Chapter 42 : Itinerary
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Chapter 42: Itinerary
“Alix, are you even listening to me?”
I jolted to attention, but once I realized it was Tyler who was speaking to me, I resumed my previous emotionless façade. “I’m sorry, what?”
Tyler sighed in annoyance, but repeated himself. “We were discussing this summer and next year.”
I replied with my own sigh, throwing my head back on the couch and closing my eyes. Why had I even asked? Ever since Tyler had gotten his acceptance to Uni, we’d discussed every single aspect of what would happen next year. I pinched the bridge of my nose. “What about it?”
I could tell he was taking great strides in controlling his temper. Though he tried his best, I could tell my withdrawal from him wasn’t making him the happiest person in the world. If I could only change how I felt… “I’ll be visiting every other weekend to see you and Mackenzie,” he stated again.
I gestured for him to continue. We’d already decided this weeks ago. “And…?”
“I’m confirming the decisions,” Tyler replied through his teeth.
“We’ve confirmed them a thousand times, Tyler.”
“What the fuck ever.”
He mumbled it under his breath, and I knew I wasn’t supposed to hear him, but fire licked through my veins. “No reason for you to get pissy, Tyler.”
He rounded on me and I shrank away instinctively. “No reason? Are you serious?” Tyler’s hand shot through his hair as he started to walk away, only to turn on a dime and walk back towards the couch. I was currently thanking my father for the coffee table sitting in between us. “You’ve been a complete and total shut in ever since that day at Hogsmeade and I get it. I fucking get it, Alixzandra. I deserve hell. I deserved to be ignored and ‘taught a lesson,’ if you will, but it’s been six months, and you’d think my punishment would be over with by now.”
I opened my mouth to retaliate, but he held up a hand to stop me. “I get it, baby,” he said again, softer this time. He stepped around the table, taking a seat on the edge of it, his knees to mine, and took my hands. “If you’re unhappy, we need to break this off, Flicka.” I shook my head and he closed his eyes. “It’s the last thing in this world that I want, but if that’s what it’s going to take to get the light back in your eyes, then that’s what I’ll do.”
We didn’t speak for a few moments, and he pulled his hands away from mine to drop his head into them. I stared at his hair, the hair I’d ran my fingers through so many times, the hair he refused to cut short because I loved to tug on it when we had sex.
When he finally looked up, he took a deep breath before speaking again. “I leave for the States next week, unless you say otherwise. I can start in the fall if that’s what you want.”
The way he stared at me afterwards told me he expected an answer. I sighed again, avoiding his eyes in favor of the ceiling. “No, the summer semester is fine. Maybe the separation will be good for us. Make me see what I’m missing and all that.”
“God, I hope so,” Tyler finally stood, giving me room to stretch my legs out again. “Now, can we just be nice to one another for a few minutes so that we can finalize these plans?”
I laid down on the couch, throwing an arm over my eyes. “Yes, I’m sorry. Go ahead.”
“Okay,” Tyler sighed. “I’ll be leaving next week on the sixth to move into the apartment. Classes start on the eighth. I’ll be back around nine or ten on the twenty-first to visit you and Mackenzie, and will go back early the following Monday morning.”
I nodded my head in understanding. We’d only been over this a thousand times. He started pacing.
“If at any point you decide to stay with me over the summer, just say the word and we'll get you and Mackenzie moved in.”
I wanted to tell him not to hold his breath, but I figured it would be unnecessarily mean.
“Once you go back to Hogwarts, I’ll start night classes so that I can watch Mackenzie during the day while you’re in school, and you can take her at night while I’m at school. I’ll come during the mornings after she’s eaten breakfast, and then leave after you get done with classes for the day.”
“Why are we discussing events that won’t take place until September?”
Tyler stopped his pacing to glare at me, but didn’t answer my sarcastic question. Resuming his walking a hole into the wooden floors, he folded his hands on top of his head. “God, why do I feel like we’re getting divorced.”
“Cause we’re trading off our daughter every other weekend, living on different continents, and constantly fighting?” I replied, not so helpfully.
“Shut up, Alix.”
The week came and went quickly. I’d gotten a little better, and Tyler and I were back on polite speaking terms, but that was the extent of it. We were no less broken than we’d been when we’d separated in the first place, and over half a year hadn’t salvaged that. Perhaps this distance would be just what the doctor ordered.
Tyler hoisted his black duffel onto one shoulder, pulling the handle of his rolling suitcase behind him with the other. “I think that’s everything,” he concluded, looking around our bedroom at Daddy’s house.
“Wand?” I asked helpfully whilst burping Mackenzie.
“Yeah,” he replied, absentmindedly patting his pocket as he continued to double check the room. Finally, he stopped, walking over to the couch to take Mackenzie from me. “I kinda feel like shit for not being here for our first wedding anniversary.” Though he continued to look at Mackenzie, I could tell it was actually something that was troubling him.
“Don’t,” I brushed it off. “We’re not on the best terms right now anyway. They do say the first year is the hardest.”
Tyler scoffed. “Understatement.”
I smiled solemnly. “I wish you’d let us come to the airport to see you off. I kinda feel like a shitty wife, friend, whatever I am right now,” I replied, mirroring his own statement.
“Wife,” he decided, “And don’t. I don’t want Mackenzie around all of those people. She’s already got a bit of a cold.”
He placed a hand against her forehead, checking her temperature for the millionth time before pulling her into a tight hug. Mackenzie cooed into her father’s chest as he held her. “Daddy loves you, baby girl,” he whispered to her, and I could swear I still heard his voice break. “And he’ll be back to see you and Mummy before you know it.” After a few moments, he released her, handing her back to me. “Well, I guess I’d better be off. Don’t wanna miss my flight.”
I stood, walking over to Mackenzie’s playpen to place her inside. Tyler came up behind me and wrapped me in his arms once I’d turned around to face him. My head rested against his chest and despite the fact that we were fighting, despite the fact that I could barely kiss him without thinking of the five other girls he’d put his lips on, I hated this. I hated that it took being an ocean away from each other for us to be able to figure our shit out.
Tyler’s lips grazed my hair and I held him tighter. “We are going to figure this out, okay?”
Tyler’s chest vibrated beneath me as he chuckled. “I won’t hold my breath.”
“I really do love you, Ty,” I replied, ignoring his joke. Tears started welling in my eyes and I wanted nothing more than to scream at myself, ‘Why is it so hard to forgive him if you love him so much!?’
“I know, babe. I really love you, too.”