A/N: So this is the latest installment in my Kozik series (which is made up of Casting Shadows, Sparks, Getaway, and now this) - hope you like it! Here's a quick reminder of the story so far - if you haven't read the other fics, this should be all you need to know.
Casting Shadows kicked off the series and introduced my OC, Tasha - she's Kozik's old lady and they've been together for almost four years, living in Tacoma. But they're going through a very bad patch as a couple and it emerges, through flashbacks, that they lost their unborn baby in an attack by enemies of the Sons. Tasha's been blaming the club and pushing Koz away but, when he's facing danger again, she realises she can't lose him.
Sparks (which isn't completed yet) came next in the series, but is actually set before Casting Shadows - it's the story of how Kozik met and got together with Tasha. Despite a few hurdles along the way, including the fact she's a teacher and not used to motorcycle club ways. It also introduces a few other OCs, including Elena Martinez who is a friend and colleague of Tasha's and Julie Lewis, a croweater with two weaknesses - drugs and Kozik.
Getaway picked up where Casting Shadows left off. Kozik and Tasha take a break from everything, to go stay at a secluded cabin belonging to the Tacoma president and try to get their relationship back on track. And, on the brink of losing the girl he loves, Koz even considers quitting the club.
Now Chasing Lights sees Kozik and Tasha head for Charming in the wake of Half Sack's murder and Abel's kidnap. But have they fixed their relationship enough for it to survive back in the SAMCRO world? One way to find out ...
Slipping off the back of her boyfriend's bike, Tasha watched in concern as a car peeled out of the Teller-Morrow lot at speed and then turned back towards the clubhouse just in time to witness a deft slap dealt from one CaraCara girl to another.
Fresh from their getaway, it seemed like little had changed in their absence. Same drama around every corner.
"Was that Tara who took off?" she asked an equally puzzled looking Kozik. "And why's Lyla slapping the shit outta Ima? Apart from the obvious ..."
"No clue, babe," he shrugged, slinging an arm around her shoulders. "C'mon – let's go find out what the hell we missed. See if Tiggy's rollin' out the welcome mat ..."
"You play nice," his girlfriend warned, swatting him with the back of her hand. "I mean it, Koz – you two are like a couple of little boys scrapping in the playground sometimes."
"Hey, less of the little!" he growled, puffing out his chest and drawing himself up to his full height. Deflating when she simply rolled her eyes and laughed.
"I swear, sometimes you're more of a kid than some of my students-" Tasha broke off as she spotted company approaching, offering a little wave to the girl. "Lyla, hi!"
"Hey," the porn star smiled. "You two look cosy – good trip?"
"Yeah," Tasha said, leaning against Kozik. "I guess we just really needed the break ... A bit of time out, you know?"
"Sure," Lyla nodded, glancing around and looking just a little frazzled. Her hands in the back pockets of her jeans. "Could probably do with some of that myself."
"I saw what happened before – with Ima ..." Tasha ventured. "I thought you guys were friends?"
"Me too. She ... Shit, don't say anything, but she kinda hooked up with Jax ..."
Realisation quickly dawning on her, Tasha tensed. "Let me guess, the little slut couldn't help but open her big mouth? We saw Tara leave in a hurry-"
"Worse than that - she walked straight in on them just now. I mean, I know Jax is going through some shit, but god! How could he do that to her? With Ima of all people, and right on Tara's doorstep," Lyla said, shaking her head in disbelief. "Listen, I gotta go pick up the kids, but I was thinking someone should go check on Tara - I know you just got here, but ... you wanna come?"
"Sure," Tasha shrugged, turning to Kozik. "That's cool with you, isn't it? Give you a chance to find out what's been happening from the guys ..."
"Guess so," he nodded, curling an arm around her waist and dropping a kiss on her lips. "You stay safe, baby. See ya later."
Nursing a steaming cup of coffee, Tasha glanced across the table at the stony-faced doctor and sighed. "I'm so sorry, Tara."
"You weren't the one who screwed Ima."
"How true," came the wry reply. "Which probably puts the three of us in a very small minority."
Tara watched as Opie and Lyla's brood of children squabbled over a game, making their boredom felt, and tears sprang up unbidden. Making both women in front of her exchange worried glances. They knew she had to be thinking about Abel - wondering if she'd ever get to see the little boy she loved like he was her own playing like that.
"I'm sorry – I'm ... I'm not very good company right now," she managed.
"Hey, we didn't come for the company," Lyla said. "We wanted to check you were okay. You're the one usually patching everyone up – about time someone returned the favour."
"Plus us old ladies gotta stick together," Tasha shrugged, sipping her coffee. "You know that. We know how tough this life is ..."
"At least you two know that it's worth your while, that Kozik and Opie love you. Jax ... Jax blames me for Abel being taken, I know he does. He pushed me away in a heartbeat."
"Take it from someone who knows, Tara – pushing someone away doesn't mean you don't love them," Tasha sighed. "I've ... I've been where Jax is now and I struggled with a lot of shit – grief, anger ... I couldn't handle Koz trying to be there for me. But I didn't love him any less. People do stupid things when they're hurting."
"You didn't jump into bed with the nearest warm body," the doctor pointed out. "I just ... I know the deal with the croweaters. The what-happens-on-a-run-stays-on-run bullshit. But I ... I thought we'd be different. I suppose everyone does that, don't they? Never think it's gonna be their man doing some whore."
"I know. Trust me, I know," Tasha said softly, focusing her gaze on her mug. Feeling the curious eyes of both other women on her, she took a deep breath. "After ... After what happened, you know I shut Koz out. I treated him really badly because I blamed ... maybe not him exactly, but I blamed the club. I pushed him away. And I pushed and I pushed and I pushed, until ... he slept with someone else."
"What? You never said anything!" Lyla frowned, mirroring Tara's shocked look. "You two are like the golden couple ... And you looked so close back at the clubhouse."
"We're getting there," Tasha nodded. "But it was tough for a while. The thought of him with one of those skanks still makes me feel sick, but ... he swears it was one time. That he was drunk and it didn't mean anything. If I hadn't shut him out-"
"You were grieving for your baby, Tash!" Tara exclaimed, looking appalled on her friend's behalf. "You shouldn't be feeling like it was your fault – god, those bastards are all the same!"
"I'm not making excuses for him, I just ... I know it was a bad time for both of us. And we've come through too much to just throw it all away over some hangaround slut. Just like you and Jax."
Taking a moment to digest it all, the doctor drained the rest of her tea and stood up to busy herself pouring another cup and topping up her guests' coffees.
"I guess it just depends on whether or not Jax thinks he made a mistake or if he just regrets getting caught," she shrugged, trying and failing to sound casual. "How did you find out about Kozik?"
"He told me," Tasha confessed. "We worked out a lot of shit while we were at the cabin, laid it all on the line. And he said if we wanted to make a proper go of things, he couldn't keep something like that from me-"
"See, that's where the difference is," Tara said forcefully. "He made a mistake, but he loves you and he wants to make it right – Jax ... Jax doesn't care."
"Long day, baby?"
"The longest ..." Tasha nodded wearily, as Kozik slid into bed beside her in the Redwood dormroom that was always his for the asking. One of the privileges of his patches. It may not have been fancy, but with a huge double bed and its own tiny bathroom, it was more than comfortable.
"You look tired," he frowned, taking in the slight dark circles under her eyes and noting she seemed a little paler than her usual golden tan allowed for.
"Hey, tired looks good on you!" he backtracked jokingly. But he couldn't quite shift that hint of concern. They'd had a hell of a long ride and then she'd thrown herself back into things – checking on Tara, helping Lyla with the kids, even seeing if the guys needed any help in the Teller-Morrow office in Gemma's absence.
He was proud of her but, with it all coming on top of the fact she wasn't totally recovered to full health after the crash, he was worried too. He didn't want her overdoing it.
"I'm fine," she smiled, seeming to read his mind. Trying to do better at hiding just how exhausted she was, her body full of renewed aches and weighted down with tiredness. "Nothing a good night's sleep won't cure."
Somewhat appeased, Kozik waited until she had turned onto her side and then curled an arm around her, drawing her back against his chest and pressing a kiss to her shoulder. Falling asleep too quickly and too soundly to realise just how much of the night his girlfriend spent tossing and turning uncomfortably.
to be continued ...