by Denise


Don’t own the characters, don’t own the storyline, don’t own the TV show, etc.—all I can lay claim to are the thoughts in my head, which I present to you here…


For about the fifth time since she went to bed, she was compelled to get up once again.  Her tormented mind would not let her sleep, and it was fruitless to toss and turn among the crumpled sheets.  She had not believed it until she read the letter written in that handwriting she would know anywhere, as well as she knew her own.  Hell, she didn’t even have to look at the handwriting—just seeing the return address at the top left of the envelope, that of the house she shared with her husband, and also apparently that of the location from which he continued his assignation upon his return from Korea.  She was so sick from thinking of it, his betrayal of her, compounded by the child created by their act (because she could not think of it as their love—she would scream if she thought that and if she started she didn’t know if she would ever be able to stop).  She wiped her hands against her nightgown, as if by that act she could rid her fingers of the feel of that letter, that evidence of his infidelity.


She got to her feet and pulled on her robe, and just as quickly removed it.  She paced frantically around the room, chewing on a knuckle, shaking her head back and forth as if by that act she could negate the past that had all too rudely kicked her in the teeth.  All her frantic physical activity did nothing to rid her mind of the torment of the past few days, ever since she was given the information to which she was so blissfully blind for decades.


The pain of the betrayal physically ached—her stomach was in knots and her head throbbed.  She had trusted him, even during those awful months when he was stationed in Korea, half a world away from her.  She knew it was tough for him, but dammit, it was tough for her, too.  She remembered all too well those lonely nights when her arms ached to hold her husband instead of a pillow, to feel his warm skin against her own and she felt somehow bonded across the miles to her husband, whom she believed to be equally lonely.  It cut like a knife to contemplate that the bond she had felt was a chimera.  She told Clint a bald faced lie when she said she understood.  No, she didn’t understand and she never would understand.  Again, she took a pillow into her arms to find some comfort, but this time wound up twisting it in her hands.


She threw herself angrily in a chair, not knowing what part of this whole farce was hardest to take: her husband’s betrayal of her trust and their marriage vows; the fact that it was thrown in her face by the “other woman”; the reality that her husband, in death, was beyond her ability to find out the truth from his own lips; or the living result of their union—the child now a man, a man who, in the ultimate irony of all, needed her help.  Well, she did so, because the man was, by all evidence, her husband’s son—as a living piece, a legacy, of her husband, how could she in good conscience refuse to help him?  But in helping him to fight the murder charge brought against him, she brought herself no closer to a resolution of her own quandary, to a cessation of the emotional pain wrenching her heart.


Yes, the child, now a man with the characteristics she would have been proud to see in a son of her own, had her own union with her husband been blessed in that way.  No wonder, she thought bitterly, he insisted that it would be of no use for them to go to a doctor to find out the reason why they could not have children—because he apparently had the evidence that he was fertile, shackled in wedlock to a barren woman.  Yes, that was the bitterest pill of all, and she couldn’t even punish this young man because he was the only truly innocent party in this whole mess.  In acknowledging that, she had to reflect on her own part in all this, what she had done to drive her husband into someone else’s arms.  What had she done to fail him and their marriage?


And the patronizing, pitying reactions she got from those in whom she confided.  Clint must know more than he was telling her, and her attorney was equally useless—just pat her on the head and send her on her way to produce the only children she could produce, her books.


Well, tomorrow she would be leaving this God forsaken city, never to see her husband’s son and his lover ever again.  Maybe a return to the home she shared with her husband would heal her heart, and help her find a way to accept this and forgive.  The last thing she wanted to do was to meet that woman again.


In disgust, she returned to her lonely bed, made even more lonely by the ghosts of the past and the present that would not let her alone to finally rest.  A lone tear slid down her cheek as she said to the ghosts, the four walls and the empty space around her, “Oh, Frank, why wasn’t my love enough for you?”


Author’s note: As you’ve no doubt surmised, this is a look into Jessica’s most private thoughts during the night before her meeting with Nancy at the park in the “Thursday’s Child” episode.  Though she didn’t show it, I always thought she was a lot more heartsick than she let on, and just compartmentalized it for the most part so that she could bring the murder mystery to a successful conclusion