"Okay, I just got off the phone with your foster parents," Tara told the two teens as she re-entered the living room. "And they refused to come and pick you up."
The first thing that Tara learned about Gracie and Jack was that they were both ridiculously stubborn and hotheaded.
When Jack had pushed past Tara and ordered Gracie to leave with him, she had refused and that's when the argument began. Their retorts were so quick and their yelling was so loud that Tara had only gotten the gist of what they were yelling at each other; Gracie thought Jack was too controlling and Jack thought Gracie was too impulsive. Tara was fine with letting them yell out their frustrations until Gracie picked up her forgotten glass of juice and threw it at her brothers head. Thankfully, it had missed, but Tara had yelled at them both to sit down. Neither were happy about the order, but listened to her.
"Fine." Jack snorted. "We don't need them. We know how to make it by ourselves."
"Well, that's not an option you have." Tara pointed out. "I called CPS in San Diego and the soonest they can get someone from CPS in Los Angeles here in Charming is next Friday."
"But it's Tuesday." Gracie reminded.
"Yeah, it is." Tara confirmed. "Which is why you two will be staying here until someone can come and get you." Jack let out a sigh before turning to his sister with an angry look on his face.
"This is your fault."
Gracie scoffed. "My fault?" She demanded and he nodded. "This could all have been avoided if you had just believed me-"
"Oh, I did believe you." Jack assured her. "I also knew that you were bat-shit crazy for wanting to steal Marsha and Ted's car and drive to this tiny as fuck town!"
Gracie stood before throwing a lamp at her brother and Tara knew it was time to send them to bed.
"You're fucking crazy!" Jack commented and Tara sighed, knowing that Gracie would retaliate.
She was right, on their way to one of Tara's guest bedrooms, Gracie pushed Jack into the open doorway of the bathroom and Tara heard a thump and Jack's cursing before Gracie slammed the door of the bedroom shut.
Tara went into the bathroom to see what the damage was, only to find Jack sitting on the floor with blood trickling down from his hairline. The small amount of red on the white sink told Tara exactly what happened.
"Why do you antagonize her?" She asked sitting down on the coffee table in front of Jack. After helping him up from the bathroom floor, Tara had sent Jack to the living room before grabbing her first aid kit and a wet rag.
Jack scoffed. "Because sometimes she can be stupid and someone has to tell her." Tara wiped away some of the blood and Jack winced a bit when she touched the cut on his head.
"Sorry," She apologized.
"S'okay." He assured her and she went back to cleaning him up. "So," He began. "Does Gracie get her temper from you or our dad?" He noticed that Tara briefly halted before continuing. She was quiet for a moment and Jack was sure that he wouldn't get an answer.
"Your dad." She replied after a moment. "He was young...and impulsive- he still is. I think that's why we went so well together; I was always able to calm him down and get him to actually think things through."
Jack snorted. "I wish. Gracie...when she gets angry, there's not much that can stop her."
"You can, I bet."
"Only some of the time."Jack sighed. "She's not exactly an easy person to live with; she's hotheaded, stubborn...I just wish sometimes she had been born a guy so that I could hit her without feeling like an asshole." Tara dug into the kit and grabbed a butterfly bandage before putting it on Jack's forehead.
"Do you...do you know why she came here?" Tara asked. "To Charming, I mean. Did she just want some answers or...?" Now it was Jack's turn to get quiet. He simply stared at Tara for a few moments; his eyes flicking over her face, scanning sign of...well, of anything really.
Eventually, the teen did answer. "No," He said, but Tara could tell he was lying. He held his breath for a moment before answering just like Jax had done anytime he lied to her. 'Like father, like son.' She thought.
"Dr. Knowles...Dr. Knowles...Tara!"
Jumping at the loud ca;ling of her name, Tara turned around to see one of the nurses, Regina, standing behind her with a concerned look on her face. She was one of the older nurses- most likely in her mid-fifties with completely gray short hair and multiple wrinkles on her face. She had been working at the hospital since Tara was a kid.
"Yes, Nurse Rowland?"
"Are you okay, hun?" She asked.
Tara tried to be nonchalant. "I-I'm fine, Nurse Rowland. Why do you ask?'
"Because you've been standing in the middle of the hallway for the past twenty minutes and Dr. Namid has been paging you for ten minutes." Looking down at her watch, Tara cursed. She had an appointment with him and two parents about their three month old.
"Shit," She sighed before she started down the hall.
Tara had barely gotten any sleep the night before; she had been tossing and turning all night as she thought about what would happen to Gracie and Jack once the social worker arrived from Los Angeles.
Tara had only been eighteen when she gave birth to her children and giving them up for adoption was one of the hardest things she had ever had to do in her life, but it needed to be done. She was still a kid herself and there was no way she could raise two children by herself. Her aunt had made it clear that Tara was welcome in her home while she went to college, but she refused to raise two kids while Tara was at school. At one point, she even considered returning home to Charming, but it wouldn't take someone long to realize who the father of her children were and the last thing she wanted for either of them was the life that Jax had. If Gemma had even found out about them, Tara knew that she probably would get custody of them; Tara was an eighteen year old girl with no job and a high school education while Gemma had money, a clean rap sheet and plenty of people to vouch for her. She would've taken Gracie and Jack both without another thought.
No, giving the twins up for adoption had been the right thing to do, but it had been hard and Tara had only been able to do it the first time because she thought that they were going to a loving home with parents who could give them what she couldn't. That wasn't the case here; Gracie and Jack were being sent to a foster home.
Tara had spent the night thinking about which was worse; keeping them in Charming with her and letting Jax's life corrupt them like it did him or letting them go to another foster home where Tara wouldn't know what was happening to them.
"You've got nine days to think about this, Tara." She told herself as she stood outside of Dr. Namid's office. "But you're at work now. Gracie and Jack'll have to wait."
The TV was on, but Jack was barely paying attention to it. He was too caught up inside his own head to be bothered with what he was watching.
How had he and Gracie gotten here? Everything had been fine, more or less, with their foster family; Marsha and Ted barely bothered them other than the occasion comment on how they were freeloaders, but Jack and Gracie were free to do as they pleased, when they pleased. Their sixteenth birthday was only a couple months away and then they could legally emancipate themselves. They'd no longer be wards of the state, or orphans, or whatever unsavory label anyone chose to stick on them. They'd just get jobs and Gracie would get to go to college like she always wanted and they'd lead a nice life. It was all they had talked about since they were ten. But then Gracie had gone and screwed it all up with her impulsiveness./p
If he was being completely honest, Jack didn't even blame Gracie. Not really. He blamed himself; he had spent fifteen years sharing the same room- sometimes even the same bed as Gracie. He knew he ticks, her tells, her habits- he knew when she was angry or sad or in a much to cheery mood...he knew everything about his sister and he knew that she would go looking for their birth parents. Jack could have stopped her, but he didn't.
He didn't stop her because, in some small way, Jack wanted to know where he came from; he wanted to know whether or not he look like his mother or father; he wanted to know if they had the same taste in music; he wanted to know if he was anything like the people who had made him. Gracie had wanted to know all those things too, but the only difference between Jack and his sister was that Jack was a realist and Gracie was not. She was oblivious to the dangers and screwed up ways of the real world and she chose to believe that everything was okay all the time. Jack had never had that luxury. He had spent his entire life watching out for her and because of that, he never really got the chance to watch out for himself.
A loud coughing sound was what brought Jack out of his own head and, without hesitation, he got up from the couch and rushed to the bathroom where he knew Gracie would be. As he had suspected, she stood hunched over as she tried to muffle her coughs into her hand, but they only got worse.
"Grace!" Rushing over, Jack took his sister by the arms and helped her sit down on the toilet as she continued to cough. "Breath, Gracie Bean. Just breathe. Jack rubbed her on the back until she stopped her coughing fit considering there wasn't much else he could do. He knew from past experiences that he just had to let them end on her own.
Gracie stopped coughing, but she didn't lower her hand from her mouth. She was waiting on Jack to leave, but he gave her a look that clearly said he would do no such thing. Grabbing the box of tissues off the sink, Jack got down on his knees before pulling Gracie's hand away from her mouth. He was sad to admit that the blood on her hand and around her mouth no longer phased him.
Neither of the two said anything as Jack wiped the blood off of her hand, but only because there was nothing to be said. This was a normal event for them. it was nothing to be alarmed about...not anymore.
It wasn't until Gracie had flushed the tissues down the toilet that Jack spoke. "Are you going to tell her?"
"No." The answered was immediate and Jack sighed.
"She's a doctor." He argued. "She could help." Gracie scoffed.
"You didn't even want to meet her before today." She reminded him. "Now you want to ask for her help? No." Gracie shook her head. "We both know why I'm here and it isn't for help."
"You're sick, Grace." Jack pointed out and Gracie rolled her eyes.
"Thank's for telling me." She thanked sarcastically. "As if the coughing up blood and bone swelling wasn't a big enough clue."
Jack sighed. She was only being difficult because she knew he was right. She always got this way when she knew he was right. "Grac-"
"Just don't, Jack!" Gracie snapped. "Just...just don't." Pushing her way through the door, Gracie went into the guest bedroom across the hall, leaving Jack alone in the bathroom, having no idea what to say or do.