Hide and Seek
Jax just stood there and watched Tara walk away. Okay he had to admit it was more of sashay, the woman walked with her hips and it was driving him insane. After Tara disappeared into her bakery, Jax shook his head, the woman had just put him in his place. He didn't like it. He didn't have a God complex, he just wanted to protect her. Even if she wouldn't admit it, she needed protection.
Shaking his head he moved towards the SOA tent where Bobby was doing his Elvis impersonation. No one in club was the entertainer like Bobby. As he walked over, Clay stopped him, "what's going with the baker?" he asked quietly.
Turning and walking with Clay, "She has a past in which some bad shit happened to her. Now that past has come to Charming." Jax explained.
"What kind of bad shit?" Clay questioned looking at his VP.
"Her ex-boyfriend beat her for a year."
"That piece of shit!" Clay seethed. He didn't know the baker, but she had gumption and he like that about her, plus she seemed to have a level head on her shoulders.
"I want this bastard dead, Clay."
"You and me both VP."
"I was going to ask for a vote to put protection on her."
"You know this will be unanimous decision, but we'll bring it to church tonight." Clay commented clapping Jax on the shoulder before walking back to the tent.
Jax watched Clay walk away and turned to face the bakery, "no not now. Maybe tomorrow." he whispered. His ego had taken enough beating over the past two days.
Tara walked back into her bakery and headed to the stove. Donna watched her friend and could tell something was wrong, "Do I want to know?" she asked trying to hide a smile.
"Is Jax always such a jackass?" Tara asked.
"Ah, I see you've met his protective side."
"I don't care what side it is, he cannot and will not tell me what to do." Tara blushed.
"You care what side, besides that back side has all the goodies." Donna giggled, "believe me I know. I may be married to his best friend but doesn't mean that I don't appreciate Jax's well toned body."
Tara laughed, "you're horrible."
"I know." Donna agreed, "But as a woman I like to look at nice things."
"I can understand that. But does Opie?" Tara asked
"Opie knows that I love him and would never do something to hurt him. I especially would never cheat on him."
"You really love him don't you." Tara commented slightly jealous of her friends marriage. She wanted the white picket fence with kids running around and a husband who came home at the end of the day.
"I have since I first saw him freshman year of high school." Donna replied with glossy eyes, "Opie has always been mine, I can't imagine my life without him."
Tara just nodded and tilted her head, the cupcakes were smelling. Walking over she opened the oven and pulled out the two pans of cupcakes as people started to file into her bakery. Within minutes Cookies crumbles and Cupcakes was full of people waiting for a taste of Tara's baking. Word of mouth was spreading up and down the street of the delicious items she was selling.
Jax stood across the street from the bakery and couldn't help but smile at the success Tara was having. He was happy that the town loved her. More than once in the past couple of hours he had heard people telling others to go and try out her bakery. Even though he was sure she would never speak to him again, Jax was proud. Tara was standing on her own feet, doing something she loved after everything she had been through.
Not paying attention Jax didn't see Opie come stand beside him, "Creep much?" Opie asked smiling.
"Not creeping, watching." Jax responded to his best friend.
"Uh-huh. I heard Tara slapped Gemma."
"She did, I have to admit my Mom deserved it and I'm surprised no one has done it before."
"Jax, everyone is scared shitless of your Mom."
"Everyone but Tara."
"Well Tara has been through worse shit than your Mom."
"Yeah she has." Jax said turning away from the bakery, "I need you at the table tonight."
"For?" Opie asked playing dumb.
"You know what."
"Jax you told Donna you would give Tara a couple weeks."
"Yeah and then I talked to Tara."
"I'm guessing that didn't go well."
"She told me I have a God complex and that she didn't need a man to handle her shit."
"So she burned you up one side and down the other." Opie commented not able to hide his smile.
"Something like that." Jax replied, "But this isn't about her problem with me telling the club, I want her safe."
"Jax..." Opie warned.
"No, I don't think you do." Opie cut off, "Tara isn't some crow eater who will know to go away, she is a marriage and kids kind of woman. You can't just come around once and awhile, if you want to be with her that's awesome. I think you two would be great, but if you're just looking for a quick lay, call Ima."
"No, I'm not kidding Jax. I will kick your ass if you hurt Tara."
"You do realize you aren't married to Tara, right?" Jax asked.
"Of course I do. I'm married to her best friend, who will chop off your dick if you do anything to her best friend."
Jax and Opie both involuntarily shuddered at the last thought and headed towards the SOA tent. Both men knew this day was going to be long.
The afternoon flew by. Tara and Donna had worked their butts off keeping the customers inside the bakery happy. Many of them wanted to sample almost everything Tara could make. Of course she was happy to oblige, despite being tired. As the crowd died down, because dinner time was approaching Donna looked over at Tara who was smiling freely.
"It was a good day." Donna commented as she dried the cookie sheet Tara had handed her.
"I wouldn't trade it for anything." Tara replied smiling at her friend.
"Not even your conversation with Jax?"
"No, I think I was a tad too hard on him. He does just want to help."
"Which is something you're not used to."
"Right. It wasn't right to jump down his throat because I'm wary of people." Tara commented, "I'll apologize after I close."
"Oh, hun Jax won't be here to follow you home tonight." Donna said quickly.
"Oh." Tara replied quietly. She had come to depend on Jax following her home. "Well then when I see him tomorrow."
"Sounds like a plan." Donna yawned, "I'm going to head home. You okay?"
"Yeah, I'm going to do a little housekeeping and look at the receipts from today."
"Okay. Don't stay too late."
"I won't, Mom" Tara teased as she waved night to Donna.
Donna was shaking her head and laughing as she walked out the door and ran into someone, "I'm so sorry," she said bending down to pick up her purse.
"It's alright. Sounded like a good conversation." the man responded carefully pocketing a set of keys.
"It was. It's been a long day."
"Well then I will let you get home." the stranger replied helping Donna stand.
"Thank you. Have a good evening."
"I will. And you too." He replied giving a slight wave. Turning the man stared at the bakery, where she worked.
Across town the Sons of Anarchy sat around their reaper table waiting on whatever news was so important that it couldn't wait for tomorrow. "What's this about Clay?" Tig Trager asked.
"VP you wanna explain?" Clay asked Jax who was sitting at his left.
Jax nodded and started, "You all know Tara Knowles, the owner of Cookies crumbles and Cupcakes, right?"
"Yeah her cupcakes are better than Bobby's." Juice commented.
"Shut up shithead." Bobby commented, "What's going on Jax?"
"Well Tara moved her about a month and half ago from Chicago." Jax continued looking around the table.
"Yeah so." Tig interjected.
"I'm getting there." Jax snapped, "In Chicago, Tara dated this ATF agent for almost 2 years. Well for one of those years, he beat her when she would do things he didn't like." he finished in a tight voice, "now this asshole is in Charming, stalking Tara." he said pulling out the camera and handing it to Bobby.
"Wah are we gonna do ta this arsehole?" Chibs asked.
"First we need to concentrate on keeping the new baker safe. She is the only person making money at this stupid event." Clay commented staring around his table at the angry faces.
"Don't let Gemma hear you say that." Bobby said handing the camera to Juice, "But I'm with Chibs, what are we going to do?"
Jax looked at Opie, "Tara wants a couple weeks to figure things out."
"Jax that can't happen." Happy spoke, "If this asshole is in Charming as you say, then we have to act. She isn't safe and neither are you and your boy."
"I know, but I also don't want to push her and have her not trust us to keep her safe." Jax commented, "Look I know you all want this guys ass and I'm with you. Tara was defenseless when he beat her, but she and Donna are signed up to take self defense classes in Lodi at a gym there." he continued.
"Self defense classes are going to do jack to a guy this sadistic." Tig commented glaring at Jax.
"I know." Jax seethed, "But for the next two weeks I think we should just be a security detail. Keep an eye on Tara. Someone always at her bakery, someone watching her house at night and doing drive bys during the day and someone always following her to and from her home."
"Look brothers I know you all want to kill this guy and when the chance comes you all will be able to put a bullet in him, but right now I agree with VP. Tara needs to know we are on her side, so protection detail for two weeks." Clay said, "in favor say 'I'".
I's went up around the table and Clay banged the gavel. The sons slowly left church and headed out to have some fun in the club house. It had been a long weekend.
Tara was sitting in her office looking over receipts, she was tired but knew she didn't want to have to look at them tomorrow. "Two more to go." she told herself looking at the stack. It had been a successful day for her. She couldn't help but smile.
After she finished she grabbed her purse and headed out to the main shop. Stopping short she saw a figure staring in her front window. Stepping closer Tara let out a loud yelp! Tripping over herself she got behind the display case and crawled into her office closing and locking the door.
Bringing out her phone she quickly texted Donna, Jax bakery!!!! Sitting back she tried to calm down, but couldn't. Joshua had really found her and was in Charming standing in front of her store.
Donna was at home putting Ellie and Kenny to bed when her phone beeped. Reaching into her pocket she pulled it out and looked at the message from Tara. Walking out of Kenny's room, Donna called the club house.
Bobby was sitting at the bar when the phone rang. Reaching over he answered, "Sons of Anarchy."
"Bobby, I need Jax, now!!" Donna stated in a rush.
"Hold on. I'll get him."
Donna was standing in the living room when she heard Bobby call for Jax. She was about to hang up when Jax came on the line, "What's up Donna?"
"Where is she."
"Bakery. And Jax he's there."
All Donna got in return was a dial tone.
Jax hadn't wanted to take Donna's call, but something in the way Bobby was staring at him had him picking up the phone. He didn't need to hear what it was about. He knew instantly it was Tara. Slamming down the phone he stormed out of the club house with Opie on his heels.
"Jax what's going on?" Opie asked following his best friend.
"What's happening? I need more than one word answers."
"That asshole is in front of her store."
By that time it wasn't just Opie outside with Jax, most of the club was. Clay just waved his hand and everyone followed to their bikes.
Jax jumped on his Harley and headed out.
Joshua Kohn stood in front of Cookie crumbles and Cupcakes and smiled. He had seen the fear in Tarah's eyes when she saw him. "Good, you should be frightened you little whore." he said to himself. He had spent a month searching for her, when a coworker had come into his office telling that some small town sheriff was looking into the RO, Tarah had had against him. Smiling he had looked up the cop and found Charming, California.
Walking back to the main door, he jiggled the handle again, "So you aren't as dumb as you look." he mused. He was about to put an elbow through the window when the roar of motorcycles caught his attention, "you stupid whore." he swore looking at the lights heading his way.
Looking once again inside he quickly made his way down the street and into an alley before the biker gang could see him.
Jax jumped off his bike when he was in front of Tara's bakery. Trying the door he discovered it was locked. Fearing frightening her, he looked at Opie, "Call Donna."
Opie pulled out his phone and called his wife. Donna picked up on the second ring, "Tell Tara to come unlock the door. We're standing outside." Opie relayed looking at Jax.
Quickly Donna called Tara, "The guys are outside. They need you to unlock the door." She spoke quietly.
Tara nearly had a heart attack when her phone had rang. Slowly she opened the door to her office and crawled to behind the display case and peaked out. When she saw the leather clad bikers standing in front of her window she breathed a slight sigh of relief.
Standing she tried to calm her nerves, but when she opened the door and Jax pulled her to him, she broke down. Wrapping her arms around his waist as tightly as she could Tara cried. She could fell Jax pushing her backwards and bodies moving past her, but she didn't care that the Sons were in her bakery, she just wanted Jax to hold her and make her feel safe.
When Tara had opened the door, Jax hadn't been able to help himself. He needed to know she was okay. Then she broke down and he knew she wasn't. Gently leading her backwards into her bakery, he let his brothers inside so they could check it out. Softly, Jax threaded his fingers through Tara's hair, trying to calm her down. When she started to sag against him, he realized she was coming down off the adrenaline.
Cupping her face, "Are you harmed?" he asked quietly.
"No, just scared. He was standing outside my store." Tara hiccupped, getting worked up again. She still hadn't let go of Jax's kutte.
"Well he is gone for now." another voice said.
Tara turned to look at where the voice had come from, "I'm Bobby Munson." the man spoke keeping his distance.
Tara nodded and looked around at the rest of the men, "I'll introduce you the rest of them some other time. Let's get you home." Jax commented leading her outside.
Starting to walk towards Tara's car, she stopped in front of his bike, "I can't drive home." she whispered raising her hand, which was shaking violently.
"Jax take her home on your bike." Clay spoke. "I'll have Half-Sak drop her car off in the morning."
"Thank you." Tara whispered looking at the Sons president. Clay just nodded.
Jax put his helmet on her and tightened it under her chin and climbed on his bike. Opie picked Tara up and placed her behind Jax, "hold on tight." he instructed. Tara put her arms around Jax's middle and leaned her head against his shoulder.
Opie nodded at Jax, who then backed his bike out and headed towards Tara's house. When they pulled into the drive way, Tara shakily climbed off and looked around scared. Jax got off his bike and pulled her close, "he can't hurt you." he whispered into her hair as he held her.
"Jax, will you stay with me?" Tara whispered looking into his blue eyes.
"Of course." Jax responded knowing that nothing was going to happen. Looking over his shoulder he nodded at Happy and Chibs who were keeping an eye out that night.
Tara took Jax's hand and led him up to her front porch. When she tried to put her keys in the locks she kept dropping the keys. Getting frustrated, Jax finally took the keys front her and opened her front door and followed her inside.
Looking around Jax was amazed at how open Tara's little house was. It wasn't overly decorated, but simple touches to make it a home everywhere. Following her back to her room he watched as she went into her closet and pulled out a sleeping bag.
"Tara?" he questioned.
"When I get scared I sleep in my closet because it has no windows." Tara admitted staring at the sleeping bag in her hand.
Jax walked over and took the sleeping bag from her hand, "Where would you like me to sleep?" he asked looking at Tara's bed room. It wasn't an overly large room, but was able to fit her queen size bed.
Tara pointed towards the space between her bed and the wall with window in it. Jax nodded at her and walked over and laid out the sleeping bag, "I'm going to call Anitta and ask her to stay the night with Abel." Jax said as Tara headed into the bathroom. She just nodded at him.
Tara turned on the sink and cried for a few seconds. She thought she was done being scared of Kohn, but seeing him had set her back. And now Jax was sleeping in her room, by her bed, "I can't do this." she whispered to herself, before going through her nightly routine.
Jax walked around Tara's bedroom after getting off the phone with Anitta. The older woman had been a little unsure of him asking until he had explained about Tara asking. After hearing this news, Anitta had readily agreed to stay the night with Abel.
Tara walked out of the bathroom to Jax sitting on her bed. Stepping closer, "do you need to use the bathroom for anything?" she asked quietly as she stood next to him.
"No, I'm just wondering why you asked me to stay." Jax answered staring up at her.
"You make me feel safe." Tara admitted wringing her hands.
Jax gently took Tara's hands, "it's okay to be frightened."
"I'm tired of being frightened." Tara said looking into Jax's blue eyes, "I just want to move on."
"You will." he encouraged, "And the club is going to help." he added.
"Jax." she warned.
"Before you bite my head off, listen. We took a table vote and the guys voted to keep a protection detail on you. Someone will be at your shop when you are there. Someone will be checking on your house during the day. Someone will always be posted outside at night to keep watch. And someone will follow you to and from the bakery and anywhere else you go." Jax explained, "I know you want to do this on your own, but Tara you are still emotional about this and can't think straight, so please let me and my club help keep you safe."
Tara just nodded and gave Jax a hug. He held her tightly. "Thank you." she whispered with her head nuzzled against Jax's shoulder. "You're welcome." he responded letting her go, "let's go to bed."
Jax laid down on the floor and covered up with sleeping bag, when the door bell rang. Tara instantly sat up and had her night stand lamp on, revolver in hand. Jax just stared open mouthed at her. Slowly he got up and moved towards the door, drawing his gun. Looking through the peephole he lowered his gun and waved at Tara to lower hers.
Opening the door to Chibs, "Here ya go Jackie Boy. Op went by your house so you'd sleep more comfortable. And Donna wanted me to warn you about your dick." he laughed handing Jax the duffel bag. Jax just nodded and closed the door and locked it.
Walking back towards the bedroom Tara didn't ask about the comment. She just climbed into bed and rolled over. Jax went into the bathroom and changed into the sweats and t-shirt Opie had packed him. Entering Tara's room again he couldn't help but notice how small she looked in her bed. Stepping towards her bed side lamp he turned it off and ambled back over to the sleeping bag.
Tara woke in the night covered in a cold sweat to the gentle sound of snoring. Looking over the side of her bed she stared down at Jax Teller who was fast asleep on the floor. The sleeping bag was only covering his legs, his right arm was behind his head under the pillow she had given him to use. Shaking she slowly crawled down to the floor and under the sleeping bag. Snuggling closer to Jax, Tara fell asleep peacefully for the first time in more than a year.