Viola was on her honeymoon. Zari was just engaged. And I didn’t dare go to Hal with this one. I had nobody to talk to, so I just sat in my dark room for hours on end, staring at my phone, waiting for a reply.
I texted him several times but there was never any reply. Not even a ‘leave me alone’. Nothing. And when I called him, it went straight to voicemail. I despaired, worried, cried, and hardly slept. I called time off work because I knew that I’d be unable to deal with any type of work. Though that didn’t extend to housework.
I washed all the dirty dishes then rewashed them all, and then re-rewashed them. I scrubbed all the linoleum floors, vacuumed the carpets, and did all the dirty laundry. I scrubbed the bathroom twice and then while I worked on the dusting I started crying once more.
“I do love you!” I called out to the empty house. I fell to the floor, wishing I could take back that stupid… stupid, stupid, stupid thing I said. I should have been calm. I should have tried to calm him down instead of blowing up. I just fought fire with fire…
A day passed and I heard nothing from him. I was so worried. Had he wrecked? Should I call the police? I wish I had someone to talk to… But I didn’t dare talk to my parents about this, and I didn’t want to ruin Zari’s happiness.
It’s not like he’s completely the victim in this scenario, I thought with a sigh as I gazed out the window on the second morning after he left. He did blow up at me. I did NOT deserve that. But… he didn’t deserve what I said…
I went into work, not wanting to be there. I stared blankly at the computer, somehow managing to get through my work. I clocked out early and on the way home, I went past the police station. I considered going in and reporting him as a missing person but two things… one, Uncle Orion would find out and two… I wasn’t sure how important this was after telling them we had a fight.
When I got home I was hoping to see Doug’s car but it wasn’t there. I trudged inside and ate some ice cream, checking my phone every ten seconds and sending a few more texts to Doug, asking him to please come home.
His car was in the driveway when I came home after work on the third day after he was gone. I ran inside, flinging the door open, his name on my lips. I didn’t call out, though, since he was sitting right there. His hair was tangled and there were bags under his eyes.
“Doug!” I took several steps then hesitated as he stood up. “I’m sorry, I’m sorry for what I said. It was uncalled for. I’m sorry.”
He pushed his hair back, his eyes a bit narrowed. I gulped. Was he still that unhappy with me? I guess I couldn’t blame him. “Yeah, it was uncalled for.”
That pushed my button and my temper flared up. “Yes, well. So was what you said. Accusing me of what exactly, just because I danced with a friend?”
He stared rather blankly at me then stumbled back, rubbing his forehead. “Yeah, I’m sorry I got so angry but–I just…” He sighed and shifted around so his shoulder was to me. “I get jealous. I know you used to like him and sometimes I think he likes you, and you’re so… so… perfect… and I know I’m not… and I know it’s stupid but sometimes I get scared I’ll lose you or something, and when I saw the picture it just–terrified me.”
I bit my bottom lip, putting my hands just under my chin. “You know I love you, though,” I whispered.
He punched the wall. “I know! I know you love me that’s why it’s so stupid but I’m sorry, I get jealous. I’m sorry!”
“I’m not perfect…”
“You are to me,” he mumbled and my anger started fading. “You deserve better than a jerk like me. I’ve done so many things to hurt you. What if I hurt you again?” He looked at me with such sad eyes that I caved in completely, stumbling towards him so I could wrap my arms around him.
“You won’t,” I whispered, burying my face in his shoulder. “I trust you.”
“You… still do…?” he asked, hesitantly putting his arms around me.
“Yes,” I replied. “Always.”
“I–I trust you too,” he replied, putting his mouth against the side of my head. “And I’m sorry I didn’t when I saw the picture. It won’t happen again. I will trust you, always.”
The weeks went by and everything was fine. Doug sometimes gave me a sad look and I’d glare back, reminding him that the fight was behind us. We had forgiven each other. Soon the sad looks stopped.
Vi and Claude came back from their honeymoon and she invited me and Zari out, just the three of us, to spend a little bit of time together. I was glad to go. It was almost like old times, even if she was going on about how wonderful her honeymoon had gone.
“Claude is so wonderful,” she sighed, looking dreamily at nothing. “His TV show got signed on for another season. And guess what? I got a promotion!”
We talked some more, then Zari announced his news. He had been doing background characters for the local stage group but had been promoted to be better characters. “The first play we’ll be doing is, actually, Shakespeare..” he laughed. “Richard II. I get to play Aumerle.”
He stood up, looking dramatic. “Stay thy revengeful hand; thou hast no cause to fear!”
He looked so determined and into it that I couldn’t help but laugh, and Vi soon chimed in. He plopped back down, sticking his tongue out. “For your information, my supportive siblings, I’ve been getting more reviews for my stage acting than I did for those TV spots I did. So. How about you, Seb? Any big news?”
I raised my eyebrows, trying to think of anything but there was really nothing. “I was offered a promotion but I turned it down last month,” I said with a shrug. “I didn’t want to have to interview anyone.”
“You could interview me,” Zari offered.
“I’m sure Claude would let you interview him, too,” Vi said.
I smiled at that. “Thanks guys but… I’d have to do a lot more work than that. I wouldn’t mind working on their blog since that’d be great but my boss says I’d have to prove my worth by writing for the paper first and I just don’t think I could do that.”
“If you ever do it, though, feel free to call me,” Zari said with a smile. “OH! I know what you could do. Whenever Vi gets knocked up–“
“Hey!” she protested but he ignored her.
“–when she and Claude are ready to tell the public then you could do a story about it and get the ‘scoop’ first and maybe you’d be promoted to work on the blog right from that!” Zari finished, looking excited.
“Knocked up? Really?” Vi growled. “You should at least put it in a nice way!”
The two started bickering but I didn’t pay much attention. Zari’s idea was a pretty good one but it wouldn’t be fair to use my family connections to get a promotion. Almost anyone else would, I thought as the two of them raised their voices. But I couldn’t.
“I think it was good,” Doug purred in my ear as we cuddled on the sofa. “You seem stressed out about going into work as it is, what would happen if you added on more work?” He pulled me even closer, holding tight.
I sighed lightly. “It’s not that I’m stressed out…”
“You seem like it,” he said and then began rubbing my shoulders. “I like that you’re shy though. Have I told you before?” I nodded, feeling rather good as his fingers dug into my shoulder muscles. “I was thinking… we’ve been together for quite a long time now.”
“Over two years,” I murmured.
“I was thinking we should start thinking about the future.” Those words got my attention. My eyes snapped wide open but I didn’t dare turn to look at him. Was this… it? The big one? I couldn’t breathe. “About you and me,” he continued, his lips almost right against my ear. “I was thinking we could start talking about kids.”
Not what I expected. I pulled out of his arms so I could look at him. “K-kids?” I stammered, wondering if I heard wrong.
Doug beamed at me. “Yeah! I mean not anytime soon but maybe we could talk about it. Maybe this summer we could go to the hospital and check out the forms.”
“What about…” I trailed off, my cheeks going pink. I didn’t dare say it but he was looking curiously at me, waiting. “Our house…”
“Your old room,” he said with a shrug.
“This place is kinda small for a kid,” I said, glancing around the room then turning back in time to see the anger in his face.
“You’re right,” he said tersely. “We can’t provide for a kid.” He stood up, taking a few steps before glancing back at me. Still angry.
“I didn’t mean it like that!” I said, reaching out.
“No! That is what you meant!” he snarled. “I love you so much Sebastian, and I want so much for us to have a child together and–and we have the room. Sure it’s not the best of places but we can’t do both! It’d be a house or a kid, cause kids are expensive!”
“But you’re right, a house is so much better, so much more important. How could I even think about bringing another life into this world!” His words were pouring out like lava. I wished I could stop him but there was no way. “I’ll stop being so selfish! A house is better, yeah. We’ll get a house. At least a house won’t keep us up at night.”
“Douglas!” I shrieked and he finally stopped. “I am sorry! I didn’t mean it like that! I just want the best we can give to a child. If you feel that strongly about it we can start saving. For a child.” I hesitated then added, “Our child,” to placate him.
All the anger flooded out of his face and his arms were around me. “I’m so sorry, Seb. I’m such a jerk. I just lost my temper. I shouldn’t have done that. You’re right, this place is small. I was being unfair. I don’t know what got into me… How do you put up with me? You are so perfect… such an angel… I don’t know what I’d do without you.” He smiled lovingly at me. “You’re the best thing that’s ever happened to me.”
After some romance that night, he fell sound asleep while I stayed up a little later. His temper tantrums were getting closer and closer… not always at me, but sometimes he’d snap or growl.
I rolled over, looking at his sleeping form. I did love him and I knew he loved me. It wasn’t his fault he had a short temper. And he was so good to me…