Jason was baffled at Ellen’s response. This was how he remembered the Christmas of 1996. It was also the beginning of his family’s downfall. They were no longer the perfect family that he stared at in the portrait. He shook his head hard to snap himself out of the trance he was in. He rubbed his eyes and looked to the left of him. He grouped the trigger of his revolver and glared at Ellen. She was calm and still with the resemblance of a mannequin. She was silent; she muttered no words of hatred. Jason had not expected for Christmas to end this way.
He thought about this morning. He was awaken by Ellen’s screams and jumped out of bed. Déjà vu set in but this was not 1996. Allison and Ellen were arguing in the living room and they got louder as he approached.
“Why did you bring that asshole with you Alli?”
“Mom, I told you and dad that he was coming with me so that you could meet him.”
“She’s right Ellen. She told us a while ago that she was going to bring him.”
Ellen picked up a pillow and hurled it at Jason.
“You always take her side! I am your wife damn it! You…You should be siding with me!”
Jason looked down and shook his head.
“Where is Ben?” he asked, knowing that he was more than likely waiting outside for the green light from Allison.
“I told him to wait for me outside. I knew that SHE was probably going to start on me as soon as I came in.” Allison’s lip began to quiver. Her frustration was obvious and she folded her arms in disgust.
“Go ahead and cry Alli. It’s what you do best isn’t it?” Ellen stood there in her faded pink robe. Her hair was greased out and had not been washed for days. In her left hand she held her drink of choice. Orange juice and vodka just like ten years ago but now she had added pills to the mix.
“Why do you hate me so much mom?”
“You want to know why? I’m sure you know why Alli.”
Allison stood there confused, eyes wide open, and shrugging her shoulders. “I obviously don’t know so you need to open your mouth and spill it.”
“You’re the reason Cody is dead.”
Jason picked up his head and looked at Allison. “What is she talking about Alli?”
Allison clenched her fists and lunged at Ellen. They fell to the floor and Allison slapped her across the face.
“You know it’s not my fault! I loved Cody and you know exactly what happened!”
Jason grabbed onto Allison and pulled her away. He held her tight as she cried in his arms.
“It’s not my fault dad…it’s her fault.”
Jason sighed and kissed her on her forehead. “It’s no one’s fault Alli. It was just an accident.”
Allison pulled away from Jason and turned toward her mother who was still lying on the ground. The alcohol and pills had been too much for her and she struggled to get up.
“You and I know the truth mom. I saw what happened to Cody.” Allison spit on her mom and stormed out the front door.
“What the hell is she talking about Ellen?”
“Fuck off Jason! Why don’t you go back to grading some papers or something?”
“Why do you have to be like this Ellen?”
“Like what Jason? Why do I have to be a bitch? Is that what you were going to say?”
Ellen stood up and stumbled into the kitchen to make another drink. She popped a pill and smiled at Jason.
“You want some?”
– To be concluded –