I was supposed to add this in as a footnote in the last chapter, just so you know what time of year it is. It is around March of Tara's sophmore year in college.
There was a slight chill in the air, unseasonably cold for late March. I ran my hands up and down the thin gray sweater covering my arms in an attempt to fight off the chill. I was standing beside my new navy blue Ford Edge in the parking lot of a bridal shop in a town just a few miles from Charming. Gemma was meeting me here so we could look at a few wedding dresses we saw on their website.
The tan Escalade pulled into the lot and Gemma slid out. She had a manilla envelope full of print outs of wedding dresses. She nodded her acknowledgement and smiled slightly behind her sunglasses, but never stopped her stride toward the shop. I fell into step behind her.
A short, thin bleached blonde was standing in the entryway of the store. She was dressed in an all black pants suit. A smile spread across her cute face when the bells hanging above the door announced mine and Gemma's arrival.
"Hi, I'm Desiree. Welcome to Fairytale Bride's Boutique. Are you Tara and Gemma?"
I nodded. "I'm Tara. This is Gemma," I answered, gesturing toward the older woman at my side.
Desiree's eyes widened slightly as she took in Gemma's leather clad body. Her gaze lingered a little while on the crow tattoo peeking out from under Gemma's lace camisole. Despite the distance between the small shop and Charming it was possible that Desiree knew all about SAMCRO. The Sons were pretty well known in the area. If she was frightened, she didn't let on or drop her professionalism.
"I'll be your sales associate today," She explained and led us to a sitting area in the back. She sat down and pulled a binder out from under her chair and onto her lap.
An hour into our meeting, Desiree had set me up in a dressing room. Gemma was waiting outside in one of the chairs that faced the small platform where I modeled the dresses I tried on. The clothes rack in the dressing room was packed with seven discarded dresses. They all looked beautiful on paper, but when I tried them on they weren't the "one".
Desiree had fled the room a few minutes ago after promising she had the perfect dress for me to wear. I stared at myself in the mirror. I was wearing only a thin satin slip, the white fabric made my dark hair and pale skin intensify. I was distracted when Desiree came in cradling a garment bag to her chest. I watched carefully as she hung it up on the mirror, then unzipped the bag, revealing the dress inside.
I gasped audibly and my hand flew up to cover my mouth. "Desiree," I blinked slowly. "It's beautiful." Before I even put the dress on I knew it was the perfect one.
When I moved to stand on the platform so Gemma could see the dress I heard her gasp as well. I could heard her and Desiree murmuring about how beautiful the dress was, but it was all background noise. I was starting at myself in the 360 degree mirrors before me. My hands repeatedly smoothed the fabric over my thighs.
The dress was a floor length, a-line gown, made entirely of lace. It's straps were an inch wide. A deep v-neckline revealed a sexy, but elegant amount of cleavage. There was an intricately beaded, inch and a half thick, gray belt cinching my fabric around my waist.
Images of myself standing at the beginning of an aisle in this dress filled my mind. I pictured Jax waiting at the end next to the judge. This was the dress I was going to get married in and judging from the excited claps and woos from behind me, Desiree and Gemma agreed.
After our long day at the dress shop, Gemma and I loaded the dress into the back of her Escalade and said goodbye. I had to make it to class and she needed to hide the dress before Jax could sneak a peek.
I had Anatomy class today, which was my favorite subject. My professor made me dread the class though. He was nearly seventy, but refused to retire despite the college's attempts to persuade him. Everything he did was old fashioned. Most of his teaching techniques were tired. The worst part was the massive amount of homework he assigned every class.
Tonight was no different. By the time I trudged through the door of mine and Jax's house I was exhausted and hauling a messenger back filled with a week's worth of homework. I sighed and dropped the bag in the foyer. Nita smiled at me from the kitchen table. She closed the book she was reading and grabbed the bag by her feet.
"Thanks, Nita," I smiled and held the door open for her. "I'll see you tomorrow."
I slumped at the kitchen table and opened all of my Anatomy text books. Then I began vigorously scratching the answers across the pages. Then I opened my laptop and began to type the paper I that was due via email by tomorrow night. It took me hours to even complete half of the workload. The clock over the microwave read eleven o'clock. With a long, exhausted sigh I slammed my textbooks closed and padded off to get ready for bed.
"Tara," A familiar voice whispered in my ear. The scruffy hair of a mustache and beard scratched at my ear. My eyes slowly blinked open, taking in our bedroom. The outside world beyond the window was still dark. There was no sign of a rising sun, yet. "It's still early, Babe. I gotta go. We have that run to Arizona."
I had gotten caught up in all the stress of the last few days. Between my classes and wedding plans. The run had completely slipped my mind. I turned to look at him and nodded. The mixture between the early hour and the sadness took my tongue.
He slipped off the bed and padded barefoot and bare chest into the bathroom. I watched him for a moment before pushing back the sheets and following him. He was standing in front of the sink, brushing his teeth when I found him. His smooth skin, sculpted abs, and rigid jaw were so inviting. I didn't want to lose him for five days.
In one swift motion, I pressed my feet against the cold tile and wrapped my arms around his waist, drawing his body to mine. With careful movements I pressed my lips against the soft skin of his shoulder. He leaned forward and spit the toothpaste into the sink, then wiped his mouth on the hand towel hanging next to the mirror before turning around and taking me into his arms.
After Jax and I said goodbye in the doorway. I went into the kitchen and watched from the window until the lights of his motorcycle were no longer visible. Then I retreated to Abel's bedroom and stood over his crib watching him sleep. I thought about going back to bed, but knew that I would never be able to sleep in an empty bed. I fell onto the daybed in the corner of the nursery and stayed up until fitful cries broke the silence.
Taking care of Abel on my own was proving to be difficult. I was so thankful that Jax hadn't run the other way when I announced my pregnancy back in Massachusetts. Being a single mother was not a walk in the park. Especially when you were juggling college classes and wedding planning.
I was sitting at mine and Jax's kitchen table. Abel was seated in my lap while I held a bottle in his mouth. My classwork was spread out in front of me. I was trying to spread my concentration between scratching the answers and notes in my binder and feeding Abel. The pounding headache throbbing at my temples was making both tasks difficult.
"Knock, knock," Gemma said as she slipped through the front door.
I smiled at her as she made her way into the kitchen. Her arms were full of binders and wedding magazines. I knew what she was here for. I slammed my textbook closed and slid it out of the way, clearing a place for Gemma's wedding things. She took a seat across from me and started blabbering about different ideas she had.
It was hard to think straight with the massive headache I was experiencing, but I was trying. Gemma slid a few brochures over to my side of the table and started gabbing about the venues she visited today. She had a few in mind and a list of prices in one of her binders.
My head was foggy and suddenly my body felt weak. I nodded along where it seemed necessary. Balancing Abel on my lap seemed to take all of my strength. The last thing I remember was Gemma droning on and on about the importance of centerpieces and the slight pressure of Abel's weight in my lap. Then the world went black. I lost all control of my muscles and my body went limp.
Harsh fluorescent lights hung overhead, waking me from the deep sleep I had slipped into. The steady beeping of the monitor beside my head was a reminder that my heart was still going. I rolled my head to the side and noticed that my body had become a map of chords and wires. I sucked in a breath and tried to pull them away from my skin.
"Easy, easy," A rough, familiar voice said from somewhere in the room. Then strong hands wrapped around my wrists, holding my arms in place against the mattress. Jax's strong jawline and long blonde hair swam into my vision. "You're alright, babe," He promised, leaning forward to press a kiss to my forehead.
A hundred questions swam through my mind, but I picked one and asked. "What happened?" My brows pulled together as I looked up at my fiance.
"The doctor said you were exhausted and dehydrated. You need to stay here for a few days. Get some rest," He explained. With one gentle motion he swept me to the side and scooted his way into the bed next to me.
I started to get up, I was shaking my head. There was no way I could stay in this hospital for a few days. My schedule was too busy. "I can't stay here! I have to go!"
Jax gently pressed me back to the mattress. He kissed me on the mouth and chuckled slightly. "No, Tara," He sat up, so he could look me in the eye. "That's what got you in here."
I let out a huff and crossed my arms over my chest. Jax laughed again and leaned back against the pillows on the bed. I turned to face him and cuddled up, resting my head against his chest. When his strong arms tightened around my waist I let myself relax and my eyes slipped closed.
When I woke up a few hours later Gemma was standing in the middle of the room and I was still wrapped in Jax's arms. The TV overhead was playing some cartoon. A cat and dog were running around chasing each other. I laughed lightly and hit Jax playfully. Gemma smiled, taking in our moment of play. Then she lifted up her hand, waving a white envelope in her hand. She handed them to me and I looked at her with a confused glare.
"What-" My brows pulled together, but she just shook her head.
"Just open it, sweetheart."
I slid my finger under the paper flap and opened the envelope. Inside were two more slips of paper. When I pulled them out I gasped and read over the small slips three times before my face cracked into a huge smile.
"Florida?" I asked, looking down at the airline tickets.
Gemma nodded and Jax looked at me with a knowing smile. He was in on this, too.
"You need to rest and Jax needs to get far away from the club. So it can't pull him back in while he's trying to help you get better," She walked around the side of the bed and grabbed my hand. "It's just a week, honey. I'll take Abel. You two can get away."
I was speechless. This sounded perfect. A week alone with Jax. I nodded. "Thank you."
I hope you enjoy the chapter! Hopefully the next one will be up within a few days! Leave reviews and let me know what you think!