It was the moment that Tig had been dreading since he found out that Justin's best friend was doing hard time in Stockton. Byron knew that Tig was the one that had shot Justin point blank. Needless to say, Tig's days were often spent in his cell or him and Tully had worked together to come up with ways for Tig to end up in solitary so Byron couldn't get at him. But sometimes there was just no avoiding being in the dining hall or outside and today was one of those days.
On this particular day Tig was sitting at a picnic table with Tully and the rest of his entourage enjoying the sunshine and shooting the shit. "So what's the word on Byron?" Tig asked Tully, hoping to get some new information. Things had been quiet for a few days. Tig hadn't seen Byron and neither had Tully. "He apparently got himself into trouble and has been in solitary for the last two days," Tully replied, lighting up a cigarette, "But the bastard gets out this afternoon. I honestly don't know if he has been planning anything, which is why we haven't left your side." "Thanks man," Tig replied gruffly, "I appreciate the protection." "Was all part of the agreement man," Tully replied, "What kind of person would I be if I didn't hold up my end of the deal?"
Tig nodded his head and then stood up. "Where you going?" Tully asked him. "I just have to take a piss man," Tig replied, frustrated and appreciative at the same time that his every move was being watched. "Make it quick," Tully ordered, "I'll send someone to keep watch outside the bathroom." Tully nodded at one of his guys and he got up and followed Tig as Tig made his way to the bathroom. "I'll be five minutes," Tig said to him before walking into the washroom.
Once the door closed behind him Tig noticed a dark shadow in the mirror. "Oh shit," Tig mumbled. He turned to see who it was, but it was too late. He noticed that it was one of Byron's cronies who had probably sacrificed his soul to be part of Byron's group. The guy had punched Tig hard in the face. It caught him off guard and he fell onto the floor, hitting his head on the counter on the way down. Tig managed to keep his eyes open for a few moments, not wanting to let this guy win. He groaned loudly when he felt the blade sink into his stomach and as the guy twisted the knife everything went black.
Tully's guy heard a loud groan from inside the washroom and he barged in to see what was happening. He saw a guy hunched over Tig's lifeless form on the floor getting ready to shove a knife into him. He quickly swung his leg around and kicked the guy off of Tig and then proceeded to kick the guy in the stomach.
Once he knocked the guy out unconscious he quickly stuck his head out of the washroom door and caught the first guy that walked by. "Hey," he called, "Grab Tully! He's outside. Move... NOW!" The guy took off towards the door leading outside and disappeared.
He went back into the bathroom and knelt down beside Tig. "Shit," he mumbled to himself as he placed his hand over the gash in Tig's stomach. He leaned down and placed his cheek near Tig's mouth and he could feel hot air coming out, but just barely. "Thank God," he breathed, "You're still alive." At least for now Tig was alive, he thought to himself.
Seconds later Tully came barging into the washroom. "What the fuck happened man?" he yelled, "I sent you with him to keep him protected. This is not what I had in mind!" "I should've checked before I let him go in," the guy replied from his position on the floor, "He was hiding in the stall waiting for him. It's one of Byron's cronies." "Shit," Tully growled, pushing the guy out of the way.
He reached down and grabbed the knife from the floor beside Byron's guy and watched and waited. After a couple minutes the guy groaned as he opened his eyes and looked up at Tully. Tully kneeled down beside the guy and pushed his head against the wall. "You should've thought long and hard before you attacked him," Tully whispered into his ear. He took the blade and slid it slowly and deeply across his neck. "Fucker," he whispered before throwing the knife across the room.
Without being asked, Tully's guy walked over to the knife and picked it up making sure to get his prints all over the handle and then he nodded at Tully. He wasn't about to let Tully take the blame for what happened, it was his fault that it happened to begin with.
Tully was hunched over Tig's lifeless body and in a matter of minutes a couple of guards had barged into the bathroom, staring at the scene in front of them. "What the hell happened here?" One of the guards demanded. "One of Byron's guys got to Tig before either one of us had a chance to stop him," Tully answered, "My guy had already killed Bryon's crony before I even got here. Now get Tig to the infirmary. I have a feeling this is bad." The guards both nodded at Tully before they loaded Tig onto a stretcher that was just outside the washroom.
"Can I borrow a phone?" Tully asked, "I have a call to make."
Jax was sitting at the head of the reaper table talking with Chibs that afternoon when his phone began buzzing in his pocket. He didn't recognize the number so he just answered it. "Yeah," Jax said. "Jax, it's Tully," he said on the other end, "We have a slight situation." "What happened Tully?" Jax asked, his voice full of concern. "One of Byron's guys got to Tig," Tully stated. "What the fuck man? What the hell happened?" Jax growled, "I thought we had a deal?" "One of my guys slipped up man. I'm just as pissed as you are," Tully replied, "Tig had to take a piss and my guy failed to check the washroom before Tig went in. The fucker was hiding in a bathroom stall, caught Tig off guard and attacked him with a rusty switchblade. But Byron's guy won't be able to try and attack him again. I watched as the life slowly drained from his eyes, if you catch my drift."
Jax rolled his eyes in anger at Chibs. "Thanks for taking care of the problem Tul, but now my biggest concern now is Tig," Jax stated, "Do you know how Tig is doing?" "Sorry Jax," Tully replied, "He is in emergency right now and I haven't heard any update at this point. I think it might be best if one of you comes out to Stockton. By the time you get here I'm sure we will have an update for you. Jax, I will kill this guy. Byron won't get away with this." "Ok, I'm on my way," Jax replied before hanging up his phone.
"Jesus Christ!" Jax yelled as he threw his phone across the room and against the door. Right after the phone made contact with the door, it opened and in walked Happy. "What the hell Prez?" Happy asked, looking down at the shattered pieces of the pre-paid. "Sorry Hap," Jax grumbled, "Take a seat." Happy sat down in his chair and looked at Jax and then at Chibs. "What's going on?" Happy asked curiously. "I was just about to ask the same thing," Chibs stated, looking at Jax, "Care to fill us in?"
Jax sat down in his chair and looked at Chibs and Happy. "That was Tully," Jax said quietly, folding his hands on the table, "One of Byron's cronies got to Tig. Caught him off guard in the washroom and stabbed him with a rusty knife. At this point, Tully has no idea what Tig's condition is. Tully has taken care of Byron's "little helper" and I'm pretty sure that Tully will commit to his promise to end Byron after what happened today." "Jesus," Happy mumbled, "What next?" "Tully has asked me to come out to Stockton," Jax replied, "So that's where I'm headed. Happy, you can come with me and Chibs, if you don't mind, just stick around here." Chibs and Happy both nodded their heads in agreement. "Chibs, you can fill Juice, Rat and Quinn in when they get back," Jax continued, "But I will tell Peyton when I get back." "Sounds good boss," Chibs replied, "Be careful out there."
A couple hours later Jax and Happy were sitting across from Tully in an interrogation room. "Tig is in critical condition," Tully said looking seriously at Jax, "Where is the beautiful Puerto-Rican?" "He was busy," Jax replied nonchalantly, "What's Tig's prognosis?" "The doctor said that things look ok," Tully replied, looking down at his hands, "They managed to repair the damage done to his stomach. But they won't know anything for sure until he wakes up…if he wakes up. But I will make a note to keep you posted as the updates come in." Jax gave him a quick nod. "You better," he grumbled angrily, "This was not part of the deal Tully. When I asked you to protect him, I meant make sure nothing happens to him as in, make sure that he doesn't almost die. Screw up again and the deal is off the table. I'll make sure the gun shipments stop coming in."
Jax looked across the table at Tully and he could tell that he had struck a cord. He could see the anger flash in Tully's eyes and his fists were clenched in his lap. Jax knew just by looking at Tully that Tully wasn't mad at him but pissed beyond belief at himself. Tully didn't strike Jax as a man that made mistakes and that's what the real problem was in this situation. His pride and ego were hurt and it was clear that Tully was afraid this would ruin his reputation.
"This won't happen again," Tully stated matter of factly, "I can assure you of that." "How can you be sure?" Happy sneered. "I'm going to eliminate the problem," Tully replied looking back at Happy, "And then I'm going to take care of shit myself from now on. It's clear that I can't trust people to help me out when I need it. When I do, bullshit like this happens."
Jax and Happy nodded and stood up. They shook hands with Tully. Jax knew that no more shit would happen now with Tully grabbing hold of the reigns. Jax felt confident that Tully could be trusted, he just hoped to God that Tig would wake up from this.
Juice had gotten home a couple hours ago and he was playing outside in the backyard with the boys while Peyton took a nap. He had just got a call from Jax. Jax had explained that he had to make a trip out to Stockton, but now he was on his way back to Charming and asked if it was ok if he stopped over. Juice was concerned and couldn't stop his mind from thinking the worst possible scenario.
He heard a motorcycle, actually two motorcycles, pull into the driveway out front. "Hey boys," Juice called out, "I think I heard a couple bikes pull into the driveway!" A huge smile spread across Evander's face as he and Darcy took off out the back gate towards the front yard. Juice laughed and followed behind. The kids loved it when any of the club showed up for a surprise visit.
When Juice got to the front yard Evander had already attacked Jax with a big hug and Darcy was straddling Happy's bike and beaming like a little kid on Christmas Day. "Look daddy look!" Darcy called out, "I ride bike like you!" God, I hope not, Juice thought to himself. "Look at you," Juice said, walking up to him, "Hey Hap. Things alright?" "I'll let Jax fill you and Peyton in," Happy replied, smiling back at the little boy on the bike, "Uncle Happy is here to distract the boys." "Understood," Juice replied.
Jax walked up to them with Evander attached to his leg. "What did you feed this kid?" Jax asked, smiling at Juice, "It's like he drank a bunch of crazy juice right before I showed up." "No crazy juice for these boys," Juice replied, laughing, "They are plenty of crazy without the juice! But I love em to death." "Is Peyton around," Jax asked, still smiling, "I want to talk to both of you." "Yeah, she's just sleeping," Juice replied, "I'll go wake her up and meet you in the kitchen once you detach Evander from your leg." Jax nodded.
Juice walked back into the house and into the bedroom where Peyton slept peacefully. It had been a couple days since they celebrated the news and since she started taking the sleeping pills her psych gave her and they were working like a charm. He sat down on the bed beside her and ran a hand gently through her hair. She rolled over and opened her eyes looking up at Juice. "Hey," she whispered, smiling up at him. "Hey beautiful," Juice replied, "I'm sorry to wake you, but Jax is here. He wants to talk to both of us." Peyton's smile disappeared faster than he could blink. She sat up, the concern very clear on her face. "Is everything ok?" she asked. "I don't know baby girl," Juice replied, "I know about as much as you."
Juice helped her out of bed and she pulled on a hoodie and a pair of jeans and they walked into the kitchen together. "Whose with the boys?" Peyton asked, looking around. "Happy's taking care of them," Juice replied. Peyton smiled slightly and hugged Jax when she saw him. "I helped myself to a beer," Jax stated with a smile on his face, "I hope you don't mind." "Of course not," Peyton replied, "Now what's going on Jax?"
"Take a seat," Jax said, pointing to the two chairs across from him. Juice and Peyton both sat down and stared at him impatiently. "I've got some unfortunate news," Jax said quietly, "I got a call from Tully this afternoon. Turns out one of Tully's crew dropped the ball today. Tig had to go to the washroom and one of Byron's cronies got to him." "What do you mean "got to him"?" Peyton snapped. Juice put his arm around her waist to try and calm her down. "Let him finish," Juice said to her. She took a deep breath and waited for Jax to continue. "Tig was stabbed badly with a rusty switchblade," Jax continued, "Tully made sure that Byron's man experienced a slow death. But Tig is in critical condition. Tully informed us that the doctors think everything went ok, but they won't really know for sure until Tig wakes up...if he wakes up." Peyton looked at Jax and the silent interaction between the two of them broke Juice's heart.
Peyton tried with all her power not to let the tears fall or get angry, but she was unsuccessful. "You promised me!" she cried out as she stood up, "You promised that Tig would be protected while he was in Stockton. Now look at him! You are essentially telling me that he could die! You son of bitch! You promised me!" Jax did not argue this fact with her.
He stood up and walked around the table and pulled her into his arms. She fought him with all her might, swinging her arms and hitting him in the chest and crying. "Baby girl, I'm so sorry," Jax whispered, trying to sooth her, "I did promise and I'm so sorry that this happened." She stopped fighting him and she collapsed into his arms. "I'm sorry Jax," she whimpered, "I didn't mean to blame you. This wasn't your fault." Jax lowered himself to the ground and held her in his arms while she continued to cry and Juice just watched the scene unfold.
Juice just wished the pain would stop for all of them and that everything would be ok. When would it end?