|As the Crow Flies
Author: Aurora Ciel PM
Brief glimpses into Jax and Tara's relationship in high school, from how they began to how they ended the first time around. Requests accepted. Jax/Tara.Rated: Fiction M - English - Romance/Drama - Jax & Tara - Chapters: 5 - Words: 13,256 - Reviews: 56 - Favs: 48 - Follows: 62 - Updated: 09-22-10 - Published: 09-16-10 - id: 6330112
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
Thank you for such lovely feedback. You guys are great!
1995 – 17
Tara was standing in a circle of friends outside of school when she saw him. One of her friends was in the middle of a story when Tara just walked away from them wordlessly. Curious, the girls turned and followed her gaze. They saw who she was heading towards and all looked at each other knowingly.
While Donna may have easily accepted Tara's dangerous boyfriend, their other friends weren't so quick to.
She didn't pay her girlfriends any attention, though. Just focused on putting one foot in front of the other as she took in Jax's appearance. His lip was split and he had one hell of a shiner coming in on his left eye. Underneath his bulky cut and sweatshirt she spotted white bandaging wrapped around his hand. Opie, who was walking next to him, didn't look much better.
He saw the look on her face and muttered something to Opie before she reached them. Her eyes scanned his clothing for blood or tears but he obviously changed before coming to school that morning, as his clothes were perfectly clean and intact.
"Don't freak out," he started. She surprised everyone—herself included—when she threw her arms around him. After a moment, Jax returned the embrace, tentatively pressing his hands against her lower back and drawing her close. Tara breathed in his scent that was uniquely Jax, allowing herself just the briefest moment of relief, before pulling back.
And slapping him hard across the face.
"Jesus, Tara!" Jax snapped after his head whipped to the side from the force of the slap. Her hand stung and as soon as she heard the loud clap of her palm meeting his cheek, she knew she'd probably hit him too hard, but it was too late to turn back now. Opie tried to hold back his laughter at the large red handprint appearing on Jax's left cheek.
"Jackson Teller you scared the shit out of me!" Tara shouted, balling her fists and glaring up at him. "I woke up at three in the morning to practically the entire police force racing down my street to God knows where because your 'club' was doing God knows what. Then, being the stupid, caring girlfriend that I am, I went to the shop to make sure you were alright—"
"Oh shit," Jax muttered. Opie, too, stilled at this.
"Yeah, 'oh shit,'" Tara continued. Now that her pent up fury had been unleashed, there was no reeling it back in. "Can you imagine what it was like for me to see my boyfriend's body being carried into the clubhouse by two other men? I would have thought you were dead if I hadn't heard you laughing the entire way they were dragging your sorry asses inside."
Jax glanced over at Opie sheepishly. His lack of response only served to provoke her further.
"I don't know what exactly it is you guys do in that motorcycle club of yours—partly because I choose not to and partly because I know you'll never tell me. But if this—" she gestured with both hands to the obvious beatings both boys' bodies had taken—"is what the outcome is, then I don't know how much longer I can take this."
"Tara, come on," Jax reached for her but she brushed his hands away, shaking her head.
"Don't," she urged. She stepped back from them both, running a shaky hand through her hair. "I just…I need to go."
Tara turned around and jogged into the school, ignoring Jax calling after her. Unshed tears blurred her vision and it was all she could do to keep them from spilling over. Her friends, who'd obviously witnessed the entire thing, as had nearly half the school, tried reaching out to her but she was quick to brush past them. The last thing Tara needed was a group of girls who had no idea what it was like to be a SAMCRO woman. She wasn't even sure if Donna, who was dating SAMCRO's most recently inducted member, would understand what she was going through.
She needed…well, she didn't know what she needed. Part of her wanted answers, was dying to know what had happened last night that resulted in Jax and Opie's injuries.
But a bigger part of her said that she'd rather not know. That she wasn't ready to face the darker side of SAMCRO. She was only seventeen years old, how was she supposed to deal with something like this?
The first bell rang, shaking her from her thoughts. Tara sighed. She'd have to put all this on the back burner, for now. Her only chance of getting out of this godforsaken town was to get a scholarship to a good college, so she'd been putting all of her efforts into her classes in hopes that she'd make the top ten percentile of their class.
She didn't want to think about what that meant for her future with Jax. But, if she was being honest with herself, lately she wasn't sure if she even had a future with him.
Tara had Study Hall at the end of the day, and while normally she would spend the hour finishing her homework, she found that her mind couldn't seem to stay focused today. After rereading the same sentence in her Economics textbook nearly a dozen times, she decided she needed to clear her mind.
She headed to the bathroom, thankful to find it empty when she walked in. It was times like these that she appreciated some good peace and quiet. The sound of running water always managed to calm her, so she twisted the taps, watching as steam began to rise up from the hot water.
Changing the temperature so it cooled down, Tara cupped the water in her hands and pressed her face into it. She sighed at the soothing warmth against her face, but it did little else to relax her.
The door opened and she slipped into a stall, not yet wanting to make contact with anyone. She locked the door and rested her forehead against it, hoping whoever had come in would be quick and leave her alone again.
"She hit him?" a girl was asking as she and her friend walked in, heading right for the sinks.
"Didn't you see his black eye?" the other girl answered. "That's probably where it came from."
Tara's heart skipped a beat as she realized the two girls were talking about her and Jax. She peeked through the crack in the stall door and scowled at who the girls were.
Dawn Appleton and Stacy Marsinco were probably the two easiest girls of the senior class. They'd certainly made their way through the guys the grade above Tara's and apparently their eyes were drifting to the junior class now.
"So did they break up?" Dawn asked, leaning over the sink to reapply her lip liner.
Stacy, who was busy teasing her faux-blonde hair, shrugged. "Couldn't tell. All I saw was her clobber the living daylights out of him, scream at him, and then storm off. He might still be on her leash."
Dawn turned to her friend, "But then, when has that ever stopped us?"
"True," Stacy smirked with mischief gleaming in her heavily lined eyes. She tilted her head in her friend's direction. "I call dibs."
Dawn scoffed, giving her a playful shove. "I don't think so! Jax Teller is a fine piece of eye candy. Plus he's got that whole 'rugged and dangerous' thing going on. I'm not gonna just let you have him, skank."
"Bitch!" Stacy joked. She crossed her arms, "Fine, may the best slut win." The girls laughed, bumping hips with each other, before making their way towards the door.
If it had been any other day, Tara may have just let it slide. She would have gritted her teeth and waited for the girls to leave the bathroom before taking a few deep breaths and returning to the library to finish her Econ homework.
Today, however, was not that day.
She swung the stall door open, narrowing her eyes when the girls turned around to see who'd been listening in on what they'd thought was a private conversation. Dawn smirked condescendingly at Tara, crossing her arms as the younger girl stormed towards them.
"Oh, hi Tara. We were just talking about you." She twirled a lock of her curly brown hair around her finger and winked.
Stacy tilted her head again, "So is it true you and Jax Teller broke up this morning? God, that's too bad."
"It's not really a surprise," Dawn added. Tara's jaw clenched. "The whole town knows you're just his charity case."
"That's really all mousy girls like you can hope for."
"I wonder if Jax rode his bike to school today, I could really use a ride." Something about Dawn's mocking smile made Tara want to wipe it right off her face.
She grabbed Dawn by the hair, ignoring the way she dug her fingernails into her arm, and shoved the girl face first into a mirror. Stacy shrieked as she watched her friend slide onto the ground, blood dribbling down her forehead and out of her nose. She turned to run for the door but Tara grabbed her by the back of the shirt and shoved her into a bathroom stall. By now Stacy was bawling, curled up against a toilet and Dawn had passed out.
As surprised as she was that she'd lost control like that, Tara couldn't help but admit that it had felt good to release all that pent up tension.
She stepped over the girls' dropped bags, before she reached for the door she turned on her heel. "Stay the hell away from my boyfriend," she snapped.
It didn't take long for word to spread about what happened. Someone had obviously found the girls in the bathroom and no doubt they were eager to tell the principle who'd done this to them.
Tara sighed from her desk in detention. Because she had no past offences aside from the occasional class skipping, the principle had been pretty lenient once Tara had explained how the girls provoked her. Still, she'd wound up with four weeks of detention and had to write the girls an apology letter.
She tried writing the letter several times, but could never get past anything that started like:
Dear Stacy and Dawn, I'm sorry you're such disgusting whores that you have to prey on other girls' boyfriends to find one of your own…
It would probably take all four weeks for her to finally be able to write something at least resembling a sincere apology.
Resting her chin in her hand, she took a look around the detention room. At least three of the guys in the room spent more time in detention than they did out. The others, she figured, were there for petty crimes like talking back in class or cheating on someone's test. There was one other girl, but she looked too high on whatever she was taking to even know what day it was, so Tara stayed clear of her.
The door opened and she was surprised to see Opie walk in. He winked at her as he went over to the teacher at the front of the room. She put down her worn out romance novel and looked up at him.
"What's going on, Opie?"
"I think someone set off a stink bomb in the hallway," Opie said in a tone of voice that Tara couldn't help but think sounded a little rehearsed.
The teacher straightened in her chair. "Really? What makes you think—"
Suddenly the putrid scent of rotten eggs drifted into the classroom. Tara scrunched her nose and tucked her face into the collar of her sweatshirt.
"Oh, my word!" The older woman rushed into the hall with Opie following in tow. Some of the students got up to watch the commotion but as Tara stood to follow, she saw a flash of blonde hair out of the corner of her eye.
Turning around, she saw Jax's head poking in one of the windows.
"Jax?" she glanced behind her to make sure the detention teacher was still occupied, then walked over to him. "Were you behind this?"
He grinned up at her, his smile slightly lopsided because of the split lip, "I may have had something to do with it. Now come on, before the old bat notices."
Tara watched as he pulled away from the window, reaching to release the screen and pulling it aside so she could slip through. She grabbed her bag and climbed out, helping him replace the screen and then following him to where he'd parked his motorcycle.
They rode to a small beach that was only known by the locals but rarely used now that the weather had cooled down. While Jax parked his bike, Tara walked down to the edge of the shore and sat, poking at the wet sand with a stick she found.
"So," Jax started when he plopped down next to her. "You gonna tell me what you did to land you in detention? We've known each other since we were kids, I've never heard of you getting in trouble like that before."
Tara sighed, trying to figure out the best way to explain things to him before deciding she would just have to tell the truth. "You know those seniors, Stacy and Dawn?"
The corner of his mouth twitched upwards but he very wisely said nothing, choosing to nod instead.
"Well, I was in the bathroom today and I heard them talking about you…"
"Me?" She smacked his arm; she could just about see his ego inflating at that news.
"Yes, you. Apparently Stacy—and about half the school—saw us arguing this morning. She and Dawn started talking about wanting to get with you and—"
"Wait a minute," Jax cut in, grabbing Tara's elbow and giving her a goofy grin. "This doesn't have anything to do with a rumor I heard about those two being sent to the hospital with concussions, does it?"
She remained silent long enough that Jax had his answer. He started cracking up and wrapped his arm around her shoulders. "Oh baby, that's priceless."
"They had it coming," Tara mumbled, hiding her face in his neck. "I smashed Dawn's face in the mirror."
"I'm sure that felt good," Jax said with a good-natured tone. Tara found she was actually relieved he wasn't more upset about how she'd acted. She'd forgotten that one of the benefits of being involved in SAMCRO was you weren't so sensitive towards this kind of thing. In fact, Jax almost seemed amused by it.
"It was a nice release of frustration," she admitted. That caused him to tense and they pulled away, knowing the conversation had changed.
"Look," he started, "I'm sorry for scaring you like that. And it wasn't fair to you to make you find out about what happened like that in front of the whole school."
They were both staring out at the lake, the serene atmosphere doing little to relax the situation. Tara gave up on doodling in the sand and chucked the stick into the water.
"It's okay," she said quietly. "I was just…worried about you. I can't stand seeing you like that."
"You knew when we started hanging out what my life was like. You knew what you were getting into when you got with me," Jax pointed out. His tone was neither accusatory nor apologetic, just stating the facts.
She nodded, "You're right. I've known since I was little what SAMCRO was about. I think…I think I was just shocked when I saw you last night. I always knew what you and Opie were up to with the MC, but I've never actually seen it before, you know? Seeing it firsthand is different than knowing about it in the back of your mind."
"There are going to be times when I come back from a run pretty roughed up," he warned. "You'll have to be prepared for that. You have to be okay with that."
"I'll never be okay with standing by while you risk your life," Tara admitted, grabbing his hand and threading her fingers through his. She rubbed her thumb against the back of his hand, then pulled it towards her so she could press a kiss to it. "But I'll try to be a little more understanding from now on."
He beamed at her and pressed his forehead against hers, "That's all I'm asking for, babe."
She leaned forward and kissed him, enjoying the taste of his mouth against hers. They grinned at each other when they pulled away. Jax wrapped his arms around her and they sat in content silence for a few minutes, just enjoying each other's company and watching the scenery around them.
"So," Jax broke the silence, his tone of voice teasing. He rolled on top of her and braced his arms on either side of her head. "You're turning into a tough guy, huh?"
"Yeah, you must be rubbing off on me, Teller."
"Hm, I like rubbing off on you, Knowles," he followed his words by grinding against her thigh. Tara giggled, throwing sand in his face and rolling out from under him.
"You'll have to catch me first!" she called, getting up onto her feet and dashing away from him. Jax gave chase and ran after her, grabbing her occasionally or stealing a kiss before letting her get away, only to chase after her once more. Eventually he lifted her by the waist, sending her legs flying into the air as he lifted her with ease. Their breaths puffed out in little clouds but neither noticed as their laughter rang out in the cold autumn air, and all was well again.
Some may say this is out of character for Tara, but I'm going off a line she says in episode 2.03 "Fix", where the porn star Ima keeps flirting with Jax and Gemma tells Tara she needs to teach the other girls that Jax is hers. Tara tells her that her cat fighting days are over because she's grown up, even though she tries to confront Ima later and kind of fails at it. She gets back at the hoe though by sexing it up with Jax in the bathroom and giving her this cute, naughty, 'I told you so' smirk when Ima walks in on them in the middle of it—which, in my personal opinion, is a much better way of teaching skanks that your man is off limits.
Anyway, the point is I wanted to do a scene that showed what Tara's cat fighting days may have looked like. Hope you enjoyed it!