Chapter 42 – Hands In The Sky
I do not own SOA, The Pretty Reckless, Guns and Roses, or anything youtube related. I claim all original characters and give no one permission to use them.
“MOVE!” Pepper shouted as they entered the clubhouse and prospects were standing in their way.
He had Aislinn in his hold. Riona pointed to the room Chibs used for emergencies like this. She had one of the prospects look after Abel while she sanitized the room. Pepper used his knife to cut the lower part of Aislinn’s denim jeans. He shook his head once he saw the wound.
“I gotta dig that out.” Their father warned with a sympathetic glance.
“Not my first rodeo,” Aislinn uttered but with this ghostly appearance.
“Stay with me.” Pepper said as his daughter’s head bobbed about.
Pepper took his blazer off then rolled the sleeves up to his shirt. He washed his hands at a nearby sink and Riona grabbed Chibs’s medical bag. She set everything out that she knew they would need. She handed her sister a bottle of whiskey Chibs kept in the bag. Aislinn took a decent swig, and Riona took one as well.
“What is pa doin’ here?” Aislinn weakly whispered.
“Haven’t the faintest. But ya gotta stay awake, love.”
“I don’t feel so great,” Aislinn muttered, and Riona recoiled once she saw how much blood her sister had lost.
Riona placed her hand along her sister’s forehead. Aislinn was cold to the touch. Riona was quick to gather whatever blankets there were in the clubhouse. She wrapped her sister up, best she could. Pepper grabbed a pair of surgical tweezers then locked eyes with his youngest daughter.
“Deep breath,” Pepper warned before digging into the wound and searching for the bullet.
Riona held her sister’s hand as Pepper was having a hard time finding it.
“Dammit.” He uttered then lifted his eyes.
“Gotta go a little deeper. This is going to suck. I’m sorry.”
Aislinn hollered out in agony and Riona hugged her close. Ethan and Happy arrived just in time to witness this. Riona nodded in greeting.
“Shit…” Happy muttered once he saw Aislinn’s leg.
“You alright?” He asked and Aislinn nodded.
“What the hell you doing here?!” Ethan snapped while giving his father a look of hell and checking on his sisters.
Pepper didn’t answer as he was doing his best to concentrate.
“DAMMIT PA, JUST GET THE FUCKIN’ SLUG OUT ALREADY!” Aislinn hollered.
“Stay still and I will!” Pepper ordered in response.
“What the fuck is going on?!” Ethan barked.
“That’s what I would like to know.” Happy muttered with a curled lip the sisters’ direction.
“Save it! Both of you. Linny doesn’t need that shite right now!” Riona damn near growled.
“GOT IT!” Pepper announced then dropped the bullet into a bowl Riona had set out.
“LINNY!” Riona shouted after her sister passed out.
“She’ll be alright,” Pepper reassured as he got her cleaned up then stitched the area.
Mr. Lawless was no medic, but he’d been down this road many times. Most of those were self-inflicted moments or something he caused where he’d have to stitch himself up.
“Let her sleep. She’s gonna be awfully sore when she wakes.” Pepper said.
“God you two reek!” Ethan uttered after catching a whiff of his sisters.
“That they do.” Pepper murmured as he cleaned the blood off his hands.
“Like something rotten.” Happy rather hinted and this had Riona glancing his direction.
Happy tilted his head on the look she was giving him.
“I’m sorry,” Riona whispered.
“Oh, I bet you are…” Happy bitterly put.
“I meant for your loss.”
Happy reared back in question, and Riona sighed.
“We need to talk,” she whispered but while peering into the room where her son was.
Abel had fallen asleep on the couch. Riona held up a hand, and Happy waited while she went and dealt with the prospect watching after her son.
“He doesn’t leave this clubhouse. Don’t ya let that wee one out of your sight! Somethin’ happens to him, and I’ll hunt ya down! Do we have an understandin’?!”
The prospect nodded but with this wide-eyed glare. Riona gestured for Happy to follow her. She led him into the back bedroom. Ethan regarded Riona and Happy in wonder but stayed put. He wasn’t about to leave his father alone with his sister. He didn’t trust Pepper, not for a second. Ethan took his sister’s hand into his own then kissed it. Pepper watched as his son brushed his daughter’s hair back and felt for a temp.
“How long you been in town?” Pepper curiously asked and Ethan didn’t respond.
Pepper sighed as he put Chibs’s medical supplies away. Pepper dropped the rubbing alcohol then bent down to pick it up. The man let out this howl-like grunt however and hit the ground. The man was crawling on all fours when Ethan glanced that direction.
“What’s with you?!” Ethan hissed but saw where his father had been shot.
“Oh, come the fuck on!” Ethan bitched as he sprang to his feet and grudgingly helped his father.
Riona gave Happy a few minutes to process everything. The man was struck stupid and at a loss for words. The young woman went to exit the room so the Son could have a little time to himself. Happy took Riona by the hand however and pulled her towards him. Riona cringed thinking he was about to let her have it. He even had that look like he was about to rip into her.
“That won’t happen again.” He said, and Riona lowered her head in shame.
Happy lifted her chin with a single finger, and his eyes met hers.
“Next time ya tell me something is wrong. I’ll believe you.” Happy said with a single tear running down his face.
Riona reached out and wiped that tear off his cheek. Happy leaned into her touch and before Riona even realized what was happening the Son had a death grip on her. The man was beside himself. Riona had never seen him like this. This had her in sobs as well and hugging him in return.
“Do everyone a favor…” Happy uttered after dropping his hold.
Riona tilted her head in wonder.
“Take a motherfucking shower Riona! Oh, and I’m having yours and Aislinn’s shit shipped back.” The Son uttered before exiting the room and something about that made Riona laugh.
Ethan bitched under his breath as he plucked the bullet out of his father’s back. Happy peeked into the room during this. He cleared his throat gathering the prospect’s attention.
“I got some shit to take care of. I need you to watch after everyone here. Think you can do that?”
Ethan rolled his eyes gathering the hint behind that.
“Yeah, yeah… I got it.”
“You sure?!” Happy further taunted and Ethan stopped what he was doing.
“I got this, alright?! So get the fuck out of here!”
Happy gave a mere nod, grabbed a prospect, and headed out.
Happy used his shirt to cover his mouth and nose. The smell was the first thing to hit. The Son took notice of the dead prospect sitting in the van. He hadn’t a clue the prospect was even involved. All he knew was what Riona had told him. And she herself didn’t know everything. Happy shook his head the moment he spotted Juice. The Son hunkered down then felt for a pulse.
“Idiot…” Happy muttered before rising to his feet and kicking the shit out of Juice’s lifeless body.
The Son sucked back an emotional breath then took pictures of the bodies. He and the prospect loaded them into the back of the van. Happy took pictures of all the work the girls did, including the bags with Piney’s remains. The Son tossed the van keys the prospect’s direction.
“Take the van to the shop. Park it in the garage and lock everything up. Whatever you do… don’t get pulled over.”
The prospect nodded and was quick to head out. Happy did a thorough sweep of the entire house, just for his own peace of mind. The Son didn’t want any of this getting back to the girls. So he made certain there wouldn’t be any fingerprints or hair follicles to find. But as he did this, he was looking for some sort of evidence or clue as to who might’ve done this. Happy dug through Piney’s dresser drawers and nightstand but found nothing.
Ethan was putting heat to a knife of his when he took notice of the blood leaking out of his sister’s ear. This had the prospect narrowing his eyes in question. Pepper let out an howl-like cry when Ethan pressed that knife against his back, without warning. Ethan rolled his eyes and struggled in keeping his father still.
“A little warning would’ve been nice!”
“Nah, you can take it. You don’t need those sissy-ass stitches.” Ethan mocked then rose to his feet.
He went and checked on his sister’s ear. The prospect dabbed at it with an alcohol swap then took notice of the pus.
“Fuck…” Ethan muttered realizing she must’ve ruptured her eardrum.
He hadn’t noticed the bullet graze until now.
“Jesus Aislinn. You damn near had your head blown off!” Ethan uttered as he did his best to clean her ear out.
He knew Chibs would have to take care of the busted eardrum as that was beyond Ethan’s expertise.
“She alright?” Pepper asked while crawling to his feet.
Ethan didn’t respond and continued tending to his sister’s needs. Ethan ignored his father’s groans of misery as Pepper made his way over.
“Oh hell, that’s busted alright.”
“No shit.” Ethan bitterly put, and Pepper cocked a brow.
“Finally, he speaks.” Pepper sarcastically mumbled.
Ethan lifted his eyes on this.
“I want to know why you’re in Charming, and I want to know now.”
“That’s between the girls and me.”
“Oh no, you don’t. You’re not pulling that shit again. Riona and Aislinn are my sisters. So whatever business you have in Charming affects me just as much as it does them. So let’s try this again. What. In the fuck! Are you doing here?!”
Pepper checked on his daughter then sighed in thought.
“I gotta admit. I was surprised to see you in town and with them.”
“Couldn’t keep me away forever and deep down you knew this day was coming. You had to!”
“It’s a good thing,” Pepper said taking Ethan by surprise.
Pepper sighed taking notice. The man rubbed his face in misery.
“I should’ve been there Ethan. Nothing I say is going to make up for the shit I put you and those girls through, nothing. I know that. You three have every reason to hate me. Hell, Aislinn should’ve killed me, years ago. I’m surprised she didn’t.”
“What is this shit?! HUH?! Don’t tell me you’re turning a new leaf! I don’t believe that for a second! You’re a worthless, self-centered drunk! And let me guess… You’re here because you need something from them.”
“No. I’m here because they need me.”
Ethan had a good laugh at this.
“They need YOU?! Since when?! They need you like they need another hole in the head!”
“They need my protection.”
“Nah, I got that part covered.”
“Do you now?!” Pepper challenged while gesturing towards his daughter’s injured ear and leg.
Ethan recoiled, and Pepper nodded.
“Great job you’re doing kid.”
“Oh, shut the fuck up. I’ve done more for those girls in a few months than you’ve done in a lifetime!”
“Is that so?!” Pepper challenged.
“Hell yeah! All you ever did was give them hell and bring them down. And here you are… claiming that you’re here for their protection?! They got SAMCRO. They don’t need their deadbeat fair weather father around! So pack it up and get your ass back to Ireland.”
“I’m not going anywhere.”
“The fuck you’re not! You’re not wanted here!”
“So you speak on their behalf now?”
“Don’t need to. I know how they feel about you. You’re pretty much dead to them and me!”
They glanced Aislinn’s direction as she let out a painful whimper. They darted that direction and Ethan shoved his father out of the way.
“I got this. Why don’t you go and find a bottle of gasoline to nurse on?!”
“Ethan?” Aislinn called out in confusion.
“I got you.” He whispered and was quick to take her by the hand.
“How you feelin’?”
“Like I got shot.” She teased, and Ethan managed to smile.
“I need a shower.” She said after getting a whiff of herself.
“Yeah, you do! I’ll wrap that leg up so you can get to that.”
“I don’t want you passing out in there so make sure Riona’s in the room with you.”
Ethan got his sister’s leg wrapped so she could shower without water going through the bandages. He escorted her into the bedroom where Riona was.
“Sorry.” He uttered and was quick to turn his head as Riona was in nothing but a towel.
She’d just gotten out of the shower herself.
“You’re good. I forgot to grab some clothes.” Riona said while digging through the dresser drawers.
She grabbed a SAMCRO hoodie and sweatpants.
“Anything in there for Aislinn?”
“I think so,” Riona said and continued digging.
“Cool. She’s going to need some help I’m sure. I’ll leave you two to it.”
“Ethan?” Riona called just as he was to step out.
“Yeah?” He replied with his back to them.
“Don’t kill Pepper just yet,” Riona uttered and Ethan half laughed.
“I make no promises.” He said before exiting the room.
“Everything alright?” Ethan asked when Riona exited the bedroom without her sister.
“Aye, that shower took everythin’ she had. Linny’s out cold. Barely got her to the bed in time!”
Ethan shook his head.
“She lost a lot of blood.” Pepper murmured.
“She wanted to know why you’re here, and so do I,” Riona uttered, and Pepper nodded.
“She needs to hear this too.”
“Nah, ya’ve done enough damage over the years. Just tell us what you’re up to and leave Linny out of it!”
“Can’t. This involves you both.”
This had Ethan gritting his teeth.
“Quit dancing around and spit it out already!” The prospect demanded and Riona smiled.
“First off, who shot Aislinn?” Pepper questioned.
“How would we know?!”
“Hell, that probably has something to do with your arrival!” Ethan said, and Pepper shook his head.
“No. I mean… I’m here because of something along those lines. But I didn’t recognize that man.”
This had Riona and Ethan rearing back in question.
“I think you girls are in real trouble.”
“Gee, what was your first clue?!” Ethan spat.
“You don’t it. I’m here because these girls are wanted. Dead or alive! Now the ones taking shots at Riona might’ve had something to do with why I’m here. But whatever Aislinn’s dealing with… That hasn’t anything to do with this situation. At least I don’t think so. I thought it might’ve at first, until I got a better look at the guy. Trust me – not the man I’m looking for.”
“And who is it you’re looking for?!” Ethan bitterly put.
Pepper nodded Riona’s direction.
“You remember your uncle, right?”
“My uncle?” Riona questioned with perplexity.
“The uncle…” Pepper hinted once again, and Riona flinched like she’d been hit.
“Yeah… him. Look, I really fucked up.”
Riona and Ethan laughed, and Pepper closed his eyes.
“No. I mean I really, really, fucked REALLY up.”
Pepper went on to tell his story about his brother and how bitter he became over their father leaving everything to Pepper. This was a story Riona already knew, but didn’t get what this had to do with anything. And she didn’t until Pepper got to the part about the loan shark. Riona didn’t understand at first. She remembered the loan shark being there when she and Aislinn were abducted. He even mentioned that Pepper owed him. But what she DIDN’T understand was that was just a third party debt collector so to speak. Jimmy and Galen weren’t even part of the equation when this deal first took place. No, the original agreement was between Pepper and his brother Camden Daniel Lawless. Pepper lost a bet, one that nearly cost him the house, and the land itself.
The hidden affair wasn’t the only reason behind the Lawless family losing over half their cattle and struggling to have a decent meal on the table and bills paid. No, Camden had a way of tricking Pepper, even as a child. And he was no different as an adult. Camden got Pepper good and drunk, and they played a few hands. Before Pepper even thought about what he was doing… He bet damn near everything they had. Including half the land his father left him, as well as half the house. If anything happened to Pepper that land and house was supposed to go to his daughters, like he and his wife originally planned. That was until Pepper made that bet. Now it would be split up between the girls and their uncle. Pepper went out his way to keep that hush-hush. The money Riona gave him was supposed to go to Camden aka the real loan shark. That was a secret Pepper would’ve taken to the grave if his daughters weren’t in grave danger themselves. Camden managed to take advantage of his brother’s drunken, pathetic ways and Pepper woke to find that he’d signed something saying that Camden Daniel Lawless would get the girls half as well but only in the event of something happening to them. Camden had that notarized too. Like that of Galen, Camden had friends in high places. Nothing like the IRA but enough to do some serious damage if Camden didn’t get his way. Pepper was more than confident those were Camden’s boys shooting at Riona and Abel earlier tonight. They must’ve spotted Pepper’s truck and were following him. Pepper paused in mid-explanation and regarded his daughter with concern.
“I can’t believe ya led him here!”
“I didn’t. Riona, he found out where you two were, and that’s why I’m here. I’m here to bury the bastard. And I’m here to make certain you get what’s owed to you. That land and house is yours, and Aislinn’s, always was.”
“But ya done ran it to the ground, it isn’t worth shite anymore! Everyone knows that, even the ones that came after us that day! They said so themselves! Hell, the appraisers too!”
“That’s what I wanted them to think…” Pepper uttered, and Riona regarded her father in a stupor.
Pepper sighed then pinched the bridge of his nose.
“There’s oil on that land, Riona.”
“Now I know you’re lyin’!”
“No. I’m not. Camden found out, and that’s why he’s here.”
“If there was oil on that land ya would’ve banked on that years ago!”
“I thought about it. But didn’t want to mess with it at the time. Do you know how much shit goes into something like that? There would’ve been men all over the place! We would’ve been forced to shut down half the fucking farm! A lot goes into these things Riona!”
“Stop it! Just stop it! Don’t ya even fill me with such lies! Ya know ya would’ve eaten that up. Ya would’ve swum in that mess if this was true, nothin’ would’ve stopped you!”
“That’s where you’re wrong. I know I was worthless. But I never dropped yours and Aislinn’s future out of my mind. Hell, this kid too.” Pepper took something out from his billfold then handed it to Riona.
Her jaw dropped the moment she saw Ethan Hart’s name on the deed as well.
“When did ya…”
“About a year or two ago. This was AFTER I had the house appraised. No one knew about the oil. No one but me and my fucking lawyer.”
Ethan couldn’t believe what he was hearing and seeing as well. He looked the deed over and saw that it was legit. It listed all three of Pepper’s children.
“But ya was a mess…”
“I know. But I kept some morals. Tried to anyhow. But this…” Pepper tapped his finger along the deed. “Is the reason your uncle is here, Riona. I flew down just as soon as I found out! You gotta believe me! I wouldn’t let that son of a bitch hurt my kids!”
Riona pulled a certain face on this and Ethan wondered what that was about. No one took notice of Happy sitting at the bar as he’d snuck in a few minutes ago. He was going to have Ethan help with Juice, and Piney’s remains but decided it could wait. This was a family matter, after all. So the Son kept to himself but listened in.
“Riona…” Pepper said in a softer tone.
“What is it?” He asked.
“Don’t let that bastard around Linny. I mean it, Pepper.”
Ethan tilted his head as Riona’s entire body shook and her hands were balled up into fists.
“Did he hurt Aislinn?!” Ethan asked.
“I didn’t let him,” Riona said then came to her feet.
Ethan hopped up and stopped her.
“What happened Riona?!” Ethan pleaded.
“He wanted Linny, but he got me instead.”
Happy snapped a look that direction.
“No…” Ethan muttered then staggered back gathering the hint.
“Riona…” Ethan whispered while looking like he was going to be sick.
“Why didn’t you tell me?!” Pepper said with tears in his eyes.
“I tried to. But ya were lost in your own world.”
“Told me? When?!”
“At Linny’s eighth birthday! Remember how ya made the comment that he never came to our parties and how shocked ya was that he showed up and with a gift for Linny?”
Pepper nodded in memory.
“Well, I told ya I caught him messin’ around in Linny’s room, and how uncomfortable he made me! But ya shrugged it off! There’s a reason I worked so hard on gettin’ that bastard out of my sister’s memory, why I kept him away from her, and why she has no real recollection! I found Uncle Camden in Linny’s room. He was digging through her drawers and smellin’ her panties.” Riona recoiled in memory.
“I called him out on it. Linny came into the room, and I could see it all over the bastard’s face. I scolded her and told her that she needed to do her chores. Uncle Camden didn’t take kindly to that. So I took my sister’s place. That’s what made Linny’s decision about Abel so poetic. It’s like we switched roles. I took her place, and she took Abel’s.” Riona solemnly put.
“Wait… So this motherfucker raped you?!” Happy growled, and this had all three of them looking that direction.
“He didn’t rape me, just made me feel like I had been. It was a long time ago, Happy. And I don’t want any of this gettin’ back to Linny. She was so young and after what Jimmy did… This stays between us. I mean it.”
“I don’t care if it was a long time ago. If he touched you… Jax and I… Well, you know what we’ll do.” Happy severely hinted and Riona cringed in thought.
“How many times?” Pepper questioned with his eyes closed.
“A couple…” Riona admitted before taking a long plunge off the whiskey she’d given her sister earlier.
Riona started to choke, and Ethan patted her on the back.
“Got a picture?” Happy asked and Pepper nodded as he brought his wallet back out.
“It’s old, but he hasn’t changed that much.”
Pepper cocked a brow as Happy pocketed the picture.
“And he’s in town right now?” Happy questioned.
“Yeah, but he’s a good ole boy with a lot of friends,” Pepper warned.
Happy gave a simple nod then looked to Ethan.
“Hate to ruin the little reunion you got going. But we’re shorthanded, and I need your assistance right now.” Happy rather hinted.
“Gotcha,” Ethan said, but he too was keeping Uncle Camden in mind.
Happy wasn’t the only one with the mindset of vengeance.
“You two gonna be okay with the old man? Or do we need to kick his ass to the curb?” Happy asked and Riona regarded her father in thought.
“He steps out of line, and I’ll shoot him myself,” Riona revealed that she was carrying Ethan’s gun still.
“So that’s where that went!” Ethan said.
“I’ll give it back after we grab mine. It’s at the house.”
“All good. I’d rather you have it on you right now.”
“I take it Aislinn has mine?” Happy asked and Riona nodded.
“Alright. You two hang on to those. It’s going to get worse before it gets better.” Happy said, and Ethan hugged his sister before following Happy out of the clubhouse.
“I truly was a failure.” Pepper softly muttered, and Riona glanced his direction.
“My own daughter… molested. And under MY roof, by my own brother. I don’t find out until she’s a grown woman.”
“Like I said… It was a long time ago.” Riona said.
The man looked utterly broken. That was her only reason for reaching out to her father and reassuring him. But the more she thought her sister and what Aislinn went through because of her father’s gambling ways… The more that sympathy begin to fade.
“But for Linny… it wasn’t. What that man did to her… all that’s on you. Ya let us get sold off and ya let Linny get raped. All Linny wanted was her father. She just wanted to be daddy’s girl again. But “daddy” had us sold off like some sort of property.”
“That’s not how it went!”
“Save the spiel for someone else! I know ya more than anyone, more than Linny even! She might’ve known Alastar! BUT I KNEW PEPPER, INSIDE OUT! Ya was nothin’ but a-lyin’, connivin’, piece of shite that would’ve sold his daughters’ souls, to the devil himself, if it meant gettin’ another hand or another drop of alcohol! And that’s just what ya did. Ya traded us off. Whether ya meant to or not, ya did. I gave ya the money. Money I put my blood, sweat, and tears inta. I even pawned off ma’s ring! And I know they warned ya that they were comin’ for me and Linny. But ya went and bet that money anyhow!” Riona showed Pepper her mother’s wedding ring.
“Ethan did this. Ya know… the child you outcaste. The one ya said wasn’t to come near us! The one ya kept hidden! He spent his entire lifesavings in order to get ma’s ring back. He knew how much it meant to me! You would’ve never done that. So don’t ya sit there and act as if that deed puts us all in your good graces because it doesn’t, no amount of money could.” Riona jabbed her finger against the area of her father’s heart.
“That’s what we wanted. But ya let it turn to stone the day ma died. And for whatever reason, ya took that out on me and Linny. Linny more than anyone else and she was the one that never gave up hope. She just knew she was goin’ to get you to see the light again. She thought her love alone would save you! But it didn’t, and that damn near killed her. But I guess that’s what ya wanted because ya acted as if we killed ma ourselves! That’s the part of ma Linny got. She’s a fighter even for those that don’t deserve it. I could never stand by you like that. Ya were as mean as they came and Linny endured it all. That’s how much ya meant to her. That’s how badly she wanted things to go back to the way they once were.”
Riona came to her feet then headed into the room where her sister was. Pepper covered his face then had himself a good cry.
“Is that…” Ethan uttered after Happy dragged Juice’s body out.
“Yep.” The Son muttered.
“Little shit was a rat. I’m thinking Aislinn did this. At least one of those holes is from her.” Happy said with a shrug.
“She killed a Son?!” Ethan questioned in absolute shock.
“He wasn’t a Son. The moment you betray SAMCRO, you’re nothing.”
Ethan nodded in perfect understanding.
“So this won’t backfire on my sister?”
“Only if she was mistaken.”
“If Juice is proven to be innocent, which I highly doubt.”
Happy took notice of the worrisome look on Ethan’s face.
“Relax, she’s gonna be alright. I promise.” Happy vowed.
“She better be!”
“Come on brother… even if that were the case. Say she was mistaken when she killed Juice. Chibs wouldn’t let anything happen. He’d take her and run before he let a brother hurt her. Which is saying a lot… You don’t know Chibs the way I know him. Chibs lives and breathes the club. But if the club ever turned on her… that would be a different story. Trust me. Not happening.”
“I would’ve never known… I really liked him.” Ethan sadly murmured.
“We all did.” Happy solemnly put.
They stashed Juice’s body beside the dead prospect.
“Get to diggin’.” Happy uttered then tossed a shovel over.
“You’re kidding…” Ethan muttered while looking around the area.
Happy chuckled then grabbed a shovel as well.
“I know a thousand places to hide a body. No one comes out here.”
“I can understand Juice… But why are we burying the prospect out here? I mean… is this how you treat all your prospects?”
“Piney’s remains will be turned to ash. He will receive a true SAMCRO send off. Juice either killed a brother or took part in his murder. He was a rat and didn’t earn a proper send-off. He can rot with the worms. As for the prospect, we don’t normally do it this way. But this fucker was squirrely and would’ve never made it as a Son. You gotta remember, we test you guys, and you never know what those tests might be or when or where. Trust me this one belongs at the bottom of the barrel as do most of our prospects. A lot of them aren’t in it for the heart of the club, and that is their first mistake.”
“So what did this one do?”
“Can’t tell you that. At least not right now. I’ll tell you once you’ve earned your patch.”
Ethan was surprised Happy revealed that much. He was a man of few words but answered Ethan’s questions best he could, and Ethan respected that knowing Happy didn’t have to.
“What are ya doin’ Linny?!” Riona asked as her sister put her jacket on and was headed outside.
“AC’s on his way. Says it’s important. He’s pickin’ me and Ethan up.
“But we got people after SAMCRO and ya’ve been shot!”
“Due to recent deaths in the SAMCRO family, Happy isn’t openin’ shop for the next few days. He also thinks it would be safer at the bar than the clubhouse. Says he’ll follow us there. AC will make exceptions for the wee lad. Happy hour isn’t for another six to seven hours anyhow.”
“Safer at the bar?! HOW?!”
“Ya’d have to ask Happy on that one,” Aislinn replied with a shrug.
Riona thought back to the phone call Happy received at the bar this morning. She remembered how angry he was and how he slammed the phone down. Riona wondered if this had anything to do with that phone call.
“And what do we do with him?” Riona asked while pointing towards their father.
“Can ya behave?” Aislinn hollered, and Pepper gave a respectful nod.
“Ya best because I work there!”
“I’ll be on my best behavior.” Pepper vowed.
“Aye, then ya can follow us there.” Aislinn confirmed.
“But his truck is tagged!” Riona reminded.
“Riona, at this point… everythin’ we and SAMCRO own is tagged.”
Riona sighed knowing her sister made a valid point. It didn’t matter where they were or what vehicle they were in. Everything was a risk at this point.
“I wanna go!” Abel squealed as he jumped off the swing set and grabbed Thomas – The Dragon.
This was a swing set his father put in a few years ago to keep Abel entertained while he worked. His mother smiled in response.
“You’re only sayin’ that in hopes of hearin’ your Aunt Linny sing.”
“But I wants you and Linny to sing, Mommy. Annnd I wanna play guitar like you and Aunt Linny when I gets bigger too!”
“I’m sure we can arrange that. I’ll teach ya, just like I taught Linny!” His mother said.
“That be savage!” Abel said making his Aunt Linny proud.
“There ya go! Now you’re gettin’ it!” Aislinn said as she hobbled on over and took the boy by the hand.
“Is you goin’ to sing today Aunt Linny?”
“Em… We’ll see.”
“Aunt Linny isn’t feelin’ so great, love. Maybe another time.”
Abel frowned, and Aislinn leaned into his ear on the way to AC’s car.
“I’ll sing somethin’, just for ya!”
Abel smiled then hugged her leg.
“Careful love.” Aislinn reminded.
“Sorry,” Abel said before kissing the bandaged area.
Riona overheard this and was shaking her head in disapproval. She wanted her sister off that leg and resting. She knew if Chibs were here he’d feel the same way. Aislinn, however, couldn’t get ahold of Chibs and was starting to worry. As for Riona, she talked to Jax last night but didn’t tell him about Gemma, Piney, or Juice just yet. She didn’t want him on the road with those things in mind. What she didn’t know was Happy already called and told Jax everything. As to Jax’s disappointment when he asked his wife if there was anything else he should know. All she would say is that they needed to talk when he got home. Deep down, Jax knew her reasoning. Still, he wished she would’ve told him the truth.
Aislinn gave Happy his gun back, and he tucked it away.
“How ya feelin’?” The Son questioned afterward.
“Could be worse.” She said with a shrug, and Happy nodded in response.
“I’ll be right behind you. So pay attention to any signals I give.”
“Alright. But we need to talk about last night…”
“We will.” Happy vowed but gestured for her to go on.
AC opened the car door, and Abel and Aislinn crawled in first. The man lowered his shades however when it was Riona’s turn.
“Damn, Jax is one lucky son of a bitch.” He muttered once she was in the car.
AC shook his head then shut the door.
“Heard that,” Ethan muttered.
“Don’t be jealous muffin. You know I love you.” AC said then sent him a flirtatious wink.
“Yeah, could’ve done without that,” Ethan muttered then hopped into the front with AC.
“Everyone ready?” AC questioned while peering into the rearview mirror.
He got a better look at Riona as she was putting Abel’s seatbelt on.
“Hm, you are gorgeous,” AC muttered under his breath causing Aislinn to giggle and Riona to blush.
“Dude, knock that shit off. That’s my sister.” Ethan hissed as AC exited the SAMCRO parking lot.
“Is you really Aunt Linny’s boss?”
“Linny?” AC questioned.
“That’s what he calls Aislinn,” Ethan whispered.
“Yep!” AC replied.
“You no act like one.”
“Oh?! And what do I act like?”
“I dunno but no a boss,” Abel said, and Aislinn and Ethan laughed.
“Kid’s got a point,” Ethan said with a shrug.
“Flirting with his mother I’m sure doesn’t help,” Ethan muttered, and AC shrugged.
“Is you okay Aunt Linny?” Abel asked as she was fixing the bandages on her leg.
She nodded then lowered her denim pant leg back down.
“Aye, just burns every now and then.”
“Ya should be restin’ and keepin’ that elevated!” Riona scolded, and Aislinn sighed.
“What happened?!” AC questioned.
“Someone shot her.” Ethan replied.
“SHOT HER?!” AC exclaimed then craned his neck that direction.
“Are you alright?!” He asked with concern.
“I’m alright but we won’t be if ya don’t get your eyes back on the road!” Aislinn scolded.
“How’d that happen?” AC asked as he stopped at a red light.
“Long story…” Aislinn murmured while looking out the window.
“Uncle Chibs has crutches, Aunt Linny. Daddy use them a long time ago!”
“Em, I’ll look into that.”
“It will help.”
“Ya take good care of me lad!” Aislinn complimented, and Abel smiled.
“We supposed to take care of family. That’s what daddy always say.”
AC headed to the bar then parked in the back. He and Ethan helped Aislinn out of the backseat and into the bar.
“Thank you.” She said once they got her situated.
“Want a beer? Something harder maybe?” AC offered.
“A beer would be nice.”
“On it. Just stay off that leg, alright!” AC uttered.
“Is this where you sing Aunt Linny?” Abel said while climbing onto the stage.
“Sure is. Be careful up there!”
Abel smiled and danced around on stage.
“I wants a blue guitar for my birthday!”
This had his mother, aunt, and uncle regarding one another in thought.
“Do you now?” Ethan asked with a grin.
“Can I mommy? PLEASE?! I promise to take care of it. You can teach me, so I plays like you and Aunt Linny!”
“Now that kid is cute as hell,” AC uttered, and Ethan nodded in full agreement.
Abel often enough reminded him of Liam.
“We’ll see,” Riona replied, and Abel nodded.
“Ethan?!” Aislinn called from where she was sitting.
“Would ya mind gettin’ my guitar out of the trunk?”
“Not at all.”
Happy, Rat and Pepper entered the bar and sat at the table where Riona and Aislinn were seated. Happy had a few prospects keeping watch of the neighborhood. He wasn’t taking any chances considering he was the only Son in town and there were just a handful of prospects left. Happy hoped the others would show up soon. He’d be fucked if anything went south.
“Who’s that fella?” Aislinn whispered as to the lone cowboy sitting off to a corner of the bar.
The man had his head down and a beer in hand. She couldn’t see his face as the black cowboy hat kept it hidden.
“He’s been here since we opened. He isn’t disturbing anyone and tips well.” They heard, and Aislinn sprang to her feet and hugged Leia.
“Take it easy, Linny!” Riona reprimanded as her sister nearly fell.
“What’d you do to yourself?” Leia questioned after getting a better look at her.
“Nothin’. I’m alright.”
“You’re paler than usual.”
“Aye now, I’m Irish. We’re always pale! Where’s Sam?”
“She’ll be here in a couple hours,” Leia said but with a curled lip.
“What was that?!” Aislinn asked.
“We’ll explain later…”
“And you are?” Leia questioned with a nod Pepper’s direction.
Mr. Lawless came to his feet then offered his hand in greeting.
“Alastar – Aislinn, Riona, and Ethan’s father.”
Leia gathered this dumbfounded expression and shook the man’s hand.
“Your father…” Leia whispered in a daze.
“Aye… another long story. But no one calls him Alastar anymore.” Aislinn said.
“Oh?!” Leia curiously put.
“He goes by Pepper. And that’s my sister – Riona.” Aislinn pointed Riona’s direction.
“Riona, this is Leia. AC’s sister.” Aislinn introduced.
The two women shook hands.
Ethan returned with Aislinn’s guitar. The young woman pointed Abel’s direction.
“Let him have a go at it.”
Ethan nodded then handed Abel the guitar. Abel regarded his aunt with a big ole grin on his face.
“Aye, just take care of her. That guitar means a lot to me.”
“I will. I no let anything happen to it. I promise!” Abel said.
Ethan got the boy situated in one of the chairs. Aislinn watched as the boy plucked at the strings and banged his little head.
“Alright, Leia I need you to tend to the customers. Ethan, I need you, Aislinn, and that one…” AC pointed Riona’s direction but with a wink.
“To come with me.”
Happy stayed behind with Pepper and Rat and watched after Abel.
AC pulled up a couple chairs for the sisters then looked to Ethan.
“You’re good.” He taunted, and Ethan chuckled as he stood between his sisters.
AC headed for the monitor on his desk. He retrieved a remote from his pocket then turned the monitor on. There was something paused on the screen already, and AC signaled Ethan over.
“That guy look familiar?” AC questioned then zoomed in on the man’s face.
“Oh shit…” Ethan muttered then waved his sisters over.
“Isn’t that…” Ethan questioned, and Riona pulled a face on this.
“Sure looks like it.”
“So ya know him?” Aislinn asked with this confused mien and got a better look.
“Afraid so.” Riona practically whispered.
“Well, I don’t!” Aislinn said causing Ethan and Riona to cringe.
Riona drew back the deepest of breaths.
“He’s our uncle, Linny.”
“Aye, Pepper’s brother – Uncle Camden.”
“That’s his name?!
Riona gave a simple nod.
“Huh… I must’ve forgotten his face. But I remember his voice, funnily enough. Isn’t that strange? Did he come with pa?!” Aislinn innocently questioned as she hadn’t a clue.
Aislinn looked to her brother and sister in question.
“Aislinn, he’s here because of us,” Ethan whispered.
Riona shook her head then told her sister the truth, aside from what took place at Aislinn’s eighth birthday party. She hadn’t the heart to tell her sister about that. And Riona didn’t see the point after all these years. So she told her sister about their father’s gambling mistake, the oil, and the deed that was under all three of their names. This ended with Aislinn Lawless dying of laughter.
“That’s a good one! How’d pa come up with that arseways story?!” Aislinn howled and loud enough that Pepper could hear her from where he was sitting.
“He’s telling the truth Linny.”
“Sure he is! We’ve been sittin’ on a gold mine for the past couple years! WHO KNEW! Isn’t that some shite, Riona?! Ya can’t possibly believe that!”
“He’s got the deed on him…” Riona softly uttered.
“Look for yourself,” Riona added.
Aislinn shook her head and laughed along the way.
“Alright pa! Show me how rich we’re gonna be!” Aislinn said behind tears of laughter.
Pepper cleared his throat then dug his wallet out from his back pocket. He handed the deed over and gave a mere nod. Aislinn took her time looking it over.
“Two years, huh?”
Her father nodded once again.
“So ya knew about the oil the day Riona, and I was taken?”
Pepper recoiled, and Aislinn laughed once again.
“That’s rich. We’re rich. Hell, let’s just tear the whole house down and start us an oil field business. Ya can manage it, right pa?!”
“Aislinn…” Pepper said as she was getting wound up.
“Abel love.” Aislinn sweetly called.
“Why don’t ya ask Happy if he can take you to the new ice cream shop next door?”
“ICE CREAM?!” Abel squealed.
Happy narrowed his eyes on this.
“Take him, please,” Aislinn whispered and the Son gave a mere nod.
Happy held his hand out, and Abel put Aislinn’s guitar down. He took Happy’s hand, and the two headed on out. Aislinn waited until they were out of the bar. She shoved her father into the chair he was sitting in then slugged him across the face.
“Ya came all this way just to tell us that hogwash?! Either that deed’s a really good fake. Or you’re up to another scheme, and I’m not havin’ it! I’ll bury your arse alive before ya go and pull some shite like that again. I’m pure done with your destructive ways and neverendin’ lies!”
“It’s no lie and no scheme. Look again; I’m nowhere on that deed!”
“I noticed. All the more reason… So why don’t ya get to the truth now?!”
“Aislinn baby, that is the truth.”
“Baby?! I haven’t been your baby since ma died!”
“You’ve always been my baby. Nothing about that has changed!”
“Em, and what is it you need now pa? Money? Food? A place to stay? An alibi perhaps?!”
“Just my girls and my son. That’s all I want.”
Aislinn laughed so hard she snorted.
“Now that’s a good one! You hear this shite Riona?! Pa only needs us and Ethan. He’s had a miraculous change of heart! Isn’t that wonderful?!”
“Aislinn…” Pepper called as his daughter was pacing the area and limping on that wounded leg of hers.
The man came to his feet and held his hands in the air as he approached his youngest daughter.
“Don’t. You just stay right there.” Aislinn severely warned.
“Linny love…” Riona called and started that way only to have Ethan stop her.
AC and Leia watched from the bar.
“I got this.” Pepper made clear and gestured for his other children to stay put.
Aislinn had that wild look in her eyes, and everyone knew not to push her when she was at that point. Pepper inched his way over, despite his daughter’s warning. He withdrew his gun, and there was a silencer attached. To everyone’s great surprise, Pepper handed the firearm over then put it to his forehead.
Aislinn gritted her teeth, and her finger twitched along the trigger.
“It’s okay. If you need to do this, it’s okay.” Pepper reassured, and Riona clamped a hand over her mouth realizing her father was dead serious.
“I know what I did. I know I have this coming. And if it’s going to be anyone, it should be you Aislinn.”
Pepper closed his eyes, and Riona let out a bit of a yelp when Aislinn cocked the gun. Leia and Riona screamed, and the lone cowboy jumped as the gun fired. Pepper, however, was still standing. Mr. Lawless opened his eyes and with this apologetic air about him. Aislinn checked the barrel and found just the one bullet.
“I took a bit of a gamble. Sorry love, but I knew you needed that.” Pepper admitted, and Aislinn’s jaw dropped.
“I’ve been holding on to that one bullet for years. I’ve had my share of Russian roulette. Hell, I’ve even prayed for that thing to go off and thought you’d be the one. Guess not.”
Ethan was quick to sit Riona down as she was about to pass out. Aislinn stared her father down but with hot tears streaming down her face.
“Feel better?!” Her father asked, and Aislinn dropped to her knees.
Pepper came to his as well and pulled his youngest daughter into his arms.
“I’m sorry, kid. I’m so fucking sorry. I should’ve been there. I should’ve…” Pepper cried, and Aislinn broke into sobs as well.
“I don’t blame you for wanting me dead. Not even a little.” Pepper added then hugged her even closer.
The cowboy lifted his head and observed from afar. Riona, however, caught wind of this man’s face, and the man was quick to shush her, by putting a single finger to his lips. Riona regarded the man in utter confusion. He gave a mere nod before lowering his head back down.
“Isn’t that…” Ethan whispered, and Riona nodded.
Ethan reared back looking just as lost. Pepper came to his feet then let out an painful grunt as he lifted his daughter up off the floor. He carried her to the bar then sat her down on the counter. Pepper pushed past the stabbing sensation in his back.
“If you want me dead still…” Pepper put the bullet into the right slot then snapped it shut.
He handed it over yet again and nodded.
“That’ll do the job.”
Aislinn eyed that gun for a solid minute before she went to hand it back.
“Keep it. If you change your mind… that bullet’s yours.” Pepper wholeheartedly put, and Aislinn gave a sad nod.
“I love you kid. I love you so fucking much. I love all you kids.” Pepper said with a nod Ethan and Riona’s direction.
“I wouldn’t be here if I didn’t. This shit we’re in, it’s deep. Real deep.”
Aislinn lifted her eyes on this.
“Like I said. Hold on to that gun. You might be changing your mind before the day is done.”
Pepper explained the situation once again, but like that of Riona, he withheld what happened at that birthday party.
“So our uncle wants the land and the only way to get that is if we’re out of the picture, all three of us? Correct?!”
“That about sums it up.” Pepper replied.
“Jaysus. That’s a lot to juggle right now.” Aislinn murmured in thought.
Pepper tilted his head on this.
“He’s not the only one after us. Someone’s got it out for all of SAMCRO.” Aislinn whispered then regarded her brother and sister in thought.
“I haven’t told Happy about Juice or his connection with Piney. Annnd I can’t get ahold of Scotty.” Aislinn kept her voice down. But Riona could tell the “cowboy” was keying in on her every word.
“I’m startin’ to worry. What if somethin’s happened?” Aislinn murmured.
“I’m certain he’s alright,” Riona said while running a soothing hand along her sister’s back.
“Oh, he’s just fine. Trust me.” Ethan bitterly put, and Riona nudged her brother in a scolding manner.
Ethan rolled his eyes but didn’t utter a word.
“I think Happy’s figured that out for himself.” Rat threw in as he’d kept to himself the entire time.
Aislinn looked to the prospect in question. The prospect made his way over and softly explained.
“Let’s just say Happy is pretty intuitive. I think he knew something was up. He also pinpointed the bullet from his gun. You know… the one you shot Juice with? But he doesn’t know where the other slugs went so he can’t compare them.”
“Ya mean to say Juice is dead?!” Aislinn asked in downright shock and Rat regarded Aislinn in disbelief.
“I thought… Wait… You didn’t…”
“I shot him, Rat. But I didn’t kill him. I was savin’ him for you boys! I’d never take matters into my own hands like that, not unless I had to. I only wanted him to talk. Jaysus, I can’t believe Juice is dead.” She sadly whispered.
Aislinn hopped down then braced herself against the bar.
“I think he died saving me. Rat, I have to talk to Happy. This isn’t right. I can’t have you boys thinkin’ Juice went out like that. He was backed into a corner. Someone had him…”
“Linny?!” Riona called with concern.
Aislinn was thinking back to the dream she had and the warning behind it.
“Juice was the fake… but he was just the pawn.” She whispered.
Riona tilted her head on this and the sisters locked eyes for a brief moment.
“He was the way in!” Riona said, and Aislinn nodded.
“Then someone had somethin’ big on him,” Riona added.
“Aye, real big.” Aislinn agreed.
“That’s not what concerns me at the moment. There’s a puppet master somewhere, and I’ve a feeling he’s got a lot more up his sleeve.” Aislinn alleged.
“Ya mean the man from the bar and Happy’s place?! The man that was chasin’ you?!” Riona uttered looking ill.
“That man killed Piney and Juice,” Aislinn said, and Riona cringed.
“He’s got a fucking list.” Rat uttered in thought.
“List of crows and their family,” Riona confirmed before grabbing her cellphone.
“What are ya doin’?!” Aislinn curiously asked.
“I have an idea, but I need to run it past Jackson first. I don’t wanna sound too crazy just yet.” Riona said then headed into the office and shut the door behind her.
“Make yourself at home!” AC smarted.
Happy entered the bar with Abel, and the boy had an ice cream cone in hand. Rat nodded Aislinn’s direction, and she mouthed the words thank you. Rat took Abel into the arcade area. Happy waved Aislinn over, and she followed him to one of the tables. Aislinn kept her voice down but explained everything, in detail. Happy took mental notes of everything she said then leaned back in thought.
“I didn’t kill Juice, Happy.” She whispered once again.
“Wouldn’t blame you if you did.”
“Aye, but ya know me. I wouldn’t lie to ya.”
“Actually, you would…” Happy cruelly reminded and Aislinn recoiled.
“But not about this.” Happy added and Aislinn let out a breath of relief.
“What’s goin’ to happen?” She hinted.
“You mean to you?”
“No, Scotty. Will this hurt him?”
Happy cocked a brow then gathered this somewhat amused presence.
“So let me get this straight… You’re worried that your actions will get your man into trouble or demoted even?”
“Aislinn, you should be worried about yourself.”
“Myself?! But this is HIS club! His life!”
“This is your life and your club too.” Happy wholeheartedly reminded.
“Ya know what I mean. I’d never forgive myself if…”
“Not happening.” Happy sternly put.
“If anyone and I mean anyone has a problem with your decision. They’ll have to answer to me. And nothing is happening to Chibs, alright?!”
“Just let me worry on it.” Happy rose from the table and Aislinn crossed herself.
She swallowed back the massive lump within her throat. The young woman sat there for a good ten minutes before coming to her feet. Aislinn made her way to the stage then picked her guitar up. Riona exited the office just as Aislinn started strumming a few notes. Abel heard this from the arcade room and darted into the room. Aislinn kept her head down as she sang House On a Hill by The Pretty Reckless.
Somewhere in the end of all this hate
There’s a light ahead that shines into this grave
That’s in the end of all this pain
In the night ahead, there’s a light upon this house on a hill
Living, living still, their intention is to kill and they will, they will
But the children are doing fine, I think about them all the time
Until they drink the wine and they will, they will, they will
Somewhere in the end we’re all insane
To think that light ahead will save us from this grave
That’s in the end of all this pain
In the night ahead, there’s a light upon this house on a hill
Living, living still, their intention is to kill and they will, they will
But the children are doing fine, I think about them all the time
Until they drink the wine and they will, they will, they will
I am not afraid, I won’t burn out in this place
My intention is to fade and I will, I will
In this house on a hill
The dead are living still, their intention is to kill and they will, they will
Keep your children safe inside, out of pocket, out of mind
Until they drink the wine and they will, they will, they will
Pepper was first to clap, and Aislinn lifted her head on this.
“That was beautiful. I forgot how talented you girls are.” Her father complimented.
Aislinn didn’t comment and went to put the guitar down.
“No stop Aunt Linny!” Abel pleaded and the young woman’s eyes locked with her nephew’s.
“You want another song?”
The boy nodded then pulled up a chair, right in front. Aislinn couldn’t help but smile.
“You’re gonna make some lass real happy one day. Ya know that?!”
Abel blushed in response, and Aislinn sent the boy a wink. Ethan let out a howl as his younger sister strummed the chords to Sweet Child by Guns and Roses.
This seemed to put everyone in a better mood, even that of Pepper. Aislinn narrowed her eyes the cowboy’s direction as he too seemed to be watching her. This had her somewhat suspicious considering everything they’d discuss while in his presence. For all she knew, this could be one of her uncle’s men, or he could have something to do with Piney and Juice himself. Aislinn finished the song but handed Abel her guitar afterward.
“Remember, take good care of her.”
“I know. I no let anything happen to her.” Abel looked to the guitar in thought.
“Why is your guitar a girl?”
“Ya know… I’m not sure why. Just kind of hit I guess.”
“So you just knows it’s a girl?” Abel said with a giggle.
Aislinn laughed as well.
“Why don’t ya go practice in the office?”
“Okay!” Abel said then headed that direction.
AC pulled the door to then nodded Aislinn’s way.
“We weren’t quite done with that talk…” AC reminded.
“Aye well, can ya give me a few?”
AC looked to the time.
“You got ten.”
“Alright,” Aislinn said while stepping off stage and making her way towards the cowboy.
“Another beer?” She offered, and the man gave a simple nod.
“Anythin’ to go with that?”
“I’ll take a shot.” The man softly uttered.
“Shot of what?”
“Whatever you would drink.” The man said, and Aislinn reared back on this.
“…okay… Jameson it is.” She muttered as she headed back to the bar and grabbed the man another beer and shot of Jameson to go with that.
“What’s with ya?!” Aislinn questioned as to the odd look Ethan and Riona were giving her.
“Nothin’,” Riona uttered.
“You just took that man’s order, didn’t you?” Ethan probed, and Aislinn nodded.
She sent her brother and sister an odd glance but made her way back to where the man was sitting. She handed the beer and whiskey over then sat across from him.
“I’m surprised you’re still here. Wild day and all, ya know…”
“Seen and heard worse.” The man muttered with an American accent.
“Have ya now?”
The man kept his head down but nodded.
“Em… Don’t see many cowboys here.”
“I’m sure they’d stay clear of a place like this darling. It’s not every day a lady pulls a gun on her father, in a bar nevertheless.”
“In this town? Ya’d be surprised.”
Aislinn looked to be in thought.
“In this town especially.” She softly added.
“You have no idea.” The man said before taking his shot and chasing it with the beer.
“So is this the part where you threaten my life?” The man questioned, and Aislinn leaned back as she studied the man before her.
“Do I need to?” Aislinn said while placing her gun on the table.
“I think you just did.” The man uttered in amusement.
“Some are inclined to think so. Look lady, if I was going to say something… I wouldn’t be sitting here. The sheriff would’ve been here awhile ago. Trust me, I know all about daddy issues. So whatever you and your old man got going… that’s between you two. All I want is to hear that pretty voice of yours and have me another shot. That okay with you?”
“I’m sure we can arrange that,” Aislinn uttered while putting her gun away.
“Thank you.” The man said while tipping his hat to her.
Aislinn came to her feet, grabbed a bottle of Jameson and made her way back to the table. She poured the man another shot. She ignored the bizarre looks her siblings were giving her.
“On the house.” She said, and the man set the shot down.
Aislinn started towards the stage only to have the cowboy wrap his hand around her wrist and pull her into his lap.
“Alright ya Rale Bulgarian, ya got some fuckin’ nerve…”
The cowboy dodged her fist as she took a swing at him. The man wrapped his arms around her waist and arms so she couldn’t move. Aislinn fought to break out of his hold. AC went to intervene, and Ethan and Riona stopped him. AC narrowed his eyes, and Riona smiled.
“Wait for it…” She whispered, and Ethan chuckled.
“He’s a dead man is what he is,” Ethan muttered under his breath.
“Now, just hold on!” The man hollered and had Aislinn overlapping him.
Aislinn tried headbutting him, and the man blocked her attempt.
“Keep the heid (stay calm/don’t get upset). Jaysus, ye really are a pain in me fuckin’ arse, but I love ye.” The man softly put, and Aislinn’s jaw dropped.
She snatched the hat off the man’s head, and he gave a simple nod.
“Hey there darlin’… Heard ye’ve been a very naughty pet.”
Aislinn was at a loss for words as she gawked at the familiar Scot.
“Em…” The man hummed in mere amusement.
“Well, ye gonna say somethin’ or arentcha?!”
Aislinn shook her head then crawled out of his lap.
“Ali…” The Scot called, and Aislinn kept walking.
“Shit…” Ethan whispered once he saw the look on his sister’s face.
“Real smooth, asshole.” Chibs heard Ethan mutter.
The Scot ignored this and chased after Aislinn as she went out back.
“Ali!” He called once again.
“I was afraid somethin’ happened to ya!” She said but with her back to him.
“You wouldn’t answer your phone, and my mind was playin’ tricks on me!” But as Aislinn said this, she felt somewhat hypocritical. She thought back to when she ignored his calls at the festival. She figured this was karma making its way back to her.
Chibs nodded amongst himself then inched his way over. He waited until he was directly behind her.
“Takes two to play that game, bonnie (beautiful).” Chibs spun her about so that she was facing him.
“How do ye think I felt when Jackie called and told me what ye girls had pulled?! Em?!”
“So this was payback?! Ignorin’ my calls, makin’ me think somethin’ happened to ya?! And dressin’ up as some cowboy with a phony accent?! Makin’ a complete fool out of me?!
“I didn’t ignore your calls — my phone’s dead. I’ve been on the road over forty-six hours. All I cared about was gettin’ home… to you.” Chibs shook his head.
“Ye see I wanted ta really give it ta ye! I was hoppin’ mad Ali! I couldn’t believe ye went and pulled some shite like that. But ma heid’s mince now (My head’s a bit mixed up now), because I want nothin’ more than ta make love ta ye for hours on end, but then I got all that shite with Piney and Juice on the back of me mind, and I don’t know what ta do with all that!”
Aislinn recoiled as the Scot had tears in his eyes.
“And before ye go on wonderin’ how I knew all that…” Chibs brought out some sort of device, and they could hear what was being said in the bar.
“Ya bugged AC and Ethan’s bar?”
“Aye, but not for that purpose. I snuck inta the clubhouse and got it bugged too. And ye have no idea how hard that was. I knew ye was there and had to walk away. I’m not here ta mess with ye. That’s just a bonus I suppose. I hadn’t a clue ye was goin’ ta be here tonight. I’m here in hopes of hearin’ somethin’ about SAMCRO. I know this place is hoachin’ (full), thanks to ye.”
“Wait… the clubhouse?! Jaysus. Just how long have you been in town?!”
“A few hours…”
“And ya couldn’t see me?! What the hell, Scotty?! Ya were in the clubhouse?! I was there!”
“I couldn’t, Ali.” Chibs apologetically uttered.
“WHY NOT?!” She asked taking offense.
“Because I knew no matter how mad I was… I’d only have one thing on my mind, and I can’t afford ta be selfish right now. I gotta find out what’s goin’ on before another crow falls. All I could think about was seein’ you, first thing! But I couldn’t. Like right now… Ye’ve no idea. Hell, back at that table and watchin’ ye on that stage… I want ye. So fuckin’ bad. But I can’t have ye. Not until I’ve put all this crazy shite to rest. Not until I know you and everyone else is safe!”
The Scot put his forehead to hers then breathed her in. Before he could even think about what he was doing, Chibs had her lifted up off the ground and pressed up against the building. The two were in a heated kiss when the back door swung open.
“Ten minutes is up,” AC announced, and Aislinn let out a miserable groan.
“Ya got some fucked up timin’!” The young woman scolded.
“Sorry,” AC uttered but with a nod Chibs’s direction.
The Scot lowered her down and nodded in return. He watched as Aislinn followed AC inside.
Chibs pulled the door to then nodded Ethan and Riona’s direction. Riona shook her head as if to scold him. Chibs responded with a shrug. Ethan headed into the office where Leia, AC, and Aislinn were. AC shut the door behind him.
“Guess we’re tendin’ bar now?” Riona teased as the employees were in the office now.
Chibs welcomed himself to another beer.
“Nah, that just means everythin’s on the house.”
“I can’t believe ya tricked my sister like that!”
“Aye, well she made it too easy and in all fairness that wasn’t really meant for her. Just worked out that way.”
Pepper nodded Chibs’s direction, and the Scot nodded in return.
“I bet that’s just a wee bit awkward.” The Scot whispered, and Riona laughed.
“Ya’ve no idea.”
“So who stitched me, girl, up?”
Riona pointed towards their father and Chibs looked slightly stunned.
“Anyone else hurt or dead?” Chibs questioned.
“Depends… what all have ya heard?”
“I know about Piney, Juice, and the prospect.”
“Linny’s got a busted eardrum from a bullet grazin’ her ear, and I’m guessin’ ya already know about the leg. Not that she can hide that. She needs to stay off it. Pepper took a bullet to the back, but Ethan took care of it from my understandin’.” Riona shook her head in thought.
“I’ll hafta check on that ear…,” the medic murmured in thought.
“What?!” Chibs questioned once he saw the look Riona was giving him.
“How could ya sit there so calmly with everythin’ goin’ on?! That must’ve been killin’ ya!”
“Ye have no idea. I damn near leaped out of my skin a couple times. Especially when I thought me girl shot her own father.”
“Why didn’t ya?”
“I figured if she was goin’ ta kill him it was time. We both know the bastard has it comin’. Besides, it’s rather interestin…”
“The things people say and do when they think yer not around. Ye learn quite a bit. I suppose that was my other reason. I wanted to see just how far things were taken if I didn’t get involved.” Chibs said while thinking back to Happy and Aislinn’s conversation. Something about that melted his heart, but at the same time he wished she’d worry about her wellbeing instead of his.
“Well, yeah have more patience than I ever would. I would’ve snapped!”
“I trust me girl. I knew she had it covered, no matter how painful it was to witness. I knew Ali had it. I only wish you two didn’t have to go through all that. And I’m not just talkin’ about tonight, darlin’…”
Riona regarded the Scot in wonder. He wasn’t about to bring up the ped uncle but that came to mind as well.
“I know what ye two did. I know ye took care of Piney. Ye two darlins proved just how much ye belong. We’ve never, and I mean never had old ladies do somethin’ like that out of the kindness of their own hearts before, that includes Gemma. You two never cease to amaze me and Jackie. Jackie would be proud of you Riona. Hell, I’m proud of ye both, even if ye went and pissed us off with what ye pulled. But I know why and ye two were right… it had to be done. If ye hadn’t listened to that instinct of yers… There’s no tellin’ what we would’ve come home to, or not come home ta.” Chibs pecked Riona on the cheek then gave her hand a comforting squeeze.
“I got your back, and I know Happy does as well.”
Ethan shook his head once Leia and AC revealed the truth behind Sam and her involvement with Darren from Corky’s sports bar.
“Oh, that bitch is gettin’ such an arse-kickin’!” Aislinn angrily spat, and Leia hugged her.
“God, I love you!” She said, and AC cleared his throat.
“So here’s the thing… I don’t want her to know that we’re onto her. Meaning… you have to play dumb, bro. Go on that date you promised. Get close and see if you can find anything on Darren and why he would send her ass over here to spy on us.”
“I can answer that shit already!” Ethan spat.
“He wants my sister!”
“I know, but there’s more to it. There has to be.” AC uttered in thought.
Ethan nodded in agreement.
“So you gonna do it?!” AC asked with a mischievous grin.
“Yeah, I’ll play the bitch.” Ethan bitterly muttered.
“I’m sorry,” Leia whispered and Ethan’s eyes locked with hers.
“Just how long does my brother have to date this fake gash?!”
Aislinn asked taking everyone by surprise.
“Oh come on… These two are mad for one another. I mean look at them!” Aislinn teased, and Ethan gave his sister a wide-eyed glare.
Leia blushed, and AC curled his lip in protest.
“Not happening.” AC made clear,.
“Oh, it’s gonna.” Aislinn challenged.
“No. It’s not.”
“It will, because I’m gonna make it happen.” She said with a playful wink Leia’s direction.
Aislinn ushered the two out of the office then shut the door. She shook her head as if to reprimand AC.
“Really?!” She hissed.
AC raised his brows on this.
“My brother’s a good man. So what’s the prob?!”
“He’s a prospect for an MC.”
“So?! I’m marryin’ the VP!”
“That’s fine… for you.” AC cruelly hinted, and Aislinn let out a small growl.
“Oh Joseph, Mary, and Jaysus above! Ya tend a fuckin’ bar and make cat calls to every woman ya find attractive. Say what you want about me but don’t you stand there and judge my brother! What makes you so fuckin’ special, ya judgmental gowl (idiot)?!”
“I’m not, but Leia is. She deserves better.”
“It’s HER life to live. Shouldn’t she be the one deciding what she deserves? Or have you always dictated her life?”
“I don’t dictate her life.”
“No, you just tell her who she can and can’t date. That’s all.”
AC cursed under his breath when Aislinn stormed out of the office.
Aislinn entered the bar just as Pepper was explaining how he knew Gemma Morrow. This had everyone’s curiosity, and Aislinn couldn’t help but laugh at Chibs’s reaction. He hadn’t a clue they were even dating.
“Hold on; now ya best start over cause I wanna know how this came about as well!” Aislinn said, and her father started over.
He told the girls about his arrival to Charming and how he met Gemma at an AA meeting.
“Ya went to an AA meeting?!” Riona questioned in disbelief.
“I’ve been going to them, even when I was in Ireland. I just wanted to keep it going.” Pepper said with a shrug.
“I’m findin’ it hard ta believe Gem was at one of those!” Chibs uttered, and they could hear Happy laughing from the table he was sitting at. He was playing a game of Go Fish with Abel.
“Right?!” Happy called in response, and Chibs nodded in agreement.
“Well, she was. And she was very helpful…”
“Things we don’t need to know!” Riona said gathering the hint, and Pepper managed to laugh.
“Just being honest. We really hit it off. Should’ve known…” Pepper shook his head.
“I mean what are the odds that she’d be that one’s grandmother?! Hell, I’m having a hard enough time processing that you’re a mother now!” He murmured with a nod Riona’s direction.
“Did ya give your real name at the meeting?” Riona asked, and Pepper looked to be in thought.
Aislinn’s jaw dropped once she caught on to what her sister was hinting at.
“Ya think…” Aislinn started to say.
“With her… anythin’s possible.”
“Actually she seemed just as surprised by your presence, and I never gave a last name because I didn’t want to put her in harm’s way with your uncle being here.”
“So you’re certain Gemma didn’t know who you were?” Riona reiterated.
“So how long were you two… you know…” Aislinn questioned with slight embarrassment.
“Couple weeks or so.”
Riona thought back to Juice and what he said over the phone about his suspicions. A wave of guilt hit and the young woman staggered back.
“We need to find out the truth about Juice,” Riona whispered.
“Aye.” Chibs and Aislinn chorused.
This had the two of them locking eyes.
“I didn’t get the chance to tell you, but I sent that uncle of yours and his men to Corky’s. I told a little white lie and had them thinking I lost you both to Darren.” AC announced.
“Nice!” Aislinn said then high-fived AC.
“Bet Darren loved that,” Ethan said with a chuckle.
“Oh, I’m sure he did.”
“I no know you were here Uncle Chibs!” The Scot heard Abel call from across the bar.
“Aye, get over here ye wee buck!”
Abel giggled then took off that direction. Chibs scooped him up then kissed the boy’s forehead.
“How ye doin’ lad?”
“I is okay. Is you?”
“I’m alright now that I’m home,” Chibs uttered with a nod his fiancée’s way.
“Does you miss us?”
“I sure did.”
“Is daddy coming home too?”
“In a few more days.”
“He’s not going to my birthday, is he?!” The boy sadly murmured.
“He’ll be there. Said so himself.”
“I no want daddy to miss my birthday.”
Chibs placed the boy down then hunkered down to his level.
“If your old man says he’s goin’ ta be here then he’s goin’ ta be here.”
Abel nodded, and Chibs gave him a noogie before he scampered off.
“We might have to postpone,”Riona uttered in thought.
“Jackie will be here.”
“That’s not what I mean… Too much is goin’ on. How can we even begin to have a safe party for Abel durin’ all this crazy?!”
“We’ll figure somethin’ out,” Chibs vowed.
Everyone grew quiet once Sam entered the bar.
“Oh, I see some new faces.” Sam happily put as she clocked in.
Aislinn fought the urge to gag when Sam kissed her brother — knowing the truth behind all that made the whole thing nauseating. Aislinn felt terrible for Ethan as he was the one having to act this shit out. But nothing was worse than seeing the look on Leia’s face. This had Aislinn reaching out and squeezing her hand.
“You’ll see…” Aislinn whispered, and Leia forced a smile before tending to a customer.
“Ali, ye need ta get off that leg. Yer ankle’s startin’ ta swell.” Chibs said, and Aislinn looked down to see her ankle was twice the normal size.
Chibs was quick to get her situated and her leg propped up.
“Keep that leg elevated. I mean it.” He uttered while checking on the work Pepper did.
He was somewhat impressed. The stitches were larger than what he would’ve done, but it wasn’t bad for an amateur. There was a slight fever in the area, however, proving she needed to stay off it and get on some antibiotics just to be safe.
“Ye should’ve listened to your sister!” Chibs scolded.
“Don’t ya know sisters never listen to one another!” She teased, and Chibs chuckled.
“Yer a mess.” He said but with his forehead to hers.
“I hate ta leave ye like this darlin’. But I gotta take care of somethins. I’m takin’ Happy with me. I want you, Riona and the wee lad to hang low.”
“Scotty, you’re dead on your feet! You need to sleep.”
“She’s right.” Happy called from behind.
“And so do you.” The Son said while pointing Aislinn’s direction.
“Go home, both of you. Bobby says they’re twelve hours away. That gives you plenty of time. So go on! Get out of here!”
Chibs shook his head and with that guilt ridden presence. Happy leaned into his ear.
“Get laid and get some fucking sleep. You’ll be hell to deal with otherwise.”
Chibs sent him a look of hell.
“You know it’s true.” Happy uttered with a wide grin.
“What’s true?” Aislinn questioned.
“That Happy’s about to lose his arse cherry to me boot. That’s what!” Chibs uttered but helped Aislinn to her feet.
“Guess we’re goin’ home love.”
“I can’t do this. I need to be home.” Jax declared as he was peering out the window.
The president shook his head in frustration. The man grabbed his duffle bag then stuffed all his clothes and toiletries inside. He zipped his bag then snatched his keys off the table. Jax was headed out the door when he heard something coming from across the street at the old carpet shop. He couldn’t help but to find that ironic as hell. The president was quick to duck back inside. He placed everything on the table then peered out the window. Jax let out a breath like he’d been holding it forever, the moment he spotted AJ. He and a handful of others were looking around the area. Jax retrieved his phone and made that call he’d been waiting to make.
“I sure hope this is what I think it is…” He heard on the other end and managed to smile.
“Yes, ma’am. They’re here.”
“Took them long enough.”
“That’s no lie. Careful they pack one hell of a punch.” Jax warned.
“Hmmm, so do we. I got it from here Mr. Teller. Safe journey home.”
“Thank you.” Jax genuinely put knowing they couldn’t have done this without one another’s help. That right there was a strange feeling. He wasn’t sure what to make of it. All he could think about was getting home to his wife and son.
“No, thank you. I’ve been looking to get these fuckers off the streets for years. Hope to work with you again someday.”
Jax nodded amongst himself once the sheriff hung up the phone.
“Come on… hurry it up.” Jax impatiently put.
He wouldn’t be satisfied until he saw AJ and his boys in metal bracelets. Jax kept an eye on the situation but called his wife.
“Please tell me you’re on your way home.”
“Heading out tonight.”
“Thank the lord.”
“It’ll take me a few days, but I’ll be there. I’m sorry Riona, but I had to see this through.”
Jax nodded amongst himself once he saw AJ’s men enter the carpet shop. A few were keeping watch outside, including that of AJ. Jax shook his head knowing the police needed to hurry before the Aryans caught on. It wouldn’t take long for them to figure it out this was a trap. That was Jax’s worst fear at this very moment. He had to see this through. This had to happen!
“Ya sound anxious.”
“You could say that.”
“Wait… are they there right now?!”
“Dammit…” Jax muttered as AJ’s men had darted back out and they were talking amongst one another.
Jax dropped the curtain then ducked out of sight as AJ was looking that direction. He doubted he could recognize him from there, but Jax wasn’t taking that chance.
“Look, I’ll call you back.”
“Jackson…” Riona said in that reprimanding tone of hers.
This had the man chuckling amongst himself.
“I’ll make it in time, I promise.”
“Ya had better! Or I’ll hunt ya down myself!”
“I know you will baby. I know you will.” Jax uttered before hanging up and getting a better look.
“You’ve got to be kidding…” Jax started to say as AJ, and his boys were back in their vehicles and were about to head out.
Jax’s heart was going ninety to nothing.
“COME ON! SHOW THE FUCK UP ALREADY! FIVE FUCKING DAYS, ASSHOLES!”
The Son closed his eyes as feds and SWAT showed up from seemingly nowhere and had the Aryans surrounded. Jax knew this must’ve meant that they too were on standby and somewhere close.
“About fucking time,” Jax said but was quick to take cover as bullets were flying.
He could hear one of the feds on their megaphone. From the sound of things, the Aryans ran into the building and SWAT was trying to coax them out. Jax laughed knowing they Aryans just added MORE charges to the manufacturing and selling ones they were bound to receive. The president kept cover behind his bed and listened as there was shouting back and forth and a few more gunshots. He could hear a few of the hotel guests screaming and yelling for someone to call the police.
“Wrap it up, boys.” Jax pleaded as one of the windows to his room was hit.
Feds and SWAT ended up at a standoff with the Aryans for a total of four agonizing hours before they were finally forced out of the building with teargas. Jax had the satisfaction of watching the Aryans get disarmed and arrested.
“We got ‘em, boys.” Jax softly muttered in celebration.
“We got ‘em.”
Jax waited half an hour before grabbing his things and heading out the door. He was about to check out when someone pulled up beside the red Corvette. Jax ignored this and headed into the office with his hotel key. The president tossed his belongings into the trunk of the car then checked out. He returned to see a tall and lanky man leaning against the Corvette. He was wearing a leather jacket and sunglasses and had a cigarette in his mouth.
“Hello, Mr. Teller I don’t believe we’ve been properly introduced.” The man said while tossing his cigarette bud onto the ground and stomping it out.
Jax thickly swallowed as this wasn’t part of the plan at all. In fact, no one was supposed to know he was here.
“You must have me confused with someone else,” Jax said and opened the driver’s side door.
“You sure? Because you fit the profile, perfectly!” The man made a frame with his hands then acted as if he were taking pictures of Jax.
Jax didn’t respond and went to shut the door. The man stopped it with his foot, however.
“Let’s have a little chat.” The man uttered while flashing his badge.
Jax raised his brows on this.
“I have nothing to say.”
“Oh, but you will Mr. Teller. You will…”