The Fire Within by Carrie

Part One

It is the Fourth of July, but there are no fireworks. PC has long since retired for the evening. At the park, remnants of hte festivities are evident around a lone figure, sitting by the fountain, her graceful fingers trailing in the cool water. Her enormous engagement ring catches in the moonlight, sending tiny prisms of light into the water. She sighs, staring at the symbol of her new marriage. "Brenda?" From out of the shadows, Robin approaches her friend. "What's going on?" Brenda shrugs, smiling slightly. "I was just thinking." "Shouldn't you be off with your husband or something? Why are you sitting here all alone?"Robin asked. Brenda gave a half laugh, shaking her head. "Jax is sleeping. I needed to think, I guess." She stares at Robin for a moment. "Do you think I did the right thing, marrying him, I mean?"

Robin looks bewildered. "I don't know. It is not really important what I think anyway - it's what you think that matters. So, what do you think?" Brenda looked up at the stars for a moment. "I wish I knew. There is this part of me that says I should be so happy with Jax. He is so good to me - he treats me like a princess. I'm not used to liking that. But somewhere deep inside, I know that something is missing. I just don't know what," Brenda gives Robin a helpless, sad smile.

The trees rustle to the left of Brenda, and t supposed to mean? I didn't know Sonny would be here. I didn't even know Robin would be here," she said quietly. "She owes you no explanations, Jax." Sonny adds stepping closer to the woman of his heart. "Brenda is a big girl, if she wants to take a walk it is up to her."

Jax shoots him a look full of daggers. "I have had enough of you, Sonny. Brender is my wife - so back off!" Sonny snorts, and steps even closer to Brenda. "Wake up, golden boy. Brenda may be your wife, but she is my destiny."

Brenda shakes her head in disbelief. "I cannot believe you are discussing me like I am your prize. I'm going home, this was obviously not a good idea." Jax grabs her arm. "We aren't through, Brenda. We have a lot to discuss," he says. Brenda nods. "LEt's just go home. I need some sleep. Tomorrow we can talk." As the two of them walk away, Robin looks at Sonny. His eyes narrow at their retreating figures. "This isn't over," he vows.

RECAP: Jax and Sonny both overheard Brenda confessing to Robin that she thinks there might be something missing in her marriage. Sonny and Jax had a minor scene in which both of them professed that they belonged with Brenda. Brenda went home with Jax, and Sonny vowed it was not over.

Part II

It is morning at the Jax penthouse. Brenda wakes to an empty bed, Jax having slept on the couch the night before. A fleeting look of pain crosses her face as she recalls the scene of the night before, but she pushes it aside and climbs out of bed. She putters around the room for a moment, trying to delay the inevitable - facing her husband. Alas, she can stall no longer, so she treads into the living room. Jax is sitting at his desk, reading the paper and eating breakfast. At first glance it would seem that nothing was amiss, but then Brenda sees his eyes - bloodshot with bags under them from lack of sleep. She imagined that she looked the same way.

"I trust you slept well," Jax says in a tone meant to be nonchalant, but it comes out sounding strained and tight. Brenda sits down at the table, biting her lip. "Actually, no, I hardly slept at all. Looks like I am not the only one." Jax shrugs and eats a bite of his yogurt. Brenda picks up a donut from the table and nibbles quietly. "Are you going to say anything or not?" She asks a moment later.

" u have made it clear that you are not interested in my relationship with Sonny, past or present. If you want to know what happened, read my diary."
"I suppose that will tell how you discovered that you need him and how much he means to you, right? Will it also tell about your little lunch with him at the Outback the other day?" Jax fairly growls, standing up and beginning to pace the room. Brenda throws down her donut in outrage. "You followed me?" "You invited me!" "I don't believe this - you were spying on me! Don't pretend like invited you - I know that I did, but I never expected you to lurk outside watching through windows." Jax stops pacing and looks at her. "And what did you expect me to do? Go in there and fight for you? Cause a scene? Make you the envy of every woman because you have two men battling over you? Is that what you want, Brenda?"

"IT'S FUNNY, I TOLD ROBIN THAT YOU NEVER HAD SECRETS, THAT YOU WERE TOTALLY UPFRONT WITH ME. AND HERE YOU ARE, WANDERING AROUND WITH ALL THESE SUSPICIOUS THOUGHTS. I THOUGHT YOU SAID YOU TRUSTED ME!" BRENDA WAILS, HER CHEST HEAVING WITH ANGER AND WITH DISAPPOINTMENT. "AND I thought things were over with you and Sonny!" Jax retorts. "How silly of you!" Brenda responds. "You knew when you married me that I love Sonny - how could you expect that to change overnight?"

"I guess I am just a fool for believing that you could ever get over that mobster," Jax shouts. "I thought that you would see by the way that I treated you how good it could be if you would let yourself love me. I guess I was wrong." Brenda is so angry and upset that she is shaking. She needs to cool off, she needs to think. She grabs her purse and goes to the door. "I'm going out," she mutters. "And by the way - I wasn't talking to Robin about Sonny. I was talking about you. Maybe if you had asked me about it instead of acting like a jackass I would have told you that." The door slams as Brenda leaves. Jax sits down, stunned, not understanding what had just happe ned. Had he totally overreacted? Had he just ruined his chance to win Brenda forever? How could he stop her from seeking more with Sonny?

Stay tuned to find out the answers!


RECAP: Brenda and Boy Wonder just had it out about the whole hoopla at the park. Brenda stormed out, telling him the truth about what he overheard with Robin. Jax is left wondering what will happen in his marriage.

Jax is sitting on the couch, thinking quietly. Flashbacks of he and Brenda play in his mind - Malibu, the yacht, Alaska. Then pictures he does not want to see enter his memory - finding Brenda in the cabin in Canada and knowing that she had just spent days alone with Sonny, Brenda and Sonny sitting at the table at the Outback, and all the little looks that passed between Sonny and Brenda ever since he met her. Looks of fire, of passion, of longing - on both sides. Brenda never looked at him that way. Maybe he was going about this all wrong, maybe he was just trying too hard.

His brooding is interrupted by a loud, persistant knock on the door. With a tired sigh, he goes to the door an opens it. "Hey, there, where's my best girlfriend?" Lois breezes by him and peers around the apartment. "Brenda!" Jax shuts the door and returns to the couch. "She's not here, Lois." Lois's smile fades. "Why do I get the feeling that she didn't just go for a jog?" she asks as she sits down next to him. Jax leans back, closes his eyes for a moment. "I don't know where she went, and I don't know when she will be coming back. MAybe not ever."

"Whoa, , waiting for him to continue. "So Brenda went home with Sonny or what?" Jax shook his head. "No, she came home with me, but we had a big fight this morning and she ran out of here. She called me a jackass and I am beginning to think she is right." "Why, what'd you do?" Lois asks gently. JAx explains the misunderstanding, how he followed her to the Outback and then on her walk. Lois gives him a withering look. "You had to hide it, didn't you? You couldn't trust her, you had to believe that she was sneaking around with Sonny. Brenda wouldn't do that. If she wants to be with Sonny, she is going to do it in the open. She wouldn't do that to you, Jax." He mulls this over momentarily. "How can you be so sure? I thought that we were really connecting, that things were going great with us, but obviously she does not agree." Lois grabbed his hand and forced him to look at her. "Listen to me, Jax. When you married Brenda, you knew it wasn't going to be easy. You knew how she felt about Sonny. The most important thing you could have done was trust her - and you didn't. Trust is so important in a marriage - it can make or break you. When you break this trust, it takes a lot of love to overcome it. Me and my Nedly almost didn't get over it either time it rocked our marriage. I had doubts that we would ever be to where we are today. But we made it, because our love is stronger than my anger and my doubts." Jax looks hopelessly at the ceiling. "But Brender doesn't love me. How can I expect her to forgive me?" Lois smiles then, a real smile. "I think you'd be surprised at how dee Bren's feelings run for you. She did marry you, albeit a little on the rebound. The fact that she is trying to make it work instead of running directly back to Sonny should give you encouragement." She stands up and gives him a brief hug. "I've gotta take off. I have to go meet with some people about a soundproof crib for the little one. Can't damage those ears with daddy's tunes!"

"See ya. And thanks." Ja x says, closing the door behind her. Suddenly, alone, he felt the walls closing in on him. He catches sight of hte yacht on the mantle, and quickly leaves the apartment. Destination - the docks.

RECAP: Lois and Jax had a chat about trust and he and Brenda's marriage. Jax took off for the docks.

Part IV:

Sonny did not sleep well either the night before. Though the penthouse was full of memories of Lily, it was Brenda's memory that haunted him as he lay in bed - Brenda's face he saw everytime he closed his eyes, Brenda's laughter he heard with the windchimes outside his window. At dawn he gave up trying to sleep and got dressed. He was surprised to see Jason camped out on his couch. "What are you doing here?" he asks curiously. Jason stands up, makes like he is going to leave. "This came for you late last night. I didn't want to wake you up." He hands him an envelope. Sonny opens it, reads the contents, and tosses it on the table. "The KC people don't want to take no for an answer. Tell them they send their front man or no man. We'll meet tonight, at midnight, same place as last time. Can you handle this?"

Jason nods and starts to leave. He turns back and stares at Sonny. "Are you okay? You look like you had a rough night." Sonny's face breaks into his sardonic smile. "That's not unusual, Jason. I am going to be around town today - find me when you get it set up. You know where to look." Jason nods again and this time leaves. Sonny makes breakfast, gobbles it down and heads out the door. He finds himself walking along the docks, though your heart, to your soul? To the fire within that connects you to me?" Brenda shakes her head, not wanting to hear, yet not being able to tune him out. "Don't say that, Sonny. I am married to Jax now - I have to try and make it work." Sonny takes her face in his hands, forces her to look deep into his eyes. "Why should I let you make the same mistake I did? I didn't listen to you when you told me the same thing about Lily. Maybe if I had, she wouldn't be dead now." "Sonny, that is not your fault. You would never do anything to hurt her - that is why you couldn't leave her. That is why I can't just leave Jax." Now it is Sonny's turn to tune her out. "Brenda it is different. No one's safety is at risk if you leave Jax. If I had left Lily, you would have been in danger - and I couldn't do that to you. Not again, not after I almost got you killed in Puerto Rico." Brenda smiles, remembering the romance of Puerto Rico, and not the horror of being kidnapped and shot a t. Remembering how they made love for hours in the hot nights, how their love sizzles with the sunshine. She shivered just thinking about it. Her troubled eyes lit up and a smile brightened her face. "God, I remember how hot it was there, and how much time we spent in the pool just trying to cool off!" "And how much time we spent in our room getting all heated up again," he added. "Brenda, I love you. No one else has ever captured my heart the way you have. I want to be with you, but I will not force you. If you don't feel the same, if you don't want me as much as I want you, look me in the eyes and tell me it is over and I will never speak of this again. If you want Jax, then tell me now. But if you can't do it, if you can't look me in the eyes and tell me you love him and not me, that you want to spend your life with him and not me, then I will fight for you until my dying day. You are my destiny, Brenda. Don't fight it." Brenda sighs, torn and troubled. Her mind overflows with feelings, with memories. She looks at S onny straight on. "You know I can't tell you that, Sonny. I can't lie to you like that." Sonny grins and pulls her into his arms. "I knew you couldn't do it, Brenda. You spent so many months trying to make me see how important you are to me - I knew you couldn't have forgotten yourself." Brenda steps back uncertainly. "It is not that easy, Sonny. I can't just say "poof" and all that is wrong with us disappears. I love you more than I ever thought it as possible to love another person, but that doesn't change the fact that we have so much to overcome - not the least of which is my marriage to Jax."

"Ah, Boy Wonder will get over it, Brenda." Sonny scoffs, feeling his moment of triumph slipping away. "But I don't know if I can. Sonny, I need time to sort out my feelings, I need to find out what is right for me this time. Can you wait?" She asks, fearing he will say it's now or never. But Sonny would never do that. He nods. "I will wait until my last breath if for yo u if it mean's the last thing I hear and see is your love."

From a position just above them, just out of their sight, Jax has been watching the melodrama unfold. He realizes that he must make his move - he can't let Brenda go eihter. He makes his presence known, and Brenda glares at him. "Still spying on me, Jax?" She says in a tone so cold it makes him wince. "Actually, I am glad you heard that - now I won't have to repeat it. I'm moving out, back to my old room at Kelly's. I need space from you as much as from Sonny. I'll come get my things later," she finishes, and strolls off into the misty mid-morning. Jax and Sonny are left alone, staring at each other in silent contempt.

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