In awe, Jackson slowly closed the folder and eased back into his seat. This was not the plan he, Dixie and Jake had discussed. They were supposed to sign the petition and then Jackson was supposed to pull a stunt that would allow them to work together as a team and… Didn’t matter now, the meeting was over. The marriage was over. The Hubbard’s were… Over. “Jesse, I—“
Raising a hand, Jesse grabbed the paperwork meant for him and Angie and signed it. Just like the plan Jackson had in mind hadn’t worked out, the plan Jesse had hadn’t worked out nor did he have a chance to really try. He was going to tell her how he felt, show her even, beg for her forgiveness and her love and promise to do couples therapy until they were back to that ole loving couple they had been. He was going to go as far as to having her step out in the hallway and take her away before anybody had a chance to stop him. He was going to make her see he’d changed and for the good. He was going to for once be the man she fell in love with in the very beginning. But… I failed… Once again, he thought as he placed the pen down on the table and slid the papers to his lawyer.
“Tell uh… Tell Angie… Ms. Baxter, that I’m sorry I wasted her time and I hope that she…” He cleared his throat when the emotions began to boil from the inside, when the tears began to burn his eyes the more he kept them contained. “I Ahem… I hope she has a good life.” And before Cordell or Jackson had a chance to say anything, Jesse grabbed his coat and was out of the door like lightening.
While after an episode like this people would to walk aimlessly around until they couldn’t walk anymore, Jesse went straight to Frankie’s and Randi’s instead. Thankful they were both out and didn’t have to explain anything to them, Jesse busied himself with packing his things and squaring away some important stuff. And after leaving them a little something to show his appreciation for helping him, he grabbed his bags and again he was gone.
Angie’s last words to him, the look on her face, the hurt and hate in her eyes told Jesse it was truly over. She had given him many of looks when he did things she didn’t like, had said plenty, but nothing had come close to affecting him like today had. The way she looked at him, the way she spoke to him reminded him of the many times his mother would say ‘I’m disappointed in you, Jesse Hubbard,’. Anybody with an ounce of a real heart would feel utterly disgusted with themselves after that. Hitting, cursing and fussing was nowhere near as painful as hearing those words and seeing those exact words play out in the person’s eyes.
As Jesse sat in the back of his cab, he began to reflect on the past and most recent events. How when he returned he and Angie had been inseparable, how after only a week of moving back in with each other they had a routine that rivaled most couples that hadn’t spend 20years apart. He thought about how everyday his wife went to work and when she returned home he would have a hot meal on the stove and a bubble bath drawn just for her. He remembered how her eyes use to light up and a smile tugged at her sweet lips. He remembered how she would jump in his arms and kiss him with delight just for the hell of it. He also remembered how they use to argue and when they got into bed they would both say I’m sorry at the same time, burst out laughing, talk it out and make-up. Sometimes their disagreement carried on into the next day, but they wouldn’t go to bed without at least talking to the other. His words were ‘I don’t know how I would live with myself if I have to see you turn your back on me’. And just hearing those words would began melt the ice between them and they were back in love. There were so many memories that Jesse found himself laughing and crying all at the same time. “Damn, she’s my heart,” he mumbled, as those memories of the night Ellie was born flashed and led to the day he discovered his wife was no longer home. “If I could turn,” he sighed, laying his head back and watching the skies.
“We’re here, sir,” the driver announced sometime later.
Shaking his head and wiping his eyes, Jesse looked around. “And this is where it’ll end.”
“Nothing… Except, I wish I could turn back the hands of time,” he replied, getting out the cab and walking away.
“He’s gone!” Randi yelped as she rushed into Tad’s, waving a note.
Laughter being cut short, Angie looked up with a questioning look. “Whose gone?”
Tad lifted a brow as he wiped his mouth. After the mediation with Angie and Jesse, they walked the park for awhile and talked. Angie shared with him some things he swore he would never tell anybody until the time was right. Once they arrived back at the house, Opal had cooked enough for both families.
“Jesse… Jesse’s gone,” Randi replied, giving her the note she found along with about $400.
“This is just another one of his tricks,” Frankie scoffed, picking up his fork and continuing to eat.
“No, no it’s not! All of his things are gone, everything!”
After reading the letter more than 4 times, Angie’s hand began to shake. “How long ago did you find this?”
“10mins ago. I went to speak with the lady in the lobby and she said he’d been gone for about 20mins. Caught a cab.”
Just as Angie was about to say something her phone began to ring. Quickly, she grabbed the phone off the coffee table. “Hello?”
“Hey, Angie, it’s Jackson… Jesse… He signed the paperwork. He said that he hopes you have a good life and he’s sorry,” he replied softly. “Now that he’s uh… Now that the papers have been signed we ca—“
“Excuse me,” Angie whispered, putting the phone down and rushing out the house. The moment her lungs filled with cool fresh PV air, she leaned over at the waist and cried.
Those in the living room looked at each other with confusion and waited as Tad spoke with the person on the phone. “Are you sure?”
“Yea. Cordell tried calling him after he left, but his phone was found in the lobby’s trash. He wanted me to tell Angie that he was sorry he wasted her time and he hoped she had a nice life… Tad, I know this was a serious situation, but I just… I can’t see how this separation is going to help either of them. I may not know Angie as well as you do, as well as her family, and correct me if I’m wrong, but I don’t think she meant to drag it out like this! She wanted him to hurt, wanted him to learn and… Tad I…”
“Uh… Let me go talk to Angie. It’s pretty evident that what she said today was far from the truth, especially with what just happened. Let me call you back.”
“Tad, what is it?” Pat asked.
“Jesse signed the papers.”
“What?” Nobody knew what happened at the meeting except those assembled there, but they knew a divorce was pending for the couple.
“That’s what she wanted, right?” Frankie asked, not the least bit affected. Good riddance, he thought. He wished he could have packed his bags for him.
“Franklin, that is enough.”
“What? She wanted the divorce. She wanted him out of her life, I’m not understanding why all of this even matters.”
“Grow up, Frankie… Seriously, grow the hell up!” Cass spat, going to get up only be stopped when Tad told her he had it under control and walked out the house.
When Tad spotted Angie at the end of the drive-way holding her shoulders, he reached back grabbed his coat and went to her side.
Feeling his strong arms as well as his cologne wrap around her like one of her favorite blankets, Angie turned and rested against his chest. “Tad… Tad I… Tad I didn’t… Why didn’t I just go back!?! Tad, I… I… What did I do!?” She cried.
What nobody else knew, but Tad, that Angie hadn’t meant many of the things she said in that room. She didn’t want Jesse to sign those papers. She didn’t want their marriage to end. She only wanted to teach him a lesson! Show him how hurt she had been from day one. She wanted him to experience her hurt, her pain, her distress, her grief. She wanted him to understand how important it was to think twice, even three times when it came to protecting their family. She wanted him to understand she was too good of a person, too wonderful of a wife to be taken for granted. She wanted him to see and feel how easy it was to lose a good woman after so much pain.
“So what are you going to do?” Tad asked, as they walked another lap around the park.
Angie smirked. “Something stupid. Something my therapist told me to think about.”
“Annnnnd?” He sang.
“Go back… Tad, I know it’s stupid, but I… Ugh!! I feel like I have battered woman syndrome, I just don’t learn.”
“Forget what I think… Forget what other people think, what do you think? What do you want?”
“I want my husband back, my real husband. I want the man I fell in love with back, I want the man who will never lie to me just to save me back. Jesse was always real and upfront with me when were younger, he made sure I was aware he was unhappy with keeping our marriage a secret, he made sure he let me know how pissed he was that I gave our son up adoption! Tad, I want that man back. Not this one!”
Ultimately, she had planned on going to find him and tell him to forget the whole damn thing! Yes, they both needed to heal individually, but they needed each other to heal just as much.
“I know, baby, trust me I know,” he whispered.
“I said he always screwed up and now I screwed up! No, I don’t condone a damn thing he did, but Tad… Jesse is my world and I… As much as he hurt me, as much as I feel like he should have did things differently, living without him again is…Tad, I can’t do it.”
“Can I… Can you doe me a favor and get your keys,” she whispered, looking up at him with those puppy dog eyes.
“Okay… Okay… Let me go let them know we’re leaving.”
“Okay, thank you,” she sighed.
Angie watched as Tad walked back up the driveway and once he disappeared inside she dropped the coat and disappeared down the street.
A/N: Where did Jesse go? Where did Angie go? Who else wants to smack Frankie a little bit?!?