Earlier that same day in another part of Charming…
Jax was seated in the meeting room at SAMCRO. Jax and the club had just received a hot lead. Their sources told them that Abel was now in Ireland and was staying with one of the members of the Belfast chapter. The Belfast chapter had killed Cameron and had taken the kid into their fold. The club debated who should go to get Abel back and bring him home. It was decided that Clay and Jax would be the only two who would go. It was unnecessary for the entire club to go. Besides, they had other issues to deal with at home. The Mayans were breathing down their necks, trying to take over their territory.
Jax and Clay had arranged to take the very next plane to get there, but Jax had a few things to do before he left.
He was so happy and ecstatic; he wanted to share it with somebody. He went home to find an empty house. It felt emptier now, ever since Tara had left him a few days ago.
What the hell had happened? Why had she left? Things had been going so good…he had been telling her everything and she had seemed to accept what he had told her, no matter how bad those things were. Once Abel was kidnapped – everything had gone downhill from there. He couldn’t understand why she would leave him – when he needed her more now than ever.
Maybe it was for the best? This way, he wouldn’t have to feel the overwhelming need to protect her. He knew that his affiliation with the club was dangerous for everyone involved. It didn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out that a biker and a doctor shouldn’t be together.
But he was depressed, hurt, angry and felt all alone. Nobody understood him like Tara did. Nobody else could make him feel like he was worth something. He had thought that nobody cared about him like she did either…but he guessed that he was wrong. She didn’t care about him at all.
She had left him without saying a word. She ignored all his phone calls and texted messages. She refused to answer her own front door. He had tried to see her at work and that had failed too. She had conveniently taken a leave of absence so that he had no way to get in touch with her. It was like she had vanished into thin air. It reminded him of what had happened to Abel.
He wasn’t sure which was worse – missing Abel or missing Tara. They both hurt. Ever since Tara had left him; he had gone into a deep depression. There was no hope of consoling him. Gemma had tried. She had tried to ask him what had happened, but he hadn’t been able to tell her. He had no clue either. He felt betrayed and abandoned, just like many years ago when Tara had left him the first time. Had she run away from him now too?
God help him, he loved her. He ached for her. He was missing her in every single possible way in which a person could miss someone.
Wendy came through the door, loaded down with her suitcases and things. He greeted her and smiled. Not that Wendy was taking the place of Tara…nobody would be ever able to do that…but it was good to know that there was someone who needed him and who cared about him. He just wished that it would’ve been simpler. He wished that he didn’t love Tara with every fiber of his being. He wished that he felt the same kind of attraction to Wendy, that he felt for Tara because maybe then he wouldn’t feel so alone.
But it was no use. Wendy was his friend on nothing more. He needed to be comforted. It could have been any woman in Wendy’s shoes because all he could see was Tara’s face. Her face would always be the only face he saw.
He felt a bitter resentment for what circumstances had forced Tara to run away again. Was it because of him? The club? What happened?
“Have you heard anything new?” she asked.
Jax told her about the latest developments. He had agreed to have Wendy temporarily move her things in because she had nowhere else to go.
He went into Abel’s room. He pictured Tara in the room. It hadn’t been so long; he could still smell her fragrant perfume. She had taken good care of little Abel, dressed him and fed him. God help him, all he wanted was to see her in this room once again. Maybe even holding a baby of their own.
In his life, he regretted many things. The fact that Tara wasn’t Abel’s mother was one of them. Why couldn’t Abel have been theirs? What kind of bad luck had made it so Wendy was somehow Abel’s mother? He loved Abel with all of his heart, but he knew that his feelings would have been vastly different if Abel were Tara’s. He would have accepted fatherhood more readily. He would have been a lot more eager for his birth.
He wondered how things would be between them if Tara had been Abel’s mother. Would she have run away from him if she were? Somehow, he knew that she wouldn’t have. Both he and Tara hated the fact that he and Wendy would always be connected through Abel.
But the facts were what they were. Wendy was Abel’s mother. Tara had run away from him once again. He was left with dealing with all of these facts, on top of Abel’s kidnapping.
He would go to Ireland, pick up Abel and return home again. Then, he could suffer through his loneliness in some sort of peace. At least he would have Abel back again and his kidnapping would be resolved. It would help make things easier on him.
Jax headed to the airport, but on his way, he stopped by the police station. There was one person he needed to see.
“Hey Jax,” Deputy Chief Hale greeted him when Jax knocked on his office door. “What’s up?”
“We’ve found Abel,” he exclaimed, excitedly. “In fact, we’re heading there right now…but in the meantime I need you to do a favor for me.”
“Sure, what is it?”
“I need you to look out for Tara. She won’t have anything to do with me,” he explained.
Hale seemed surprised by that. “What do you mean? Why won’t she have anything to do with you?”
Jax didn’t want to get into too many details. “Let’s just say that she left me, but I still feel this need to protect her,” he replied. “Will you do it?”
“Sure Jax,” Hale agreed. He looked at Jax, puzzled by his comment about Tara’s leaving him. He knew that Jax wouldn’t give him the answer, so he didn’t bother to ask. He had always had a soft spot for Tara anyways. “You can count on me.”
They shook hands and Jax left the office. He headed to the club to gather up some of his belongings, including his father’s manuscript. John Teller might have some words of wisdom he could share that would help him out with things.
Jax met Clay at the airport and they took off.
Later on that night…
Tara screamed as hard as she could. She fought the person off. She scratched their face, kicked their shins and tried to break free from their grasp.
“Tara, stop it!” Someone shouted at her.
She stopped what she was doing long enough to realize that it was Deputy Chief Hale. She stopped struggling and stared at him in confusion.
“Tara, what are you doing in this area of town? Don’t you know that it’s dangerous?” He asked.
“Yes, I do,” she agreed, having regained control. “I was at a bar and was too drunk to drive home,” she explained.
“You could have called me. I would have made sure that you made it home alright.” He studied her, checking to see if she was alright from the scare that he’d given. “Come, I’ll take you home.”
He ushered her down the alley, to his waiting police jeep, parked at the other end of the alley. She took a seat in the passenger side, while he climbed in and they took off.
“I’m glad that I found you,” Hale spoke up, breaking the silence that had been in the jeep. “Jax is worried about you.” He turned to look at her.
Tara frowned. “Oh, he’s worried?” She asked, as if that was surprising. “How nice of him,” she replied, sarcastically. She looked out of the passenger window.
“What happened between the two of you? You used to be so happy,” Hale voiced his observations.
“Yes, well…it’s not my fault that he took up with his baby mama once again,” she replied, bitterly.
“With Wendy?” Hale repeated, incredulously. “You must be mistaken,” he shook his head, incomprehensibly.
“No, I’m not mistaken. She told me so herself,” Tara replied. “I don’t want to talk about it.” She stubbornly crossed her arms across her chest.
“Well, I do,” Hale replied back. “It doesn’t make any sense. Why would he hook up with Wendy? He didn’t mention that to me. He asked me to look out for you while he’s in Ireland,” he explained.
“He did?” she replied. She was surprised.
“Yes, he did.”
“Oh,” Tara didn’t know what to say. “He’s bringing Abel home. That’s great for him. Did he really ask you to look out for me?” She asked, curiously.
“Yes,” Hale answered. He studied her for a moment. “He needs you, Tara,” he told her.
“Abel has Wendy. She’s his mother,” Tara replied, misunderstanding what Hale had meant.
“Not Abel…Jax,” he explained. “I’m not very close to him, but he looked…”
“What?” she asked, curiously.
“He looked haggard. Sad. Depressed. He didn’t look like the Jax that I know,” he explained. “What happened, Tara? Want to talk to me about it?”
She shook her head. “No,” she replied, in a low sounding voice. “I just want you to drop me off at home and leave me alone.”
“Okay, but know that I’m here if you need anything or a shoulder to cry on,” he offered.
He dropped her off at home; where Tara got ready for bed. She laid in her bed and remembered what Hale had told her. Jax still cared for her? She was surprised about it. A part of her wondered if Wendy had told her the whole truth.
It didn’t matter though, she realized. She was better off without him and he was better off without her, she determined. She only wished that this pain would go away. Please, would it go away soon?
The next day, Tara went grocery shopping. She was picking out fruit when she heard a voice beside her say, “that one’s too ripe.”
She turned to look at the person, only to groan. It was Gemma. Next to Jax, she was the last person she wanted to see. She moved on to the next type of fruit.
“You’re not even going to say, ‘hi’?” Gemma asked, curiously. She studied Tara carefully, trying to gauge how she would ask her questions that would give her the right answers. She had trained Tara herself. Tara would make it difficult for her to find out what had happened between them. But she was the teacher and Tara was still the student. She knew that she would find out someway or another. Tara still had a lot to learn.
“Hi,” Tara replied, graciously, then proceeded to look over more fruit. She put some in a plastic bag and measured them on the weigh scale.
“Jax and Clay are bringing Abel home,” Gemma spoke up thoughtfully. “I’m so glad that our family will be reunited…you know that family means everything to me…” she stared at her pointedly.
“I’m glad that Abel is alright,” Tara replied, relieved that that whole drama was over. Now, if only Gemma would leave her alone, she could move on too.
“We’re having a party tonight. I want you to come,” she invited. “You don’t have to bring anything. But I want you to be there. You’re Abel’s mother.”
Tara looked at Gemma, her eyes suddenly full of tears. “I wish I were,” she choked. Realizing that she was this close to telling Gemma everything, she put the bag of fruit in her cart and walked away.
Gemma followed. Tara rolled her eyes when she realized that Gemma was walking next to her, as if they were grocery shopping together.
“Look…I don’t know what happened between you and Jax…” she paused, hoping that Tara might fill her in on everything, but she didn’t push. “But I want you to be there. I think of you as my own daughter.”
“That’s nice,” she replied, as she stopped and faced her. Gemma stopped too. “But you have Wendy now. You can mold her into what you are.”
Gemma digested that thought. “Oh honey…” she moaned, as tears sprang to her eyes. “I don’t want Wendy as a daughter. I only want you,” she confessed. Gemma suddenly realized that Tara was who her son needed the most. He was a different kind of man when he was with Tara. He was someone who she could be proud of. His father would be proud too, she thought.
What a one-eighty from not too long ago, Tara thought. She used to hate her and had tried many things to get rid of her in the past. It was only because of Gemma’s rape that brought the two of them closer together. Now, Tara thought of Gemma as her mom too. She felt sad. They couldn’t be that way anymore.
“I’m sorry, Gemma,” she replied, trying to fight back the tears. “I can’t be that person anymore. I hope you could understand that.”
Gemma decided that she needed to be tough. “What I understand is; you are being selfish…yes, selfish,” she replied, as she noticed the shocked expression on Tara’s face. “You think that someone who isn’t selfish would let some drug addicted junkie let her care for her son?” She asked, curiously.
“But I’m not-”
“Yes, you are,” Gemma interrupted, furiously. “You may not be biologically related, but he knows you better than he does Wendy. Abel needs a mother like you. Wendy sure as hell won’t be the mother that he needs. This has nothing to do with Jax, although I have to admit…you’re perfect for him too.” She paused, as she tried to think of something else to convince her. “Please, it would mean the world to me if you could be there. I promise, I won’t ask anything of you ever again,” she pleaded.
Tara could feel herself relenting under Gemma’s tearful, puppy dog stare. She rolled her eyes and she groaned. “Oh, okay…you’ve convinced me. But I’m not going to stay there long and you better keep Wendy away from me,” she negotiated.
“Fine by me, sweetie,” Gemma replied with a smile on her face. She wanted to get out of there before Tara changed her mind. She leaned over and kissed her on the cheek. “See you later.” With that, she walked away.
Tara watched her go, wondering how in the world Gemma had convinced her to go to the party.