Chapter 1: Finished Business
**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."
Chapter 2: Some Help
I stepped out of my slightly older Honda and smoothed down my dress slacks once I closed the driver's side door. This was my first interview for a nanny position since graduation, and I was nervous. I wanted to make a good impression. Not only did I need the money to start paying off student loans, but I was hoping to find the right fit for a family looking for long term help.
When I'd first gone into my major, I'd imagined that I wanted to be a teacher. Although the drive was still there in part, what I'd learned along the way was that I preferred the interactions you have with kids when you are not part of the educational system. Teachers are bound by budgets, required benchmarks, time, and the number of kids they have under their care. Those limitations naturally mean that you can't do some of the things that I found the most rewarding in dealing with children. So, while I could still go in to teaching if I wanted, I'd redirected my job searches to nanny positions as my graduation date loomed.
I was no stranger to the task. I'd been a part time nanny before going to college and did some work in that regard for a couple of years while I was there. So, it wasn't like I was romanticizing what the job would entail. I knew that being a nanny wasn't all unicorns and rainbows. A lot of the same concerns teachers have apply to nannies, just on a smaller scale. Nevertheless, it was something I'd found my passion in and so I was really hoping that things would work out.
I took a deep breath as I knocked on the door of my potential employer and smiled when it opened to reveal a woman who appeared to be in her early fifties. This must be Gemma. She'd told me on the phone that she was the grandmother to the child that I was interviewing to nanny - Abel. I put my hand out to shake and spoke.
"Good morning. I'm Soleil. Are you Gemma?" I asked and she took my hand with a slight twist to her lips. I'd say it was a smile, but it appeared to be slightly too calculated to really call it that.
"I am, honey. Come on in." She said and stood back from the door. I walked in to the living room to see a taller blond man in jeans and a hoodie holding a young boy. This must be Abel and his dad. Shoot. I couldn't remember what his name was.
"Good morning," I said to the man, who really was quite attractive. He had longer blond hair and expressive eyes. Although I couldn't see much given his attire, his presence suggested that he was strong. I'd guess he worked out. As I took it all in, though, my attention was distracted by the little boy, who was the most adorable child I think I'd ever seen.
"And good morning to you, too, little man." I cooed and was rewarded with a sparkling smile. Oh, I really hoped this worked out, now. This little boy was darling. I was still cooing at the baby when Gemma cleared her throat slightly and I jumped a bit. Darn it. I probably looked rude, ignoring the father of the child and his grandma while I made silly faces at the infant.
"I'm sorry. That wasn't very professional of me." I muttered, feeling the blush overtake my face. "He's just so adorable." I explained, looking to Gemma and then the dad, who was looking at me with a strange expression on his face.
"It's alright, honey. No one here is going to argue with you about that." Gemma said with a slight smirk and I smiled again. It didn't look like I'd messed up yet. "Why don't you take a seat?" She asked and I turned to the chair in the living room and sat as they moved to the couch and another chair.
"My name's Jax," the blond said and I smiled at him.
"Soleil," I said and he nodded with a slight turn of his head.
"Are you French?" He asked and I shook my head.
"No. My family is from Canada." I responded, used to the question at this point.
"Do you speak any other languages, then?" Gemma asked and I nodded.
"I do. I grew up in Quebec, so I speak French. I have a little bit of Spanish, too, but only enough to ask for directions, go to the bathroom, or request a meal." I said with a self-deprecating smile and Gemma nodded.
"Tell us why you're looking for a nanny position, darlin'." Jax asked and I turned my attention to him.
"I love children. I'd thought to go into teaching when I went to college, but I discovered that I preferred more one on one time with kids than what you can find in the traditional educational system. So, I looked into nannying, and found that I loved it. While I was getting my degree, I nannied for a family of three. They had one infant, about Abel's age, and two older kids. It was just what I'd been hoping to find in a job - rewarding, hard, but fun." I answered and I knew that I was gushing. I tend to do that when I'm excited.
"If you loved that job so much, why didn't you stay with the family?" Gemma asked.
"Unfortunately, the parents split up and it was... unpleasant. I'd originally worked out a plan with them to go back and forth with the kids, but it turned out that the parents were looking to get information on each other's lives through me." I paused and looked at my hands. "If a child is in danger, neglected or hurt, I'll be the first to speak up. But, I won't be someone's spy." I finished and looked up to find Jax and Gemma sharing a look that I couldn't decipher. I hoped I hadn't said too much about my old employers. I did like them. I just couldn't do what they were asking of me.
"And do you regret that decision?" Jax asked and I shook my head.
"No. I miss the kids. The parents were good people. But," I said with a sigh, "they were asking me to do something that I felt would ultimately harm their kids. I wasn't going to make the situation worse." I responded with a shrug and a twist of my lips. Although I didn't regret my decision, I wished things had gone differently for that family.
"What kind of hours are you able to do?" Gemma asked and I smiled.
"Well, I've done live in work where I was around 24/7, except for days off as arranged, and I've done part time, where it was between fifteen and thirty hours a week. Now that I've graduated, I can do either. If this is a good fit, but you only need part time help, then I'll likely get another job to fill in the hours." I answered and Jax spoke up.
"You'd live in a stranger's house?" He asked and I shrugged.
"Sometimes, that's just how the work goes." I paused and looked directly at him, realizing that he must have some privacy concerns. "You don't have to worry about your privacy. If it's live-in, then we'd just need to talk about schedules that make sense for you. If you need me gone for a while, that's not a big deal."
"With Abel this age, what kinds of things would you do all day?" Gemma asked.
"Mostly, this age is about play, eating, and sleep. During the times Abel is napping, I can pick up around the house or do research on activities that are age appropriate. When he's awake, we'd play with toys, go to the park, visit the zoo. As he gets older, I'd introduce letters, colors and shapes and work on his recognition and vocabulary. Motor skills are another key aspect to the developing mind, so we'd have fun with sensory play."
Gemma smiled at me, and it seemed like the first real smile since I'd come in. "Thank you, honey. Jax and I should talk. Can we get back to you in the next few days?"
"Of course," I said as I stood. "It was a pleasure meeting you," I continued before waving at Abel and walking to the door, which Gemma was holding for me. "Have a good day."
Chapter 3: Don't Do It
"Don't you do it, Jax." Mom said and I looked at her in surprise. "I know she looks like a damn pin up, but you need to keep it in your pants. Did you hear her? She's perfect for Abel." She continued, her voice scolding and her hands on her hips.
Mom wasn't wrong. The woman who'd just left my house seemed a perfect fit for watching Abel, but I was struggling to keep my thoughts out of the gutter. Soleil was average height, but better than average assets. The tits and ass on that woman were the kind of thing that would have a man aching to think about and would have been well-placed on a poster from World War II. Her complexion was creamy and her eyes were a dark, sparkling blue. The idea of her thick, mahogany colored hair spread over my pillow was itself enough to cause my mind to go into overdrive. Soleil was gorgeous.
I raised my free hand to the air, the other still holding Abel to me, while trying to placate Gemma. "Come on, Mom. I'm capable of controlling myself." I said and she snorted at me.
"Yeah? Because I saw the look that was crossing your face when she was more focused on the kid in your arms than on you. You saw it as a challenge that she didn't act like she immediately wanted to jump you." Mom said and I lifted a shoulder. That was beside the point.
"Look," I said, shifting Abel in my arms. "I agree that she sounds like a great fit." Hm, fit, I thought for a moment and saw the frustration cross my mom's face as she raised her hands to the air.
"I'm not kidding, Jax! I liked her and I don't like anybody." She said and I nodded.
"Understood, mom." I responded and looked to Abel before looking back to her. "I have the day off from the shop. Shoot me her number and I'll give her a call and set up to have her start tomorrow, assuming she's good with the pay." I responded and Gemma huffed.
"Alright." She muttered and moved to gather her purse. "At least most of the boys have already lined up their Old Ladies. I won't have to worry about all of you assholes trying to get into her pants."
I grinned at her; she knew better than to believe that a woman who looked like Soleil was going to be ignored by even a man with an Old Lady. While many of my brothers were happily set up with their women, they weren't dead. Soleil was going to have to be prepared for a massive amount of flirting from the Sons.
"I think live-in would be a bad idea." Mom said as she pulled out a paper that had a number on it and handed it to me. I nodded.
"Yeah, I know. I was going to suggest full time, but with irregular hours and the fair chance of more than forty some weeks. We don't know what kind of personal life she has, so I'm not sure how that all pans out." I juggled Abel a bit. "It's not like we're a nine to five family."
Mom nodded in understanding. "Well, between the babysitting with grandma and the other Old Ladies, we should be able to come up with a schedule that Soleil can live with." She smiled at me. "Who knows? Maybe she'll teach Abel how to speak French."
I shook my head at her. "That's all I'd need - a kid that I can't understand."
After mom left, Abel and I finished breakfast and settled in to play for a while. It's not often that I get to just relax. Most times, that involves being on the back of a bike, but being with Abel was just as good. By mid-afternoon, though, I realized that I had some errands to run and I wasn't sure how well it would work out to have Abel with me. I pulled out the number for Soleil from my jeans pocket and gave a twist of the lips.
As gorgeous as she was, Mom was right. I was going to need to keep it in my pants. It wouldn't do to lose someone who seemed so well-suited to watching my boy. On the other hand, if she didn't work out for one reason or another, I thought with a smile, there wouldn't be anything to hold me back. I smiled at the thought as I dialed her number.
"Hello?" Came her soft voice and I know my smile broadened. She had a bit of a quiet voice, but it was firm. It reminded me a bit of a librarian.
"Soleil. This is Jax Teller." I said and I heard shifting in the background.
"Mr. Teller, it's good to hear from you." She said and I shook my head.
"Call me Jax, darlin'." I instructed and she murmured her assent. "I'd like to give this a shot. It won't work to do a live-in situation, but I can promise forty hours a week, with some possibility of more. I don't really have a nine to five lifestyle though, so the hours will vary somewhat." I said and was pleased to hear her response.
"Well, that's okay. Kids don't really operate on the forty hour work week, either." I chuckled.
"Very true. You're good with the proposed pay from the ad?" I asked.
"Yes, sir." She said and I rolled my eyes.
"Jax, darlin'." I said again and she hesitated for a moment.
"Yes, Jax. I'm good with the pay." I smiled. I liked the way she said my name. She had a slight accent when she spoke. It was barely there, but it was enough to impact how she pronounced some words.
"Great. Any chance you can start today? I have some errands to run before I head in to the clubhouse." I responded and I swear, I heard a muffled squeal.
"Of course! But, you know, if the errands are ones that relate to the house, I can handle them. You just give me a list of what you need done and I'll take care of it." She offered and my brows rose.
"You sure? That seems slightly outside of the nanny role." I said and I heard her chuckle.
"The nanny role is whatever we make it. I don't mind doing light housework and tasks. It gives Abel and I a reason to get out and about on days when we don't have a play date or specific activity planned." She answered and I nodded. It would make things easier for me if I could just head in to the club, considering the texts that had been popping up on my phone in the two minutes since I started the call.
"Sounds good. Are you somewhere close to the house?" I asked and she sighed.
"Actually, I'm a bit closer to the other end of town. It may be a half hour." She said, apology in her tone. "I was looking at apartments over at the Crown." She offered.
"The Crown Apartments are just a few blocks from where I need to be. Why don't I meet you at Teller-Morrow Automotive, and you can pick up Abel?" I asked.
"Perfect. I'll be there shortly. Thank you, Mr. - uh, Jax." She concluded and I smiled.
Chapter 4: Of Course
"Holy shit," I said as I saw the woman getting out of the Honda in the lot. "I'm on this," I called over my shoulder to the other men in the shop. As I walked toward her, I noted that her dark hair had red that shone in the sunlight. She had tall boots coming up her calves over close fitting jeans and a white top that dropped to the side of one shoulder. Now, I'm a happily married man, but even a dead man could appreciate the form on this woman.
"What can I do for you, doll?" I asked as I came up to her and was surprised to hear a slight accent to her voice when she responded.
"I'm here to meet Mr., uh, Jax." She hesitated and my brow rose. Would figure that slut had already gotten his hooks into this woman. The fucking James T. Kirk of the MC life, that one.
"Aw, lass. Ya and Jackie boy, then?" Came Chibs question and I saw the woman blush.
"Uh, no. Not like that, sir," she said and I smirked. 'Sir.' Chibs would be pissed about that for at least a few hours. She might as well have called him grandpa.
"I'm going to be Abel's nanny," she continued and I choked on my spit a little. Before I could say anything more, I saw Jax drive in.
He parked his rig and then got out with a wave to the woman, who smiled broadly and walked over. Interestingly enough, although I could see his appreciation for her, her body language didn't show any draw to him. Instead, she was all but hopping to hold Abel, who Jax held out to her. As she cooed and spoke to the kid, I noted that this had to be a first. Jax Teller was standing next to a beautiful woman who didn't seem to take any notice of the fact he existed, except as necessary to get to his boy. I smirked. Between calling Chibs 'sir' and her dismissal of Jax, I liked her already.
Jax nodded to Chibs and I, who were still watching the three, and murmured something to her. She looked up with a smile and walked our way, holding Abel on her hip.
"Guys, this is Soleil," he said. "She's going to be watching Abel for us." He turned to her and gestured to Chibs and I. "This is Tig and this is Chibs. They are two of my brothers," he said and she cocked her head.
"Brothers?" she asked and my eyes widened. She didn't know about the Sons.
"We're par' o' a motorcycle club, lass," Chibs supplied and she nodded.
"Okay. Good to know," she said, seemingly just taking in the information as a fact without any judgment. She turned to Jax. "Mr.-" she started to say and he interrupted.
"Jax," he supplied and she nodded with a sheepish smile.
"Of course. Jax, what were the errands you needed done?" He handed her a list from his pocket and she looked it over for a few seconds and then nodded. "Gemma told me about Abel's eating and sleep habits when we talked earlier, so I think I'm all set. Except," she said, "I'll need a key to your place so I can get in." Jax pulled out his key ring and popped one off. It looked like a duplicate. I wondered if it was the one Tara had used to have.
Soleil raised it with a smile and a nod to all of us. "Great. I'll get these taken care of," she murmured with a look to the list and then started to walk toward Jax's rig. "I'll get the car seat out of yours and move it over. See you later, Jax!" She called over her shoulder and went about doing just that.
Chibs, Jax and I watched her for a moment, noting that sweet ass as it leaned in to the back of Jax's car. I looked at Jax and rose my brows.
"You're a dirty man, Jax," I said and he smirked at me.
"Nah. Gemma would string me up if I hit it." I'm sure my eyes widened at his words, because he chuckled and shook his head. "Gemma's decided Soleil is the perfect match for Abel. Gave me a lecture this morning about it."
"Ah, lad. Yer goin' ta have to find somethin' ta keep ya occupied, then," Chibs offered with a nod to Soleil. "Or tha' temptation is goin' ta be too great," he concluded and I had to agree. Jax wasn't known for his self-discipline when it came to women. Putting one like that in his path was just asking for it. Except, I thought, if she wasn't interested. From the looks of things, she wasn't a foregone conclusion, and I said as much.
"Not so sure about that. Looked to me like Abel is going to be closer to those tits than Jax is," I snarked and Chibs laughed, while Jax looked a little put out.
"Aye, Tig. Yer righ' abou' tha'. Don' remember tha last time a woman has been so unaffected by ya, lad," he said with a pat to Jax's back. For his part, Jax shrugged.
"That's a good thing, man. She's Abel's nanny," he said and walked toward the clubhouse. We'd all gotten some texts to come in to discuss some club business, so it was time to head in.
I looked around the house with a smile, satisfied with my first day on the job. After Abel and I had left the mechanic shop where Jax worked, we'd run the errands from Jax's list. The hardware store was close to the grocery store, and so once I'd gotten what he'd needed, I picked up some things to make dinner.
I didn't know when Jax would be done with whatever he was up to and it was time for Abel to eat before a bath and bed. Once kids are past the mushy baby food stage, I'm of the mind that they should be introduced to what the adults eat - within reason, of course. So, when the timer dinged, I pulled out the baked chicken and green beans and got to work on cutting it up for the little man to play with and try to eat. At ten months old, he was still going to get a fair amount of calories from his formula and the pre-made food, but with any luck, we'd be in good shape for the switch to mostly finger foods by the age of one.
I was playing airplane with him in his highchair when the front door opened to reveal Jax. He came into the kitchen and looked over the pan on the stove, seeing that there was certainly enough for him to eat.
"You didn't have to make me dinner, Soleil," he said and I shrugged.
"Doesn't make sense not to when I'm making food anyway," I responded and started to clean up Abel's face. He swatted at me and raised his little arms to Jax. "It looks like he wants daddy," I said with a smile over my shoulder and Jax returned the gesture.
"Come here, big guy," he said and his love for this child was clear.
"I was just about to get a bath going for him and put him to bed," I said and Jax nodded.
"If you don't mind, that food smells amazing and I haven't eaten since breakfast. Can you go ahead with your plan?" he asked and I nodded and reached for Abel.
"Of course. It's what I'm here for."
Chapter 5: Really Tired
Two months later, and I found that all of my family was right - Tig, Chibs, and Gemma. Soleil was perfect for Abel. She was also a damn distraction that I was struggling to dismiss. Most mornings, she would arrive in some version of jeans and a shirt. She'd set her bags down and get right to work with a sunny, but disinterested smile my way. She got Abel dressed, fed, and played with him. After all the issues with the club, Gemma had put nanny cams into the main areas of the house. Throughout the day, I could watch Soleil interact with my boy in my living room, kitchen and his room. I'd even snuck by the place a few times when I'd seen her leave the house and discovered that she was taking him to the park and to the kids museum.
As I rode my bike to the clubhouse, I couldn't help but think about her. Her personality fit her name. She was sunny. Her smile would light up her face and her entire demeanor was the embodiment of Summer. Even when Abel had gotten an ear infection and was crying nearly non-stop for the two days before the meds started to work, Soleil was affectionate and sweet to him. The problem, of course, was that her clear affection for my son was adding fuel to the fire that already burned in me for her.
As the months had passed, Soleil's internal beauty had overshadowed her external looks, which I would have said was fucking impossible just a short time ago. With each passing day, I was craving a touch of her creamy skin and the smell of her thick hair. I envisioned her wrapped around me and it wasn't a hug I was yearning for. More than that, though, I just wanted her around. I'd started making an effort to make it home so that I could eat dinner with her and Abel. When I had a break from the shop or club duties, I'd swing by and hang out with her and my boy. Just being near her seemed to make me happy. Outside of the fact that I was her damn boss and she was watching my kid, the problem was that I had no idea what she thought of me.
Soleil had told us when we first met her that she would be no one's spy. She hadn't known it, but those words had been what had pushed Gemma from a mild interest into a full-fledged liking of her. What I didn't know at the time was that Soleil was good at keeping her opinions to herself in all aspects. While I didn't question her - her full of life personality was genuine - I also couldn't read her. Whatever happened in that mind of hers when I'd come home, whether it was to visit or at the end of a day sporting bruises or cuts, she kept it to herself so well that I couldn't have told you if she thought I was scum or the man who hung the moon.
The woman was a vault. Although I knew that some of the brothers, prospects and hang arounds had gotten flirty with her at TM, she never said a word to me about it. She flat never complained. She seemed to just expect to handle things on her own and I wasn't fucking used to that. Tara was all about the regular talk to express feelings and thoughts. I snorted as I considered Soleil. She'd probably look at me like I had three heads if I asked her what she was thinking or feeling. It was a mess of a situation and I wasn't sure what to do, because it was all on me. I shook my head. A mess for sure.
I saw Opie hanging around outside as I pulled into the lot, and noted that he looked to be waiting for me when I parked. Setting my gear to the side, I nodded at him.
"What's up, man?" I asked and he looked around before speaking.
"Seems like I should be asking you that," he said and I looked away. Mom and Ope were the two people best able to pick up on my moods.
"It's nothing," I said and he raised a brow as he took a drag from his cigarette.
"Doesn't seem like it," he muttered and I shrugged.
"Alright. It's not nothing, but it's not something I'm going to do anything about, either," I said, caving because I knew that Opie was going to keep pushing and I'd been thinking about the issue anyway.
"Have to do with your little Sun?" He asked and I shook my head.
"Nah, Abel's fine," I answered and he smirked.
"I was referring to the other little Sun," he commented before taking another drag and I shifted on my feet.
"I really like her, man," I said and stared at the ground. "But, I don't have a great track record for these things," I continued and he nodded.
"No, you really don't." He agreed and I hit him on the shoulder.
"Shut up, asshole," I said with a grin and he smiled back at me.
"You know if she feels the same?" He asked and I sighed with a shake of my head.
"I don't. She's professional all the time. Hell, she doesn't even fucking cuss. I don't have a clue what's going on in that mind of hers," I said, grousing at my inability to pin down what Soleil was feeling.
"Well, you know that if she's in to you, it'll happen. Maybe it's a good thing, having to be patient," Opie said and I nodded.
"Yeah. You're probably right. If it happens, it happens," I said and then tensed as I saw Mom run out of the shop.
"Jax!" She yelled when she saw me and you could see her panic from a mile off.
"What, mom?" I asked, striding toward her.
"Abel and Soleil. I was checking the cams. There's someone at the house!" She yelled and my blood ran cold.
I ran to my bike, Opie beside me, and fired up. We tore out of the lot, throttling up to get to my place as fast as possible. As we drove, my mind was blank with fear. I could hear the rumble of more bikes and looked over my shoulder to see that Chibs and Juice were following. As we pulled up to the house, I could see two Harleys drive off. Chibs and Juice took off after them while Opie and I ran in the house.
"Soleil? Soleil!" I yelled and I heard a groan from the kitchen. I ran in to find her against a cupboard and holding her head, blood coming from her hairline past the hand that she had pressed to it. Her clothes were rumpled, but not torn and the kitchen looked like it had been worked over a bit.
"Abel's okay. Hid him in his closet," she murmured and I looked over my shoulder to see Opie move quickly down the hallway. I reached out to remove her hand from her head and saw a nasty gash at the top.
"What happened?" I asked as I heard Opie come back down the hall with Abel in hand.
Soleil swallowed and shifted in her spot against the cupboard with a groan. She licked her lips before speaking quietly. "I checked the peephole before answering and didn't like the vibe they gave. I hid Abel in his closet and then went to grab my phone in here, but they kicked in the door. They asked me where you were and got upset when I didn't tell them. When one looked distracted, I grabbed for my phone but one got it first and the other hit me. They panicked when they heard your motorcycle," she said, closing her eyes.
"I'm really tired," she murmured before she passed out.
Chapter 6: I Like Her, Too
I came tearing into the waiting room of St. Thomas to find Jax and Opie already there, Abel tucked into Jax's arms. I reached for the baby and cuddled him to me as I heard Clay and Tig walk in behind me.
"What happened?" Clay asked and Jax scanned the room before speaking.
"Soleil hid Abel in his room, but didn't make it to her phone before they broke in. They were asking for me and they roughed her up when she didn't tell them anything." Jax ran a hand through his hair and blew a breath out. "She passed out just after we got there. She had a nasty cut on her head. The doctors aren't telling us anything, though, because we're not family. So, we're waiting while Chibs and Juice head over."
I nodded and moved my jaw. No administrative bullshit was going to keep me from finding out how my grandson's nanny was doing. That girl had protected both of my boys today. She was family, alright. I handed Abel back to Jax and gave Clay a kiss on the jaw. "I'll be back," I murmured and heard Jax try to warn me.
"Mom-" he said and I turned in time to see Tig tap him on the chest.
"Give her a chance to find out, man," Tig said and I nodded to him and then walked down the hall to the nearest desk.
"Excuse me?" I asked the woman behind the desk. "My good friend's daughter just came in with a head wound. All her family is in Canada, so I've been keeping an eye on her. There anyway you can give me an update? I'm really worried." I tried and the nurse looked at me to the boys in the room, just visible from where we were.
"Really? That's the best you got?" She asked and I narrowed my eyes at her.
"Look, honey. The woman you're caring for is my grandson's nanny. She got hurt protecting him and I need to make sure she's alright." I nodded back to the boys. "I'm sure you've heard, we look after our own," I continued and I saw the judgmental bitch swallow before she started typing away at her console.
"Soleil St. Pierre, right?" She asked and I nodded.
"She's being managed by Dr. Williams. Looks like they are thinking concussion and a few bruises. They'll probably release her to be watched soon." She paused and looked up. "Should I put you down as the emergency contact?" she asked and I nodded again.
"Yeah," I started to walk toward the guys, but turned back to mutter a 'thank you.'
As I walked over to them, Chibs and Juice came through the doors. "How's the lass?" Chibs asked and I spoke to all of them.
"Nurse says that they think it's a concussion and a few bruises. They expect to release her soon," I said and I saw the sigh of relief from Jax.
It hadn't escaped my notice that he'd taken a liking to Soleil. What had surprised me, given what I knew of my son, was that I hadn't come across the two of them fucking. The combination of Soleil's professionalism and her protection of Jax and Abel today was quickly raising her in my esteem. She'd already shown more balls than either Tara or Wendy, and she did it all without any demands of her own. She might just make a good Old Lady, if Jax could manage not to fuck it up.
"What about the guys that broke in?" Tig asked and Juice spoke up.
"They had some bullshit colors on their backs. Nothing I recognized. Going to guess they're from a smaller club. They got away at the off ramp, using the traffic lights to cover their exit." Chibs nodded and piped in.
"I havena' seen their kuttes before, either." He sighed and looked around. While all the men would lose their minds over a woman or child being pulled into club business, Chibby was always particularly affected by it. It made sense, given his history, I guess. I gave his arm a squeeze and he gave me a partial smile.
"Gemma Teller?" came a male voice and I turned to see the doctor, a good looking, All-American type.
"That's me," I said and stepped forward.
"Ms. St. Pierre is going to released shortly. They're working on the paperwork right now. Are you the one I need to give care instructions to?" He asked and Jax stepped forward.
"Both of us," he corrected and I raised my brow, but didn't comment. The doc looked at Jax, taking in the leather and general scruff and I could see the judgment in his eyes. Stupid prick.
"Alright," he said and looked back to me.
"She's got a concussion. Protocol isn't what it used to be. You don't need to wake her if she sleeps, but she should try sleep only at normal times. You need to keep an eye on her movements and speech. If something seems off, bring her in. She might have a headache and might throw up. If it seems severe, come in. She can't be on any screens - no television or smartphones - and should keep reading to a near zero. I want her to follow up in a couple of days, whether she feels fine or not." He paused and I saw his eyes glance around the room at the boys. "She's going to be alright, I think, so long as she doesn't take any more hits." He licked his lips.
"Can you assure me she's safe from that?" he asked and to a man, every Son in the room tensed.
"You better not be saying we hit our women, doc," Tig gritted out and I saw the doctor swallow hard.
"Of course not. I'm just providing the protocols," he murmured with a look to me. I nodded, unable to keep the sneer off my face.
"Rest assured, doc. No one else is going to hurt Soleil," I answered and he nodded before stiffly turning around and leaving the room. "Fucking asshole," I muttered and heard a round of agreement from the men in the room. I looked them over and nodded to Jax. He followed me a few steps away from the group.
"I'm thinking your place is probably not the best right now. Soleil and Abel can come stay at ours," I said and he nodded.
"Yeah, that's probably best until we know who the fuck is involved and why," he said and looked down the hallway where we expected Soleil to be coming any time. "This was because of me, so I'll take care of her, unless I have to head into the club to manage that side of things," he said and I nodded with a half smile.
"You like her," I said and I saw the confirmation in his eyes before he looked away. "It's okay, baby. I like her, too. Just," I said with a sigh, "please think about what you want first. She's a good woman. If you're not ready for that, you shouldn't start anything." He nodded and I leaned up to give him a kiss.
"Jax," I heard Soleil's voice from behind us and saw her in a wheelchair pushed by a nurse. "Sounds like I might need the night off." She said with a slight smile and the men in the room, who had all shown various signs of concern, all chuckled.
Jax nodded with a smirk and moved to walk behind her, taking the handles of the wheelchair from the nurse. "Yeah, we kind of figured."
Chapter 7: Almost Heavenly
I sighed as I looked around my room at Gemma's place. Gemma had Abel for now and I was supposed to be relaxing, but I couldn't sit still. The concussion protocols were going to be hard on me. I don't tend to like doing nothing. On the thought, I got up and moved down the hallway. I wasn't allowed to use screens or read, but I could still cook. As it was coming up on dinner time, it seemed that I could at least occupy myself with it and perhaps make myself useful.
I made it to the kitchen and rummaged around before I decided on a baked pasta dish with bread and a salad. Hopefully, Gemma wouldn't mind this. She was a bit of an Alpha female, and I didn't want to step on toes. I couldn't, however, just do nothing all night. I was used to keeping my hands busy. Maybe my recent stint at the hospital would give me a pass for invading her kitchen, if this were the kind of thing that she wasn't too keen on. Either way, I was going to do it because I'd go crazy if I just sat in my room and stared at the ceiling all night.
I started to sing as I worked. In no time, I'd gotten the pasta baking. I was working the dough for some bread as I moved into a French love song. I loved to sing. When I was a child, I'd had dreams of becoming the next pop star. As I grew older, I came to the realization that becoming a star involved more than just hard work and talent. One had to have the right connections to get into the business, and my poor family was barely connected to electricity most months, let alone the movers and shakers in the music industry. So, like so many out there, I let the dream of singing for my living go and I moved on to my other love.
I was so focused on what I was doing in preparation for dinner that I didn't see Jax standing in the doorway until I'd turned around from placing the bread in the oven. I jumped to see him and he smiled broadly at me.
"What were you singing?" he asked and I blushed. The love song I'd been singing had some of the most filthy imagery one could imagine. When I didn't answer, he tilted his head and walked toward me, invading my space just slightly. "Soleil?" he asked and I looked away from his pretty blue eyes for a second to get my bearings back.
I'd managed to keep myself professional with him for months now, but that hadn't stopped my mind from thinking of him at night. In the comfort of my bed, with the lights out, I would imagine what it would be like to kiss those lips. It was ridiculous. I was his son's nanny, not his lover. But, the mind does what it wants sometimes, and nearly every night for two months, it had thought about those piercing eyes and strong hands.
"It was a love song," I answered and moved back to the fridge to get the fixings for a salad out. Gemma had lettuce, tomatoes, carrots and avocado in here, so it would be a good offset to the meal presently baking.
"You have a beautiful voice," he complimented and I smiled down into the bowl I was now holding before looking up with a shrug.
"Thank you. I like to sing. I used to do it more often before I moved here," I said. When I was a teen, I'd sneak into a local jazz bar and sing on open mic nights. I remembered with fondness the smell of the smoke, the sound of the piano, and the dim of the neon from that tiny bar not far from home. It was a good time in my life. Shaking the thought aside, I watched as Jax leaned against a counter and I moved to start cutting up the tomatoes and avocado.
"Why did you move here, and when?" he asked and the knife almost slipped, but I kept it under control. I'm good at keeping things to myself in most instances, but that was a painful topic.
"I moved out when I was eighteen. Took the naturalization test and became a citizen at twenty," I answered part of the question, putting off answering the first portion.
Jax tilted his head down, trying to catch my eyes. "Why did you move here?" he asked again and I moved to wash the lettuce before placing it into the bowl. It wasn't an unreasonable question for him to ask, and I didn't really want to keep it from him for some reason. I just needed a moment so that my voice would be steady when I answered.
"My mom died. Dad was long gone, so I had nothing keeping me there. I threw a dart at the map and it landed here," I responded and put the fixings into the lettuce and started tossing it.
"I'm sorry, Soleil," Jax said and I looked up into those eyes with a sad smile.
"It was years ago. Time heals all wounds, right?" I asked and I felt his right hand come up to cup my cheek and I couldn't help but close my eyes for a moment before opening them back up to him.
"No, but it helps to ease the pain a little," he said, staring into my eyes and I nodded.
"I forget that you know how it feels," I murmured, squeezing his hand at my cheek before backing away from him. He sighed and nodded.
"Yeah," he confirmed and we stood there for a moment before I heard Clay's voice in the next room.
"What am I smelling?" he said as he walked into the kitchen and I smiled and pointed to dinner in the oven.
"It'll be ready in about a half hour," I said and he looked back to me with concern.
"You don't have to serve us, Soleil," he said and I shook my head.
"I know. I'm just not good with sitting about. I like to help where I can," I said. "Do you know where Gemma's tablecloths and napkins are? I can get the table set while that's cooking," Clay nodded to the living area.
"Why don't you let us set the table and you go find Gemma and Abel?" he asked and I smiled with a nod. That sounded like a good way to wait out the time remaining on the food.
"That going to be something, son?" I asked Jax as I pulled a table cloth out of the cupboard and handed it to him. He raised his brows and gave me an unimpressed look. I raised my hands. "I know, we don't talk about your women, but Soleil seems different," I said and I saw him nod and look to where the woman had exited the room.
"Yeah, she does," he agreed.
"You know, she's the first woman I've ever seen your mom take a liking to this quickly," I continued, grabbing the napkins and silverware. Jax just grunted in response. I wasn't getting much out of him tonight.
"Just saying, Jax," I ended the conversation and moved to the dining table, helping Jax to spread the cloth and place the napkins, silverware and plates while Soleil's dinner filled the kitchen and dining room with a scent that was almost heavenly.
Chapter 8: Kiss Me
A week had passed since Soleil was attacked and she was clearly ready to go back home. Gemma and I had probably been a bit too up in her mess over the last seven days. Although Soleil liked to keep herself busy, neither one of us has let her do much of anything but play with Abel or cook, which she seemed to enjoy. Lord knew, the rest of us enjoyed it when she cooked. The woman had a talent for turning normal things into amazing meals.
Right now, I was watching as she was packing up the bag that we'd made her put together from her place before we brought her here seven days ago. As usual, she was singing to herself as she moved. She almost always sang in French. I could listen to her all day and never tire of it. I wasn't loving her plan to leave this house, though, and so I stepped into the room and cleared my throat.
She turned to me with a smile, but kept packing things up. "We still haven't caught the guys that did this, Soleil," I said and she nodded.
"I know," she said as she started to zip up the duffel.
"You're safe here," I continued and she nodded again.
"I know that, too," she said as she pulled the Velcro around the two hand straps and lifted the bag to her shoulder. She turned to me with a look of expectation on her face. "Mind if I use your phone to call for someone to take me back to mine? My cell is dead, since I hadn't been using it," she said and I blew out a breath in frustration.
"Why are you insisting on going?" I asked, not understanding.
She tilted her head at me before responding. "This isn't my home, Jax. Gemma, Clay, you. You've all been great, but I'm okay now," she answered quietly and then scrunched her brows at me, tiny lines appearing in between them, making her adorable. "You don't have to worry that I'm quitting," she said and I had a flash of panic. I hadn't even thought of that. The idea of not having her around was not a pleasant one.
I stepped into the room and reached up to touch her cheek again. I'd become slightly more physically affectionate with her over the course of the week, not being able to control the need to touch her. Thankfully, she hadn't shown signs of being uncomfortable with it. On the other hand, she hadn't gone out of her way to touch me in response. At the moment, though, she was merely looking at me softly. That look was one of my favorites. It was the only clue I'd gotten from her so far that she saw me as a man, rather than as merely a boss or Abel's father. I'd noticed it a few days ago. She only gave it to me.
"I don't want you hurt again," I said and she smiled.
"Of course not, and I won't be. They don't even know who I am. They don't know where I live. Since Abel will be here for a little while longer, I won't even be back at the house for them to find me," she reasoned. "I'll be fine," she promised and I ran my thumb over her cheek.
"Tell me why you want to leave," I demanded, not satisfied with her earlier response. Although I still couldn't read what was going on in her head, the closer proximity had lead me to some better understanding of her. I could at least tell when she wasn't saying everything she thought. She sighed and looked down at her feet before meeting my eyes again.
"Because I need to," she said, and I suspected that she wasn't going to give me any more than that, so I stepped back and grabbed her bag.
"Alright. I'll give you a ride over, then," I said and she stopped me with a hand to my arm.
"You don't have to do that, Jax. I can call a cab, or Uber," she said and I shook my head.
"Don't want to ride on the back of my bike, Soleil?" I teased and was pleased to see her blush.
"It's not that, silly," she responded to me and God, but I couldn't help the smile that came to my face. It was stupid, really, but her calling me silly - she might as well have called me baby for the way that my stomach flipped.
"Then what is it?" I asked and she shifted on her feet, one of the other tells I'd picked up on in the last week. She wanted something. "Soleil?"
She huffed and scanned the room before answering. "I want ice cream," she said and I laughed in surprise. "I know, I know! But Gemma doesn't keep it in the house and I've been craving the sea salt caramel chocolate that the little store by the my place sells." She twisted her lips.
"I was going to make the cab or Uber stop so I could pick some up and binge with it and Netflix, since the doctor is letting me watch T.V. again now," she finished.
"I can stop for ice cream," I said and she half-rolled her eyes.
"Well, yes. I know that. But, now you know what a chick I am," she muttered and I chuckled.
"I think I noticed that a while ago, darlin'," I said and she grinned at me.
"Alright. Enough out of you. I have a date with Netflix and a tub of ice cream and I'd hate to be late for it," she said and I indicated the doorway.
"After you," I murmured and followed her out, watching that beautiful ass sway as we walked toward the door and out to my bike. When I had the duffel tied on, I climbed on and offered her the helmet. She put it on and slid behind me.
This was the first time that I'd had her on the back of my Harley and I loved every damn minute. She held me tightly, wrapping her arms around my midsection while her thighs gripped at my hips. The images that went through my mind as she did so were the stuff that would be more appropriate for Cara Cara. I'd be lying if I said I didn't drive a little slower than normal so that I could keep feeling it until we got to the ice cream shop by her apartment.
She got off when we stopped and I felt more than just the physical loss of her pressed against me. I knew, as I walked in behind her, that I was falling for this woman. The way I felt around her was different than I had around any other woman, ever. Things seemed to just come so naturally with Soleil. It was like she held a part of me that I didn't know was missing. After all the ups and downs of my two prior relationships, it was so damn nice to have something that just seemed to click. I just had to figure out how to move things forward, since it was 100% clear that Soleil would not cross any imaginary boundary with me.
At least, that's what I'd thought until she turned to me suddenly and whispered, "Kiss me," before pressing up against my lips.
Chapter 9: Can We Talk?
Kissing Jax was everything I'd thought and more. I hadn't really thought things through when I demanded this a moment ago. Instead, I'd acted on instinct because I'd seen Dr. Jason Williams standing inside the shop. Dr. Williams scared me.
My treatment by him at the hospital wasn't the first time he and I had met. Rather, he was a friend of the couple who I'd nannied for before I graduated. While I worked for that couple, he had been a regular fixture at their house for dinners and other gatherings. At first, I'd thought him nice and pleasant. As time continued, I realized that he was more like a predator. Whether it was because I didn't fall into his lap or something else, he'd decided that I was what he wanted. I did not, however, return the feelings. But, that didn't stop him.
I'd been honest with Gemma and Jax about the reason I'd left the Donnes' employ. It was because of their split and the fall out from it. However, not having to see Jason on a regular basis, or deal with his near constant requests for dates and innuendos, along with the increasingly uncomfortable touching, had been a significant relief.
None of the guys or Gemma knew that, when he treated me at St. Thomas, he finished off with another of his repeated requests for my company. As I always had, I turned him down. He'd muttered something I couldn't hear and left the room, presumably to tell them my discharge instructions. The nurse had gotten me ready to leave, but he'd asked for a minute before she'd taken me out of the room. He'd caged me into my hospital ordered wheelchair for a minute and kissed me. I'd pushed him away and pushed the chair to the door, catching the eye of the nurse so I could leave.
When I saw him here, I panicked a bit and did the first thing that came to my mind and asked Jax to kiss me. Now, I stood in the center of the walkway in an ice cream shop with the strong hands of Jax Teller on my face as he deepened the kiss beyond the slight tasting of lips that I'd instigated.
Whatever else one could say about Jax Teller, there was no doubt that this man knew how to kiss. He'd taken less than half a second to respond to me and had then taken complete control. His soft, firm lips danced over my own, opening to tug at my bottom lip as my hands snaked around his waist. I could hear blood pumping in my ears and the butterflies that overtook my stomach might as well have been all the Monarchs that migrate back and forth from California. Nearly a second into the kiss, I forgot why it was that I'd crossed this line. Instead, I enjoyed the taste and smell of him as I was pressed against his length. When he pulled back slightly for air and to look in my eyes, I was dazed. I'd never been so totally and thoroughly kissed.
"Soleil?" I heard from behind me and I closed my eyes with feeling before I looked back at Jax. He searched my eyes for a moment before looking over my shoulder. Jax was a smart man. I could see the understanding spark in his eyes as I moved to step back. I was surprised, however, when he moved his left arm around my waist as I turned to Jason. Whether Jax was just being supportive or not, I welcomed the contact.
"Dr. Williams," I said with a nod but nothing more. I was tense. I could feel it in my shoulders and I was sure that Jax could, too.
"Come now, you can call me Jason. After all, we've known each other for years," he said and I felt more than saw the slight glance Jax gave me on Jason's words. He wanted to know how I knew the doctor, if not just from him treating me a week ago.
"Thank you, Dr. Williams, but that's alright," I said firmly. I wasn't going to call him his given name.
"Jax Teller, right?" Jason asked Jax and Jax nodded, but made no move to remove his hand from my waist or shift away from me.
"How are you feeling?" Jason then asked me and I couldn't help the movement I made into Jax's frame. Jason was so slimy that I felt like I needed a shower every time I talked to him. I felt Jax squeeze my side, pulling me in a bit more, as I answered.
"I'm well. Thank you," I answered.
"Can we talk for a moment, Soleil?" Jason asked and Jax squeezed my side again. I was pretty sure he knew I wanted nothing to do with that. It was a conclusion that was confirmed when Jax spoke up.
"Sorry, man, but we're here to pick something up and then head out," Jax looked down to me and then placed a kiss on my temple. "Spending time with my woman, ya' know?" he continued and I saw Dr. Williams nod while I tried to process what was happening.
"I see. Well, perhaps you and I can talk another time then, Soleil? It is rather important that we discuss a few things," he said and my right hand moved from it's position in front of me to snake around Jax's waist now. Whether he was just being helpful or not, I was going to use his willingness to do this to full measure.
"Well, if you really need to talk, then I guess we can wait a minute," Jax said, his expression showing that he knew exactly what the doctor was trying to pull. "What's on your mind, doctor?" he asked and Jason narrowed his eyes at Jax.
"It's more of a private matter. I'm sure you understand," Jason said to Jax and then turned to me. "Perhaps tomorrow?" he asked. "Your number is still the same as when you worked for Karen and Mike?" he continued and Jax must have finally had enough, because he dropped his hand from my waist and stepped in between Jason and me.
"Don't know what you think you're doing man, but I suggest you reconsider," Jax said and my heart was beating wildly now. I wasn't sure when I did it, but I'd placed my hands at Jax's back, just under his kutte, trying to draw strength from the warmth of him.
"I'm merely looking to talk to someone I've known a long time, Mr. Teller," Jason said and Jax chuckled, but it wasn't like when he laughed with me. This sounded more like a challenge, if that was possible - like the auditory embodiment of disgust.
"If you have something to say to Soleil, you can say it with me here," he responded and I saw Jason begin to move toward the door. As he did, Jax continued to face Jason, turning with him while I stayed behind Jax's back, hiding like a chicken behind his frame.
"Another time, Soleil," Jason called out and I heard the chimes of the door go as he left. I blew out a huge breath, shaky from the encounter. It may not make much sense, but I was more bothered by interacting with that man than I had been with the two men who'd invaded Jax's home.
Jax turned to me and put both hands on my face, tilting it up to look in my eyes. "I don't know what's going on there, but I'll keep you safe, Soleil." I nodded to him without speaking and then he lowered his face to mine. Just before he kissed me again, he whispered.
"Let's go with this being our first kiss, yeah?"
Chapter 10: Her Very Presence
After the doctor had left and I'd kissed her again, Soleil's tension started to ease. She'd been stiff when he was talking to her, melting only enough to push into me as he continued. It didn't take a rocket scientist to recognize that she was afraid of being near him. Hell, she'd been shaking as she'd touched me, a fact that had gotten me so fucking angry that I was ready for blood. That someone would cause any woman to feel like that, let alone my Sun, was enough to send me over the deep end into temper. When the ashole hadn't backed down from my clear claim, the only thing that had stopped me from explaining matters to him with my fists was the feel of her hands at my lower back.
After our first official kiss - because I wasn't going to think of the one she used for cover as that, despite how fantastic it had been - I steered her to the counter and we got her the ice cream she'd been craving. She was quiet, more so than usual, and it kept my temper boiling under the surface. I'd have to find out why she reacted the way she did, but I wasn't going to ask her about it then. Instead, we'd purchased the tub and had made our way to her apartment.
When we got there, I sent a quick text to Mom to let her know that something had come up and that I'd need her to put Abel to bed tonight. She'd asked if everything was okay, since she'd seen me load Soleil on the back of my bike. I'd told her it was for an explanation later, but that we were both physically fine, and then I'd walked Soleil up to her apartment door. We were standing there now, as she put her key into the lock and gestured for me to enter.
"I can take the bag," she said and I handed it to her while I moved toward the kitchen.
"Where do I find your spoons so you can dig into this?" I called as she walked into her bedroom. She came back out with a smile, the first real smile she'd given since we'd run into that douche, and pointed to a drawer.
"I can get it, though," she said but I waved her off and pointed to the living room.
"Just go find something to watch on Netflix," I told her as I grabbed a spoon and checked her fridge for drinks. I lucked out, finding a few bottles of beer. "What're you drinking?" I yelled into the other room.
"Water with ice cream. Always," she called back and I smirked. She was starting to come back to normal. I grabbed her a water bottle and me a beer and then moved back into her living room, where I found her sitting on the couch.
"So, what are we watching?" I asked, moving to sit next to her and throwing my arm behind her head. She looked at me with a smile and shook her head, giving me that soft look that I loved so much.
"You don't have to do this, Jax. I'm okay, now," she said and I turned to her, running a hand through her soft hair as I started to speak.
"Don't know what you think I'm doing here, but let me be clear," I said as I watched the strands move through my fingers. "That kiss was going to happen eventually. This," I said, pointing between us and looking in her eyes, "is happening. I don't love that it took you being scared of someone else to push you to me, but I'm no idiot. I'm not letting it go to waste."
She stared into my eyes for a moment and then tilted her head. "I'm not good at casual," she said and I nodded. I could have guessed that the first day I met her.
"Good, because I don't want casual," I responded as I continued to run my hands through her hair.
"What do you want?" she asked, seemingly genuinely curious and I turned my eyes back to hers.
"You," I said simply and she surprised the fuck out of me when she just nodded and then put her back against the cushions of the couch and snuggled into my side, pulling the ice cream into her lap and handing me the remote. My prior experience would have meant that my statement would be discussed until the parameters and boundaries were exhaustively analyzed.
"We'll see. A lot depends on whether you choose wisely," she said, indicating the T.V. screen, which had Netflix up.
I chuckled and took a swig of my beer as I scrolled through the options. "Good to know," I responded.
A few hours later, I woke to find Soleil sleeping against me on the couch, her left hand under my kutte at about my heart. Her head was tucked into my shoulder and the T.V. was rolling through the opening menu of the movie we'd started. I shifted back somewhat to look at her sleeping face and I understood in my bones why Chibs always called Erin his angel. Soleil was my Sun. She warmed me with just a slight touch of her hand, with her quiet humor, with her very presence.
After that kiss, I knew that I wasn't just falling for her, I'd already fallen for her. The trick, of course, was going to be figuring out how she felt. This was entirely new ground for me. Soleil was unlike the women of my past. Although she hadn't shied away from our talk, she hadn't belabored it either. And, I noted with a sigh, she hadn't committed herself. Although she'd said she wasn't good at casual, she hadn't actually said that she'd be with me.
Now, I had a new appreciation for what several women in my past had been trying to say over the years. I sat here, holding Soleil close to me, and couldn't help but want to wake her so that she would just tell me that she was on board. I wanted it said - and I was always the one that avoided those damn conversations. I kissed her forehead and shifted to lift her from the couch. She snuggled her head into my neck in her sleep and murmured my name, sending a shot of tenderness down my spine.
I walked us into her room, finding it neat, but lived in. There were papers here and there and plenty of nick-knacks on the surfaces of the furniture. I shifted her covers on her bed down to place her onto the mattress and reached to pull off her shoes. She murmured again and I smiled. I liked taking care of her. I had thought to leave her to sleep alone, but my feet wouldn't move, refusing to comply with the instructions from my brain in favor of the want of my soul. So, I laid my kutte to the side, stripped off my shirt and shoes, and climbed into her bed next to her. I was gratified when she reached out in her sleep and curled into me, snaking one leg over mine and resting a hand on my chest. I fell back asleep to the sounds of her even breathing and the comforting feel of her touch on my skin.
Chapter 11: Tell Me
I woke up to find myself wrapped around my boss. I thought the words over and over in my head, trying to force myself into some semblance of shame so that I would actually move away from him. No matter which way I thought it, I couldn't find it in me to be ashamed. Jax was kind, strong, sweet, sarcastic, funny, and well ...to be honest I could probably keep on going describing him for quite a while. As I lay in bed with my head on his bare, muscled chest, all I could think about was touching him more.
For months, I'd behaved myself. I hadn't let one iota of my nighttime thoughts invade my actions during the day. I'd kept a respectable distance while the sun was out, sinking into improper and naughty imagining at night. I would have been able to keep doing it, too, if I hadn't kissed him yesterday. But, once I'd felt those lips on mine, I knew I was done for.
Now, as I lay here, I wondered what to do. Jax and I must have fallen asleep watching the movie. He'd clearly carried me in here last night, but he hadn't tried to take things further. While he'd said yesterday that he wanted me, I wasn't sure that still held true.
Apparently, just about everyone knew that Jax was promiscuous. The guys at TM had regularly made reference to it since I started working for him. But, if that was his propensity, then why hadn't he tried to get into my bed, my pants, before? And, even if that could be explained, why hadn't he tried last night? Maybe he'd rethought things?
It was those thoughts bouncing around in my head that kept me from moving. If this was my last chance at being held in Jax Teller's arms, then I wasn't going to be stupid enough to mess it up by letting my fingers explore and waking him. Instead, I let go of a slightly tense breath and tried to just relax into him, enjoying the feel of his body against mine.
I was disheartened, though, that even that movement seemed enough to cause him to stir. Shameless thing that I am, I pretended to be still sleeping as I felt him wake and shift down to look at me on his chest. I was preparing to "wake up" and be ready to move away when his hand came up to my cheek to cup it.
"Good morning, my Sun." He whispered and I nearly gave myself away with the squeal that threatened to erupt from me. He'd called me his sun. I had to have him wrong in thinking he didn't want me after all, which could only mean that his reputation with women was exaggerated, or he was treating me differently. I smiled involuntarily at the thought and felt him shift more.
"Do you always wake up smiling, baby?" he asked and I stretched against him, now that I was sure I could move without it meaning that I'd be booted off his chest.
"Mmmm," was the only sound I could make, my vocal cords refusing to cooperate with my brain. He chuckled and pulsed his arms around my waist as he leaned down to kiss my forehead. It was such a lovely gesture, so meaningful in its affection, that I pulled myself up against him and gave him a slight kiss before moving to roll off. He stopped me with a questioning look.
"Where you headed?" he asked and I pointed to the bathroom.
"Have to brush my teeth before I scare the handsome man out of my bed," I responded and I saw the flash of pride in his eyes. He pulled me back down and rolled over me, nipping at my neck and making it impossible for me to think straight before he spoke.
"You think I'm handsome, baby?" he said huskily into my ear and I couldn't control the shiver that wracked my body. I smiled, though, realizing that my act of indifference for the past two months must have been successful, if he needed me to praise him.
I sighed and he kissed the spot he nipped at and answered. "Of course, I do. You're stunning," I said and he pulled back with a grin.
"Men aren't stunning, darlin', women are," he corrected and I shrugged.
"You make it hard for me to think. The description fits," I countered and I saw his eyes darken before he leaned in to kiss me, morning breath be damned. I returned the kiss with enthusiasm, a rush of heat going down my spine and settling in my abdomen as he groaned into my mouth and reached down to clasp my left breast.
I had lifted my hands to trace the muscles of his beautiful back when my phone started going crazy. Ping after ping, it was like I was being texted by everyone I'd ever known, all at the same time. I had planned to ignore it at first, but even Jax was distracted by the steady sound coming from it across the room. He shifted to look at me with confusion, and I shrugged.
"No idea," I said as I moved to get up and grab it. "I plugged it in when I put my bag away yesterday," I explained as I reached it and tapped the button to get it to the message center.
My face must have shown some of my internal turmoil when I got to the texts, because I heard Jax get up and move towards me. "Soleil?" he asked and I didn't speak, still reading the messages.
"Baby, what's wrong?" he asked and I looked up at him for a moment before speaking. I was torn between telling him and not. I'd seen the nights he came home stressed, bruised, and tense. I didn't know what caused those things, but I knew his life had plenty of stress in it. I wasn't sure I should add my problems to that.
"Uh, nothing," I said as I closed the messages. "I need to take a shower, and then get to Gemma's for Abel," I murmured and started to walk to the bathroom. Jax stopped me, a light hand in my wrist.
"Soleil," he said and I looked away from his beautiful eyes for a minute.
"You have too much stress in your life, Jax. I can see it. I can't add my burdens to it," I said and he sighed and pulled me against him. He kissed the top of my head and squeezed me tight before responding.
"Tell me. Please," he demanded quietly and I looked up at him in his arms. The top of my head came to about his chin, which he moved back so that he could look in my eyes.
"It's the doctor," I said and I witnessed the anger flood his eyes as I continued. "He knows this number because he got it from my old employer. He's been texting and calling for months, but I've ignored the calls. I think he thought I might have changed my number, since I use the auto message for voicemail," I took a breath and then continued. "I must have given it away that it was still my number when he asked yesterday," I muttered and then reached back for it and handed Jax the phone.
He took it and read a few of the messages before looking up at me with nearly equal measures of concern and anger. "I'll handle this. But first, we're getting you a new number."
Chapter 12: Have Faith
I followed Soleil back over to Mom's place. She wanted to have the car so that she could take Abel out and about. She'd argued with me for a minute when I'd moved to follow her, but I gave her a shake of the head and a nod toward the road - I was going to make sure she got there alright, whether she thought I was being overprotective or not. When we got there, I took her inside and grabbed a burner.
"I'm putting my number, Gemma's, and Opie's in this and taking yours. You need anything. Anything, Soleil. You call us," I instructed her as we stood in the entryway. Soleil nodded, but didn't speak. Although I still couldn't tell you what she was thinking, I knew she was holding something in, so I stepped closer to her and pulled her into me by her hips.
"What's going on in that mind of yours, darlin'?" I asked and she huffed, but didn't answer. "Soleil?" I asked again and she finally looked back.
"I don't like that whatever this could be is being overshadowed by him," she looked at my neck, rather than my eyes, now. I couldn't help the slight growl at her words.
"Soleil. Look at me," I demanded and she shifted her gaze up. "One, there is no 'could be'. It's happening - happened. Two, there is no 'whatever'. You're mine; my Sun. The sun is a star, darlin', and stars shine in the darkness. Nothing overshadows you," I said and I was pleased to see that soft look of hers come back to her eyes.
"Three, he needs to back the hell off. I would stand up for any woman who was being hassled by a man, but I sure as fuck am not going to put up with him doing it to you," I reached one hand up to her cheek. "Okay?" I asked and she smiled slightly and nodded.
I leaned in slightly and she pulled away. "Jax!" She whisper yelled. "We're in Gemma's home. I don't want to be disrespectful." God, this woman was gorgeous and adorable at the same time. I shook my head with a smirk and a raise of my eyebrows.
"Nothing disrespectful about kissing your man, darlin'," I said and I saw a twinkle in her eyes.
"My man?" she asked and I almost groaned in frustration. She was so un-demanding, so unassuming of things that it was driving me fucking crazy.
"Yes, Soleil. Your man. Yours," I said. I didn't have much more than a second before she pulled me by my kutte down to kiss her, and by God if it wasn't the most passionate kiss I'd ever had with a woman. Each time I kissed her, it got better; more heated and more meaningful. As we stood in the entryway of Gemma and Clay's house, all I could think of was how good it felt to run my tongue along her lips, to have her tug at mine, to feel her against me. I'd been with a lot of women, but I'd never felt like this before.
When we parted, I looked down to find her slightly dazed eyes and moist mouth and fucked if I didn't want to find the nearest room to explore more of her. I heard footsteps coming down the hallway, though, and the slight giggle of Abel, so I knew that our private moment was coming to an end. I kissed her forehead and stepped back.
"I'll see you later tonight," I said and she nodded with a small smile.
"Okay." Was all she said before she turned to the hallway, where Gemma was walking out with Abel. When he saw her, Abel leaned way out of Gemma's arms, reaching his hands for Soleil. She grinned at him and stepped forward to take him.
"Good morning, little man. Good morning, Gemma," she said and I saw mom smile at her, pleased to see that it was the kind of smile she gave the Sons, as opposed to her more reserved smile she gave to non-family.
"I need to talk to Jax for a bit and then head in to the shop. You going to be okay with Abel?" she asked and Soleil nodded.
"Yep. I have full clearance. Abel and I will be back to the normal schedule today," she said and turned toward the living room, no doubt to start playing with him. I looked to mom and nodded toward the door and she followed me out without a word.
"Something happen last night?" she asked and I nodded.
"Yeah. I found out that the douche doctor who treated Soleil at St. Thomas has known her since she worked for her prior employer." I took Soleil's phone out of my back pocket and opened to the messages and handed the phone to her. "He scares the fuck out of her, and it's no wonder why," I said with a jog of my head toward the screen.
Mom looked at it and I could see the anger pulse through her as she read each message. They became more and more graphic until the last one, which had come through just about ten minutes ago. "Fucker," she said under her breath and I nodded.
"Yeah. We stopped at the ice cream place by her apartment last night and he tried to get her alone," I continued and mom looked up at me quickly.
"You stopped him, though?" She asked and I nodded again.
"I did. Ended up having to actually step in between them to get the asshole to back away. Soleil was shaking like a fucking leaf, mom. You saw how she was after those two bikers attacked her. She was calm - collected. Hell, she took a hit from them rather than tell them where I was and did it without any sign that she was even the slightest bit worried for her safety." I took a big breath and blew it out, looking away for a minute.
"This guy," I said. "He scares her," I reiterated and I saw mom nod.
"Alright, baby. Well, now that we know what's going on, we can protect her. She'll be safe with us." I chuckled a bit with a shake of my head and mom gave me an expectant look.
"She wasn't going to tell me," I answered her unspoken question. "Feels like she shouldn't burden me," I sighed, my tone resigned. Mom nodded again with a slight twist of her lips.
"Yeah, I can see that," she said and I stared at her with shock. "Come on, Jax. Doesn't matter when she was born, Soleil is old school. She cares about you and so she'll bottle things rather than tell you so that you don't have to worry." I turned away for a minute, frustration snaking through me.
"Jax, if I've learned anything about that woman, it's that the way she cares about people is through service and support. She'll make you food, listen to your problems, give just about anything of herself to make sure you're okay. But," mom paused, "that means that if she thinks it will be better for you if she keeps something to herself, she's going to."
"How the hell am I supposed to protect her if that's the way she reacts?" I asked, exasperation clouding my tone.
Gemma didn't answer that, but gave me a smile. "She's your Old Lady, isn't she? The one you were meant to have?" she asked and I looked down and nodded, but shrugged.
"Having trouble getting her to realize it, though," I muttered and Gemma nodded in understanding.
"You understand, now, why all those women were constantly hassling you to talk about what they meant to you?" she asked with a slight smirk and I shook my head at her.
"This your way of saying 'I told you so', mom?" I asked and her smirk turned to a grin. She kissed my cheek and moved toward her car.
"You'll get it figured out, Jax. I have faith," she called over her shoulder.
Chapter 13: Worth It
I walked in to my office to find Jax Teller sitting in the chair opposite the desk, his feet up on a box to the side. "Make yourself comfortable," I muttered and he shifted his feet down and leaned forward as I took a seat behind the desk.
"I need to talk to you," he said, his expression grim.
"What's on your mind?" I asked, curious. There'd been a fair amount of consternation around the Sons lately, but it had seemed like a lull in that more recently. They'd actually had a rash of love among the patches, which I wouldn't have said softened them, but it did seem to make them less likely to make some of the more rash decisions I've seen come from the club.
"Soleil St. Pierre," he said and I nodded. I remembered having run a background check for Gemma.
"Your nanny." I confirmed and I saw the sparkle in his eye. "Your something else?" I asked and he gave a slight nod. Interesting. It seemed that he was moving on from Tara.
"She's mine," he said simply and I nodded again, waiting to hear whatever the issue was. He took the silence as invitation and reached into his back pocket for a phone. I've known the Sons for a long time, and this phone wasn't one of theirs. He scrolled on the screen and then handed it to me.
"She's being harassed by a doctor in town." He gestured to the phone. "All of those texts came in just this morning," he continued and I looked down to read.
The messages started out innocuous, but then quickly took a turn into demanding and threatening territory. By the last one, which was somewhere in the neighborhood of text number twenty for this morning, the author was telling her that if she didn't respond to him, he'd take out both a physical and sexual punishment on her. I swallowed, bile rising in my throat as I thought of the young woman involved. I hadn't had a lot of time with her, but she seemed a good soul. I'd bet she was terrified.
"You know which doctor?" I asked, certain that Jax did. He confirmed my suspicion with a nod.
"Yeah. It's Jason Williams. He works the ER at St. Thomas," Jax supplied and I set the phone down on the desk and rested my arms next to it.
"Does she have a restraining order?" I asked and he shook his head.
"No, but I'll make sure she gets one," he sighed. "But you know paper isn't going to stop someone who is obsessed. I wanted to tell you what was going on so that you were prepared." My eyebrows rose in question. What, exactly, should I be prepared for?
"Look, Chief. I'm trying to do things the way they should be done, but I'm not going to let anyone hurt Soleil. I'll do what I have to, to prevent it," he said and I pulled my lips in. I really couldn't expect more out of him than that. Hell, if it had been most of the other Sons, I wouldn't have even gotten this heads up.
"I understand." I shifted in my seat and moved to get up. "I'm going to have a talk with the good doctor. Maybe, he'll see that he needs to devote his interests elsewhere and you won't have to do anything at all," I suggested and Jax nodded.
"Thanks," he said and got up to leave, grabbing the phone as he did. "I'll make sure you get a copy of all of these, but I'm not letting it leave my sight until I know this is all handled," he said and walked out of the office.
I sighed and shook my head. In this day and age, you'd think that everyone would have figured out what 'no' meant. It wasn't that hard of a concept to grasp, and yet, having to explain it seemed to be a relatively frequent task for me. I stood and called out to my staff.
"I'm heading to St. Thomas."
Jax came rolling in to the shop about a half hour after Gemma. When Gemma had gotten here, there'd been a smirk dancing around the corners of her lips. She was satisfied with something, and it clearly didn't have anything to do with the paperwork for the auto shop. When Jax walked in, he was tense, but oddly also showing signs of happiness. When he went about his business with no comment for a few hours, but still acting like a bit of a kid who'd stashed his first porn mag, I finally spoke up.
"What's got you all worked up?" I asked and he looked at me with surprise, which was stupid. We've known each other long enough that we could always tell when the other had something on his mind. Then, Jax smiled a bit and I knew without him having to say it.
"You and Soleil, then?" I asked and he shrugged.
"Kind of," he said and I tilted my head in question.
"We've only kissed, but it clarified everything I've been thinking," he said, turning the wrench on the motor he was working on.
"Yeah?" I asked and he nodded, but then his smile slipped from his face.
"Yeah," he said. "But there's something to handle, first. The doctor who took care of her at St. Thomas has been hassling her. I've given her your number, if she can't get a hold of me or Gem," he said and I nodded.
"No problem, man. We'll take care of her," I said and he shook his head, apparently shifting back in his mind to the issue that meant he was only 'kind of' with Soleil.
"Give me some advice?" he asked and I raised my brows. It wasn't often Jax Teller needed advice on women.
"She doesn't ask for anything. Never assumes. I'm having trouble getting her to accept what's happening because of it," he shook his head in frustration. "I've never been here before, brother."
"Maybe, she's not sure you're serious. She'll have heard about your reputation," I said, not liking giving the bad news, but he needed to hear it.
"And just how the fuck am I supposed to convince her?" he asked and I shrugged.
"Just gotta be there. Don't give up. If she's worth it, then you won't," I said and he nodded.
"She's worth it," he said and I smiled.
"Pretty soon, all the patches are going to have Old Ladies. The parties are going to be tame," I commented and Tig came walking up with a shake of his head.
"Not possible. With prospects, hang arounds, and our," he indicated between him and I, "women, there is no possibility that a Sons event is ever tame."
I smirked. Lord knew, he was fucking right about that. Lea had been cooking up something with the other Old Ladies recently. I didn't know what it was, but considering that Carmen was involved, I had no doubt that it was going to raise my blood pressure. The two of them together were a menace. Tig nodded at Jax.
"We should do a barbecue. All the brothers have met Soleil, but not all the Old Ladies. Maybe that'll help with your problem," he suggested and damned if it didn't sound like a good idea. I gave him a shocked look and he flipped me off.
"Fuck you, Ope. I have the occasional bright idea," he muttered and I slapped him on the back as I moved to get back to work.
Chapter 14: Mon Beau
I waved to Gemma as I left her place. We'd just finished the dinner that I'd made for her, Clay, Abel and I and it was time for me to head home. I'd been surprised not to see Jax head home to eat, but Gemma had said he had some business to take care of and that she thought I'd hear from him later tonight. It was a bit of a disappointment, but I swallowed it, knowing that I couldn't very well expect him to be attached to my hip. So, with a resolve not to be like a middle-school girl pining away for the boy, I got in my car and headed home.
I changed when I got there, shedding my jeans and shirt in favor of a slip dress that I liked to wear to bed. It was a light fabric, lavender colored material that covered all the important bits, but still left enough skin exposed that I wasn't dying of heat in the California summer. Considering my AC had been on the fritz, I was surviving the hot nights with this little dress and every fan I could find blowing around my apartment.
I was getting myself an iced tea, thinking it would help with the heat, when I heard a knock at my door. I walked toward it, intent on checking the peephole, but then I heard Jax call out.
"It's me, Soleil," he said and I didn't hesitate, but instead rushed to the door and opened it with a smile. It took me half a second to remember what I was wearing, which was what it took to see his face go from a pleased expression to heated desire. He stepped into the doorway and closed the door, flicking the lock with his back hand as the other pulled me flush against him.
"Jesus, Soleil," he murmured as he bent his head to kiss me thoroughly. I was consumed by his kiss - not breathing, not thinking, just feeling. I could feel his strong hands move on my body; one pulled me tighter against him while the other came up to my neck and cheek with light fingers. I shivered at the feel of the rough pads of his fingers on my collar bone, which was exposed by the top of the dress; it being a strappy tank style.
My own hands were similarly wandering. I reached up from where they'd landed at his hips to push them under the fabric of his shirt. I wanted to feel that wonderful back again, to have his skin under my palms. He moaned his pleasure at the light scrape of my nails and his hands moved from their positions to cup my bottom and lift me up. I did what came naturally and wrapped my legs around his waist and the sound he made was pure male approval.
His wonderful mouth moved from my lips to my neck as he walked us back toward my bedroom and I shivered again as I felt his goatee run along the soft skin he found there. "Jax," I murmured and he tightened his hold on me, squeezing my backside and causing me to moan again.
Once in my room, he laid me down on the covers of the bed and stepped back to remove his kutte and shirt. I couldn't help the lick of my lips when I saw his chest and he smiled at me with such animalistic intent that I was lost for a moment in his eyes. He crawled onto the bed slowly, his right hand traveling up from my ankle to thigh and under the light fabric of the dress which was usually quite comfortable but now felt entirely too constricting for my lungs.
"I like you in dresses, baby," he said, his voice husky and thick as his hand continued its path up, finding the edge of my panties. His fingers traced over the sides of them before slipping under and behind, his palm now on the bare flesh of my bottom as he leaned down to kiss the tops of my breasts where the fabric wasn't covering them.
I hummed in response, not able to voice that I liked him without anything covering his chest and back whatsoever, so I allowed my hands to do the talking for me. I traced each muscle, every bone, and squeezed at his neck when he shifted back up to suck on my own neck once more. I was finally able to speak a soft, "don't stop" as his left hand came up to shift the strap of my dress down. He grunted a response and then I swear I saw stars as I felt his goatee on the underside of my breast and his tongue on my nipple.
His right hand came up and slipped the strap off my other shoulder, baring me to him fully. I could feel the breeze of the fan on my chest as it highlighted all the places his warm, wet mouth had been. He looked up at me, his eyes full of possession and want and I smiled pulling him back down so that I could kiss his neck and feel his skin pressed against mine. He moaned and squeezed my thigh, which raised to the side of his hip as I wound my leg back around him.
"I want you, mon beau," I whispered against his ear and I was gratified to hear his harsh intake of breath. I shifted my hands down in between us to unbuckle his jeans and push them and his underwear off his hips. He stood and took over the task, standing before me in all his male glory. My eyes traveled every inch, until they met his eyes. I smiled and reached to lift my dress over my head. He beat me to removing my panties, though, his hard, strong hands slipping under the lace at the sides and pulling them down and off.
He laid back on me then, teasing me with the feel of his hot skin as he continued to pepper every bit of my torso with kisses. I ran my hands through his hair, luxuriating in the feel of it as he devoted himself to my body. My sighs turned to moans as he shifted ever lower, his tongue and mouth moving along my ribs to my navel and then down to my hip bone. He stopped for a moment to bite there and I arched to him.
He looked up at me from his position and kept looking as he lowered his head down to the apex of my thighs and licked. It was the most erotic thing I have ever seen and I lost myself to the sight as he pleasured me with his tongue, crying out his name again when I felt his fingers slide into me and curl, pushing at a spot that had me panting and needy. "Please, mon beau," I cried and he moved back up my length, his hands coming to rest on either side of my face as he pushed his length into me.
His own eyes closed on a groan as he entered me and I could not have stopped my own sound of approval if I had wanted to. He increased his pace, setting a steady in and out pulse that was like the beat of a drum.
"My Soleil," he whispered into my ear as he continued and I moaned a "yes". Our sounds became incoherent, words lost to the moans of pleasure and I felt sparkles moving up my spine and overtaking my brain. I heard him say my name one more time, his own climax tensing his body, as we fell away from the world.
Chapter 15: A Plan
I was lost to this woman. When she'd opened the door in that tiny dress, I hadn't been able to think beyond the craving of her skin, and it had been more than I could have imagined. The soft French words she muttered to me had slid into my brain and swirled around my spine, wrapping around the nerves and settling in. I knew, without any doubt, that I would be forever tied to her. My soul had called out to its other half and had been met with the brightness of a newborn star. She'd fucking owned me in the best way possible.
"Hmmm," she said against my neck as I still laid atop her. She'd protested when I'd gone to move, and not inclined to deny her anything, I'd stayed put. Now, however I leaned back and looked into those galaxy-like eyes and smiled.
"I love that kind of reception," I said, my smile turning a bit into a satisfied smirk and I was gratified by her laugh against me.
"Yes, well. I can't say that I minded it, either," she joked and I leaned down to kiss her, loving how open she was being with me. Soleil was bubbly and bright, but she was also a mystery. She kept portions of herself back in her day to day interactions. Now, in this moment, I felt like the whole of her was open to me and it was addictive.
When I lifted back up to look at her, she was smiling the deep, satiated smile of a woman well loved and it warmed my heart to see it. I'd spend the rest of my life giving her that look if she'd let me. On the thought, I figured it time to talk. We'd had a few words here and there, but nothing sufficient to make me believe she was fully on board, and after what had just happened between us, I needed that.
"Soleil, you are mine, right?" I asked and she looked at me with surprise.
"Well, I don't go around sleeping with men willy-nilly," she responded and I chuckled, but then looked at her again as my expression grew serious.
"I mean it, baby. I'm in love with you. I'm all in," I kissed the corner of her mouth. "But I need to know if I'm the only one in that boat," I continued and when I looked up, I found her eyes sparkling at me.
"I love you, too," she said and I felt like a vise around my heart had eased and it could finally pump normally. "I'm in, mon beau," she whispered and I closed my eyes on the sound of those words.
"Fuck, Soleil. When you say that to me, you could ask me for the fucking moon and I'd find a way to give it to you," I said against her neck, smelling her scent as I kissed behind her ear. Her hand came up behind my head and she ran her fingers in my hair as I did.
"Hm. Just you wait until I sing you some blues, you'll be putty in my hands," she murmured and I nodded against her.
"I don't have any doubt," I said as I continued to kiss her neck, my focus becoming more heated as I set out to explore more of her.
The following morning, I woke to find this beautiful woman sprawled across me again. It seemed that sleeping Soleil liked my chest, because whenever she conked out, she always found a way to touch as much of it as possible. I smirked as I looked down at her. If she caught me looking at her like this, I'd probably catch hell for the ego that was no doubt showing in my eyes. It was about impossible to stop, though, since I took pride in knowing that this gorgeous creature wanted me.
She started to stir and I raised my hand to run down her spine, smiling softly when her eyes fluttered open. "What time is it?" she asked groggily and I looked behind her to the clock on the dresser.
"Seven thirty," I answered and she leaned down to place an open mouthed kiss on my chest and then moved to get out of bed. "Where you going, darlin'?" I asked, I wasn't ready to have her leave my arms.
She tilted her head at me and moved toward the bathroom. "To shower. I go for Abel in fifteen and you have the shop today, right?" she asked and I groaned.
"I'd rather do something else," I said suggestively and she grinned.
"Yes, well. You'll have to wait. We both have work and tonight there's some kind of barbecue that Gemma said we're all supposed to be at," she called over her shoulder and I leaned up to watch her naked ass sway as she moved into the other room.
"Alright," I called. "But I'm not happy about this and I'm only caving because I know I'd need more than fifteen minutes with you," I groused and she popped her head out from behind the shower curtain.
"If you make that a promise, I'll make sure to wear something fun for you for after the barbecue tonight," she said with a seductive smile and God if I didn't want to take her right then. Instead, I walked up and gave her a lengthy kiss.
"Deal," I said against her mouth as I pulled back and found her eyes a little glassy. I'd discovered that the woman was a sucker for kisses, too, which was good fucking information to have. She shook her head and bit and then nodded.
"Then we have a plan," she said and turned back to her shower, while I moved back into her room to gather my clothes. I could hardly wait for tonight and it had nothing whatsoever to do with the pulled pork and burgers I knew were going to be served.
The day was long and sweaty, the heat of California beating down on the TM shop and making it a bit of an oven. When it finally came to a close, I showered at my place and then headed over to pick up Soleil. She'd been helping Gemma with the barbecue for most of the day, but had left in order to get changed, leaving Abel in the capable hands of grandma. As I pulled up to her apartment, she stepped out in a flowered sundress that had the tips of my fingers twitching to touch. I was quickly becoming a fan of dresses - the possibilities they entailed being so enticing in so many ways.
Soleil gave me a knowing look as she approached and I raised an eyebrow. I wasn't going to apologize for what I knew was in my eyes as I looked her over. I shifted a bit in my seat, however, when she returned the look before climbing on behind me. I felt her wrap her arms around me after she put on the helmet and I hit the gas to take us out of the lot and over to mom's.
I wish I could have done that ride over again, perhaps had someone come with me to pick Soleil up. Because I didn't, and unfortunately, because I was distracted by the happiness of having her with me, I didn't see the crew of five come upon us as we rode until they had effectively surrounded my bike. I felt Soleil tense around me and I knew she knew they weren't friendly. With as quickly as it all went down, there wasn't anything I could do but ride where they directed me, which was toward an industrial park outside of town.
Chapter 16: Darkness
Blood dripped into my left eye, making it difficult to see, while my jaw was swollen from the multiple hits it had taken. I'd guess that my ribs were bruised, but it was possible one or two was broken, I guess. I was strapped to a chair, my hands tied securely to each other and then to the back so that I couldn't move from my position.
The five riders who'd taken us to this warehouse had narrowed down to three over the course of the two hours since we'd been directed here. When we'd arrived, they'd taken Soleil into an office like room near the front of the building, leaving one man with her. I'd tried to stop them, struggling and punching with all that was in me, but the other four had been too much and they'd managed to get me into the middle of a larger room and tied to this chair.
They'd spent the next half hour or forty minutes - it was hard to keep good time in this situation really - taking turns beating on me. They did it all without asking a single question. Having been on a take down myself, I was sure they were working me over so that I'd be docile for when the questions would start. It had turned out I was right, because after the initial time of working me over, their Sergeant at Arms started asking me questions.
He'd started small, looking to see how compliant I would be. First, he wanted to know how many of the SAMCRO was in Charming at the moment. When I refused to answer that, he moved on to whether I was involved in any of the deals with the Irish or the Mayans. Question after question came, all met with my silent rage as I stared him down and wondered what was happening to Soleil in the office just outside of the room I was being held in.
I hadn't heard anything from that room since they'd taken her to it. When I'd fought to keep her with me, I'd caught her eye at one point and found that she was a mask of calm. I was sure she was terrified, but she wasn't showing these assholes her fear. Instead, she'd given me her soft look before she'd been pulled roughly into the room and lost to my sight as the man who held her closed the door with a sneer in my direction. Since then, I hadn't heard her call out. There were no screams. I was fucking dying inside, not knowing what he was doing to her and it was fueling the hatred that was coursing through my veins as I imagined all the ways I was going to end the men in front of me.
"Doesn't look like he is motivated to speak, Bones." It was the man closer to the door who spoke. When the SAA had started in on me, he'd taken a few good shots, but had then left the dirty work to this one.
The SAA, Bones, turned to him with a nod. "You're right. I wonder if we should bring that piece out, see if that might get his tongue moving," he said and I shifted in my seat, but again, didn't speak.
I both wanted to and dreaded seeing Soleil. I didn't know if I could take it if what I feared had happened to her. I'd barely kept it together when I'd found out what had happened to mom, and that had been with enough time from the event to at least allow me to breathe. If he'd done that to her with me in the other room, I wasn't sure if I'd survive it.
It didn't appear that I was going to get a choice, however, as the one by the door moved out of the room and I heard him speak. "Bring her out."
My eyes strained to see her, my Sun, with the hope that she was okay. When she came into view, I saw that her lip was busted and she had the beginnings of a black eye, but her dress didn't appear torn and it wasn't wrinkled. I couldn't be sure until I could talk to her, but she appeared whole. I sighed in relief and moved my eyes back to Bones, who was nodding to me.
"As you can see, we haven't done much to her. That may have to change, if this doesn't work, however," he said as he pulled out his gun and shot me in the thigh. For the first time since we'd been taken here, I heard Soleil as she screamed my name. I grunted in pain, but refused to say anything, instead staring at the man whom I intended to kill slowly.
Soleil was whimpering across the room. When my eyes strayed back to her, I saw that there were tears streaking down her face. She did not, however, call out further or try to beg for me or her. Instead, she looked at me with pain in her eyes. She knew that this wasn't set to end well for either of us, and yet it seemed as if she wasn't focused on her own situation, but mine. I tried to smile, a half of a lift of a lip, to tell her that I was okay, but anyone could see through the attempt.
I was so distracted by her that I didn't notice Bones walk up to me and place his hand on the wound in my leg until he was pushing on it. I wasn't able to keep the yell of pain inside and I could hear Soleil sob in the distance. Still, I didn't speak. I wouldn't answer their questions. My brothers would find us, alive or not, and there would be retribution. Of that fact, I was absolutely certain.
"This isn't working, Bones," called the man holding Soleil. "Let me have her. He will talk to save her."
I was losing a fair amount of blood at this point and riding the line of consciousness, but I saw Bones give a nod and say "Handle her." I saw Soleil being dragged back out of the room. I roared with the rage that overtook me and strained at my bonds as I saw her stumble and the rider who had her pull her up by the hair and out of view.
"You can stop that," Bones said to me, a sneer on his face as he nodded back toward the door. "You just have to start talking," he said. The words were barely spoken when I heard two shots go off. Bones startled in surprise and looked to his brother.
"What the fuck? I didn't mean handle her, handle her," he called to the one near the door, but the words came to me in a fog of pain and loss. They'd taken her from me and the realization left me without the energy to fight the increasing darkness overcoming my brain. In the distance, I heard yelling and four more shots, but I was too far gone. I slipped away.
Chapter 17: I Stopped Him
We were at the barbecue, talking, joking, drinking and eating when my phone rang. "Opie," I heard Soleil call into the receiver and I stepped away from the group to try to hear her better.
"Soleil," I said loudly, smiling as I did. Jax and Soleil's combined absence had been noted and it hadn't taken more than a half an hour before the wallets had been pulled out. We'd wondered when one of them was finally going to call in and cancel in favor of staying wrapped up in each other. We'd even taken bets on who it was that was going to make the call. It looked like Tig had finally won one of our pools, since he'd put it at Soleil and at the two and a half hour mark. He'd been spot on.
I saw Tig raise his arms in triumph as he heard me and I heard him say, "Pay up, fuckers," to Juice and Chibs as Soleil started to speak again. I frowned, though, hearing something in her voice that wasn't quite right.
"Opie, we need help," I raised my hand, my stony expression calling my brothers to me better than any alarm or siren would.
"What's happened, Soleil? Where are you?" I called into the phone as each of the patches for Redwood Original converged on me.
"We're in an industrial park near Runner's. There are three warehouses that look the same. Jax has been shot. He's passed out. I don't know if the others are coming back," she said, her voice thicker with her accent - the only tell that she was very upset and the reason I'd known something was wrong.
"We're coming, Soleil," I said as I started jogging toward the front, using one hand to create a circle in the air so that the others knew to follow me. Soleil murmured an "okay," before she cut the line.
"What happened?" Clay asked as we all climbed on our bikes.
"Someone took Jax and Soleil. She says Jax is shot. I don't know how many, but she wasn't sure if more were coming," I heard several curses as the brothers moved quicker to get going.
"Warehouses at Runner's Point," I called out, my bike fired up and ready to go. They nodded and we tore out of the drive, speeding toward the place where we knew, at least, Jax was hurt.
It took us less than ten minutes to get to the warehouses where I believed Soleil and Jax to be. It was confirmed by the presence of bikes - four of them - outside of one in particular. I recognized the Harley near the end as Jax's and cut my engine. As one, Clay, Bobby, Juice, Chibs, Happy, Tig and I took out our guns and moved toward the doors.
Happy stood by the door, Tig's hand on the handle, and then the nod was given. We pushed through the door, our weapons out as we scanned the area for any threats.
"Fuck," I heard Chibs mutter as he and I saw a biker half out of an office near the door, his head blown near off from what had to have been a very close range shot. Blood pooled around his limp body. A quick glance of the room, however, showed no one else in it and so we moved on. Tig and Happy made it around the corner first and I heard Tig call out, "Soleil!"
When I came around the corner, I saw another biker spread onto the floor, also in a puddle of blood. This one looked to have had two shots to him. His hand was mangled on the right and a handgun was off to his side on the floor. He had taken a shot to his face, making his unrecognizable to anyone, I was sure. In the middle of the room, Soleil was kneeling over an unconscious Jax who was sitting in a chair. Soleil was putting pressure on a wound in his thigh, if I saw things correctly. To her side on the ground lay a burner phone, a handgun, and another dead biker. Unlike the other two, he hadn't been shot in the head. Instead, his neck was ripped in half.
Tig and Chibs were now talking lowly to Soleil, looking over Jax as they did. Happy was scanning the room for any further threats, but it appeared that the warehouse was clear. He had an expression of pride on his face and though I couldn't exactly describe myself as proud, I was fucking impressed by what I saw. Given the nature of the wounds, Soleil must have gotten the gun away from the biker in the room and taken him out first. She'd then come in here to take out the other two before calling me.
As I walked up on her and my brothers, I heard her speak. "I couldn't get the ropes untied. I think he broke a couple of my fingers on the left." Chibs nodded to Tig, who then moved to raise Soleil from the ground.
"We've got him, doll. Let's get you looked at, okay?" he said softly and I couldn't help the sharp intake of breath I had when she turned.
Her flowered sundress was soaked and splattered with blood, her face speckled with the substance. The guys and I had long ago realized that Soleil was one whose waters ran deep, so to speak. Right now, the only evidence of her emotional turmoil were the dried streaks running down her face where it was obvious she had cried. She wasn't, however, crying now. Instead, she stood with Tig calmly and allowed him to pull her to the side so that he could speak with her and so that Chibs and Juice could get Jax out of the chair.
"Did they hurt you anywhere else, Soleil?" Clay asked her as he approached and she looked at him in confusion for a second before she realized what he was asking, at which point she shook her head.
"He was going to, but I stopped him," she said and Clay nodded, concern in his eyes. Juice and I shared a look. Soleil's quiet responses were concerning. We couldn't tell if she was in shock or not.
"The prospect should be here with the van any second," Juice said to us as we saw Chibs continue to work on Jax. I nodded; I'd seen him pull out his phone when we'd cleared the room. True to his word, just a few seconds later, I heard the engine and Happy, Bobby and I went out to meet it, ensuring it was our van and not the other club's. I turned to see Chibs and Juice carrying Jax out, Soleil walking slowly behind. She got into the van without a word and it just wasn't the time to talk, so I gave a nod to the prospect and they pulled away, no doubt headed to Gemma and Clay's to patch Jax up.
I turned to my four other brothers with raised brows and said what I'd been thinking. "Fuck, she's a good shot."
"No shit," Clay said with a shake of his head. "I wouldn't have guessed it in a million years, but can't say that I'm not glad to know it," he continued and Happy smirked with a nod.
"She did good," Happy said and I had to agree. Soleil had fucking destroyed these men.
Chapter 18: Never
The shot to Jax's thigh was clean through, so I didn't need to go digging around in his leg to get anything out, which was a blessing. It took the prospect about ten minutes to get us back to Gemma's, where we were met with the matriarch and all the other Old Ladies waiting. We carried Jax into a spare room and Gemma helped to get Jax cleaned up with me while Erin and Mia took Soleil to another room.
God love those ladies, none of them seemed to pester Soleil for information. Rather, it appeared that they just took in her appearance and worked to get her clean clothes and showered. By the time she returned to the room where Jax was laid out, almost twenty minutes had passed. She was wearing a pair of grey sweats and a Sons shirt and her dark hair hung loosely around her shoulders.
She came up to the side of Jax's bed and sat in a chair next to him, placing her right hand on his. He was still unconscious. I had a stockpile of antibiotics stored from before Tara left Charming, and so I'd already started those. While I couldn't get him a transfusion, the amount of blood loss at the warehouse looked to be such that I hopefully wouldn't have to seek that out for him. If he showed up to St. Thomas with a bullet wound, there would be questions asked and I was sure that he wouldn't want Soleil pulled into that.
"Le' me look a' yer hand, lass," I said and her dark blue eyes raised to mine as she nodded. She stood and came to the end of the bed and held out her left hand. I nodded as I looked it over. "I nee' ta tape it," I said and she nodded again while I got out the supplies that I'd need. Soleil didn't make any signs of pain as I moved to tape two of her fingers to the others. Instead, she stood quietly and it was driving me fucking crazy.
"Will he leave me, Chibs?" she asked as I finished my work on her hand and I looked up with surprise and disbelief, unable to verbalize the question that tore through my brain on her inquiry.
She looked back at my prone brother and continued. "He hasn't told me what you all are involved in. I knew that it was dangerous. He carries a knife on his hip and a gun under his kutte. It's not like you all are subtle. There's Death on your backs," she said with a slight twist of her lips.
"But, I think he wants to believe that I don't know. That I'm innocent to the risks he poses." She looked back at me. "Now that I've killed, he'll know that I'm not a pure soul." Her voice dropped to a whisper. "They were hurting him, Chibs. I couldn't let them keep hurting him when I had a chance to save him."
"Oh, lass," I called out as I pulled her into my arms. After all that had happened to them today, her biggest fear was that Jax would no longer want her. It was breaking my heart to hear the hiccup in her voice as she spoke, her pain so quiet and deep that it speared right through me.
"He loves you, lass," I murmured and she nodded against my chest, but I could tell that the only man who would relieve her fear was still quietly breathing on the bed, and so I didn't protest when she pulled back and moved to sit in the chair at his side.
I walked out of the room to find Tig, Bobby and Clay standing there. I gave a nod to the door. "He's still ou', bu' the wound was clean. He needs time ta come aroun', bu' I think i' looks good," I said and I could see see some of the Old Ladies move down the hallway to join us. As I spoke quietly to them, I heard the beautiful croon of French come from the room.
Juice had joined us now, his Sarah by his side. Erin had her hands wrapped around my waist as we listened. "Anyone know French?" Juice asked us, and Tig shook his head.
"You don't need to, to know what she's saying in there," Tig muttered as he kissed Carmen's temple. The lot of us stood just outside the doorway of Jax's room for a while, listening to the honeyed tones of French love songs as Soleil's heart poured out to the sleeping man.
It was the middle of the night when Jax finally woke. He groaned as he came to, shifting slightly in the bed as he looked down to find Soleil asleep by his side, her hand holding his. I could see the joy chase away his confusion as he realized that she was with him, breathing. I didn't know what all had happened at that warehouse, but I knew what would have been going through my mind if I'd been struggling to stay conscious while bikers had my woman.
He raised a hand to touch her hair softly and he must have heard me move because he looked up at me. "Is she okay?" he asked and I knew what he was asking so I nodded.
"Yeah," I said softly, not wanting to wake the exhausted woman. "She stopped him," I saw the relief overtake him and I smiled slightly.
"What happened?" I asked. None of us had the heart to question Soleil earlier.
"We were on our way to the barbecue when five surrounded us. They took us to the warehouse and started in on me." He shifted a bit, looking to try to get more comfortable. Bruised ribs are a bitch, so I could understand the movement.
"They had Soleil in the office with one of them, while two left. The other two focused on me." He paused for a minute with a frown. "They were asking about the club and weren't impressed with my lack of cooperation. They'd gotten tired of my silence and shot me in front of Soleil. When I still didn't say anything, one took her into the office by the door. I heard two shots. I thought he'd killed her. Then, I passed out." His voice broke a little on that as he looked back down to her.
"She got his gun away from him and shot him in the head. She called me after she took out the other two," I told him and his eyes flew to mine.
"She did it?" he asked, surprise heavy in his quiet tone. I nodded.
"She's been torn up since because she thinks you're going to leave her," I said and he frowned at me.
"What?" he asked and I nodded to her.
"She talked to Chibs for a minute before she crawled into that spot and started singing to you." I looked at the sleeping woman. "She about broke us with it, brother. For hours, she sang in French until she passed out in here. She refused to move when Carmen tried to get her to go sleep in the other room."
"I'd never leave her," he said, his face still showing his confusion. I nodded.
"You need to tell her that, man. Because I don't think I've ever heard anything like that before," I said as I got up. "Try to get some rest. You lost a good amount of blood, but Chibs thinks the antibiotics and such will keep you whole if you take it easy."
Chapter 19: Agreed
I woke with a slight moan, my body sore from the activities yesterday and the odd position in which I'd slept. It took me a moment to come to full consciousness, my brain lagging behind the rest of my body. When it finally started connecting all the bits of yesterday into the story of what happened, I jolted slightly to look at my love. He was sleeping still, but his color was so much better. I sighed as I looked at him and reached up to move a strand of his blond hair from his forehead. He felt the movement and hummed in his sleep, his beautiful blue eyes opening to look into mine.
"Soleil," he said with a small smile and I returned the gesture.
"I've been worried about you, mon beau," I said and he raised his arm so that his hand could cup my cheek.
"I love you, baby. When he had you in that room-" I cut him off, placing my fingertips on his lips.
"He didn't. I stopped him in time, Jax," I said and he nodded against my hand, shifting his face so that he could kiss my wrist.
"I know. Opie told me," he said and I felt a spike of fear as I waited for his next words. "You were so brave, baby. You did good," he assured me, his eyes conveying a wealth of emotions that flickered so fast through the orbs that it was difficult to place them all. I nodded and looked down.
"Soleil," he called. I hesitated before I looked back up. "I mean it, darlin'. You saved us both. I'm proud of my Old Lady," he said and I started to feel relief for the first time since we'd been taken by those men. I stared into his eyes, trying to find any sign that he had hesitation, but I found none.
"I love you, mon beau," I said softly and he smiled at me. His smile held my whole world.
"Come up here," he demanded and I moved to the bed, leaning over him to press my lips against his.
His hand came up to my neck, holding me in place as he kissed me. I sighed into the him, finally feeling like the worry was easing away from the pit of my stomach. As the negative feelings dissipated and the joy of the kiss took over, I smiled and bit at his bottom lip. The sound that came from his throat was a mix of a groan and a moan, but full of male approval and it had me smiling wider as I pulled back.
"I'm pissed that I didn't get to see what was under that sundress, Soleil," he groused and I grinned.
"When you've healed, I'll wear it again," I promised and he shook his head.
"If you think I'm waiting until this leg is 100%, then you're crazy, darlin'," he said with a smirk and I chuckled.
"We'll see," I said in response and he pulled at me to lay by his side. "You should rest," I protested and he shook his head.
"I'll rest better with you in my arms," he responded and I curled into him, trying to avoid the places I'd seen Chibs work on last night. His arm came around me as he kissed my forehead and whispered. "I love you so much."
I leaned my head into the crook of his shoulder and sighed. Sleep overtook me once more as I melted into the arms of my handsome man.
I walked into the clubhouse after dropping Carmen at the diner. I saw Chibs and Opie in a corner, and they looked to be in good spirits, which had to be a good sign.
"What's the word?" I asked and they looked up.
"Jackie is doing well and still being watched by Soleil and Gemma. Seems like the lad would rather no' have two women fawning over 'im, but neither one is listening. They won' let 'im ge' ou' of bed for another two days," Chibs said and my brows rose. It had already been three days since we'd gotten them from the warehouse.
"Five days in bed, with no chance of fucking?" I asked. "He's gotta be dying," I smirked and Chibs laughed.
"Aye. Each day in tha' bed, and no' in Soleil, is makin' 'im a righ' grumpy arse," Chibs responded and I nodded, sure that Jax wouldn't make it another two days.
"Any word on the crew that took them?" I asked and Opie spoke up.
"It's a new club set up just outside of Lodi. Juice has been doing some digging. Expect that church will be called soon to talk about the response," he said and I nodded.
We all knew that the response was going to be near total destruction, especially considering that the club involved was new. It happened occasionally. New clubs would look to make a name for themselves by gunning for the mother charter. After years of doing this, you'd think that the word would get out that such a move was just going to assure your death, but every so often, we'd be faced with resolving the matter again.
On the thought, I saw Clay stride in and call out. "Church!"
We moved as one toward the doors that would take us to the redwood table, each man finding his seat and settling in for the discussion we knew was coming. "We all know why we're here." Clay started. "That set of fucktards took Jax and his Old Lady in broad daylight off the streets of Charming. The response must be swift and without any mercy." He said and I saw the men around the table nod, no one was going to argue this move.
"Juice, what do we know?" Clay asked and Juice spoke up.
"Soleil took out three, so there should be another five left. The charter is small. They are just moving up from doing deals on the streets. It looks like they want to start swimming in the big pond." Clay nodded for Juice to continue.
"I've located their clubhouse and it's not too well fortified, by the looks of things. The prospects have done a few runs by to confirm what I could come up with online and it looks like a quick entrance with most of the patches would take them out totally." Juice paused and smiled. "Fuckers are dumb. Apparently, they let the locals know not to swing by on Thursday nights, because that's when they're in their meetings."
Sounds of disbelief surrounded the table. Fucking morons deserved what they got on this one. Not only going after a charter without enough backup to accomplish the task, but then to be so stupid as to advertise the time when one would find all of them in one place. It was going to be like shooting fish in a barrel.
"Alright. Sounds like we have a date for this Thursday. All agreed?" Clay asked the table and the vote passed without a full second's thought.
"Are we letting Jax in on the fun?" Happy asked and I saw the smirk on Clay's face as he shook his head.
"Sure, but he'll have to figure out how to get past both Soleil and Gemma."
"Poor bastard doesna' have a chance o' tha'," Chibs muttered and I looked to him with a nod.
"You taking bets on that?" I asked.
Chapter 20: I Can Manage That
I looked at Soleil as she played with Abel on the floor of our house, tenderness taking over my thoughts at the sight of them. The club that had taken us had been addressed nearly six months ago now. I hadn't been able to make it, my mom and Soleil being more effective guard dogs than any I'd ever seen. Instead, I'd heard about the results later from Opie, who'd told me that the full mother charter - save for me - had gone in and, in less than two minutes, cleared out the entire club.
Since that time, things had been progressing well with Soleil and I. We'd fallen into a rhythm once I'd finally convinced her to let go of her apartment and move in with me and Abel. It had taken a bit. She'd balked a little at the idea of living with her former boss for reasons that seemed to be tied up in some kind of traditional view. She'd refused to keep taking money for watching Abel, saying that it made her feel wrong. The cold war fight that had ensued when she'd discovered that I was paying her student loans behind her back had damn near gone nuclear. Ultimately, my mom had stepped in, which I was grateful for, for once.
She and the other Old Ladies had talked to Soleil about what it meant to be an Old Lady and it seemed like Soleil had finally accepted it, though I would occasionally still see her twist her lips when I paid bills. When I'd groused to mom about it, she'd reminded me once again that Soleil was a mix of old world and new and so I needed to be aware of that. It had got me to thinking, and the conclusion had been one that was so fucking obvious that I couldn't believe it had taken me as long as it did to come to it.
So, as I stood leaning against the doorway watching Soleil lift Abel up to take him back for a nap, I decided that now was the right time. I waited for her, listening the sound of her soft French songs that she used to put him to bed. About fifteen minutes later, she came down the hallway, her hips swaying slightly as she moved. I stepped back into the living room, which I'd cleared of toys as she worked with Abel.
When she approached, I pulled her into my arms and down to the couch, having her straddle me so that I could see her face. The soft look that she only gave me was in her eyes as I leaned forward to kiss her. When we parted lips, I rested my forehead on hers for a moment and took a big breath. I reached into my pocket, shifting her slightly on my lap, and pulled out a small, black box.
Soleil gasped as she saw it, her eyes flying to mine in a moment to confirm what she knew I was going to say next. I saw those galaxy colored eyes glass over with tears as I opened the box to reveal a diamond ring surrounded by sapphires. I'd known the second I saw this that it was meant for her. The sapphires reminded me of her eyes.
"I want you forever, baby. Be my wife?" I asked and Soleil's face broke into a watery smile as she nodded.
"Yes, mon beau. Yes," she said and kissed me deeply. When we parted again, I slipped the ring onto her finger, watching it come to rest with a sense of rightness. With so much wrong in my world, there was no doubt in me that Soleil was the other part of my soul. She filled the broken pieces with light and gave peace where pain and rage had once reigned.
"I'm never letting you go," I warned her and she grinned and moved to kiss me, whispering against my lips.
"I have a surprise for you," she said and I moaned as she rolled her hips against my crotch, applying just the right pressure to cause me to pant for her.
"Oh?" I asked, my voice husky. "And what is that?" I asked.
She shifted back and slipped her top off, revealing red lace and instantly gaining all of my focus to her breasts. "Abel will be asleep for an hour, mon beau. Think you can satisfy your woman in that time?" she dared me, the sparkle of challenge in her eyes.
I growled low in my throat and moved to suck on her neck, my hands coming up to cup that gorgeous, lace covered flesh. I heard her harsh and shaky intake of breath as I moved my lips to the sensitive spot just behind her ear.
"Oh, I think I can manage that," I said as I lifted her up and carried her from the room and down the hallway to the master bedroom. The afternoon was lost to muffled sounds of pleasure as we worked to avoid waking the little man down the hall while we devoted ourselves to each other. The love was apparent in every touch, every sound, every kiss. I gloried in the realization that the woman of my dreams - the one who brought my soul home - was in my arms. Whatever else may come as we moved into the future, it would be together.
A/N: Thus, ends Jax's story. I hope you enjoyed it. Until next time, happy reading! -OQ