A Soft Place to Land: Chapter Twenty-Nine

Sorry guys, the St. Louis Blues are in the Western Finals and it’s really playing havoc with my writing schedule.  I am going to try my best to stay on schedule this week but like I said, it’s the FINALS. 

One Week Later…

In the guest room Marah lay on the bed while she stared up at the ceiling and berated herself for possibly being the dumbest person alive.  The idea of separating made so much sense a week ago.  But then again a lot of things made more sense a week ago.  But here, in the stillness of early morning with soft light shining through the window Marah admitted to herself that she missed him.  She missed the man who lay not thirty feet away sleeping peacefully in their marriage bed.

The past week had been a mixed bag of emotional torture.  At times she could feel Tony’s irritation rolling off of him in waves.  Then there was the confusion, the hope, and of course love.  He loved her so he had agreed to this set up, as unconventional as it may be.

But even though he may have agreed he didn’t exactly make it easy for her either.  Two days after their talk on the patio she woke to find her husband in the kitchen cheerfully humming to himself as he cooked her breakfast.  And as he set the plate of pancakes in front of her he had smiled and Marah felt her lady bits quiver.  Actually quiver.  That smile was like a double shot of tequila, potent and potentially dangerous to her health.

And then the other night he had arrived home after working out at the gym all flushed and sweaty.  She knew for a fact that he always showered at the gym so his disheveled appearance was a bit jarring.  But his intentions were crystal clear as she had carried Lanie upstairs to find her husband looking wickedly sexy with nothing but a white fluffy towel wrapped around his trim waist.  Droplets of water from his shower clung to his hair and his chest.  And she had literally felt her mouth go as dry as the Sahara desert.  She had practically ran into Lanie’s room before she listened to her traitorous heart that kept questioning why she would deny herself love when it was right across the hall.

Then the other night she had to work late finishing up her designs for The Lakeview and Buzz had arrived delivering a turkey club sandwich and a message from Tony saying that he didn’t want her “wasting away”.

With a groan Marah rolled over and covered her head with the pillow.  It didn’t take a genius to figure out what Tony was doing.  He was showing her the sweetness she had seen in him from the very beginning.  The part of him that only a cherished few got to see.

If only that were the problem.  If it were she would probably be back across the hall already making love to her husband instead of lying here frustrated and annoyed.

The cry from Lanie’s room broke the silence and gave Marah an excuse to end her musings.  Opening the door she went to step into the hall when the door to her and Tony’s room opened as well.  With sleep-disheveled hair and morning stubble on his face Tony look too good this morning, especially for the mood she was in.  And certainly those flannel pants riding low on his hips didn’t help matters.  “Jesus Tony!” Marah huffed, “Don’t you own a shirt?”

Tony wanted to laugh at the look of frustration on his wife’s face but thought better of it.  Instead he innocently looked down at his attire, or lack thereof, and shrugged, “This is what I always wear to bed Marah.”

With a growl in her throat Marah crossed her arms across her chest, “You keep on flashing your, your,” She lifted one arm and gestured to his half naked form, “manliness around here thinking that I am going to swoon.”

Placing a hand innocently on his chest Tony tried to look affronted, “Why Marah, I would never be that sneaky.”

“Whatever.  You want to play Mr. Santos?  Two can play at that game.” Without another word Marah marched across the hall and went into their bedroom.  She pulled open Tony’s favorite drawer in her dresser, the one that housed her lingerie.  Loading her arms with the lace and silk nighties she returned to the guest room without giving Tony a second look.  The door slamming shut set off another round of Lanie crying and Tony continued to his original destination.

Leaning over the crib he lifted his daughter’s screaming form into his arms. “Lanie your dad sure likes to get a rise out of your mommy.”  Placing her on the changing table me made quick work of the soiled diaper.  By now he considered himself a diaper professional, changing a diaper in less than five minutes.  “And now Mommy thinks she won because she is going to strut her sexy self around in lingerie.  Sounds like a win-win to me sweetie.”

***

Reva peered across the room as her daughter bent over the drafting table.  The pencil clutched in her hand angrily as she drew out some sketches.  She shook her head.  The idea that Marah and Tony could co-exist in the same space while being “separated” was ridiculous.  Those two were about ready to combust.  Scooting her chair around the desk she rolled towards her daughter who didn’t even look up as she approached, “Marah, honey, perhaps it is time to just call a truce.  Tony loves you, you love him.  It’s more than a lot of people have can’t you just be happy?”

Marah stopped drawing and looked at her mother, “I do love Tony.  That has never been an issue.  I can’t help but love him.  It’s like a visceral response my body has to him, it just can’t help itself.”  She paused before continuing, “But he doesn’t trust me mom.  Not to be strong enough to handle the bumps that come along.  I don’t need to be sheltered mom, I just need him to trust me to be able to weather the storm together.”

“I understand honey, I do.  But as your grandmother Sarah would say ‘don’t cut off your nose to spite your face’ darling.  Tony loves you, he wants to protect you.  There are worse things in a marriage trust me.”

Marah turned the pencil she still held in her hands over and over, “I know you think this whole separation thing is stupid but I just felt like we needed it.  A time out to find out if we were strong enough.  I don’t want to be the damsel in distress in my marriage mom.  I can’t.”

Reva smiled, “I don’t think Tony sees you as anything but what you are.  Tell me, did he demand you get a new doctor?”

Confused Marah lifted in eyebrow in question, “Why would he?”

“Well your doctor put the moves on you.  Or at least he tried.”

“Tony hasn’t said anything.”

“Hmm.” Reva looked her daughter in the eye trying to convey her point, “Seems your husband trusts you a lot more than you realize.”

“Mom I am talking about more than just that kind of thing.”

Reva laughed, “I know.  And you are just as stubborn as everyone else in this family.  But trust me on this one Marah, Your father and I lost a lot of good years being stubborn.  You kids lost because of it too.  You may just want to think about that.”

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