Authors Notes: We would like to apologize that it took so long to get this chapter out. Both of us have had real life crash down around us, and there were things that we needed to take care of. This is chapter is part one of two, we are hoping to get the next chapter out next week sometime.
We hope that you all enjoy this new chapter, and have a Happy Holiday Season.
Last time on Born to Die, Chapter 21
Happy turned back to look at her. He lost count how many times she had apologized for his leg. He appreciated it, but she really needed to understand that this was the life. "Don't apologize. This ain't the first time I've been stabbed," he took another gulp of water and added, "And this won't be the last time we have a contest like this." he finished with a knowing smirk.
Addison looked at him with slightly widened eyes and asked, "So this is pretty normal?" at his nod in confirmation, she smiled, "Well, you looked good out there today. I'm sure you'll win next time." as she said it, she looked down as a light blush graced her cheeks.
His response was only another grin. He couldn't help but widen his grin when he noticed her looking at his abdomen. As if she knew she had been caught, she looked up quickly, the flush on her cheeks darkening a bit more. Was the girl embarrassed? Well, if she was going to be part of this club, she needed to get over that shyness quickly.
Before he could say anything, a bright glint of sunlight reflecting off a passing car caught his eye from the edge of sunglasses. After the incident with the gate, Happy's senses had been on alert. He wouldn't put it past the brothers to try something again, and he would not let anything like that happen. Watching a banged up older model SUV pass by the gate, Happy took a breath and told himself to relax. It was just a passing car.
"I'll see you later okay?" Addison said as she turned to walk back towards the others.
Nodding, Happy turned shaded eyes back to Clay and Juice as she started to walk away. He saw the older member clutch at his chest suddenly. That seemed odd. Happy's senses went on alert again. He saw Gemma turn around with a concerned look on her face. He couldn't hear what she was asking him, but she was obviously worried. Clay removed his hand from his chest to look at it. That's when Happy saw it – blood.
"CLAY!" Gemma's scream could probably have been heard by all of Charming.
At that moment everything started to happen at once, but in slow motion. Out of instinct, Happy caught up to Addison in a few quick strides and grabbed her as she dropped the empty bucket. He only knew he needed to stop her from running towards Clay. Before his brain could catch up, he watched as Clay started to fall and Juice tried to catch him. Then, he finally realized what had happened.
Clay Morrow, National President of the Sons of Anarchy Motorcycle Club, had just been shot.
Born to Die
Chapter 22 – Part ONE
Written by: DanniMitchell85 and Kaylalong
Addison had learned many things in her relatively short lifetime. By the age of two, she learned how to talk, her first word being 'dada'. She still remembered the beaming look on her dad's face whenever he relieved that memory. He had been so proud of her, it was almost embarrassing. By the age of five, she learned how to read, impressing her father when she read the headlines off the front page of the morning paper. When she was only ten, she learned not only to shoot a gun, but to also stitch up a wound, two things she would use again and again in her life. By age sixteen, she learned not only how to drive a car, but to ride a Harley as well. Her dad always told her, again with a beaming smile, that she rode better than most men.
And then, at the tender age of twenty, she learned how it felt to watch her father die. Then, while still in shock from her father's death, she learned the truth about how she really lost her mother. Over the last few weeks, the shock, pain, and anger all started to subside as she learned that there were other people whom she never even knew, who cared about her and would do anything to keep her safe.
Now, in the last two hours, she learned the name of the small hospital in Charming was St. Thomas. She learned the bell to the elevator at the end of the hall would ding three seconds before the doors opened. She learned Gemma's heels would click twelve times in one direction and then another twelve times in the reverse direction as she paced in the hallway outside the hospital waiting room.
Inside the waiting room, Addison learned the floor was covered by one hundred and fifty white linoleum tiles. She also learned the linoleum tiles were not truly white. Each tile contained eight black specks and five grey specks. She learned that hospital coffee truly tasted disgusting, and she learned that the smell of disinfectant caused not only a cloying feeling in her throat, but a tingling feeling on the tip of her tongue.
However, the most surprising thing she learned was that it seemed the stoic Nomad sitting in the chair next to her was okay with her leaning her head on his shoulder.
Since they took over the waiting room, the chair next to Addison was repeatedly occupied and vacated by Elli and Hammer. Each whispered soothing words in hopes of comforting her. However, she was too numb to respond. In fact, Addison had not spoken more than a few words since they arrived at the hospital.
She could not believe that it was less than two hours ago, in a matter of mere seconds, her still shaky new life completely crumbled as she watched Clay, her last living relative, fall to the ground as blood seeped from his chest.
When Happy sat down about five minutes ago, Addison had been absent-mindedly toying with her locket and counting the number of black and gray specks on the linoleum tile under her scuffed up motorcycle boots for the third time. From the thumping of heavy boots, she could tell it was a man and assumed it was Hammer, again. She was so tired that she simply leaned over and rested her head on her neighbor's shoulder. It wasn't until she looked down that she realized the arm she was looking at was not Hammer's massive dark tanned one. Instead what she saw was the heavily tattooed arm of Happy.
However, by now Addison was so numb she couldn't find the energy to remove herself from the silent Nomad's shoulder. Even though she had only known him a few weeks, from the beginning something about Happy always made her feel calm, grounded. Since he had not said anything, nor did he pull away from her, she assumed it would be okay to just stay where she was.
Because right now, leaning on Happy's shoulder seemed to be the only thing keeping Addison from completely breaking down. The very real possibility that she just lost her uncle, weeks after losing her father, absolutely terrified her beyond anything words could describe. As she recalled the fuzzy memory, she could only remember that one minute she was walking away from Happy, and then the next minute she watched Clay clutch his chest and start to fall. She could still hear Gemma's screaming as she recalled the image of the parking lot asphalt, stained with Clay's blood.
Everything after that was a blur of activity. Before she could process anything, Addison felt a pair of strong arms wrap around her. For a split second, she panicked, remembering the man who pulled her into her house back in Alaska. However, as she saw the tattoos on the pair of arms and caught the overwhelming sent of sweat and leather, her panic subsided. With Happy trying to protect her, she vaguely remembered the scene of Juice trying to hold up Clay, Jax trying to hold back his mother, and Hammer coming over to carry Clay back to the clubhouse.
Addison didn't even remember how they made it across the lot, but somehow by following Happy's instructions, they reached the safety of the clubhouse. Inside however, was complete mayhem. Sons were running around shouting at each other – asking 'what happened?', 'how the fuck did this happen?, 'did anyone see anything?' and other things she could not make out. She remembered Bobby on the phone, calling an ambulance. Gemma was clutching onto Clay, yelling at him to open his eyes, while Tara was barking orders as she tried her best to stop the bleeding in Clay's chest.
The next thing Addison knew, she was being pushed into an ambulance with Gemma and Tara, on their way to the hospital. She felt removed from her body as she watched the paramedics work on Clay. She felt as if she were wrapped in a numbing blanket of fear and panic. She didn't hear the questions the paramedics asked, or Tara and Gemma's answers. She only heard sirens, and the distant rumble of Harleys.
Once they arrived at the hospital, Addison watched as Tara and other doctors rushed Clay away on his gurney. A nurse ushered Gemma and her to a waiting and as Addison sat down with Gemma, she saw the other Sons start to fill into the hospital. She looked back at Gemma to see her shaking from head to toe. Tig came over and spoke to Gemma in a soft calming voice. Addison overhead him say that Stone and the other Nomads stayed behind with Piney, Juice and Kip to regroup. She watched as Gemma nodded and started to calm down as Tig reassured her that Clay would be fine.
So here she was, for the past two hours, waiting to hear Clay's fate. Addison wasn't really a religious person. Growing up the way she did, with what her father did, and where she lived didn't exactly lend to weekly church attendance. But right now, all she could do was pray to whoever was listening that her uncle survives this. She hoped against hope that the powers that he did not make Tig a liar. For right now, hope was all she had.
Red. Or was it crimson? Was it ruby? Why the hell were there so many ways to describe the color of blood? These were the thoughts racing through Juice's mind as he sat at a table staring at the still sticky wet blood covering his hands. This was not the first time Juice had seen blood, or even had blood on his hands, but this was different – very different. This was not the blood of an enemy, a rival, or even a stranger. This was the blood of family, but not just any family, for Juice's hands were covered with the blood of Clay Morrow, National President of the Sons of Anarchy.
Juice could still remember the feeling of dread when he saw Clay clutch his chest. Realizing something was terribly wrong, Juice grabbed Clay to help steady him. He had no idea what was happening. Almost in a flash, Hammer was at Clay's other side and started to carry Clay back to the clubhouse. As Juice started to follow, he looked down at his hands and that's when he saw it – blood. That image, that feeling, was one Juice would never forget.
Juice was pulled out of his memories when he felt a heavy hand land on his shoulder. "Hey man, why don't you go get cleaned up. We're gonna download in a few minutes." He turned around to see Stone, with a resigned look in his eyes.
Juice got up and replied, "yeah, it'll just take me few," and walked down the hallway to his dorm room. As he shut the door behind him, Juice leaned his head against the door. Taking a deep breath, Juice told himself to pull it together. This was not the time to fall apart. His brothers needed him. Clay needed him.
Making his way into the bathroom, he turned on the warm water and grabbed the bar of soap. As he watched the white soap turn pink when it touched the blood on his hands, Juice started to scrub his hands harder. Once the pink water had all gone down the drain and the soap was once again white, Juice turned the knob from warm to cold. After the steam of the drastic change in temperature subsided, Juice cupped his hands under the cold water and then leaned down to splash it over his face. Repeating the action a few more times, Juice finally turned off the water. With his face still wet, he stared into the mirror over the faucet. He just needed a moment to collect himself.
As his memories seized him again, Juice thought back to what happened earlier in the parking lot. He had received a call regarding a credit check he ordered and found that the brothers, the bastards who killed Quinn and were now after Addison, were actually closer than they had all thought. They had been renting a house just outside of Charming for the last few weeks. Juice had gone over to report this to Clay, but as he started to speak, he saw Clay grab his chest. He never heard a shot, didn't see anything. There were dozens of people in that parking lot, but he was standing right next to Clay. How did he not see anything?
Realizing he was taking hard shallow breaths and still staring at his wet face in the mirror, Juice shook his head hard as he dried off his face. He returned to his bedroom as he shrugged off his cut and pulled his blood stained shirt over his head. Replacing it with a clean one, Juice put his leather cut back on and grabbed his laptop to head back to the main room.
Walking in the main room, Juice saw Piney behind the bar, filling up a line of shot glasses. The older Son's weary face looked up at Juice as he said, "Stone's rounding up the others." Then he tossed back one of the shots. Juice nodded and sat his laptop down on the bar counter. He grabbed the shot that Piney slid over to him and tossed it back. As the burning feeling continued its way down his throat, Juice braced himself to focus on the task and ignore everything else. There was nothing any of them could do for Clay right now. That was up to Clay, the doctors, and God. The only thing any of them could do now was to find these fuckers and make them pay. And in order for the Sons to do that, they needed Juice, needed his intel. It was time to step up.
Soon the Nomads were all gathered inside the main room of the clubhouse. A few members from the other charters remained outside to keep guard. Juice sat at the bar, with his back to the counter, listening to Stone give everyone an update from the hospital. From what he could absorb, Clay was in surgery, so as far as he knew, the president was still alive. Juice focused back on the conversation when he heard Cooler ask, "And how the fuck are we supposed to do anything when we don't even know where these fuckers are?"
Without turning his head to look at Cooler, Juice spoke up, "They're here, in Charming. The fuckers are right under our noses." All of sudden the room was deathly quiet. Juice looked around the room as he continued. "I was about to tell Clay when…" Juice trailed off as he looked down at his hands. The blood may be gone, but his could still feel the warmth, still smell it, still taste the metallic tang on the tip of tongue.
He took another deep breath and looked back up. "A buddy of mine called about a credit check I asked him to run. Found out they've been renting a house just outside of town for the past few weeks."
For a few seconds no one spoke, then, Juice saw Stone sit up and look at him, "You got an address?"
Juice looked around the room; every pair of eyes was looking straight at him. It was as if the air in the room had been sucked out. The intensity of their stares was suffocating. Juice grabbed his laptop and pulled up a map on his monitor. He turned it around to show everyone, "yeah."
"Good. Print it out and give it to Twitch. Tell him everything you know." Stone turned around to Twitch and instructed, "I want you and Ax to go check it out. Play it smart." Stone finished as he nodded at Twitch.
"What about the rest of us?" Bull asked. Juice looked over to see Bull sitting near Cooler. He didn't know much about the Nomad, but from the way he was shaking his leg and flexing his shoulders, Juice knew that he didn't want to wait for an update. He wanted blood.
"The rest of us," Stone replied, "are going to load up and get ready. As much as I would love to just go in and kill the fuckers, we need to know what the hell is going on. We need to know why they're doing this and who else is involved. This isn't just about retaliation." Stone paused and looked at every Son in the room. When it looked like he had everyone's attention, he continued. "We go in, grab them and get out. They we take them to a safe spot and start getting some answers."
"There's some good spots up near the cabin." Piney spoke up from behind bar as he poured another round of shots. "You can take them up there and wait for the others. It outside of Charming, in the woods, secluded. No one around for miles. No one to hear the screams." Piney finished as he grabbed a shot and tossed it back.
"Everyone agree?" Stone asked as he looked around. He received some reluctant nods, but everyone agreed. Juice looked over to the closed church doors. No one wanted to see the head chair of that redwood table empty. There was no time to waste.
Authors Notes: Once again, we hope that you enjoyed this new chapter, and would love to know what you thought, so please feel free to review.