Chapter 39 : Settling
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‘Giving Tyler space’ at home didn’t work any more than giving him space at Hogwarts had. Christmas came and went, and the awkwardness surrounding it followed. Mum still held the annual Christmas party – to Dad’s objections, and I didn’t dance alone. Uncles Harry and Ron, Draco, Daddy, and even Teddy danced a few dances with me to keep me occupied. Everyone fawned over Mackenzie, Aiden and Selena, and ignored my protests surrounding Mackenzie’s bedtime. Tyler had made an appearance, but soon retreated back upstairs to his bedroom. Things were starting to get worse and I feared I’d be writing my father’s last name at the end of Alixzandra again before too much longer.
The morning following Christmas, I came down to breakfast to find Tyler sitting with the rest of the family, eating pancakes. Due to the fact that he hadn’t shared a meal with the family since our talk, I was surprised, to say the least. I kissed Mackenzie on the cheek before taking my place in the empty seat beside her, piling a few pancakes onto my plate. It was then that my parents did something I both hated and loved them for.
“Alix, Tyler, do you think Severus and I could have Mackenzie for the day?” Mum asked nonchalantly. Or so I thought.
“Erm… I don’t care if Tyler doesn’t. Where are you guys going?”
Mum waved her hand in the air, ignoring my question as she turned to Tyler. He looked at me for a moment before shrugging, just as confused as I was.
“Fine with me, Hermione.”
I looked to my father for a hint at Mum’s intentions, to find his expression nearly blank.
After a few moments of awkward silence, Mum finally spoke again. “Why don’t you two go out somewhere? Spend the day together. Don’t worry about Mackenzie.”
I dropped my fork as her intentions became clear.
“Mum,” I warned, not even chancing a look in Tyler’s direction. I could only hope he didn’t think I’d had any part in this. “We talked about this.”
Tyler cleared his throat and I looked over to him, hesitantly. “Actually, that’s a great idea, Hermione. Thank you.”
My eyes felt like they grew ten times their size as I stared at him. Ignoring me, he returned to his breakfast.
After everyone was done, the table was cleared, and Mackenzie was burped, rocked, and put down, I made my way upstairs to Tyler’s room. I knocked on the open door, watching Tyler pull a shirt over his head. He smiled softly at me, nodding his head for me to enter.
“I just wanted to… um… we don’t have to do this. I won’t be upset or hurt or anything. I know we’re giving each other space right now. I had no idea she was going to suggest that .”
Tyler shook his head, cutting me off. “No, it’s fine. I want to go. Get ready.” He winked at me, and it almost felt like old times.
I smiled. “Um, where are we going? So I know how to dress…”
Walking over to the edge of the bed, he sat , patting the spot next to him. Slowly, I made my way over to him, taking a seat. “I was going to ask you where you wanted to go. I was kind of thinking of going to the fair we went to a few years back, remember?”
I nodded, biting my lip. The fair had been fun the last time I went with Tyler, but I’d gone with Daddy only a year ago, and I’d met Tripp there. I winced. “I don’t really fancy running in to Tripp,” I finally admitted.
“Good point. Hmm. Well just dress casually. If we have to come back, we will.”
“Alright.” I stood and started to walk towards the door, before pausing and turning back around. “Ty?” Tyler looked up, answering me silently.
“Thank you for this. Really.”
Tyler smiled. “I’m doing it for me too, Flicka. Go get ready.”
I ignored his commanding tone due to the old pet name he’d snuck into the sentence. Giddy with hope, I nearly ran back to my bedroom, standing in front of my closet as if the perfect outfit would jump out at me. This was important. Tonight would make or break Tyler and I.
I toyed around with the idea of wearing a short little sundress just to mess with Tyler, but decided against it when I remembered it was fucking December! I was still staring at my closet, chewing the side of my nail when Tyler knocked on my door. “Come in!” I called, not bothering to look towards him.
He chuckled, walking up behind me. “I like what you’ve chosen to wear,” he joked, motioning to my pajamas. I narrowed my eyes at him before returning them to my clothes.
“Help?” I asked, sticking out my lower lip.
Tyler chuckled again, reaching forward and pulling out a pair of dark wash skinny jeans and throwing them onto my bed. Afterwards, he reached down towards my shoes and picked out the boots he’d bought me so long ago. With a wink, he sat them down on the floor by my bed as well. “Now you’ve just got the top to choose.”
“That’s the hardest part,” I whined.
“Fine.” He reached back into my closet and pulled out a black cami and my black leather jacket, raising an eyebrow in challenge. He didn’t think I’d wear it. I admit, normally I went for more colorful outfits. I shrugged, snatching the clothes away from him and dropping them onto the bed. Turning my back to him, I pulled my cami over my head, dropping it to the floor afterwards. I pushed my thumbs into the waistband of my shorts. “So, decided what we’re doing today yet?”
Tyler hesitated to answer and then cleared his throat slightly. “N-no. Not yet.”
I ignored his discomfort and walked bare naked to my dresser, pulling out my black, lacy bra and thong set. I pulled the bra on over my arms and adjusted the cups, worming my hands around my back to fasten it. “To be honest, I would be happy with just hanging out alone somewhere. Our old spot at Hogsmeade or something,” I suggested, bending over to step into my underwear.
“Yeah, that… Uh… That sounds good.”
I turned my back to him again to walk towards my bed. Tyler didn’t talk the rest of the time it took for me to finish dressing. I fiddled with a small bit of makeup and ran a brush through my hair, but other than that, I remained bare. With no jewelry other than Tyler’s necklace and my wedding ring, no makeup other than a few layers of mascara and some lip gloss, and no thoughts other than utmost hope that I would have my husband back by the end of the night, I followed him out of the door, calling a goodbye to my parents.
When Tyler reached for my hand, I obliged, threading my fingers through his and smiling at the ground. Of course, it was most likely so that we could side-along apparate to Hogsmeade, as we did a few moments later, but he didn’t let go once we were there either, so I took that as a good sign. We walked a few minutes before coming to the place I’d first told him I loved him so many years ago. I pulled a tissue from its package in my purse and laid it on the ground, transforming it into a smallish picnic blanket with a hideous plaid pattern. Tyler looked at me with an eyebrow raised and I shrugged.
“Best I could do on such short notice, Mr. Truett. Too good for an ugly picnic blanket?” I winked to let him know I was joking and sat down on it, watching as he laid down.
“Come,” he said quietly, holding out an arm for me. I stared at him for a moment or two and then laid down beside him, resting my head on his shoulder. I mustn’t get too excited, I warned myself. He could be trying to let me down easy.
We didn’t talk for a long time. I stared at the snow coming down, happy that Tyler had put a temperature controlled bubble around us. Shortly after, he had to put a basic shield us as well when we discovered that the snow would hit the bubble and melt into rain and we were quickly becoming soaked. I let my mind wander. What would I do if Tyler decided upon divorce? It was a silly and impractical question, of course. If Tyler chose to divorce me, I would simply get divorced, right? But there was so much to it. Mackenzie. We’d have to trade weeks and holidays with her, back and forth. You get her this Christmas, I’ll see her the next. Tyler would eventually get remarried, as would I, hopefully. He would graduate Hogwarts, find a job, and buy a new house. A true rags-to-riches story. I would graduate the following year, already have a very large house to be practically alone in, and one day find a guy that I didn’t love anywhere near as much as I love Tyler, but I would settle. I almost snorted, because there was my answer summed up in one entire word. Settle. I would settle if Tyler decided upon divorce. Settle in love and in life.
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