Tara sleepily slapped her alarm clock. Sitting up all she wanted to was go back to bed, but today of all days, she couldn't. Today she was opening her very own bakery in Charming, California. She had done it.
Putting her feet on the ground she headed towards the bathroom to get ready for the long day ahead. Tara had no idea what to expect. She didn't know if the Sons of Anarchy would cause any trouble for her or they would be peaceful, but something that Sheriff Unser had said yesterday was bugging her. She couldn't wrap her mind around the V.P. following her; she wasn't in Charming to hurt anyone, she just wanted a fresh start.
Finishing up her morning routine, Tara walked out of her house just in time to see her neighbor heading out of her house.
"Good Morning, Tara." Donna Winston called.
"Good Morning, Donna." Tara replied walking to the end of her drive so they could chat without yelling. "You're up early."
"Yeah, I'm not a morning person, but when one of my patients needs me, I get up without a fuss." She commented, "Ready to open your shop?"
Tara shuffled her feet, "Yes and no."
"Nothing really. I talked to Sheriff Unser yesterday and he said something that is bothering me."
"Well for one if you keep calling him Sheriff Unser, he'll put you behind bars." Donna Laughed, "He hates titles. Secondly what did say that is bugging you, if you don't mind me asking?"
"That Jax is Clay's eyes and ears around town and that he just wants to make sure I'm just opening a bakery." Tara hesitated.
"Oh Tara, I'm so sorry. Wayne is an idiot some days." Donna assured. "Jax is harmless; but he is curious about you. Like super curious."
"Because you are the first female in town who pays little to no attention to him. That's something he isn't used to and now it's like a game."
"I'm not a prize." Tara protested getting angry at a guy she didn't even know.
"I know that. But Jax is male so it takes them a lot longer to realize things like that. Don't let him bother you." replied Donna putting a reassuring hand on Tara's shoulder.
"How do I not let him bother me when he follows me home and almost everywhere else I go?" Tara questioned more to herself than to Donna.
Putting her hands on Tara's shoulders, "Listen to me Tara, Jax would never physically hurt you. He saw you the night you came into town when Wayne took you to the hospital. He's curious and the fact that you don't interact with the town a whole lot peaks his interest more."
Tara's shoulders sagged, "I don't mean to be antisocial. I'm just not very good at making friends." She admitted staring at Donna.
"Well then it's great for you that I need a close girlfriend who I can come to when Opie and the kids are annoying me." Donna laughed and held out her hand, "Friends?"
"Yes!" Tara squeaked.
"Good. Now two things before I let you get to the bakery and I go to my meeting."
"Okay, what's up?"
"One would you be willing to teach me to bake?" Donna asked, "my kids and Opie loved the cookies you brought over and well when I bake something my whole family runs away as fast as they can."
"Of course with one condition. Would you be willing to teach me to cook family meals. I can do mac and cheese but that is about it."
"Absolutely. Now my second bit, don't worry about Jax and let things happen. I don't know you very well, but I can tell that something has happened to you."
"How did you..."
"When we helped you unload the furniture trucks you avoided being around Opie or anywhere near him and if he came close you would go as white as a sheet." Donna admitted, "now I'm not going to ask what happened or if you would like to talk about it because I'm a therapist so I know you need time to process, but do know that I am around if you ever just need someone to sit in silence with."
"Thank you, Donna." Tara whispered fight back tears, "it's been a long time since someone has been this nice to me."
Donna just pulled Tara into a hug, "You're not alone anymore." she whispered before letting her new friend go.
Tara just wiped her eyes, smiled and turned to head to her car.
Climbing in her car, Tara finally felt at home in Charming. She had a new friend, someone who she didn't believe would judge her for what had happened and how she had handled everything. But she also felt as though maybe now she could venture out into the community and show the Sons of Anarchy that she was here for the long haul and that her bakery was just that, a bakery.
Unlocking the door to her little shop, Tara looked around and couldn't help but smile at herself. Her shop was everything she had envisioned. The walls were pale yellow, her display cases full of cardboard designs of the cakes, cookies, and cupcakes she could make. Plus books full of the other ideas that wouldn't fit in her display cases. Little cafe like tables were scattered around the floor, ready for customers to sit in and eat their desserts.
Shutting the front door, she made her way back to the little office. Opening the door she set down her purse and grabbed her apron. Today was going to be a long day and Tara hated being behind. Walking to her fridge getting the ingredients she needed to make her cinnamon sugar cupcakes, they were her favorite to make because of the homey smell they had when baking.
Jax woke up to his front door opening. Rolling over he looked at the alarm clock 8:30 a.m. so it was Anitta coming in to take Abel for the day. Sitting up he got out of bed, found a shirt and sweat pants. Opening his bedroom door he almost tripped over Abel, who just looked up at him and giggled.
Bending down he picked up his son, "now how did you get out of your crib?" he asked while tickling Abel.
Abel just wiggled and giggled against his Dad, finally calming down to lay his head against his shoulder.
"Good Morning, Anitta." Jax grinned as he walked into the kitchen, "did you let this little monster out?" he asked putting Abel in the high chair.
"Good Morning, Jax. And you know I did." Anitta admitted smiling, "he was sitting in his crib waiting for his Daddy to come get him."
"I know, last night was a long night." Jax admitted getting a cup of coffee.
"Not that way. No woman besides you and my Mother have been in this house with Abel since he came home from the hospital."
"Ah, so you were thinking about what I said about the new town baker."
"Yes, I couldn't stop." Jax guiltily admitted.
"So you are going to leave her alone?"
"I can't do that."
"And why not?" Anitta questioned starting to feed Abel.
"There's something about her Anitta, she's hiding something." Jax mused, "something dark."
"Jackson Teller, you listen to me." Anitta scolded, "everyone has a past, yes some more dark than others, but that does not mean you have the right to bother the poor woman. She looks as though she needs a friend and you following her like a shadow is probably making that hard."
"I hadn't thought of that." Jax admitted looking at the floor. He knew Anitta was right, he wasn't being fair to the new baker. She was just new in town.
"Good, now that you are somewhat thinking with your big head, you should get to work." Anitta grinned, "isn't Gemma putting together a booth at the Taste of Charming event today."
"Yeah. I'm going to go shower."
"Okay. Be good today, Jackson."
"I will Anitta. I will."
Anitta went back to feeding Abel as she heard the shower turn on. "You may have a new Mommy before you know it Abel." she mused. She had watched Jax ever since the new baker had come to town; he was a different guy, gentle, loving, attentive, things he hadn't been before. Thinking back she remembered how angry Jax had been when had come back from the hospital with Abel after one of his checkups. He had kept raving on and on about this woman who had come in covered in bruises and wearing a boot, for a broken ankle.
Setting the spoon down, "you're Daddy is a protective man, Abel. A hot headed, but protective man." Anitta concluded.
Tara was pulling her third batch of cinnamon sugar cupcakes out of the oven when she heard a lot of commotion coming from the street. Looking up she realized that more time had passed than she had realized. Her grand opening banner wasn't up yet and the Sons of Anarchy were already setting up the tents for the event that would be going on all afternoon. Setting down her cupcake tray on a cooling rack, Tara untied her apron, grabbed her banner and headed towards the door.
Stopping when she reached her door, she noticed that an envelope was taped to the outside. Stepping outside, she noticed that someone had set a latter up, so that she would be able to put up her banner. Turning back to her bakery door, she grabbed the envelope and opened it, not prepared for what was inside.
Pulling a note on white paper out, Tara read I found you... Shaking she quickly looked around to see if anyone was standing close enough to have left the note. She knew she had been in her own little world when she had been baking, but not the extent that she wouldn't have noticed him watching her. Sufficing that whoever had left the note was gone she stuffed the envelope in her back pocket and shakily climbed onto the ladder.
Jax pulled onto main street and saw his brothers setting up the tents that would be up for the next three days. This was his Mom's event, she lived to rule over all of Charming. As he dismounted his bike, he noticed Opie, who was watching the new baker, who for once was outside of her shop in the daytime.
Heading over to his best friend, "Wow she does socialize with us common people." Jax commented smiling.
"I guess so." Opie responded looking worried.
"Something's wrong with her."
"What do you mean."
"I mean look at her, her hands are shaking like leaves about to fall off a tree and she keeps dropping that side of her banner."
"Well she isn't exactly tall enough to reach the hook that was put up for the banner, so let's go help her out."
"You want to help her out?" Opie questioned reaching for his friends forehead, "are you okay?"
"I'm fine." Jax laughed as he shoved Opie away, "Anitta said something last night and this morning that made me think I have been being too hard on our new town baker."
"I've been saying the same thing for almost a month." Opie chided.
"Yeah Yeah. Try to kick my ass later, Winston."
"Bring it on Teller. I'm bigger than you are."
"But not where it counts." Jax grinned.
Gemma Teller-Morrow had seen her son pull up and was glad to see him looking ready to face the day. Something had been bugging him the past few weeks. She also thought she knew exactly what was bugging him, as she watched her 30 year old son head towards the towns new bakery. The new baker had been in town a little over a month and already had her son wrapped around her pinky finger and had no idea. Gemma had asked Unser to look into the woman who suddenly had shown up in Charming. Unser hadn't been able to find anything besides a good credit score, a degree in business from Chicago State University; the woman virtually a nobody, her parents had died years apart, but nothing special about either one.
Tara was too busy concentrating on not falling off the ladder that she didn't hear Jax and Opie approach. Trying to steady her hand, she took a deep breath and was almost relaxed enough to try and reach the hook again when a hand touched her waist. Losing her balance Tara fell off the ladder and crashed hard into an even harder body.
"Mother Fucker!" Jax yelled as Tara crashed into him, putting her elbow in his eye.
Tara didn't know what had just happened, beyond the fact that she was sitting on the sidewalk outside her shop staring up at a very angry Son, while another one was doubled over laughing.
Opie hadn't been able to control the laughter that came out when Tara had crashed down onto Jax. But he also knew he partly responsible, he hadn't warned Jax that the woman didn't like being touched or being around men all that much. Slowly he was able to catch his breath from laughing at his best friend, he looked between the two.
"You two okay?" he asked wiping his eyes.
"Yeah, my eye just hurts like a bitch." Jax commented staring at his feet blinking.
Tara couldn't say anything, she just wanted to go hide inside her shop and wait for the two Sons that were near her to go away.
"Tara, you okay?" Opie asked bending down a couple feet away from her.
"Yes." she squeaked not looking at him.
Gemma had heard her son yell and the ladder crash. Making her way across the street, "Jackson." she barked, "You okay?"
"Yeah Ma, I'm fine." Jax responded looking at her, "My eye just hurts a little."
"Well I bet it does, you have a black eye." Gemma retorted turning to glare at the new baker.
Tara just scooted backwards away from the angry matriarch of the Sons of Anarchy. The woman scared her like no else ever had. She hadn't meant to hurt the prince of Charming, it was an honest accident; he had spooked her and she was already nervous, so she fell. But as Tara looked at the woman's knee high boots she knew no excuse would make wounding her son any better.
"I'm sorry." Tara whispered, "I didn't mean too."
Only Opie was able to hear Tara, he turned and glared at Gemma. The poor woman was scared out of her mind and here was Gemma glaring at her like she had killed Jax. The guy had been shot for God's sake, so a black eye was nothing. And the more Opie thought about it, it would only make the crow eaters love him more.
"Gemma, back off. It was an accident." Opie defended.
"Excuse me?" Gemma warned.
"You heard me. She didn't mean to give Jax a black eye, he spooked her."
"Spooked her? Please she fell off that ladder awfully quick when he touched her. She wanted to fall into his arms." Gemma sneered.
"Gemma." Jax snapped, "I did spook her, she jumped slightly before she fell off the ladder, so this isn't on her."
Gemma just turned on her heel and walked away muttering, "men and their dicks."
Jax and Opie just looked each other and laughed. Jax was used to his Mom, but he did feel bad for the baker. The poor woman had just fallen off a ladder, been dropped and had a run in with Gemma, all within 5 minutes. Not a good way to start off the Taste of Charming event.
Looking around, "Where's the baker?" Jax asked.
"Her name is Tara, Jax." Opie commented finally giving his best friend the woman's name.
"Oh. Sorry, but seriously where did she go?"
Both looked around and then Opie noticed something moving inside her shop, "I'm going to take a wild guess and say she retreated into her bakery."
Jax turned to look inside the bakery and saw Tara crawl from behind one of the display cases into a back room and close the door. "Okay you want to explain."
"I don't know much. Just that she doesn't like to be touched or be around men in general." Opie offered pulling out his phone.
"Why didn't you tell that me, asshole?" Jax accused, "I wouldn't have touched her if I had known."
"Yes you would have." Opie said as his phone started dialing Donna.
"Okay, yeah I would have. God I still want to touch her."
"Of course you do. She's something you can't have." Opie laughed as Donna picked up.
Jax just shoved his best friend, "Get your old lady here." he said bending over to pick up the over turned ladder.
Opie just laughed, but noticed an envelope laying on the ground by the ladder. Bending down he picked it up, opened it and found the note.
Still on the phone with Donna, "You need to get down here, now!" he said quietly, looking at Jax.
"Ya gonna stay on your knees all day or you gonna help me put up this banner?" Jax teased.
"You know I only get on my knees for one person." Opie retorted.
Tara had hidden herself inside her bakery when Gemma had walked away. She couldn't be near either Son anymore. It wasn't that she was scared they would hurt her, but she did fear that Jax would be mad that she had given him a black eye. Although she did have to admit it added to his already sexy bad ass biker appeal; something she had been trying to deny since seeing him follow her home. She wondered what it would be like to ride on the back of his Harley and have to hold onto him closely.
Pulling herself out of her daydream she felt her pockets for the envelope that had caused her nervousness. Shifting she started to hyperventilate, the envelope wasn't in any of her pockets, frantically she began to look around, opening the door to the office she crawled out and hid behind the display case; just in time to see Opie look at the note inside the envelope.
"Oh no." Tara whispered sitting back, "this can't be happening."
Trying to calm herself down she started to get up when her cell phone rang. Pulling the device out of her purse she saw that it was an unknown number.
"Hello." she said into the phone.
"Hello Tarah." a voice on the other line said smoothly, "Did you get my..."
Tara hung up as quickly as she had answered. Resting against the door jamb she couldn't believe he had found her. Sliding down she put her knees up and folded her arms over the top and put her head down.