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Lexia looked up towards James and smiled a little before she started to eat her food again. After a few mouthfuls she let out a sound of satisfaction and nodded. [B "It tastes really good. I would ask you the secret but I know you don't share all your food secrets."]
Things fell quiet then and they ate in silence for a moment. She took a sip of her water. She was avoiding wine since she was still breast feeding and she was definitely noticing that James was making an effort to drink less lately which was positive especially since he had been relying in alcohol too much lately.
Things weren't quiet for much longer. He said the thing that had been avoided for a few weeks and it was obviously something that had been causing tension between the two. She placed her cutlery down and looked up at him, her heart skipping a beat. He spoke with sincerity and confidence and she couldn't stop her eyes from watering at the thought of losing him.
[B "I don't want a divorce either."] She said after a minute or two of silence. [B "God James, that is the last thing I want. I just...how are things going to be any better?"]
“I miss cooking for you,” he said, knowing that because he had been working late, a lot of the meals had been takeout, small meals Lexia cooked for herself or leftovers. It had been a while since they were actually eating with one another through and James was a bit unsure where to sit because of it. Normally, he liked to sit by Lexia’s side – and he wasn’t sure how comfortable she would eb with that. However, sitting at thee other end of the table only seemed to add to the distance and he knew that he was trying his hardest to bridge that gap between the two of them. James was trying to woo Lexia and he wasn’t sure if it would work. He didn’t know whether to bring up their relationship now or after dinner. When was the right time to beg for your wife not to leave you?
James swallowed the nervousness and took a seat next to Lexia, edging the chair somewhat away as his knee brushed against hers. “Well, hopefully it tastes as good as it smells,” he joked as he started to eat. Though he was more so moving the food around, trying to find some bit of conversation to rid of the silence. The restaurant was doing decent, they were making moves as far as the debt, but the burning question of their marriage had yet to be answered.
James didn’t know really what had come over him, maybe it was seeing his son with Delilah, how affectionate Lexia had been or quite possibly it was the reality of not sleeping in bed with her, or holding her at his side; James didn’t know what it was but if there was one thing he was sure about, it was how much he loved his wife. He’d taken a small sip of wine, before looking up at Lexia.
“I don’t want a divorce,” he’d said simply. “I don’t want a separation – I don’t want whatever has been going on these past few weeks. I love you Lexia and I know – I know you’ve given me so many chances, but I’ll do whatever it takes to keep you, to keep this.” He motioned around the house, a house they’d moved into after marriage – a house they had conceived two children in. “I love you.”
Lexia smiled and little and nodded. [B "You do but you will pick things up quickly when it comes to babies."] She looked towards Delilah and Mason who were both babbling to themselves and she was filled with love at the sound of them. It made her wish even more than their first child had survived because having two children growing up together was nice. She supposed that it was nice that Mason got a sister either way.
[B "No need to thank me."] She said as she decided to excuse herself to get showered and changed since she had spent most of the morning working in the nursery. As soon as she was in something more comfortable she made her way back downstairs, feeling a little bit nervous about something as simple as dinner with the man she was married to. She settled in the dining room and looked up when she heard James coming in.
[B "It smells amazing."] She looked down at the plate and then smiled up at him. [B "Thank you."] Lexia let out a sigh. [B "I've missed your cooking."]
James felt a sense of relief at knowing that Lexia was willing to share a moment with him. He didn't know why but had hid is smile then. Though it was hard to do so when she had taken his hand, even if for a brief moment as she commented on the temperature of the bottle. James wanted badly to reach out and draw her back in but had resisted.
“Guess I have a lot to learn,” he said, as work had kept him quite busy and James hated how he had missed out it felt on time with his children. It wasn't too late though and now that he was going to be focusing on one restaurant, maybe it would be a bit easier.
“thank you,” he said, trying not to let his gaze on Lexia linger too long where she would be uncomfortable. Knowing now that Lexia had agreed to his [I date], James had put in more effort toward the meal. The children were fussy but had eventually fallen to sleep and he had placed both of them in the cribs downstairs. He’d tried to make the scene casual, though James was going out of his way to impress Lexia, to show how badly he wanted to win her back.
He’d placed the plates of Lasagna and salad on the table, pouring a glass of wine which was a big deal for him as he hadn’t been really drinking since moving back. Having to take care and watch both children had really put things into perspective. James combed his hair back. He couldn’t believe he was nervous to have dinner with his own wife. Taking a deep breath, he headed toward the dining area. “I just - it’s a new recipe I thought of,” he said, his cheeks burning red then. Lexia always had faith in him.
Lexia smiled towards him and took the bottles from him so that she could show him what to do with the bottles. She knew that she wouldn't always be there to help him with the bottles, especially if Gianna ever decided to stop him from bringing Delilah here and honestly she wasn't even sure how much longer James would be living here or whether she would even see Delilah. Lexia tried not to thank about that though.
She just showed him slowly how to make the bottles and then placed one on the side for a minute so that the temperature could cool down so that it was acceptable for Delilah to drink. She turned around then and looked towards him as he started to mumble nervously.
Lexia bit down on the inside of her lip as he asked her to join him for dinner. They had been spending a lot time apart lately so this would be a big step in trying to figure out where their relationship was going. [B "I'm free. I have nothing else to be doing. I've finished making my jewellery orders so I can join you for dinner if that's what you want."]
She picked up the bottle then and moved closer to him and took his hand and turned his arm over. [B "Here, you have to check the temperature."] Lexia poured a little bit onto his arm. [B "It can't be too hot."]
James looked over his shoulder then as Lexia’s voice rang out. She was so calm and happy - though he knew the move back had been stressful and especially with her working in the nursery. James had managed to get both cribs set up, hoping Goianna wouldn't be as spiteful and allow Delilah to stay over more often. He offered Lexia a small smile then, “Yes please,” he told her with a nervous chuckle. James had been working on something for aN early dinner, of course being off work didn't stop him from cooking and really it was something to keep him busy when he wasn't focused on the children. Not to mention, his ankle had been acting up lately and he knew that he needed to walk more with the cold approaching.
James got out of the way then, watching Lexia. He tried to pay attention as their relationship status was still in the air and if he ended up moving out, he would have to figure out how to do things like this on his own. At least now he was sleeping in the guest room instead of on the couch. James leaned against the kitchen counter after checking on the lasagna he was preparing. He’d tried for the most part to stay out of Lexia’s way, but knew they couldn't avoid the subject. Hell, he wasn't even sharing a room with her at this point.
“So,” he said as he ran his hand through his hair then, looking at Lexia. “I was thinking . . . I mean if you’re free, we can have dinner? Maybe talk a little?” James felt nervous then, like the first time he had asked her out on a date. He hated how awkward things were and knew he was to blame. He wanted things to be like before but with his actions, that was hard. Still, he hoped that Lexia still had a love for him and hasn't given up on their marriage. James knew then that it was his mission to woo Lexia back and to prove he could be the man she loved and trusted.
The weeks that passed were hard and she found herself trying to shut out her feelings. Most nights she spent alone and she cried herself to sleep over the heartache that she felt over the potential collapse of her marriage to James. They sold their second restaurant and moved back to their old hold, selling their newer one quickly which was a relief. Of course they still had a bit of debt but it was nothing in comparison to what it had been before. Things could have been so much worse though and she was just glad they were able to sort things before they got much worse.
On James' day off she used the opportunity to organise the nursery better so that she could find everything she needed better. It was becoming stressful trying to find everything in the mess that came with moving house. She was gone for a couple of hours but she knew that it was time well spent because getting Mason changed and to bed would be a lot easier, especially since he had been sleeping in his nursery rather than her room lately.
It saddened her to think of the room as her room when it used to be her marital room. She made her way downstairs and into the kitchen where she saw James trying to make bottles. They breastfed Mason so he hadn't needed to work bottles out before now. [B "Do you need a hand?"] She asked, kissing Mason's head and smiling towards Delilah. [B "Look at you! You got so big."] She said as she ran a finger over her cheek.
“I know I know, and I can only apologize so much,” James said to her, turning his attention back to Mason who was getting a tad fussy, easily calmed by a gentle rocking. “I just had hopes that you wouldn’t have to share the burden of this failure. I didn’t think it was fair, and I just figured work and Mason was already taking up. so much of your time.” James sighed; it wasn’t that good of an excuse, but it was the truth to which he was finally admitting to his wife. He didn’t know what they were going to do or how they were going to move forward from this point on. He knew that he didn’t want a divorce, but could he change Lexia’s mind about it? He wasn’t sure and even worse he didn’t know how well he could handle it. Still, James knew that he had to at least try. He sighed out and pressed a kiss to Mason’s warm cheek. Coming to a stand then, he walked toward Lexia and handed Mason over. “Just know I love you,” he told her, leaning in to kiss her lips gently.
The next few weeks had been tough; James was busy helping Gianna pack up her belongings and have them sent back – his mother had moved out and they were now in the process of getting their house taken care of as well. It had been depressing to let the restaurant go, but he knew that he had to in order for their finances to get back on check. They were still a few grand in, but at least the sale of the house had helped.
James was at home, taking a day off for the first time in a while. Gianna had a change of heart and had allowed him to watch Delilah at their own home, which meant she got a chance to meet Mason for the first time since her birth. That didn’t meant Gianna wasn’t constantly blowing up his phone. James was in the kitchen with both children, trying to figure out making the bottles as Lexia was somewhere packing things he figured. Things still had been weird between them. He missed kissing her, he missed holding her and being with her – he spent many nights on the couch and that was taking a load physically on his body.
There was nothing that filled Lexia’s heart with more love than seeing James with Mason in his arms. Lately it was the only time that she could see a genuine happiness upon his face. She wondered if he had the same look when he held Delilah. He must have done but she didn’t know what kind of effect that would have on Gianna. With Lexia it simply made her love him that little bit more and if Gianna was still obsessing over James in some way, she imagined she would feel the same about him. Although she had claimed she was dating now, she didn’t trust that meant she would give up on her pursuit of James.
Lexia smiled briefly but looked up to James when he mentioned sleeping in the guest room. They hadn’t exactly worked out how any of this would work and honestly, deep down she knew that it was something she didn’t really want, but how many more times could she put herself through this? How many more times could she just forgive him and move on and pretend like nothing had happened? There was clearly some kind of disconnect in their relationship if he couldn’t even be honest about these things and trust her to want to help rather than judge her. For things to become physical…there was no denying their marital problems.
Her heart broke when she looked at him then, seeing how emotional he was becoming. He very rarely showed his emotions unless it was anger but yet, here he was crying before her. Even though he turned from her so that she couldn’t see, she heard the emotion in his voice when he apology came. She swallowed hard and remained quiet for a moment, not really knowing what the best way forward was from here. The he looked at her and she couldn’t keep her own tears from breaching her eyes.
[b “You don’t want to lose me, but you also don’t want to share with me. We were supposed to be honest with each other, move forward but I feel like we’ve just gone back to how things were before. You don’t seem to trust me enough to talk to me and I don’t know what I can do to make that happen.”]
James reached out for Mason, cuddling him close; he had his first genuine smile of the day then and kissed his forehead. James was grateful that he was too young to understand all the dysfunction surrounding him at this moment. James himself couldn’t fathom the thought of Mason being old enough to understand what his father had been up to and it was a conversation that eventually would have to be had whether he wanted to admit to it or not. His hand gently brushed against Mason's face.
“I guess I can sleep in the guest room,” James said then, trying to look Lexia in the eyes and failing. He was ashamed and he didn’t know what to do. He loved his wife and he hated how things had turned out, but who was he to blame other than himself? It had been his fault and he should have gone to Lexia sooner when it came to the loss of money and the failing restaurant. Even despite what he had put her through, Lexia still had some faith in him.
James looked down into his son’s eyes, his smile causing emotions to stir in the male and against wanting to James started to cry.
“Fuck,” he said under his breath, his hand shielding his face as he turned from Lexi, Mason looking confused. “I’m sorry Lexia,” he finally admitted. Everything was a result of bad decisions, his bad decisions and James was finally being caught up with the reality that he wasn’t as strong as he thought he was, as he thought he could be- Lexia had been his rock and he had failed her twice, to the point it seemed like she had finally decided to give up on him.
“I don’t want to lose you,” James admitted as he looked up at Lexia. He’d messed up twice now. Lexia was no fool, but he hoped the love they had – their little boy was enough to try for one more time.
If selling was the only thing they could do, then they would sell it. The last thing any of them needed was a ridiculous amount of debt to contend with. Lexia knew then that this was linked to the cards declining. They were tapped out and having the pressure of paying for two homes and two restaurants was becoming too much, especially since Gianna seemed to use her daughter as a bargaining chip for more money. James wouldn't tell her that but she knew it was the case.
Lexia knew that some of the staff here would have no issue with going to work at the other restaurant. It really wasn't that far away and chefs particularly moved all the time for work but when he brought up Gianna she felt a little hurt. Why did he even care that Gianna was dating? Yet, she kept that thought and the feelings attached to it to herself so that there was no more turmoil between them.
[B "Then we will look to sell. We can sell the house too if need be. Mom called me yesterday, she is moving out of state to live closer to her friends so that our other house will be vacant again."] Lexia could feel her heart breaking and she wanted so much for things to be different.
Mason babbled for a minute and caused Lexia to look down at him with a smile before picking him up. [B "You want a cuddle with your Dad huh?"] She stood and moved towards him, holding Mason out so that he could hold him.
“Yeah, I think it would be good for them to see one another. She’s getting to be a bit playful now,” James said to her and for a moment h as able to step from the reality and lavish in a moment of peaceful thoughts about his daughter. He knew Gianna was just doing things out of spite and her mother was in her ear which was why Lexia hadn’t seen her since they left the hospital. Though, he didn’t understand why be cruel about a young boy seeing his own sister, half or not – they were related by blood. James made note to bring Mason along the next time and it worried him then to think that there was the possibility that he would soon have to plan time to spend with his own son if Lexia was serious about this divorce. The thought made him angry and as his blood boiled, he tried to keep himself from blowing up, knowing it wouldn’t be a good look for him to lose his cool with his [I wife] on his restaurant in front of the whole staff and the customers.
“Selling is all we can do Lexia,” James said, and he tried not to yell, knowing that it would only drive Lexia away and he didn’t want her to leave him. Things were spiraling more and more out of control and James hated not being able to fix things and prevent the hole they were falling into from becoming deeper and deeper. “I guess you could be right, or maybe – I just jumped the shark. I have a good team here and some I can let go but guess the others can work at the other restaurant. Gianna’s dating doesn’t want to live out here anymore,” he said fumbling with a loose string on his apron. “Everyone is moving on. Guess ‘s my karma.” He mumbled.
Lexia didn't want to be hostile with James. She loved him with all her heart and she knew that she always would but she couldn't keep having all this conflict and aggression in their home. It was obvious that things needed to change and she didn't know what else to do aside from seperate. He had suggested a break but she wasn't even sure what good that would do. However, she hadn't come here to argue, she was here to figure out what to do about the restaurant.
She was glad to hear that Delilah was doing well. She was so upset when Gianna made the decision to not allow Lexia to see her, especially since that was putting an additional strain on their marriage because he was away alot of the time. [B "Perhaps you could take Mason with you next time you visit? He should start to spend time with his sister."]
Lexia watched him lower himself in front of her and glanced through the books. She could see how much it bothered him that it had come to this but she wanted him to know that she was going to support him and help him overcome this. It was their business not just his. [B "I don't believe for a second that you are a failure. We just chose the wrong location that's all. There is not a great market for the kind of experience you are offering. What do you want to do? Would selling this place pay off the debt?"] She remained as calm as possible, not wanting this to turn into an argument.
James walked over then, his eyes trained on his son who’d looked very happy and more than likely well fed. He smiled down at Mason and kissed his forehead. He was their miracle child and he would never forget it . James was then brought back to reality when Lexia spoke. “She’s doing well, everything is checking in fine.” He said with a small smile. Gianna was still not allowing Lexia any access to their daughter. He wondered though if it was more so her mother playing in her ear. Still, James could barely make time for either of his children and Gianna was still in her earlier stages of birth where she couldn’t imagine being away from her child. James couldn’t foresee the two of them having a pleasant play date either. He was saddened though, as he wanted Mason and Delilah to start seeing one another and getting used to being in each other presents.
James could spy the books opened from the corner of his eye and he wasn’t surprised when Lexia changed the topic of discussion then. He cleared his throat and sat in the chair at his desk, his hands flipping through the pages lazily. He was stressed, but also tired of being stressed out about this and worrying about losing his wife didn't seem to help or make things any better.
“I didn’t expect the restaurant not to do . . .well.” He said. He wasn’t cocky, but he had so much hope considering the success of his first restaurant and all that faith that Lexia had in him. “I don’t know, I borrowed more thinking we’d do well enough to pay it off - it just accumulated and then there was Gianna and –“ James sighed out. “I’m a failure,” he said with a sigh, his face in his hands then. “I kept thinking month after month I could fix it, but things started piling up quicker than I expected.”
After some time staring at the books she pushed them forward on the desk and picked up Mason who was getting fussy and wanting his feed so she brought him towards her and started to feed him, the whole time watching his carefully. Her heart swelled with pride and love every time that she looked at him and she just knew that their son was at least once of the good things that came out of her relationship with James.
Just as the thought crossed her mind she heard movement and glanced up from her son's face and saw James coming into the office, early disheveled in some way as he closed the door behind him. She wasn't here to argue with him and she knew that if their conversation started to go that way she would walk away because she couldn't put up with the shouting anymore
Lexia knew where James had been that morning. [B "How is Delilah?"] Despite James telling Gianna that she had no choice but to let Lexia into Delilah's life she had barely seen his daughter since he went out to visit Gianna. She could imagine that the woman was quite glad about that.
After a minute she glanced back down at the books and sighed before looking back towards him. [B "How did it come to this?"]
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