Chapter 5 – Rather Hate Than Hurt
I do not own SOA, Twilight, Hinder, or youtube.
“What’s all this?” Clay asked while kicking at Jax’s shoe.
Jax wiped the sleep from his eyes.
“Why’s ebony and ivory sleeping in OUR clubhouse?” The president questioned with a gesture Dominque and Dizzy’s direction. They had made themselves a pallet on the floor and were holding one another. Jax went to explain, just as Bella exited the backroom. Clay reared back then regarded Jax in wonder.
“Have yourself a little party?”
“Wish I was invited…” Tig murmured as he was giving Bella and Dizzy the once over.
Clay reached out and grabbed Bella by the arm.
“Who are you?” He questioned as he pulled her towards him.
Bella jerked out of his hold and Jax sighed.
“Clay…” He scolded.
Clay narrowed his eyes as he was looking Bella over.
“Pretty gruesome scar you got there…” He went to touch the area and Bella slapped his hand away.
“Easy sweetheart, you’re under my roof.”
“Does it look like I give a fuck?”
They could hear Piney laughing from across the room.
“Clay, meet my granddaughter, Bella. Bella, this is Clay, the SAMCRO president.”
“Did you say granddaughter?” “President?!” The two chorused.
Piney took it upon himself to explain the situation. He mentioned how Bella and the others were here for their protection. Including that of Donna and the kids, who were sleeping in the office.
“You’re Wraith?!” Clay spat and Bella nodded.
Clay curled his lip at this and shook his head.
“You sure caused my boys a lot of trouble, girlie.”
“And I explained her reasoning already.” Piney made clear and Jax nodded.
“He’s right. She hadn’t a choice.”
“Everyone has a choice.”
“And she chose her family…” Jax made clear.
“I’m guessing she’s the reason behind that money missing as well?”
Bella went to say something on this and Jax beat her to the punch.
“That was my doing. These guys meant business and needed to be paid off.”
Clay narrowed his eyes on this and Bella sighed.
“He’s lying. I came to his house and held his son ransom in exchange.”
“YOU DID WHAT WITH MY GRANDSON?!”
“HEY!” Jax, Opie, and Piney shouted as Clay snatched her by the throat and lifted her up off the ground.
He went on to give her a violent shake and Opie came charging at him, like that of a bull. Jax broke Bella’s fall but the boys had to break Opie and Clay up.
“It wasn’t like that! She kept the gun on me, not him!” Jax defended as he was checking her over.
“Easy…” He whispered as she was coughing and struggling to catch her breath.
“You’re defending her?!” Clay spat.
“No. Not even close. Trust me, what she did was pretty FUCKED up. But she hadn’t a clue Abel was there, or that he even existed. She came by the house and with the sole purpose of getting that money back.”
Jax looked to Opie then back to Bella.
“She did this in order to keep him alive.”
Clay looked to be in thought and nodded upon Bella.
Bella looked to her uncle and nodded.
“Bell…” Opie murmured whilst shaking his head.
“That isn’t the first time she’s pulled something like this.” Jax sent Bella an apologetic look but felt the need to let Opie in on the truth now.
“You remember those pills…”
Opie regarded Jax in wonder but nodded.
“She didn’t take those for the reason you thought. Bella let me know awhile back that was for the uncle she thought of like a father. She knew if she bit the bullet, those guys would leave you and your family be. That’s all she cared about. It wasn’t about her misery, but yours.”
Opie had this stunned look about him and Jax nodded.
“She loves you, you too Piney. And she isn’t about to let anything happen to you guys. So the least we could do is make certain we do the same for her. Blood makes you related but loyalty makes you family. (Quote taken from SOA series) That’s what SAMCRO’s about. Bella didn’t do anything we wouldn’t do.”
Bella just stood there and gawked at Jax in disbelief.
“Bella?” Dizzy called with concern as she and Dominque were looking on from afar.
This had Bella snapping out of it. But she looked over and with this dumbfounded presence.
“When did THAT happen?” Bella questioned as Dominque had his arms wrapped around Dizzy.
“Jealous?” Dominque taunted and Dizzy elbowed him.
Bella managed to laugh.
“That’s great you guys. It’s about time.”
Dizzy smiled in response.
Bella started to say something else, but she was quick to brace herself against the couch.
“Bell?” Opie called with concern.
“I’m fine. I just need a moment.” She replied but was ghostly white as she lay on the couch and closed her eyes.
Opie and Piney regarded one another in wonder. Chibs took it upon himself to check her over.
“Out cold…” He murmured.
“What?!” Opie questioned in alarm.
“Oh yeah… Got herself a fever too.”
Chibs looked to her arm in thought. He took off the bandage and was quick to recoil.
“Jaysus! Whoever did the patchwork on this fuckin’ brutalized her arm! Look at that shite! Fuckin’ infection!”
“Good God…” Opie murmured looking like he’d be sick.
The infection was so bad that everyone could smell it now.
“Get her a bath ran. Lukewarm, Jackie boy.”
He nodded and got to it. Chibs looked to Bobby.
“That medical bag Tara left behind still around?”
“Good. I’m gonna need it. I think she had some antibiotics in there.”
Bobby took off and Chibs scooped Bella up. He rushed her into the bathroom and was quick to place her into the tub, fully clothed. Bella let out a gasp and clung to Chibs for dear life.
“Easy, lass. Look at me… We gotta get yer temp down or yer gonna go inta shock. Ye understand?”
Bella nodded and without even thinking on it Jax took her by the hand. Chibs turned the temp to the water down just a bit. He didn’t want to get her temp down too fast. Her body was going into shock as it was. He’d only due her further in.
“There ye go…” He murmured once he had her where he wanted.
Chibs was quick to get her out and Jax handed him a towel.
“Not just yet…” Chibs uttered as her eyes started to bat again.
“Ye can sleep, just as soon as I get some meds in ya.”
The whole room was quiet as Chibs went to work. He shook his head seeing as how there was debris in her arm still, as to the reason behind the infection. Whoever worked on it… left pieces of the bullet and broken bones inside. Jax and Opie grimaced as Chibs went on to pull these out. Once he finished, he looked to Opie.
“Fever’s down, but we gotta keep an eye on that arm. Make sure she takes these every day fur ten days. And ye need ta get some food in her. This girl’s starvin’.”
“Starving?!” Opie questioned in disbelief.
“Oh yeah, I’m willin’ ta bet she hasn’t eaten in a few days.”
“Another one of Diablo’s punishments…” Jax uttered with a scowl.
“Could’ve been.” Chibs said with a nod.
“Her body’s been through the ringer, that’s certain.”
Chibs rolled her over just enough to take a gander at her backside.
“WHAT THE FUCK?!” Opie shouted as he staggered back.
Jax looked over and grimaced. Her entire back was covered in bruises.
“No. Hell no. NOT THIS SHIT AGAIN!” Opie roared.
He grabbed his jacket and keys and was heading on out.
“Where you going, son?!” Piney called.
“To teach this Diablo motherfucker a much needed lesson!”
“Now that would be stupid.” Piney scoffed.
“And what am I supposed to do? Sit here and watch as my niece suffers?! Done that, remember. I’m not doing that SHIT AGAIN!”
“Go there. Get yourself killed. Then picture the look on her face. Is losing Charlie and Renee not enough?!”
Opie closed his eyes on this.
“Trust me. I’d love nothing more than to teach those bastards a lesson. But if it were as easy as marching on in… Don’t you think Bella would’ve taken care of that herself?! She might carry the Swan name but she’s a fucking Winston! If Bella had a way out, she would’ve taken it. We both know that. Don’t be foolish, son.”
Donna and the kids had exited the office at this point. Donna nodded upon her husband but was doing her best to console Ellie and Kenny.
“Is she going to die?!” Ellie cried and Opie sighed.
“No.” Donna said and hunkered down to her daughter’s level.
“You know how your crazy cousin is. She’s a fighter. Alright?” Donna said as she cupped her daughter’s chin.
Ellie nodded but that bottom lip of hers quivered.
“Your mother’s right… Bella’s as tough as they come. This… is nothing. You’ll see. She’ll be her old self again. We just need to give her some time.” Piney assured.
Chibs scooped Bella up and took her into the back room. Opie had Donna take the kids outside for a moment.
“In the meantime… we make plans. We’re taking these fuckers down, together.” Jax declared.
“That’s all fine and dandy, but the rest of us don’t know this girl from a stranger on the street.” Clay announced and Jax shook his head.
“We didn’t know Tig had kids until recently… And if memory serves we helped his youngest, without batting an eye on it. How’s this any different?” Jax challenged as he couldn’t believe the way Clay was acting.
“Fine. Let’s call forth a meeting and see where to go from here.”
“Sounds like a plan.” Jax uttered in response.
After giving Piney, Opie, and Jax the floor as to the story behind this girl, the room was deathly silent. Opie had gone as far as to mention the wannabe vampires aka cult she dealt with back in Forks. And now here she was, forced into another shit storm. Even Clay was somewhat sympathetic as to what all she’d endured over the years. But once they were done going over the history behind everything, up to recent events, Clay nodded Opie’s direction.
“She the reason you wanted out, a few months back?”
Jax cleared his throat on this.
“I was the reason he wanted out.”
“Wait… I remember now.” Clay uttered with a smirk Bobby’s direction then looked to Jax.
“You fucked her, right?”
Jax rather sighed but nodded. Clay shook his head and laughed.
“Well goddamn, son. It’s a wonder he didn’t take your balls.” Clay stated and the others, aside from Jax, Opie, and Piney laughed.
“Either way… It’s like I said back then, we don’t need drama, much less pussy drama.”
Opie gritted his teeth on this.
“She isn’t pussy. She’s my fucking niece.”
“And my granddaughter.” Piney added and Clay lit up that cigar of his.
“They’re right. Bella’s family. She’s no different than that of Donna and the kids or Abel for instance.”
“And even if that weren’t the case… she’d never be pussy. Don’t let Jax’s history with my granddaughter fool you. One of you so much as makes a move on my granddaughter and I’ll fill you full of lead. She’s not some Crow Eater. Got it?!”
“Well you heard him.” Clay uttered with a grin.
“I suppose that goes double for you, son!”
Jax rolled his eyes and Clay died of laughter.
“How about we move on to how we’re going to deal with Diablo and his boys?” Jax said with sheer on annoyance.
“Easy now, VP…” Clay warned in reminder and Jax shook his head.
After the meeting, Opie pulled Jax to the side.
“How’d you know about that?”
Jax narrowed his eyes in question.
“I mean… the truth behind the pills.”
“Op, it’s what I’ve been trying to tell you all along. It wasn’t just about sex. Now we never mentioned names, because that’s how protective Bella is. She told me about these guys, but didn’t go into detail and she never mentioned the whole vampire ordeal. She let me know that she got herself mixed up with some bad people once and that it almost cost her and her uncle’s life. The uncle she thought of like a father…”
Opie swallowed back on this.
“She told me that her uncle was a mechanic and taught her everything she knows. That the two of you spent hours in the garage and those were some of her fondest memories, as she never had that with her own father. “
“She said that…?” Opie asked rather stunned and Jax smiled.
“Op, you haven’t any idea how much you mean to Bella. You’re the father she’s always wanted but never had.”
Opie seemed a little choked up and Jax went on to hug him.
“We’re taking them out, each and every one of them. And Diablo… WILL pay.”
“Everything alright?” Donna asked as she was making her way over.
Jax smiled and pecked her on the cheek.
“Everything’s fine.” He assured then went about his way.
Donna nodded upon her husband.
“Yeah. Just a lot going on. Look, I want you and the kids to go stay with my mother, until this clears up.”
“Opie, you know how I feel…”
“I know. Trust me. I know. I can’t stand the woman myself. But if Bell says these guys mean business then we need to take her at her word. I won’t have you and the kids in danger. And Bell you know she’d never forgive herself if…”
“This isn’t her fault…”
“I know. But that’s not how she sees it. Bell wrecked a million dollar car, Donna. This guy owns her, until we find a way to put him six feet under.”
“Jesus. What was she thinking?!”
“As much as I’d like to point the finger… I can’t. I’ve done some pretty stupid shit in my lifetime.”
“Yeah, but I doubt you ever wrecked a million dollar car…”
Opie smiled on this.
“Sounds like fun.” Donna shook her head but popped him on the arm.
“Fuck…” Bella groaned as she rolled onto her bad arm.
Chibs lifted his eyes on this as he was sitting at her bedside. He had stayed put, so he could keep an eye on her and make certain she didn’t go into shock. He yawned as he came to his feet and checked her over.
“How ye feelin’?” He asked.
“Like I got shot….”
He chuckled on this.
“Aye.” He said and put on his glasses.
He removed the bandage around her arm and nodded amongst himself.
The Scot locked eyes with hers.
“I don’t need ye ta thank me. Just glad we got ta it in time.”
The door opened and Donna stepped inside.
“We’re heading out.”
This had Bella shooting to her feet.
“What?! You can’t! It’s too dangerous!”
Donna smiled and made her way over.
“Could you give us a minute.”
“Donna, please you have to stay here.”
“We’re heading to Mary’s… Opie feels we’ll be safer there.”
Bella frowned in thought.
“Don’t. None of that. I mean it.” Donna said and went on to hug Bella.
“Just take care of yourself and do as Opie says.”
“I can’t believe you have to stay with that dreadful woman.” Bella said with a scowl.
“Me and you both.” Donna replied with a frown of her own.
“It shouldn’t be long though. When Opie has his mind set on something, it tends to get done.”
“I know. But still… You’re in this mess because of me.”
“We talked about that, now didn’t we?”
Donna brushed Bella’s hair back and smiled.
“We’ll be just fine.”
Bella nodded and walked them outside the clubhouse. Bella stopped the kids however before they got into the car.
“Whatever Mary says about gramps or your mother even… Don’t believe a word of it.”
“Gramps says she’s batshit crazy…” Kenny threw out there and Bella snorted.
“Cause she is…” Bella whispered.
“But watch that tongue in front of your mother and Mary.”
“Gotcha.” Kenny uttered with a grin and Bella roughed up his hair.
“Can’t you go with us?” Ellie pleaded and Bella sighed.
“I wish I could. I’d love to give ole Mary a piece of my mind.”
Ellie hugged her and Bella kissed the top of her head.
“You’ll be back before you know it. And don’t you have a birthday coming up?”
“Awesome! We’ll have to see about that. I’m sure we can come up with something pretty cool.”
Bella helped to get the kids loaded up and she and Opie said their goodbyes.
“Think they’ll be okay?” Bella asked and Opie nodded.
“My bet’s on Donna…” He murmured with a grin.
“Right?!” Bella said.
Opie wrapped his arm around her shoulder then kissed the top of her head.
“They’ll be fine. Now let’s get you something to eat.”
“Hey…” Piney called as they were headed towards the clubhouse.
“We gotta head out.”
This had Opie stopping in his tracks, “NOW?!”
“Yeah they’re in…” Piney did his best to hint and Opie sighed.
“This isn’t the best time.”
“We’ll take Bobby and Juice with us. That should make things go a little smoother.”
Bella looked to her uncle and grandfather in question.
“Do I even want to know?”
“The old man’s got a deal we need to see about.”
Opie thought of the irony considering this deal was about some AK-47s. This was something Piney had set up for the club, through some old friends of his. But he wasn’t about to get into all that mess with her, not right now.
“Look, I’m not sure how long we’ll be. So do me a favor and stick around the clubhouse. Don’t venture out and give me a goddamn heart attack by coming up missing again.”
Opie laughed as Bella gave him a salute.
“I mean it, Bell.”
“I’ll stay put, promise.”
“Good deal. Love you, kid.”
“Love you too.”
“Better?” Chibs questioned as Bella was on her fourth slice of pizza.
She nodded but had sauce running down her chin. Chibs raised his brows on this and handed her a napkin. “Um thanks…” She murmured looking somewhat embarrassed as she dabbed at the area.
He chuckled and handed a bottle of water over.
“About me pushing you that one day…”
Chibs lifted his eyes on this.
“I wasn’t quite myself… I’m not sure why I did that.”
“Aye now, we all have our moments. I didn’t think much on it.”
“Dig the accent by the way… That Irish? Scottish?”
“I was hopin’ ye was a Galway girl the way you were carryin’ on when we first met.” He taunted with a wink.
“Hardly.” Bella replied with a smile.
“I was born and raised in Phoenix actually, until I moved to Forks that is.”
“Little town in Washington.”
“Ah… Quite a change.”
“You’ve no idea. Forks…” She said with a frown.
“Well it’s nothing like Phoenix, that’s for certain.”
“That bad, huh?”
“I hated everything about that town.”
“Ye sound like me when it came ta me hometown. But Charming… It grows on ya. I couldn’t imagine bein’ anywhere else now.”
“Not a bad town…” Bella admitted but was looking to Jax, as he talking to Clay and an older woman.
Chibs cleared his throat taking notice.
“He grows on ye too…”
Bella snapped her head back and Chibs nodded.
“Yeah like a boil on my ass.”
Chibs had a good laugh at this.
“Well at least that’s somethin’.” He said with his beer raised to her.
Bella raised her bottle of water then took a pull off it. Chibs narrowed his eyes however as she reached to the scar along her cheek and neck.
“Ye alright there?”
“Yeah. Just burns from time to time.”
“May I?” He hinted as he put his glasses on.
“Um, sure. I guess.”
He nodded and walked around the counter. He went on to lift Bella’s hair and was examining the area.
“Yer lucky… Impact like that, should’ve taken yer head clear off.”
“Trust me… I know.” She whispered.
“Sure is deep…” He patted certain areas and observed her reaction.
She winced a couple times and he nodded.
“I got some ointment fur that. It’s the same kind I used back in the day.” He said with a gesture towards his own scars.
Bella narrowed her eyes on this.
“How’d you get those anyhow?”
“Eh… Some Irish prick thought he’d make a jack-o-lantern out of me face.”
Bella frowned on this.
“I’ll bring ye some tomorrow. It’ll help with not only the pain but it’ll reduce the scarin’ too.”
“Does it still hurt?”
“Nah… But it did have that burnin’ sensation from time ta time the first couple years.”
“Comparing battle wounds?” A voice called from behind.
Bella spun around in her chair and Chibs nodded towards the woman.
“Somethin’ like that.”
The older woman nodded upon Bella.
“You must be, Bella.”
“Gemma.” She said whilst holding a hand out in greeting.
Bella shook her hand then Gemma made a gesture towards Jax.
“From my understanding you know that one pretty well.”
“That’s understatement.” Bella uttered bitterly.
Chibs didn’t utter a word but couldn’t hide the smirk on his face.
“He can be a handful.” The older woman admitted.
“Handful? I’m not sure how he manages to walk, when he’s constantly juggling his cock and balls.”
Gemma raised her brows on this. Chibs reached to his gut in laughter then leaned into Bella’s ear.
“That’s his mum.”
Bella’s eyes widened on this and Gemma gave a simple nod. Bella drew back an uneasy breath.
“Well, this isn’t awkward at all.” Bella muttered went on to grab Chibs’s beer.
He raised his brows as she finished it off.
“Got a shot to go with that?”
“Aye but ye owe me a beer, lass.”
“Put it on my uncle’s tab.” Bella taunted and Chibs chuckled.
Meanwhile, Gemma looked somewhere between pissed, yet understanding.
“I suppose I should be thanking you.” Gemma said as she took a seat beside her.
“For chasing the lovely doctor away.”
Bella cringed on this.
“Oh no, believe me… There’s not an ounce of sarcasm behind that one, sweetheart.”
“With all due respect, I didn’t chase anyone away. That was your son’s doing. I hadn’t a clue this other woman even existed.”
“Tell me, Bella… How many times did you meet at a hotel or something of the sort?”
Bella regarded the woman in disbelief
“The signs must’ve been there…”
Chibs slid that shot over.
“What I’m saying is… did he ever take you out? You know… To a nice dinner, maybe a movie after? Or was it merely fucking?”
Bella closed her eyes on this.
“Gem…” Chibs whispered and was shaking his head in disapproval.
“I’m just sayin’. The signs were there. But she chose to ignore them.”
“You’re right… They were. Thanks!”
Bella hopped down and went to clean up her area.
“Don’t go getting all sensitive about it. I’m merely pointing out the facts.”
The older woman nodded.
“Well, Gemma. I don’t need the facts pointed out. I spent the last few months going over all this in my head. I know things aren’t black and white and I can see where I fucked up. The difference? When I give someone my all. That’s they get. There is no in-between. So don’t you sit there and try to make me feel like an even bigger fool then what I do already. Your son managed to do that perfectly. So thanks but no thanks.” Bella did a slight bow then headed into the back bedroom.
Chibs sighed as Jax nodded his direction in question.
“What was that about?” He asked after making his way over.
“Ye’d better ask yer mum on that one.”
Jax looked to his mother.
“It’s nothing. Just had us a little girl to girl talk.”
“Mom, what did you say?!”
Bella sighed as there was a knock at the door.
The door opened and Bella laughed once she saw his reflection in the mirror. Bella finished taking her hair down.
“What do you want, Jackson?”
He said nothing as he entered the room then shut the door behind him. Jax sat at the edge of the bed then patted the area beside him.
“Oh no, buddy. I’m good right where I am.”
“Come on, Bella…” He said with slight frustration.
Bella leaned against the dresser and with her arms folded about her chest.
“Anything you have to say… can be said from there.”
Jax sighed on this.
“Look, I just wanted to apologize on my mother’s behalf.”
“Hmm… She seems like a real peach.”
Jax couldn’t help but to smile.
“You’ve no idea…”
“She had no right to give her opinion on something that’s between us.”
“Yeah well… she was right. I should’ve seen the signs.”
“Don’t. This is ALL on me and we both know that.”
“Two months, Jackson. Two months of hotels, meeting at that cabin of yours, and outside of Charming. I was a fool. I mean come on. Neither of us went our way to get to know each other’s family or friends. We talked about them, sure. But we kept everything so vague. Hell, we were literal fuck buddies, nothing more.”
“That’s not true.”
“Come on, Jackson. Let’s not kid ourselves. If there was truly something there… You would’ve found it a lot easier to make a choice, but you didn’t. You kept us both around and it was just one lie after another. I mean honestly… How long were you and this doctor together?”
“Almost a year… But we were high school sweethearts before that.”
Bella recoiled on this and Jax came to his feet.
“Bella, you need to know that Tara… She only came back for one reason and it wasn’t for me, not really.”
Jax placed his hands together in a prayer like fashion.
“I can’t believe I’m about to tell you this…”
“Tell me what?”
“First off…” He reached out and took her by the hand.
Jax sat her down on the bed then squatted down before her.
“Bella, I haven’t told anyone this. Not even that of my mother or the club.”
Bella narrowed her eyes as Jax went on to reveal the truth behind his and Tara’s relationship.
About how they met in high school and were on and off again. He told her about Tara moving then coming back to Charming. He mentioned the dreaded ex that was a fed and how he took his life in order to save Tara’s. He even admitted that his mother had tried to warn him about Tara. She told him Tara was using him in order to do her dirty work, but he didn’t want to believe it. Once Jax finished his story, Bella had this ill look about her.
“Jesus, Jackson…” She whispered.
“You killed a fed?!”
“That’s how much I loved Tara.” He said with a shrug.
“And I thought she felt that way in return, but I was wrong. You see Bella… Tara will never admit it. I even gave her the opportunity to do so and she wouldn’t take it. But I know my mother was right. I could see it in her eyes when shit hit the fan. Bella, Tara was relieved. You were the perfect excuse.”
Jax pinched his eyes shut for a moment and told her the truth, behind his original intentions. How he had hopes of using Bella to run Tara off. He let her know that no matter how many times he tried, he couldn’t break it off. Tara wouldn’t hear of it. And he truly believed that to be the guilt talking. So Jax went out his way to give Tara a reason and way out. Jax just never realized how relieved he himself would be when she finally walked out that door. It was like this massive weight had been lifted off his shoulders. He admitted that Bella never left his mind and he hated how much he’d hurt her – The one woman he truly loved.
“And how do you know I’m not another Tara?” Bella bitterly challenged and Jax lifted his eyes on this.
“Come on, Jackson. You said it yourself. You were madly in love with Tara. But now you claim to have those feelings for me.”
“No. I NEVER claimed that. What I felt for Tara and what I feel for you… Are two different things, entirely. When I say I was madly in love with Tara. That’s exactly what I mean, MADLY, and not in a good way. Bella, I was fucking mess. It was insane. But I never felt that way with you. It was so different.”
“Is that so?”
“Yes. Like right now. I can see it in your eyes. You love me. But you’re letting your anger get the best of you.”
“Get the best of me?!” She snapped and Jax sighed.
“You know what I mean… That anger is most certainly warranted.”
“You’re right. It is. I mean think back… I flat out asked you if you had anyone to come home to. And that’s where lie number one hit and after that, it became this massive web of lies.
Jax nodded in perfect understanding.
“I know and I cannot apologize enough. I will spend every day, until my last breath, making up for what I’ve done.”
“And just how do you plan on doing that? I mean honestly. You’re talking like there’s still a chance.”
“By being your friend. I know I lost you, Bella baby. And that’s something I will have to live with. It won’t be easy. But I’ll be there whenever you need me and for whatever you need. I don’t care what time of the day it is or if you’re with someone else. Hell, if you get married and pop out a couple kids. If I see it’s you on that phone or at my door… I’m not about to turn my back to you, never.”
“But that’s the difference… When I’m with someone, I don’t fuck around.”
“Bella, that’s not where I’m going… But I won’t lie either. You want that and I sure as hell won’t turn you down. I will always want you. Nothing about that will ever change.”
“And if you’re the one to move on?”
“Not happening. I already lost what I want. I don’t care if it was just two months. To me… It was a lifetime and one I’m not getting back. I know you love me, but I also know that you’re done.” He took her hand and kissed it.
“I’ll never stop loving you. So if I get to be a little too much. You let me know and I’ll do my best to take a few steps back and let you fucking breathe. Seeing you move on… That’s going to suck. But it’s no more than I deserve. Hell, I almost want you to. So I can experience whatever I put you through.” Jax came to his feet and cupped her chin.
“I won’t say it again, out of respect for you. So this will be the last time… I love you, Bella. I only wish I had said it sooner, amongst other things…” And on this note, he kissed her forehead then exited the room.
“Can I talk to you?”
Gemma looked over and nodded upon her son.
“In private…” He headed towards the chapel and Gemma followed.
Jax pulled the door to then popped a cigarette into his mouth. He lit it then shook his head upon his mother.
“What’d you say to her…”
Gemma raised her brows on this.
“Come on, mom. Just spit it out.”
“All I did was point out the obvious.”
“That she can’t put all the blame on you. She had to of known something was up.”
Jax let out a laugh of utter misery.
“Mom, you had NO right to say ANYTHING. This is between me and Bella. I hurt her, big time. And I won’t have my mother adding to that. Stay out of it. I mean it. Just leave her be.”
Bella laughed as Dizzy was showing off her mechanic skills. The prospect known as Half-Sack rolled his eyes.
“Oh come on now… Don’t be sore. It’s not every day a woman puts you in your place.” Bella taunted and Half-Sack shook his head.
Dizzy lifted her eyes on this and Bella nodded upon her.
“Well go on, baby. Show him how us street racers do things.”
“Thought you’d never ask…” Dizzy said with wide grin.”
Bella opened the door for her and Dizzy hopped inside. Bella shut the door after then looked to Half-Sack.
“You might want to take a few steps back. You see there’s a reason we call her Dizzy…”
Dizzy cranked up the engine then backed out of the garage. Bella laughed as Dizzy pulled off her signature move. Bella leaned into Half-Sack’s ear as Dizzy continued in her donuts.
“What in the hell is this shit?!” Clay snapped as he entered the garage.
Half-Sack was quick to clear his throat and got back to work. Clay nodded upon Bella.
“Gotcha…” Bella uttered and went to exit the garage.
Bella pivoted back around.
“And tell your little blondie friend to knock that shit off. She’s messing up the asphalt. Unless you want to pay to have it done again…”
“I’m sure we could hit another bank.” Bella taunted in return.
“And I could put another bullet in you.”
“Awesome. I could use one in the other arm, even things out a bit.”
Jax couldn’t help but to chuckle as he caught wind of this.
“Watch it, Jackson. I could help you out in the leg department.”
“I’m holding you to that, darlin’.” He witted as he was working on a truck.
Bella waved Dizzy down and had her come to a stop. Dizzy frowned but went on to park the car.
“Sorry boss man says no.”
“I don’t really like him…” Dizzy whispered and Bella smiled.
“Oh believe me, the feeling is mutual.”
“Can’t we head back to the penthouse?” Dizzy pleaded.
“I wish. Sorry, Dizzy. But Jackson was right in bringing you here. He knew that was a risk I wasn’t willing to take.”
“And yet you push him away, because…”
“Dizzy…” Bella scolded.
“Right… Grudges and shit.”
“You have got to be kidding…” Bella murmured as an all too familiar car pulled up.
“What’s he doing here?”
“I don’t know, but I’m about to find out. Stay put.”
Dizzy pouted on this.
“I mean it, Dizzy.”
Bella walked on over to the red Ferrari convertible. The man lowered his shades and climbed out of the car.
Jax lifted his head on this and was looking on from the garage. The man took a step towards Bella and she held up a hand.
“That’s close enough.”
“Bella, I thought you were dead.”
“Good. Why don’t you continue in that theory.”
“Do you have any idea what I went through? Han wouldn’t let me in on what was going on. All I knew is that you were missing.”
The man went on to lift Bella’s hair back. He curled his lip in disgust and caressed the area of her scars.
“Damn… that’s pretty gross. I could help you with that.”
Jax gritted his teeth on this.
“Yeah. I know a good plastic surgeon. We’ll get you fixed up in no time.
Chibs overheard this as well and was shooting the guy daggers.
“I don’t need nor do I want plastic surgery.”
Zack reared back on this.
“I’m offering to pay for it. It’s the least I could do.”
“You mean after setting me up to get killed?”
“Come on, babe. We were pretty wasted. Neither of us were thinking clearly.”
“Bullshit. It wasn’t the booze and you know it. So what’d you do?”
“As in what the fuck did you put in my drink, Zachary?!”
When he wouldn’t answer, Bella shoved him back.
“Jesus, I didn’t do shit to you!”
“The fuck you didn’t. I never lose control like that. I take my races seriously, always have. That’s how I earned my fucking name. So I’m going to give you one more chance… What. Did. You. Put. In. My. Drink?!”
Zack sighed but leaned into her ear.
“All I did was try to calm those nerves of yours. If you wouldn’t have fought it, you could’ve been home, with me, safe and sound. And this…” He pointed to her scars.
“Wouldn’t have happened. But I’m going to help you. So come on.” He opened the door and smiled.
“I’ll even let you drive.” He said whilst handing his keys over.
“FUCK OFF, ZACHARY! YOU RAPIST PIECE OF SHIT!” Dizzy shouted.
Rapist?! Jax thought as he was watching this guy’s every move now.
“DIZZY!” Bella scolded and Dizzy was quick to clamp hand over her mouth.
“I got this, alright?!”
“Sorry!” Dizzy called and Bella gave a mere nod.
Bella took the keys from Zack’s hold and he gathered this cocky grin.
“Oh shit…” Jax whispered as he’d seen that look before.
In Wraith’s eyes, just before she shot him. Jax stopped what he was doing as Bella got into the car and Zack hopped on in.
“BELLA!!!” Dizzy shouted in a panic.
Dizzy and Jax were headed that way but it was too late. Bella had pulled on out of the lot and was hauling ass.
“STOP HER OR SHE’LL KILL HIM!” Dizzy yelled and Jax nodded as he was already on his bike.
“You wanna slow down there, babe?!” Zack hollered and Bella laughed.
“Not even a little.” She said whilst shifting gears and passing car after car.
“Oh trust me; you’re going to need him alright.”
“BELLA!!!” Zack shouted as she went through a red light.
“So what was the plan? For the drugs to take effect, so you could take me home, and have your way with me? And how would’ve you explained it that following morning? By putting the blame on me? Like I’d EVER WILLINGLY FUCK YOU!”
Bella shifted gears again and Zack was holding on for dear life.
“What you did… caused me to lose consciousness during that fucking race! I crashed that car and now everyone I know is in danger.”
Bella whipped around another car and gritted her teeth.
“I spent the last six months as Diablo’s BITCH!”
“Bella, please just slow down and we’ll talk about this.”
“SHIT!” He hollered as Bella exited one of the ramps and was heading out to the middle of nowhere.
“Look, I’m sorry. I’m so fucking sorry, babe! I hadn’t a clue!”
Bella slowed down then parked the car. Zack hopped out and upchucked. Bella kept her hands along that wheel and was staring straight ahead. After a sold minute passed, she opened the glove compartment knowing that’s where Zack kept his pistol. She retrieved the gun, checked to see if it was loaded, then stepped out.
“JESUS CHRIST!” Zack shouted as Bella had that gun aimed his direction now.
“On your knees.”
“Bella… please. Don’t do this. I never meant to hurt you, babe.”
“ON YOUR FUCKING KNEES!” She shouted with tears streaming down her face.
Her hand was shaking unmercifully as he dropped down.
“Do you have ANY idea what I’ve been through?! What I had to endure? I had never taken a life before. But since my time with Diablo. I’ve taken seven. Seven…
Jax had pulled up at this point but she was so focused on Zack, she didn’t take notice of his presence.
“This isn’t who I am. I’m not a killer, Zack. But Wraith… is. Han was right. I should’ve pulled out. But I can’t, not now. I have to clean up after Diablo.”
Zack started to cry and Bella shook her head.
“Look at me.”
“I SAID LOOK AT ME, GODDAMMIT!”
Zack lifted his head and Bella gave a simple nod.
“If didn’t obey his wishes. I was punished. I was starved, beaten, and nearly raped on a few occasions, but I assume that part’s no big deal to you, right? Considering how that was your intention all along.”
Bella hunkered down and ran the end of that gun along his cheek on down his neck.
“The first life… was someone like me, with no way out. Once Diablo owns you, he truly owns you. And if you’re of no real importance, he’ll rid of you, and he won’t bat an eye on it. I had to watch as he had a hit man targeting my grandfather. If I didn’t take this man’s life… He was going to order that hit, bullet right to the head. So I put a bullet in another man’s in order to prevent that. You see, Diablo could do these things himself. But he gets off to making others do his dirty work for him. It’s like a sick game of his. Seeing who’s the most faithful when serving him.”
Bella came to her feet.
“I must’ve served him pretty well, considering he was foaming at the mouth to make me his queen.”
Bella sort of laughed and paced the area.
“So here’s the story… Poor little rich boy had too much and took his own life.”
Bella waved that gun about.
“Your gun, your car, and you’re out in the middle of nowhere. And believe me… I know all about covering my tracks. No one will EVER know I was here. Goodbye, Zachary.”
Bella went to fire the gun only to be slammed into the earth. The gun was pried out of her hold and she squirmed about.
“GOD DAMMIT, JACKSON!”
Jax kept her pinned down and was shaking his head.
“I’m sorry. But I can’t let you do this.”
“It’s not your decision to make!” But as she said this, Jax looked over to see Zack, with his cellphone in hand.
Jax gritted his teeth and fired the gun himself.
“NOOO! HE WAS MINE!” Bella shouted and Jax went back to keeping her pinned down.
“LOOK AT ME!” He shouted as she was fighting him with everything she had.
“Bella baby, look at me…” He said in a softer tone and she managed to calm down a bit.
“There you are… Stay with me, alright?”
Bella closed her eyes and Jax put his forehead to hers.
“I’m here. So let it out. Let it out, baby. Or it’ll eat you alive.”
Bella broke into uncontrollable sobs and Jax rolled over. He pulled her into his arms and let her cry it out. Jax cleared his throat after a few minutes passed.
“We better take care of this, before someone finds us.”
Bella nodded and Jax came to his feet. He offered his hand then helped her up off the ground. He went on to wipe her tears then dusted her off afterward. They worked together on setting everything up and covering their tracks. Once they finished, Jax climbed onto his bike then nodded her direction.
“Let’s go, sweet thang.”
He knew he needed to quit talking to her like that, but it was by habit now. He couldn’t himself. To Jax, Bella would always be his, whether she was with someone else or not. He hated that feeling, but there wasn’t anything he could do about it. He was in deep.
Bella climbed on and he handed his helmet over.
“Hold on…” He called and once she had her arms around him, he peeled on out.
When they got to the clubhouse, he helped her down. He planted his hands along her face then looked her in the eyes.
“You just let me handle all this. Alright?”
“Please. Just let me do this.”
Bella drew back an uneasy breath but nodded. He kissed her forehead then gave her hand a slight squeeze. Dizzy was quick to make her way over and Jax had her escort Bella inside. Clay went on to drill Jax about what was going on.
“Where’s Dominque?” Bella asked as she and Dizzy were kicked back on the bed.
“Back at the penthouse, I suppose.”
Dizzy sighed as she reached over and moved a strand of hair out from Bella’s eyes.
“He should be here.”
“Trust me. I tried talking some sense into him, but he wouldn’t listen. He was determined. Said he had some shit to take care of and that he’d be careful. He made me promise that I’d stay put.”
“A little hypocritical, don’t you think?”
“Oh believe me; I more than let him know that.”
“I’m sure you did.” Bella said with a smile.
“Are you okay?”
“About as okay as I’m going to get.”
“So what happened?”
Bella trolled on off the bed then walked over and locked the door.
“Uh oh… What’d you do, Bella?”
Bella paced the area a bit and sort of laughed.
“Bella…” Dizzy uttered in slight panic.
“Relax. You know me…”
“As in Zack’s dead…”
Bella looked towards the door then back to Dizzy.
“Yeah well… that didn’t exactly go as planned.”
Bella went on to tell Dizzy what took place.
“Jesus Christ, Bella.”
“It was never my intention to get him involved. Believe me.”
“I know it wasn’t. Still…”
“It won’t fall back on him or me for that matter. You’d be surprised on just how precise Jackson can be.”
“Great. I can just imagine… The two of you. Fucking Bonnie and Clyde!”
“Yeah well, I don’t see Jackson robbing banks anytime soon.”
“He would if you asked him.” Dizzy said with a wide grin.
“That’s almost tempting, just to see the look on his face.”
“Could be hot!”
“Right?!” Bella said but pulled a face directly after.
“Quit fighting it. I can see it on your face. You’re fucking smitten.”
“I’m not anything.”
“Come on, Dizzy. Even if I were… What’s to say I won’t become like that of the ex? Once a cheat, always a cheat and I don’t play those games. It wasn’t just the doc he was cheating on… I hadn’t a clue he was going home to another woman, much less a child! I mean have you seen his son? Fucking spitting image!”
“Bella, Jax loves you. I mean like really loves you. He wouldn’t do anything to jeopardize that.”
“You say that like you know him…” Bella challenged.
“Actually, I’ve gotten to know Jax pretty well. We talked a lot, mostly about you.”
Bella narrowed her eyes on this.
“Bella, that man spilled his heart out. In fact, he let me know that if he ever given that chance again and managed to fuck it up. He wanted ME to kill him and I let him know I would.”
“I don’t follow… How in the hell did Jackson get in touch with you guys?!”
Dizzy went on to tell Bella how Jax found them to begin with and how he never gave up the search. That when Han and everyone else believed Bella to be dead, Jax never did. This had Bella staggering back in downright shock. Dizzy smiled and gave a mere nod.
“Dizzy, I don’t know how to let him in again…” Bella admitted and Dizzy nodded in understanding.
“Then you take it a day at a time. Make HIM earn that trust back. Jax needs to show you that he means business.”
“Hey, he killed Zack… That’s a start!” Dizzy said behind a giggle.
“That’s so messed up.”
“I’m just sayin’. Not every day your man actually kills for you.”
“He’s not my man and that’s what I’m worried about… This isn’t his first rodeo when it comes to playing the white knight. I don’t want Jackson getting the wrong idea.”
“That I’m just another Tara in need of rescuing.” Bella sighed in thought.
“Guess he’s not the only one in need of proving one’s self.”
“Bella, there’s nothing wrong with needing help.”
“I get that. But I don’t want him thinking that’s…” Bella trailed off as there was a knock at the door.
“Yes?” She called.
“Me who?!” Dizzy called but whispered, “tall, sexy, and blue-eyed?”
“Dizzy…” Bella warned and went on to open the door.
Jax nodded upon her then stepped inside. He pulled the door to afterward.
“I just want you to know that everything’s been taken care of. So let’s just put this behind us. I mean it, Bella. I don’t want you worrying on. Everything’s cool. Got it?”
“We’re having a bit of a gathering tonight. Thought you’d both like to join us.”
“Like a biker rally?!” Dizzy said with a grin.
Jax smiled in return.
Dizzy hopped off the bed then wrapped her hands around Bella’s arm.
“Can we go?! Please?!” She questioned in a childlike manner.
“I’m guessing it’s not much different from our old gatherings.” Bella said with a grin of her own.
“Is that a yes?!” Dizzy asked.
“Why not? We could use a night of recklessness.”
“Now you’re talkin’.” Jax uttered with a smile.
“YES!” Dizzy squealed.
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