“Are you sure that’s everything?” David asked once he returned from putting Angie’s luggage bags in his trunk.
Last night or rather early-early that morning… Try 2 that morning, when she called him saying she needed his help leaving he actually tried to talk her out of it. “Angie, you know better than anybody that I don’t like Jesse and I really do think you deserve better than him, but… And you better never let another soul know I said this, but I think you should reconsider. He’s a fool, an ass, an idiot, all of the above and more but he loves you and you love him. I have to honestly say I have never seen anybody as dedicated to their spouse as he is to you. And you to him. He has never once stepped out on you and from the way he acted around you he never even thought of it. That man is stuck on stupid when it comes to you. I really believe you should stay and fight. Weren’t you the one who said you can’t give up. No matter how what. Angie don’t go back on your word.”
Surprisingly, Angie hadn’t argued. She actually sat on the other end and listened to him. Held onto his every word. Then once he was was done she finally said: “David, that means a lot coming from you and if things were different I would be more than willing to listen but I can’t… When you lost Leora didn’t you just want to run away and just breathe. Take time for yourself. Take things one day at a time and not have other people crowding you. Constantly coming over and saying it’s going to be alright or she’s in a better place or in due time you will move on… David, I can’t handle anymore of that! That honestly does not make me feel any better. Not when I feel that here with me, in my arms, in my chest, in my lap is a better place! Everything isn’t going to be alright. I lost not one baby but two. Losing one is hell, but losing two… There is no alright about this!” She explained. “And if I stay any longer… If I don’t put some miles between us… I will kill him. That’s not a threat that is a promise. I know Jesse said he was trying to protect me, keep me from getting my heart broken, he did it out of love, but I can’t see that. I don’t know when or if I will ever see that but I do know I’m not there now. I am nowhere near that point!”
And David knew this. There was no alright or moving on totally after losing one kid. Losing two it was just impossible. And David also knew where she was coming from when she said that being here was a better place. With that and everything else she said in mind. “What time should I be over?” He asked. It was very critical for Angie to do what she had to do. He probably couldn’t stand Jesse, but he didn’t want the man or anybody else who pushed one of Angie’s buttons killed and he surely didn’t want this woman to be put behind bars because of it.
Angie looked over as she slid a neatly folded 4page letter into a envelope. She gestured to the two boxes on the table. “I was wondering if you would keep those at your house… At least until I settle in and send for them.”
“You know, I don’t remember where you said you were going,” David hinted, leaning against the counter with his arms crossed.
A smile playing at the corner of her lips as she tilted her head to the side. “That’s because I didn’t say,” she said giving him a wink. “Frankie could come to you begging for answers and I don’t want you saying anything… Nobody can know where I’m going. At least not right now.”
“What if there is an emergency?”
“Seriously, what if something happens to Frankie or Cass or Natalia? How will we know where to reach you to let you know?”
David’s right, Angie thought picking up her purse and double checking to make sure she had everything. “Give me a few days,” she sighed. “Give me a few days and I will call you. But David,” she began, looking up. “You can not… I repeat you can not tell anybody! I don’t care how much they beg you. I don’t care if they argue with you until they are blue in the face, you have to keep your mouth shut about where I’m going to be.”
“Alright,” he said unconvincing.
“David!” She fussed. “I called on you for help because you were suppose to be the one that can keep hush about this. I called on you for help because I could trust you with this. David, please don’t make me regret it. Please don’t make me regret trusting you.”
David eyed her and raised his hands. “Alright, alright. I promise I won’t mum a word of your whereabouts to anybody.”
“No phone numbers either. And no leaving hints in your office for somebody to find. And no rubbing it in Jesse’s face that you know where I am and he doesn’t… You know how you get when you know more than someone else does,” she read him.
“One day I will repay you for everything. Giving me my sight back and being there when I needed to talk or vent and for this… David, I really appreciate this.”
David stared at her for the longest time before looking away embarrassed. “Yea,” he covered his shaky reply with a cough as he ran his hand down his face. “Stop getting mushy with me. Now, let me get these down to the car. What are you going to do about those?” He gestured to the many envelops that littered the kitchen island.
Angie nodded as she slid her purse onto her shoulder. “Thank you David. Just give me a few minutes and then we can leave,” she told him. Seconds later she watched as David walked out with the boxes and in his wake closed the door. “Okay,” she breathed, sliding off the barstool and turning to scan the place she use to call home. The place where she and Jesse started their new lives after he returned to her. The many dinners, lunches, breakfasts, tears and laughs they shared as just a couple or as a whole family. The fights they had and the lovely ways they made-up. All of that and so many more cherished memories happened right here. Right here in this very living room… As she stood there and replayed a lot of them she realized that those memories, those times… They were the best times of her life. They were unforgettable and irreplaceable and… Then there were memories Angie wanted to just burn from her brain. The day Lucy’s paternal grandmother came in accusing her of having her child, the harsh truth that she did have her child and that her own baby had been a still born. The day of the actual funeral. And the day that made her heart tighten, the day the the judge granted custody to her real family and she was literally snatched out of her arms.
Letting out a shaky breath as those memories flashed, Angie quickly put down the picture of she, Jesse, Frankie and Lucy and covered her mouth. Go, her heart was telling her and she went. She grabbed the printed flight information off the table and headed for the door. Before walking out completely she looked over her shoulder at Ellie’s ultrasound. “Ellie?” She called. She swore she felt her baby’s presence. She swore her baby was there with her, watching her and communicating with her in a way only she knew. “One day,” she started. “One day I will be able accept this. One day I will be strong enough to say your name and not want to die from the pain of losing you. But one thing I have been doing since I knew you were inside of me and the one thing I will continue to do… I will love you, my peanut unconditionally.”
Jesse was knocked clean out when Tad, Kathy and Jenny snuck out the kitchen with a spoon in one hand and a pot in the other. “On three,” Tad whispered as he and the girls kneeled behind the sofa. “1… 2…3…”
Clank! Clank! Clank! Clank! Clank! Clank!
With a start Jesse popped up and soon flipped over onto the floor with a thud! “Ow,” he groaned. The reaction came a little late because his mouth felt and tasted so horrible he couldn’t say anything right off. “Ouch!” Now that he thought about it more he could feel pain shooting through him.
“Good job girls! Now go on upstairs and get ready. Pop’s will be here soon.” Tad kissed both of them on the cheeks before watching them run out and stomp up the stairs. Just as he told them to do earlier. Once he heard the door slam he walked around and lightly kicked Jesse in his side. “Get up,” he ordered.
“Jesse Hubbard, if you don’t get up off that floor right now I’m going to kick you in your fanny!” Opal fussed, walking into the living room.
Jesse slowly moved to sit up against the couch and rub his throbbing head. “Do you have to yell?” he asked in a hushed tone. “Oh, god. What happened?” he asked just barely able to move his head, hell his eyes to look around. He knew he was sitting in the Martin’s living room. But what he didn’t know and was sure he probably didn’t really want to know was how in the hell he got there?
“You look like death warmed over,” Tad hissed. “Go straighten yourself and I’ll show you how much of an ass you were last night.”
Some kind of way Jesse made it to his feet, rocking back and forth a few minute and soon stumbled to Tad’s man cave. Opal watched. “You not worried he’s going to fall down the stairs?” She asked.
Tad cut his eyes at her. “Why should I? Maybe that fall will knock some sense into him.”
“Or kill him,” she offered. “At least go help him make it down. Let him do the rest alone.”
Tad stared at her and sighed. “Alright,” he sighed heavily going to Jesse who had just opened the door and took a step. “Ah, I don’t want to be held responsible for any injuries so let me help you.” And right after he helped Jesse down the stairs and pointed to the things he would need he left him to it.
By the time Jesse finally made it up Joe had came and picked up Kathy and Jenny. And Dixie had prepared a little something for Jesse to eat.
“You’re back,” Tad spoke. He was now sitting on the couch pretending to read the newspaper.
“Can you cool it with the yelling,” Jesse pleaded. “I’m begging you.”
“That wasn’t yelling,” Tad told him. “But this,” he yelled “ Is! Now tell me why I should show you mercy this morning… Go on, I’m listening,” Tad fussed loudly, hoping to give Jesse an even bigger headache. He was showing him a little mercy when he spoke with his inside voice, but obviously Jesse didn’t like that so he would give him one better. He would yell the rest of the conversation and make him regret saying anything about being so loud in the beginning. Make him regret opening up his mouth period.
“My head… my head is kill… killing me… Feels like I got bashed or something.”
Opal smirked as she walked out the kitchen. “Oh you are gonna wish like hell you got bashed over the noggin’ in few minutes,” she warned him.
As Jesse sat on the ottoman in front of the fire place, Tad nodded in agreement. Earlier that morning when Tad woke up he checked his phone and discovered a bunch of messages asking about Angie and Jesse. What happened last night? Is this for real or what? How is Angie? Oh my god how could Jesse say something so stupid? If Jesse even still alive after that? Just a lot of questions pertaining to the night before. Just as curious and confused Tad prepared to find out how on earth everybody knew when he opened the very last text message and with it was a video. Bracing himself he opened it and there it was… Jesse drunk as a skunk making a plume ass of himself. The video had gone around Pine Valley faster than Colby’s video of her talking about Liza having sex with Damon. It took everything in Tad not to rush downstairs and strangle Jesse in his sleep.
“I’ll be back,” Tad informed him getting up and going into the kitchen. “That coffee ready?” he asked Dixie.
She handed him the mug. “Just the way you asked. How is he? Is he ready to eat?”
Tad smirked and shook his head. “Probably not. And I bet he’s wishing he was in hell rather than in there,” he teased. “The girls gave him hell earlier. They make me proud.”
Dixie shook her head and went about getting Jesse’s food on a plate. “We’ll see how proud you are the next time you come home drunk,” she hinted.
“Yea right… Hey, you to in touch with Angela yet?”
Dixie sighed. “Her cell phone has been disconnected and the machine picked up at the house.”
“What do you mean disconnected?”
“Just that. I called it three times and the machine thingy said the phone had been disconnected. I called Frankie to see what was going on but he isn’t answering.”
“Damnit,” Tad hissed.
Just as Tad pulled his phone out to try Frankie and Angie again the doorbell rung. “That’s probably Jake. I told him he could come over and get something for Trevor,” he sighed going to put the phone back up.
“I’ll go handle it. You just try to get her.” And with that she walked out.
As soon as Dixie walked out all she saw was Jesse being punched in stomach. “You did this! You made her do this!” Frankie fussed.
“Frankie!” Randi shrieked.
“Tad!” Dixie called. Tad raced out of the kitchen and saw Frankie standing over Jesse who was bent over at the waist. “What going on in here?” Tad asked standing in between the two the same way he did the night before.
In more pain than before and just as confused as before Jesse looked up at his son. What in the hell did he do to deserve all of this horrible treatment? He wondered. “He punched me,” he groaned. “
Seething mad, Frankie looked at Tad. “She’s gone.”
“Whose gone?” Dixie asked. “Angie?”
“Yes… Randi and I went over to check on her and found these.” He dropped the envelopes he found on the counter onto the coffee table. Altogether there were seven envelopes and each were addressed to a certain couple or person. Frankie, Nat, Brot, Tad and Dixie, Krystal, Jake and Amanda and… Jesse.
Tad picked up the one belonging to he and Dixie. “Did you read yours?” He carefully asked eyeing the envelope.
Randi who was rubbing Frankie’s shoulders nodded. “She left town and said she didn’t know when she was coming back… If she’s even coming back,” she told them sadly. She then looked down. “She said she couldn’t take it anymore.”
“You were suppose to stay with her, Frankie,” Tad fussed but not intentionally. Just hearing what Randi said about Angie not being able to take it anymore shook him something hard.
“I tried! Tad, I really did try,” Frankie sighed. “She made me go home. She said she needed sometime to herself and I argued with her but she wouldn’t have it any other way… I had no choice.”
Pounding head, churning stomach and all Jesse pulled himself some-what upright and looked around the room. “What… What is going on?” He asked. “What am I missing? What the hell do you mean Angela is gone?” He snatched up the envelope addressed to him.
“I don’t think I stuttered,” Frankie hissed.
“Look here Franklin, I am your father and you will—“
“I will what?” Frankie asked. “And you’re my father?” He snorted and when Randi went to stop him he waved her off. “You sure as hell didn’t act like no father of mine last night when you were dumping all your wrong doings on my mother. You weren’t acting like my father when you blamed her for the death of her own child!”
“What?!” Jesse bellowed not believing a single word coming from that boy’s mouth.
“You heard me.”
Jesse pointed a stern finger to Frankie. “I’m warning you Franklin.”
“What are you gonna do? Arrest me? Ha! You don’t have that ability to do that anymore. Whip me? You’re out of your mind. Hit me? I’d like to see you try.”
“Alright, alright,” Randi intervened, she tried to put some of that authority she knew Angie would use if she was here.
Obviously she didn’t have that touch like her mother in law because Jesse waved her off in the same fashion as Frankie did earlier and stepped boldly to his son. It was like what she said went in one ear and quickly out of the other. “I never blamed my wife for the death of Ellie. I don’t blame anything on her. And she knows that!”
“Funny you should say that,” Frankie smirked, removing his phone and accessing the video someone sent to him that morning. “Take a look oh innocent one,” he slammed the phone in his hand.
Jesse sneered at him before looking down to the phone in his hand.
“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. “No, you didn’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 it.”
“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…”
“Jesse?” Angie asked. “Simple yes or no question. Do you blame me for Ellie’s death?”
“Wow and all this time I thought… Wow.”
“Jesse, say something. Please,” Tad begged.
“I need a drink,” he mumbled, brushing past Angie and Frankie and stumbling over to the bar. “Whiskey… Straight!”
The video had long ago stopped and Jesse just stood there and stared at the object as if it was foreign. Then when an image of Angie, hurt and guilt ridden written all over her face popped up in his mind and his whole body literally began to shake. “No, no… No!” He yelled. “I didn’t….” He started scratching his head and breathing hard as more of last night’s fight with Angie began to materialize. “I… I… Oh… Angel… ohhhh.”
Hot tears began to cascade down his grief stricken face. His heart began to tighten in his chest. “No.”
“Jesse,” Tad sighed going towards him.
Jesse backed away shaking his head. “No!” He fussed. “That… That…. That didn’t happen.”
“Do I need to replay it for you?” Frankie hinted grabbing the phone and going to access it once again. The video replayed and Jesse just crumbled to the sofa with his head buried in his hands.
“Frankie, stop it,” Randi begged. She was no doctor but she could tell Jesse wasn’t doing to well. He was starting to lose his color, he was sweating and breathing hard as if he just ran a marathon. He was shaking and clutching his chest. “Frankie, stop it!” She rushed to Jesse’s side.
“No, he needs to hear this. You hear that? That’s you, Jesse Hubbard. You!”
Jesse stared up at his son before looking away helplessly. “I need to talk to her. I need… I need to see her and tell her… tell her that was a… a mistake.”
“She’s gone,” Frankie hissed. “She left town. Don’t you get it!”
“No, no, no… No. She’s still here I… I… I know it.”
“Jesse,” Randi started softly. “We’ve looked all over and she’s gone… Nobody’s seen her.”
“Angela, wouldn’t leave. She wouldn’t leave. She wouldn’t give up on us. She wouldn’t,” Jesse rambled on nervously. “She can’t! She didn’t leave, it’s a trick.”
“Tad,” Dixie mumbled.
Tad looked over at her and nodded. “I’ll go look for her again. Okay?”
“No… This is my… my doing, I need to find her.”
“Alone!” He barked, looking up. “I need to do this alone. This is all my doing and I need… I need to find her.” As if he hadn’t gotten pissy drunk or just recently punched in the stomach Jesse got up, brushed past Frankie and headed out the door. “I need to find my wife,” he chanted the whole time.
As Angie reached over to remove her bags off the luggage carousel, she began saying over and over in her mind that she did the right thing by coming here. She knew leaving home was the best decision she made, but coming here after so many years and so much bad blood had been left behind she was nervous. The call she made had went well and they seemed so happy to hear from her and all but begged her to come down. Angie had been grateful, but now as she stood in that Georgia airport she began to feel coming here was a very bad idea. And she knew without a doubt that in just a matter of minutes that feeling would get worse.
The two hour flight was suppose to give her a chance to prepare herself, calm down her already shot to hell nerves. But her mind and her body had other plans. See after the incident last night she hadn’t gotten a wink of sleep. To be honest she hadn’t really been getting much sleep before then. Anyway, after speaking with David for a straight hour, Angie walked into the guest room or rather her new room. She just couldn’t sleep in the same bed with Jesse anymore. Couldn’t stomach sleeping in the room where he made love to her and said he loved her and made promises to her. She just couldn’t… She started packing her clothes and other little things she would need for the time being. Other stuff she packed up and had David hold onto them. Just until she was ready. Right after that she placed another call and once it was squared away that she would been headed to the south she started writing letters to her family and friends. All in all she hadn’t stopped going, hadn’t even closed her eyes for 10mins, until she claimed her seat and the plane took off.
“Let me help you with those,” somebody said, stepping up beside her. She had been so deep in thought she hadn’t heard the person or felt them step up. Somebody could have been robbing her blind or kidnapping her and it wouldn’t have hit her until it was too late.
Slightly flinching she looked over and just as she was about to say something recognition set in, leading her to gasp. “You’re here,” she whispered.
He nodded. “I told you I would be here,” he reminded, reaching forward and taking her trembling hand in his. “I really hate that it had to be under these circumstances, but I am happy to see you again… I’ve mi—We’ve missed you.”
Speechless, Angie glanced down at their hands. He said it over the phone hours ago, but to be facing him and looking into his eyes as she repeated himself it felt different. If felt real. If felt like it came from the bottom of his heart. “Yea,” she finally choked.
Unbeknownst to Angie the man looked over her shoulder and nodded at somebody.
Hearing her name being called so softly made Angie raise her head and her breath hitch. “Is that…” She couldn’t finish because almost instantly her voice was fading away. Instead of trying to force the question or call the name she turned around. “Oh,” she gasped not even trying to hold back the tears.
“Wow, you look…”
“A mess,” she smirked.
“Beautiful,” she corrected. The woman took slow steps forward. Took them until they were standing directly in front of each other. Slowly she held up her arms. “Can I have a… a hug? Please.”
The little girl in Angie came out in full force and she all but lunged into her arms.
“I’ve missed you,” she whispered, holding her tightly in her arms.
Angie shook her head as she cried into her shoulder and clutched just as tight. “I’ve missed you too,” she cried. “Oh, I’ve missed so much momma!”
“Oh my sweet girl,” Pat cried.
A/N: Did I shock y’all?