Chapter 11 - Mommy Dearest
Chapter 11 - Mommy Dearest
Harris House Exterior
Saturday, March 6, 1999, Evening
Jack's been sitting in his rental car for twenty minutes, looking at his sister’s house across the street. There's a car in the driveway and lights are shining in several rooms. ‘Now or never’ Jack thinks to himself as he gets out of the vehicle and heads to the house. He walks up to the front door and knocks. After a few moments, he hears a scraping noise before seeing an eye nervously peaking out at him.
“Jessica, it’s me, Jack. Let me in.”
The door closes, then is opened wider allowing Jack entrance. He glances at the door and sees there’s a dining room chair near the door. Jessica casts a quick glance behind her, then leads him into the living room, which is in the same state of disarray as two days ago. Jack rights an armchair and sits down.
“Are you okay?” he asks.
“Me? I’m fine.”
“You’re sure you weren’t hurt?”
“No. I’m fine.”
“Did the police hold you for questioning?”
“Questioning? The police don’t suspect me of anything unless...have you heard they suspect me of something?”
“No. I haven’t spoken to the police since I gave my statement,” Jack says with a clearly puzzled look on his face.
“Oh, then what are you doing here, Jack?” Jessica quietly asks.
“You know that’s funny ‘cause I was gonna ask you the same thing.”
“What are you talking about? I live here.”
“Right, with a sack of shit and someone else. Now who could that be? Oh, that’s right: Xander, your son. Where is he, by the way? Do you know?” Jack asks, each word becoming more aggressive.
“What are you getting at, Jack?”
“Where’s Xander, Jessica?!”
“He’s fine. He’s safe.” Jack stares at her. “He’s fine,” she whispers.
“He’s not fine, Jessica. He was hurt badly. It’s going to take him weeks, maybe months to recover. That’s not fine.” After a long stretch of silence, Jack looks around the room again and continues “What the hell happened?”
“You were there.”
“I’m not just talking about Friday. You can’t tell me that just came out of nowhere with no warning signs. I KNOW Tony’s hit him before. What I don’t know – what I can’t for the life of me figure out – is why you didn’t stop him.”
“If you’re trying to imply that I’m not a good mother, you can just leave,” Jessica responds quite agitated. Jack makes no move to go. “You don’t understand.”
“And I never will until you explain it to me. Talk to me, Jess” Jack pleads.
“She’s got nothing to say.”
Jack stands and spins around in one swift motion. Standing in the doorway leading to the kitchen is Tony Harris looking relaxed and holding a beer. “What the hell are you doing here? Aren’t you supposed to be in jail?” Jack is trying every technique he knows to keep himself from giving into the blind rage welling up within him.
“It’s called bail, Jack. Think a smart guy like you would know that,” Tony taunts.
“Still doesn’t explain what you’re doing here.”
“This is my home. Why would I go anyplace else?”
Jack turns unbelieving eyes to Jessica. “You let him back in? Xander’s in the hospital and you let the man who put him there back into your home.”
Jessica looks at Jack with pleading eyes, silently begging him to understand but Jack can’t and he doesn’t want to. He stalks to the door and turns back to Tony. Speaking softly, with no trace of emotion in his voice, Jack says “You come near him again and I’ll kill you. No matter what the consequences, I will kill you.” Jack opens the door and calmly walks out of the house, closing the door behind him with a soft click.
“Asshole,” Tony says before heading for the bedroom.
Jessica looks between the bedroom and the front door, then sits down slowly on the couch and cries quietly. After a few minutes she gets up, goes to the undamaged liquor cabinet and pours herself a generous amount of whiskey. Tilting her head back, she downs the drink in one swallow. She closes her eyes, takes a deep breath, then pours another drink.
Sunnydale General Hospital
Sunday, March 7, 1999, Afternoon
“Hi baby,” Jessica says from the door to Xander’s room.
“Mom,” Xander says as he turns in her direction.
“I expected to see you surrounded by all those girls you always have hanging on you. My boy’s quite the ladies man, eh?” she smiles.
“They’re friends,” Xander says neutrally.
Looking sad, she looks down for a moment. When she looks back up, she says “I would have been here sooner but...there was something I had to do.”
“Sure, I understand.”
“You don’t look so bad. I was expecting worse.”
“Were you? Sorry to disappoint,” Xander says with some bitterness.
“Xander! You’re my son. The last thing I want is to see you hurt.”
“Guess that’s why you stayed away, huh? No wait, you had something more important to do. Well, I appreciate you taking time out of your busy schedule, but I’ve got things to do too. I should be home in about a week. I’ll see you then.” Xander turns away from his mother and looks out the window.
Jessica doesn’t leave or come any closer. She just stands in the doorway looking at her son, who’s refusing to look at her. “I’ve been thinking about when you get out of here. I think maybe it would be best if you and your father took a little break from each other.” Xander turns back toward him mother.
“He’s out, isn’t he? Man, that didn’t last long.” Xander takes a closer look at his mom, who isn’t looking him in the eye. His face clouds in anger then he lets loose a small disgusted sigh. “I’ll have someone get my stuff.”
“It isn’t that I don’t want you there,” Jessica is quick to reassure him. “I just think this is the best for everyone right now. In a couple of weeks, everything will be back to normal and you can come home then,” she says hopefully.
“I don’t think so. Don’t worry about me – not that you would. I’ve got plenty of people who will make sure I’ve got a place to crash. You’re right though, we all need a break from each other. I know I do. You can leave now.”
Jessica nods, then turns and leaves.
Sunday, March 7, 1999, Afternoon
“Well, isn’t that interesting. One of the slayer’s little friends is hurt. How…distracting and fortuitous for us,” Mayor Richard Wilkins, III says with a bright, cheerful smile.
“Yeah, figured you’d want to know. They’re all so worried about Xander they haven’t so much as mentioned you lately. Looks like you’ve got no worries come the big day.”
“What do you think? Should we send him flowers or a fruit basket?” he asks the girl sitting across from him.
“Well, he’s just given you an open field. I say send both,” Faith responds with a smirk.
“That’s my girl. Always thinking of others.”