Letting the warm liquid slide down her aching throat, Angie ran her fingers through her hair and stared out into the night. Just as she been doing for the past three weeks. No matter what she could be found in the very spot and in this very position every single night. Her leggings or sweat pants clad legs, whichever she felt like putting on, curled under her, her hair all over her head and her hands gripping onto a mug of chamomile tea. Her heart full of pain, her eyes glistening with tears that she tried her best to keep at bay and her mind wandering to then and now.
“Jesus,” she sighed wearily, throwing her head back and closing her eyes. Trying to shut out the memories that caused her to be in this very position.
The memories haunted her like crazy.
It all started two months ago. Angie had remained determined to let David help her get her sight back. Even though her husband and her son told her it was a very bad idea to trust the man. They told her they didn’t trust him as far as they could throw him because of his reputation. But little did Angie know Jesse was afraid because of another reason. He was more afraid of Angie getting her sight back and finding out the truth than the experiment not working at all and her being disappointed.
Angie heard them, but as always the things they said went in one ear and out the other. The first few days after the first round were the same. When Angie opened her eyes in the morning nothing but darkness greeted her. At one point she’d thought about given up and deciding to just really buckle down and accept this for what it truly was. And Jesse agreed with her… “He really agreed with me,” she scoffed, shaking her head. That should have been a sign to her that something wasn’t right. Never in all her days of being with Jesse had he agreed that giving up was the best idea. No, Jesse would give her one of his famous pep-talks and put it through her thick skull that Hubbard’s didn’t give up. They didn’t know the meaning of that phrase. But he didn’t and when he said ‘You’re right baby. We might as well just give this up’, Angie should have known. But she had been to disappointed to comprehend that. Then.
As time went on and reluctant acceptance began to set in, Angie woke up one morning and instead of darkness there was a blur. Not much of anything but to her it was something. It was a little glimmer of hope. “Jesse, I think… I really think it’s working,” Angie exclaimed as she sat upright in the bed and raised her hands. She knew in her mind that her hands were right in front of her, but her eyes just couldn’t make them out.
Jesse sat in front of her. “Can you see me?” He asked his voice laced with worry.
“No,” Angie replied, shaking her head. “But I see something. A figure. It’s blurry, but it’s there… Jesse, it’s working!”
“Now hold on Angela… Don’t get your hopes up. This could just be a phase or some kind of weird reaction to that medication.”
Sign number two… Negative thinking. But once again Angie was blinded but this time by excitement and hope.
More medication and weeks later the blur suddenly changed into this blinding light. She’d been in the living room holding Lucy and telling her little stories when she was hit with this mind numbing pain. Tears began to cascade down her face, her body shook. The pain was all in her head but the pain had shook her whole body. “Jesse!” She called helplessly, cupping her forehead and laying her head back. Lucy who’d been sitting in her lap looked up and just wailed. “Oh my god,” she whimpered.
Well into that same night Mother Nature gave Angie a ring and it was a call she couldn’t ignore. So pulling her tired body up and all the while opening her eyes the need to pee was like a distant memory! She discovered in that moment that not only could she see a single light, but she could also see her husband’s handsome face as he slept. Just to make sure she hadn’t been dreaming she jumped out the bed and dashed into the nursery where Lucy slept. The minute she laid eyes on her baby her heart spilled over with love. Lucy was the most beautiful thing ever! The high cheekbones, those pouty lips. She was perfect! Like Lucy knew that she had visitor her eyes fluttered open and moments later locked on with Angie’s. Her beautiful brown eyes had done it! Angie scooped the little one up in her arms and cradled her close to her chest. She then pulled her from her chest and just gazed into her eyes. Sketched her daughter’s beautiful face to memory.
Had Angie not been blinded by love and joy she would have noticed a few things about Lucy that just wasn’t right. For instance the girl didn’t have her dimples or Jesse’s heart shaped lips or his long beautiful eyelashes. She would have noticed that Lucy looked nothing like them. Didn’t favor Frankie nor Natalia when they were babies.
It wasn’t until days later when Jesse started getting all squirmy and cautious did she take a little notice to these certain things. And if that hadn’t been enough, the day some kid and his mother knocked on her door and demanding she give the child back just told it all.
“Excuse you?” Angie snapped. “I don’t know who the hell you are, but you better leave before I call the cops!”
The woman stepped forward and towered over Angie’s short frame. “That baby belongs to us and you will do best to hand her over.”
Not at all intimidated by this woman, Angie propped her hands on her hips and arched her brows. “I will not ask you again,” she warned. “You do best to get from in front of my damn door with this sob story about me having your baby. No! This is my child.”
“No she isn’t, Angela.” Came Jesse’s voice.
Angie whipped around to face him. “Excuse you? Jesse, what… What the hell are you talking about?” And that was when Jesse told her that Lucy was there’s by love and the birth certificate, but she wasn’t theirs biologically.
You could have sold Angie for a penny!
“Exactly! Now if you do not mind I would like to take my grandchild home. Where she belongs.”
Jesse jumped in front of the playpen and shook his head. “I can’t let you do that. See, she may be yours, but until you can get a judge to make me hand her over. She belongs to us,” he explained.
Angie hadn’t moved a muscle. Hadn’t uttered a word until the hissing woman and her son walked out her door promising to be back for the child. “Jesse?” She finally found her voice. But she was still having trouble wrapping her mind around what just happened. What was just said? “I’m going to ask you a question and you better not lie to me,” she warned as she moved over to the playpen where Lucy played with her little toys. Totally oblivious to what was happening around her. “What do you mean she isn’t ours?”
He looked away. Jesse wouldn’t, couldn’t stare into Angie’s eyes as he spoke. “Lucy belongs to another family.”
“O—Okay… Now answer this, where is my baby? Where is my little girl?” She was heated you could tell from way she spoke and the depth of her voice, but if you glanced at her you would think nothing was wrong. It was like the calm before the storm.
Jesse always prayed he would never have to do this. Never have to reveal this shocking and stomach churning truth. “Angie… our… our baby i—is… She’s gone.”
“What! N—no… Gone… Gone where? Jesse, where… Please-” She couldn’t even finish her question.
“Baby I wanted to tell you so bad, but you ha–”
Angie closed the distance between she and Jesse. “Are you saying…she’s… Are you saying that my Ellie is… dead? Because if that is what you are saying Jesse you better mean it as some kind of twisted joke!”
“The night you gave birth to her… She came out and she wasn’t breathing and… Angela I’m sorry.”
Before Jesse knew it a hand struck him across his face. And then another and then another and then a fist connected with his chest. “You sorry bastard!” Angie screamed punching and slapping until she had Jesse backed against the door trying to grab her flying fists. “Angela!” Jesse bellowed, capturing Angie’s wrist and turning her around. Her back was toward him and he held her like a criminal. “Let me go!”
“No… Angela, baby I’m trying to…”
“Let me go!” She screamed, trying to wrench her way from his grasp. “How could you do this to me!? How could you!?” She cried out, sinking to the floor, pulling Jesse with her. When her body went limp in his arms and a shudder tore through her Jesse buried her face in her hair. “Baby, I am so sorry… I never ever meant to hurt you. I only did it to protect you,” he said over and over again.
“Ma,” Frankie called, pulling her from her from thoughts. When her eyes opened and her gaze flipped up to him he sighed and pulled her into his arms. He could tell where she had escaped too. To be honest he been there a couple of times himself and it was hard for him to even accept that his sister was really gone. He couldn’t even began to imagine the pain his parents were going through having to lose their own child as well as one they grew to love.
Angie anchored her arms under Frankie’s and gripped onto his shirt. “Frankie,” she sobbed. “I don’t… I can’t go on like this anymore. It’s hurts too much,” she cried, clutching to him as if her life depended on it.