Chapter 22 – Halo On Fire
I do not own Twilight, SOA, or anything youtube/Metallica related.
“So what was the joke about your dog all about?” Jax questioned as to Tig’s rant back when Kozik was voted out of the MC.
Tig looked over and had this serious air about him.
“I don’t joke about my dog.” He made clear and Jax mouthed “okay…” under his breath.
The VP’s attention however was soon planted elsewhere.
“Damn…” Jax muttered under his breath.
“Aye, she really went all out…” Chibs said as they watched from afar.
Bella had on that blonde wig she mentioned and in her “teacher’s” best. Nothing too over the top, but just enough to be distracting, if needed. Naturally, this had Jax thinking back to some very naughty teacher scenes. What he wouldn’t give for a little roleplay in that outfit. This had the man tight below the belt.
“REALLY?!” He scoffed as Chibs was still ogling his old lady.
“Not my fault. Look at her.” The sergeant said as Bella adjusted her skirt then entered the school building.
“I am… So back off.” Jax uttered and this had the Scot looking to Jax with bit of a grin.
“Never knew ye were the jealous type.”
“Shut it, fucker.”
Chibs had a good laugh at this and Jax rolled his eyes.
“Guess that’s our cue now.” Jax whispered as he flicked his cigarette bud onto the ground.
“She’ll be fine, Jackie boy.” Chibs assured as if reading the president’s mind.
Jax wasn’t the only one concerned. Opie had stayed behind knowing he’d interfere. All he could think about is what would happen if his niece got caught. She’d spend the rest of her life in prison. Kidnapping wasn’t something the law took lightly. Bella was taking a major risk. But like that of Jax, Opie knew that Bella could hold her own. That’s all he and Jax could really hope for.
“Alright, word is AJ’s boys have another meth deal going. I’ve got a place pinpointed, just a few miles outside of Charming. AJ’s headed there, at this very moment. So that’s where we need to be.”
Jax sent Opie a text letting him know where they were headed.
The beginning bell rang and Bella wrote the name she was using on the board. This felt so strange to her.
“Ms. Stevenson…” She heard one of the students mutter as they took their seat.
She nodded upon this particular student and the boy nodded in return. It wasn’t until the tardy bell rang and she took roll call that she realized that boy was Cliff Weston. He was AJ’s older son. He was in second grade and his younger brother was in first. Bella smiled once she called his name out. She and Jax were up most of the night going over this. They went as far as to map out a plan B, just in case.
“I’m so happy to meet you, Cliff.”
The boy lifted his eyes on this.
“I’m friends with your father, AJ.”
The boy smiled on this.
“Have you known him for a long time?”
“A few years…”
“Are you Mr. Weston’s girlfriend?” One of the other boys questioned.
This had the other students giggling.
“Hmmm, not exactly…” Bella said behind the urge to vomit.
“Are you going to be Cliff’s new mommy?!” One of the girls asked.
“You never know…” She teased with a wink Cliff’s direction.
His eyes widened on this and he had a full on blush going.
“She’s really pretty, Cliff.” The girl whispered.
“I think she’d make a good mommy.” She added and the boy sighed.
“Shut up, Delores. “
The girl frowned then folded her arms about her chest.
“Awe now, that’s not very gentleman like…” Bella halfheartedly scolded.
“Sorry, Ms. Stevenson. It’s just…”
“Well, Delores is really annoying! Like ALLLWAYS annoying!”
Delores’s bottom lip quivered on this and it was then that Bella realized Delores had a bit of a crush on Cliff.
“Hm, well I think Delores is very sweet and I bet she’d make a great friend.”
The little girl rather beamed on this and Cliff looked to the girl in thought.
“Maybe…” he said with a shrug and the girl blushed once again.
Bella grabbed today’s assignment off the desk then handed it out. The students groaned amongst themselves.
“Tell you what. If you finish your assignment, without complaint, we’ll have an extra ten minutes at recess .”
The kids hollered out in celebration and Bella put a single finger to her lips shushing them. Cliff giggled at this and got to work. Bella knew this wouldn’t be easy, considering his younger brother was in another class. But the plan was to have AJ (aka Jax) call the school at the end of the day and tell them that he’d been in a wreck on his way to pick them up. He would ask if Ms. Stevenson could take them home instead since she was a friend of his. Jax knew it wouldn’t be easy… convincing them. Every school within Charming had a list of who the students could take rides from. But he was confident enough to believe he could somehow sway the principal. Jax had his ways and he could be very convincing when needed.
But what happened next threw plans a and b right out the window. Bella froze then looked to the students in alarm. She heard what sounded to be fireworks coming from one of the other classrooms. But she knew that horrific ‘popping’ sound all too well. Her heart dropped to the pit of her stomach as she could hear the dreadful cries of teachers and students.
“Get down and stay down.” She sternly whispered and the students did as they were told but a few of them started to cry.
Bella barricaded the door, the best she could. Then she rounded the students up. She had them hiding in various cabinets of the room. Then she laid their desks down to make it look as if the students were taking cover behind them.
“Shhh… “She whispered as she could hear a few of them carrying on.
She opened the cabinet to these particular students.
“The bad guys will find you if you don’t quiet down.”
The little girl nodded but Bella looked to Cliff. She found herself somewhat impressed as he had his group in a protective hold and he hadn’t shed a single tear. Nevertheless, she could see the fear in his eyes.
“That’s my golden student, keep it up.” She encouraged and Cliff nodded.
Bella shut the cabinet once again then looked around the room. She cut off the lights, grabbed a chair then hid in the corner behind the door. Her heart was going ninety to nothing. She hadn’t expected this at all. There had been a school shooting, not too long ago. She remembered seeing it on the news. Only it wasn’t at this school but another one in Charming. Jax vaguely mentioned something about the Sons being brought in for questioning after it took place. She shook her head on the irony. Of all the days… today just had to be to be it?! Here she was planning a kidnapping and the entire school was being gunned down. Bella jumped as she heard the doorknob jiggle.
She prepared herself as the gunman forced his way inside. Bella wasted no time knowing she had to act fast. She took that chair to the back of the man’s head. The gun flew out of his hand and Bella was quick to grab it. The man regarded her in absolute shock and Bella gave a simple nod.
“Bet you weren’t expecting that…”
Bella held the man at gunpoint. But she could hear the other gunmen walking the halls.
“HEY, I FOUND HIM, THE LITTLE SHIT!” One of them hollered and Bella forced the man into the hallway.
Bella narrowed her eyes as this particular shooter had a boy by the hand and was dragging him about.
“WHAT IN THE FUCK?!” The guy hollered once he spotted Bella and how she had one of his men at gunpoint.
“Give me the kid or this asshole’s brains get splattered all over these walls.” Bella wasn’t thinking as she slipped into her Wraith persona.
“WHO THE FUCK ARE YOU?!”
“SARAH CONNER, BITCH!” The principal caught wind of this and regarded the new sub in utter shock.
“Ms. Stevenson?” He whispered amongst himself but kept hidden.
“The kid, now.” Bella reiterated.
“Don’t think so, lady.”
“DUKE!” A familiar voice called and Bella cringed.
“Cliff, stay back hun.”
“But that’s my lil bro!”
Bella swallowed back as the irony hit, all over again. What were the fucking odds? These guys were after the Weston kids too? The other guy had this shit eating grin, like he’d just won the lottery. Bella was quick to come up with a plan c. If you can’t beat them… join them.
“Tell you what…”
Bella grabbed Cliff by the collar of his shirt then forced him up against her.
“I’ll double whatever they’re paying you…”
The masked man reared back on this.
“It’s that… Or I take them BOTH out of the equation. Why should I be the only one going home to an angry boss?”
“Boss?” The man questioned with a smirk.
“Come on. We’re both working for some lazy ass dipshit that couldn’t get the job done himself, right?”
The man looked to be in thought on this and went on to give Bella the once over.
“Hmm… tell you what. Double it then throw in a little bonus…”
“Let’s you and me have a little fun…”
“Depends, whatcha packin’?” She flirtatiously hinted.
The man wiggled his brows on this.
“You’ll see… But dontcha play me, girl. I’ll all kinds of fuck you up if you’re playin’ me.”
“There’s only one kind of playin’ we’ll be doin’… if this goes smoothly. And I suggest we start by getting the fuck out of here. You know… before the fuzz gets here.”
“Hmmm… Looks like you got yourself a deal, baby-girl. Follow me.”
Cliff looked to Bella in shock as she got a little rough with him on the way out. She hated every second of this but knew she hadn’t a choice. She had to keep playing the part. Bella shoved Cliff and the man she had at gunpoint into the van waiting outside the school. The younger brother was tossed inside and Cliff went to check on him. Bella was just about to get in when the main guy stopped her.
“Let me get a good lookatcha…” He murmured while pressing her up against the van door.
“You lookin’ all kinds of fine. But do you really expect me to believe I’m gonna get a piece of this fine white ass?”
The guy brought his gun up against her throat. He chuckled when Bella had hers up against his crotch.
“Business then pleasure…” She made clear.
“Damn girl… You’re givin’ me all kinds of wood. Mhm mhm…” He hummed but let out a disappointed sigh as they could hear sirens from afar.
“Sexy white bitches first…” He said with a gesture towards the van.
“Thank you…” She uttered and the guy chuckled as he hopped in after her.
He slammed the doors shut and Bella reacted as if by instinct. She gunned him and the other guy down. Then she held the driver at gunpoint.
“GO!” She ordered.
“SHIT!” The driver hollered and hit the gas.
She knew these guys weren’t planning on dealing with anything heavy. It was just the three of them and they’d only three semi-automatic weapons with them. They came here for one purpose and one only; to set the fear of god into someone. It felt as if kidnapping the Weston boys was more of an afterthought. That’s how sloppy this was. She didn’t understand… Why take the lives of innocents if they were only here for the Weston boys? What would be the point and what message did that send exactly? Bella put her emotions aside, which was no easy task. These were children. How unprofessional can you get? Fear can be a great tool but this was the WRONG way of going about it. It sent the wrong message.
Bella looked over and saw Cliff holding his younger brother. They were huddled up in a corner of the van and shaking. The older boy was doing whatever he could to console his younger brother.
“Jesus…” Bella whispered.
She wanted to assure them both that no harm would come to them. But she had to think about the driver and her next plan.
“Your place. No questions, just go.”
The driver nodded and Bella got on her cellphone. She and the Sons had special cellphones for their missions; ones that were rid of when done.
“Well I got them, just not the way you’d think.”
“You’re not going to believe this…”
“HE’S BLEEDING!” Cliff shouted in fright and Bella glanced that direction.
Duke had been shot in the leg. This was something she hadn’t noticed until now.
Bella hung up the phone then darted on over.
“Don’t even think about doing something stupid!” She warned the driver.
He nodded and kept driving. Bella ripped a good portion of her dress off and used it to wrap around the boy’s leg. Cliff wiped his eyes with the back of his hand.
“I thought you were my daddy’s friend. You say so!” He cried.
“I am. I’m sorry. I had to trick the bad guys, in order to get you out of there safely.” She said but couldn’t help but to feel rather nauseas.
Their father had Jax’s mother gang raped! She couldn’t believe these sweet boys were the product of something so demonic.
The driver peered back and Bella gritted her teeth as she recognized him. He was one of the Niners. She’d seen him a time or two in town. Bella knew the Sons had some sort of deal going with the Niners as Jax had mentioned it before. But why were the Niners after AJ’s kids and why would they gun down half the school?!
“PAY ATTENTION TO THE ROAD! I’VE GOT BACK UP ON THE WAY!” She lied knowing that the Sons were busy with AJ. But she couldn’t afford to have this guy thinking she was on her lonesome. He’d end up driving her someplace where she’d be gunned down. That’s if he wasn’t planning that already…
“Look at me, Cliff. I need you to put pressure on the area.”
“Pressure?” The boy inquired and Bella went on to show him how.
“Just like that. Don’t let up.”
“Okay.” He said behind a quivery voice.
“He’s going to be okay. I promise.” She said but she hadn’t a clue what she should do next.
She had to worry about Duke but had to keep her eye on the driver as well.
“Everything alright?” Opie asked as Jax was looking to the phone, like it bit him.
“Something’s up…” He murmured.
Jax tried calling her back but she didn’t answer.
“Dammit…” He whispered amongst himself then pocketed the phone.
“Please tell me she didn’t get caught.” Opie said behind a touch of panic.
“Nah, nothing like that. But something must’ve gone south.”
“Let’s just give her the benefit of the doubt. You know Bella. She’ll find a way… She always does.” Tig did his best to assure.
“I hope so.”
“I dunno a jailhouse weddin’ could be fun.” Chibs taunted with a wide grin.
“I’ll get her a pinstriped wedding dress.” Jax added with a shrug then popped a cigarette into his mouth.
“Laugh it up. All fun and games, until she really ends up in prison.” Opie uttered with a frown.
“Come on, Op. I won’t let that happen.”
“You don’t have as much control as you think. You can’t stop something like that.”
“Op, I’m tellin’ you. I won’t let that happen. I’d find a way to take her place instead. Alright? I wouldn’t let Bella go through something like that. Not ever.”
Opie went to argue this but refrained. He knew that look all too well. Jax meant what he said. And when he had that look in his eyes, no one dared to call him out. Jax meant every word he said. Hell, with that look… He was liable to break Bella out himself if that were ever the case.
“Ever wonder what prison sex is like?” Tig uttered in a dreamlike state.
“I wasn’t aware that you wanted your prostate tickled.” Happy taunted and Tig raised his brows on this.
“No. I mean like the shit you see in pornos. You know… the hot stuff!”
“If you’re wanting me to dive into a conversation about my niece and Jax getting it on in jail cell…” Opie started to say but trailed off once they approached the meth house.
“Can’t believe this asshole’s still at it…” The VP murmured in disbelief.
“Yeah. I guess blowing up the old one didn’t have the affect we wanted.” Jax uttered but winced when his mother came to mind.
He knew they were to blame when it came to what the Aryan brothers’ did. It wasn’t just about dealing to “wetbacks and niggers” as AJ put it. It was personal, in the sense that the Sons had been trying to get these racist bastards out of town and had been for sometime. Nothing seemed to faze these bastards. But raping his mother was the final straw. It was time these fuckers left Charming, for good.
“Hold up!” Jax called as the Opie went to check on the meth house.
The prez held up a hand as his cellphone rang.
“What school did you say my granddaughter was at?”
Jax told him and the line went silent for a moment.
“The entire school is on lockdown.”
“That’s right. Some fuckers went in there guns ablazin’!”
Jax staggered back on Piney’s words.
“You’re kidding…” Jax said behind a wave of nausea.
“Nope. It’s all over the media.”
“FUCK!” Jax hung up the phone and looked to the boys in alarm.
“What is it?!” Opie asked and Jax shook his head.
“You aren’t going to believe this shit…” He started to say but the Sons were quick to drop down as a slew of cars pulled up and were shooting at them.
“YOU HAVE GOT TO BE SHITTING ME! WE’VE BEEN MADE?!” Jax angrily shouted as they took cover and fired back.
Opie shook his head then let out a miserable laugh.
“So much for mapping this shit out.”
Jax gritted his teeth however as he saw Ernest Darby, the leader of a local neo-Nazi group, known as the Nordics, peeking out from one of the curtains of the meth house.
“Oh, I see you, you son of a bitch. I bet AJ’s in there with you. One of his boys must’ve seen us and gave them the heads up. Motherfucker!”
“Not very smart…” Opie murmured as to the possibility of the house going up in flames, any minute.
Bullets were flying and all it would take was one little hiccup. Jax chuckled in thought. The president kept himself covered but was aiming at the house instead now. Opie and the others looked to Jax as if he were insane.
“What are you doing?!” Opie hissed.
“Just a little scare… This oughta fish the rats out.”
“Oh yeah.” Chibs uttered but cursed under his breath as a bullet grazed his arm.
“Ye dumb shites!” He hollered and reloaded his gun.
“That’s what I thought…” Jax said as the shooting came to a sudden stop.
He gestured for his boys to lower their weapons as well. It wasn’t long before Earnest and AJ stepped out of the house. AJ sent Jax a look of absolute hell and Jax blew him a kiss.
“Did you miss me, darlin’?” Jax taunted and sent him a wink.
AJ curled his lip at this and Jax strutted on over.
“Jax…” Opie called in warning but Jax paid no mind and kept strutting.
He grabbed AJ by the collar of his shirt.
“Best call your dogs off…”
“And why would I do that?” AJ scoffed and Jax gathered this demonic grin.
“Because I’m about to make your life a living hell and I doubt you want the audience. I mean could you imagine… losing the respect of your beloved fucktards?”
“So confident… What makes you think you could put a dent in what I’ve got going? I pretty much own this town.”
Jax and the others had a good laugh at this. AJ let out a bit of a grunt as Jax sent him one hell of a jab to the gut. The Nordics went to retaliate and the Sons were quick to hold them off. It became a literal standoff between the Sons and the Nordics. Jax dodged AJ’s attempt at returning the blow. AJ over swung and lost his footing. Jax took advantage of this by kicking AJ in the face.
“CALL THEM OFF!” The president ordered.
“You know… I’d love to pay that sweet mama of yours another visit.” AJ taunted and Jax leaned into his ear.
“That’s cute… Real cute. But you shouldn’t be thinking about my mother at the moment. You have more important things to worry about.”
AJ tilted his head in bewilderment and Jax let out this crazed laugh.
“I’m guessing you haven’t heard the news?” Jax decided to use the school shooting in their favor, for now.
“Well AJ, someone’s done shot up your kids’ school.”
AJ rolled his eyes and half laughed.
“Oh, you think I’m joking?! Do I look like I’m joking?!”
AJ narrowed his eyes and Jax merely waited. AJ cleared his throat then nodded towards one of his boys.
“That shit true?” He asked and one of his boys tensely answered.
“…yeah… We were on our way to tell you when we spotted them.”
So that explains it… Jax thought as to them being made. This shooting threw everyone off their game today apparently.
“I’m tellin’ you. Call them off, now.”
“Or what?!” AJ challenged and Jax’s cellphone rang.
It took everything within him not to react as it was his old lady.
“Hey…” He said whilst doing his best to keep his cool.
“I’ve got a bit of an issue here.”
“But you’re alright?”
“Yeah. Just one hell of a morning.”
“I bet…” He uttered knowing he had to watch every word he said.
“Look, I’m gonna need that proof if you get my drift…”
There was a hesitant sigh on the other end.
“Can you get me that?”
“Yeah. But I’m gonna need that medic of yours to walk me through something.”
“Yeah and ASAP.”
“Alright, send me what I need and I’ll get to that.”
Jax hated how businesslike he had to keep this. But he couldn’t afford to show any signs of weakness, or concern right now. He knew his old lady was alright and at the moment that’s all that mattered. He needed to keep AJ on his toes. The president couldn’t do that if he was acting like a worry wart himself.
Jax hung up the phone but with that inner struggle. He only hoped that Bella knew he wasn’t being cold and understood that he was in the middle of something. Surely, she would. It wasn’t long before his cellphone alerted him with a photo text. He flashed AJ the picture and AJ’s eyes went wild.
“Don’t…” Jax warned.
“One word and…” Jax made the cut throat motion and AJ looked to the picture of his boys.
“GET ON OUT OF HERE! NOW!” He yelled and the Nordics were quick to head out.
“Everyone but you…” Jax said with a sinister nod Earnest’s way.
“You and I need to have a little talk.”
“We haven’t anything to talk about.”
“Oh believe me we’ve got LOADS to talk about.”
Bella’s hand shook as she was doing everything she could to help Duke.
“It’s gonna be okay.” She did her best to reassure.
Bella looked back however as the van came to a stop.
“Set me up and I’ll end you right here, right now.”
The driver was a nervous wreck as he sat there. Bella looked to Cliff.
“I need you to do whatever I say, alright?”
“Are you the bad guy?”
Bella drew back a breath and she took her wig off. The boy reared back on this and Bella nodded.
“Sometimes people have to do bad things in order to do good.”
“That makes no sense.”
“That’s because you’re too young to understand. But one day you will. All you need to know is that you and your brother are in good hands. I won’t let anyone hurt you.”
Cliff’s looked to Bella in surprise as she handed him her handgun. She showed him how to go about it.
“The safety will be off so be smart and don’t get yourself or anyone else killed.”
She handed the gun over then signaled towards the driver. If he makes just one wrong move, I want you to shoot him.
“Can you do that?!”
“You want me to shoot someone?!” The boy questioned in panic.
“Cliff, look at me.”
The boy lifted his eyes and Bella cupped his chin.
“If you don’t do everything I say. Your little bro could end up paying for it. Understand?” She said then came to her feet.
Cliff observed as she scooped his little brother up.
“Keep that gun steady, Cliff. Duke’s counting on you.”
This seemed to be just what he needed to hear. Cliff nodded and straightened up as he came up to feet. He eyed the driver down and Bella ordered the driver out of the van. Cliff followed him on out.
Bella was right behind them. She hopped out with Duke in her hold. Bella looked to the house then nodded upon the driver.
“Go on. But no funny business, right Cliff?”
“Right!” He said with full confidence.
Bella managed to smile and Cliff smiled in return.
“Told you… My golden student.”
“Are you really a teacher?” Cliff asked as they followed the man inside.
“In a way…” Bella said as she thought about her Phantoms and how Wraith was always teaching them new things. So she wasn’t exactly lying.
“Teachers have guns?!”
“Even teachers need protection.”
“Yeah you definitely know my dad…” Cliff uttered and Bella looked to the boy with concern.
She couldn’t comment considering the situation. That and since they were inside the house now, meaning she had to focus. She laid the boy on the Niner’s couch then she went on to do a thorough sweep of the house. Just as soon as she knew they were in the clear, she locked everything up.
“My arms are getting tired now…”Cliff said and Bella patted him on the head.
“Go on, watch after your brother. I got it from here. Thank you, Cliff.”
He nodded and went back to putting pressure on his brother’s leg. Bella grew rather anxious as she waited for Chibs to call. But that call never came.
“What the fuck…” Bella whispered in aggravation.
“I thought you were going to help him!” Cliff cried and Bella looked over to see that Duke was ghostly white and his eyes were coming to a close.
“Hold on, Duke….” Bella called before rushing on over.
Bella was so focused on the kids that she let her guard down. “NO!” Cliff shouted as the Niner threw his entire weight against her and knocked Bella to the floor.
Cliff looked on in sheer horror as the two wrestled about and were fighting over the gun. Each time one would come near to getting ahold of it, the other found a way to knock it out of reach again. The Niner socked Bella across the face then reached for the gun again. Bella bit down on his wrist and gave it a violent shake.
“GOD DAMN YOU CRAZY BITCH!” The Niner hollered.
Cliff jumped however as someone entered the house.
“Help me take this bitch down!” The Niner shouted as it was his wife.
“What in the hell, Clarence?!”
“YOU GONNA HELP ME GET TAKE THIS BITCH DOWN OR WHAT?!”
The woman looked on frantically and everyone jumped as a couple gunshots sounded. Bella looked over and The Son gave a simple nod.
“Sorry I’m late, lass.”
Bella cringed as she looked to the boys. Cliff was huddled into the corner of the couch and holding onto his brother for dear life. Chibs locked everything up then stepped over the woman’s body. Bella just lay there. This wasn’t like her. She usually knew what to do, in every occasion. But she was used to dealing with adults, not children.
“How’d you find me…?” She asked but looked to be in another world at the moment.
Her eyes never left the boys.
“Hacked into yer phone’s tracking device…” Chibs uttered with a shrug and went on to lift the Niner’s body off of her.
He offered a hand and Bella shut her eyes for a moment.
“You mean Jax is trailing me?!”
“Nah, more like yer uncle.”
“Son of a bitch…” She whispered.
“Yeah well,ye best be thankin’ yer lucky stars or ye’d be fucked about now.”
Bella opened her eyes on this and Chibs gave a simple nod.
“We just keep savin’ each other’s bacon. Ye’d think there’s something between us…” He said with a playful wink.
“Keep dreamin’…” Bella taunted back and Chibs nodded.
“There she is.” He said in awe then helped her to her feet.
“Did you have to do it in front of them?” She whispered and Chibs tilted his head on this.
He looked to the boys then back to Bella. She looked to be on the verge of tears and she was a mess. He wasn’t used to seeing Bella like this. Kids seemed to be her one weakness.
“It was them or ye… And I wasn’t about ta let him do ye in, darlin’.”
Bella nodded but looked to Cliff apologetically.
The boy nodded but with tears streaming down his face.
“You said you’d save him.”
“I know I did… And that’s why he’s here.”
“What’s he a doctor?”
“No. Even better an angry Scotsman.”
Chibs chuckled on this and went on to see what the damage was.
“It wasn’t supposed to be like this.” Bella whispered as Chibs used his knife to cut through the boy’s uniform pant leg.
Bella clamped a hand over her mouth and recoiled at the sight.
“Ah, now lass. He’s gonna be just fine. But I need ye to stay focused, cause I’m gonna need some help.”
“Alright. What do you need?”
Chibs named a few things that he needed around the house then he dug through Dr. Knowles old medical bag. That bag was something he’d rather claimed for himself once Tara and Jax called it quits. He’d been using it ever since. He had no shame considering the bitch broke his boy’s heart and this was way before he ever cheated on her. Chibs knew the real reason behind Jax’s infidelity. Tara was never there, at least not in the emotional standpoint. Tara talked about how Jax was never around. But she never saw the irony in that. Bella returned with the list of things he’d named off and sat them down.
“Alright. Time ta play a little doctor and nurse.” Chibs said but with a wink Cliff’s way.
“I can see the bullet and no artery was hit. Your lil bro is in good hands, mate.”
Cliff nodded and Bella aided Chibs in whatever help he needed.
“Easy…” The Scot softly uttered as her hands were trembling.
She balled them up into fists then took a moment to gather herself. Chibs looked over with concern.
“Why don’t ye go and grab ya a smoke, take ye a little breather?” He offered as he continued.
“I’m fine.” She reassured and Chibs adjusted his glasses with the back of his hand.
“Bella, look at me.”
The young woman lifted her eyes and his locked with hers.
“I got it from here. I want ye to go and take yerself a breather. Alright?”
“I’m sorry.” Bella said with this guilt ridden expression.
“You saved my brother. Don’t be sad.” Cliff said and Chibs smiled.
“That she did.”
“I didn’t do shit.” Bella murmured on the way out.
“She’s wrong…” The boy said and Chibs nodded in full agreement.
“Aye… She’s just a little hard on herself.”
“I like her.” Cliff said with a shrug.
“I really hope my daddy marries her. I don’t like the other girls he likes. They’re weird and dress funny.”
Chibs damn near choked back on this. It kept everything within him not to comment. But he had the same reaction as Bella when it came to that. These poor kids hadn’t a real clue when it came to their father and who he REALLY was. They were blinded by whatever façade AJ created at home. This had the Scot wondering just what bullshit fairy tale he was feeding these kids. And did they share the same hatred as their father when it came to anyone that wasn’t Caucasian? This sent a chill up the man’s spine. He knew it happened, everyday. But the mere thought made him ill. Teaching someone this young that kind of hate. The Scot shook his head in thought. Bella reentered the house before long and washed up at the kitchen sink. To Chibs’s surprise, she stitched the area up herself.
“Nicely done.” He complimented and Bella nodded.
She cleared her throat however afterward.
“Ah now, there’s no need ta explain. We all have our moments. We’re good.”
“Chibs… You needed me and I totally cracked under the pressure.”
“Nah… All ye did was prove yer fuckin’ human. Ye think ole Jackie boy hasn’t had his? I sure as hell have. We all have em. If anything I’m relieved. I was started ta wonder if ye were an fuckin’ android or somethin’.”
“I’m not that bad…”
“Aye, ye have yer moments. Why do ye think he worries about ye so much? Yer just a blowin’ and goin’ and the poor lad can’t keep up with ye. That’s sayin’ a lot for Jackie. He’s never had someone like that and it scares the shite out of him. But I think it’s a good thing… keeping him on his toes. As long as ye don’t go overboard and get yerself offed. That’d downright kill him darlin’. So yeah, tame it down every once in awhile. Ye’ve ta keep in mind that ye got other people in yer life now. It’s not just about ye and that image ye wanna give. It’s about what little life we have here. And believe me, lass… It goes by quicker than ye think.”
Happy pulled up to one of the SOA safe houses. Jax hopped off his Harley then made his way over. He opened the doors and nodded upon AJ and Earnest. The Sons had them bound with zip ties and duct tape.
“You boys ready to party? I know I sure am.” Jax said with a wild grin.
He grabbed AJ then dragged him on out of the van. Opie took Earnest and shoved him over towards Juice. Juice pulled a certain face on this then he shoved Earnest towards Happy.
“Not my type…” He taunted with a shrug.
Happy wiggled his brows then brought Earnest up against him. He leaned into his ear.
“Guess that makes you all mine…” He uttered in a seductive, yet provoking manner.
Earnest struggled in his hold and Jax nodded Happy’s direction.
“Double date?” He suggested and Happy smiled.
“I’d love to.”
“But that leaves no one for me…” Tig pouted.
“You can have our sloppy seconds.” Jax offered and Tig seemed to perk up at this.
“Promise?” He said with a wink Earnest’s way.
They dragged them into the safe house then pushed them into a corner. Juice locked everything up and kept watch. Jax cupped AJ’s chin and was eyeing him down.
“I’m gonna make you wish you hadn’t so much as looked my mother’s direction. If you so much as beg for mercy, I’ll have your children watch as I torture and slowly kill you.”
Jax of course didn’t mean a word he said. It was nothing more than a scare tactic. As a father he knew that was one sure way to light a fire up a man’s ass. AJ thrashed about and Jax gave him a playful slap across the cheek.
“That’s right… There is no god. Not for you. Not today. I’m all there is.”
Jax reached over and ripped the duct tape off AJ’s mouth. He put a single finger to his lips as a reminder.
“You can scream. Hell, say whatever the fuck you want. But don’t you dare beg.” Jax flashed AJ a picture of his boys again and gave a simple nod.
AJ nodded and Jax raised his brows as the man had the beginning of tears in his eyes.
“Do what you got to do. Just leave my boys out of it.”
Jax was taken back by this. AJ accepted his fate and Jax helped him to his feet. Earnest on the other hand was giving Happy hell. Happy would roll his eyes every now and then and give the guy a good pop. Opie finished setting up then he waved Jax and AJ over. Jax forced AJ into a chair and sat before him. AJ swallowed back as Opie pushed a tray of ‘tools – aka torture devices’ over. Jax ran his gloved fingers over a few and tilted his head. He observed AJ’s reaction as he’d pick one up every now and then and place it back down.
“Just get it over with…” AJ spat and Jax froze.
“Is that begging I hear?”
“No. All I’m saying is if you’re going to do it then do it already. What’s with all the dramatics?!”
Opie and Jax exchanged glances on this. Happy forced Earnest to watch as Jax grabbed a pair of pliers. Opie strapped AJ into his chair then squeezed the living hell out of his shoulders. Everyone cringed as Jax used those pliers to remove each of AJ’s fingernails. AJ let out a few growls here and there and he’d jar his body about every now and then. Jax set the pliers down then grabbed another tool. AJ sent him a questionable glance as it was a screwdriver. Jax nodded amongst himself. Opie flinched however as the prez sent that screwdriver right through AJ’s stomach. AJ looked down in horror as Jax used that screwdriver to rip it open. He reached inside and pulled out AJ’s intestines. He wrapped them around the screwdriver and his eyes locked with AJ’s as he slowly wound up a good two inches of his intestines. AJ leaned over, puked then went into flown panic. But he didn’t beg. He merely watched, in absolute horror.
“Jax…” Opie whispered as the president was off in another world.
“Hey…” He called once again and Jax continued in this sickening torture.
“Jackson!” The VP hollered causing Jax to snap out of it.
“We gotta wrap it up.” He hinted as to the time.
But there was more behind Opie’s reasoning. Jax was entering a dark place and one Opie knew he wouldn’t escape from, if he didn’t snap him out of it. Jax nodded. He hopped to his feet then wrapped AJ’s hands around his own intestines.
“Hold on to those for me, will ya?” Jax cruelly taunted as he led AJ into the bathroom.
He sat AJ on the toilet.
“Do me a favor…” AJ says.
“Why should I do you any favors?!”
“Father to father… Don’t let my sons see my corpse. You rid of any evidence then send them some place safe.”
Jax was taken back yet again. How could such a ruthless, sick, and racist motherfucker be THIS kind of father?! It was night and day with this guy. Jax could see it in his eyes. AJ truly loved his kids. There was nothing fake about this. Jax shut the bathroom door and AJ bowed his head.
“They won’t know shit. I give you my word.” Jax said surprising himself.
How could he show this motherfucker any mercy?! Did he show his mother any?! Did he show any of his victims mercy?! But it was the father within Jax that wanted to keep his word. But it wasn’t for AJ’s sake. No. Abel came to mind and he too couldn’t bear the thought of Abel witnessing his death or seeing his corpse even. Jax brought his silencer to AJ’s head and emptied the entire clip. Opie entered the room and Jax cranked his head that direction.
“We’re taking this one to the furnace…” Jax hinted and Opie reared back.
“I thought you wanted to send those Nazi-loving fuckers a message?”
“I do. But I’ve something else in mind.”
Jax exited the room. He walked right on up to Earnest.
“I want you and your boys to leave Charming. You’ve got twenty-four hours or I’ll do to you what I did to AJ.”
Earnest swallowed back on this and Jax sent him that demonic grin of his.
Earnest nodded and Jax put his blade to the man’s throat. “I’m not fucking around, dipshit. If I spot a single Nordic anywhere NEAR Charming, I’ll hunt your ass down. Happy, why don’t you make sure our friend here gets home, safe and sound.”
Happy chuckled on this.
“You got it boss.”
“I’ll take care of the meth lab.” Tig offered as Jax and the others were cleaning up.
“Alright. And do me a favor and check on Chibs and the old lady when you’re done.”
“Sure thang, boss!”
“Thank you.” Jax said as he unrolled the tarp.
“Slowly…” Bella whispered as she held the cup to the boy’s mouth.
Duke nodded and took it slow as she eased the water into his mouth.
“Yeah.” He hoarsely replied.
“How you feeling?”
“It hurts…” The boy whimpered and Bella sighed.
“I’m sorry, hun.”
“Can we go home now?”
“No Duke, the bad guys are still after us.” Cliff stated and Bella glanced his direction.
“Right, Ms. Stevenson?”
“Yes. We’ll have to find a better hiding place here soon. We can’t stay here. This house belongs to one of them.”
“So they could find us?”
“They could…” Bella honestly replied and Chibs looked over as he was cleaning up.
He couldn’t get over how Bella was with these kids. She held no ill feelings towards them, even with the knowledge of who their father is and what he’d done. Bella placed a couple Tylenol into Duke’s mouth and had him swallow them down.
“You’re so brave. You know that?”
Duke managed to smile and Bella smiled in return as she combed his hair back with her fingers.
“Just like your brother.”
“Nah, he wishes.” Cliff teased and Duke frowned.
“You’re a jerk.”
Cliff chuckled but roughed up his hair some.
“I’m glad you’re okay.” Cliff said and Bella gave Cliff’s hand a bit of a squeeze as he looked to be on the verge of tears again.
“May I go to the bathroom?” Cliff asked looking somewhat embarrassed.
“Sure. We’ll find it together.”
Cliff nodded and Bella escorted him around the house. It wasn’t that she didn’t trust him. But she wasn’t taking any chances. That was the last thing they needed was a runaway. Jax would have her ass for letting something so foolish happen.
“I won’t go in there with you. But please leave the door cracked open so I know you’re okay.”
Cliff nodded in agreement and did as requested. Bella made no comment as he tried masking his crying with the sink. She didn’t comment or interrupt him. She let him get it out knowing it’s what the poor kid needed. When he stepped out he acted as if it were nothing and had that brave front about him all over again. Bella gave him a simple pat on the shoulder and led him back into the living room.
“Why dontcha take the kids on to the shop. We’ll discuss what we’re gonna do once we get there.”
“The shop?!” Bella questioned in surprise.
“Isn’t that one hell of a risk?”
“Aye… But the boys are at the safe house, taking care of business. So we can’t have them there.”
“Jesus. You want me to drive these boys around the city?”
“Ye got a better idea?”
“Yeah. My place. No one would ever look there.”
Chibs looked to be in thought.
“Alright. I’ll let the others know. Go on. I got everything from here.”
Chibs lifted the boy off the couch and Bella opened the door. She let out a bit of a yelp however as Tig was standing right there.
“Jaysus Tiggy… Ye tryin’ ta give me and the lass a heart attack?!” Chibs scolded and Tig chuckled as Bella lost her footing and he had to catch her.
“Someone’s off her game today.” He remarked but was looking to her with concern.
Tig lifted her chin with a single finger.
“Yeah. Just a long day.”
Chibs helped in getting the boys situated. He and Tig waved Bella off afterward.
“She seemed a little off…” Tig remarked and Chibs nodded in agreement.
“Aye, I think she lost her nerve. Something about dealin’ with those boys. Wraith was nowhere to be found. That was all Bella.”
“That’s strange…” Tig replied.
“I think it’s safe ta say that kids are her kryptonite.”
“Oh yeah… Ye remember what Jax said when “Wraith” had his son. He knew just by the look in her eyes that she wasn’t going to hurt him and that’s before he even know that Wraith was Bella.”
“You might be on to something.”
“Can’t kick that maternal instinct. Bella’s got it engrained inta her. Ye should’ve seen her with those kids.”
Tig nodded but looked around the neighborhood.
“Pretty dead… and quiet.”
“Right? I was thinkin’ that very thing. It’s a little too quiet. Why don’t’ we wrap it up and get goin’.”
“You have a pool?!” Cliff exclaimed and Bella giggled.
“Awesome! Can we swim in it?!”
“You can… But I don’t think Duke should be worrying about that right now.”
“Oh yeah…” Cliff uttered then lowered his head in shame.
“Sorry Duke. We don’t have to swim. We can do something else.”
“Hey, you guys like video games, right?!”
“Cool. I haven’t a clue on how to set it up but a friend of mine has a playstation. If you can figure it out you two are free to play it.”
“I KNOW HOW!” Cliff said and took off the direction in which Bella pointed.
Bella laughed once again. It was nice seeing Cliff in better spirits. Even Duke seemed to be doing better. But there was no disguising the pain in his eyes. Bella carried him on up the stairs then headed into the room she had pointed out. It was Dom’s old room. She hadn’t been in here since he died. Cliff set everything up, within the matter of minutes. He went on to call out whatever two player games Dom had. Always thinking of his brother… Bella thought to herself. Bella placed Duke on the bed then she propped his leg up with a pillow.
“It’s good.” Duke replied but with a painful wince.
Bella found herself kissing the boy’s forehead then offering him something to drink. Cliff handed his little brother one of the wireless remotes.
“I love this game! It’s my favorite!” Cliff said as he plopped down on the bed.
Bella smiled amongst herself then inched her way out of the room. Leaving the boys to their distraction, she made her way into the kitchen. She grabbed them both a soda then went on to make them sandwiches as well. This felt so outlandish to her. Here she was… caring for the kids of a well-known Aryan brother. Shouldn’t she be feeding them rat poison by now? She humorously thought. But these boys acted nothing like their father. In fact, she’d swear they were fucking adopted. Bella popped a piece of carrot into her mouth as she fixed their plates. She looked to a picture she had of Abel and nodded amongst herself, before heading back upstairs. The boys were completely engrossed in the video game and Duke seemed to be doing a lot better. He had a true beam about him as he and his brother played.
“Thank you, Chibs…” She uttered under her breath.
“You guys hungry?!”
“Sure!” Cliff said and paused the game.
“I got it!” He offered as Bella went to set the plates of food down.
Cliff took the plates and set his brother’s down first. He went as far as to open his soda for him.
“Slowly okay, Duke?” Cliff ordered in an older sibling sort of way.
“Okay.” Duke replied and nibbled on his sandwich.
“Why are you so nice to us?” Cliff questioned and Bella regarded him in wonder.
“Why wouldn’t I be?”
“Because…” Cliff said with a shrug and took a big bite of his sandwich.
He chewed and swallowed before taking a sip off his coke.
“Everyone else acts like they’re scared of us.”
“Yeah. We don’t have a lot of friends…” Duke sadly stated and Cliff sighed.
“If you marry our dad… Then we’d have a mom and…”
“Cliff hun, I’m not that kind of friend. I’m more like a pesky sister your father can’t get rid of. Sorry, but there’s nothing romantic between us.”
Bella hated every lie she spilled. Why was she having so much hell with this? This wasn’t like her. She couldn’t stand it… Lying to these kids like this. But she hadn’t a choice. Exposing herself and bringing them HERE was risky enough.
“So you’re not dating my dad?”
“No. I’m sorry if I misled you on that.”
Cliff and Duke looked to one another then let out a simultaneous sigh of disappointment.
“I thought he gave you that ring…” Cliff pointed to the engagement ring on her finger.
“I’m afraid that promise belongs to someone else.”
“But would you marry my dad if he asked?”
Bella jumped as she saw someone peeking into the room. She let out a sigh of relief seeing as how it was Jax. And he’d obviously heard what was said. He’d this mischievous grin about him.
“Well go on darlin’ answer the boy.”
Bella sighed and nodded towards the boys.
“You see that idiot right there?”
They nodded and looked to Jax in question.
“That’s the one I’m marrying and he just earned himself a night on the couch.”
Jax reared back while popping a beer open. The boys managed to laugh and Bella sent them a playful wink.
“Gotta live together before you can pull that shit.”
Bella cranked her head his direction and Jax smiled.
“You should move in…” He taunted.
“After you find us a more suitable place. I won’t “kick it” in your exes dream house.”
“So you want our first night to be with me on the couch?”
Cliff laughed so hard he snorted.
“You two are funny.”
“He’s the funny one. I have to keep him in line.”
Jax strutted on over and kissed her. His eyes locked with hers afterward and he planted his hands along her cheeks.
“You alright?” He whispered softly and Bella nodded.
“Yeah. We can talk about it later.”
“I’m sorry shit went south. I never meant for you to have…”
“Don’t…” She said with a single finger along his lips.
“I’m okay. I was caught off guard a bit but I managed. Thank you for sending Chibs.”
“Not a prob.”
Jax looked to the boys before taking Bella by the hand and taking her into the hallway.
“As you can see we’re winging this shit today. Doesn’t happen often but it does happen. I’m sorry you got caught up in all this. I can’t believe there was a shooting…”
“Right?! It was the craziest thing.”
Bella kept her voice down and revealed what all happened. Jax shook his head in disbelief.
“That’s nuts. I’m just glad you’re okay. I can only imagine how fucked up that must’ve been. What were the Niners thinking? Surely, they weren’t all in on this. That doesn’t even sound right. Killing those kids like that… Jesus.”
“That’s what I don’t get… What kind of message does that send exactly? Do they honestly believe AJ gives a rat’s ass about those other children?”
“You mean gave…” Jax did his best to hint.
Bella looked to the boys in thought but didn’t comment.
“Look, whoever planned this was an amateur. They got messy and took whatever personal issue they had with AJ out on the entire school.”
Bella thought back to the screaming and numerous bodies. Goosebumps appeared all along her body and Jax took notice. He cleared his throat and ran his warm and soothing hands along her shoulders and arms.
“Bella baby…” He softly whispered then put his forehead to hers.
“When Piney told me the news… God.” Jax said looking rather pale himself. “I’m okay, Jackson.”
“I know you are. But that doesn’t take away from the fact that I could’ve lost you today. And I know that whatever you saw and went through… that’s going to fuck with your head for sometime. I think you need to take a couple days to clear your head.”
“That’s the last thing I need. I need keep busy.”
“Guess we’re a lot alike in that sense. That’s the way I deal with shit. It’s the only way I know.”
“The Niners have to pay, Jackson. This isn’t something I can ignore. Those were innocent children and teachers. There was no need for that. They could’ve kidnapped those kids, without taking any lives. All they was needed was fear, not blood.”
“I couldn’t agree more. But I gotta find out the truth behind all this, first. So I need you and your crew to stand down, until I say otherwise.”
“Why am I following your orders all of a sudden?”
Jax narrowed his eyes on this.
“I get this one… It was personal and that’s why you didn’t want my crew involved. But you’re talking to me like I’m one of your boys now. You’re telling me to stand down; on something I’m not sure I want to stand down on. You didn’t see and hear what I did. There was blood and bodies, EVERYWHERE! Yet here you are… telling me that you need find out the truth?! The truth is the NINERS are a bunch of lowlife kid killers and I’m not about to stand by and let them get away with it.”
“You can’t make an entire group pay for what a handful of them did. That’d be like us paying for what all Clay’s done. You know how underhanded this shit can get! I doubt the Niners frontrunner is even aware of what’s gone down. I’m sure he knows of the shooting but I doubt he’s even aware that it has anything to do with his boys. This screams personal. Nothing about this says mutual decision. If it were… there would’ve been more guys, a lot more. Trust me. I know how the Niner’s work. I’ve worked with them before. This isn’t how they do things. I need you to trust me on this. As to me giving you orders… You ever think that maybe it’s because I don’t just see you as my old lady, or Wraith even. I consider you part of my team, and yes, one of my boys even. I say these things out of concern, because I don’t want you getting in over your head. I would tell ANY of my boys the same thing if they told me they wanted revenge. When are you going to see that? Quit taking everything so fucking personal and realize that we’re on the same page! But we can’t go in guns a-blazin’. It’s not that simple. You have to play it smart and not let your emotions get in the way.”
Bella shook her head on this. Jax sighed and and cupped her chin, yet again.
“Please look at me.”
Bella lifted her eyes and Jax placed a strand of hair behind her ear.
“If you don’t stop thinking like that… You’re gonna wind up in prison, if not dead. That’s your biggest downfall. You think I didn’t want to act the moment my mother told me about the rape?! You think I didn’t want to go knock on AJ’s door and put an end to it, right there?! Trust me… I wanted nothing more than to watch him suffer, the moment she revealed the truth. But if I had done what was in my heart instead of my head, I would’ve had the entire Aryan Brotherhood after my ass. Hell, not just mine but everyone I care about. They would’ve made me suffer, far more than you could ever imagine. You gotta think and not act.”
Bella closed her eyes and Jax kissed her forehead.
“Together… till the end and even then. I’m not giving up. This is long from over, Bella baby. I’ll enter the gates of hell if that’s what it takes.” He whispered whilst taking her hands into his own and giving them a reassuring squeeze.
Bella was doing everything she could but couldn’t hold it any longer.
“Hey…” Jax said and was quick to get her into another room.
He shut the door then wrapped his arms around her.
“I’m sorry.” She cried and Jax shook his head.
“You haven’t anything to be sorry about, darlin’. You have every right to be pissed. All I’m trying to do is remind you of the mission. To clean things up, right?”
Bella nodded against his shoulder and Jax held her even tighter.
“We can’t live up to that if we give in and stoop to their level. We have to be the rational ones in all this. We’re shooting for something long term. Never forget that.”
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