In front of her was Sean leaning into his chair with arms crossed over chest. His rectangular frame fell to the bridge of his nose, interfering the letters on the screen. Hard rock music leaked from his headphone, drowning out the noises nagging in the background.
Anna’s fingers dug into the bottle, achingly carving it out of shape. She gave in her pointless calling and stomped out from there.
In her head battled her thoughts—a conflict between expectations and reality. Reality would never meet her expectations; she knew. But the two would hold so much difference?
The fact was hard to swallow.
Her lips pushed into a thinner line. Auburn hair swayed behind her lower back as she plodded down the stairs. The warmth of her palm steadied over the swell in her belly—a gentle reminder of the presence breathing inside.
Her steps slowed.
She brushed off her thoughts and focused on the baby instead. A few weeks more, and she would carry the tiny human being in her arms, not in her womb. She would be a mother soon—a mother. A smile bloomed on her lips, and an immediate peace embraced her soul.
As she walked into the kitchen, the soft radiance of the morning filtered through the window and shimmered across her face, casting a glint of gold over her chocolate bangs. She stretched off the tightness in her arms and inhaled loud—but the breath caught at her throat. A sudden tension contracted her face.
Inside her stomach, clenched her muscles—the food inside to leap upwards. Small, gagging sounds escaped her lips, immediately, her hand slammed across her lower face—a failed attempt to stop the musty air from intruding on her breath.
Stumbling back a few steps, she looked around. Dishes used the earlier night, and that morning was piling over one another over the sink. The smell of all the foods blended into a foul mix and swirled in the air.
He forgot to do the chores.
Her stomach churned at the sight, intensifying the spasm in her throat. Stronger and worse with each breath she took. Ragged breaths and a series of blatant swearing choked out on her way outside—with a paler skin than before.
“You just take care of yourself and the baby. The rest, I’ll manage.”
This, he managed?
She slammed the bottle on the table and stood next to it while her breaths stabled and chest fell into a steady rhythm. The war of thoughts rising in her ears, piercing enough to worsen the twitching behind her eyes.
“What are you doing here?”
Anna looked over her shoulder to meet those familiar coffee orbs that peered at her from over the rim of glasses. His resting face fuelled up the enraged flames burning within her, hungry for destruction. But she bottled it up.
“Why didn’t you do the dishes?” Her voice low and restrained.
Sean quirked his brows. A shadow curved under his eyes. “Dishes?” He asked—narrowly staring towards Anna, but not exactly at her.
“Oh, yes,” A faint crease formed over forehead. “So that’s what I was forgetting?” said he, more to himself than to her.
Anger boiled in her system, as hot as lava. Eyes grew dry as a bone.
“But... I remember going to the kitchen to do it... but returned without doing it.” He ran a finger over his temple, scratching it light yet leaving a white streak behind. Eyes hung low while he scavenged the long-lost memory from his chaotic head. “Why?”
“Let me guess—it has something to do with your work, right?”
He snapped his fingers. “Yes. A client called-”
“Keep it to yourself.” The enraged steam puffed out as heated exhales—Hopeless. “I don’t wanna hear these excuses,” Shaking her head, she turned to return to her room.
But he tugged at her arms.
“Hey,” Apologetic eyes peered into hers. “Don’t be mad, I’ll do the dishes right away.”
“Oh, no, please don’t. You just go and do your effin work!” She snapped, snatching her arm back.
Tension broke out on his face—taken aback by her sudden outburst. He parted his lips, but Anna stopped her by outstretching her hand towards him.
“Just work and shower your child with money, but if you think this’ll make you a good father — you’re dead wrong. This will only make you a good bank for our child.” She paused, chest rising for four, falling for seven. “You know what...”
“… Sometimes I doubt, are you really doing it for our good lifestyle, or for your own thirst to get filthy rich?”
Her lips smacked together.
Jarring words reverberated inside—words that should’ve died inside, words that she should’ve never spilt out.
... at least not in front of him.
Her eyes met his narrow and intense ones. Jaw clenched and unclenched rhythmically with the veins near his temple. He fell dead silent.
Too late to take back any of what’s being said.
“I…” He coughed his throat clean. “I think, you should go and rest in your room,” He stole a glance at her before leaning in to grab the bottle.
Seeing him walk out from there, a conflict started within her. A conflict between her own thoughts that echoed with indecisiveness. A pang of guilt surged through her system.
His steps stopped.
Her thoughts drowned out.
“You’re overthinking, Anna.”
He turned to glance at her. The bottle dangled in his clutch.
“Being frank, I always craved a rich, a privileged lifestyle,” He adjusted his glasses before glancing through it — a faint smile melted on lips. “but not by neglecting my family. There will always be a balance, and I’ll make sure it stays that way. I promise.”
“you just need to trust me... you do trust me, right?”