When It Really Matters
Written by Miranda
Written after Intervention, Season 3, Ep. 20
It was nearly eleven o'clock the next morning when Bailey woke. He was
vaguely surprised to find himself in his apartment. He was lying, fully
clothed, shoes and all, in bed. Bailey couldn't remember when exactly he had
gotten home last night. Or, more precisely, this morning. But judging by
the intensity of the headache he had, Bailey guessed that it had been a
pretty good party.
Bailey laid in bed for a few moments, not caring that he was missing y yet
another history class. Right now, he was too hung-over to consider moving.
Briefly, Bailey wondered where Callie was. But thinking about Callie made
him remember their argument, and that argument only reminded him of his
What Bailey couldn't figure out was their silence these past couple of days.
Shouldn't they have checked up on him by now? Shouldn't they still be
nagging him with all their nosy questions? Bailey thought of Claudia's
speech right before his escape. Could it be that they were really following
through on her ultimatum? A sense of fear knotted Bailey's all-ready uneasy
stomach. They couldn't really walk out of his life forever. Could they?
'Forget it,' Bailey told himself. 'Why do you care? You're better off
Groaning, he rolled out of bed and stumbled to the
refrigerator. He knew how to remedy this hang-over-and how to forget these
unwanted thoughts. Bailey opened the fridge door, reached for a beer can-and
stopped. There was nothing. At least nothing with alcohol. Which pretty
much qualified as nothing in Bailey's way of thinking. The refrigerator held
orange juice, milk and Diet Coke, but no beer whatsoever. Bailey slammed the
fridge door and opened the liquor cabinet. He was only slightly surprised to
find it empty,
Bailey reached for his coat and keys. No problem. He had a friend in a frat
house that would be sympathetic. There was always a good beer supply there.
Checking his wallet for cash and his fake ID, Bailey left the apartment.
'Thursday, May 7th, 1975: It's 3am now, and Nick still isn't home. I can't
say that I'm surprised, but I had so hoped that everything would magically
change tonight. Nick promised me-he gave me his word-that this would never
happen again. Not after last time. But the night drags on, still Nick's not
home. I suppose I should call Joe to go get him.
I know what this means; it's happened too many times. I'll have to drive
Nick to work tomorrow and then take Charlie to school. Charlie will ask
questions: 'Why isn't Daddy driving?' And I'll make something up, like I
always do: 'Daddy doesn't feel well this morning, so Mommy's driving.'
Charlie will sit in back with Nick, and they'll sing songs and laugh, and
Charlie will never know that his daddy was out drinking all night long. I'll
sit up in front, getting angrier each time Nick laughs.
But I can never tell Nick about my anger. I can never share my fears about
his problem-his disease. He gets upset at me for making a big deal out of
it, and then there are arguments, and shouting, and tears...
Thank goodness for Avery. Without him, I would certainly go insane. He's
become not only my instrumental partner, but also my confidant. I live for
our practice sessions, when I can either vent my frustrations to Avery, or
simply get lost in the music. But there hasn't even been time for that
lately, since I have to constantly drive Nick to and from the restaurant.
Why do I put up with this? Wouldn't it be easier to just get away?
Sometimes I wonder why I don't just pack up Charlie and myself and leave this
Claudia sighed as she finished yet another entry in her mother's journal.
Each entry left her with a sick feeling as more pieces came together. But
Claudia still wanted to know more. She wanted nothing left out.
Claudia wondered why Julia had never seen this before. After all, she had
found these journals right after the accident. Maybe Julia had just skimmed
parts, or maybe never finished them, or maybe just ignored them all together.
Something in Claudia still longed for more. She wanted to know the whole
truth. Claudia ran her eyes over the page, hoping for something else. Then
her eyes caught on a name. Avery. Who would know more about her mother than
he? Claudia knew that she'd be making a visit to her mother's former partner
very, very soon.
Charlie loosened his tie as he signed the time sheet.
"I'm gone, you guys!" he called into the kitchen. He received a lot of half
-hearted waves and mumbled good-byes as the busy staff prepared for the next
Charlie left the restaurant through the back exit and crossed the parking lot
to his truck. He unlocked the doors and started the truck. Leaving the
parking lot, Charlie directed his truck towards Bailey's apartment.
'I'm not going to see him. I'm just going to pick up a sandwich at that
great deli over there. And maybe I'll just check if Bailey's Jeep is there."
But even as Charlie thought this, he found himself parking across the street
from Bailey's apartment. Charlie was not too surprised to find that Bailey's
Jeep wasn't there.
'I'll just stay for a little while longer. Just to see if he shows up. I'll
just sit here a few more minutes.'
Then Charlie turned off his truck's engine and settled in for a long watch.
Julia was trying to convince herself of the same thing as she drove towards
Bailey's apartment. She wasn't breaking "the promise" exactly. She was in
the neighborhood, so she thought that she'd just drive by. Heart pounding,
Julia held her breath as she turned onto Bailey's street. She squinted as
she approached, hoping to catch a glimpse of her brother's Jeep. No such
luck. As Julia got closer, she knew that Bailey was definitely not there.
But then Julia noticed another familiar vehicle across the street.
"What is Charlie doing here?" Julia said aloud. Her temper flared as she
thought of Charlie's repeated warnings against any contact with Bailey. To
think that Charlie himself was breaking the promise! Then Julia calmed down
as she realized what she herself was doing. Each of them was dealing with
Bailey's problem in his or her own way. Julia decided to cut her brother a
break and quickly drove away before Charlie noticed her.
Late that night, Claudia dialed Avery's number yet again. The phone rang and
rang, and finally, the answering machine clicked on. Claudia hung up, not
wanting to leave a message about this delicate issue.
The door clicked and swung open. Claudia quickly hid the journal she held as
"Hi, Char. Have you been at the restaurant?"
Charlie hesitated before he answered. "Um, yeah. I was at the
restaurant." He quickly changed the subject. "It's pretty late, Claud. You
have school tomorrow. You should get in bed."
Claudia nodded. "I know. I was just kind of...waiting."
Charlie's eyes reflected his understanding. "It's okay, Claud. Do you
want to sleep with me tonight? In case of any dreams?" he asked gently.
"Actually, Charlie," Claudia began tentatively, unsure of how her brother
would react to her plan, "I thought I'd sleep in the living room tonight. I
want to be near the phone, you know, just in case."
Charlie sighed inwardly. "Claudia..."
"He might call tonight, Charlie. Maybe tonight Bailey will decide that
we were right. It could happen. Please, Charlie." Claudia's brown eyes
filled with tears as she pleaded with her brother.
Charlie gave in, not wanting to decrease his sister's hopes. "Okay,
Claud. Let me know first if he calls."
Claudia nodded and smiled before she went to the living room.
Charlie watched her sadly. He was in deep thought when the phone rang.
Shaking his head to clear it, Charlie answered the phone. Maybe Claudia
wouldn't have to sleep on the couch tonight after all.
"Hello?" Charlie said hopefully.
But it wasn't Bailey's voice that came over the line. It was Grace's.
"Hey, Charlie. How is everything?"
Grace's voice was concerned. "How are you, Charlie? Really?"
Charlie couldn't resist a snide comment. "Why do you care, Grace? You
Grace protested immediately. "I didn't leave, Charlie. Not for good."
"Yeah, Grace, but you're not here when it matters. You couldn't handle
it when things got hard."
"I just think that this is a family matter. It's not any of my business."
"Maybe it isn't any of your business, Grace. Maybe you're right to
remain objective to the situation. But you're not right to remain objective
to me. All I'm seeing here, Grace, is that you don't care about me enough to
stick by me when times are rough."
There was a long silence. "That's not fair, Charlie."
"I don't have time for fairness. And to put it bluntly, I don't need
another thing to worry about. So I need to know, Grace. Are you going to
stand by me? Because if you're not, then we need to end this right now."
Grace's voice was very determined. "Charlie, we came into this
relationship very slowly. We were friends first, and I like to think that we
still are." She paused. "I will stick by you, Charlie. Whatever it takes,
I'll be there."
Charlie was relieved to the point where emotion almost overcame him.
"Thanks, Grace," was all he could manage to say.
"No problem," Grace answered. "But Charlie?"
"If you expect me to break out in a chorus of 'Stand By Your Man', then
you're out of luck."
Charlie only laughed.
Julia knocked on Sarah's bedroom door before letting herself in. She
peered inside cautiously.
Sarah was sitting on her bed in the dark. "Julia? Come in."
Julia swung the door open completely. "Your mom said I could come up."
She took a closer look at her friend. "Sarah, are you crying?" She gently
sat on the bed facing Sarah.
Sarah reached over and turned on a lamp, revealing her tear-streaked
face. "I just can't stop worrying about him, Jule. I try and try. I mean,
it's like, I'm not part of your family. I'm not even his girlfriend anymore.
So why do I keep stressing over this? But I can't get him out of my mind.
I have picked up that phone and dialed his number dozens of times, but then I
remember the promise. I hate that, Julia, I hate that we made that promise.
But most of all, I hate that, no matter how hard I try, I can't stop caring
Impulsively, Julia reached over and gave Sarah a hug. "I know what
you're feeling, Sarah. I wish sometimes that things were different-that my
family wasn't like this. Most of all, I wish that my parents hadn't died.
But they did, and there's nothing I can do to change that. I can either
complain about my life or just deal with it. Things just happen to us,
Sarah. I don't know why-they just do."
Sarah wiped away some straggling tears, new determination overtaking her.
"I'm not going to give up on him, Julia. Whatever it takes, I'll be there
for Bailey through the end. I can't just walk away."
A few days later, Sarah found out just how much her declaration would be
Sarah woke from a deep sleep. She wasn't sure how long she had been
asleep, just aware of the pounding headache she had. She felt like she was
in a haze, so she couldn't be sure if the sobbing she heard was real or not.
Sarah slowly forced her eyes open. If this wasn't a dream, then, yes, the
crying was real. The crying was coming from Bailey, who was standing in a
corner of her room. But, wait. This wasn't Sarah's room-it was a hospital
room. As Sarah's brain began to clear, she became aware of the bandages on
her head. She desperately tried to remember what had happened. Then it all
came to her: Bailey's drunken rage, her getting into his Jeep in an attempt
to stop him, the squealing tires, the cracking windshield as it made contact
with her head. Realizing that Sarah was awake, Bailey took tentative steps
toward her bed. Sarah noted the tears streaming down her ex-boyfriend's
face, and couldn't stop a tear of her own from escaping. The next words from
Bailey's mouth were the ones that they all had hoped for.
"Will you help me?"