Tara arrived at the airport, checked in her suitcase, and sat down in one of the seats in the waiting area. She had about an hour to kill before she went through security and her flight would board.
The Charming airport wasn’t a big one, but it had six gates for the many commuter flights that travelled to and from Los Angeles and San Francisco.
She purchased herself a coffee and a magazine from one of the stores in the airport. She sat down and leafed through the magazine. It was one of those Hollywood tabloid ones, which contained a bunch of dribble that was more fiction than fact. Only one headline appealed to her, so she spent a few moments reading about an amazing healer who saved people; some called them miracles, while others called the person a cult leader.
Other passengers took their seats in the waiting area. She glanced up at them, as more and more people arrived. It was a busy airport for being in a small town like Charming, she thought.
At times, she would look over at the entrance, hope against hope, someone (like maybe Jax?) would appear to say goodbye. It was wishful thinking she knew. She hated the thought of him hating her. She wished things had ended under better circumstances. It was only by sheer will, that she wasn’t in tears, but she had her Kleenex handy–as if waiting for her self-control to burst.
Those thoughts reminded her of the little baby she was leaving. She felt sad that she would never get to see his first steps, hear his first words or see him grow up. Would he join the club, like his father?
She sipped her coffee and wondered what she would have done differently, if anything? She didn’t regret falling in love with Jax. She didn’t regret being Abel’s mother while Wendy was in rehab. She didn’t regret dying Wendy’s hair blue because she, quite frankly, deserved it.
Could she have avoided what was happening to her now? She didn’t have a clue. She wished she knew how to get out of this situation, but the hospital had made it plain. They didn’t want to get sued and figured if they got rid of one of their more talented doctors, they would be better off. She felt like her dedication and all of her hard work wasn’t appreciated. It made her feel even more depressed.
She sat there and mulled over things while waiting to hear the call over the PA system, which would announce when it was time to go through security.
* * * * * *
Jax raced over to Tara’s house and hoped to catch her before she left for the airport. When he pulled up her driveway on his bike, he noticed it was dark inside. Either her power was out or he had missed her. He had a funny feeling that it was the latter.
Fuck! Now, what the fuck was he going to do? Had she driven to the airport already?
He noticed her car inside the garage. It had one of those canvas tarps on it. She probably took a taxi, he figured.
He cranked the handle on his bike, making his engine roar. He pulled out of Tara’s driveway to head over to his mom’s house. He knew the two of them were close, maybe Tara was still there? Tara was the type of person who would say goodbye to Gemma before leaving Charming; no matter what kind of circumstances she was in.
When he pulled into the driveway at Gemma’s house, he noticed the lights were all on. Someone was home at least. He climbed off his bike and took his helmet off. He walked through the front door, not bothering to knock.
Gemma came out of the kitchen, wondering who had entered her house without bothering to ring the doorbell or knock. She had been busy drinking and plotting her revenge against Wendy. When she noticed that it was only Jax, she rushed over to him in tears.
“She’s gone,” she cried. “You just missed her.”
Jax wasn’t happy to hear that particular news. “Did she tell you what happened? Why she’s leaving?”
“Yes,” she nodded her head. “There’s more…but I don’t have time to get into details. I think if you hurry, you might be able to catch her before her plane leaves.”
She urged him towards the door. She used her mothers’ intuition and had a funny feeling that Jax already knew about Wendy’s involvement in all of this. “You know about Wendy,” she commented, as she watched him closely.
Jax nodded his head. “Yes, I know,” he agreed. “Wendy told me. I can’t believe she would do this to Tara of all people. I’ve gotta stop her, Mom, maybe I can reach her in time.”
With that, he walked out the door and towards his bike. Gemma watched from the doorway.
“I hope you get there before her plane leaves,” she called out.
“Me too,” he replied. He hoped he did. He knew that he would have to break speed records in order to get to the airport on time. “Oh, and one more favor. Can you go over to my house and pick up Abel? I don’t want that bitch anywhere near Abel right now. I wouldn’t put anything past her. She might kidnap him or something.”
“Sure thing, sweetheart,” she agreed, hoping to reassure him.
“Wish me luck,” he waved, then slipped his helmet on and took off.
He pushed his bike to the limit. He didn’t remember ever driving this fast before. It was a good thing he had a good engine in it and knew what he was doing, he thought to himself. He sped down the road, towards the airport on the edge of town.
He was almost there—he could see it off in the distance—when he heard a siren blare behind him. Great, he groaned, this was the last thing he needed. To get pulled over by the cops, when time was of the greatest essence.
He pulled his bike over, hoping that by doing the right thing (for once) he would get to the airport faster. If he kept driving, the cops would only chase after him, then he would get his ass hauled off to jail. He would miss Tara’s plane for sure if that happened.
He sat on the bike and waited impatiently for the cop to climb out of his car and walk over to where he was waiting.
It was Hale. At least he was someone who would let him go, if he explained the situation to him, Jax thought. Hale had always been a compassionate man and a good friend of Tara’s.
“Hey, Jax,” Hale greeted him, taking out his pad of tickets. “Kind of driving dangerously, aren’t you?”
“Look…I know I was speeding, but can you just write the ticket and we can be on our merry way?” He asked, cutting to the chase. He didn’t have time for small-talk.
Hale studied him. “In a hurry?” he asked, suspiciously. “I hope it has nothing to do with anything illegal. You wouldn’t happen to know anything about an explosion recently, do you?”
“Nope, don’t know anything and I don’t have time for your question and answer period right now,” Jax replied. “You see, Tara is leaving town and I’m trying to catch her plane before it takes off. We didn’t get to say goodbye properly,” he explained. “I’m sure you can let me go, just this one time.” He tried using whatever charm he could come up with under the circumstances.
Hale thought about it for a few minutes. Time that Jax didn’t have. Jax looked down at his watch, checking to see how much time was being wasted by all of this. This was taking too long…
“Honestly, there’s nothing going on that’s illegal, other than my speeding. I swear on my mother,” Jax tried to convince him further.
He wasn’t sure if he was making any headway. Hale seemed to be lost in thought.
After a few moments, Hale started filling out the ticket and handed it to Jax. “Here, next time don’t be in such a rush. It’s dangerous for you and other drivers to be driving so fast.”
Hale started to walk back towards his jeep, then turned towards him. “Oh and say goodbye to Tara for me. I’m going to miss her. Tell her to come back and visit us often.”
With that, he climbed back into his jeep, pulled a U-turn and drove back towards Charming.
“Tara’s not going to leave if I can help it,” he vowed to himself, once he was alone.
Jax started up his bike and took off. He resumed the same speed he’d been driving before. He didn’t care. He needed to get to the airport on time and Hale had wasted too many precious minutes already.
He pulled into the parking lot and parked his bike in the taxi stand, among the waiting taxis. He earned a couple of glares and curses from the drivers, for taking one of their reserved spots, but he didn’t give a shit.
The only thing that mattered, was getting to Tara before her plane took off.
It was a zoo inside. He had to look over the flight schedule, which was posted on TV screens to find the right flight that was leaving for Chicago and which gate they were leaving from. There were two flights. He didn’t know which one to choose. He didn’t see Tara waiting in the waiting area, so she must have gone through security already.
He decided his best best was to go through security too. He emptied his pockets, with his pocket knives and guns, which made the guards eye him even more suspiciously than they had before. But he didn’t care, it’s not like he was planning on holding someone as hostage, unless they created trouble for him by not allowing him through. He had his permits and papers, which he always carried on him. He knew they were only doing their job and being a biker, wasn’t the most respected position in the world.
The security screen bleeped the first time he walked through. He had to take off his rings and metal jewelry. This was wasting time that he didn’t have. He started to grow angry and impatient.
After Jax had succeeded in making it bleep a few more times, the guard pointed him towards a room off to the side. Jax groaned. This was the last thing he needed.
The security guards told him to strip down and while they conducted their strip and cavity search. It reminded him of when he’d been in jail. Cavity and strip searches weren’t the greatest thing to have to go through, but he took it all in stride. He would suffer through anything in order to get to Tara in time.
After finding nothing, the guards finally told him to get dressed and he was allowed through. He headed over to the gate that was closest to him, as fast as his feet could run.
He ran, up the stairs, instead of using the escalator. It was faster that way. He kept bumping into people in his haste. He came up to the gate, disappointed to find out they were already standing in line and boarding. He looked around anxiously for Tara, hoping to see her standing there.
Was she there? Where was she?
Every brunette haired woman he noticed; he approached, expecting it to be her. The women would turn to look at him with strange, startled expressions on their faces. He would apologize to them, then moved on to the next one and on down the line, until he had reached the ticket agent who checked the passenger’s ID’s.
“Excuse me,” Jax interrupted, while the ticket agent was dealing with someone who was having their ID checked. “But could you tell me if a Tara Knowles has already boarded?”
The ticket agent looked at him with a great deal of confusion. She frowned.
“I’m not sure,” she replied, after handing the passenger’s ID back to them and wishing them a good trip. “What does she look like?” She asked.
“About this high. Brunette. Green eyes,” Jax described Tara to the agent, using hand motions.
The agent frowned once again.
“That’s not ringing any bells,” she commented, then turned her attention back on the boarding passengers.
She would smile and greet them in a friendly manner, which only made him more impatient.
“Well, would you please let me know if you do see her?” He asked. “It’s very important that I find her before her plane leaves,” he urged.
“I’ll see what I can do, Mr…” She focused her attention back on him. “What’s your name and I’ll page you when or if I do happen to see her? You know she could be on the other flight, right?”
“My name is Jax. Jax Teller. I can’t tell you how important this is to me, thanks. And yes, I know about the other flight. I’m going to check that one out now. I just hoped that maybe…she was on this one.” He ran his hand through his hair, anxiously.
He tried to think of what else he could do. He had to delay her flight, if at all possible. Was there any way he could make it to her in time?
He headed towards the other gate. It appeared to be boarding too. He groaned. He repeated the same technique as at the previous gate, by approaching every dark-haired woman.
Tara was standing in the long line of other passengers, waiting patiently to board the plane. She felt someone tap her on the shoulder. She turned around.
Jax was feeling more and more anxious. He felt like he was losing Tara for good. He started to take it out on the people waiting in line, who were staring at him both strangely and fearful of him. He knew bikers tended to scare some people, based on prejudices. But they weren’t all wrong either. They had a right to fear him, especially in the state that he was in at this minute.
Tara turned towards the person who had tapped her on the shoulder. It was a little old lady.
“Excuse me, dearie,” the woman asked. “Would you mind if I went ahead of you? I might need some help getting to my seat. My arthritis is acting up today,” she complained.
Tara switched places with her, since she had always been a caring person. This started a lengthy discussion between the two of them while they waited. The little old woman was going to Chicago to visit her grandson, who’s wife had recently given birth to her great-grandchild.
The woman had told her that she was ninety-four years old. Tara couldn’t imagine living that long.
Tara felt someone tap her on the shoulder once again. Was that going to be the way of things? She wondered. How many people want to butt in line ahead of her, until she was at the back of the line and missed the flight? She thought to herself, sarcastically.
She turned around, prepared to say, no to whomever was trying to get her attention.
She gasped, as she noticed that it was Jax.
“Tara?” He stared at her, as if he couldn’t believe he had finally found her.
“Jax?” She replied, shocked to see that he was standing right before her.
Had he forgiven her? Had he found out about Wendy? Why was he here? She wondered. She felt her heart flutter in her chest. She was elated and happy, even though she wasn’t sure of why he was there.
“Thank God,” he cried.
He grabbed her around the waist and pulled her close to him. He gave her a passionate kiss and hug, as if he was very relieved to find her.
“Jax, what are you doing here?” Tara asked, trying to keep the hope from sounding in her voice. She was stunned and confused.
He didn’t appear to be angry with her anymore. He appeared anxious and scared. Was he scared because he didn’t want to say, goodbye? She hoped that was the case.
“Wendy told me everything,” he said into her hair. “Everything. I know that you’re not truly running away and that you’re being forced to leave, because of her. I want you to know that I won’t let that happen. Not to you. Never.”
“Jax, what are you talking about?” Tara wondered. “It’s already done. It was either me or the hospital. They made their choice. I have to leave.”
“I know, but you don’t really have to go. You can get a job in a clinic or something. There’s other options available to you. Besides, Abel needs you. I need you. Would you really dessert us in our time of need?” He asked, hopefully.
“What about Wendy?” Tara asked, refusing to get her hopes up. “If she finds out that I’m still here, she will make us pay. I can’t let her do that to you or to Abel.”
“You let me worry about Wendy,” he tried to reassure her. “She made a huge mistake when she filed the complaint against you. A huge mistake. I have a feeling that she’s going to regret it for a very long time.”
Tara could tell that Jax had violent and painful plans going through his mind.
“Don’t,” she begged. “She’s not worth it.”
“You’re right,” Jax agreed. “But I assure you that she will get what’s coming to her and you won’t regret staying here in Charming, I promise. I will take care of you. I will protect you. Can you trust me? I know that I have to earn back your trust, and I plan to, until we’re back to where we were once before.”
Now it was Jax’s turn to sound hopeful. He prayed that she would agree to stay. Maybe she needed something to really bind her to him? It had always been in the back of his mind to propose eventually. The time seemed to be right.
He got down on one knee. He looked up at her with a pleading look on his handsome face. He took her hand in his.
“Tara, will you stay and agree to be my wife? I love you. I really, really love you. Please say, yes,” he pleaded, with tears in his eyes. “I promise to love you until the day I die. I promise you will never regret this decision. I promise I will always keep you safe. I’m asking for Abel too. Will you agree to stay and be his mom?”
Tara gasped, as she was about to answer, with tears in her eyes, but she was sadly interrupted.
“I’m his mom and I’ll be damned if I let you replace me,” Wendy spoke up from behind them.
They both turned towards Wendy, surprised to see her standing there and holding a gun. It was aimed at both of them.