I stood at the podium, the white sheet of paper lay in front of me. My eyes skimmed the black words typed across it. It was familiar I had written it, then reread it a hundred times, but this time was different. It would be the last time I read it. "As Charming High's valedictorian..." I started, then scanned the crowd.
Among the rows of parents, who were snapping pictures or grandmothers with tears in their eyes sat Jax. Wearing his leather cut and my favorite crooked smirk on his face. His long blonde hair fell to his shoulders. It took everything I could not to run off the stage and into his lap. He had been running guns up the coast with the Nevada charter of Sons and I hadn't seen him in days. I focused again on the speech and continued.
"I have to say that these last four years together have been great, but Charming High has given us the tools we need to move on in this world. To go to college and make something of our lives. I hope that in ten years when we come back for a reunion that everyone of us is successful and happy, because we all deserve it. We've had our time. Where we've made mistakes and have triumphed, but our time's not over, yet..."
"So, now fellow graduates can we all stand and sing our alma mater to honor the school that has brought us together and has helped us map out the plan for the rest of our lives," I finished and cleared my throat. Then my classmates behind me stood as the opening hymn to our school song crackled over the speakers. My eyes never left Jax's as I mouthed the familiar words.
A shower of black graduation caps rained down on me as I stood on the back steps of Charming High. Once again I scanned the crowd, waiting in the parking lot. It was like a mob, broken up into small clusters. Each of them wearing a smile, some holding tissues to wipe away their tears of joy. I searched the crowd, but in my head I knew my father wouldn't be there. Since my mother's passing, it was hard to find him outside of a bar. So, instead I let my eyes drift to the row of cars on the opposite side of the parking lot. Among them was a familiar Harley. Jax leaned against it, a cigarette hung out of his mouth. When I caught his eye, he flashed my favorite smirk.
I took the concrete steps two at a time, then listened for the soft click-clack of my heels against the pavement. When I reached him, I threw my arms around his neck and my legs wrapped easily around his waist. Our lips moved together at record speed.
"Congratulations, darlin'," He whispered. His lips brushing against my ear. The hair on the back of my neck stood up at his touch. We'd been together for years, but his touch still made me hot and heavy.
"How was the run?" I asked, burying my face in the hollow of his shoulder. I breathed in the familiar scent of cigarette smoke and motorcycle exhaust and I was home.
"Eh, long. We didn't get into any trouble, though," He commented and kissed my cheek. "I missed you."
"I missed you, too," I answered, tightening my arms around his neck. Carefully, he pried me from his body and helped me down.
"Gemma's got a party set up for you back at the club house."
Gemma throwing me a party? "Oh, she didn't have to," I said, cocking my head to the side. What I really meant was Gemma? Really?
"It's her way of saying sorry. For all the shit she's put you through in the last few years."
I took my helmet from his bike and strapped it under my chin, feeling the stares from my classmates and their families, but I didn't even turn around. I'd gotten used to the staring and the constant whispers when I walked by. The gawking and gossiping came with dating a Son.
"Come on, darlin'," Jax said. He was already seated on the motorcycle. I took my place behind him, wrapping my arms around his waist and digging my face into his shoulder, gently pressing my cheek against the soft, worn leather of his cut.
"Congrats, future doc," Chibs said in his Scottish brogue. He engulfed me in a hug, once I was off Jax's bike.
"Thanks," I answered. Then I was tossed from one club member to the other. Each shouting their congratulations and clapping me on the back. It was awhile, before I was in Jax's arms again.
I leaned into his chest as we sprawled out on one of the couches in the clubhouse. He drew patterns on my arms with his fingers. I heard the click-clacking of heels against the floor and looked up to find Gemma heading our way. Her face pinched and uptight as usual. Her long black hair was draped over her shoulders.
"Congratulations," She said coldly. I nodded and pulled myself upright.
"Thanks," I mumbled, uncomfortably. She stared down at the two of us for several moments, then gestured to the bar behind her.
"The food's ready," She said. Several members of the club were already gathered around the bar, plates in hand. I smiled and let Jax pull me to my feet. He went off to the bar, but I stayed behind with Gemma.
"Thank you..." I said, gesturing to the clubhouse. "For doing this. I know you don't like me that much. So it means a lot."
Gemma's jaw tightened and she crossed her arms across her chest defiantly. She was a woman you wouldn't want to mess with. She was ruthless and smart. Her family was the club and she didn't let any outside forces tear them apart. "I like you, honey." She answered. "I like you, because you make Jax happy, but Jax is blind. He just sees you as a hot piece of ass with a good personality. He doesn't realize that you're not strong enough for this." She moved her arms around the open space. I knew what she meant. She didn't think I could handle club business when it got bloody. "You're smart, Tara. You're gonna be a doctor." She took a step closer and lowered her voice, making sure her words didn't travel. "Jax will never leave you. It would hurt him, too much. But if you ever got hurt, because of the club. He would never forgive himself." She shook her head. "And I can't let my son get hurt that way. So, be the smart woman you are and leave him. Pack your bags, go to college, go to medical school, do your residency, get out of here. Get out of Charming and don't come back."
I took a step back. Her words stung. The reason she didn't like me was, because Jax loved me so much that it could end up hurting him? She really was more twisted than I thought. "I'm not going anywhere," I hissed through clenched teeth. "And if I do leave. It's not going to be without Jax."
My first Sons fic. I hope you like it. Look out for more chapters!