Chapter 7

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"So she slapped you?" Roberto asked Jax who was icing his cheek with a bag of peas. They were sitting in Jax's living room, both having a beer.

"More like she punched me," Jax groaned. "Who knew she had a Hell of a left hook?"

Roberto wiped the corner of his eyes from laughing, "Serves you right. You don't ask a woman to marry you as a joke. Especially after telling her that you have a fiancee."

"It was Sally! She had to have known that Sally isn't my type."

"Keep making comments like that partner...that's why you'll never get married."

"Just forget it. So what happened with Sally?" Jax asked.

"Broke out in hives. She's at home now with her girlfriend. She'll be taking a few days of medical leave."

"Dammit. We were supposed to scope out Majestic Waters tomorrow. If we had any other leads on the Cally Sommerby case, I'd use them."

"Well we don't. Plus it gets worse," Roberto sighed.

"Worse?"

"The Captain found out. He put the kabosh on the entire mission."

Jax cursed, "So now what are we going to do? Just go in and flash our badges? We both know that'll get us the customary BS answers."

"Well I was thinking...especially since you mentioned proposing to Dani-girl on a whim," Roberto hedged.

"You? Thinking? This can't be good."

"Shut up and hear me out Romeo," Roberto leaned forward. "The Captain said our undercover mission was off but what if you Jax Michaels took your fiancee Dani to Majestic Waters? If you happen to find any evidence, then I can act on it."

"So you want us to go in as ourselves...not as a fake couple?"

"BINGO! And, if Dani-girl ends up falling for you in the process, that'll be just a win for you."

"Majestic Waters is for infertile couples," Jax reminded him."What if they look at our medical records? If we were going undercover, we could've faked that."

"So?"

"So you have to be having sex and not getting pregnant."

Roberto shrugged, "If they ask, all you have to say is she's not getting pregnant. Just leave out the not having sex part. I never thought I'd have to explain where babies come from to you."

Jax rolled his eyes, "Spare me the baby jokes. You're forgetting one major detail Montoya."

"And what's that?"

"Dani would have to go along with it."

"Ah yes...there is that. Can't you charm her?" Roberto asked.

Jax removed the bag of peas from his red cheek, "Did you not see my face earlier?"

"A Hell of a left hook," Roberto said, echoing Jax's earlier words. "I think her hitting you is a good sign."

"How so?"

"Think about it Jax. You ask a girl to marry you as a joke. What did you think she would do?"

Jax frowned, "I don't know. I didn't think anything. It kind of just popped out of my mouth. I sure as Hell didn't expect her to attack me."

"Did you think she'd laugh it off?"

"I guess so. Or maybe call me a Jaxass. She does that when she's pissed at me."

"But she didn't do either of those things. She got mad and hit you. Why do you think that is?"

Jax stared at his partner, a blank expression on his face.

Roberto put his beer down and continued, "Because she likes you!"

"What? No way."

"Yes way. Why else would she get upset? If she didn't care, she would've laughed. She did care so she got upset and decked you."

Jax felt slightly uncomfortable, "That's impossible.She only thinks of me as a friend. She's said so before too."

"Well what else is she going to say when that's all you say about her?" Roberto asked. "Geez, I can't believe I'm sitting in the living room of my partner's house gossiping like a school girl. If someone comes to confiscate my man card I'm kicking your ass Michaels."

"Be serious Roberto. If we want Dani to help, I've got to get this right."

Roberto leaned back, "I'm going to give you some advice that I hope you listen to. As a married man with a beautiful wife that adores me...I have some experience in matters of the heart."

"And I don't?"

"You have experience in matters of a different organ partner...I've got the heart covered. So listen carefully. I've watched you two and I know that waitress has some issues. I've seen how she tries to keep a safety circle around herself. You're the only person I've seen that she lets touch her in any way. Don't you think that means something?"

Jax knew Dani didn't like anyone touching her. For her, it was another opportunity to see someone's nightmares. So she avoided physical contact like the plague. Slowly over the past few weeks, she had been letting Jax get closer to her both physically and non-physically. Could Roberto be right? Did Dani have feelings for him?

"She may not even realize it yet but if what I'm thinking is correct, you'll have to handle her with kid-gloves," Roberto said.

"Dani? Like me? Dani likes me," Jax was trying to get used to the idea.

"Even if she does like you...it won't make a difference," Roberto mumbled.

Jax's head jerked up, "What do you mean? Why wouldn't it?"

Roberto reached out and pointed toward Jax's chest, "You've got this chain of guilt hanging around you that won't let you get close to anyone. Have you talked to Dani about Vivian?"

"My ex-fiancee? Yeah, we talked about her. She knows that Vivian was murdered."

"And the reason you gave up a law career and ended up as a detective?" Roberto asked. "Did you tell her that too?"

Jax nodded. He had never told Roberto about his brother possibly being Vivian's murderer. Only Dani knew that secret.

"If she knows all of that," Roberto said. "She probably knows about that necklace and as long as you wear that...you're never going to let anyone close to you. Not when it counts. If you really want Dani's help with this. If you want her trust and loyalty...you're going to have to move on partner. I say that with all respect."

Jax was silent for a moment before whispering, "Since when did you become such a Dr. Phil?"

"I like to save these nuggets of knowledge for special occasions. Think about what I said. When you're ready, talk to Dani. Preferably tonight. We're running out of time and Majestic Waters is our only lead right now."

"I know...I know."

Roberto stood up, "I only took a few sips so I'm still good to drive. I better get home before Gladys decks me one for not being there sooner."

Jax stood up and the two fist-pumped one another before Roberto left. After he was gone, Jax walked to his bedroom and held up a picture he had of Vivian on his nightstand.

"It's been a long time Viv."

He opened the drawer to the nightstand and placed the picture inside. Then he removed the necklace that carried her engagement ring. The ring he had given her. The ring that she was ecstatic to wear. The symbol of their commitment to one another. He slowly unclasped the necklace and let it fall into the drawer on top of her picture.

"Thank you for loving me."

As he closed the drawer to his nightstand, Jax knew he was also closing a chapter of his life that had been holding him back.

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