FYI: I think some people may have taken the wrong idea when I decided to toss up the picture of a school librarian and a female. I am not
re-creating the Scoobies out of SOA characters. That is not
happening. I did not even realize the parallel until it got pointed out several times - d'oh.
Joyce and Buffy
Jax and Opie were silent as they glanced around their gym class that afternoon.
“She’s not here,” Opie stated with just a hint of aggression in his tone.
“I’m sure she’s fine,” Jax huffed, but his eyes flashed with guilt.
Since Jax went off on Buffy, Opie had ignored him the rest of the day. As far as Opie was concerned, what Jax did was not
cool. At all. And the sight of Buffy crying…it made Opie feel awful. He wanted to make her feel better.
“You shouldn’t have said that to her,” Opie said, and not for the first time. “That was mean.”
“Yeah, well, I was mad, bro! I mean…” Jax shrugged. “All of a sudden Joyce and Buffy roll into town and I have a new cousin. And I try to make her feel at home and just when she’s starting to feel like family, she talks about how she can’t wait to ditch us. Family don’t ditch each other. They don’t just leave.” His eyes glowed with pain, and Opie figured that his best friend was thinking about his dad. Little over a year had passed since John Teller had died in a motorcycle accident and Jax still wasn’t quite the same. Family had taken on a new level of importance with him.
“Lay off,” Opie warned. “She just misses her dad. It’s not easy living away from one parent.”
Jax lowered his head at Opie’s words. “Hey man, don’t think about your mom. She couldn’t handle the Club, couldn’t handle your dad—”
“-couldn’t handle me
, Jax. She said I’d grow up into a loser biker just like Piney.” Opie sighed. He didn’t like thinking about his mom, even though it helped him kind of understand what Buffy must feel like. “Anyways, we’re not talking about me.”
The gym teacher blew the whistle and began breaking them into basketball teams.
“I’m going to ditch,” Opie decided.
“Dude…I mean, I know you like her, but she probably doesn’t want to be bothered.”
“It’s not about me liking her, Jax. She just needs a friend.”
Jax sighed. “Alright man, I’ll cover for you.”
Opie nodded and started to sneak out to the locker room door.
A vulnerable expression crossed his face. “Tell her I’m sorry, okay?”
“I got you, Jax.”
It was late September and the cloudy skies overhead made Buffy realize she wasn’t in SoCal anymore. That realization made thoughts darken and Buffy pulled her knees against her chest, rocking slowly. Wind rustled the branches of the tree she sat under, located on the edge of school grounds near the track field. She found herself hoping it would rain. That would be fitting.
Buffy had been reflecting there for a couple hours before a voice startled her out of her reverie.
Her shoulders tensed and she turned away from his voice.
Opie’s footsteps were tentative as he approached her. “We realized you weren’t in gym class. Do you…wanna talk?”
Buffy continued to stare at the ground silently. She didn’t want him to see her face. Without a doubt all her crying had destroyed her make-up and made her eyes all puffy. Plus, if she had to see someone else Buffy was afraid she would start crying again.
“Okay. Um. Well, we don’t have to talk. We can just hang out.” Opie sat a few feet away from her.
Just his presence made her start to cry again. For a moment Buffy had convinced herself that this was all a dream, that her dad hadn’t done all that, but with Opie here she knew that this was Real Life. Soft sobs shook her and Buffy pressed her forehead against her raised knees. She heard Opie slide over and a tentative hand rubbed her back. When she didn’t say anything to stop him, he continued to rub her back to comfort her.
“I’m sorry you have to see me cry,” Buffy squeaked out.
“Hey, it’s okay,” Opie murmured.
Buffy shivered; whether it was from the cold or the hollow feeling in her chest, she didn’t know.
“Here.” Opie shrugged out of his leather jacket and covered up Buffy’s shoulders.
Raising her head, Buffy tried to return it. “I’m fine—”
“—wear it,” Opie said.
She nodded and pulled on the jacket, hugging it tightly against her.
“Jax is sorry. He feels terrible.”
“Good. He should,” Buffy said bitterly.
Opie continued to rub her back in a circular motion. “I’m sorry. Sucky parents…suck.”
“Yeah,” Buffy snorted.
Silence passed between them. Far off at the school, Buffy heard the next bell go off.
“I’ve never skipped class before,” she whispered.
“Aren’t you the bad girl now?” Opie smiled.
Buffy let out a half-sob, half-laugh, and rocked her shoulder into his. “Shut up. You guys are a bad influence.”
“Yeah…well, I guess we need to corrupt you before you go back to L.A.,” Opie said quietly.
“Opie…” Buffy wiped her eyes. “I’m not going back to L.A. I mean…Jax wasn’t lying…right?”
“No. He really wasn’t, Buffy.” Opie frowned. He had actually been with Jax once when they overheard Gemma and Clay.
“I wish someone had told me sooner.”
“Do you really?”
Buffy pressed her lips together and looked away. “I feel like an idiot.”
“You’re not an idiot. You’re one of the smartest girls in school.”
Buffy let out a weak laugh. “Yeah, right. My last history teacher told me that it was good that I was so pretty, because ‘Some girls are meant for college, Buffy, and others are meant for marriage.’
Opie’s mouth dropped in shock. “Are you serious? Who said that?”
“Mr. Meloni.” Buffy sighed. “He’s probably right. Except, then what if I marry someone that cheats on me, like my dad did?”
“I just can’t believe he did that, Opie! My dad chose some…bimbo…over my mom. And me. Like, did he not even love me? Was he just pretending to be sad when my mom said we were moving?” Her voice got quiet. “Do you think he’s living with that other woman now? Will he start a new family?”
Opie wrapped his arm around Buffy and pulled her against his chest. He was the tallest kid in his class and Buffy fit snugly against him. “Don’t think about these things, Buffy. I’m sure your dad loves you. Parents do stupid shit sometimes. It’s nothing against you.”
“Yeah. Maybe,” Buffy sighed.
“Joyce? Your cousin is on the office phone for you.”
She looked up from her filing and gave Daniel an embarrassed look. “Sorry about that. I told her I could only talk about the fundraiser outside of work hours.” As the event got closer Gemma seemed to get crazier, if that was even possible.
“She says it’s about your daughter.”
“Buffy?” Joyce ran towards the phone.
Joyce pulled into the Charming Middle School parking lot quickly less than ten minutes later. Gemma was already there, leaning against her sedan.
“Where could she be?” Joyce asked, flustered. “Buffy has never skipped school before! Oh god, I’m so worried.”
“Calm down, Joyce, we’ll find her. When her last period teacher reported her absent, the principal called me. She hasn’t been gone for long,” Gemma reassured her.
“Thank god you’re connected.”
“Thank god,” Gemma agreed. “Anyways, the bell just rang and Jax got notified to come outside. We’ll get the scoop from him or he’ll be cleaning the garage until next year.”
Joyce paced between their vehicles. “This is all my fault. I should have been spending more time with Buffy. I should have realized that she’s getting out of control.”
“Joyce,” Gemma snapped. “Get a hold of yourself. You’re the mother of a teenage girl and that automatically qualifies you as a goddamn saint. Buffy’s going to push boundaries, but she’ll be fine.” Gemma noticed something and lowered her sunglasses. “Jax.”
“Oh, hey mom, Aunt Joyce,” Jax greeted nervously as he walked towards them. “The principal told me you were out here.”
“Damn straight. Now where is Buffy?” Gemma questioned.
“Jackson Teller, you tell me where my daughter is right now!” Joyce ordered.
“Well, I don’t know.”
“Jackson!” Gemma and Joyce shouted in unison.
“No, seriously, I don’t!” Jax sighed. “She was upset and kind of took off. Opie went to look for her.”
“Thank god for Opie. Boy has better sense than you. Why didn’t you take care of your cousin?” Gemma demanded.
“Well…” Jax averted his eyes. “Um, I don’t think she wants to see me right now.”
“And why not?” Gemma asked, her eyebrows rising in warning.
“I kind of…we had a fight. She talked about how she couldn’t wait for her mom to apologize to her dad and move back to L.A….and I was mad that she couldn’t wait to ditch us, so I told her the truth.”
Joyce’s heart stopped and she clutched her chest. “And what truth is that, Jax?” she asked cautiously.
Jax lowered his head guiltily. “I told her what I overhead…about how Mr. Summers cheated on you, Aunt Joyce.”
Joyce paled and unconsciously leaned back against the hood of her SUV. “Jackson…you didn’t,” she asked, aghast. Accusing eyes turned towards Gemma. “Gemma!”
“Baby girl, I am sorry. I didn’t think Jax overhead anything,” Gemma apologized, her voice doused in guilt as well. She turned towards her son with a furious look. “Jackson Teller, you will be cleaning every inch of the garage for the last week! I can’t believe you would be so hurtful!
“Yes, ma’am,” Jax said forlornly. He shuffled his feet and refused to meet their eyes
“I didn’t want Buffy to know,” Joyce said – whether it was for Gemma, Jax, or herself, she wasn’t sure. Her mind didn’t even feel connected to her body at the moment. “She idolizes Hank. He’s always taking her to ice skating shows…she’s daddy’s little girl.” Joyce let out a shaky sigh. “I need to find her.”
“No.” Joyce waved her hand, as if to wave away Gemma’s offer. “I’ll be fine on my own. You take Jackson home.” Truth be told, she was pissed as hell at Gemma and her big mouth.
“Alright…” Gemma edged away, continuing to watch the sea of emotions playing across Joyce’s features. Finally she turned to Jax and snapped her fingers. “Car. Now.” As she walked away, Joyce could hear Gemma muttering at Jax. “Of all the reckless, stupid things to do…”
Joyce left them and started walking around the school grounds. She figured she would check here first and then move on. Hopefully, if anything, Opie had found Buffy. It would be good for Buffy to have someone with her.
Roughly twenty minutes passed before Joyce noticed two figures under an oak tree at the edge of the property. Walking closer, she realized that the girl was wearing a leather jacket. At closer look, it was Buffy and Opie. Joyce allowed herself a relieved sigh.
The two were talking quietly, so intent in their conversations that they didn’t even recognize Joyce’s presence. “Buffy?”
Buffy jerked back from Opie. Her eyes widened dramatically when she saw her mother. “Mom.”
“Buffy…I heard you skipped classes….” Joyce wasn’t sure to say. When she came to school she wanted to scream and yell at her daughter for being so irresponsible…but after hearing what Jax told her….she just wanted to hold her baby girl.
“Mom…mommy…is it true? Did dad…did he cheat? Is he…is he starting a new family?” Buffy’s expression was so vulnerable and distressed that Joyce went to her and pulled her into a tight embrace.
Opie backed away quietly and left.
“Honey…Oh Buffy…he still loves you. Your father loves you. What he did to me…was to me. Not you.”
“But it was! If he left you, then he left me.” Buffy let out a choked sob and burrowed her face into her mother’s shoulder.
“No baby, no.” Joyce ran her hands through Buffy’s hair. “We both love you so much.”
“Mom…I’m sorry,” Buffy whispered. “I’m so sorry. I’ve been so horrible.”
“It’s okay, honey. It’s okay. We’ll be okay.”
I decided not to leave y’all hanging too long on the last chapter, so I decided to post this sooner rather than later. Happy Monday!