**Trigger Warning** T
here is a discussion of pregnancy loss in this chapter, so please be aware of the possible trigger in that regard.
I stood on the paved street, watching the taillights of Tara's car get smaller and smaller as she drove away. After so many years, after all the stress and the heartache, it was the loss of the pregnancy that had finally pushed her to walk away, though it wasn't the root of her need to cut loose of me and the club. I wasn't an idiot; I'd felt it for a while now. Although I'd been the one to try to push her away for the sake of her safety earlier, it hadn't been my actions that had lead to the fading of those red lights in the distance. Rather, the final straw had been the realization that she didn't have to stay once she'd suffered her loss: through no fault of her own, or anyone's really, she'd had a miscarriage. As I'd been on a run, she was at home, thinking.
Tara had come to the conclusion that the life we lead wasn't right for her. More than that, she'd decided that the echoes of a love from our youth couldn't survive well enough to flourish in our present. With the loss, she no longer had a tie to me that would give her a reason to fight for us. Instead, she had every reason to decide to kick the dust of Charming off her heels as she strode away. As I stared down a street which no longer showed evidence of her car, I knew that she was right to do it.
Tara was my first love. Ours was a love that was passionate and all consuming, but ultimately built on the dreams and ideals of youth's perspective. For years, I'd pined for the loss of her; imagining that, if she just came back, we could have it all again. I'd been so certain that what I needed was her return to Charming that I'd never given any other woman a real chance. While I'd married Wendy, Tara had always held a spot in my heart that I'd kept safe - as if in protecting that piece of me, I could somehow be who I once was. While I was right that I needed Tara to return, I'd discovered it was for the wrong reason.
Tara's return showed me that there was truth to something I'd read a long time ago. I couldn't remember where I'd seen it, but I remember reading once that you never step foot into the same river twice. With each passing hour, the water that flowed over the rocks and branches changed the course of the flow ever so slightly. With every day, new life entered the streams while old passed away. Although the water may have the same name, it was never truly the same as what you first experienced. Ultimately, that is exactly what Tara and I realized a month ago.
It had all come to a head in one of those state of the union discussions that she liked to have. I've never been a fan of those talks, knowing that men and women often have different priorities and languages, which of course regularly lead to misunderstandings. While I'm not against having the occasional heart to heart, a forced conversation when one of the parties isn't ready for it generally leads to hurt feelings. In our case, however, both of us had been ready to talk and we'd both come to the same conclusion. What we had before was no longer. We couldn't resurrect it by sheer willpower, despite our best efforts. So, while I was sure we would always care about each other, we'd decided that it was time to part ways.
Tara had put in for a transfer to another hospital out of state and I had helped her pack her things. Gemma had been, as one could imagine, over the fucking moon with righteousness, her demeanor screaming the "I told you so" that she didn't verbalize. As I walked back into the quiet house, I knew that Gemma was wrong, but also right. Tara wasn't the right fit, but she also wasn't the stone-hearted woman that destroyed my ability to survive, either. While it may have been true when I was 19, the fact was that things had changed. I was no longer that teenage kid stuck in the memories of his first real girl. I'd seen enough love - real, lasting and deep love - among my brothers and their Old Ladies at this point to recognize that what Tara and I had was special, but it wasn't enough. Somewhere out there, I was sure, there was a woman who would fill the place in my soul that was cracked. I just had to be watchful and not be afraid to act when I finally met her.
On those thoughts, I locked up the house and wandered down the hall toward the master bedroom. With all the ups and downs in the club recently, I could only hope for a little peace before the next storm hit. I felt like the Sons needed it, even if we did not perhaps deserve it. Popping my head into Abel's room to see him breathing softly in his sleep, I smiled and then turned away. Tomorrow was another day. The future awaited me. I just had to be ready for it.
I awoke to the sound of my phone ringing, followed shortly by Abel's cry. The kid was no doubt hungry and needing a change. So, I grabbed my phone and muttered a hello into the receiver as I walked into his room to pull him from the crib and get to work on making the little man happy.
"You okay, baby?" Came Mom's voice and I smiled. I knew she wouldn't be able to make it until I drove out to the shop before she called to check on me. The woman was relentless in her need to protect her boys.
"I'm good. Just getting Abel changed and fed." I answered as I made faces at my boy.
"I had a call in response to the ad for a nanny, seeing as we lost the last one." She said as I worked on cleaning up the remnants of Abel's last meal. How could so much shit come out of one small child? It defied the laws of physics, I was sure.
"Yeah?" I asked, distracted as I attempted to not get hosed down by my son.
"I called Unser, and he's already done a background check on her for us. She seems like she might work out. No record or ties to anyone of concern. She's has an early childhood development degree, so she could be good for Abel." Gemma continued and I frowned.
"Mom, he's an infant. What's she possibly going to do that would make that much of a difference at this stage in his life?" I asked and I heard her huff.
"I don't know, Jax, teach him colors or shapes or some shit? Does it really matter? On paper, she sounds like a good thing for my grandson." She snarked back at me and I sighed.
"Of course, mom. When can we meet her?" I asked, knowing that there was no way in hell she'd let me just handle the interview on my own. God forbid a grown man handle his own business.
I could hear the smile in her voice as she answered me. "She's coming by the house in fifteen minutes. I'll be there in five."