Aside from Natalia calling to see how Angie and Jesse were doing the ride back to the loft had been a quiet and uneventful one. While Frankie concentrated on getting them home in one piece, Angie’s gaze stayed glued to her reflection in the window and her mind conjured up images. Unwanted, unnerving images of her drunken husband whom she just didn’t recognize anymore. In all of her years of knowing him, loving him, she never once seen him like this. As much as it shocked the hurt was worse. But that… His appearance didn’t hurt her as much as his words and his expressions did. Nothing hurt her more than seeing that he did blame her for their child’s death.
“Ma, you alright?” Frankie asked, pulling up to a stop light and looking over at her. Those were the first words he’d spoken to her since he got in.
Fearing that if she opened her mouth she would cry or yell, Angie decided to just give him a quick nod.
Frankie stared at her for a few seconds before sighing and pulling off once the light turned green. He knew her better than he knew himself. She wasn’t alright. When she was disturbed, angry or saddened about something that quick nod was her way of telling him so, but it also meant she wasn’t ready to talk. Frankie learned that as he was coming up and it was one of the few things that brought them closer. While others would press on and make things worse, he would take the hint and give her some space. When she was ready to talk he was either in the living room, his room or on the porch waiting for her. And this time wouldn’t be any different. When she was ready to talk he would be there and he didn’t give a damn how late or early it was.
“Can I just say one thing?” He asked and looking out the corner of his eye at her. “He was wrong. This wasn’t… isn’t your fault.”
Fifteen minutes later, Frankie pulled into a parking spot and cut the engine. It was then Angie finally looked over at him. “How do you know?” She whispered.
“I just know. Ma, you say it all the time, things happen for a reason… Although, I don’t really see how giving someone a baby and then taking it away has a good enough reason behind it, but I know there’s something behind all of this.” There has to be a reason.
Inwardly smirking, Angie looked away. She wasn’t sure she believed that anymore. At this point she wasn’t sure if she believed God cared much about her anymore. With each passing day the little faith she had left after Lucy was taken away was chipping away bit by bit. And after tonight whatever bit that hadn’t been chipped before was certainly gone now.
“Come on. Let’s go inside,” Frankie sighed, unbuckling his seatbelt. “I’ll call Randi once we get up.”
Angie looked back over. “For what?”
“To let her know where I’m gonna be. I don’t want her to worry,” he explained.
Reaching over, Angie caressed his cheek. “You’re going to be at home, so she won’t have any reasons to worry,” she told him. “Go home and be with your wife. You don’t need to be here with me.”
“Ma, I do need to be here… Plus I want to be here.”
“Ma, I am not leaving you here by yourself.”
Angie sighed and cupped his chin when he tried to turn away from her. “Frankie, go home,” she ordered. “Right now… I need to be alone. I need to think.”
“You can do that and more with me here with you… Ma, please. Look you won’t even know I’m here. I’ll chill out in my room or living room. Wherever you’re not going to be.”
“Frankie… I need to be alone. So much has happened tonight and right now I just need some time and space to figure it all out. Figure out… out… What I’m going to say to Jesse the next time I see him,” she said softly.
Frankie eyed her closely before rolling his eyes up to the heavens and sighing. He didn’t think this was a good idea, but if it was what she wanted and needed… “Just promise me you’ll call if anything happens or if you want me to come back. Okay?”
“Alright… But at least let me walk you up to the loft, make sure you get in safely.”
Angie cracked a small smile before she leaned back and unbuckled her seatbelt. “Now who can resist an offer like that from a strong, handsome man like yourself?”
As promised Frankie escorted his mother up the loft and after making sure she was going to be all right, which she promptly told him yes, he reluctantly left and headed home. Once again his gut was telling him this was a very bad idea. After having to go through what she just went through, the last thing she needed was to be completely alone. But Frankie knew all his begging and pleading wouldn’t work. “God, please watch over her,” he prayed instead. “Please.”
“The rooms spinning,” Jesse slurred rocking back and forth as he made his way across the room to the sofa. He plopped down and laughed out loud. “Damn this couch is… is… is… what’s the… yea!” He chuckled.
Tad who’d just closed his front door rush into the living room and shushed him. “Will you shut up!” He hissed, jerking out of his coat and chunking it on the chair. “Stay here while I go get you something.”
“You shush!” Jesse spat, trying to put his finger over his lips but instead swiped it over his nose. As an afterthought he burst out laughing once again!
“What in tarnation is going on down here?” Opal asked, running down the stairs with Dixie on her heel. “Tad, where… Chief, what are ya doing here?” Opal asked shockingly when she spotted him laying haphazardly on the sofa.
Still laughing, Jesse looked over and gave her a mock salute. “At your ssss… service, Madame Opal!” he barked. “Where’s your bag of tricks?”
Opal tightened her robe and eyed Jesse as if he lost his mind. She didn’t have a clue as to what he was going on about. “Well that’s just…”
“Jesse!” Dixie scolded.
He gave Dixie a devious smile and started making ghost sounds before laying back and laughing all over again. Jesse was completely wasted!
“Jesse I told you to shu— Dixie, Momma, what are you doing up?” Tad asked when he entered the living room and saw them standing on the other side.
“We heard a bunch of noise and came down to check it out. What’s going on?” Dixie replied, nodding towards Jesse.
Tad sighed as he pulled Jesse upright and thrust a glass of water and two aspirins into his hands. “Here, take these pills and chase it down with the water.”
Jesse looked at the glass and smirked. “Water? Got anything else?”
“Damnit! Just do as I say,” Tad ordered.
“Damn!” Jesse flinched and pulled his head back. “Why you gotta get all testy on me? I was just joking,” he mumbled.
Tad escorted the women into the kitchen and explained to them what happened. From the moment he walked into the bar to the moment he pulled up into the driveway. He even told them about how the whole way home Jesse fussed. Fussed about how he just couldn’t catch a damn break and how he was tired of people taking away the one thing that helped him cope. Fussed about tired of feeling the pain and seeing the image of his lifeless, colorless baby girl in his hands.
Opal was stunned speechless. She knew the couple were going through, she been in this place before, but she would have never thought it would have gotten this bad. Especially with Angie and Jesse.
Dixie who was also stunned that this happened looked toward the kitchen door as if she had the power to look past it at Jesse and sighed. “Wow.”
“Exactly,” he sighed, leaning against the counter. “Had I not seen it and heard it for myself I wouldn’t have believed it happened. I mean it was like something had taken over him…”
“How is Angie? Have you spoken with her or Frankie since they left?”
Tad shook his head. “But Frankie knows to give me a call if they need anything,” he told them. “He’s going to stay the night with her though. She doesn’t need to be alone.”
“I need to call her.”
“I don’t think right now is a good time. We should let her rest.”
“Tad, she’s my friend and I want her to know I’m here for her.”
“She knows,” Tad assured. “Just hold off until morning. Let her rest.”
“Tad, tomorrow you and Frankie have to try and get them to talk,” Opal suggested. “Let Jesse sleep that mess off here, let Angie calm down a bit and then try. You have to. You just have to try!”
Long after Frankie left and called to let her know he made it home, Angie raised her head from the pillow and stared at her reflection in the vanity mirror. Her eyes were swollen and blood shot red. She thought she had cried her heart and soul out before, but much to her dismay nothing of the sort happened. Two hours ago, could have been longer, after locking the door behind Frankie she let her eyes wander around the loft. When they landed on the picture of her, Jesse and Lucy her heart began to constrict, threatening to rule her whole being.
Then the scene from the bar played out right before her eyes like a movie and that was when she lost it. She curled up on the couch, clutched a throw pillow into her chest and just let go. Other than that and getting that call from Frankie, Angie knew nothing else. Didn’t know when or even how she made it to the bedroom.
Angie slowly sat erect and continued to look at herself. “I’m tired,” she said to her reflection. She didn’t only feel it, she looked it as well. “I can’t do this… anymore,” she sobbed. And she couldn’t. As much as she wanted to fight and work, she didn’t have the strength nor the courage to do either anymore.
With all of that mind Angie knew what needed to be done. In order to move on, she had to help herself in the only way she knew how. She needed to take that step she’d been avoiding for weeks for she had been praying that one day she would be able to forgive Jesse, work it out and live. At least have the want to work things out with him. With each passing day she knew the chances of that ever happening was slim and with the way things ended tonight it was pretty much definite that it wasn’t going to happen.
It’s time, she thought, ghostly grabbing her cell off the floor and going through her list of numbers. When a specific name appeared on the screen she let her thumb hover over the talk symbol…
“I grant full custody of Lucille Eleanor Hubbard to Maurice Henderson and his mother Carla Henderson.
“When she get’s sleepy… Lu… Lucy likes to have something to tug on. She’ll settle for a shirt or her baby pooh bear, but what she really-really wants is an ear. If you let her tug and play with your ear she’s out within minutes,” Angie explained. “And… And… And when you give her a bath she likes to have the rubbery duck with her. And she loves to splash. She likes bubbles… Lots and lots of bubbles.”
Angie ran her finger along Lucy’s chin and stared into her beautiful eyes. “Um… She… She doesn’t like being in the dark so make sure you have a night light or there is some kind light peering from somewhere. We usually leave the bathroom light on. At least until she falls asleep. And she loves her pooh bear. Her dadd… I mean Jesse gave it to her and she just adores it. And butterflies and… And…. When you hug her, she likes to nuzzle into your neck. That’s her way of telling you she loves you. And when…”
“Angie,” Jesse whispered rubbing her shoulders. If she hadn’t been a moment she would have jerked away from him.
She dropped her head and gasped for air. “It’s hard,” she sobbed into the hair of the baby she once thought was hers. “It’s so hard…”
Lucy reached up and started tugging on Angie’s ear and just minutes later before Angie could even say a proper goodbye Carla took Lucy from her arms and started toward the door. Lucy began to wail and reach out for Angie, but Carla kept walking until she she was no more.
Angie had her hand out as well before she grabbed her heart and leaned over. “My baby,” she whispered. “Both of my babies are… gone.”
Choking up from the flashbacks. “It’s time.” She tapped the talk symbol on the screen and waited.
After the fourth ring… “Yea?”
Gulping, Angie closed her eyes. “Hey, it’s me… Angie,” she whispered.
“Angie?” He questioned. “Do you know what time it is?” He asked.
She hadn’t really noticed the time until he mentioned it. No wonder he was asleep, she thought, hearing something rustling around before everything went silent. “Uh… I do now,” she said with a nervous chuckle. “I’m sorry I disturbed you, but I really need you.”
“What’s going on?” He asked, not trying to mask the concern. Just from the thickness of her voice he knew something was up. “Angie?” He questioned again.
“I can’t stay here anymore… I have to get out of here.” She got straight to the point, because with their friendship there was no beating around the bush anymore. They’d gotten way past that point.
“Angie, I told you if you needed to get away you are more than welcome to come here. I have more than enough room,” he reminded. He knew she was going through a lot and being under the same roof with Jesse couldn’t have been easy. Nor could it have been something she really-really wanted to do. “Why don’t you go ahead and start packing your things. I’ll come and get you.”
Angie shook her head. She didn’t know why because it wasn’t like he could see her through the phone. “No… I don’t mean I have to get out of the loft,” she started softly. “I mean I have to…”
“Lucy’s doesn’t belong to us.”
“To get out of here… I have to leave Pine Valley. David, if I don’t I’m going to lose my mind!”
A/N: That is not Mookie’s real name. I don’t know his real name to be honest. But I certainly do hope that it’s not Mookie. I mean seriously what fool would name their child Mookie! A nickname I can see, but as his first name. *Scoff* Not even AMC, not even!
Secondly… Will Jesse catch Angie in time? If not, where will she go? What will Jesse do? If so, what will he do? Will they work it out? Would you rather guess or just wait until the next update?