Chapter 33 | Liquid Courage
“Dad, what are you doing here?”
“I’m just visiting a friend. What are you doing here?” He questions while arching an eyebrow.
“I came here to uh, talk to Officer Bernard.” I became nervous. I don’t want my dad to think I don’t trust him and that I’m going behind his back to see if what Jared’s lawyer said was true or not.
“What about?” He asks.
I look around to Shane and Angie for help, and to my surprise, Angie is the one to speak up.
“For me. I needed to get the truth about my father.” She boldly states.
“Angelica, surely you don’t believe a word of what Jared’s lawyer said, right?” My dad smiles. “It’s just a lie he conjured up to use against Addie and win the trial.”
“Well, I need to know for sure.” She insists.
“Why?” Officer Bernard asks.
“Because my father passed away this morning, that’s why.” She replies, her voice slightly raised.
My dad’s eyes widen for a split second, before his face returns to neutral. “I... I’m sorry to hear about that. Your father was a great man, one of my closest friends.” My dad states with a frown.
“Yeah? Well I’d like to know for certain, just how close you two were.” Angie challenges.
My dad stiffens a little, and gives a side glance to Officer Bernard.
“Now Angelica, I know you’re feeling really bad right now. Your father passing away just brings back all of those awful memories from when the accident happened, but I can assure you, it was just that. An accident. Mr. Bishop here did nothing wrong that day. I remember it quite well. Big events tend to stick with you the most.” Officer Bernard states.
Angie looks torn. She wants to believe that there’s something they’re not telling her, but she also wants to believe that they are in fact, telling the truth.
“Mr. Bishop?” Angie says after a few moments of silence.
“Yes?” My dad turns to her.
Angie walks up to him and stands directly in front of him. She looks up into his eyes and I notice her hands are shaking a little.
“I want you to look me in the eyes, and tell me that what Jared’s lawyer said isn’t true. Please, just be honest with me. Not knowing is killing me.” Angie’s eyes are wide and pleading. It almost looks as if she wants to let a few tears fall, but she refrains.
I notice my dad twitch a little at her plea, and after a few seconds, he is able to bring his eyes down to meet hers.
“Angelica, what Jared’s lawyer said is not true. None of it is true.” My dad states firmly. “I really am terribly sorry about what your family has gone through, and I’m even more sorry that he’s passed away. I really did care for the man a lot. He was like a brother to me.”
My dad seems genuine, so I can’t help but give a small smile at the fact that my dad is an honest, and good man. I knew Jared’s lawyer was lying. Anything to keep Jared from going to jail where he so rightfully belonged. Now I’m just mad that he actually got away with it, and was able to walk away.
Angie takes in a deep breath, and lets it out slowly. “Thank you Mr. Bishop. That really means a lot to me.”
“You’re welcome. Now, can you please stop ignoring my little girl over there? She needs her best friend.” My dad states while bringing his gaze to me.
I look down at my feet for a second, before looking back up just as Angie looks over at me.
She gives me a sad smile, and I nod forgivingly.
“Alright, you kids go on and get home. Addie, I’ll meet you there.” My dad says while walking over to give me a hug. I hug him back, and follow Angie out of Officer Bernard’s office.
“I’m going to go to the bathroom really quick, meet you guys outside.” Shane says and both Angie and I nod at him.
| Shane’s POV |
“I’m going to go to the bathroom really quick, meet you guys outside.”
Both Addie and Angie nod at me, so I walk over to the bathroom. Once I handle my business, I begin to walk back towards the front of the police station. As I pass by Officer Bernard’s office again, I can’t help myself. I stop and try to listen in on their conversation.
“That was a close fucking call man.” Officer Bernard says with a sigh.
“Don’t worry about the kids B, I’ll take care of them from here on out.” Mr. Bishop says. “After this, they won’t go snooping anymore.”
“I hope you’re right about that. My reputation is already on thin ice over the trial, I can’t have those group of kids confirming what everyone is already talking about. I could lose my job. I have a wife and kid to think about.”
I can tell that Officer Bernard sounds a little stressed about the situation. I can’t believe what I’m hearing. Did Mr. Bishop really lie to Angelica’s face? To all of us?
“Will you stop worrying? You already gave your statement to the press about the documents in the trial and how they were falsified. Once things cool down, nobody will even remember anything about this. Your job is safe.” Mr. Bishop tries to reassure.
“Alright, well it’s getting late. I have to get home.”
Once I hear Officer Bernard say that, I immediately walk away from the door and outside to meet Addie and Angie.
“All set?” Addie asks.
I nod and we begin walking home.
Once we near my street first, I kiss Addie goodbye and tell her that I’ll call her later.
I can’t even think straight right now. All I can think about is the fact that Mr. Bishop lied, which means everything that Jared’s lawyer said is true. Mr. Bishop did the unthinkable. My stomach churns at my next thought.
Mr. Bishop killed Angelica’s father.
| Addilyn’s POV |
As Angie and I walk towards my house, I finally work up the courage to speak.
“I’m not really sure where we go from here.” I admit. Angie looks over at me, and I can’t quite read her expression.
“Neither do I.”
“You said a lot of hurtful things at the courthouse. Things I never would have imagined you saying.” I frown while looking down at my feet as we continue to walk.
“I had my reasons at the time. You can’t expect me to hear that kind of bombshell and not react to it. What if our positions were reversed and someone said that my father intentionally hurt yours? You wouldn’t just let that go.” She tries to defend her actions.
“You’re wrong Angie. You are my best friend. I would believe you over anyone else. Especially the lawyers of the guy who hurt you and everyone you care about.” My voice comes out a little harsher than I wanted, and I notice Angie’s expression drop.
“I reacted with my father in mind, not you or anyone else. I reacted for him. I will not apologize for that. Sure, maybe I said some things that I could’ve kept to myself, but it all came out in the heat of the moment. I’m sorry that I expressed those feelings in front of everyone. That, I am sorry for.” Angie finally says after a few seconds of silence.
“I guess I can understand that. I just wish all of this hadn’t of happened in the first place. I keep going back to the night of the party. If I just wouldn’t have ran upstairs or if I would have just stayed home... everything would be completely normal right now.” I sigh in frustration.
“Trust me Addie, we’ve never been normal.” Angie smirks and I can’t help but laugh at her reply.
“I guess not.”
We reach my house and I turn to Angie on the sidewalk.
“Are we okay now? I hate being on the opposite ends of the spectrum.” I sadly smile.
“Yes, we’re okay.” She says and actually walks up to hug me. I hug her back and it feels genuine.
“Does this mean you’ll quit Rebecca’s awful cheer leading team?” I ask with a sheepish smile just as we pull apart.
“No.” She replies rather bluntly. “I actually enjoy it. The workouts are insane and I like being a part of a team. I’m sorry if you don’t like it, but this is for me.”
“Okay... that’s fine.” I say with a nod.
“Don’t worry, I’ll keep Rebecca in line.” She suddenly smirks. I give her a smile back and we wave before she starts walking toward her house.
Once I walk inside, I greet Jacob who’s playing with some toys in the living room, then I walk into the kitchen where I find my mom.
“Dad make it back yet?” I ask.
“No, he should still be at the office. I’m sure he’ll be home anytime now.” My mom smiles while pulling some baked chicken out of the oven.
The office? Does mom not know that dad was at the police station with Officer Bernard? Why would dad lie about meeting with him?
Something doesn’t feel right at all, so I quickly go upstairs and call Shane.
“Addie, what’s up?” Shane greets after he answers the phone.
“Did you happen to hear anything more before you walked out of the police station?” I ask in a rush.
“Why? Did something happen?” Shane asks and I can tell his voice falters a bit.
“Just answer my question, please.” I urge.
“Well, I may have overheard something. I just really don’t know how to go about explaining it. I really don’t want to cause a drift in your family or relationship with Angie.” Shane admits with a sigh.
This confirms it. Shane knows something and if he’s scared to tell me, it must be something big.
“We need to talk about this, want to meet up?” I ask.
“Um, sure. Where?”
“The park. After dinner. I may have to sneak by my parents, so you might get there before me. Just wait for me please.” I beg.
“Okay Add, I will.” Shane agrees and I finally let out the breath I’d been holding.
I’m finally going to get some real answers, even if the answers aren’t something I want to hear.
| Jonathan’s POV |
“Will you stop worrying? You already gave your statement to the press about the documents in the trial and how they were falsified. Once things cool down, nobody will even remember anything about this. Your job is safe.” I try to reassure.
“Alright, well it’s getting late. I have to get home.” Bernard says while closing his bag.
“We can talk more about this later, I’ll see you around.” I nod while heading for the door to Bernard’s office.
“Oh and Jon?”
“Yes?” I turn to face him.
“The less you say to your family, the better. If this gets out and I go down, rest assured I will take you with me.” Bernard threats and I purse my lips as I simply nod.
After leaving the station, I get into my car and head in the direction of home.
These past five years haven’t been easy, and due to recent events, I can’t believe that everything is coming to the light again. I assumed for sure that once Mr. Sage’s trial was over, none of this would ever be mentioned again. I suppose I assumed wrong.
As I pass by shop after shop, I finally see the town’s bar coming up ahead on the right. My fingers twitch over the blinker and I have to remind myself that going into that bar, will only lead to disaster.
I can’t do it. I won’t do it.
Before I can say those two phrases again, I find myself already turning on the blinker and getting into my right hand lane. Once I pull into the bar parking lot, I park my car and stare up at the sign.
I’ve spent numerous nights at this bar, only to be thrown out by police when I would refuse to leave.
Most of those nights are a blur, but the ones I do remember always send a chill down my spine.
I promised Linds that I would never step foot back into a bar after the last time when I threw a beer bottle at Al’s head and sent him straight to the ER.
I look around at the fairly empty parking lot and sigh. I lean forward and rest my head on my hands over the steering wheel.
You can’t do this. Think about everything you’ve worked for. All of those sobriety chips. Linds was so proud she kept them all in a small bowl on your dresser.
Suddenly, my brain becomes a mess of thoughts about William and I try my best to suppress them. My mind goes from the day we both stood on that machine, to the moment he fell off, to the moment he landed on the concrete below, to the ambulance rushing to get to us to attend to William.
I just can’t make it stop. The thoughts, the images, the way William looked when they strapped him to that gurney. The way his eyes were open, but he wasn’t looking at anything.
Before I know it, I’m out of my car and walking directly into Al’s.
My subconscious is telling me to turn around and go home to my wife and kids, but the bigger part of my brain is telling me the only way to cope, is to drink the liquid courage.
As soon as I open the doors to Al’s, my nostrils fill with the sweet smell of booze. It’s like being a kid and not being able to eat any candy but one time a week, and when that time has finally come, you almost burst at the seams while you splurge and eat way too much.
My hands are shaking and before I realize what a horrible mistake I’m making, I’ve already taken a seat at one of the stools directly in front of Al himself.
His eyes are wide, almost as if he’s seen a ghost.
“Jon? What in God’s name are you doing here?” Al asks while taking in my distressed expression.
“The usual Al, and keep them coming.”