Disclaimer: I don't own Stevie. So stop bothering me.
Summary: A series of wives/etc talk about leaving their sig. others. The first one starts with...you guessed it...Stevie. Inspired by the line "how do you leave a good man?" in another fic.
Rating: Very tame
AN: I know nothing about these ppl and their lives..so if I get facts wrong, it's b/c I don't know them nor do I stalk them on a regular basis. Also, none of these stories have actual set timeframes. This one is a few years into the future. It's a bit warbly...deal with it.
She wakes up with his breath on her neck. When she moves around a bit he tightens the hold he has around her waist and nuzzles his head against the back of her neck.
A sharp intake of breath and a few tears blinked away later and she’s able to pull herself away. She brushes her teeth and washes her face. She stares at herself in the mirror for as long as possible before blinking and looking at the other figure in the background moving around.
She closes her eyes as he presses a kiss against her jaw line. “Morning, Lisa.”
One deep breath. “Morning, Steve. I’m gonna go wake the girls.”
She jostles the girls awake. Haphazardly she chooses outfits out of their closets. Maria and Isabella will presumably put them back and grab their own clothes. But she still can’t shake the habit.
She walks downstairs and waits for the girls. She pours thee different kinds of cereal in three different bowls. She waits until they stomp down the stairs before pouring the milk.
She hears a ding.
She turns around and pulls the bagel from the toaster. She slathers it with cream cheese, places it on a plate, and puts in on the table. Steve sips his coffee and talks to the girls.
“Jean called,” she interrupts. He looks up mid-bite, the bagel frozen against his mouth. “Are we having Thanksgiving there or here?”
He swallows and licks the cream cheese off his lips. He smiles. “Whatever you want, dear.”
She wants to scream.
She wishes she was a waitress.
“Why are we even here?”
“I don’t know!” she cries, frustrated.
“Don’t you love me?”
“Of course, I love you,” she replies shrilly.
“Then I don’t understand why we’re here!” he yells.
“Why don’t we take a breather? Take a few seconds to collect your thoughts.”
She bites her lip, searching her head.
“I’m not happy.”
Steve takes the girls to school.
She does the laundry. She unloads the dryer and reloads it with the wet clothes from the washer. She folds the towels and places them on the shelf. She has to pull a chair from the other room so that she can reach the top shelf.
Before she takes the next pile to put on the shelf she buries her nose in the still warm sheets. She smothers her crying against their folds.
“What does this have to do with me?”
“Don’t you care? Don’t you even want to try to fix things?”
“Fix what? There’s nothing to fix.”
“That’s why we’re here! You don’t even see--”
A soothing voice stops her. “I think she means that there are things that need fixing, whether you’re aware of them or not.”
He folds his arms. “Then what are they? What are they?”
“I don’t know,” she sobs.
“I can tell these sessions are really working,” he snaps.
She forgot to make the lunches. She packs two paper bags and drives them over to the girls’ schools. She smiles at the receptionist and explains the problem.
The woman nods and comments on her husband. She doesn’t want to make small talk so she makes up some lie and leaves the building as quickly as she came.
She goes home and vacuums. She wants the house to be spotless. She travels from room to room, the whirring from the machine inside her ears, inside her head. She hopes it blocks out the conversations echoing in her head.
He tries. Relationships, expectations, the future, emotions about particular events--they cover it all. They eventually settle on talking as if the other isn’t in the room.
“I love him.”
“I love her.”
“He gives me everything. He‘s always there for me.”
“She’s the love of my life. The most amazing woman I’ve ever met.”
“He’s so supportive--he’s been there for every endeavor I’ve undertaken.”
“She’s a great mother.”
“A great father.”
“She owns way too many shoes.”
“It’s hard when he’s on the road.”
“I was always scared I’d miss something important while I was away.”
“He never forgets birthdays or anniversaries. He always gives me roses.”
“She doesn’t need makeup.”
“He sneaks the girls candy when they don’t finish dinner and I tell them they can’t have dessert.”
“I couldn’t imagine my life without her.”
“I think I could.”
She finishes scrubbing the toilets and empties the dishwasher. She dusted two days ago so she just gives the kitchen floor a good mop before heading upstairs.
She pulls a suitcase from the closet shelf. She packs toiletries and clothes. Once one suitcase is filled, she begins to pull clothes from the closet, hangers still intact. Armful by armful she walks them down the stairs to the guest room. She heads back upstairs and removes all her makeup, all her jewelry, and everything from her side of the bathroom. She takes it all downstairs.
Then she heads back upstairs and stares at the immaculately clean room. She stares at the half empty closet. She’s surgically removed herself from the room.
She sits on the bed next to the suitcase. She drums her fingers on it as she stares at the closet.
She stands up and stares at his shirts. Her hands run over the neat line of hangers. She grabs one of his shirts and shoves it in her suitcase.
She cries and spends the rest of the afternoon sitting in the closet.
“We’re going in circles.”
“Are we, Steve?”
“Yes,” he replies, acknowledging the third person. “I mean, I don’t understand this at all. Why aren’t you happy? Is it something I did? Do we need to go out more? Move?”
She doesn’t answer.
“What makes you think it’s something you did?”
“I don’t know.” Exasperation enters his voice. “Is it? Lisa?” She doesn’t answer.
“Does it matter?”
“Yes. If we know what the problem is then--”
“Then you can fix it.”
“What if you can’t?”
“What if she doesn’t want you to fix it?”
“So you’re saying she wants to stay unhappy?”
He clasps her hand. “Lisa, I’m here because I care about you. I care about our relationship.”
“You’re here because I told you to come.”
“I’m here because you asked me to come.”
She picks up Sophia and brings her home. While Sophia watches t.v. she makes a note on the refrigerator to buy dog food for Magee.
She calls Ron and confirms Thanksgiving plans. She pulls some frozen meat out of the freezer and puts in the refrigerator to defrost. She glances at the clock.
She makes multiple treks up and down the stairs, removing her clothes and things from the guest room and returning them to their bedroom. If Sophia notices, she doesn’t say anything.
She unpacks her suitcase. She irons Steve’s shirt and hangs it back up on his side of the closet.
She stares at the clock and counts the seconds.
“What can I do to make you happy?”
“I don’t know.”
“But some other guy can make you happy?
“I don’t know.”
“What do you know?”
“That you can’t make me happy.”
He lowers his head and cries.
She waits a moment before dropping the bomb. “I want a divorce.”
She joins in on his sobs.
Steve returns home with Isabella and Maria. She doesn’t bother wondering where he’s been all day. She makes snacks for the girls. She tells them to be good and reminds them of the emergency numbers posted on the refrigerator.
She slips into he passenger seat of his car and he drives. They arrive at the office with five minutes to spare. He reads the Sports Illustrated in the waiting room; she reads an old issue of Good Housekeeping.
They’re eventually buzzed in. Half way through the session, Steve has a revelation.
“I can’t make you happy.” He pauses. “You have to make yourself happy.” He stops, but the therapist nods him on. “So if you think a separation will help, then I guess we’ll have to. And maybe it will. Maybe it’ll help you discover who you used to be and why you’re so unhappy. Because I don’t think it’s our marriage that’s making you unhappy. I think it’s you.” He sighs and smiles. “And the girls and I will be there for you all the way.”
He smiles again and the therapist smiles too. She’s surprised there’s no one clapping and that there’s no parade. The two talk some more, then turn to her and smile.
She smiles back and doesn’t tell either she doesn't think she’s in love with Steve anymore.
end part uno