Later on that evening Tad walked into Drake’s, a bar on the outskirts of town, with one thing on his mind. Getting Jesse. About an hour ago he gotten a call from a bartender asking if he could come and get his friend before she called the cops and have him taken downtown. The young woman then began to explain that Jesse, who in the beginning stayed to himself, started getting out of control and not long after tried to get behind the wheel of his truck. “Where is he?” Tad asked, walking up to the bar when he hadn’t spotted Jesse right off.
The young lady who was tending, he assumed it was her that called because she was the only chick behind it, looked up. “Tad?” She questioned, getting a nod from him. She then pointed to a booth in the back. “That’s his sixth drink and he’s asking for another one.”
Tad looked over and sighed. He seen his buddy down a couple of times, but this… This was new for him. “What is he having?”
“Jack Daniels,” the woman answered, setting the drink she just finished concocting down in front of a man. She then turned to grab a cellphone and a set of keys. “You want anything?” She asked handing these itemed to him.
Taking them, Tad slipped them into the pocket of his coat. “No, thank you.” And with that Tad walked over to the booth. “What’s up, Jesse?” Jesse’s finger went around the rim of the glass exactly five times before he looked up and out of nowhere started laughing and speaking incoherently. Tad sighed and took a seat. “Why aren’t you are at home? I’m sure Ang’s worried about you.”
Jesse smirked and looked away. “Yea right,” he slurred. “If I died shhhhheee pro—probably dance on m… grave,” he snorted.
“Now you know Angie wouldn’t do that,” Tad defended. “You know, I can’t remember the last time I seen you like this… Now that I think about it I don’t think I’ve ever seen you like this.”
Jesse scoffed but didn’t reply. To be honest he didn’t even understand. To him it was just blah-blah-blah. “Why you here?” He asked in a annoyed tone. He was doing fine all by himself.
“I came to get you and take you home.”
Jesse finally looked up. “Don’t ya think the missssssus will be a little jealous?” He asked, speaking of Dixie who returned months ago. Before the truth about Lucy came out. “An… Gela calls and the Tad comes a running,” he smirked.
“Don’t you worry about Dixie.”
“Don’t worry about me.”
“You’re drunk,” Tad said, reaching for the glass only to have Jesse slap his hand away. “Jesse,” he groaned.
“Screw you!” Jesse fussed. “Ain’t n’body drunk… damn,” he snapped. “Can a man just have some damn space without all you people bothering him!?”
Just as Jesse was about to raise the glass to his lips, Tad snatched it from him and jumped up from his seat. “No more,” he said sternly, marching over the water fountain in the corner and pouring the contents down the drain. Jesse tried to jump up and stop him, but the amount of liquor he consumed hadn’t only affected his speech and focus it also affected his mobility and balance. “I’m taking you home. Get up,” Tad ordered slamming the empty glass on the table and jerking Jesse’s arm.
“Get… get… get off me!” Jesse barked trying to push him off. “Ain’t gone nowhere.”
“Get up Jesse.”
Tad looked over and his face fell. “Angie.” Of course the look of pure shock and wondering appeared on his face because no one but Dixie knew where he was and Dixie promised him before he left she wouldn’t say anything. “What are you doing here?”
Turns out that Frankie too had gotten a call, but it wasn’t from the bartender. One of his buddies who he usually hung out with called and told him his old man was getting pissy drunk. Frankie, not wanting to wake his mother had chosen to sneak out. But just as he grabbed his keys she walked into the living room and asked if the call was about Jesse. His mother had been lied to enough, Frankie thought so he bit the bullet and told her. Within minutes Angie had walked to the back and soon came back dressed. She walked out the door without a word to him. Basically that was her way of telling him that stopping her was out of the question and if he didn’t take her she would take herself.
The whole time Frankie explained this to Tad, Angie stared down at Jesse with disappointment written all over her face. She thought she’d been speechless when Frankie told her about the call he received. But now that she stood here and stared at Jesse, words escaped her. She knew he was going through a lot, so was she, but she didn’t think it had gotten this bad with him. And to make matters worse her heart begged for her to help him and then and all in the same setting told her to walk away and not look back.
“Jesse, let us take you home,” she said softly.
Jesse glared up at his wife and scoffed.
Fresh tears threatened to roll as they stared off. The small hole that opened up and started separated them in the beginning was starting to grow wider and wider. And at a fast pace.
“You go home,” he hissed.
Angie pushed past Tad and grabbed Jesse’s arm. “Jesse, don’t make me repeat myself. And don’t make me act a fool in front of all these people,” she whispered her warning.
Jesse eyed her closely before jerking his arm away. “Always ‘bout you,” Jesse slurred. “Ain’t it? Jesse and what he wants don’t matter no more. Right?”
“Dad,” Frankie sighed, stepping up. “Don’t do this.”
“Do what?” He asked. Some kind of way he pulled himself to his feet. He wasn’t steady though.
Tad looked around. The few patrons that were in the bar were now turning around to see what was happening. “Jesse, you’re making a fool of yourself. Don’t do this.”
Making a noise, Jesse threw his gaze over to Tad. “Jesse’s a big screw up! He can’t do a damn thing right! Jesse a idiot!” Jesse yelled, looking around the bar. “Right? That’s what yall wanna say ain’t it? Huh? Jesse’s a royal ass!”
Angie covered her ears and shook her head. She didn’t want to hear this. She couldn’t listen to this. In all her days of knowing Jesse she never seen him like this. She’d never been this afraid for him. Not of him, because one, she feared no one but God and two, sober or drunk Jesse knew better than to raise a hand to her.
“Shut-up!” Angie yelled. “Jesse, I… I can’t do this. I refuse to do this with you.” The tears she struggled to keep in were beginning to trickle down her cheeks.
“That’s nothing new my dear. You refuse to do everything with me. You refuse to look at me. Talk to me! Hell st-st-stay in the same room with me!”
“Jesse, come on man. This is not the time nor the place.”
Jesse glanced around the spinning room and chuckled. “No! I got some stuff I gotta get off my ch… chest!” He barked. “I… I… Me,” he said, jabbing his own finger into his chest. “Was trying to keep you happy. Protect you. And what I get in return… Not a damn thing!”
Frankie stepped in between his mother and father and put a hand up. “Pops, you going too far now. Stop it.”
“Move yo happy ass outta my way. This is a convo between me and my damn wife,” he growled.
Angie stood behind Frankie with her head low. For weeks she kept her anger and all that she felt to herself, but as she stood there with Jesse and heard everything he said she wasn’t so sure she could continue doing so. No… As a matter of fact she knew she couldn’t. Just like he had some stuff to get off his chest, so did she and if he wanted to do this now then… “What do you want from me? Huh?” She finally asked, breathing hard enough for the both of them. “What do you want me to say?”
“I… I don’t know, but you…”
“I what?” She asked. “Say it,” she ordered.
Angie let out a hollow chuckled. “What you want me to run into your arms and tell you ‘Oh Jesse, I understand why you did what you did and I forgive you. Jesse, your hurt is bigger than mine and I want to do everything to help you’. That’s what you want? You want me to lie in your face like you did to me?” She waited a beat. “If that’s what you’re holding your breath for you might as well stop before you keel over and die,” she hissed. “Because I can’t do that. I cannot and I will not stand here and tell you that I forgive you. I will not stand here and tell you that I understand and agree with the decisions you made. Why? Because I… I don’t! I don’t know why… And I for damn sure don’t agree with it!” She jabbed her finger into his chest. “And Jesse as far as me forgiving you. I can’t do that either. Jesse, you hurt me in the worse way ever. You cheating would have went down a hell of a lot easier than you lying to me about my child. My child Jesse! You lied to me about my child. You led me to believe that Lucy was all mine and that nothing and no one could take her away from me. Jesse, you did!”
“She was mines too Angela!” He yelled. “You don’t think I’m hurting? I been hurting for months! I been hurting since that night, but do you… do you say anything about that? Do you even take the damn time out to think about me?”
“Did you think about me? Did you think about my hurt?”
“I did think about you!”
Angie stepped back and shook her head. He couldn’t have possibly been thinking about her. Otherwise he would have done things a lot differently. “No, you weren’t.”
“How can you stand there and tell me what I wasn’t doing, you were passed out. You wasn’t there. I had to do every damn thing on my own.”
“That wasn’t my fault and you know that.”
Jesse’s eyes bucked. “It wasn’t? Well whose was it?” He asked. “Damn sho’ wasn’t my fault. I begged you to let me take you out of there but you told me no. You… This is…”
It took Angie a minute to realize what Jesse was getting at and though it had crossed her mind plenty of times, to hear it come from Jesse made her blood boil. “Are you blaming me for my child’s death?”
“Alright, that’s enough. Angie, he’s drunk. He doesn’t mean anything he just said,” Tad interjected. “You have to know that.”
Angie raised her hand. “A drunken tongue speaks a sober mind, Thaddeus. And I want to hear what this sober mind has to say,” she told him, turning her gaze back to her husband. “Do you, Jesse? Do you blame me for her death?”
“Jesse?” Angie asked, completely ignoring her son. “Simple yes or no question. Do you blame me for Ellie’s death?”
A/N: Oh snaaaaaap!!! Oh man, what is he going to say? What do you think she’s going to do?