Chapter: 5

Written by: Traciaknows

Rating for Chapter: T

Main Characters: Jax Teller/Tara Knowles

A/N: This chapter has not been betaed. Any and all mistakes are mine.

I'm embarrassed by how long it has taken me to write so very little. I had no idea how painful the process of writing could be. Thank you so much for your thoughtful praise and encouragement. I completely appreciate you all very much. Hopefully, it won't take so long to update next time.

Disclaimer: This is a work of fan fiction. No copyright infringement is intended.

Jax felt Tara tense slightly under the scrutiny of his mother's stare. He knew that Gemma, regal as any queen, could cull any man, woman, or demon spawn in her path with a few well placed words or when pushed, a mean right hook. He had seen it happen before, so his respect for Tara's gumption only increased as he watched Tara's chin came up ever so slightly as she gave a small smile to his mother and said in an even, if hesitant, "Hello."

Gemma's eyes, which had been warm and worried with him a split second ago, were now noticeably cooler as she looked Tara up and down. His mother's mouth set in a slightly disapproving line as she took in his arm wrapped fairly tightly around Tara. He was hurt, not dead, and it was impossible for him not to notice the slender curves of her hidden under all that fabric she was covered up in.

"You seem to be bleeding," Gemma replied bluntly, her eyes narrowing just enough for Jax to hold his breath for a moment.

Tara nodded, and then looked up at him with concern, not for herself he noted, but all for him, before looking back at Gemma, "Jax took the brunt of it, I think he's worse than me."

"Did you cause this?" Gemma's eyes were now positively lethal, causing him to splay his fingers around Tara's waist and pull her just a bit closer to him. If there was anything in this world that his mother had little patience for was any type of disrespect, real or imagined, especially when she thought her family had been harmed in some way. Jax didn't know what it was, but there was something about Tara that made him feel so instinctively protective of her, but he went with it. Sometimes things didn't have to make sense.

"It was an accident" Tara said, her face calm and her tone even, but he felt her tense even more. Her hand that had somehow found its way under his leather, gripped at his side. Definitely, one hell of a poker player, he thought as he rubbed his thumb across her waist slowly in response.

Gemma's posture also grew more rigid, her tone more menacing, "Oh, really?"

Jax knew he had about ten more seconds to defuse his mother, not to mention the fact that he was actually starting to get concerned about his arm starting to go a little numb, "Mom, it was my fault. The whole thing, I swear. I think my arm is broken- it's not feeling so hot."

Immediately, Gemma's attention snapped back to him and his arm that he yet again cradled close to his chest. The swelling and bruising even more pronounced against the white of his t-shirt. Her expression changed back to motherly concern, but not before he caught the fear that lingered.

His relationship with his mother had only gotten closer after the death of his brother and his dad and even though she had remarried the most powerful man in their world, he knew on a very primitive level, that his mother kept him solidly at the center of her universe. If anything were to truly happen to him, she wouldn't survive it. Gemma's her scorch the earth mentality to those who she felt were a threat also came with a great responsibility for those who loved her in return. Tara hadn't done anything, but that didn't mean she wouldn't have to face Gemma's wrath again. He'd have to be careful to ensure that Gemma didn't completely frighten her off.

Jax gave Gemma a disarming smile, "Think we can catch a ride to the hospital?"

Gemma's indulgent look spoke volumes, and he knew at least for the time being, they were in the clear, "I suppose. You sure as hell aren't going anywhere on that bike. Jesus Christ, Jax. You never do anything half way do you?"

"Is now a good time to tell you I had detention today?"

Gemma let out a sigh, before shaking her head and giving him another smile, "asshole," she small chuckle before saying, "wait here a minute, I'll get the car."

They watched Gemma walk away, calling out to the men who quickly moved to do her bidding. Jax made eye contact with his stepfather long enough to see the nod and the older man move to embrace his mother. This was still something he was trying to get used to, and while not completely distasteful, he was glad for the distraction that Tara gave him as she let out a small breath.

"So, you met my mom," he said good-naturedly.

Tara let out a small laugh and turned to look up at him again. Her eyes held humor as she gave him a wry smile, He felt the pull again that he had earlier, and without a doubt he wanted to hear her laugh again.

"It went well I think, don't you?"

He grinned at her, "oh, definitely."

Looking around them at the bikes, her father's smashed car, the broken glass, the tow truck, and now police car with it's lights flashing, she gave him another smile, "You sure know how to show a girl a good time Teller."

"Just wait till our second date," he said with a wink.

Tara's soft laugh burst out making him feel triumphant, "try not to let it include stitches next time ok?"

"No promises babe," he said as Gemma's car pulled up close to them and came to a stop.

Jumping out of the car, his mother came purposely around and opened the door and pulling up the passenger-side seat. With a huff and a well? gesture to Tara, she moved to support him so Tara could climb inside the sports car. His thumb took one more swipe against her flannel covered waist and he be dammed if she didn't lean into him by just a fraction before moving away quickly and getting into the backseat.

As several of the bikes roared to life around them, Gemma helped him in. It made sense that they would have an escort of sorts. Gemma would want Clay there with her at the hospital. Jax knew she didn't like it any more than he did. He turned some to look at Tara as Gemma shut the door and came around. Her eyes were closed and she was leaning back against the headrest. Concern filled him, as he thought about she may really have a concussion. Tara's eyes snapped open as Gemma opened her door and got in. He felt stupid, but wished there was some way that they could have sat together, but given the small confines of the car, that just wasn't possible.

Gemma reached over to the floorboard by his leg and yanked up her purse. After a few moments of riffling through it, she pulled out a ziplock bag filled with tissues.

"Here," she said as she passed the bag to Tara, "press that to your scalp."

"Thank you," Tara accepted them and started to do just that.

"Well, can't have you bleeding all over the place can I?" Gemma stated matter-of-factly as she put the car in gear and pulled onto the road to the hospital.

. . .