It was a marriage that was doomed to fail. Laura had grown up to love the simple things in life, and though Jared was far from simple, she loved him anyway. He wanted to give her the world, but she didn't want to pay the price, and it ultimately tore them apart. Their love for each other was strong, but was it strong enough?
“Oh no,” Laura whispered. “Jared, no please,” she pleaded.
Jared looked up at her as his father’s fist hit him hard in the face, knocking him off balance and to the floor. His father took a fighting stance, urging his son to his feet.
Laura’s hand covered her mouth as she watched them, wishing there was something she could do to stop the madness.
“Come on, boy, show me what you got,” his father taunted him.
“No!” Ruth’s voice anxiously called out, as she looked from one to the other. Jared remained crouched down on the floor, shaking his head and he let out an unfamiliar laugh. Slowly he rose from the floor, moving past his parents and up the stairs, glancing oddly at Laura as he past her.
Laura looked down at his parents whose eyes were on her. “I’m sorry,” she said, hurrying to the room she and Jared shared. She found him changing his clothes, clenching his keys tightly in his hand. She didn’t know what to say to him. Everything had become so messed up, creating distance between a family that had just been reunited after so many years. She approached him as he pulled his shirt over his body.
“Jared…” she began, but she didn’t know where to go from there.
“Just don’t fret yourself, Laura. You go back to mommy and daddy and have a good life,” he coldly snarled.
He started for the door when she grabbed him by the arm. “You can’t leave like this,” she implored.
He jerked his arm free from her grip. “Don’t touch me, don’t talk to me, just go and leave me the hell alone,” he demanded.
“Look, I’m sorry, okay? I don’t know what’s been going on, but this is not what I wanted,” she pleaded.
”We don’t always get what we want, Laura,” he scorned, staring hard at her through his watering eyes. She wanted to reach out to him, but his distance prevented it. He didn’t want to be comforted. He wanted her to leave him alone. He walked out the door without another word to her. She could hear his footstep as he rushed down the stairs, and she could hear the front door slam as he went through it, and the roar of his car engine as he started it. The wheels spun on the pebbled driveway as he took off. She sat at the edge of the bed with her face in her hands, when she heard Ruth tap at the bedroom door.
“May I come in?” Ruth’s voice questioned.
Laura humbly nodded her head, fearing Ruth would hear the emotion in her voice if she spoke. Ruth handed her a bundle of folded money. “Take this,” she told her.
“I can’t take that,” Laura insisted.
“Yes, you can. We feel responsible for this,” Ruth urged.
“But you’re not. If anyone is to blame, it’s me.” She looked up to see John quietly standing in the doorway.
“Take the money,” he insisted.
“I’m not after money. I’ll make my own way, or I won’t make it at all. Will he come back?” she asked with a second thought, not really knowing if they knew or not.
“It’s hard to predict,” Ruth replied. “You don’t have to leave you know?”
“Yes I do. I’ve done enough damage here. Maybe if he comes back, you can salvage something,” Laura reasoned.
“Not until I give him a good lashing,” John spoke up.
It felt cold outside after spending all that time in the warmth of the house. Laura waited at the entrance wall more than an hour, before Andrea to was to show up. Despite the fact that Ruth had offered to have her chauffeured home, Andrea was already on her way, and she didn’t want to impose on them any further.
She hadn’t figured out what she’d tell her parents. Maybe she’d lie, which she hated to do, but the truth seemed too harsh for them to know right now. The sight of Andrea’s car was a welcomed relief. She pulled up in front of the opened gate, and got out of the car, opening the trunk for her one bag.
“Who’s that?” Andrea questioned, looking beyond Laura to a man leaning against his car in the distance.
Laura turned her attention to where Andrea’s eyes were poised; surprised to see Jared’s car parked a few yards from them. He stood in front of it, with his arms folded over his chest, watching them.
“My husband,” Laura told her.
“You want to talk to him or something?” Andrea asked.
She would have loved to talk to him, but he’d had plenty of opportunity to do that, if he’d desired to. He preferred to keep his distance, and she would respect his decision, by doing the same. She could see his baby blues staring at her, but he made no motion, as she waved at him before getting into the car.
“You and him biting it?” Andrea pried, taking a better look as they drove past him, noticing that his eyes were still focused on them.
“Biting it?” Laura ignorantly repeated.
“Yea, you know, biting the dust, ending it? Getting a d-i-v-o-r-c-e?” she spelled it out.
“It kind of looks like things are heading in that direction,” Laura defeatedly resigned.
“He’s such a hunk, Laura!” Andrea gushed, looking back at him for one last look. “Mmmmm. He could lay his body in my bed anytime,” she joked.
“Andrea!” Laura scolded. “You’re a married woman.”
“I know, but he looks good, Laura. Real good. How can you give that up? Or was it his idea?” she pried.
“It’s a long story. A lot has happened in the past twenty four hours,” Laura told her.
“Well we’ve got four hours, start talking,” Andrea urged.
Laura told her the whole story from beginning to end, on the long drive home, with Andrea every now and then, making a remark or some odd sound in response. The last hour of driving seemed like the longest one. The further away they got, the more Laura felt the separation. It was as if a part of her had been ripped from her body. She had loved him for so long, and worked so hard to get him. Separating from him was not what she really wanted, but she was angry with him for everything, but her love for him was as strong as ever, and she feared she would soften and give in to what ever he wanted of her, disregarding what she herself wanted. She didn’t look forward to facing her parents. They had grown to love him, and she didn’t want to spoil those feelings.
“Tell them he had to help his father,” Andrea suggested, which seemed like a logical thing to tell them. ‘Yes,’ she would explain just that, but what about their distance? How could she explain how he never called her? Nor, she him. Or why they never saw each other. She assumed that soon he would file for divorce, and then the truth would come out. She felt sick to her stomach. Her nerves were on edge the closer they got to home, but home was a welcomed sight, when they finally approached it. Laura’s mother met her at the door with an embrace.
“Where’s Jared?” she asked, looking beyond her daughter for him.
All the explaining was about to begin. She took a deep breath as she entered the house.