Nicky followed me down the hall and into the kitchen pulling his jeans up as he stumbled along.
“What the hell are you doing here?” He hissed. I stopped in my tracks, causing him to stumble into my back side, fall back and hit the wall. He was still struggling to get his jeans pulled up, hopping from one foot to the other. Flo stood in the kitchen in clear view of it all with her hand was over her mouth to hide her shock, uncertain if she should laugh at his exposure or be mad at him for what I had just caught him doing.
“I live here remember?” I turned to face him, feeling brave with Flo there. My mouth was tempted to scream, ‘not for long!’ but instinctively I knew I should keep that to myself. I was more than aware of his horrible temper and didn’t want to risk him keeping Addison away from me; she was still with his mother and it would be nearly impossible to get her if he said I couldn’t.
“Who is she?” I asked, “Hope?” I couldn’t figure out the look on his face; it was a mixture of guilt and relief.
“Yeah.” The word came out in an exhale, “But this is the first time she has been here.”
“Here? But you have been with her other places right?” I had no idea where this new found bravery was coming from. He looked down at me with such pity that even I pitied me.
“Yeah” He finally got his pants on and leaned against the wall, “I told her to come over so I could break it off with her,” I couldn’t tell if he was serious or not, “I told her I wanted to make it work with you and sneaking around behind your back was just too much for me to handle.”
He looked at the floor but continued explaining, “She began crying and told me she loved me and then one thing led to another. I really didn’t want it to go this far Tess, I swear.”
It seemed like forever went by before I found my voice, “I’m going to have Flo take me to pick up the baby. I want her gone before I get home.” I grabbed my purse and headed towards the door. I stopped at the door and turned to face him, “Burn the sheets.”
“Oh, it’s beautiful! Thank you. I love it!” I hugged my sister and admired the pewter frame that she gave us at the anniversary cookout. The picture in the frame was of her two children and my Addison, “When did you have time to get this done?”
“The day you went with Nicky to Indy to pick up that load of lumber for your father-in-law,” Diana said quite proud of her self, “Mom hired a photographer and had him come to the house. We did a little mini photo shoot, it was so much fun! By the way, I have more pictures that I put in an album for you at the house.” The last part she whispered in my direction. Diana was in on the plan to get me out of Nicky’s grasp; she was keeping the pictures in safe place until I was settled somewhere else.
“Well, I love this.” I smiled looking at the picture before I walked over and set it up on the mantle next to our wedding portrait and Addison’s newborn shots, “There, perfect.”
We invited our families over and asked that in lieu of gifts that they contribute to a college fund Kip had set up for Addison. Of course everyone gave to the fund and brought little gifts. They also brought food, lots of food. I certainly wouldn’t have to cook for the short time I would be here.
My family left earlier on in the evening, except for my sister and her family. Nicky’s parents left, but his cousins stuck around and we played card games until midnight. Addison had finally gone down around 10:30 p.m., way later then her normal bedtime but she was so wound up from all the people in the house. She loved the attention and no one had a problem giving it to her.
After everyone had gone home for the evening, I put on my pajamas and settled into the guest room bed. Nicky came to the door and leaned into the frame,
“Honey, I wish you’d come sleep in next to me,” He seemed sincere. “I promise I’ll be good.”
It wasn’t that I didn’t think he wouldn’t keep his hands to himself, I was fairly sure I wouldn’t have to worry about that at all for a while at least. I just couldn’t sleep in a bed where another woman had sex with my husband. Even though the sheets were gone when I returned home with the baby, just knowing that someone had been in my bed made me sick to my stomach. I have no idea where the sheets went and I had no desire to know.
“I’m already settled here.” I said without looking up from my novel. I was glad that we had put two twin beds in the guest room; it meant I didn’t have to worry about him crawling in bed with me. He needed his space when he slept and the single bed would not give him the room he needed. To show that I wasn’t going to change my mind I turned the baby monitor on next to the bed and then leaned back on my pillow with my novel.
Nicky stood in the door silent for a moment, then realizing that I was not coming back to our room he told me goodnight and left the doorway. Exhausted both mentally and physically, I folded the page down and closed the book, flipped off the side lamp and fell asleep almost immediately.
At 10 a.m. six days after the anniversary party, the U-Haul truck sat parked in our drive. My parents, my sister and Flo had arrived around 9 a.m. It had taken less than just three hours for the five of us to pack up what I would need to start my new life Nicky free. I of course took what I brought with me; my clothes, some personal effects, my books, décor and a set of dishes my parents bought for me when I got my first apartment.
I left Nicky the furniture his parents bought us, the big screen television, his family pictures and duplicate pictures of the baby. I left most everything in the kitchen, the silverware, pots, pans and the china set that his Aunt Mary had left him in her will. Paul didn’t want me to leave Nicky anything, knowing Nicky’s parents had the money to replace anything he needed. I didn’t want to do this. I only wanted what I came with and what I knew I needed to start over. I left nothing that couldn’t be replaced.
As badly as I wanted out, this wasn’t easy for me. I knew deep down that I had every right to leave this marriage. If the infidelity wasn’t enough, wanting to live another day to see my daughter grow up was. If I stayed with him I could see a real possibility of me getting hurt much worse than I already had.
My head was spinning with the chaos of everyone rushing around packing boxes; one person asking if this book was staying, another asking is this picture was going, it was extremely overwhelming. So much going on and it all came to a complete stop when the phone rang. I stared at the receiver wondering if I should answer it. Of course I had to answer; he would be suspicious if he thought I was not home on my day off from the store. I put my finger to my lips to remind everyone to stay quiet and I picked up the receiver.
“H-hello?” I barely got the words out.
“Hey Babe, whatcha doing?” He seemed in good spirits.
“Well, I just put the baby down for a nap and now I am straightening up the house.” I lied.
“Looks like I might be a little late getting home tonight. Dad and I are heading down to Evansville to work out a deal on that warehouse we are putting up on Third Street.”
“Okay. I’ll put your dinner in the fridg and you can heat it up when you get home.” My heart pounded out of my chest and my hand was shaking as I held the receiver to my ear.
“Okay. Listen Babe, I better run, Dad needs these invoices and Roger has been dragging ass on the site. Guess I am gonna have to go over and put the hammer down on this project. I just wanted to say hi and tell you how much I missed you”
“All right. Listen Nicky, I think I hear the baby crying.” I lied.
“I’ll see you later tonight, kiss the baby for me.”
“I love ya lots.”
“Yeah, me too.” I lied.
Before we finished up and left the house for good, I sat at the bar and filled out three envelopes. The first one I addressed to Nicky’s father Kip and in it I enclosed four pictures of a drunk, passed out Nicky lying on the floor of the baby’s nursery, this one I would drop in the mail box on the way to my parent’s house. On the other I wrote “Hope” and I inserted a Nicky picture and hung it on the refrigerator; in the third envelope I wrote ‘Mother Bloom’ and inside it I put in the last picture of Nicky and a piece of stationary that read, ‘One year and one week.’
Touching Trees by T L Lady is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.
Based on a work at https://touchingtrees.wordpress.com.wouldn’t have her. So I stayed, I would make it to the year if it killed me. And it just might.
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This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, businesses, places, events and incidents are either the products of the author’s imagination or used in a fictitious manner. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events is purely coincidental.
© 2013 Copyright Tracy L Lady, Touching Trees. Includes all pictures and text within.