We meet Jesse's mom, Emily, back from when Jesse was just a kid. Hope you enjoy it.
Disclaimer. This is not edited yet
FEARLESS - JESSE BOOK 2
Prologue – The Fourth of July 1996
I pulled back, wrinkled my nose in distaste and took a breath. “Shut up, Frank. You’re embarrassing yourself.”
I had been casually chatting with a male guest at my best friend, Lisa’s, Fourth of July party. Two hours into the event, my stupid ass of a husband trashed my conversation, drunk and made a fool out of himself. Again. This was the very reason why we rarely got out and socialized.
My new acquaintance I had been chatting with, paused in mid-sentence and threw his hands in the air, still clasping to his drink. I gave him an apologetic look. He shook his head as he started towards the people milling around the pool bar, women in bathing suits covered with sassy-sarongs tied around their hips, men gesticulating with drinks in hand and kids, cannon balling into the water.
Lisa and her husband owned a beautiful Tudor style house on expansive grounds, with lavishly landscaped gardens and a pool, in the affluent area of Thunder Ridge in upstate New York.
The outdoor bar on the pool deck was stocked with every alcoholic beverage imaginable and Frank had already sampled too many. No surprise to me. He’d made a beeline for the bar as soon as we had arrived; smirking when he discovered it was stocked with Heineken instead of his usual cheap brand. Didn’t matter the brand, beer would always wake up the green-eyed monster in him. Every time.
“I’m fucking leaving. I’ve had enough of this shit. You coming?” he said.
Sourness stung in the pit of stomach. “No, Frank. We just got here. We never go out anymore and I’d like to have a fun Fourth of July for once.”
“Suit yourself,” he snorted. “I’m fucking out of here. You and your boy toy over there will have a better time with me gone anyway.” He waved his beer can in the air and gave me a watery-eyed glare.
“Just go, Frank. I’m sick and tired of your bullshit drunken behavior every time we go out. But don’t drive. Call a cab.”
“I’ll drive if I want to.”
He swung around to leave and I grabbed hold of his arm. “Frank! Give me the keys.”
He wrenched free and shoved me hard. I teetered and reeled back, the solid wall of the house kept me from completely landing on my back. There were at least sixty potential witnesses at the party. But no one saw.
“Fuck off, bitch!” He tipped his head back to drain the last swallow of beer and stumbled into the house.
Frank was such a jerk every time we were out in public, especially if he imagined, in a fit of jealousy, that I flirted with other men. And honestly, he wasn’t exactly a prince at home either.
I pondered for a second to go after him, force him to hand over the car keys, but knew it would be hopeless and most likely I’d end up on the receiving end of a black eye. Maybe a patrol car would pull him over and arrest his sorry ass. That would teach him a lesson.
I would never call the cops on him though. We needed him, or rather, we needed his income to pay the bills. Things had been tough lately, not only with our marriage, but also financially. Three months ago I was laid off from my job as a secretary and Frank’s contractor job…well, let’s just say it didn’t bring in much. With two kids and Frank drinking up half his paycheck, there wasn’t much left over. We ate a lot of Hamburger Helper, minus the hamburger. If only drinking was a job, then we’d be millionaires.
I bolted into the house to the family room where I last had seen Jimmy and Jesse, our two boys. I prayed that Frank wasn’t serious about driving. I decided to give another shot at getting the car keys before he could hurt himself, or even worse, hurt someone else.
I rounded the corner that led into the kitchen and stopped up short right in Lisa’s face. “Hey Lisa, have you seen Frank?” I asked out of breath.
“Yeah, I think he just left with your boys.” She blinked, bewildered.
“He took Jimmy and Jesse? Why didn’t you stop him?” A hot bolt of fear tore through me like wildfire.
“Well, I’m sorry, Em. I was just about to come and find you… he seemed really upset--”
I flung open the front door and sprinted past several parked cars, down the long curving driveway. Thank god. Frank was still there fumbling with the key, unable to sink it into the ignition of our old beater car. Jimmy and Jesse were sitting in the backseat and Frank was up front in his reckless drunkenness, lolling from side to side searching for the keyhole. I jerked open the front driver’s door.
“What the hell are you doing? Are you out of your mind taking the kids with you when you’re stupid drunk like this?” I turned to the kids. “Jimmy - Jesse. Get out of the car. Now!” I yelled.
Jimmy opened the backseat door and pulled Jesse out with him. I shut it and guided the kids behind my back to safety, using my body as a shield, as I backed away from the car.
“You fucking cunt!” Frank screamed and slammed his door shut.
Once I got a couple yards away from the car, I turned around and hustled the kids inside the house. With my back against Lisa’s front door, I sucked in a deep breath of relief, and encircled both arms around my two little angels, tears stinging my eyes.
“Jesse, did you brush your teeth yet?” I called up as I ascended the stairs to put the kids to bed.
“Just two more minutes, mom. Can I stay up a little longer? Pleeease…”
Jesse‘s eyes adored me. I ran my hand over his hair, down the side of his sweet, innocent face, cupping his chin in my hand. “No baby. Even though it’s the Fourth of July, it’s time to get to bed. Go on. Get going.”
I bent down and gave him a kiss on the top of his head as he buried his pouting face in the soft cotton of my T-shirt. It would be only a matter of minutes before Jesse would be peering at dirt-bike magazines with a little clip-on light he had fashioned himself from various junk items he found at the basement workbench.
Jesse had been infatuated with dirt-bike magazines ever since last summer when his dad and his Uncle Kenny took the two boys to the Motocross races and Jesse immediately fell in love with anything that had to do with motorcycles. Of course, Kenny covered the cost of tickets and treats at the race, it was his idea to take them anyway. That darn Kenny.
I chuckled as I laid my hands on Jesse’s shoulders. I turned him around and marched him into the bathroom.
“Teeth, mister.” Handing him the toothbrush, I cracked a smile and dug my fingers into his sides.
“Stop mom!” Jesse wrenched and squealed. “Don’t tickle me…”
I let loose of him and caught the reflection of my face in the mirror. Brushing my hair aside, I dabbed a fingertip of extra makeup to hide the purple and red bruises on my forehead and rearranged my bangs to cover them. Jesse finished brushing his teeth just as the doorbell rang.
His little blue eyes lit up. “Maybe it’s daddy?”
I ushered my youngest into bed and trotted down the stairs. Knots formed in the pit of my stomach with each descending step.
I stood up on tiptoes and looked out the small glass window in the door. My peering gaze was met by the somber faces of two police officers standing on the front porch wearing dark blue uniforms. I flipped the deadbolt on the heavy wooden front door and opened it a crack.
“Yes…?” My voice was barely a whisper.
“Hello ma’am. Are you Emily Morrison?”
My lower lip quivered and I stepped back allowing the door to swing open wider. “That’s me. Something wrong officers?”
“Is your husband Frank Morrison, ma’am?”
“Yes…” I pulled at the fabric of my dark T-shirt with white knuckled hands, twisting it into nervous, angular pleats.
“I’m afraid we have some terrible news. Your husband was involved in an automobile accident this evening. His vehicle ran off the road, hit a tree straight on…he wasn’t wearing a seatbelt. His body was thrown out, head first, through the windshield. I’m afraid he died instantly. We’re so sorry, ma’am.”
That day, The Fourth of July 1996 was the day the earth stood still and fell out from under me.
Hope you enjoyed it. Fearless will be released August 28th.