“Two more months and then we’ll officially be husband and wife!” Annie squeals with excitement, from her spot on the floor behind the coffee table, as she moves little figures around on the seating arrangement chart. Jeff bends to press a kiss to her temple, before going to sit behind her on the couch.
“And it only took years and years of pining.” Jeff remarks, not taking his eyes off of his fiancee, nothing but love for the woman next to him in his eyes.
“That’s all on you babe.” Annie lightly pats his leg without looking up from her board. Jeff opens his mouth to reply, but, having no good retort for once, he opts to say nothing instead.
“Anyway, I think I’m done for now!” Annie pushes herself up from the floor, flopping down into Jeff’s side.
Several minutes later the sound of Annie’s phone buzzing from the coffee table interrupts the comfortable silence they had fallen into.
“Can you check who it is?” Annie asks, without opening her eyes. Jeff stops running his hand through her hair and reaches forward to grab it.
“It’s not a saved number.” Jeff and Annie turn to look at one another, confusion evident on both their faces, wondering who it could be since they have the same five friends, and Annie wasn’t expecting any work related calls. After a few seconds Jeff answers the call
“Hello?” Jeff asks, brow furrowed.
“Who is this?” A female voice asks. Jeff pulls the phone away and gives it an incredulous look.
“Who is this?” He responds in a snarky tone. Annie, hearing Jeff’s tone, sits up straight, taps him on the shoulder and gives him a confused look. He responds by simply shrugging, stopping abruptly when he hears what the person on the other end of the line says.
“Where is Annie, this is her phone, so why are you answering it?” Jeff opens his mouth to respond but gets interrupted before he can. “I want to talk to my daughter.”
Jeff pulls the phone away from his face again, this time looking at it with a grimace, before he turns to look at Annie, opening and closing his mouth a few times, trying to find a tactful way to say that, somehow, the mother that abandoned her found her number and is calling her.
“She says she’s your mom, and she wants to talk to you.” In the end he decides to just use the band aid method.
Twenty minutes pass before Annie emerges from their bedroom, a conflicted look on her face, she stands still for a moment, before going to sit back down next to Jeff.
“So, umm apparently Anthony told her I was getting married, then he gave her my number, and now she wants to meet for lunch.” Annie puts her arm on the back of the couch, resting her head there.
“Did your brother at least talk to you about giving her your number?” Jeff asks, concerned for Annie, and frustrated at her brother. He knows it means a lot to Annie to have a relationship with her brother, but sometimes Anthony’s lack of regard for his sister gets under Jeff’s skin. He takes Annie’s lack of response as an answer.
“So are you gonna do it?” He asks, deciding that now is not the time to worry about her brother’s lack of judgement.
“See your mom?”
“I don’t know.” Annie sighs after a small pause. Annie’s spent years getting over the pain her parents caused her, but in the back of her head she knows she’s never stopped wishing that she could still have her parents in her life, who wouldn’t? “I know that this could go...really bad, but I also know that if I don’t do this...I’ll always wonder, y’know?”
And Jeff does know, better than most would. He spent years wanting to let his father know what kind of pain he caused him, spent years wanting to ask his father why, and Jeff know that, while his conversation with his father (sperm donor) didn’t fix their relationship in any way, at least it allowed him some closure.
“If that’s what you wanna do, you should do it. I’ll go with you.” Jeff looks at her with a soft smile, knowing that no matter what she decides, it was gonna have a huge impact on her emotionally.
Annie smiles up at him, before adjusting to lay her head on his shoulder, her hand gripping his tightly.
“I guess I should call her to set something up.” Annie sighs after a few minutes, reaching to grab her phone from the coffee table, before going to the kitchen to make a (slightly dreaded) call.
Jeff’s hated plenty of people in his life, but none more than the woman sitting across the table from him. Rachel Edison shared many physical similarities with her daughter, they were both short with long brown hair, and blue eyes; but that was where the similarities ended. Where Annie’s eyes were warm and inviting, Rachel’s were cold and calculating, where Annie’s smile radiated happiness, her mother’s was nothing but a mocking quirk of her lips.
It didn’t help her case that as soon as they sat down she started judging Annie on everything, from the clothes she was wearing, to the fact that she had gone to school at Greendale. Jeff was doing a better job at controlling his temper than usual, but he was seriously tempted to call Shirley to see if she’d be willing to fly back to Greendale for the sole purpose of shoving his “mother in-law” through a jukebox.
“So you’re...getting married?” Rachel asks, a not so subtle judgemental look on her face.
“Yes.” Annie raised an eyebrow. “That's what I meant when i said ‘I’m engaged’.”
Her mother hummed. “You know sweetie, I realize you're relationship with your father hasn't been the best, but was it really wise to go out and try to find a replacement?”
Jeff and Annie both sit in silence, unable to believe those words actually came from her mouth. Jeff opens his mouth, most likely, go off on her, but he stops when he feels Annie place a hand on his arm.
“You know mom, you called, you asked to see me. I agreed because I thought that...maybe, after almost nine years you would have changed, but obviously I was wrong.” Annie pauses, finally allowing her feelings toward her mother to come out. “You abandoned me when I needed you most. I became addicted to drugs because I wanted to make you proud, and then you just leave me to try and survive on my own. Well I did, I let myself hurt and then I moved on and in moving on I found people who are there for me in ways you never were.” Annie stands up, quickly followed by Jeff, aware but not caring of the eyes that are now on them. “I don’t need your approval anymore, I don’t care how you feel about who I’m marrying, because, just how you didn’t want anything to do with me for the past eight years, I don’t want anything to do with you now.”
Not wanting to allow her mother to say anything else, Annie grabs Jeff’s hand and leaves the small cafe.
“I can’t believe you actually said that. That was amazing, I’m so proud of you.” Jeff says once they’re back in the car. “You know...I still think you should reconsider becoming a lawyer because that speech was something else.” He continues, trying to get Annie to smile.
“I can’t believe I thought that might actually go well.” Annie says, looking out her window. “How did she become such an awful person? Oh my god, what if I end up like that? Our kids are gonna hate me.” Jeff can see the rising panic on Annie’s face at the idea of their hypothetical children disliking her, so he pulls over and reaches over and grabs her hands.
“Listen to me, I don’t know why your mom is the way she is. I barely know her at all, but I do know you, and I know you’re one of the most amazing people I’ve ever met. I may not be able to predict the future, but I know that our children will be the luckiest kids ever because they’ll have you for a mother, and I know that they will love you with all their little hearts, okay?”
“I love you.” Annie says softly, taking one hand from his to cup his face and pull him in for a small kiss.
“I love you too.” Jeff says against her lips before Annie pulls away, allowing Jeff to pull away from the curb so they could go back home, leaving all thoughts of her horrible mother behind.