Jesse sat in the corner of Angie’s room and watched her sleep. The sedative she was given earlier had yet to wear off, but Jesse wasn’t complaining. Nor was he worried. Plus Bonnie came in and assured him Angela was alright. Explained that while some may wake up within four hours of the intake others could sleep well into the morning. It all depended on the person.
As he sat there watching her, reliving the day’s event his heart began to crumble all over again. He thought the call from Tad had been his breaking point, but when he had to tell his wife and watch her break and later go to nursery to see his baby’s empty bassinet… There was only one word out there that explained how Jesse felt. Empty. Empty just like the bassinet.
“Oh Ellie,” he sighed, massaging his temples.
“Jesse,” a soft voice called out to him.
He turned and saw Angie trying to shift to her side. Jesse closed his eyes and tried to get a grip. Tried to put it inside of himself that it was now time for him to be strong for his wife. But as he came to his feet and started making his way over he wondered how could he be strong for her, when he could hardly be strong for himself? How could he tell her everything would be alright when he didn’t even know everything would be?
“Right here baby,” he said softly, easing onto the edge of the bed where he took her hands into his. “I’m right here.”
Angie gave a soft smile that both of them knew was a fake. “Tell me it was all a bad dream,” she begged. Her voice was still laced with sleep but you could still hear the how her emotions were damn near getting the best of her. “Tell me that my baby girl is in the nursery. Please.”
Guilt began to eat away at the remaining pieces of his broken heart. “If I did that I would be lying. And we promised we wouldn’t’ lie to each other again.”
Angie closed her eyes.
Jesse took off his shoes, laid behind his wife and wrapped his arms tightly around her. “Baby, if it’s the very last thing I do… I’m going to find her. And bring her home where she belongs.”
The pain Angie felt was too much. She could no longer speak. And she wanted to no longer breathe.
“Don’t shut me out,” Jesse whispered. “Please.”
“It hurts,” she reluctantly replied. “Just knowing she is—isn’t here… Jesse i–it hurts me. It’s like somebody stabbed me in my heart. And the waiting and the wondering, it’s like the knife is twisting in deeper and deeper. Jesse, this pain… it’s… it’s unbearable!” She cried squeezing his hand that was resting against her empty midsection.
Jesse pressed a soft kiss on her shuddering shoulders and comforted her. It seemed like it was the only thing he was successful at doing. Because keeping promises wasn’t. He promised his daughter just moments before she was born and hundreds of times before then he would always protect her and her mother. Would never let harm come to them. Would never ever let her out of his sight for as long as he lived. “Damn,” he muttered, letting tears spills onto his cheek and then onto Angie’s gown.
Angie, who up until that moment had been only thinking about her pain, tensed when she felt Jesse’s body shake. “Jesse,”
“I’m sorry,” he mumbled, trying to suck everything back though he knew it was useless. Angie had already turned to face him and her arms were easing around his waist. “I’m sorry, Angela. I’m supposed to be strong for you and keep it all together, but I… Angie, I was supposed to protect her and I–”
Angie’s index finger found their way to Jesse’s lips. “Shhh… This isn’t your fault.”
“It is… Had I just stayed here, she–”
“Stop it!” She fussed, cupping his face. “You didn’t know. Jesse, please don’t blame yourself. Please!”
Jesse looked away. “I can’t help it, Angela… I made a promise to you and our daughter I wouldn’t let anything happen to you and… What’s happens! Somebody waltz in here and takes her!”
“Jesse, you had no way of knowing this would happen.”
“It doesn’t matter. It still happened and now I have to live with this guilt of knowing I could have somehow prevented this from happening. I could have stopped this man from taking our baby girl and making the both of you suffer this way.” Jesse pulled himself up and eased off the bed. He walked back over to the chair by the window, took a seat and looked out into the night. “I’m sorry… I really am.”
On wobbly legs, Angie eased out of the bed and felt her way over to Jesse. Her stick had been brought from her home so the task was not at all hard. Anyway, when she made it over to him, she felt for his shoulders, braced them and eased herself onto his lap. “I don’t blame you… Jesse, I don’t. Please tell me you believe that.”
Frankie and Cassandra stood outside of their mother’s door at a lost. Neither of them knowing what to do or say.
“Hey, I was just looking for you two,” Jake said, easing up beside them. He too looked into the room. Why did bad things have to happen to good people, he wondered, dropping his head and looking away. Any longer and he would probably be just as weak as the others. “Ahem! Uh… Perry needs to speak with you and the others.”
“For what?” Frankie asked, looking at him. When he saw the grim look on Jake’s face his heart fell. “Don—don’t tell me they’ve–”
“No. They want to ask you some questions.”
“We don’t know anything,” Cassandra interjected, looking up at him. Her eyes were shining with fresh tears. “What on earth could they ask us? Why aren’t they out there looking for my baby sister!?” She fussed, pointing toward the window for emphasis.
Frankie wrapped his arms around his sister and held her close. “It’s okay… Let him finish… Jake what about?”
Jake pulled them to the side. “I’m not supposed to say anything, but I feel you should know,” he started, looking around to make sure nobody was around. It was no sense in lying to them or keeping mum about this. “They believe this was no random kidnapping. That whoever did this has something against your parents. It was personal.”
“What!” Cassandra bellowed. “No, that’s bull and they know it!”
“Cass,” Frankie sighed rubbing her arms. He gave her a look that said ‘please don’t turn into ma right now. Please’. After a minute or two he looked back up at Jake. “What makes them think this wasn’t random? Ma and pops may have their share of haters and what not but I know nobody would want them to suffer like this. No way in hell somebody would want to inflict this kind of pain on them.”
“That’s what I told them, but they are convinced that this was personal.”
“Okay, so why question us?” Cass asked.
“I don’t know.”
Cass sighed and looked away. “This is… Ugh! I can’t stand this.”
One by one, the Hubbard children and the honorary Hubbard were questioned by Thaddeus Martin and Lieutenant Perry. There were questions regarding their personal lives, whether they ever had a run in with somebody would want to inflict this kind of pain of them. Did they owe somebody something? Did they strike a deal with somebody? Did any of them have anything to do with this? Did their parents threaten to cut them off and they felt they would get them back by taking the baby as leverage? There were so many questions. SO many ridiculous questions, but they had to be asked. It wasn’t uncommon for kids to turn on their parents when threatened to be cut off.
Question after ridiculous question, each of the children’s blood boiled with anger. The fact that they could even ask those kinds of questions made it even worse. Why in the hell would they want to see something like this happen!? If their parents cut them off or whatever, then they would just have to deal with it. They wouldn’t take it to the extremities of kidnapping their own sibling!
“We have to ask these questions, Ms. Foster,” Perry reminded. She was the angriest of them all.
“I get that! But to even ask me something that extreme, for you to even think I would have a hand in something like this is stupid!”
“So is that a yes or no, Ms. Foster?” Perry asked again. “Did you want to pay your parents back for arresting you and your boyfriend and your best friend a few years back? Thought maybe they should suffer just like they made you do?”
Cass glared at him and shook her head. “Tad?”
“Perry, that’s enough,” Tad warned. Cass didn’t even have to say anything. He already knew what she was asking of him. “Just one more question Cass… When your mother was in San Francisco, did she mention anything to you about having a bad feeling? Like she was being watched?”
“If ma felt anything she never let on about it.”
“Did you feel like you were being watched?”
Cass opened her mouth to say no, but then remembered one day while she was checking the mailbox. “There was this one time.”
“Explain,” Tad urged.
“I was checking the mail one day and felt somebody was watching me. But when I turned around I didn’t see anything out of the ordinary. It was like that until I got on the elevator.”
Tad sat straighter up and fixed her with those questioning eyes. “For that moment did you ever feel as if your life was in danger? Did it happen anymore after that?” This could be what they were looking for.
“As a matter of fact no. It was just uncomfortable. And no that was the first and last time I felt that way and after it didn’t happen anymore I just chalked it up to my head. Thinking maybe I was just going crazy or just putting too much thought into it.”
“Thank you Cassandra,” Tad replied not looking up from his notepad, which he had for notes. Once the door shut behind Cass and some minutes passed, Tad spoke. “You crossed the line by pestering her that way. Whether she hate Jesse’s guts or not, that her mother and her little sister and Cassandra would not even think of doing something like that to her.”
“You know the deal Martin. We have to ask those questions. And besides she wasn’t the only one I asked a question like that too, but she was the only one to become defensive. Why do you think that is?”
Tad stood up and crossed the room to the door. “She’s her mother’s daughter. You push they are going to push back. Simple as that.”
“Now come one, we need to go talk to Angela and Jesse.” And with that Tad walked out to first check on Cass and then head to speak with his friends. He knew the questions had to be asked but he still didn’t like the way Perry handled that. Because Cass had been in trouble before he automatically started treating her like some street thug, whereas with the others he was cool, calm and collected. That was wrong and Tad really felt Perry crossed the lines.
“You all shouldn’t have been questioned. Perry knows he should have come to me with this” Jesse fussed as he looked from Frankie to Natalia to Cass to Brot and lastly to Randi.
See, they came in with the intention on seeing how they were holding up and to see if they needed or wanted anything. But Jesse took one look at Cass and demanded some answers. Cass hadn’t hesitated. She told them how Jake came to them saying they were needed for questioning. The others gave their input on what went on during. When it came time for Cass to tell what happened when she went in, Jesse could tell hers didn’t go as easy as the others. Cass told them how Perry brought up the beef she and Jesse once shared because Angie was marrying him and not her father. And how he wondered if she still held ill feelings about it.
Though in a great deal of emotional pain of her own Angie gestured for her daughter to come to her. Cass crawled into the bed and rested in her mother’s comforting arms.
“I wish one of you all would have come to me about this beforehand.”
“Pops it was something that was out of your control,” Frankie interjected. “Iris put Perry in charge of everything. Until this is over, you are not allowed to do anything… Including stopping the questioning.”
Jesse sat on the edge of the bed and sighed. “Cass you know if it was up to me you wouldn’t have had to go through that. Neither of you,” Jesse explained. “And I also hope you all know that in no way shape or form do me and your mother think you all were involved in any of this this… You all do know that right?”
Frankie nodded as he walked over to his old man and placed his hand on his shoulder.
“Yea, pops we know.”
“Chief Hubbard. Mrs. Hubbard.”
Everybody turned toward the door.
“Jesse, who is that?” Angie asked nervously.
Jesse rubbed his wife’s knee. “It’s Perry.”
“I’m sorry to interrupt, but I need to ask you both a couple of questions. And this can’t wait.”
“Okay… Uh… Look you all go on home and get some rest,” Jesse told the kids as he came to his feet.
“We’re leaving but we’re not going home,” Frankie said in a tone that brooked no arguments. “We’ll be in the waiting room.”
“Chief, you can wait with them while I talk to—”
Jesse shook his head. “Yea… Not going to happen. I’ll tell you whatever you need to know, but I’ll be damned if I leave my wife by herself.”
“You’re wasting time! Ask your damn questions and then get out there find my child!” Angie, who’d been quiet as a mouse, fussed.
“Angie, he’s only—”
Angie raised a firm hand. “Did I ask for your input? No! Did I ask for you to help him? No! Since I didn’t ask you a damn thing you do best to shut the hell up and mind your business!”
Randi completely taken back clamped her mouth shut and looked away. ”
“Does anybody else have anything to say?” Angie asked. After watching Randi pretty much get her ass handed to her, their thoughts quickly vanished.
“No ma’am.” Everybody answered.
“Good… Perry, get on with it. The quicker you get this over with. The faster you can high tail it out of here and find my baby.”