“Jesse?” Angie asked, completely ignoring her son. “Simple yes or no question. Do you blame me for Ellie’s death?”
Minutes… Three minutes to be exact, passed and Jesse had yet to answer her question. Verbally anyway. From the way he stood there and stared her, motionless, emotionless and detached she as well as everybody else assembled knew the answer. As harsh as it may have been.
Shocked, hurt, angry, saddened… Guilty even, Angie felt it. Felt every single one course through her body and attack her already broken heart. “You do,” she whispered, answering for him. “Wow and all this time I thought… Wow.” Angie was rendered speechless.
“Angie, don’t—” Tad tried to get through to her one more time but all she did was shake her head and take a step back. She clutched her stomach and leaned over as if somebody had punched her there. But as he thought about it wasn’t as if, she may have not been physically punched in the stomach, but mentally she had been. And if Tad had been in her shoes the physical punch would have felt so much better than the mental punch. That blow would have felt very damn good compared this.
Tad looked to Jesse. “Jesse, say something. Please,” he begged, wanting his friend to come to his damn senses and make this right before it got any worse. But how much worse could it really get after what just happened, Tad wondered.
Jesse looked away from Angie and straight to Tad. Say something, the words echoed. “I need a drink,” he mumbled, brushing past Angie and Frankie and stumbling over to the bar. “Whiskey… Straight!”
“Dad,” Frankie sighed. He was the first of the stunned patrons to move and the boldest of them all to step up to a drunk man. “Tell mom you don’t mean it. Tell her the truth!”
The bartender sat a shot glass in front of Jesse and he tossed the contents back like it was nothing before slamming it down and gesturing for her keep it coming. While she was doing that he glanced over his shoulder. “Frankie, leave me be.”
“No! You tell her she’s talking crazy. You tell her you don’t blame her,” Frankie ordered, turning him around. “Tell her damnit!”
Jesse eyed his son as if he had two heads. “Leave.”
“Frankie, just stop” Angie begged softly not wanting… Not able to hear any more of this. She was fighting tooth and nails to not show how much of what Jesse said or rather what he hadn’t didn’t hurt, but it was hard. Dropping her head and letting the tears spill from her eyes, she gulped. “Jesse, I’m… I’m sorry you feel that way… And if me being around is a constant reminder of Ell… of what you are blaming me for… Let me help relieve your stress.” And with that Angie turned on the heels of her tennis shoes and rushed out of the bar.
Tad rushed out behind her and caught her just before she crumbled to the ground. Pulling her close to his heart, he kissed her hair. “It’s okay… It’s gonna be okay. I promise!”
Back inside, Frankie had moved closer to Jesse and was holding him by his collar. “You should’ve stayed dead,” he growled, fiercely pushing him back against the bar and running out the bar to check on his mother. “Ma… It’s gonna be okay,” he comforted rubbing her trembling shoulders.
Pulling back from Tad’s comforting grip Angie waved her hands and shook her head. “I don… I don’t want to hear anymore. Ju—just take me home. Please.”
“Frankie!” Angie fussed, but immediately regretted it. Frankie wasn’t the blame for her hurt.
Tad saw this and pulled Frankie to the side. “Take your mother home and stay with her. I’ll handle Jesse and tomorrow when all the dust settles. When they have both had the time and space to calm down, I’ll bring him over and they can talk. Right now emotions are just too high and enough has been said. Okay?”
Tad took Frankie’s shoulders. “Take her home,” he repeated, nodding toward the road that led back to Pine Valley and giving him a knowing look.
Frankie looked out into the distance before he gave Tad a nod. “Alright.” Frankie walked around him and went to his mother’s side. After opening the door for her and closing it once she was comfortable he glanced back over to Tad. “He’s a fool and so much worse for what he said, but I’m still worried about him.”
“Don’t… I got him under control. I’m gonna get him the hell out of here and take him back to my place for the night. He’ll be alright,” he assured. “You just worry about her and if you need anything give me a call.”
“Thank you.” Frankie took a few deep breaths before he opened the door and folded his body into the driver’s seat.
Tad stood outside and watched until the car disappeared down the street. “Now…” He sighed, turning around and marching back inside to grab Jesse. After grabbing his coat from the booth and taking a couple of dollars out of his pocket to pay for Jesse’s drinks, he slapped his hand against his shoulder. “We can do this the easy way or the hard way. Either way you’re coming with me.”
“Pfftt! whatever,” Jesse smirked, waving him off.
“Suit yourself,” he mumbled and before Jesse could say anything else, he grabbed him by his collar and dragged him out. Jesse put up a bit of a fight, but his drunken state coupled with Tad’s anger he was no match.
A/N: Didn’t I say I was going to take it somewhere AMC wouldn’t??? If I did not, I am telling you now. AMC wouldn’t even think about giving this type of stuff to AnJ… Why? Well because they can’t think outside of the box like I do. Told yall this is my version of AnJ and I don’t hold back and I certainly won’t start now.