Chapter 11

Once the briefing was finished and the agents had went off to start their work, Jesse escaped to one of the quiet offices to call his wife. He had managed to shoot another text earlier, but he knew it would only suffice for so long. “I’m so sorry,” he sighed, taking his phone out his back pocket and being greeted with more than enough missed calls from both Tad and his wife. Instantly becoming worried that something had happened, he quickly dialed back. “Angie?”

“Hey! Are you still in the building?” Tad asked. Apparently, in his haste to get to his wife he mistakenly pressed Tad. But whatever!

“Yea, why? Where’s Angie? Is everything alright?”

“Do me a favor… Leave the building and get to nearest pay phone and call me back,” Tad ordered, as Angie sat next to him itching to talk.

“Tad?”

“Just do it!” Tad ordered once again, before hanging up. “I don’t want to take any chances,” he told Angie who looked at him as if he had lost his mind.

Jesse jetted out the office and completely out of the building and after running around like a chicken with his head cut off for nearly 10mins trying to find a payphone, he finally succeeded. “Tad, what the hell is going on? Where is my wife? And do you know how hard it is to find a payphone these days?”

“I do, but it works in these cases. Anyway, I sent her upstairs to pack… But, Jesse, I had to tell her.”

“Tell her what? What’s going on?”

“The meeting you were in, was it about Rob?”

“Yea, how’d you know?”

“Did they tell you he was out?”

“What?!” Jesse bellowed. “He’s what?”

Tad sighed. So they hadn’t told him. “He escaped last night.”

“H… But… Tad, I… How?”

“I don’t have all of the details, but I do know he’s out. What exactly was the meeting about?”

Jesse gave him a quick rundown of the case, before coming to the conclusion. “They don’t know, Tad I have to tell them. This man could be closer than they think.”

“Calm down, Tiger. I guarantee you, somebody already knows. That prison is one of the most secured prisons in the US. There is no way he moved even an inch without being detected, unless he had some kind of help. And there is no way you all have the case unless somebody there is responsible.”

“What are you trying to say? Somebody here is–”

“C’mon man, you’re a smart man. You evaded getting caught for 20years, think about it. When do they or anybody for that matter involve another team when there has been no sighting in their jurisdiction? When there is no threat within their jurisdiction?”

“They said he has an operation here and they need to locate it.”

“Did they enlist your help? Did they ask you what all you knew about him?”

Silence.

“You are the case, Jesse. Don’t you find it funny that he just happen to escape the very same time you fly away to look into joining the bureau? That you’re no longer at home, to protect Angie, Frankie… Ellie?”

“Tad,” Jesse warned, already knowing where this was headed. “Keep your voi—“

“I already told her…. I had too! She needed to know, Jesse!”

“No… Tad, I didn’t want her to know that. Any of it!”

“She needed to know that her father put a lifetime hit out on her and her kids or you… Jesse, I had too.”

“Damn,” Jesse mumbled, punching the nearby pole and hissing shortly after. “I’m on my way home… Tad, you take care of them until I get there.”

“You can’t come home and you know it. If you go in there and tell them you’re leaving, they’ll know you know something is up and they’ll tip him off. You have to stay there and work the case, make them think you’re trying to help, but you’re really trying to save your family’s life and I’ll do what I can on my end.”

Jesse growled and stomped his foot. No! He yelled inwardly, pacing side to side. This was not what was supposed to happen! This was not what he had planned. “I need to talk to her. Please, let me talk to her,” he begged.

“Yea, hold on…”

Moments later, Angie took the phone from Tad and waited for him to leave the room. “Jesse,” she cried. “Jesse, I’m so sorry.”

“Hey, hey, stop that. This is not your fault.”

“Yes it is. I knew my father hated you, but Jesse I didn’t think it went this deep. I didn’t think it would still be a problem. Jesse, I’m no good for you and this whole time I thought it was just…”

“Angela! Stop. Don’t you dare blame yourself for any of this. I could have walked away when I saw the hate in that man’s eyes. I could have left after you divorced me, but Angie I didn’t. I stayed and I’m going to continue to stay. I fought for you then, I will fight for you now. Angie, I will fight for you forever, you hear me?” He promised. “Now, I want you and Ellie to go with Tad. And Angie, you have to do what he says, none of that stubborn attitude, you have to listen. Okay?”

“Yes,” she cried. “Okay.”

Jesse leaned his head against the pole and resisted the urge to cry himself. “Baby, I’m sorry. Had I just gotten rid of him when I had the chance, this would not be happening. But I won’t make the same mistake twice, not this time.”

“Jesse, I love you so much.”

“Not as much as I love you my sweet, sweet angel…”

As Angie sat on the edge of the bed with her head low and tears cascading down her face and Jesse stood in the middle of an alley listening, another soul was standing in the wings of windy Chicago drinking it all in. This was what he lived for. This was what got him off. This was what he would die for. Whereas Jesse looked at Angie as the love of his life, he looked at their suffering as his. “Sweet, sweet, Angela,” he sung before laughing menacingly and slowly turning to disappear deeper and deeper into the darkness that was the alley.

Nearly an hour later, Jesse returned to the FBI building feeling different. It wasn’t until he stepped off the elevator did he recognize it. It was the very same way he felt the night he killed one of Papel’s men. He felt changed. He felt like a fighter. He felt… ruthless. He felt… determined. “This the game you wanna play? Then let the games begin,” he spoke to no one in particular but hoping the message would reach Les in the hell hole he rotted in. “Let the games begin, my friend.”

~~~**~~~**~~~

Later that night Angie stood in the doorway and listened to Ellie and Jesse sing to each other. After packing the clothes they needed and leaving as if nothing was wrong, just in case they were being watched, Tad took them to the safest place in Pine Valley. Along with that he purchased several burner phones for he and Angie to communicate with Jesse without giving anyone a chance to tap their lines.

“David, I can’t thank you enough for allowing us to stay here,” Angie sighed, as she took a seat across from him in the living room.

“Hey, it’s the least I can do,” he replied. “How’s she taking it?”

Angie shrugged. “She only knows that her daddy was asked to help find a bad man and until he returns home and because mommy is a chicken, we have to stay here.”

“How are you holding up?”

She smirked this time and took a sip of the hot cocoa. “You know… I’m numb. I felt weird when Jesse first brought it up, but I couldn’t place it and I couldn’t shake it. No matter how hard I tried, how much I prayed about it, I couldn’t shake it…” She looked away. “And now I know why.”

“I knew your father was a bad man, but I didn’t think it was that bad.”

“You and me both,” she said with a sigh. “You know, I wish I knew why. Why daddy hated Jesse so much? Why was daddy so against he and I being together? What was the motive?”

“Maybe Jesse knew something… I mean, as much as I hate the man, I don’t think I hate him enough to go this far,” he teased. “And I certainly don’t hate him enough to sacrifice the life of somebody I care about.”

“Yea, well that’s where you and Les differ.”

And that’s where the conversation ceased completely. They moved around the large house in silence, before Angie decided to turn in and call her husband. Because they wouldn’t speak of anything in regards to Rob, they spoke on their regular phones. “How much do love me?” Jesse asked.

See in order to not bring attention to themselves, they had to switch it up. They had to pretend that everything was on the up and up even when all they wanted to do was be with each other, protecting their home. “More than you’ll ever know,” she replied. “Jesse, I need you.”

“Not as much as I need you.” Having been so deeply in love with her and use to her ways and her tells, Jesse knew Angie was speaking more so as protection and not the sensual way. Jesse also knew that with each word they spoke Angie was cringing at the thought of having to lie or sex it up just in case they were being watched or heard.

At the same time Jesse opened his mouth to say more, he received a text to his burner phone that not only put an even bigger damper on an already dark situation, but placed an even bigger fear within his heart. “Shit,” Jesse mumbled without thinking.

“What? Jesse, baby what is it?” She asked, jumping up “Is it—“

“No,” He quickly covered, before she gave anything away. “I stubbed my damn toe,” he faked grunt.

Angie caught the hint and began to calm down. Sighing heavily, she sat on the edge of the bed and braced her knee with her free hand. “How… How bad is it?” She choked out.

“Eh, I’ll survive. But I will tell you this… It does burn a bit,” he hinted on the sly.

“You have ice?” She asked, without hesitation as she got up and checked the burner phone. Her heart grew weary. “Jesse?”

“No, but I’ll be alright… Hey, you sound tired. Why don’t you go to bed?” He suggested. “Besides, you have work tomorrow, you need the rest.”

Angie inwardly scoffed. Who the hell said she was going to work tomorrow? Who said she or Ellie were leaving Hayward Manor period!? “I don’t know… I might sit this one out. My eye is still a bit swollen and there is some pain behind it.”

“Maybe that’s why you need to go in. Get it checked out.”

“We’ll see.”

“Okay,” he sighed, knowing her mind was pretty much made up. “Well, go take something anyway and get some rest… “I love you.”

Angie smiled as she reread the message on the burner phone, there was no way she getting any rest tonight and any other night until Jesse was safely back at home and Papel was dead. “I love you too.” And with that they ended the call. And while both of them were thousands of miles apart, they were doing the exact same thing, at the exact same moment. They were staring at the text that made them realize shit was really about to get real.

“Hotel room and both phones are bugged.”

Jesse: Protect them. Promise me.

Tad: As if they were my own.