“What’s on your mind?” Pat asked much later on, as she stood at the stove cooking her famous gumbo and her husband sat quietly at the breakfast nook drinking his third cup of coffee and playing around with the crackers.
“Nothing,” Jeffery replied absently.
Pat glanced over her shoulder. “Liar. You’ve been sitting there crushing those crackers for the past 30mins. What’s going on?” She turned the fire down under the pot and went to his side. “Talk to me.”
Sighing heavily, Jeffery looked at his wife. “I was thinking about Angie.”
“What about her?”
“I think we should uh…” Suddenly something in him told him to shut his mouth and say no more. It wasn’t his place to suggest something for somebody that was not only not his child, but somebody who was just as headstrong as her mother. “Never mind. Just forget I even said anything, cause it wasn’t all that important and I… I… Just never mind.”
Pat took her husband’s hand and smiled. “You’re rambling. Tell me what’s on your mind, before I beat it out of you,” she teased.
Jeffery dropped his head and let out another sigh as he mentally kicked himself in his own behind for even bringing it up. Especially when he had a wife who didn’t drop anything! “… Remember the other day we ran into Dr. Stevens?”
“The therapist that helped you in the past? Yes, I remember. But what does she have to do with my baby girl?” She asked, totally missing the sign flying over her head.
He rested his head in the palm of his large hand and sighed. “I think maybe we should… Should have them talk to each other.”
“Meaning, you want my child to see a therapist? What you don’t think she can handle this without professional help? You don’t think I can help her without some cracked up doctor telling her what I can tell her?” She fussed, though she was trying no to.
“Hear me out,” Jeffery interjected, holding up his hands. “It’s been three weeks and she hasn’t said anything else about what happened.”
“Well how long did it take you to seek help? How long did it take you to finally open up and talk about your hurt?” She hissed, jerking her hand away and getting up from the table.
Jeffery pulled back. “This is different, Patty and you know it. There is something more to this story and I don’t think it started with the death of her baby. Deep inside I feel it started sometime ago, when that supposed dead husband of her returned. She needs help Patty! More help than you or I can give her right now.”
Patricia turned from him and went to the stove. “No… All my baby needs is me. Mama can take care of her.”
“Pat, this is deeper than what you can do or say. Angie needs some real help.”
“Are you calling my baby crazy?” Pat suddenly asked, turning around to face him with a snarl. “Are you saying that my baby needs to seek help because you think that all she has been through, she’s going to go postal?”
“No, Patty. Hell no! I’m not saying any of that, not even thinking it,” he fussed, coming to his own feet and making his way toward her. “I’m just saying, Angie needs help. Needs our help and somebody else’s help. Pat, the woman has been through a lot.”
“How would you know? She hasn’t spoken to us about anything in 3weeks, remember?”
Jeffery shook his head. “The fact that the man she believed to be dead suddenly came back is enough to mess with anybody’s mind. And there is no telling what went down from the time he returned to now. To when she became pregnant and lost her child. I’m no expert and I’m not her father, but—“
“Right! You are not her father, therefore you can’t say what my baby may or may not be going through. Angela is my child and I know what’s best for her,” she spat.
Shocked and a little hurt by Pat’s words, Jeffery stepped back from her and nodded. “Right… You’re right, Patricia,” he said, calling her by her name instead of her nickname. Something he hardly did. “I’m sorry I overstepped my boundaries,” he mumbled before turning and grabbing his keys off the hook right by the doorway of kitchen.
“Where are you going?” Pat asked, going after him.
Jeff glanced over his shoulder and shrugged. “You’re not my mother, therefore you don’t have a right to ask me where I may or may not be going,” he said, throwing her words back at her and soon walking out of the front door.
Patricia stood in the foyer with a look of disbelief on her face, it wasn’t hitting her that what she said cut below the belt, nor did she realize that he was only trying to help.
Back in Pine Valley, “Jesse you ready?” Tad asked. He, Jake and Jesse had just finished cleaning up the house and were now getting ready to grab a bite.
“Yea, because I’m starving!” Jake called.
“I still don’t understand why I have to go with y’all. I told you I was fine,” Jesse fussed, coming from the back dressed like a man who wasn’t on his last leg.
“Because, we want to keep an eye on you. Besides you need to eat just as much as we do,” Tad reasoned. “Come on, let’s go.”
“Ugh, fine,” Jesse sighed, grabbing his cell phone and following the men to the door only to be stopped when Tad stopped. He looked around him and saw Jackson. “Hey, what’s up? What you doing here?”
“Uh, is this a bad time?” Jackson asked nervously.
“We were about to head out for a bite to eat. Join us,” Tad suggested.
Jackson shook his head. “I’m not here for a social call,” he said after clearing his throat and adopting his professional persona.
“So, why are you here?” Jesse asked.
Jackson reached into his briefcase and pulled out a manila envelope. “I’m sorry, Jesse.”
“What are you talking about? Sorry about what?” He asked, not catching the obvious as she took the envelope and slid the contents out. “What the hell!?!” What the hell is this?!”
“What do you mean you’re sorry!?” Jesse fussed.
Jackson looked at the envelope Jesse threw into his chest and sighed. “Jesse, I tried to talk her out of it. I really did, but she… She was adamant,” he explained as best as he could.
“Bullsh*t! Get her on the phone this damn minute!” Jesse ordered, not willing to take this mess.
“I can’t do that,” Jackson said in a no nonsense tone. “Angie was very clear on the instructions and as her attorney I have to follow them.”
“What about as a friend Jackson!? My friend!”
“As a friend the only thing I can do is be here for you. And the only thing I can say is that I’m sorry and I tried to change her mind. I really did!”
“You didn’t try hard enough!” Jesse hissed, snatching the envelope and then throwing them on the table as if they were hot coal.
Jackson had no more words. “I should be going. And Jesse… I really am sorry about this.”
Tad grabbed the envelope slowly and after removing the papers began to read over them. Instantly his heart fell. “Damnit, Angie,” he mumbled.
“I can’t believe this.” Trying, but failing Jesse couldn’t stop the crackle in his voice and nervous roll in his stomach. “Ang… Angela,” he stopped and took a deep breath “filed for… divorce.”
A/N: Hot diggity damn!