Chapter 16 | Confrontation at Fred's
“I can’t believe you had to go through this.” Angie sighs, plucking a French fry from her half-empty plate.
“Well, at least the worst of it is over now. The police are watching Jared and we are just waiting for the police or judge to contact my parents. Until then Jared has been instructed to stay away from me, though I doubt he will follow any kind of rule.” I shrug, taking another drink from my strawberry milkshake and glancing over towards the other side of the diner where he and Rebecca are still seated.
“Oh trust me, if he comes near you again, there will be some serious consequences.” Shane mumbles, still infuriated with Jared.
I gently place my hand on Shane’s knee under the table and give a small squeeze. He looks over at me and I see something flash in his deep brown eyes. I know how guilty he feels for what happened to me, and I know he’s been partially blaming himself despite my best efforts to convince him otherwise.
“I second that.” Jaxon agrees, stealing Angie’s last fry to which she sends him an evil glare.
“If you eat my food again you’ll feel those same consequences.” Angie threatens Jax.
“Oh but babe, I thought you wanted me to eat your last French fry, that’s why you left it on the plate next to me.” Jax smirks.
“I left it there, because I needed a drink of my soda. I did not leave it there for the likes of you.” She huffs, scooting towards the window and away from Jaxon.
Jaxon immediately reaches out and pulls her back to her original spot, resting his head on her shoulder.
“You’ll forgive me, I know you will.” He smiles, reaching up and kissing her cheek.
Angie tries her best not to smile, but nobody can miss the slight lifting of the corners of her lips.
“You two make me sick.” I whine, playfully scrunching my nose up in disgust.
“So if I were to lean over and kiss your cheek, it would make you sick?” Shane frowns while glancing in my direction.
“Well no, of course not.”
“God, don’t be such a hypocrite Addie.” Angie smirks.
I roll my eyes and throw my rolled up napkin at my annoying best friend. She moves over just in time for it to smack Jaxon in the face instead.
“Gee, thanks babe.” Jax mumbles, picking up the napkin and tossing it back onto the table.
“Only the best for my dear boyfriend.” Angie smiles, tapping her hand gently against Jaxons cheek before pulling away to finish her vanilla milkshake.
It’s still taking me some time to fully accept that my two best friends are now a couple. I always thought it would just be the three of us, no weird strings attached. I guess I can’t be angry, they are oddly cute together and it’s not like I’m alone or a third wheel.
I glance over at Shane and smile as he picks up his burger. As he went to take a bite, ketchup falls from the bottom of the burger and onto his shirt.
“Tartar sauce.” He mumbles under his breath, to which I almost choke on my milkshake from laughing.
Angie gives Shane a weird glance and Jaxon can’t help but laugh.
“What the hell did you just say?” Angie smirks to my now blushing boyfriend.
“Oh please, like you’ve never heard the phrase before.” Shane defends himself, giving Angie a small glare.
“Yeah, only from Spongebob.” Jax chuckles.
“It seemed appropriate. Plus, I have to watch it on account of my little sister so bite me.” Shane mumbles, using a napkin to wipe the ketchup from his shirt.
I begin having a fit, giggling and laughing under my breath. Angie notices and begins giggling herself, unable to contain it. Jaxon soon joined in until we were all three cackling away at Shane’s expense.
“It wasn’t even that funny.” Shane deadpans, clearly annoyed by our outburst.
“But it was.” I breathe, trying to calm myself down. Laughing hurt really bad, so I’m trying like hell to stop myself. “Oh please stop, it hurts!” I whale.
“Shit, Addilyn.” Shane becomes concerned for my face and reaches out to make sure I’m alright.
“I’m fine. Sorry.” I semi-smile, finally able to speak.
Angie and Jaxon immediately stop laughing, their smiling faces dwindling into small frowns.
Desperately trying to change the mood, Shane speaks again.
“Is this how it’s always going to be? You three ganging up on me?” He smirks.
“Hey, usually it’s always me, so I’m happy for a switch up every once in a while.” Jax laughs.
Suddenly, out of the corner of my eye, I see a flash of red.
Two seconds later, Rebecca graces us with her presence.
“Um, Addilyn, can I speak with you please?” She sweetly inquires.
“Yeah right, like we’d ever let her go off alone with the likes of you.” Angie glares.
“Please Angelica, this is important.” Rebecca insists, eyeing me warily.
“It’s Angie.” Angie glares even harder.
“It’s insignificant.” Rebecca responds, giving me another pleading glance.
Shane’s grasp on my waist tightens.
I look into Rebecca’s eyes, and then glance over at Jared who has a deep scowl on his face as he peers into the mug of his steaming coffee.
“You guys, it’s fine. Really.” I say, slowly getting up from the table.
“I’m coming with you.” Angie immediately states, while trying to push Jaxon out of the booth so she can stand up.
“No, I need to speak with her alone. She’s a big girl, Angelica, she doesn’t need you.” Rebecca rolls her big brown eyes.
“For the last time, it’s Angie!” I can tell Angie is getting very irritated, so I quickly grab my phone and push it into my pocket before stepping next to Rebecca.
“Don’t worry, I’ll be fine.” I state, trying to reassure everyone.
“Let’s go.” I nod to Rebecca, motioning for her to follow me out of Fred’s.
I see Shane giving me a look, and I give him a small smile to let him know that I’ll be okay. It’s safe to say that nobody trusts Rebecca due to her relationship with Jared, and after what happened at the party, I can’t blame them for being on guard when it comes to me. I know that all three of them partially blame themselves for what happened to me, and while I have told them all numerous times that it isn’t anyone’s fault but Jared’s, they still give themselves grief over it.
“Alright, what is it now Rebecca?” I sigh, pulling my jacket tighter around my body.
“I apologize for the sudden meet, but Jared confessed something to me that I think you should know.” She states with worried eyes.
“What are you talking about?” I question, crossing my arms over my chest.
“I think he plans to hurt your brother.” She says confidently.
My eyes widen until they are the size of softballs as my arms immediately fall to my sides. “J-Jacob?” I barely whisper.
“I don’t know what he’s doing, but he said he will do whatever it takes to get you to drop your charges against him. I don’t like you at all, but I can’t just sit by and let some poor innocent kid get hurt.” She confesses, looking down at her feet. This is the first time in my entire life, that I have ever seen Rebecca show any bit of remorse.
“Why are you helping me?” I question. “And what does Jared think you’re telling me right now?”
“He thinks I’m giving you another vague threat.” She rolls her eyes. “I told him I didn’t want to do it, but he told me I owed him for being late to dinner.” She shrugs.
I notice her worried expression, though she tries her best to hide it.
“Did... did he threaten you too?” I find myself asking.
Rebecca scoffs before hardening her gaze. “Of course not. He’s harmless when it comes to me. He wouldn’t dare touch me.” She tries to convince me, though I feel as though she is trying to convince herself too.
“Are you kidding me? Look at my face Rebecca! He did this! Don’t think for a second that he isn’t capable of doing the exact same thing to you!” My voice is growing in volume.
“Will you shut up?” Rebecca hisses, peering over her shoulder to make sure Jared didn’t hear my outburst. “He isn’t going to hurt me. Besides, he told me it was self-defense since you hit him first.”
I want to punch Rebecca myself for how naïve she’s being. I can’t believe that Jared has her under some spell, a spell that apparently can’t be broken even with hard and real evidence standing right in front of her face.
“Whatever Rebecca. You’re putting yourself at risk. Hopefully you realize that before it’s too late.” I shrug, turning to walk back inside.
Rebecca slowly follows me inside. I peer over at Jared, who looks up just in time to cast me an evil glance, and at the sight of his disgusting face, I snap.
I immediately change direction and walk over to Jared without skipping a beat.
“Addilyn, what are you doing? Leave him alone!” Rebecca pleads.
I ignore her and continue until I’m standing just inches away from Jared, as he stays glued to his seat.
“Addilyn, to what do I owe the pleasure?” Jared casually asks.
I bend over some so that my face is directly in front of his. I take in a deep breath and harden my eyes as I peer into his amused ones.
“If you so much as touch a single hair on my little brother’s head, I promise, you will regret it.” I growl, keeping my voice low as I shoot venom in his direction.
Jared’s eyes wander to Rebecca for a split second, and I see something evil flash beneath his hard gaze. His attention comes back to me in full force as he suddenly stands up, causing me to stagger back a little.
In a matter of seconds, I feel Shane’s presence beside me as his arm finds its way around my waist.
“Is there a problem Add?” Shane asks me.
“Is there, Jared?” I question, keeping my eyes trained on his rough exterior.
“Not yet.” He replies, before throwing a few bucks on the table and turning around to leave. I see him grab Rebecca by her wrist and my eyes find her panicked ones.
I could have looked away and pretended not to see anything. I could have left Rebecca to fend for herself as she had left me to do so many times before. I could have gone back to the booth with my friends and enjoyed the rest of my night.
However, something told me in the pit of my stomach that if I didn’t intervene and do something, Rebecca may come out looking worse than me. I hate her guts all the way through to her core, but I couldn’t live with myself if I let this monster hurt another girl.
“Actually,” I take a step forward and grab Rebecca’s other wrist before yanking her back towards Shane and me as her other wrist slips from Jared’s grasp. “Rebecca is going to stay here with us. I’m sure you understand.”
Jared stops abruptly and turns around slowly. His dark eyes find mine as he takes a threatening step forward. “Excuse me?”
“Are you deaf? Get the hell out of here!” Shane shouts, taking a step towards him.
Jared’s eyes flash with anger as he takes a giant step towards me. Instincts tell me to step back so I do and that’s when Shane stands in front of Rebecca and me.
“Bad idea Winston. Very bad.” Shane says in a dangerously low voice.
“You’re lucky there are witnesses here.” Jared threatens.
“Yes, you are very lucky.” Shane challenges immediately.
Jared looks to Rebecca who actually cowards behind Shane.
“It’s okay, I’ll see you tomorrow Rebecca.” Jared smiles, though happiness is far from behind his eyes.
Jared turns around and leaves the diner, getting in his expensive sports car and speeding off into the dimly lit distance until he could no longer be seen.
“Everything alright kids?” Fred chimes in as he approaches us.
“Yes, sorry for the ruckus.” Shane apologizes.
“No problem. I never liked that kid.” He states, referring to Jared.
Shane gives me a small kiss against my temple, before pulling away from me and heading over to the booth where an anxious Jaxon and Angie are watching.
“You didn’t have to do that.” Rebecca glares.
“Why can’t you ever just say thank you?” I mutter, crossing my arms back over my chest.
“Don’t you get it? Now things are going to be much worse for me later!” She hisses, and then immediately tries changing the subject as she realizes she has said too much.
“You always have to have the attention on you, don’t you Addilyn? You’re pathetic.” Rebecca states with pure hatred, as she picks up her bag from the booth and stomps out of the diner, but not before giving me one last unreadable glance.
“Never liked her much either.” I hear Fred chime in a few seconds after Rebecca has left.
I can’t help but sigh even with a slight smirk beginning to form on my lips.
“Amen Fred, amen.” I nod, before walking back over to my impatiently waiting friends.
“Well, what did the red-haired witch say?” Angie asks with a look of pure disgust written on her face.
“She told me that I am pathetic and an attention seeker. Then I think she discreetly told me thank you with her eyes as she walked out, but it could have just been gas.” I shrug, sitting down beside Shane. “I assume the latter.”
Jax and Shane laugh while Angie rolls her eyes.
“Figures, you practically save her face from being beaten into a pulp, and she still insults you.” Angie sighs, running her fingers through her straight blonde hair.
I wince at the mention of faces being beaten and Angie frowns. “Sorry.”
Shane’s grasp on my waist tightens as he peers down at me. “Are you okay?” He asks.
“Yeah, I’m alright. Just tired.” I confess, feeling the heaviness in my eyelids.
“Want me to take you home?” Shane asks, smiling down at me.
| Angelica’s POV |
“Can you believe that wanna be red-haired Barbie?” I scoff, still annoyed with Rebecca from earlier.
“Babe, she’s gone. Let it go.” Jax says from beside me as he drives me home. I like whenever he uses his mom’s car. It’s as if we almost have real freedom.
“I will not just let it go. I hate her.” I mumble, crossing my arms over my chest.
“I know that, but sitting here in a sour mood ranting on about her isn’t going to change anything. Just stop worrying about her, and focus on other stuff.” Jax tries to reason with me.
“Yeah? Like what?” I ask, still feeling irritated as he pulls into my driveway.
“Like... this.” He says as he leans over the seat and nears my face. My breath hitches in my throat as I freeze. His lips meet mine and almost instantly, all of the fuming rage within me dissolves into nothing. I deepen the kiss and smile against his lips.
It’s insane how someone who has been my best friend for going on three years, has suddenly become so much more than that. I know Jaxon inside and out, and he knows me the very same. We connect on such a deep level, but I never noticed it before now how incredible he can make me feel with just a look.
We have always had our little flirtatious moments, discreetly of course... but we have never acted on anything before now. It almost feels surreal. This is the same Jaxon who burped the entire alphabet for our ninth grade talent show. This is the same Jaxon who brought mini-whoopee cushions into our tenth grade chemistry class, and his excuse was he wanted to properly teach everyone about gas. This is also the same Jaxon who beat up Samuel Jones during our freshman dance, because he insisted on continuously grabbing my ass after I repeatedly told him to piss off. This is also the same Jaxon who gave me his very last cupcake during our tenth grade valentines party because I dropped mine onto the dirty ground beside the old tree we all used to sit under.
He has always been caring and obnoxious, and honestly, I would not have it any other way.
After pulling apart and catching our breaths, I lean over and give him a long hug, resting my head against his chest.
“You know Angie, if I didn’t know any better, I’d say that you kind of like me.” Jax says jokingly, and I can already tell he has a smirk on his face without even looking up at him.
“Shut up asshole.” I mumble, though nothing can hide the small smile resting on my lips.
“Ugh, I don’t want to go.” I whine, leaning back into my seat. I stare out of the window and up at my big home, though I haven’t called it home in a long time. It hasn’t been home since my father was hurt.
I still think about that day often, wishing that there was something, anything my twelve-year-old self could have done to save my father.
I was at school with Addie when it happened. We were in the same math class that year. It was our first year of sixth grade and we were still getting the hang of middle school. We hated the idea of having multiple classes in one day, because we knew we couldn’t possibly have every class together. Addie and I were in the same classroom every year up until sixth grade. Middle school was a huge change for us, but I’m glad we stuck through it together.
“How is he?” Jaxon questions, though he did so very lightly.
“Same.” I reply out of habit. I know he is never going to be my father again, just the ghost of my father. Now? Now he is only a vegetable, a vegetable just waiting to finally perish.
“Maybe one day he will wake up.” Jaxon states, as he has many times before. He and Addie both have told me numerous times not to give up hope. Sadly, I lost hope after the first year that he made no progress. Now four years later, we are still in the same never-ending boat just floating along the same stream, over and over again.
“Right, and maybe one day I’ll be a famous ice skater and have a monkey named Phil.” I roll my eyes, but then instantly feel guilty about speaking of my father that way. “Sorry.” I sigh.
“Don’t apologize, I understand.” Jax sadly smiles.
“Anyway, see you tomorrow?” I smile over at him, reaching out to grab his hand.
“Absolutely.” He leans over and kisses my cheek, before getting out and walking around the car to open my door for me.
I stand up and give him a much needed hug, pulling him as close to me as possible. I love feeling safe in his arms. It’s so comforting.
“You look beautiful today.” He sheepishly smiles, nervously scratching the back of his neck.
I can feel my cheeks beginning to turn pink, so I pull him down for a kiss. His hands go around my waist and I bring mine up and around his neck. After a few moments, I pull away and smile up at him.
“See you tomorrow.” He smiles one last time, before getting back into his mother’s car and driving off down the street to his house.
I turn around and once I see the structure that I once called home, my smile dwindles until it is nonexistent.
Finding the courage, I sling my bag over my shoulder and march up the pathway to the double brown-oak doors.
After digging around in my bag, I finally find my house key and open up the wooden doors, stepping inside.
“Mom!” I yell. The house is so quiet, that my voice echos around the entire building.
“In your father’s study!” She yells back after a few seconds of complete and utter silence.
I curse to myself and went straight for the kitchen, not at all bothering to enter my father’s study.
I haven’t stepped foot inside my father’s study in over a year. That is where his hospital bed is set up and that is where he has been living for the past five years. My mom keeps an around-the-clock nurse in the house twenty-four-seven to keep an eye on my dad and take his vitals twice a day. Every day after my mom gets home from work, she eats quick take-out and then sits in my father’s study just reading. I can’t tell you how many books my mom has read in that study in the past five years, but that’s only because I lost count after a hundred.
I throw my bag onto the granite kitchen counter and peer over towards the stove to see what kind of take-out my mom ordered tonight.
I roll my eyes at the site of yet again, Chinese. It isn’t even my mom’s favorite, but because it’s my dad’s favorite she gets it almost every other night. It’s nights like tonight where I usually fend for myself, but I’m happy I don’t have to do that tonight since I just left Fred’s.
“Sweetie, I got you orange chicken!” My mom smiles as she enters the kitchen.
I glance at my mom and take in her appearance. I take in her long blonde hair, and how she always keeps it up in a very tight bun as she says, it’s ‘professional’. I take in her sky-high red heels, as she says it’s ‘always classy to wear appropriate shoes’. I took in her make-up, and I think to myself that there isn’t enough concealer in the world to hide the dark circles that have taken residency on my mother’s face.
She has been this way ever since the accident. She is a walking, talking robot void of any real emotion. We never go out on our Saturday morning shopping sprees. We never go out to the beach on Sunday’s and lay out to tan anymore. We never get our Mani/Pedis anymore or go watch movies at the theater.
So, while most people only see that I’ve lost one parent, I know deep down that I have actually lost two.
The day my father died, is the same day that he became a vegetable and is the same day that my mom died too. At least, her spirit died. The joyful and loving spark that used to overpower everything about her just isn’t there anymore. Now, if we aren’t talking about my father or something as vague as school, she just doesn’t seem to care.
She sure pretends to care though. Whenever we have to go out together, she plays it off as if she is the mother of the year, always smiling and giving me whatever I want. I wish I could make her see that material items don’t replace the love and the relationship we once had.
“I already ate Ma.” I reply, grabbing a tea from the fridge.
“Well, you can have it for lunch tomorrow.” She insists as she takes the take-out containers and places them into the fridge.
“Sure thing.” I nod.
“I’ve got some good news peanut.” My mom says as she starts randomly cleaning things around the kitchen. Anything to keep herself busy. I don’t like whenever she calls me peanut. My dad used to call me peanut and hearing it now just reminds me of his absence.
“What news is that mom?”
“Your father.” She begins. “I was reading to him and his pinky finger flinched!” She smiles so wide, I am almost sad for her.
“He’s flinched before mom.”
“Yeah, but not like this Ang! You should have seen it!” Her smile never falters as she absentmindedly wipes down the granite counter top once more.
“You know,” She began again, “You should go and see him. He misses you.”
“How can he miss me mom? He doesn’t even know where he is or what’s happened to him or anything anymore for that matter.” I huff, annoyed with my mother’s constant belief that he will one day just wake up and be William again. She doesn’t get that William Sage is gone, and has been for five years.
I only ever mentioned pulling the plug once, but I swore she would have buried me six feet under if she could have and after that horrible fight we had, I haven’t mentioned again. Of course, three days after our intense argument, she pretended as if it never happened.
The doctor told us that it would be a miracle if he ever woke up from this, and that even if he did, there is no telling what kind of immense brain damage he has suffered. He could no longer have his memory, his speech or even his ability to walk or move at all.
Even with medical science telling my mother that it’s time to let go, she still refuses. Her and my father have been married since they were twenty years old, and she states that she isn’t going to leave him. Not now, and not ever.
“Don’t you dare speak that way about your father! He can feel your presence!” My mother scolds while placing clean dishes into their designated spots in the cupboards.
“You’re right mom, I’m sorry.” I apologize for the millionth time. I tend to apologize to my mom a lot. I guess you can say I have given up on my father. Although, that makes me feel even more guilty.
“I think I’m just going to go over to Addie’s.” I lie, getting up to go and pack a bag from my abandoned bedroom.
I hardly ever sleep in my room anymore. The Disney themed walls remind me too much of my father, since I helped him paint them when I was seven. From Beauty and the Beast, to Aladdin, all the way to the Aristocats, my walls scream Disney. I loved it so much when it was finished. I remember I had Addie sleep over almost every night for a week just so we could be inside of my Disney themed bedroom. It was my favorite place. Was.
After packing a bag, I run down the stairs and out of the house. The walk is a long one, but I don’t mind.
I pull my phone out and hit call on the recent contact in my call log.
“Hey babe, what’s up?”
“Yes, front door is open.”
“Thanks!” I smile as I push my cell phone into my pocket and start walking towards my boyfriend’s house.
Home used to be my favorite place.
Used to be.