!
Gettin’ heavy with the devil, you can hear the wedding bells
Father did you miss me
Don’t ask me where I’ve been
You know I know
Yes, I’ve been told I redefine a sin
I don’t know what’s driving me to put this in my head
Maybe I wish I could die; maybe I am dead!
And he said
For the lives that I fake, I’m going to hell!
For the vows that I break, I’m going to hell!
For the ways that I hurt, when I’m hiking up my skirt
I am sitting on a throne while they’re buried in the dirt
For the man that I hate, I’m going to hell!
Gettin’ heavy with the devil, you can hear the wedding bells
Please forgive me, father
I didn’t mean to bother you
The devil’s in me father
He’s inside of everything I do
For the lives that I take, I’m going to hell!
For the laws that I break, I’m going to hell!
For the love that I hate, I’m going to hell!
For the lies that I make, I’m going to hell!
For the way, I condescend and never lend a hand
My arrogance is making this head buried in the sand
For the souls I forsake, I’m going to hell!
Aislinn froze to the sound of clapping, and a catcall whistle followed this. The young woman lifted her head. Beads of sweat trickled down her face, and she was quick to wipe them away with the back of her hand. Chibs was leaning against the counter of the bar.
“How long ya been standin’ there?”
“Long enough ta know you’re a dirty little rocker and a naughty Catholic girl at that.” The Scot shook his head in disbelief.
The man had a raging hard-on. That show wasn’t meant for anyone, not even him. That’s what had the Scot so blown away. He’d never seen anything so unbelievably sexy. It was the amount of passion she had in her words and body language. Chibs felt as if he were watching a lead performer at a concert.
Aislinn downed an entire bottle of water then made her way over.
“How is he?” She questioned while grabbing a hand towel and wiping the sweat off her forehead and neck.
“Ye should go and see for yourself. I hadn’t a clue you were still in here…”
“I think Riona’s got enough to deal with…”
Chibs cocked a brow wondering what she meant by that.
“She doesn’t need her bratty sister taggin’ along. Besides, she’ll find me when she’s good and ready, and she’ll be givin’ me the lock-hard, on somethin’ that happened years ago.”
“How many years we talkin’?”
Aislinn looked to be in thought.
“I was sixteen maybe seventeen? It wasn’t long after I dropped out of school…” She softly put, and Chibs nodded.
“That’s not who I am Scotty. I hope you know that.”
“Aye.” He said and pulled her into his arms.
“It was a-tryin’ time, and I guess I was still discoverin’ who I was. Needless to say, a mind-numbin’ junkie wasn’t somethin’ I wanted to aim for. I figured that out pretty quick. Just the scene alone was enough to give me the willies.”
“That takes some major self-control darlin’. Not many could walk away from that.”
“I hadn’t done it long enough to lose that much control. Honestly, the guilt alone was too much to bear. Every hit I took… Riona came to mind. I knew it’d kill her if she found out what I was doin’.”
Chibs nodded in understanding. The Scot tilted his head however as he thought back to when he caught her smoking weed.
“I thought ye’d never done pot before Bobby…” He hinted.
“So what have ye tried…” he asked out of sheer curiosity.
The Scot certainly wasn’t one to judge. That wasn’t where he was going with this. He just wanted to know more about her.
“Blow, special k, ecstasy.”
That last one took the Scot by surprise.
“I suppose the only thing I miss is the ecstasy and before ya go and think the worse. I didn’t take it for that. I just liked the feeling it gave me.”
“Not judgin’ darlin’. Would be hypocritical if I did…” Chibs uttered thinking back to when he and Brodie were younger.
“You?!” Aislinn questioned in astonishment.
“Oh yeah… I think I was about the age ye were actually when I was tryin’ that shite, me and Brodie.”
“Brodie?!” She questioned in bewilderment and Chibs chuckled.
“… oh yeah… We partied pretty hard back in the day love.”
“Aye… guess we’re a little more kindred than I ever realized. Like you I didn’t care for the scene and like ye…” Chibs dropped his hold and brought his wallet out.
He dug through his pictures and handed one over.
“I was inta the whole metal scene…”
“Who is this?” She asked as it was a very attractive young man with a bit of an edge to him.
“That’s me lass…” Chibs uttered with a grin and Aislinn’s mouth flew open.
“NO WAY!” She said and got a better look.
“It really is you!” She said as he had on a leather jacket much like the one he always wore.
“Now ya wanna talk about a ride. Look at ya! I bet women chased ya all the fuckin’ time. How old were ya?!”
“Em, ironically I think I was about twenty-three maybe twenty-four.”
“You’re takin’ the piss!”
“Fraid not. I got one of me and Brodie in here somewhere.” Chibs skimmed through his pictures once again and handed another one over. Aislinn died of laughter as they were wearing Metallica shirts and their hair was long like the hair bands back in the day.
“I didn’t think it possible to love you more, but I do!” Aislinn said, and Chibs chuckled.
“These are great!” She said, but that little high from seeing Aislinn perform had died down a bit, and that image of Opie holding a gun to her head returned. A brother… holding a gun to someone he loved. What hurt, even more, was Opie knew this, and that didn’t stop him. Chibs tried telling himself it was the drugs. But there was a part of him that felt Opie would’ve done that even if he hadn’t been on anything. The man had proven to be unstable and incredibly selfish. His true colors were starting to show now that he and Jax weren’t connected at the ass.
“Scotty?” She called with concern and went to hand the pictures back.
“Ye hold onta those…”
“Aye. That way ye can look back on me on me better days, instead of this dirty old bastard.”
“Stop that!” She scolded.
“If anythin’ you aged like wine.”
“Now I know yer full of shite!”
“I am not.” She sincerely put and kissed him.
Chibs lifted her up on the counter and prolonged that kiss.
“Ye deserve better Ali, ye always will.”
Aislinn went to argue this, and the Scot clamped a hand over her mouth. His eyes locked with hers.
“Nothin’ ye say is gonna convince me otherwise, so don’t even try it. Just let me say what I need ta say.”
Chibs cleared his throat and lowered his hand.
“I love you, more than I ever thought possible. But it wouldn’t be right if I didn’t remind ye of our age difference and what that could mean fur ye. I want ye to think long and hard about us and where ye want this ta go. By the time you’re my age, you’ll be lookin’ at a sixty-one-year-old man. By the time you’re sixty-one, I’ll be eighty if not dead. We’ve done talked about children, but we haven’t even discussed marriage. Ali darlin’, I don’t think you’re seein’ the bigger picture here.”
“Are ya breakin’ up with me?!” She questioned with panic in her eyes.
This had the Scot recoiling.
“No. I don’t have it in me ta let ye go. I know I should but like I said ye done ruined me.” He said but with a whole different meaning from when Keri had said that about her parents.
“I suppose I’m givin’ ye an out and I’d take it if yer havin’ second thoughts about anythin’. I’d appreciate if ye took that out now before we dive in any deeper. Things are aboot ta get more intense when we dock in particularly. We’re gonna be in Maine for some time until this shite blows over and I don’t wanna go on makin’ plans for us if there’s no plans ta be made.”
“Your age hasn’t anythin’ to do with our relationship!” She said sounding not only hurt but rather miffed.
Chibs sighed then lifted her chin with a single finger.
“Ali, I had to know where ye stood on this and that had to be brought to yer attention. I don’t want ye lookin’ back a few years from now and regrettin’ that ye didn’t buckle down with someone more yer age.”
“What brought this on?” She asked.
Chibs wasn’t about to go there. But hearing her take care of Kip and seeing the two together did make him question if he was doing the right thing or not. Then again, someone like Brodie or Bobby wouldn’t even question it. They would’ve popped the question by now and made certain they had her nailed down. The Scot himself was tempted. Women like this just didn’t come around. If he had a ring on him, he’d pop the question now, but he didn’t. That and he wanted the moment to be special, not on the day Opie held a gun to her head and damn near blew his off. If anything, that only brought back dreadful memories of Keri. That wouldn’t make for a very romantic memory. This girl deserved the best, in everything, and he’d do his damnest to give her that.
“Nothin'” he murmured figuring it was best NOT to bring Kip or anyone else into it.
He didn’t want to come off as jealous or insecure. This had more to do with HER happiness and what she wanted for HER future. Opie putting that gun on her and every other life-threatening event had the Scot wanting to bump things up a bit. But he couldn’t do that unless he knew she was just as serious about him as he was about her. He’d made that mistake before, and he couldn’t afford to make that mistake again.
“Are ya sure? Because I feel like I said or did somethin’. Ya didn’t question us before…”
“Ali love, ye didn’t do anythin’. Alright?”
“I’m goin’ wherever ya go, Scotty. If you’ll have me…”
“Aye, ye can follow me anywhere pet.”
“Good, because you’re all I want.”
Chibs nodded amongst himself.
“Won’t bring it up again… not until I propose.”
Aislinn was about to agree but refrained once the words truly hit. Chibs chuckled at her reaction. The Scot gave her no time to question it. He flipped her over his shoulder and headed on out of the room.
“Where are we goin’?!”
“Ta visit yer sister and Jackie boy.”
“You do realize Riona’s goin’ to kill me…”
“Aye, and I’ll bring ye back ta life!”
“Alright then… mush!” She said before smacking him on the ass.
Chibs knocked on the doorway before he and Aislinn entered the room. Riona looked up and was quick to dab at her face with a tissue. She cleared her throat and forced a smile.
“How is he?” Aislinn softly questioned and made her way over.
The young woman recoiled as Jax’s face was all cut up and swollen.
“He’s alright. Just needs to rest.” Riona said with an appreciative nod Chibs’s direction.
He nodded in return then pulled up a chair. He took a seat and brought Aislinn into his lap. The girl was a nervous wreck and just waiting for her sister to unload.
“Hey, darlin’…” Jax weakly called, and Aislinn smiled.
“Hey yourself love. How ya feelin’?”
“Like I got hit by an eighteen wheeler…”
“Well, ya look it.” Aislinn teased, and her sister popped her on the arm.
“He knows I’m just messin’,” Aislinn said with a warm smile Jax’s direction, and he let out a painful chuckle.
Jax caught the young woman by surprise when he took her hand into his own.
“Are you alright?” He asked with utmost sincerity, and Aislinn nodded.
“Did he hurt you?
“No. I’m alright, Jax.”
The president nodded and gave her hand a bit of a squeeze before dropping his hold. Jax went on to light a cigarette and Riona snatched it right out of his mouth.
“What are ya doin’?!” She snapped, and Jax sighed.
“Come on babe…”
“Chibs done told ya not to be smokin’! Ya could have pneumonia!”
This had Chibs laughing at Jax’s expense.
“Aye now, she’s right. Ye need ta give that a rest until I say otherwise. Your lungs are pretty congested Jackie, yours and Kip’s.”
“How’s he doin’?” Jax questioned.
“Better then ye at the moment,” Chibs replied, and Aislinn glanced the prospect’s direction.
“And sleepin’ like a wee baby.” She added as Kip was curled up into a ball and hugging his pillow.
“Where’s Abel?” Jax questioned as he looked around the room.
“Happy’s got him in the rec room watching Looney Tunes,” Riona said.
“Not sure who is more entertained by that Happy or Abel.” The president teased as Happy was known for his love of toons.
“Right?” Chibs uttered with a grin.
“And Op?” Jax questioned, but with a look, the VP couldn’t get a read on.
“With the others… They’re keepin’ an eye on him until ye give word on where ta go from here.”
Each of them turned as there was another knock at the door. Chibs waved the captain on in.
“Man oh, man… You look like shit, son.”
“Thanks…” Jax bitterly put.
“Need a medic?” Mathias offered, and Jax made a gesture towards Chibs.
“Huh…” The captain said in amusement as he looked Chibs over.
His attention, however, went to that of the Lawless sisters.
“I’m actually here for you two.”
“Us?!” Riona asked, and Mathias nodded.
“Mind if I steal these fine ladies of yours for a bit?”
“You’re not taking them anywhere, not without one of our guys.” Jax made clear, and the captain nodded in perfect understanding.
“I can respect that.”
Chibs had Aislinn come to her feet, and he followed the sisters and Mathias out of the room. The captain led Chibs and the girls into his office where he pulled the door to and took a seat. He signaled for them to do the same. Chibs remained standing and stood directly behind the girls. He watched Mathias’s every move.
The captain clipped one of his cigars then stuffed it into his mouth. He offered Chibs one, and the Scot politely refused. Mathias shut his cigar case then took a long drag. He leaned back and sighed amongst himself.
“Riona and Aislinn Lawless…” The man muttered with a genuine smile.
“Big fan. I gotta say one of the things I love most about visiting Ireland is you two. Never dreamed I’d have you onboard though. You know it’s a shame my boys ruined what could’ve been a good thing. I would’ve liked to have seen you play and on my ship. That would’ve been a great honor, but I understand. I wouldn’t sing for these assholes either.”
Mathias flicked his ashes into a nearby ashtray and cleared his throat.
“I want to apologize on my crew’s behalf. What my son and Brad did… That shit doesn’t fly well with me and never has. I myself am quite fond of you two but prefer to take the gentleman route. Besides, from what I’ve seen you two are already taken and very taken at that.” Mathias said with a smirk Chibs’s direction.
“And you sir are a cradle robber…”
“And you need to mind yer own business,” Chibs uttered, and Mathia’s chuckled.
“You lucky bastard…” The captain muttered under his breath.
The captain cleared his throat once again and took another long drag off his cigar.
“I trust that what happened last night stays between us…” The captain hinted but with a nod Chibs’s direction.
“Aye… on both accounts.”
“I could’ve fired him… But that’d put another rapist on the street, and I’m not okay with that.”
The captain regarded Aislinn in thought.
“I gotta give you props darling. You really let him have it. Come to think of it you both are pretty feisty.” He said as he thought back to the shiner Riona left his son.
Mathias chuckled in thought.
“Poor bastards never saw it coming. Sweet on the eyes but hella spitfires on the inside. I dig that. Keeps a man on his toes. If you two run into any more trouble, please note that you can come to me and I will handle it. You’re our guests. Enjoy the rest of your journey. Won’t be long now…”
The girls nodded and came to their feet. Mathias shook each of their hands then sent them on their way.
“Were ya serious?” Riona asked as they were following Chibs.
“The drugs…” Riona uttered.
Chibs kept on walking but could hear what was being said.
“Linny…” Riona groaned in disapproval.
“It was a long time ago.”
“Doesn’t matter. Ya never even told me about that.”
“Riona, ya were damn near raisin’ me at the time. Besides, it was my cross to bear, not yours.”
“Is there anythin’ else I should know?” Riona rather snapped and Aislinn recoiled.
“I’m sorry.” Aislinn softly put.
“I don’t want to hear how sorry ya are! Don’t ya get it?!” Riona said and stopped walking.
“Look at me!” Riona ordered in that motherly tone of hers.
Aislinn pivoted around, and Riona shook her head.
Chibs gave the girls their space but kept an eye on them from a distance.
“It’s one lie after another!”
“I never lied to ya!”
“Hidin’ the truth from me is just the same if not worse!”
“Is it now?!”
“Tell me Riona do I know everythin’ about you?”
“What’s that supposed to mean?!”
“Ya know damn well what it means! Ya had a life outside of me too Riona, and I seriously doubt ya went and told me everythin’ ya ever did!”
“What life?! I worked, took care of the farm, and went right back to work. The only life I had outside of that was our gigs.”
Aislinn recoiled, and Riona sighed.
“So ya never hung out with any friends or went to any parties…?” Aislinn questioned.
“Now I never said that but I damn sure wasn’t doin’ drugs.”
“Aye, you’re so much better than I am, in every way,” Aislinn said, but there wasn’t an ounce of sarcasm behind her words. She meant it.
“Linny…” Riona called as she started walking again.
“If anythin’ else comes to mind I’ll be sure to make a list. That way you can read all about my flaws. It’ll be a long list, so I hope you’re prepared.” Aislinn called in return but kept walking.
“I just want to know why!” Riona hollered in such a way.
Aislinn came to a halt and spun back around.
“Did I mean nothin’ to ya?!” Riona said with tears in her eyes.
“Do ya have any idea what that would’ve done to me, losin’ you?!” She added.
Aislinn had that pitfall feeling as she closed her eyes.
“I never did those things to hurt you. I did those things because I was hurtin’. I need you to understand that. You’re the reason I quit and never looked back. I love ya. Don’t question what you mean to me. I’d do anythin’ for you. Anythin’.”
Aislinn started walking again, and the look on Riona’s face had the Scot recoiling.
“I didn’t mean it like…” Riona started to say, but Chibs was quick to interrupt that thought. “Aye…” Chibs uttered as he locked his arm around Riona’s and strolled on.
He wasn’t about to get in the middle nor would he choose sides. But at that very moment, Riona needed the consoling and Aislinn needed to vent.
(Later that night…)
“Ya sure, you’re ready for that?” Riona asked, and Jax nodded as Riona combed her fingers through his hair.
Jax leaned into the palm of her hand and closed his eyes.
“It needs to be dealt with, tonight.” He said and turned his head to cough.
“Did ya take your second dose of antibiotics?”
“Yes, ma’am.” He said and grabbed one of his shirts.
Riona ran her fingers along his scars as he pulled his shirt over his head. Riona frowned as he adjusted his shirt.
“What was that?” He asked with a chuckle.
“I like ya better with your shirt off.” She teased.
“Well, that makes two of us darlin’. I like you better with your shirt off too.”
Riona laughed, and Jax sent her a wink.
“Guess we know what’ll break the ice if we ever argue.” He added in thought.
“You take your shirt off during an argument, and I’ll forget what the fuck we were arguing about.”
“So angry sex?”
“Fuck yeah… Hell, now I gotta think of something to argue with you about.”
Riona snorted in thought.
“After you’re better.”
“I’m better already…” Jax hinted with a gesture towards his hard-on.
Riona laughed as he could barely zip his pants.
“Don’t knock anythin’ down with that.”
“I make no promises.” He said before pecking her on the lips and rushing on out of the room.
“Ye ready?” Chibs questioned as he had been waiting for Jax.
“Yeah…” The president uttered, and the VP led him to the room in which the others were keeping Opie.
They had him in the same area their bikes were. Bobby had him zip-tied to a pole. Juice, Tig, and Bobby were kicked back on their bikes and half asleep when Chibs and Jax entered the room. Chibs cleared his throat gathering their attention. Opie lifted his eyes and shook his head once he saw Jax.
“Is this really necessary?” Opie asked.
“You’re kidding, right? You hit my old lady, and you put a gun to his? You’re lucky you’re still standing.”
“You call this luck?! Come on Jax, just put a fucking bullet in me and be done.”
“Believe me that’s tempting but seeing as how that’s what you want… I’m not giving you that and screw you for trying to take the pussy way out!” Jax recoiled on his words however as Keri came to mind.
He sent the Scot an apologetic glance and Chibs shrugged it off. He knew what Jax meant. The president didn’t mean any disrespect to Keri’s situation. That was completely different from Opie’s. For one thing, Opie put himself in this position, whereas Keri was forced into hers.
Jax pulled up a chair and sat before Op. He lit up a smoke and Chibs shook his head before taking the cigarette out of his mouth and smoking it himself instead.
“Really?!” Jax barked, and Chibs shrugged.
“Old lady’s orders…” His VP teased while taking a drag and the president let out a miserable sigh.
“It’s like we’re already married…” He groaned.
That was followed by hacking and coughing. Jax snapped the Scot a look as if to say don’t even mention it. Chibs chuckled under his breath.
There was a moment of silence as Jax, and Opie eyed one another down.
“Leave us…” He said, but Chibs looked to his president with concern.
“I’ll be alright.”
“Ye better be…” Chibs uttered but signaled everyone on out of the room.
Jax came to his feet after they left and took off his cut. He laid it on Chibs’s Harley then looked to Opie.
“At this very moment, I’m just Jackson. No patch. No cut. Just you and me. This is the only chance I’m giving you. I need you to be straight with me Op. Don’t fucking lie to me. I mean it.”
Jax cut Opie lose and signaled for him to have a seat as well.
“First off… since when are you into fucking drugs?!”
Opie pinched his eyes shut and sighed.
“Come on man… What in the FUCK is going on with you?”
“You wanna know what’s wrong with me?” Opie scoffed, and Jax nodded.
“That’s right now.”
“So that’s what it takes? Kissing your bitch…”
“Bro, don’t even go there.”
“Thought I wasn’t your bro, remember?”
“I know what you’re doing, and it’s not going to work. No matter how much I want to kill you, I can’t. I hate your fucking guts, something I didn’t think possible. But on that same hand, I remember the man I once knew and that’s the part that keeps me from gunning your sorry ass down. I love you Op. I always will, but I hate you all the same. You were the one person… The one person I knew I could always count on, without a shadow of a doubt. We told each other everything and had each other’s backs. I was there when Donna and the kids left and even though you never told me why or how that came about exactly, I was still there.”
Jax cleared his throat as he was getting somewhat emotional.
“But when it came time for you to be there for me… you weren’t there. You pretended to be, but you weren’t. You told me one lie after another. First, it was about my son then you hid the truth about Clay and where he was taking things with the club. You knew I was counting on you, and you let me down. I would’ve never lied to you like that, and you can rest assure if someone had kidnapped one of your kids. I’d have been FIRST in line, ready to bat for you and I wouldn’t have given up until we had them back. No amount of money or drugs could lead me astray. I’d be on the streets before I ever let that happen. So I suppose that’s my next question… Why Clay? Let’s get to those questions, and we’ll go from there.”
“If you promise to answer my questions as well.”
“Got yourself a deal.”
Jax listened to everything Opie had to say, without interruption. Opie started off with the truth about Donna and the kids as that’s what led up to Clay and his drug addiction.
“Donna had been turning those kids against me long before shit hit the fan. Not sure where that all began, but I heard her badmouthing me a couple times. She hadn’t a clue I even heard her. I thought about confronting her but decided to let it go. She wasn’t exactly lying… So I didn’t see the point in defending myself. I did get behind on the bills, and there were nights we were living off of ramen and fucking bologna sandwiches. It felt like the harder I tried, the further behind I got. The kids were about to start school again, and they needed new clothes, backpacks, and school supplies. This was around the time Donna’s car got repossessed and she’d just given me a fucking earful. So I was out in the garage, doing my best to cool off. I stole some of dad’s whiskey since I couldn’t afford my own. All I wanted was a couple hours. Two fucking hours to myself. Donna had been nagging me all day, and she just wouldn’t let up.”
Jax narrowed his eyes as a few tears made their escape and Opie was quick to wipe them away.
“Kenny comes into the garage and goes on to tell me about this hundred dollar calculator and some three hundred dollar laptop he needs for school. Something happened… I snapped Jackson. I fucking snapped.” Tears were streaming down the man’s face, and Jax resisted the urge to comfort him.
That was an old habit, and he couldn’t fall back into that routine. Opie pushed things too far with Abel and the sisters… That knot in the back of his throat, however, was nothing more than a reminder of what Opie meant to him.
“I decked the living shit out of him. Let’s just say he certainly proved he was my son when he returned the favor. Next thing I know we’re in a brawl and I’m talking hardcore. I’m hitting this kid like he was a grown ass man. He was fifteen Jax. I was beating the shit out of my fifteen-year-old son.”
Opie drew back a quivery breath, and Jax handed a cigarette and his zippo over. Opie took a moment to light that smoke and took a long drag before getting back to his story.
“I’d never laid a hand on my kids or my wife. You gotta believe me, Jax. I don’t know what happened.”
Opie shook his head.
“Next thing I know Donna walks into the garage screaming on top of her lungs and Pops is right behind her. Kenny’s lying on the fucking floor with a busted eye, nose, and mouth. I never told you… but I was arrested. But it wasn’t Donna that called it in. No. She was too busy packing and getting the kids out of there. Pops turned me in.” Opie let out a miserable laugh.
“I didn’t even fight it. I had it coming. Not sure how… but the charges were dropped. I don’t know if it was Pops or Donna or Kenny himself. I may never know. He was a minor, my son at that. How did I get out Jax? Who in their right mind would let me out of jail?! I deserved to rot behind bars. I wanted to! But then you come around… taking me under your wing like usual. I wanted to tell you but I didn’t have the heart. I didn’t want you to see me like that. If anything… I was afraid of running you off next.” Opie laughed once again.
“Op…” Jax murmured with a flinch.
“Not going there… I suppose this is karma’s way of catching up to me. Beat the shit out of my kid, and now life is beating the shit out of me, not that it wasn’t before. But this is a full-on fisting here… I’ve lost everyone I’ve ever loved, including you. Now I’m losing the house. The one thing that kept me sane. That house is the only thing that ties me to Donna and the kids. It’s the memories and the life we once built. I still smell her… I know that sounds crazy. But Donna’s smell… it lingers. At times it’s a blessing, others not so much. Kenny and his fucking muddy shoes…” Opie shook his head once again.
“He’s got a trail right by his bed. I haven’t done shit with it. I can’t. It’s like he’s still there as long as those marks are. Ellie…” Opie pulled something out from his shirt and Jax recoiled as it was the locket Opie had gotten her for her thirteenth birthday. He’d been wearing it this entire time. Inside was a picture of her and Kenny on one side and Donna and Opie on the other.
“She left this behind. I know… what kind of man wears a sterling silver heart-shaped locket around his neck?”
“The kind that loves his family,” Jax uttered, and Opie shook his head.
“No. I didn’t love them, not enough or they’d still be here. Don’t be like me, Jax. Don’t run your family and your club off. I managed to do both, within the span of three years’.”
Opie took a moment to finish that cigarette before stomping it out.
“As to Clay… that came about not long after you left.” Opie hinted as Jax was damn near living with him and had been for a little over a month before he thought it safe enough to leave Opie alone.
Jax tilted his head on this.
“That’s right. I told the motherfucker to leave… I wasn’t in the mood to deal with his shit. He had been giving me hell as it was for not being a part of recent club activities and I just knew that was his reason for showing up at the house. Here I am holding another foreclosure letter when Clay offers me a deal I couldn’t refuse. Of course, you already know that deal…”
“Wait… that deal was made two years ago?!”
“Not exactly…”Opie drew back a hesitant breath.
“Jax, Clay and I have been dealing in drugs for some time now. That’s the only reason I have my house.”
“With the Aryan Brotherhood?!”
“No Jax. Multiple people…”
“Jesus… That’s the one thing we stand against!”
“Trust me I know… I know.”
Jax closed his eyes in realization.
“And that’s how you got into it… isn’t it? You’ve been dipping into your own supply!”
Opie recoiled but didn’t deny it.
“Who’s your manufacturer?”
“Jax…” Opie muttered looking ill.
“Op… you promised. Now tell me…”
“You have got to be shitting me!” Jax shot up at this and ran his fingers through his hair.
“My son’s biological mother?!”
Opie nodded, and Jax was the one with the nervous laughter now.
“Oh, this is unreal. You and Wendy… working together. You hate Wendy. Hell, you hate drugs, and you hate women that do them even more!”
“You’d be surprised at what you’ll agree to when you have nothing to lose.”
“That makes no sense… if you have nothing to lose then why do it? It’d make more sense if you had someone you were doing this for. But it’s just you Op, so I don’t get it. Why put yourself in that situation, a situation you loathe?!”
“So you’re saying the only reason I should even consider selling drugs is if I have a family waiting for me back home? How fucking twisted is that shit?”
“Don’t twist my words Op. You know damn well what I was saying. You don’t have to do this. You should’ve come to ME! We would’ve found a way together like we always do. I wouldn’t have you hooked on fucking drugs and counting on Wendy of all people. She’s infuckingsane! It’s a wonder you and Clay lasted this long. She’ll stab you in the back quicker than you can blink. Trust me I would know.”
“We were careful Jax. Wendy knew she couldn’t pull that shit.”
Jax shook his head in disbelief.
“So you’ve been doing this for a little over two almost years now.”
“And this deal with the Aryans?”
“Wendy’s meth sucks… Doesn’t sell, not to mention it could kill you.”
“Meth kills you period Op; you know this!”
“Well, Wendy’s meth will put you in the ground a lot quicker and don’t even get me started on her heroin.”
“Don’t…” Jax warned in such a way as that’s what she was on when she nearly killed Abel.
Opie recoiled as it just dawned on him.
Jax went to say something on this but refrained as Opie pinched his eyes shut and broke down.
“I’m sorry Jackson.” He cried, and Jax was struggling with that inner battle of his.
It killed him… seeing Opie like this. But at the same time… the man brought it on himself. These were the decisions HE made. He could’ve turned his back to Clay. He could’ve said no, but he didn’t. He folded and turned into the next Tig Trager. Only at this very moment, Tig was the more level-headed one.
This was something Jax would’ve never dreamed of. Tig had seen the error of his ways and was doing his best to fix it, whereas Opie was accepting failure and feeding into that self-pity of his.
The two sat in silence as Opie had himself a good cry. Jax hadn’t realized they’d fallen asleep, not until Opie woke him the following morning.
“We never got to my questions…”
Jax rubbed the sleep from his eyes and was patting himself down in search of a smoke.
“What time is it?” Jax questioned as he was half out of it.
“Seven something last I checked…”
“Fuck…” Jax murmured realizing they’d been at this for hours.
He yawned as he lit up. Jax took a pull off his cigarette then nodded Opie’s direction.
“Why Uncle Chibs and not Uncle Op?”
Jax cocked a brow at this.
“Are you serious?” He said but hadn’t meant that sarcastically. He was genuinely asking.
“Yeah man… No offense to Chibs, but I’m closer to that kid then he’s ever been.”
“You sure about that?”
Opie reared back looking offended.
“Think about it… You never even took the initiative. If you wanted to play the scene of Uncle Op, then you should’ve let Abel know that. Chibs took that initiative. He had it ingrained since the kid could fucking walk. No one held you back so don’t be mad at Chibs or my son for that matter. You only have yourself to blame. I personally had nothing to do with the connection Chibs and Abel built. They did that all on their own. I can’t believe you’re taking it so personally. It’s not like your kids went around calling me uncle Jax.” Jax said but with a playful smile as he hoped to lighten the mood a bit.
Opie managed to laugh and shook his head.
“That would’ve been a little weird…”
“Right?! Uncle Teller sounds even worse! Besides, knowing Kenny he would’ve ended up calling me Uncle Cracker.”
Opie died of laughter, and Jax smiled and shook his head. The president cleared his throat, however…
“I had some more, but I think I pretty much answered those myself last night. I know I’m to blame on a lot of things.”
“I fucked up too Op.”
“Nowhere near as much as I have. That’s what led us here, and I know that. Last night was a bit of an eye-opener.”
There was a brief moment of silence.
“So what happens now…?” Opie asked knowing he would have to face the consequences.
Opie knew those consequences would lead to banishment if not death itself, considering he put not only one but two old ladies in harm’s way. The president and VP’s at that…
“You know the rules Op…” Jax firmly reminded.
“I know. I’m not expecting special treatment. I just want to know what I’m looking at here. If I’m going to be gunned down, then I want you to do it.”
“Just needs to be you.”
Jax pinched his eyes shut.
“Op, you can’t ask me that…”
“I kissed your old lady then slapped the shit out of her!”
“I’m well aware… But I can’t kill you Op. I know it’s what you want, but I’m not letting you off that easy.”
Opie narrowed his eyes on this.
“I don’t have it in me to kill you…” Jax whispered and lowered his head.
The president’s hands were shaking. He’d never felt so conflicted. He wanted to put a million bullets in Opie after what he did to Riona and Aislinn. But there was no way he could look him in the eyes while doing so. It’d kill him. This was his childhood friend. His brother even if not by blood… or at least he was. Jax was a firm believer in his father’s words. Blood doesn’t make you family, loyalty does.
But Opie had taken that loyalty away and to the point where Jax could no longer consider him family. This wasn’t just about Abel now but everything in between and up until now. Opie just wasn’t stable enough to even be considered a brother, much less a best friend. Jax hadn’t a choice. He had to treat him like he would any other Son.
“That’s not to say I won’t have someone else do it.”
Opie recoiled but nodded in understanding.
“It won’t be a brother though…” the way he said this had Opie tilting his head in question.
“I want you to go to Weston (leader of the Aryan Brotherhood). I want you to tell him that Clay is gone and no longer president. I need you to get across that SAMCRO will NOT be doing business with them. SAMCRO was never part of that deal. That was you and Clay and you and Clay alone. From what I gather you’re the only two that ever met with them, to begin with, right?”
“That’s about what I thought. Clay didn’t drag the others in until Chibs, and I were behind bars.”
Jax shook his head however as something else came to mind.
“I still can’t believe you helped in setting us up…”
“Not one of my finest moments…” Opie admitted.
“I never meant for it to go that far. We just needed you two out of the picture long enough to make that deal.”
“I know… but it also shows your true colors Op. You’ll do anything when backed into a corner. Aislinn’s a fine example of that. You didn’t want to hurt her but you put that gun on her all the same. The look on Chibs’s face… It’s like you stabbed him in the heart. I’d never seen that look before. You have no idea what that would’ve done to him… If your finger slipped and you pulled that trigger. We’d have to bury Chibs right next to her. That girl is all he’s got now. And I can’t believe you were going to shoot yourself after the way Keri went out. I know you have some sort of competitive issue when it comes to Filip, but he didn’t deserve that. That man’s been through the ringer as it is. You can’t hurt those girls Op. It isn’t just about me and Chibs. It’s about Abel too. He loves those girls. They are his personal heroes, something you and I couldn’t even begin to fathom, because we weren’t there. We didn’t see what Abel saw. We didn’t experience what those girls did. So what you did… that’s unforgivable. Those girls trust us to look after them and they should feel safe with us. What you did… Op…” Jax trailed off and came to his feet.
“As for Riona… I love her. I’m sure you find that hard to believe, considering my history, but I do. You broke the brother code with that one. Old ladies are off limits. You wanna fuck some crow eater I’ve fucked, go right ahead. I could give a rat’s ass what you do. But when it comes to my girl… hands off. I don’t even want you looking at her like that. I get it. Trust me I do. A lot of men are tempted by her, but that gives you no right.”
“Speaking of crow eaters… How you gonna handle that?”
Jax half laughed knowing where Opie was going with this.
“I’m done with that Op.”
“Sure you are… You loved Tara too, remember?”
“I did but this time’s different. I can’t screw this one up. She’ll be gone if I do.”
“If her sister doesn’t kill you…” Opie hinted as to Riona’s husband.
Jax chuckled in thought.
“Well, there’s that too. Good thing I plan on keeping on the straight and narrow, huh?”
“How long we talking? A few months, years?”
“Why are you so interested in me and Riona?”
“Because she deserves better than you and we both know that Jax. You’re going to hurt her, and you know it. You’ve never been the type to settle down, no matter how hard you try, you just don’t have it in you.”
“Well, I’ll be happy to prove you wrong.”
“She’s a good one Jax… The best you’ve had.”
“And if she shoots out a couple kids and gains a few pounds…”
“Why are you doing this?!”
“TO PROVE A POINT!” Opie snapped.
“Shit… You’re in love with her too.”
Opie rolled his eyes, and Jax shook his head.
“Well, that certainly explains things. I thought you just wanted to tap that. I hadn’t a clue you wanted an actual relationship.”
“Not every day you run into a woman with looks, brains, and actual values.” Opie declared.
“You’re right, and that’s why I’m not giving anyone else a chance to snag her up. I made that clear to you awhile back, and that still stands. Besides, I think you pretty much ruined any chances you might’ve had.”
Opie winced but laughed.
“…fuck…” He grumbled.
“Sucks to be you,” Jax muttered adding salt to the wound, but Opie knew he had that one coming.
“But as to your question… doesn’t matter. I’m not going anywhere. I’m not that same man anymore Op. I haven’t been for sometime, and you would’ve seen that if you weren’t on Clay’s dick.”
Opie sneered at this and Jax rolled his eyes.
“Hey, you said the same thing about Tig back in the day, remember? Funny how the two of you switched roles. Tig was relieved when he found out what we did to Clay. You should’ve seen the look on his face. It’s like he’d been holding his breath for years. But you… you freaked the fuck out and acted as if you lost your best friend.”
“You know what I mean.”
“So you plan on Weston doing me in?”
“I haven’t planned anything yet. But it is very likely.”
“You knew this was coming. You knew the day you agreed to Clay’s deal. He might’ve kept a roof over your head, but he signed your death certificate while doing so, both of yours. Reap what you sow… should’ve thought long and hard on that one.”
Opie came to a stand as well, and there was an awkward moment of silence.
“Do I need to tie you up again?”
“Where would I go?”
“Not sure… considering you’re on suicide watch.”
Opie rolled his eyes on this.
“That was the drugs, Jax.”
“You sure about that? You seemed pretty confident when you pulled that trigger, liberated even. But man the look on your face when you found out she unloaded the bullets. It’s like you truly died. Blame the drugs. Blame everyone around you. I don’t care. I need you to do right by this club and fix what you and Clay did. That’ll be your dying act for the SAMCRO family and if Weston doesn’t kill you. I’d leave Charming. I might not have it in me to kill you, but Filip will. All he’s going to see is that gun to Aislinn’s head every time he sees you now. I’m having a hard time looking at you as it is after what you did to Riona. So here’s the thing. Happy’s blacking out your ink before we port. You’re done when it comes to SAMCRO. You’re not to come anywhere near those girls again. You’re getting us out of this situation with the Aryan Brotherhood and I don’t care how you do it, just get it done. I’m not dealing in drugs and never will.” Jax held up his hand revealing his scar.
“I made an oath, and I’m not breaking that oath. This isn’t just about my father. It’s about my son and how I could’ve lost him. I owe Abel, big time.” And on this note, the two parted ways.
To Jax Opie was nothing more than one of the crew now. He had no other choice but to see it that way. He wasn’t welcome to anything SAMCRO related ever again, and that included the trip back home.
“That everyone?” Jax questioned, and Chibs nodded.
“Alright, let’s get to it.” The president uttered, and Chibs whistled out gathering SAMCRO’s attention.
Jax went over everything… everything from Clay, to Opie, and to the girls’ and Abel’s situation. He made no mention of where they were going exactly. But the Sons knew they were going into hiding with Chibs. It was during this meeting that Jax made the reveal about Opie working with Clay in setting him and Chibs up. Jax questioned everyone there and let them know if they played a part in this now was the time to fess up. If they didn’t, there would be severe consequences. But no one came forth, not that Jax truly expected it. If there had been another culprit, Opie would’ve said something by now. But Jax felt the need to cover all bases, for his own reassurance. Once they had everything wrapped up, Jax nodded Half-Sack’s direction.
“There’s a reason you’re here…” Jax said, and the prospect narrowed his eyes.
“As you know we don’t usually invite prospects with us. I might not have been president, but I made myself perfectly clear. That’s why Bobby, Happy, Tig, and Juice had you tagging along. I never told the others why but Juice knew. I’m sure you were curious, but you’re about to understand why I chose you.”
Juice gave the prospect a simple nod as Jax gave Juice the floor. Juice once again revealed the story behind the prospect and Jax’s son. The Sons went on to not only congratulate Kip but thanked him.
“I don’t understand congratulations on what and what are you thanking me for?! They got away! That’s why we’re here.”
“We’re thanking you because not a single one of those prospects would’ve done what you did. You put your life on the line, Kip, for my son! You didn’t even think on it, just fucking did it. And they’re congratulating you because of this…” Jax opened his jacket and tossed something over.
“Take that old prospect cut off! You’re a Son now!”
Half-Sack caught the cut and staggered back in absolute shock. Jax smiled at his reaction.
“We voted you in a couple hours ago. Piney had a say in this too, so it’s legit. You’re in. Keep up the good work, and you’ll go far.”
Chibs took off the old cut and helped Kip with the new. Normally, they would’ve changed out the patches. But the cut was a personal gift of Jax’s. Something he rarely did for advancing prospects. Kip was a special case.
“You had this on you? The whole time?” Kip asked.
“That’s right. I grabbed it before we left for Belfast. I had to wait until I had my patch back in order to make this happen.”
Jax raised his brows as Kip dashed on over and hugged him.
“Alright… that’s enough.” Jax teased and shoved him away.
“Did ye feel his wee sack?!” Chibs taunted, and Kip shook his head.
“Eat me, Chibs!”
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