Author: norrific PM
The moment where things changed between Jax and TaraRated: Fiction M - English - Tara & Jax - Chapters: 24 - Words: 106,348 - Reviews: 388 - Favs: 153 - Follows: 171 - Updated: 10-07-12 - Published: 12-04-11 - Status: Complete - id: 7610595
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
I disclaim. I own nothing.
The Eglee's house, like the Hales and the Oswalds, was located just on the edge of town. It was bigger than most of the other houses in town, surrounding land keeping the neighbors a good distance away. It was a great house for parties but MJ had always been too lame to take advantage of that. Or so Jax had thought. The house was lit up like a Christmas tree now. Cars were parked all along the road, kids spilling out of the house, and the music-Bow Wow Wow's Candy - blasting loudly in a part of town that was normally quiet.
"What are the odds this is more Candy than MJ?" Opie asked as they made their way out of his truck.
"Shit," Jax wore an easy grin despite the anxiety he felt. His hands went to the back pocket of his jeans, double checking to make sure the box that held Tara's gift was still there. He didn't know how to play this with Tara. He thought he should pull her aside and explain why he acted the way he did. But he didn't want to accidentally screw around and reveal his 'bang her and leave her' plan. And the way Tara got in his head and got him all turned around he knew it was a good possibility.
His other course of action was playing like he hadn't been acting like a complete asshole for the pass two days and hoping that Tara would let him get away with it. He knew it wasn't likely to happen but he figured if push came to shove it was an option. "That's easy money. I'm going to say the music is Candy, too. If it were up to Tara, Beastie Boys would be on all night."
"Seventies and eighties chick rock? Yeah, that's Candy all the way. What's up with Tara and the Beastie Boys, anyway?"
Jax shrugged. "Fuck if I know. She loves 'em." Like really fucking loved them. Enough to recite their history if you got her started. Jax always thought it was kind of cute the way she kind of went on about them.
"Too bad Hale beat you to the unreleased shit CD, huh. That would have got you back in."
"Fuck Hale. I don't need to bribe my way back in."
Opie said nothing as he watched Jax push his way into the party. He had to wonder if Jax really knew just how crazy Tara made him. More accurately, how crazy they made each other.
"Hey, you made it." Candy was wearing a large smile as she rushed through the crowd towards Opie. It wasn't until she was directly in front of him that she noticed he wasn't alone and the smile she wore dropped. "And you brought Jax."
Obviously that tone coming from Tara's best friend was the last thing he wanted to hear. But he refused to believe that Tara would be as unwelcoming as Candy. "Where's Tara?"
"In the back."
Jax didn't wait to hear anything else, just began to push his way through the crowd not caring who he pissed off on his way. Spotting Tara was easy enough once he got to the back, seeing as how she was standing on top of the bar in a pair of strategically ripped jeans and a black shirt that may have very well been painted on. There was a large plastic cup in her hand making Jax wonder just how much she had to drink as he knew she couldn't really hold her liquor. If he went by the way she was swinging her hips he'd guess she wasn't still on her first glass.
There was a part of him that wanted to remain where he was and watch her. She was dancing to The Runaway's Cherry Bomb for Christ's sake and just so fucking hot he could hardly stand it. It didn't help that he knew what it felt like to have her moving that way against him. He didn't know what the hell he'd been thinking, trying to get her out of his system. Looking at her now, he realized he didn't want her out of his system. He just wanted her, every part of her, to be his.
Tara had been determined when she left her house on the way to her party that she was going to have a good time. The school day had barely started when a few girls seemed to trip over themselves to tell her about seeing Jax with girls who weren't her. So when she stepped into the Eglee's house and Candy handed her a plastic cup, she accepted with no problem. She didn't care what was in the cup as long as it contained plenty of alcohol. She thought it wouldn't hurt to get high, but MJ and Candy were clear that no pot be smoked in their house as their parents had a keen sense of smell, and Tara was going to honor their request. So one drink became two which would eventually become three and she swore she wouldn't stop until she no longer thought about cocky blondes with pretty blue eyes and knowing smirks.
The problem was she spent the night all but draped across a cocky brunette with pretty green eyes and knowing smirk. But Fain was harmless. More importantly Candy had disappeared on her, David abandoned her for Sarah Jane Malone, and Lowell had opted to walk the requisite quarter mile to smoke a joint. Of the three of them only Lowell had asked if she wanted to join him, which she declined even as she kind of had to admire his commitment to getting high. She caught sight of MJ a few times but would not be terribly surprised if she learned he'd gone up to bed.
She floated through the party, small town she knew just about everyone in attendance. Especially when it was usually the same group of kids and the same parties every weekend. And Tara didn't really have a problem with most of them, she simply preferred to stick with her friends. Things were just easier that way. So with everyone being M.I.A, that left Fain. And when she caught sight of Jax across the room, looking at her with the same hunger she felt from him that night in her room, she thought it'd be best if she stayed with Fain all night.
"I love this song."
"You loved the last ten songs played."
Tara's head tilted to the side, confusion playing across her face. "We didn't dance to ten songs."
"No," Fain agreed as his arm locked around her waist to pull her closer. "We danced to nine. The last one you just danced all by yourself on the bar."
"You looked damn hot, too."
Tara wasn't sure what was worse, the fact that her breath caught at the sound of Jax's voice or the ridiculous urge she had to lean back into him. She knew that tone, that charming tone he used to get whatever he wanted from whoever he wanted. If he had just used that, not the flashes of something deeper he showed her, she likely never would have fallen for him. Certainly wouldn't hate him so much now. But she was done, over it. At least she would be. "Thanks, Teller."
Jax, choosing to believe the easy smile she gave him, allowed his lips to curve as well. "Hey," As he'd grown use to doing, he placed a hand on her waist before closing the distance between them to brush his lips over her jaw. "Happy birthday."
To keep from grabbing his shirt to pull him closer Tara curled her hand into a fist. And she had to struggle to keep from ramming that fist into his stomach. "Again, thanks, Teller."
"So, how about-" But before he could suggest anything, Tara turned quickly to Fain.
"You going to dance with me or what?"
"Yes, ma'am." There was a wide grin on Fain's face as he wrapped his arms around her waist and practically carried her over to where the other kids were dancing.
"You really didn't think it was going to be that easy did you?"
Jax turned, not at all pleased to see David Hale standing beside him with an amused grin on his face. "Like you know anything."
"I think I know Tara a bit better than you."
Jax scoffed. Even if that were true, which he doubted, he refused to take advice about Tara from a guy who hadn't been able to get Tara while he had her.
"She's pissed." Hale began as if he was completely unaware of just how much Jax wanted him to go away. "She ever been pissed at you before?"
Remembering the time she tried to slam the door in his face, Jax nodded.
"She hit you?"
Hale laughed. "Then she wasn't really pissed. She was probably just upset. Tara upset and Tara pissed are two completely different things. She's upset she'll get over it eventually. She's pissed, she's not getting over it until she gets physical."
That it made sense is what worried Jax. If Hale was right, that meant he did indeed know Tara better than him. And that the road to getting her back would be a hard one. "So you're saying I should let her hit me?"
Hale shrugged. "Probably wouldn't hurt."
Jax bided his time, staying just on the edges of the party to better keep an eye on Tara. She spent a lot of time with Fain but he wasn't too worried about it. He'd seen Tara when she flirted, seen her when she was disinterested, and he'd seen her with friends. It was obvious Fain was no more than a friend.
That didn't stop him from growing impatient. He wouldn't cause a scene, no matter how much he wanted to, but he figured it would be a good idea not to test Tara's temper that way. Though he had to admit he was kind of curious. If he tried to drag her out of the party, would she wait until they were alone to let loose. Or would she let him have it before he could get her anywhere. He just wasn't sure and he could admit it was one of the things he really liked about her.
When it was beginning to look like he was going to have to forego his plan to not cause a scene and cross the room to drag her away, Tara finally stepped away from Fain and move towards the stairs. Jax's eyes locked onto her retreating figure and it was like his vision tunneled. When he saw her step into a room he had to move quickly to get inside before she shut the door and wasn't quite sure what to make of the fact that he followed her into the bathroom.
Tara turned, not only shocked to find Jax but to see that he seemed just as surprised to be there as she was to see him there. So much so that for one long moment neither of them spoke, simply stared at one another until Tara could no longer stand the silence.
"You do know there's another bathroom in the house."
"But this is the only one you're in." Jax felt ridiculous the moment the words left his mouth, even moreso when they lapsed into another silence. And again it was Tara who broke it.
"I don't know what to do here, Jax. Am I suppose to swoon because you want to watch me pee."
Jax rolled his eyes. "I didn't follow you in here to watch you pee. I wanted to talk to you."
"While I pee?"
"Would you…me coming in here has nothing to do with you peeing."
"Me coming in here has everything to do with me peeing." It was a lie. But the last thing she needed was to be in a small room with him.
At that, and the incredulous look on her face, Jax couldn't help but to laugh. He'd followed her into the bathroom so of course this is what their conversation spiraled into. "I didn't know you were coming to the bathroom."
"Well now you do, so…" She made a gesture towards the door, inviting him to leave. There was no point of hiding out in the bathroom when the reason for hiding was currently blocking the door.
"Sorry, babe, but I kind of get the feeling that if I walk out this door you're going to lock it behind me."
It was true. She was also thinking of climbing out the window for good measure. She'd thrown herself into her party, into having fun. But she hadn't been able to ignore the way he watched her from the moment he arrived. "Don't most people lock the door when they go into the bathroom." She tried for light hearted, like seeing him didn't twist something inside her.
Jax didn't like the way she as acting, like everything was just fine between them. He wanted her to be pissed at him, to call him an asshole for acting the way he did. At least then he'd know she cared. Because as of right now it was like she cared as little about him as he pretended to care about her the last few days. "What is this?"
Tara's brow knit in confusion even as her lips tugged up in a smile. "It's the bathroom."
He wondered if she knew just how cute she looked. He could do this, stay locked in the bathroom with her, having this ridiculous go round of a conversation for the rest of the night. "Look, I should have talked to you. Not taking your calls, ignoring you…"
"I heard about you and Lauren. And Julie. And Gretchen." The words were more strained than she intended and she made an effort to appear at ease with him and his behavior. "But it doesn't matter. Your message was received. Do I wish you would have just said you weren't interested anymore, yeah. But you changed your mind about us, I can't hold it against you."
There was a sinking feeling in his gut and for the first time he didn't find himself questioning his reaction to her words. "I didn't change my mind, Tara. I just…"
"Jax," Tara's voice was gentle and in direct opposition to the emotions warring inside of her. "It's okay. You don't have to explain. We'll go back to the way things were, don't worry about it."
He was prepared to breathe a sigh of relief until he realized that she meant the way things were before the party at Piney's cabin. "I wasn't trying to hurt you." Jax figured the best way to handle this was to ignore everything she said until she forgave him. "I don't want to hurt you. I freaked, okay."
The words got through even if she didn't want them to. "Freaked about what?"
"Us. This is new to me and I didn't know what to do with it, how to handle it." Jax shrugged. "I fucked up." He waited for her to say something, to tell him that it was okay and as long as he didn't do it again they'd be okay. And when she didn't he decided to go another route. Reaching into his back pocket he pulled out the box he didn't bother to wrap.
"What's that?" The words were demanding, her eyes suspicious as she looked at the box in his hands.
"It's for you." He held the box out to her, frowned when she placed her hands behind her back instead of taking it. "For your birthday."
"You shouldn't have."
He allowed his lips to curl in a grin that worked so well for him in the past. "I shouldn't have gotten my girl a gift for her birthday?"
"I'm not your girl, Jax." She thought she wanted to be, but just wasn't sure anymore. Did being his girl mean having to deal with his moods? Would he get freaked out every few months and act like she didn't exist? Would he hurt her again? Because he could. It scared the living shit of her to realize that he had the ability to hurt her.
"You are." Jax kept his eyes on hers, his voice firm. "I just forgot. I won't forget again."
She wanted him back. Wanted to accept his gift and his smile and act like the last two days had never occurred. "Jax…"
And she didn't know if it was the alcohol swimming in her system or her sixteen year old heart but she swore no one said her name the way he did. "It can't be this easy." She said it more for herself than for him, a reminder that she let him in too easily before. She'd have to be more careful, be sure not to give him too much of herself. Because she wanted him and she wanted to be his girl. But she couldn't allow herself to be hurt again. "We can't just go back to the way it was before."
Jax grinned, moving quickly to close the distance between them. "Alright, we'll start over." He didn't really know what that meant, only understood that they could, and would, be together. They had fallen so easily into what they had he figured it would be no problem getting it back.
Tara allowed her arms to slip around him. She may have been wary but she couldn't deny she missed his hugs. Missed them so much that she said nothing when he eased the box containing her gift into the back pocket of her jeans.
Jax had learned very early in his life that when his mother spoke, it was in his best interest to listen. Gemma Teller, soon to be Morrow, was not a woman to be ignored. The problem was she was no longer the only woman in his life. He'd over heard Piney on the phone with Eric Knowles not too long ago, so he knew that any second now Tara would be pulling up in the lot to pick up some sort of tool for her dad. He was aware that his distraction when it came to Tara was precisely the problem. When it was time for him to leave he never cleaned up his area or replaced his tools, he was always in too much of a hurry to get to Tara to bother. Now his mother was jumping up his ass for it. He knew she was right-his father always talked to him about the value of a clean work station. But Jax couldn't help but feel that if JT was alive and knew how he felt about Tara he'd be a little more understanding than Gemma.
"Am I making myself clear to you, Jackson?"
"Yeah. And your right." Out of the corner of his eye he saw the Cutlass pull through the gates, had to fight to keep the grin off his face. "I'll get my shit together, promise."
Gemma had also seen the Cutlass pull in and knew her son well enough to know he was simply blowing smoke up her ass just so he could get out to that damn girl. She'd always liked Tara well enough before but now everything about the girl bugged her. There was something in Tara's eyes that Gemma recognized. There was a time she understood it, even sort of respected Tara for it. But now her baby's heart was on the line and she didn't trust Tara Knowles, or the look in her pretty green eyes, not to break it. Jax was moving too fast and she was afraid he wouldn't listen if she tried to get him to slow down. "Your father built this place for you, Jax." And she wasn't just talking about the garage, she hoped he realized that. "It's gonna be yours one day, so you should start respecting it now."
"Mom," There was a hint of impatience in his voice that he hurried up and tamped down on. The last thing he wanted to do was piss his mother off. He wanted this conversation over so he could get to Tara before she left. If he handled things wrong with his mother she'd keep him in the office until Tara was long gone. "I know you're right. I know if Dad was alive he'd be chewing my ass out the same way. I'll do better."
She knew that mentally he was already gone and part of her wanted to keep him in the office out of spite. But she knew that if she kept him away from that girl now he'd be distracted for the rest of the day. It was a fact that pissed her off. She'd thought they had cooled off, had been more than pleased a few weeks ago when Jax brought two other girls around the clubhouse. Gemma had thought they were getting too serious and was glad to see Jax moving on. But now things seemed to be worse than they'd been before. Jax's head was so far up that girl's ass she was surprised he could see straight. Gemma knew she couldn't let it go on. She had to put a stop to it before her baby got hurt. "Tara and Opie seem awfully close."
Jax turned his head so he could look out the window. Tara was standing by Opie's bike, every few seconds she'd make to reach out and touch his bike only for him to slap her hand away.
As Gemma watched, expecting to see her son's face contort in confusion or jealously, he only smiled. No, he wasn't smiling, he was grinning. Grinning like the damn girl was the most amazing thing he'd ever seen. And she realized things were worse than she thought. When he moved to leave the office, though she never said their conversation was over, she didn't bother to stop him. Only pushed out of her chair to follow him out.
Jax didn't care how it looked to anyone in the lot, he couldn't stop himself from jogging the few feet to where Tara was standing. And he figured if none of them understood why he was in such a hurry to get to her when she turned into him before his arms could fully link around her waist, he wouldn't explain it to them. There was a teasing grin on her lips when she tilted her mouth up to his.
"It just kills you to stay away from me, doesn't it?" Jax spoke the words against her lips.
"Well I've learned that if I leave you alone for more than a few hours, when I do see you, you go at my neck like a crazed vampire."
Opie laughed and Gemma merely rolled her eyes at her son who had his face buried in Tara's neck just as the girl said. "And I see you have no problem returning the favor, sweetie."
At the sound of Gemma's voice, Tara tried to pull away from Jax but he barely loosened his hold on her. "Ah, Mrs. Teller. Hi."
"Tara," Bringing her hand up to her own neck, Gemma tapped her fingers to her pulse. "Your dad cool with those?" She knew Eric was an absentee father at best but even he had to see the hickies that covered his daughter's neck. Just as she was forced to see the ones Jax wore like a badge of fucking honor.
"He hasn't said anything." Tara gave an indifferent jerk of her shoulder. She knew her father saw the hickies, his face lost all color the first time she came home with one. He started to open his mouth to say something, and Tara had readied herself with an arsenal of shit she could throw back in his face, but in the end he told her he'd be home late and practically shot out the door.
Gemma nodded, as far as fathers went Eric Knowles was about as useful as tits on a bull. He allowed his daughter to run completely wild and it seemed as though her son was taking full advantage of that. For a moment she allowed herself to believe that was the appeal the girl held. No curfew, an empty house, and a father who was never around was enough to attract a teenage boy. She was just starting to relax when she noticed that the hickies weren't the only thing adorning the girl's neck. "Nice necklace."
Immediately Tara's hand went to silver crow hanging from the black leather string around her neck. There was a hard look in the older woman's eyes that she didn't quite understand, anymore than she understood the way Jax flinched. "Thank you. It was a birthday present from Jax."
Gemma cut her son a look that was completely ineffective as he refused to look at her. "Figured as much."
"Well," Tara began, eager to put as much distance between herself and Jax's mother as she could. She was usually more comfortable than this around Gemma but she'd swear that over the last couple of weeks the woman would shoot her the most frightening looks. "If I don't get back with that tank my Dad-"
"Wait. I wanna show you something before you go."
Tara knew it was a bad idea to stay any longer, not just because Gemma couldn't make it more obvious she wanted her gone but her father had not been in the best mood when she left the house. If she took too long she was bound to return to an unpleasant situation. Unfortunately, Jax was looking at her with a pair of big blue eyes that she could not, and did not want to, say no to. "Jax, I really shouldn't-"
"Come on," Taking her hand Jax began to tug her across the lot. "It'll only take a second." Not willing to take no for an answer, although Tara was barely struggling against him, Jax gave her a tug to pull her in front of him. And wrapping his arms around her waist he lifted her a several inches off the ground so that he was now carrying her across the lot.
With a roll of her eyes, Gemma turned to Opie. "They always like this?"
"No," Opie didn't even bother to turn and look at his friends. "Sometimes they're obnoxious."
"Jesus." Gemma stepped back to lean against the garage. She knew that Jax was taking Tara to show off his bike, so she wasn't surprised when he pulled the tarp off the bike. There was a large boyish grin on his face. She knew he was proud of that bike, she'd seen just how hard he'd been working on it. Lately that bike seemed to be the only thing he could focus on that wasn't named Tara Knowles. And he always made a show of rolling it in and out of the garage, going out of his way to make sure everyone saw his pride and joy. Tara didn't come around the garage much, so Gemma wasn't surprised when he took the first opportunity presented to him to show off for the girl.
She was surprised, however, when he took Tara's hand and helped her onto the back of the bike. He'd barely let anyone touch the damn thing let alone sit on it.
Gemma turned her cheek up to receive Clay's kiss even as she kept her eyes on the young couple across the lot. "Hey."
"Boy is working over time, isn't he?"
"I don't like it, Clay. He's too wrapped up in that girl. Letting her sit on his bike, he hardly lets you touch it."
"Letting a chick sit on your bike and another man touch it are two different things." Clay gave a bored shrug, more interested in getting his soon to be wife into the back room of the clubhouse than of the young couple. "From what I understand the girl still hasn't…opened the gates of heaven to him yet. He's just working over time to get into her pants." He eased his arms around Gemma's waist, his voice low against her ear. "Nothing gets a woman going like a big mean bike between her legs."
"Don't I know it." Gemma turned to him with a smile, interested in what he was offering but also knowing a conversation about Jax and Tara didn't hold his interest in the least little bit. So she tucked her son, and the girl he was getting way to wrapped up in, to a far corner of her mind. She knew her son and she didn't trust that girl with his heart at all. She'd slow that relationship down, if not put a stop to it completely