Chapter 43 – I Got This Part I
Angel smiled once they drove past the Welcome to Charming sign. Jax chuckled, taking notice. “Home sweet home…” He declared under his breath and took her hand, kissing it.
“This really is a nice truck…” Jax said as he ran his hand along the steering wheel.
“You only said that like ten times already.”
“They said all rentals were for sale.”
“Well if you really want the truck then go for it.”
“What? Like I need your permission?” He taunted with a smirk.
Angel smacked him on the arm.
“Don’t be a dick…”
“But you like my dick.”
“Yeah, the one in your pants, not the one flapping his lid.”
He shook his head and let out a miserable groan.
“You’re thinking about it again, aren’t you?”
He nodded and “adjusted” himself. She laughed and leaned into his ear. She licked his earlobe, triggering a low growl.
“Damn woman… I swear you’re trying to kill me!”
“Now Jax, if I was trying to kill you I’d use the glock in my purse.
“Nah, too messy. You’re smarter than that. You’d use your shield to protect yourself and cause some sort of freak car accident.”
“That’s actually a brilliant idea!”
He cocked a brow at this and she giggled.
He smiled in response.
“Sure you do…”
Jax pulled into the parking lot of the park and Angel pointed towards the swings.
“There they are!”
She opened the door, taking off before he even had a chance to park. “Jesus, babe!” he hollered out. But she was long gone and running like a bat out of hell. Angel froze once she got to the swings. CJ was in one of the baby swings and Rose was pushing her. Juice stopped the swing as Angel had a hand clamped over her mouth. Rose gathered the infant and handed her over.
“I swear she’s grown, within the short amount of…” Angel trailed off and closed her eyes, holding her daughter close.
“Thank you…” she said with tears in her eyes.
Juice patted her on the back and Rose handed the diaper bag over.
“No one knows… And the others are safe.” she assured afterward.
“Thank you.” Jax genuinely expressed as he had finally caught up to Angel.
He tilted his head and looked upon his wife and daughter. The man found himself to be somewhat emotional as well. His wife kissed their daughter’s forehead and gazed into her deep blue eyes.
“You wanna see daddy?”
Angel handed her over and Jax swallowed back. He took her rather colorful beanie off and saw that she had thick blonde curls. He chuckled and shook his head.
“I’m gonna have hell with you, aren’t I?” he murmured, but with a look of pride.
Angel reached over and ran her fingers through her hair.
“She’s beautiful…” She said, wiping a tear away.
“That she is… You two made one pretty baby.” Rose added with a smile.
“So how’d it go?” Juice asked and Jax sighed.
“Let’s just say we’re in the clear, but it came at a price. We’ll discuss this once the others get back.”
“Come on, Juicy. Let’s give them some space. We need to hunt anyhow.”
Jax cringed in thought and Angel softly laughed.
“Animals…” She reminded with a playful nudge.
“Right…” Jax uttered as Angel was hugging them and thanking them, yet again.
A few drops trickled along CJ’s face and Angel reached over, dabbing them away.
“Looks like the storm’s blowing in early.”
He nodded, looking to the sky.
“We better get going.” Jax said and handed CJ back over.
Once they got to the truck, Angel placed her daughter into the car seat. She climbed into the back so she could be with her. Jax looked on from the rearview mirror and smiled. CJ had her little hand wrapped around Angel’s index finger. Jax nodded amongst himself and drove on out of the lot.
“I can’t wait to see Abel’s reaction.”
“Oh me too…” Jax replied with a chuckle.
“You ready to meet your big brother?” Angel asked and CJ just gaped at her as if mesmerized.
After pulling into his mother’s drive, Jax just sat there – staring at the house.
“Is something wrong?” Angel asked as she was exiting the truck
He drew back a breath as she was getting CJ out of her car seat. He shook his head no, but wasn’t very convincing. She looked on with concern. There was something “off” about her husband.
He stepped on out and grabbed the diaper bag. Jax wrapped his arm around her and they headed towards the front door. It opened before Jax even had the chance to knock. He was expecting his mother, but it was Abel. He had a big ole grin on his face.
“MOMMY! DADDY!” he squealed and was quick to open the screen door.
Jax scooped him up and hugged him.
“Hey, little man.”
Abel was hugging him so hard, he was nearly choking him. Jax chuckled and pecked him on the cheek. Abel looked towards his mother and his jaw dropped in realization.
“Baby sistor!” he exclaimed and was reaching for her.
Angel softly laughed.
“Let’s get you inside and situated. Then you can hold her.”
Jax placed him down and Abel took off running. He sat at the couch and held his hands out. Jax half laughed and shook his head. Angel placed CJ into her big brother’s lap and sat beside him. Abel ran his finger along his sister’s and smiled. But he had his parents confused as he started to bawl. Angel and Jax looked to one another with concern and back to their son.
“What is it, Abel?”
“I no let anyone hurt her. Ever!”
Jax staggered back on his son’s words. Angel had this struck stupid look about her. She kissed Abel’s cheek.
“Do you have any idea how proud I am of you?”
She wiped her son’s tears away and he nodded.
“Yeah mommy, I do.” he said with a nod of declaration.
“We love you, Abel…” his father added.
“Love you too, daddy.”
Angel and Gemma locked eyes for a brief moment as Gemma entered the room. She had a hand clamped over her mouth and just stood there.
Angel nodded with a warm smile about her.
“Come on, grandma…” she said, whilst waving her over.
She couldn’t help, but to notice the odd look on her husband’s face. The moment his mother sat down, he exited the room. Angel wondered what the hell was going on.
“She’s beautiful.” Gemma said with a tearful expression.
“May I hold your baby sister?”
“I guess…” he replied with a sigh.
Gemma smiled and picked her up. Abel crawled into his mother’s lap and wrapped his arms around her. At the moment, Angel had no words. She closed her eyes and simply held him.
“Daddy got the monsters…?”
She reared back and gazed upon her son in question.
“They hurt you?”
She ran her fingers through his hair.
“No, baby. Daddy didn’t let them hurt me.”
“My daddy – strong!”
“That he is. Just like you!”
She couldn’t believe how much he’d grown since they’d been apart. She swore he was a foot taller.
“I don’t know. Why don’t you see if you can find him?”
He crawled on out of her lap and went in search of his father. Gemma wiped a tear from her eye and was rocking CJ.
“I knew it…”
Angel regarded her mother-in-law in question.
“If anyone could walk through the gates of hell and live to tell about it, it’d be you. You crazy bitch.”
Angel smiled and hugged her.
“Love you too, mom.”
She went to break away, only Gemma wouldn’t let her. She had her and CJ in a hug and was in literal sobs.
“I thought I lost you both…”
Angel swallowed back.
“Well I’m back and will be driving you crazy soon enough…”
“Good… It was a little too quiet around here. I need my partner in crime.”
Angel raised her brows on this, “partner, huh?”
“I think my wife’s a little above your antics.” Jax rather barked as he entered the room with Abel.
Gemma smiled and came to her feet. She went to hug her son and he took a step back before she could.
“What’s with you?”
“It doesn’t matter. Get your things, Abel. We’re going home.”
Abel had a grin going ear to ear. He took off and was quick to start packing up his things. Angel grabbed whatever was in the living room and was helping Abel.
“You’re kidding…” his mother scoffed.
“You just got here! And I had like five minutes with my new granddaughter.”
“That’s more than enough.” Jax snapped and Angel’s jaw dropped.
“Jax…?” she whispered looking lost.
“What in the hell is going on?!” Gemma retorted and cut Angel a look of accusation. That only added fire to the flame.
“Don’t… Why do you do that?! Every time you look to her as if expecting some sort of showdown. This is between you and me. You leave my wife out of it.”
“We’ll talk about it later. At the moment… WE need to focus on being a family.”
Gemma staggered back on her son’s words.
“Jax!” Angel scorned in absolute disbelief.
“Take CJ and Abel, go on to the truck, babe. I’ll be right there.”
Once they were out of the house, he pointed his mother’s direction.
“I KNOW EVERYTHING! ABOUT YOU, DAD, AND CLAY! I KNOW ABOUT THE “SUPPOSED” CURSE YOU KEPT HIDDEN FROM ME, ALL THESE YEARS. I KNOW THE TRUTH BEHIND THOMAS’S DEATH!”
“I had my reasons when it came to your father. And why are you acting as if this is some sort big news now. We already had this fight, years ago? Remember?!”
“Yeah well… let’s just say I’m seeing things from both sides of the spectrum now. You always painted yourself as the victim. But you hadn’t any idea! Did you know that you pushed dad into having an affair of his own? And that he had another family?!”
Gemma’s jaw dropped.
“That’s right! He was in love with someone else. His only reason for sticking around? He couldn’t bear the thought of turning his back to me. But in doing that… He turned his back to his lover and their daughter! That’s right, I have a fucking sister and she’s certainly older than Thomas, if that tells you anything. You always assumed that dad was ignorant. That he was nothing more than a low life piece of shit! Well I suppose in some ways he was. Just as the rest of you were! You were all a bunch of fucking hypocrites. Not a one of you thought about the long term affects to this. This family is sooooo fucked up, it’s not even funny. It makes me sick to my stomach. Here I am… I’m trying to rebuild. And I thought just maybe. Just maybe… I had one parent that I truly got. That I could look up to! Because as much as I love you… let’s face it. You’re certainly no one to look up to. I can’t stomach half the shit you’ve pulled over the years. You’ll do anything to benefit yourself! And that’s why I pushed harder than ever to NOT BE LIKE YOU, OR CLAY! So even in death I turned to my father!”
Gemma swallowed back as Jax angrily wiped his face.
“Only now I find out that he’s no better than you were. Sure he had his reasons… I’ll give him that much. But it was no excuse. YOU BOTH PLAYED A PART IN RIPPING THIS FAMILY APART! Both of you were so selfish you couldn’t see that you were playing with the lives of others. And to think I’m from the same mold! GOD DAMMIT! Why couldn’t I have just this one thing! Just this once! Why couldn’t you give me that?! Why couldn’t he? EVERYTHING WAS ONE BIG FUCKING LIE! You say you loved my father and he said he loved you. THE HELL WITH YOU BOTH. THAT’S NOT LOVE!” He pointed towards the front door where his family was.
“THAT THERE IS LOVE! IF IT WASN’T FOR HER, I COULD’VE GONE THE WAY OF DAD AND WALKED IN FRONT OF A BUS! LOVE IS JUST KNOWING. ANGEL MIGHT PISS ME THE FUCK OFF AT TIMES AND SHE CHALLENGES ME MORE THAN ANY WOMAN OUT THERE. BUT I WOULD NEVER TURN MY BACK TO HER. AND THE MERE IDEA OF HURTING HER, IT MAKES ME SICK! SO THE HELL WITH YOU, DAD, AND CLAY! I DON’T NEED THIS SHIT AND NEITHER DO MY CHILDREN! I SUPPOSE THE ONLY GOOD THING ABOUT THIS. WAS HOW MUCH IT OPENED MY EYES. IT ONLY MADE ME REALIZE JUST HOW ALONE I TRULY WAS – ALL THOSE YEARS. DAD CLAIMED TO STAY FOR ME. BUT IT WAS REALLY FOR HIM. BECAUSE HE COULDN’T BEAR THE WEIGHT OF THE GUILT! AND YOU WERE TOO BUSY SWAPPING COCKS AND COUNTING THE DIGITS TO GIVE A DAMN! So what’s it like knowing you were nothing more than a club girl in the skin of an old lady!” On this… he stormed out.
Angel woke in the middle of the night, to an empty bed and crying infant. She looked to the time and saw that it was 4 am. She grabbed her robe and headed into CJ’s room. Where she assumed she’d find her husband. Only he wasn’t there. She scooped her daughter up and headed into the kitchen. She warmed her up a bottle and got her fed and changed. Before long, she passed back out and Angel put her back to bed. She checked on Abel and tucked him in. She kissed his forehead before exiting the room. Angel walked about the house in search of Jax. When she couldn’t find him, she tried the backyard and patio. Something within her ignited, once she saw that the truck was gone. Her teeth were gritted and she rushed back inside. With bitterness, she grabbed her phone.
What the hell, Jax?
No. Everything’s just fine. It’s completely normal to have your husband up and leave in the middle of the night, considering recent events… Jesus. Jax, we just got our family back! Are you sick of us already?! She flinched back on her own choice of words. Shit… She heard as the line went dead. A few minutes later she heard him pulling into the drive. She stormed on out and was tying her robe. He hopped out of the truck, with this apologetic look to him.
“I’m so sorry. I wasn’t thinking… I…”
She strutted on over and shoved him back against the truck. He’d this deer caught in headlights look about him. This wasn’t something he was used to, when it came to her – at least not with this amount of anger behind it.
“I thought I lost you and Abel! I just got the three of you back and I wake up to find you gone? Without as much as a warning or a fucking note?! THE HELL WITH YOU!”
Her entire face was flushed over and she started to walk away. He took her by the hand and pulled her back towards him.
“Come on, babe. I meant nothing by it. Just breathe and hear me out.”
She was wheezing and her eyes were watering.
“I would’ve reacted the same way. I wasn’t thinking. Angel baby, I just got a lot on my mind, that’s all. I meant nothing by it. You know I want to be here.”
“Then why weren’t you?”
“I just needed to clear my head.”
She narrowed her eyes and looked over seeing that his SONS rings were gone.
“Where are your rings?”
He sighed and rolled his eyes.
“It doesn’t matter… I had to take care of somethings….”
“Jax… Baby, what is going on with you? It’s like you pulled a complete 180, ever since we arrived at your mother’s. What is this all about?”
He pinched the bridge of his nose and leaned against the truck. After a solid minute of silence, he dug into his pocket and handed her the first letter. She used the porchlight to read it and looked to be in shock once she finished.
“Don’t… I should’ve explained earlier. I just…” he drew back a breath and looked to the sky.
“Honestly… I was ashamed.”
“Jax…” She said and skimmed through the letter once more.
“He really loved you and Maureen… I can’t believe that Trinity is your sister.”
He nodded, looking grim.
“Jesus. I totally flipped out on you and you had every right to feel…”
Jax put a finger to her lips.
“Please just…” he shook his head and cupped her chin.
He closed his eyes and put his forehead against hers.
“I put the rings on his tombstone… I thought he was something I could aspire to, clearly I was wrong.”
“Jax… That couldn’t be further from the truth. What did you take from this letter exactly?”
“That he’s just like Clay and mom!”
She shook her head in full disagreement.
“You’re just saying that because you’re mad and hurting. You know damn well he wasn’t anything close. You need to calm down and read it again. He was hurting, baby. This…” He lifted his head and she waved the letter about.
“All this shows was that he was human. Like any of us he made mistakes. He was all alone, Jax. Of course he sought love and affections from another. Who wouldn’t, given this scenario? And to be honest, it’s not fair to put all that on him. You and I both have made some pretty bad decisions.”
“But turning our backs to one another – isn’t one of them!” He snapped.
She nodded in agreement.
“You’re right… That will never be us. You know why?”
He narrowed his eyes wondering where she was going with this. She smiled.
“Because what we have is real. It’s what your father described with Maureen. Only we lucked out, in the sense that we found our soulmates, without the concerns of already being attached to someone else. Honestly Jax… if you were still with Tara or Wendy even. And I came into the picture… Do you not see how this could’ve possibly been us?”
“I’d have left those bitches in a heartbeat!”
She shook her head.
“If you were married to Wendy and Abel was already calling her mom. And you had already built a life together… Think about it… You yourself said that your only reason for marrying Wendy in the first place was out of loneliness. It could’ve just as easily happened to us. Hell, I could’ve ended up with Edward – if my daughter had lived. You gotta think of all the possibilities before you judge your father.”
“Are you condoning what he did? Jesus Christ! He had another family, Angel!”
“Of course not! But you and I both know what love can do to you. It’s often enough irrational and it can make you do crazy things. I’m sure he came home and once he was away from Maureen, his mind was finally clear and his focus became you. He realized what was more important to him in the end. But that doesn’t make it right. He left another child behind and left it up to Maureen to care for her, while he moved on with his family back home. I can only imagine how Trinity must feel. You think you have it bad. But think about how she feels! JT picked YOU over her! You got to have him in your life. She never knew him. I would never condone what he or your mother did. All I’m saying is I can see every side of the spectrum. Even yours… I know you feel like your entire life was one big lie. But it wasn’t. So you can stop thinking that… JT might’ve had a life outside the one you knew. But that didn’t change the fact that those manuscripts is what brought us here today. We followed his vision as a whole and look at us… He helped us get where we are now. As to your mother… She’s not that same woman. I know she still has her moments, but she loves you more than life itself. And I know for a fact if anyone and I do mean anyone wished you, CJ, or Abel harm. She’d fucking end them where they stood. That’s where you get it. You might not want to be anything like her. But when it comes to your family, you’re Gemma Morrow. When it comes to your club, you’re JT. You keep it balanced by not letting one take over the other. And I couldn’t be prouder. Jax… you can be yourself and be the perfect balance to both parents. Take the good from the bad and use that. You already know what it is. I know you can feel it. If anything… They love you. I know that your father is looking upon you now and he has a fucking smile planted on that face of his. He’s probably saying something along the lines of that’s my son and I knew he could do it. You achieved what he never could. And together… We will achieve what Gemma, JT, and Maureen never could. We’re gonna raise those kids in a home – filled with love. They will know what it’s like to have parents that love each other, unconditionally. And they will know what it’s like to be loved in return. This…” She waved the letter about once more.
“Is where it ended, Jax. We’re the new beginning. And everything is going to thrive from here on. Abel… if he ever decides to follow in your footsteps, he will already know what’s expected. He won’t have to go about this blindly. He’s going to have all the support he needs.”
“How do you do that?”
“Do what?” She asked, puzzled.
He smiled and shook his head.
“I swear to god you’re not even real. You’re just a figment of my fucking imagination. Because women like you, they don’t exist. You go from being RIGHTFULLY pissed with me – To giving me advice on how to handle my crazy ass family.”
She smiled in return and shrugged.
“Well you got one hell of an imagination if none of this is real, Mr. Teller.”
“Maybe I’m in a coma somewhere and this is all just one fucked up dream.”
She bit down on that lower lip of hers.
“Then I suppose I should thank you.”
“Dreaming me and CJ up.”
He got that smirk of his going and chuckled.
“I should be thanking you if that’s the case.”
“Hmm well if that is the case… Could you dream up a nicer ending than the bs we’ve had to face?”
“You got it, darlin’.”
She grabbed a fistful of his hair and eagerly kissed him. He moaned into her mouth and backed her up against the house. She opened her eyes as something seemed “off”. Angel gasped out and Jax froze as if he were afraid to even move. She narrowed her eyes and reached out, running her hands along the fur on the sides of his face. She’d seen it back at the warehouse during the showdown with the IRA, but hadn’t expected it during an intimate moment. But Jax as backed up all to hell and his emotions had him all kinds of screwed up as of late.
“Doesn’t this cross the lines of bestiality?” She taunted and he let out a slight growl.
“Maybe on your end, but not mine, darlin’…”
He chuckled and kissed her once again.
The both of them froze with wide-eyed expressions.
“Tame it, Jax…” Angel whispered and he closed his eyes, doing his best.
She forced a smile upon Abel as he was poking his head out the screen door.
“Mommy I has a bad dream.”
“Okay baby, I’ll be right there.”
He nodded but cut his father an odd look. Jax didn’t dare look back. He kept his eyes on his wife.
“It’s okay…” Angel assured, seeing the panicked look on her husband’s face.
“No, it’s not.”
“Jax, this isn’t something we can keep hidden. He’s in the need to know…”
“That’s not what I’m talking about…”
His body shifted back and he’d this look of absolute fear about him.
“Thomas…” he whispered.
“What about him?”
“Angel… he had the same heart defect as Abel. If the curse…”
Angel gathered the hint and recoiled.
“I won’t let that happen…” she assured.
“Angel…” Jax said and was about to say something along the lines of them having no control.
“It won’t… Over my dead body.”
He nodded, knowing damn well what she meant. Angel would use her shield if it came down to it. He dared not to think of the possible outcome. He could lose one or the other, or both. But he couldn’t afford to think like that. No, this was their beginning, this was their chance to live the dream. And if his wife said she was going to protect Abel, that’s exactly what she meant.
“Do you mind rewording that?” He called out as she was about to step inside.
She gazed upon him peculiarly.
“I can’t lose you either, darlin’. I need you and those kids. So if and when that day comes. You know what’s expected out of you.”
“No pressure.” She smarted with a grin.
He smiled in return.
“If I’m not allowed to die, neither are you. Two way street, babe…”
“I’ll do my best.” She said with a slight curtsey and headed on in.
“Why was daddy so hairy?”
She let out a rather nervous laugh and she lay beside him in the bed. She handed him his Trixie and Rex, before answering.
“Because he hadn’t shaved in a very long time…” She teased and Abel wrinkled his nose.
Angel laughed and pulled him into her chest.
“Can’t get nothing past you, huh? Just too smart.”
She looked to the ceiling and thought on how to answer this truthfully, but with caution. He was still too young.
“Why don’t I make you a deal?”
She nodded and he lifted his head looking into her eyes.
“Let’s just say like anyone daddy has his secrets. Ones we can never tell anyone. Do you know why that is?”
Abel shook his head no.
“Because if anyone found out… Daddy wouldn’t be here to protect us from the monsters. So I need you to be a big boy and always keep that in mind. Do you understand?”
“Yes, mommy I understand.”
“Good. If you can do that, then one day daddy and I will sit you down and tell you everything. I promise.”
She ran her fingers through his hair and thought on an honest answer.
“Why don’t we let daddy get to that when the time is right? It’ll be a little man to man talk.”
Abel and Angel froze as they heard growling outside his bedroom door. Angel gasped out and pulled the covers up over them.
“Shhhh…” She said and put a finger over her lips.
Abel clamped a hand over his mouth and started to giggle.
The covers were ripped off them and they squealed out as Jax sprayed them with silly string. Angel laughed and grabbed a handful, tossing it back at him. Abel threw some back as well. And they all looked to towards the wall hearing CJ crying on the other side.
“That’s your fault.”
“I got it…” Jax said with a chuckle, but not before emptying the contents of the silly string onto his wife.
“Jax!” She scolded and he took off laughing.
“Hey there, lil darlin’.” Jax called out as his daughter continued to cry.
He made his way over and picked her up.
“Shhhhh.” He hushed as he rocked her a bit and checked her diaper.
Her crying came to a stop and he smiled.
“There you go… Everything’s gonna be just fine…” he said as he changed her and headed into the kitchen.
Angel handed him a bottle she’d already prepared.
“Abel back in bed?”
“After I cleaned up the mess you made…”
He laughed and sat at the dining room table and fed CJ.
“Good call by the way…” he said as she handed him a burp rag.
“What you told Abel.”
She tilted her head.
“Which part exactly?”
“All of it…”
“Jax… were you using your senses to eavesdrop?”
“Maybe…” he said with a shrug.
“Hmmm…” she hummed, looking unamused.
“You do that often?”
He didn’t comment and gave his best “innocent” expression.
“Oh no you don’t…”
“Give me those “puppy” eyes.”
He reared back and curled his lip.
“Oh come the fuck on, babe. Again with the puppy eyes?! Really?”
She nodded and gathered CJ as she’d fallen asleep in his arms.
“Jesus…” Jax muttered under his breath as he and Nero were walking through the remains of the clubhouse.
“As you can see we gathered what we could. Everything else… was pretty much a loss.”
Jax nodded, looking grim.
“I don’t even know where to begin.” The president admitted.
Nero nodded in understanding.
“I know that feeling, all too well. Why don’t you come with me? I got something to show you.”
Jax narrowed his eyes in question.
“It won’t take long.”
“I could just follow you.”
“Nah man, you’re gonna wanna ride with me on this one.”
Jax followed Nero out and climbed into the truck. He cut Nero an odd look as he Nero pulled up to an old strip joint.
Jax sighed as Nero parked and hopped on out. Jax exited the truck wondering what Nero was up to. He reared back as Nero was entering a code into a lock system. He motioned for Jax to step inside. The moment he entered the building, Nero reached over and hit the lights. Everything was still intact from when the place was up and running.
“It’s gonna need some work and you’re gonna wanna build on to it. But it’s a start…”
Nero waved his hands about.
“You gotta have church somewhere.”
Jax laughed in realization.
“You mean a place for the club?”
“Yes of course. What did you think I was hinting at?”
“I wasn’t sure if you wanted to run a strip club next… “Jax taunted with a smirk.
“We could…” Nero replied with a grin.
“Oh I’d love to see the look on my old lady’s face…”
“Right? But hey, it’s no worse than the porn business…”
“True….” Jax said as he looked around the building.
“Not bad… for a start.”
Nero handed him a set of keys.
“Then it’s all yours. Enjoy!”
“It’s bought and paid for, homes.”
“Nero… It’s not that I don’t appreciate it. I do… But I can’t accept this. This is mine and the club’s burden, not yours. You’ve done enough.”
“Nah man… After what you and your wife have done for me and my son, it’s me that owes you. Besides… this was something I was lookin’ into when I thought I was going solo and diving into the escort biz. I’d already put a down payment on it and somethin’ told me to hold onto it, just in case. I suppose this was that something. You and your boys need a place.”
Jax shook his head and looked to be in thought.
“Not taking no for an answer. So you might as well get used to the idea.”
The president went to say something else. But something on the stage caught his eye. Nero smiled once he saw his reaction.
“Is that…” He heard Jax whisper and he started that way as if in a trance.
Nero walked over and hit the spotlight. Jax froze and he looked back to Nero and back to the bike as if in complete shock.
“I thought this …” He swallowed back.
“I thought it was a lost cause.”
“Check it out…” Nero waved his hand about.
“Not even a scratch… It was the craziest thing. It was just there, right where you had it.”
Jax ran his fingers along the bike and smiled.
“Perhaps your old man is trying to tell you something…”
He lifted his eyes Nero’s direction.
“Thank you…” He said with utmost sincerity.
“No need to thank me. Just get on that bike and do what you were set out to do. That’s what it was meant for. It’s a gift…” Nero stated from the heart.
Jax swallowed back the knot within his throat. The keys were already in the ignition. Jax started the bike and it roared to life. He chuckled and looked as though a kid on Christmas morning.
“I can’t believe this…” he said as he drove it down the handicap ramp.
Nero opened the door for him and gave him a simple wave.
“I suppose I’ll catch you later?!”
Jax revved the engine and had a certain beam about him. Without another word, he sped on out of the building.
Jax pulled into the cemetery and parked. He walked on over to his father’s grave and picked up the rings. He gave a simple nod as he put them back on.
“Alright dad… You made your point. Still…”
He put his hand to the tombstone.
He started to walk away and without warning his knees buckled. He reached to his gut as he hit the ground. He sucked back a quivery breath. This hit him out of left field. Jax covered his face and had himself a good cry. That cry signified many things. They were tears for Happy, Piney, Bobby, Phil, Thomas, and his father. But they were also tears of triumph. He got his wife and daughter back and managed to take down the entire IRA. He was bringing back the brotherhood and fixing this town. For once, the outlaw felt a sense of pride that no one could take away from him. But on that same note he was humble, in the sense of knowing if it wasn’t for his wife and his brothers. He would’ve never succeeded.
Angel opened the door and greeted Gemma with a nod.
“Come on in…” she said and stepped aside allowing her in.
“Nope. He mentioned something about meeting up with Nero.”
“Would you like some coffee?”
“I just want to see my grandchildren…” Gemma said with a touch of desperation.
“I can certainly arrange that.”
“Thank you, baby.”
She nodded and headed off to gather Abel and CJ.
“Grandma’s here!” Gemma heard Angel call out as she opened Abel’s door.
She smiled hearing the pitter patter of little feet. Gemma hunkered down and opened her arms.
Abel hugged her and kissed her on the cheek.
“Hey baby… What’ve you been up to up to today?”
“Playing with mommy.”
“Well that sounds fun.”
“It is. I really missed her.”
Angel had just entered the room and heard what he’d said. Abel looked back and pointed upon his mother and CJ.
“That’s my baby sistor.” He pointed to himself as he said this.
“Well can I hold your baby sister?”
“I guess…” He said with a sigh.
Angel laughed and handed CJ over.
“No drop her, Grandma.”
“I won’t. I promise.”
He nodded and headed into the living room to color.
“Jax’s eyes and hair… Everything else… is all you.”
Angel smiled and they took a seat on the couch.
“So what’s going on in Gemma’s world?”
“Funny, I was just about to ask you the same.”
“Honestly… I’d rather talk about anything, but me, or anything relating to what took place.”
“That bad, huh?”
“That and well… I just wanna live in the moment for now and not think about any of it. I have my family back and we’re home now. That’s all that matters.”
“I hear you, sweetheart.”
“So tell me about you and Nero.”
“I’m afraid there isn’t much to tell on that one. We’re not on “speaking” terms at the moment.”
“Let’s just say he doesn’t seem to dig my bad girl years.”
Angel snorted on this.
“You mean as in yesterday? And would you? I mean honestly… You gotta put yourself in his shoes.”
“Just calling it the way I see it. He’ll come around. Once he realizes you’re not going to bite his head off. Just give him some time to think it over…”
“Hmmm… on a further note I suppose I’m truly karma’s bitch.”
“How so? I mean besides the whole skeptical Nero ordeal.”
“All this time… JT…” Gemma hinted with a scowl.
Angel drew back a breath and nodded.
“Those things… they tend to happen. With all due respect, when you’re not satisfying your man. He tends to play the field.”
“Isn’t that supposed to be a ME thing to say?
“It would be… if you had done as such.”
Gemma shook her head and sort of smiled, in mere amusement.
“So you’re saying it’s all my fault.”
“A little… yes. But JT made his bed as well and he had to sleep in it. But honestly Gemma, what did you think would come from all that mess? You basically shunned him out and turned to his best friend. The two people JT counted on most. Are the very ones that betrayed him and ripped his heart out. Then you want to turn around and act as if you were the victim? I love you, Gemma. But even I gotta call foul on that one. If you would’ve backed him up and been there for him, he would’ve never batted an eye another woman’s direction.”
“Oh honey… All men play the field, at least the ones with options. It wouldn’t have mattered what I did. It was in his veins.”
“That’s so much horseshit and you know it. ”
“So you’re telling me that Jax will never get “bored” and have his fun when on the road?”
“Now I don’t know that for certain. Truth of the matter no one does. All I know… is I won’t give him reason to. So if he does, that’s on him and not me.”
“Well good for you.”
“Yep! I’m an awesome wife!” Angel smarted and sent Gemma a wink.
“Bitch….” She whispered so that Abel couldn’t hear her.
“Actually that was all you. But it’s your choice on where it goes from here. Did you learn from those mistakes, Gemma? Or are you willing to play with the lives of others, in order to give yourself a head start? Something to think about… All I know is I’m tired of the drama. It’s time to be a family and let bygone be bygones.”
Gemma raised her brows as Angel rested her head against her shoulder. Her mother-in-law said nothing on it as Angel closed her eyes and it seemed as if she were out in the matter of minutes.
“Mommy tired.” Abel said as he took notice as well.
Gemma put a finger to her lips and nodded.
“Let her sleep.”
He nodded and went back to coloring.
Jax greeted his mother with a nod as he entered the living room. His wife was still asleep and somehow ended up with her head in his mother’s lap. Gemma had CJ lying beside her and she too was out. Abel looked over seeing that his father was home.
“Daddy!” he squealed out and was running over with a picture he had colored.
Jax smiled but put a finger to his lips.
“Mommy and CJ are sleeping.”
“Okay…” Abel whispered as Jax scooped him up.
“I make you this.”
“I love it. Thank you… Let’s go put it on the fridge.”
Gemma managed to maneuver herself off the couch, without waking Angel. She took CJ to her room and got her changed and put to bed. When she returned to the living room, she looked to Angel with concern. She was whimpering off and on in her sleep and had her hands clamped over her stomach. She turned to the clearing of a throat.
“Night terrors… They were tamed, somewhat. But they’re back…”
Gemma nodded and grabbed a nearby blanket. She draped it over her and placed one of the couch pillows beneath her head.
“Abel, why don’t you go to your room and play? We can play after Grandma and I talk.”
“Okay daddy.” He said, grabbing his Trixie and Rex.
Jax waited until he was out of the room. He took a seat at one of the recliners and signaled for his mother to have a seat as well.
“Should I prepare for another bitchfest?”
“Do you need one?”
“Is that a trick question?”
“I suppose I had that one coming.”
“Amongst other things… But it seems as if dad already handled that one for me.”
Jax shrugged and cleared his throat. He leaned back and rubbed his face, with this miserable look about him.
“Look, I have no idea what to say or how to even feel about this.”
“Oh, I think you pretty much let me know last night.”
“Come on, mom! How was I supposed to react? I had no idea all that had taken place!”
“Neither did I!” She snapped back.
“I hadn’t a clue your father was raising another family with one of his whores.”
Jax sort of laughed.
“She’s not a whore, mom. I’ve met her and Trinity.”
Gemma’s entire face lit up and her hand shook, as she dug for a cigarette in her purse.
“And what’s the bitch’s name?”
“Mom, would you quit calling her that?!”
“Why are you so defensive over her?”
Jax closed his eyes for a moment.
“I’m not…” This is more about dad and his feelings on the matter.
“What’s that supposed to mean?”
“What do you think it means?”
“What is it you’re not telling me?”
He thought back to the letters and let out a nervous laugh. That was the last thing his mother needed to see. No matter how much she probably deserves it. He just couldn’t bring himself to do it. It wasn’t just about hurting his mother. It was about dishonoring his father – by letting her read something so personal and meant for Maureen’s eyes only. He knew Maureen’s reasoning now. She wanted Jax to know that what she and JT had – wasn’t just some fling. It was real and it ended tragically.
“I’ve already told you everything you need to know. What’s done is done. You and dad were pretty much night and day. In the end you had no one to blame, but yourselves. You dragged us kids right into the mix of it all. And it isn’t just about the affairs you two had going on. It’s about the deadly secret you all kept from us. I know what really happened to Thomas.”
And even if it wasn’t stated word for in the letter, Jax already knew. The supposed “curse” aka child of the moon gene was already in his father. Apparently it got handed down. Between Gemma’s inherited heart defect and the werewolf gene, it was too much for Thomas’s to take. It was more than obvious that the transformation hit him at a very young age. And his heart simply gave out.
“Don’t you think we should’ve known these things? I mean dammit, mom. I almost lost Abel at birth! And to find out you’ve been hiding this from me… It’s like you’re stabbing me and Abel in the back. You knew what this could possibly do to him, but you never once let me in!”
“Only because it skipped you!”
Jax gritted his teeth, his eyes flickered, and his canines jutted out.
“Does this look like it skipped me to you?!”
“Jesus…” Gemma uttered, with a hand over her heart.
She already knew, but seeing him now… it was like gazing upon JT.
“It shouldn’t have hit you. It shouldn’t have taken this long. You should’ve been in the clear. Your father said so himself!”
“Well he was wrong! All it took was a mere attack from something alike and BAM, here I am!”
“And what were the odds of you getting attacked by a giant wolf and turning into your father?!”
“Hell if I fucking know but it damn sure happened, now didn’t it?! And I hadn’t so much as a warning. And now my son and my daughter face the same probability!”
“You think that’s what I wanted? I wasn’t even aware of the curse! It was AFTER I married your father. I…” She pinched her eyes shut and shook her head.
“It wasn’t until Thomas died that he came clean about it. JT took it hard and I… Well, I was already out of sorts with him about the cartel and everything club related. How he hid it from me all those years? I will never know. But it took your brother dying for your father to even come clean about what he really was. He revealed himself to me that night, drunk off his ass. Saying how he fucked up over and over. That made the first time I ever saw that man cry. And when he saw you falling apart, he damn near killed himself! Of course now I know there was so much more behind it. He could admit to me that he was to blame in killing our baby boy. But he couldn’t admit that he had a family back in Ireland. So what’s that tell you?”
“That he wanted to hold on to what little sanity he had left. And if he would’ve told you… it would’ve been the end. His only concern at the time was us kids. Mom, he pretty much wrote you off, the way you did him. How can you not see it?! And furthermore, how did he keep from killing you and Clay? How could he have THAT much control? The news of your affair should’ve driven him infuckingsane!”
“I don’t have the answers for that…”
Jax shook his head in disbelief. He wouldn’t dare say it. But he knew without a shadow of a doubt, he didn’t have that same restraint. If Angel ever slept with another man, he knew he’d have blood on his hands. And that terrified the hell out of him. Feeling that strong about it, considering his own history. He cheated on Tara and he wasn’t exactly faithful to Wendy. Yet here he was… expecting his wife to be? But on that same note, he knew without a shadow of a doubt – that part of his life was over. He was a different man now. And that’s what it took to raise this family and take care of his club. It’s what was needed in order to get the job done.
“Think Maureen sucked that anger right out of him?”
They gradually turned their heads Angel’s direction.
“What?! It seems like a decent explanation for me. I know if I need to unleash some anger I just…”
“That’s enough…” Gemma scolded.
“I was gonna say shoot some rounds…” she said with a wink upon Jax.
He managed to chuckle and shook his head.
“You’re something else, you know that?”
“Yep. Now can we all hold hands and hug it hug it out or just let it go period? This shit’s giving me a headache.”
“I’m sorry this is such a bother to you.” Gemma sarcastically threw out there.
“It’s okay. I forgive you.”
“If you don’t tan her little hide, I will.”
“Sounds kinky…” Angel fired back and Jax covered his mouth in laughter.
“I hope you realize that won’t be allowed in public once I take over as sheriff.”
“Excuse me?” Angel asked as she was getting her coffee at one of the local shops.
The same cop that had arrested the Sons and tore up their chapel was pointing at her shirt.
She looked down.
“They’re fully covered, officer… And since when is it a crime to have breasts?”
He rolled his eyes and the cashier was laughing. “Afraid she got you there.”
“You stay out of this.”
The cashier shrugged and went on to serve another customer. The cop followed Angel outside.
“I was talking about the shirt.”
“And what’s wrong with this particular shirt?”
“It’s gang related and anything of the such will not be allowed in this town.”
“First of all, it’s a club. Second, you’re not sheriff yet. Third, I’m pretty sure this is harassment.”
She held her jacket open.
“Take a good long hard look, officer. SAMCRO isn’t going anywhere. And there’s really nothing you can do about it.”
“We’ll just see about that.”
“Imma shakin’ in my boots!”
Angel climbed onto Jax’s old bike and placed her coffee into the holder. She put her helmet on and blew the officer a kiss, before hitting the road. Jax had just pulled up in time to see this and caught up to her. He looked over as she was stopped at a light.
“I saw that!” He called out with a smirk.
“Just giving him a taste of what he can’t have.”
Jax chuckled and followed as the light turned green. They pulled up to the old strip club aka new clubhouse. He hopped off his bike and made his way over. He took her by the hand and led her inside. He let her look around before saying anything.
“What do you think?”
“That I’d hate to take a black light to this place…”
He wrinkled his nose in thought.
“Could’ve done without that image.”
“Just sayin’ needs some major TLC. So what’s this about? Porn not pussy enough for you?”
He smiled as she took her helmet off.
“I got all the pussy I need right here…”
“Oh good save…” she teased and twirled about the stripper pole.
“Don’t you owe me a dance?”
“You’re getting off topic, Jax. I highly doubt you brought me here to pole dance.”
“That actually sounds better than the original reason. So let’s do that instead!”
“I don’t have any music.”
“Hell, I’ll sing for ya!”
“You’re such a perv.”
“Yeah well I’m yours.”
“That you are.” She said, making her way off the stage.
He cleared his throat and gestured about the area once again.
“This is the new clubhouse… As you can see it needs some work.”
“What about the garage?” She asked curiously.
“We’ll keep it where it is. And I’m taking down the Morrow name.”
“What’s your mother going to think on that one?”
“IT doesn’t matter. Not her club. Not her choice. The Morrow name doesn’t belong anywhere near this club.”
“Then we’d better marry your mother off to Nero and FAST!”
He shook his head but laughed.
“That’s the last thing she needs…”
“Right? We don’t need another dead husband.”
Angel clamped a hand over her mouth realizing what she’d said.
“Sorry…” she said with a cringe.
“Nothing I wasn’t thinking already, babe.”
“Still that was a bitchy thing to say.”
He shrugged and propped himself up on the bar.
“Just proves you’re a Teller…”
Angel walked on over and the outlaw wrapped his arms around her.
“So what do you think?”
“It’s a start and it’s certainly better than rebuilding from scratch.”
He nodded in agreement.
“But how’d you pull this off?”
He nodded once again and cupped her chin.
“Off subject… but I gotta say. You’re fucking sexy as hell on that bike.”
“Just thought I’d give it a spin.”
He looked to be in thought and soothingly ran his hands along her arms.
She sort of laughed like he was joking.
“I’m serious… You were born to ride that bike. I want you to have it.”
“Jax…” He put a finger to her lips.
“I’ve no use for it anymore. Might as well go to you… So just say thank you, Jax baby. I love you. And be done with it.”
“Angel…” he teasingly threatened.
“Fine… Thank you, Jax baby. I love you. And be done with it.”
“You’re welcome! Smart ass…”
Jax was kissing her when they heard the clearing of a throat.
“Am I interruptin’ somethin’?”
Jax let out a groan of misery and Angel softly laughed.
“Not at all, come on in.”
Nero nodded and stepped inside. Jax narrowed his eyes upon Angel.
“You’re an evil woman, you know that?”
“So I’m told…”
He smacked her on the ass as she was walking towards Nero. Jax lay on the bar and gazed upon the ceiling. Doing everything within his power “to talk it down”.
“You and I need to talk.”
“Oh?” Nero asked with curiosity.
She nodded and took him by the arm, leading him into another room.
“First of all, thank you…”
Nero shook his head.
“There’s no need to thank me.” He said with sincerity.
She smiled and leaned against the wall.
“So you and Gemma? What happened there?” she questioned wanting to hear his side of it.
He sighed and rubbed the back of his neck.
“I’m not so sure. Ta be honest. I suppose I wasn’t too keen on the idea of becoming the “next”.”
Angel had a good laugh at this.
“Can’t really blame you there… If you don’t marry her, you should be fine.” She said in a joking manner.
“So livin’ in sin is the way to go?”
“It’s what all the kids are doing nowadays, Nero.”
She tilted her head in thought.
“Are you looking into marrying her?”
Nero sort of laughed and rubbed his face with his hands. Then he folded his arms about his chest.
“Nah… I’m afraid marriage isn’t in the deck of cards for me.”
“Then you two are perfect for one another.”
He reared back at this.
“Just hear me out, Nero…”
“You really think Gemma’s going to be ready for marriage anytime soon? Especially after what she just recently found out.”
“And what was that?”
Angel recoiled a bit and drew back an uncertain breath.
“Answer me something else first…”
“And what would that be?”
“Do you love her?”
Nero took his time before answering.
“Yes, but I’m not so sure how I feel now that I know the truth and that’s another thing. This club… They’ve been getting into a lot of heat. And now I’ve gone and jumped back into becoming the “Latino King”. Something I once swore, I’d never do again. In fact that seems to be the constant since I pulled you out of that car.”
“So you’re blaming me?”
“Not at all. I’m only thinking out loud on this one, Angel.” He pointed to his head.
“There’s a lot going on up in here.”
“Are you having regrets about going into business with my husband?”
“Let’s just rewind this a bit so you get what I’m sayin’.”
She nodded and waited for an explanation.
“I haven’t felt “alive” in quite some time. Not since the passing of my wife, years ago. Then you come into the picture and I don’t even know how to explain it. I find out that it’s because of you that my son didn’t die that day. And between you and me… Jax has become like another son. Crazy as that sounds. There’s just something about the boy.”
“He has that way about him.” she said in agreement.
“Then there’s Gem… There’s a connection, no doubt. There has been since we first locked eyes. But it’s very confusing… That woman has more baggage than anyone I’ve never known. There’s so much history. And at times I wonder if that Gemma still exists. If so… I’m not so sure what to do with that. I love the woman, but as she is now. Not too fond of the old Gem.”
“That makes two of us. However… I’m going to be completely honest with you, Nero. That part of Gemma will always exist. There’s nothing we can do about it. She’s going to pop in for a visit every now and then. And all we can do is help to make sure that’s all it is. Just little flare ups. And trust me when I say it can be done. I’ve done it many of times. I have my ways of squashing the beast, before she takes on her full transformation, so to speak.”
Nero half laughed.
“I’m not so sure I have what it takes.”
“And you won’t… unless you give it a try. That’s your decision. No one else can make that for you. All I can say is to give it a chance. Let her know that it’s a mere trial, before diving on in. Talk to her. Let her know what’s going on in that mind of yours. She’ll have a better chance of taming it, if she knows it’s something that concerns you. She will know what to look out for. But if you keep your silence on this and just let it go. Two things will come of this… One – you will turn your back to her out of fear, but in the back of your mind and every time you catch wind of her, you’re going to wonder if you made the right decision. Because no matter how many years go by. Part of you is going to feel just as passionate about Gemma as you do now. You’re letting your fears cloud your judgement and you’re going out your way to protect yourself, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing. But you gotta ask yourself. Am I doing this because of Gemma? Or am I doing it because of my own history?”
Nero swallowed back on this.
“And the second?” He questioned and Angel smiled.
“You’re going to give her that chance. But figure it best to keep quiet. So the two of you will never quite heal. There will always be doubts and so many questions. You prefer the silence over the fighting – figure it is what’s best. So it will build and build, until one day you’re both at your wits end… And I don’t believe I have to explain the endgame to that scenario.”
“Hmmm. And what is it you’re suggesting?”
“Call her. Take her to dinner, but let her know right away – it’s just dinner, nothing more. Once you get her alone. TALK! About everything. I mean it, Nero. Whatever ails you. That is your once chance to be heard. Let it out and let her in. And in return she just might let you in as well. And from there… it’s up to you and her to decide if this should continue, or not.”
Nero nodded but got this odd look about him.
He pinched the bridge of his nose.
“I’ve yet to ask you about what happened and how you’re doing…”
“Please don’t… I’m willing to talk about anything, but…” She hinted and he nodded in understanding.
“Well it’s good to have you back.”
“Thank you. It’s good to be back.”
She hugged him afterward.
“Good luck…” She uttered.
He laughed and hugged her in return.
“Thanks… I’m gonna need it.”
“That’s no lie…”
The instant Lyla opened the door, she latched onto Angel.
“Oh thank god…” she said behind tears.
Jax smiled as the two had their moment. He nodded upon Ellie and Kenny. Abel ran on in and was making himself at home. Lyla’s jaw dropped, once she took notice of the tiny bundle in Jax’s arms.
“Oh my god… is that…?”
She dropped her hold and Angel smiled. Jax handed his daughter over and Lyla teared up as she gazed upon their daughter.
“Oh Angel… She’s gorgeous.”
“No question as to who the father is…” Lyla teased with a wink Jax’s way.
He’d this certain beam about him.
“How are things, darlin’?”
“Good. Opie called earlier said they should be here in a couple days.”
Angel was caught off guard as Kenny and Ellie ran up and hugged the hell out of her. She smiled and hugged them in return. Kenny cleared his throat and quickly looked away, but not before Jax caught wind of the boy crying. He was quick to exit the room. Angel looked to Jax in wonder. He cleared his throat a bit and shrugged. He wasn’t about to embarrass the kid. Lyla headed to the couch and was admiring CJ. Angel made her way down the hall and knocked on Kenny’s door.
“Are you nakers?” she called out causing Jax to laugh.
The door cracked open a bit.
“Can I come in?”
He stepped aside and she opened the door.
“Love what you’ve done with the place. Lots of boobs!”
Kenny blushed and shook his head.
“Oops the one behind your door lost her top! Maybe I should draw one.”
“You wouldn’t….” He hissed.
“Oh, I so would. Does your old man know you got a nakers chick behind your door?”
“Hell if I know… nor do I care. At least it’s not Lyla….”
Angel snorted on this.
She plopped down on his bed and giggled once she saw the poster on his ceiling.
Kenny’s eyes widened and he hopped onto the bed and quickly took it down. He’d forgotten he had that up there.
“I bet that makes one hell of a nightcap.”
“Seriously…?” He shushed.
She rolled over and looked his direction.
“Yes… seriously. Word of advice, if you ever get a girlfriend. Take those down, before inviting her over.”
“Got it. Now are you done?”
She got this cocky grin about her.
“Mind if I look under your bed?”
“Don’t you even… and shut it, will ya?”
She made a zipping motion with her fingers and nodded. Kenny broke into a fit of laughter, but that laughter soon led to a complete meltdown. He was sitting at his computer chair, with his face covered. Angel came to her feet and walked on over. She squatted down before him.
“What is it, Kenny?” she whispered, whilst cupping his chin.
“I thought I’d never see you again.”
“Well, I’m here now…”
Kenny wiped his nose with the sleeve of his shirt.
“I killed a man…”
She tilted her head as if waiting for the punchline.
“What do you mean, Kenny?” she questioned with apprehension.
“What I mean is I blew some motherfucker’s head off…”
“Some idiot Mexicans were beating the shit out of Lyla and…”
His face flushed over and he closed his eyes, shaking his head.
“One of them was gonna fuck my sister!”
Angel swallowed back and turned a bit green.
“Jesus… When did this happen?”
“Not too long ago…”
“And what did the police say when they brought you in for questioning?”
“It was self-defense… Nothing they could do. The bastards broke into our house and were on our territory.”
“I’m so sorry, Kenny. I had no idea.”
“Of course you didn’t! You were going through your own hell. So what they do to you? Torture you? Rape you?!”
She leaned against the wall and shrugged.
“Apparently not enough… I’m still here to tell about it.”
Kenny managed to smile and she cut him wink.
“One thing’s for certain… You’re Opie Winston’s son through and through.”
The boy rolled his eyes.
“Don’t you fucking roll your eyes. There’s some major pride to be taken in that, whether you go the route of the club, or not. You’re just like your father; he would go above and beyond – in order to keep your family safe. And that’s exactly what you did.”
“How is Ellie?”
“She’s okay. Just a little jumpy, particularly at night…”
“That’s to be expected. It’ll take her a bit to adjust. It could’ve been worse…”
“She’s a little girl…” he whispered in disgust.
“Yeah well, there are a lot of sick bastards out there.”
“Hey are you okay?” Kenny questioned as she as looking rather pale.
She sunk to the floor and nodded.
“Just give me a minute…”
“It comes and goes… I haven’t had the chance to get refuel, if you get my drift.”
“Can I help somehow?”
“Nah… I’ll be okay. I just need a few…”
“Maybe I should get Jax…”
“Don’t… He’s got enough to worry about. I’m fine.”
Naturally, Jax was picking up on everything that was being said between the two. And it wasn’t because he was going out his way to listen in. The room he and Lyla were in was quiet and the sound only seemed to travel. He knew it was because of his senses. Lyla and Ellie acted as if they hadn’t heard a thing. He cleared his throat and came to his feet. Once he got to the door, he knocked. Jax nodded upon Kenny as he opened the door.
Kenny gave Angel an apologetic glance.
“She’s not looking so great.”
Angel shook her head and flipped Kenny off. “…traitor…” she murmured and the boy laughed.
“Sorry… But you look like you look like shit.”
Jax entered the room and helped Angel to her feet.
“You need to eat and get some sleep.” He said in a moderately demanding tone.
“Angel… Let me take care of CJ and Abel. You need to rest.”
“I SAID I’M FINE!”
“Dammit, Angel! “He scolded and Kenny rushed over, helping Jax.
They got her onto the bed and Jax sighed.
“Is she gonna be okay?”
“Yeah… She’s just stubborn as hell.”
Jax was fuming on the inside though. Typical Angel… worrying about EVERYONE, but herself. She was too busy taking care of him, the kids, and everyone else around her. She hardly took the time to eat, much less sleep. She needed sometime to recuperate. That little tidbit with the Irish… drained her. Jax drew back a breath and brushed her hair away from her face.
“Let her sleep…”
Kenny nodded and headed on out of the room. Jax wasn’t far behind as he pulled the door to. Lyla cut them a look of concern as they entered the living room.
“Angel needs some rest…”
She nodded in perfect understanding.
“Why don’t we take the kids to the park? We can leave her a note, just in case.”
“That’s exactly what she needs…”
Couple hours later…
Angel rolled over; finding the note Jax had left behind. She sighed and trolled onto her back. It was a slow progress, but she was getting better day by day. She crawled on out of the bed and headed to the front porch, where she had a good smoke. Before long, Jax and Lyla pulled into the drive, with the kids. Jax was first to step out of the car.
“Better?” He called out.
“Much…” She admitted and he smiled.
He got Abel out of the car seat. Abel ran over and handed his mother a pink rose.
“For you, mommy.”
“Awe… thank you, Abel. It’s so pretty!”
He blushed a bit and smiled.
“Daddy says like you.”
“Does he now?”
Abel nodded and she raised her brows her husband’s direction. He chuckled a bit and made his way over with CJ.
“Gotta earn them points somehow, darlin’.” He uttered and pecked her on the lips.
“Did you have fun?”
“Yeah! Daddy went down the slide with baby sistor and me!”
“Wow, that sounds awesome!”
“It was awesome!”
Angel laughed at Abel’s enthusiasm.
“I hungry now.”
“Okay baby, I’ll fix something when we get home.”
“Um no… we’re going to grab something on the way.” Jax stated causing Lyla to laugh.
“Jax, I can cook…”
“That you can… And believe me I’m craving one of your home cooked meals. But now is not the time. You’re to take it easy, until I say otherwise.”
“You heard the man…” Lyla said with a nudge.
“You just wait until he brings out the master and slave paraphernalia… That’s all the sign you need.” She teased.
Jax cocked a brow on this. He leaned into his wife’s ear and whispered.
“Is that what you want, babe? You wanna be my little slave?”
He picked up on her irregular heartrate and that slight blush she had going. This had him laughing in mere amusement.
“Damn… I’ll have to keep that one in mind, darlin’.” He murmured and popped her on the rear.
Angel went to respond but was distracted as her phone went off. She reared back and cut Jax an odd glance.
“Who is it?”
Think we can meet up? Have a cup of coffee?
Angel looked to the time.
A little late for coffee…
Wayne sighed on the other end.
Then a beer…
That important, huh?
Alright… Give me about an hour, or so. I’ll meet you at the bar on 5th street.
I’ll be there.
“Everything okay?” Jax asked after she hung up the phone.
“Not sure, to be honest.”
“Hmmm. You be careful. Seems like we got eyes everywhere.” He hinted as to the men in blue.
“I’ll be on my best behavior.”
Lyla had a good laugh at this.
“Perhaps he should hire you a babysitter.”
“What’s this?” Angel asked as Wayne slid over a massive book.
He took a sip off his beer before answering.
“This is going to be your one way ticket out of trouble.”
“You remember what I told you about Charming…”
She nodded and skimmed through the book. It was a list of laws and he had a particular section bookmarked. It was in relation to local clubs and city ordinances.
“I strongly advise you to read that, front to back – if possible. Get it memorized word for word.”
“There’s going to be a new sheriff soon and he’s gonna do whatever it takes to stick it to the Sons. He wants that club out of Charming. But he legally can’t… unless…”
“They do something to warrant it. So that’s where you come in… You gotta remind those boys to keep their noses clean and if they happen to get into some sort of mischief, you’re gonna need this. Just don’t let anyone know you have that.”
“Gotcha… Thank you, Wayne.”
“So you really think Jax is gonna keep it clean, treat the Sons like a legit club?”
“To the best of his ability…”
“I hope so, for all your sakes.”
Angel kissed Wayne on the cheek. She started to pay for her drink and Wayne put a stop to it.
“Add whatever she wants to my tab.”
The bartender nodded. Angel went to argue against this, only to look over and see Wayne taking a row of shots and he was chasing each of them with his beer.
“Long day?” She asked with a touch of concern.
“I got another radiation treatment coming up.”
“Oh… And how are those going?”
He ordered another shot and downed it.
“There’s something else, isn’t there?”
“You mean besides Death knocking at my door?”
She took his hand and nodded.
“It seems I’m heading into an “early” retirement.”
“You’re kidding me…”
“Nope. Once the boys in blue make their way in, I’m being replaced. Apparently my “treatments’ were a burden amongst others.”
“Yes, because you have a choice.”
“They seem to think so.”
“Yes. I’ve lost count of how many people wished they had cancer as an excuse to miss work.”
On this she nudged him playfully and he chuckled.
“Only you could make me laugh during a shitty situation like this.”
“I do my best, but…” she downed his other shot and grabbed his keys.
“I’m taking you home. You can get your truck tomorrow.”
Wayne sighed and downed the rest of his beer. He lost his footing when he came off the bar stool and Angel broke his fall.
She kept him propped up against her and grabbed the book. She escorted him on out the door.
“You want me to ride on that?”
“Why not?” She asked, as he was looking to the bike with hesitation.
“Come now… it’s better than you getting in that truck and getting yourself killed.
“You think I won’t on this?”
“Not if you hold on… don’t be such pussy, sheriff.”
Angel climbed on and Wayne wrapped his arms around her.
“No need to be shy now… Get a better hold.”
He sighed and did as such.
“Oh myyyy. Is that a badge in your pocket or you just…”
She giggled and started the bike. She drove the sheriff to his place and accompanied him inside. Wayne stumbled about the apartment. Angel shook her head and led him towards the couch. She took his shoes off and got him situated for the night. Before she left, she gathered a glass of water and a couple of Tylenol. But he was out by the time she returned. She nodded amongst herself and put the glass of water and pills on the coffee table.. Angel grabbed a blanket and draped it over him. She locked everything up on the way out.
“They were supposed to arrive hours ago!” Lyla indicated and went back to pacing the area along the docks.
Jax sighed as the women were looking somewhat fretful.
“I’m sure they’re just running late.”
“Come on, Jax. You know it isn’t like Op!”
He nodded in agreement.
“Look, why don’t you go on home. Get some sleep and Angel and I will call you first thing.”
Lyla had this pouty look about her and Angel wrapped an arm around her and smiled.
“He’ll be here, before you know it.”
“I hope so…”
“I know so…”
Kenny rolled his eyes and kicked a rock into the water.
“That’s about a 7 out of 10 on the mature side.” Angel teased and he sort of laughed.
“He’s coming back. They all are.” She did her best to assure.
Jax nodded in full agreement.
“That’s right, darlin’.”
Lyla looked out to sea once again and let out a miserable sigh. She rounded Kenny and Ellie back towards the car. Jax chuckled and Angel clamped a hand over her mouth. Kenny froze just as he was about to get in the car. He pointed out to sea and Lyla narrowed her eyes.
She turned back and saw the flashing lights. That was Opie’s doing as he was giving them the signal. They just knew… Lyla teared up and hugged Kenny and Ellie. Jax wrapped his arms around Angel’s waist and kissed along her neck.
“It starts the moment they step foot on that dock, Angel baby. Are you ready?”
She looked to the stars and smiled.
“I’ve been ready.”
“That’s what I like to hear.”
An hour passed, before the Sons finally made it to port. Angel reared back as an all too familiar redhead stepped off the ship along with Chibs. Fawn, Kerrianne, and a girl she didn’t recognize. Angel nudged Jax.
“Who is that?”
“Looks like it’s Chibs’s new old lady.”
“New old lady?!” Angel repeated, looking stunned.
“I swear to God I know her from somewhere.”
“Maybe you do…” He said with a shrug, knowing anything to be possible nowadays.
Opie and the others weren’t far behind. The VP made his way over and handed Jax a black urn.
“Thought he’d like a proper sendoff.” Opie hinted and proceeded in hugging his wife and kids.
Jax nodded in agreement. He called forth the Sons and his old lady. He had everyone grab a handful of Happy’s ashes. They lined up at the docks and Jax looked out to sea.
“Things won’t be the same without you, brother. But we’re all gonna meet up one day and shoot the shit, just like old times.” Jax said as he spread the ashes about.
A good breeze hit and the others set him free as well.
“Tonight we’re to gather in Happy’s honor. We know that’s the way he’d have preferred it and that’s exactly what he’s gonna get.”
Please leave your comment/review. Part II of chapter 43 is now up!