October 2nd 2017
She snuggled further into his chest, looking up at him as she spoke. “You promise you’ll call?” Hope shone in her eyes as she asked the question, though she knew that he would call.
He always called.
“I promise.” He exhaled against her lips, his eyes closed.
She sighed and buried her face in the crook of his neck, breathing in the scent of his manly cologne. She had bought it for him for his last birthday. He made sure to always wear whenever he was with her. “I’m going to miss you.” She admitted softly, her eyes downcast as she focused on the skin on his rather than his face.
“I’m going to miss you too, baby.” He whispered back, rubbing one hand down her back soothingly. “I’ll take you out to dinner when you get back.” He promised her with full intent of doing just that.
“I’m looking forward to it.” There was a part of her that wished that she didn’t have to go home and visit family, that wished her sister wasn’t getting married. Jane feared that while she was away for the week, Calvin would crawl back to the woman whom the law stated was his legally wedded wife. If that happened, then Jane would be by herself, and she couldn’t imagine living that life again.
He pulled back a little and held her by the shoulders so he could look at her one last time before she left. “Me too. Now travel safely.”
“I will.” She smiled up at him. “I love you.”
He smiled too. “I love you too.” He repeated back to her, pulling her back into his arms and leaning down for one last kiss before she had to board her flight.
He only hoped that this week without her flew by.
Audrey was sat on the sofa working on her laptop when he got back home.
It seemed like his few days of freedom and solitude had come to an end. There would certainly be no peace of mind for him if she was back.
Much to his surprise, she didn’t greet him when he stepped into the living room and nor did she give any indication that she had even seen him. But then he noticed that she had her earphones in and was actually speaking to someone on the laptop.
Calvin didn’t say anything at first, and just went into the kitchen to grab himself a drink.
Pulling open the fridge door and scanning its contents with his eyes, he settled for a bottle of sparkling cider. He closed it gently to not draw her attention towards him and leaned against the doorway of the kitchen, standing in the prime position to observe her.
“I got home a few hours ago.” She paused, a small smile on her face. Calvin hadn’t seen her smile in what felt like months, years. And it probably was that.
He couldn’t tear his eyes away from her as she sat on the couch, dressed in a large hoodie and a pair of sweatpants, talking animatedly on the laptop screen. From the way that she was talking and the people that she spoke of, Calvin gathered that she was talking to her brother, Isaac Vaillant.
It was only when her eyes flickered away from the screen did she falter, the carefree smile now slipping off her face as her lips pulled down into a neutral line. Her eyes stayed glued on his standing figure on the doorway longer than necessary before she returned her attention back to her brother.
A few more minutes passed before she told her brother that she loved him and ended the call, the smile disappearing off of her face once the screen went black.
He watched as she shut the laptop and stood up, not speaking a word to him before heading upstairs.
Maybe it was best this way.
The pair didn’t speak a word to each other until they both sat across from one another at the kitchen counter to tuck into the juicy pieces of steak that she had cooked for dinner.
Even when she was mad at him she found herself looking up at him longingly, silently hoping that he would just open his eyes and realise that he was sabotaging themselves, that he was ruining their chances of a happy life together.
Exhaling rather loudly, she pursed her lips and stabbed her fork into the steak, attacking it rather viciously with her teeth as she chewed the meat, not sparing him another glance.
He wasn’t worth it and she knew it, but she just couldn’t take herself away from him. They were good together, and she knew it. But for now, she couldn’t just forgive him for everything that he did wrong, their relationship wouldn’t be able to survive nor grow that way. She would just have to push him in the right direction.
It was only when he had finished his dinner and begun nursing his beer did he address her, even though he had spent the majority of the dinner staring at her, wondering what she was thinking about.
“Have you signed the papers yet?” He asked nonchalantly, not sparing a thought for her feelings as he jumped right to the question he so badly wanted answering.
She sipped her water, not sparing him a glance. “What papers?” She asked, chewing on the last morsel of steak.
She didn’t say anything else to him as she stood up and grabbed both of their plates, throwing away the scraps of leftovers. Audrey could feel his eyes staring holes into her back as she washed and dried the dishes, but she didn’t turn around. It was about time that she started standing her own ground.
He ground his teeth, annoyed at the way she was behaving. He wasn’t used to her being so difficult. “You know what I’m talking about.”
She shook her head gently, looking up at him, waiting for him to explain. “Actually, no, I don’t.” She stated, lying expertly through her teeth.
She knew exactly what he was talking about, but didn’t plan on making this easy for him.
“Oh, stop playing innocent, Audrey. Innocent doesn’t suit you.” He growled at her, clutching the beer bottle in his hand, tighter. In his head, he imagined that the bottle in his hand was her neck. But he didn’t dare waste nor thoughts on her. She just wasn’t worth it.
“What’s that supposed to mean?”
“We both know I’m talking about the divorce papers.”
She offered him a coy smile. It barely reached her lips. “You should be more specific next time.”
“So have you signed the papers or not?” He demanded, not at all enjoying the way that she was toying around with him.
“No.” She stated as she walked out of the kitchen and began walking towards the living room where her bag was placed on the couch, not bothering to give him an explanation.
He would follow her, she was sure of it.
Audrey was walking on the edges now and they both knew it. Calvin would soon run out of patience and then their usual argument would begin. “Why not?” He asked, his voice both rough and loud as he glared daggers at her.
“I’m never going to sign those papers.” She stated firmly, lifting her chin up in defiance. She would not back down and she most certainly wouldn’t let anyone sway her decision.
“Why the hell not?!”
“Because I don’t want a divorce, damnit!” She spun around, facing him. Her eyes flashed with anger as she stared him straight in the eye, glaring at him. How had he become so inconsiderate? “You’re not the only one in this marriage, you know? There’s two of us!”
He chuckled, the sound of it bitter and cold, not at all humorous. “This isn’t a marriage, and we both know it.”
“Then what is it?” She questioned despite knowing that she would not take joy in the answer that he was sure to provide.
“It’s a sham, that’s what it is.” Calvin felt no remorse in saying in slandering his marriage, in slandering in what they both had because in his mind, they had nothing but a few legal documents between them.
“Legally, we’re married. And I’m not signing those divorce papers even if it’s the last thing I do.”
Calvin groaned, frustrated. “Why can’t you just sign the papers and let us both be free?”
“Because I love you, you idiot! I don’t want to be free.”
He was thrown off at first, surprised at her confession. But soon reigned himself in, clenched his jaw and shouted back at her, not enjoying the way that she had raised her voice at him. “You can’t force me to stay married to you.” He didn’t know what else to say, he was still reeling from the fact that she had admitted that she had loved him, even after all these years and months.
“And you can’t force me to sign those papers.” She remained grounded, refusing to budge.
“There has to be some middle ground here that we can both agree on.” He sighed, just wishing that all of this could end so that he could go back to Jane. And then he remembered that she was away, and that he needed to sort this mess out if he wanted a chance at a future with his love; his Jane.
Audrey didn’t hesitate then to reach behind and grab her satchel from the sofa. Calvin watched confused as she rifled through her bag for a few moments before producing a thin wad of paper stapled on the top, left hand corner.
He didn’t say a word as she handed it to him, looking at him expectantly. “This is the middle ground.” She stated quietly, knowing that he wouldn’t be satisfied if she explained it, so she just settled for letting him read it for himself.
He didn’t ask what she meant because he was already sat down on the couch, reading through the contents of the stack of papers that she had handed him.
It was a contract.
“There’s no way in hell I’m agreeing to this!” He growled at her, furious as he stormed up the stairs and into his bedroom. In his anger, he hadn’t realised that he was still clutching the contract that she had given him tightly in his hands.
He refused to adhere to her absurd rules.