Hearing the crack in her big boy’s strong voice made tears form in Angie’s eyes. Even though Frankie was grown, she always saw him as her baby boy. Always would. “I’m fine,” she replied softly. “Really, I’m fine.”
“Where are you? Ma, tell me where you are and I’ll be there.” Among exhaustion and pain, he heard something in her voice that scared him. It gave him chills throughout his body. “Ma?”
“I know, baby. Trust me I know, but, really… I’m fine,” she replied right after pasting a smile on her face and forcing herself to make him feel it, hear it. She suspected that just like Cass, Frankie had picked up that trait where one could feel or more like hear a smile. Had picked up the habit of listening to one’s voice and not just their words.
“No, you’re not. I can hear it in your voice,” he said, confirming her suspicion. “Momma, please tell me where you are so I can come and take care of you. Please.”
Shaking her head. “So much has happened and I just… I just… God, Frankie I need time. I need some space. I need to heal.”
“Ma, I can help you heal. I can help you with whatever you need,” he nearly cried.
“I know that, but Frankie I really need some time. I need some space to…” The words died on her lips as she eased from the bed and walked over to the window. That spot had become a favorite of hers, that and the bed of course. “Honey, I need to process everything. Don’t think I don’t want you here with me, don’t you think that for one minute that I want you to stay away, because baby more than anything I want you with me. I want you here to help me, but right now… I have to face some of this… Actually, a lot of this by myself.”
“The grief, the demons… Baby, there is so much on my back. So much on my heart and I know if you came your only intention would be to help, but with the way I’m feeling right… I wouldn’t see that way. And that’s very hard to say and I wish it wasn’t like that, but it is,” she explained.
Not liking this for one minute, but knowing his mother would never change her mind and know what she was saying was true, Frankie dropped his head and nodded. “Okay, I… I understand,” he sighed. “But can you at least tell me where you are? I need to know that you’re safe, you owe me that much.”
“I owe you that and so much more, but baby right now…” And just when she was about to deny him yet again, she heard him sniffle. Hold up! She thought, standing straight up. “Honey? Baby, don’t… please don’t.”
Frankie had tried his hardest to keep it in, but this was his mother and she was in pain and he couldn’t be there for her. He couldn’t run to her, pull her into his arms and hold her. “Ma, I… I just miss you. I’m worried about you! I’ve been worried out of my mind. We all have! We’ve searched this place up and down, every day, hoping you would turn up or call and… And when you didn’t, we started wondering if something bad had happened and… Ma… Please.”
Planting her forehead on the cool glass, Angie sighed. “Grandma,” Angie whispered. Her son’s emotions had gotten the best of her. Damn, I’m weaker than I initially thought, she said mentally. Any other time Frankie, Cass, anybody tried to pry information out of her she would hold steadfast and keep her mouth shut! “I’m with your grandmother.”
“Pat? But, I thought—“
“Yea, well… Things happen.”
“Is she still in Maryland?”
“No and that’s all I can tell you right now.”
“Ma, please tell me. I promise! I promise I won’t tell anybody where you are,” he begged. “If you’re worried about somebody overhearing us, just call my cell and tell me. Just call me. You don’t have to call David. You didn’t have to in the first place.”
“I can’t tell you, because I know you can’t keep that promise. Any other one, I’m sure of, but not this one. If your sisters asked, especially Cass, you wouldn’t be able to keep it from her. And she wouldn’t be able to stay away for longer than it would take for her to get a flight out here. Trust me, I know you… Besides, I’m sure Jesse has had the phones tapped.”
“Yours, Cass, Nat, Randi… All of you,” Angie replied. She knew the police side of her husband all too damn well. Either he had already had the phones tapped or he would be getting ready to make it happen and she couldn’t risk him finding out where she was. Not right now.
“How you know he hasn’t tapped David’s phone?” Frankie asked. “He was the last person to see you.”
Shaking her head, Angie explained to her son that even if Jesse tapped the hospital’s phone, it would be nearly impossible to track her down. It was a place of business calls came in and out every day, all day. “Trust me… Baby, just trust me.”
“How will I be able to get in touch with you? Ma, I need to know if you’re alright. I need to know that when I began to worry I can just call you and ease it.”
“I’ll figure something out, but until then just go with me on this. This one time,” she begged before letting silence cloak the line.
“Cass is home,” Frankie finally said, wisely dropping the argument of trying to pry information from her.
“How is she? How is everybody? Other than worried sick…”
Frankie shrugged and eased into David’s chair. “She’s making it. She’s thinking about moving back home. And uh… Nat is… Nat is being Nat. Randi is good, acting as if nothing’s going on and I’m… I’m making it or rather trying to make it.”
“I’m sorry… Really I am. I know I should have called sooner, but I just… I couldn’t bear it. I wasn’t ready to take that step. But from the bottom of my heart I am truly sorry to make you all worry.”
“Yea… I know,” he said softly. “Why didn’t you tell me? Why did you say anything that night? Or call me? Ma, I told you.”
“Because I knew you would have tried to stop me and as grateful as I am to have such a wonderful son, wonderful children that want to help, I couldn’t let myself burden you. I couldn’t allow myself to do that you all.”
“Burden, you’re our mother!”
“That’s true, but I would have eventually become a burden and you know that. Trust this is good for me, for you, for everyone. We all need this time.”
Smirking and shaking his head at his mother habit of forever seeing the good in the worst, Frankie let it go. “I don’t agree with you, but like I always have I support you and I always will.”
A/N: Will Frankie continue to find out where she is or let her relax a bit? Did Jesse really have the lines tapped?