The Baker and The Biker

Getting to Know

Donna Winston picked up her pace when she saw her husband pacing beside his bike. Something was seriously wrong. She had thought nothing of his call to her earlier until he told her that needed to get to town now.

"Opie what's wrong?" she huffed, "are you hurt, the kids?"

"No the kids and I are alright." Opie stated staring at his wife, "Did you run here or something?"

"No Opie, I'm usually red faced and out of breath after I walk somewhere. I know I haven't lost all of the baby weight, but." Donna retorted.

"Sorry, I didn't mean..."

"Oh, nevermind." she said, "what is going on? Why did you need me down here so fast?"

Opie reached inside his kutte and pulled out the envelope and handed it to Donna. Donna read the note and stared at Opie.

"What is this?" she demanded.

"I don't know. I think Tara got it today."

"Why would you think that?"

"Because it fell out of her pocket after she scurried back into her bakery after giving Jax a black eye and a run in with Gemma." Opie explained trying not to grin, this situation wasn't funny.

"I leave you alone for 3 hours and all hell breaks loose." Donna commented, "Tara gave Jax the black eye?" she questioned smiling.

"Yeah, but it was unintentional." Opie smiled, "He touched her waist and she fell off the ladder she was standing on."

"Why didn't you tell him that she is comfortable around men?" Donna screeched looking at her friends bakery, which was dark.

"I didn't get the chance to. You know Jax."

"True. I can't believe I missed him getting a black eye from a woman."

"What are we going to do?" Opie asked turning to face the bakery, "She won't come out, she's hiding behind one of the display cases."

"Well I'm guessing that Jax standing within proximity of the door isn't helping matters." Donna mused looking at her husband's best friend.

"No probably not, but I can't get him to move."

"Why not? Just pick him fireman style and carry his ass away so I can get inside and talk to Tara."

"Did you really just tell me to pick up Jax fireman style?" Opie questioned looking impish.

"Yes, yes I did." Donna countered giving him the same look, "now go do as I told you." she said pointing a finger at Jax.

Opie put his hand behind his wife's neck and pulled her towards him and kissed her, "Yes ma'am."

Donna just laughed as her husband headed off towards his best friend. She started to walk down the street and made her way onto the side walk when Opie picked Jax up, who wasn't happy.

Sneaking to the door with Bobby's help, Donna snuck in and headed towards the display case.

Jax had seen Donna come power walking up to Opie and them talk. He didn't know what it was about but he would place major money on Tara. Opie had found something, something he wasn't showing Jax. As friends they had always shared everything with each other, with exception of women; there they had definite preferences.

He was getting antsy. Tara was hiding in her bakery and wouldn't let anyone in, which wouldn't have been hard since the door was unlocked. Jax had tried to enter the bakery and heard her crying and turned around. Not having a whole lot of patience, he tried again to the effect of almost ending up with a second black eye, courtesy of Opie.

Now he was just standing outside the bakery wondering what in the world had the new baker so nervous about men. But at least now he had some understanding of why the woman was sleeping with a gun on her nightstand, but that wasn't helping his curiosity.

Jax was in his own thoughts when Bobby walked up, "Gemma wants you man." he spoke, breaking Jax's thought process.

"For what?"

"Like I know. You know no one questions your mother." Bobby offered, "You okay?"

"Yeah I'm fine. Just curious."

"What else is new?"

"What's that supposed to me?" Jax demanded.

"Come on Jax, for the past month you have been asking questions about this woman and now that you have had an interaction with her, you want to know more."

"True, but come on Bobby. She won't come out of this bakery." Jax said, "doesn't that make you wonder?"

"Not really. She bruised the prince of Charming and had a run with in with your mother afterwards." Bobby stated, "I'd say the woman is a smart one."

Jax just stared at his brother, having no clue that Opie had appeared behind him. Suddenly he was being lifted into the air.

"Opie put me down." he demanded.

"Sorry can't do that." Opie responded walking away from the bakery.

Jax punched his best friend in the back several times hoping the guy would drop him, but Opie just continued on. Giving up Jax glared at Bobby as he saw Donna sneak inside the bakery.

Tara stayed hidden behind the display cases, trying occasionally to look out the front window to see if she could lock the shop's door. But every time she snuck a look, she met the blues eyes of one Jax Teller. He was just standing outside her bakery. He had tried to come in twice and each time just retreated.

Hearing the commotion outside Tara stuck her head out from behind the case and saw Opie carrying Jax away over his shoulder. She had to stifle a giggle when the bell above the door dinged. Stiffening she slid back behind the display case and between the cash register. As the footsteps got closer she covered her mouth with her hand and tried to shallow her breathing.

The footsteps stopped right in front of the display case and Tara started to shake.

Donna had noticed Tara watching Jax be carried away by Opie with this look in her eyes, "Oh dear, another one under Jax's spell." she commented as she opened the door. As soon as she opened the door Tara hid behind the case and Donna noticed as she got closer to the case that Tara scurried towards the wall and cowered.

Stopping in front of the display case, Donna said, "Tara it's me. Is it okay if we talk?"

"Donna?" Tara questioned crawling out from between the display case and cash register.

"Yeah it's me." Donna answered not moving, letting Tara come to her.

Tara poked her head around the display case and looked up at her only friend in Charming, "Come on back." she whispered retreating behind the case again.

Donna made her way behind the display case and sat on the floor in front of Tara who was shaking like a leaf. Reaching forward she pulled her new friend into a tight hug.

Tara couldn't hold back the tears any longer and just broke down as soon as Donna put her arms around her. Leaning heavily against her friend she let the long held in tears flow. She had been holding the tears in since coming to Charming. Donna just rubbed her back and whispered that they didn't have to talk. Finally feeling better, Tara sat up and wiped her wet cheeks with her hands.

Donna watched her friend pull herself back together and retreat back into herself. "Tara what's going on?" she asked quietly.

Tara just shrugged.

"No don't do that! Talk to me!" Donna demanded putting her hand under Tara's chin, making her look her in the eyes.

"I don't know." Tara admitted.

Donna reached into her jacket pocket and pulled out the white envelope, "Does it have something to with this?" she asked holding it up for Tara to see.

Tara turned as white as a sheet and nodded, "Where did you get this?" she whispered reaching for the envelope with a shaky hand.

"Opie picked it up outside and gave it to me." she admitted watching Tara ring her hands.

"Why do you want to help me?" Tara finally asked.

"Because we're friends and I don't like seeing my friends hurting."

"So I'm not just another patient?"

"No!" Donna stressed, "I may be a therapist, but I am a friend and a human being with a heart first. Now what is going on? Please I just want to help."

Tara stared helplessly at her friend. She didn't know where to start. She had never shared with anyone what had happened in Chicago.

Slowly she began talking, ignoring the dinging of the door bell, "I was born and raised in St. Louis. My parents loved each other a whole lot. I always had everything I could dream of since my Dad worked at Anheuser-Busch, my Mom was an English teacher at my high school. We were a happy family, then my Mom found out she had ovarian cancer." Tara stopped and looked at Donna.

Donna just reached over and gave her hand a squeeze encouraging her to continue on.

"My Mom died when I was 18, two days after my high school graduation. It had been her one wish to live to see me graduate. Her last 3 years had been hard on all of us especially my Dad. After my Mom's death, my Dad went downhill fast. I barely saw him the summer before I moved to Chicago to go to school." Tara whispered not able to control the tears now streaming down her face.

"Tara if this is too hard, we don't have too." Donna offered seeing how pain her friend was in.

"No I need to tell someone." Tara muttered.

"Okay, whenever you're ready." Donna said leaning back to see Gemma Teller-Morrow sitting at one of the tables, listening.

"When August rolled around I packed up everything that would fit in my Escape and headed towards Chicago. I arrived at school later that day and moved into my home for the next four and half years. I found out my junior year that my Dad had died in a car crash, in which he had been drunk. He killed two other people, a mother and daughter. I took the spring semester of my junior off and returned to St. Louis to close the house that had been my home my whole life and take care of everything else. It was a horrible time for me." Tara finished and hiccup fighting back tears.

"Tara what does this have to do with the note?" Donna asked not wanting to push but.

"I'm getting there." Tara offered.

"When I returned to Chicago during the summer, I took extra classes so I would be able to graduate in two Decembers. When I was in my final year of school I started to date a guy, Andrew Marcus. He was a great guy, but we were better suited as friends, things ended great and up until I left we stayed in contact. After I graduated from Chicago State University, I got a job at a marketing firm in downtown Chicago. I loved working there and the campaigns I did, but something was missing."

"What was that?"

"It wasn't my passion. My Mom had taught me how to bake when I was very young, but always told me to get a degree that could give me a living. So I chose business in college that way I would have many avenues open to me." Tara stopped when she heard the bell above the door ding again.

Donna leaned back and realized that Gemma had left. Looking at Tara she just shook her head and squeezed her hand as a way of telling her to continue on.

Tara took a deep breath and continued her tale, "Well I stayed at the marketing firm for 5 years while working towards getting a baking degree and yes there is a degree for baking. I took almost 3 years to get my degree because the farther up the chain I got at the firm the harder it was to take my classes on the weekends. So after 2 years of struggling I quit working at the firm and concentrated on baking. It only took a me year after that to complete my schooling. I was so excited. The night after graduation some of the other girls and myself went out to a bar downtown to get some drinks to celebrate. While we were there I met a guy, Joshua. He was sweet and attentive. He had been everything I was looking for, protective, attentive, loving; everything my Dad hadn't been after my Mom diagnosed and died." Tara choked out pulling her hand away from Donna and wiping away her falling tears.

Donna didn't move to comfort Tara, she could tell that they were finally getting to the reason behind the note. It was killing Donna to not move closer to her new friend and give her a shoulder to cry on but she also knew that if Tara didn't talk to someone about this now she never would and things would only get worse for her here in Charming. Jax was curious and becoming over protective, which is what he always did, he had done it to her when she had started dating Opie in high school.

Tara slowly collected herself and looked at Donna, "It's okay, anything you tell me will not make me run." Donna offered her hands to her friend once again.

Taking her friends hands Tara continued, "Joshua asked for my number that night at the bar, and of course I gave it to him. I was having Daddy issues and he was the first guy that I was attracted to that made me feel safe. For the next two and half years Joshua and I dated. Things were great, up until I wanted to go visit Andrew in Nashville for Christmas. Joshua had a huge fit about me being friends with a man who wasn't him or his friends. That's when things started to go downhill. I called Andrew and told him I wouldn't be able to make Christmas, he immediately knew something was wrong and came to Chicago that Christmas. Since I was working at a bakery downtown I had to be up earlier than Joshua, so I woke up earlier one morning and met Andrew at the bakery. What I didn't know was that Joshua had put a tracker on my car and followed me to the bakery, he came barging in and beat Andrew to a pulp and dragged me out back by my hair and beat me senseless. He told me that if I ever pulled something like that again I wouldn't like the consequences."

Donna gasped as Tara told her what had happened, but she now understood why Tara was so frightened of men.

"Tara how tall is Joshua?" Donna asked curious.

"About Opie's size." Tara admitted looking at the back wall of her shop.

Donna just nodded, "Is there more?" she questioned.

Yes." Tara whispered. "After Joshua left I called an ambulance for Andrew and went with him to get checked out. He had several broken ribs, tons of bruises and some internal bleeding, but he was going to live. When he got released from the hospital I took him to the airport, told him good bye and to never return to Chicago regardless of how worried he was about me, I didn't want to lose a good friend because of my poor taste in men. Returning to the apartment I shared with Joshua I told him I was sorry and stupid for going behind his back. He forgave me but insisted that he take to and from work from then on. Not wanting to get beaten again I agreed. Around new years a family came into the bakery, Joshua was sitting there waiting for me to get off and had been watching them, he decided that night that he wanted a family. A baby became his obsession; he cancelled my birth control and stopped wearing condoms when we would have sex. But he didn't know that I was still taking birth control, I just kept it at the bakery, when I wasn't getting pregnant he took me to the OB and had them run some tests. I begged the doctor to tell him I was infertile, but the doctor was married to one of Joshua's friends and told me that was unethical. That night Joshua beat me again and left me outside on our deck as punishment." Tara shuddered as she continued. She hadn't thought it would feel so good to get this off her chest.

"Do you want to continue or stop?" Donna asked, "You don't have to tell me all this in one sitting."

"No I'm okay. Telling you actually feels good like a weight is being lifted." Tara said looking to her friend.

Donna just pulled her into a hug, "Okay."

Tara shifted and leaned back against the display case that had been her shield, stretching her legs out in front of her she continued, "The next morning he left me back inside the apartment and proceeded to rape me for the next two hours. Before he left for work he told me that we would be 'making love' every free moment we had until I was pregnant with his child. I was so frightened to go to the police since Joshua is an ATF agent a lot of the local law enforcement agencies wouldn't even entertain the idea of doing something to piss him off. A little over a week later I discovered I was pregnant, I didn't want the baby, not with him as the father. I asked my boss at the bakery, to take me to the clinic so I could get an abortion. She agreed after I told her how the baby was conceived. I kept up the charade of being pregnant for almost 3 months until I knew I would have to start showing, but by the time I had gained enough courage to face Joshua's wrath about lying, the clinic had called our apartment asking me to come in for a follow up to the procedure." Tara was visibly shaking but didn't want to stop, she was so close to finally disclosing what drove her to Charming in the first place.

"That night Joshua beat me within an inch of my life. The neighbor who heard him beating me broke down our door, before he could actually kill me. Our neighbor's wife called 911 and stayed with me, keeping me awake until the ambulance got there. The doctors at the hospital asked my previous injuries that hadn't quite healed and I finally had to admit that Joshua had been beating me for almost a year with severity getting worse. The police came and took my statement, but I could tell they all thought I was making it up and had found someone to beat me so I could blame it on Joshua, it didn't matter than I had to ear witnesses. I was in the hospital for almost two months while my ribs and other broken limbs healed, when it was time for me to be released Joshua was there acting all apologetic saying he had just lost his temper and that we could try for another baby. After he went to bed that night, I looked up flights out of Chicago. The next morning I woke up extra early and left Chicago and ended up here." Tara finished staring at her hands.

Looking over at Donna, "I thought I had covered my tracks, I used only cash to get here and when I bought my house and the bakery." she started to cry.

Donna just pulled her friend into a tight hug. While holding her friend, she knew there was no way she could keep this from Opie and Opie would tell Jax. And then the whole club would know and soon would be keeping a protection detail on Tara, the one thing she didn't need.

Rubbing Tara's back, Donna tried to come up with a solution that would keep the club from getting involved before they knew what was really going on and who had left that note. "Tara do think Joshua has really found you?"

"I would love to say no, but quite honestly things have been going to well the past month for him not to have found me."

"I have to tell Opie," Donna admitted, "he knows something is wrong."

"And he'll tell Jax, who in turn will turn it over the club."

"I'm sorry." Donna whispered, "I wish things were different, but I can tell you that the Sons will not let this jackass come near you. They do not take kindly to men who beat up on women."

Tara forced a laugh, "Chief Unser said something like that. Do you think you can ask Opie for a few weeks before he says anything to Jax."

"Of course, but why?"

"I saw this gym in Lodi when I was being driven in that offers self defense classes, I would like to be able to defend myself again Joshua if he has found me. I'm tired of being helpless and scared." Tara said determined.

"I'll talk to Opie." Donna agreed, "want some company for those classes? I have heard they are a great stress reliever."

"I would love some company."

Donna gave Tara another hug and started to get up, "are you okay to face the town or would like me to run your booth today?"

"No, I'm okay, but will you stay close by." Tara asked nervously, "Jax and the other Sons still spook me."

"Of course. This event can get a little crazy so you will need help. And don't worry about the guys, they will be around checking things out."

"Okay." Tara agreed standing with her friend, "And Donna..."

"Yes." Donna responded, turning around.

"Thank you. I needed to tell someone what happened to me." Tara said.

"I'm always around if you need to talk." Donna said before turning to walk outside.

Tara watched her new friend walk out of her bakery. Rubbing her hands together she started towards the bathroom to wash her face, there was no way she was facing the town of Charming looking like a train wreck. Stepping forward she hear a crunch, looking down she saw the envelope that had finally broken her down.

Bending down she picked up the envelope and note, slowly she began tearing the envelope and contents into tiny pieces. "Not this time Joshua, not this time." she said as threw the pieces of paper in the trash can, "I'm stronger now, you won't hurt me again." she vowed as she walked into the bathroom.

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