Walk Away from the Son
Parker Sister Saga continues – Season 2 of SoA
Chapter 1- Broken Hearts & Bright Ideas
By BG and Reaper
DISCLAIMER: We did not write the song being referenced herein. If we did, our bank accounts would look a tad bit better than their current state.
The song is WALK AWAY FROM THE SUN by Seether.
Yes we are aware that we titled Parkers Season 2 – Walk Away from the SON …
(We did that on purpose! It's NOT a typo! LOL!)
The shop radio was blaring loudly as Clay approached the garage bay doors.
Walk away from the sun, come slowly undone…
I can see in your eyes I've already won…
I could bleed for a smile, I could cry for some fun…
Walk away from the sun, and tell everyone….
His cell phone rang in his pocket. As he reached into retrieve it, he plugged up one ear and hollered over the noise. "Yeah? Huh? Hang on, Rosen." Over his shoulder he yelled to Chibs. "Turn that shit down, will ya?"
As he kicked the office door closed behind him, Clay took a breath, "Ok, what were you saying about Bobby?"
Juice glanced over at The Prospect. "Recite the Code."
Half Sack groaned, "Why?"
"Because I told you to...do it."
"Errrr... I shall not cause harm to any vehicle nor the personal contents thereof, nor through inaction let personal contents thereof come to harm." Half Sack said with a roll of his eyes.
Juice sat in the passenger seat of the tow truck with a shit-eating grin on his face. "Very nice! Learn it… live it… love it… it's the Repo Code."
Half Sack glanced over at him as he turned the key and the engine came to life. "Really? Because it seems that you and Chibs are the only ones who know this code. I was out on a call with Tig a few weeks back and I asked him. He sat where you are laughing his ass off, but didn't have a clue what the hell I was even talking about. So I recited the damn thing and he still had no clue… just laughed harder."
Juice busted out with laugher but managed to direct the Prospect to 'DRIVE' in between the giggling fits.
Half Sack glared at Juice and reached over and turned the radio as high as it would go in an effort to drown him out.
There's so much left in the air
so much to tell from a stare
There's so much left to defend
but I am no fun
So turn away from the ones who hurt everyone
I can tell by your smile you're coming undone
I could bleed for a smile; could die for a gun
Walk away from the sun and kill everyone
Opie sat on the picnic table top at the rest area hundreds of miles from home. He glanced over at the teenagers that had parked three spaces down from his bike. The music and the smell of ganja were both heavily emanating from their Jeep. His mind mulled over a line he had just heard… turn away from the ones who hurt everyone. Opie shook his head. The walkabout was not solving any issues in his life; it wasn't clearing his head. If anything it was causing more doubts, making him angrier. With a sigh he mumbled,"I'm coming undone."
As she sat in her Mustang at the corner of 14th and Franklin in Oakland, Jaci dug in her purse and retrieved the bottle of St. John's Wart capsules. She shook a pill out of the bottle and popped it in her mouth. She washed it down with a chug from a Red Bull energy drink and tossed the empty can over her shoulder. It landed in the floor board now uncharacteristically littered with debris. She shook her head at her lame prescription for keeping the blues at bay; Red Bull and herbal depression relief nonsense. All Jaci really wanted to do was lay in bed and be depressed, but nooooo, life didn't stop for broken hearts. The light turned green and she gunned the gas as she cranked the volume on her radio to ear drum piercing level.
So tiny dancer beware, we're medicated and scared
This smile is so hard to wear, but I have no gun
"Yo no habla Engles." The pissed off woman hollered at him.
"No, we are repo'ing your car because you haven't paid your bill." And it's SO convenient that you can become NOT Bi-lingual when it suits you – Half Sack added to himself. He glanced over at Juice who was watching with amusement. "You speak Spanish, explain to her that…"
"Well aren't you just racial profiling? Just because my last name is Ortiz, you just assume I speak Spanish." Juice scoffed.
Half Sack rolled his eyes at Juice and glanced back at the hysterical woman. "If you'll just hand over the keys... KEYS!" He made the hand motions as if he was starting the vehicle. He glared back over at Juice. "I am not assuming anything, I know for a fact you speak Spanish. So can you just tell chica here to give us the keys so we can get the hell outta here?"
The irritated woman looked from Half Sack to Juice and back. She shook her head and cursed the two men to hell in her own dialect.
Juice looked over at the woman and said flatly "Le gusta usar ropa interior femenina y cantar canciones demusestra en su sala de estar."
The woman laughed out loud at the mental image of the persistent one standing in his living room wearing woman's underwear and singing show tunes. But then seriously worrying about the state of his sanity, she dug the keys out of her pocket and tossed them at the one with tattoos on his head. In the distance a car drove by blaring tunes out its window…
So turn away from the ones who hurt everyone
I can tell by your smile you're coming undone
Juice caught the keys and shot her a smile.
Back in the wrecker Juice smiles at the Prospect. "For the record it's …oye niña nos vas a dar las jodias llaves" Shaking his head he finally advises Half-Sack how to ask for the keys in Spanish.
Jaci's mustang rumbled into the underground parking garage at her office building. The security guard shot her an uneasy look as the radio in the guard shack played…
I could bleed for a smile; could die for a gun.
Walk away from the sun and kill everyone.
He stood in the shower letting the scalding hot water cascade over him. He let his mind drift as his splash proof shower radio pumped lyrics into the steam filled air…
you're fading away with every day.
(you could've been the next one, should've been enough for me)
you're fading away with every day
(you could've been the next on, should've been enough for me)
Tig stepped out of the shower and stood naked in front of his bathroom sink. He wrapped a towel around his waist and ran his hands through his wet hair. Cutting out early from work had been a really good idea but pointless since he knew he would just end up back at the clubhouse later. Go to work, go to the clubhouse, get drunk, fuck some random woman, pass out and repeat…so was the life of Tig Trager these days. He reached out and wiped the fog off the mirror which was still broken from the night he put his head through it. The song continued to play…
There's so much left in the air
so much to tell from a stare
There's so much left to defend
But I am no fun
He walked back to the shower and leaned in to turn the radio off. The radio was an item he never would have bought himself. He had even made fun of Jaci for having one but after they hooked up in her shower one morning while Slow Ride by Foghat blasted around them, he was converted. She had bought him one for his shower the next day, handing it to him with a wink and a smile. He had hooked it up and enjoyed the hell out of it even though he had never told her that. Sadly there had been no shower hookups for them at his place…and there wouldn't be…not now.
At SNIPS the radio played in the background…
you're fading away with every day..
(you could've been the next one, should've been enough for me)…
Walk away from the sun
fading every day
you could've been the next on, should've been enough for me
"I don't like the rain." Ellie said as she stared out the front window.
Vix turned down the radio and looked at the little girl, worried.
"No rain… no rainbows." Kenny chirped.
Vix raised an eyebrow. "Wow that was really deep, Kenny. Where did you…"
"He's copying from a TV commercial." Ellie announced.
"Oh." Vix said, still pondering what sort of mad genius the 7 year old had to be to pull that out of a commercial and apply it to … she shook her head to stop the thoughts. It was obvious these kids were both way smarter than her and she didn't feel like being depressed on a Friday afternoon.
"Gramma Mary is here!" Kenny announced.
Vix nodded. "Ok, guys… do you got all your stuff?" Vix asked. "Kenny, did you grab GI Joe and Cobra? They were battling it out for universal control under the shampoo chair."
"Got 'em." Kenny chirped as he zipped his book bag.
Mary entered the salon. "Hey Vix, thanks for letting them hang out here with you."
Vix nodded. "No problem." She eyed the older woman thinking dentist my ass… only appointment she had was with Dr. Jack N. Coke. "You sure you're ok? Do they need to do the root canal?"
Mary mumbled a vague response. "Probably but who has that kinda money, huh? Ok, kids, let's go."
"Where are the little ones?" Eve asked as she breezed into the salon.
"Mary picked 'em up about an hour ago." Vix said, standing up from her chair and stuffing the magazine she'd been reading into her bag. "Your four o'clock is running late and Mrs. Maholick called to switch her color n' cut back to its original time slot."
Eve shook her head, "Have you heard from Margie Sinclair?"
"Nope! Thanks for small miracles. Why?"
"Well, it's just you know how that woman loves to flap her gums and it's been weeks since you sent out those salon closing notices and no one has said a thing. I am very surprised by the lack of backlash. I honestly pictured the town in an uproar… no truer sign of an over inflated self-worth." Eve noted the odd look that flashed across Vix's face. "You did mail out the notices right?"
"Umm hmm, yep, sure did." Vix lied, thinking of the box still taking up space in the trunk of her car. "You're important to this town Eve… your worth is not over inflated… thanks for being so cool with me taking time off again."
Eve nodded, "No problem, sweetie."
Vix hated like hell lying to everyone. But she wasn't sure anyone would really understand and everything was still too fragile to withstand criticism, even of the well-meaning kind. For the last few weeks, thoughts had been swirling around her head. They had progressed from thoughts... to a dream... to a plan. But for that plan to become reality she needed help but as she thought about the people in her life she knew they'd need some serious convincing and that would take intel.
That is how she found herself spending the last few afternoons… staking out various salons and day spas in the areas surrounding Charming. She had compiled quite a detailed file that she entitled "COMPS". She had snapshots of the various places. She made detailed notes on what she thought they were doing right, wrong, and where they could be outdone. She jotted down their prices, which ran the gamut from outrageous to ridiculous. She'd made a few ninja phone calls – for which she called upon experience gleamed from an entire summer of days wasted listening to those stupid Jerky Boys prank calls CDs. She giggled to herself thinking; Uncle BB would shit if he knew that was time well wasted and coming in handy now HA!
In the end, her conclusions only added fuel to the desire that was now burning inside her. She now knew that if SNIPS was not replaced, the citizens of Charming would have any number of hair care styling facilities to choose from, however, none of them were IN Charming. So they would have to travel to be over charged and their finished hair result would leave a lot to be desired. In Vix's honest opinion, the heads of hair in Charming needed her little dream to come true. She glanced at her watch- startled to see how late it was. Tossing her research in her tote bag, she fired up the Charger and headed in the direction of home.
Jaci leaned back in her leather office chair and stared at the clock again; another day almost done. She started making quick piles of the files strewn over her desk. A month ago, she would have filed everything nice and neat and left her desktop complete clear and spotless before she left for the day but lately she had a bad case of the 'I don't give a fucks'. She was just shutting down her computer when a girl from Legal poked her head into Jaci's office.
"Hey, Jaci…you going out with us again tonight? I think we're going to that bar we went to last Thursday."
"The martini bar?" Jaci asked with a frown.
"No…that was last Wednesday. Or was that Tuesday?"
"Tuesday was that stupid uppity bar that Jason picked…remember 'Tom Collins Tuesdays'?" Jaci rolled her eyes.
The girl laughed. "Oh yeah…what a dumbass. So anyway, you in?"
Jaci didn't miss a beat. "Absolutely." She had been going out with the Oakland crew about every other night since she started staying and working in town. Right now the name of the game for Jaci was staying distracted and staying out of Charming and Oakland fit the bill perfectly.
Church had wrapped up and the after-party was in full swing. Juice sat drinking a beer at one of the picnic tables under the pavilion outside the clubhouse. His eyes scanned the crowd but his mind knew it was pointless. It had gotten to the point he didn't need to see her – he could sense when she was around. Vix wasn't there tonight – like she'd promised she'd be. The last few weeks he'd noticed she'd become increasingly distracted, secretive and jumpy to the point of being defensive. Juice didn't think himself insecure enough to require her undivided attention, but he was far too smart not to be a bit worried. He pulled out his cell phone and dialed her number. "Hey, where you at?"
"Schmoozing my way out of a speeding ticket." Vix replied and watched in her rearview at the cop sat in his car punching her info into his dashboard computer. "I hope." …
She saw the cop approaching her vehicle. "Hang on baby...let me call you right back."
Juice hung up his phone and downed the rest of his beer. He walked over and tossed the bottle in the now highly advertised recycling bin, the latest of the Prospect's bright ideas. Half Sack was attempting to save the planet by making SAMCRO go green. He was walking across the parking lot when his phone vibrated. As soon as he flipped it open, he heard Vix ranting. "I'm guessing you didn't get out of it, huh? How much?"
"The actual ticket or the cost after they tack on all the FUCKIN' FEES… FUCK! Why don't they just add on a donation to Feed the Children, while they are at it? Then Sally Struthers could save her damn breath. Two-ninty-eight! I am seriously losing my touch man. You turn twenty six years old and it is all down hill. I've never not been able to flirt my way out of a ticket. You think maybe the cop was gay? The 3 C's have never failed me, not ever … 'til now."
"Do I even want to know?"
"Charm, Cuteness and Cleavage. Come on, Juice… you're a guy. I think that cop was gay. Look I am totally running exhausted, baby. I'm gonna head home. Meet me there, we'll order pizza and watch those movies Happy bootlegged."
"Yeah, I guess… I got nothin' better to do." Juice replied not bothering to filter out the icy edge to his voice.
"Well don't that make me feel special."
"Just because you're pissed off about not being able to get out of that ticket…don't take that shit out on me or I'll stay here were the fun's at."
"I am not taking anything out on you but if you think I am… do whatever makes you happy." She hung up without a goodbye.
Juice stared at the phone. He rolled his eyes and walked to his bike. He felt his phone vibrate less than a minute later. He let it go to voice mail as he strapped on his helmet.
Juice was sitting on his bike, in the driveway of Parker Place when she got home. She killed the engine and climbed out of the car. She looked at him and smiled. "Hey, baby."
"You didn't answer when I called to apologize."
"I know, I thought I'd let you do it in person."
"Really? So now I'm fun, hmmm?" She came to stand in front of him, watching as he appeared to contemplate that question. She watched as a smile spread on his face and she stepped into his embrace. "I'll take that as a sign that your memory is still intact… but if you happen to need a reminder, why don't we take this little party inside, hmm?"
"Your sister home?"
"Are you kidding? She's avoiding this town like we all have the plague. Besides when has Jaci being home ever stopped us before? Only difference is when she is here we got to control the volume." She smiled, kissed his lips, then headed toward the house. She stopped halfway up the path and turned back. "You'd have let me out of that ticket, right?"
"That cop had to have been gay, baby." Juice agreed with a grin.
Jaci and her work crew milled around the bar, searching for a table large enough to cram all of them around. She scanned the crowd of people absently. She was about to turn her attention back to her friends when a guy brushed past her. Jaci only caught a slight glimpse of him but it was enough to make her subconscious startle and make her heart pound. She quickly turned around to get a better look at the guy. He was wearing a black shirt with the sleeves rolled slightly and had dark curly hair.
Stupid fucking brain. It's not HIM. Calm the fuck down. Jaci stared after the guy for a moment longer. One of her friends nudged her and laughed. "See something you like, J?"
"What?" Jaci frowned, distracted. "Oh no…I …he just… looked familiar." She took a deep breath and wanted to hit her herself in the head until her brain jarred loose. No no no! Tig thoughts do NOT travel to Oakland! That baggage stays at the damn Charming city limit sign! Someone from Jaci's crowd yelled, "Hey! Who wants a shot?" She immediately raised her hand; lately, she felt very good about drowning all uncomfortable feelings in alcohol.
Later that night, her and her co-workers were settled around a table. Everyone was drinking and laughing and having a good time. When Rosen had finally shown up, he sat down next to Jaci like he seemed to do every night they went out and had immediately slung his arm across the back of her chair. Rosen was downing his drinks rather quickly and was feeling really good and buzzed.
As the bar got more crowded and louder, he scooted his chair closer to Jaci's. She leaned into him and he was talking directly into her ear. They had been bitching about all of the road construction around town and then had moved on to talking about a few people around the office. A lull of silence came between them after awhile and he said something she didn't understand. She frowned and leaned closer again, "What?"
He moved his arm from the back of her chair and let his hands rest of her leg. He smiled slightly and spoke into her ear with a little more volume that was really necessary. "I said you're beautiful!"
Jaci frowned. "Oh...um…thanks." She smiled politely. Ok, here comes the weirdness.
"No, I mean it… you really are." Rosen encouraged and let his hands wander higher on her leg.
He had tried little moves like this before but she had been able to laugh and play them off thus far but he seemed more persistent this night. His hand slid around her upper thigh and headed inward. Thank God she was wearing pants or his moves would have already been deemed very indecent. He watched her with lustful and more than slightly drunken eyes. She grimaced and slapped her hand down on top of his and held it there. She was in no way, shape, form or fashion ready or willing to be felt up by anyone. Way too soon for this. Ok, J…you've had enough fun for the night…time to politely extricate yourself from this little moment.
"You know what?" She smiled at Rosen. "I gotta go."
He frowned. "To the bathroom?"
Jaci shook her head, "Home." She pushed her chair away from him and stood up. Her friends around the table groaned and teased her for leaving so soon as she gave them a wave goodbye.
Rosen stood up with his hands at her waist. He started trying to convince her to stay. "Wait…I have a better idea…I'll go with you.'"
Jaci patted his chest and spoke into his ear. "Not a chance. Not tonight." He gave her a frown and a pout but she just smoothed her hand down his chest. "Have a seat, have fun with the crew. I'll see ya around." She pushed past him and headed for the door feeling more than a bit weirded out. She was hanging around Oakland due to its lack of complications…but here went things getting complicated. Shit.
Juice and Vix were snuggled up on the sectional couch halfway through a movie when she sighed. She stood up and wandered into the kitchen. Moments later, shattering glass was heard along with Vix's exclamation of "MOTHERFUCKIN" CAT!"
Juice shook his head and hit pause on the remote. He headed into the kitchen where he found Vix drenched in red wine. She stood amid the shattered remains of her wine glass and was pointing the sink hose towards the far corner of the kitchen. "Jesus Christ!"
"Where is that damn cat? I am gonna blast his ass. Here, kitty kitty…"
Juice laughed out loud as Vix eyed him. "This is not funny for several reasons. The little fucker gashed open my ankle. I am bleeding. This was my favorite Allman Brothers T-shirt. That wine glass was Waterford Crystal and I promised Jaci I wouldn't touch 'em 'cept on special occasions but every other glass in this house is dirty since I haven't had time to do the friggin' dishes and I will now have to pay out my ass to replace it AND speaking of Jaci she is gonna lose her shit when she sees this floor cause that wine is gonna stain the tile. Time for Screwy Louie to pay the piper. HERE KITTY KITTY KITTY!"
"Calm down, baby, ok? We'll fix this... come on, I'll help." Juice soothed, "Now put down the hose."
She began digging under the sink for floor cleanser. "Oh my god, we have no dish detergent." She slammed the cupboard door shut.
"Relax, ok? I'll run to the store and get some."
"NO!" Vix gasped. "No you won't! Donna died running to the store to get dish detergent. Please don't go!"
Juice stood staring at her, "Well what are you planning on doing? Just throwing out the dirty dishes and buying new ones? Baby, that's retarded. Donna did not die because of dish detergent." He watches Vix, very on edge. "Are you…?"
"No! I am not! I am so far from ok right now. I am not cut out to be the responsible one… that is Jaci's job! And she is like… off in Oakland playing Three's Company and this house is falling apart and I am losing my job and now I have a speeding ticket and broken crystal and stained tiles and you're mad at me and..."
"I am?" Juice asked, confused.
"You were." Vix corrected.
"I'm not anymore though." Juice offers. "And what is Jaci playing?"
"She hasn't been home in like a month; well for more than a few hours here and there. She's practically living in Oakland at her company's condo with this guy and another girl from her office."
Juice raised an eyebrow, "That sounds a bit hinky."
"I am sure it's not gone there... well I hope not. I think Jaci is completely playing Janet to their Jack and Chrissy…and she has become party girl extraordinaire and when I called her on it she bit my head off and said that she guessed she really is our parents' daughter after all. Just her genes were late bloomers or some shit." Vix ranted and then her attention wavered. "Hey, there's that damn cat… grab him!
Vix started to chase after the neighbor's cat, who had seemingly adopted Parker Place as his new home. The girls had taken to calling him Screwy Louie. Juice stopped her. "Leave the cat alone, baby. Back to your sister… I think I've seen J twice since her and Tig broke up. Is all that stuff really going on with her?"
"No, Juice, I am completely making it all up." Vix said with a huff. "She is on some sequestered Federal Jury on a top secret case. How's that? Cause THAT is total BS, but it sounds better than the truth, don't it? And we all have Tig Trager to thank."
"You can't hang this ALL on Tig."
"Oh really? Could I just HANG HIM then?"
"Vix be serious." Juice chided.
"Oh I am… very serious. And I don't want to fight about this, again! Jaci is my sister I will defend her to the death even if she is wrong, which she's NOT. And I know Tigger is your 'bro' and you have his back, I get it. Even though he is an ass and totally to blame. EVEN THOUGH!"
"Well ok then." Juice replied with a shrug.
"Speaking of Dickhead, what's he got to say about stomping Jaci's heart?"
"Not a thing. Sack and me got 'go to hell' looks the other day when we mentioned her name in front of him. There are LOTS of things you don't talk about at the clubhouse right now and she's one of them."
"Interesting." Vix shook her head. "Jaci's just being weird. I mean that first night she cried for a long time but now...she's not a crying mess, she's not pissed off and yelling, she's just...sad and like...blah." Juice shrugged and Vix continued. "I don't know how to deal with blah. When she dumped Dean she went back and forth from hurt to mad so I held her when she cried and then we went to the shooting range to blow off steam when she was pissed."
Vix took a breath and then cocked her head. "You know, I don't think Jaci has actually ever been dumped before. Maybe that's it...she doesn't know what to feel. And it's not like she was going to MARRY Tig or anything so it's not the end of the world. And she KNOWS all of that. I mean they didn't break up 'cause there was something WRONG with her. It just needed to end."
Juice rubbed his head, thinking over the situation and trying to come up with something intelligent to say. "Well then maybe being sad is good. She'll just be sad for a little bit and then she'll be ok. She'll find somebody else in no time."
Vix nodded. "Yeah, you're probably right. I just wish she'd come home; can't avoid this town forever.
"True." Juice said with a nod. "Grab your keys and lets go get some detergent."
Vix's wish was granted the next night when Jaci walked through the door to Parker Place early Saturday night. Vix immediately cornered her sister. "We need to talk." Vix said with a serious look on her face.
"Oh God." Jaci groaned. She was a bit of an emotional wreck these days and wasn't sure she could handle any more drama. She dropped her stuff and put her hands over her face and peeked through her fingers. She ventured a few guesses about the topic of discussion. "You look tired. Are you pregnant?"
Vix's eyes bulged. "NO!"
"No." A hint of disappointment could be heard in Vix's reply.
Relief was starting to build inside Jaci. "Mmmm…losing your job?"
Vix smiled. "Well, not exactly."
"Oh God." Jaci repeated and was back to worrying. She walked into the living room and sat down.
"Just hear me out." Vix pleaded with her hands up and plopped down on the sofa next to her sister. Jaci crossed her arms, leaned back and raised her eyebrows. Vix began her explanation. "Ok…this is one of those good news bad news things. Bad news is Eve is selling Snips. Her son lives in Colorado and she wants to retire and move out there to be with the grandbabies. BUT…the good news is…" Vix paused dramatically and smiled.
Jaci eyed her cautiously. Something about the sheer look of excitement on Vix's face made her worry. "Spit it out already."
"I'm going to buy the salon!" Vix announced with a grin.
"Are you now?" Jaci tried not to laugh. "My little sister, who has the attention span of a gnat, is going to be the OWNER OPERATOR of a salon? Vix, a business is not a toy. You can't just play with it for awhile and then walk away."
Vix's face fell slightly. She had been expecting a different reaction from her sister. Thank goodness she hadn't told Juice her plans yet, he would have laughed at her without thinking. At least Jaci hadn't actually laughed aloud but she was probably cracking up on the inside. Vix knew she wasn't exactly known for her maturity but she had put a massive amount of thought into this idea.
"This is not a joke!" Vix glared at Jaci and then sighed. "I wanted you to just be supportive but I see you need convincing and I guess I understand that." She scooted around on the sofa to face her sister. "I know you've spent a good chunk of your life cleaning up my messes and pulling me back in line but I am not that hell raisin' kid anymore. I've grown up a lot in the last couple of years and you know it. And this whole mess with Wendy and Abel and us moving out here and me meetin' Juice has sealed the deal. It's time to be an adult. I'm putting down roots here and I want this salon. I'm damn good at what I do and I know I can make that place even better."
"While I appreciate your speech, it's not that simple, sis. There is a huge difference between showing up to work everyday and actually being responsible for everyone and everything." Jaci said softly.
"I know that and I am ready for it." Vix pointed her finger at Jaci. "You know I'm not dumb…I've just never given a damn before. I may not have gone to college and all like you but I am smart!"
Jaci frowned at seeing her sister's feelings hurt. "Geez, I'm not calling you dumb. I'm just saying this isn't as easy as you think. Have you thought about…"
"I've thought about everything." Vix interjected. "That's was the reason I look like hell, I haven't been able to sleep for days for all the mental planning! But you wouldn't know that since you're never around. Hang on."
Vix disappeared into her room for a moment and then returned a huge stack of paper and file folders. She started laying all of the items haphazardly on the ottoman and in Jaci's lap. Each folder was neatly titled: designs, financing, college, employees. "There. See? Can your nerd brain relate to this now?"
Jaci was surprised by her sister's sudden show of organization as she flipped thru the folders' contents. The design folder was crammed full of magazine clippings and hand drawings of ideas for the salon's remodeling. The finance folder had loan applications and bank brochures and notes about interest rates. The college folder really caught Jaci's eye and she held it up. "What's this?"
Vix stood taller. "They have a few classes starting up for small business owners at the community college in Lodi. Figured if I was going to do this, I should take them and learn all I can." She watched her older sister smile slightly but the smile faded as Jaci picked up the finance folder again.
"How you gonna pay for all of this, sis?"
"Well…I've been looking at loans and stuff. I know I have the medical bills to pay but all that is worked out on a payment plan thanks to you. So I am hoping I can apply for some of these small business loans and …"
Jaci shook her head. "It'll never happen. You don't have a lot of debt but you damn sure don't have a lot of assets either and I am sure your credit score is probably only so so."
"I have ME. I'm a HUGE asset!" Vix countered.
"Well, unfortunately sheer determination doesn't really factor into the financing equations, sis." Jaci held up the remodeling folder. "And all of this stuff it looks like you want to do... it's going to be expensive, you're going to have to have cash flow and…"
Vix groaned and shook her head, cutting Jaci off. She had wanted to do all of this on her own, without any help from BB or Jaci or Juice but she could see that wasn't going to be entirely possible. She put her hands on her hips and leveled her eyes on Jaci. "Well, ok then. What about you, if you co-signed on a loan, would that help? I never wanted to ask you to do this…"
It was Jaci's turn to groan. If there was one thing she had learned in her years in the finance world it was that money and families shouldn't mix. Before she could even start to put together an answer Vix began bombarding her with assurances the salon would be successful and she would do a good job, etc etc.
Jaci finally held up a hand to stop the assault. "Whoa whoa whoa. Just ….whoa!" She stood up and looked at Vix. "Look, I haven't stepped foot in this house all week. All I really wanted to do was come home, grab a glass of wine and soak in the tub. Now you just up and dropped a bombshell on me and are all up in my face...
"Bitchy much…geez." Vix mumbled.
Jaci sighed, knowing she was griping. "I need a little bit of time to think, ok? Just give me an hour…"
Vix smiled and the excitement flared up in her eyes again. "So you're not saying no? Are you saying maybe?"
"I'm not saying anything."
"Ok, ok…sorry. Here, you go…I'll get you some wine!" She shoved her sister towards the hall and the solitude she needed. "I'm just excited!"
Jaci laughed. "I can see that."
Forty five minutes later, Jaci immerged from her reality break. The tub soak had been a great idea and she had been able to really mull some things over in her head. She threw on a tank top and lounge pants and then opened her bedroom door. She yelled down the hall, "Hey sis! Grab your folders and come here. Looks like we're buying a salon!"
Vix let out a squeal in the living room and immediately ran down the hall with her research. She ran into the bedroom and jumped straight on the bed. The girls spent the next three hours going over plans, setting down rules, and getting organized, using Jaci's bed as a base of operations. It was just like being teenagers again, only this time they weren't giggling over boys or crying over family stuff, they were conspiring on a business endeavor.
Vix basically wanted to gut the salon and completely update it, giving it more of a spa type feel. She wanted to add tanning beds and a hire a massage therapist. "I want to do as much as possible myself. Like I don't want Juice and the guys involved hardly at all. All those summers hanging around Bama and construction job sites are going to pay off for us. We can do the demo, paint, lay tile, install the sinks, put all the new stations together."
"We?" Jaci grimaced. "So I'm supposed to help you in my free time? Vix, I have too much on my plate right now as it is. I can't be adding manual labor to the list."
"Oh what do you have going on?" Vix asked. "A job and a broken heart…THAT'S what's filling your time right now. You're only working so much because you don't want to be at home sitting around thinking about HIM. Manual labor is exactly what you need. Do you a ton of good to smash something with a sledgehammer!"
Jaci couldn't really argue. Her sister was exactly right, she had been overloading herself on purpose and maybe it was time to chill out a bit. And she couldn't stay away from Charming forever. "I guess you're right but that brings up something we need to think about too. I hate to even mention this but what if…"
"What if Juice and me break up? Am I gonna want to tuck tail and run back to Bama?" Vix offered and Jaci nodded. Vix sighed. "I've already thought of that. Juicey and I are hitting some ruts right now but we'll pull out of it… but even if we don't, I want to stay in Charming. You didn't run away when Tig dumped you. Well, I mean…you sort of did…staying in Oakland all the time. But you didn't like MOVE."
She knew her sister didn't mean it to hurt but hearing the phrase 'when Tig dumped you' stung Jaci. Well let's call a spade a spade, you got dumped. Plain and simple. "I only stayed because you and Wendy and Abel are settled here. If you were to be unsettled, then I wouldn't be morally opposed to cutting town; I miss Bama. Life in Charming would be painful for you if you guys break up. Hell, Tig and I weren't anywhere near the same level as you and Juice and it hurts to be here right now."
Vix shook her head. "I like us standing on our own out here. We can't be jumping ship every time something doesn't go our way, right? Besides, Abel needs us. Wendy's head isn't on straight yet and I know Jax and Tara are doing good with him but I think it's best to make sure there's some Parker influence around the little guy."
Jaci nodded in agreement. She wasn't completely convinced Wendy was going to come out the other side this time. Her oldest sister was staying clean, or so she said, but according to Vix she wasn't calling and checking in on Abel like she should and that worried Jaci. If Wendy dropped completely out of sight, Jaci and Vix needed to be there…hell what kind of people would they be today if hadn't been for Aunt Roxy and Uncle BB?
She started to re-organize all the papers strewn across her bed. "Ok, we have to go to sleep. You tell Eve you are interested first thing on Monday. She's client of ours anyway. I'll fax over a waver for her to sign that will let me take a look at her books; make sure the salon isn't a money pit. If that goes well, we'll start on credit apps."
"Oh thank you thank you thank you!" Vix breathed and tackled hugged her sister.
"Don't thank me until the keys are in your hand." Jaci cautioned as she peeled her sister off of her. "This isn't a sure thing yet, sis."
"Yes it is." Vix rolled off the bed and stood up, grabbing her folders. She waved her hand between them. "You and me…we're unstoppable. Always have been, always will be. And you've never seen me this determined. We're gonna be like the damn Wonder Twins! This shit's in the bag!"
A sad smile flickered across Jaci's face.
"What?" Vix asked.
Jaci just shook her head, recalling the nickname she had given to Tig and Motor in what seemed like years ago. Funny how quickly things changed. She forced a smile on her face and threw a pillow at her sister. "Get out! I must sleep!"
Vix giggled. As she pulled the door shut she turned and looked at Jaci. "I love you, sis."
"Yeah yeah." Jaci replied as she lay down and got settled in bed. Vix flipped off the light and closed the door.
The review of the salon's financial situation went quite well. Eve was very open about all the trials and tribulations she had had in the early days of the salon and she had done a great job of turning the salon into a nicely profitable business.
After taking a day to really dig into things, Jaci thought they had a good chance of buying the salon. She would have to co-sign for Vix but she was comfortable with that after the long talk they'd had. Vix would be the owner/operator of the salon, making all employment and day to day decisions. Jaci would be more of a silent partner and would handle the books, helping Vix make sure they stayed on track financially. The girls started filling out credit applications.
The girls figured they should probably talk to Clay as well. They didn't need permission from SAMCRO to buy the salon, but they thought it would be a nice gesture to ask for his blessing, just as a show of respect. But at the same time, they wanted to make it clear that the salon was not a SAMCRO enterprise, they were to be an independent business.
Vix called Gemma and arranged the sit down between the Parker sisters and Clay and Jax. She made sure that the meeting was held away from all things SAMCRO and TM and well, Tig. After thanking Gemma, Vix hung up the phone. She took a deep breath, typed a text message and hit send.
Juice's cell phone emitted a series of low beeps from where it sat on the table next to him. He flipped it open and read the text. It was one simple line that made him cringe; We need to talk! V
Jax caught the strange look on Juice's face as he stared at his phone. "You a'ight?"
Juice looked over at Jax; he'd known all the Parkers way longer than Juice. He carefully posed a question, "Do you think Vix is acting weird?"
Jax cracked a smile and laughed, "You weirder than usual? Cause she's never been normal, bro… since the very 1st day I met her. Why?"
Before he could help himself, Juice blurted out his current concerns up to this latest text message.
Jax shrugged and said "She's probably right, you guys need to talk. I am sure there is a very valid and likely bat-ass crazy reason for everything you're worried about. Could it be something you don't want to hear and definitely not want to deal with maybe but just hear her out, man."
"Thanks… I think." Juice muttered and hugged Jax with one arm on his way out of the clubhouse just as Clay entered.
Clay turned and watched his info officer walk away. "Where was Juice going?"
"He's got some shit to take care of. What's up?"
"Gemma called. The Parker girls are requesting a sit down with you, me and Gemma… preferably NOT on these premises. You think he has a clue 'bout what this is about?"
"Nah, man. Says Vix is acting all sorts of strange lately. Gemma didn't get anything out of 'em about why?" Jax asked with a frown.
"Nope. Said Vix was polite and to the point in asking for the meeting but tight lipped on the reasons why." Clay grinned. "I'd be lying if I said I wasn't curious and worried."
"Curiosity has been known to kill."
Clay smirked. "Good thing I ain't a cat. Be at my place tomorrow morning."
Jax nodded and strode out of the club house.
The sun was well past set when Juice rolled to a stop in front of SNIPS. He killed the engine and watched through the front window. He smiled despite his mood, as he watched Vix dancing around to a tune he couldn't hear, as she mopped the floor.
She pressed the power button on the radio remote, silencing the tunes she had blaring. When she returned from dumping the bucket of dirty floor water she looked up to find Juice standing there. "Hey, thought you weren't gonna show."
"Been busy." He said as he sat down in one of the salon chairs. "What's on your mind?"
"You want to talk here?" She waved her hands around.
Juice shrugged. "Here… there, it's just geography."
Vix frowned as she was no longer able to ignore the icy edge in his voice. She sighed "Here it is then." She sat down in the salon chair nearest to where Juice. After a deep cleansing breath she began, "Ok, I know that you're concerned. And that you've asked a lot about what was going on and I was elusive at best. I didn't mean to be, well I guess I did… but not really."
Juice held up his hands, "Vix, I am really in no mood to need to be wading though a sea of half-apologies and …"
"Ok, let me start over."
"No! Don't start over… move forward … just stick to the facts and get to the point."
"I need you to stop interrupting me. I only started out that way because I know I was not being completely honest with you and I am sorry, all the way … not halfway, ok?"
She watched as Juice slumped back in the chair with a sigh. He didn't say a word, so she continued. "So much shit has been going down and I really didn't want to add to the drama. I didn't want to say anything until I was 100 percent sure. I needed to figure stuff out on my own. I didn't want to have to depend on anyone… I didn't want to put anyone in a position… I didn't want you to feel obligated in anyway… " She stopped talking when Juice sat forward, rested his elbows on his knees and put his head in his hands, with a groan. "Are you ok?"
Juice exhaled deeply, trying to fight off the lightheaded feeling that was quickly overcoming him. When he regained some sort of composure he sat up and looked at her – studied her. She did appear to have a bit of a glow about her. Oh, fuck me! He thought to himself. "I guess I should be asking you that question?"
"What question? Am I ok? I'm fine… I'm perfect… tired a bit. Wish I could sleep but I can't, well not very well anyway… been mulling all this over in my brain for weeks and…"
He did a double take. "Are you fucking kidding me? And you are just bringing this up now?"
"Yes! But why are you getting mad? I had a lot to think about, this is a big decision for me and…"
Juice stood up abruptly and completely startled her. "And you think that you're the only one effected by this?"
"What the hell is wrong with you?" Vix asked as she stood and planted on her hands on her hips. Juice just stared at her. "If you'd just let me explain… I really think buying this salon is a golden opportunity for me."
Juice blinked and cocked his head. "A hair salon? What?"
She motioned around with her hands. "This … I am buying this salon from Eve. What did you think I was talking about?" Vix asked with a frown.
Juice plopped back down in the salon chair, staring at her, "I was wrong… I do need you to start from the VERY beginning and don't leave a mother fucking thing out... drown me in details."
Vix eyed him - worried and slowly nodded her head, "Ok baby… let me get my folders. You're gonna love them. You have a nerd brain like my sister."
He watched her rush out to her car. As soon as she was out of the door he heaved the hugest sigh of relief in recorded history. In the end, Juice thought the salon purchase was a great idea too. He and Vix had spent the next several hours talking about it and they both agreed it would give Vix an identity all of her own. People in town could see her as Vix the stylist and business owner instead of the hellion Parker sister or that SAMCRO guy's girlfriend. When she rocked out that salon and made it a huge success people would be able to see her as the awesome, smart, fiery chick he loved.
Three days later:
The Sons were gathered around the Chapel table. Clay wanted to give them a rundown of the latest new on Bobby's jail situation. The ATF had finally, after all of these weeks, admitted that they no longer had a witness to the Hefner murder and Rosen had filed a motion for all of the charges to be dropped against Bobby. "The ATF bastards will drag their feet on releasing him, of course. So we just have to hold tight until while he wraps up this little vacation at the Stockton Spa."
All the men nodded along and gave sighs of relief and voiced wishes for a quick release.
Clay was about to wrap the meeting up when Jax held up his finger. He shot Clay a look. "You gonna make the official announcement or should he?" Jax tosses a look to his left in Juice's direction.
Clay nodded towards Juice. "Vix is his ol' lady let him do it."
All eyes stared at Juice. A sly smile that was one half amusement, one half worry spread across Chibs' face. "Should we prepare for the sounds of pint sized biker boots, brother?"
Since his breakup with Jaci, Tig was no longer in the know when it came to things involving the Parkers. He stared disbelieving at Juice and shook his head muttering, "Fucking idiot."
Juice looked confused and cocked his head at Chibs. "What?"
The Scotsman raised his eyebrows. "Is Vix…" He knocked on the table and made a thumbs up gesture.
Juice blinked at Chibs and then looked around at the others in the room. "Oh HELL no!" But that was my first thought too, bro." He shook his head. "Anyway, Eve is selling SNIPS to Vix. She's gonna be owner operator of the salon. She has all these crazy plans and bright ideas and Jaci…" He winced slightly after he said her name and glanced at Tig. Oops. "J is acting as the voice of reason and controller of the finances. Um, apparently they are planning on gutting the salon and doing major updating..."
Tig frowned and interrupted Juice's spill. "Are WE financing this? I don't remember voting on this shit."
Clay shook his head. "Nooo, this is not a SAMCRO venture."
"So they're not kickin' up but it's protected anyway?" Tig asked with sneer.
Jax glared at Tig. "We protect the salon because the girls are family. We protect the salon because it's in the best interest of Charming to keeping small business in town. We protect the salon because Vix and Jaci…." Jax let her name sink in for a moment, "…do a helluva lot for this club."
Clay held up a hand and nodded. "Agreed… for all those reasons and because I promised the 'Bama charter that SAMCRO would look after ALL Parker interests in Charming. But to clarify for Tigger, Vix is financing this little project with loans."
"And Vix was very adamant that she doesn't really want any help with the demo and rebuild." Juice added. "She is on some sort of mission to prove she can do this."
Chibs chuckled. "You're gonna turn Vix loose with a sledgehammer? I'd pay to watch that!"
Jax laughed. "There ya go, Clay. We can make some club money by charging admission to watch the Parker sisters wield sledgehammers." He stood up, took a last puff from his cigarette and stubbed it out before heading out of the room.
Clay rolled his eyes at his step-son. In all honesty, he didn't have any problems at all with the girls buying the salon. In his eyes, it was a win-win for everyone. He got another business owner that was supportive of SAMCRO and got the Parkers out of his hair. It was best to keep woman like them, who were a lot like Gemma, occupied.
The idle mind and hands of a smart, independent woman were dangerous things, better to have their focus on something other than anything Club related. Jaci had pulled away nicely from the club since the bust up with Tig and with a salon to completely rebuild, Vix would be spending less and less time around the clubhouse making googly eyes at Juice. Everyone would be happy.
TO BE CONTINUED…
(and before you even ream us for it…there will be more Jaci and Tig stuff in the future chapters…patience grasshoppa!)