That Freelance Kid

Chapter 3

Ema found Klavier leaning on the arm of the couch, looking down at the floor with a hand frozen in his hair.

"Klavier..." Ema said. Klavier visibly tensed at her voice, though her tone had ceased to be judgmental.

She walked and stood right in front of him. His gaze still didn't leave the floor. The two stood like that for a while, completely silent except for that faint ticking of a clock that hung on the wall. Ema couldn't stand the silence any longer. She put a finger under her husband's chin, and gently brought his head back up. His eyes looked straight into hers. The glaze he had while drunk was completely gone; replaced by clarity and sadness.

"Why are you acting like this?" Ema asked softly, almost whispering. "I don't understand..."

Klavier waited a moment, before replying. "There is nothing to understand, Ema."

With that, Ema's anger came back full swing. "Nothing to understand, Klavier? I want to understand why you were dancing with April, why you got so wasted, and what the hell you're doing when you're going off without a word. So how can you tell me there's nothing to understand?"

Klavier narrowed his eyes. "Ah, let me retract my earlier statement, meine liebe. I meant there is nothing you would understand, ja?"

Ema stepped back, and placed hands on her hips. "And whatis that supposed to mean, huh?" She yelled.

"It means exactly what it sounds like."

"It sounds like you can't trust me!"

Without warning, Klavier began to laugh. It was a loud, bitter laugh, and even though Ema's outward appearance seemed calm, she was actually very unsettled.

"I can't trust you, Ema? And tell me, who is the one who has been accusing me of an affair for almost the whole night, huh?" Klavier asked as he stepped directly in front of Ema.

"How am I supposed to trust you when you've been giving me the cold shoulder all night?" Ema fumed.

Klavier was silent, and continued to stare down at her. Finally, Ema spoke again.

"Klavier...just tell me. Are you having an affair?"

Klavier threw up his hands, and walked over to the coffee table. "Didn't you just hear what I said!?" He yelled.

"I heard what you said, Klavier, and you still didn't give me an answer!" Ema shouted.

"Nein, Ema! How many times have I said nein!? I'm not cheating on you! I would never cheat on you!"

"Then what have you been doing, Klavier!?"

"Ema, for God's sake-"

"Answer me, Klavier!"

"I have not been cheating, I swear!"

"That doesn't answer the question! You can tell me that all night if you want, but until you answer me, I'm not letting it go."

"Ema, please!"

"Don't 'please' me Klavier! Just answer the damn question!"

"Ema!"

"Just answer me! What are you hiding from me!?"

Suddenly Klavier bellowed in frustration, picked up a vase from the coffee table, and threw it with all the force he could muster at the ticking clock on the wall. It missed the clock, but the force of the vase on the surrounding wall caused the clock to shatter to the ground, and the glass from the clock and the vase sat in a puddle of water and flowers.

Klavier was staring at the wall, his breathes coming in hard, unevern bursts. Slowly, he turned around to face Ema. Her face was pale and her eyes were wide with fear. It took Klavier a moment to realize she was shaking, and his features softened as he realized the severity of what he had done.

"Oh... oh my God, Ema. I'm so sorry." Klavier said gently. Ema still stared at him, silent and fearful. Before he could say anything else, Ema had run down the hall.

Klavier watched as she left, then began to mutter curses under his breath. He went into the closet and found a broom and dustpan, and began to sweep up the shattered glass and flowers. By the time he was finished and had just thrown everything away, Ema came back, rolling a small suitcase behind her.

"Where..." Klavier cleared his throat. "Where are you going, Ema?"

"Away from here. Maybe Lana's, maybe a friend's. I don't know, but it's none of your business." Ema said coldly.

"Are you...will you be coming back?" Klavier asked, his voice a near whisper.

"Maybe, Klavier. I don't know yet. I really...I really need some time to think." Ema walked towards the front door slowly and mechanically, as if she wasn't sure the ground would crumble beneath her feet.

Just as she was about to turn the knob, Klavier spoke up. "Ema, I'm sorry." The only reply Klavier received was sound of the door slamming shut. Klavier stood there for while, listening to the car start, then roll out of the driveway, onto the street. As soon as he was sure Ema was gone, he plopped onto the couch, buried his face in his, and began to cry, his sobs heard by no one but himself.

Little did he know, that in the car, Ema crying just as hard and feeling just as alone.

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