Chapter 27 – I See Fire
I do not own SOA or Twilight.
A couple months later…
Jimmy stood before the bathroom mirror as he adjusted his tie.
“Much better…” He stated as Ava exited the shower, with her freshly dyed hair.
He walked on over and checked on her hand.
“How’s it feelin’?” He asked as they just had the cast removed this morning.
“Fine.” She said whilst keeping a good hold on the towel she had wrapped around her.
He nodded and ran a single finger along the scars.
“Why do ye even bother? I’ve seen all there is to see!” He said with a cocky grin.
Jimmy backed her up against the wall then planted his hands along it.
“No need to be shy…” He murmured and went on to kiss her.
He tried slipping her a little tongue but she kept those lips of hers sealed shut. Ava jumped as he punched at the wall behind her then put his forehead to hers.
“Quit bein’ a little tease and give it up already.”
Her jaw dropped at this.
“Tease?!” She hissed and he nodded.
This had her thinking back to when Clay accused her of that very thing. Ava gritted her teeth and shoved him off her.
“I’m no tease!”
He had a good laugh at this.
“Oh yeah you are… I can see it in yer eyes. Ye want it, in a bad way, but yer afraid. Yer afraid of what it’d make ye look like. But ye aren’t seein’ his arse again. So why does any of that matter now?”
Jimmy reached out then yanked the towel off her.
“Imma tired of jerkin’ it like some fuckin’ pubescent prick that can’t get past third base, yeah?!”
“Jimmy…” Ava warned as he had that crazed look in his eyes; the one he usually had when he was about ready to let her have it.
“Come now, little clover. I leave in just an hour. And there’s no tellin’ how long I’ll be gone. So just give me a little taste.”
“I wasn’t aware that Jimmy O’ begged…”
Ava let out a gasp as he backhanded her and hard enough that she hit the cabinet beside her.
Jimmy went to comment on this but his cellphone rang. He put a finger to his lips and answered whilst staring her down.
“Aye… I’m on my way.” He said looking beyond peeved.
He walked on over, grabbed her by the hair, then brought her up against him.
“I’ve given ye more than enough time. So there’s goin’ to be some changes when I get back. Ye’d best prepare…”
He darted on out of the bathroom then grabbed his bags. This made his third business trip since she arrived. The first one he was gone for just a couple days. The second was about four. From her understanding, this would be one of his longer ones. This had her wondering what he was up to and if he was heading back to the states.
“Sorry love… Looks like I’m leavin’ earlier than expected.” He said before pecking Kerrianne on the cheek.
“Ye know the rules. I’ll be home just as soon as I can.”
He opened the door and just before he stepped out…
“Are ye forgettin’ somethin’, darling?”
“I love you, da.”
“Love you too, Tessie.”
Ava headed into the kitchen and saw that Kerrianne was already waiting at the dining room table. Kerrianne narrowed her eyes as she took notice of the mark along Ava’s face. The two kept silent however as Ava went about her usual day. She made breakfast then got started on the laundry and house cleaning. By the time she finished it was time for lunch. Like clockwork, Kerrianne was already at the table. Ava had a pot of stew in hand and was doing her best to get it to the table. But her hand spasmed as she’d hit a weak spot and the pot slipped out from her hold. Ava lost her footing as the contents splashed out and she let out a horrific scream as the pot landed on top of her. Kerrianne gasped out and rushed over. She grabbed the sprayer from the kitchen sink then hosed Ava down immediately. Jimmy’s men had made their way over as well and helped Ava back to her feet and were checking her over. Ava ran her hand along her belly in a bit of a panic as the pot had landed right on top of it.
“I’ll get some towels.” Kerrianne said with a trembling voice.
“Do you need the doc?” One of the men asked.
“I’d rather be safe than sorry.”
He nodded and took out his cellphone. The other got Ava seated and cleaned up the mess. Ava could hear the other one talking to Jimmy. Sure enough, he walked on over and handed Ava the phone.
“Ye alright, love?”
Jimmy sighed on the other end.
“Look, just stick to makin’ lighter meals. Ye didn’t need to make a whole pot of stew. It’s just ye and Tessie.”
She rolled her eyes but didn’t comment.
“What do you want me to make then?”
“Aye now… No need for the tone.” “
Jimmy…” She said in utter frustration.
She was exhausted with everything he had her doing as of late. It was insane, the things he expected when it came to this house, him, and Kerrianne in general.
“When I said to take care of the house and Tessie, I meant yerself as well. The doctor’s on his way. Ye just relax and take the rest of the day off. Ye can get back to it tomorrow.”
“What about lunch and supper?”
“Just make some sandwiches for now. I’ll have someone bring ye somethin’ for supper. Just take it easy and I’ll be home before ye know it, love.”
She’d been on her feet so much her ankles were starting to swell. She’d go to bed and by the time she finally managed to fall asleep that alarm would go off and she’d be right back at it. He even went as far as to having her do yard work now. Ava swore he got off to watching her bust her ass, as there were times he’d just sit and watch. Kerrianne had a few chores but not many. It was things like making certain her room and bathroom was clean and she had a dog to feed, water, and groom. Ava was honestly surprised that Jimmy even let Kerrianne have a dog. It was a cute black and white Irish collie that Kerrianne named Benny. He had to stay in the backyard however as he wasn’t allowed in the house. There were a few things about Kerrianne that Ava took notice of. When she wasn’t in her room, she was outside, usually sitting next to Benny reading and listening to her music. Ava found herself wondering what kind of music Kerrianne listened to. From the looks of things, Kerrianne had the same taste as Ava when it came to reading. There were a few books she’d never heard of and naturally they were written by Irish authors. Kerrianne’s room looked like that of a typical teenage girl’s. She’d pictures of bands and a few boys that Ava didn’t recognize but figured they were Irish celebrities of some sort. She’d pictures of Jimmy and Fiona as well, quite a few with the three of them together. But there wasn’t a single picture where Kerrianne was smiling. Jimmy and Fiona however had genuine beams about them.
“Ava…” She lifted her head and Kerrianne handed Ava a towel.
“Is yer baby gonna be okay?”
Ava couldn’t help but to smile. She loved the sound of her voice. Something about it reminded her of Chibs.
“I’m sure he’s fine.”
“He…?” Kerrianne whispered with a touch of a grin.
“At least I’m pretty sure…” Ava said with a dismissive shrug recognizing her little slip up.
But she couldn’t help it. This was her stepdaughter and there was so much she wanted to tell her. She hated this. It wasn’t fair to Kerrianne, not one bit. Hadn’t she been through enough? And though Ava had yet to see Jimmy lay a harmful hand on Kerrianne. He certainly had his ‘controlling’ ways. He was quick to correct Kerrianne if she forgot to call him da, kiss him goodnight, or say I love you even. And Ava could see it in her eyes; Kerrianne wasn’t comfortable saying or doing those things. But Jimmy went out his way to program it into her. Just as he was to program Ava into becoming the ‘perfect’ wife and mother, but he wanted a slave not a wife. Then again, she’d every reason to believe Fiona never received this sort of treatment. Whereas Fiona and Jimmy were having an affair and were very much in love, before he took her and Kerrianne from Chibs, Ava forced into all of this and he hadn’t any issues in ‘knocking’ some sense into her.
Kerrianne helped Ava into the bedroom then grabbed some burn ointment. She curiously observed as Ava went on to apply it to her belly and various areas in which the stew hit.
“What?!” Kerrianne called in alarm as Ava gathered this shocked look about her.
She was applying the ointment to her belly when she felt this odd fluttery sensation. Ava looked to Kerrianne and couldn’t help but to get a little emotional.
“Would you like to feel it?”
Kerrianne had this unsure look about her.
“Come on…” Ava encouraged with a warm smile.
Kerrianne placed her hand along Ava’s abdomen but frowned after a solid minute passed.
“I don’t feel anythin’.”
“Just give it a…”
“OH!” Kerrianne expressed and quickly jerked her hand away.
Ava couldn’t help but to laugh at her reaction. Kerrianne’s eyes were all wide.
“I felt yer baby…” Kerrianne said as if she were in shock.
Her hand shook a bit as she placed it back.
“Guess that means it’s okay?”
“I guess so.”
“I think yer right. It’s a boy. Kicks like one.”
Ava cleared her throat as she wiped a stray tear off her cheek.
“I’m gonna go to my room now.”
Ava reached out however and stopped Kerrianne by taking her hand. But as she did this she looked to the door and to the cameras Jimmy had about the house. The young woman gave it a slight squeeze in defeat and this had Kerrianne cutting her a puzzled look.
“Just wanted to thank you for your help.”
Kerrianne nodded and headed on out. The moment she was out the door, Ava covered her face and had herself a good cry. She had to come up with something and fast, but she had to find a way of letting Kerrianne in on the truth, first. She figured the best way of going about that would be waiting for nightfall. The cameras wouldn’t pick up on her whereabouts then and she could sneak into Kerrianne’s room. She only hoped not to scare the poor girl to death in doing so. But she hadn’t a clue how to go about it otherwise. It wasn’t just the cameras she had to concern herself with but the guards watching their every move. Ava shot up as there was a knock at the door. She was quick to dry her face and make herself more ‘presentable’.
“Yes?” She called.
“The doctor is here, Mrs. O’ Phelan.”
Ava curled her lip at that. She exited the room then looked to the guard.
“Not accordin’ to Jimmy.” He made clear and Ava sort of laughed.
“Of course it isn’t…”
The doctor offered his hand in greeting and before long he had her on the couch and was examining her burns.
“Looks like ye got to the burns, just in the nick of time. The infant seems to be just fine as well. Steady heartbeat… lots of movement. Ye just take one of those pills I gave ye for pain and ye’ll be right as rain.”
Ava nodded and the doctor lowered her blouse back down. He adjusted his glasses afterward. “What are yer and Jimmy’s plans for when ye go inta labor?”
“We haven’t really discussed that yet.”
She cringed in thought. Hopefully, she was LONG gone by that point and back in the states with her real husband. The doctor nodded.
“I’ll bring it up next time I see him. For now, I want ye to get some rest. Ye took quite a fall and yer a little bruised up because of it.” But as he said this he ran a finger along her cheek.
He thought that to be from the fall and hadn’t a clue it was Jimmy’s doing. She wasn’t about to dive into all that.
“Alright, if ye need anythin’ else I’m just a phone call away.”
He said before going about his way. Ava thought of the irony to that. Jimmy made certain they hadn’t a phone in sight whether it be land or cell. That and there was no internet or TV even. The only cellphones about were the ones Jimmy and his men kept on them. Ava gave a simple nod on this as Jimmy’s men were right there watching their every move.
“This make up for the wasted lunch?” Ava teased as Kerrianne was stuffing her face.
She couldn’t believe the way this girl was eating, like she’d never eat before. Jimmy didn’t come through on having one of the guys bring them something. So Ava went with whatever she could find.
“This is really good…”
“It’s just noodles, ground beef, and marinara sauce…”
“I like your cooking… It’s different.”
Ava smiled as once again Kerrianne reminded her of Chibs. He too loved her cooking.
“Different?” Ava questioned and Kerrianne nodded.
“It’s simple and to the point… and not fish or sausage.” She whispered and Ava covered her mouth in order to stifle a giggle.
Jimmy had a habit of either fixing or expecting fancy meals. Ava wasn’t a fancy cook by any means and that caused her and Jimmy a few arguments. It’s like he expected her to be a professional chef or something along those lines.
“May I have another garlic roll?”
Ava handed her the plate of rolls and Kerrianne grabbed one and chomped down on it. Ava couldn’t help but to watch in mere amusement.
“There will be leftovers if you wish to offer Benny some.”
Kerrianne stopped and looked to Ava in disbelief.
“You mean give the dog human food?” She whispered like it were a sin.
“Well yeah… He deserves a little treat from time to time.”
“I don’t think that’s a good idea…” She said and was back to lowering her head again.
Ava narrowed her eyes wondering what that was about. She was all smiles and more talkative than usual. But just the mention of that alone changed her entire presence. Ava looked about the room seeing that Jimmy’s men were nowhere in sight.
“Kerrianne…” Ava whispered as softly as humanly possible but enough to get her attention.
Kerrianne snapped Ava a frightful look. Ava kept her back to the camera and brought her hand over Kerrianne’s.
“Shhhh… don’t. Please. I’m taking a huge risk as it is. My only reason for being here… is you Keri.” She said knowing that’s what Chibs referred to his daughter as.
“Don’t call me that…” She said then shot to her feet.
“We need to talk but later…”
Kerrianne looked to Ava in disbelief and Ava swallowed back as Jimmy’s men entered the kitchen. They nodded upon Kerrianne.
The girl didn’t answer and Ava was all nerves. She cleared her throat on this.
“Yep. She was just letting me know she didn’t care for my cooking. No biggie. I can make something different next time.”
One of them looked to Kerrianne’s plate and frowned.
“Can’t blame her on that one.”
Ava sort of laughed.
“I’m sorry, Tessie. I will do better next time.”
Kerrianne gave a simple nod and practically ran from the room. Ava prayed to God she didn’t have a way of contacting Jimmy and ratting her out. The guys exited the room in laughter and Ava drew back the deepest of breaths. She went on to clear off the table and did the dishes. Kerrianne stayed in her room throughout the rest of the evening. Ava headed into the backyard and fed Benny some leftovers. She petted him and smiled as he had that tail of his going ninety to nothing and licked her cheek once he finished. She laughed then petted the top of his head.
“Maybe we should get a dog…”Ava whispered in thought as she had her hand along her belly.
“Or we could just take you along… How do you feel about California? We could get you a SAMCRO doggy vest and all that jazz!”
Benny licked her hand and Ava watched as the sun started to set. By the time she finished up her chores of the day, got showered, and went to bed it would be dark. She’d plans of waiting for at least an hour or two, before even making that attempt. An attempt that could very well get her and Lil Jackie killed… she cringed in thought.
Ava laid in bed and looking to the time off and on. Her stomach churned in thought of what she was about to do but knew it had to be done. Ava snuck out of the bed and quietly exited the room. She took her time getting to Kerrianne’s not wanting her footsteps to give her away. Once she had her hand on that doorknob however she nodded amongst herself. Here goes nothing… and everything. She thought as she turned that handle and made her way inside. Once she was inside, she shut the door behind her but flinched as it made that creaking sound. She waited to see if anyone heard it but there was no sign of anyone coming up the stairs. The room was pitch-black as was the rest of the house. So Ava felt her way around but froze like a deer caught in headlights as the lamp came on.
“What are ye doin’ in my room?” Kerrianne questioned with a mistrusting glance.
“We never finished that conversation…”
Ava walked on over and sat at the edge of her bed. Every room had cameras except for that of Kerrianne’s personal bathroom and bedroom, or at least to the best of Ava’s knowledge.
“Whatever you do I need you to promise that you’ll keep your voice down and don’t go crying for help until you’ve heard everything I’ve had to say.”
Ava reared back however as Kerrianne reached under her pillow and brought out the pictures Ava had hidden into the seam of her jacket. The picture of her and Chibs and that of Lil Jackie’s sonogram.
“How do ye know this man?” Kerrianne questioned while pointing to Chibs.
“Gonna need that promise first…”
“Promise…” She said but as if hesitant.
Ava drew back a breath on this.
“He’s my husband and this…” Ava tapped her hand along the sonogram picture.
“Is our son… Jackie Gunner. Of course Filip says it’s Gunner Jackie but I’m going to convince him otherwise.” Ava said with a playful wink.
Kerrianne had this baffled look about her.
“Keri, before I go any further… I need you to know that my sole reason for being here is you. I wouldn’t have taken this risk otherwise. I would’ve found another way to deal with what’s going on back home.”
“Why would ye be here for me?”
“Because yer father thinks yer dead, sweetie. He’s thought that for the past four years now. That’s what Jimmy and everyone else had him believing.”
Kerrianne shook her head in bewilderment.
“Nah… Jimmy said that he didn’t want anythin’ to do with me once me ma died.”
Ava reared back in disbelief.
“Keri, that’s a downright lie. Ye should’ve seen the way yer father reacted to you and your mother’s death. He was a mess and it damn near killed him.”
Kerrianne had this genuinely lost look about her.
“Are you saying that Jimmy had you believing that Filip knew you were faking your death?”
The teenage girl nodded and looked as though she’d start to cry.
“My father told Jimmy that it were best if I stayed here with him in Ireland. That he had too much goin’ on back home to be dealin’ with me right now.”
“Oh Keri… I know you have been estranged from your father for some time. But you gotta believe me when I say that sounds nothing like Filip Telford. He loves you so much. He’d have been here in a heartbeat if he had known.”
“Me da gave up on me a long time ago, before I ‘died’.” Kerianne said in full on bitterness.
“Now, why would you say that?”
“Because it’s true! Me ma told me so! That’s why we left him and went with Jimmy!”
Ava’s jaw dropped on this.
“Are you saying that your mother played a part in all this as well?”
“Me da was mad about me ma and Jimmy… so he didn’t want anythin’ to do with me. And he’s made that clear!” Kerrianne said with a gesture towards the pictures.
“He moved on and has himself a new family now.”
“I’m not Keri! Stop callin’ me that!”
“Shhhh…” Ava whispered with tears in her eyes.
“You’re wrong and so were they. I know your father more than anyone. And he would die a million deaths before hurting you or willingly turning his back to you. He’s spent all this time thinking you were dead. Hell, he’s still in mourning. Did you know he has your name tattooed right along the area of his heart?”
“Then why are ye here and not him?”
“Because he’s in prison, thanks to Jimmy.”
“Jimmy set him up and he could be facing some serious time now. In fact, your father hasn’t a clue I’m even here. I mean… I believe he has an idea. But he isn’t certain and he hasn’t any idea you’re still alive.”
“How did ye find out I was?”
“Jimmy made the mistake of keeping an updated picture of you on the background of his cellphone. I’d seen a picture of you on your father’s nightstand and put two and two together. I knew it was you…”
“So ye pretended to be in love with Jimmy and came to Ireland?”
“No. Jimmy sought after me the way he did your mother and I took matters into my own hands from there.”
Kerrianne still had that puzzled look about her.
“You need to know that when I say I took matters into my own hand and am here only for you… Well there’s more behind it. Jimmy’s been playing some very dirty games… Ones such as faking his name and pretending to be someone else in attempts to offer me a job and went as far as to pretend to be my husband and the father of my child when I had a fainting incident and woke up in the ER. He went from there to killing a teenage boy in order to get his message across, to tormenting your father and me off and on, and the latest… killing a brother of SAMCRO – the very MC in which your father is now president of. My hand… that was Jimmy’s doing. And these bruises… aren’t because I’m clumsy like Jimmy has you and everyone believing. These are his doing. And it was him that forced my hand when it came to Ireland. You see, he had every intention of making me leave my husband and family behind. He does these things in order to hurt your father.”
“But ye say yer here because of me.”
Ava nodded with a touch of a smile.
“I told your father I would make everything right and that’s just what I plan on doing. I had two choices, Kerrianne. One – stay in the states and prepare for war, because I wasn’t about to give into Jimmy’s wishes, no matter what he did. Two – Give into Jimmy’s wishes on the off chance that you could be alive. Now, I know you don’t know me and you have no real reason to trust me. But I need you to know that you are family and like that of your father and SAMCRO itself. I don’t turn my back to family. I’m bringing you home, one way or another. I’m your stepmom and this…” Ava placed her hand along her belly.
“Is your half-brother and I’m going to do whatever I can to get us out of this situation and back into Filip Telford’s arms.”
Kerrianne handed the pictures over and looked to be in thought.
“I’m here… so talk to me. Whatever you gotta say.”
“How old are you?” Kerrianne questioned.
Ava rather winced on this.
“I don’t suppose you’ll let me answer that with old enough?”
Kerrianne managed to laugh and Ava smiled.
Kerrianne’s eyes widened on this.
“Ew. Yer old enough to be my sister.”
“Ew?! I have you know that your father and I are very much in love and have been for a little over three years now.”
“So ye’ve been married for three years?”
“Not exactly. We meet three years ago but that’s long story in itself. I’ll tell you everything once we get back to the states. For now… just know that what me and your father have is real and we’re not giving up on you. Not a chance in hell. You’re coming home, sweetheart.”
“But Ireland is all I know…”
Ava nodded in understanding.
“I know it is. Like you, I had one hell of a decision to make myself. But I chose to step out of that comfort zone and take a chance. Keri… is it alright if I call you that now?”
“Not in front of Jimmy…”
Ava smiled and nodded.
“Got it. As I was saying… If I hadn’t taken a chance, I would’ve never met your father and I wouldn’t be here now. I honestly think you’ll feel more at home in Charming, more than you ever have here.
You just gotta take that chance and see for yourself. And if not… then you only have a few more years. You can always come back on your own terms, if that’s what you decide. But for now… I don’t mean to sound like a stick in the mud, but you’re what 13?”
“Keri, you need your family.”
Ava reached over and wiped a tear of Kerrianne’s face.
“Can I hug you now?”
Kerrianne nodded and Ava wrapped her arms around her.
“You haven’t any idea. When I first saw you… this is was what I wanted to do. But I think that would’ve freaked you out a little…”
“Just a little…” Kerrianne admitted behind a tearful laugh.
“Sorry…” Ava said after wiping a few tears of her own.
“I just can’t believe you’re alive. After all this time… I wish your father was here. This would mean the world to him.”
The two spent most of the night talking. It was during this talk that Ava learned that Jimmy used to have cameras in Kerrianne’s bedroom as well as her bathroom. But they got in a big fight and it went as far as to Kerrianne calling her stepfather a perv, because of the cameras being in areas where she undressed etc… Ava learned a lot about Kerrianne and Jimmy’s relationship over the years. Things were pretty bad, even back when her mother was alive but once Fiona died… Things got worse. Jimmy became more controlling and had ridiculous demands of Kerrianne – each in which he used the whole faking her death bit to keep her safe. He had Kerrianne calling him da just as she used to call Chibs when she was little. His way of making up for it was to shower Kerrianne with gifts. He was always bringing her something whether it be jewelry, new clothes, cds, books, he managed to get her flowers from time to time. But she wasn’t allowed to leave the house, period. Whether that be going to school like normal kids her age, or going into town. No. Kerrianne spent the past four years in this house, with no socialization other than Jimmy, Benny (Jimmy’s way of fixing this issue), and Jimmy’s usual guards. That had Ava feeling downright murderous.
Kerrianne’s eyes started to bat and Ava lay there until she fell asleep. She came to her feet after and brushed Kerrianne’s curly locks back.
“Goodnight, Keri.” She whispered then kissed her forehead.
Ava tucked her in then went on to bed herself.
Ava woke to find one of Jimmy’s men at the edge of her bed. He’d his cellphone in hand and was handing it over.
“What are you doing in here?” Ava scolded and the man didn’t answer.
Ava rolled her eyes and answered the phone.
“Ye wanna tell me why yer still in bed and at eleven in the morn?”
Ava narrowed her eyes and looked to the time. She let out a yawn and wiped the sleep from her eyes.
“I wasn’t feeling very good.”
“Ye know Tessie needs her breakfast at seven am! And ye have a list of things to do after! How are ye goin’ to get all that done when ye gotta get up and get lunch started?”
“Jesus Christ…”Ava hissed as she came to her feet.
“Ye wouldn’t be sassin’ me, now would ye?”
“Cut me a fucking break! I’ve done nothing but bust my ass!”
“Hand the phone back to Edmond.”
Ava rolled her eyes and handed the phone back. The man just stood there and nodded. It wasn’t long before he hung up and went on to shut the door. Ava tilted her head as he took his belt off. Before she even had the chance to ask what he was doing. The terrible thwacks came, one after another. Ava huddled into a fetal position and covered her stomach and face the best she could. When finished, he forced Ava to her feet.
“Jimmy says to be back on schedule tomorrow, no excuses.”
He said then went on to exit the room. Ava gritted her teeth and tossed a lamp across the room. She got dressed and headed into Kerrianne’s room; she too was still in bed. Ava leaned over and shook her. She put a finger to her lips after.
“Get dressed, but whatever you hear… You’re to stay put until I come and gather you, personally.”
Kerrianne looked to Ava in wonder but nodded.
“I mean it, Keri. You’re not to leave this room.”
Ava hated to bring in the disciplinary mom voice but wanted to get her point across.
The teenage girl nodded once again and Ava gave her hand a slight squeeze.
From there, Ava headed into the kitchen. She filled up the sink with scolding hot water, got a big pan of grease going, and a pot of boiling water as well. She grabbed a few of the kitchen knives and hid them in various areas around the kitchen.
Two men… She repeated in that head of hers. Two. You’ve fought off more than that. You can do this. You don’t need a gun. Use your head. Ava nodded amongst herself. She did a quick walkthrough of the house, just to make certain she knew where they were and so she wouldn’t have any unexpected surprises, such as to a third being somewhere. But he usually kept it down to two, or so she assumed.
Ava drew back a breath knowing her every move was being watched… if not watched, recorded. So that meant she had to work fast. Ava bent over the counter and let out this earthshattering scream. Sure enough one came running on in and she prayed to God the other didn’t show, just yet.
He narrowed his eyes and rushed on over.
“What’s wrong?” He questioned in panic.
“MY BABY!” She cried.
“Oh God, am I bleeding?!”
The man hunkered down and went to look only to holler out in torment. Ava had the pan of grease and was pouring it right over his head. She grimaced once he fell and rolled onto his back. The grease had melted his eyes and nose.
“WHAT THE FUCK?!” The other snapped when he entered the room.
He went for his gun, only to have Ava take the pot of boiling water and hurl it at his face.
He dodged the attempt but slipped in the process as there was water and grease everywhere. Ava was quick to grab one of their guns. She fired a couple headshots, which was no easy task considering she had to use her left hand in order to do so. She dug through their pockets and took whatever weapons, keys, cellphones, and money they had on them. She stuffed them into a shopping bag and into the hoodie she was wearing. Then she carefully exited the kitchen, so not to fall herself. She stepped out of her greasy shoes, dashed on up the stairs, and changed into a pair of sneakers. From there, she headed straight to Kerrianne’s room.
“But what about Benny?”
“We don’t have time…”
Kerrianne gathered this wounded look about her but nodded. Ava winced and let out a sigh.
“Alright… we’ll grab the dog but we gotta hurry, sweetie.”
Kerrianne grabbed his leash off her dresser and they headed into the backyard. The girl was quick to get Benny ready and they exited through one of the gates of the backyard.
“Where do they keep the cars?”
Kerrianne pointed to another building about a good thirty feet away. Ava shook her head on this.
“Then we had better run.”
Ava took notice of the frightened look about Kerrianne, but she had no choice but to ignore it for now. They ran towards the building and Ava shot at the locks. She drew back breath seeing two cars – a sports looking one and a limo, much like the one he’d used back in Charming. She hadn’t any doubt the sports car was Jimmy’s. Meaning HE had the keys and not his men. So she headed for the limo and said another prayer in hopes of finding the right key. Kerrianne screamed out her name however and Ava snapped a look that direction as a gunshot sounded.
“GET DOWN!” Ava shouted and Kerrianne dropped down and was shielding her dog in the process.
Of course he’d have a third… asshole. Ava thought as she glanced into one of side mirrors and was in attempts of tracking him down.
Ava signaled for Kerrianne to come closer. She nodded and crawled on over dragging the dog along with her. Once Ava had a clear shot, she hopped up and fired. Kerrianne screamed as Ava missed due to having to use her left hand and he fired in return. The bullet grazed Ava’s ear and she reacted by shooting, yet again. The man let out a grunt as he was shot in the chest. She fired a couple more shots but her ear started ringing and she could barely make out anything around her, even Kerrianne as she was calling to her in a panic. Ava stumbled about the area and handed Kerrianne one of the guns.
“Ever used one of these?”
The girl shook her head no.
“You’re a Telford so shoot first, ask questions later. Got it?”
Kerrianne kept guard as Ava went on to test the keys. It took a couple tries but once she got it she shoved Kerrianne and Benny inside then crawled in after.
“KEEP YOUR HEAD DOWN AND THAT GUN IN HAND, JUST IN CASE!”
The teenage girl nodded but had tears streaming down her face. Ava hated doing this to her but knew they had to get out of there, ASAP. She got the key into the ignition then went on to strap her and Kerrianne’s seatbelts on.
“Remember stay down… and keep the gun aimed at the window.” Ava said a softer tone while patting Kerrianne on the leg.
“Alright…” Ava whispered amongst herself.
Still she couldn’t hear a damn thing other than the ringing in her ear. Ava got the limo into reverse and did this until they hit that dirt road then she spun the car around and put it in drive. She hit the accelerator and hauled ass like there was no tomorrow.
“Alright Keri, I think it’s safe to come up now.” Ava said after a good twenty minutes had passed and they hadn’t any traffic around them.
The girl came up and went to hand Ava the gun.
“You need to keep that on you. Just be smart about it and don’t shot yourself or the dog.”
“I don’t want it…”
Ava looked over to see that Kerrianne’s hands shaking unmercifully. Tears continued to fall and Ava drew back a breath on this.
“You might not want it… but you need it. It could save your life.”
“Maybe we should go back and tell him we’re sorry.”
This had Ava slamming on the brakes. She snapped Kerrianne a look and shook her head.
“You’re kidding me, right?”
“You don’t understand! He’s going to be really mad!”
“Good! Let him have his little tantrum. This is about US and our lives! He’s not taking that from us! It’s time we fought back! We’re not playing the victims anymore, Keri!”
Ava pulled onto the shoulder and put the limo in park. She cupped Kerrianne’s chin.
“I know this is scary… But sometimes we have to face our worst fears in order to be free and this is one of those times. But we can do this, as long as we work together. Look, at me Keri.”
Keri lifted her eyes and Ava wiped her tears with her thumbs.
“We got this. Alright? We’re going to find out where we are exactly and head on to Belfast. From there we can seek protection through SAMBEL.”
“Me da’s old club?”
“That’s right.” Ava said whilst opening the glove compartment.
“What are ye lookin’ for?”
“A map…” Ava murmured.
Ava hopped on out and went on to dig in the trunk. She narrowed her eyes as there was nothing there, or so it seemed. She thought about the fact that this was the IRA. No way had they traveled without being loaded. She ran her fingers along the bottom of the trunk and sure enough there was a secret compartment beneath. Ava smiled once she lifted it and saw all kinds of beauties – as Chibs would’ve put it. She ran her fingers along a grenade launcher and a few automatic weapons.
“Nice…” she said and went on to grab her a couple things just in case. She hid them within the limo.
Kerrianne cut her an odd glance during.
“Just in case…” Ava said with a shrug.
“Did you find a map?”
“Nope. We’ll have to stop at a convenience store or something.”
“That sign showed an Applegreen not far away.”
“It’s a convenience store.”
“Well we’ll just do that then.” But as she said this, she thought about the surveillance those places had etc.
Ava knew they hadn’t much choice. They needed gas for one thing and she had no idea where she was or how to get to Belfast. Ava handed the bag with the weapons and money over to Kerrianne. “Do me a favor and count that.”
The girl nodded and went on to count the money as Ava put the limo in drive and took the road leading to the store. When Kerrianne finished she told Ava the amount. Ava sort of laughed.
“Right… pounds… shit.” Ava muttered knowing just the difference in currency was going to kick her ass.
“So that’s like good, right?”
Kerrianne raised her brows on this.
“American, remember? So if you would be so kind as to tell me what we can get with that exactly…”
“That’s about five hundred American dollars.” Kerrianne said with a shrug.
Ava reared back and looked over.
“Did I just get schooled by a 13 year old Irish girl?!” Ava teased and Kerrianne laughed.
“Damn. Alright, so I think we’re good.”
Kerrianne nodded in agreement.
“What about you, Benny? What do you think?”
Kerrianne smiled as Benny licked Ava’s cheek.
Ava pulled up to one of the gas pumps. She looked to Kerrianne in thought.
“Hand me one of those cellphones.”
Kerrianne handed one over and Ava skimmed through the contacts and it was just as she figured, all IRA related. She went on to dial Half-Sack but the dial tone itself seemed ‘off’ and this had Ava grimacinging in comprehension. She took both phones with her and once she filled up and got whatever they needed, she threw the phones away.
“Why’d you do that?!” Kerrianne snapped when Ava entered the limo.
She didn’t answer as she was hightailing it out of there.
“We could’ve used those!”
“Trust me we couldn’t.”
“They were bugged and I imagine we we’re being tracked now.”
Ava handed Kerrianne the map.
“Hope you’re as good as navigator as you are with money.”
“But I don’t know where we are.”
“We’re headed towards Gort.”
The girl nodded but frowned once she saw how far away Belfast was.
“That bad, huh?”
“But we’re headed in the right direction?”
“Yeah. Just keep goin’ we have to pass through Gort and a lot of others.”
“Fun…” Ava said but kept looking into the rearview mirror, expecting a tail any second now.
She handed Kerrianne a bag from the store and the girl looked it over. It was filled with water, dog treats, sodas, candy and whatever else Ava thought Kerrianne might like.
Ava nodded but kept her eyes glued for trouble. She popped a couple sticks of gum into her mouth and sipped at a cherry soda.
“Can you hold the wheel for a moment?” Kerrianne grabbed the wheel as Ava took the pills the doctor had given her from her jacket. She popped a couple hoping to numb the pain a bit.
Her entire body was in agony and her hand and ear alone was damn near unbearable. She was doing whatever she could to take her mind off it. But her ear was still ringing and there was this constant pulsating feeling going through it.
“Yer bleedin’.” Kerrianne remarked once Ava took over the wheel again.
“Yeah the bullet skimmed my ear.”
“But ye have blood drippin’ out.”
Ava narrowed her eyes on this and adjusted the rearview mirror. She shook her head seeing that Kerrianne was right. She had blood coming out of her ear.
“I’m sure it’s fine…” Ava said wondering if she ruptured her eardrum.
After fifteen minutes of driving Ava let out a miserable laugh.
“Four hours…” Kerrianne uttered looking just as miserable as they passed the sign.
“We’ll make it…” Ava said as they were about a mile away from Gort now.
Ava had the radio going and Kerrianne was feeding Benny some of his treats in the back and giving him some water. They’d manage to make it through Gort and were driving through Loughrea now heading towards Ballinasloe. Ava lowered the shades she’d bought from the convenience store and eyed the cop that had been following them for last mile or so. He was right on her tail now.
“Do me a favor and get that seatbelt on.”
Kerrianne did as Ava requested. Ava laughed amongst herself as the cop cut on his lights and went on to pull her over.
“Jesus…” She whispered.
Kerrianne looked to Ava in alarm.
“Just let me handle it.” She said while rolling the privacy window up.
Ava tucked one of the knives into the seam of her jacket then hid the bag. The cop knocked on her window, she cut off the radio then rolled the window down.
“Can I help you?”
The cop said nothing as he nosily poked his head inside and was looking around. Ava reared back as the cop opened her door and gestured for her to step out.
“Breaking protocol, officer?”
He made the gesture yet again and Ava shook her head.
Ava went to shut the door and the officer undid her seatbelt and jerked her out of the seat. She let out a grunt as he slammed her up against the limo. From there, he got on his radio and Ava knew as he spoke in his Irish tongue that he was speaking to directly to Jimmy.
“Son of a bitch…” She muttered and went for the knife, only to be shoved against the limo again.
“Aye…” Was the last thing he said before Ava spun around and rammed that knife through his jugular.
Ava twisted the blade after.
“If there’s one thing I can’t stand… that’s a corrupt ass motherfucking cop!” Ava shouted then picked up the radio.
“Sorry about your little friend, Jimmy. But I’m sure you got more.”
Ava got into the limo and slammed the door shut. She rolled down the privacy window and was checking on Kerrianne.
Kerrianne nodded but looked to be shaken up.
“Ye took me little girl…”
“Correction. I took mine and Filip’s little girl.”
Kerrianne lifted her eyes on this and Ava sent her a wink.
“I’ll have yer heart…”
“Awe, such the romantic… not if I have yours first. You wanted a war… well you got one, love. Good luck! Trust me; you’re going to need it by the time I’m done with you.”
Ava tossed the radio out of the window and ran it over on the way.
“What are we doin’?” Kerrianne asked as Ava pulled up behind a strip joint in another town.
“We can’t use the limo anymore. That’s what they’re looking for.”
From the looks of things, no one was at this particular strip joint as it still had a few hours till open. That would buy them more than enough time she though and handed the gun back over.
“Just in case…”
“Where ye goin’?” The girl asked looking slightly panicked.
“You see that van?”
“Well, I’m going to see how those hotwiring skills your father taught me will come to play.”
“We’re stealin’ a van?!”
Kerrianne frowned on this.
“Okay fine, stealing. For now…”
Ava hopped on out and tested the door to see if it was locked. She let out a frustrated sigh but went on to check all the doors, not just for that reason, but to see if the van had an alarm system. To her great relief that didn’t seem to be the case.
Ava looked around the area making certain there were no cameras or onlookers about. Once she saw that the coast was clear she took off her jacket, wrapped it around her hand and busted on through the driver’s side window. Then she unlocked the door and got to work. It had been so long since he’d taught her; it took a few trial and error moments, before she finally got it to start. She hopped out then darted on back to the limo.
“Grab everything but be quick.”
Kerrianne grabbed the bags and Benny’s leash. Benny stopped halfway to the van and took a piss.
“I suppose now’s as good as time as any…” Ava declared whilst loading a few of the weapons from the limo into the van.
Once she was satisfied, she climbed on in and they hit the road, yet again.
“BENNY!” Kerrianne scolded as they were about an hour away from Belfast.
Ava wrinkled her nose and looked back to see that he had taken a dump right in the middle of the floor in the back of the van. The girls covered their noses but kept on trucking.
“Ugh. Do we have ANYTHING to clean that up?”
Kerrianne looked around the van and in the bags they’d brought along with them.
“No.” Kerrianne said with a frown.
“Well there’s no stopping now, too risky. I think we have just enough gas to get there. I might need your help however.”
“Finding SAMBEL’s clubhouse.”
Kerrianne smiled on this.
“I know where it is!”
“Awesome. Where would I be without you?”
“Still trying to figure out the Irish currency system?” Kerrianne smarted and Ava laughed.
“You’re probably right…”
“Are you sure we’ll be safe in Belfast?”
“If there’s one thing I know… Is that the Sons will bat for one another, no matter where you’re from. If I tell them I’m the wife of Filip Telford they’ll keep us safe. I haven’t any doubts about that.”
Ava looked to Kerrianne in thought.
“Didn’t you grow up around those guys anyhow?”
“Yeah… but that was a long time ago.” She hinted and Ava nodded in understanding.
“They’ll remember you. You have a face that no one can forget. Trust me, they’re going to freak when they see that you’re actually alive and kicking.”
“In a good way… Once we get there and are situated, I’ll call your father. Not much he can do behind bars. But he needs to know I found you and that you’re safe and sound.”
“How are we goin’ to get back to the states?”
“You just let me worry on it. One step at a time, Keri. Let’s just focus on getting the help we need first. Then we can go from there.”
Ava narrowed her eyes on this and looked over.
“You have nothing to be sorry for.”
Kerrianne nodded but was looking out the window.
“I never told me da about me ma and Jimmy…”
“What do you mean?”
“I knew… I caught them a couple of times.”
Kerrianne wiped her face with the back of her hand.
“But I said nothin’ and went with me ma and Jimmy. I knew Jimmy was goin’ to make me da leave and I didn’t want to leave my friends and me ma behind. And I was scared…”
“That if I left with me da… Jimmy would kill him.”
Ava nodded in understanding.
“I missed him… so much. Me da never knew it, but I thought I’d never get over him leaving. I knew it wasn’t his fault. That Jimmy made him. Still, I was so mad. He was my da! I didn’t understand why he didn’t fight for me and me ma!”
“But he did… and he’s got the scars to prove it.”
“Well you saw the picture… That’s how he got the nickname – Chibs.”
“Jimmy did that?!”
“When Filip told him he wasn’t taking his girls away…”
Kerrianne covered her mouth and tears streamed on down her face.
“I didn’t know.”
“Because Jimmy didn’t want you to. But your mother did. Now I’m not trying to play the devil’s advocate here. But you need to know that your mother played just as much of a part in these things. Your father would never say anything, because he knows how much you loved your mother and he would NEVER disrespect you like that. But Fiona… played the game just as well as Jimmy. Your father was hurt by the both of them.”
“I hated her so much…”
Ava swallowed back on this and looked to Kerrianne in surprise.
“I thought I could forgive her and move on and be happy. But I hated her and Jimmy. I hated everything!”
Ava pulled on over and was quick to pull Kerrianne into her arms.
“She ruined everythin’! My da and I were happy and we were a real family and she and Jimmy took it all away!”
Ava found herself tearing up as well.
“I know it isn’t right… Bein’ glad yer ma is dead, but I am!”
“Keri…” Ava whispered and planted her hands along her face.
“You were just a child. You had every right… feeling the way you did and still do. You and your father had your entire lives ripped apart and you were ripped away from one another as well. It’s only natural that you would become somewhat resentful.”
“I expected him to fight for me. But I didn’t fight for him! I didn’t tell him that I loved him, or hug him, or anythin’. I just walked away!”
“And he’s never once held that against you. Look at me… Keri, things are going to get better. It might take sometime. But you’re going to get that family, the one you and Filip have always deserved. I’ll do whatever it takes.”
Kerrianne nodded and to Ava’s surprise she was the one hugging her now.
(Be a good sport by leaving your comment/review or a simple ‘like’, if you dug the chapter. Chapter 28 coming later on this weekend.)