After making sure her baby girl had everything she needed, Patricia walked out of the guest room and went to the kitchen to talk with her husband. The minute her right foot stepped over the threshold, Jeffery cleared his throat. “What’s on your mind pretty lady?” He asked, knowing her oh so well enough to know when she was thinking hard about something without having to look at her or hear her voice.
Patricia eased onto the stool at the kitchen island and propped her elbows up. “What that man did to my baby is what’s on my mind,” she replied, shaking her head. “I will kill him for hurting my baby.”
Jeffery chuckled at his spit-fire of a wife and turned. “You don’t even know what he did. For all we know he could have did something she didn’t like and they had a small fight.”
“If I know my daughter and I do know her, even though we’ve been apart for so long, she wouldn’t run away from no small fight. That girl—“
“Grown woman,” he corrected.
“She’s still my baby girl,” she corrected. “Anyway, she will not run away from no small fight. She will fight back and fight back so hard you wouldn’t dare cross her again. He did something and once I find out what it is I’m going to be on the first flight out to Pine Valley and give him a piece of my mind,” she hissed, turning her head and looking out of the window. “And I thought the man was supposed to be dead. What the hell happened to that?!” She fussed.
“Calm down tiger,” he ordered, walking over to her and rubbing her shoulders. “You know what the doctor said. You need to keep your pressure down as much as possible, otherwise—“
“Please don’t say it,” Pat pleaded, looking over her shoulder and up at him. “Please.”
“Otherwise what?” A voice asked from behind. Both Jeffery and Pat turned to see Angie standing in the kitchen doorway with her arms crossed and a curious look on her face. “What did your doctor say?” As she was getting ready to get into the shower, she realized she forgot something in the car and was heading back out to get it when she overheard her mother and Jeffery talking.
Patricia eased from Jeffery’s grasp and slid off the barstool. “Nothing you need to worry yourself with,” she quickly said. “I thought you were taking a bath… Everything alright?” She asked, trying to take the spotlight off of her.
“Yea, I’m fine. Now answer the question, what did the doctor say about you and your pressure?”
“Baby, it’s nothing.”
“Mama?” She warned. “If you don’t tell me I will find out. We doctors honor the patient and doctor confidentiality policy, but I am not above bribing them to get some answers about my mother.”
Throwing her husband a look, Pat sighed and looked down to the floor. “I have a uh… A weak heart and if my pressure get’s to high it could cause me to have a heart attack.”
“What?” Angie shrieked.
“It’s not that bad baby girl. I’m managing. Trust me.”
Angie shook her head. “Why didn’t you tell me?”
“You said you never wanted to talk or see me ever again. You said you hated me.”
“Dammit mama!” Angie hissed, looking away and feeling so bad for the way she acted all those years ago. Regretted the things she said and done when her mother insulted her and her husband as if they were cause of Les Baxter’s death. They had both been speaking from a place of hurt and grief and both said things that they would forever regret, but… “Mama, this is one of those things where I don’t care what I said to you, you’re supposed to call me and let me know something.”
“I didn’t want to bother you…” Pat whimpered. “Last I heard you and Jacob had gotten a divorce and you were going to do something in Africa. After that I hadn’t heard anything else… Not until last tonight when you called me.”
“You should have found me……… No I shouldn’t have let this stupid fight go on for as long as it did,” she sighed and turned to look out the window with her arms wrapped around her body. “Everything is my fault,” she concluded, as so many things began to play in her head. “Daddy’s death. Had I not been with Jesse things probably would have been different and our fight wouldn’t have happened and I would have been here for you, to take care of you…
“Oh my god! No baby! No you are not the reason for his death and I knew that beforehand but I was hurt. And baby I am so sorry for all the things I said. I don’t know what Jesse has done to you, but baby I am not mad at him nor you. As much as it pained me he did the right thing! He stopped him from committing more crimes and hurting more people. Hurting more children,” she tried to assure her as she slowly stepped up to her daughter and gently took her shoulder. “Nothing is your fault. You hear me?”
Angie just shook her head. “I beg the differ. Daddy’s death… My baby’s death,” she gulped. “God, had I just listened to Jesse that night and went to the hospital she probably would have still been alive. Or had I just went to the hospital the first time I started contracting at the baby shower,” she rambled as tears began to fall from her eyes. “Maybe I should have just listened and gotten the pregnancy terminated. A woman my age had no business being pregnant… How could I have been so stupid?!” The tears began to fall faster as her hands went up to her head. “I was so stupid! So selfish! Like I always am,” she cried.
“Baby, your dadd—-” Then the rest of her rant finally hit her leading her to gasp and slowly put a hand to her heart. “Baby’s death?” She asked. “Honey, wh—what is going on?” She asked, turning her around and gasping once again when she saw her daughters red eyes and tear and grief stricken face. “What baby’s death?”
Jeffery also wondered and had come a bit closer to the girls for support. “Angie, tell us what’s going,” he gently ordered, sounding more like her real father and not her step father.
Back in Pine Valley, after searching high and low for Angie, Jesse had unwillingly gave up and returned to the loft. The minute he stepped in he was greeted with Angie’s scent. This in turn jolted him from his mood and led him to run to the back. “Angela! Angela baby I am so sorry!” He called as he entered the master bedroom and stopped short when he saw nothing had changed. “Angie?” He called again checking the whole loft twice and coming up empty.
“Angie,” he sighed, walking back into the living room and looking around. When his eyes yet again connected with the picture of Him, Angie and Lucy and by it in another frame Ellie’s ultrasound picture, a sharp pain hit him dead in his heart. “What have I done?” He asked the empty loft.
He slowly walked over and began to trace Angie’s beautiful face. It hadn’t hit him until the moment he looked around and saw the only sign of Angie ever being in his life was this lone picture. Her degree’s, plaques, and several pictures of them together were gone. The only sign of a female having lived there was the decoration, but other than that there was nothing. “Shit!” He yelled kicking the stand over. “Dammit! Dammit!” He fussed.
Tears streaming down his face freely, Jesse slid down the wall and dropped his head. “Ellie, what did I do? Baby girl what did I do?” He asked, staring at the ultrasound as it was the only thing he held onto in his rant. “I never meant all of that mess. It wasn’t Angela’s fault. It was my fault. I should have made her go to the hospital… That trip from California was too much for her to handle, I should have made her stay there. We should have stayed there until you were born… If I hadn’t been in such a rush to get her home and… and… Dammit! I should have did things differently,” he cried, against every attempt not too.
“It was all my fault,” he sighed, dropping and shaking his head. “Everything you’re mother has been through is all my fault… I shouldn’t have stayed… I shouldn’t have come back. I was selfish. I was foolish.”
Angie looked at her mother and then looked up at Jeffery, whose warm eyes broke her. “Jesse and I got pregnant and uh… on March 29th 2011, she died,” she replied, sucking back the dam of tears that were beginning to flow. “She was a still born and… And uh… It was my fault. I’m the reason she’s dead. I’m the reason that one of God’s Children did not get to finish their story… Mama, I am,” she continued to cry.
Tears falling freely down her own face, Patricia sucked back a breath and pushing aside everything her doctor warned her about, grabbed her daughter and held her tightly in her arms.
Not being able to keep that flow of emotions from tearing through her body, her soul, Angie gripped her mother’s shoulders and cried. Cried for her marriage. Cried for Jesse who was right. Cried for her children and for putting them through so much pain. Cried for her father. Cried for the time away from the one woman she loved so much… Cried for the baby…… The babies she lost.
“Mama, I can’t do this anymore… Oh god I can’t!” She cried feeling everything beneath her sink.
Patricia gently went to the floor with her daughter in her arms and held her close and let her cry.
“It’s hurts… It hurts so bad. So bad,” she sobbed. The tears she shed before was nothing compared to what was happening now. The tears she shed the day they finally had given their daughter a proper funeral was nothing, the day they ripped Lucy from her arms was nothing. The tears she was shedding now were tears of pain… A pain so deep and so sharp it pierced her soul, her mind, her body… Pierced her belief. “Make it stop,” she begged as she physically began to hurt and shake uncontrollably. “Oh god please make it stop.
Wishing more than anything she could take this pain away from her child, Pat kissed her sweating temple and rocked. “I’m here honey. I’m here now and I promise you I am not going anywhere,” she whispered. “Mama’s here now.”
Jeffery had always been a man of pillar strength. Was the backbone and the shoulder to everybody close to him and even a few strangers whom opened themselves up to him during a time of need. But at this time, despite all the the strength he tried to muster up, he couldn’t help the stubborn tears that began to spill over. His heart broke for his daughter in law who was going through the same pain, as much as he tried to move past it, he went through years ago. Years ago he’d learned how to push the pain deep down and had at the time made himself grow the strength needed to not remember the pain. A pain so deep, so cutting, so painful you felt like you were trapped inside of a room and clawing at your throat from the lack of air. A pain no parent should have to feel… The death of a child.