Another week had come and gone and things in the Phillips household were just about the same with one or two changes, Angie could actually sleep through the night. Beforehand, she had a never ending battle. She would only be able to sleep for an hour if even that long before waking up in a cold sweat with images of her daughters floating around in her head. The feelings she felt then had been just a real now as they were before. Her sleep was no longer interrupted though. But one thing about her sleeping still remained the same, she still cried herself to sleep and she still had a good cry before getting up and going about the day. Though her days only consisted of staying in the house and eating a little here and there and watching movies.
Pat was still treading on thin ice when trying to talk to Angie. Not having to deal with the death of a child and the removal of another, she didn’t know how to talk. Didn’t know what to do. Jeff on the other could do it because he’d been through this before. He could go into the living room, when he wasn’t down at the restaurant, and talk with Angie. Even if it was just a simple question like “How are you feeling today,” he knew how to do it and do it with ease.
“Why don’t you take her out tomorrow,” Jeffery suggested as he sat in the bed and flipped through the TV channels.
“I don’t know,” Pat sighed, as she stood in the adjoining bathroom preparing to join him. “I’m… I’m afraid of what I might say. I’m afraid I may not be able to do something or… I don’t know.”
Smirking, Jeffery settled on the news. “She’s your daughter, Pat. You have nothing to be afraid of.”
“I do,” she snapped lightly, walking out. “Do you know what we do while you’re away? We watch movies or I read and she sleeps. We hardly talk.”
“And why is that?”
“Because I’m… I don’t know how to handle this situation. I mean I can handle making her tell the truth and admit something, but talking to her about her feelings and trying to help her understand this, is something I can’t do. Jeff, I’ve only had to bury a husband, never a child, I don’t know what she feeling. Honestly! I don’t know what’s going on in her head, in her heart…”
“Ask her, Patty. That’s all. Just ask her what she’s feeling in and out.”
“That’s easy for you to say. You can talk to her.”
“So can you. You got a mouth, right?”
“You know what I mean,” she sighed, crawling in the bed and snugging into his broad chest and arms. “If she says she feeling horrible, if she cries, if she yells, you know how to get through to her because you know what she’s feeling. You know what to do in that moment. I don’t.”
Shaking his head, Jeff planted a tender kiss on her forehead. “Patty, just hold her. Just be that shoulder or that sounding board or just that holding hand you promised her you would be. That’s all,” he replied. “And tomorrow, be her friend. Get her out of the house, get some sun, air, a nice laugh. Get her mind off of what’s going on even if it’s just for a little while.”
“Speaking of Angie and getting her out of the house and help and whatnot… What’s going on with that therapist you told me about?”
Jeffery put his focus back on the television and took a deep breath. “I’m uh… I’m working on it,” he replied softly. It hadn’t been a total lie, he was working on it, it just wasn’t working out in his favor at the moment.
“So how does it feel to be out of that house,” Pat asked as she and Angie walked the park and snacked on nice ice cold treat. The weather was always tricky in the south. One day it could be freezing cold and then the very next it could be scorching hot. ‘Bipolar Weather’ is what the southern natives called it.
Angie shrugged her shoulders as she ate a spoonful of chocolate ice cream. “It’s alright… I guess. Though I could have thoroughly enjoyed this treat at home in front of the TV,” she said as a matter of fact-ly.
“Are you serious about getting yourself better? Getting back to the old you?”
“Of course I am.”
“Well you can’t possibly start doing that if you don’t get out the house every once in a while. Getting some vitamin D every now and again,” Pat expressed.
“So this is the first step to my recovery?”
“Among the many others, yes it is.”
“Hmph!” Angie smirked.
As they continued their walk around the park, they talked. They talked about soaps, news and a few old things from the past, nothing serious or important. “You know, honey I am so sorry about what happened all those years ago. I should have been more considerate of your feelings.”
“Ma, let’s not go there,” Angie sighed. “I told you it’s in the past and I’m over it… Besides, I’m the one that’s sorry. I shouldn’t have said what I said or took my anger out on you. I guess the mentioning of Jesse and Daddy in the same conversation and me having neither one of them just made me burst. Things should have been different,” she explained. “You know for months Frankie wouldn’t let me live that down. Always told me how wrong I was and how much I was acting like Les. I was too pissed to see it then, but now I truly understand. I mean I didn’t go as far as to kill anybody but… well you know.”
“We’re all entitled to our moments of weakness and anger. It’s just a sign that we’ve been holding it in for far too long and it’s time to let it out. Let it go,” Pat came back with. “Speaking of the handsome devil himself… How is my favorite grandson?”
“He’s your only grandson,” Angie spat lightly before chuckling. “He’s okay. Remember I told you the other night he was married to Randi.”
“Yea, the hooker. What was that boy drinking?!”
“Ex-hooker, mom,” Angie said before bursting into laughter at the look on her mother’s face. First time in days she’d been able to truly laugh out loud and actually feel it. Feel it from the gut!
“Ex-hooker, whatever, the girl was still a hooker. I’m going to ask again, what was my boy drinking?”
“That love juice. Same juice I was drinking when I fell for Jesse and the same juice you were drinking when you fell for daddy.”
“Well neither one was doing god knows what with god knows how many people for a living.”
“Well Jesse wasn’t a sweet, innocent ole virgin either ma.”
Waving her hand as to dismiss any further argument from her daughter, Pat continued her rant. “As if, whatever you’re going to say is going to make that situation alright.”
“I never said it would. Trust me I think about it a lot too, but I’ve come to realize she’s actually a sweetheart. Just a bit… No a lot rough around the edges. Not a cook, can barely keep dust from being around for more than a week, and not to great of a washer. I swear that boy’s whites are never really white.”
“And you let him marry her.”
“Like I had a choice.”
“Then I would have been just like daddy and you of all people know how that felt. I felt like he wasn’t giving me the chance to grow, to live my life and I made a vow to God when Frankie came back home to us that I would never do that. I would never make my child choose between the family and being with the person they love. I would never disown them or mistreat them,” she told her. “But I’d be lying if I said I hadn’t thought about it, if I hadn’t started thinking like daddy.”
Nodding her head, Pat sighed. “I guess you’re right, but still baby… A hooker!”
“Ex-hooker!” Angie laughed out loud. “Leave my baby boy alone. Him in love,” she teased.
“Him gone crazy,” Pat replied with laughter. “But I’m glad he’s doing okay… How is he doing now though? I mean with the events that have taken place?”
Dropping her head and looking at her feet with guilt, Angie once again shrugged her shoulders. “Not sure.”
“I’m not sure about him and how he’s doing… now.”
“You haven’t spoken with him?” At seeing Angie shake her head, Pat continued. “I thought I heard you on the phone the other night.”
First thing that came to Angie’s mind was ‘nosey rosy’, but she knew better than to say it a loud. “I was on the phone with Jackson.”
“That’s a first name or a last name and what you talking to him for?”
“Okay, nosey,” Angie just took a chance and said. “That’s his first name, Jackson Montgomery. A good friend of mine and one of the finest… lawyers in Pine Valley,” she said, finishing her reply off quietly.
“A lawyer?” Pat asked. “Now pray tell my dear, why do you need a lawyer?”
“Why else?” Angie snapped. “I’m getting a divorce,” she sighed. “I’m divorcing Jesse.”
Without missing a beat, Pat replied. “No, you’re not.”
“Yes. Yes, I am.”
“No. No, you’re not,” Pat replied. “Honey, you’re not divorcing that man. No matter what he’s done to you, said to you, you’re not ending your marriage. You love him.”
“What’s love got to do with it,” she mocked, having just watched the movie the night before.
“That’s it. I’m cutting the cable off in that room of yours.”
“What would you rather I do? Divorce him or kill him?” Angie asked seriously.
“It’s not what I would prefer you to do, it’s what I know you won’t do.”
Shaking her head, Angie plopped down on a bench that faced a small pond. “Ma, that’s just how much he hurt me. And you know what, I can’t take much more, especially from Jesse,” she spat. “First he goes and gets himself shot and then killed, but not really. Then he comes back, tries to leave me again and then stays, nearly gets himself shot again, goes back to the force knowing how much it scares me! Then… Oh and what just made me so… so mad, yet I did absolutely nothing about it… He brings his 20year old daughter along for the ride. And you know what, had it not been for that tornado I wouldn’t have known. Noooo! Nor would I have known that he not only stayed away from me and Frankie for 20years, he laid up with some other tramp and stayed with her for the duration and only came back because she kicked his ass to the curb. Oh yea, that was my breaking point, but you know what… I just… I pushed. I don’t know how, but I kept going when I knew I should have stopped. I should have stopped and told Jesse no. No, that was not okay! No, I’m not mad, I’m pissed! But I just… I don’t know. I just lost my mind in that moment.”
Sitting next to her daughter, Pat crossed her legs and sighed. “Even with all of that, you’re not going to divorce that man.”
“And why not?”
“Because, Angela… You know what, just base my opinion off intuition.”
“Or maybe gas,” Angie mumbled. “I think I remember you being lactose intolerant.”
“Whatever it maybe, I know you’re not going to divorce him.”
A/N: Why does Patty seem so sure?