Chapter 34 | Crossroads
| Jonathan’s POV |
I look down at my phone and decline the hundredth call from Lindsey. I go to push my phone back into my pants pocket, but as I try to do so, my phone falls to the wooden floor below and I hear a crack.
I sigh as I stand up, and stumble to bend over and retrieve it. My mind is a fogged blur, and I have a hard time seeing in front of me.
It took me twenty minutes to argue Al into giving me some alcohol. He threatened to call Lindsey himself to come and get me, but I held some dirt over him that I found out back when I used to come here.
Let’s just say, his marriage would be over if I were to spill my knowledge.
After I finally retrieve my phone from the floor, I shrug while looking at the cracked screen, and finally shove it into my pocket. The fall made the phone turn off, and I didn’t bother turning it back on.
I barely manage to sit back down on the stool, and when I do, I turn and call for Al.
“Al, buddy, why is my glass empty?” I ask a little too loudly.
I see him roll his eyes before turning to face me. “Because you literally just finished it two seconds ago.”
“Well, you’re the bartender right? I said to keep them coming-“, a loud burp interrupts me, “Didn’t I?”
A manly looking woman, who sits four stools down from me, wrinkles her nose in disgust at my belch.
I raise an eyebrow at her, and smirk. “Oh please, you look like you could put my burps to shame.” I laugh, which makes her glare at me. She gets up, throws a twenty on the bar, and walks out.
Al turns to me again, “Jon, you’re driving all my customer’s away. I think it’s time you went home now. Your wife is probably worried sick.” Al tries to convince me to leave, but I’m not finished drinking yet.
“Don’t tell me about my wife, when you can’t even stay faithful to yours.” I smirk, and burp once again.
Al glares at me, and finally he grabs the bottle of whiskey and pours me another shot.
“This is your last one. I don’t care who you call, but you need to leave after this one.” Al states firmly. I decide I shouldn’t fight him on it anymore. It’s almost midnight and I’m sure Lindsey is beyond livid.
I take the final shot, since I have no clue how many I’ve taken tonight, and down it in one solid swig. The booze doesn’t burn my throat anymore, it goes down just like water and I smile as I swallow the last drop.
“Thanks Al, it’s been a pleasure.” I stumble while my feet tries to find the floor.
Once I’m standing straight, I reach into my pocket and pull out my car keys.
“No way, Jon. You are not driving, give me your keys.” Al holds his hand out, urging me to listen.
“Al, I’m a grown man. I can drive myself home.” I scoff, heading towards the door.
Al is immediately sprinting from around the counter and once he reaches me at the door, he yanks the keys from my hands. I could’ve put up more of a fight, but I’m doing good just standing.
“Fuck you, Al.” I slur, pushing the doors to the bar open.
Al only shrugs. “Come tell me how you really feel in the morning, when you come to pick up your car.”
I send him a much deserved glare, before walking out of the bar and letting the doors close.
I look around, and try to decide which way leads to home.
I finally pick the street that looks most familiar, and begin walking. I know it’s probably going to take me almost an hour to get home, in the current state I’m in, but I’m honestly too drunk to care.
| Addilyn’s POV |
I begin to worry when dad never comes home for dinner. It’s not like him to stay out this late and not call. I can also tell my mom is worried too. The last time he came home this late, he was drunk out of his mind.
I tell myself that there is no way he could be out drinking again.
After dinner, I help mom with Jacob and once he is in bed, my mom says she is going to lay down as well. She looks exhausted and worried, and she probably won’t even fall asleep until after dad does come home.
I know it’s going to be hard to sneak out, but I still need to find out what Shane knows. If the information he has can help shed some light on the situation, then I need to hear it.
Once my mom goes into her room and shuts her door, I carefully tiptoe out of my room and down the hall. I lean my head against her door, and listens as she leaves dad another angry voicemail.
“I swear to God Jon, if you don’t walk through that front door in ten minutes, I’m going to make your life a living hell!” She hisses into the phone, trying to remain quiet.
I wince at her tone, and continue walking down the hall and down the stairs. Once I make it down, I grab my house key and slowly open the front door. Surprisingly, the door doesn’t make much sound, so I open it up just enough to get my body through and I shut it back very quietly. After I’m outside, I lock the front door and then start walking towards the park.
After ten minutes, I make it. I see Shane sitting at one of the picnic tables, so I decide to play a little prank on him. I walk up behind him, as quiet as I can be, and right before I lift my arms to reach out and touch him he actually makes me jump instead.
Startled, I bring my hand to my chest as Shane laughs and stands up to turn and face me.
“How did you-“, I begin, but Shane cuts me off.
“I saw your shadow.” He smirks while pulling me in for a hug.
I wrap my arms around his waist and sigh in content. Just being in his arms, makes me feel so safe.
“So, Shane, what did you hear at the police station?” I decide to get right down to the point. I can’t be out here for long, knowing my dad isn’t home. It’ll be hard to sneak back in, with both my parents awake.
I sit down at the picnic table, across from Shane. He gives me a look, and I know bad news is about to be shared.
“Well, I um... I sort of heard your dad and Officer Bernard talking right before I walked out.” He begins.
I give him a nod. “And?”
“Well, from what I heard, it seems as though...” Shane starts to say, before looking away from me.
“Come on Shane, just say it.” I urge as the nerves in my stomach begin to make me nauseous.
“I heard your dad tell Officer Bernard that he was going to take care of us kids, and that he would make sure we wouldn’t go snooping anymore. I also heard Officer Bernard say that his career is on the line if the truth ever comes out. From the sound of it... we were right all along.” Shane finally says, and then looks up into my wide eyes.
My hands begin shaking as I start to absorb all of the information. My dad lied to us. He lied right to Angie’s face.
My eyes widen even bigger.
As soon as she finds out my dad lied, that’s it for our relationship.
“Addie?” Shane reaches out to touch my hand.
I blink a couple times, before clearing my throat.
“Shane, listen to me. You cannot tell anyone what you heard, not before I have a chance to talk to my dad.” I state firmly.
“But Addie, we need to-“, I instantly cut him off.
“No Shane! This is a very tricky situation. I need to make sure I have the entire, and complete truth before I go causing a storm within my own family. Do you realize what this could do to us? What it could do to everyone?” I shake my head. “No, I need to talk to my dad first before we say anything to anyone.”
Shane gives me a look that says he doesn’t agree with me, but he nods anyway.
“No, I need you to promise me that you won’t say anything to anyone.” I look at Shane directly in his eyes, and the look on my face tells him I’m not messing around.
“I promise Add, I won’t tell anyone.”
I give him a nod before standing up.
“Leaving already?” Shane stands up as well and rounds the picnic table to stand in front of me.
“I need to get home, my mom is still awake.” I say as Shane gives me a weird look.
“My dad. He hasn’t come home yet.” I admit.
“Addie...” Shane begins, but I point my finger at him.
“No Shane, you promised. Not one word.”
“Not one word.” He repeats, and I lean up to give him a kiss. The kiss deepens almost immediately, and for a split second, I think of nothing but Shane’s lips. His lips always seem to make everything else disappear.
Once we pull apart, I give him a short hug before pulling away.
“Come on, I’ll walk with you.” Shane says, and we both head towards my street.
Right before Shane and I turn onto my street, we notice a strange man stumbling down the road, heading our way. I can’t see his face from this far away, but he definitely looks drunk.
Shane notices him too, and secures his arm firmly around my waist. I lean into him, feeling safe in his arms.
The drunk man must notice us, because he begins shouting.
“And just what do you think you’re doing?” The man slurs, except, It wasn’t just any strange man.
I know that voice anywhere.
I immediately stop walking and turn around just as the man finally starts to catch up to us.
“Add, what are you doing? Don’t engage with him, he’s a drunk stranger.” Shane says, trying to pull me with him.
“No Shane... it’s not.” I frown.
“What do you mean?”
“It’s my dad.” I say in almost a whisper.
Shane’s body tenses beside me, and he manages to pull me even closer to his side.
As my dad gets closer, I notice his suit and shoes.
Once he’s in earshot, I speak up.
“Dad? What the hell?”
As soon as he makes it in front of us, I immediately smell the booze radiating off him. I scrunch my nose in disgust, and almost want to cry right here.
“Addie? Why are you out here so late? You mother is probably worried.” My dad slurs, reaching out to grab me by my arm.
“Ow, dad, you’re hurting me!” I yelp, trying to pull out of his hard grasp.
“You’re in big trouble young lady!” My dad growls while pulling me away from Shane.
Shane immediately becomes defensive as he tries to step in between my dad and me.
“Mr. Bishop, you’ve had too much to drink. Let go of her, and I’ll help you inside.” Shane says while grabbing my father’s arm.
“Don’t you dare tell me what I’m going to do! Why are you here anyway? Leave my daughter alone, she’s too young for a boyfriend!” My dad pushes Shane hard, and Shane stumbles but is able to keep from falling.
“Dad!” I scream. “Stop!”
“No Addilyn! Wait until your mother hears about this! We’re going inside, now!” His loud and authoritative voice scares me, so I give Shane a nod that says I’ll be okay, and then I allow my dad to pull me towards our house.
“Call me Addie.” Shane says loud enough for me to hear.
My dad suddenly stops and turns to face Shane.
“She won’t be calling you any time soon, you punk.”
“Dad, shut up!” I yell, yanking him by his arm.
My dad turns to face me. “What did you just say to me?” He slurs his words, and stumbles, but I keep him from falling.
“I said shut up, leave Shane alone. Let’s go inside!” I roll my eyes, and before I can say another word, my dad slaps me across the face.
My head snaps to the left with force, and I immediately drop my dad’s arm to place my hand over my stinging cheek. My eyes immediately weld up with tears just as Shane runs over and shoves my father from in front of me.
My dad is so drunk he instantly drops to the grass.
“God, Addie... Are you okay?” Shane gently cups my cheek with his hand, and I slightly lean into him as tears fall from my eyes.
“I-I’ll be fine.” I manage to say.
No more than a minute later, the lights to my porch snap on, and the front door is yanked open.
“What’s going on out here?” My mom snaps, but instantly brings her hands to her mouth in shock.
“Addie? Shane?” She looks at Shane as I continue to cry.
My mom finally brings her gaze to my dad’s limp body on the front lawn. Her eyes widen as she rushes over to him.
“Jon? Are you alright? Jon, wake up!” She yells, slapping him in the face to try to get him to wake up.
I notice how her face scrunches up at the smell of my dad, and I see the look of pure disappointment on her face.
She stands up and looks over to me, finally able to see my hand as it clutches my now red cheek.
“Oh Addie... did he?” My mom begins as her eyes glisten with tears.
I give her a nod and she immediately rushes over to pull me into her arms as she begins to rock me slowly, as if I’m a small baby again in her arms.
“God I just don’t understand... he’s been sober for three years. Why would he do this?” My mom cries against my shoulders.
My heart aches, because I know exactly why he would get drunk so suddenly. He knows that we know the truth behind Angie’s dad and the incident that happened five years ago. He knows that soon, the truth will come out, and he doesn’t know how to face it.
I want to tell her the entire truth right here on our front lawn, but I know I still need to talk to my dad once he sobers up. I need to get the direct truth from him, before I throw him under the bus.
I’m finally at the hardest crossroads I’ve ever had to endure.
Do I keep my father’s secret, once I find out the truth? Or, do I put my entire family through the ringer, by allowing his secret to finally surface?
One thing I know for sure is that life will never be the same after this.