I do not own SOA or Twilight.
“Ava, are ye sure that’s the route ye wanna take?”
The young woman drew back a breath and ran her finger along the old scar on her wrist.
“No. But what other choice do we have? It’s him they want… And this shit won’t stop until then.”
“Ye do realize they’ll kill him?”
“I’m well aware.”
“And are ye willin’ ta have that on yer conscious, lass?”
“It’s like I said… What other choice do we have?”
“And do ye really believe it’ll stop there? Do ye think ye can walk away from the man that killed yer father?”
“I never said that…”
“Then what are ye sayin’?”
“That we hand Edward over in exchange…”
Chibs shook his head.
“And ye think they’re gonna do this yer way?”
“They won’t have a choice. It’s that or no deal.”
“Ava darlin’, I know ye. And ye might think this is what ye want. But if ye were to actually go through with it, the guilt alone would eat ye alive.”
“What guilt? I lost EVERYTHING because of him.”
“Yer angry and that’s all ye can focus on. Ye need ta get that head of yers clear then decide if this is what ye really want.”
“Dammit, why is everyone always telling me what I want?! It’s like I don’t have a fucking mind of my own!”
“That is not what I’m doin’ and ye know it!”
Ava rolled on out of the bed and put her robe on.
“And where are ye goin’?”
“To shower and clear my fucking head!”
Chibs sighed as she darted into the bathroom and slammed the door behind her. He grabbed a cigarette off the nightstand and lit it. The Scot looked towards the bathroom door and sighed. He wanted nothing more than to hand that vampire over himself. But he couldn’t help but to think of how that would affect Ava in the long run. This was someone she had history with, one of her first loves. If it hadn’t been for that he’d have killed the vampire himself. The temptation had always weighed upon him. Even more so knowing just how much he’d hurt her. And every time he came around, Chibs could see it in her eyes, that anger and resentment. The vampire had ripped her heart out, just as Fiona had his. So he knew that look all too well and hated it. He lay there until she finished and stepped out in nothing but a towel. Something he found incredibly sexy. She grabbed some clothes and tossed them at the foot of the bed. He frowned once he saw the blue jeans.
“What?” She questioned taking notice.
“What aboot one of them skirts?”
Ava cocked a brow at this.
“Do you even deserve a skirt day?”
“Oh yeah…” He said with a smirk.
Chibs was discovering all sorts of things when it came to her, which was strange to him, considering how much he’d been around the Cara Cara girls. There was just something about Ava that drove the Scot mad with lust. Ava shook her head and tossed the towel over.
“Tough…” she taunted with a smirk of her own and went on to get dressed.
Chibs reached over and snatched the jeans from her hold. She frowned and he chuckled.
“Ye have ta come and get ’em…”
Ava had this annoyed appearance about her but walked on over. She reached for the jeans and he held them out of reach.
“Give me the jeans.”
She leaned over and tried once again. Chibs was quick to grab her and pull her back onto the bed. He rolled over her and draped the covers over them. He had her pinned down and looked her in the eyes.
“If this is what ye really want… Then I’ll help ye.”
“Help me what? Put on my jeans?”
He smiled then pecked her on the lips.
“Ye know what I’m talkin’ aboot. But I need ye ta really think on this, Ava darlin’. If we’re to do this… there will be no goin’ back.”
“If we don’t do this… We might as well kiss those marriage plans goodbye.”
Chibs narrowed his eyes on this.
“Do you honestly believe that Edward will let me walk down that aisle? He’s going to do everything within his power to prevent us from getting married. This isn’t the last we’ll see of him. Why do you think I said what I said about being with child? We gotta kill two birds with one stone.”
“So yer ready ta say yer goodbyes and with the knowledge that ye helped in sendin’ the vampire ta meet his demise?”
“Chibs, whatever love I had for Edward is gone and has been. And the moment he exposed himself back in Italy, I lost all respect. He did this with the knowledge of putting me and his family at risk. Then he had the balls to offer OUR services to the Volturi in exchange for their forgiveness. And to this very day, I can’t get that out of my head. I never dreamed that he of all ‘beings’ would stoop that fucking low. He was so desperate in getting his point across that he no longer cared about the consequences. Edward has always hated who and what he is. So why not put an end to his misery?” Ava couldn’t believe her own words but she truly meant them. She was done and ready to put it all behind her.
Chibs rolled back over but with a wince.
“Chibs…” She called out of concern.
“Aye now… I’m fine.” He uttered as she hopped up and grabbed his pills.
He popped a couple into his mouth then nodded her direction.
“Why don’t ye start from the beginnin’? I need ta know what has you doin’ a complete 180 when it comes ta the Cullens.”
Ava sighed and sat across from him.
“It wasn’t long after you left… Alice came to me. She told me that Edward was in Italy and that he was going to ask Aro for a misery killing. Ironic… don’t you think?”
Chibs raised his brows. This was a side of her he wasn’t used to. It was rarely seen but he knew it was warranted if she felt this way. It just wasn’t in Ava to be malicious. So he knew whatever drew her to this point must’ve been pretty bad.
“Aro… that’s one of the vampire kings, right?”
“After I left… So this was after ye tried runnin’ him down with yer truck?”
She nodded and he chuckled.
“Yer right. He’s persistent that one…”
“You have no idea…”
“Hmmm.” Chibs started a cigarette and handed it over, along with an ash tray.
“I figure ye might need it.”
Ava sort of laughed and took a pull off it.
“You’re a terrible influence by the way.”
“Aye now… I haven’t made ye do anythin’ ye don’t want ta do.”
“I said you were a bad influence not that you had a gun to my head.”
“Yer too stubborn fur that shite.”
“What’s that supposed to mean?”
“That I feel fur the bastard dumb enough ta try it.”
Ava couldn’t help but to smile.
“I think I’ll take that one as a compliment.”
“Ye should. Now back ta Italy.”
She finished her cigarette then put it into the ashtray.
“Well for whatever reason Alice had it in her head that I could somehow ‘save’ him.” Ava shook her head and half laughed.
“And being the gullible one I went along with it.”
“It wasn’t until we were about halfway there that she came clean.” Ava drew back a breath.
“Look, you should know that when you left… I went on a little road trip. I just needed sometime to clear my head and get some shit sorted out. Well something happened and it triggered one of Alice’s visions. Only it must’ve cut off before she saw what truly took place.”
“And this vision…?”
“It had Alice believing I was suicidal…”
Chibs reared back on this.
“And before you even ask… No. I wasn’t. You and I… We had an understanding. Sure, I hated how things turned out in the end but it wasn’t like I was hit out of left field. So this trip… it was about me and what I needed not you, or Edward for that matter.”
The Scot nodded in perfect understanding. That was his reason for going nomad. He needed to find himself. He just never dreamed that he’d find someone like her along the way.
“You ever heard of base jumping?”
“Well let’s just say I went through a bit of a daredevil phase and decided to give it a whirl.”
This had the Scot looking to Ava in absolute disbelief.
“Ye took base jumpin’ lessons?!”
“Not exactly… There was this cliff I’d seen the Quileute’s use. It’s just high enough to give you that adrenaline, yet not enough to need a suit.”
“Yer tellin’ me that YOU went base jumpin’?”
“Well yeah… It was fun.”
“Yer fuckin’ nuts is what ye are.” He said but with a wide grin.
“Yeah well, apparently me jumping is right where the vision ended. And this led Alice to believe that I jumped because I couldn’t get over Edward.”
Chibs had a good laugh at this.
“Me? Now that’s understandable but the vampire kid?”
“Right?!” Ava taunted in return and was laughing as well.
“Anyhow, Alice came to check on me. I was ‘alive’, surprisingly. Only Edward had gone off the deep end. We couldn’t get ahold of him and all the sudden I was the one playing the white knight to his damsel in distress. When we finally get there he pulls that whole blackmail ordeal again, just like the day he proposed. It’s this epic speech about forgiveness and how I should give him another chance. I told him that I’d already forgiven him but I couldn’t forget and had moved on. Well that set him off and everything went to utter shit from there. He wouldn’t listen to anything I had to say. I told him that we needed to put this shit behind us and move on. But no… He takes his fucking robe off, steps into the sunlight, and right in the middle of the god damn St. Marcus Day festival. Everyone’s looking at us and I’m doing my damnest to cover him up but it was no use. He went on this rampage and was yelling at everyone. He kept going on about what a monster he was and for them to have a good look…”
Ava paused and recoiled in memory.
“I thought it was all one big nightmare. I kept telling myself to wake up. I just couldn’t believe what I was hearing and seeing. And just when I thought things couldn’t get any worse… Edward grabbed a nearby tourist. And it might’ve been my imagination but I swore she looked a lot like me. He stared me down as he fed from her. I just stood there in shock as he drained that poor woman. His eyes turned a nice shade of red and he shoved her lifeless body to the ground like it was nothing. But once it finally dawned on him what he’d done; he started freaking out. He kept apologizing to me, profusely. But it was too late. The Volturi guards had gotten ahold of us and were dragging us into the palace. It was there that I came to face to face with Aro for the first time. And it was then that I learned this was all one big set up…”
Chibs swallowed back as Ava’s hands were shaking and she looked to be on the verge of tears.
“Alice, Edward, and Aro… they were all in on it. Aro had seen in Edward’s mind where I was the only ‘being’ he couldn’t read. This had the king intrigued and apparently just enough that he wanted to meet me. So he’d made a deal with Alice and Edward. Now Alice… she was telling the truth about the FIRST vision and what she’d seen. But what she failed to mention was that she had learned the truth on the way to me. She called Edward and let him know that I was alive after all and that’s when everything came to a halt and there was a change in plans. Only things didn’t quite go the way Aro and Edward had hoped. So there wasn’t a plan b. Now here we are standing before the Volturi kings and their guards. Edward had broken one of the golden rules and you could still hear the screaming from the tourists outside the palace walls. Aro’s fucking pissed and looking at us like we’re nothing more than his bitches and at that point we truly were. And that’s just what he wanted. Aro went on to make demands and there wasn’t shit we could do about it. But Edward being well Edward… Went on to make a few of his own, ones in which included me. And during this he went on to complain about my infatuation (as he put it) with a certain biker. He was so desperate in getting YOU out of the picture that he ratted not only me, but you out. He knew they would send their guards after you and put an end to it. So I had a few choice of words myself. And it became a bit of a show down between Aro and Edward. Aro won that battle, tested his ability on me and like that of Edward he couldn’t get a read on me. It was then he made his intentions clear. That being that the only way out of this was if was to marry him and spend the rest of my vampire days serving him as his queen. But this entire time the bond reader, also a king by the name of Marcus was staring me down. He makes the announcement that it won’t work. When Aro questions him as to why you come up, yet again. All this shit is being said back and forth and there’s so much going on. But all I could focus on was how they were about to send their guards out. They’d make me watch as they tortured and killed you.”
Ava closed her eyes for a brief moment and drew back a quivery breath.
“So I agreed to something I never dreamed I would. And it was then it truly hit… I was in love with you and no matter how much I wanted to deny it… It was there and there wasn’t shit I could do about it. I agreed to Aro’s terms but only if he let you be. Edward flipped out. And everything else was pretty much a blur from there. All I remember is Aro agreeing my terms. Hell, he was ecstatic and making all sorts of plans. They were holding Edward back when Alice entered the throne room. She was trying to warn us about something. But Aro was far too gone to even listen to what she was saying. There was this loud explosion and the walls to the palace came crashing down. These men in black rushed on in and this hellacious war broke out. I took advantage of the situation and made my escape. I didn’t stop to see if Edward or Alice had made it out. I no longer cared. I just ran and never looked back. And I haven’t any regrets. What he did was beyond selfish and to this day we’re still paying. So I suppose he’s right…”
“Being dead inside.”
Chibs nodded and motioned her over. Ava crawled into his lap and he kissed her forehead.
“Now ye had better listen ta me, lass…”
He planted his hands along her face and his eyes locked with hers.
“I’m thankful ta have someone like ye in my life. But ye need ta understand that what ye agreed ta, I’m not worth it.”
Ava went to pry out of his hold and he tightened it.
“Nah… Yer gonna listen ta me on this. Don’t ye ever agree ta somethin’ like that again. I’m not fuckin’ around, Ava. I need ye ta promise me that if yer ever faced with a decision like that again that ye’ll let me handle it.”
“The fuck I will!”
Chibs gritted his teeth on this and Ava knocked his hands away. She hopped off the bed and shook her head as she was getting dressed.
“Out of everything I told you. That’s all you can focus on!”
“YE OFFERED YERSELF TA A GOD DAMN VAMPIRE KING! AND FUR WHAT? A FUCKIN’ CRIMINAL, AVA!”
“Yeah I did… And I’d do it again if that meant saving your ass. So don’t even bother with arguing with me on this, you won’t win!”
Chibs grabbed the lamp off the nightstand and threw it across the room.
He got up then grabbed his jeans off the chair. He stepped into them and put his shirt on.
“Nah… Did ye even think aboot what ye were agreein’ ta? Jaysus, Ava darlin’ I could’ve lost ye, fur good and I’d have never known!”
He was looking for his cut when Ava snatched it off the dresser. She handed it over and Chibs sent her this look.
“What is it with you women and how quick yer willin’ ta hand yerself over ta another man?!”
Ava’s jaw dropped as she gathered what he was referring to. And without another thought, she hauled off and slapped him. Chibs’s hands balled up into fist. If it had been any other woman he’d have hit them back. Not that he had a habit of hitting women. But he hadn’t any issue in smacking one in return if they gave the first blow. But this made Ava’s first and the look in her eyes… said it all. The Scot had fucked up and he knew it.
“Don’t you EVER compare me to HER again!”
The way she said this had the man staggering back. Ava stormed on out of the room. Chibs hadn’t a clue where to even begin on that one. Apologizing? Well that was just a big middle finger at the moment and he knew better. They needed to calm down then maybe he could think more clearly on how to make up for what he’d said.
“Hey!” Cherry called out as Ava exited the room.
She and Half-Sack were sitting on the couch.
“You’re here early…” Ava remarked as she poured herself a glass of orange juice.
“I thought we could hit town and get some ideas.”
“Ideas?” Ava questioned from the bar.
“Ideas for what?”
“Your wedding, silly.”
Ava shook her head and sort of laughed.
“Perhaps another day…”
Chibs had exited the room and caught the tail end of this. Cherry frowned and had this disappointed look about her.
“But I had a whole day planned.”
Ava pinched the bridge of her nose and poured the rest of her orange juice down the sink.
“Sorry. I’m not in a very celebratory mood at the moment.”
Ava exited the clubhouse and Chibs sighed amongst himself.
“Um okay… Did I miss something?”
“You sure she’s not experiencing mood swings?” Half-Sack witted and Cherry elbowed him.
Chibs didn’t comment and grabbed his keys off the counter.
“You alright?” Jax questioned as he exited the garage.
He cocked a brow at this.
She nodded and he chuckled.
“Think you can do me a favor?”
“Depends on the favor…”
“Well Michaela never showed so her truck’s still here. I thought I’d deliver it to her. But I need someone to drive it up there just in case…”
“Well did you try calling her?”
“Well hell… I never thought of that!” He smarted and tossed the keys over.
Ava sort of laughed and got into the truck.
“Are you sure you’re alright?”
“I’m fine. I’ll follow you out.”
He nodded but had this concerned look about him.
Jax let out a sigh as Chibs hopped onto his bike and hauled ass out of there.
“You two sure fight like you’re married…”
Ava didn’t remark and started the truck.
“Nice…” she uttered as Michaela had Bon Jovi playing in the truck.
Ava turned up the radio and followed Jax out of the parking lot and to the house.
“That can’t be good…” Jax whispered as the front door was cracked open and the glass to the screen door was shattered.
“Stay close… And don’t touch anything.” He muttered as he retrieved his gun and pulled what was left of the screen door back.
He used his foot to push the door open and stepped on in. They glanced upon one another as there was a trail of blood going from the living room to the kitchen. They followed the trail but recoiled as there was an older woman lying on the floor. She had been stabbed multiple times.
“Jesus…” Jax whispered.
“Watch where you step…”
Ava nodded and stepped over the trail of blood. She followed him into the hallway where they went on to examine the other rooms.
“So where is she?” Jax thought outloud and Ava tilted her head towards an open crawl space in one of the bedroom closets.
“Jax…” She whispered as she inched her way over.
Ava hunkered down and peeked inside. She used the light coming off her cellphone to get a better look. Her heart sank in realization. She could see where Michaela and her mother must’ve hidden in here but they were clearly found. There were drag marks and Ava could make out where Michaela’s hair had caught onto the wooden corners of the crawl space. Ava showed this to Jax and followed the scuff marks from Michaela’s shoes. They led back to the hallway. But they came to a stop then started again. There were holes in the wall and a few pictures had fallen – a clear sign of a struggle. Ava’s heart sank to the pit of her stomach.
“We gotta call this one in…” Jax murmured as he put his gun away.
She nodded in agreement but continued in following the scuff marks. They stopped at the doorway and Ava stepped outside and looked for any other signs; such as footprints and tire marks. Jax reared back rather impressed.
“I’m guessing you take after the old man?”
Ava peered back and shrugged.
“In some ways I suppose. You tend to pick up a few habits…”
Ava hated what she was about to do and to a woman she hardly knew but she felt as if Jax needed to know the truth. Once she revealed what Michaela had said about her ex, Jax shook his head and had this disgusted presence about him.
“Now that’s some messed up shit.”
“My thoughts exactly.”
Jax led her on out of the house and handed Ava his helmet.
“Look, I’m gonna stop by Cara Cara and see if the girls happen to know anything about Michaela. If nothing else maybe they can give me some leads on where to look. Then I’ll drop you off at Chibs’s place. It’s on the way back. Juice is there so you’ll be in good hands. Wayne’s sure to point the finger at first and I don’t want you involved.”
“He can’t pin this on us…”
“I know but we tend to take the blame for a lot of things here in Charming as of late. I don’t need you caught up in a murder and what looks to be abduction.”
Ava recoiled in thought.
“Hey… We’re gonna do our best to find her. You know that, right?”
“Yeah but dead or alive?”
Jax wasn’t quite sure how to answer that. There was about a fifty-fifty chance of either or. He’d in mind to check out most of the prostitution rings around town. If the ex was trying to get her into that sort of field there was a better chance of running into her in those areas. But if she put up a fight… there was no telling where she’d end up. But there was one thought that crossed Jax’s mind and it had him ill in thought. Human trafficking… A girl like that would make a lot of bank and he wouldn’t put it past the ex to sell her off to someone heading for the border. But he wasn’t about to mention that and cause Ava more anxiety on the matter.
“Let’s just hope for the second option.”
When they got to Cara Cara, Ava glanced upon the building in wonder. She couldn’t help but to think that it looked a lot like a strip club. It wasn’t until they stepped inside that she realized it was much worse. Jax acted as if it were nothing. He went on to peck a couple of the women on the cheek and had this smug grin about him as they talked. Ava couldn’t believe what she was seeing. Her entire face flushed over as there was a man and two women on a nearby set. One of the women was eating the other one out while the other was going down on the man.
“Are we in a porn studio?!” Ava called out when she realized they were being filmed.
Jax stopped what he was doing and peered back. He chuckled and nodded.
“Well yeah we’re… Wait… Chibs didn’t tell you?”
“Tell me what?! That he’s the porn king of Southern California?!”
Jax pulled a certain face on this.
“The business belongs to the MC, darlin’.”
Ava looked around and started laughing.
“You’re shitting me.”
“Nope. It’s good business.”
“Oh I’m sure it is…” Ava uttered through gritted teeth.
“Come now… it’s just business.”
“You’re really pissed, aren’t you?”
“It wouldn’t matter if I was or wasn’t, now would it? This is just how it is.”
Jax sighed and pulled her off to the side.
“You know he’s not dipping into this shit, right?”
Ava looked around yet again. And all she could focus on was the sheer amount of temptation. Chibs could have his pick… She thought back to what she said to Gemma and was starting to second guess herself. Why wouldn’t he tell her about this? Why did he feel the need to hide it? One of the women walked on over and smiled upon her.
“Are you here for the interview?”
“Aren’t you Melissa Martin?”
“Well that’s a little disappointing… You certainly got the looks.”
Jax sent Ava a smirk and she rolled her eyes. The pretty blonde walked away and Jax chuckled.
“Well you hear that, darlin’? You got what it takes to be a porn star!”
Jax sighed as Ava stormed on out of the building.
“Well that went well…,” he muttered knowing Chibs was going to have his ass for this.
Chibs had told him that Ava knew just about everything about the club. So he assumed that meant the porn business as well. Jax went ahead and questioned some of the girls about Michaela Jones. But none of the Cara Cara girls had heard of her. They gave him some clues on where she might be considering the circumstances. Like that of Ava, Jax hated spreading this girl’s business around but they had to go about desperate measures now. Her life depended on it. After making his rounds, he headed back out. Ava was kicked back against his Harley, with her arms folded about her chest.
“Find out anything?”
“Not really… Got a couple of places to hit though.”
Jax cleared his throat and retrieved a cigarette from his cut.
“He should’ve told you… But don’t you go thinking along ‘those’ lines just because he didn’t.”
Ava nodded but wasn’t sure what to say. She knew she was being somewhat irrational but she felt betrayed and hurt that he’d kept this from her. He let her know about the guns and the couple times of dealing with drugs but she hadn’t a clue about this. She felt foolish in the sense that she should be more upset about the drugs and guns. But she kept thinking about the sexy porn stars and couldn’t help but to be overcome with jealousy. And silly as it was she felt somewhat insecure, which was something she hated. She knew Chibs loved her and part of her knew he wouldn’t fuck around. But it was the thought of him sitting there, watching these little shows, while she was doing god knows what. Her face flushed over in thought and she looked to Jax with desperation.
“Can I have one of those?”
He nodded and handed a cigarette over. He used his zippo to light it.
“I’m sorry… I just wasn’t expecting…”
“All good. I’m sorry I put you in that position. That needed to be something between you and Chibs.”
“Why do I feel like I’m getting in way over my head?”
Jax took another drag and was thinking on how to answer that. He himself had felt that way many times.
“Because you are… We all are. That just comes with the territory.”
“His world is so much bigger than mine and if he becomes president…”
“Says the girl that’s taken on vampires, wolves, hunters, and bikers. If anything… your world is bigger than ours. Hell, he’s said that much himself. You got this. You just gotta believe in it, Ava. And Chibs… He’ll walk you through this. Hell, he’d walk through hell and back for you and don’t you ever forget that. Quit thinking so much on it and just go with the flow.”
“That’s a little easier said than done.”
Jax nodded in full agreement.
“But it can be done. You just need a little more time. You’ll see…”
They finished their cigarettes and climbed back onto the Harley.
When they got to the house Juice was waiting for them outside. Jax explained the situation and was quick to head back. Once he drove off the two shared an awkward moment of silence before heading inside.
“Wow…” Ava remarked.
Not only had Juice kept the house clean but he rearranged the furniture. Juice rubbed the back of his neck.
“Um yeah… Chibs told me you weren’t too happy with how the place was looking.”
“He did?” Ava said with a touch of surprise.
Juice nodded and went on to show her how he had the canned goods in alphabetical order etc…
“Damn, you’re making me look rusty in my cleaning skills. Chibs might take that proposal back and ask you instead.” Ava teased and Juice laughed.
“I wouldn’t say no.” He taunted in return.
“It’s the accent, isn’t it?”
“Does it every time.”
Ava managed to laugh.
“Well thank you for keeping the place tidy. I appreciate it.”
Juice didn’t comment as she took a sip of vodka from the fridge. But as the day progressed she was chain smoking and kept sneaking sips of vodka. She was doing her best to be covert but Juice had his ways of knowing. She couldn’t get her mind off the fight she and Chibs had. Then there was the whole Michaela Jones situation. Her heart had that dropping feeling whenever she thought about the possibilities of what that woman was going through. But the more she thought back to Chibs and what he said then finding out about Cara Cara, the angrier she became. She headed back for the vodka and Juice stepped in front of the fridge.
“You might wanna take it easy…”
“And maybe you should mind your own business…”
Juice reared back on this.
“Must’ve been pretty bad… Whatever you and Jax saw.”
She nodded and went to open the fridge but he put his hand up against it.
“Wanna talk about it?”
Ava sighed once she realized just how bitchy she was coming off as.
“Look… it’s been a really long day and it’s not even noon yet. I’m not the greatest company so I’ll just head into the backroom and get my shit squared away. Sorry…”
Ava grabbed a pack of cigarettes and one of Chibs’s zippos. When she entered the bedroom she looked towards the picture Chibs had of her on the nightstand. She wondered just how long that had been there. She noticed it the last time she was here and it struck her stupid, as it was one she’d given him back in Forks. She hadn’t expected to see it framed and beside his bed. Ava tilted her head however as she took notice of something behind the picture itself. When she opened the frame, her jaw nearly hit the floor. There were two more pictures – one of her and Chibs on the Harley and one of her working on one of the clunkers. The picture of them was one Angela had taken. The other must’ve been when she wasn’t paying attention. And it was clearly something he’d taken as it was somewhat provocative the way she was posed. She blushed in thought and shook her head.
“Perv…” she whispered amongst herself but with a touch of a smile.
Chibs had even managed to keep the note she’d written when he was away from the shop.
Stopped by but you weren’t here. Will check in later. You better not be wasted or in a ditch somewhere– The Swan
Ava set the pictures and note on the nightstand. She glanced upon his daughter’s picture.
“I’m sorry…” she whispered with sincerity.
She found herself wondering how his daughter would’ve reacted to their relationship. But she thought back to Charlie and how she would’ve reacted if he brought home someone damn near her age. Ava pinched the bridge of her nose and sort of laughed. Sure, it was something she and Chibs thought about and they even had this very discussion. But no matter what they said against being together; they couldn’t help the pull they felt towards one another. One of the first things Chibs ever said was that he was old enough to be her father. The thought hadn’t occurred to her. But once it did… she thought about Charlie and Kerrianne and how awkward everything was. They talked it over and decided on keeping things at a ‘friendly’ level and nothing more. That lasted a day or two and they were right back to flirting.
Ava took off her ring and looked to the engraving. The young woman sighed amongst herself and placed the ring onto the picture of her and Chibs. She was heading for the bathroom to get some lotion when she heard a gunshot. Not just any gunshot. She recognized the difference. This person was using a silencer. She reached for her gun but realized she left it back at the clubhouse.
“Shit…” she whispered and went on to search the room.
Her cellphone was on the dining room table so she couldn’t get to that either. Her only hope was that Chibs had hidden a gun somewhere in that room. She knew he had a habit of doing that, just in case. Ava dug through the dresser drawers then went to check under the mattress. Just as she had her hand between the box spring and mattress the door swung open. She jumped and snapped a look that direction. The man recoiled and shook his head.
“No. No. You’re not supposed to be here.”
Ava felt the metal up against her hand but the man leaped on over and tackled her to the ground. She went to scream for help but he had his hand planted along her mouth and his entire weight pressed down on her tiny frame.
“Come on, doll. I’m not here for you. Don’t make me do this… It’s strictly business.”
The man sighed looking lost as to what to do next.
“I haven’t any other option. You gotta come with me so we can talk this over.”
Ava squirmed about and struggled to get out from under him. Just as he started to rise, she took her knee to his crotch. Then she crawled out from under him and towards the doorway. She came to her feet and darted into the dining room. Ava let out an earthshattering scream once she caught wind of Juice. He was sitting in the dining room chair and he had a bullet right in the center of his head. The shaken woman reached for her phone but let out a grunt and everything went black.
Chibs sighed as he was on his third attempt in calling Ava. He shook his head knowing she was still pissed and he couldn’t blame her. He thought back to their argument and what he’d said. The look on her face, still it haunted him. Chibs never dreamed he’d be on the receiving end of that look. He’d seen it before with Edward. He filled up his bike and headed into the gas station. He’d spent most of the morning riding. It was the only thing that seemed to put him at ease and it got him thinking on how to handle the situation. Chibs was in line when his cellphone sounded. He sighed with disappointment as it wasn’t who he’d hoped it was. He paid for the gas and answered as he headed out.
“What’s up, Jackie boy?”
“I just wanted to let you know that I could be awhile. Ava’s at your place with Juice. She’ll explain everything. But I feel the need to give you a heads up…”
“Yeah… I thought you told Ava about Cara Cara.”
Chibs stopped in his tracks.
“What aboot Cara Cara?”
Jax let out a sigh.
“Let’s just say she got a taste of what it’s about.”
“Hey, you’re the one that told me she knew just about everything when it came to the club. I figured that meant the porn buz as well.”
“Jaysus fuckin’ tap dancin’ Christ. Have ye gone out of yer skull?”
“So you’re mad…”
“Mad is a stern talkin’ ta! When I return yer gonna feel the back of me hand.”
Chibs gritted his teeth, hung up the phone, and took off.
Ava let out a painful groan as she came to. Her vision was blurry and her head was pounding.
“Oh thank god…,” she heard someone mutter.
She gasped out as she felt something icy cold pressed up against the back of her head.
Ava went to move her hands but couldn’t. It was then she realized she was bounded to a wooden chair. Once her vision returned she comprehended that she was in some sort of basement. She went to say something but her mouth was sealed shut with duct tape. She jarred her entire body about and let out a muffled growl.
The man sighed and made his way around.
“Look, just let me say my peace. Then I’ll consider what you have to say, if you promise not to scream. You scream and it’s a deal breaker, got it?”
He grabbed a chair and set it down before her. He took a seat then ran his fingers through his curly locks.
“Why’d you have to be there?” He whined.
“I mean really… You weren’t there when I first staked out the house. So you’re incredibly hot… You got some sort of superpowers to go with that? Because it’s like I blinked and all the sudden you’re there.”
“And it’s not like I can kill you. I mean I could… it would sure make things easier. But I really, really, don’t want to. I happen to like you, for whatever reason. And Clay… Well he’d slit my fucking throat if anything happens to you. In fact he has a message for you. This isn’t the way I was hoping to pass it but you left me no choice.”
Ava shook her head and had that chair rocking back and forth.
“None of that now… Can’t you just chill, just long enough for me to explain?”
She angrily murmured something.
“How about two blinks for yes and one for no?”
She gave one blink and he sort of laughed.
“Come on now… Play nice, will you?”
She gave another blink and went back to rocking. He came to his feet and planted his hands along the arms of the chair.
“Alright have it your way. Let’s just get this over with.”
Tig withdrew his gun and Ava jumped and went into damn near hysterics getting the wrong idea. He reared back as she was crying and shaking her head.
“Shit…” He was quick to put the gun away.
“It was digging into my back… I wasn’t gonna… Man, oh man. Shhhhh come on, baby. I’m wasn’t gonna shot you.” He reached over and used his thumbs to wipe her tears away.
“I know how this looks but it’s not that. You gotta believe me. Juice… He had it coming. He was playing both sides and has been. He betrayed the entire club! I know you’re new to all this sweetheart but you need to know that I did what I did for the club. It killed me to do so. But he left me no choice. Juice wasn’t who we thought…”
Ava shook her head and jerked about violently. He let out an agonizing sigh.
“Right… You’re still pissed about Chibs. I hadn’t meant for the gun to go off. I was going to scare him. Come on, dollface. I wouldn’t kill, Chibs. Other than Clay, he’s one of the few I would take a bullet for. We go back… way back. And I owe that brother my life.”
Ava started this hysterical cry and was shaking her head, repeatedly. Tig got a bit chocked up and was shedding a few tears of his own. He cleared his throat and was quick to wipe them away.
“I fucked up. Big time. And I will spend the rest of my life paying for it. It’s no more than I deserve. But I need you to know that it was never my intention to actually fire. If you had been there you would’ve seen the shocked look on my face. Jesus… Everything’s so FUCKED! I know you don’t believe me and I doubt Chibs will. But it’s the truth. It was only meant to be a scare tactic. He would’ve killed Clay if I hadn’t done something.”
Ava blinked once and nodded.
“See?! Now I haven’t much time so I gotta wrap this up. Back to Clay. He knows you’re not going to believe a word either of us say. But still, he wants you to know that he’s got something set up if you ever feel as if you need to get away. If things just get too out of hand or too dangerous. He wants you to look up Maureen Ashby of Belfast. If that’s what you decide… everything will be kept discreet. No one will ever know. But even if you decide AGAINST Ireland, Clay offers his services. And before you even go there, that’s not quite what he means. Though I’m certain he wouldn’t turn that down either. He just wants you to know that he’s willing to make up for what all happened, through whatever means necessary. Now I’m going to remove that duct tape. Just keep it down… Whatever it is you have to say.”
Tig ripped the duct tape off and he recoiled as she spit in his face.
“That’s my response to Clay.”
Tig nodded and used his sleeve to wipe his face clean.
“Well that’ll be a fun visit…” He uttered.
“As for everything else… You can go fuck yourself. Chibs nearly died. That’s not something I can simply forgive. Not to mention you just killed another ‘brother’. And how dare you stand there and speak about betrayal. You hypocritical son of a bitch! You and Clay are the fucking definition of betrayal. There’s not a chance in hell of winning me over on this. You and Clay can be prison fuck buddies for all I care. Now get me out of this god damn chair and let me go. If you don’t you know hell is coming your way and if anything happens to me. Chibs will find someone to put an end to Clay’s misery. Prison or not you know he has the connections enough to do so. A sharpened toothbrush or a simple BEAT DOWN!”
Tig gave a simple nod and placed the duct tape back over her mouth. He used his knife to cut the duct tape around her wrist, just enough so she could escape but to give him plenty of time to haul ass out of there.
When Chibs first entered the house he froze. His heart sank to the pit of his stomach and he just stood there staring at Juice’s lifeless body. He had to force himself to snap out of it. He withdrew his gun and walked on over. He took notice of Ava’s cellphone sitting on the dining room table. Chibs kissed the top of Juice’s head then hugged him. He went on to do a walkthrough of the house but feared what he might find. When he got to the bedroom he could tell there had been a struggle. He swallowed the massive knot within the back of his throat. The Scot’s heart was racing and he was doing everything within his power to keep his cool. Losing his shit wasn’t going to help Ava by any means. But once he saw the pictures and the engagement ring sitting on top, he couldn’t help but to think Ava had called it quits. He picked up the ring and staggered back. He knew he’d hurt her… but he hadn’t realized it was to this point. The more he thought on it he didn’t blame her, not one bit. She’d every right to feel that way. He didn’t deserve her, even before those horrible choice of words. And now she knew about Cara Cara. Not that he planned on keeping it from her. But he was waiting for the right moment. He just never dreamed that Jax would beat him to the punch. The Scot hadn’t a leg to stand on now. He lost her and now he had to find her and deal with the fact that they were done. And he hadn’t anyone to blame other than himself. Chibs pocketed the ring and sighed amongst himself. His girl was missing, a brother was dead, and his entire world was crashing down. He looked to the pictures and let out a bit of a growl. Everything was twisting about in that mind of his and every bit of emotion became this vortex of rage.
It took a bit but Ava had finally managed to get herself free. She darted on up the stairs and cracked the door open. She took a peek and could see into the kitchen. When she saw that the coast was clear she stepped on out but with caution. The house he had her in was one set up for an open house. There was fake fruit about the counter and other miscellaneous displays. She shook her head and was looking for a knife or some sort of weapon but the drawers and cabinets were bare. There wasn’t anything of any real use when it came to protecting herself. So the young woman drew back a breath and inched her way towards the front door.
“Bad day?” She heard the moment she stepped out.
Ava jumped and took a couple steps back. The entire area was surrounded by men, the very ones that killed her father. The main one took a step towards her and Ava started to run back inside. Only she was stopped by a gun pressed up against her back.
“You’re a very wanted woman as of late… So what do you do you got up your sleeves this time?” The man walked on over and cupped her chin.
“I’m afraid your day is about to get a lot worse. Load her up, boys. We got a long drive ahead of us.”
Bobby and Half-Sack shared the same solemn expression after Chibs revealed what he’d walked in on. Jax and the others were out searching for Michaela Jones. From the sound of things Jax had a good hunch on her whereabouts. Chibs knew they didn’t need any distractions at the moment. So he decided on waiting to tell them about Juice and Ava. He had to think like a president now and prove he could handle this.
“Looks like it’s just us.”
They nodded and went on to pack whatever they might need, which was something none of them had a clue about. Chibs was doing his best to piece it all together and with Juice being shot, all he could come up with were the men that killed her father. They must’ve followed Jax there and were merely waiting. It played out from there. He couldn’t help the dreadful thoughts that entered his mind. Was she being tortured, beaten, raped, or worst case scenario… was she dead? Chibs popped a cigarette into his mouth and was heading for his bike when Bobby stopped him.
“We’ll find her…” Bobby said with fullest sincerity.
Chibs gave a mere nod and climbed onto his bike. Cherry was sobbing uncontrollably and hugging Half-Sack goodbye. Once the boys were on their bikes they looked to Chibs in question.
“So where to?” Bobby asked.
Chibs thought back to Clay’s threat.
“First thing’s first… I gotta set up a little meetin’ at the prison.”
“You really think he’s behind this?”
“He threatened Ava… So I have ta cover all bases and go from there.”
One of the men shoved Ava into the truck then went to shut the door. Ava flung her legs out and the door swung back, knocking the man on his ass. The young woman hopped back out and took off. She came to an immediate halt as her entire body stiffened and she couldn’t move. An electric current was sent throughout her entire body. Ava hit the ground and before she even realized what had truly taken place, she was handcuffed and dragged back towards the truck.
“Pissed yourself, didn’t ya!” The main one called out.
“Happens every time!”
They placed her into the truck and Ava just sat there as her body recovered from being tased and the fall after.
Clay reared back once he saw who his ‘visitor’ was. He took a seat and Chibs gave a simple nod.
“To what do I owe the honors…” Clay witted but with a touch of resentment.
He knew it was Chibs that set him up. Chibs looked around the area. He took notice of the two security guards and cameras within the room they were in. He drew back a breath knowing he’d have go about this in code.
“We’re all out of Juice and the Swan is missin’. Ye wouldn’t have anythin’ ta do with that now would ye?”
Clay tilted his head.
“Aye…” Chibs said with a nod.
Clay pinched the bridge of his nose.
“Are you sure the Swan is still attached or was there a reason for migration?”
It was the cockiness within Clay’s voice that had Chibs growling under his breath. Clay let out this amused chuckle.
“I warned you. Both of you… But you just wouldn’t listen. And now here we are. Not much I can do, thanks to you.”
“Yer right where ye need ta be and we both know it. And do ye even give a shite aboot the Juice?”
“We can always get more. Somethings are easily replaced but others… not so much.”
“So ye had somethin’ ta do with it, didn’t ye?”
“I haven’t a clue what you’re talking about. I’ve been here… right where I belong. Whatever’s going on… hasn’t anything to do with me. So why don’t you do us both a favor. Get off your ass and hunt our little Swan down.”
Chibs gritted his teeth on this.
“Ye mean mine.”
“But of course…” Clay uttered with a smug grin.
“Lee Toric by the way… US former marshal and current SID agent.”
“SID? Did you just make that shit up? What’s it stand for Super Irritating Dickhead?”
“Try Supernatural Investigator and Destroyer.”
Ava snorted on this.
“You have got to be kidding. Sounds like a bad comic book character. So what’s your slogan? We investigate then destroy cause we’re bad ass SID agents. Give me a break. That’s gotta be the stupidest shit I’ve ever heard.”
The agent reached over and smashed her head up against the dashboard.
“Sorry about that… God damn speed bumps.” He uttered and went back to shifting gears.
He reached into the back and grabbed a black duffle bag. He set it in her lap.
“I got you a present. Hope you like it…”
Ava cut him a look and he glanced towards her cuffs and smiled.
“That’s right. I forgot!”
Agent Toric unzipped the bag and observed her reaction.
“We can put him back together. That is AFTER you show us where to find the others, including that of the shifters.”
“Thanks but no thanks. You just did me a solid though, so thank you!”
This had the other two agents rearing back in disbelief. The others had gone on ahead so it was just the three of them and Ava now.
“I’m not showing you jack shit.”
The agent pulled over and put the truck in park. He opened the door and dragged Ava out of the truck. He forced her up against the hood.
“I’ve been doing this for a very long time and you’ve become my hardest case so far. So what is it about you? You’re impossible to get ahold of and you tend to keep the most peculiar company. And look at you… a biker’s whore.”
He leaned into her ear.
“Do you honestly think anyone will miss you?”
“I should be asking you the same question. You haven’t any idea what you’ve gotten yourself into. You should’ve kept those other guys around. Mark my words. I will kill you, first chance I get.”
He had a good laugh at this.
“You? You’re going to kill me?”
Ava nodded and the man caressed her cheek. She let out a painful grunt as he took his knee to her gut then brought her up against him.
“I’d like to see you try.”
“Undo these cuffs and you got yourself a match, asshole!”
The agent tilted his head and looked around the area. He nodded amongst himself then he spun her around and took the cuffs off. He gave her a shove towards a nearby wooded area. Once they were well hidden, he motioned her over.
“Well go on… Watcha got?”
Ava’s hands balled up into fists as she eyed him down.
“First shot’s free so make it good.”
With gritted teeth she marked on over. The young woman socked him across the face and he rubbed his jaw looking somewhat impressed.
“Not bad. Now my turn…”
He went to hit her in return and Ava dodged. He smiled yet again.
“Not bad at all.” He said but charged right for her.
The agent slammed her up against a tree knocking the wind out of her. Ava dropped to all fours and came to a crawl. He drove the tip of his boot into her ribcage and laughed as she whimpered out.
“All bark and no bite, sister.”
He went to kick her yet again but snapped his head back as they heard some sort of explosion. It came from the area in which the truck was parked.
“Shit…” The man muttered as he brought Ava to her feet.
He cuffed her to a nearby tree, withdrew his gun, and darted back. Ava heard a gunshot and it was followed by the sound of the horn blaring. Before long the horn stopped and the sound of the truck peeling out was heard. Ava’s heart was going ninety to nothing as she tried to squeeze her hands through the cuffs. She could hear someone coming towards her and panic set in. She was cutting into her wrists in attempts to free herself. Ava screamed out as another shot was heard. She fell and was backing away in a crab walk fashion.
“Easy now…” He said as he put his gun away and inched on over.
He nodded and scooped her up off the ground. He carried her back towards his bike. Ava’s jaw dropped once she spotted what was left of the two agents. That explosion was from that of a grenade. From the looks of things they had stepped out of the truck and Tig took matters into his own hands. Toric must’ve hauled ass, not long after he saw the aftermath. Ava pointed towards the duffle bag that had fallen out of the truck.
“I need that…”
Tig nodded and was quick to grab it. He handed it over then hopped on and hauled ass out of there. After a couple hours’ drive he turned onto a dirt road. Tig lost control of his bike and they skidded into a nearby pasture. They let out simultaneous grunts and crawled out from under the bike. Ava grimaced once she realized why he lost control. Tig had a hand over his arm where he was bleeding out. That first gunshot must’ve been Toric and he got Tig in the arm. Ava crawled towards him and went to look at the damage but her vision blurred and she couldn’t keep her eyes open…
Chibs lifted Juice’s body and placed it onto the roll of carpet Bobby and Half-Sack had set out. Each of them shared the same look of gloom as Chibs went on to cover him up. The Scot wiped a few tears off his face and cleared his throat.
“Open the door.”
Half-Sack nodded and Bobby helped in getting the body into the back of the van they had parked at the door. Once they finished Half-Sack shut the van doors and Chibs glanced back towards the house.
“You two go on. I’ll get this shite cleaned up.”
The man had never felt more useless. He needed to be out there searching while Bobby and Half-Sack handled this situation. But he hadn’t a clue on where to even begin. Clay wasn’t giving anything away and Chibs wasn’t so sure he was behind it. Chibs had not only his but Ava’s phone handy. And at this point he was praying for something, anything to give him that peace of mind and a lead on where she might be. Their latest argument stayed on the back of his mind. He couldn’t believe he said that shit. He hadn’t meant it and it was the furthest thing from the truth. But it was the mere idea, Ava with another man, whether it be a vampire or not. Chibs couldn’t bear the thought. Such when she mentioned losing her virginity. Sure, he knew it was irrational but he wanted to hunt the bastard down and kill him. That was before he found out she was lying. He wondered why she lied in the first place. Perhaps she was hurt by what she’d walked in on and a part of her wanted to hurt him in return. That was certainly the way of going about it if that were the case. Chibs had always hoped the one to take that v-card of hers. He didn’t care how selfish it made him sound. He didn’t want another man in that pussy of HIS. They could look all they wanted but they needed to know just who she belonged to, especially that of Edward and Clay. Not that any of that mattered now. It was clear that she’d already made her decision. So much for putting up that fight they’d talked about. Chibs finished cleaning up and grabbed a beer from the fridge. He went to drink it when Ava entered his mind and yet again the possibilities of what she could be going through. Chibs took that beer and threw it against the wall. This had him thinking back to when she helped him overcome his drinking problem. The Scot grabbed bottle after bottle and threw them until he hadn’t anything left to throw.
The following morning:
Tig let out a groan as he came to. The sun was shining, right in his face and he used his arm to shield his eyes. He rolled on over and saw that Ava was lying right beside him. He grimaced once he saw just how beat up she was. He thought back to last night. He tried getting to her sooner, but couldn’t. Not without running the risk of knowing they were being tailed. Tig had seen the entire thing play out and kept track of their whereabouts from there.
He reached over and gave the young woman a slight shake. She whimpered out and started choking. “Hey…” Tig called out and rolled Ava onto her side. He looked into her mouth and realized she was choking on dried blood. He crawled towards his bike and gathered some water from one of the side compartments. He made his way back then sat her up. Tig poured some of the water into her mouth.
“Swish it around then spit.”
“Jesus…” he uttered as a pool of blood left her mouth.
He had her do this until there was no more blood. He checked the inside of her mouth once again. He could see where she’d bit her tongue and it was swollen. The girl looked as if she’d just come out of a boxing match. He grabbed another bottle of water.
“Alright drink up, dollface.”
The moment the water came into contact with her throat it burned and she started choking yet again. Ava wrapped her arms around her ribcage and fell back. Tig narrowed his eyes and lifted her shirt, just enough to see that the entire area was covered in bruises and he hadn’t any doubt that a few of her ribs were broken. Ava’s back arched off the ground and her face flushed over.
“YOU SHOT HIM AND HE DIED. I HAD TO WATCH HIM DIE. WHY?! HOW COULD YOU DO THAT TO HIM. HE LOVED YOU!”
Tig swallowed back and wrapped his arms and legs around her. The girl was going into literal hysterics. He was doing whatever he could to calm her down.
“HE’D DIE FOR YOU, EACH OF YOU!” Ava sucked back a breath and Tig closed his eyes.
“I know… I know he would and I’d do the same. It’s like I said. I never meant to pull the trigger.”
Ava punched at his chest.
“He’s all I have. No one’s taking him away from me.”
“You’re right. No one is. I would die for each of my brothers but I would also kill for them and that’s what got me into trouble. I trusted the wrong brother.”
“And Juice…” She whimpered.
“That’s going to kill Chibs… and you know it!”
Tig started to break down as well. He hadn’t meant for things to get this bad. And yet here he was…. Blood on his hands yet again and it was all for Clay. After her breathing slowed down he helped Ava to her feet.
“Hold up…” He said as he propped her up against the bike and checked it over.
“You were shot…” Ava said in memory.
He nodded and climbed on.
“We can worry on that later but right now… We gotta get out of here.”
Ava paced the area a bit and had this look mistrusting look about her.
“Look baby, if we don’t go and now. They’re sure to find us and they’ll gun us both down. So be a gem and save both our lives.”
Ava let out a hesitant sigh but climbed aboard.
Tig parked outside a motel and it wasn’t until then that he realized Ava had passed out. He wondered how she kept from flying off. He maneuvered himself around and eased her off the bike. He shook his head thinking she looked even worse than before. She had a tight grasp on that duffle bag. Tig thought about Chibs’s reaction to all this and grimaced. If he saw her like this… he’d lose his shit. Tig sat her on the bench outside the office and went and got them a room. This had him thinking back to what Clay had done that one night. Even he couldn’t believe how Clay reacted. And now here she was beat all to hell… This girl had the worst luck.
Tig helped Ava into the room and laid her on the bed. It wasn’t long before she was out again. The man shook his head and was desperate in coming up with some sort of plan. He could call the Sons… but he wouldn’t be given a chance to explain and they’d gun his ass down. And he couldn’t leave her, not like this and not with those men still after her. So Tig called the one person that came to mind. The one he knew he could always count on.
“The one and only…”
“Jesus… Where have you been?”
“Look, think you can do me a favor and meet me at this motel? I’ll text you the directions.”
“Are you making plans to go down on me? It’s not that I don’t appreciate the offer but…”
“Gem… it’s important. Please, we really need your help and you can’t let the club in on this. It’s gotta be you and only you.”
“Mhmm… Yeah look it’s a long story and I’ll tell you everything but once you get here.”
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