DISCLAIMER: The name “Jericho” and all character names and trademarks associated with the television program are the intellectual property of Junction Entertainment, Fixed Mark Productions, CBS Paramount Television and/or CBS Studios, Inc.. The following story is a work of fan fiction intended solely for the entertainment of the writer and a very small circle of friends. No infringement of copyright is intended or should be implied. If anyone at CBS happens to read this, please permit me this (very) brief sojourn in your sandbox. Author: Clarke
PREFACE: At the end of episode nine, Jake tells Emily, “I saw Heather, she was pretty wasted.” This is an imaginary Jake speaking, of course, but what if that scene had actually happened? This doesn’t retcon neatly into any of my other stories, so here it is as a stand-alone, just one little scene in the history between Heather and Jake. As they say about television docudramas, this is based in part on actual events, where an inebriated lady friend of mine did indeed need to be cared for by me.
Jake Green knew what day it was, and he didn’t like it at all.
He’d seen the invitation hanging on his Mom’s refrigerator almost as soon as he’d returned home to Jericho. He hadn’t known it, but Heather had helped Emily with the invitations.
“A new day, a day of happy beginnings,” it read, “to which you are invited, as Emily Ann Sullivan and Roger Albright Herman pledge their love to each other in marriage, on Sunday, November fifth, at two o’clock…”
Jake thought that it had certainly been a new day, but not one of happy beginnings. Instead, it had been the beginning of the end. Maybe not the end of the world, but possibly the end of hers.
He found himself torn by his feelings for Emily -- they were certainly still there, as he had quickly learned on his first day back in town, seeing her in the street like that -- feelings of empathy, now, of pity, of sorrow…and…love?
Put away that last thought, Jake ordered himself. What he’d had with Emily was a long time ago, and seeing her again was like watching his past life and mistakes stretch out in front of him. He wasn’t that man, not any more. He wanted to forget that life. But Emily lingered.
Her mother and brother were gone. Her father was no one she cared to speak about -- he knew that all too well. Had Emily invited her father to the wedding? Given the relationship, or lack of one, between them, he decided the answer was no.
Jake wondered who would have given her away. I gave Emily away, in my own way, he thought. Gave it all away. My life that could have been.
He was worried about her, despite himself. “Mom,” he asked, “have you seen Emily today? You know what day it is?”
“Yes, I know,” Gail Green chimed from the kitchen. “Heather said she had made some plans. She was going to take Emily out to cheer her up.”
He didn’t know Heather’s plans, but he did know what kind of cheer Emily would probably prefer. He headed out the door, making a beeline for Bailey’s Tavern.
* * * * * * * * * *
Jake never made it to the watering hole. A few blocks before he got there, he saw Heather, in the middle of Main Street, decidedly wobbly. She ambled up to him.
“You,” she piped up, a bit too cheerily, pointing a finger into his chest. “Mister Hero. You should have been here to save the day again. I got Emily drunk, and it didn’t make her feel one little bit better.” She paused, swaying a little. “I didn’t do such a bad job on myself.”
“I think she went to church,” Heather slurred. “I’ve spent enough time in that church to last me the rest of my life.” She sort of waved her hand at him. “Didn’t want to go there. No way.”
Jake smiled. A tipsy Heather Lisinski. He never would have imagined it.
“Is she all right?”
“Aw, she’s fine,” said Heather with way too much enthusiasm. “I think she and the doctor, Doctor Do -- Doo-wah” -- she couldn’t quite come up with it -- “Doctor Doolittle, or whatever his name is, sort of hit it off. Doctor Ken,“ she decided. “Barbie and Ken. Perfect together.“
He shook his head. This was a side of her he had never seen.
“But enough about her,” she spouted. “I know it’s her wedding day, but I’ve never had one. Let’s talk about us.”
Jake almost choked on that.
Heather was hardly herself. She threw her arms around his neck, lopsidedly, and looked him right in the eyes.
“You know, when I kissed you, right there on the truck,” she burbled, “I wasn’t kidding.”
He didn’t doubt that, even given her present condition.
She leaned into him, the scotch still evident on her breath. “You are gorgeous,” she said, murkily, “and I am awesome. A great combination.”
Jake was intoxicated by her presence, but decided she’d be embarrassed about this later, hoping she wouldn’t remember -- at least not all of it. “Come on, let’s get you home.”
“Can’t go home,” Heather retorted, sounding a bit like her father. “Gone. Burned to the ground. I watched it.” She said it matter-of-factly, but Jake watched her mood begin to turn..
The thought disquieted her. “Burned to the ground,” she said again, more softly. Jake watched her face grow cold, and realized that she was thinking not only of her house, but of the whole world -- the world devastated by the bombs.
She leaned on him, finally starting to fade. Jake put an arm around her to prop her up. “You know where your home is now,” he said gently. She nodded at him.
They started walking toward the Green house, Jake thinking this was more awkward than the time he had almost walked her home, both of them injured and limping. Heather could barely walk then, and it was even worse now, but for an entirely different reason.
He kept his arm around her shoulder, and as they walked, one of her arms went firmly around him. Heather stumbled over herself several times, then looked up at him with a certain self-realization.
“I’m not going to make it,” she said quietly. “God…I think I…”
Immediately, Jake’s hands were underneath her to break her fall.
He took her up in his arms and carried her. The Green house was only half a block away now, and he’d carried heavier loads in Iraq than the hundred pounds or so that was Heather.
When he got home, his hands full, he kicked at the door. His Mom looked at them for a moment. “Oh my God, Jake. Is she all right? What happened?”
“She’s drunk,” said Jake. “Guess she and Emily had a bit too much. I think she’ll be fine.”
He brought her inside, feeling a strange sensation in carrying her over the threshold. “Move those pillows off the couch,” he asked his mother, looking at where he had slept the night before.
He sat Heather down on the couch. She came to, for a moment, and suddenly put her hand over her mouth, but it wasn’t because of the things she’d said to him.
“I’m going to be sick,” she managed, weakly.
“Come on,” said Jake, and quickly led her to the downstairs bathroom, closing the door. He heard her begin to heave, and he ran upstairs, dampening a soft cloth with cold water, then coming back down to rearrange the pillows on the couch for her.
Five minutes later, Heather wandered back into the living room, her face pale, but more sober than she’d been for the past several hours.
“I think I’d better lie down,” she faltered.
“You’ll never make it upstairs,” Jake told her. He patted the couch. “Here.”
She did as he said, and he tucked the pillows under her head and pulled the covers over her, rather tenderly, or so Gail thought as she watched him. He began to dab at Heather’s face with the damp cloth, first her forehead, then her eyes, her cheeks, her lips.
“God, that feels so good,” she murmured.
Jake smiled. He had hoped it would.
Heather took his hand, the one that wasn’t tending to her, holding it gently.
“You care. No one else has ever cared,” she admitted to him, softly. “Why do you care?”
“Because I do,” he whispered, continuing to dab at her face.
Heather kept holding his hand. She smiled.
“Thank you for caring,” she said, deciding it sounded a little too much like a Hallmark card. She tried again. “Thank you for taking care of me.”
Jake smiled back at her.
“Always, Heather,” he told her, reassuringly, still cooling her down with the moist towel.
She held on to his hand until she slipped into sleep, blissfully, under his watchful eyes, feeling as safe as she had ever felt in her life, knowing she was loved.
Jake hoped she didn’t feel too badly in the morning.
Labels: jericho fan fiction