I do not own Twilight or SOA.
“Ma-mee! Da-dee!” Abel squealed the moment Angel and Jax entered the living room.
He stopped what he was doing and ran over to them. Angel smiled and picked him up. Jax roughed up his hair and kissed him on the forehead.
“I hear it’s someone’s birthday today.” Angel whispered in Abel’s ear.
“I wonder who that could be. And does someone have a new tooth?”
“Oh yeah… Been causing us both fits.” Gemma remarked as she hugged her son and kissed him on the cheek.
Gemma shrugged “just part of it…” She made her way over and hugged and kissed Angel as well.
“Well as in how did it go? Jesus, did my son knock a few screws loose?”
“He knocked something loose…” she taunted with a grin.
Jax chuckled. Abel reached over and tapped his father on the shoulder. He pointed to the outside door.
“You wanna go play?”
Gemma smiled a certain way and Angel took notice.
“You didn’t give him one of his gifts already, did you?” Angel questioned accusingly.
“It’s not my fault that he stumbled across it.”
“Mom…” Jax scolded as they stepped out seeing a little red and blue trike.
Abel pointed to it and was itching to get to it.
Jax raised his brows as Angel set Abel down and he took off.
“Oh goodie… He’s learned that…” Angel murmured looking to Gemma.
“Oh please, he’s just at that age.”
“So he didn’t learn it from granny Gem? You know. This is mine. That’s mine. He’s mine,” Angel teased pointing to Jax lastly.
“Hell, I’m starting to wonder if he fucked you enough.”
“Is there such a thing?” Angel whispered back.
“You’re still a bitch.”
“So are you.”
“I missed you.” Gem said with a grin.
“Likewise… but if you ever admit that to anyone I’d have to kill you.”
Jax was praising his son as he had that trike going all up and down the backyard. Angel snapped a few pictures with her phone.
“Well at least we know he likes it.”
“I bet you could beat daddy on his Harley!” Angel called out and Abel looked to his father with a big ole grin and made a vrroommm sound.
“Hell, I bet he could!” Jax replied with a chuckle.
Angel swallowed back as Gemma wrapped an arm around her. It was like she knew every time… Gemma pulled her in and hugged her.
“You’re okay, baby…” She whispered.
Jax nodded towards his mother with concern. His mother smiled and cut him a wink. She mouthed the words “she’s just fine.”
“Come on… Let’s get some grub going.”
Angel nodded as Gemma took her by the hand and led her inside.
“How do you do that?” she questioned once they were in the kitchen.
“Do what, sweetheart?”
“You know what…”
“I just do… Call it mother’s intuition or what have you.”
“Hell, I’m starting to think you know me more than my own mother.”
Gemma narrowed her eyes on this.
“Mother as in past tense or present.”
“Depends on the context…”
“Are you telling me your mother’s still alive?”
“Physically speaking, yes. Mentally she died a few years back.”
“Jesus… I thought you hadn’t any family left.”
“I don’t. She remarried. Popped out a couple of kids and I pretty much became an afterthought.”
“Fuck the bitch. You got us, baby. As for the whole roller coaster thing… It comes with the pregnancy. You’re going to be somewhat bipolar for the next six months or so. Just watching puppies at play is going to send you to tears.”
She nodded towards Angel in thought.
“You’re already showing…”
“It’s going to be a boy.” Gemma declared.
“It’s a girl.”
“Nope… I guarandamntee it.”
“Hmmm… we’ll see. Jax thinks so too. But you’re both wrong.”
“You willing to take a bet on that…?”
Angel laughed as Gemma handed her a head of lettuce to chop up.
“Sure… Whatcha got?”
“Hmmm… I tell you what. If you lose you’re my personal maid for two weeks straight. I’m talking laundry, housecleaning, cooking, what have you…”
“Okay…” Angel said with a shrug.
“Then likewise, if it’s a girl you gotta wait on me hand and foot.”
“You got it, bitch.”
Jax walked in just as they were shaking hands. They had that ‘look’ and he just knew they were up to something.
“Why do I suddenly feel like I need to go to church?” he clowned.
Gemma and Angel smiled upon one another and went back to the food preparations. Jax grabbed a beer from the fridge. Angel looked down as Abel was tugging at her dress.
“What do you say Abel?”
“Such the gentleman… And what would you like?”
He smiled and waited as Angel got his drink prepared.
“Tank you, Ma-mee.” He said as she bent down and handed it to him.
“You’re very welcome.”
Jax regarded Angel in damn near awe. He hadn’t realized just how much she’d worked on Abel on his manners. Abel kissed her on the cheek and took off to go play. Gemma smiled towards her son.
“You gonna blink anytime soon, son?”
He cleared his throat and took his beer to the label.
“I’ll get the grill prepared.”
“I’ll have Angel send the meat out here in a bit.”
He nodded as he headed on out.
Once they got the food prepared, Angel started with the decorations. A few of the guys had already arrived out back.
“Where do ye want the gifts lass?”
She turned back with a smile. Chibs cut her a wink as he had his hands full.
“I see you’ve come baring gifts!” She witted.
The Irish man chuckled. She made her way over and helped set them down on a table they had set aside just for gifts. After his hands were free he hugged her.
“And how’d it go?”
“Great actually. From what I hear, I have you to thank?”
Chibs kissed her cheek.
“No need. You two deserve a break from time to time. And I gotta say, you’re glowing.”
He took her hand and spun her about. She smiled as he did a slight bow afterward and kissed her hand.
“Radiant as always, Mrs. Teller.”
“You never tell me that shit.”
Chibs raised his brows as Gemma nodded upon him from the kitchen. The Irish man looked as if he’d been caught flat footed. Angel giggled as he inched his way out back without another word, whilst cursing under his breath.
“Well you sure know how to clear out a room.”
“Can I help with anything?”
Gemma and Angel stopped in their tracks and turned towards Lyla. She nodded towards them as she was making her way over. Her eyes were bloodshot and she looked as if she hadn’t slept in days. Her hair was unusually oily and she wasn’t dressed in her usual clothing. In fact she was in a pair of sweats and a t-shirt. Angel did her best not to react to the shock of seeing her friend looking like complete and utter shit.
“Um sure, we were just about to blow up some balloons and hand the party favor bags to the kids. So take your pick.
Lyla nodded but was regarding Angel’s stomach a certain way.
“You’re showing…” She practically whispered.
“You look good.”
Lyla pinched her eyes shut for a brief moment.
“I’m sorry… I… I can’t do this.”
She dashed on out of the room and Angel chased her down.
“Lyla!” She hollered as she was about to get into her car.
Lyla got into the car. Only when she went to put her keys in the ignition she dropped them. Angel rushed over and hopped into the passenger side, slamming the door shut.
“You’re in no shape to be driving.”
Angel raised her brows in disbelief.
“Angel… Please. I just want to go home. I thought I was ready, but I’m not. I can’t do this.”
“Yes you can…”
“The fuck I can.”
Lyla reached over and opened Angel’s door.
“Out… I’m going home.”
“I’m sure he’s on his way. Other than that I wouldn’t know.”
“What do you mean you wouldn’t know?”
“What I mean is it seems Ima knows more about his whereabouts as of late.”
“What? You can’t be serious. Op is isn’t that fucking stupid! Where are you getting this shit from?”
“It’s not like I can say anything even if he were fucking someone else!”
“But he isn’t!”
“He’s a man, Angel. If I can’t satisfy him, he’s going to get it somewhere.”
“Um no… I’m not buying that. Ops not fucking around. I’m sure he’s just trying to give you your space. Look, I’m sure he’ll be here soon. Let’s just wait and we’ll go from there.”
“I’m fine.” She murmured as she fumbled with the keys once again.
Angel snatched them from her hand and rolled down the window. She tossed them outside.
“You’re God damn right! Jesus Lyla, you smell you smell like a fucking bar. You’ve been smoking and I’m not talking cigarettes.”
“You need to go and be with your family.”
“I am with my family.”
Lyla rolled her eyes.
“I’m not your family. I’m just some washed up porn star. Hell, I’m not even that now. I’m useless.”
“The fuck you are. And don’t’ you ever say that shit to me again!”
“NO!” Lyla grabbed her purse and threw it at her, “OUT!”
Angel’s eyes widened as pills scattered everywhere. She picked one of them up and looked to Lyla in shock.
“Please tell me you’re not taking these…”
“Why does it matter to you?!”
Angel gritted her teeth and roughly grabbed Lyla by the collar of her shirt.
“GOD DAMN IT LYLA, YOU ALMOST DIED. DID YOU FORGET? AND HERE YOU ARE! GIVING UP!”
“YOU SHOULD HAVE LET ME DIE!”
Angel hauled off and slapped the shit out of her. Tears were streaming down her face.
“You want to hurt everyone around you. Then be my guest, you selfish bitch!” Angel picked up a handful of pills and handed them over, along with the bottle of vodka Lyla had in her purse.
“Go on! Take them! Do it right here! Just get it over with! But while you’re stuffing those pills down your throat! I want you to think about Op, Kenny, Eli, and the rest of us! It’s only fair if you’re going to make us plan your fucking funeral! I also need to know what color casket you want and what dress would you like to be buried in! You wanna take the pussy way out! FINE! You think I don’t know what this is? You’re scared. You think life is over as it is. How the fuck could Op ever love you now, right? You’re worthless! You have no job and chances are you can never go back to work. And even if you could, you’re not so sure you can stand the thought of another man touching you, much less another woman! The only man that can touch you without you fucking cringing is Op! You look in the mirror and hate yourself. The thought of taking a simple 9-5 office job makes you cringe. Just looking at someone with child makes you hate them and the entire fucking world. Because they have something you will never have! Why are you being punished? Why does God hate you so fucking much, Lyla?!”
Lyla sucked back a breath and covered her face breaking into literal sobs. Angel nodded and grabbed ahold of her.
“I’m sorry…” She cried.
“Shhhhh….” Angel whispered as she rocked her.
“Oh my god, I can’t believe I did this and on Abel’s birthday! I’m a horrible person!”
Angel shook her head and cupped her chin.
“No you’re not. This… What you’re feeling right now… Trust me, I get it. But this…” She motioned towards the pills and vodka, “not the answer. There are only two scenarios to how this will end if you keep it up. One – you die. Two – you lose everything and everyone you hold dear to you. In that case, you’ve died already. So why don’t get rid of those options because they both suck and create some new ones. Such as cleaning up this act of yours… You need to realize that you are not alone. And you need to start talking to someone, anyone! If not to me then Op.”
“He thinks I’m…”
“Come on Angel… We both know what he thinks of me! Hell, he let it known loud and clear! I swear I’m constantly in the shadows of his dead wife. You wanna know the first thing that came out of his mouth when we got back from the hospital?”
“He wanted to know if I was going back to fucking for a living.”
Dammit Op, Angel thought.
“Op loves you. He just has an odd way of dealing with things like this. Hell, he’s like a kid sometimes. This shit scares him Lyla. And I’m sure the thought of saying the wrong thing scares him even more. And that’s just what he did. I bet he’s damn near killing himself trying to figure out what to say or do. The last thing he wants to do is hurt you. And if he truly thought that low of you. He wouldn’t even consider you becoming a stepmother to his children. You need to realize that you’re more than pussy on legs. Trust me, I know when a man sees a woman as nothing but a good lay. That is not Op! Hell Lyla, I’ve lived with it firsthand. You and I… we’re the real deals. Women like Ima are a fucking joke to these guys. They might not know the best ways of showing it or what to say even. But they do take pride in us. They want something to come home to. They need that extra drive. And Op… He needs to know that when he’s working at the shop or dealing with VP shit with the club that his old lady isn’t at home trying to hang her fucking self. Are you even considering what that would do to him? Have you forgotten about Donna? Don’t make this man a widower again Lyla. And you can’t do that to Kenny and Eli! As for you and I? We’re golden. If anything, you’re about the closest thing to a sister I have. If you fuckin off yourself. You better believe I will not let you rest in peace. I know that cemetery better than anyone. I will be there every god damn fucking day bitching away. I will find a way to make your afterlife hell! And one more thing, family is more than blood.”
Lyla nodded and wiped her face with the back of her hand. Angel drew back a breath and closed her eyes for a fleeting moment.
“Let’s get this shit cleaned up before the guys see it. But I’m taking the pills and bottle of vodka with me.”
Lyla nodded in understanding. They hurriedly picked up the pills and stashed them back into the bottle.
“So why do you think Op is screwing around?”
“Ima mentioned something about him staying at the clubhouse a lot and she was keeping him company.”
Angel’s heart sank a bit and she prayed to God Op wasn’t doing anything stupid.
“Lyla… Ima isn’t even allowed behind club doors much less back into Cara Cara.”
“You don’t know Ima the way I do. She’s persistent. If she wants to fuck Op, she will.”
“I think you need to put a little more faith in your man.”
“A man’s only as faithful as his options and well at the moment. I’m out of commission.”
“Jesus, Lyla. Do you even hear yourself? You need to quit listening to that bitch and what she has to say. She’s all talk and nothing to show for it. She knows you’re at your lowest point and she’s using that to her advantage. I doubt anything’s even happened. She just wants to see if she can make you squirm a bit.”
“It’s funny actually…”
Angel narrowed her eyes on this.
“What is, hun?”
“She’s rather opened my eyes to somethings. Thinking of Op with her or anyone else…”
Angel nodded gathering the hint.
“But he’s not… He’s just trying to give you your space. He doesn’t know what else to do.”
Angel regarded Lyla in thought.
“Are you saying that you’re rethinking the porn scene?”
“In a way…”
Angel nodded and thought back to her and Jax’s conversation.
“I’ve proposition for you…”
Angel smiled as she gazed out the window.
“Jax is going to need some people to help run things at Cara Cara. At least until things get better situated. He has Bobby doing records for now. But that’s not something permanent, seeing as how they also need him to help run the shop. Now this isn’t set in stone but just hear me out… What if you and I teamed up on this business of getting Cara Cara cleaned up and make certain it’s ran the way it’s meant to be? I’d have to run this by Jax of course. But who better to know what women need then us women? Sure we’ll still need another director. But this way whoever Jax hires can’t over step their boundaries. We’d be there to make certain of it. We could keep these girls in line and protected. You’re still making money, staying in the business, and at the same time… you’re fixing your relationship with Op. But before you say anything, I want you to take some serious time to think about this. Don’t let me or Op or anyone else for that matter; convince you to do something you really don’t want to do. If you decide to go back to work, then you know I’ll support you either way. This is merely something I’m tossing out there.”
Angel picked up Op’s truck from the rearview mirror.
“Shit…” She murmured looking to Lyla.
“Follow me and be fast about it.”
Lyla nodded as Angel hopped out of the car. She hurriedly picked up the keys from the ground and stuffed them into Lyla’s purse. They rushed into the house and she dragged Lyla into the bathroom.
“I want you to shower and please wash that hair…” Angel said with curled lip as she flushed the pills down the toilet and poured the bottle of vodka in the sink.
Lyla softly laughed. Angel smiled.
“I’ll see if Gemma has anything you can borrow.” She whispered as she had her hand around the doorknob about to head out.
Angel nodded but wasn’t sure what else to say really. Once she exited the room, the young woman waited until she heard the shower start. She then ran on out the front door and confronted Op as he stepped out of the truck.
“I need you to be perfectly honest with me Op and I mean it.”
He narrowed his eyes on this.
“Are you fucking Ima?”
He reared back in disbelief.
Angel let out a sigh of relief and staggered back a bit. She couldn’t help but to reach to her heart. Op sighed and nodded towards the house in wonder.
“Who told you that?”
“It doesn’t matter… ”
“You really think I’m cold enough to be thinking about pussy after my old lady was raped?”
“Op, that’s not it. I…”
He shook his head and started to walk away.
“Why are you staying at the club?! She needs you!”
He stopped in his tracks.
“Needs me? She can’t even stand to look at me!”
“That’s not true. She’s just hurting and confused. You can’t turn your back to her. You’re killing her, Op!”
He closed his eyes and a chill ran down his spine. He turned to face her.
“And what is it I’m supposed to do, lil sis? How the fuck do I help her?”
“Sometimes it’s not the things you say. It’s what you do. Just be there. No matter what she says or does. Just be there.”
Opie nodded and headed on in. Angel sort of laughed and pinched her eyes shut.
“Jesus Christ…” she muttered under her breath.
She froze once she heard someone golf clapping. The young woman lifted her head and saw it to be Gemma.
“I gotta say I do believe you’re fitting in nicely. You went from zero to hero to full on bitch then back to hero! Great job!”
“Gem, now is not the time for one of your pep talks.”
“I think now’s just as good of time as any.”
“Well you’re wrong. It’s Abel’s birthday. I’m getting back to that now. By the way if you wouldn’t mind Lyla could use some clothes.”
“Handing her the pills and talking her into completing the job. That was such a ME thing to do.”
Angel rolled her eyes on this.
“And you think that’s why I did it?”
“Oh I know it’s not. That was all you baby. You were desperate to get your point across. And it’s the only thing that came to mind. Tell me something though? What would’ve you done if she actually gave in?”
“That’s about what I thought. Face it, you and I like two peas in a pod. It’s scary, isn’t it? I had a porn star as a bff once too!”
“I love you Gem. But I’m nothing like you. I’m a bitch but only when needed.”
“Hmmm… You know I won’t always be around. These boys are going to need someone to keep them in check. And well sweetheart, whether you like to admit it or not. You got what it takes.”
“Everything alright?” They heard Jax call out from behind the fence.
“Everything’s just fine, baby.” Gemma called out.
Angel however didn’t answer. She headed back inside and went to check on Lyla.
“She tried…” his voice had her coming to a halt.
She pivoted around. Opie nodded towards her and motioned for her to follow him. She followed him on out the back where the guys were already drinking and Abel was playing with the other children. She followed Op off to a corner where Jax was already waiting. He wanted them both to hear this. He sighed with a guilt ridden appearance.
“The guys and I went to that new strip club while you two were away. I hadn’t any idea Ima was working there. I was drunk and before I realized what was going on the bitch was giving me a lap dance.”
“You’re kidding me…”Jax muttered.
Opie shook his head.
“And you went to a strip club while Lyla was at home probably drinking herself nearly to death? Jesus, Op where were the kids?” Angel asked.
“At my mother’s.”
“So it didn’t go any further than a lap dance?” Angel reiterated.
“Like I said I was three sheets to the wind.”
“Op…” Jax said with a disappointed sigh.
“I didn’t fuck her I know that much.”
“Are you sure? Because you look damn near doubtful.” Angel put out there with concern.
“Come on now, I haven’t fucked around. I just… Hell, I don’t know what I was thinking going there.”
“Apparently… And when you say she tried…?”
“She dragged me to one of the VIP rooms and stripped down. The bitch started going down on me. You haven’t any idea how hard it was.” Jax raised his brows on this and Opie rolled his. “Putting a stop to it, I mean. Jesus, Jax…” Jax shrugged with a hint of a smirk. “I kept thinking about all the men Lyla’s gone down on or fucked in general and how much I wanted to go along with it. But I didn’t. Ima got pissed off and I’m guessing she’s trying to start some shit now because of it.”
“Jesus, Op…” Angel said as Jax shook his head in disbelief.
“I’m not proud of it. But I want you both to know this. I don’t need Lyla thinking I did something I didn’t.” He nodded towards Angel.
“And I’m hoping you can clear that up for me. Better than I can.”
Angel nodded and started to head back inside.
“I’m sorry you got dragged into this.” Opie called out.
Angel cut him a smile.
“We’re good, Op… I got this.”
She nodded once again and went about her way.
“So I was right…” Angel said as she was fixing Lyla’s hair.
She smiled as she clipped her hair back and finished curling it.
“Op and Ima… Didn’t happen.”
Lyla closed her eyes in relief.
“The bitch just wanted to ruffle your feathers a bit. That’s all this was.”
Lyla wiped a few stray tears away. Angel cut her a smile in the mirror.
“Look at you…” She softly said as she fluffed her hair about.
“Now that’s the Lyla I know… When you get home I want you to burn every pair of sweats you own. Deal?”
Lyla sort of laughed and nodded.
“Good. Now go grab you a beer, tell your man you love him, and welcome back to civilization.”
Once she left the room, Angel regarded herself in the mirror. She thought about what Gemma said. She drew back a hesitant breath on this.
“Great… You win. But I’m doing this my way…” she whispered as she headed out to join the others.
“Ma-mee!” Abel said once she stepped out.
She smiled as he took her by the hand and led her over to a bug he’d found.
“Oh you found a ladybug!”
“Ladybug…” she repeated with a nod.
As she talked to Abel about the lady bug he discovered, she peered over and was relieved to see that Op had his arms around Lyla and they were talking. She looked to the time and back to Abel.
“Are you ready to have your party now?”
“Cake?” He questioned with a big grin.
“Oh yeah, lots of it.”
He nodded and eagerly clapped his hands together.
“Go to daddy and I’ll go get your cake.”
Jax nodded her way as she sent Abel over to him. She went and retrieved the cake from the fridge.
“Why don’t you let me get that?” Gemma offered.
“I got it. You wanna grab the candle?”
Gemma nodded and grabbed it.
Jax chuckled once Abel saw the dinosaur shaped cake. His eyes were as wide as saucers.
“Rex!” he announced happily as he pointed to it.
“That’s right! He’s your favorite, isn’t he?”
Abel nodded as Jax got him into his booster seat at the picnic table.
“Hot…” he declared as Jax lit the one year old candle.
“That’s right little man. We don’t touch. But we blow like this…” Jax showed him an example by using his zippo.
Abel puckered his lips out.
“Not yet. We gotta sing first.”
The others laughed as Abel sent his daddy a puzzled look. He reared back once everyone started singing happy birthday. When the song was finished, Jax bent down.
“Now you make a wish and blow out the candle.”
Abel pouted as he couldn’t get it at first.
“We’ll do it together… ready?”
Abel nodded and Jax counted to three and they blew it out together. Angel and the others clapped and Abel was blushing.
“Good job, Abel!” Angel said with a smile.
Gemma cut the cake as Angel passed it around.
“Have you eaten at all since we got here?” Her husband questioned with concern as she handed his piece over.
“There’s still plenty of food left. I got this. Go make you a plate, baby.”
“I can eat afterward.”
“Angel…” he said with a reluctant sigh as she continued in handing out the cake.
As soon as everyone finished, Jax and Angel helped Abel open his presents. They looked to one another then back to the pile afterwards.
“Where are we going to put all this?” Jax whispered causing Bella to laugh.
“We’ll make your mother keep some of it.”
“I heard that.”
“Oh… Well I guess Jax and I can scratch off the beltone idea for Christmas.”
Angel laughed as Happy was chasing Abel down with one of the blow up dinosaurs, Angel had for decorations. Abel squealed and hid behind his daddy with a grin. Happy growled out and Jax reached around and grabbed Abel. He rose and took off running. Angel shook her head in laughter as Happy chased them all around the yard. She turned as she heard the clearing of a throat.
“I think we’re gonna head on home.”
Angel nodded and came to her feet.
“Why don’t we bring Kenny and Eli home after the party?” She offered figuring they could use the one on one time.
Opie looked over seeing as how they were playing with Jax and Happy as well.
“Sounds good, lil sis.”
She smiled and hugged them both.
“We’ll see you two later.”
“Thank you.” Lyla said kissing her on the cheek.
“No problem. You two go on now.”
Once they left, Angel grabbed a trash bag from Gemma’s garage and started picking up.
“We need to talk…”
Angel peered back over her shoulder seeing Gemma and Jax. They nodded towards her and she glanced upon them peculiarly. She stopped what she was doing and followed her mother-in-law and husband into Gemma’s bedroom. Gemma pulled the door to and pointed to the bed.
“What’s going on?”
Jax drew back a breath.
“Just sit down, darlin’.”
“Do you want to begin or should I?” Gemma questioned her son.
Jax regarded his wife in thought.
“I will… First off – you need to know we appreciate everything you’ve done. You’ve saved us from a lot of heartache and grief.”
“Why do I get the feeling this some sort of intervention?”
“Because it is…” they chorused.
Gemma made her way over and sat beside her.
“But it’s time for you to be a little selfish now. You’re with child and we haven’t any idea how that shield of yours affects the infant or you for that matter.”
“Mom’s right. You gotta back off, baby.”
“You do realize we all would’ve died…” Angel hinted about what took place at Cara Cara.
“That was unavoidable… ” Jax agreed.
“What we’re talking about is the avoidable. This shield of yours, it should be an absolute last alternative. Every time you use this, you put not only our child but yourself at risk. And I don’t just mean in the physical sense, Angel. If the Mayans or hell worse… The IRA gets wind of what you’re capable of… They’re going to see about using that to their advantage and by whatever means necessary, the IRA especially. I wouldn’t put it past either of them to come after you just in order to use you as a weapon.”
“We’ve seen how you get when you use too much energy and it’s not pretty. So unless you want to lose this child as well, you need to listen to my son.”
Angel shook her head looking damn near ill.
“And how the fuck do I keep everyone protected?!”
Jax swallowed back and made his way over. He thought back to her journal and everyone she’d saved in this town. Ones she never even mentioned before. People he didn’t even know. And she never expected anything in return. He crouched down and took one of her hands, kissing it.
“Angel, it’s our turn to protect you. And you need to let us do our job. So I want you to promise me. Right here and right now, that you will NOT use your shield unless it’s a life or death situation. And when I say that – I mean you, Abel, or …” He tapped his finger along her belly, “our baby, and that’s it. That’s where it ends.”
“And what about you?! Did we not discuss this already?”
“The MC’s got my back.”
“Shield or not Jax! I’m supposed to have yours as well! That’s how this fucking works!”
“I thought I lost you at that rally. Jesus Angel, you went into a fucking coma and the doctors hadn’t a clue how to help you! So you will listen to me on this! I won’t lose you!”
“AND WHAT HAPPENS WHEN I LOSE YOU?!”
Gemma had that heart dropping feeling deja vu. This was reminding her entirely too much of an argument her and JT had when they were married.
“You won’t… I promise. Like I told you before, I will always walk through that door. I just need you to believe in me. And worry about yourself for once. Baby, I am begging you. Please, just do this for me and for Abel.”
“You’ve got a slew of enemies out there just waiting to get their hands on you.”
“Then so be it. Better me than you. This is my burden! Not yours. I need you to take care of our children and yourself. Quit worrying about me.”
“I can’t do that.”
“I’m not giving you a choice. You will do this. I’m sorry, Angel. But I’m putting my foot down on this one. The shield, it no longer exist. You understand?”
“So everything we talked about was utter bullshit!”
“Do you even care about this baby?!” Gemma snapped.
“MOM!” Jax scolded.
“Of course I do! Losing another child would kill me! But I can’t lose your son either! So excuse the fuck out of me for being selfish in the sense of wanting it all and trying to keep everyone alive!”
Angel came to her feet and stormed out of the room. Jax brought his hands up in a prayer like manner and slid down against the wall.
“She’s going to get herself killed, mom…” Jax said as if in agony.
“We won’t let that happen. I promise.”
“Did you have fun?” Angel questioned as she walked Eli and Kenny to the door.
“Yes, mam…” Eli replied.
Kenny nodded in response as she handed their party bags over. She hugged them both and made certain they got in the house alright. Angel started back towards the car…
Angel looked back over her shoulder. Opie nodded towards her.
“I think we’re gonna be alright now…”
She smiled, “that you will… Good night Op.”
Jax and Angel sat in silence on the way home. Once they got there, Angel got Abel ready for bed and Jax unloaded the car.
“Did you have a good birthday?” Angel asked as she lay beside Abel in his big boy bed.
He smiled but tiredly rubbed his eyes.
“Did you get everything you wanted?”
He nodded and snuggled up against her. Angel wrapped her arms around him and kissed the top of his head. Jax was leaning against the doorway.
“You want daddy to read to you?”
Abel nodded and Jax made his way over and plopped down on the other side of the bed. He looked to his wife with curiosity as she rose. She kissed both their cheeks.
“I’ll be back…”
She exited the room and Jax began reading. But halfway through the story he heard Angel leaving through the front door, followed by the sound of the car peeling out of the drive.
“Da-dee?” Abel questioned looking concerned as his father had stopped reading.
Jax wanted to call and ask her what the hell she was up to, but he forced himself to finish the book instead.
“When you’re done you got a customer waiting in one of the VIP rooms.”
“Some squirrely looking guy, but he paid good money. Made it clear he wanted a private session and you guys weren’t to be interrupted.”
The stripper smiled.
“Did he now?”
Once the stripper finished her routine she headed to the back. She smiled upon the man in baseball cap and mustache. The man nodded towards her and flashed her a hundred dollar bill and motioned for her to come have a seat in his lap. The blonde made her way over and straddled the man’s lap. The stripper took the hundred dollar bill and stuffed it into her G-string. She came to her knees and went to undo the man’s jeans. Only she froze seeing lacy red panties. She looked up and the man smiled. “By all means Ima… Please continue.” He said taking off the ball cap and fake mustache.
Her jaw dropped and she went to cry for help. Only Angel was quick to have a fistful of her hair and a gun in her mouth.
Tears streamed down the stripper’s face as she came to a stand. Angel motioned towards the door. She grabbed the ball cap and put the fake mustache back on.
“Go and no tricks or I might prematurely fire…” she said as she removed the gun from her mouth and put it to her back.
She escorted Ima through the back doors.
Once the car was in view, the trunk was open and ready to go.
“Get in the trunk.”
“Look, I’m sorry. I get it. He’s yours. I won’t touch Jax again. I give you my word.”
“In the trunk, now.”
“You don’t have to do this!”
Angel gritted her teeth and took the blunt of her gun to the back of Ima’s head. She braced the woman against her and grunted out as she rolled the woman on into the trunk and slammed it shut. She peeled on out of there and headed out of Charming city limits. She turned down a dirt road and could hear Ima banging on the trunk door. She purposely slammed on the brakes and started doing donuts. Once she finished tormenting her, the furious woman stepped out of the car. She had her gun aimed and ready as she opened the trunk.
Ima nodded and crawled on out. Angel paced the area for a bit eyeing the bitch down every once in a while.
“I will never touch him again. He’s all yours! I swear to God!”
Angel let out a growl and rushed over. She socked Ima in the gut and took her knee to her crotch. She grabbed a fistful of her hair and forced her back up. Angel pinned her up against the car, where she propped her leg up and tucked her gun into the holster she had along her thigh. The second she brought her foot back down she wrapped her hand around Ima’s throat.
“You’re right. You will never touch Jax again. He was never yours to begin with. But this isn’t my sole reasoning behind what I’m about to do. You pulled the same shit with Op and all in order to hurt Lyla. And that’s after knowing what she’s gone through. So here’s the thing… The bus stop is a good mile away from here. You’re going to get there on foot. Use that hundred I gave you to get you a ticket. You’re to leave Charming at once. And no, you will not be returning for any of your things. You’re to go as is.”
Angel grabbed some clothes from the trunk and threw them at her feet.
“Put those on.”
“You can’t do this! You can’t make me leave town!”
“I thought you might say something like that…” Angel motioned towards a certain area.
Ima turned back to see not only the Cara Cara girls, but Gemma, and Lyla making their way over.
Angel cupped her chin. “Maybe I can’t. But we can… Think of this as your little send off.”
Angel drew back a reluctant breath as she pulled up to the house. Jax was already out on the porch merely waiting.
“Long night?” He questioned seeing as how she was in one of his shirts, pair of jeans, and ball cap.
He reared back at the blood on his shirt.
“It’ll come out.” She assured taking notice of the way he was eyeing it.
“That’s the least of my concerns.”
He made his way over and ripped off the fake mustache.
“That fucking hurt!”
“Do I even want to ask?”
“Look here’s all you need to know. I went to a strip club, got lap dance in one of the VIP rooms, I kidnapped the stripper, then I drove them outside Charming, I roughed her up a bit, and I called the girls and had a nice little sendoff afterward. Now I’m really fucking tired and would like to shower and go to bed.”
“What the fuck?” Jax murmured as she headed inside like it was nothing.
Angel smiled as she rolled over, seeing Abel at the foot of their bed. He had that grin going.
She patted the bed and he giggled as he climbed on up.
“Hey, little man.” Jax tiredly called out.
Abel lay between them and was kicking his legs about. Jax groaned out as one of his legs hit him in the chest. He fell off the bed. Abel broke into a fit of giggles and crawled towards the edge of the bed.
“Da-dee?” He called out as he peeked over.
“Grrrr!” Jax called out she grabbed ahold of him.
The boy squealed out as Jax blew raspberries along his tummy.
“Let’s get mommy…” Jax whispered and Abel nodded as they crawled about the floor and headed towards her side of the bed.
Angel covered her mouth in laughter as Abel giggled the entire way over.
“Grrrrr!” Jax growled out as he grabbed her and pulled her onto the floor.
“Oh no!” She cried.
“Grrr!”Abel said making T-Rex hands as he made his way over.
“Don’t eat me!”
Abel froze and looked to his daddy.
“I no eat ma-mee!”
“Then I will.”
Angel fake gasped as Jax pretended to bite down on her neck.
“No! Help me, Abel!”
She reached out and Abel grabbed one of her hands.
“Oh, you’re so strong!” She said as she came to her feet and Abel was quickly leading her out of the room.
She stifled a giggle as he led her to one of his favorite hiding places. He pointed behind the curtain.
“So I’ll be safe here?”
He nodded confidently. Jax entered the room not long after. Abel pointed to him.
“You don’t want me to eat mommy?”
Abel shook his head with a grin.
“What if I just took a little nibble?”
“Hmmm… Where are you mommy?”
Abel giggled as Jax looked in all the cabinets and fridge. He even looked in the washer and dryer.
“Where’d she go?”
“Hmm… I guess she went bye-bye. You want some cereal?”
Jax got out a couple bowls and the milk. Abel nodded and made his way over. His father placed him into the high chair.
“That curtain sure looks funny…”
Abel giggled as he grabbed his spoon.
“Maybe I should go straighten it out.”
Abel raised his brows as Jax headed that way.
“BOO!” Angel called out once Jax removed the curtain.
He reached to his heart and staggered back.
“Ma-mee!” Abel called out in laughter.
She cut him a wink. Jax rushed over and grabbed a hold of her. Angel laughed as he nibbled along her neck, then pulled her into the hallway. He had one of her legs hiked up as he pressed himself against her. He kissed her and put his forehead to hers.
“So this stripper…” He whispered.
“Do I know her?”
“That’s about what I figured. Did you get your money’s worth?” He taunted as he kissed along her neck.
“For a cheap trick…” she said with a shrug and rather bored look about her.
He grinned and shook his head.
“Covered your tracks?”
“And no one died?”
She nodded once again.
“You know someone once told me that brunettes are more fun. Something to think about next time you go and get yourself a lap dance.”
“I’ll be sure to keep that in mind…”
He sent her a wink.
“I gotta eat and run, babe. Why don’t you bring Abel by the shop later? Hang out a bit?”
“I bet he’d like that.”
Jax sighed as he looked to the time.
“Shit. I almost forgot. I got court in like an hour.”
He nodded with a frown.
“I wonder how that’s going to go?”
He raised his brows and peeked around the corner looking to Abel in thought.
“I suppose we’ll find out. I’ll call you after the hearing.”
“What hearing?” She snorted.
“Go bug your grandmother…”
Gemma lowered her reading glasses and smiled as Abel and Angel were peeking into the office.
Gemma reared back.
“Did you actually say that without the sarcastic flare?”
Angel took Abel by the hand. She exited the office then started over.
“Go bug your grandmother.”
Gemma shook her head and folded her arms about her chest. Abel was giggling.
The older woman nodded.
Angel smiled and sat in the seat across from Gemma’s desk.
“Would you like a cookie?”
“Why yes, thank you!” Angel witted.
“Mommy’s funny, isn’t she?!”
Abel nodded with a grin. Angel reached over and snagged a cookie anyhow. She stuffed the whole thing in her mouth and Abel looked to his grandmother. He had a hand over his mouth and he pointed to his mom accusingly.
“I know I saw that too.”
“Are you ratting me out?!” Angel said once she finished her cookie.
“Your own mother?!”
He nodded once again as Gemma handed him a cookie.
“You’re very welcome” Gemma replied.
“I take it Jax is still in court?”
Gemma nodded in response.
“That’s what I was thinking. I mean did she make the court date after all?”
Angel laughed in thought.
“Sorry I was late… You know slight case of death and all.” She muttered.
“Here he is…” Angel said as she heard his bike pulling up.
Abel squealed out and crawled out of his grandmother’s lap. He rushed on out and Jax nodded towards him as he was taking his helmet off.
“Hey little man!”
“He seems to be in a good spirts. That’s a good sign…” Gemma murmured.
“Let’s hope so…” Angel added.
Jax scooped his son up and climbed off the bike. He walked over and kissed his wife on the cheek.
“All good baby…”
“They hadn’t a clue. That’s what took so long. I had to play along…” he hinted.
“So it was announced during court?”
“Hell Angel, even her lawyer was lost as hell. She kept going on about expecting her any minute. I had to go along with the whole shocked as hell thing. It was crazy.”
“We’re good… They just asked me a few questions here and there. The typical stuff. When I mentioned I was married and we were expecting things seemed to die down from there. They even congratulated me and wish me well.”
“Well that’s one last concern.”
Jax waited until his mother had Abel and was walking away.
Angel looked to him as he motioned her off to a more secluded area.
“That’s not the only reason I’m late. But I don’t wanna be mentioning this shit in front of mom.”
She nodded but to him in wonder.
“Tig called, gave me a tip on where Kozik and company have been dealing lately. He even sent me some pictures.”
He took his phone out and showed her. The pictures showed Kozik and his buddies making the deal. They’d been caught red handed.
“Right? Now I just gotta get the MC prepared so we can follow them on their next run. Shut them down at the source. In order to do so I’ve gotta send Kozik and them on some bogus job though and send one of my guys along so it’s not so obvious. And at some point I gotta talk to the pres of the Mayans one on one. See if there’s some way of fixing the union we once had.”
“I’ve a feeling they’d want my head in exchange.”
Jax sort of laughed but noticed the odd look on his wife’s face as someone pulled up to the shop on their bike.
“No fucking way…” she murmured and started walking up to the guy as if in a daze.
The guy tilted his head about and nodded upon her.
“What are you doing here?”
The man reared back with raised brows.
“Is that how you greet an old friend?”
“Friend? Are you sure about that?”
“Wow… It’s been how many years?”
“Exactly… so why now?”
“Who’s that?” Gemma questioned Jax.
“Haven’t any idea. But she doesn’t look to happy to see him.”
“Come on, Bella. Don’t be like that.”
“Bella…” she murmured with a sneer.
“Did he just call her Bella?”
“That’s what I thought too.”
Jax kept his eye on the situation but went to help the guys in the garage.
“Who’s the chump?” Chibs questioned.
“Nice scooter he’s got there.” Chibs witted with a smirk.
Jax laughed, “I thought so too.”
“Maybe we could add some tassels and a basket? Man it up a bit?”
“That’s what I was thinking.”
“Look, just come with me. Let’s talk this out.”
“I’ve nothing to say to you.”
“I came all this way just to find you!”
“That’s your mistake. I never asked you to come looking for me. Nor did I want you to.”
He narrowed his eyes as he regarded her belly. He sort of laughed and shook his head.
Her jaw dropped as he leaned over and was breathing her in.
“Jacob!” She scolded and gave him a slight shove.
“Are you pregnant? AGAIN?!”
The moment Jax caught the familiar name he dropped the wrench he had in his hand. That picture Agent Stahl had came to mind.
“You’ve got to be kidding” Jax murmured causing the other guys to look on in wonder.
“What?” Bobby questioned.
“That’s the guy that had the picture…”
Happy raised his brows on this and each of them were sizing him up and gradually inching their way over.
Jacob’s lip curled as he grabbed ahold of her wedding hand, looking to the ring.
“Jesus, Bella! You can’t help yourself, can you? Every fucking time!”
“Every time I come into the picture you have some idiot in your life. Who is he this time?”
“That’s none of your god damn business Jacob! It’s been three years and a whole lot of hell in between. I’ve moved on with my life and have a family I can be proud of. Bella is dead, all you’re doing is chasing a ghost. Fucking grow up!”
“After everything we’ve been through. That’s all you got to say to me? And I hadn’t a clue where you were. I spent that entire time looking for you! Shit! I never moved on!”
“You do realize we were never together, right? I mean it’s like some sort of illusion you created. You and I were nothing more than friends. Hell we weren’t even that! I don’t know who the fuck you are! I mean honestly Jacob who sneaks into their so called ‘friends’ room and takes pictures of them in the buff.”
Jacob was doing his best to hide the guilt ridden look but it was too late. She saw it.
“Oh my God… You really did that shit, didn’t you?! It was bad enough with Edward sneaking in at wee hours of the night like some sort of creeper but my best friend?! THE HELL WITH YOU! GET THE FUCK OUT OF MY FACE!”
He was shaking all over and his teeth ground together.
“You’re not even going to give me a chance to talk to you about all this. You’re just going to turn your back to me?!”
“I recall a time where you turned yours to me as well. And at a time I needed you most!”
Jacob rushed over and grabbed her by the arm jerking her back. Jax gritted his teeth and was making his way over.
“You want to know why I had those pictures…?” he sneered as he had her up against his chest now.
“Pictures? You mean as in plural?”
He rolled his eyes on this.
“I loved you! I never stopped loving you!”
“So that made it all okay. Right? Loving me gave you permission to betray me and in the worst of ways.” She shook her head looking disgusted as she dropped her hold.
“Get on that pathetic excuse for a bike and drive yourself right off a fucking cliff.”
She went to pry out of his hold only to have it grow tighter.
“Jacob…” She grunted.
“Nah… you are not doing this. Not again. We’re going to talk this through. Get on the fucking bike.”
Jacob turned around and Jax nodded upon him.
“Who are you?” He asked with a sneer.
“The idiot in her life…”
Jacob sort of laughed and shook his head.
“Yeah me… Numbnuts. Now get your hands off my wife. We’re gonna have a little man to man talk.”
Jax tilted his head as Angel had this painful twinge in her eyes. Jacob was fighting against the change but his claws had made their appearance and had punctured through Angel’s arms.
“HEY!” The outlaw shouted and jerked Jacob away from her.
He decked him across the face directly after.
“Fuck!” He called out as it was like hitting a steel pipe.
Jax turned around as he went to check on his wife.
“NO!” She shrieked out.
Angel desperately reached out, she grabbed Jax by the arm and pulled him towards her. Then she proceeded in shoving him back.
“GO!” She shouted in a panic and Jax’s jaw dropped as he saw the massive wolf coming right for her.
“ANGEL!” He yelled as he dashed over. Jax immediately wrapped his arms around her and spun around.
Jax growled out as he was brought to his knees. But he didn’t drop his hold. He retrieved his knife from its holster and rolled onto his back. The MC was already gunning the shifter down. Once the wolf hit the ground, Jax crawled towards him. He overlapped the shifter’s back and drove his blade into his spine. “That’s what it feels like!” He spat as he twisted the blade afterword. Jax grabbed the wolf by the muzzle and spit in his face.
Angel rushed over and helped Jax to his feet.
“Jax…” She whimpered with a broken mien.
“I’m fine Angel darlin’.”
She staggered back looking ill.
“I almost got you killed.”
“Don’t you do that!” Jax scolded.
She shook her head and walked around.
The dress shirt he was wearing for court now had four claw marks through it. Angel ripped what was left of the fabric. She clamped a hand over her mouth once she saw how deep it was.
“Chibs will stitch me up and I’ll be just fine.”
He was just thankful it was him and not her.
“Sorry to interrupt. But your buddy is still alive and kicking. Not sure how. But it’s by a thread. You want us to finish him off?” Bobby questioned.
“No. Take him somewhere isolated. Dump his ass off and leave him to suffer and be done with it.”
Bobby looked to Jax in question. He sighed but gestured for Bobby to go through with it. Bobby nodded and gathered Kozik, Frankie, Opie, and Happy to help. Chibs and Phil helped Jax get situated as Angel went to check on Abel. Gemma nodded towards her as she had Abel sitting at the desk coloring one of his books. He had a set headphones on.
“He’s fine… Didn’t hear or see a thing.” Gemma assured.
Angel hugged the hell out of her.
Gemma nodded and hugged her in return.
“I saw what you did out there.” She said with her hands along her hips.
She cupped her chin.
“Don’t ever do it again… My son doesn’t stand a chance without you or that baby. You want to save him? Then you had better do it by keeping yourself OUT of harm’s way.”
Angel gathered Jax some whiskey as the guys already had him set up. Chibs had his reading glasses on and he waited until Jax took a good swig of the whiskey.
Jax nodded but winced the instant that needle went through his flesh.
“Stop it…” He scolded.
Everyone looked to him in question. The pres nodded towards his wife.
“That guilt shit. I want you to knock it off.” As he said this he took another mouthful of whiskey.
“This right here is all on me!”
Jax shook his head in full disagreement.
“Come now ye two lovebirds. Don’t turn against each other. We all have history that’s bound to bite us right in the arse. No sense in focusin’ on who’s to blame. Jackie boy’s gonna be alright, lass. He’ll just have a few more battle scars to tell about. He could use the toughening up!” He taunted with a wink upon Jax.
“What are you doing?” Angel questioned Phil as he was tending to the puncture wounds on her arms.
He cut her a confused glance.
“Doctoring these up for you.”
She rolled her eyes and jerked the ointment out from his hand.
“I got it. You should be helping Jax!”
Phil looked to Jax and Chibs wide-eyed.
“Angel…” Jax scolded with a sigh, “be nice…”
“Fine, do proceed Dr. Quinn.” She said handing the ointment back over.
“Who’s Dr. Quinn?” Phil asked with a serious expression.
Chibs had a good laugh at this.
“You know Dr. Quinn the medicine woman?”
“No? Does she work here?”
She snatched the ointment back out of his hand.
“Sit down before you hurt yourself.”
Jax found himself chuckling even with the sheer amount of pain he was in.
“Jaysus…” Chibs muttered as he looked through the pictures on Jax’s phone.
He passed it around once he was done. Piney shook his head and handed off to his son afterward.
“Great. That’s the last thing we needed.”
“Right? But hey we know where to begin now and we can finally put a stop to this.”
Jax took one of the bullets from the old house and rolled it towards Op.
“We also need to find out where these came from. Someone shot up the old house about a week or so back. They must’ve assumed my old lady and son were home. They were out for blood.”
Opie nodded and passed the bullet around as well.
“Mayans…” Chibs declared.
“That’s what I was thinking… that or something’s up with the drug cartel. Either way, I can’t let this affect my wife or son. We need to put a stop to it ASAP. ”
They all nodded in agreement.
“We’ll need to fill Happy in on this meeting as well. I only sent him with the guys so it wouldn’t be too obvious. So there’s to be no mention of this meeting even taking place.”
“Tig sent you these?” Bobby asked recognizing the number.
This had the others looking to Jax in question. Jax nodded. Bobby narrowed his eyes with mistrust. “Why would Tig be sending you information on the drug cartel?” He asked.
Jax took out a cigarette and lit it up and took a drag before answering.
“Tig’s been doing a bit of spy work for SAMCRO.”
“What?!” Bobby barked.
“After betraying us the way he did?!”
“I’m with Bobby on that one. What the hell are you thinking, son? It wasn’t too long ago you were letting him have it!” Piney added.
Jax sort of laughed. Chibs and Opie nodded towards one another.
“Jackie knows what he’s doing.” Chibs defended.
Opie nodded in agreement.
“That was all for show…” Jax hinted as to the other day.
Piney and Bobby regarded one another then looked back to Opie, Jax, and Chibs. Bobby hopped out of his chair.
“Are you telling me the three of you were working on this deal with Tig and that whole ordeal was nothing but a set up?!”
Jax raised his brows on this.
“I was going to tell you. I just needed to wait until the time was right. I had to let Op and Chibs know considering their ranking.”
Bobby reared back on this and Piney shook his head in disbelief.
“So ranking… That’s what this is about? And you got Tig following you around now? Do you have any idea who you sound like?! THE HELL WITH YOU KID!”
He stormed out of the room and Jax pinched his eyes shut. His back felt as if it were on fire. He wanted nothing more than to go home, get shit faced, and pass the fuck out.
“You should’ve seen that one coming, ” Piney declared, “we need to know just as much as anyone else.”
“I couldn’t raise too much suspicion. I had no other choice but to go about it the way I had. They would’ve seen past our little act, otherwise. I needed you, Bobby, and Happy to believe it.”
“Come on Pops, you know Jackson wouldn’t purposely betray any of you.” Opie said.
“That’s not what this feels like. It feels like the three of you are running this club and the rest of us are your little guinea pigs. I thought things were going to change! This doesn’t feel like a change. It’s the same ole backstabbing shit Clay pulled!”
Chibs was growing angrier by the minute. His upper lip curled and he came to a stand and slammed his fist down.
“Listen here and all of ye!” Chibs opened the door to the chapel.
“That’s right even you! Ye damn drunkard!” He spat upon Bobby.
“Fer the first tyme since Jay…Tee, tha Sons have a Prez willin an able ta get this club clean an keep us on da straight an narrow! But we still have a whole mess a shite ta get through first! Now sit yer arses down an quite actin like a bunch o ‘wee jealous girls an shut yer gobs!”
Jax raised his brows swearing he’d never heard Chibs accent as thick as it was then. He cleared his throat, “um yeah what he said!”
Opie lost all composure and died of laughter.
“You don’t even know what he said. Hell no one does! So shut up!” Bobby retorted as he reentered the room with a beer in hand.
(Be a good sport by leaving your comment/review so I know what you think.)