Chapter 20 – Supermarket Flowers
Bella laid a flower down on Donna’s coffin. Once she did this, she nodded Dizzy’s direction…
Dizzy started the song that Ellie and Kenny had picked out for their mother. Ed Sheeran’s Supermarket Flowers began to play and Bella took her seat. She wasn’t too thrilled about seeing Wendy and Tara at the funeral. But knew they too played a part in her aunt’s life, before she even came to Charming. So she kept quiet on the manner. That didn’t stop her from feeling somewhat bitter. The way Wendy eyed Abel and Jax didn’t help matters. Bella could tell that Wendy and Tara harbored feelings for Jax. Bella drew back the deepest of breaths and came to her feet. She kissed her uncle’s cheek and hugged her cousins. Jax recoiled as Bella headed on out. Bella wasn’t the only one to take notice of Wendy and Tara and how they looked upon Jax. Gemma had as well and figured that was the reason behind Bella leaving. But Jax knew it had to do with Bella blaming herself. It didn’t matter what he said… She was supposed to be in that truck, not Donna. Clay was counting on that and that’s why he ordered the hit. Jax wondered who he hired, considering Tig hadn’t gone through with it.
Jax couldn’t help but to envision this being his old lady’s funeral, instead of Op’s. If Clay had gotten his way, it would’ve been. Jax breathed his flower in then kissed the petals, as he was last to place his flower down. He gave Opie a respectful nod, before heading to his father’s grave. Like that of Bella, Jax was on the verge of a meltdown. He had to get out of there. He was sitting on his father’s tombstone, when Piney made his way over. He placed a firm hand along Jax’s shoulder.
“You were right. Time for a change.” Piney hinted as to his and Jax’s argument about the cartel.
Jax narrowed his eyes as Piney handed him an envelope. Inside that envelope were his father’s manuscripts. Piney nodded and went about his way. Jax lit up a smoke and flipped through the pages. He reared back as it wasn’t just his father’s manuscripts, but JT’s journal as well, in its entirety. Piney had gone out his way to find everything JT had ever written. Everything was right within his hands. Everything – as in the truth about the Redwood Original Nine, Clay, JT and Gemma’s marriage, Thomas, and Jax himself.
Jax lifted his head and looked over.
“How you holding up?” Tara asked and Jax took a long drag before answering.
“Been better…” He murmured.
Tara reached over and combed his hair back with her fingers. Jax was quick to take that hand and lowered it back down.
“You should go.”
Jax closed his eyes on this.
“Why are you even here?”
Tara looked downright offended by this.
“Why wouldn’t I be here?”
Jax let out a miserable laugh.
“Go home, Tara. You don’t belong here, never did.”
Tara went to say something on this but felt a hand along her shoulder.
“Well you heard him…” Gemma stated and took it upon herself to escort the lovely doc back to her car.
She stuffed her into the driver’s seat, slammed the door shut then waved her off.
“Well that was to the point.” Wendy uttered and Gemma raised her brows.
“Wanna be next?”
“Then watch yourself, sweetheart.” Gemma looked to her son in thought.
“And you can stop with the starry eyes… I’ve got a new daughter-in-law lined up and she isn’t some junkie whore.”
Wendy’s jaw dropped on this and Gemma nodded.
“Could you convince Jax to let me see Abel, at least?!”
Gemma froze in place and spun back around.
“What’d you say…?”
Wendy swallowed back on this.
“Look, I don’t want any trouble. But don’t you think Abel should know who his mother is?”
Wendy narrowed her eyes in question and Gemma smiled.
“Bella’s his mother.”
Wendy staggered back and with this wounded expression. Gemma said nothing on it and headed on back.
“Bell?” Opie called as he and the kids entered the house.
The entire place smelled like lemon furniture polish and bleach. Bella didn’t hear them as she had her headphones on and was scrubbing the tub in the bathroom.
“HEY!” Her uncle hollered.
When he couldn’t get her attention he reached over and tapped her on the shoulder. Bella jumped in alarm and lost her footing.
“SHIT!” Opie said as he barely caught her, before her head hit the faucet.
He yanked the earphones off her head.
“What are you doing?”
He narrowed his eyes as she was in the dress she wore to the funeral.
“I can see that… Why?” He questioned as she’d been like this since for days.
“Because… I need to.”
“No you don’t. There’s nothing left to clean!”
Bella didn’t comment and went back to cleaning. Opie shook his head but could hear Ellie crying. He darted into her room and the girl was destroying everything in sight. Opie was quick to scoop her up and carried her to the bed. Kenny peeked into the bedroom. His sister was pulling at her hair and Opie was doing whatever he could think of to calm her down. The man looked to his son as if lost. Kenny inched his way into the room. Opie was taken back as Kenny hugged them both and he too started to cry. Opie closed his eyes and kissed the top of their heads.
The Son hadn’t a clue what to do. He was so focused on the kids and planning his wife’s funeral, he hadn’t a chance to deal with his own emotions. He spent the past three days numb. But that numbness was starting to fade and he felt as if he’d erupt any second. And whether he wished to admit it or not… If it hadn’t been for his niece damn near breaking her back, in order to help; he would’ve lost it by now. Bella made certain her uncle and the kids were taken care of. She cooked, cleaned, did the laundry, dishes, and even went as far as to do her uncle’s yardwork. But there was something about all that that was starting go get under his skin. He couldn’t explain it, not even to himself. He was doing his best to keep quiet on the matter. Opie knew how his niece got when she was dealing with a loss like this. She went through this when Charlie and Renee died. That’s why he suggested that she use his garage and run her own little business for a little while. And it seemed to help take her mind off things. But he swore she was somehow worse this time. The girl didn’t eat or sleep, just worked around the clock. The more he saw of this… the angrier he became.
Later that night…
“Supper’s on the table.” Bella called.
Opie and the kids looked to one another as Bella headed outside with a pair of gloves.
“Go on…” Opie uttered and the kids went and sat down.
Bella had made a big pot roast, with rolls, and some tea to go with that. Opie headed outside and Bella had a cigarette in her mouth as she was picking weeds.
“God dammit kid…” Opie whispered.
He marched on over and put his boot where she was about to pluck. She lifted her head and he shook his.
“You need to eat.”
Jax and Piney had pulled up and were looking to one another in wonder.
“Bell, look at you. You’re in your dress still and pulling fucking weeds…”
Bella looked to the weed picker then back to her uncle.
“DAMMIT BELL, I CAN’T DEAL WITH YOUR CRAZY RIGHT NOW!”
Jax cringed on Opie’s words.
“Don’t look at me like that…” Opie warned and Jax reared back as this was directed at him.
“You haven’t been here to see how she’s been acting. She’s fucking nuts!”
Bella dropped the weed picker and looked to her uncle as if he’d slapped her one. Jax hadn’t a clue things were THIS bad. He’d have come sooner if he had known. Then again, he was certain the funeral was the final straw and everyone was at their wit’s end.
“Dad…” Kenny called in a rather scolding manner and Opie let out this miserable laugh.
He headed back inside, grabbed his keys, and took off.
“Dammit son…” Piney muttered and was quick to herd his grandkids inside.
Jax hadn’t taken his eyes off Bella. The girl was a mess. Her hands were trembling and she just stood there as if utterly lost.
“He told me to take the truck. I didn’t. I…”
“Bella baby…” Jax whispered in a pleading voice.
“You can’t do this. I’m begging you. Don’t. It wasn’t your fault.”
“Ellie and Kenny are without a mother and my uncle lost the love of his life. If I had been in the truck instead, she’d be the one cleaning and cooking them dinner. She loved them so much… She took good care of them.”
“If you had been in the truck instead…” Jax recoiled with that pitfall feeling.
“I can’t… I can’t even fathom that shit, baby.”
Jax took her hands into his own and his eyes locked with hers.
“Op didn’t mean what he said. He’s hurting and needed someone to take it out on. This is all on Clay and you know it. But he’s gone and he isn’t coming back.”
“So is Donna.” She murmured heartbrokenly.
Jax put his forehead to hers. He hated that his best friend and girl were hurting like this. He hadn’t a clue on how to help and this had him feeling absolutely useless.
“Let me help you with the kids tonight. Abel’s with Gemma. And Op… He just needs some time.”
The man swallowed back as Bella wrapped her arms around him and finally had that cry she needed. Jax held her tight and found himself not wanting to let go.
“It was one of the most gruesome things I’ve ever seen… I’ve seen my share of deaths, but they were nothing in comparison to when I opened that fucking door. If had been my uncle or the kids…”
Bella’s teeth were shattering and her lips were turning a nice shade of purple.
“Jesus, you’re freezing.” Jax rushed her into the house.
Piney looked over as he had the kids settled in and they were eating. Jax sat Bella down on the couch and went to grab a blanket. By the time he came back… Bella was already up and at the sink, doing dishes. Piney and Jax shook their heads upon one another.
“Do you think heaven is real?”
Bella ran her fingers through Ellie’s hair and looked to be in thought.
“Yes, actually I do.”
“Is that where mom is?”
“Greg says there’s no such thing as heaven and it’s all hoopla, in order to keep people in line.”
“Does he now?” Bella questioned and Ellie nodded.
Greg was someone Ellie had been dealing with at school. He was a no good, punk ass bully, and Bella couldn’t stand the little shit.
“Well you tell Greg that there is one thing that he can do that you can’t…”
“And that is?”
“Kiss your ass.”
Jax overheard this as he and Kenny were playing a video. They could hear him laughing and Bella sent Ellie a wink as she giggled.
“He’s supposed to be going to bed…” Bella hollered as she tucked Ellie in.
“Oh come on… Just one more round?!” Kenny called in return and Bella sighed.
“Come on, babe. One more and I’ll make sure he gets to bed.” Jax encouraged and Bella shook her head.
“And that’s my future baby daddy…” Bella teased and Ellie laughed.
“Fine. But just the one!”
Jax and Kenny high fived one another.
“I heard that!” Bella remarked and Ellie stifled a giggle with her hand.
Bella smiled but looked on in alarm as that giggle turned into literal sobs.
“I’m sorry. I’m trying.” Ellie cried and Bella plopped down beside her.
“You’ve nothing to be sorry for. There’s nothing wrong with letting it out.”
“I’m not sad… I’m mad!”
“That’s the Winston blood, hun. It does that.”
Ellie’s hands were balled up into fists and her face was beet red. Bella nodded and yanked the covers off her.
Ellie looked to her cousin in confusion.
“Where we going?”
Bella tossed Ellie a jacket and had her step into her house shoes.
Jax narrowed his eyes as the girls headed into the garage. Bella cut on the light and gestured towards her uncle’s punching bag. Ellie looked to Bella in confusion.
“Go on. Give it a good punch.”
Ellie shrugged and headed that way. She gave it a little hit and Bella shook her head.
“No Ellie. I mean really hit it.”
Bella drew back a breath and turned her uncle’s radio on. Ellie narrowed her eyes as Bella handed her engagement ring over. She pulled her hair into a ponytail, wrapped her knuckles, and let loose on that punching bag. Ellie’s jaw dropped and Jax reared back as he and Kenny had poked their heads in to see what the girls were up to. Jax couldn’t believe what he was seeing. He knew his old lady was a badass but this only further proved it. She had those teeth gritted and was swinging away. Kenny was headed that way when Jax stopped him. He put a single finger to his lips and Kenny smiled gathering the hint. The boys stayed back and merely observed. By the time Bella finished, she was out of breath and covered in sweat. She waved her little cousin over. Ellie handed the ring back and Bella wrapped her knuckles as well.
“But I can’t hit like that.”
“Sure you can. Just picture Greg.”
Ellie giggled on this and Bella nodded.
“Ellie, you got this. Just let go.”
Bella turned up the music and gave Ellie a thumbs up. Ellie nodded and swung at the bag a couple times. Bella held up a hand.
“You’ll break your thumbs doing it that way…”
Jax found himself rather impressed as Bella showed Ellie how to go about making a proper fist. Once Ellie had it down, Bella stepped aside.
Ellie gave a few swings.
“Harder!” Bella encouraged and Ellie ground her teeth together.
Bella kept quiet as Ellie let her frustrations out. Kenny looked to his sister in surprise as she had those little hands going ninety to nothing.
“Can we hit the bag too?” Kenny whispered and Jax smiled.
“Sure we can.”
Bella looked like a deer caught in headlights as they made their way over. Jax had his arm wrapped around Kenny’s shoulder.
“Mind if we join?” He questioned.
“Not at all.”
Jax went on to wrap his and Kenny’s knuckles. Ellie stepped aside and Jax let Kenny go next.
“Holy shit…” Jax whispered as Kenny really laid into that bag.
“Winston blood…” Bella said with a look of pride.
“Something… fuck.” Jax uttered.
“Your turn.” Kenny breathlessly uttered and Jax chuckled.
“Not sure I can keep up.”
Bella raised her brows as Jax took his shirt off and tossed it aside. The three of them looked on in awe as Jax went at that bag, like a pro.
“Can’t keep up, my ass…” Kenny murmured and Bella laughed but gave Kenny a slight smack to the back of the head.
Bella swallowed back as Jax was covered in sweat and still going. Ellie giggled once she saw the look on her cousin’s face. Bella blushed a bit and cleared her throat.
“Alright, off to bed.”
“Oh man…” Kenny whined.
Jax stopped and looked to Kenny.
“Go on, both of you.”
Bella looked on rather impressed as they didn’t argue and headed inside.
“Works every time.” He said with a grin.
“Bella…” Ellie called as she entered the garage with her cellphone.
Bella narrowed her eyes as she answered.
“We have a situation here…”
“Situation? What situation?”
The sheriff sighed on the other end.
“Just meet me at the Dirty Donkey.”
“Shit…” Bella muttered and hung up.
Bella looked to Jax with sheer on desperation.
“Mind staying with the kids?”
“Sure. What’s up?”
“I’ll explain later. I gotta go.”
Jax regarded Bella with concern as she grabbed her keys and hurried off.
Bella pulled up to see her uncle in cuffs. She shook her head as the sheriff and his deputy struggled against Opie’s disorderly conduct. He was kicking at their car and cussing up a storm. Bella was quick to hop out of the GTO.
“That’s enough…” She called and her uncle froze in place.
“Come on, Uncle Op. Let’s go home. You can sleep it off.”
Opie sent her a look of absolute hell.
“Sleep it off?!” He scoffed and Bella nodded.
“Sleep it off?! As in I’ll wake up and Donna will be there?”
Bella recoiled on this and her uncle gave a simple nod.
“That’s what I thought.”
Opie shook his head and spit on the ground.
“You can take me in. I’m not going home.”
“He doesn’t mean that.”
“Don’t tell me what I mean.” He said behind a growl.
“Stop calling me like that.”
Bella’s heart sank to the pit of her stomach.
“Uncle Op…” he mocked with detestation.
The sheriff cringed on Bella’s behalf.
“Just take me to the fucking clubhouse. I’ll sleep it “off” there.”
“Look, I’ll take you home and I can leave, if that’s what you want.”
“I don’t want to deal with you or those kids.”
“Okay… Me I get. I can’t apologize enough for what happened and I will spend the rest of my life hating myself for what went down!”
This had Wayne and David looking to one another in question.
“But those kids… are YOUR kids and they need you.”
“No they don’t. They never needed me. We talked about this remember?” Opie let out a miserable laugh.
“Five grand. Five grand down the toilet and all because I listened to you.”
Bella regarded her uncle in confusion.
“I had it all mapped out. I was taking Donna and the kids to fucking Disney World.”
Bella staggered back on this. Opie laughed once again and nodded.
“Those kids would’ve bitched the entire time. I’m sure.”
“STOP CALLING ME THAT!”
“Okay.” Bella whimpered and Wayne sighed.
“Maybe we should take him in. Let him sleep it off in the cell.”
“No. Please don’t. I can handle it.”
“Yeah she’ll make me a nice pot roast and act is if she’s the new Donna.”
Bella closed her eyes and twin tracks of tears streamed down her face. Bella held up a hand and called her grandfather.
“Bella?” He answered with concern.
“Gramps…” Bella replied with a quivery voice.
“Can you help me?”
“What is it, sweetheart?”
“Unc… I mean Opie…” She corrected with a shattered heart.
“He needs you. He doesn’t want to see me right now.”
“What’s going on?”
Bella explained the situation and where they were.
“Alright. On my way…”
Bella put her phone away and waited in her car. It wasn’t long before Piney pulled up. Bella stepped out of the car and watched as Piney and the sheriff got her uncle squared away.
“I’m sorry. I tried.”
Piney shook his head and walked on over.
“Take care of my grandkids, that includes yourself. I got Harry.”
Bella nodded and Piney kissed her forehead.
“Thank you.” Bella sincerely put knowing they could’ve arrested her uncle.
“No need. You have our condolences.” Wayne said and Bella ignored the dirty look David cut her.
“Bella?!” Jax was quick to his feet as she entered the house in sobs.
“He hates me.”
“Who hates you?”
“Unc… I mean Opie. Opie hates me.”
“That’s not possible.”
“You should’ve seen his face.”
“Okay. I’m lost. What’s going on?”
Bella told him about the call and how it went from there. Jax couldn’t believe what he was hearing. Since when does Opie EVER act that way and towards Bella of all people?
“I’ll stay until he comes home then I’ll head back to the penthouse.”
“It’s okay. I had it coming. He has every reason to hate me.”
“Bella baby, I can promise you. Opie doesn’t have it in him to hate you, not in a million years. He loves you, more than you’ll ever know.”
“I appreciate the thought. But you’re wrong. He’s done.” She lit up a smoke and her hands were trembling all over again.
“You should go. Let me know when you’re ready to deal with AJ. Everything’s set up on my end. Sorry all this mess got in the way.”
“Please Jackson, I appreciate everything you’ve done. But you need to be with your son and I need to be with my cousins, while I still can.”
Jax made his way over and caressed her cheek.
“Call me if you need anything. Doesn’t matter what time of day.”
Bella nodded and Jax kissed her.
“I love you.”
“Love you too.”
Jax drew back an uneasy breath. He hated leaving her like this but knew she needed some space.
“You wanna tell me what that was about, son?”
Opie rolled his eyes and plopped down on the clubhouse couch.
“I’m talkin’ to you.”
“No shit…” Opie witted and closed his eyes.
“Pushing her away… That would be a BIG mistake.”
Opie opened an eye on this.
“Mind your own business, pops.”
“Mind my business?!” Piney snapped and Opie nodded.
“That was MY daughter-in-law I buried and those are my are my fucking grandkids! That makes it my business, especially when I know you’re about to fuck up the one thing you could always count on.”
“And what’s that?!”
Opie had a good laugh at this. Piney reared back in disbelief.
“Jesus, son. Resentment, really?! I never pegged you for the type. I’m guessin’ you wish it was your niece in that truck instead, right?!”
Chibs and Juice overheard this as they were at the bar. Opie went to answer that and Piney was quick to clamp a hand over his mouth.
“Don’t. Don’t answer that. I’m afraid I’ll kill you if you. Sleep it off and think about what you’re doing. It wasn’t her fault. It’s bad enough she blames herself. Fucking kid can’t help herself. But I won’t have my idiot son adding to the guilt. Deep in your heart, you know she hadn’t any control of the situation. And once you sober up… You’re gonna realize just how much of a JACKASS you were tonight! So you’re mad and you’re hurtin’. Well boo-fucking-hoo, son. We all are! But that doesn’t give you the right to make Bella your punching bag. I’m right here. So punch away, I dare ya. But don’t you go and do it to her. You’ll never forgive yourself if you do.”
Bella looked to the breakfast she had on the table. The kids were still in bed. Her uncle’s words repeated, like that of a broken record. But it was the one thing that had her feeling downright nauseas… “the new Donna”. She never intended to make her uncle feel that way. All she wanted to do was help. Bella only wanted the best for her uncle and the kids. They deserved that. That and she truly felt as if she owed them everything.
“Bella?” Kenny called as he entered the room.
Bella was quick to wipe away her tears. She cleared her throat and forced a smile.
“Are you alright?”
Ellie entered the room as well and Bella came to her feet.
“Did dad make you cry again?” Kenny asked behind a touch of anger and Bella responded with another ‘smile’.
“No. I’m just a mess that’s all.”
“You miss mom?” Ellie asked and Bella nodded.
Bella kissed the top of Ellie’s head and sent Kenny a playful wink.
“Eat up. Thought we’d hit the comic book shop afterward.”
“I’m okay actually.” Kenny uttered.
“Oh… okay. Well let me know if there’s anything you guys wanna do. Don’t feel like you’re stuck here.”
Bella hadn’t a clue on how to go about this exactly. She knew the kids needed time to mourn. But was she supposed to call the school and let them know, or did Opie do that already? She had so many questions but she couldn’t bring herself to call her uncle and find out. So she thought it best to wing it. She called the school herself and let them know that Kenny and Ellie would be missing the next couple days. From there, she went on to clean but didn’t go as nuts, out of fear that Opie would walk in and have a complete meltdown. She’d plans of leaving once he got back. Sure Kenny was old enough to take care of things. But she wasn’t about to leave them. Their mother just died and she hadn’t the heart to make them fend for themselves. No. They needed not only supervision but moral support as well.
Bella planned on giving her uncle whatever time he needed. So she’d stay put for now and took care of the kids. Bella just hadn’t a clue how long that time would end up being…
“Hey baby, how you holding up?”
Bella let out this miserable laugh.
“Been better. Been worse.”
“What can I do to help?”
“It’s going to take sometime, Dizzy.”
“Sure you don’t want me to come over. Help take some of the weight off?”
“We’re okay. Just take care of the penthouse and anything Wraith and Phantom related for me.”
“You got it, boss.”
“Anytime. I’m sorry you and the fam are going through this.”
“Oh, before you hang up. You might wanna prepare yourself.”
“Kelly caught Kozik in the sack with someone else last night.”
“Yeah… Her sister.”
“You know Ima… The porn star that works for your man’s club.”
“You’re fucking shitting me.”
“Nope. So there’s that…”
“Great. Just what I need.” Bella cringed realizing how incredibly selfish that sounded.
Kelly was cheated on and that was her go to?
“Dammit. I’m such an ass. Is she okay?”
“She will be… Eric’s been more than accommodating in keeping her busy.”
“You wouldn’t happen to be playing matchmaker… Now would you?”
“Don’t need to. He didn’t waste any time. Hell, you should’ve seen the shiner he left on Kozik’s eye! It was brilliant!”
“Way to go Eric!”
“Right?! Alright, take care Bella.”
“You too, Dizzy.”
“Love you too.”
Bella drew back a breath after she hung up the phone. She looked into the living room. Ellie was reading a book and Kenny was playing one of his video games. Still, she could make out the gloom on their faces. She knew it would be sometime before they healed from this. And even then… that pang would never quite go away. Renee and Charlie came to mind and even with their betrayal, she missed them, greatly.
Chibs handed Jax his cut and the president patch to go with that. Jax nodded and looked to the gavel in thought. The Scot patted him on the shoulder, encouragingly. The new prez cleared his throat and made his way to the head of the table. He took a seat and looked to the patch within his hand. This isn’t what he pictured when he said he’d fight for this. His stepfather was dead and at the hands of another brother, an original at that. But not a single brother could argue on how it went down, not even Bobby. Everyone knew Clay had it coming by that point. There wasn’t a funeral for Clay. No. They had a deal with the funeral home and had him cremated. The Sons told anyone that asked that Clay had been kicked out of the club and banished from Charming. Jax placed the patch onto the table then looked to his brothers.
This had him thinking back to that day… The day Piney shot Clay. A cold chill ran down his spine as he thought back to Bella and that crazed look in her eyes. The shrill in her voice fucked with him, even now. He remembered how the Sons just stood there. Each of them was at a loss for words. As for the Winstons… they were broken. Jax just stood there and didn’t budge, even as the others left the room. He remembered that desperate urge to check on Opie and Bella. But no matter what he did… He just couldn’t move. His body wouldn’t allow it. He just sat there staring at his stepfather’s lifeless body. He hadn’t a clue how to feel. He could hear his old lady carrying on from the chapel. Chibs and Piney were doing whatever they could think of to calm her down. As for Opie… He had shut down, completely. He had no words. And that’s how he was until recently… That argument Jax and Piney pulled up on was the first Jax even heard Opie talk, since his wife’s murder. There was a time Jax thought the world of Clay. Sure, there was a touch of resentment, when he more or less took JT’s place. But there was a part of Jax, the MC side, that truly got Clay, and that’s what scared him most. Understanding Clay and his reasoning… puts you in a very dark place. So dark, that at the times… you think those feelings and thoughts are justified. Money is such a powerful thing. It takes control and swallows you whole. The Sons had played victim to the Big Green, time and time again. Jax was no different. He loved the feeling it gave you. All the more reason he needed Wraith. Sure, he needed Bella and always would. But Wraith stood for everything Clay was against. That’s what Jax and the club needed – a new set of eyes. The president swore his father must’ve sent this girl his way. Jax was in a very dark place when Bella entered his life. If it hadn’t been for Abel, he would’ve have given up a while back. His son was the only thing that kept him going. It was because of him, he wanted to learn more about his own father. He found some of those manuscripts and just around the time Bella entered his life. He couldn’t help but to think it rather ironic. Had JT sent him an angel disguised as a street racer? Jax chuckled amongst himself in thought. Leave it to JT to know what his son truly wanted – A bad girl with a heart of gold. That most certainly got Jax’s attention. Crazy as it was, Jax truly wondered if that were true. Was Bella that extra nudge he needed? Were the manuscripts not enough to keep JT convinced?
What are you up to old man? Jax thought amongst himself.
Jax wasn’t one to normally think like that. But he couldn’t help it. Bella entered his life, just as he thought those manuscripts were a pile of dog shit. Getting out of guns?! Out from under the Irish, at that?! His father was a fucking fool. And he was an even bigger fool for believing he could achieve this. Or so he thought… But she came into his life and BAM! Jax was hit out of left field and everything finally made sense. He wondered why he doubted himself in the first place. But it was while he stared at his stepfather’s lifeless body that clarification hit. Wendy and Tara kept him blind to everything else around him. Wendy was too involved when it came to the MC. While Tara did everything she could to stay out of MC business and wanted Jax out as well. As for Bella? She was half and half. She might not agree with everything the club stood for, but she understood and accepted what it meant to Jax. She would never pry him away, just as he wouldn’t when it came to the Phantoms. They truly got one another and that’s what he needed – that common ground. They wouldn’t always agree with each other’s decisions. But they had a mutual respect and with that respect came love. And that alone was more powerful than anything Jax had ever felt. That’s how he knew… she was the one. The only one to ever make him feel that way. The only one to ever give him that much faith in something. Bella gave him that, when no one else would. And for that… he owed her everything. It was during this he came to his feet and hunkered over his stepfather’s body. The ruckus coming from the bar itself was heard, as he put Clay’s eyes to rest, and said his final goodbye.
Jax regarded Chibs in thought. He remembered how the Scot had to knock his old lady out. That’s how far gone she was… Chibs had no choice. Jax had entered the bar and Chibs cringed his direction. The Scot had stuck her with a syringe, while Piney had her in his grasp. Chibs apologized as he and Piney carried her into the back room. Jax felt as if he were walking through a nightmare. Everything felt so out of place and the Winstons were out of reach. That wasn’t how he meant for things to go down, but they did. He hadn’t expected Clay’s death to hit him as hard as it did. What hurt most? Coming clean to his mother, despite everything; he knew she still loved him and it was more than obvious when he knocked on that door and she already knew… The look on his face said it all. He ended up staying at his mother’s house that night. Dizzy and Chibs watched over Bella, whereas Piney kept an eye on his son and the kids. But it was just for the night. Bella took it upon herself to show up the next morning and she’d been there ever since. The guilt ate her up and even Jax could see that she was self-destructing. He hadn’t a clue when it came to the Winstons and how to help. All he could really do was be there.
“Before I even touch that gavel… I need to know if anyone contests to this.”
The Sons looked to one another and shook their heads no, all but Bobby.
“Wear the patch, fine by me. But I request an exchange in charters.”
Jax looked to be in thought on this.
“Fair enough. We can run that through.”
Bobby nodded and Jax swallowed back as he placed his hand on the gavel. He gave a simple nod before slamming it down and beginning his very first meeting as the president of SAMCRO.
“Alright all in favor of Bobby leaving SAMCRO and joining another charter say aye!”
There were a few solemn looks on this but everyone agreed to Bobby moving on with another charter. Bobby came to his feet on this and Jax rose to his as well. He gave Bobby a firm handshake then hugged him afterward.
“Good luck, brother.”
Bobby got a little choked up as he hugged the others on the way out. Once that was taken care of, Jax sat back down.
“First off, I feel the need to get a few things off my chest. One of those being about the rumor that was spread about my old lady… The rumor that got way out of hand and that’s what led to the murder of another old lady.” Jax considered Opie in thought.
“As many of you know now. That hit wasn’t intended for Donna, but Bella. Clay overheard Opie asking about her driving the truck to the shop and he handled things from there. Now whoever he hired… is still out there. And if anyone and I mean ANYONE has any information on who it could be… I need to know, at once. It isn’t just my old lady’s life at stake. She’s watching after the Winston kids and I won’t have that on SAMCRO conscience. So if you know something… now’s the time to speak up.”
Jax waited but the room was silent. Jax leaned back and tapped a cigarette along the table. He lit it then took a long drag.
“Bella might be a lot of things… But she isn’t a rat. For one thing, she runs her own crew. And I know they share the same convictions on that. She’s been known to KILL members of her team for that shit. That woman bleeds loyalty and if she ever proves otherwise… You can gun me down, each and everyone of you. That’s how much faith I’m willing to put in not just Bella, but Wraith. The Phantoms were our allies and that’s how it should’ve stayed. I’m hoping we can get that back. But we gotta prove ourselves to the Phantoms first, as this makes the second time we’ve fucked them over. I’m not just saying this because their leader is my old lady, even if she wasn’t… Think about it; the Phantoms as an ally? Two of the strongest forces within Charming. That could get us far. And they wouldn’t fuck us over like the Mayans did.” Jax drew back a breath on this.
“So guess that’s my second call for a vote. What do you say, boys? You want Wraith and her Phantoms back as our allies?”
“Oh yeah!” Chibs uttered with a wide grin.
“Absolutely.” Juice said with a nod.
“Like you have to ask me or Opie…” Piney stated and Opie nodded in agreement.
“I like the Phantoms! Why not?!” Happy expressed.
“You know you got my vote.” Tig said and Kozik laughed.
“Guess I’m the odd one out…”
Juice couldn’t help but to laugh at this.
“What?!” Jax questioned in wonder.
“Kozik’s just pissed because he got caught with his pickle in the cookie jar.”
“Oh?!” Jax questioned with raised brows.
“Yeah the old lady’s sister!”
“She has a sister?”
“Never guess who…”
Kozik sent Juice a look of hell and Juice smiled.
“Oh shit!” Jax said behind a chuckle and Kozik rolled his eyes.
“I bet your vote is a nay. I’d be scared too; pissing off a Phantom. They’re crazy!”
The Sons had a good laugh at this.
“Not so sure what you’re laughing at… Isn’t your time about up?!” Kozik taunted and Tig raised his brows on this.
Jax slammed the gavel down.
“That’s 7-1. Vote’s going through. I’ll call forth a meeting and see if we can get the Phantoms back in our good graces.”
“Aye now Jackie Boy… I’m sure ye’ll come up with somethin’…” The Scot murmured and wiggled his brows, hintingly.
“Something tells me it’s going to take a lot more than sexual healin’.”
“You got a problem with me, bro?” Tig challenged as Kozik continued in his harassing.
The boys looked over and Kozik nodded.
“Isn’t it against MC rules to have a homo wearing a cut?”
Tig let out a miserable laugh.
“Right…” Tig murmured and shook his head.
“I don’t see a problem with it.” Jax uttered with a shrug.
He looked to the others.
“Do any of you?”
The others shook their heads no and Tig let out a breath of relief. He sent Jax a respectful nod.
“So we’re breaking the rules now?” Kozik challenged.
“New prez. New rules.” Opie declared.
“So we let anyone in now? How bout making your old lady the VP? Then we’ll bring in a nigger and patch him in as well?!”
Jax gritted his teeth on this.
“Yeah, bossman. I’m done.”
Jax nodded and leaned back in thought. He eyed Kozik and slammed that gavel yet again. Kozik reared back as Jax sent him a cruel grin.
“Everyone for Kozik staying in the MC say aye.”
Kozik leaped up at this and Tig smiled. He hadn’t expected that, at all.
“Do I look like I’m joking to you?!” The president questioned and with that demented grin of his.
“That’s fucked up.”
“So are you. Now sit your ass down or I’ll do it for you.”
Tig was having a field day as Jax had Kozik sweating bullets.
“Don’t trust him. No.” Chibs said with a nod.
The others responded with a no as well and Jax looked to Tig lastly.
Tig drew back a breath and had this serious mien about him.
“He stole my dog…”
The Sons looked to one another in question as Tig said this rather childlike but like he were off in another world.
“Umm okay… Can you tell me what your vote is?”
“No!” Tig said as if to say “duh”.
“Definitely not my A-Squad.” Jax muttered under his breath as he slammed the gavel down.
“You’re out. Hand in your cut and don’t come back.”
Kozik came to his feet and took off his cut. He eyed Jax down as he slapped it against the table.
“Fuck you, man.”
“No Kozik, fuck you. Get him out of here.” Jax said and Tig was oh so happy to help Chibs and Juice with that.
“Oh and gather Rat for me, will ya?”
Tig nodded on this.
“Prez wants to see you.” He called, as they were escorting Kozik off the clubhouse grounds.
“He’s waiting…” Tig reiterated and Rat headed that way.
“Did you pay this month’s membership fee?” Jax questioned and Rat nodded.
Jax reached into his pocket and withdrew his wallet. He tossed over the sixty dollar membership fee.
“There. Take it. Cause you’re not earning your stripes with the Sons anytime soon.”
Rat looked to the new prez in disbelief.
“This isn’t a vote. You were a “prospect”, but not anymore. Good luck. I’m sure something will come your way. This… just isn’t it.”
“Because of the queer?” Rat uttered with a curled lip.
“Actually, I don’t like your face. There’s just something about it… I think this relationship is a major conflict of interest.”
“Come on, bro. Your bitch already let me have it!”
Jax cut him a look but leaned back in question.
“First off… watch your tongue when it comes to my old lady. Second, what the fuck are you talking about?”
Rat shook his head and with this rather embarrassed presence to him. He took off his prospect cut and his shirt. Jax stifled a laugh as “Wraith” had branded him as well. Only it was much bigger than that of Clay’s and it said number one fan underneath the tat. Chibs lost all composure and reached to his gut in laughter.
“Not funny man.”
“Actually, that’s pretty fucking hilarious! You know… I take it back. They say Karma’s a bitch and I guess my girl can be.”
Rat had this baffled look about him.
“What?” The prez questioned taking notice.
“She said that same shit when she had that Eric fucker tat me!
Jax smiled and nodded in thought.
“Great minds… Now get lost.”
Jax cocked a brow and merely waited. The Scot took it upon himself to personally escort Rat off the premises.
“Alright now that all that’s been taken care of…” Jax looked to the sons, but regarded Opie and Chibs lastly.
“I know this seems like a lot of shit at once. But I made it clear things were gonna change; in order to do that I have to start with the MC first and go from there. I wanna call forth two more votes. Then we need to talk about our deal with the cartel, both of them.”
“Both?!” Happy questioned and Jax had this ill look about him.
“That’s right. I’ve been doing a little investigating on Clay’s deal with Mr. Putlova. Seems like were dealing weapons, all around. And they want my old lady to help run them. She knows her shit and that’s all they care about.”
“So we’re in another cartel?!” Opie spat and Jax nodded.
Piney sighed as he and Tig already knew.
“You know what will happen if the Irish find out about our deal with the Russians and vice versa. We can’t let that happen. I have a plan. But first off… I’m gonna need a VP and sergeant. I would like to nominate Opie as my VP and Chibs as my sergeant. Chibs had this struck stupid look about him.
“That’s right. I need my other right wing man. So what do you say?”
“Depends on the boys…” Chibs replied and Jax smiled.
“Fair enough. Let’s run those votes and get to business…”
“Have a good day!” Bella called feeling rather awkward as she dropped the kids off at school.
This made their first day back since their mother died. Bella popped a cigarette into her mouth and watched as they headed into the building. She jumped however as one of the parents knocked on her window.
“You’re supposed to drop them off then be on your way. There’s a line of us waiting!”
Bella raised her brows on this and looked into her rearview mirror.
“First time. Sorry.”
“And there’s also no smoking on the premises.”
“Well it’s a good thing I’m in my car then.”
The woman looked on in disbelief, as Bella rolled her window up, revved the engine, and took off.
A couple weeks later… (About a month since Donna’s death)
“I had it first!”
“But you put it down!”
“Yeah, so I could take a piss!”
“I wanted to play too!”
“But it’s not your turn!”
Bella narrowed her eyes and looked over as Kenny and Ellie were picking on one another.
“Give it back!” Kenny demanded as Ellie climbed up on the couch and was holding the controller out of reach.
“You don’t even like video games!”
“But I like this one!”
“DAMMIT ELLIE, JUST GIVE ME THE FUCKING CONTROLLER!”
Bella shot up and just in time to see Kenny shove his sister up against the coffee table.
“KENNY!” Bella scolded and he froze with this deer caught in headlights look.
“What the hell, kid?!”
Bella helped Ellie to her feet and sat her down on the couch. Bella grabbed the remote and sat it down.
“Don’t you EVER talk to your sister like that again! And manhandling her… I’ll whip your ass myself if I ever see you pull something like that again!”
“You’re not my mother.” Kenny fired back and Bella nodded.
“You’re right. I’m not. But right now… I’m all you got, kid. So drop the attitude and show some goddamn respect.”
Bella sighed as the doorbell rang. She held up a hand.
“To be continued…” She uttered and Kenny rolled his eyes.
Bella rolled her eyes as she peered into the peek hole.
“Brace yourself… The wicked witch of the west is here.” She said and opened the door.
“Well hello, Mary.” Bella sarcastically welcomed.
Mary entered the house and nodded upon the kids.
“Pack your things and lets go.”
“Excuse me?!” Bella questioned behind a laugh of utter mockery.
“These kids need REAL supervision.”
“They have that.”
“Do they? It sounded like Jerry Springer out there.”
“Jerry Springer?!” Bella scoffed and her grandmother nodded.
“Come on.” Mary encouraged.
“They’re not going anywhere with you.”
“Not your say.”
“Did Uncle Op call you?”
Mary nodded and the kids looked to Bella with sheer desperation.
“So let me get this straight… You didn’t come to Donna’s funeral. You didn’t as much as call to check on your son or these kids. But you have the nerve to show up at the door and demand that they go with you?!”
“Sweetheart… You’re just the cousin. I’m their grandmother. They’re coming home with me.”
“Ellie, Kenny… Go to your rooms.”
They didn’t argue and were quick to obey Bella’s wishes. Once she heard their bedroom doors shut, Bella pointed to the front door.
Mary ignored this and went to gather the kids.
“WOMAN!” The way Bella said this reminded Mary of Piney.
Mary stopped and looked to Bella in shock. The young woman gave a simple nod as she stood her ground.
“You’ve got five seconds to get out of this motherfucking house or I swear to GOD; I’ll slap you silly and then some.”
“Alright…” Mary took out her cellphone then went to dialing.
“What are you doing, Mary?”
“Calling the police.”
“And what?! Reporting how much of dried up cunt you are?!”
Someone let out hearty chuckle and the women jumped then looked over.
Piney nodded as he welcomed himself inside.
“How you doin’ sweetheart?”
“I’d be better if you’d set your granddaughter straight.”
“Since when do I call YOU sweetheart?” Piney scoffed and Mary’s jaw dropped.
Piney kissed his granddaughter’s cheek. Then he headed over to the fridge and grabbed himself a beer.
“Want one?” He offered and Bella nodded.
Piney shook his head as Mary went through with that phone call. Bella laughed as Mary seated herself down on the couch.
“They’ll be here soon.”
“Great! Maybe they’ll finally get you back to the looney bin you escaped from.” Piney uttered and Bella fist bumped her grandfather.
“Laugh it up. You’ll be spending the night behind bars and our granddaughter can go back to whoring herself out to that club of yours.”
“GRAMPS!” Bella hollered and held him back as he went to smack the living hell out of Mary.
Mary raised her brows on this and Bella stepped in between the two.
“She isn’t worth it. That’s what she wants… to have them show up and claim battery and assault. Don’t you let her take Donna’s babies away!”
The way she said this had Piney looking to his granddaughter with concern.
Bella reached to her chest and gasped back. Piney was quick to sit her down.
“Bella…” he said whilst cupping her chin.
Bella fought to collect herself. She couldn’t believe she was having a damn panic attack and now?!
“No one’s taking those kids away.” Her grandfather reassured.
Piney took off his nasal cannula, cleaned it up then placed it on his granddaughter instead. He showed her how to breathe, by example. Bella nodded looking downright embarrassed.
“I’m sorry. I don’t know what came over me.” She said after catching her breath.
“I do…” Piney muttered with a dirty look Mary’s direction.
There was a knock at the door and Mary hopped up to answer it.
“We got a call about a hostage situation?” The sheriff said with his hand along his hip holster.
Bella had a good laugh at this.
“That’s right. I’m holding my little cousins hostage.”
Mary went on and on about how Bella wouldn’t let her take the grandkids.
“Where are the children now?” Wayne asked.
“In their rooms.” Bella replied.
“I’d like to speak with them.”
Bella nodded and gathered the kids. Ellie and Kenny looked to the sheriff and his deputy in bewilderment when the questions about their “hostage” situation arose.
“We’re not hostages. Our grandmother’s a whack job…” Kenny put and Ellie nodded in agreement.
“Please don’t make us go with her. We’ll do what Bella says! We promise!” Ellie pleaded and looked to her grandmother in absolute fear.
Mary reached out and Bella was quick to place Ellie and Kenny behind her.
“Don’t. You’re not touching these children. You’re only here in hopes of easing that guilt. Your son lost his wife and where were you? Huh?! Don’t you show up five days later and act as if you have some sort of say in what happens. We don’t need you. I got this!”
Piney looked to his granddaughter with pride and nodded in agreement. Bella removed the nasal cannula and came to her feet.
“Please remove this woman from my uncle’s house, at once; or I’ll have no choice but to press charges and get a restraining order.”
The sheriff and his deputy looked to one another as if lost on what to do.
“You let this woman take those kids and rests assure you will have a lawsuit on your hands. Call my son and see for yourself.”
Wayne pulled David to the side and they talked it over. They nodded amongst the Winstons and Wayne took it upon himself to personally escort Mary off the premises. Bella let out a breath of relief. They could hear Mary losing her shit and cussing up a storm as they forced her up against the squad car. Wayne had no choice but to read the woman her rights and take her in, as she was combative and out of control. Piney called a friend of SAMCRO’s and had Mary’s car towed off the premises as well.
“Thank you.” Bella said after getting everything squared away.
The kids were in bed and Piney nodded as he was kicked back on the couch.
“How you were ever married to that woman is beyond me…”
Piney had a good laugh at this. Bella plopped down beside him and he patted her on the leg.
“Harry came into the picture and that’s all I cared about. It’s amazing… What you’ll put up with when it comes to your kid. No matter how much I wanted to call it quits… I couldn’t. Just the mere thought of Mary fighting for custody and taking Harry away from me; well it was enough to keep me cemented into her little prison.”
Bella regarded her grandfather in downright shock. She never knew he felt that way. She only wished her uncle could’ve heard that. The young woman understood her grandfather more than ever now and didn’t blame him for running around on Mary.
“I better get goin’. Get some sleep, kid.” Piney said as he came to his feet.
“Gramps…” Bella called as he was heading out the door.
He froze and cranked his head back.
“How is he?”
“He needs some time.”
“I’m not going anywhere…” She hinted as to the kids and Piney nodded.
“Love you, kid.”
Bella swallowed back on this. She could count on one hand how many times her grandfather ever said that.
“Love you too, gramps.”
Piney gave a simple nod and went about his way.
Kenny looked to Bella in disbelief as they went over his science project.
“What?” She asked taking notice.
“You didn’t even read the instructions. You just nailed it…”
Bella couldn’t help but to grin on this.
“What are you a closet nerd or something?”
“Maybe…” She uttered and Kenny raised his brows on this.
“So you were like a total dork in school!”
“Kenny…” Bella warned.
“It’s true! Isn’t it?!”
Bella sighed amongst herself and went back to helping Kenny with his project.
“Does Jax know about that?”
Bella lifted her eyes and Kenny leaned back with a smirk. This reminded Bella of Opie when he was fucking around. That warmed her heart, yet at the same time caused it to ache. She couldn’t help but to fear that she and Opie would never have that same relationship again.
“What would he think…?”
“Hm?” Bella hummed as if in another world.
“Jax… You know… About him hooking up with a total dork.”
“Dorks can be hot…” She muttered under her breath and Kenny laughed.
“Something tells me you’re not the librarian type.”
“Are we really going to discuss this?”
“For reals… What were you like? You know before the whole street racer gimmick.”
“Gimmick?!” Bella scoffed and Kenny nodded.
“You’re a little shit, you know that?”
“So I’m told…”
“Let’s just finish this assignment, alright?”
“Fine, avoid the question.”
“I will.” Bella said with a grin.
Kenny frowned on this.
“I’m gonna tell Jax he’s dating the biggest loser of Forks High School.”
Bella shrugged as if she could care less.
“Go ahead. Either way, you’re finishing this project, tonight.”
Bella laid the flowers on the ground then hunkered down, with a hand along Donna’s tombstone.
“I don’t know what the fuck I’m doing. You made everything seem so easy and I’m an absolute mess!”
The young woman closed her eyes and shook her head.
“We should’ve listened. He wanted me to take the truck. I’m sorry.” Bella came to her knees and let out this heart wrenching cry.
She hadn’t seen Jax sitting at his father’s grave. He tilted his head as he looked on from afar. Jax swallowed back as Bella hugged that tombstone and continued in her sobbing. Jax hopped on down and made his way over. He placed a hand along her shoulder, causing Bella to jump.
“…sorry…” He whispered with a grimace.
“Jackson?!” She practically whimpered and his heart sank to the pit of his stomach.
“C’mere baby.” He uttered and helped Bella to her feet.
He brushed her hair back with his fingers and wiped her tears with his thumbs.
“She wouldn’t want this.” He softly stated and hugged her close.
“Set yourself free. This isn’t your cross to bear.”
“I don’t know how…” She cried into his shoulder and Jax kissed the top of her head.
“Then I’ll help you. But you gotta let me. There’s nothing wrong with needing help.”
Bella went to argue this and Jax clamped a hand over her mouth.
“Don’t.” He said and thought back to what Donna had said in that kitchen.
“You’re not falling into that abyss. I won’t let you. You go on about how it should’ve been you. But have you even thought about what happen to everyone else around you?! What about the Phantoms? What about Dizzy, Abel, and me?! Do we mean NOTHING?!” Jax recoiled on the inside.
He hated how he was going about this but he had to light a fire up his girl’s ass. This was the only way he knew. He had to use others as an example, rather than herself. Bella was never one to hold herself in high regards. She thought her life meaningless, in comparison to those closest to her.
“We need you, just as much as Opie and those kids needed Donna. Do you not realize that?! I get that we haven’t been together as long. But Abel is yours; I don’t care what anyone says. He is your son, just as much as he is mine. Don’t let what Clay destroy what we’ve built. If you give in… He wins, even in death. We gotta fight back. So what’s gonna be, Bella baby? Are you gonna let that motherfucker control how things go from here? Or are we gonna take those reins back…?” Jax lifted her chin with a single finger and gave a simple nod.
“You and me, baby. We got this. But you have to believe in it. Your crew and my boys… You know what has to be done. But we have to be on top of our game, both of us. Or this shit’s gonna come tumblin’ down and everyone we love will join us.” Jax looked to Donna’s grave in thought.
“This is just the beginning. Things are about to get far worse. So what’s it gonna be? You gonna stand here and keep kicking your own ass?! Or you gonna stand by me and fucking do something about it?!”
There were no words. In fact, Jax grew somewhat concerned on just how quiet she was. After a couple minutes passed, he pulled her into his chest. It was damn near alarming how fast she was out. Jax kept ahold of her and wrapped his hoodie around her. He hadn’t the heart to wake her. He figured she must’ve been exhausted if she fell asleep standing up. Jax knew Opie had been staying at the clubhouse and hadn’t been home in weeks. He kept quiet on the manner, figuring this was something Opie needed. But hated that everything fell on HIS old lady like that. He only hoped that Opie would come to his senses and realize that his family needed him.
“You’re president now…” Bella tiredly murmured once she came to.
Jax narrowed his eyes on this but nodded. She was so busy with the Winston kids. She hadn’t time to even think about Jax becoming president now. Bella ran her fingers along the patch as they were kicked back against one of the cemetery trees.
“And Clay’s no more.”
Bella stood up and paced the area in thought.
“What is it?”
“I forgot about the process of elimination. I’m sorry. I know you got your hands full…”
“What do you need, baby?” He questioned but with a bit of a smirk.
There she was… Wraith in the flesh.
“With Clay out of the picture, Mr. Putlova’s bound to make an appearance. Only he won’t be so nice this time. I was wondering if you had some of those bulletproof flak jackets you mentioned.”
“How many you need?”
“I’ll look into that. I’m sure we’ve got more than enough.”
“Thanks. I’ll pay you.”
Jax reared back looking outright offended.
“Come on, Jackson. This is business, right?”
“You’re my old lady.”
“But if I wasn’t…”
“Look, I can see where you’re going with this…” Jax stuffed a cigarette into his mouth.
“How bout a proposition of sorts?”
“Yeah. I was going to call forth a meeting with you and your crew anyhow.”
“Getting that alliance back…”
Bella snorted on this and Jax sighed.
“Jackson, your boys fucked my crew over, BIG TIME!”
“I know but there’s a new president now.”
“And I’m his old lady so that’s supposed to make everything better, right?!”
“We went above and beyond for you guys and what did we get in return?! One of my boys got his fucking sack ripped open, by one of yours. To top it off he was harassed and bullied, and all because of his sexual preferences! I myself was threatened, manhandled, accused of being a rat, and sold off like some sort of fucking property! Not to mention one of my girls was cheated on, recently, and by one of yours truly. But you want my Phantoms to trust SAMCRO and all because you’re the president now?”
“No. I want YOU to trust me and I want SAMCRO to earn that trust back.”
Bella looked to her aunt’s tombstone in thought.
Bella lifted her head on this and Jax gave a simple nod.
“We have a common enemy. You and I need this alliance. If either of us takes on the Russians without it, we’re as good as dead. I have a plan but it needs SAMCRO and The Phantoms, in order to work.”
“Alright. But we’re gonna need that meeting. I need to see that your boys are just as determined and are truly accepting of this alliance. If I sense so much as a glimpse of hesitance, from any of them, we’re out. I’m not dragging my crew through that shitfest, all over again. They deserve better than that.”
“Fair enough…” Jax cleared his throat and flicked his bud on the ground.
“So do we shake or fuck on this?”
Bella managed to laugh and Jax sent her a playful wink.
“I’m down for both, darlin’.”
“Look, we’re having a bit of a gathering tonight. Wraith and her Phantoms should be there.”
“That’s right.” Jax pulled her into his arms.
“New prez, new beginning. That’s something worth celebrating.”
“It is… But unfortunately I can’t.”
“The kids…” Bella reminded and Jax flinched.
The thought hadn’t occurred to him.
“I gotta figure something out soon though. Wraith has a race coming up soon. I can’t stay on the sidelines and play mother goose.”
“Talk to my mother…” Jax uttered with a shrug.
“Yeah. I’m sure she’d be more than happy to help.”
Jax brought his cellphone out.
“Actually, I’ll call her about that right now.”
Jax went to dial his mother and Bella stopped him before he could.
“Let me ask.”
“Yeah. It should be me. Besides, I wanted to see Abel anyhow. I’ll do that once I leave here.”
“He’d like that.”
“Guess I better get going.”
“One more thing before you do…”
Bella regarded him in question.
“You still on for helping us with AJ?”
“You know it.”
“Think you can get on that list sometime this week?”
“Alright. Let me know what day and we’ll set that up.”
“Alright gorgeous, you better go before I take off with you… tie you up and have my way.”
“That’s sounds terrible…” She mocked in terror and Jax smiled.
“It does, doesn’t it? Don’t need your Phantoms gunning me down, now do we?”
“Nope can’t have that.”
“Hmmm…” Jax hummed as he kissed her goodbye.
He watched as she climbed into her car and headed off. Jax narrowed his eyes however as he could’ve sworn he saw someone watching them, from a distance. But he left it to his imagination as there was no one there now.
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