Tia pulled up to the house, seeing Andy’s motorcycle wasn’t home and sighed. The last couple of weeks had been really hard on their relationship. When South called asking for Andy to come on tour with them till they found a better replacement other than the one that Sam sent. She was shocked when he told her that he wanted to do it, and she couldn’t believe that she found enough courage to say no. But that had set off a round of fights she never thought possible with her new husband. Even after everything that Howie had put her through, the fights they had gotten into, not once did he ever yell or call her names that Andy had called her that day. The pain of what Andy said was still fresh as her hand went to her belly knowing that she wanted more than anything to make this marriage work.
She parked the car in the garage and shut the door, thinking how long it had been since Andy had touched her… since the fight. She would come home from work, and he would be on the couch having a beer, not even saying hi to her. She didn’t want Andy mad at her; she hated it when people were angry at her. It made her sick to her stomach. So, she wanted to fix this, let Andy know that it wasn’t because she didn’t trust him on the road, but then stopped as she took the grocery bag from the car’s back seat. “But I don’t trust him when it comes to something like that.” She finally admitted wiping off a tear. “Am I the one being selfish?”
Her thoughts went back to Howie and how he was never abusive to her, never called her bad names. But he also hurt her with his lying and cheating. If there was one thing she knew for sure, touring makes even the most faithful of guys cheat. Look at Howie, and of course, there was Jimmy.
She had moved on from Howie and that way of life. She had fallen in love with a guy she thought loved her and wanted to start a life with her… not a stupid band.
Tia knew she was high-maintenance, it took her a little longer to understand things than other people, and she was always embarrassed by that fact. She wished she was smart like her sister Addison, who could do just about anything she set her mind to. Or be as confident and outspoken like Lynn. Maybe be like Margie, who had a glamorous job doing people’s hair and was able to talk to anybody, anytime, anyplace. And Mindy was very outgoing, even though she had some anxiety problems too. That’s how she wanted to be, but it never bothered her as much as it did right now. But there was one thing that she was good at, and that was cooking.
She walked into the small green kitchen, placing the bag on the counter and started to unpack. She was going to make Andy the best darn dinner he’d ever had! She picked up a steak, potatoes for baking, carrots for roasting, and for dessert, she was going to make him a two layered chocolate cake. Which for her to be making any food at the moment was a big deal since she was having a hard time smelling food and keeping it down, let alone making it. After dinner, she was going to take Andy into their bedroom and make love to him to show him that she wants him to be happy. “Food and sex, that should make any man smile.” She nodded and got to work.
The cooking was finished when she went to straighten up the house, and then went to get herself all fixed up in a silky nightgown, and her hair in curls, just like Andy liked it. She put on some pink lipstick, glad that she had traded an early shift with one of the girls in registration. She was walking to the front room when she heard Andy’s motorcycle pull into the driveway.
She hurried to the front door and waited. When Andy walked in, he was covered in dirt and not looking very happy. He dropped his lunch box to the floor, murmuring things under his breath when he finally looked up and saw that she was there. “Hi.” She waved.
“Hey, what are you doing home so early?” He asked, looking her over.
“Well, I thought I would surprise you with a romantic dinner tonight since I’m usually gone when you get home.” She said, trying to keep her hands still.
“Really, and what brought all this on?”
“I don’t want you to be mad at me anymore.”
That made him frown. “I’m not mad… anymore.”
“Yes, you are. When I come home now, you don’t even say hi to me.” She whispered.
Andy nodded but didn’t say anything about that. “And the nightgown?”
“I thought we could, well, you know, after dinner.” She admitted. “It’s been a while, don’t you think?”
Andy dropped his jacket to the floor. “Yes, it has,” He growled, tearing off his shirt and throwing it next to the coat showing her his heavily tattooed chest and neck. “But what if I don’t want to wait until after dinner?”
“Then you don’t have to.” She smiled as her hands stopped their trembling and instead reached out to the man unbuckling his pants as he walked towards her. He wrapped one arm around her waist and the other at the back of her head and then kissed her. It was a real kiss that was hungry for her and could taste the sweat on his lips and found it so sexy. Her arms wrapped around his neck as he worked his pants off and had already stripped her of the nightgown, before pulling her gently to the carpet. “I love you.” She whispered, looking into his eyes and caressing his face.
The look he gave was her was strange at first, but then he nodded. “Yeah, I love you too.” Was all he said before he gave her the affection that she so desperately wanted from him.
2 Weeks later…
She walked into the house from a very long day and ready to take off her shoes from her swollen feet and have some chocolate mint ice cream. She went into her doctor’s appointment that afternoon and told him that she still had difficulty eating and keeping food down. The doctor said to her that she should eat what she could, and that meant ice cream, grilled cheese, and whatever else that sounded good… or at least what was the least likely that made her sick.
When she came into the kitchen, the lights were off, and there was only the TV’s glow in the front room. “Andy?”
When he didn’t answer, she got herself a glass of milk, poured a flavor vitamin packet into it, and gave it a stir. She slipped off her shoes and coat, took her drink, and sipped on it, walking into the front room, thinking that Andy might have fallen asleep on the sofa, but he wasn’t there. She glanced at the time and saw it was a little after ten and thought maybe he had gone to bed. She finished up her milk and put it in the sink when she saw Andy walking around in the side yard.
She went out through the garage and was about to open the door when she heard him talking to someone. “Yeah, I know damn it, but I can’t just up and leave Tia when she’s so close to having the baby,” Andy growled.
Tia’s hand went over her mouth as she listened and figured it must have been Rex or South calling again to have him fly out and tour with them. But what she heard next, she just couldn’t have prepared for. “You know I want to be there with you guys, but I can’t… Yeah, I know that Win will look out for her while I’m gone.” Andy sighed. “Yeah, I know, I know, but I thought at the time this was what I wanted… that Tia was what I wanted. But know, I think I was wrong about the whole damn thing.” He said, and then there were a couple minutes of silence before he sighed again. “I get what you’re saying because when I come home and see her, damn if I don’t get pissed. I’ve wanted to tell her that I think we should separate… yeah, I know, yeah…” Andy agreed with whatever was being said on the other line.
Her hands went over her mouth, keeping her crying quiet so Andy wouldn’t hear, then went down the hall into their bedroom. She sat at the foot of the bed with her cell phone in her hand, wanting to call Addison. But the last thing she wanted was to bug her sister with another problem. Next, she got Mindy’s number and was about to call her, then stopped. “No, I can’t always depend on them to help me. I need to learn to do this on my own… like Andy said.” She whispered but couldn’t help the tears that kept coming. “I can do this, I will! I will make Andy see that he loves me and that he loves our baby, and our life together is more important than going on the road.” She said to herself, but the comfort she was hoping to feel from those words didn’t come. Instead, she stripped off her clothes and got her comfy socks, sweat pants, a loose shirt, and walked into the shower.
The tears came harder when she was all alone, and the water’s sound could block it out in case Andy came in. But he didn’t. She got out of the shower, got dressed, pulled her hair out of her face, and walked to the front room to get herself something to eat and then head to bed. When she walked into the front room, Andy sat on the sofa drinking a beer and watching something on his cell.
“What are you watching?” She asked.
“South and Rex’ last concert.” He answered, then took another sip of his beer.
“Oh, is that who you were talking to when I got home.
His eyes glanced up at her and looked her over. “How did you know I was on the phone?”
She tucked all the things she heard him say in the back of her mind. Wanting to make her marriage work and shrugged. “I saw you outside from the kitchen window. Then when you turned, I saw you were on the phone. So, I just figured it must have been South or Rex after seeing you watch their concert.”
“Ah, yeah… it was Rex. He was telling me about the new drummer and how he was a disaster at the last concert, and I was watching all the mistakes the guy made.”
“Oh, was he that bad?” She asked, going to sit on his lap.
“Yeah, he was that bad. That’s why Rex was calling me. They’re really hurting for a drummer so they can keep touring.” He said, patting her butt. “Why don’t you get yourself something to eat, I’m going to finish watching this and then head to bed. I have to get up early for another day of busting my ass for seventeen fucking dollars an hour.”
Tia got up and didn’t want to make him angry, so she just nodded instead. “Okay,” She whispered. She walked into the kitchen and looked at the back of Andy’s head, wishing she knew what he was thinking. Her hands ran over her belly as the baby kicked and went and made herself a milkshake. “I’m going to go lay down in bed so I can put my feet up.” She said, standing next to the sofa.
“Yeah, sounds good.” Was his answer.
With a sigh, she walked to their bedroom but stopped at the baby’s room instead. She flipped on the light to the soft pink room with white furniture and smiled. The one thing she always wanted to be was a mommy. To be a wife, have a man who loved her and comes home after work and play in the back yard with their kids while cooking dinner… even now, just the thought made her so happy. When she was younger, it had always been Howie’s last name she wrote on all her school books and folders. But that love was a lesson she had learned the hard way about love and lies. So when she met Andy, she thought she had finally met a guy who wanted the same things she did… but now wondered if she had made another mistake.
She turned off the lights and went to her bedroom, stopping at the door to listen if Andy was still watching the TV. When she was sure he was, she closed the door behind her and turned on the TV in the bedroom and sat on the edge of the bed with her cell phone in her hand, wanting to call Addison. She didn’t want to bug her sister, but she needed help knowing what to do or what to say to Andy. Without coming up with a better idea, she swiped her number. The phone rang a couple times before Ad answered. “Hey, sweetie, what’s going on?”
“Are you busy?”
“No, just sitting here relaxing with Win… why?”
“I didn’t want to bother you, but I need some help.” She said in hushed tones.
“Help, help with what? Isn’t Andy home?” Addison asked with a “now I’m wide awake tone.”
“Yes, but he’s the one I want to ask you a question about.”
“You want to talk to me about Andy? Is everything okay?”
“I don’t know. I thought everything was good, but I think I was wrong.” She admitted.
She could hear Win asking a question, and Addison getting up and moving away from the sounds of the TV. “What happened, did he hurt you?”
“No, he hasn’t hurt me, at least not in the way you’re thinking.”
“Then what is it?”
“Well, Rex has been calling…”
“Rex, since when?”
“I don’t know maybe two weeks ago now.”
“And what did Rex want precisely?”
“He and South want Andy to fill in for the drummer that Mac had hired, because I guess they didn’t like him.” She shrugged.
“That son of a… and what did Andy say to all this?”
“That he wanted to go. But I told him that I didn’t want him to… was that wrong of me? I mean, he got really mad at me when I said that to him. He said I was holding him back, and I was being selfish from stopping him from helping his best friends.” She whispered, trying to stop herself from crying again.
“Are you kidding me, he said that to you?” Addison hissed.
“Yes, but I don’t want to talk about that day, okay. I wanted to ask you if I was wrong to not want him to go.”
“No, that wasn’t wrong of you, sweetie. Your nine months pregnant, and that ass wants to go on tour like he was freaking single? What the hell is wrong with him?!” Addison snapped.
“I want to ask you a question, and I want you to tell me the truth, okay?”
“I heard Andy talking to Rex when I got home, but this time it sounded like he had made up his mind to leave. Should I say something about it or just leave it alone.” She asked.
“I don’t think he’s going to leave, I really don’t,” Addison assured her.
“I don’t think he’s happy, Addie. I think he wants to be on tour with South and Rex.” She said, without giving her sister everything that she heard Andy say.
“Do you really think that?”
“Yes, I really do.”
Addison was quiet again but then sighed. “I don’t think you have anything to worry about, sweetie. But I’ll have Win talk with him, you know, just to make you feel better.”
“Do you think that’s a good idea?” She asked, practically tearing a hole in the comfort from twisting it over and over again.
“Andy looks up to Win like a big brother… it will be fine, and then you will feel better, okay?”
“So, go put your feet up, and I’ll talk to you in the morning.”
“Love you too.” She sighed and then hung up. She got herself comfy on the bed, putting a pillow under her feet and sipped on her milkshake. About fifteen minutes later, she heard Andy’s phone go off and him calling down the hall.
“I’m heading out to have a beer with Win.” He shouted.
“Okay, have fun.” She called back and then crossed her fingers for some good news. Maybe she was overthinking all of this. Maybe this is just a guy thing, and Andy does love her, and she was reading more into what he said then she should’ve. Guy’s always say stupid things to their friends to make it look like their cool, right? But even as she thought that, there was a nervousness that she couldn’t shake. An hour later, all her fears came true…
“Tia! Tia!” Andy roared, but she didn’t leave the bed. Instead, he came bursting in the bedroom door, looking like he wanted to strangle her. “Did you tell Win that Rex was calling me?”
“No, I didn’t.”
“Then why in the hell did Win want to talk about going on tour with South and Rex?!” He growled, walking into the room.
She sat up and started twisting her hands together. “I didn’t talk to Win, I promise. I just wanted to ask Addie if I did the right thing by not wanting you to go… that’s all.”
“Why can’t you ever think for yourself? Why the fuck do you always have to tell Addison everything that’s going on in our damn lives!” He roared. “You’re such a pain in the ass. Now Win wants to tell me what I’m supposed to do. Well, fuck that, fuck him, and fuck you!”
“Andy, I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to make you mad…”
“You never mean to do anything, Tia! You’re not competent enough to do anything on your own, fuck!” He shouted, making her start to cry. He growled and came over and sat next to her on the bed. “I’m sorry, Tia, I really am. I’m sorry for yelling at you, okay.”
“Yeah, okay.” She whispered, wiping away more tears.
“It’s just that I can’t let my friends down when they need me. And you’re going to be a mom, so you need to learn to handle things on your own, right?”
“Yes, I guess you’re right.” She sniffed.
“Good, because I’ve decided that I’m leaving in the morning to meet the guys in Chicago.”
She glanced over at him and nodded. “Do you want to divorce me, Andy?”
He was quiet but then sighed. “No, I don’t want to get a divorce. I just want to help my best friends out. You have Win and Addison here to help you, and I promise I’ll be home for the baby.”
“But what if you’re playing that night when the baby comes?”
“Then I’ll tell the guys and be on that plane quicker than shit. Okay?”
“Okay.” She whispered.
“That’s my girl.” He grinned, giving her a quick kiss and then getting up off the bed. “You go to sleep; I need to make some arrangements before the morning and call Rex.” He said as he walked out of the room.
“Night.” She said, but Andy didn’t answer, he was already calling South. “Hey man, so I’m heading out. What, you guys are in Virginia? Yeah, I’ll head up to meet you, and then we can get my stuff... yeah, and say hi to Win. If you think that’s a good idea.” Andy laughed, going down the hall.
Tia pulled the covers over her and tucked the cell phone next to her chest. She wanted more than anything to call Addie and tell her what just happened, but Andy’s words were still fresh in her mind. She wanted to be smart like Addison, she wanted more than anything, not always be so full of fear and anxiety, but it was hard. But the one thing Andy said was right, she was going to be a mom, so she was going to have to get stronger, and that meant she needed to deal with this on her own.
The tears started to come fast, so she dug her head into the pillow so Andy wouldn’t hear her crying. Right before she fell asleep, she put her hands together and asked for the strength to get through this, and prayed it would come to her by the morning.