Chapter 50 – Gunnin’ For You Part I
There are a few racial slurs in this chapter. Please note this is not how I view things nor would I condone anyone saying these horrible things. They’re for story purposes only.
“You’re kidding, right?!” Ethan sneered as he and Jax were parked a few blocks away from the Hairy Dog – a bar and lounge outside of Charming.
“Wish I was…” Jax uttered as he lowered his shades then looked to the bar.
“We’re not going in there, right?!”
“Nah. Well, not right now. We’ll wait till they close.”
“Jax, we can’t go in there,” Ethan stressed, and Jax sighed.
“We can and we will.”
“That’s a death wish, and you know it. I’m on the Aryan’s shit list already. I don’t need the Nordics out for my blood…”
“I meant we wait until they close. No one will be there then.” Jax interrupted.
“That’s where they’re stashing Clay. He’s living in the basement. Fucker has a bed and everything. Clay always was a bit racist, but the goddamn Nordics?!” Jax uttered with a curled lip.
“Yeah…” Jax murmured while lighting a smoke.
“So, we just sit here and wait for like…” Ethan looked to the time.
“Fourteen to fifteen hours?!”
Jax chuckled in thought.
“Nah, there’s a hotel not too far away. We’ll request one of the rooms in the back. That way no one will see the bikes.”
“You and me, in a room, for over fourteen hours?”
“Hell, I’m better off at the lounge!” Ethan mocked.
“Be my guest.” Jax taunted in return and with a gesture towards the Hairy Dog.
Ethan shook his head as Jax’s bike roared to life. The prospect looked towards the bar then to Jax. Jax sent the prospect a cocky grin before taking off. Ethan bitched under his breath as he followed the president to the hotel.
“There ya go! Nice and comfy!” Tig witted once he had Brad Montana tied to one of the basement pillars.
The Son pinched the dishwasher’s cheek then slapped it.
“Looks like our VP is getting that payback after all.” He muttered afterward.
“If I don’t hot glue his balls to his dick first.” Bobby murmured, and Tig smiled.
“Oh, let’s do that! That sounds fun!”
“I guess Aislinn’s ghost pepper dick move wasn’t enough,” Bobby added as it was all coming back to him now.
It had been a while since he heard what happened. But Bobby remembered everything now. The more he thought about it, the angrier he became.
“Where’s Sack?” Tig questioned.
“Passed out on the couch.”
“Ah, man! He gets to fucking sleep?!” Tig complained, and Bobby shrugged.
“I wanna sleep.” Tig whined.
“Grab a couple prospects, and we’ll catch some shut-eye before Jax gets here.”
Tig nodded and was headed up the stairs when his cellphone sounded. He smiled, then answered.
“Hey, Jimmy baby!”
Tig swore he could actually see Dinah rolling her eyes on the other end. This had him chuckling in thought.
“Again, with that shit? Are you ever going to tell me what that’s from and why you call me that?!”
“Nope! More fun this way! So, what’s up?”
“Where you at?”
“Clubhouse…” Tig apprehensively put.
“I’m on my way.”
“Uh, how bout we meet somewhere else?” Tig suggested.
“Seriously?! What are you boys up to now?!”
“Nothing. Look, it’d look bad on both of us if you keep showing up where we are. Alright? We need to find some place, someplace on mutual ground.”
“Fine. Cemetery sound good to you?” The sheriff bitterly uttered.
“That’s perfect, babe!” Tig replied, not catching the sarcasm in her tone.
“I was joking, you nimwit.”
“Meet you in fifteen! LOVE YOU BYE!” Tig shouted that last part then hung up.
He gathered the prospects and had them keep watch while Bobby caught some much-needed Z’s, and he met up with the sheriff. Tig himself was going on empty but knew Dinah wouldn’t have called if it wasn’t important. He swerved a couple times on his bike as he fought to keep his eyes open. Dinah waved him over once he got there.
“Jesus, you look like shit,” Dinah said after Tig kissed her on the cheek.
“Gee thanks, baby!”
“Have you even slept?!”
“Meh, here and there.”
“Tigger baby, you gotta get some sleep!”
“Tell me something I don’t know.”
“Look, I won’t keep you but couldn’t do this over the phone. Just let daddy crow know everything worked out just fine. We might have to make a couple appearances in court, but that’s nothing we didn’t expect. He’ll be fine as long as he sticks to the story.”
“Dinah…” Tig softly uttered.
The way he said her name had the woman raising her brows in wonder.
“Just be careful, alright?” He said with concern and Dinah smiled.
“You know, I will.”
“Dinah baby, I’m serious. You know what could happen if they find out you’ve been working with us.”
“Why are you doing this?”
“Because I believe in you and your boys. Just keep that president of yours in line. I already told him that was it. No more favors and I mean it this time.”
Tig had this stunned expression about him, and Dinah nodded taking notice.
“Jax told me all about the oath you boys made his father – the original Son. I’m all for you keeping that oath. Get this town cleaned up but once you’re done… Clean yourselves up and stick to it. I mean it Tigger.”
“Trust me when Jax has his mind set on something…”
“Good. Keep him on that path.” Dinah encouraged.
“I’ll let Chibs know.”
“Yeah, the VP,” Tig uttered with a shrug then stuffed a cigarette into his mouth.
“Okay, but why can’t you?”
“Because I fucked up and Jax hasn’t really trusted me since.”
“Let’s just say I aided the enemy before I ever knew he was the enemy.” Tig sadly murmured.
“How’d you do that?”
“Long story. All I can tell you is Jax hasn’t trusted me since and I doubt he ever will.”
“Something tells me he trusts you more than you realize. If he didn’t, you wouldn’t be in that cut, that’s for damn sure.”
Tig took the necklace out of his pocket then showed it to Dinah.
“It was a gift. But it’s my death sentence now.”
“I’m afraid I don’t follow…”
“Look, I’ll tell Jax what you said. But we’re done here.”
Dinah nodded but didn’t catch on to what he meant exactly. She was headed towards her patrol car when Tig called to her again.
“I mean we’re done, Dinah.”
The sheriff stopped in her tracks, and Tig sighed under his breath.
“Yeah. I’ve been thinking you know. We had a good run. But I don’t see it going anywhere from here, and deep down you don’t either.”
The sheriff looked as if he’d stabbed her, right in the heart. Tig gestured for her to go on and get in her car. Dinah reared back on this and Tig waved her off.
“What the fuck?!” Dinah shouted in protest and Tig gritted his teeth.
“Where did you think this was going?! Huh? Did you think we’d get married, pop out a couple kids, move to some fucking suburb area with a five-star school?!”
Dinah staggered back, and Tig laughed.
“It was never going to happen. I love pussy baby and expecting me to stick to the one and only for the rest of my life… Yeah, that was never going to happen.”
Dinah’s jaw dropped, and Tig gave a firm nod.
“What can I say. The thrill is gone. Had a crow eater on my dick just an hour ago.”
“The hell with you, boy,” Dinah said with a quivery voice.
Tig, however, stood his ground and watched as she jumped into her car and sped off.
“THE HELL WITH YOOOOU!” Tig roared then threw the necklace the direction in which he was yelling.
A man stepped out behind one of the trees and Tig shook his head once he saw the sniper rifle with the laser scope. Dinah hadn’t a clue that laser was targeted on her forehead and had been ever since Tig asked why she was helping them. That’s what led to the Son’s decision. Tig hated what he did, but knew if he hadn’t, HE would’ve killed her.
“I’m guessing you have me bugged?” Tig called once again, and Clay nodded before making his way over.
The ex-president took a drag off Tig’s cigarette then handed it back.
“Necklace,” Clay confirmed with a wide grin, and Tig recoiled.
“Aided the enemy, huh?”
“Yep.” Tig bitterly replied.
“Hmm…” Clay kept a watchful eye on Tig as he bent down and picked up the necklace.
“Where’re your friends?” Tig questioned as he looked around the cemetery.
“Around…” Clay said with a smirk and Tig recoiled as he could make out a couple shadowed figures from a distance.
Tig himself had a laser aimed at his heart. The Son gave a miserable laugh when he caught on.
“Well, you gonna give the orders or not?”
“And end this beautiful thing we got going?” Clay said while placing the necklace around Tig’s neck.
Clay kissed his cheek then put his forehead to his.
“I missed you.”
“Can’t say the feeling’s mutual.” Tig hissed.
“Look, if you’re going to kill me, just do it and get it over with.”
“Oh, I will, but not yet. I have plans for you. Big ones! But first, we gotta make a little pit stop.”
“A little bird told me that the new prospect and Jax are waiting for me at the Hairy Dog. They plan on breaking in after closing. But… I won’t be there… Well, not right away. What is it they say? Fashionably late?!”
“No,” Tig whispered in horror and Clay gave that sinister smile of his.
“Oh, yes. You’re going down — all of you. In fact, I have someone heading to the hospital as we speak. You know how I feel about leaving a job unfinished.”
Tig tried taking off, and Clay snatched him by the cut.
“DON’T DO THIS, MAN! IF YOU WANNA KILL SOMEONE, KILL ME! LEAVE THE OTHERS ALONE!” Tig pleaded.
“Can’t do that.” Clay uttered but tilted his head as they heard a car approaching.
“No, no.” Tig implored as it was Dinah in her patrol car again.
“Bitch is persistent. I’ll give her that much.” Clay said then signaled for one of his men to take a shot.
Tig lit up in fury, and broke out of Clay’s hold. Tig slammed his entire body up against the driver’s side window, in attempts to shield Dinah from the bullets.
“GET THE FUCK OUT OF HERE!” He shouted in desperation, and the sheriff took cover as her car was being shot at.
“I need him alive!” Clay scolded when a bullet struck Tig in the back.
Thanks to Riona’s warning, Jax ordered that everyone wear a vest.
“GOOOO!” Tig hollered once again and while kicking at her car.
Dinah sent Tig a remorseful look, and Tig nodded as if to say he was sorry. The sheriff kept her head down but managed to escape the cemetery.
“THAT’S NOT GONNA WORK! FIND HER ASS AND END IT!” Clay ordered, and the shadowed figures from afar made themselves scarce as they rushed off to their vehicles.
Tig shook his head as it was Ernest and another Nordic.
“GODDAMMIT CLAY! NOT HER!” Tig shouted with twin tracks of tears rolling down his face.
“You know… That only makes me want it more. Hell, I’ll call and have them bring me her fucking head! I’ll even gift wrap it and hand it to you!”
“FUCK YOU, MAN! FUCK YOU!” Tig went into hysterics and shoved Clay back, in attempts to get to his motorcycle. Clay took the blunt end of his sniper rifle and drove it into Tig’s gut. He forced him into another car and slammed the door shut.
“GO!” Clay demanded once he was in the back with Tig.
“You have your own driver?!” Tig mocked while holding his gut and gasping for air.
“You’d be surprised at what and who I got.” Clay uttered, and Tig’s jaw dropped the moment he saw the driver’s reflection through the rearview mirror.
“No way…” He whispered in outright shock.
The driver gave a mere nod, and Tig recoiled.
“You have got to be shitting me!” Dinah snapped as dispatch was trying to get ahold of her and while she was running from Clay’s men. Dinah reached over and was about to turn the radio off when she heard another officer calling to dispatch.
Dinah could hear the prison riot over the phone. The sheriff listened as she dodged bullets and swerved out of the way of oncoming traffic and pedestrians. She had her lights and siren going as she blazed her way through Charming. She could hear the guards at Stockton doing whatever they could to get the prisoners under control and back in their cells. Stockton itself was under lockdown. But that wasn’t the worst part. No. She heard another officer reporting three convict escapes. Two names stood out, however, and that’s when Dinah knew the Sons were officially FUCKED.
“That’s starts today?” Chibs questioned in surprise.
“Yes, sir.” The male physical therapist replied as he helped Aislinn into the wheelchair.
“You’re welcome to join us.” The therapist offered.
Chibs nodded after fixing his wife’s socks and adjusting her gown. Riona excused herself when the therapist arrived and was visiting Happy a few doors down.
“Was goin’ ta, whether ye invited me or not.” The Scot made clear, and the therapist nodded in response.
Chibs followed the physical therapist as he wheeled Aislinn out of the room. They entered a nearby elevator, and Chibs cocked a brow as the man hit the button for the fifth floor. Chibs had been in this hospital long enough to know the therapy center was on the second.
“What’s on the fifth floor?” Chibs questioned.
The therapist didn’t respond, and this had Aislinn and Chibs exchanging glances. Something about that made the Scot uneasy. He planted himself between the man and his wife then observed the therapist mannerisms a little closer.
“What the…” Happy heard Riona utter as she was sipping on a Dr Pepper and watching a movie in his room.
A live report interrupted the movie she was watching. Happy lifted his head as he was kicked back on the bed.
“Happy… isn’t that…” Riona started to say and Happy shot up, the moment he recognized the place.
“Stockton.” Happy murmured and was quick to grab his cut.
“Where are ya goin’?!”
“Look at the damn scrolly on the bottom, Riona!” Happy snipped as he adjusted his cut.
“NO!” She yelped once she recognized one of the escapee’s names.
“I want you back in Chibs and Aislinn’s room, now!” Happy ordered while opening the door and gesturing for her to go on.
“Riona, I’m goin’. Someone has to warn Jax! But you be careful, he could be headed here.”
Riona reached to her heart in a panic, and Happy took her by the hand. He dragged her towards the other room and Riona pried out of his hold.
“They’re not there!” She said as it just dawned on her about the therapist.
That was the reason she left in the first place. Happy reared back in wonder.
“Linny went to physical therapy.”
“Physical therapy?! Today?!”
“Aye, Chibs hadn’t a clue it was even today. Rather rough lookin’ fella if ya ask me.”
“Nah, the therapist.”
Happy caught on to what she was hinting and sighed.
“Riona, all the physical therapist here are women. Fine ass ones too!”
“How would ya know that?!”
Happy sent her a “look,” and Riona reared back in absolute disgust.
“Honestly, Happy! Is nothin’ sacred to ya?!”
“Hey, it was physical and VERY therapeutic, alright?” Happy punned and Riona rolled her eyes.
“There’s no hope for ya! I swear!”
“Tell you what. You can pray for me, after we find out where this guy took Chibs and Aislinn.”
“So, how is the Charming life going for you?” Jax curiously questioned as he and Ethan were sitting at the table in the hotel room.
“It’s going…” Ethan murmured with a shrug.
“That good or bad?”
“At the moment?” Ethan questioned, and Jax nodded.
“Bad, asshole!” The way he said this had Jax chuckling.
“Alright, you got me there. I mean aside from all the crazy.”
“Aside from all that…” Ethan reiterated, and Jax nodded.
“It’s not so bad. I suppose this is the closest I’ve ever felt at home if that makes any sense.”
“Didn’t feel at home back in Texas?” Jax curiously questioned while tapping the ashes off his cigarette, into an ashtray.
“Not since I lost Liam,” Ethan admitted, and Jax nodded in perfect understanding.
“Think Riona feels at home?” Jax genuinely questioned taking Ethan by surprise.
“Yeah, I think she does.”
“I can tell you she feels more at home than she ever did back in Ireland. But we both know all this crazy shit must come to an end. My sisters went from one shitty situation, right back to another.”
“Trust me, I know.”
“Just how big is this Nordic group?”
“Pretty big…” Jax regrettably admitted, and Ethan sighed.
“So, this is the Aryans all over again…”
“There isn’t much difference between the Aryans and the Nordics, to be honest,” Jax uttered while putting his cigarette out in the ashtray.
“They tend to suck each other’s dicks so…” Jax added with a sneer.
“Do they honestly believe there’s a difference?”
“Ernest sure as hell does. He believes the Nordics are above anyone, including the Aryans. Weston was the Tito to his Michael for years. Before Ernest up and vanished, that is. Makes me wonder why he came back in the first place and how the FUCK Clay brought him into the picture. Ernest doesn’t answer to anyone, so why Clay?! Hell, you think Weston is bad. Ernest makes Weston look like a goddamn pussy.’
“Think Weston got ahold of your friend?” Ethan asked, and Jax cocked a brow on this.
“Yeah, that Opie guy.”
“Op isn’t my friend, never was,” Jax stressed, and Ethan sighed.
“He was at some point…” Ethan reminded.
“I used to think that. But a friend doesn’t stab you in the back once it’s turned, then lie to your face. A friend doesn’t make the moves on your old lady then lay his hands on her when she turns him down. He certainly doesn’t hold a gun to her sister’s head and threaten to kill her! It took me some time to learn that Op was never a friend, much less a brother. He was only in it for himself. Like my first wife. Hell, that seems to be a curse.”
“The people I care about most are usually the ones pulling the trigger.”
“Hell, you and me both.”
“So, what happened with Tracy?” Jax curiously questioned, and Ethan shook his head.
“What happened with Tara?” The prospect fired back, and the two laughed in sheer misery.
“Is it just me or do our lives seem to mirror one another,” Jax questioned after he and Ethan exchanged stories.
“I’ve thought that very thing,” Ethan said, then cleared his throat.
“How do we overcome all this?” The prospect sincerely questioned.
“One day at a time, that’s how,” Jax replied.
“Look, we did what we did to keep everyone else alive. My mother, Tara, Wendy, each of them posed a threat. Not only to the club but my family. Same with Tracy. You gotta see it the way I do, Tex. It was them or the unbearable. I will take out anyone that means my wife and son harm, and yes, including my own mother.” Jax confirmed, and Ethan recoiled in thought.
“I lied,” Ethan uttered in shame.
“Yeah, I told you I shot Tracy, but I didn’t.”
“Then who did?”
“Pepper. I’m not even sure why I lied about it. I’ve never lied to you before.” Ethan sighed in thought.
“I guess I didn’t want you thinking I didn’t have it in me. I do.”
“I know you do. I’ve seen you in action, remember?”
Ethan chuckled in memory. That was the day he saved Opie Winston’s life; only Opie wasn’t very appreciative.
“That’s right. You have. But doesn’t that scare you?”
“Seeing you in action?!” Jax mocked with a smirk.
“No man, that we have that shit in us! That we can be loving husbands and fathers one-minute, coldblooded murderers the next.”
“You call it murder… I call it defending what’s mine. Murder is something you do, just because you can. I haven’t taken a life that didn’t need taking.”
“So, you never had any regrets.” Ethan rather challenged.
“Never said that. I have my regrets, just as anyone. But that doesn’t necessarily mean I’d change anything. The outcome is what matters.”
“The outcome, huh?”
“Yeah…” Jax said but regarded his brother-in-law with concern.
“What’s on your mind?”
“I’ve killed for my country and my family. But nothing I did kept my son safe. It’s like you said… The ones closest to us are usually the ones pulling the trigger. I would’ve never dreamed that Tracy of all people would’ve taken my son’s life. She might not have done it out of cold blood, but she did it all the same. She knew the possibilities because we went over this time and time again. I told her I didn’t want her around my son when she was doped up! But none of it mattered. The court sided with her! They always side with the fucking mother. It doesn’t matter if they’re deadbeats! They didn’t listen, and now my son is dead.” Ethan shook his head in thought.
“I’ve got too much blood on my hands, Jax. I’ll never see my son again.”
“I’m guessing you mean earning your right to the pearly gates and all that jazz?” Jax murmured in a scoffing manner as Riona came to mind.
“Something like that. If any of that shit’s even real.”
Jax couldn’t help but laugh at the irony.
“What?!” Ethan questioned sounding somewhat offensive.
“Had this very conversation with your sister. Never thought you’d be in agreement with me.”
“Yeah, you agree that this “Virgin Mary” took things a little too far when thinking up a cover story.” Jax witted with a smirk, and Ethan died of laughter.
“Man, talk about one hell of a cover!”
“Right?! Hell, the woman even had her own son crucified at the end. That’s some wicked imagination there!”
“Man, you’re something else.”
“Yeah, yeah… But you gotta admit, it does make you wonder.”
“Damn, I bet my sister lost her shit when she found out you’re a heathen! The Lawless family are big-time Catholics. Well, they were… Up until their mother died and the old man fell off the wagon. But I know my sisters kept with the faith even if they don’t practice it as much.”
“Let’s just say me and God have an on again and off again relationship. Been that way ever since he took my son.”
“But did he take your son?” Jax genuinely asked, and the two grew silent in thought.
The Scot noticed an odd bulge in the back of the therapist’s blue scrubs. Chibs was discreet when he reached out and lifted the man’s scrub top. He did this just enough to reveal he was packing. Aislinn’s jaw dropped the moment she spotted the gun. Her husband was quick to react. He seized the gun out of the man’s scrubs then punched the emergency stop button to the elevator. The man looked on in absolute shock when he turned and saw his own gun pointed at his face. Chibs’s teeth were gritted as he took stance between his wife and the fake physical therapist.
“Who are ye and why are ye takin’ me, wife, wherever yer takin’ her?” Chibs spat.
The man didn’t answer and was in attempts to turn back around and hit another button. Chibs grabbed the man then slammed him up against the elevator wall. He put that gun up against the man’s chin then looked him dead in the eyes.
“Ye best get ta talkin’ before ye don’t have a jaw left ta talk from!”
“Oh, I’d listen. Ya done unleashed the Scotsman’s wrath.” Aislinn said with a touch of a grin.
Chibs caught that grin through the corner of his eye but kept his hold.
They heard outside the elevator door.
“Aye, we’re in here!” Aislinn hollered in mere amusement.
Chibs didn’t budge as he reached out and opened the elevator door. Riona gasped back once she took in the situation. Happy gave a simple nod, however, as he was expecting this. He and Riona stepped onto the elevator and the door shut once again. The Sons kept the sisters safe by standing guard in front of them. Chibs kept that door locked while he and Happy dealt with the fake.
“Are ya alright, love?” Riona whispered out of concern for her sister.
“Aye, I’m just fine,” Aislinn said with a giggle and Riona raised her brows on this.
“Are ya sure?!” She questioned thinking her sister was losing it.
“Hap, why don’t ye take me wife and her sister back ta the room. I won’t be long.” Chibs severely uttered.
“You got it.” Happy replied, with an impish nod the imposter’s direction.
Chibs waited until Happy had the girls out of the elevator. Happy made certain no one else got on and watched as the doors came to a close.
“Don’t think because we’re in a hospital; I won’t kill ye. Cause I will.” Chibs warned.
“Now, ye got five seconds…”
The man went into a panic when Chibs cocked the gun. The fake spilled out the truth behind working for Clay and how he was ordered the hit on Chibs and Aislinn. He told Chibs he was a Nordic and gave the VP his name.
“Alright Nathan, here’s what yer gonna do…” Chibs whispered as he leaned into the man’s ear.
He gave him specific instructions and even went as far as to leave a personal message for Clay. Chibs was about to open the elevator doors but refrained and looked to the man once again.
“I’ll know if ye did what I said or not. Trust me. SAMCRO knows everything, and we’ll hunt yer arse down if we hafta. Don’t even question it!”
The man nodded out of fear and Chibs was quick to tuck the man’s gun away before shoving him out of the elevator. The Scot hit the button to the floor where his and Aislinn’s room was. Chibs entered the room to find his wife in tears with laughter.
“Ali,” Chibs called.
Riona and Happy shared the same worrisome look as he.
“I gotta go.” Happy impatiently put, and the VP nodded in agreement.
“Aye, ye keep me in touch.”
“Will do.” Happy said before pecking the girls on the cheek and rushing on out the door.
“Think he’s takin’ a likin’ ta ye both.” Chibs murmured as he was taken back by that.
The Scot inched his way towards his wife, then hunkered down to her level. He reached out and used his fingers to brush her hair back.
“Ye with me?” He asked, and Aislinn nodded.
“Mhmm.” She hummed, and Chibs narrowed his eyes as he looked her over.
Riona told Chibs about the news report, while he helped Aislinn back into her bed. Chibs listened to everything Riona said, but his eyes were glued to his wife.
“You have to go, Scotty.” Aislinn heartbrokenly whispered.
This had her sister’s attention as well. Chibs tilted his head in response.
“They need you, and ya know it. Jax could be in serious trouble.”
“Aye, but that leaves no one ta watch over you two. And I’m not leavin’ ye at the hands of prospects again; we saw where that led!”
“You could call Brodie,” Riona suggested, and Chibs sighed in thought.
“Ya know he’s just beggin’ for somethin’ to do. Brodie isn’t one to sit still.” Riona further encouraged but saw the discouraged look on her sister’s face.
“Linny…” Riona apologetically put.
“Nah, you’re right. He should call him.” Aislinn uttered in defeat.
Chibs himself took notice of the apprehension in his wife’s voice. This hadn’t anything to do with Brodie. It had more to do with her husband’s life being put on the line again. Aislinn knew what she signed up for when she agreed to marry him. But that didn’t take her fears away.
“Ali darlin’…” Chibs softly put while taking her hand into his own.
“You have to go. We both know it. Ya’d never forgive yourself if somethin’ happened to those boys!”
“Or you!” Chibs fired back in a slightly scolding manner.
Aislinn sighed as she hadn’t meant to upset him.
“I’ll be fine, and ya know it. Brodie won’t let anythin’ happen to us.”
“Aye, but I want you two ta request another room. We don’t need ye somewhere where everyone knows where ye are!”
“Consider it done.” Riona eagerly put.
She couldn’t help it. The mere idea of Jax being in trouble had the woman on edge. She hated what this was doing to her sister, but at the same time, she wanted Chibs with Jax, ASAP. She knew Chibs would keep her husband safe and wouldn’t let him do anything he’d regret.
“Can ye give us a minute darlin’?” Chibs questioned, and Riona respected his wishes by stepping outside.
“Look at me, Ali.”
Aislinn’s eyes locked with his and the Scot caressed the apple of her cheek.
“Ye know I’ll come back. I always do.”
“Aye, but don’t be long.”
“I’ll do my best, pet.”
Chibs couldn’t believe what he was about to do, but he couldn’t leave her, not like this.
“Hold on…” He murmured then reached into one of his bags.
He dug into a hidden compartment and retrieved not only a gun but a knife.
“Scotty!” Aislinn scolded knowing those weren’t allowed on these premises.
“I had Brodie pick em up for me. Ye can never be too safe.”
Chibs duct taped the knife and gun under the hospital tray table for easy access.
“Keep this table close at all times.”
Aislinn nodded then listened as her husband went over a few more things. He placed the hospital phone right beside her, and the two shared another moment.
“I love ye.”
“I love you too, Scotty.”
“Don’t ye go and let them stats of yers spike the minute I walk out that door. I mean it, Ali! Ye hafta promise ye’ll keep calm and take care of yerself!”
Chibs nodded in response then kissed her. He placed a loving hand on her stomach as he did this. He found it incredibly hard to pull away but forced himself to do so. The Scot didn’t dare look back as he headed for that door. He couldn’t. Chibs knew his wife would be in tears and that would break his heart.
The Scot cleared his throat, gathering Riona’s attention.
“Imma call Brodie on the way out. I want you and Ali ta stay put. He shouldn’t be long.”
“If he knows there’s trouble he’ll hurry,” Riona reassured.
Chibs nodded then pecked Riona on the cheek.
“Keep an eye on those monitors, lass. Don’t let her get overly emotional. Do what ye can to keep her distracted.”
“Easier said than done.” Riona murmured.
“Aye, but ye gotta.”
“I’ll take care of Jackie. Ye know that.” Chibs vowed, and Riona gave him a tearful nod.
“He thinks his plan is foolproof.”
“I know he does, and it should’ve been. Clay’s up ta somethin’, somethin’ no one even thought of. So, he’s got us at a checkmate, but not for long. Ye know we’ll find a way out of this.” The VP promised, and Riona observed as he took off with his cellphone in hand.
Dinah came to a screeching halt as a mother was crossing the street with her newborn infant.
“JESUS!” The sheriff gasped after throwing a hand over her heart.
The sheriff saw the Nordics making headway behind her, and she shot out of the car in a panic.
“GET OUT OF THE ROAD!” Dinah shouted on top of her lungs.
The mother looked to the sheriff like she was crazy.
“DAMMIT! HURRY IT UP!” Dinah hollered once again but glanced back and recoiled knowing the woman wouldn’t make it in time.
The sheriff shoved the woman out of harm’s way. The woman screamed out in horror when the car hit the sheriff instead. Dinah was sent flying back, and the impact had her tumbling down the road. The Nordics spilled out of the vehicles, fully armed, and the woman fled the scene with her baby.
“Bitch dead?” One of the Nordic’s questioned and the other hunkered down and checked for a pulse.
“SHIT!” The man yelled when Dinah snuck a shot to the leg.
The man knocked the gun out of her hand, then went for a kill shot in response. The other Nordic stopped him.
“Not so fast. He wants this one alive.”
“THE GODDAMN BITCH SHOT ME!”
The other Nordic laughed, then brought the sheriff to her feet.
“Sneaky little spear chucker, aren’t you?!” He said while dragging Dinah towards one of their cars.
The sheriff threw her head back in attempts to headbutt the man that had her. The man saw it coming however and dodged the attempt. The Nordic took his knee to her back, then shoved her into the backseat.
“So, where do you think they’re at?” Clay humorously questioned as they were headed towards the Hairy Dog.
“I mean we know they’re not at the bar. Too early for that. So, where would Jax hide?” Clay murmured then looked to be in thought.
Tig rolled his eyes and shook his head.
“You know… Don’t you?!”
“No, actually, I don’t. I didn’t even know he was headed for the lounge!”
“You wouldn’t be lying, now would you?”
“What would be the point?” Tig retorted, and Clay tilted his head.
He observed the Son’s body language then chuckled amongst himself.
“Hmm… Since when are you into niggers by the way?
Tig’s jaw clenched, and he sent his ex-president a look of absolute disgust.
“Seriously. I thought you liked white bitches!”
“I love all women, Clay. You know that! And I don’t have to explain myself to you!”
Clay smiled then leaned back in his seat.
“You do realize she’s using you, right?! I mean it’s pretty obvious.”
Tig ignored this and looked out the window.
“Think about it… What business does a black sheriff have with a biker?! Huh?! You can’t honestly believe that she’s in love! Out of everyone… she chose you. Now, why do you think that is?”
“I know what you’re doing, and it isn’t going to work.”
“And what is it I’m doing?”
“Fucking with my head, like always. You want me to turn on her and SAMCRO. You want me as your little minion again. Well, it isn’t going to happen. It doesn’t matter what you say about my black pig of a girlfriend and before you even go there… It doesn’t matter what you say about the guys either. I know where my loyalty lies and where it should’ve lied all along.”
“Do ya now?!”
“And if I was to carve your heart out and eat it?” Clay growled.
Tig shrugged in response and Clay curled his lip.
“You seem to forget… You’re in this club because of ME! I’m the one that vouched for you when no one else would. I’m the one that always had your corner!”
“That’s right! You did! But only when it suited your needs. You needed a punching bag, a Huckleberry. I only wish it didn’t take me this long to realize that. I know where I stand amongst the MC, always have. That’s what made it so easy for you. But it doesn’t matter what you do to me now. You can torture me for all I fucking care. I’m done being your bitch, Clay!”
“Oh, I’m gonna torture you. Just not the way you’re expecting…” Clay murmured while looking at a message on his phone.
“I’m gonna prove that black cunt of yours is playing you and has been. All she ever wanted was intel on SAMCRO.”
“And how are you going to do that?!” Tig challenged with a sneer.
Clay called one of his men then requested a video conference with Dinah Cole. Tig’s heart hit the pit of his stomach the moment he saw her.
“STOP THIS! LEAVE HER ALONE!”
“Nah, you need to hear this.”
“CLAY, I SWEAR TO GOD! DON’T YOU EVEN THINK ABOUT HURTING HER!”
Clay had a good laugh at this.
“What do you think, boys? Should we treat this sheriff like the true nigger she is?!”
“GODDAMMIT CLAY, QUIT CALLING HER THAT, YOU RACIST, HOMOPHOBIC, PIECE OF SHIT!” Tig thundered.
“Tell him, bitch!” Clay ordered over the video call, and Dinah shook her head in protest.
“Tell him or else…” Clay hinted, and Tig narrowed his eyes, wondering what that meant exactly.
Dinah recoiled, and one of the Nordics forced her back towards the screen.
“Tell him how you were playing everyone… How you wanted that extra notch in your belt. Tell him how your job DEPENDS on taking him and SAMCRO down. That’s the only reason you’re helping them. You’re a fucking spy for the motherfucking feds, and you were working under Agent Lincoln Potter. Your whole career depends on this.”
“You really expect me to believe…” Tig started to say only to have Dinah interrupt him.
“It’s true.” She cried, and Tig half-laughed.
“Come on, baby. Don’t let them do this! I know the truth, so do you!”
“I’m sorry, Tigger. He’s right. Only, I never thought I’d actually fall for you. But you kept sending those damn roses, and I knew you were my foot in.”
Tig rolled his eyes.
“Dinah, nothing you say is going to make me believe…”
Dinah ignored this then revealed everything that was ever said between her and Jax Teller. She told him that she worked hard on gaining Jax’s trust. She told him how she found Agent Potter in her office and about the deal they made. Dinah told him that Potter had her backed into a corner and with proof that she’d been in bed with SAMCRO. The only way out was to accept Potter’s request. That request was to gain another member’s trust and make them believe that she had fallen for them. Said she was to act as an ally and friend to Jackson Teller as well. By the time she finished explaining everything, she had Tig convinced that she had indeed played him.
“Tigger?” Dinah heartbrokenly called afterward.
Tig didn’t respond and turned away from the screen.
“I’m sorry. I never…”
Clay ended the call before she could even finish that thought.
“Hate to say I told you so… But…” Clay uttered with a smirk.
“I wonder what the boys will think when they find out you and Jax fell for the sheriff’s good ole cop routine? Hell, I can hear Bobby already!”
“Happy?!” Dinah sneered once the Nordic put the phone away.
They didn’t answer and the driver pulled over. The Nordic signaled for her to step on out and Dinah headed towards the trunk of the car. She cringed when she heard the banging on the trunk door.
“We had a deal… LET HER OUT!”
The Nordic nodded, then opened the trunk. The sheriff fought the urge to cry when she saw her sister tied up, with her mouth sewn shut. She reached into the trunk then helped her sister out of the car. The two Nordics watched their every move. The third observed from the rearview mirror as he was in the driver’s seat. Dinah snapped a look one of the Nordics’ directions; however, as one of them had a gun aimed at her sister.
“No, no! She goes free! That was the deal!” Dinah cried and with a protective hold on her sister.
“Change of plans… You both die.” The man sneered, and Dinah shield her sister, best she could.
The sisters jumped at the sound of gunshots. The Nordic with the gun hit the ground, and the familiar hum of a motorcycle followed this. The motorcycle blazed right past them then looped back around. The biker shot the other Nordic as well. Dinah had a good hold on her sister and watched as the VP climbed off his bike and shot the driver as he was in attempts to drive away.
“Ye two, alright?” The Scot questioned, and Dinah let out a breath of relief.
“You’ve no idea how glad I am to see you!” Dinah said, and Chibs chuckled in response.
“I can imagine.” He said then used his knife to cut the cloth around Chesiree’s wrist and ankles.
He shook his head once he spotted the stitches along her mouth.
“Stay still.” The VP gently put then used his knife to remove those as well.
He used the sleeve of his shirt to wipe the blood off her lips.
“Can you stand?” He politely asked.
He and Dinah helped the doctor to her feet.
“You saved us!” Chesiree cried, and Chibs sighed.
“Well, I wasn’t about ta leave ye!” He said with a heartwarming smile then gave a respectful nod towards Dinah.
“You two want me to call someone to get you?”
“I think we’ll manage…” Dinah replied.
“You sure?! I can have someone here in a jiffy!”
Chesiree sent her sister a pleading glance and Dinah gave a reluctant sigh.
“Guess we’ll take that offer after all.”
Chibs gave a simple nod, then called one of the prospects.
“There’s something you need to know,” Dinah warned after he got off the phone.
“Em?” Chibs rather hummed in response.
Dinah told him about the Nordics using her sister to blackmail her. The Nordics told the sheriff to say whatever it took to make Tig believe she had indeed played him. Chibs cringed knowing Tig must’ve taken everything to heart.
“I had no choice… They were going to kill her.”
“Looks like they were gonna kill ye both, either way!” Chibs bitterly put, and Dinah shook her head.
“I understand why ye did it. That’s not what I’m sayin’.” Chibs did his best to explain, in an apologetic manner.
“I hate leavin’ ye two lasses like this, but I gotta run.” The VP said while tucking his phone into his cut.
“I figured as much,” Dinah said.
“Aye, I want ye two at the clubhouse.”
“Clubhouse?!” Dinah questioned in surprise.
“Until this shite clears up!”
Chibs took notice of the flabbergasted look on the sheriff’s face.
“Well, ye two are family now, right?” The VP uttered as if to say duh.
“We might be safer at the station…” Dinah murmured.
“Yer choice. But your boys can’t protect you, not the way ours can.” Chibs said before speeding off.
“It’s funny ya know…” Riona randomly uttered, and Aislinn craned her neck that direction.
“Seems as if we’ve switched roles.”
“Well, maybe not so much switched roles as much as dreams.”
“I don’t follow…”
“Well, wasn’t it my dream to shine in the spotlight?” Riona reminded with a warm smile, and Aislinn laughed in memory.
“You never wanted that. You thought it’d get to our heads and ruin everythin’.”
“Cause I’d seen it enough to know it happens!”
“Aye, but I think it’s safe to say our dreams have changed. I’m not necessarily done, but I don’t see myself standing in the spotlight again.”
Aislinn lowered her head, thinking this was somehow her fault. Riona laughed in response.
“Oh, Linny. That hasn’t anythin’ to do with you!”
Aislinn lifted her head, and Riona nodded.
“Can’t you see how proud I am?! Ya’ve come such a long way. You’ve such a way with words, and you worked hard to get where you are now. I won’t lie. I always thought it’d be me. But those boys entered my life, and everything changed. I mean that in the best of ways. It made me realize I want something simpler. I spent years working two to three jobs while jugglin’ the farm life. Workin’ for Teller-Telford is a vacation in comparison. That’s not to say it isn’t a challenge from time to time, but it’s somethin’ I can see myself doin’, for years to come. I suppose what I’m tryin’ to say is I’m finally ready to settle down. And by settling down, I mean takin’ it easy for once. I never knew what that could be like and now that I have it, I’m not willin’ to give it up.”
“But you will sing again, right?!”
“Aye, I’ll make an appearance, here and there. But other than that… I’m ready to hand the mic over, for good. It’s yours, Linny. Make me proud.”
“You don’t think it selfish…?” Aislinn shamefully questioned.
“Well, Scotty and I are havin’ a baby.”
“Oh, Linny. We’re in different boats, and ya know it! Whereas it’s time for me to settle down, it’s time for you to live. A baby isn’t goin’ to stop you. You’ll make time for both – music and family. Those things are in your blood. I mean honestly, could you even stand to be away from your precious Scotty for more than a week?!” Riona mocked in horror, and Aislinn giggled.
“Ya have a point.”
“See?! You’ll make it work, and I know that Scot of yours will support you. He always will.”
“Linny, Chibs wouldn’t have done all those things if he didn’t believe in you. The lad sees what I see. He knows true talent, and he’ll put up the good fight to get you where you need to be. That doesn’t make you selfish. It makes you human. Havin’ a baby don’t hurt none. If anythin’, it’ll keep you grounded and make you work harder. You’re settin’ an example. If he or she sees their ma livin’ out their dream, they’re more than likely to live out theirs as well. That’s the best thing you could ever hope for. You’re gonna make a wonderful mother, Linny. I just know it!”
“And you are a wonderful mother.” Aislinn complimented in return.
“I try!” Riona said but turned her head as there was a knock at the door.
“Aye?!” The sisters chorused, and the door cracked open.
“You decent?” Brodie humorously questioned.
“Ya know I am. You’re lookin’ right at me!” Aislinn playfully scolded, and the Scot laughed.
He stepped on in, but the girls regarded one another in astonishment when Pepper entered the room as well.
“Did ya come here together?!” Aislinn questioned with a stunned expression.
“Sort of…” Brodie murmured.
The girls tilted their heads then waited for an explanation.
“We were talkin’ when Chibs called. Old man asked if he could tag along.”
“You were talkin’?” Riona asked with curiosity.
“I’m gonna need his help…” Pepper did his best to hint, but this wasn’t registering with the girls.
“Help?!” Aislinn probed.
“With the tank…” Pepper cued once again, and Aislinn recoiled in thought.
“Yeah…” Brodie murmured once he saw the look on the sisters’ faces.
“We’ll get on that once he’s done in court,” Brodie added.
“You two be careful with that,” Riona said.
“We will,” Brodie vowed.
“But can ya work together, without killin’ one another!” Aislinn mockingly put, and Brodie regarded Pepper in thought.
“I’ll do my best.” He teased, and Aislinn laughed.
“Never thought I’d see the day where you two team up,” Riona uttered.
“Right?!” Aislinn said in mere amusement.
“Well, in your father’s defense it isn’t like he has a whole lot of options…” Brodie said, and Pepper sighed.
“How you feelin’?” Pepper asked, deciding it best to change the subject.
“Good,” Aislinn replied with a shrug.
“That’s good. Real good.” Pepper uttered before pulling up a chair beside her.
“I wouldn’t get too comfy.”
“Why’s that?” Pepper rather snipped thinking Riona was going to kick him out.
Riona raised her brows on this but ignored her father’s foul mood.
“We’re switchin’ rooms, just as soon as they find us one.”
“Did something happen?”
This had the girls looking to Brodie.
“Hadn’t a chance to tell him. We came right after he called.” Brodie explained.
“We’ll let ya in on what’s goin’ on once we’re in the other room,” Riona promised, and her father nodded in understanding.
“You’re kidding…” Ethan heard Jax murmur as he was on the phone with Happy Lowman.
Ethan raised his brows in wonder but kept quiet.
“And you’re sure Op’s one of the ones that escaped?”
“Escaped?!” Ethan harshly whispered, and Jax lifted his head while holding a single finger up.
Ethan shook his head in disbelief.
“The girls alright?”
“Jesus Hap, we’re already here!”
“What do you mean we should probably head back?”
“Nah, brother. We gotta stick to the plan. I seriously doubt this thing with Op has anything to do with…”
Jax trailed off after Ethan cut on the hotel TV.
“Good Lord…” Ethan whispered as they were seeing the live broadcast of the riot in Stockton.
Jax recoiled when he saw Opie Winston listed as one of the escapees on the scrolly below. Seeing and hearing were two different things. This had the president’s stomach in literal knots. He didn’t know what to think. But he had to believe Opie wasn’t playing a part in this deal with Clay.
“Look, we’re stickin’ to the plan. Just meet us at the lounge after closing.” Jax said before slamming the phone down.
“They’re onto us, aren’t they?” Ethan asked, and Jax sighed.
Ethan nodded in reply.
“I haven’t a clue. But we’re too close to pull back now.”
“And if this is all a setup?!”
“Then we’re screwed,” Jax admitted, and Ethan chuckled in misery.
“Great. Just great!”
“Hey man, I gotta believe this thing with Op hasn’t anything to do with what’s going on here, right now. I’ll deal with him later.”
“But if it is…”
“Not much we can do about it now is there?!” Jax bitterly put.
“You’re going to get us killed, asshole.”
“Me… maybe. You? No. I told your sister I’d keep you safe.”
“And I told her I’d keep YOU safe.” Ethan fired back.
“Yeah well, as long as one of us comes back.”
“Nah, we ain’t doing that shit. Riona and Abel are counting on you.”
“You think I don’t know that?!”
“Sure doesn’t sound like it!” Ethan spat in return.
“You don’t get it!”
“And what is it I don’t get?!”
“I have to do this! Their lives depend on it!”
“You think I don’t get that?!”
Jax rolled his eyes, and Ethan sighed.
“I get that they’re counting on you, we all are. But dying isn’t an option. You’re not ripping my sister’s heart out like that.”
“I don’t want to, but if it comes down to it…”
“Then, we find another way. I’m keeping my word, and so are you.”
“Ethan, I’d rather die than lose them.”
“And I’m sure they feel the same about you.” Ethan harshly reminded and Jax sighed in thought.
The two sat in silence for over an hour. Ethan looked to the time before breaking that silence.
“I say we stick to the plan, but only if it feels right once we get there.”
“In and out…” Jax vowed.
“Unless he’s in there.” Ethan reiterated.
The two shook hands in agreement then came to their feet.
“Got your vest on?” Jax questioned while stuffing a smoke into his mouth.
“You think I’d willingly face Riona again if I didn’t?” Jax said with a smirk, and Ethan laughed.
“I imagine not.”
“That it?” Ethan questioned when the last employee exited the lounge.
They were parked a ways off, and Jax was looking on with a set of binoculars.
“Yeah, I think so. We’ll give it a few, just to be safe.”
“So, how we going about this?”
Jax regarded Ethan in question.
“You know… if he’s in there and all that jazz? I mean instant kill, or kidnap and torture?!”
“Gotcha. And your old buddy?!”
“Yeah, say we run into that Op guy. Then what?”
“Kill on contact.”
“You sure about that?”
“Yep. Alright, let’s head on out. But keep your eyes and ears open.”
‘What is this?” Tig nervously questioned once he saw Ethan and Jax breaking into the Hairy Dog (a bar and lounge).
This had Clay smiling in response.
“Just wait…” The ex-president uttered, with his arm around Tig.
Clay and his men had been keeping watch and were expecting Jax and Ethan’s arrival. This right here was the moment Clay had been waiting for. Tig swallowed back a massive knot within his throat when Ethan and Jax entered the lounge.
“Stay close,” Jax whispered as he and Ethan scanned the bar.
Ethan nodded then gave Jax a thumbs up. He was letting the president know there was no one behind the counter. Jax searched the rest of the bar, including the booths. Ethan used his foot to kick the men’s bathroom door open, and Jax simultaneously checked the women’s. They nodded once again letting the other know all was clear.
“We’ll check the office then the basement,” Jax whispered.
“Clay, what are you up to, man?”
“Patience, grasshopper.” Clay said but looked on with sheer annoyance. Another Nordic pulled up where they were keeping watch. He exited the car he was in then headed right for Clay.
“WHAT ARE YOU DOING?!” Clay harshly whispered.
“Are you trying to give our position away?!”
Nathan sighed then went on to reveal the message Chibs had given him. That message being – Don’t fear Death but fear the Reapers and the state in which you will die. Tig broke into a wide grin thinking that was a very Chibs-like thing to say. This had him breaking into a fit of laughter afterward. Clay snapped a look that direction and Tig shrugged.
“Hey, he’s the messenger. Kill him!” Tig sarcastically murmured and to everyone’s surprise, Clay did just that.
This had the Nordics looking to one another as if lost on how to respond. Clay rolled his eyes when one of them aimed a gun his direction.
“Don’t think so…” Another voice uttered, and Clay smiled as this came from Opie.
He too was holding a gun only it was pointed at the Nordic holding the one on Clay.
“One phone call… That’s all it takes.” Opie reminded, and the Nordic sighed before lowering his weapon.
“What a fucking sellout.” Tig hissed with a curled lip and Opie raised his brows on this.
“You’re one to talk.”
“Whatever you gotta tell yourself, brother. You talked shit about me all the fucking time. But I’m not the one that escaped prison, just to end up as this one’s sidekick again and you said I was the little bitch!”
“You are. That’s all you will ever be.”
Tig sneered at this and Opie shrugged.
“You honestly think they ever took you seriously? Hell, I doubt they even know you’re missing!”
Ethan and Jax inched their way down the basement stairs. Jax reached out then ran his hand along the wall as he felt for a switch. The moment that light flickered on, the two men froze in complete shock.
“Abel?!” Jax called with a heavy heart and Ethan flinched when he saw the look on his brother-in-law’s face.
The boy’s mouth was taped shut, and his tiny arms and legs were bound with rope. Neeta and Rat were laid out beside him. Jax took off like a bat out of hell, but Ethan had that bone-chilling feeling. He investigated the entire area around them, while Jax used his knife to cut his son free.
“Jax, we gotta go!” Ethan hollered once he spotted the cellphone and all the wires connected to it.
Jax peered back then recoiled once he saw the bomb. The president snatched his son up. They were headed for the basement door when Neeta moaned out. Jax pivoted back around and Ethan sighed.
“Look bro, we don’t have time! We gotta go, NOW!”
“I can’t leave her!” Jax muttered before handing his son over.
“JAX!” Ethan shouted as the president ran on back and was in attempts to drag the caregiver out.
“GO!” Jax impatiently hollered.
“TAKE MY SON AND FUCKING GO!”
Ethan struggled internally as he looked to the boy and his father. Liam came to mind, however, and one look from his president said it all.
“I’m right behind you.” Jax encouraged as he had Neeta up on the bottom steps now.
Ethan gave a simple nod then bolted out the door.
“Hit the detonator.” Clay randomly ordered.
Tig reared back as Opie retrieved something from his jacket.
Tig’s eyes went wild as he looked to the lounge then to the device in Opie’s hand. Tig didn’t give it a second thought. He darted on over then threw himself at Opie. The detonator flew out of Opie’s hand, and Tig scrambled to get to it. Just as he was to grab it, Clay stomped on his hand.
“I believe that belongs to me.” Clay murmured before bending down and picking it up.
“NO!” Tig cried.
Clay rolled his eyes as he dusted the detonator off. Opie grabbed ahold of Tig and prevented him from moving.
“Come on. You two can’t be serious! These are our brothers!” Tig beseeched.
“Our brothers?” Opie mockingly put, and Clay chuckled before setting off the detonator,
Tig let out an agonizing scream when the lounge went up in a fiery blaze.
“Wish I could’ve seen his face when he saw the kid…” Clay eerily put.
This had not only Tig but Opie snapping a look Clay’s direction.
“Kid?!” Opie questioned, and Clay chuckled.
“Just my little addition. I told him he’d suffer…” Clay said with a shrug.
“You know… It’s really too bad I couldn’t get the old lady in there as well.”
“Leave me.” Neeta faintly whispered and Jax’s eyes locked with hers.
“That baby boy needs his father. Don’t you die on my account.”
“Neeta…” Jax uttered in a pleading manner.
“I’ve made my peace with God. I’ll be okay, and he’ll forgive me for what I’m about to do.” She said with a loving smile.
Jax shook his head, and Neeta gave his hand a comforting squeeze.
“You tell that boy it was worth it and I’ll always look after him.”
“NOOOO!” Jax shouted when Neeta grabbed one of his guns and shot herself.
The president staggered back as he looked at her lifeless body and headed for the basement door.
“I’m sorry,” Jax cried as he took off through the back where Ethan and Abel were.
Jax let out a grunt when the impact hit him. The president flew a good twelve feet then landed. He could feel the heat coming off the lounge but couldn’t hear or see anything. Everything went black.
Tig staggered back on the meaning behind Clay’s words.
“You didn’t…” Tig said with tears in his eyes.
“Gotta admit, Ole Neeta put up more of a fight than the prospect,” Clay said with a shrug then popped a cigar into his mouth.
He was lighting it with a match when Opie shook his head with disgust.
“Oh, come on, don’t even look at me like that.”
“You killed a kid…” Opie horrifically whispered and while looking at the flames.
“Eh, kid had it coming. Miniature fucking Jax.”
Opie came to his feet then looked at Tig. The Son didn’t so much as blink as he watched the lounge burn. Tig was pulling his hair and rocking back and forth on his knees.
“Jesus,” Opie muttered under his breath.
Happy slowed down once he saw the fire from a distance. This had him rearing back in wonder. He saw Clay, Tig, Opie, and a few Nordics looking on as the Hairy Dog was up in flames. Happy wasn’t sure what to make of it, but the look on Tig’s face made him ill.
“What happened…” Happy severely questioned as he pulled up to the burning lounge.
He could hear Clay laughing from where he was.
“LOOKS LIKE YOU NEED A NEW PRESIDENT!” Clay viciously hollered, and Happy snapped a look that direction.
Clay laughed once again, and Happy withdrew his dual pistols. He aimed them Clay’s direction, and Clay shook his head in mere amusement. Clay, Opie, and the Nordics had Happy and Tig outnumbered.
“You do the math…” Clay humorously put, and Happy let out a low growl.
Chibs pulled up behind the burning lounge. The VP had taken another route, for his own peace of mind.
The Scot hopped off his Harley, the moment he saw a man’s silhouette carrying a small child amongst the smoke, and flames. Chibs took off that direction. It was Ethan, and the prospect had Abel in his arms.
“Where’s Jackie?!” Chibs hollered in a panic.
“Behind us!” Ethan shouted but kept running.
Chibs shook his head as he didn’t see Jax. Not at first. It wasn’t until he got a little closer that he saw Jax lying on the ground and just a few feet away from the lounge.
“JACKIE BOY!” The VP shouted, then took off that direction.
“Oh no, you don’t, kid!” Chibs yelled with tears in his eyes.
He lifted Jax up off the ground then hollered for Ethan’s help.
Ethan heard Chibs’s cry and sat the boy down.
“I’m gonna need you to stay put, alright?”
Abel gave a tearful nod, and Ethan gave the kid a bit of a noogie. Abel clung to that dragon of his and watched as his Uncle Ethan took off his Uncle Chibs’s direction.
“HELP ME!” Chibs cried, and together they dragged Jax away from the smoke and fire.
“Fuck!” Ethan said when he saw the metal shard in Jax’s head.
Chibs was trying to see how deep the wound was, but couldn’t. Not without causing more damage.
“He need Tommy!” They heard, and both men recoiled when they saw Abel standing beside them. The boy was handing his dragon over, with tears streaming down his face.
“Hey buddy, I thought I told you to stay put.” Ethan softly uttered.
“I know. I sorry but daddy need Tommy right now!” Ethan narrowed his eyes and watched as the kid forced the stuffed dragon into his father’s arms.
“Kid, that dragon isn’t gonna…” Ethan started to say only to have the VP stop him.
“Listen here, prospect. If the kid says his old man needs the dragon, then he needs the fuckin’ dragon!” The Scot barked, and Ethan flinched.
Abel wasn’t the only one beside himself. Chibs was losing it, big time.
“Listen, lad. We got somethin’ ta take care of.” Chibs regrettably uttered knowing they had Clay and the Nordics on the other side. The last thing they needed or wanted was for them to find Jax and Abel. It had to seem as if they were in that lounge, burning to a crisp.
“I’m gonna need your help, alright?”
Abel nodded and did his best to put up a brave front as his uncle swiftly explained what he needed Abel to do. He told Abel not to remove the metal shard, to leave it be for now. He gave him pointers on not making the wound any deeper and how to go about putting pressure on it. Abel followed suit and the VP left a spare gun by the kid’s side.
“If anyone and I mean anyone you don’t know comes your way. Shoot them!”
“Okay, I do that.”
“That’s my boy. Take care of your old man.”
“I take very good care of him, Uncle Chibs.” Abel cried, and while leaning into his arm. He wiped the tears off his face but kept pressure on his father’s wound still.
Chibs gave a simple nod then signaled for Ethan to follow him.
“No, let daddy die, Uncle Tommy. Please.” Abel cried as he looked to the dragon in his father’s arms.
“I no want him to go, and my mommy gonna cry.”
Abel sucked back a quivery breath.
“Please wake up, daddy. Please!”
Meanwhile, back at the hospital:
“Riona?!” Aislinn and Brodie chorused as the young woman slapped a hand over her heart. She bent over the counter as she was standing by the sink.
Brodie rushed on over and was quick to sit Riona down as she turned ghostly white.
“What is it?” Brodie questioned with a comforting hand along her shoulder.
“It felt like someone just walked over my grave…” Riona whispered and found it hard to breathe.
“Somethin’s wrong.” She added.
This had Brodie and Aislinn regarding one another in alarm.
“Jesus…” Ethan whispered as Clay had Happy disarmed now.
He and Tig were on their knees. Chibs shook his head in thought.
“They’re gonna kill them,” Ethan said in a panic.
“Nah, Clay’s waitin’ for an audience.”
“Aye, he’s expectin’ me, Bobby, and Kip.”
“But it’s just us…”
“So, ye fix bikes, and ye can count!” Chibs sarcastically uttered, and Ethan rolled his eyes.
“Look, I have an idea, but I’m gonna need ye ta pay attention and do exactly what I say.”
“Dammit Jax, you shouldn’t be here. You need to go back!”
A silhouette of a man stood over Jax. It wasn’t until the man bent down that Jax recognized him.
“What are you doing here?!”
Jax blinked a few times as he gained his bearings.
“Yeah… What did you do, Jax?” His brother sadly questioned.
Thomas helped his brother to his feet then checked him over. Thomas’s touch was cold and clammy.
“And how’d you end up here of all places?!”
Jax narrowed his eyes as he took in his surroundings. This place was daunting, murky, and there was a chill in the air. Jax could make out the fog to his breath, and everything he and his brother said had an echo to it. This had Jax reaching out and feeling the rough looking surface around them. It was wet and cold to the touch.
“Are we in a cavern?!” Jax questioned in surprise, and Thomas raised his brows on this.
“Is that what you see?” He asked but as if out of curiosity.
“Well, yeah,” Jax said after looking around yet again.
“Hm…” His brother amusingly hummed.
“What do you see?” Jax probed in return.
“Nothing. Just never-ending nothingness. Like a void.”
“Yeah, everyone sees something different though.”
“Everyone?” Jax asked as all he saw was his brother.
“Yeah, I’m guessing you can’t see them either…” Thomas gloomily put as he looked to the starving and thirst deprived individuals around them. Their bodies were grey, wrinkled, and parts of them were decaying from having been here so long. Each of them was asking for Thomas’s help.
Jax reared back wondering what that meant exactly.
“Jax, you shouldn’t be here. You need to find a way back home and quick. This place will eat you alive, not an exaggeration either!”
“What’s going on, Tommy?”
“That’s what I’d like to know! I can sense it… You don’t belong. I tried telling her but she…”
“Thomas! Where’s my goddamn whiskey!” A well-accustomed voice boomed, from seemingly nowhere.
Thomas sighed when he saw his brother stagger back in shock.
“Well, I’m guessing you heard that…”
“Where?! I want to see him!”
“No. You don’t! Trust me! Go home, Jax!”
Jax ignored this. He pushed past his brother then pressed on.
“NO, JAX!” Thomas shouted in a rather alarming pitch.
He reached out in attempts to stop his brother, but Jax was too far ahead.
“I’M SERIOUS, JAX! DON’T DO THIS. I MEAN IT! YOU DON’T WANT TO SEE HIM, NOT LIKE THIS!”
Jax strutted onward and headed the direction in which the incoherent complaining was coming from. Thomas shook his head in disapproval but followed.
“Dammit, son. If you poured it out again… I swear to GOD!”
“Dad…” Jax called with a quivery voice.
“Where is it?!” JT demanded while digging through a set of cabinets.
Jax couldn’t believe what he was seeing. Whereas they started out in some sort of cavern, it was no longer. No. They were at the Teller Cabin. JT was grabbing empty bottle after empty bottle and tossing them around. They’d shatter every time they hit the floor or wall. Jax hadn’t a clue what to make of this, any of this.
“Dad…” Jax called once again, and Thomas sighed as he stood directly behind him.
“Dad, it’s Jax.” Thomas softly uttered, and JT froze in mid-throw.
“What is?” JT bitterly put, and Thomas cleared his throat before answering.
“Jax is here, dad.”
“No, he isn’t. We know that isn’t possible!” JT barked then went back to digging.
“Turn around, old man.” Jax said, and JT stopped what he was doing and gradually turned.
Thomas recoiled at his father’s stunned, yet devastated expression. Like that of the beggars, JT shared that same grey hue, crumpled flesh, and he too was decaying, slowly, but surely.
“Jackson…” JT called in a heart-wrenching tenor.
“Is it really you?”
“Yeah, it is.”
“Oh, son… not you too. You can’t be here. He shouldn’t be here!” JT reiterated with a firm nod his younger son’s direction.
“Tell me something I don’t know.”
“What are you two talking about?!” Jax impatiently questioned.
JT came to his feet then made his way over. He placed a cold and clammy hand along Jax’s cheek and gave him a tearful smile.
“Oh, I wish we could be together — all of us. What I wouldn’t give, son, but it isn’t your time, and even if it was. You can’t be here.” JT reached to his temples after having said this. His knees buckled and JT dropped down in agony. Jax observed as Thomas was quick to help. JT went back to ranting and raving about that bottle of whiskey and how he couldn’t find it. It was as if the conversation they just had never even happened.
“He does that… Which is why you need to go. I mean it, Jax! It isn’t safe for you.”
Jax shook his head. None of this made sense.
“Maybe you should give him the bottle,” Jax suggested, and Thomas had a good laugh at this.
“Don’t you get it. There is no alcohol here. No nourishment, no nothing! All that shit’s in his head!”
“Hey…” Jax whispered with concern.
Thomas had his hands along his temples and let out an heart-wrenching cry of his own.
“Can’t you hear him?!”
“NO! HIM! He’s all alone, Jax. He’s so scared.”
Thomas lowered his hands, and Jax observed as Thomas marched on over to one of the cabinets.
“WATCH!” Thomas desperately cried.
He grabbed an empty bottle from the shelf.
“Here!” Thomas spat then handed their father that empty bottle.
Jax regarded the scene before him in downright disbelief. JT chugged at that empty bottle like he was drowning in whiskey. Thomas gave a simple nod then tapped his temple with his index finger.
“It’s what you make it. None of it is real. He’ll drink and drink, but nothing will ever come of it. He can’t get drunk. Nothing he does takes the pain away!”
“You make it sound as if we’re in purgatory or somethin’.” Jax half-witted and Thomas cocked a brow in response.
“Yeah… okay! Sure!” Jax muttered, and Thomas sighed.
“You really are a heathen.” Thomas murmured, and Jax reared back in surprise.
“Tell me, Jax… Where do you think we are?” Thomas added but with that painful countenance on his face again.
“I’m thinking I’ve had a little too much to drink and Riona is going to be PISSED!” Jax witted as to all the irrational nonsense surrounding them.
Thomas sent his brother a genuine smile.
“If only…” Thomas said but the way he said that had Jax on edge.
“Jax, if you’re here… and he’s there. That means you must’ve got your wires crossed.”
“You’re either dead… or on your deathbed. And for whatever reason… you’re here… and of your own free will! I keep telling you. You don’t belong here!”
“Yeah, I got that part already.”
“Jax, you’ve got two options. Wake the fuck up… or go into the light. THIS?! NOT IT!”
“Then why are you and dad here?!”
Thomas looked to their father as JT nursed on that empty whiskey bottle.
“I suppose we’re here out of our own will.” Thomas regrettably admitted.
“Okay…” Jax murmured more lost than ever.
“Look, dad’s here because he can’t forgive himself! He blames himself for what happened to me, you, and the club.”
“But why are you here?!”
“I told you, remember?”
Jax narrowed his eyes on this, and Thomas sighed.
“I won’t leave him, Jax. I’m all he has now. Do you think it was easy giving all that up?! The memories, the love… It’s all so clouded now – like a bad reception. It’s lonely as hell here, even with the old man keeping me company.”
“But you keep telling me to leave!” Jax angrily spat.
“Yeah, because you don’t belong here!”
“YOU KEEP TELLING ME THAT!”
“CAUSE IT’S TRUE!”
“WELL, NEITHER DO YOU!” Jax fired back.
“Yeah?!” Thomas challenged, and Jax gave a stern nod.
“Well, there’s one BIG fucking difference, asshole!” The way his brother said this reminded him of Ethan Lawless.
“I’M DEAD, YOU’RE NOT, NOT YET. BUT YOU WILL BE IF YOU STICK AROUND MUCH LONGER!”
“Jesus Christ…” Jax whispered as he looked back.
His father’s eyes were bloodshot all of a sudden, and his eyes were sunken in. The older man rocked back and forth, with that empty bottle, and was having himself a good cry.
“Thomas, the whiskey went bad again.” Their father said, and Jax broke into a cold sweat.
Thomas closed his eyes in response.
“It’s like living with someone with dementia.” Thomas softly explained.
“He never remembers… it’s a never-ending cycle, Jax. This day… it repeats itself over and over and over. He’s always looking for that one fucking bottle. He’ll drink and drink then lose his mind when he can’t drink himself into oblivion.”
“So, how do we break the cycle?” Jax sincerely questioned.
“We can’t. Believe me. I’ve tried. I’ve been trying for years. Nothing I say or do works. He thinks I’m some sort of fucking mirage sent here to torture him, but that couldn’t be further from the truth.”
Jax thought back to the dream he had a while back and compared it to the one his sister-in-law had. This had the Son tilting his head in thought.
“So, what you’re saying is… YOU gave up your eternal happiness, in hopes of bringing dad with you. But when that didn’t work, you stayed, so he wouldn’t suffer alone.”
“It swallowed him whole, Jax. That’s what I meant when I said it was too late for me. I spent too much time here, and my gate closed. I lost my chance.”
“Right, heathen. Forgot.”
“No, listen…” Jax said.
He was putting everything together and it was starting to make perfect sense. Thomas was too close to the picture to see it.
“Tommy, you said it yourself. The ONLY thing keeping you here is dad! So, what’s to say you’re not the one doing this…”
“WHY WOULD I DO THIS?! HUH?!” Thomas shouted in defense, then pulled at his hair in frustration.
“Damn, you weren’t kidding. This place really sucks you in!”
Thomas gave a miserable nod and Jax half-laughed.
“Think about it, Tommy. Why do you think the cycle constantly repeats itself?”
Thomas rolled his eyes, and Jax nodded amongst himself.
“Everyone sees something different….” Jax repeated in thought.
“I don’t think it’s dad. If this is what YOU’RE seeing, then what is dad seeing? If he’s even here?!”
“That wouldn’t even make sense! We’ve been together the whole time.”
“I get that. But what’s not to say that you didn’t get sucked in, while helping the old man. What’s to say you didn’t achieve what you came here to do. Hell, what if your roles reversed?!”
Thomas shook his head, thinking his brother’s theory was a little too farfetched, even with the troubling situation they were in.
“Alright, change it.” Jax tested.
“You heard me. If everyone sees something different, then change it. Change what you’re seeing Tommy. I mean why is dad trying to drink himself to death, every time. Is that HIM or YOU? Whose vision is it, Tommy? Who’s the real mirage here?!”
“That isn’t possible!”
“Yes, it is,” Jax argued in return.
“WHAT THE FUCK WOULD YOU KNOW?! YOU JUST GOT HERE, JAX. WE’VE BEEN HERE FOR YEARS!’
“YOU’VE been in here for years.” Jax firmly corrected.
“Change it, baby brother. I know you can.” Jax softly encouraged, and his brother gave a miserable laugh.
“Think of something, anything, a memory!” Jax further pushed, and the area around them started spinning.
“Jax…” Thomas called in apprehension, and Jax broke into a smile.
“DON’T!” Jax warned as the vision was warping back to the cabin and JT.
“Don’t lose it, Tommy! SHOW ME!”
“But what if you don’t see it?!
“I will,” Jax swore then waited as the cabin and JT faded yet again.
It took Thomas awhile, but he finally accomplished what Jax hoped he would.
“I KNEW IT! AISLINN WAS RIGHT!” Jax said while throwing his hands up in celebration.
“Aislinn?” Thomas’s whole demeanor changed at just the sound of her name.
“That’s right. Aislinn thinks you’re stuck, both of you. But now that I’m here… I think it’s you!”
“And how do you figure that?!” Thomas said as they were in the SAMCRO clubhouse and sitting at the bar now.
“Because dad had a certain glow in these visions or whatever you call them, but yours was dull. Didn’t used to be. You carried that same essence. It was comforting, even if it creeped me the fuck out at first. Come to think of it… It went dull after you touched that fucking dragon! Tommy, I think you chose purgatory! That’s why you looked so fucking destroyed! You gave up your light. I saw you do it! That fucking dragon allowed it!”
Thomas’s jaw dropped, and Jax nodded.
“You’re right… I did. That dragon was the portal. It was the only way to find dad.”
“A portal allowing access to the four realms. Those being Heaven, Hell, Purgatory, and Earth. You’re only granted such access through “higher” means.”
“You mean like God?”
“Not quite that high…” Thomas amusingly uttered.
“Jax, how’d you…”
Jax and Thomas froze as their father entered the clubhouse, with a genuine beam on his face. The sun cascaded behind him, and he headed their direction. Jax swore he could feel the sun’s warmth.
He pecked his sons on the cheek, and Thomas regarded his brother in absolute shock.
“I don’t understand.” Thomas cried, and Jax smiled.
“It’s all in here…” Jax tapped the area of his temple like his brother had before.
“He’s right. I’m sorry, son. I never meant for you to take my place.” JT explained, and Thomas’s eyes swelled up in tears.
“I took a risk sending Jackson after you. But if anyone could do it… I knew it’d be him, and I was right!
Thomas, you were always welcome: it was you that renounced your invitation. It was you that closed the gateway. I thought about going after you but knew it wouldn’t work. You would’ve assumed it was all in your head. Jax was the only choice. He hadn’t been there as long as we had. And we both know Jax is a fighter, a non-believer, but a fighter, nevertheless. But I suspect your beliefs will change once you’re awake. Well, after you tell that beautiful wife of yours about the crazy dream you had and how unrealistic all of this stupid religious bullshit is. Oh, and son… Watch your goddamn mouth when it comes to the “Virgin Mary.” JT witted, and Jax reared back on how his “heaven-bound” father took the Lord’s name in vain.
JT revealed the truth behind the dragon Abel carried. That dragon was indeed Thomas’s portal. His gateway to purgatory. Thomas needed something that kept him bound between the realms, and his nephew’s dragon held all four. The key was based on what Thomas saw in himself, at that given moment. As to why the gates of hell never opened. JT once shared that portal, but it closed after Thomas convinced JT to forgive himself. JT assumed his son was right behind him but wasn’t. Thomas spent too much time trying to bring his father back, and JT hadn’t a clue Thomas was even in danger. Not until he arrived at the pearly gates, and Thomas was nowhere to be found.”
“I tried to tell her…” Thomas apologetically put.
“Tell who?” Jax asked.
“Aislinn. Man, that girl… She’s just as beautiful as I remember. I didn’t want to leave. I could’ve stayed there forever. But I can’t think of anyone more deserving than Filip Telford.” Thomas said in awe but cleared his throat after.
“Have to agree there, son. Oh, and kudos on snatching up that knockout of a sister!” JT said with a firm nod Jax’s direction.
“I told you… didn’t I?” His father additionally hinted.
“Yeah, yeah.” Jax murmured.
“I tried telling her I was stuck that I didn’t want you going back for me! I didn’t want the same thing to happen to you.” Thomas continued.
“And the falling crows?” Jax questioned.
JT cocked a brow on this particular vision.
“That was my little touch. It wasn’t my intention to scare her, but I knew Aislinn would get the meaning behind it.” JT looked to Thomas in thought.
“I barely missed you…” JT wretchedly put, and this had his younger son’s attention.
“I knew you wouldn’t miss the opportunity to visit your “Ophelia” and nephew. I knew that was my one chance to hurry and catch you. I was going to bring you with me after we warned the girls. But everytime I got close, you were already gone.”
“But Abel says he plays with you both, all the time…” Jax said in confusion.
“He does… But when Thomas closed that gate. Your brother and I weren’t in contact again. This makes the first I’ve seen him since. I’m sure to a child’s frame of mind we were there together, but we never were.”
“There’s one thing I don’t understand. Well, make that several. But I doubt we have time…” Jax witted.
“And what’s that, son?”
“Abel… How do you keep in contact with him?”
“I already told you.”
“But you said the dragon USED to be your portal.”
“No, I said we once shared that portal. I have my own; everyone does.”
Jax’s jaw dropped when his father gave a hinting nod towards the SON’s rings Jax was wearing. The ones JT handed down when Jax became VP.
JT and Thomas recoiled as they could both hear it now… Jax, however, was oblivious as he looked to those rings.
“He’s gotta go, dad!” Thomas said in a panic.
“That he does,” JT said while taking Jax by the arm and dragging him towards the clubhouse entry.
“As much as I’d love for you to stay…” JT uttered as the light within the door frame started to weaken.
“Dad?” Jax apprehensively called, and JT sent him a loving smile.
“I got it from here. Go, he’s waiting…” JT said, and Jax tilted his head in question.
“Oh yeah… He hasn’t left your side and never will. Just like you and Thomas. He’ll never give up on you, Jackson.”
Thomas laughed as their father hugged Jax, then gave him a swift kick to the ass and on out the door.
“I LOVE YOU, EVEN IF YOU ARE A FUCKING HEATHEN!” Jax heard his father holler.
“You sure this is going to work?” Ethan questioned, while he and Chibs moved one of the metal Hairy Dog’s industrial dumpsters.
The VP had to remind himself that Ethan had a military background as well.
“Aye, if we stick to the plan. No room for mistakes. We don’t want Jackie or the boy gettin’ caught in the crossfire.”
Ethan nodded, and they went on to move the other dumpster. They pushed it up against the other one then looked back. Those dumpsters would act as a shield and keep Jax and Abel protected. The Scot pointed out anything else that came to mind as they snuck around to the side of the building. Ethan regarded his brother-in-law with concern as the smoke had him wheezing.
“I’m alright,” Chibs uttered as if reading his mind.
“Ye’ve served in an actual war, right?”
“Well, yeah.” Ethan said as if to say ‘duh’.
“Then ye know what I’m goin’ for. Keep the bullets front and centered if ye can. All we want is the distraction…” Chibs reminded then went on to explain his side of this little charade.
Ethan seemed a little more confident once he and the VP mapped everything out.
“You good now?”
“Yeah. Just make sure you’re faster than a speeding bullet.” Ethan witted, and Chibs gave an anxious chuckle.
“On my cue, ye gotta be quick. Don’t ye go and get me, yourself, and the others killed!”
“I’ll do my best.” Ethan smarted, and Chibs sighed.
“Boy…” He warned, and Ethan shrugged.
“I gotcha, alright?!”
“I sure hope so!”
Chibs inched away from the corner where he and Ethan were hiding. The fire was going strong still, and the two were covered in soot and sweat. Chibs was having some difficulty breathing as he made his way where Happy and Tig were. They were being held at gunpoint.
“Aye now, ye done made your point.” The VP said with his hands in the air, in surrender.
Clay reared back then tilted his head as if stunned by the Scot’s sudden appearance. The former president started to say something in return, but Chibs hollered out in code.
“Drop it like it’s hot!”
He, Tig, and Happy automatically hit the ground. Before Clay could even comprehend what had taken place, bullets were flying and right towards them. Clay yelled for his men to take cover, and he himself hid behind one of the vehicles. Happy and Tig kept down and at a crawl as they followed Chibs to the back of the building where Ethan was. Ethan had a few bullets in hand still. He stuffed them into his prospect cut. He and Chibs used that fire to their advantage and Ethan had thrown a few in, on Chibs’s cue. That fire activated the powder within the bullets and they went flying. Ethan tossed Happy and Tig a couple handhelds.
“There’s no way we can take them on with just these,” Tig said as the Nordics were fully armed and with heavier machinery. Tig thought back to the sniper rifles Clay had and recoiled. Tig thought it best to warn the boys. This had Chibs looking to his brother-in-law and to the sniper rifle just a few feet away. One of the Nordics dropped it when they took cover.
“I hear you’re a dead hitter,” Chibs uttered in thought, and Ethan frowned.
“Well, are ye or aren’t ye? Jackie told me all about yer little headshot and how far away ye was!”
Ethan laughed in mockery.
“Think ye got a few more of those in ye, kid?”
“Hell, if I know.”
“Well, let’s hope you do!” Happy encouragingly put, and Ethan sighed.
Happy took it upon himself to snatch that rifle up. Chibs and Tig kept Happy covered as a couple Nordics were shooting at him. The Son let out this crazed laugh when he made it back unharmed. He handed the rifle over afterward.
“No pressure.” The prospect smarted, and Happy smiled.
“Nope. None!” Happy witted in return and while patting the prospect on the back.
“You guys suck!” Ethan bitched as he checked the weapon first then took position.
“You two keep him covered,” Chibs ordered and Happy, and Tig nodded.
Jax opened his eyes, and the first thing he saw was that dragon in his arms. He could feel his son’s touch as Abel had one hand on the wound still and the other on his father’s cheek. Jax could hear his son sobbing and reciting one of his mother’s Irish blessings. When Abel got to the part about God holding his father in the palm of his hand, Abel’s cries became inconsolable.
“But I no want my daddy to go to God! I no want my daddy to be dead!”
Jax reached out then placed a hand along Abel’s leg. Abel let out a startled gasp at first. The boy recognized that hand, however, and this had him lifting his head. The two locked eyes and Jax smiled.
“Hey, lil man.”
Abel sucked back a quivery breath. Jax started to hug him, only to have Abel stop him.
“Uncle Chibs says I no can move and I have to keep pressure on this. You no need to bleed out he says. You no move daddy.” Abel tearfully scolded but managed to smile.
Jax couldn’t help but chuckle.
“Whatever you say, lil boss,” Jax said, but as he said this, he could hear the bullets flying around them and the war between SAMCRO and Clay. That dream… Felt like forever, but it must’ve been shorter than he thought. How was that even possible?! Jax found himself in wonder. Did time freeze?! The president shook it off then took notice of the gun lying beside his son.
“Who gave you that gun, Abel?”
“Uncle Chibs. He says if anyone comes this way… Shoot them!”
Jax sighed in thought.
“Abel son, I’m gonna have to break Uncle Chibs’s rule, alright?”
“But you can’ts! You is bleeding daddy! And yous got this weird thing in your head!”
“Yeah, it very sharp daddy.”
“No, it metal. I think.”
“Well, as long as we leave it in. I should be fine.”
Jax sat up, and Abel sent his father a look of disapproval. Jax swore his son look just like Riona at that very moment. This had the president laughing in thought. He picked the gun up then came to his feet. He helped Abel to his as well.
“Daddy has to help his Crows.” Jax did his best to explain, and Abel lowered his head.
Jax reached out, cupped his chin, then lifted it. He looked his son in the eyes as he spoke.
“I’m gonna be just fine, I promise. But Uncle Chibs, Uncle Ethan, Happy and Tig… They won’t be if I don’t help them. You understand?”
Abel gave a sad nod. Jax picked him up then hugged him.
“I love you, daddy,” Abel said with a trembling voice.
“I love you too, lil man,” Jax said while handing his son the dragon.
“Hold on to that. Now, I need you to listen to everything I say…”
Abel clung to that dragon, while his father gave him specific instructions.
“GO!” Jax ordered afterward then gave his son a little nudge the direction in which he needed him to go.
Jax made certain his son was long gone before joining the others…
Ethan lined up one of his targets, while Happy and Tig kept him covered.
“NICE!” Happy eagerly put when Ethan fired and the bullet hit a Nordic, right between the eyes.
“Teach me!” Tig pleaded, and Ethan shook his head while lining up another shot.
This wasn’t easy considering most of the Nordics had taken cover and the prospect was being shot at in the process. All the Sons had for protection were a few trees, and the burning building beside them.
“Just like a video game!” Happy witted.
“Not even close.” Ethan murmured as some of the ash from the fire blew right in his face, and got in his eyes.
“Fuck…” He grumbled as his eyes started to tear up.
Happy and Tig dealt with another Nordic, while Ethan fixed the issue with his eyes. It wasn’t long before the prospect was back in business.
Meanwhile, the VP was doing his damnest to get to Clay. Chibs uttered a slew of Scottish profanities when a bullet whizzed right past him, and he had to take cover again.
“Go on, Filip. I got your six, always have, always will.” The VP heard, causing him to pivot around in sheer amazement.
“JACKIE BOY!” Chibs hollered in celebration.
The Scot stopped what he was doing and hugged the hell out of Jax. He planted a hand along his cheek afterward then shook his head.
“Jackie, ye shouldn’t be walkin’ around like that. Ye got a hole in yer head. Ye look like a crash dummy!”
“I feel like one.” Jax humorously admitted, and the two dodged a couple bullets.
“Where’s the wee one?” Chibs questioned while shooting at a Nordic.
“Headed to the Shell a few blocks away.”
Chibs reared back in surprise.
“I told him to call his mother. Hell, he’s safer at a gas station, with complete strangers than he is here!”
“Gotta agree there,” Chibs said but this was followed with a hacking and coughing fit.
“You need to get away from this building!” Jax scolded.
“And take cover where exactly?!”
Jax sighed in thought.
“I have an idea.”
“Does it hafta do with not dyin’ from blood loss?” Chibs mocked as Jax had a trail of blood running down his head, face, and neck.
“And not dying from lack of oxygen?!” Jax fired back.
“Touché’, ye bastard.”
The president told the VP his plan, and Chibs laughed like he was joking. Jax frowned in response.
“Ye want me ta wheel yer arse around in a dumpster?!”
“Yep, and you’re gonna send me rolling Clay’s direction!”
“Yer insane! Ye know that?!”
“You got something better?!” Jax challenged, and Chibs grumbled under his breath.
“Fine, but ye best not go and turn inta Swiss Cheese, Jackie!”
“I got my vest on, and the dumpster will keep me protected.”
“Not for long, it won’t!”
“Then we better act fast!”
Jax sighed at the distrusting look on his VP’s face.
“I just need you to trust me. I know I screwed up when it came to Clay. But I know what I’m doing here.”
“Ye didn’t screw up, kid,” Chibs said while heading towards one of the metal dumpsters.
“He got ahold of my son, and he managed to get the upper hand, on all of us!”
“And here ye are… Walkin’ around with a goddamn hole in yer noggin’!”
Jax reared back in response.
“If that ain’t determination and the integrity of a real fucking president, then I don’t know what is! Now quit feelin’ sorry for yerself boy and get yer arse in that fuckin’ dumpster.”
“FEELING SORRY FOR MYSELF?!” Jax damn near growled.
“Eh, I just figured pissing ye off would do more damage,” Chibs uttered with a shrug.
Jax chuckled as Chibs gave him a boost inside. Chibs damn near had a heart attack however when Jax slipped and nearly fell, on his head. Jax laughed after seeing the look on his VP’s face.
“I’m glad ye think that shite’s funny!” Chibs bitterly put before slamming the lid shut.
The Scot could hear Jax’s laughter continue as he pushed that dumpster across the street. Chibs recoiled when he heard the bullets ricochet off the dumpster. He prayed to God, none of them penetrated and hit Jax. The Scot moved quickly as possible, but it wasn’t an easy task on his lonesome. These dumpsters were pretty heavy, even more so with his president inside.
“HELP THEM!” The prospect ordered causing Tig and Happy to rear back in response.
“SERIOUSLY! ONE OF YOU GET YOUR ASSES OVER THERE!” Ethan barked while taking another Nordic out.
Happy gave Tig a slight shove that direction. “Thanks!” Tig sarcastically put while dodging bullets and heading Chibs’s way. Ethan kept quiet as a bullet hit him in the chest. He knew it didn’t penetrate, thanks to the vest. But that didn’t stop the excruciating amount of pain he was in. That was going to be one nasty bruise. The prospect fixed his stance to keep from passing out.
“Hey, you alright?” Happy questioned seeing how pale the prospect was.
“Yeah…” Ethan lied, knowing there wasn’t much they could do about it right now.
He had to keep trucking.
Riona was stunned when the operator asked if she would accept a collect call from Abel Teller. This had the young woman regarding her sister and Brodie in shock. Riona accepted the charges. Brodie, and Aislinn listened in on the conversation.
“ABEL?!” Riona answered in that motherly, yet panic-stricken tone.
“Daddy say you do that. But you no worry mommy cause I is okay. But I need you to pick me up at the Shell gas station. It a few blocks from Hairy Dog. I no know what Hairy Dog cause I no see one. But daddy says don’t dare go near it cause it too dangerous. He say come get me then go back to the hospital. He say take someone with you when you get me to be safe.”
This had Riona looking to Pepper and Brodie in thought.
“Oh, and daddy say to use Uncle Chibs’s car. It unlocked, and Uncle Chibs has a spare key hidden under the driver mat. Uncle Chibs truck is in the hospital parking lot. Uncle Chibs leaves it for Aunt Linny so she can runs away if she need to. I no know why she run away though mommy.”
Riona hadn’t spoken a word as her son went on with his father’s instructions.
“Mommy?!” Abel called, and Riona thickly swallowed.
“Aye. I’m on my way, love.” She said with that hand along her heart still.
She hadn’t a clue why their son was even there or how he ended up back in Charming. Her heart galloped within her chest, and she looked at her father.
“I need you.” She said, taking her father and Aislinn by surprise.
“You stay with Linny, Brodie. We shouldn’t be long.”
“What’s going on?” Brodie asked with concern.
“I haven’t a clue!” Riona said before grabbing her purse and running out the door.
“Holy shit!” Ethan howled when the lid to the dumpster sprang open, and Jax pulled the pin to a grenade.
Jax thought it a true miracle that grenade didn’t go off when he got caught up in that blast. That had been his secret weapon this entire time, but he hadn’t a chance to use it, not until now. Jax sent his stepfather a sinister smile when he threw that grenade at the Nordics. A round with his dual pistols followed this. Jax dropped down before the grenade went off and held that lid down as he did. AJ Weston let out a painful cry. Tig broke into a fit of laughter when the man bent down and picked up his arm.
“HEY, YOU NEED A HAND?!” Tig hollered and Chibs chuckled.
“Nice!” Ethan said while giving Happy a high five.
A van came barreling through the area, and the side doors flew open. More shots were fired, and Chibs withdrew a breath of relief as that van belonged to them. A prospect was driving, and Bobby and Kip were shooting any Nordics left standing. Chibs and Tig managed to sneak up on Clay during all the chaos. They disarmed him then held him at gunpoint. They dragged him towards the van. Bobby and Kip stopped shooting, just long enough to help pull Clay into the van. They shot at a couple more Nordics afterward.
“GO!” Jax impatiently ordered then slammed the van doors shut.
He, Chibs, Ethan, and Tig watched as they sped off.
“I got this one,” Ethan said, taking Happy by surprise.
He and Happy had Opie pinned up against one of the Nordic’s vehicles. Happy cocked a brow when Ethan got in the former Son’s face.
“Ironic, isn’t it?” Ethan harshly whispered, and Opie sneered at this.
“I saved your life. But now I’m gonna take it.” Ethan eerily put, and Happy watched as Opie tried taking off. Ethan snatched him by the hair, then slammed him back against the car.
“A brother who doesn’t respect the value of loyalty can never respect the price of betrayal.” Ethan hissed.
“You know… Jax didn’t have it in him. You meant THAT much to him. But everyone’s gotta take the trash out at some point.”
Jax arrived just in time to not only hear but see Opie’s demise. The president recoiled when Ethan put his gun away then used his knife to stab Opie in the gut.
“When you stab someone… You look them in the fucking eyes.” Ethan hinted while twisting that blade with a simple jerk of the hand. Ethan didn’t blink as he and Opie stared one another down. A single tear ran down Opie’s face, and Ethan curled his lip in disgust.
“I’ll add went out like a BITCH on your tombstone…” Ethan said before Opie took his last breath.
Ethan used his boot to pry Opie off his knife. When he did this, blood splattered all across Jax’s white Nike’s. Jax snapped a ‘look’ the prospect’s direction, and Ethan shook his head in misunderstanding.
“You told me to kill him, on contact!” Ethan said in defense.
Jax ignored this and bent down. He used the sleeve of his shirt to wipe the blood off. The blood had already set into the laces however and the crevices of his shoes. Chibs cringed once he saw Jax’s bloodstained shoes. Jax continued in his aggressive wiping.
“OH, COME THE FUCK ON! YOU SAID IT YOURSELF. OPIE WINSTON WAS NOTHING BUT A BACKSTABBING SON OF A BITCH. HELL, HE BROKE OUT OF PRISON, SO HE COULD DO IT ALL OVER AGAIN!”
“I COULD GIVE A RAT’S ASS ABOUT OP!” Jax shouted with tears in his eyes.
“Then what the FUCK is your problem?”
“Are you fucking blind?! You got blood on my goddamn shoes, asshole!”
“Wait… you’re calling ME the asshole?! Who gets that upset over some pussy ass shoes? Hell, I can buy you some new ones. Actually, I take that back. I’ll get you some boots, you know like a REAL BIKER!”
Chibs and the others recoiled when Jax socked Ethan across the face. He grabbed him by the cut then got in his face.
“I don’t want new shoes you prick! And I don’t want any fucking boots. GOT IT?!” Ethan growled under his breath, and Jax stormed off.
“What the fuck was that?!” Ethan bitterly put then wiped the blood off his busted lip.
“Those were Thomas Teller’s shoes…” The Scot softly explained, and Ethan staggered back.
The VP gave a simple nod then he and Happy helped Ethan with Opie. They tossed his body into the fire, along with any Nordics they found.
Meanwhile, Jax taunted AJ and Ernest as they were in attempts to escape. AJ was missing an arm, and Ernest was suffering from several bullet wounds as well as burns from the explosion the grenade caused. Ernest’s right leg was covered in blisters, and his jeans had melted to his flesh. Jax suddenly felt like Michael Myers as he headed their way with that blade of his. A smile spread across his face when AJ tripped over his own two feet. Ernest, however, didn’t stop, not even for AJ. Jax rolled his eyes then sent his knife flying, right for Ernest.
The Nordic let out a distressing cry then dropped to his knees. Jax marched on over, yanked the knife out of Ernest’s back, then reached around and slit his throat. AJ was backing away in a crablike fashion and pleading for his life. Jax didn’t utter a word. He strutted on over and slit his throat as well.
The boys kept quiet as they rid of the bodies, as well as any evidence that they had been there.
“You need a breathing treatment,” Jax muttered as Chibs was back to wheezing.
“And ye need yer head examined!” Chibs mocked in return, and this had the others laughing.
“That’s pretty gnarly, bro,” Tig admitted as it was enough to gross him out.
“Yeah man, I think your brains are leaking.” Happy teased and Jax punched him on the arm.
“Does it hurt?” Tig asked.
“No. Rest of me fucking hurts though.”
Chibs used the flashlight off his phone to get a better look at Jax’s head.
“Guess it’s true what they say…” The medic murmured.
“Yeah, and what’s that?!” Jax questioned but hollered out in pain when Chibs pulled the metal shard out.
“WHAT THE FUCK?!” Jax shouted, and Chibs laughed.
“Wasn’t as deep as I thought. Don’t take much when it comes ta yer noggin’. Ye’ll bleed like a stuck pig.” Chibs said while adding pressure to the wound and cleaning it up best he could, for now.
“Ye got one hell of a goose egg back here though. I bet that’s what knocked yer arse out!”
Chibs pointed it out to the others, and they recoiled in response.
“We’ll have to get some ice on that.” The VP added.
“That all of them?” Jax questioned after Tig and Happy did a final sweep of the area.
“Looks like it.” Happy replied.
“Good. Then let’s get the heck out of dodge. I need everyone at the clubhouse.” Jax said, but as he said this, he wondered who was looking after Brad Montana when Bobby and Kip made their appearance.
The president couldn’t concern himself with that now. There was too much going on. They had to get out of there before the law showed. He was surprised they hadn’t already.
“Get your ass in there!” Bobby ordered before opening the clubhouse door and giving Clay a swift kick to the ass.
He, Kip and the prospect dragged Clay into the basement, where Brad Montana was. Dinah raised her brows the moment she saw Clay Morrow.
“Someone’s got some splainin’ to do.” She said with a mocking wink his direction.
Clay sneered at this and Dinah’s sister looked to her with concern.
“Everything’s okay,” Dinah whispered, while giving her sister’s hand a reassuring squeeze.
“How is this okay? You’re the sheriff… aren’t you?” Chesiree whispered.
Bobby overheard this however, and this had him snapping a look the sisters’ direction.
“Are we gonna have a problem?”
“With you… maybe. Everyone else is just fine.” Dinah hissed in response.
Bobby rolled his eyes then taped Clay’s mouth shut.
to be continued in Gunnin’ For You Part II…
(A/N – everything will be explained then)