Later that night Peyton was sitting on the couch in the living room and she had barely said three words to anyone. She didn't know what to say or what to think. She was tired, she was sad and she was physically, emotionally and mentally drained. She was worried about Tig and she was angry that her situation had gotten a lot of the people that she loved hurt, or worse, killed. She felt like everything that had happened in the last six months was her fault. If she hadn't come back to Charming, everyone she loved would still be alive and healthy.
The house was buzzing. Jax had called Tara because he thought it would be good to have her there in case Peyton needed her. Tara had brought Abel and Thomas to play with Evander and Darcy. But Peyton was hardly paying attention to what was going on around her.
Peyton felt the couch sink down beside her. She turned her head and saw Tara sitting beside her. Her eyes clouded over as tears formed and she leaned into her best friend's arms. "How did life get to be such a mess Tara?" Peyton mumbled, "This is not at all how I thought things would go. It wasn't part of the plan." "Things never usually go the way we planned," Tara said quietly, "It has definitely been a tough year for you and all of us." Peyton nodded her head in agreement. "I just want it to be over," Peyton said, "We all do. Juice is done and I'm sure Jax is on his way to throwing in the towel." "Mentally, yes, Jax wants it to be over," Tara replied, "But no matter what happens, he will never give up on his club or his family."
Peyton lifted her head when she heard a phone ring somewhere in the house. Her and Tara watched as Jax answered his phone. They looked at each other curiously as Jax went out to the back yard, Juice wasn't far behind. "I wonder what that's about?" Peyton said out loud to no one in particular.
She then looked over at her friend. it was then that she noticed how pale Tara was and she almost looked like she had a gained a little bit of weight. Then Peyton's eyes went down to Tara's hands, which were resting on her tummy. Peyton's eyes got wide and shot up to Tara's like a shot. "Are you shitting me?" Peyton asked excitedly. Tara broke into a huge smile. "I'm not shitting you sweetheart," Tara replied happily, "Baby Teller number three is due a month after the baby Ortiz duo makes their appearance. About a month before your wedding." Peyton wrapped her arms around her best friend and squealed like an idiot. "I'm so excited and happy for you guys!" Peyton exclaimed.
At that moment the back door slammed and Jax and Juice walked into the living room. "That was Tully," Jax stated, "They are unable to monitor Tig properly at Stockton so they have moved him to St. Thomas so they can take better care of him. They said Tig opened his eyes once, but he quickly went unconscious again." Peyton stood up. "Is he there now? Peyton asked. "He should be there by now," Juice replied, "He is only allowed family and close friends to visit and there is a police officer constantly on guard. Not that Tig will be going anywhere." "Can I go see him?" Peyton asked, looking at Juice and then Jax, "I really want to be with him right now?" Peyton watched as Juice looked over at Jax and then nodded. "Of course baby girl," Juice replied, "I'll take you."
"You and Tara wouldn't mind taking care of the boys for a little while would you?" Peyton asked Jax, batting her eyelashes at him. "Not at all Darling," he replied, pulling Peyton into his arms and hugging her tightly, "Take your time with him." "Thank you so much," Peyton replied after the hug ended, "Oh, congratulations by the way!" Jax looked at her confused for a moment and then he broke into a huge smile. "Tara didn't tell me," Peyton stated, "I figured it out on my own." "Thanks, we're pretty excited!" Jax stated, looking over at his wife lovingly.
Peyton hugged Jax one more time and then hugged Tara before her and Juice left for the hospital.
Peyton and Juice walked into St. Thomas and made their way up to Tig's room hand in hand. There was a big burly police officer standing outside his room and he stepped in front of the door when they approached. "I would like to see Alexander Trager," Peyton stated. "What is your relationship to Mr. Trager?" he asked her, holding a piece of paper in his hand. "My name is Peyton Berkley," she replied, looking at him hopefully, "I'm his niece." The police officer looked over the list and sure enough he stepped aside. "Take as long as you like Ms. Berkley," the officer said nicely before giving Juice a quick nod, "You are welcome to go in as well Mr. Ortiz."
Peyton grabbed a chair and pulled it next to the bed and sat down. Juice sat down on a chair by the window and watched Peyton. She smiled at him and he smiled back and then she looked down at Tig. He looked incredibly peaceful, which was the exact opposite of how things were right now. She reached up and ran her hand through his hair and then placed her hand on his cheek. His skin felt cold to the touch. After a moment, she reached her hand down and grabbed his bigger hand in hers and just sat there with him.
"I love you Tiggy," Peyton whispered to him, feeling weird and completely unsure of whether or not he could even hear her. She was told that people in a coma could often hear you talking to them, but she didn't think that Tig was in a coma. She was sure that he was just unconscious or asleep and she was praying and hoping that he would wake up from this eventually. "Please fight," she continued, not caring if he could hear her or not, "I, actually all of us, need you to come out of this. We need you to get better. I don't know what I would do if I lost you." Peyton could feel the tears well up in her eyes for the millionth time that day and this time she didn't fight them. She blinked and the tears fell down her cheeks and she squeezed his hand, hoping that somehow, Tig could feel it.
Juice moved his chair next to Peyton's and sat down beside her, pulling her into his arms. She leaned her head against his chest as the tears continued to fall. "I know this is tough for you baby girl," Juice whispered into her hair, "You are incredibly strong and this is just one more thing that you can get through. We are all here for you and I believe that all of this bullshit will be over soon." Peyton looked up at him and smiled slightly. "I don't feel so strong," she whispered, "I feel tired and I feel like giving up." "Don't give up. You need to continue to be strong," Juice replied, "Tig needs you to be strong."
A couple hours later Tig groaned quietly and opened his eyes, letting them adjust to the dark room. He didn't realize where he was until he noticed Juice asleep on a chair beside his bed and he felt someone pressed up against his side. He looked down and realized that Peyton was curled up on the bed beside him. He smiled at this, but he was still confused as to where he was and why he was there.
He had considered Peyton to be one of his daughters. He was closer to Peyton than he was with his daughter Fawn and his heart still hurt from losing his daughter Dawn in a horrible and terrifying accident. So he was glad that he had someone like Peyton in his life. He also felt happy that no matter what was going on in her life, she managed to love him more than he could ever imagine. She was no longer the little 15 year old girl that had showed up at the clubhouse, devastated and heartbroken when her very best friend in the world and her crush told her that he was dating Donna. He laughed inwardly to himself.
Tig looked up from the picnic table when he saw Peyton ride her bike up to the clubhouse, tears streaming down her face.
"Baby girl, what's wrong?" Tig asked as Peyton let her bike fall to the ground. Peyton walked up the stairs and sat down at the picnic table beside him. "Opie and Donna?" she questioned, looking over at him, "I can't believe he is dating Donna." Peyton was so upset that Tig could see her entire body shaking.
Tig had known that Peyton had the biggest high school girl crush on Opie, but he also knew that Opie didn't feel the same way for her. Opie and Jax were two years older than Peyton and the three of them were inseperable, so someone was bound to develop some sort of feelings for someone else in the group.
"Sweetheart, maybe this just wasn't meant to be," Tig said quietly, pulling her into his arms, "There is someone out there for you, but it's not your time yet. He will appear when you least expect him to." "I understand what you are saying," Peyton mumbled, "But it's not helping right now. Maybe I should go talk to Jax about it." Peyton jumped off the table and was getting ready to go search for her other best friend. "Probably not a good idea Peyton," Tig responded, "Better to just keep this one between you and me."
Peyton eyed Tig curiously and he knew he was going to have to answer a lot of questions. "Why can't I talk to Jax?" she asked him, sitting back down and looking up at him, "What do you know that I don't know?" Tig had known for a few months that Jax had a thing for Peyton. He found out by accidentally stepping in on a conversation that he was having with Tara, actually it was more of an argument. "It's not a big deal," Tig stated, "I just overheard Jax and Tara talking a few months ago. She may or may not have been jealous of his relationship with you and as he tried to deny it, it was written all over his face that he felt more for you than he was letting on. Peyton, so help me God, if you say a word to him..." "I promise I won't let on about knowing that Jackie boy has a little crush on me," Peyton replied with a small smile on her face, "I guess he sort of feels the same way I feel, because the feelings I have for Jax are not the same as his feelings for me." Tig nodded his head and smiled.
Tig looked down at Peyton's small figure curled up beside him. He couldn't believe how things had changed in 17 years. Peyton was a completely different person now. She was the mother of two with two more little ones on the way, she had a huge bag of life experience that no one should have to go through at such a young age. She was about to marry the man of her dreams, again. He laughed quietly at this. He never understood why Juice had ended things with her, but it didn't matter. Juice had realized the error of his ways and 10 years later he was righting his wrongs. Tig was happy that they had worked things out because the two of them honestly couldn't be more perfect for each other.
Tig tried to move himself, not wanting to wake Peyton up when a searing pain shot through his stomach. "Fuck," he grumbled, grabbing his stomach, "What the hell?" At that moment Peyton pushed herself up and looked at Tig. "Don't make any big movements," she said quietly, looking up at him, "You're hurt." Tig looked down at her and his pain disappeared.
"What happened Peyton?" he asked her before taking a deep breath, "Why am I at St. Thomas?" "One of Byron's guys stabbed you in the bathroom," Peyton replied, "They managed to repair the damage that he caused with the rusty knife, but they were unable to care for you properly at Stockton so they brought you here. There are police officers outside your door and if you aren't on the guest list, you can't come in. Once you are better they will send you back."
Tig nodded his head as the memories quickly flooded back. "What about Tully?" Tig asked, furrowing his brow. "From what Jax was saying, Tully's pretty pissed," Peyton replied, "I'm sure by the time you get back to Stockton, the problem will have been dealt with." Tig looked at Peyton as she shuddered. "With all the shit you guys are involved with, I'm surprised that I've stuck around as long as I have," Peyton stated as she giggled, "This shit would have scared any normal woman away years ago!" Tig laughed at how true that statement was. "You care too much baby girl," Tig replied smiling at her, "You could never leave us for good." "I'm crazy about all of you," Peyton admitted, "You guys, my parents, Gemma, Nero, Tara, the boys and Lyla... that's all the family I need, or ever want."
Tig pulled Peyton gently into his arms and they sat there in silence. Tig looked over at Juice and he was still snoring. He was embracing and enjoying this moment that he had with Peyton, because he knew that before long he would be on his way back to Stockton. He just wanted this to be over so he could get back home to his club and to the people that meant the world to him.