Chapter 39 – Watchtower Festival (day one)
“Yeah and Neeta fixes me chocolate milk like you do mommy. Only she no have any cherries.”
“No cherries?!” Riona scoffed, and Abel giggled.
“Yeah cause we eats them all in the ice cream last night!”
“We dids! It was so good. Neeta puts fudge and pecans in it. I say Aunt Linny loves pecans!”
“She sure does!”
“Neeta say we make you and Aunt Linny a bowl when you get back.”
“Oh, that sounds lovely!”
“Does you think my puppy okay?”
“I’m sure he’s just fine. Rat’s goin’ to check on them and make certain they have plenty of food and water.”
“Okays. Cause I be so sad if something happens to my puppy.”
“We won’t let that happen.”
“The bad man try to hurt him…” Abel sadly reminded.
“Aye, but he’s long gone.”
“No, he not,” Abel argued, and Riona froze on her son’s words.
“Now, why would you say that?”
“Cause grandpa and Uncle Thomas say so. They say he really bad, and he no go away until daddy makes him go away!”
This had Riona regarding her sister in thought.
“Did you have another dream?” Riona whispered as she headed for the balcony.
“I no supposed to say anything. Aunt Linny say so.”
“Are Juice and Rat around?”
“Yes, but they watching TV. It just me playing in the toy room. Neeta making breakfast.”
“Okay, listen love. I already know about the dream and about the fake crow. Aunt Linny told me all about it, but she’s right. We can’t tell anyone else.”
“Not even Neeta?”
“That’s right. Only me, you, daddy, and Aunt Linny can know. So if Juice, Rat, or Neeta can hear you don’t say anythin’ about the dream ya had. You can tell me when we get back.”
Riona could hear the pitter-patter of her son’s feet as he looked around the house.
“They no can hear me. I promise.”
“Good deal. So tell me what the dream was about but talk softly.”
“Uncle Thomas say Aunt Linny right. To take care of the dragon and never let it go. Grandpa very upset and say no go near that man. He no good and will hurt me.”
“Did they say anythin’ about the fake crow?”
“Yeah grandpa say that man know the fake crow. It no good at all mommy.”
“Did they say anythin’ else?”
“Uncle Thomas say you and Aunt Linny will know before daddy or anyone else. Daddy too close to the picture. I no know what that mean though.”
“Too close to the picture…” Riona reiterated in wonder.
“They no say anything else cause they no have time. Grandpa say he help if he can, but he no can do much.”
“Abel, where were you in this dream?”
“I at Piney’s.”
“He Opie’s daddy.”
“I see. Was Piney or Opie in the dream too?”
“I no see Opie but Piney talking to Grandpa cause they good friends. They always good friends mommy.”
Riona kept in mind to check on Piney when they got back to Charming. Sure, she didn’t know him very well. But he was a retired Son, and she felt it her duty to check and see how he was considering she was Jax’s old lady.
“Was there anyone else in the dream?”
“No,” Abel said but sounded rather off.
“What is it, love?”
“I asks grandpa who the fake crow… he say he no can tell me and get mad.”
“Mad?! At you?!”
“No at something else. That’s when he has to go bye-bye with Uncle Thomas. Grandpa never get mad at me neither do Uncle Thomas. But they is very sad. I no like them sad, mommy.”
“Neither do I…” Riona said with a heavy heart.
“I hear someone…” Abel said.
“Okay, just talk about your birthday now.”
“Hey, buddy. Who you talking to?” Riona heard Rat question.
“My mommy. She ask about my birthday.”
“That’s my Abel.” Riona softly praised.
“That’s right. You do have a birthday coming up, don’t you?” Rat said.
“Yeah, but this my mommy and you no can listen!” Abel rather snapped taking Riona by surprise.
“Ummm okay.” Rat uttered.
“What’s up?” Juice questioned, and Riona recoiled as she could picture both men standing before Abel.
“Rat no let me talk to my mommy alone. This private conversation!”
Riona couldn’t help but laugh. He sounded so much like his father. He even had that whole “president” vibe going.
“Give the kid some space,” Juice ordered, and Rat laughed like he was joking.
“Come on man. President’s kid…” Juice reminded, and Riona could hear the prospect bitching as he left the room.
“I no like Rat,” Abel said, and Riona laughed.
“Because he weird and smells bad. He say stupid things too.”
“Well, he’s just a prospect so I wouldn’t let him get to you too much. Your father has last say in whether he’s in or not.”
“I hope he no let him in.”
“He hasn’t done anythin’ to ya, has he?” She asked with concern.
“No, he just weird mommy.”
“Is there anyone else that bothers you?” Riona curiously questioned.
“No. I just no like him. I sorry. I no mean to say that. It no nice.”
“Oh Abel, you’re fine. I want you to tell me how you feel. Alright?”
“Okay. I gonna go eat now and play a game with Juice.”
“Alright love. You have fun.”
“Okay. I love you, mommy.”
“I love you too.”
Fake crow… Riona thought as she looked out to sea. It couldn’t be a prospect then. They weren’t even considered crows yet. The young woman shook her head in thought. She couldn’t picture any of the current crows being fakes. They were too tightly knit. This had Riona sick to her stomach. All she could think about is how it would kill Jax when the truth was revealed. It wasn’t just about the connection he had with each of them, but Jax would feel responsible. She knew how her husband worked and the guilt would eat him alive. They had to find out who it was before they did any permanent damage.
“You ready?” Aislinn called from the sliding door.
This had Riona somewhat startled as she was lost in thought.
“You’re good,” Riona said.
“How’s our wee lad?”
“He’s fine. Spoiled but fine.”
Riona reached over and pulled the glass door shut. She kept her voice down as she told her sister about Abel’s dream.
“Ya’d think they’d just go and spill it out!” Aislinn rather hinted, and Riona sighed in thought.
“Aye, Abel mentioned that himself.”
“Yeah, he flat out asked who the fake was, and his grandfather got all out of sorts, and they vanished on him.”
“It’s like somethin’s preventin’ them from saying too much.” Riona uttered.
“Are there enemies in heaven?” Aislinn half-teased.
“Ya never know.”
“Aye, but then it wouldn’t be heaven…”
“Are you sayin’ the Tellers were doomed to hell?”
“RIONA!” Aislinn scolded, and Riona sighed.
“I thought that’s what ya… nevermind.”
Aislinn looked towards the beach in thought.
“What if we’re onto somethin’.”
“But you just…” Riona rather snipped.
“I don’t like the idea. But you never know. What if somethin’s keepin’ them there?”
“Okay, this is goin’ a wee bit deep into the supernatural.”
“Riona, the dreams already were.”
“This is…” Riona trailed off looking ill.
“Trust me I know. Ya remember that movie about the husband and wife who lost their kids and the wife took her life not long after he died too? You know… The one where the man goes to hell to find his wife?”
“What Dreams May Come. It’s one of your favorites.”
Aislinn smiled on the irony behind that considering what she told Chibs.
“There’s just somethin’ about it. It’s not every day you can say you went to hell and back in order to pull someone ya love out of the pit. Sure, we say things like that all the time. But could we really do it? Would we willingly forgo our pass into heaven and spend our afterlives in hell, just to make certain they weren’t alone?”
“I don’t know if I should think you morbid or…”
“Hopeless?” Aislinn said with a sigh.
“I was goin’ ta say admirable.”
Aislinn reared back in surprise.
“Linny, ya’ve already been there… with pa. And I know you’d do it all over again if it meant bringing him back.”
“If there was anythin’ to bring back.” Aislinn sadly murmured.
“See?! I couldn’t, not for him.”
“I couldn’t either. But for you, Abel, and Scotty.”
“And ma?” Riona questioned with a smile.
“Ya need to knock that shite off now,” Riona said then wiped a stray tear from her eye.
“Just bein’ honest. But as to our earlier conversation… What would we do if it were Thomas and JT?”
“I’m not sure there is anythin’ we could do.”
“I don’t believe that.”
“Linny love, somethin’s are out of our control.”
“Ours maybe… but not Jax’s.”
Riona reared back on this.
“Aye, well ya best keep that shite to yourself. Cause I’m not losin’ my husband!”
“Riona…” Aislinn called as her sister started inside.
“I mean it Linny. This conversation is over!”
“Who says he has to die?!”
Riona froze in place then pivoted back around.
“The dragon…” Aislinn whispered as the boys were in another room.
Riona closed her eyes once she gathered what her sister was hinting at.
“It’s the key,” Aislinn added.
Riona gave a simple nod then exited the room.
“Maybe I really am cracked,” Aislinn whispered amongst herself.
“So now what?” Tig questioned the following morning.
Jax looked to be in thought as they were packing it up.
“You should head on back, all of you.”
This had Chibs rearing back in question.
“Ye say that like yer stayin’ behind.”
“Cause I am…”
“Thought we had to get out of dodge once we were done!” Bobby said, and Jax nodded.
He took his cut off then handed it over.
“I gotta make sure this goes off without a hitch.”
“And how are ye goin’ ta do that?”
“I have my ways…”
“Jackie…” Chibs uttered in disapproval.
“Look, I’ll be right behind you.”
“That could take days ta weeks!” Chibs added.
“Days yes. Weeks no. Look, this is something I need to do. I just need you all to understand. I’m not going anywhere, not until I know the hit on Ethan is clear and the Aryans are behind bars.”
“Then I’ll stay with ye!” The VP offered.
“No. You’re heading back with the others, and that’s an order.”
Chibs shook his head in thought.
“And what about your son’s birthday?! Em?! It should be one of us, and ye know it!”
“No, it shouldn’t.” Jax corrected and went on to hug Bobby first.
“I’ll be there.” The president vowed as he hugged Tig and Kip next.
“I sure hope so,” Chibs uttered as Jax hugged him last.
“Nothing’s keeping me from my son on his birthday.”
Chibs let out a reluctant sigh but gave into his president’s wishes.
“And what do you want us to do with the Jeep?” Bobby questioned.
“Park it where it was before, and I’ll handle it.”
“Did ye tell Jury about Trager menstratin’ in the passenger seat?” Chibs taunted, and Tig frowned.
The others laughed.
“No, but I will.”
Chibs tucked Jax’s cut into his then climbed onto his bike.
“Take care of yerself, Jackie. Don’t ye go and get yerself inta trouble.”
“I won’t. Like I said, I just wanna see this through. That’s all. I won’t get involved.”
Jax chuckled as Tig had to place a small pillow on the seat of his bike before sitting down.
“Yeah, yeah…” Tig uttered, and the others joined in as well.
“They call that a Million Dollar Wound there!” Chibs teased as to his military days.
“Hell, the only battle Tig’s in is the one with himself.” Jax teased.
“Assholes,” Tig muttered but with a grin.
“It’s okay. You can tell Filip all about it. He’s a doctor you know!” Jax cleverly put.
“I’m not that kind of doctor.” Chibs cruelly said with a wink Tig’s direction.
The others laughed as the VP’s Harley roared to life and he was first to hit the road. Bobby gave a mere nod Jax’s direction, and the others followed the sergeant out.
“Oh look at this one Riona!” Aislinn showed off yet another dress, which took her sister by surprise.
“Since when are ya into dresses?”
“Since I found these! These are savage and so me!” Aislinn excitably put as she held one of the dresses up against her.
“Aye, it really is.”
“What about you? Ya’ve barely got anythin’ in that cart!” Aislinn said as hers was filled to the brim with blouses, pants, skirts, dresses, socks, bras, panties, some shoes and jewelry even.
“I think these are a wee bit more you than me, love. The tops are nice, but I don’t know…” Riona said as she skimmed through one of the clothing racks.
“How about that store over there…” Aislinn suggested as the store they were currently in was a little too dark for Riona’s liking.
Riona needed something in-between. Something she could wear in the office as well as her off time.
“That’s more like it,” Riona uttered in relief, and her sister laughed.
“We’ll head over there next. I’m almost done.”
The girls looked over and saw Ethan and Happy sitting on a nearby bench. They were eating big pretzels and drinking sodas.
“Isn’t that their third pretzel, each?!” Riona exclaimed, and Aislinn snorted.
“Can ya blame them? They gotta be bored out of their minds.”
“Actually, I just figured those pretzels were that good!” Riona said, and her sister laughed.
“You want one don’t ya?”
“You know it!” Riona said, and Aislinn headed to the checkout.
The girls grabbed a pretzel afterward then took a little break before heading to the next store.
“Look at that!” Aislinn said and pointed towards Ethan and Happy as they had giant cookies now.
“I think they’re havin’ more fun than us!” Riona scoffed.
“We should be makin’ them do all the heavy liftin’!” Riona said as they’d several bags in hand.
Aislinn walked right past the boys and stole a bite off their cookies. The boys looked to one another in disbelief as Riona did this as well.
“That’s fucked up!” Ethan called, and the girls laughed as they entered the next store.
Riona was just about done when her cellphone sounded.
“Jackson?” She answered in surprise.
“Hey, darlin’. What are you doing?”
“Is that so?”
“Hit any lingerie shops yet?”
“Wouldn’t ya like to know.”
“You bet your sweet ass I would!”
“Well, you’ll just have to wait and find out!”
“Hmmm, something lacy and see-through would be nice.”
“Nah, I was thinkin’ about them grannie panties that go past your belly button!”
Riona laughed as she could picture that look of disgust on her husband’s face.
“If that’s what you’re into…” Jax uttered.
“They’ll be lacy!”
“You’re killing me,” Jax muttered, and Riona laughed once again.
“Ya make it too easy.”
“Yeah, well you might be getting those after all once you hear what I have to say…”
“Oh, Mary… I don’t like the sound of that.”
“Didn’t think you would,” Jax said and went on to explain the situation and how he was staying behind while the boys headed on back.
And just as he suspected, Riona didn’t like that one bit. She didn’t like the idea of Jax handling this alone and the possibility of missing their son’s birthday. That and they were leaving for Hawaii, just a few days after Abel’s birthday.
“I’ll be there,” Jax promised.
“Ya had better be. Don’t ya go and make me the villain by breakin’ my promise! He’d be absolutely broken!”
“I know. Trust me. That’s not happening.”
Riona let out a doubtful sigh, and Jax picked up on this.
“Where’s that faith of yours, babe? I could really use it right now.”
“Ya know I believe in you Jackson, always have. Nothin’ about that has changed. We just want you home is all.”
“I know baby. I’ll be there before you know it. I love you.”
“I love you too.”
“This route will take us an extra day or two!” Tig complained, and Bobby nodded.
“Chibs is right. We have to avoid a run-in with the Aryans. We need them to think we’re in Sun Valley still.”
“I get that but man… That’s a long fucking way just to get home.”
“Long but safest,” Bobby uttered as Kip and Chibs exited the convenience store.
Chibs tossed Tig and Bobby a pack of smokes then hopped onto his bike.
“You do realize it’ll take us an extra day or two to get home, right?!”
Tig questioned, and Bobby shook his head. Now was not the time to be challenging the VP and his decisions. Chibs was doing what was best for the situation and the club. If they were made before the Aryans even arrived in Sun Valley. That would put the whole operation at risk as well as Jax.
“I’m well aware,” Chibs said as he started his bike.
Tig frowned as the Scot hit the road. Bobby chuckled at Tig’s reaction and followed.
“Dammit,” Tig muttered as he followed Kip out.
“You two get everything you wanted?” Ethan asked as he and Happy were helping the girls with their bags.
“Aye!” Aislinn said and used Happy’s key to open the back doors for them.
“Thank you.” The girls chorused once the boys got their bags in the van.
The guys gave a simple nod.
“I say we order some room service then hit the beach!” Aislinn suggested once everyone was inside.
“Sounds like a plan,” Ethan said.
“I want to swim before the sun goes down. It’ll be too chilly.” Aislinn said, and her sister laughed.
“You’ll be in that water long after dark and ya know it. You’re a water rat!”
“Is she really?” The prospect curiously questioned.
“Aye, she loves ta swim. Ma used to get on to her all the time cause she’d be swimmin’ in that tank come dinner time. Ma made it clear we were to be home and help with settin’ the table. But Aislinn would be in that tank and pa would have to drag her out.”
Aislinn giggled in memory as well.
“I miss those days.”
“Aye, me too,” Riona admitted.
Ethan wished he could’ve been part of that. He could see himself in that swimming tank with Aislinn and having to be dragged out as well. His sisters had a way of making him feel younger. That was something he noticed when he first saw them on that stage back in Ireland. Ethan loved that free spirit of theirs. Aislinn crawled into the front with Happy then turned the radio up. Zombie (the Bad Wolves version) came on, and Riona joined in as Aislinn sang. To the girls and Ethan’s great surprise Happy joined in as well.
“Oh, Linny you gotta sing that one at one of your gigs!” Riona exclaimed.
“Oh hell yeah!” Ethan said, and Happy nodded in agreement.
“I’ll add it to the list!”
Happy peered into the rearview mirror and nodded Riona’s direction.
“So when do we get to see you on stage again?” Happy questioned and Riona rather blushed as this caught her off-guard.
“Not sure… But one day.”
“Riona.” Aislinn groaned.
“I told ya I’d join ya but now’s not the time. Ya gotta spread them wings of yours first.”
“My wings are plenty spread.”
That had Riona dying of laughter, and the three of them looked to her in question.
“I think ya have that confused with your legs… Ya know… around that Scot of yours!”
“RIONA!” Aislinn scolded in shock as that was her usual thing to pull.
Aislinn was blushing as well now and giggling.
“I can’t believe ya said that. I think ya done gave Ethan a stroke!”
Ethan had the bridge of his nose pinched, and he was shaking his head. Happy was dying of laughter.
“I wanna be mad. But that was such a good burn!” Aislinn admitted.
“Was it really a burn?” Happy genuinely questioned.
“Not sure,” Aislinn said with a shrug.
Happy pulled up to the hotel and Aislinn was the first one out. She had her arms full when she approached the door requiring their hotel keycard.
“Happy!” She groaned, and the Son rolled his eyes as he made his way over.
He opened the door and waved her inside.
“Thank you!” She hollered back as she headed for the room.
Ethan helped Riona with the rest of the bags, and Happy kept the door open for them.
“How bout pizza?” Riona said once they were all inside.
“Oh, that sounds so good!” Aislinn replied.
The guys nodded in agreement and Riona went ahead and ordered some pizza. Happy grabbed everyone a beer, and they ate before hitting the beach.
Jax signed under the fake name he was using for the credit card he gave the hotel. He only used this card in desperate times. He, Chibs, and Bobby had fake ID’s and credit cards just for instances like this. Jax had to do whatever he could to be out of sight and out of mind. The president made a deal with Jury and swapped the Jeep out with another vehicle. He would’ve kept with the Jeep, but it had Tig’s blood in it still. They switched it out with an old red Corvette. He’d pick his Harley up on the way home — something he absolutely hated. But he had to throw the Aryans off somehow. He went as far as to wear a pair of gray Nike sweatpants and a beanie to match. He wore a pair of sunglasses and black earbuds. He wanted to give everyone that morning jogger impression. So he kept his tats hidden and decided that he would dress just like this, every day. The hotel wasn’t far from the carpet shop. In fact, he requested a room that had a perfect view. This would make it easier to keep an eye on things, and if something went south, it wouldn’t take long for him to get there and intervene somehow. Jax only hoped it wouldn’t come to that. He made a promise to not only his wife but the Sons, and he wanted to honor that promise.
Jax looked into the mirror once he got into his room. He frowned thinking he looked like a total douchebag. The Corvette didn’t help matters. He was thankful Riona couldn’t see him now. He’d crawl up and die if she saw him like this.
The following day:
“I can’t believe we’re really here!” Aislinn squealed when Happy pulled into the parking lot.
“Right?!” Riona said as she too was looking out the window.
The festival itself was on the beach, and there was an area for people to set up tents. Happy and Ethan grabbed theirs as well as the fold out chairs. The girls helped with the luggage and headed towards the entrance. Ethan and Happy had to leave their guns in the van as security was tight and they were checking everyone’s belongings thoroughly. They even went as far as to scan each person and patted them down if needed. Their tickets were scanned at following entrance they were given bracelets as well as stamps. The stamps showed they were of drinking age. The bracelets let them come and go as they pleased without having to show their tickets for the next three days. The bracelets read WMF which stood for Watchtower Music Festival. Happy made certain they arrived early enough that the girls could pick out whatever area they wanted to camp in. Ethan and Happy would have a four-person tent to themselves and so would the girls as well as sleeping bags, pillows, blankets, and an ice chest with water and beer. Jax and Chibs made certain they would have everything they needed to be comfortable during those three days. The four of them got everything set up within an hour. Happy put locks on the zippers to the tents and made certain everything was secure. Not that they would leave anything too valuable behind. Any money they had would stay on their person.
Once they had everything squared away, the girls walked throughout the area and looked to the stage. Both of them took pictures of how everything was set up and proof of how early they arrived as there was hardly anyone around. The festival itself didn’t start for another four to five hours.
“It’s already hot,” Riona said while fanning herself.
“Aye, it is.” Aislinn agreed while wiping the sweat off her forehead with the back of her hand.
The girls were in denim shorts and had their hair back in ponytails. Riona wore Nikes and an Imagine Dragon’s shirt. Aislinn wore Converse and a Linkin Park shirt. They had shirts for each band and would wear them throughout the three days they were here. Aislinn climbed onto the stage after getting security’s permission. She and Riona took turns and took pictures of one another on stage. Aislinn thanked the men that let them on afterward. There was a ton of food, booze, and merchandise vendors. A few of them were already open.
The guys kept an eye on them but didn’t hover. Happy figured it was safe enough to let the girls venture without being in their face about it. Jax made it clear to keep an eye on them but to let them have a good time. The girls took pictures of some of the trailers the bands had, and of the beach itself. They sent a few to Jax and Chibs. The girls made their way back to the tents, and the boys handed some water over. Ethan had purchased a couple misting fans, and the four of them took turns cooling off with those. It wasn’t long before the place started to fill and more and more tents were being set up.
The president grew more and more restless as the hours passed. So far he had gone for a run and swim, not only to help kill time but to keep from going insane. It was too quiet in the hotel. Normally, that was something Jax welcomed, just like time on the road. Those things usually put the man at ease. But he was feeling somewhat anxious, and all he could think about was getting home to his wife and son. That was such an odd feeling considering when he was married to Tara he dreaded the mere idea of coming home. At least that’s how things were towards the end of their relationship. At the beginning… he couldn’t stand to be away from her. Only that feeling became more and more toxic as Tara didn’t share that same passion. She was off in her own world, which was fine. Or that’s what Jax used to tell himself considering he had the MC and his son to worry about. But as time progressed Jax found himself pulling away. It wasn’t until he filed for divorce that he even realized it wasn’t him but her. Tara had gone above and beyond in pushing him away and only reeling him in whenever she needed.
This had Jax thinking back to this other abusive asshole in Tara’s life. The one his mother tried to warn him about and the one Tara yet again needed saving from. But he’d played the white knight before and remembered where it got him. Jax would be damned if he took that bait again. Besides, from the sounds of things, Tara was the abusive one. She was that way in their marriage as well, not so much in the physical standpoint but verbally. Jax was never good enough nor was the life he lived, the friends and family he had, as well as the MC. Tara wanted him or nothing and him as in Jax leaving everything behind. The club, his friends, his family, the only person she wanted around and even that was debatable was Abel. But the more Jax thought on this and Tara’s most recent stunt. He was beginning to wonder if that was all a lie. He’d caught Tara in things like that before. Especially towards the end of their marriage before she took off.
It was one lie after another, and she’d do anything and everything to cover it up. That creeped him out considering she was becoming more and more like his mother. This was something his father had warned him about when it came to Tara, and even Thomas pointed it out a couple times. Hell, Thomas thought Tara and Gemma were spending way too much time together. Nothing was more evident than seeing the two of them together and hearing his mother defend Tara when she welcomed herself back into his life and house. Jax couldn’t believe his mother allowed her into his house. That relationship in itself was always strange. Tara and Gemma hated one another yet fed off each other. It got to where Jax couldn’t tell the two apart, and they were damn near inseparable. All the more reason he didn’t want his son or his wife near his mother. For a woman that claimed to be all about family, Gemma went above and beyond in destroying everything about their lives.
Meanwhile, his father fought to keep everyone together, and for the bond they once had. There was a time the Tellers were happy. Happy until Clay Morrow set his eyes on Gemma Teller and decided he wanted her, no matter the consequences or how he went about it. Jax wondered when that truly started considering his father and Clay were best friends, long before Clay harbored any romantic feelings for his mother.
Jax sighed as all these thoughts bounced around in that head of his. He pulled the curtain back then peeked out the window once again. He saw nothing other than a couple hookers talking to a man staying in the room next door. This area was filled with prostitutes, bums, thugs, and drug dealers. That alone was part of Jax’s decision in setting Weston up. The neighborhood alone read crime central. Normally, the Aryans would be a little more discrete in where they held their “business” especially something as potent as meth. The whole neighborhood would go down if anything was set aflame in that old shop. But it was a risk Jax was willing to take. He had to make the Aryans look as if they got too sloppy. The carpet shop was the perfect disguise for what they had set up in that basement. No one would question the Aryans and what they were up to. It wouldn’t matter what Weston or the others said at that point. They’d be done for. At least that’s the way Jax hoped it would all play out. He was ready for this to be done. He had other things to worry about. Such as his son’s birthday, his and Riona’s upcoming honeymoon, and this fake crow his father and brother were trying to warn him about.
Chibs was filling up while the others were inside the convenience store. He was mapping the rest of the trip out in his head when he got Aislinn’s pictures. He smiled as Riona had sent him a couple of Aislinn on the stage as well. He couldn’t get over how much Aislinn looked like she herself belonged on that stage. She fit the part perfectly. All she needed was a mic and that guitar of hers. She had the biggest grin on her face. Chibs saved those particular pictures then moved them to the folder with the videos Happy had sent him.
You two get drunk and have fun! Doctor’s orders.
Chibs sent in response to both girls, and they sent him a picture of the two of them giving him a thumbs up.
Chibs chuckled amongst himself then pocketed the phone. Bobby, Tig, and Kip exited the store with these pitiful looks about them. Not that he could blame them. Normally, the road was the one place the Sons could share that appreciation of a little peace and quiet. But something about this particular trip was tense, and all they cared about was getting home. This had Chibs in thought. He cleared his throat once the boys were on their bikes.
“Change of plans.” The VP said, and this had the three of them looking to one another in question.
Chibs didn’t give any of them time to question it. He hit the road, and they had no choice but to follow.
Aislinn took her sister by the hand and gave it a little squeeze as the fog spread throughout the stage and the stage lights flickered on. Ethan and Happy stood behind the girls and let them have their moment. David Draiman of Disturbed was standing at the mic once the fog died down. The crowd went crazy once everyone recognized who it was. The man smiled then raised his fist in the air.
“How’s everyone tonight?”
David got a round of applause and cheering in response. The man softly chuckled.
“Good to hear!” He witted.
“So… Watchtower… This is something new and incredible! I mean look at the turnout!” David waved towards the crowd, and they went wild yet again.
“You guys… I’m not sure I can even put this into words, but I’m going to do my damnest. You… each and every one of you are making a difference, just by being here. As you all know the proceeds to this festival go to victims of human trafficking and suicide. It started out as human trafficking but after getting together with the boys…” David made a gesture and Chester Bennington from Linkin Park, and Jacoby Shaddix from Papa Roach walked onto the stage.
The crowd went ballistic including that of Aislinn and Riona. The boys waved towards the crowd, and Aislinn let out a squeal.
“After getting together with the boys… We decided that these two things often go hand in hand. They’re very touchy subjects, ones that need to be discussed. There shouldn’t be any shame, humiliation, or fear. Let’s not shove this into the back of our minds and pretend it doesn’t exist! Let us be the Watchtower. Let us be that guiding light, that lookout. And when I say us… I mean US as a fucking WHOLE! Let’s work together in keeping the enemies at bay!”
“And I say we start with a little rock therapy!” Chester threw out there, and everyone hollered out in celebration.
“Three days… We’re going to ROCK THE LIVING FUCK out of each and every one of you!” Jacoby added, and David and Chester chuckled.
“Alright, off my fucking stage!” David mockingly put while shoving the boys towards the exit.
Chester flipped him off.
“Yeah, yeah…” David cleared his throat, however, and the lights to the stage dimmed.
“We’re all victims. Each and every one of us. Whether we wish to admit it or not. We all battle certain demons, some more than others. The problem? No one wants to fucking talk about it! Suicide… It’s the one subject frowned upon if even mentioned! Why?! Why are we so afraid to face those demons? To let others in?! To admit that we need help? And why are we so afraid to tell those that have a problem with it to FUCK OFF!”
The crowd cheered once again.
“I WON’T GIVE UP! SO DON’T GIVE IN!” David desperately shouted, and Riona and Aislinn got a little teary-eyed as they cheered him on.
“I mean it…” David said in a softer tone.
“There’s a reason to fight. There always is… Don’t listen to those demons and what they have to say. This is our war, not theirs!”
David said then started singing A Reason to Fight.
Fog filled the stage once again, and David seemingly vanished, right after the song.
“Riona!” Aislinn exclaimed as Imagine Dragons was onstage now.
Aislinn laughed at her sister’s reaction as this was one of her favorite bands. That and she had a bit of a crush on Dan, much like that of Aislinn when it came to James Hetfield.
“You might be sitting in the darkness. But you’re not alone. You’re never alone.” Dan uttered before singing Rise Up.
The girls sang along, and Happy looked to Ethan. Ethan laughed as the Son looked completely lost. Happy had never heard of Imagine Dragons and hadn’t a clue who the fuck they were. He knew about Disturbed and Papa Roach.
The song came to an end, and they went on to sing Demons. To everyone’s great surprise David and Chester came out and sang alongside of Dan.
Imagine Dragons exited the stage, as well as David. Chester nodded amongst the crowd.
“I have a hard time with life. It’s a constant struggle. It’s a very bad place in my head, a bad neighborhood, and I shouldn’t be there alone. When I’m in there, it’s a scary place. And if I’m there too long, it’s a fucking nightmare. I drive myself fucking nuts, and I know I do this to myself. We truly are our own worst enemies. I just want to get the fuck out of there! Out of that bad neighborhood, out of my fucking head. I can do that through my family, my friends, and all you guys!”
The crowd rejoiced, and Chester nodded.
“That’s right… I love you guys. You know… Each of us has a story, and none of those stories are done. We can choose what the next chapter is going to be and where it’s going to take us. Don’t let that struggle, those demons, that darkness swallow you whole. Swim to the surface and fucking FIGHT!”
The crowd grew silent as Chester pinched his eyes shut.
“I had a very hard time last year. Let’s just say I was jumped by those little thugs in my neighborhood and those assholes wouldn’t let me go! They kept on hitting and kicking. Hitting and kicking. And when that wouldn’t work… They tried to drown me! No matter how hard I fought to reach the surface, they would pull me right back under. But look at me, all of you… Look at me. I’m here. I’m not going anywhere. No matter what they say or do. I’m here. I’m right here with you guys.”
Chester left everyone with that and went on to sing Castle Made of Glass. He went from that song to Roads Untraveled, and Riona hugged her sister as she started to cry. Ethan sang along to these particular songs as well and had his arms wrapped around his sisters. Happy kept mostly to himself. The Son took pleasure in watching the three of them enjoying themselves. That and the Son was still on guard duty. Something he took very serious after most recent events. Tried as he might, he couldn’t get that image of Riona being stabbed over and over out of his head. Normally, Happy could push past something like that, but not this time. It fucked with him and had ever since that day.
Papa Roach joined Linkin Park on stage, and they sang FEAR (Face Everything and Rise).
The Lawless family sang each lyric together. Linkin Park exited the stage towards the end, and Jacoby had the mic in hand.
“When it comes to these subjects. Silence truly is the enemy! It’s time to speak up! Fight for yourselves and everyone else!” Jacoby hollered and went on to sing Silence is the Enemy.
Once again fog spread throughout the area. Aislinn, however, let out this high pitched squeal that had everyone’s attention.
“It’s Lzzy!” She cried, and Riona laughed as her sister pointed towards Halestorm walking onto the stage.
Aislinn covered her mouth and tears streamed down her face as they said nothing and sang I Am The Fire.
Riona knew how much that song meant to her sister and got rather emotional herself. After the song was over Lzzy hunkered down on stage and in a prayer-like fashion.
“Trafficking… What is trafficking? Trafficking involves abuse which comes in many forms. Those include prostitution, slavery, servitude, sexual acts and for the mere purpose of entertainment or pornography. About eighty percent of trafficking involves sexual exploitation; nineteen percent involves labor. There are over twenty to thirty million slaves in the world at this VERY MOMENT! Six hundred thousand to eight hundred thousand are trafficked across international boarders, year round! Eighty percent which are female and half of those are children! What does that say about the world we live in?” Lzzy questioned before rising to her feet.
“How scary is that shit?! Now I don’t need actual hands raised on this. I just want to give you all something to think about. How many victims are standing amongst us here today? And how many of you have lost someone to trafficking or suicide? How many of you have been raped or know of someone that has been? I’m willing to bet damn near everyone here! Am I right?!”
The crowd was somewhat solemn, and Lzzy gave a mere nod.
“Come on ladies… Let’s fight back. What do you say?” Another voice said, and Riona and Aislinn’s jaw dropped as Pink walked right past them, and Lzzy helped her onto the stage.
The two hugged then started to sing Bad Girl’s World.
There was a small intermission, and the girls took a moment to collect themselves as Happy, and Ethan went to get everyone a beer.
“Ya alright?” Riona softly asked, and Aislinn gave a teary-eyed nod.
Riona smiled then kissed her sister’s forehead.
“Our boys were right… This is somethin’ we both needed.”
“Amen to that.” Aislinn murmured, and Riona nodded.
Ethan and Happy returned with those beers and just in time as Disturbed was back on stage and performing The Light.
Linkin Park walked onto the stage once again however and joined Disturbed with Inside The Fire.
Everyone applauded afterward, but once again the crowd grew quiet as David and Chester were hugging it out. David kissed Chester’s forehead then they walked off stage together.
The girls squealed out in unison as State of My Head (by Shinedown) echoed throughout the area.
The band entered the stage from both sides, and Riona was the one losing her shit now. Aislinn laughed at her sister’s reaction. Day one of the festival ended with Shinedown’s I’ll Follow you.
Brent blew the crowd a kiss and the lights to the stage faded.
“And that was just the first day!” Aislinn exclaimed, and Riona laughed.
“Right?! And we haven’t used our VIP passes yet!” Riona said while holding hers up.
“That almost feels overwhelmin’.” Aislinn softly put, and Riona reared back in surprise.
That didn’t sound like her sister at all.
“I think I just need a few…”
“Aye…” Riona said but with concern.
“Why don’t ya go with the boys and we’ll get to that in a few?”
Riona wanted to argue this considering how packed it was but respected her sister’s wishes. Happy found himself somewhat conflicted but could tell Aislinn needed some time to herself.
“You have my number…” Happy rather hinted and Aislinn forced a smile.
“Aye. I won’t be long.”
Ethan sighed once his younger sister disappeared through the crowd.
“Are we sure that was a good idea?” The prospect asked.
“She’ll be alright.” Happy reassured.
“Aye, Linny just needs a breather,” Riona uttered in agreement.
“Hold on Ali.” Chibs hollered as it was loud and he could barely hear what she was saying over the phone.
The VP let the others know he was headed out. The Sons gave a simple nod and went back to watching the showgirls on stage.
“This is a bad time, isn’t it?” Aislinn questioned as to how loud it was.
A wave of guilt hit as Chibs glanced back towards the stage before exiting the building. Sure, this was his idea. But he wasn’t there for his entertainment. This was for the boys.
“Nah, lass. It’s never a bad time.”
“Are ya sure?”
“Are ye alright?” Chibs questioned as he could hear the gloom in her voice.
“I’m perfect actually.”
This had the Scot rearing back in wonder.
“Ali darlin’, ye sound like yer just about done. Did somethin’ happen?”
“No. It’s all perfect. I just wanted to thank you. That’s all.”
Chibs thickly swallowed as Aislinn broke down over the phone. That of course only added to the guilt. The man wasn’t doing a damn thing wrong and yet he felt like he was. The Scot knew that had to do with Aislinn’s history. That and he weren’t sure how she’d take it if she knew where he was right now.
“And what are ye thankin’ me fur?”
“Ali…” Chibs whispered in apprehension
Ah, fur fuck’s sake… The Scot uttered under his breath. Since when did he let this kind of shit hit him?! This wasn’t anything like the porn studio incident, but it sure felt like it. Chibs detested that feeling. Things were simpler when he had no one to answer to. The club came first, always had. So this right here… took some getting used to. Not that he had any regrets when it came to Aislinn. He just needed to make a few adjustments. That wasn’t easy after spending so long on the bachelor side of things.
“Look, before ye go on thankin’ me for whatever this is… Ye should know that me and the boys are in Vegas, well aside from Jackie anyhow.”
“Vegas?! What are ya doin’ in Vegas?”
“Just a little detour before we head home, love. We had a bit of a hiccup in the plans, and we’re takin’ the long way home just ta be safe.”
“Are ya at a show?” Aislinn rather hinted, and Chibs flinched like he’d been hit.
“Scotty, ya know I trust ya!”
“I know that darlin’. We’re learnin’ as we go and I wasn’t sure how ye’d…”
“Just keep your dick where it belongs and your heart in the right place. That’s all I ask. I know your boys are goin’ to play and I don’t expect ya to go off and hide in a hotel while they do.”
The Scot closed his eyes on this. He knew he didn’t deserve her. Aislinn was this bright light, and Chibs was a tunnel of darkness. But deep down… Chibs knew he needed that light. She was his only salvation.
“Aye now, me dick cums only for ye and my heart has always been yers.” Chibs wholeheartedly put.
“Then stop your worryin’. You’ll give yourself more grays!” Aislinn bedeviled.
“Ali…” Chibs playfully scolded, and she gave a tearful giggle.
“I love ya.” She said warming his heart.
“I love ye too pet. But why are ye thankin’ me?”
“The festival. It’s just perfect, like you.”
“Aye now, I think ye have that backward. I’m nowhere near perfect.”
“Not to me. I won’t keep ya. I just wanted to let you know how much this means to me and my sister. It’s been the best day, and I just wanted you to know that!”
“Well, I’m glad Ali. Ye two deserve it.”
“Be safe Scotty. I miss you.”
“I miss you too, darlin’. I’ll see you soon.”
Chibs hung up then looked to the picture he had of Aislinn on his background. Truth of the matter? All he cared about was getting home. He’d much rather be in bed with his fiancée then at some cheap ass Vegas show. He meant it when he said he was doing this for the boys and them only. He had to think like Jax in this situation. This had the VP opening his eyes more than ever. Jax was put in this situation so many times throughout the years, and since his marriage to Riona. Jax had to balance the club and family life. Chibs was learning what it all meant; making those decisions that is.
The VP had two choices… Go on home with miserable Sons on his hands or make a little pit stop and put some smiles on those faces. Aislinn was his family but so were those boys. So Chibs went with what he felt was right instead of what he wanted. Single Chibs never took notice of things like that. He never took those sacrifices into account. Sure, Jax might’ve taken pleasure in some of those little road trips, but Chibs knew he’d much rather be home. The Scot could look back and see it written all over Jax’s face. That’s how he felt at this very moment. The VP wanted to call it a night and rush on back to Charming. He wanted to be there when the girls got back. But he had to put the MC first for now. That’s what it meant when it came to picking your battles. But knowing his old lady understood put the Scot more at ease and that guilt to rest.
Chibs reentered the building with those thoughts in mind. He nodded the boys’ direction. Each of them had grins on their faces and was truly enjoying themselves. The Scot joined them at the table, and Bobby slid a couple shots over.
“Are ya sure you’re up to this?” Riona questioned once her sister returned.
“Aye,” Aislinn reassured.
“Alright, well we have our choices between three bands, in three days. So what’s it goin’ to be today?” Riona asked.
Aislinn frowned looking rather conflicted.
“Three?! But they’re all deadly! How do we even decide somethin’ like that?!”
“I dig that Disturbed guy.” Happy uttered and the girls smiled the Son’s direction.
“I knew ya would!” Aislinn said, and Happy shrugged.
“It’s yall’s choice,” Ethan stated with that Texan accent thicker than ever.
“Well, I say whatever we decide we save Halestorm for last. Cause you know how the sayin’ goes…”Aislinn expressed, and Riona shook her head in disagreement.
“Then it would be Imagine Dragons last!” Riona argued.
“Linkin Park!” Ethan disputed and the girls laughed once they realized all four of them had their favorites.
“Alright, Linkin Park today, Imagine Dragons tomorrow, Halestorm on our last day.”
Aislinn cut Happy an apologetic look, and the Son sighed.
“I’ll see what I can do about Disturbed. If Halestorm weren’t here, they would’ve been my next choice.” The young woman admitted.
“It’s alright. I know who the favorite brother is now!” Happy playfully snipped with a curled lip Ethan’s direction.
Ethan burst into a fit of laughter, and Happy rolled his eyes.
“Prick.” Happy uttered under his breath.
“What?” Riona asked after her sister gathered this rather pouty expression.
“But I really like Papa Roach and Pink too! I didn’t even know she was goin’ to be here!” Aislinn said while consoling and hugging Happy.
The Son cut the prospect a snooty look and Ethan flipped him off in response.
“Oh Linny, you’re hopeless,” Riona said behind laughter.
“Me?! You’re the one tryin’ to put Imagine Dragons last!”
“I thought you liked Imagine Dragons!”
“I do. But Lzzy is the fucking queen Riona!”
“She is pretty fucking hot.” Happy said with a grin and the girls elbowed him.
“Oh, Mary…” Riona murmured as she was first to spot Chester and Mike.
The girls were in line with the other VIP guests. Riona pointed them out to her brother and sister.
“Oh, and there’s Joe, Brad, and Rob!” Aislinn exclaimed but was quick to blush as this had Mike Shinoda’s attention.
He nodded the sisters’ direction, and they smiled in response. Mike’s focus went back to the group they were currently talking to. The band went on to take pictures with that particular group and gave them their autographs. Riona couldn’t get over how personable each member was. Ethan laughed however as Aislinn was getting more and more anxious the closer they got in line.
“Calm down sis…” Ethan whispered.
“Aye now, this is the closest we’ve ever been to meetin’ a celebrity!” Riona defended.
“Celebrities?! These men are freakin’ lyric gods!” Aislinn swooned.
Ethan chuckled as he took notice of something but let his sister continue in that word vomit of hers.
“If only I was half as brilliant as Chester and Mike with my words. And don’t even get me started on David Draiman. Fucking legends they are! Ugh, maybe I should’ve gone with Disturbed, but it’s Lzzy and…”
Aislinn froze as there was a clearing of a throat. She’d this deer caught in headlights look and Happy was first to laugh at her reaction.
“Don’t…” She harshly whispered and with a flushed face.
The young woman sucked back the deepest of breaths then spun around.
“Hi!” She nervously put, and Mike and Chester laughed.
“No, no go on…” Mike teased, and Riona snickered.
Chester was laughing as well but gave Mike a little nudge as if to tell him to knock it off.
“And you are…” Chester questioned, and Aislinn just stood there.
Ethan cleared his throat then answered for her.
“Aislinn and this one’s Riona. They’re big fans!” He said with a grin.
Ethan nudged his sister.
“Since when do you freeze?” He whispered.
Riona took the CD and shirt Aislinn wanted signed out of her sister’s hold then handed them over. Chester narrowed his eyes as he looked Aislinn’s direction.
“You gonna be alright?”
“Aye, just give her a few,” Riona answered as Aislinn only blinked.
“Irish, huh…” Mike muttered, and Riona nodded.
Riona couldn’t believe how her sister was acting. She’d never seen this side of Aislinn before. Riona expected this kind of thing out of herself, not the other way around. But Aislinn was dead silent and just stood there. It was so bad even Happy was looking on with concern. The band signed their shirts and whatever else they had. One of the crew took their pictures, but it were as if Aislinn wasn’t even there.
Riona had a pleasant conversation with Mike and Chester and Ethan shook each member’s hand. The Lawless family and Happy were about to leave and let the next group in when Aislinn ran into someone. Her CD tumbled onto the floor, and the man she ran into picked it up for her. The two locked eyes and Aislinn let out a small gasp. Her hand flew over her mouth as the man handed the CD back.
“Sorry about that…” The familiar man softly murmured.
“Happy…” Aislinn called as she gawked at the man standing before her.
She reached out then grabbed ahold of Happy. She pulled the Son over her direction.
“Look!” She said, and Happy gave a mere nod as he shook David Draiman’s hand.
David nodded in return, but his eyes were on Aislinn.
“She alright there?”
Happy responded with a chuckle. Ethan, however, was quick to pull her off to the side.
“Aislinn, what are you doing?!” He whispered then cupped her chin so that she was looking at him.
“You’re going to kick your own ass if you don’t snap out of this!”
“I know… trust me. I know. I don’t know what’s come over me!”
Her hands were trembling, and her voice quivered. The girl was on the verge of tears.
“I get it… These guys are your idols, right?!”
“Then you gotta snap out of it or you’re going to look back and…”
“Hey…” David Draiman called and handed a bottle of water over.
“Thanks,” Ethan said as he opened the bottle for his sister.
“So this one…” David pointed Happy’s direction. “Tells me you picked these assholes over Disturbed?!” David teased hoping to lighten the mood a bit.
Aislinn managed to laugh but was quick to wipe her face with the back of her hand. She couldn’t control those tears no matter how hard she tried. She never dreamed it would hit her like this.
“She good?” Mike called, and David smiled.
“I think so!” He hollered in response and with a nod Aislinn’s direction.
“Wasn’t an easy choice,” Aislinn admitted.
“BUT IT WAS A CHOICE!” Chester taunted and while holding up a hand in apology to the next one’s in line.
“Redo?” He teased, and Aislinn laughed as she shook their hands.
“I’m Chester!” He jested.
“Oh, I know,” Aislinn said with a giggle.
“Yeah, we’re fucking legends!” Mike smoothly quoted.
“I’m so sorry. I don’t know what came over me. I’ve never had this happen. Then again, I’ve never done this so…” Aislinn trailed off realizing she was about to word vomit all over again.
“All good. Been there.” Chester surprisingly said.
“Oh yeah, made a fool out of myself. Trust me you’re golden!”
“Yeah, when he met me!” David smarted, and Chester shook his head.
The Lawless family and Happy managed to get not only Linkin Park’s but David Draiman’s autographs and pictures as well.
“What in the fuck was that?” Ethan questioned once that was over and done.
“I haven’t the faintest. Talk about scundered (embarrassed)… I completely shut down on them lads!”
“Should’ve smoked you some MJ first.” Happy said with a dismissive shrug.
“MJ?” Aislinn questioned.
Happy looked around the area then pulled a bag a weed out from his pocket. Aislinn’s jaw dropped, and Happy sent her a wink.
“Let’s get that shit taken care of!” Happy said, and they followed him back to camp.
Happy rolled up a joint and got it going before he handed it over.
“Take you a good puff of that!” He said, and Aislinn looked to her sister.
Riona gave a hesitant sigh.
“Go on…” She uttered, and Aislinn regarded her in surprise.
“It’s our vacation, right?” Riona said and took it from her sister’s hold.
She was first to take a drag. This had everyone, including that of Happy blown away. Happy gave Riona a good pat on the back as she started to choke.
“Small ones for you.” Happy taunted and everyone laughed when Riona flipped him off.
Happy got the Lawless family situated with their joints then put their autographed possessions in a secret place where he knew nothing would happen to them. When he returned, they were laughing about Aislinn’s little mishap and the band and David’s reaction to it. Aislinn had never been so embarrassed.
“And to think you got two more bands to meet!” Riona teased.
“Oh shut that gob of yours!” Aislinn said.
“Oh come on, ya expected me to act that way and ya know it, all of ya! But no it was Miss. Piper Shay the one who stole the stage and all those customers!”
Aislinn’s jaw dropped on this.
“That’s right… I know all about your thievery ways.” Riona taunted, and Aislinn snorted.
“Well, in all fairness I was only takin’ what didn’t belong to him. Those were AC’s customers.”
“Nah, those are YOUR customers Linny. They aren’t there for the booze or to see this AC fella.”
“Riona’s got a point,” Ethan uttered in agreement.
“That feels so strange,” Aislinn said after taking a long drag.
“Now imagine if that had been James Hetfield tonight. Ya would’ve crawled up and DIED!” Riona cruelly put, and Aislinn winced.
“Oh hell…” the young woman whispered while looking to the joint in thought.
“We’d have to wake her up from a coma,” Ethan added with a chuckle.
“That Metallica dude?!” Happy curiously probed.
Ethan and Riona nodded.
“That’ll be her second husband!” Riona said.
“Second?! Fuck that! I can juggle!” Aislinn teased, and Riona snorted.
“Aye, I can see it already. ‘Scotty, do ya mind if I invite Jamey over too?!’” Riona said, and Aislinn died of laughter.
“Jamey and Scotty?!” Aislinn said while hitting at her chest; she was choking in laughter.
“Ya know it!”
“Now that would be some rides!”Aislinn said with a shrug.
“Hell, and you women say we men are bad!” Ethan murmured while taking a hit.
“Nah, that’s the only threesome Linny would ever have.”
“I wouldn’t share my husband with anyone, not even Jamey!” Aislinn wholeheartedly put.
“He’s not your husband yet!” Ethan reminded with a frown.
“Poor Ethan. He can’t take it!” Riona taunted.
“You’re goddamn right I can’t. This is bullshit. Both of you. Fuck!”
“Awe, you think they’re goin’ to take us away from ya?” Aislinn said while leaning against her brother’s shoulder.
“Sometimes…” Ethan admitted, and Happy lifted his eyes on this.
Ethan sighed taking notice.
“In all fairness, you took them away from me… So…” Happy said taking them all by surprise.
“From you?!” Riona questioned.
“That’s right. You were my sisters before this motherfucker came into the picture. Don’t need blood for that shit! You’re a goddamn asshole!”
Everyone grew quiet as Happy seemed dead serious. Happy broke into a smile, however, and the three of them died of laughter.
“You really are an asshole though.” The Son murmured.
“So I’m told.”
The four of them smoked in silence. Happy figured they might as well stay put with all that pot in their system. There was no sense in driving back to the condo right now anyhow. If the girls wanted to freshen up, he could take them back in the morning.
Riona, Ethan, and Happy passed out in the girls’ tent. Aislinn, however, couldn’t sleep even with the weed in her system. She grabbed her phone and guitar then left a note letting Happy know where she was in case he woke before she returned. Aislinn wandered off to a more secluded area on the beach. She strummed on that guitar of hers and finished writing a song she’d been working on since their time in Maine. She was in the middle of playing when someone plopped down beside her.
Aislinn stopped once she saw who it was.
“Don’t… Please.” The man pleaded, and Aislinn nervously went back to plucking.
The man looked out to sea then nodded amongst himself as he listened.
“I know,” Aislinn said, and the man smiled but looked straight ahead.
“And you are?”
“You got something… Don’t lose it.”
“Yeah… play that shit again, only slower…”
Aislinn strummed on that guitar once again, but her jaw dropped when the man joined in on the lyrics, only with a more powerful spin on it. He grabbed Aislinn’s notes then looked them over. They went back and forth on this particular song.
“Sorry for intruding, that’s just what I envisioned when I heard you. Couldn’t help myself. You should give me a call sometime. I want to see where this takes you.”
“Call?!” Aislinn said behind a snort.
“Sure ya are.”
“I can be an asshole. But I don’t joke about things like this.” The man stuffed his card into her guitar strings then came to his feet.
“Got a last name to go with that first one?”
“Telford…” She lied but knew she couldn’t be straight up with this guy, no matter who he was she wasn’t exactly legal yet.
“Aislinn Telford… Hope to hear from you. Don’t care if it’s a year or so from now. I want to hear this song in its entirety. Up to you on whether you want to put my little spin on it or not.”
The man started to walk away, and Aislinn shot to her feet.
“Are ya fillin’ me full of utter shite because that wouldn’t be very nice now!” She rather snapped.
The man laughed but kept his back to her as he kept walking.
“Don’t know unless you make that call. Now do we, Aislinn? Just think of me as the crow chasing the butterfly…”
(A simple ‘like’ or review can go a long way. Thank you in advance!)