Peyton rolled over in bed and opened her eyes just in time to see the door open. Her heart began to pound in her chest when she saw Juice standing in the doorway. Her feelings for him were still there, there was no denying that, but he also made her feel anxious and nervous. She knew where it stemmed from and it made her angry. She had never had a fear of anyone before especially Juice.
"Hey," she said sleepily as she sat up in bed, "Are you my wake up call?" "You betcha," he replied, smiling at her, "Did you sleep ok?" "I was a little restless," she replied quietly, "But that's the story of my life. It has been awhile since I have ever felt relaxed while sleeping." Juice gave her a sad look and continued to stand in the doorway. She could tell that he was giving her space. She wished that she could just push away the feelings of fear and anxiety, because it was Juice. She knew that he would never hurt her, but she couldn't shake it. She knew that with time these feelings would dissipate and she would just have to be patient.
"What's wrong?" she asked, looking up at him. His face was filled with worry and concern. "Tell me Juice," she pleaded. "Justin left Calgary and he has checked into a motel just outside of Vegas," he replied quietly, "We have to leave tonight." She began to panic and tears instantly filled her eyes. "Peyton, what did you know about him before you married him?" he asked, stepping further into the room, "Do you mind if I sit down?" She shook her head and motioned for him to sit. She pulled her legs up to her chest and leaned against the headboard and watched him as he sat down at the foot of the bed. "I know he went through a pretty tough divorce years ago," she replied quietly, "But he ended it before it got out of control." "Peyton, I don't think you knew Justin as well as you thought you did," Juice stated. "Juice what do you know?" she asked him. "Justin Berkley is not Justin Berkley. His name is James Berkley and he did 10 years for domestic abuse and attempted murder," Juice said cautiously, unsure of how she was going to take this news, "That marriage he told you about, he did the same thing he was doing to you and he almost succeeded. His first wife was on a respirator and in a coma for weeks before she came to."
Peyton refused to believe this. She shook her head when Juice told her about this new development. "This can't be true," she expressed in disbelief and disgust, "How could he fool me like this?" "I don't know baby girl," Juice replied quietly, "You were in love and you were ready to move on with your life. This isn't your fault Peyton. It's just unfortunate that the one you thought you knew had a double life." "I was still suffering from the heartbreak from losing you and he was the first person that showed interest in me. I knew you wouldn't take me back, you had made that perfectly clear," she tried to justify, "I was even more confused when you came to me that night in May 2009 right after Justin and I got engaged. It broke my heart when I woke up and you were gone. So I figured the best way to forget you was to jump into the next marriage"
Juice had forgotten about that night and he could feel himself get hot at the thought of it. "Why did you let it happen?" Juice asked curiously, "You could have easily stopped it from happening, but you let me keep going." "I was secretly hoping that you would tell me not to go through with the engagement," Peyton replied, "I wanted you to tell me that you still loved me and wanted me back. I would've ended it then." He had wanted her to call it off with Justin and did want to try again with her, but he felt she deserved better. But now he felt like he was the only one who could protect her and love her the way she needed to be loved. "I wanted all of that," Juice shot back, feeling the anger and the regret of leaving her creep into his body, "I never wanted this life for you. I completely understand that you are blaming this situation on me, but you are partly to blame." She looked at him like he had slapped her across the face. "I never said I blamed you for how my life turned out you son of a bitch," she said in an icy tone, "Even after 8 years, I'm still completely at a loss as to why you divorced me. We never had a single problem we couldn't work through, but you didn't want to be tied down." He knew she would never forgive him for that. He had no excuse for why he did it. He was a coward for ending it, but he couldn't change it now. "I'm so sorry Peyton," he said quietly, trying to diffuse the situation.
Peyton stared at him and could see the hurt and the frustration and anger in his eyes. She knew he still, to this day, felt awful for divorcing her and she felt bad for bringing it up again. She didn't want to put the blame on him because he was right, she was also to blame for this. The reality of it was that no one was really to blame, but unfortunately, sometimes horrible things happened to people and there was no way to control that.
"I know you're sorry Juice," she said quietly as she unfolded her legs and crawled across the bed cautiously. She sat beside him and put her hand on top of his. "Just keep me safe," she said quietly, looking into his eyes. "I promise," he whispered, "I will do everything in my power to not let anything happen to you." She smiled at him and leaned her head against his shoulder. He kissed her gently on the forehead and they sat there in silence.
A little while later Juice had left Peyton to get dressed and get her bag packed up so they could leave. She sat there and stared at the door, her heart aching. Everything up to this point had been difficult, but the secret she had been keeping to herself since shortly after her and Justin were married was killing her. She knew that she was going to have to tell Juice sooner or later, but she had no idea how to tell him.
She quickly wiped her tears away when someone knocked on the door. "Come in," she said as she began pulling her hoodie over her head. "Hey sweetheart," her Uncle Bobby said, peeking his head in the door, "How are you doing?" "It's a little much to take in Uncle B," she replied, "You never expect to have someone in your life keep such a huge secret from you. I'm not doing good. I just want to get out of here. I don't want him to come here and cause trouble for you guys." She mentally scolded herself for the comment about the huge secret because she was doing it herself, to Juice. "Don't worry about that Peyton," Bobby said to her, "You worry about getting yourself back to Calgary and bringing those kids home. We will take care of the rest." She hobbled over to her uncle and hugged him tightly. "I love you uncle," she whispered. "I love you to baby girl," he replied. He kissed her quickly on the forehead and then he handed her a phone. "What's this?" she asked him. "It's a prepaid," he replied, "Use it to call us if you need help and use it to call your kids. I'm sure they are wondering where you are." "Thank you," she replied. He smiled at her and left the room.
Peyton looked at the phone and then sat down on the bed. She quickly dialled the number she knew all too well and waited as it rang. "Hello," said a quiet voice on the other end. "Jenny, hi," Peyton said, trying to sound as pleasant as she could, "It's Peyton." "Oh thank God," Jenny exclaimed, "We have been so worried about you. We got a call from the Social Worker saying that you left for California and now no one can find Justin." "I'm ok," Peyton replied, "Justin is trying to find me. Some friends are driving me out to Calgary tonight so that I can get the kids. We should be there Saturday morning." "Sounds good," Jenny said, sounding relieved, "I'm so glad you are ok. You called just in time. A certain little boy would really love to talk to his mommy." Peyton smiled at this and tears instantly sprung to her eyes. "I would love to talk to my little boy," Peyton said quietly. "Sweetheart," she heard Jenny say on the other end, "Your mommy is on the phone." She could hear him squeal excitedly and this made her heart happy. "Momma," she heard him whisper. "Hi baby," she said happily, the tears falling freely from her eyes now, "How are you Evander?" "I good mommy," he said tiredly, "I miss you mommy. When you coming to visit?" "I miss you too sweetheart," she replied, "I will be there soon, I promise you. We are going to be moving far away from there. Mommy is going to take you and Darcy away from danger. You and Darcy getting along at Jenny's house?" "Yeah. Darcy's asleep now," Evander said, "Please come soon mommy. We misses you. Love you mommy." "I love you too sweetie," she said, feeling sad, "Be good and I will be there soon." "Ok. Bye mommy." "Peyton," Jenny said after a couple seconds. "Hi Jenny," Peyton replied. "Get here soon," Jenny stated, "The boys miss you and so do I." "I'll call you tomorrow afternoon," Peyton replied. They said their goodbyes and then she hung up.
Juice and Tig were loading up their bags and getting ready for the long drive when Peyton walked out with her bag over her shoulder. She had clearly been crying, but they didn't want to push her.
"You ready to go sweetheart?" Tig asked her as he strapped a gun to his ankle. "As ready as I'll ever be," she replied, "I just want to get this over with." "Us to sweetheart," he replied. Tig grabbed another gun and shoved it in the inside pocket of his vest and then reached for Peyton's bag. She smiled at him and handed it to him. "Thanks," she said quietly. He smiled back at her, but said nothing.
"Is everything ok?" she asked as she walked up to Juice who was stashing multiple hand guns in his bag. "Why do you ask?" he questioned, looking at her. "Tig's just acting weird, that's all," she replied, "Kind of has me worried." Juice looked at her and approached her with caution, reaching up to brush a strand of hair out of her face that had fallen from her ponytail. "Peyton, we just want to get you out of here and keep you safe," Juice said sincerely, "The both of us are pretty stressed out because we both feel that will be on us if anything happens to you." "But it isn't," Peyton pleaded, "If something were to happen everyone would know that you tried your best." "You are a huge part of our lives," he stated, "It doesn't matter what other people think, we would feel responsible." Peyton wondered if they knew more than what they were telling her, but she decided now wasn't the time to push them on the subject. "I appreciate everything you guys are doing for me Juice," she said quietly, smiling up him. He smiled back at her and her heart beat sped up and she could feel her temperature rise. She leaned in and kissed him on the cheek before leaving him to finish his packing.
She walked outside into the warm evening air and stared up at the sky. "You ready to go?" Jax asked, standing behind her. "I guess so," she replied, turning and smiling at him, "I need you guys to be careful too though. Promise me." "We'll be careful," he said with a smile, "I'm sorry that all this is happening Darlin." "It will all be over soon," she said quietly. Part of her was saying this to convince herself everything was going to be ok. She looked at him closely and her suspicions were confirmed just by the look in his eyes. They definitely knew something more, but didn't want to tell her for fear of scaring her more or stressing her out. "You bet your ass it will be," he mumbled, "This guy has to pay for what he has done to you."
Nothing more was said between them. He ran his hand through his hair and quickly kissed her on the forehead before heading back into the clubhouse. She kept her emotions in check, but she knew this trip was doomed and she was terrified for what loomed ahead.