The next morning had come all too soon after the late night not to mention Jessica was still on pacific coast time. Although Jane insisted they let their guest sleep in, Summer was anxious to see her aunt. It was just too cute the way she would lie on the wooden floor trying to peek under the door looking for Jessica. Finally, after hearing the babblings of the anxious little one, Jessica finally climbed out of bed, just as eager to see her as well.
Summer squealed in delighted excitement as the door swung open with a flourish before she turned and started to run. It was so refreshing to be here, to play with Summer and to have her family around. Jessica swooped in and picked up the running little girl as she swung her around and around, screams of laughter echoing throughout the house. With Summer planted on her hip, she walked into the kitchen where Jane was busy fixing breakfast and Jackson was standing alongside her playfully trying to distract his wife.
Jessica cleared her throat, not wanting to be caught watching the pair who where so much in love. “Good morning,” she said with a smile as Jane quickly returned her focus on cooking and Jackson had the signs of defeat.
“Good morning,” Jane announced rather brightly with a hint of embarrassment.
“Morning, sis,” Jackson replied in more of a saddened way.
“I hope we didn’t wake you with all of our noise,” Jane smiled over as she brought a stack of pancakes over to the table.
“Oh no, I was up already. These look delicious,” Jessica stated as her stomach yearned for a bite. With everything going on lately her appetite had been scarce. The smell of the warm pancakes made Jessica’s stomach growl in protest at the lack of attention she has paid to her diet.
“Good, eat up because I made plenty,” Jane smiled over as she took the seat next to her husband after putting Summer in her highchair. Breakfast was enjoyable not only from the good food but the company as well. It felt good to joke and laugh as her family kept her mind occupied.
When Will showed up later that afternoon the men suggested the ladies go into town and shop for baby items. Jane rarely had the time to prepare for the new baby with her busy schedule. Caring for Summer who wasn’t even a year old yet plus her recovering husband made leaving the house difficult. On the days when Jane visited her doctor she always rushed back home worried that she would be needed even though Jackson had hired a housekeeper to tend to the daily activities. Shopping for baby items excited the ladies and they agreed to the jaunt.
In the city Jessica and Jane gushed over the cute baby items they found. They decided to stop off for lunch at one of Jane’s favorite delicatessens when they ran into her friend Charlie.
“Charlie!” Jane exclaimed as soon as they made eye contact. Charlie smiled as he walked over to give Jane a hug. “How have you been? It’s been so long.”
“Hiya Jane,” Charlie cheerfully replied. It had been a long time since he seen his good friend and former love interest. After Jane and Jackson had married Charlie stepped back knowing it was the right thing to do but hating every minute of it. He still didn’t care for Jackson but it had been Jane’s decision. “It has been long. Look at you, you’re glowing. Pregnancy really does suit you.”
“Thanks. You remember Jackson’s sister, Jessica,” Jane announced as she turned to include her sister-in-law in their conversation.
“Sure. Hi, good to see you again,” Charlie said always the friendly type.
“Hey Charlie, it’s good to see you too,” Jessica replied.
“Please, have a seat with me. I was just having a snack before rehearsal. So how is Summer doing?” Charlie asked Jane as they all sat down at the booth he had been seated at when they walked in. Jane spoke with pride of her daughter as the three sat eating their sandwiches. Charlie seemed enthused about hearing all Jane was sharing with him but it was apparent that he was still suffering heartbreak as the sadness was barely hidden in his eyes. Jessica wondered if that look would ever fade knowing it had been months for Charlie and just mere days for herself. She didn’t want to be the sad, unfortunate lonely woman barely able to push herself through the day to day motions of her life. At least for Charlie trying to get over Jane should have been less difficult. It’s not as though they had ever really been a couple let alone married as she was with Jason.
Jessica joined in the conversation when something was directed to her. Other than that her mind drifted over her dilemma and wondered if she would be able to fully overcome this. It was such a depressing moment in her life when just a week ago her life had been happy and full of promise. She felt the depression slowing bringing her down into a dark and meaningless hole of pain and despair. When Jane announced they should be heading back home it was what she had been silently praying for.
The drive back to Westchester had been quiet and long…very long. Jackson had told Jane everything that was going on with Jessica and Jason so she knew her sister-in-law needed some quiet time to reflect what should happen next. It was easy to see just by glancing at Jessica that she was lost in deep thought, her brows drawn into a furrow as she tried to understand her complicated life. She would be leaving tomorrow morning back to California and the thought was not appealing. Being here helped clear her mind…well being around Summer helped clear her mind. The thought of Summer sparked a bit of happiness in her heart. Smiling as she thought of the little girl’s infectious laughter and her bubbly personality Jessica’s mood had brightened up. Looking over at Jane as they drove in silence it occurred to her that with the right people around she would make it through this difficult time in her life.
“Jane, I wanted to thank you for today and to apologize for just dropping in on you guys like I did,” Jessica said as she smiled over at her sister-in-law.
“You know you are always welcome to drop in anytime and stay as long as you want. We have plenty of room and we’re family,” Jane smiled back. Family…Jessica knew Jane had no other family and she embraced her new family with love and open arms from the moment Jackson introduced them. There had been trust and comfort from the very beginning for them so Jessica knew she could talk to Jane, girl to girl, without judgment.
“Did Jackson mention anything to you about Jason?”
Jane looked over at Jessica with sadness without pity. “Yes,” she answered solemnly.
“Being here with you guys has really helped me keep it together.”
“Well, like I said before, you can stay as long as you want. We love having you here. And Summer, she adores you.” They both giggled at that.
“I’m going back tomorrow, just for awhile but I will be back before the baby is born. I don’t want to go back and face everything. I know the news is starting to get around by now. I just dread seeing people look at me and feel sorry for me then turn around and talk behind my back. And I don’t know how I’m going to handle seeing Jason at court or anywhere else for that matter. I feel sad and depressed one moment then the next second I will feel angry to the point I want to physically hurt him. I thought…well, I just thought we were happy. I’m trying to understand why he did this but I just can’t,” Jessica said in a rush as all the thoughts she had been keeping inside found their voice and tumbled out.
“I don’t know why people seem to hurt one another. Jason seemed like he was really devoted to you when you guys were last here,” Jane acknowledged. Jane had met Jason right after the shooting. He was very attentive to Jessica then. It was as it should be. He was there for her, a shoulder to cry on, he was the perfect fiancé. So what changed?
“I know and that’s what gets me the most. I mean how could a person be so caring one moment then completely do a turn around and hit you when you least expect it?” It was mind boggling to think of. Jessica would never bring this up to Jane, but secretly she wondered how she dealt with Jackson’s indiscretion while they were engaged. She loved her brother more than anything but at times he could be just as idiotic as the rest of them. Sure it had turned out to be a misunderstanding as Jackson called it…but the fact of the matter is Jane still had to endure the pain it caused. Jane was ready to leave Jackson after that and had planned to move on with her life, pregnant and all. Luckily things worked out for them in the end. There was no future for her relationship with Jason however but she could be strong as Jane had been and move on. “I know I have to move on and it’s not that I’m scared to move forward without Jason in my life,” she announced as the thought crossed her mind, “It’s just that it’s…”
“Hard. I know. You are smart and independent and you can come out on top of this situation. And you don’t have to go through this alone. You have your family and we will stand by you through anything. Jason will realize what he lost because he will never find another woman like you.” Jane was a positive beacon on the other side of dark and murky waters. Her words of encouragement were uplifting. Hearing this from another woman made it seem possible…achievable. She smiled for the first time feeling like there was hope again. Maybe she didn’t have to sink any lower while trying to trudge through this mess. It was going to be an uphill battle but Jane was right. She was strong enough to do this. And if she stumbled along the way her family would be there to catch her.
“Thank you, Jane. I know it’s still in the early stages but for the first time I feel optimistic that things will be alright,” Jessica breathed with a sigh of relief.
“Of course it will be.”
For the time being, Jessica welcomed the distraction and her evening was filled with laughter and playful chatter with her brother and his family.