“This’ll do? This place is huge!”
“Yeah, compared to your mom’s basement; I - I just don’t like it. The brick everywhere is too much for me.”
“I think it’s pretty, kinda reminds me of you.” She gave me a sideways glance. I just shrugged, “Don’t know why, Ann, I just look at it and think of you. Maybe it’s that beautiful, but different vibe it’s got going on.”
Anastasia turned to me, “Your charm isn’t going to work anymore Meyers, we’re married, three years strong. And stop saying vibe, you’re twenty-five.”
“You love it.”
“I can assure you that, that’s a lie.”
“You love me.”
She rolled her eyes, “Even if that was true- which it’s not-”
“Lies,” I interjected.
“It’s not! But, if it was, you’re still not winning this. I don’t like it, I don’t want it.”
I nodded, “I respect your decision. But-”
She groaned, “You just want out of your mom’s house.”
“So badly. But, just hear me out, alright? Think for a second. This place is just rented; we live here for a year, if it doesn’t grow on you then we move. Besides, even I’ll let you decorate.”
“As a woman, I’m not going to say that offer isn’t very interesting.”
“Then say yes.”
"Fine. Then... give me a dance in the place before we leave.”
“A dance, really?” I nodded, “You’re really pulling out the big guns, but a dance isn’t going to change anything this time.”
“It might. When you can really feel the apartment, and imagine us living a life here, it’ll change your mind.”
“It won’t, Tyler, I’m serious.”
I just pulled her closer to me, “I’m sure you’re serious,” I pulled away to look her in the eyes, “I’m serious too.”
The apartment lease would be up a few weeks after the triplets were born. Yet only a week after getting the house - our house - it was furnished, well, Anastasia had bought everything for the house to be furnished. Now all we need to do was arrange everything the way she wanted it.
She and I got Mackenzie, Ryan, Caesar, and Debra to help paint last time and they were back to help me and the movers. I’d also wrangled Elijah so that Anastasia could meet him, but she didn’t know that.
I set up a comfortable chair for Anastasia to sit in, that was close enough to all the action for her to direct.
“I’m serious, Ana, don’t get up without help.”
“What if someone is really messing up and they need help?”
“They have to help you up.” I said simply.
“What if I have to pee and you’re not around?”
“Literally or on the phone?”
I shrugged, “Just call me.”
She nodded and looked around the room at everyone that was coming in. “Alright, can we start with the moving truck? That’ll be the easiest, it’s just stuff from the apartment.”
“Yeah, where do we take them?”
“Garage - no, wait, the basement. Our basement, I love saying that.”
I told everyone what to do and we all headed outside. I was carrying a box in when someone called me, I stack my box on top of what a moving guy was holding.
“Just dumb decorative stuff,” I told him, “won’t break.”
He nodded and walked off, I moved out if the way if the guys carrying the couch as I answered the phone.
“Where the hell is your house? I’ve driven down this damn street like five times.”
“Relax, E, we’re the house with like five trucks in the driveway. Hard to miss. What street are you on?”
“Johansson Avenue -”
I folded up my sleeves, “Nope, dude, we’re on Virginia Parkway. My place isn’t invisible, you’re just dumb.”
“That’s...” his defensive trailed off as he said, “nothing new.”
“Old news, indeed.”
He sighed, “Alright, I’ll be there... whenever - soon.”
“I’ll see you then, man.” I hung up and went to grab another box.
We were nearly done with the first truck when I heard the honk of a horn. I turned to see Elijah waving and stepping out of his car, right on cue I felt my phone vibrate in my pocket.
“Yes, honey?” I answered in a mock sweet tone. This was the tenth time she’d called me... in fifteen minutes.
“I thought everyone was here, what’s that? Is that us?”
“Yes, I invited someone over to help. Here we come.” I hung up, feeling a hand clamp on my shoulder.
“Was that the missus?”
“Why the beaming smile, Elijah? She doesn’t like you.”
“Correction: she doesn’t know me.”
“Technically, she doe- you know what, no. Not today; I’m not getting roped into this fucking conversation again. Let’s go, the queen has requested to see you.”
I lead him to the living room, explaining what we were doing on the way there. I wasn’t too surprised when I didn’t find her in the chair.
“Anastasia Sofia Marie Scott-Meyers!” I called out. After a while, she waddled into the room with the help of Kenzie and a mover. It was so cute I almost forgot that I was supposed to be ‘mad’. Keyword being: almost. I kept up the front.
“What’s up, Tyler Christopher Evan Meyers?”
“What did I say?”
She pretended to think. “You said, don’t get from that seat,” she pointed to the chair, “without help... and I listened.”
“You so did not.”
“Did too. Husband...” she grabbed the sides of the faces of the two next to her, “meet my help. I think you know Mac and this is Johnathan, Johnny for short. We’ve been learning a lot about him and his past.”
“Almost makes us feel boring, ya know?” Mackenzie asked me.
“No, I don’t and, no offense Johnathan-”
“No offense Johnny, but I don’t care. I just came to introduce Anastasia to Elijah, then I got more stuff to do outside.”
“Oh,” Anastasia said, sitting down in the chair, “then hi... E- is it Elijah?”
“It sure is,” he stuck a hand out, but she hesitated.
“This is the guy responsible for my tattoo.”
“Thank you, you really saved me the money I was going to use to brand him myself.”
“It was my pleasure, and my job as best man.”
I rolled my eyes, “I think your job was just to plan the bachelor party and make sure I didn’t psych myself out.”
“We’ve been friends for almost eighteen years, buddy, you deserved more than that.” He put his hand on my shoulder just to mess with me, leaving it there as I tried to shrug it off.
“...Do I know you, have we met before?” Anastasia asked him.
She snapped her fingers, “Yeah, I had a memory or- or a dream about you. I don’t really remember what it was about... whatever, it doesn’t matter.”
She shook his hand, “I guess you already know me, since you guys have been friends so long.”
“Yo, John,” a voice came through the walkie-talkie on Jonathan’s belt, ”tell the wife we’re moving on to the next truck.”
“Copy that,” he responded.
“Okay, you three boys can go,” Anastasia told us. I was about to tell her no when she said, “Yes, go ahead.” She rolled her eyes, “I’ll stay here.”
“You better,” I walked toward her, “I’m serious.”
“I’m serious too, I’m tired so I’ll sit down, okay?” I nodded, “Give me a kiss before you go?”
I leaned down and gave her a kiss, when I came up I put a finger to her lips, “This doesn’t make me any less serious.”
“Alright, alright,” she said after waving my finger away. “Now go. Direct those men, because I promise if they break something important they will die.”
I wiped some sweat out of my eye and went to start on the table. Anastasia had bought a new dining room table that was going to be hell to put together, so I grabbed Eli and Ryan to help.
“I’m sure you could just get another one of the guys to do all this crap,” Elijah told me as he opened the box. “You’ve been moving stuff all day.”
I coughed, “Yeah, well, their getting paid by the hour, that’s why I was helping them instead sitting on my ass. The faster they leave; the less I have to pay.”
I’d pulled out everything for the table by then and when Elijah looked down he let out a whistle. “Yep,” I said.
“Why do we have to put this together again?”
“Because I’m cheap, but I love my wife and want to keep her.”
“... You sure?”
I punched his arm and looked over at Ryan; he sat pretty much just staring into space. “Hey, you,” I slapped him upside the head, “what’s wrong with you?”
I saw his eyes kind of jet to Elijah, then back to me, “Uh, nothing. Let’s get this table done, yeah?”
“Yeah... Hey, E,” he looked up at me, “think you could go help the guys downstairs? I really don’t trust that Anastasia won’t get up if they’re unsupervised.”
“Sure, bud.” He made his way out and when I knew he was far enough away, I sat down on the floor and started on the table.
Ryan helped and was quiet for a while. Finally, he said, “Mac told me something and it messed me up, that’s all.”
“Oh, yeah? Was it something about the studio?”
“No. That’s what I thought it was about when she said she needed to talk, but no.”
“I mean, I’m in a relationship with Amanda and I love her, but... you know what, this is what I get. I knew we were getting back together, but I used it as an excuse to -”
“Whoa, Ryan, what did you do?”
“I got Mackenzie pregnant,” he rushed out.
I dropped the screwdriver I was holding, “Holy shit.”
“Holy shit is right; what the hell am I supposed to do, man?”
“Um - uh, tell Amanda, I think.”
“Ugh, Mandy, how am I supposed to tell her? How am I supposed to work with Mac after this? How-”
“Have you actually talked to Mackenzie about any of this?”
“I can’t talk to her. I can’t even look at myself in the mirror. What could I possibly say that won’t sound like the most douche-y thing to ever come out of anyone’s mouth?”
“Look, dude, I’m sure she’s even more freaked out than you. So, just talk to her, like she’s human. Tell her you wanna meet up and just talk. If she wants, you could meet up at the office or maybe on some neutral grounds. She’ll want to talk, I know it.”
“Yes. Yes, you’re right,” he said, more trying to convince himself. “Just talk to her... when exactly?”
“Whenever, now if you want.”
He dropped his own screwdriver, “I should do it now, before I lose the nerve. Just talk to her, just talk...” he repeated to himself a he got up and started walking out. “I’m gonna do it. Thanks, man. How’d you get so wise and all?”
“I’ve been practicing. I’m gonna be a dad soon and they’re going to need advice and I want to be the one they turn to.”
“I’m sure they will; you’re going to be a great dad, Ty.”
“Thanks, I hope so. Just talk to her.”
He pointed to me before walking away, “Just talk to her...”