I don't own Close to Home. This is a pretty shot attempt at this show's story.
Haley Chase sighed as the bartender passed her a full glass. She was about to take a sip when a hand reached over her and pulled it out of her reach, taking it for his own.
"Hey James," she heaved. He drank a few gulps and set it down. She always called her step-father by his name, even though she couldn't remember the man who had been her dad. She'd been told that he was a good man, and she believed her mother, unwilling to let anyone take his place, though it seemed it had always been empty.
"What are you doing here Hales?"
She had to be honest with him. He had known her so long that, even now that she was a law enforcement officer and trained in hiding information when necessary, he could read her like a book.
"This case…the witness…it wasn't suicide. I told her that, if she agreed to testify for you, I'd protect her. And I tried! I had to go, for two minutes, but I left my best officers in charge! They didn't see anything. And now she's dead…"
His eyes seemed to peer into her brain, seeing everything she was thinking.
"I remembered how good I used to feel after a drink or two," she continued. "And I couldn't remember why I ever quit."
Her companion knew that flat-out listing what had once been Haley's reasons for quitting wouldn't help, so instead he talked to her about her mom.
"You know, your mom smoked to relief stress. And on particularly difficult cases, she forgot why she quit too. You know why she quit?"
She shook her head and he went on.
"Because she was pregnant with you. And she didn't start again because she didn't want you to be exposed to that. She quit to take care of you. Pay her the same courtesy, all right?"
Haley eyed her mom's husband, confused about his meaning. "Okay, her quitting I get. I was a kid; I needed her to take care of me. What does that have to do with me now? She doesn't need me to take care of her."
"No," James admitted. "But think about it this way: you're her daughter. She needs you to take care of yourself."
He left then, faking confidence that she would think about what he had said and leave without purchasing another drink.
When he arrived at his home, he showed a different emotion: worry. His wife saw him and was immediately concerned.
"James?" She approached him as he sank into their armchair. "What's wrong?"
"I ran into Haley at that hotel we're investigating." She had gotten off early that day for parent/teacher conferences at the school her youngest child attended. Annabeth nodded, but her eyes said she needed more information. "She was at the bar."
"Oh, no," Annabeth said, looking like she would cry. She sat on the couch opposite her husband and shook her head. "What happened?"
"I—nothin', I think. She bought a drink, but didn't have any of it. I talked to her, and then I left."
Annabeth shook her head again. "I don't want her going back to that. Last time, her job was at stake, she didn't get enough sleep, she was always miserable…"
James nodded, agreeing. "I know. Tore you up, too."
Her eyes looked glossy. "And I don't know where she gets it, either. I mean, don't they say that there's a higher chance of alcoholism if Jack or I were? But we weren't, so—"
"Don't worry." James got up and stood behind her, rubbing her arms comfortingly. "Maybe it's a recessive gene or something. Or, maybe it as nothing to do with her genetics. Ever think about that?"
"Maybe," she conceded, and then she stood. "I'm just gonna run by her apartment. See if she's okay…"
Ten minutes later, Haley opened the door to see her mother standing there, the same look on her face that she used on survivors when being sympathetic.
"He told you, didn't he?" Haley accused. Her mother nodded, and she was let in.
She sighed. "I'm fine, mom. Just…stressed."
Her mother nodded. "I understand. It's just that I don't want you going back to that. It was hard on all of us."
"Mom," Haley reasoned. She loved her mother, but how paranoid she had become about this subject was getting a little old. "It's not like that, okay? I just needed a little pick-me-up—"
"That's how it starts, Hales." She had to make sure her daughter knew this. "One drink, and then it's two, and before you know it you've lost everything you worked so hard for."
Haley took a deep breath. "I'm not gonna drink again, Mom," she assured. "Same reason you stopped smoking. I figure you took care of me then, now it's my turn."
Annabeth stepped forward and wrapped her daughter in a hug. "I'm proud of you honey."
Haley squeezed her mom back, holding back tears that would drip onto her mom's shoulder with their height being the same.
The road out of her alcoholism had been difficult for the 26-year-old and her family, but they had gotten through it, and now she was three years sober.
And, for hers and her mom's sake, she intended to stay that way.