I own nothing you recognize. Only original characters and storylines are my own.
Milla was rocking a sleeping Espy when the door rang. She looked helplessly at her baby then the door but wound up shifting Espy into a comfortable position. As she looked through the keyhole she smiled. She'd extended an invitation and she was so glad he accepted.
"Hey Bro." She greeted as she answered the door and Jax smiled as he stepped into the house and ran a loving hand over his niece's head.
"Hey, just putting her down for her nap?" He asked and Milla nodded, but a sudden dip in her left arm caused her to grimace. "Want me to take her?"
"That would be great. The arm still gives me fits every once in awhile." She explained and he gently lifted Espy from her arms and walked to the hallway as Milla followed him. She watched as Jax went to Espy's room and let himself in and smiled to herself as Espy fussed a bit at being set down.
"It's ok darlin', Uncle Jax's got you. Just sleep sweetheart." He said quietly and once she settled down he leaned forward and kissed her head before he got up and turned to his sister. "You both look good. Where're Ellie and Kenny?"
"They're with Lyla and Piper. She wanted to spend some time with them before the move." Milla said as she led Jax out of the room and down the stairs to the kitchen where he sat and she got him a cup of coffee.
"You two good now?" He asked, fully aware that there was a time when Milla wanted to kill Lyla for abandoning her godbabies.
"It's sad that it took Opie's death but she and I are good now. We'll never be as close as we were but we've worked through our shit. We managed to talk it out after the wake. Onto another topic...thank you so much for everything Jax. I know how hard it's going to be to lose him but we've gotta do this together." Milla explained and Jax nodded.
"Yeah, it's gonna be hard but Phil will do a good job. We wouldn't have voted for the transfer if we weren't sure it was the right thing to do. He needs you and you need out. There was no other choice." Jax explained and Milla nodded.
"You know I'm not cutting you out of our lives, right?" Milla asked and Jax smiled at her and nodded.
"I know, you'll come to visit and bring the kids. What are you gonna do about Gemma and Clay?" He asked and Milla fidgeted a bit.
"Well, Ma's free to come if she's sober but I haven't talked to Dad yet. I'm just so damned mad at him Jax! I thought getting shot and losing everything would make him remorseful, make him see the error of his ways but I was wrong. He's turned even more manipulative and secretive and I just know he has something planned, something that involves my husband. I know I'm just an old lady Jax but I need to let this out." She told him quickly and he nodded.
"I've got the same feelin', Juice let anything slip...maybe pillow talk?" He asked and Milla took a deep breath.
"Juice's pretty secretive too but last night he told me about going to the Wahewa land with Dad. I thought you had that arrangement on ice after the Russian thing?" Milla asked unobtrusively and Jax just gave her a look. "Sorry, but you know he's all in with me. No lies, no secrets."
"Yeah, I know, I just don't like the target it puts on your back. I don't wanna lose you too. You know I love you, right?" He asked and Milla nodded.
"Yes and I love you too. That's why I'm telling you what I know since I'm sure Juice is doing stupid shit out of misplaced loyalty to my Father. I'm at a loss here Jax." Milla said and Jax got out of his chair and pulled up the one closest to Milla and sat before he took her hands in his.
"Just focus on the kids and gettin' out of here. I'll find out what Juice and Clay are doin; and make sure you guys get out. Juice isn't stupid, just stupidly loyal. He shouldn't be punished for that." He leaned forward and kissed Milla's head. "I've gotta go Millipede, Club shit but remember that I love you and Espy and I want your family to start over. You deserve something going right for once."
"Thank you Jax." Milla said quietly before she stood and walked him out the door. Once it was closed she fell back against it with a sigh. She hoped she hadn't said anything that would end up hurting Juice, she'd die without him.
"Shit, what do you have in here Clay?" Juice asked as he carried an extremely heavy box out of the storage building. They'd gone to this facility on the Wahewa land several times during the last week and Juice was starting to wonder what all this shit was. He was also wondering if he should tell Jax, cover his ass before the move.
"Just some gift from a grateful Chief." Clay said as a smile stretched his face. This would be glreat. Once the contents of those boxes were discovered he'd have his revenge and Juice would be his patsy. It would be great to see Jax ousted from the head of the table and Clay would happily take it over, in the interim of course, as the Club scrambled to find his successor. All while Jax and Juice would be sent off with their tats inked out or with a bullet to the back of their heads.. It would be great and he'd be able to comfort Gemma as she grieved for Jax and fell apart over the destruction of her daughter's life. Clay felt a tinge of something like guilt in his gut as he thought about what would happen, but he pushed it aside like he always did. Milla's happiness would just be collateral damage and he'd be there to be her rock. He'd remind her why she was always a daddy's girl.
"Mind if I cut this one open? I heard somethin' rattling and I don't want anything broken." Juice lied convincingly. He was extremely suspicious of the smile on Clay's face and wanted to see just what he was dealing with. Juice may have trusted Clay implicitly at one point but lately the vibes he was getting from the older man were anything but good and he wanted to know just what he'd gotten himself into.
"Don't worry about it Juicy, if anything's broken I'll just chalk it up to bad luck. It would be rude to turn up your nose at a gift." Clay said and Juice just nodded before he put the box with the others then went into the unit to get the last box. As he entered he saw something shining in the corner and when Clay's back was turned he walked up to it and pocketed it before he picked up the last, extremely heavy, box and shut the back of the van, then closed the storage unit again.
"It's done Clay, you wanna head out? Milla's home today, I bet she could make us some lunch." Juice offered casually. He wanted to go home to examine what he found while Milla kept Clay occupied, it seemed like the best bet all around.
"Sounds good Juicy, I haven't seen Milla since before the vote." He said and Juice nodded then got in the van and ran a hand over his head. He had a feeling that what he'd just found wasn't good and he needed the proof before he went to his Pres. Jax was the only one who could save him now.
""Went by the Ortiz place today. It looks like something big's happening. One of the Club members was taking down their swing set and the wife was potting up some plants from her garden. There was also a pile of boxes by the door. My educated guess is that they're moving." The officer told Sheriff Roosevelt as the other man looked at him with emotionless eyes. What he'd heard didn't sound good. He needed Ortiz to feed him intel, to work on the inside. If he was planning to move without telling Roosevelt he had another thing coming.
"You see Ortiz, call him in. He needs to do another piss test." He ordered the officer who nodded and went out the door while Roosevelt steepled his fingers. Ortiz had better have a good reason for this shit, a damn good reason.
"You sure you've had enough chili Dad?" Milla asked as she waited to give her father something more to eat, hopefully to distract him from talking to her and asking awkward questions.
"Yeah Angel, it was as good as always. How's the moving goin'?" He asked, not missing Milla's cringe and smiled. She felt guilty and that was good, it would only work in his favor at the end.
"Better than expected. Rat and V-Lin took down the swing set today and helped me pot up most of my garden to bring to Ma's. She'll take care of the plants until a few can be transported. I've already got everything in the attic labeled and ready to go and Juice has most of his office packed up. The only difficulty will be packing up the kids. They seem to need everything and complain if I pack anything. Except for Espy who just grabs her toys and refuses to hand them over." She smiled as she thought about her daughter and Clay smiled too.
"What're you gonna do about Espy in this new town while you go to work? Neeta movin' with ya?" He asked, trying to unsettle her, catch her unprepared and throw her off balance.
"Bruce's wife, Cynthia, she runs a daycare and Espy's already signed up. They only live a block away so it won't be a hassle and they're Club-affiliated so we know we can trust them. She'll also take Ellie and Kenny after school for a few hours so it works out well for us." She told him and he didn't miss the gleam in her eye. It was a look he'd seen in Gemma's a million times it was a challenge and he knew better than to accept it.
"Where'd Juicy go? He bolted that chili then disappeared. Things alright here?" He asked as he was genuinely curious about Juice's whereabouts. The boy had been acting strangely, well stranger than usual, since they left the storage unit and he wanted to know what was up.
"He said something about needing to change. He's probably showering, you know how he is about the smell of gas in our house." Milla explained and Clay nodded. The idiot was anal about his house and gas was on the list of substances that couldn't taint his home and no one was a bigger supporter of that rule than Juice himself.
"While we wait tell me about this new house of yours. I wanna know where my Angel's gonna be living." He requested and Milla dished herself another bowl of chili. She was eating for two and her baby liked to remind her of that fact. Also, eating allowed her to pause and stop talking if things got even more awkward than they already were.
As Clay and Milla chatted in the kitchen and Espy napped down the hall Juice was looking over what he'd discovered. On first glance it looked like nothing, just a small scrap of metal but when he put on his magnifying goggles and headlamp he saw what looked like Chinese characters. They weren't the kitschy symbols used on tourist crap, no these were the real deal and Juice had seen them before. He'd seen them at Lin's restaurant and knew that he and his men shared tats of the same symbol. He still didn't know what the piece of metal was but it was a start.
He took off his goggles and lamp and quietly left his office but rather than walking down the hall he moved further into the house and went into the spare bedroom that Ellie had taken as her own. Being careful not to upset her things or make too much noise he opened her window and carefully lowered himself out of it and onto the ground. Once that was done he moved stealthily to the van and opened the driver's side door with as much care as he could then got inside. He went to the back and, taking his knife from its sheath, he cut open the box that he had the best access to. What he saw caused his eyes to widen and his throat to convulse. In the box there were plates in fifty, twenty, ten and five dollar denominations and parts of a printing machine. Moving quickly he opened another box and it was filled with sheets of bills. Finally he looked around and noticed a small box lodged under the passenger's seat. He took it out and opened it and what he saw caused his breath to quicken. In it were surveillance pictures of Juice and Jax talking on the lot at T-M, they didn't look good and what looked even worse was the picture of Juice leaving Lin's restaurant. His mind began working overtime as he thought about what this all meant and suddenly he knew. Once he put the box back and arranged everything as it had been Juice took out his cell and made a call. For once he was going to take control of his life and do the right thing.
"Jax, we got a problem." He looked down at the box under the passenger's seat again and grimaced. "A big problem."
After lunch Juice decided to take Clay home and unload the boxes. He'd already taken a plate and some cash to use as evidence and had snapped some pictures of the box of documents and pictures with his phone. Once Clay was home he was Juice was going back to the Clubhouse, he had a meeting with his President that couldn't be missed.
"Somethin' up with you Juicy? Since we left the house you seem distracted. Somethin' goin' on between you and Milla?" Clay asked and Juice shook his head.
"Nah, I'm just makin' lists in my head, figurin' out what to pack and what to leave with Phil. I have no doubt he can make due with what's in the clubhouse but he should have access to the good shit. Besides, the less tech shit I pack the less time it'll take. Especially since Phil and Chantal will be movin' in soon." He told him, only lying a little. He really had been doing that, but most importantly it was something believable.
"Just take everything with ya. When you started out you had nothin, it made ya creative, give Phil the same chance to learn." Clay recommended and Juice actually smiled at that. It would be good to teach Phil some self reliance and test his ingenuity but, at the same time, he liked the guy and wanted him to have what he needed. It would also result in less frequent trips to Charming in the long run.
"I have to work it out, see which option's the best." Juice said and it was the last thing out of his mouth until he pulled into Clay's driveway. Once there he backed up to the garage and unloaded the boxes while Clay went into the house. After everything was in its place he went to the house and walked in and saw Clay on his cell. His face looked serious and it was obvious that the call had his full concentration so Juice hung back and listened for a second.
"I got the shipment, it's been hauled to the agreed upon location. You ready for the rest of your bargain? Good, call me back when it's goin down." As Clay hung up Juice went back to the door and scraped his feet as he closed it behind him and Clay came out of the kitchen and just looked at Juice. "Everything done?"
"Yeah, I got a text from Jax. He needs me at the clubhouse. You good here?" Juice asked in a voice that he hoped was steady and Clay nodded.
"Go on Juicy, I'll call ya if I need ya." Clay told him and Juice nodded before he went to the door and opened it.
"Ok, talk to ya later Clay." Juice said as he went outside and Clay moved to the window to watch his son in law leave. He seemed nervous and fidgety and it set off something in Clay's mind. He'd have to keep a close eye on the boy, he didn't want his plan's to go up in smoke before Jax did.
Jax stood next to his bike and watched the van pull into the lot. He could tell from the way it was being driven that Juice was nervous about something and the phone call Jax had received was foreboding enough. When Juice got out of the van Jax walked up to his brother in law and jerked his head toward the clubhouse while Juice nodded and followed behind. As soon as the door closed behind them they went to the Chapel and Jax closed the door behind them and took his seat at the head while Juice placed the bag he'd stashed the plate and cash in on the table.
"It's in there, the shit I found." Juice explained and Jax opened the bag and his eyes widened subtly.
"This is Lin's shit. I recognize the detail on the plate." Jax said as he picked up the plate Juice had taken and Juice nodded.
"There are boxes of this shit. I've taken Clay to the Wahewa land three days and each time I load these kind of boxes into the back. I'd say there's probably a cool mil. What worries me more is the box of docs. Here's what I found in it." He told Jax before he handed over his cell and Jax scrolled through the pictures.
"Jesus Christ, the Club would hang us if they saw this shit. What were you doin' at Lin's?" Jax asked and Juice shrugged.
"Milla's cravings are startin' to get bad and his place was the only one I knew that had dragon rolls available for takeout. Seriously, I just went there to get the family dinner." Juice explained and Jax nodded. Now that Juice had the chance to play doting daddy and devoted husband he would.
"Ok, can Milla corroborate that?" Jax asked and Juice nodded. "Good, she may not be a patch but her word carries weight at this table. What's your take on this?"
"Simple, Clay's makin' deals behind the Club's back and settin' us up to take the fall." Juice explained simply and Jax nodded.
"I came to the same conclusion. We need to bring the others in on this, handle it as a Club." Jax told him and Juice nodded.
"You got it Pres." Juice told him and in that second Jax had no question about where Juice's loyalty lay.
"Go back to Clay's, just check in, show you care. We want him thinkin' we're not wise to his shit while we work out a plan." Jax told Juice who nodded and stood but before he could leave Jax stopped him.
"You did good Juicy, showed that your head's in the right place." Jax complimented him and Juice nodded.
"This Club and my family mean everything to me. I'll be damned if a bitter old man takes that from me.' Juice said before he walked out and Jax looked on, impressed. It looked like a switch had been flipped in Juice's head and Jax was glad. He needed to be strong for what was to come.