Growing up in Charming California was not how the name sounded. Savannah Thomas had a brilliant mind, even at a very young age. Being that smart wasn’t always a good thing if you wanted her opinion. When her father died when she was six it had surprised her when his motorcycle friends came to the funeral and the wake since it had been awhile since any of them came around the house. Going to school while dealing with her father’s death was hard, but how was she supposed to move on like her mother seemed to?
It took some time but eventually she found her footing along with her mother. Soon they had a new routine and they had a new normal. It lasted for just over a year when one day at dinner her mother told her that she was forbidden to speak about her father or even to bring up his name. It was something Savannah never understood, but that wasn’t the last new rule that was being implemented in their new routine. Her father’s motorcycle friends were also forbidden from entering the house and she was not allowed to make contact with any of them either.
On the two-year anniversary of her father’s death, Savannah really saw what was happening to her mother. She was using drugs and drinking away the money that her father left for her. But she knew from a conversation that he had with her right before his death that he had set up an account that her mother couldn’t touch, but neither could she until she turned eighteen or when she graduated from high school.
For Savannah, having the brain that she did, it normally took someone four years to graduate from high school, but she could have done it in less. She would have too if it wouldn’t have called attention to her, so she started out normally, but she still caught the attention of someone that her mother had told her to stay away from. Since she still had to live with her mother, she tried to listen to her, at least when she wasn’t drunk or high. But when other things bring you together, it makes avoiding the person that much harder.
High School didn’t last forever, but it had an impact on Savannah. Ever since the death of her father her mother became more and more adamant that she stays as far away from Jackson Teller and anyone associated with the Sons of Anarchy Motorcycle Club. When she turned thirteen her mother started to tell her stories that they were the reason her father was no longer with them. At first Savannah didn’t know how to take that, but then she watched her mother’s behavior as it just continued to get stranger and stranger by the year. The drugs and alcohol didn’t help matters in anyway.
When her first acceptance letter came in the mail, she didn’t find it in the normal place. Instead of being on the table or in the mailbox, she found it by accident in the trashcan that was in her mom’s bathroom. All she could see was red, it was as if her mother thought that if she weren’t accepted into any college that she would just stay in Charming where she would always be under her thumb. Carefully going through the trash, she found two more letters and it made her want to scream her head off. Taking the letters, she walked past her mother and her latest drug dealing boyfriend as they watched some crap on TV and out the front door. Heading straight for her beat up Honda, she got in and locked the doors before starting the car and peeling out of the driveway as if the devil himself were on her heels. Slowing down as she neared the elementary school, she took a deep breath and attempted to calm herself.
Rolling to a stop at the stop sign at the corner, she saw that there were a few motorcycles behind her. Pressing her foot down on the gas pedal, Savannah sped away. She knew that might get pulled over for being over the speed limit, but at the moment she couldn’t find it inside of her to care. Checking her rearview mirror, she saw that there was only one motorcycle behind her now. Making a sharp left turn she pulled into the parking lot of a playground that her father used to take her to when she was little.
Killing the engine, she took the keys and dropped them into the cup holder and just sat there with the windows rolled up and the doors locked. Savannah wasn’t sure why she came here, but she knew that if she were to open the letters, she wanted it to be in a place that held a happy memory not something tainted like her home. Hearing a tap on the window of her car, made her jump. Placing her hand over her heart, she took a deep breath before grabbing the letters and the keys. Unbuckling her seatbelt, she opened the door and looked into the eyes of the person her mother had always told her to stay away from after her father’s death. Jackson Teller.
“If you keep going at that speed you might not be able to talk your way out of a ticket.”
“That’s rich coming from a Son. Why are you following me Jackson?” Savannah asked as she slammed the car door closed and started walking towards the park.
“I might be a son, but I still remember that we used to be friends.”
Rolling her eyes, she heard him follow her. “Doesn’t explain why you are following me.”
“Just wanted to make sure that you were alright.”
“I couldn’t be better,” Savannah told him as she finally stopped and sat down at an isolated area that was hidden away by the trees and large rocks. “So, you better not miss whatever club business that you have going on.”
Seeing the envelopes in her hand, he swiftly grabbed them out of her hand and looked at them. “What are these?”
“They are response letters from colleges,” Savannah said as she ripped them out of his hands. “Not that you would know anything about that.”
“So, you got in?” he asked as he watched her sit down before sitting next to her. They were both dangling their legs off the edge of the semi dried up creek.
Savannah didn’t know if she should tell him the truth or if she should tell him anything at all. Afterall her mother would call him as well as his family the enemy. She never really understood the reasoning behind that. The silence was uncomfortable, but she didn’t know what to say to him.
“Or are you still deciding on where you wanna go?”
Hearing his voice, it broke her out of her thoughts. It wasn’t like he was going to tell her mother what she had found. Looking into his blue eyes, she looked back at the letters in her hand before running her hand through her hair with her other hand. “It takes months to hear back from the colleges, so I wasn’t sure if I was going to get accepted into any school. I hadn’t gotten anything back. My mom tells me not to worry about it and that I can find a job somewhere in town.”
“Which is not what you want.”
“Not by a long shot,” Savannah told him honestly. “I was using her bathroom and went to throw something away when I found those. I don’t know how many others she had thrown away before hand, but I guess I’ll never really know.”
“What about those?” he asked motioning to the ones currently in her hand.
“Found these in the trashcan in her bathroom,” Savannah told him. “I guess part of me isn’t sure if I should open them.”
“Give ‘em here,” he said as he held out a hand for the letters. “I’ll tell you.”
Savannah looked at him with uncertainty. Did she want the guy her mother told her to stay away from since her father died to know if she was going to college before anyone else? Charming was a small town and if she were honest the news would spread in a few days. Her blue green eyes met his blue ones and she could see that he wasn’t going to rub anything into her face one way or the other. Nodding her head, she looked at their feet, so she didn’t become anxious as he took his time opening each letter.
“So which do you want first?” he asked with all three letters now opened in his hands.
“All of them.” Savannah told him, trying her best to remain calm.
“I meant bad news first or good news first?” he asked. “Never mind, I’ll do the good news first.”
Nodding her head, she looked at him and then a smirk graced his face. “You got into all three.”
“What?” Savannah asked, “I got in?”
“All three are acceptance letters.” He said, still grinning.
“But then what’s the bad news?” she asked confused.
“You Ms. Savannah Thomas are leaving Charming and I believe I’m going to miss you.”
“You Mr. Jackson Teller will be too busy to miss me. You and Tara will have an amazing summer and maybe one day I’ll come home and check to see if Charming is still standing.”
“So what’s the plan?” he asked her
“What do you mean?”
“With your mom,” he clarified. “What are you planning to tell her?”
“That I got into college and I’m leaving.”
“Going to pack beforehand?” he asked.
“Yeah, and pack the car,” she said. “I just hope it will last until we get to Pennsylvania.”
“That’s pretty far from Charming.”
“It’s far away from my mother.”
“That thing you said about me and Tara won’t be happening. She left. And according to her Pops, she ain’t coming back.”
“I’m so sorry Jax,” Savannah told him. “I don’t know what to say, but I’m really sorry.”
“She has my crow.” He told her.
Savannah nodded her head as she took the letters from Jax and stood up. Placing them in her back pocket, she watched as he stood as well. “Don’t blame yourself for Tara. Maybe it just wasn’t meant to be. Maybe someday you’ll find someone that you can fall so madly in love with that you won’t even remember how hurt you are by her leaving.”
“You think so?”
“You deserve that Jax.”
“Not sure I do.”
“Ever since my dad died, my mother has told me to stay away from you, your family, and especially the club.”
“We know,” he told her. “But you haven’t really been following orders.”
“I guess I’m not a good daughter that way,” Savannah laughed. “But I know none of you did anything wrong. And I am sorry for the way she has treated you all these years. And the way you protected me from last years boyfriend. I appreciate it.”
“Your mom has shitty taste in boyfriends.”
“If it gets her free drugs she doesn’t seem to care.”
“One of the reasons you want out of Charming huh?”
“One of them.”
Nodding his head in understanding, he looked into her eyes and smiled. “What do you think your mother would do if she found out that you have been hanging with me instead of getting the hell away from me?”
“I think I don’t care,” Savannah told him. “Between the drugs and the booze she isn’t the same woman that my dad fell in love with or even close to the woman I remember before he died.”
“Not scared of a biker?”
“Do I look scared to you?”
“Nah, darling, you look like you are ready to take on whatever comes at ya.”
His hand moved a strand of blonde hair away from her eyes that had come out from behind her hear where she had pushed it earlier. Gazing into each other’s eyes, Savannah found that she couldn’t look away from him. Jax Teller was nothing but bad news if you asked her mother, but in her opinion, he was a good friend, but he wasn’t looking at her like he normally did when she was actually around him. It was as if something had shifted and trying not to think about it too much, she was about to ask him something when his lips crashed down onto hers. With her eyes closed, she didn’t move. The feeling of his chapped lips against her soft lips was a surprise to her, but without thinking about it Savannah wrapped her arms around his neck and kissed him back.
For the last few years she had thought about what it would be like to kiss Jax Teller, but he had a girlfriend and she wasn’t supposed to even be around him much less kiss him. Feeling his hands move from her waist to cup her ass and bring her even closer to him. Feeling Jax’s tongue seeking entrance into her mouth, Savannah suddenly broke it off. Stepping back, she placed a hand on her lips as she tried to calm her breathing.
“I’m sorry, Jax,” Savannah said as she felt the tears stinging her eyes. “You and Tara just broke up and I’m not staying in Charming. As much as I want to see where this could lead, I can’t be that girl. I’m sorry.”
Without looking at him, Savannah took off to her car. Running as fast as she could, she unlocked the door and got in and locked the door. Taking a deep breath and then another, she finally looked up and she didn’t see Jax anywhere. Putting on her seatbelt, she started the car and left the park to head back home feeling a different kind of confused than when she left earlier.
Three weeks passed by in the blink of an eye for Savannah. There had been no word from Jax, not that she thought there might be. He was busy with the club and she was busy trying to figure out what she had to do to get out of Charming and away from her mother. Luckily for her someone in the admissions office at the University of Pennsylvania had been amazingly helpful and understanding when she explained the situation. She had been horrified to hear that her mother actually threw the letters into the trash in hopes that she wouldn’t find them and when the admissions office worker asked about her father she told her that he died when she was six and how her mother hadn’t been the same since.
Savannah hadn’t meant to lay all that out there for her, but it felt good to get it off her chest if she was honest. The woman ended up actually helping her more than she ever expected. It was because of her that she had a place to live and was on a scholarship as long as she didn’t get below a certain GPA then she was going to be just fine. And for the first time since her father died, it really did feel like things were going to be going well for her.
There was only one thing left to do before she left Charming. She had to see Jax. So, with her car packed up, she only hoped that he was at Teller-Morrow garage working on someone’s car. But it seemed that luck wasn’t on her side because he wasn’t there. Bobby Munson had seemed genuinely surprised that she was looking for Jax, but when he promised to tell him she stopped by she made her way back to her beat up Honda and hoped it made it all the way to her next destination.
Part of her wished that she had stuck around long enough to say good-bye to Jax face to face and apologize for running away like a scared little girl. She hoped that he knew that wasn’t how she normally acted, but if she wanted to be honest with herself, she would admit that if he asked her to stay then she would have without asking why. But that was easy to figure out. Jax. He was the one person she knew she could always count on in Charming, but she just couldn’t stay. Savannah knew that he would be fine with his club supporting him and taking care of him along with his mother. That was the only reason she didn’t turn back around and try and see if they actually had something worth trying. She knew that if she gave up this college opportunity then she would never forgive herself. There had been so many people who told her that leaving was the best thing she could do for her future and that she could always come to visit once she made something of herself. Apparently, she was too smart to be stuck in Charming, at least that was what she had been told by people. Mainly her teachers.
So with everything she needed packed in boxes and in her car, she was on the highway on the way to starting the next part of her life. A life away from her crazy mother and the endless revolving door of boyfriends that were as horrible as she was. One thing she would truly miss about Charming was going to talk to her dad when she didn’t know what to do. A piece of her wondered why she hadn’t gone to his grave when she found out about her mother throwing away the acceptance letters, but in the end it didn’t matter. She was on her way to getting the life she wanted away from Charming.
Maybe one day she would want to return, but the reason would have to be pretty big for her to want to come back. Charming wasn’t what the town name said, but maybe that was just a matter of opinion. All she needed to figure out was her long-term plan when her first semester of school ended since there was no way she would be coming back to Charming. Not that soon, she needed time away from it all to figure out exactly what she wanted to do. It was all up to her and it would be different not to have her mother not breathing down her back with each and every decision she made.