Chapter 35 – The Game
I do not own SOA, Twilight , or anything youtube related.
“Alright, go on. Explain yourselves…” The sheriff said after pulling his door to and having a seat at his desk.
“Faking our deaths… that was my decision. I felt like we hadn’t a choice. It’s not every day you find out a federal agent is stalking your old lady.”
Wayne looked at the files he had personally retrieved from Stahl’s apartment. The very ones Tig set up in replace of what Stahl actually had. Those files covered not only their asses but Jax and Bella’s. These would show why they had to go into hiding. Bella played along and even made up this sob story on how Agent Stahl nearly ran her off the road and held a gun to her head. Thanks to the pictures Jax had set up awhile back, the sheriff found her story believable. Then again, it wasn’t that far of a stretch. Stahl had broken the law and had been stalking Bella, but there was more to it, such as Bella buying out the jury when Gemma was on trial. But Jax had to sell this for all it was worth. Stahl only thought she could play the game, but she was nothing in comparison to Jackson Teller. He was always one step ahead. By the time the President went over everything, he had the sheriff hook, line, and sinker. Of course, the evidence Tig had planted and those pictures helped.
The sheriff leaned back, with this remorseful presence about him.
“I wish you two would’ve come to me about this. I had no idea. I would’ve done something.”
“Like what?! She was a federal agent, Wayne. Hell, if we hadn’t caught wind of what happened; we would’ve never come back to Charming. No one knew where we were, not even our families.”
“What about your son and Gemma? Where are they?”
“Visiting my grandfather. His dementia has gotten worse, and I wanted my son to get to know him before it ate him alive. They’ll be coming home in a few days.”
Wayne nodded then looked everything over once again.
“You two might have to show up in court and go over a few things. But I’ll have this ready. I’ll do whatever I can to make sure things go smoothly for you two. I hate that she took things this far and made you feel as though you weren’t safe, in your hometown.”
“Thank you, Wayne,” Jax said, and Wayne nodded.
Wayne came to his feet and shook their hands.
“If you need anything let me know.”
“Will do.” Jax replied.
“Aristide.” Bella greeted in return, and the man went on to kiss her cheeks.
“You’re looking good, considering how you’re dead and all.”
Bella laughed in response. Aristide was a very good looking man himself and rather sophisticated, for a street racer/son of a mobster. Women flocked to him like they did Jackson Teller.
“Death has a funny way about things.”
“Well, I’m glad to see that you’re alive and well. I’m rather curious but know you must’ve had your reasons. Therefore I will not pry.”
Aristide reared back however then took her hand into his own.
“Do my eyes deceive me or have you broken my heart?!” He asked while looking at her ring.
“Married woman…” She said but with pride.
“Belladonna… and here I was hoping this was an actual date.” The man whispered with a tisking sound.
He took off his glasses then waved one of the waitresses over. He ordered the finest wine the restaurant had, and Bella clamped a hand over her glass, before the waitress could pour it.
“None for me, thank you.”
“Now that’s not like you. I ordered your favorite.”
“Not in the drinking mood today.”
The man leaned back and merely observed Bella as he sipped from his glass.
“Well, I’ll be… I thought you were glowing!”
Bella lifted her eyes and Aristide smiled.
“You’re with child!”
Bella nodded, and Aristide chuckled.
“Married and with child. Quite the adventure you had when you were dead.”
“That’s no lie,” Bella said with a hint of a smirk.
The man placed a hand over the area of his heart.
“All the best are taken.”
“Something tells me you have plenty to warm your bed at night.”
The man chuckled.
“That may be, but not the one I want.”
“Aristide…” Bella uncomfortably put, and the man sighed.
“My apologies. We’ll keep this on a more professional level, as usual.”
Aristide listened to what Bella had to say over dinner. She made no mention of the Sons’ business with the Irish or the Russians. All she mentioned was them having some ‘supplies’ that needed to be sold and ASAP.
“Why the hurry?” The Italian curiously questioned.
“They’re not hot if that’s what you’re thinking.”
“Now I know you’re full of shit.”
“Not hot in the sense of what you’re thinking…” She hinted.
“Is that so?”
“Yes. You know I’m a woman of my word, Aristide. All we want for these to be off our hands. We’re willing to go half…”
This had the man raising his brows in disbelief.
“You must be desperate.”
Bella chewed on her bottom lip in thought. She grabbed a napkin and wrote down the list, along with the figures. She folded it then slid it on over. Aristide looked at the napkin and damn near choked on his wine.
“That’s quite a list. How soon are we talking duchess?”
“How soon can you get it done?”
The man held up a finger then excused himself as he made a call. He wrote down some figures of his own then slid the napkin back over. The entire conversation was in Italian, and he was using code as he went over his and Bella’s business. Bella looked at the offer then shook her head no. It was too low. She made the up motion with her thumb, and Aristide chuckled. He reached over and grabbed the napkin once then went back to his conversation. It took a couple more times of negation before he finally got his father to agree on a decent amount.
“We good?” Aristide asked after getting off the phone.
“Oh yeah…” Bella said as she folded the napkin then tucked it into her bra.
She managed to get a little over of half and knew the boys would be happy with that.
“You drive me crazy Belladonna.” The man said in complete admiration.
“We would’ve been great together.”
“I doubt that. You wouldn’t have room for me in that bed of yours.”
“Oh, I’d make room, plenty of it.”
Bella started to pay for dinner, and Aristide stopped her.
“You know the rules. I always pay.” He said with a warm smile.
The man put his glasses back on and went on to retrieve his credit card from his wallet.
“Well then… I should’ve ordered something a little more expensive!” She witted, and he chuckled.
“You could’ve ordered the entire menu.”
“I’ll remember that next time.”
After paying for dinner, Aristide came to a stand and offered Bella his arm. He escorted her outside the restaurant then walked Bella to her car.
“I shall be getting back to you.”
Aristide took her hand and kissed it.
“How about a race, for old time sake?”
“In my dress?!” She teased as if mortified.
“In that dress.” He said with a firm nod.
“You’ll be eating my dust.”
“We shall see.” He said before shutting the door and getting into his car.
They headed to the nearest dragstrip. Considering she was with child, they kept it simple and nothing too crazy. Aristide rolled his window down and gathered her attention. They counted down and at the count of three, hit the gas. The race was over within a matter of seconds. Bella laughed as they slowed down and put their cars into park. Aristide shook his head but with a smile.
“I’ll beat you one day.”
“Sure you will.”
“Take care of yourself, Belladonna. You’ll hear from me soon.” He said before taking off.
Bella nodded amongst herself before heading to the Stockton State prison.
“That’s right little man. You’ll be coming home this weekend.” Jax said as he looked at the calendar.
That gave him and Bella a week to wrap everything up. Everything such as Ima Tite, Tara Knowles, and the whole faking their death bit, as well as a few other loose ends. The man was desperate to see his son, but knew now wasn’t the best time. He had to do this the right way. Abel jabbered away about his day and how much he missed them. He even asked if he could talk to his “ma-mee”, which melted, yet broke Jax’s heart considering Bella wasn’t around to do so at the moment. Jax knew she was meeting with the Italians then heading to Stockton directly after. The two had been pretty busy and hadn’t seen each other in the last couple days. They spoke on the phone and would text one another, but that was about it. Jax hated that, considering they were married now. But he had the Sons to worry about, and Wraith had her Phantoms. But it wouldn’t be like that much longer now.
“Mommy’s not here right now. But I’ll have her call you tonight, before bed.”
“Otay…” Abel said with disappointment in his voice.
Abel handed the phone over, and Jax talked with his mother for a bit. She too was anxious to get home. Jax did his best to reassure that everything was fine and they’d be coming home soon. After wrapping everything up with his mother and son, Jax hung up. He leaned back as he was sitting in his mother’s office. Jax took off his wedding band then looked to the engraving. This had him picking up the phone once again and calling his wife.
“Yes?” Bella answered in that playful demeanor, and Jax chuckled.
“Hey gorgeous, how you doing?”
“Good. In fact, I’m heading to Stockton now.”
“So I take it everything went smoothly?”
“Yeah, I’ll tell you more about it when I see you.”
“And when will that be darlin’?”
“Tomorrow, hopefully…” She said sounding just as down about not seeing him.
“You getting a hotel?”
“Might have too. It’ll be pretty late.”
“I’d prefer you do, rather than falling asleep on the road.”
“I’ll see how I feel once I’m done.”
“Talked to Abel…”
“Oh? How’s our boy doing?”
Jax loved how she said that. He couldn’t help but smile as he slipped the ring back onto his finger.
“He’s good. Anxious to get home. Wanted to talk to you. Thought you could call him before he goes to bed.”
“I’d love to. And how’s your mom?”
“She’s good. Homesick, but good.”
“I can imagine.”
“Alright, I just wanted to check in and see how things were going. The boys and I got a shitload of work to catch up on. First break I’ve had all day, and we’ve been at this for thirteen hours now.”
“Damn… I knew you’d have a lot to catch up on.”
“Yeah well, it doesn’t help when you got people piling it on.”
“Yeah, you should’ve seen these assholes. They went mudding or something and jacked up two of their trucks…”
Jax went on about his day, and Bella listened as he blew off some steam. It wasn’t until Jax was done and said his love yous and goodbyes that he realized what took place. He just sat there and looked at the phone, as if blown away by his own discovery. He went on about his day and not once did Bella interrupt him or go on about hers instead like Tara and Wendy would’ve done. How come that never came to light until now?! That’s how Bella always was, even back when he was with Tara. Bella always gave Jax her fullest attention and would hear him out on whatever he had to say.
“Well aren’t you a sight for sore eyes?”
Bella smiled as Gina sat across from her.
“Looking pretty good for a living dead girl.”
“Thank you,” Bella replied with a touch of a grin.
“Hmmm, and what brings you to my neck of the woods? Not quite your scene.”
“I come bearing gifts.”
“Do you now?”
Bella slid a pack of smokes over, and Gina looked at her with raised brows. The prisoner looked to the two guards within the private room they were in.
“Room’s secure,” Bella assured.
Gina tapped the box of smokes along the table, before opening it. She popped one into her mouth and Bella lit it with the zippo her uncle had given her.
“Thanks, gorgeous.” This had Bella thinking about her husband as that was one of his nicknames for her.
It had become a well-known fact that Gina was batting for the other team, after what her husband had done to her. Gina was known for having multiple girlfriends in prison.
“First thing’s first… How are you doing?” Bella asked, and Gina leaned back as she enjoyed her cigarette.
“Good for a woman that’s never going to see past these walls.”
Bella frowned in thought. She wished she could help Gina, but it was out of her hands. There were things even money couldn’t buy; Gina’s freedom was one of those. Sure Gina was a nutcase, but she didn’t belong here. Her husband had driven her to this point. In fact, it was because of him that she was eating pussy instead of sucking cock.
“What about you sweetheart? How you holdin’ up?”
“I’m good, real good actually.”
Gina smiled and lit up another cigarette as she’d finished the one she had.
“I’m glad to hear that.” She said with utmost sincerity.
“Now please tell me you’re here for a conjugal visit…”
Bella flashed Gina her ring.
“Well fuck… Is he here?! He can watch. Come on baby; I need some sort of release. These are some skank ass pussies here, and I know yours has to be some grade-a shit.”
Bella’s face flushed over a bit and Gina laughed.
“I got something better…”
“Better? What can be better than you?”
“A porn star perhaps?”
“That’s right. Pretty little blonde and she’s coming your way. Thought you could make her feel right at home, considering she’s about to become your new cellmate.”
Gina placed a hand along the area of her heart.
Bella giggled at her reaction.
“Tell you what if things don’t work out with that sexy biker of yours; you come pay me another visit.”
“Four hours, Bella. Just imagine. Four long blissful hours… I’m the best there is.” Gina hinted, and Bella nodded.
“I don’t doubt that. But something tells me you’re going to be a little preoccupied. Just make sure she gets all the attention she needs.”
“Oh, I will… Girl scouts honor.”
Bella came to her feet.
“Smokes are yours, and I was never here,” Bella said before the guards escorted her out the door.
“Hey, buddy!” Bella said as she was on the phone with Abel and getting ice for her hotel room.
“Ma-mee!” Abel happily called, and Bella laughed.
“How you doing Abel?”
“I is okay. How is you?!”
“I’m good. I got you a little something.”
“Sure did buddy!”
“What is it?!”
“A surprise for when you get home.”
“I like surprises.”
“I know you do. You’ll like this one.” Bella said as she unlocked the door to her hotel and froze.
“Tara…” Bella muttered in absolute shock.
Tara was sitting on the edge of the bed, gun in hand. The doc gave a simple nod.
“Who Tawa ma-mee?”
“Abel buddy, I have to go,” Bella said while eyeing Tara down.
“I’m sorry. I love you. Take care of grandma and tell daddy I love him too.” Bella said with this pitfall feeling.
She hadn’t a weapon on her, not one she could get to. Her handheld was in the car, and she hadn’t anything on her since she’d just come back from Stockton. Bella hung up the phone and Tara signaled for Bella to shut the door. Bella thought about running but knew Tara would shoot her in the back if she even tried it. Bella closed the door, and Tara came to her feet.
“I’ve been waiting for this very moment, for a long time.” Tara uttered, and Bella thickly swallowed.
How could she allow this bitch to get one up on her?! Bella feared for her life, knowing what Tara was capable of, but she was also beyond livid. This wasn’t right; it should’ve been the other way around.
“Tara…” Bella started to say hoping she could buy herself some time.
The doc shoved Bella into a chair, and before Bella could even gather what was taking place, the doc had a pillow over her knee and fired. Bella screamed out in agony and Tara was quick to force that gun into Bella’s mouth.
All Bella could think about was the child she was carrying and how she was about to fucking die.
I let my fucking guard down, and now this bitch is about to get the best of me. I’m sorry, Jackson. I fucked up. Bella had never been so pissed, and it was all directed at herself. How could she let this happen?!
Tara removed the gun from Bella’s mouth. She jerked Bella back to her feet then spun her around. She put the gun to her head.
Bella hobbled her way towards the door. Tara shoved her outside then forced her into the car…
“Hello?” Jax answered as he was working on a customer’s truck.
“Jax, is it really you?”
Jax stopped what he was doing and closed his eyes for a brief moment.
“Yeah…” He said wishing he would’ve faked his death a little longer.
The man rolled his eyes as he could hear his ex-sobbing in the background.
“How could you do that to me?! I went to your funeral and everything! I thought lost you forever!”
Jax couldn’t believe what he was hearing, much less how this crazy woman was acting. He leaned against the truck he was working on, in mere amusement.
“Where are you, Tara?”
“Something tells me you already know. I know you’re looking after me, always are.”
Jax placed a hand over the receiver and mouthed the words “what the fuck” under his breath.
“Look darlin’, just tell me where you are so we can meet up and talk.” He said playing along.
“No. That would be cheating. I want to see just how well you know me. Where would I be Jax? Find me, and I’ll show you something special; something that’s going to change our whole lives. I’m going to make you proud this time, you’ll see. Just as I should have that day.”
Tara hung up, and Jax gritted his teeth. He wanted nothing more than to hunt the bitch down and put her out of her misery, but here she was playing games. Just what in the flying FUCK was she talking about?!
Jax just stood there for a few moments thinking of everything Tara had ever said. Everything – from her constant threats of leaving, to her dreams of becoming one of California’s top surgeons. Jax thought back to when Tara had mentioned Stockton and San Diego. Stockton when she thought about going to work there. San Diego when she thought about finishing school. Jax knew with her mental history there was no way she was doing either of those things now. So where would Tara go if she lost her medical license? And how did she stay on the down low if she was running from the law? Ever since the deputy came up “missing” Tara had become a suspect, and Wayne wanted her brought in for questioning. The boys, of course, played dumb. The sheriff and his deputies were so focused on David Hale missing that no one even took notice of Juice missing. That came as a bit of a relief, and yet a punch in the gut to the Sons. Of course, they wouldn’t take notice of a brother missing, just their fuckup of a deputy. The Sons didn’t bring it up as they didn’t want Juice’s name tarnished, in the sense of him being accused. Juice was innocent in all this, making it all the more painful.
“Shit…” Jax whispered once it finally hit.
The president grabbed his keys then headed for his bike. The Sons shrugged amongst one another as the president said nothing and burned rubber.
“Ma-mee has a surprise for me!”
“Does she now?”
“I wonder what it is?” Gemma said with a smile while tucking her grandson in.
“Don’t know. But I wuv it.”
“You love it already, huh?”
“Yeah, cause ma- mee gives it to me. She says I take care of you gwanma and wuv you to daddy, but den has ta go bye-bye.”
“Did she now?”
“Yeah, ma-mee talkin’ to Tawa.”
Gemma came to an immediate halt and lifted her eyes on this.
“What did you say, sweetheart?”
“I dink her name Tawa,” Abel repeated with a shrug and Gemma nodded as she was doing everything she could to keep her composure.
“That’s what I thought you said…” Gemma finished tucking him in then kissed his forehead.
Gemma pulled her grandson’s door to and was quick to grab her cell phone. She tried getting ahold of her son, but it went straight to voicemail.
“Dammit Jax, answer your fucking phone!”
When he wouldn’t answer, she tried calling Bella, but there was no answer as well. Gemma paced the living room in a panic. She knew all about Juice and what had happened through Tig. He had come by to check on her and Abel not long ago and let her in on what all was going on.
“Come on baby; your wife’s in trouble.” Gemma groaned as she tried her son, yet again.
The caretaker was just about to leave when Gemma stopped her. Gemma had brought her father home from the nursing home, so he could get to know his grandson while they were there. She’d plans of taking him back, once Jax let her know it was okay to come home.
“I’ll pay you three hundred bucks to stay the night and look after my grandson and my father!” Gemma desperately called, before the woman had the chance to leave.
The caretaker pivoted around and looked at Gemma in shock.
“Fuck, make it four. Please just watch after them for me. There’s something I need to do.”
The caretaker put her purse down and nodded in agreement. Gemma handed her two hundred.
“You get the other two when I get back.”
Gemma grabbed her purse then rushed on out the door.
Bella’s eyes batted about as she came to. She couldn’t remember much after getting into the car. She felt a stinging sensation along her neck, and everything went black from there. Bella reached for that particular area, as it was sore, only to find she couldn’t. Bella was bound to a chair and gagged. Panic overcame her, and the young woman started to rock back and forth, in attempts to break free.
“It won’t be long now…” She heard and craned her neck to see Tara sitting in another chair, caddy corner from her.
Tara had the gun in hand still and with this eerie grin about her.
“He’s on his way. You know… it all makes sense now.”
Tara stood up then made her way over. Bella recoiled from her touch as Tara went on to lift her chin with her index finger.
“Of course he faked his death. He had to, in order to keep me and Abel safe.”
Oh shit, this woman is ten kinds of crazy. She’s going to kill me then go after Jax and Abel. I’ll fucking haunt the bitch if have to. She’s not touching my boys! The more Bella thought on the possibilities, the more frightened she became. I can’t let her do this. She’s not touching them!
“You were nothing more than a distraction. Just another biker whore in the works, like Wendy. Jax needs something REAL in his life; someone willing to prove themselves. I’m going to be that for him, and I’m going to start with you. Once he sees what I’m willing to do, he’ll give me another chance. I just need to show him. I can be an old lady! I can give him everything, everything you couldn’t. ”
Bella shook her head no on this and Tara rolled her eyes.
“Young pussy that’s all you are. Trust me; you’re not that special. Jax has needs, just like any man. You know… he once told me that I was the only face he ever saw when inside someone.” Tara had this bone-chilling dreamlike state to her.
“That means he was thinking of me everytime he fucked you. You’re nothing more than a little homewrecker. You can pretend all you want, but deep down you knew something was amiss. He’d fuck you then haul ass out the door. What did you honestly think would come of that? That he’d turn his back to his family?! That he’d be your Prince “Charming” and leave everyone else behind?! After all he’s all about the fairy tale, RIGHT?!” Tara shouted that last part then slapped Bella across the face.
“YOU BITCH!” Tara yelled then hit her once again.
Bella jumped as Tara went back to holding that gun against her head.
Tara was eating this up. She truly meant it when she said she’d been waiting for this very moment. She loved seeing the look of absolute fear on this bitch’s face. She had conned the manager into letting her into the hotel, by claiming to be Bella’s sister and wanting to surprise her. Tara had been stalking Bella, ever since she found out that she and Jax were alive after all. She waited until the time was right and followed her on out of town. Once she saw that Bella had booked a room, she decided to wait around until she got back.
“You ruined everything. We would’ve worked it out if it hadn’t been for you. Jax and I were meant to be, always were. You haven’t anywhere near the history we do. He’ll come back to me like he always does, only this time I’m not letting him or Abel go. You’ll become nothing more than a distant memory. Once I prove myself, we’ll make love next to your rotting corpse, then bury you and start over!” Tara said as she thought back to when she and Jax made love, in the same room as her dead ex.
Bella managed to give a muffled laugh even with the gun pressed to her head and the excruciating amount of pain she was in. This, of course, set Tara off… She pocketed the gun and then took a pair of scissors and butchered Bella’s hair. Bella could see strands of it landing in her lap. Tara knew Jax preferred women with long pretty hair. So she had been growing hers out. Tara grabbed a nearby makeup bag and was digging through it. She found some black eyeliner and used it to write WHORE across Bella’s forehead. Tara put red lipstick on Bella then nodded amongst herself. Whores wear red lipstick. The woman thought. Tara went on to fix the street racer up, like that of a Cara Cara girl. She felt the need to prove a point to Jax. That Bella was just another sad mistake in his life, and Tara was all for setting him straight and showing him the light. Jax was lost and had been for quite some time. Tara had tried opening his eyes over and over again, but he always had some excuse. Some excuse as to why they couldn’t leave. He needed to stay just a bit longer for this and that. It was one thing after another. But now she knew why. It was never about his mother or the Sons. No. It was because of this STUPID BITCH RIGHT HERE! It was her fault that Jax never followed through with those plans. It was her fault that he fell out of love. It was because of her that Tara turned to David. At least that’s what Tara was telling herself. She should’ve never aborted that baby. They could’ve been a family, the four of them. But she was angry and wasn’t thinking; she didn’t want the baby of a liar and a criminal! And even though she never said it, she wanted to hurt Jax, the way he’d hurt her. Aborting his child was the only thing that came to mind. Tara knew how Jax felt about things like that. Even if they weren’t together, he would’ve wanted that baby. That’s just the kind of man he is.
Tara looked at Bella. She thought back to when Jax chased her down and left Tara high and dry. She was the old lady, yet he chased after this bitch! She was the one he cheated on! She was the one whose heart he ripped out. So what if she had something with David?! It wasn’t like Jax never played the field! But even as all these things came to mind… She kept finding ways of blaming Bella. It was her fault, everything Jax and Tara ever did to one another. It was all because of Bella.
David was the one to encourage Tara to run. It wasn’t until he snapped her out of it that Tara realized what she’d done. She never meant to kill Juice. She’d never hurt Jax like that. The doc truly believed that to be Jax. Tara reached to her head as that day played out. Even now she didn’t see how it could’ve been Juice. She knew what she saw, Jax was there! He used her shower, and she laid out some of his old clothes. They were supposed to have dinner together, just as they used to. But Jax wanted to leave, and Tara knew he was going back to that bitch! Tara blinked a couple of times and was doing her best to shake whatever this was off. But Jax was dead, so it couldn’t have been him. But so was the bitch, yet here she was. Tara had never been so conflicted. But she knew whatever Jax had done, was to keep her and Abel safe. That’s how he always was. That’s why he fought so hard to push her away. He wanted to protect her; Tara knew what this was all about now. Jax had been waiting for this very moment. He needed to see that Tara meant business and could put these bitches in their places, just as his mother would. Tara needed to earn her spot as queen, and the only way of going about that was for Jax to witness Tara at her most severe of moments. She had to kill Bella, and she had to let Jax watch as she did it. It was the only way Tara would earn Jax’s love and respect. That’s how things were in the MC. Everything was about loyalty and since Jax couldn’t be loyal. Tara had to teach him the error of his ways and show him how much she loved him. Tara would wipe out anyone that came between them. That was an oath she swore to herself.
Tara looked at the time then back to Bella.
“Now if you’ll excuse me I have to get cleaned up. Can’t have Jax seeing his old lady like this…”
“What are you talking about Gem?” Tig asked as Gemma was going into hysterics over the phone.
“Dammit, just tell me where the bitch doc lives!”
“Because she skipped town and no one knows. What’s this about anyhow?! Are you and the kid okay?”
“We’re just fine. My daughter-in-law, not so much! Please Tiggy, if you know something you have to tell me.”
“Whoa… slow down. Did you just say that Bella’s in trouble?!”
Gemma drew back a breath and forced herself to calm down. She knew she wasn’t any help to Bella this way. After everything that girl had done for her and her family, she owed her. Gemma wasn’t about to let that bitch take their girl down. I’ll find you, sweetheart… Gemma thought as she sped on down the road but hadn’t a clue where she was going. She told Tig what Abel had told her.
“Jesus… you really think it was Tara?!”
“Oh, I know it was. You know that bitch has been waiting to get her hands on Bella! We have to find her!”
“Alright, I’ll see what I can find out. But would you do me a favor and pull over or something. We can’t lose you too, sweetheart.”
“Alright, I’m sorry.”
“I’ll call you just as soon as I know something,” Tig promised before hanging up.
Jax shook his head as he pulled into the drive. This was a two and a half hour trip, but he managed to turn that trip into one hour and forty-five minutes. He sped the entire way. He just wanted this shit over and done. He’d plans of luring Tara away from the house and putting an end to this, once and for all. He only hoped he could fool her into thinking he wanted her back. Jax looked to his wedding band.
“I’m sorry…” He whispered as he thought about his wife.
He took it off then pocketed it. He’d put it back on, just as soon as he was done with this bitch of an ex. Jax adjusted his cut then headed for the house. He knew this was the right place, considering the car parked out front was one he and Tara once looked at. And the house itself… was their dream home, for when they left Charming. Tara had bought the car, the house, and was living in this fantasy she and Jax had once created. Jax couldn’t fathom just how delusional this woman was. How did she manage to pull this shit off?!
Jax kept his guard as he knocked on the door. He didn’t get an answer at first, so he started to knock again. His hand was in knocking position when the door opened. He gave a simple nod but couldn’t control the stunned look on his face. Tara had grown her hair out and was in this sexy little black dress and heels to match. She had on makeup and Jax’s favorite perfume. It was one she often wore when they were together, but it didn’t have the same effect as it used to. If anything, it creeped him out now.
“Jax.” She said with a welcoming smile and stepped aside, allowing him in.
Jax entered but with caution.
“I knew you’d find me. Would you like something to drink? Are you hungry?”
Jax narrowed his eyes as Tara headed into the kitchen. He followed and watched as she grabbed him a beer. Tara opened the beer then handed it over.
“Thanks,” he said before taking a sip then sitting it down on the counter.
“Tara…” He started to say but took notice of the gun she was carrying.
This had Jax placing his hand along his. Tara sighed taking notice.
“I’m not going to shoot you, Jax. Relax.”
“Since when do you carry?”
“Since your president told me my life was in danger.” Tara looked at his patch however and ran a seductive hand along it.
“I see you’ve earned your title back?”
“You could say that.”
Tara smiled then took him by the hand.
“Where we going darlin’?”
He gave her hand a little tug then pulled her back over. He ran his fingers through her hair and smiled.
“I’m all about having some fun, but I think we should talk first.”
“That’s funny coming from you. I told you I had something special to show you, remember?”
It took all will; all he could think about was putting a bullet to her head and being done with this bullshit. Tara had Jax following her once again. Only he was somewhat confused as she led him into the basement. The moment she flipped on the light, Jax’s entire world came to a complete halt.
He couldn’t believe what he was seeing. There was his wife with the word WHORE written across her forehead. Her hair had been cut off, and she was fixed up, like that of one of his porn stars. Jax thought he was looking at a corpse.
“Bella…” He whispered thinking the worst.
He’d thoughts of ending Tara’s life then his own. Without Bella, he was nothing. But his son came to mind, and the man withdrew his gun. He aimed it at Tara who had hers aimed at Bella. Jax tilted his head in realization; she wasn’t dead. The man could feel the bile rising within his throat, and the room started spinning.
“WHAT IS THIS?!” He shouted through gritted teeth.
“Jesus Jax, quit aiming that thing at me!”
“THE FUCK I WILL! THAT’S MY FUCKING WIFE!” Jax thundered and was quick to fire his gun.
Tara screamed out in horror as he shot the gun out of her hand and took her thumb and two other fingers with it. Tara staggered back and was looking to Jax in downright shock. Tara yelped out as Jax grabbed her by the throat then slammed her up against the wall.
“FIRST A BROTHER AND NOW MY WIFE, MY PREGNANT WIFE AT THAT! YOU HAVEN’T A CLUE WHAT YOU’VE DONE AND WHAT’S BUILDING UP INSIDE ME AT THIS VERY MOMENT!”
“W-wwife?!” Tara stuttered, and Jax nodded.
“You know how I feel about family…”
The man was on fire and shaking all over. Twin tracks of tears streamed down the Son’s face.
Tara started choking, as his grip grew tighter and tighter.
“That woman… is everything to me, EVERYTHING!” He roared and went on to violently shake her.
“You told me I was your everything!” Tara boldly put, and Jax let out this rather sinister-like laugh.
“Oh darlin’, you haven’t a clue…” He said and did something he never dreamed of doing; not when it came to Tara Knowles. Tara – his high school sweetheart, his first love, a woman he once swore he’d always protect, a woman he swore his very soul to, but the Son couldn’t suppress that rage building inside him. Jax took his fist and sucker punched Tara, right in the stomach, as hard as he could. This battle-like cry escaped him as he did this over and over again. Tara’s eyes watered, and she couldn’t breathe.
“I HATE YOU. I HATE EVERYTHING ABOUT YOU. LOOK AT WHAT YOU’VE MADE ME BECOME! LOOK AT ME TARA! LOOK AT THE MONSTER YOU KNEW I’D BECOME!”
Jax stared her down as he went on to choke the very life out of her. He didn’t let go until she went limp in his hold. The man nodded amongst himself then laid her down. There was no remorse, no guilt, just sheer hatred, as he looked at her lifeless body one last time, he spit in her face.
Jax lifted his head then locked eyes with his wife. He rushed on over then used his knife to free Bella of her restraints. He removed the ball gag Tara had used then put his forehead to his wife’s.
“Jackson…” She weakly called.
“Bella baby…” He said in such a way and was quick to scoop her into his arms.
Bella let out this agonizing cry, and Jax looked to her knee as she reached for it.
“FUCK!” He hollered as he could see the bone and it was shattered all to hell.
“Hold on sweetness; I’ll get you some help.”
“You can’t. You can’t take me to a hospital.”
“I don’t have a choice! You could lose your fucking leg! This isn’t something Chibs can patch up babe. We gotta go!”
“Then take me back to Charming, call Dizzy, and have my boys help yours in cleaning this shit up! I won’t have you going to prison!”
“I’ll call the boys, but I’m going to the hospital with you!”
“Jackson…” Bella whimpered as he carried her outside.
He thought she was going to argue with him, but she broke into uncontrollable sobs.
“Am I going to lose our baby?”
Jax swallowed back on this. He wasn’t sure how to answer that. He hadn’t a clue what all Tara had done to her. All he could do was pray… Pray to God that she and the child would be okay.
Jax sat in the waiting room. He was growing more and more impatient as time progressed. He’d called Opie on the way and let him know what was going on. Opie wanted to meet him at the hospital but knew he and the boys had to hurry and clean up after Jax. Jax even went as far as to retrace his steps. He mentioned the beer he drank from and how it was sitting on the counter and whatever else came to mind. They had to rid of any evidence that he was even there. Thankfully, his and Tara’s dream house was out of the way, and there were no neighbors to be concerned about. But the Sons had to wreck Jax’s old bike to make it look like Bella was in an unfortunate motorcycle accident, to cover up the truth. Jax had to remove the bullet himself before he could even bring her here. He just knew she was going to bleed to death, but she wanted that round out, so their story would match up. Poor girl passed out, just as soon as he showed her he had it. That was Bella for you, stubborn as fuck but tough as nails. But the hardest thing was ridding of what Tara wrote. Jax would never forgive himself. He knew this was his doing. Once again, Bella ended up paying for the sins of his past. Jax was thankful she passed out; due to the meltdown he had when scrubbing that shit off her forehead. Whore… Jax thought with balled up hands. He wanted to bring Tara back to life, only to choke her out all over again.
Jax lifted his head upon the familiar voice.
“Mom?!” He called then sprang to his feet.
“That’s right.” She said and went on to hug the hell out of him.
She’d gotten a call from Tig after Jax called Opie. Tig let her know they were at the hospital and she raced on over. Jax broke down in his mother’s arms.
“You should’ve seen what she did to her.”
Gemma recoiled as her son was inconsolable and naturally blaming himself for what Tara had done to his wife. Gemma sat him down then cupped his chin.
“I’m going to get you some coffee, and you’re going to drink it. You’re going to need that energy when she’s out of surgery.”
“Mom, after what I saw. I won’t sleep for weeks. I thought I was staring at a fucking corpse.” He admitted.
“I thought Tara had killed my wife, the only woman I’ve ever truly loved.”
Gemma narrowed her eyes as Jax had that wedding band of his in hand and was looking to it.
“I thought the worst was behind us. We got out. We’re out. All we have to do is wrap this other shit up, and we’re free. But now my wife…” Jax trailed off and shook his head.
“Mom, she’s pregnant. This isn’t how I wanted to tell you. I wanted to surprise you and Abel. But now I’m sitting here wondering if she miscarried or if she’s going to lose that fucking leg.”
Gemma staggered back at the reveal.
“You’re having a baby?”
Jax managed to smile on how his mother said this.
“I hope so.”
Gemma clamped a hand over her mouth and got a little choked up.
“I’m having another grandbaby!”
“Mom…” Jax warned as he didn’t want his mother giving her hopes up.
They hadn’t a clue what all Bella’s body had been through. The stress alone could’ve caused her to miscarry.
“I know. I know. But it doesn’t hurt to think positive sweetheart. We thought we were going to lose Abel, remember? Look at how that turned out. She’s going to be fine, and so is that baby of yours.”
“Damn…” Tig murmured as the Sons were looking at Tara’s body.
They could see where Jax had strangled her to death. But they could also see where she’d held Bella captive and the trail of blood going from the chair on up the stairs. Opie cringed in thought. Jax had said she’d done a real number on his niece, but this isn’t what Opie pictured. The more the VP saw, the more all this played out that mind of his. Opie kicked the shit out of Tara’s head and kept on kicking.
“Um bro, I’m pretty sure she’s dead.” Tig smarted, and Chibs gave him the cut-throat gesture.
“Not dead enough!” Opie spat as he stomped on her with his boot.
Chibs knew this was something Opie had to get out of his system. The Scot could only imagine what Jax was going through.
“Did you ever get ahold of Happy?” Opie asked after getting it out of his system.
“No,” Chibs replied.
“We could use him,” Opie said as he was thinking on how to go about this exactly.
This bitch didn’t deserve a funeral and no one would miss her anyhow.
“I’ll try again,” Chibs said with a shrug.
Happy knew something was off when he got off the phone with Eric. He wanted to show Eric how the sketch for his newest tattoo turned out. It was one Eric personally requested, in honor of his girlfriend, Kelly. Something about that particular phone call was unsettling, and it had Happy hopping onto his bike and hauling ass across town, to Eric’s apartment. Eric had moved out of the penthouse after Kelly’s funeral.
The Son headed on down the hallway and welcomed himself inside. He wasn’t about to knock, not after that phone call. There were no words as Happy saw Eric with a rope around his neck and he was kicking the chair out from under him.
The Son took off like a bat out of hell and grabbed Eric’s feet, just as the chair went out from under him. Happy ground his teeth together and was holding Eric up with one arm while using the other to cut him down with his knife. Eric had this struck stupid look about him, and Happy gave a simple nod. One look was all it took; the Son wrapped his arms around the Phantom and was hugging it out. Eric broke down and still Happy didn’t say a word. He too had been there, and that’s how he recognized what Eric was up to.
“I’m sorry.” Eric cried, and Happy sat him down on the couch.
The Son went on to roll a couple of joints then handed one over.
“I don’t…” Eric started to say, and Happy playfully grabbed the nape of his neck then pressed his forehead against his.
“Today you do.” He made clear, and Eric nodded.
The Phantom’s hand trembled as he took that first drag. Happy sat beside him then patted his back when he started to choke.
“Smaller drags.” Happy said, and Eric nodded.
There were a solid three minutes of silence between the two.
“I guess you want to know why?” Eric said with this shameful presence about him.
“Nah, I already know.” Happy murmured with a shrug.
Eric regarded the Son in question, and Happy smiled.
“The trick is to keep smiling. Ya gotta look this life in the eyes. Stick that middle finger out. Don’t take the pussy way out brother. That’s not going to solve anything. It’ll hurt everyone else around you.”
“I don’t have anyone…”
Happy shot to his feet then grabbed the kid by the collar of his shirt. He lifted him up off the ground.
“Ya got me!” Happy snapped.
The Son was downright pissed. Happy never expressed it, but Eric was one of his best friends. That’s just how Happy saw things. He was a man of few words, but he held his brothers in highest regards, Phantom or not, that included Eric.
“What about your Phantoms and Wraith?! I thought you were family. Is that any way to treat family?!” Happy scolded.
Eric lowered his head, and Happy shoved him back onto the couch. He took out his gun then put it to Eric’s head.
“If you want out then I’ll do it for you.” Happy said, and for the first time ever, the Son’s hand was shaking.
Eric swallowed back on this.
“Do ya want out or not?!” Happy barked and Eric closed his eyes.
Happy nodded then put his gun away.
An hour later…
“What’s this?” Derk questioned as he entered the apartment to see Happy and Eric watching cartoons, eating Chinese, and drinking beer.
Happy was the only one to take notice of the apprehensive look on Eric’s face.
“We decided to stay in.” Happy said with a shrug and Eric sent the Son a nod of appreciation.
He knew that was Happy’s way of saying his secret was safe with him and always would be.
“Well, Dizzy’s been looking for you and Opie’s looking for you,” Derk said while pointing to Happy.
“What’s up?” Eric asked.
“Bella’s in the hospital and Jax is up there with her.”
“HOSPITAL?!” Eric repeated in absolute shock.
Derk tossed Eric’s keys over.
“Come on bro, I’ll explain on the way!”
The waiting room was silent as a tomb as the Phantoms, the Sons, and Gemma waited on word from Bella’s surgeon. Jax would pace the area every now and then, but couldn’t bring himself to leave that room, not for a smoke, not to go to the bathroom. Jax stayed put and would until he knew how his wife was.
This had Jax thinking back to the last time Bella was undergoing surgery, and she came up missing. This damn near sent the man into hysterics. As if reading his mind, Opie inched on over, and they hugged it out.
“I have to see her,” Jax said as he was gasping for air.
His mother looked on with concern.
“Op…” Jax pleaded.
His face was beet red, and he had a hand over the area of his heart.
“Aye, now Jackie boy!” Chibs darted on over.
“Ye gotta calm down.” The Scot whispered knowing if Jax went and caused a scene they’d be kicked out then he’d really be pissed.
“He’s right. Bell needs you.” Opie said in agreement.
Jax nodded and was doing his best to compose himself.
“Mr. Teller?” A man in scrubs called as he peeked into the waiting room.
Jax peered back, and the surgeon nodded. He walked on over and held out a hand as he introduced himself to Jax.
“Your wife is out of surgery and doing just fine. You can see her here shortly.”
“And our baby?”
“Let’s just say everything’s good. I’ll let your wife handle that one.” The way the doctor said this had Gemma tilting her head in wonder.
The doctor raised his brows in surprise as Jax hugged him and thanked him profusely. Gemma was taken back as she wasn’t used to seeing her son like this. The doctor smiled and went on to tell Jax what room Bella would be in. The surgeon left the area, and Jax let out this tearful laugh. He braced himself against the wall then closed his eyes for a few moments.
He wasn’t the only one… Damn near everyone in the room was shedding a few tears at this point. The nurse entered the area and let Jax know that he could see his wife now.
“Thank you,” Jax said, and the nurse sent him a warm smile.
“Hey…” Jax softly whispered as he entered Bella’s room.
He was surprised to see that she was awake.
“Hey yourself…” Bella replied with a smile but quivery lip.
Jax rushed on over and took her hand into his own. He couldn’t hold back the tears as he took her hand into his own and kissed it.
“Bella baby… I…” The man cleared his throat as the words were there but he couldn’t muster them.
Jax pulled up a chair and sank into it in defeat.
“I’m so sorry. I… God baby.”
Bella shook her head knowing he’d react this way.
“Jackson.” She said in such a way.
This had the man lifting his head and locking eyes with hers.
“Come here. Please.”
He nodded and came to his feet. Bella grabbed his hand then put it to her cheek. Jax got choked up all over again.
“I saw and heard everything…” She whispered.
“I can’t even imagine how hard that must’ve been. And it should be me apologizing to you; I let my guard down, I let her get the best of me.”
“No darlin’, that’s not even possible. Look at you; you should be pissed. Why aren’t you yelling at me and telling me to FUCK OFF?!” Jax just didn’t get it.
It was no more than he deserved. Bella winced as she managed to scoot over in the hospital bed. She patted the area beside her and Jax lay down.
“Let’s just be…”
Jax narrowed his eyes at this.
“Yes. I’m tired, Jackson. I just want us to let it be. I think we can both agree that we had no control. What happened is enough to haunt our dreams as is, let’s not let it control our lives, Tara wins if we do. Let the bitch rot, without that satisfaction.”
Jax couldn’t believe this girl. How could she let it go like that?! Why would she want to? Jax swallowed back the massive knot within his throat as Bella leaned into his chest. Her leg was in a cast, and the nurses had it in a sling, yet they found a way to hold one another.
“I love you, Jackson.”
“Fuck, I love you too baby. So fucking much.” Jax said as he breathed her in and was kissing her off and on.
Jax cocked a brow however as Bella had fallen asleep. They had her on a morphine drip, and he knew she must’ve hit that button when he crawled into the bed with her. Jax had a full bladder, and he needed a smoke, but even that couldn’t pull him away. He just lay there and closed his eyes. At this point, he didn’t care if he pissed himself. He wasn’t moving for the fucking world.
(Feed an author leave your comment/review, or a simple ‘like’, if you dug the chapter. Thank you! For those concerned about the morphine drip: It’s still early in her pregnancy and it’s not enough to get the baby addicted or harm it.)