When you wake up in the morning you think this day can only get better. You never give yourself a chance think hey, maybe this day will be hell or maybe it’ll just be a day of confusion, wondering, praying and what’s if’s.
Cass, woke up with the mind-set that everything was going to be okay. That this day her little sister would be found and brought home alive and just as giddy to see everybody as they were to see her. She thought instead of having to watch them rush her mother into the hospital on a gurney, they would be rushing there to get news from the doctor that Ellie was fine. She was better than fine. She was great… Never once did Cass think a day could go from hell to something worse. Is there any such thing as worse than hell, she asked herself. Never once did she think that maybe this day wouldn’t bring all that she hoped for, but more of what she hadn’t hoped for.
“Cass, you alright?” Frankie asked, taking a seat next to her.
Cass looked up from her hands and sighed. “”What’s going to happen?
“What do you mean?”
“What happens to mom? What happens to Ellie? What happens to this family? What happens to the man that is responsible for all of this?” She asked, looking over at him. “Frankie, you’ve seen it. Some people get off Scott free after committing a crime like this. It’s just… I wonder if this case will be like that. Will they let him go, say he was temporarily insane and then what months down the line we’re back in this spot… Only then… getting a call saying they have found her and she’s d—“
“Don’t say that.”
“It’s true Frankie!” She fussed. “And you know it!”
“Cass, when he’s found he will be handled.”
“If they find him you mean. Frankie, the man escaped from wherever the hell he’s been for the past few years, damn near a year ago and they haven’t caught up with him yet. They let him slip through the cracks before, whose to say they won’t do it again.”
“Because I won’t let him,” Jesse said, standing behind her. He heard her outburst and went to see what was going on. Jake had walked back into the room to see about Angie and he was still not yet allowed to see his wife. “We won’t let him,” he corrected, giving Tad, Frankie and Jacob a look that meant business.
“Jesse, how can you say that? You know the system better than anybody else. You know what goes in and what doesn’t.”
Jesse squatted down in front of Cass and took her hands into his. “Read my lips… We won’t let him go. That Starks guy will not get away with this. We’re going to make sure of that. System or no system, we’re going to handle this.”
“He’s right Cass,” Tad assured, placing a hand on her shoulder.
“How?” She whispered.
“We can’t tell you. Just know we got this and we only want you, Natalia, and Randi to watch over Angela. Keep her calm and let her know this is going to be over soon. Very soon,” he hinted, giving her hands a squeeze. “I’ve been avoiding this for awhile, but deep down I always knew it would come down to me having to take matters into my own hands.”
Jacob who stood behind Cass, nodded and leaned down to kiss her hair. “Trust us baby girl. All we ask is that you trust us to take care of this.”
“How is she?” Jesse asked sometime later when Jake finally walked out of Angie’s room.
“She’s doing good. Better than earlier. I would of course like to keep her in overnight just to be sure.”
Jesse nodded. As much as he wanted to go in and see her, he knew it was best that he didn’t. Angie would only ask questions that he couldn’t give her answers to and he was tired of disappointing her. He was tired of seeing a little hope creep up on her face only to have to watch it go away because he failed to do the one thing he vowed he would do for the rest of his life. Protect his girls… Protect his family from harm.
“You can go in and see her now.”
Shaking his head, Jesse turned away from the room. “Uh… Listen, I need a favor.”
Jesse looked down one hall and then the other to make sure they were alone. “I need you too………….”
“What!? No, I can’t do that. That’s crazy!”
“Jake, it’s the only way.”
“No! Hell no!”
“Jake, for Angela. You have to do this for Angela!”
Jake shook his head. “No and that is my final answer,” he fussed, throwing his hands up and turning to walk away only to run right into Tad.
“Jake, do it,” Tad ordered.
“You’re in on this too? Tad, this is crazy!”
“Who broke into David’s house sometime ago and got away with it?” Tad asked.
“I did… But—“
“Who took the fall for you? Who got arrested and had to go to court?”
“Tad, come on. You kn—“
“Who Jake? Who” Tad repeated.
“Angie,” Jake sighed, looking away.
“As crazy as it may seem, this is the only way. And dammit Jake, you owe her.”
“Tad, I can—“
“You’ve always told me Angie was your best friend and if anything ever happened to her you wouldn’t be able to go on. You said she was a sister to you… Jake, Angie needs you. Your best friend and your sister needs you to do this for her. Your goddaughter needs this.”
“Come on Jake. Please,” Frankie pleaded.
Jake looked from Frankie, to Tad, to Jacob and then Jesse. They all wore matching looks that said, even without your help we’re going to do it, but we would prefer you to be with us. “Jesse, I…” Before the words could just flow, he saw movement out the corner of his eye. He turned and saw Cass in the room with Angie rubbing her shuddering shoulders.
“I know you’ve been Angela’s eyes since the beginning of this whole ordeal. You were there when nobody else was and I thank you. Angela thanks you… But Jake… Jake we need you this time. The last time.”
He looked back at the men surrounding him and then looked back into the room. Seeing Angie this way was becoming his undoing. It was like seeing his own wife in there. Hurting and just wanting to be heard or understood. Wanting to be helped. “Is there a special way I need to say this or just say it?” He asked looking at the men and letting them know he was in.
“Caroline, what on god’s earth are you doing?”
“I’m getting ready to call the police!” Caroline fussed marching right over the phone and picking it up. “The man I saw jumping the fence awhile ago, I saw him go through that window.”
Scoffing and heaving his heavy body out of his recliner Arthur waddle over and took the phone. “Woman, nobody has lived in that house for years, who cares if somebody’s in there.”
“I care!” She yelped. “I don’t want some hoodlum going in there and starting up something. This street has been clean since the old neighbors moved out and I refuse to sit here and watch another group of those street folks come in and mess up this place again.”
“Caroline Marie Howard, this is none of your business.”
Caroline was all set to give him a tongue lashing that would most definitely make the old man wish he was in a grave somewhere when she saw something moving out the corner of her eye. Turning she saw it was the same man from earlier walking out the back door with something that appeared to be an old dirty towel or something tucked in his arms.
“What the hell is he doing?” Arthur asked this time, stepping so close to the window his breath fogged up a spot.
Just as the man made it down the steps the thing he had tucked under his arms shielding whatever fell to the ground.
“Oh my lord!” Caroline gasped, trying to get a better look.
“Is that—“ Arthur started.
“A baby!” Caroline finished.
The man soon vanished onto the other side of the gate. “I’m calling the gawd damn police!” Arthur bellowed.
Baby tucked safely in his arms, Ace made his way to his car that he parked a few blocks away. “Okay we’re gonna get you to the hospital and get you all taken care of,” he promised and soon he was grabbing the door knob of his car.
It wasn’t until then his plan on getting her safely to the hospital became a distant memory. There wasn’t much he could do without a car seat! “Crap!” He hissed, looking around the car and then down at the squirming baby girl. “I can’t…”
She flipped those beautiful brown eyes up at him and started whimpering. It was as if she was telling him he had to do something. He couldn’t leave her at that house.
“Don’t look at me like that,” he pleaded.
She continued to work that baby charm.
“Ugh! Okay! I’ll… Give me a minute,” he fussed, looking around trying to get a thought to come to him.
Anybody else would have called the police and let them handle it, but because he didn’t know how long Sam was going to be gone and didn’t want to chance getting caught, leaving seemed to be the only way. “That doesn’t mean I can’t call them now,” he muttered, looking down at the baby only to see her breathing becoming shallow. “Crap! Hold on. I’m getting you some help. Just don’t stop breathing,” he begged, opening the door and gently laying her in the seat. Right after he was sure she was cool he removed his phone from his pocket and called for help.
“911, what’s your emergency?”
Ace gulped. “I found a baby.”
Kevin put his finger to the old woman’s trembling lips and smiled deviously. “We’re going to walk out of here like nothing happened. We’re going to head to the parking lot and the whole time you will keep your pretty little mouth shut. Got it?”
She nodded vigorously as the knife he held to her side could be felt trying to cut into her. “Yes. Yes,” she whimpered.
“Good. Let’s go,” he ordered, turning her around. “Smile,” he whispered as they started walking from behind the shelves toward the front. Just like earlier the others were busy doing everything but the right thing. “Looks to me you need to get them to hire a new pharmacy staff,” he teased, walking past them the same as he did earlier. Quiet and unnoticed.
The old lady did the same though a scream was trying to claw it’s way out of her throat.
“Good girl,” he whispered as they walked out the door and started down the hall. He was nearing one of the emergency staircases when a breaking news update flashed on the TV in the waiting room they were passing.
“This just in… One of Pine Valley’s Daughter’s, mother’s, wife, friend and one of the best doctor’s has passed away. Dr. Angela Marie Baxter-Hubbard, passed away a little over an hour ago,” the announcer said sadly. “As many of you know ten days ago, her newborn daughter Ellie Hubbard had been taken from the hospital and while the whole town has searched high and low they have still not been able to bring her home to her mother, her father… Her family. At the moment there’s no true cause of death, but sources believe that it was stress. Brought on by the events of her missing baby… More information on this story as it progresses. Please keep the Hubbard Family in your thoughts and in your prayers as they try to get through this very very difficult time.”
Shocked, speechless and broken hearted even, Kevin’s still body began to shake and the voices in his head started coming together as one.
This is your fault! You did this! You killed the only person that believed in you, cared for you and loved you. This is all your fault!
Suddenly, Kevin dropped the knife and pushed the woman away from him. Breathing hard and still shaking, he started backing away. Backing away from the now still scene in the waiting room and the saddened look on the news announcer’s face as they flashed a picture of Angie and Jesse from their wedding day.
You killed her… You killed her… You killed her!
His feet started moving without his recollection and soon he was running towards the exited and into the staircase.
“Please keep the Hubbard Family in your thoughts and in your prayers as they try to get through this very very difficult time.”
Caroline and Arthur and the police officers that had answered her called, stared at the TV in disbelief. “Damn,” Arthur sighed.
Natalia and Randi dashed into PVH with tears streaking down their face. Automatically they spotted Jesse, Jacob, Tad and Frankie coming out of a room.
“Where is she? We wanna see her. Frankie please, let us see her!” Natalia begged. In the few years she’d been in PV, Angie had become another mother to her. After her real mother passed away, Angie had made it known she was not trying to replace Rebecca, but she wanted her to know that she was there for her. And she had been. “Dad, please… Please,” she begged, Jesse this time.
Jesse took a deep breath and nodded toward Angie’s room.
Natalia and Randi looked over and soon rushed in. Cass stood at the bed with her back to them and her head down. “Cass,” Natalia started off croaky as she started inching closer. “Please, tell me this isn’t happening,” she begged.
Soon Cass moved to the side and a second later Randi gasped, “Oh my god!”