Mike was hoping beyond all hope that Jake hadn’t screwed himself again as he put the phone to his ear, listening to it ring.
“Hey Dad, What’s up?” he heard his son say, slurring his words.
“Jake where are you? Have you been drinking?”
“I’m out with some friends, Dad, and we are having some fun! Something I haven’t been able to do, saddled with a kid,” He slurred.
Mike took a sharp breath in hearing his words, “Where are you Jake, I’m coming to get you!”
“I’m at ‘Roadies’ with some real fun people,” he said.
Mike could hear the female voices giggling through the phone and prayed that Jake hadn’t fucked this up again, “I will be there in 20 minutes Jake!” and he hung up.
Thankful he had already changed clothes; Mike tied up his shoes, grabbed his keys and jumped in his car. He sped down the highway to Roadies Bar and Grill and pulled in luckily finding a spot up by the door. He went in and saw a group of people in the back laughing loudly and knew that his son was there. He stomped over and saw Jake surrounded by people he didn’t know, empty classes and two women flanking each side of him. Mike was almost sick at the familiarity of this situation having witnessed this once before with his son.
“Hey Dad! Want a drink?” Jake asked sloppily.
“Jake, let’s go. NOW.” Mike insisted.
“I don’t really want to. I want to stay and hang with my friends,” Jake sat back and put his arms around the two equally drunk women next to him.
Mike watched as the two women snuggled closer to him and he felt the bile rise in his throat, “Ok everyone. The tab is closed. No more free drinks!”
The table cleared out pretty quickly except for the women. The waitress came over and Mike gave her his credit card to close out the tab and he sat at the table in front of them. Jake leaned over and kissed the neck of the blonde and then repeated with the brunette on the other side. Mike just sat stoically waiting for his credit card to return. He thanked God silently when the receipt finally arrived and he could sign it. Now he just had to get rid of the sluts at the table.
“Ladies, why don’t you head off to the restroom so we can get out of here, ok?” Mike said.
They stupidly believed it and as soon as they were around the corner, Mike got up and dragged Jake out of his seat, “Let’s go Jacob!”
“But Dad-“ He started.
Mike cut him off, “I don’t want to hear it! Now let’s go!”
Jake had too many drinks to put up much of a fight and Mike threw him in the passenger side of the car, buckled him in and drove off, fuming.
“What the fuck Jake?! Why did I get a call from Sammy wondering where you were at? I thought you were going to talk to her?!”
“Why do you care? I mean it’s not your relationship!”
“No, it’s not. But I love the two females that this impacts the most! And I actually will be the one that has to pick up the pieces when you leave again!!”
“Well aren’t you the fucking saint!”
“Jake, let’s stop fighting. Tell me what happened when you talked with Sammy,” Mike started trying to control his temper.
“We didn’t talk. She fell asleep before we could!”
“So you were pissed and got shit faced because you didn’t get your way?” Mike asked, trying to wrap his head around what he was hearing.
“My feelings were totally ignored!”
Mike was stunned listening to his son talking like a petulant 12 year old. God he sincerely hoped it was the alcohol talking.
“Let’s just get you home and in bed. We can talk about this tomorrow,” Mike said, suddenly feeling very tired.
Jake mumbled to himself and laid his head on the head rest as they drove. He was half asleep and very quiet for the rest of the ride. It was almost 11:00 when Mike pulled in and pulled Jake out of the car, half dragging him through the front door that Sammy had opened. Mike couldn’t help but notice the look of anguish on her face as they came in and Mike dropped him on the couch.
Jake opened his eyes and saw where he was and groaned, “Why did you bring me here?”
Sammy felt tears prick her eyes as she heard the malice in his voice and whispered, “Because this is your home…”
Mike was royally pissed, “Just shut your drunken ass up and go to sleep. We will talk in the morning!”
He threw the blanket over the man sprawled on the couch and turned to Sammy and motioned for her to follow him to the back porch. She numbly followed him.
“Where was he?”
“I called and he was drinking at Roadies. He was the life of the party since he was paying…”
Sammy could tell that he was holding back on telling her the details of the situation. She wasn’t going to hold back and wanted the truth from him.
“Women?” She asked.
Mike didn’t answer right away and didn’t want to hurt her again, “Well…”
“Don’t bullshit me Mike! I deserve the truth! I deserve to know what he did, I need to know if I need to protect my daughter Mike!!” She spewed at him.
“I know Sammy…Yes there were women there...”
“He sleep with anyone?”
“I don’t think so…But it probably would have led there if I didn’t show up…I’m sorry Sammy…”
Sammy nodded and wiped a tear that had escaped, pissing her off even more, “Thanks for bringing him back.”
“Where is Gracie?”
“At Kate and Joe’s.”
“Good. I don’t want her to see him like this. I want answers and I am spending the night if that’s ok with you,” Mike said.
Sammy nodded and went back in. Mike knew where the guestroom was and went up and pulled his shirt and shorts off and threw them in the chair that was in the corner of the room and lay in the bed in his boxers. He was so disappointed in the night’s events and his son. He just had no idea what the next day would bring.
Sammy watched him walk up the stairs and then turned the lights off and walked up too, not taking a second look at the man she loved on the couch. She went into her room, closing the door behind her. She pulled on one of his t-shirts that she would wear to bed and laid in the middle of the bed, trying desperately to not think and fall asleep. That didn’t happen and she was awake the whole night.
Sammy was up the next morning at six and made coffee. Mike came down half an hour later and sat on the patio with her, silent after they picked his SUV up from the bar parking lot. They heard him stirring around in the living room and went in to sit on the soft leather chairs opposite the couch.
Jake opened his eyes, blinking several times before he squinted at the two people in the room, “Can you close the curtains, and it’s bright in here.”
Neither person moved from their position to help him. Jake sat up and sighed, letting the blanket fall to the ground.
“So now you are teaming up on me? Is that it?” he asked scornfully.
“Teaming up on you? What the hell are you talking about Jake?” Mike asked, confused.
“You both are sitting here glaring at me like I ran over the fucking dog!” He yelled, wincing at the high volume of his own voice.
“No one is teaming up on you Jake. I would just like to know what happened yesterday…” Sammy asked quietly.
“Why now? You didn’t have time for me Wednesday!”
“Jake, I was at the hospital most of the day. I was exhausted. I’m sorry that I fell asleep. I asked you if you wanted to talk yesterday and you said no and then shut me out,” Sammy replied.
“Yeah because your brother was more important than I was!”
“Jake do you hear yourself? You are pissed off because her brother had a baby and she was tired because of the excitement of the day? Really?” Mike asked incredulously.
“I poured by heart out to you and Abby, telling you how I was feeling and the woman that supposedly loves me, couldn’t give me ten minutes!!”
“Jake I apologized! I couldn’t help it!! What more do you want from me?” Sammy asked.
“To be put first!!” He yelled.
Sammy sat there watching him as he got up and started pacing the floor. She looked at Mike and he was just as shocked by his words.
“What do you mean be put first?” Sammy asked, feeling her blood pressure start to rise.
“I mean that I would for once like you to take my feelings into consideration! I want you to spoil me for once!! I want to be your first priority!!”
“Wow…Do you have any idea how much of a spoiled asshole you sound like right now? Like a goddamn celebrity diva!! What the hell happened to you these last few years?!” Mike demanded.
“I am not! I just expect to be treated a certain way! I work hard for my money and expect to be treated like the MVP that I am!!”
Sammy’s temper got the best of her and she exploded, “Get the FUCK out!! I didn’t ask you to come back!! I didn’t ask for you to spend money on me or Gracie! I didn’t ask for ANY of this!! Gracie and I were doing fine all by ourselves and don’t need you! You don’t deserve to have her in your life! Now get the fuck out of my house until you pull your head out of your ass!”
“Fine!! I’m leaving!” Jake yelled back and stormed upstairs and came back a few short minutes later with two gym bags full of clothes. He grabbed his sunglasses and wallet from the coffee table and saw his car keys next to them.
“Where are you going Jake?” Mike asked.
“It’s really none of your business, but I’m getting the first flight home! I don’t need this shit in my life!! I have it fucking good in Texas!”
“What about your daughter? Are you going to say goodbye to her?” Mike asked.
“Why, you will make it my fault anyway! This way you can guide the narrative from the beginning!” He said pointedly at Sammy.
“I never once bad mouthed you Jake. Ever. But you don’t deserve to have her in your life. I’ll pick up the pieces from you walking out again. I did it once before, I can do it again,” Sammy said with a hitch in her voice.
“Good. I’m gone.” And he walked out the front door, got in his car and peeled out of the driveway.
Mike’s mouth fell open and he turned slowly to Sammy in shock. He saw her standing there with tears falling down her face. Mike went to her and pulled her in his arms. As soon as she felt his warmth she started sobbing. Mike guided her to the couch and they sat there sharing in the grief. He had left again and they still weren’t sure how it happened.
Sammy sat back and wiped her face, “What did he talk to you and Abby about? I am so lost right now Mike!”
Mike sat back on the couch, “He felt so guilty about not being there when Gracie was born. He was dwelling on the past and we told him that it could ruin your relationship if he continued thinking that way. Abby was amazing with him and I thought we changed his mind. He was going to talk to you about forgiving him and about his feelings.”
“But I wasn’t holding anything against him! I told him that before!” Sammy cried.
“I know Sweetie, I know. I don’t know what happened. I am lost…”
They sat a few more minutes before Mike wanted to get home to shower and change and talk to Abby, “What about Gracie? Do you want me to take her home so you can have some time?”
“No, it’s fine. I am used to being the only parent. I will deal with it like I always do…Mike I am worried about how she is going to take this…She adores Jake…”
“I know Sammy…I know…We will get her through this…I promise!” He said kissing her forehead.
Sammy nodded and watched him walk out to his car and drive away. She never saw him cry the entire way home as his heart was shattered a second time by his only child. She walked upstairs and fell on the bed and closed her eyes, falling asleep instantly, exhausted.