The Blowback Chapter 35
Janet put the last of the morning dishes in the dishwasher. Nothing to do at home, she decided it was a nice enough day for a walk. Maybe it would help organize her thoughts and show her the best way to getting Eddie to open up about his childhood. Distracted, she didn't notice that Hannah was walking up her walkway until she was already on the front steps. Mixed feeling rushed to the surface. She felt initial pleasure, and then it was coated with a heavy dose of disappointment and even some anger. Even though she had rushed to Hannah's aide with the Big Cat situation, Janet was still angry with her friend. Mustering up as much a smile as she could, she opened the door.
"Hannah? What a surprise!?"
Hannah knew Janet's fake smile, having been best friends with her for well over ten years, she knew all of her faces. Slightly discouraged, she pressed on as anyway.
"We used to be best friends, and there used to be a time where me coming over on your day off wasn't such a surprise. I miss you Janet and I'm sorry. Can I come in so we can talk?" Hannah stood there looking so hopeful, Janet just didn't have it in her to be mean. Stepping aside, Hannah entered Janet's home for the first time since their Sunday brunch with the girls.
Nick was laughing all the way up the stairs in the administration building. Emily was recounting some funny story about moving her stuff from her Chicago apartment and putting it in storage. When they reached the door to the Dean's office, he quickly sobered.
Touching his cheek, Emily calmed his nerves. "This is good news Nick. The Commander is going to be so happy. Besides, me coming home will make them even happier. Don't be nervous big brother." Blowing out a breath, he rapped lightly before turning the knob.
"Hey son, we were just starting to wond…EMILY!" The Commander took two long strides to his step-daughter and gathered her into a big bear hug. Immediately pried apart, Leslie has dragging her into another hug before Emily could get a word out.
"Guys, it's so great to see you. Mommy, I'm home… I'm, I'm going to stay. Give this thing with me and Steve a try…" Tears spilling from both women, the Commander looked over to Nick to give him a knowing wink. That is when he noticed the uncomfortable look on his face.
"Nicky, if you're about to tell me you're leaving…"
"Leaving? No Dad, it's nothing like that." Settling them all down, Nick started telling them the news.
Phil walked aimlessly for blocks thinking about the earth shattering news Penny had just given him. He couldn't wrap his mind around it. Sure he knew it was his, he had no doubts about her fidelity, and he was old enough to understand there were no guarantees when it came to birth control. What he couldn't seem to understand is what divine power would think there was any way shape or form he was ready for a baby. He just started leaving the house, for goodness sake. Spotting a city bench, he plopped himself down, trying hard to figure out just what the hell they were going to do.
Meanwhile, Penny waited and waited for Phil to come back. After twenty painful minutes it became apparent to her that he wasn't. Heartbroken and alone, she collected her things and left.
"That's a wrap Ikey. I'm gonna run home and clean up before we go over to Nicky's." Eddie was also hoping he might be able to coax Janet into a quickie before they left the house. Already turned on at the very idea of it, he made quick work of packing up his tools.
Ikey was doing some final sweeping of the area's debris when he paused and looked at Eddie. "You think Nicky would be okay with Darce coming too? I mean it's not like she's my fiancé or wife or anything, but…."
"Ikey, I'm sure Nick won't mind, he said bring the girls, and last time I checked, Darcey was one of them."
"Yeah, true dat, okay, I'll see you over there. Hey Eddie, thanks again for this… the job… it's been…"
Eddie cut him off before it got sloppy. "Don't mention it Ikey. That's what friends are for. Besides, you're a natural at this kinda stuff. See you later buddy." With a final slap on the back, Eddie headed towards his truck.
Will pulled to a stop in front of Sully's. He was so tempted to go inside and see if he could catch a glimpse of the woman who broke his baby brother's heart. Shaking his head to clear his thoughts he kicked his bike into gear and rode on to 32 Gelsen. It had been a long time since he had come home to the Ridge and even though it held some bittersweet memories, it still felt like home.
Taking the front steps two at a time, he rapped quickly on the door and waited. At the very least he knew Phyz would be home to let him in. Getting impatient, he knocked again, this time a little more aggressively. When after a few minutes, no one answered he started to worry. Phil was a shut in who also was known to be a light sleeper. Even if he was napping, he would have awoken by now. Will decided that something must be wrong. He walked around the house, peering through windows and trying to see if any of them were unlocked. Having found success with the side den window, he pushed it open and then tried to pull himself up over the window sill. Ass in the air and torso halfway in the house he heard the distinctive cock of a gun.
"Alright buddy, just come out nice and slow with your hands where I can see them. Nice and slow…"
Easing himself out the window with his hands braced on the side of the sill, he turns slowly to explain himself. Before he could get a word out, Steve immediately recognizes him.
"Son of a bitch! William Latekka!!!! Why the hell didn't you say something" Steve immediately holsters his weapon and strides over to Will. The two guys embrace and start laughing.
"Sorry Stevie, I was worried about Phyz, I banged on the door a few minutes and there was no answer, and you know he's always home. Come on, give me a boost back up so I can get in there and make sure he's okay."
Already shaking his head and laughing Steve explains that Physical Phil is a shut-in no more.
"You're kidding?? Well that's damn good news. Best I've heard in a while. I guess I've been out of touch too long. Hey, have you seen Eddie? I just got back in the country two days ago and was trying to catch up with him. I'm worried about him, you know since he broke up with this girlfriend of his. He hasn't been spending any time in the holding cells has he?"
The look on Steve's face immediately changed to one of concern. "Janet and Eddie have a fight or something? I haven't seen them for a couple days, but I haven't heard anything."
"Them? As in, together? Did they get back together? Last letter I read he said she stepped out on him…"
"That's ancient history man, they're back together stronger than ever…" Steve hesitated, wondering if it was his place to tell Will the good news. Deciding it wasn't, he continued. "Uh, you haven't talked to him yet?"
"No, I was going to surprise him, why? What else don't I know?"
"I'll leave that to him to tell you… It's damn good to see you back here man. Look it's almost seven. Everyone is meeting over at the Commander's place in half an hour. Nick has some news. You'll find Eddie, Janet and the whole crew there. I was heading there myself before I got this disturbance call. It's my dinner break. Come on; let's go so you can see your baby brother."
"It was like I could see myself and all the mistakes I was making, all the lies I was telling to myself but I couldn't stop. I was so afraid Janet. Until Ray literally had his hands around my neck, I just couldn't bring myself to leave. I never thought I could become so lost again and yet there I was. All I could think was how stupid and blind I had been. I mean, I know Ray and I know hearing about me and Nick at the wedding was probably his breaking point, and a small part of me understands that. But all the stuff before, what he did directly and indirectly to Eddie; there was just no excuse that I stayed; no excuse at all. I'm so sorry Janet I hope that after all of this we can rebuild on what we had."
"I don't know Hannah, I mean, I love you, you're like family, but going back just seems impossible." She waited a beat and then continued, "Maybe… maybe we can start anew. You know, work our way back to being friends again, real friends. But before we can do that, you have someone else to talk to and apologize to…"
"I know. I was hoping we could talk tonight, after Nick shares our news with you guys."
"Wait, your news? Hannah, are you…?"
"What? No! Nothing like that, although I wouldn't mind it with Nick… he's going to let you all know that Sam is his son. I finally told him the truth." Wincing, she searched Janet's face for anger, "I guess I'm finally telling you too."
"Hannah, just about everyone knew that Nick had to be Sam's dad, but I'm glad you finally had the courage to say so. Don't worry about how I feel. How did Nick take it?"
"He loves me Janet. I never thought… I mean, he wasn't even angry, just sad that we let it get this far, and go this long. He was sad that he never came back. And Sam, well, he's over the moon. His joy is beyond description. I feel horrible for keeping them apart for so long."
"Don't take the full blame, Nick did leave, so I think we can chalk it all up to being young and afraid and be thankful that we are all adults now that face our problems head on instead of running from them."
Hearing Eddie's truck pull into the driveway, Janet gave Hannah an encouraging smile. "Looks like you'll have some time before we head over to the Commander's place. Eddie just pulled up."
Sam rode his bike over to the Commander's house; his grandfather. The Commander, probably the coolest old guy he knew, was his grandfather. He wondered if it would seem too silly to call him granddad, or maybe gramps. Pop-pop was one of the names he knew could be used. Sam was so deep in thought he rode right past the house. Turning around he rode his bike right up to the front of the place. Jumping off his bike and taking a deep breath, he lugged his bike up the three steps to drag it onto the lawn. Letting it fall, he gave into himself and ran to the front door, anxious to see his new grandfather and grandmother. Before he could knock, the door was flung open and a pair of arms the size of tree trunks grabbed him into a huge bear hug.
"There's my boy!" The Commander grabbed Sam and hugged him for dear life. Just when you thought you couldn't get any more blessings in one lifetime, you got more. Tears flowed from his eyes as he just held this little boy knowing he was a part of him.
"Grandpa! You're squishing me!" But despite Sam's protests, his arms came as far as they could around the Commander and squeezed right back. That's how Leslie found them when she walked in from the kitchen wanting Robert to test the pasta sauce she was making. Quietly she backed away and let the two have their moment.
After a little searching, Phil found Penny in her dorm room. They never spent any time there since his place was obviously bigger and considerably more private. He stood in the doorway undetected, looking at her from behind. She was sitting cross-legged on her bed staring out the window. She was so beautiful, loving, caring and she was carrying his baby. The news of it all finally took root in his heart and settled right in the center.
They could do this. Of this he was sure. They would have some money problems in the beginning, but once he was done with his degree, and she hers, it would be fine. Clearing his throat to get her attention, she turned around and looked at him.
Tears; streaking down her face like some kind of a waterfall. He was unprepared for it. Phil had been so wrapped up in his fears that he hadn't stopped to think how Penny would feel about him leaving so suddenly.
"What do you want?"
"What do I… Penny, I'm sorry I left earlier, I just…" Phil paused, panic and perspiration started to coat his forehead. "I just… it was big news and I just didn't know how to handle it. I'm sorry sweetheart."
Unfolding herself from her position on the bed, she stood up and strode over to him. "You know what Phil? I really don't feel like talking to you right now. I know we are going to have to figure this out eventually, but at this moment, I don't wanna see your face."
"Penny, look, I'm sorry. If you think I'm mad at you about the…"
"I DON'T CARE WHAT YOU THINK! All you ever think about is yourself. All WE ever think about is you. All we ever focus on is YOU. For almost a year now, we have been dealing with your problems. I'm constantly treading on thin ice trying to deal with your crazy ass. Pause Press… Klauss… friggin' nudity! Ugh!!! The one time… THE ONE TIME I needed YOU?! Well, let's just say it's an understatement that you let me down. Get out, GET THE HELL OUT right now, before I say something I'm not gonna be able to take back."
In shock Phil backed away. He had never heard Penny raise her voice in anger, ever. Her words cut him deeply and he was feeling too defenseless to fight back, much less fight for her. For the second time that day, Phyiscal Phil Farmer walked away from Penny.