Chad was sitting in the kitchen, an empty beer bottle sitting on the counter in front of him. It was 10:15 and Nicole had been gone for three hours. He was starting to get worried but at the same time he understood that she had to get out and clear her head. He knew it was going to be an uphill battle for them to come out of this situation on top. He wanted to do whatever he could to make things better for Nicole and better for them as a couple.
He looked out the window and sighed knowing that he had made a big mistake and a large part of him wished that he could rewind and do things differently. But a smaller part of him didn’t want to sacrifice his secret life with Anna, which made him feel like a horrible person.
He hadn’t seen Anna since Sunday right before Nicole had gotten home. He had been completely caught off guard when Beth had shown up at Anna’s place and called them on their affair and after she had left he had decided right then and there that he and Anna had to put an end to their relationship. He hadn’t expected her to follow him home and beg him to leave Nicole to be with her. Anna had accused him of giving up on their epic love as she called it. He cared about Anna, but he wasn’t so sure that he would go so far as to say it was an “epic” love. And he wasn’t sure if it was worth giving up everything he had with Nicole to be with Anna.
Chad had said some horrible things to his wife a few days ago which he felt awful about. He told her that he no longer felt the way he did back when they were first married. He told her he was no longer in love with her and that he wanted a divorce. He told her all of this just so he wouldn’t have to admit that he had been living a double life. But in the end his plan had backfired anyway and he hurt Nicole more than he expected.
He got up, wrapped up dinner, which had remained untouched and put it in the fridge. He wiped off the counters and put the dishes away hoping that these tasks would distract him from thinking about the horrible mistakes he had made.
Chad looked up when he heard the front door open and then close. Nicole tiredly made her way into the kitchen, set her purse on the desk next to the counter and looked at him. She was exhausted, he could see that very clearly, and she was doing everything she could to keep herself together and stay strong. Nicole was an amazing woman and he really had no explanation for why he went and screwed it all up. There were no possible excuses in the book that would make what he did alright.
“You can stay in the spare room,” Nicole said quietly, “But I don’t want you pushing me. I need time to process things and that can’t be rushed. I honestly don’t know how we are going to repair the damage you have caused, but I know that we have to try. If not for us, then for Hudson.”
“Really?” Chad responded, not expecting her to want him to stay in the house, “You want me to stay?”
“Yes, well kind of…” Nicole stuttered exasperatedly, “I don’t really know what I want right now Chad. You kind of turned our entire life upside down in a matter of two days. It’s a lot to take in. But if we are going to try and work through this then it might be easier if we were in the same house…”
Chad felt a little positivity in her request for him to stay at the house and he was more than happy to stay. He looked at her for a moment and he could see the doubt in her eyes. The hopefulness and willingness to fix their marriage was no longer evident in her eyes like it was a few hours ago.
“I’m going to bed,” Nicole said without letting him respond, “Goodnight Chad.”
He watched as she turned on her heels and walked down the hall to the stairs. He couldn’t believe that he had hurt her so badly. Nicole never deserved this and he wished that he could turn back the clock.
Three and a Half Years Ago
Nicole was at a loss for words. For four years the doctor had told her and Chad that getting pregnant would be difficult or maybe even impossible for them. But now, here she sat on the side of the bathtub looking down at the pregnancy test in her hand and there it was, a very faint plus sign. She was pregnant.
“Hey babe!” Chad called as he walked into their bedroom, “Are you in here?”
“Yeah, in here,” Nicole called from the bathroom, “Can you come here? I need you to help me with something.”
Chad walked into the bathroom and looked over at Nicole who hadn’t moved from her spot on the edge of the tub. She was beaming. She could feel the smile spread across her face from ear to ear as she stood up, reached for Chad’s hand and slipped the test into it.
“Welcome home daddy,” Nicole whispered into his ear, “I’m glad you’re home from work.”
Chad looked at her with confusion in his eyes before looking down at the object in his hand. Nicole’s heart burst with joy as he slowly began to process and understand what was happening. He looked at her and then back down at the test and back at her.
“You’re kidding...” Chad said quietly, “But the...I thought we...how did...? You’re really pregnant?”
Nicole couldn’t say anything in response. She just continued to smile at him as she put her hand on her belly. He put the test on the counter and he wrapped his arms around her, holding her tightly.
“This is the best news,” Chad exclaimed as he stepped back slightly and looked into her eyes, “I can’t believe that we’re having a baby!”
Nicole nodded her head as a single tear slid down her cheek. Chad reached up and brushed the tear away before leaning in and pressing his lips against hers in a soft and intimate kiss.
“We’re having a baby…” Nicole whispered against his lips…
Nicole sat on the edge of their bed and cried as she thought about that day. The day that their whole life changed, the day they found out that they were going to have Hudson. Her heart hurt, she was angry and sad, and she wanted answers.
She opened the bedroom door and stormed down the hallway to the spare room. She opened the door angrily and it banged against the wall.
“Wake up Chad,” she commanded as she stood in the doorway with her hands on her hips.
Chad groaned and sat up in bed looking in her general direction.
“What’s wrong?” Chad asked groggily.
“What did I do?” Nicole cried, “Why did you feel the need to ruin what we had? What did I do to make you stray? Did I push you to cheat on me? Tell me please, because not knowing is killing me.”
Chad turned on the bedside lamp and looked at Nicole. She was crumbling before him and he looked like he was unable to form a single sentence in order to explain himself. His face was blank, unreadable and she could feel herself getting angrier by the second.
“Nicole...” Chad breathed as he looked down at his hands, “Do you really want to talk about this now? It’s the middle of the night.”
“Asshole,” Nicole muttered under her breath, “Poor you. All you are afraid of is not getting enough sleep before work tomorrow. Yes! I want to talk about this now! I thought we had a pretty good life, a pretty wonderful marriage. Man...How wrong was I?”
“Nic, you did absolutely nothing wrong. I was tempted and I gave in to those temptations,” Chad replied hesitantly, “I unfortunately don’t have a better excuse. I screwed up and I kept screwing up. I can’t blame you for this because you were and are an amazing wife. You loved me more than I ever felt I deserved and you are giving me a chance now to redeem myself.”
“We have an appointment with a Dr. Mason tomorrow at 4:00,” Nicole growled, trying not to acknowledge what he said, “She is a marriage counsellor that my mom recommended. Her and my dad went to her a few years back. I’ll meet you there.”
Nicole closed the door behind her and went back to their bedroom. How could he say those words to her? How could he look her directly in the eye and say that she didn’t do anything to make him want another woman? And how, if she didn’t do anything to push him into Anna’s arms, could he keep it going for a whole year? All of these questions were sure to keep her up all night.