It was 12:45 when Juice was buzzed out of Stockton prison and he was anxious to get home and get back to work with the club. He had gone off track for a while, which made the club question his loyalty, especially Jax, but after his task was completed and he went to jail for it, he was back in and on good terms with the club and his president. He had been in Stockton for a month and part way through his stint Jax came to visit him and reassured him that everything was good.
It was a bright day in Stockton, California and he was loving it. He grabbed his bag off the counter and put his sunglasses on before walking out the front door. He felt naked without his cut. Jax had told him that he would get it back once he got out.
He let his eyes adjust and walked down the walkway towards the van. His best friend, Chibs, was leaning against the van, staring in his direction and smoking a cigarette. He was glad it was Chibs, now they could talk about the situation and if he truly was safe from actions of the club. His eyes moved from where Chibs was standing to the passenger side of the van where a woman was struggling to get out of the van. Who the hell could that be, he asked himself.
He watched as she finally got out of the van. She was beautiful. She was wearing a pair of cut off jean shorts, a blue halter top and a pair of black converse. Her hair was long and black and bunched on the top of her head in a messy pony tail. But what was really evident was the fact that she had a cast on her left leg that went up to just below the knee. She hobbled to the front of the van and stood there, staring at him and holding something black in her hands. Chibs moved to stand beside her and Juice continued to stare at her. She reminded him an awful lot of his ex-wife, Peyton.
He walked a little further and then stopped dead in his tracks. It was his ex-wife. "What the hell?" he mumbled as he moved quicker to get to the van. She began walking slowly towards him and they eventually met in the middle. "Hey Juice," she said quietly and anxiously, staring up into his eyes. He lifted his sunglasses up and rested them on his head and then reached down and did the same with her sunglasses. He noticed her flinch a little when he touched her. He had to get a really good look at her. Even though he was a complete idiot 8 years ago when he divorced her, his love for her never died. At this very moment, he was very much in love with her, but that wouldn't change anything. His hand instantly moved up to the left side of her face where he noticed the huge bruise. It hurt him that somebody had hurt her like this. He assumed that the same person caused the broken leg.
"It's good to see you Peyton," he replied, smiling his million dollar smile, "What brings you back to Charming?" "It's a long story and one you will hear from Chibs on the way home," she replied. "What the hell happened to you?" he asked, clearly upset and his hand was still resting on her cheek. She averted her eyes and looked to the ground as she pulled away from his touch. "Another thing we will discuss on the way home," she mumbled. He knew instantly what they were dealing with and he was ready to kill the son of a bitch himself. "Calm down Juicy," she whispered, reaching out cautiously for his hand, "I'm going to be ok." He looked into her eyes and took a couple deep breaths and after a couple seconds he had started to feel better. That was something she always did with him back when they were married to calm him down and it worked every time.
Once the anger diminished he smiled down at her and she stuck her other arm out to hand him something. He looked down and she was holding his cut in her hand. "Turn around," she whispered. He turned around and she helped him put his cut on over his white t-shirt. He turned around again and pulled her into his arms and held her tightly. She hesitantly wrapped her arms around him. It felt so good to feel her in his arms again.
They pulled away from each other and Juice smiled down at Peyton. Juice then turned and looked at Chibs. Chibs threw his cigarette on the ground and smiled before he pulled Juice in for a manly hug. "Shit man," Juice said happily, "It's good to see you Chibs. Things are good, I hope?" "Aye," Chibs replied, smiling back at Juice, "Don't even worry about it. We have bigger issues to deal with and we are trusting that you are the man for the job." Juice didn't know what he was talking about, but he was assuming that it had something or everything to do with Peyton. "Whatever it is, you can count on me," Juice replied. "That's what I thought," Chibs said, smacking Juice on the back, "Now let's get the hell out of here."
Peyton had fallen asleep in the front seat of the van on the way back from Stockton and both Juice and Chibs were looking at her once they pulled up to the clubhouse. "What's going on Chibs?" Juice asked quietly once they stepped outside the van, "She was barely awake two minutes once we left Stockton." "Church is meetin in half an hour," Chibs replied, walking around the van to the passenger side door, "There is a lot going on with Peyton that we need to tell you about. You are going to be a busy guy. All of us are, but you have the biggest responsibility. She slept for 11 hours last night when she got here and then she fell asleep on the way to Stockton and on the way home from Stockton. This princess is exhausted."
Chibs opened the door, undid Peyton's seatbelt and gently lifted her into his arms and carried her into the clubhouse. Everyone's head turned as he walked through the main room and down the hall to her dorm room. She opened her eyes and looked up at him as he was covering her up with a blanket. "Chibs..." she said sleepily. "Go back to sleep baby girl," he said quietly, "We will come wake you up in a little bit." With that, she rolled over and her eyes drifted shut again.
"How's she doing?" Jax asked once he was back in the main room. "She's exhausted Jackie boy," he replied, running a hand through his hair and pulling his pack of cigarettes out of his jacket pocket, "And she isn't safe at all. I can feel it in my bones. Something isn't right."
Happy and Quinn walked into the clubhouse and Jackson stood up. "Alright we're all here, let's meet now," he said, walking towards the chapel. Everyone followed him in and everyone was giving Juice hugs and welcoming him back. After a few minutes everyone took their seats. "Ok guys, we have some serious shit to deal with now that Juice is back," Jax started, looking at Juice, "As you may know buddy, Peyton is in a lot of trouble. We need to get her to Calgary and deal with the paper work to get her kids out of Calgary and into California where they belong. We need you, as soon as church is over, to get on your computer and do some searching. Look up Justin's information, license plate number, and find out his exact location." Juice nodded his head in acceptance and furrowed his brow in confusion. "I'm on it," Juice replied, "But can someone please tell me what's going on with my ex-wife. It's killing me." Juice caught Bobby smiling at this. "This man is a sick fuck Juice," Jax replied, "Since they got married he has been verbally abusive, mentally abusive and just shortly after her youngest son was born, he became physically abusive. He has sent Peyton to the hospital about 10 times in the last three years and she has almost died 3 times because of his attacks. She has finally gotten away from him and the first place she came to was the clubhouse. She's exhausted because she red lined it the whole way here."
Juice could feel the heat rising in his body and his fists clenched, but he was mostly angry with himself. If it wasn't for him, none of this would have happened to her. "Juice, this isn't your fault," Bobby said as if reading his mind, "Nobody blames you for this." Juice turned and looked at Bobby with angry tears in his eyes. "I can't help but feel partly to blame for this," Juice replied, "I left her." "You leaving her was stupid," Bobby said matter of factly, knowing that that comment would sting a little, "But what she did after the divorce was not your fault. You couldn't control her anymore than the rest of us could and we all tried to talk her out of running away to Canada with him."
"Ok, back to business," Jax interrupted, "Juice, once you have done your research on Justin Berkley and get everything we need, you and Tig will be taking Peyton to her parents' house. She hasn't seen them yet and she wants to. After they visit, you will take her to your apartment where you will stay until you leave for Calgary first thing tomorrow morning. 6:00 am. Happy has already called Peyton's Social Worker and explained the situation and she will have all the paper work ready for her to sign when she gets there. Happy told her that you guys would be there sometime Saturday morning and she said she had no problem meeting you guys there." "So doing up the paper work and taking them out of the country is not a big deal?" Juice asked, "Isn't it a longer process than that?" "The social worker explained that because of the situation, they have managed to get all the paper work done and have already brought it in front of a judge," Happy included, "All you guys have to do is have all the boys' paperwork ready to give to the border guard when you get there. They will probably ask you some questions, but Peyton has all the answers." Juice nodded his head and then let out a heavy sigh.
"You ready to jump back in?" Jax asked him, "If you are, you have to be all in. We can't let anything happen to her." "I'm ready Jackson," Juice replied, "I would die before I let anything happen to her." "I know you would," he replied, "But please, try to keep both her and yourself alive. We love you both too much." Juice smiled. That was all the reassurance he needed. He was back in.
Half an hour later after they had wrapped up club business, Juice was sitting in front of his lap top in the main room of the clubhouse with a beer in hand doing his research. He had typed in Justin Berkley and nothing came up, but another name popped up that piqued his interest. "I wonder," Juice mumbled out loud to himself as he clicked on James Berkley. When he clicked on the link an incredible amount of information popped up. He scrolled through the information and a picture of James popped up. He smashed his hand against the table in anger. "Shit," he grumbled as he stared at a picture of Peyton's husband, Justin. The asshole had changed his name.
"Damnit," Juice said loudly. "What's going on Juice?" Alex asked him, coming up behind him, "What did you find?" "Tig, we have a problem," Juice said looking up at him, "Justin Berkley is not Justin Berkley. Justin Berkley is James Berkley." "What does that mean Juice?" Tig asked curiously. "It means, Tig, that this guy has done good time," Juice replied, the anger evident in his voice, "He is 40 and he did 10 years for domestic assault and attempted murder. He was released for good behavior when he was 34, changed his name and ran into Peyton and got married. How fucking perfect is that?" "Fuck," Tig murmured, looking at the information on the computer over Juice's shoulder. There was a picture of Peyton's husband on the screen and Tig did everything he could to not break the screen with his fist.
Next, Juice looked up Justin's licence number, which did come up, and managed to track his location, where he used his credit card. You'd think that a criminal like him would be smarter and take out cash instead of using a credit card, but that was not the case. "Jackson!" Juice yelled, feeling panicked. Jax ran out of the chapel and looked at Juice. "What the hell man?" he stated, rushing over to him. "The fucker checked into a motel just outside of Vegas about an hour ago," Juice said trying to remain calm, "He is probably just taking a quick rest before he makes a surprise entrance tomorrow morning. Not to mention that this son of a bitch is not who he said he was. His name is actually James Berkley and he did 10 years for domestic assault and attempted murder. We have got to get her out of here." "Jesus Christ," Jax mumbled, "Ok, you need to leave tonight. Juice, print out all the information for me and then go wake up Peyton. It's 5:30 now, you need to leave by 11. I'm going to my mom's to grab her Escalade and you guys can drive that. He won't be able to identify you guys that way." Juice was running on pure adrenaline at this point. He wanted to kill the bastard.