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Lexia was still asleep he could presume at least from the sort raising and falling of her body as she breathed in and out. He smiled to himself, glad to see the woman had some sort of peace after a very chaotic day and what would probably be a next few chaotic months if they planned to make this marriage work.
He knew they both loved each other. They had fallen in love with one another the minute they had laid eyes upon the other. There was nothing that could push them apart. James believed Lexia would literally have to tell him she didn’t want him or didn’t love him if she expected him to leave from the marriage.
His situation with Gianna was a different story though, he wasn’t sure where her head was at. Clearly she was more than infatuated with him, considering how she had shown up at the hospital without even being asked or invited. He knew she wasn’t there to see Lexia, clearly she had no care for the woman or her well being seeing as to how she had caused the whole mess in the first place. He didn’t know what she wanted, but James honestly found it hard to care.
Lexia had stirred awake then, asking of his well being. She was the one just discharged from the hospital and was asking [i him] about how he felt. He chuckled as he shook his head, heading toward his side of the dresser for articles of clothing.
“Yes babe,” he paused - he could see how Lexia watched him, still with wanting and adoration and yet he was still unsure where they lied and what made her comfortable. “I’m perfectly ace. How’re you feeling?” He had begun to get dressed then, boxers - not shy about nudity in front of his own wife and finally a pair of grey sweats and opting for the shirtless route. He ran his fingers through the slightly damp strands, walking over then to sit on the edges of the bed, at Lexia’s feet. “Need anything? Want anything?”
Lexia really was trying. She didn’t want to feel the heaviness in her shattered heart anymore. She didn’t want to argue with him about anything. Arguing certainly wouldn’t solve this problem and she was far too tired to muster the energy it would require to do so anyway. Instead, she remained calm and allowed James to help her up the stairs. She was feeling dizzy still but she knew that was the fatigue and she would need to get plenty of rest before that would correct itself. Lexia kept one hand in his and the other in the banister as she slowly walked up the stairs, focusing as much as possible on each individual step so that she didn’t trip.
When they arrived at their room she very quickly felt the absence of his hand on her back as he took a step away from her. [b “I’m not going anywhere.”] She said softly as she lowered herself onto the bed slowly, taking another sip of her milkshake even though it was almost empty at the point. When she was alone she placed it in the bedside table and lay down on the bed, closing her eyes for a moment so that she could stop her head from spinning. She had almost fallen asleep lying there with the sound of water running in the background.
When she heard movement in the room she opened one eye, seeing James wrapped in a towel. Not only had Lexia fallen in love with this man all those years ago, but she also found him extremely attractive, even now she couldn’t help but allow her eyes to rest on his bare chest as he entered the room. [b “Do you feel better?”] Even her voice sounded fatigued at this point and she let out a small yawn.
James has stayed quiet the whole ride with Lexia, only speaking to her when asking what she wanted to order. He himself opting for an Oreo shake. He’d locked up the car once they arrived and followed Lexia in. [i Our room] he repeated in his mind not sure if Lexi wanted him with her even after helping her up the stairs.
He held her hand after placing his milkshake on the table beside the front door where they usually kept the keys and mail. Other hand was placed against her lower back. James walked slowly with his wife up the stairs. Once they had reached the bedroom he made sure to gently remove himself from her. He honestly needed a shower, anything that helped the ache in his head.
“I’m gonna shower and get cleaned up. You just worry about resting and we’ll talk whenever you’re ready. He walked into their private bathroom, stripping before getting into the shower. The minute he felt the water he sighed out in relief, the anger that had built up from everything seemingly vanishing. His hands had rushed through his hair - washing it and more so massaging his scalp and glad to realize it aided in his headache.
He’d finally gotten out and wrapped a towel around his waist. James has entered the bedroom, water dripping down his chest still. He’s forgotten his clothes and wanted to check on Lexia without making a big deal out of it, knowing she hated being babied and with her mother coming to watch her it would be even worse than his overprotective attitude.
Lexia was more than happy to get out of the hospital, not planning to be in there more than she needed to be for the remainder of the pregnancy. If she had things her way, she wouldn’t be back there until it was time for her to give birth for anything more than a check up, which the doctor promised would be more regular now that her blood pressure was causing her some issues. As they approached the car, James opened the door for her and she waited for his reply before climbing into the passenger seat. She was grateful that he seemed to see the importance of keeping things calmer.
The journey was relatively quiet because they were both so tired, James probably more so than her since he wouldn’t have slept much since bringing her to the hospital. Along the way they stopped to get her milkshake, ordering a chocolate one for herself and ordered another for James.
Soon enough they were home and she was getting into the house and waiting for James to lock up the car. [b “Can we go to our room? I want to lie down and be comfortable.”] She took a sip from her milkshake and looked to the stairs. [b “I’ll even let you help me up the stairs so you don’t have to worry.”]
James returned to find his wife sitting on the bed, proclaiming her desire for a milkshake. He smiled a little, Lexia had an innocent side and yet he knew she could get wild when she wanted.
“Anything you want,” he said as he helped her up, taking her by the waist - still if anything protective of his wife. She would never ta at his side - not if he could help it. James has escorted his wife outside. He’d opened the car door then, pausing as he listened to her words.
She wanted to talk, no arguments which was a bit of a struggle for James since he had the tendency to get a bit riled up in anger. Raising his voice made Lexia upset and he didn’t want her to shut down on him. They needed to speak to each other in a way that would prove beneficial and actually helpful to their relationship.
He hung his head, punching the bridge of his nose. He was glad to see that at least Lexia wanted to talk to him. “I promise no arguments. “ James motioned for Lexia to get into the car before closing the door.
He soon joined and began his driving toward their home. The whole time all he was thinking was about the speech they were to have and he hoped it would at least make things easier for him when her mother came to visit.
They had finally arrived at the house, James tired more than anything. He hadn’t had any sleep since before Lexia was taken to the hospital.
Lexia knew that her mother would want to know that she was going home but she opted against telling her, knowing that she would likely make her way over to their house now rather than in the morning and there were things they needed to sort through to make sure that they were not at each other’s throats when her mother was around. The last thing she needed right now was her mother trying to interject herself into their relationship like she always did. She needed to be alone with James and really think things through.
She nodded and watched him leave as a nurse entered and she helped her gather her things. Luckily she didn’t need help getting changed. She knew that she would be really embarrassed if that had been the case but low blood pressure didn’t render her entirely useless. She was sat on the bed when James returned and after thanking the nurse for all her help she started towards the exit. [b “Can we get a milkshake on the way home? My cravings seem to have started up again.”] Lexia was trying really hard for things to seem normal then, wanting nothing more than to forget and move on. She didn’t know how easy it would be but she was prepared to try.
[b “I want us to talk about some things tonight. I don’t want to argue.”]
Of course Janes could hear his mother in law barking through the phone. Had he not needed to work then he would’ve stayed home happily to watch over Lexia. Though the restaurant and the wedding had put a lot of strain financially on the couple. That being why he praised Lexia for being so patient with him when opening his first restaurant. She had credited him and yes he did a lot of work and pushed through the failures, but it wasn’t as though he had used his own money alone.
That’s why the success of the restaurant mattered so much to him; he didn’t want to fail his family, his mother in law - hell himself. Holding the forms in his hand, he looked over at his wife - who he had failed and he hated himself for what he did. James walked over and vent down to kiss her forehead. “I’ll get a nurse to help you get settled and ready to go okay?” He had left the room then, a nurse entering to make sure Lexia would be okay in dressing herself. James had the forms filled out before he headed to the counter. Lexia was officially cleared for discharge.
He’d received a text from Gianna which he didn’t even bother opening his phone to lol at, not wanting to give any indication that things would change. Lexia was his main concern at the moment.
He had stepped outside briefly for a cigarette - his head pounding from the stress and the thoughts that ran his mind. Somewhat settled he headed back inside after a trip to the bathroom. Lexia would’ve been done getting dressed and much like her - he couldn’t wait to get out of the hospital and go back to their place.
[i “Is he with you?”] She could hear the frustration in her voice and Lexia sighed.
[b “Of course he is Mom. He’s right here.”] Lexia looked towards him noticing that the doctor was talking to him. [b “He’s been with my the entire time.”]
[i “Where was he when you collapsed? Why were you left alone? You are pregnant for Gods sakes.”]
[b “Mom! That’s exactly the point. I am pregnant I’m not handicapped. I am more than capable of looking after myself and if we are going to have a baby with us in a few months time, James needs to work so that he can provide from us. We don’t just have money lying around for us both to be off work right now. Look, if you are going to just make snide comments and try to turn me against my husband then don’t bother coming tomorrow.”] This was the first time she had stood up to her about picking things out about her marriage to James. There was silence for a minute and then the woman sighed.
[i “Alright, I’m sorry. I need to be there for you.”] Lexia sighed once more. [i “I’ll leave you be for the rest of the evening and I will see you tomorrow.”] Lexia ended the conversation quickly and glanced towards James as the doctor left.
[b “I can go home?”] She wanted nothing more than to leave this place. Lexia didn’t like hospitals and she knew that she could rest better at home. [b “Please take me home James. I don’t want to be here anymore.”]
James knew that Lexia knew how he was when he got angry. Of course lashing out in a public place was stupid and if someone came in or if he were to truly blow, he could bet that they would maybe have him escorted out or worse think that he was a danger to Lexia. He had never hit her of course, though earlier when his anger had been too much there were times he felt like he was close. That was when his drinking was truly terrible. He had managed it now, but certainly depended on it to get by when he felt like he couldn’t. Lexia wasn’t a fan of it and James figured she was just too afraid to bring it up not sure how he would react.
He hated that he had upset her, feeling like he couldn’t win. Though she had every reason to be upset. He had cheated on her. He had defiled their marriage.
Lexia had answered a phone call from her mother. He was beginning to think how difficult it would be with her there. He badly needed her, but if he and Lexia were going to be arguing this way it would certainly up the tension with her mother. Being absent obviously wasn’t helping their marriage, but Lexia didn’t trust him. He wanted this marriage to work and believed it could. Though if Lexia would never have faith in that belief – then her mother would convince her daughter to leave him. James had moved back to sit in the chair: not hungry, head hurting and a lot of anger.
The doctor had come in then for a rehash. “You the husband?” He asked. James stood and nodded. “Your wife is stable at the moment. It’s up to you if you want to stay over the night. I recommend it. Though, at home she’s going to need someone there.”
“I’ve asked for her mother,” James replied. The doctor nodded, the two seeming without words to understand the need for long hours dedicated to their work.
“That’s good. All I can say is lots of rest and water, eating regularly and most important no stress. Are you aware of any stress causing behavior?”
“Yes, but we’re handling it.”
“Good. I’ll leave you two, here are the discharge papers that need to be signed if you decide to use them.”
He left before James turned to Lexia. “You want to stay or go home?” Home . . .didnt feel so homely now.
Hearing him talk about another restaurant made her feel like he was trying to ignore the fact that their marriage would need a lot of work. She wasn’t sure if he was suggesting that the two of them should move but I sure sounded that way if he wanted to set up a restaurant else where. He would need to be there constantly for the first few months. She sighed softly, knowing that she couldn’t deny him of his passion and dream. She couldn’t allow him to stop going into work just because he had made a mistake, no matter how big that mistake had been.
Lexia was no stranger to James’ temper but it did startle her a little to hear him lash out like that in the hospital, knowing that there were other people around who could easily come into the room at any minute. She just tried to focus on her breathing to make sure that she didn’t get too stressed out by this. Lexia listened to his words, processing them carefully since this was the first time she was hearing a lot of this. He was finally getting everything off his chest and some of what he said was beginning to hit home with her. He hadn’t been avoiding her, he couldn’t stand knowing what had happened in the house. While it didn’t excuse the fact that he left her alone to deal with the pain herself, she was finally able to understand.
[b “James...”] Her voice was quiet but before she could say anything her phone started to buzz and she glanced over at it, seeing that her mother was calling again. She rolled her eyes. [b “I should get this so she doesn’t think something happened to me.”] When she answered the phone she tried her hardest not to sound upset.
[i “Any news? What time are you getting out tomorrow?”]
[b “I don’t know Mom. It’s only been a few hours and I’ve mostly been asleep.”]
“Well – yeah. Maybe let someone run this one and I get another one up. It’ll give me more time with you and the baby. I mean I know what’s the best steps now.” James said. His first restaurant had been a trial run and there had definitely been many failures, but it was doing great now and he knew he could trust his staff to keep it going. “Once they’re up and running I’ll probably just have to pop in here and there.” James knew though that cooking was his passion. He was just trying to figure out how to balance his work with his family. James watched as his wife lashed out, not being able to meet her eyes out of shame. He fumbled with the food in the carton he held, not really keen on eating. Truthfully he really just went to get a meal so he had something to do. He couldn’t look at Lexia as she laid in the bed without feeling guilt or fear. His stomach turned from thoughts of his actions and the results of them. Especially after seeing Gianna. It seemed he had majorly fucked up and for what? A good time, a small moment of bliss?
“It wasn’t to avoid you!” James snapped. He slammed the food into the bin beside him, angry now at no one but himself. “I couldn’t – I didn’t know what to do. I couldn’t be – our child was gone and just knowing that you fell in that house and that’s what caused it. I just couldn’t bear to be there. The house made my skin itch and all I could think of was how we had planned the nursery and your sobs filling the room. It was a lot to handle.” He stood then hands balled into fists on his hips before he sighed out to reel in his temper. His hands reached up to wipe his face. He was exhausted. Lexia was right though that he had been putting in a lot of work at the restaurant. Sleeping with Gianna had just been another release – an escape really much like his drinking.
“I do want to be with you.” He said. “You know I do. You know deep down that I love you. I want this to work more than anything – you and this child. I want it badly Lexia. I’m just – trying and I fucked up, but at least I’m trying.” Exasperated he threw his hands in the air. He could feel the tension building, knowing he was angry and trying to keep it in. He couldn’t believe Gianna had shown up uninvited like that much like she had invaded his marriage.
Lexia knew that she couldn’t avoid hearing about Gianna forever and she knew that the woman would try to see James, especially since she had seemed so broken-hearted about him ending things with her when she had seen her at lunch. She had just hoped that it would have been later rather than sooner. Lexia looked to the nurse, offering her a small smile so she didn’t feel guilty. [b “Something like that.”] She looked back to James and to the food in his hand. She was hungry but she wasn’t sure how much she would be able to stomach with how sick she was beginning to feel. Perhaps she had sat up too quickly. Then she realised that it was the smell of whiskey coming from James that had caused a wave of sickness to come over her. At least this time she seemed to be able to breathe through it and it passed within a minute or so.
This was one of the things that worried her about him, knowing how he often turned to drink to help him through. She wasn’t sure that he had a problem but he certainly relied on it more than she would have liked. Lexia accepted the water and drank some of it quickly to alleviate the feeling of being dehydrated. [b “Another restaurant? You want to run two restaurants?”] Lexia barely saw him now, if he ran two restaurants he would never be home with her and their son but she didn’t want to argue with him, not here and not now.
Lexia brought you her hand to take a dumpling and popped it in her mouth and listened to him, watching the emotion pouring out of him as if to prove that his words were sincere. [b “I don’t need flowers, chocolates and jewellery James, I never have! All I ever wanted was you. Just you. I never begrudged you opening that restaurant because it’s something I am so very proud of you for, but to know that all those hours you had put in was to avoid being home with be and to be with her instead...it hurts. What I need is a husband who loves me as much as I love him, who wants to build a life with me and not someone else.”]
“Ex wife?” the nurse mentioned softly, “Saw your husband out there with a less than happy woman.” The nurse mentioned before James had entered. She blushed, quickly ready to excuse herself from the room as though she had overstepped boundaries.
“Your favorite,” James said softly. He was a bit drunk and he knew Lexia would notice, but after the day he was having – he just wanted an escape to be honest. James had walked over, the nurse already preparing a tray for food as his wife sat up. James hated himself – his stress, his cheating had put his wife in this position. He could’ve lost another child – could’ve lost Lexia from being so greedy and selfish. He acted as though she too didn’t suffer and his behavior led him to seek shelter in another woman rather than his wife.
James had placed out Lexia’s favorites on the tray, the nurse leaving and promising to return soon to check on Lexia’s vitals.
“Restaurant is so busy since news of the mayor. You’re right, like always – he loved the menu.” James smiled and handed the cup of water he asked for to Lexia. “Might be the big break. I want to open a new restaurant. You know maybe somewhere else – after our son is born.” He knew that he needed to get away from Gianna. If he let her manage his current spot and open somewhere else, it would be a great new start. However, moving would be hard after the birth of a new child. But with how successful the restaurant was, expanding made sense.
He also didn’t want Gianna so close to them, popping up in their lives. The fact she had the audacity to show up to the restaurant was ludicrous enough.
James had started for the dumplings, waving it in front of Lexia’s mouth.
“I just want one night of things to be normal – I just – I want to be happy and I’m happy with you Lexia.” He said, “I don’t care what I have to do to get us back to [I normal]. Flowers, chocolate, jewelry – hell I’ll delete everyone from my phone.” He stood then next to her, looking down at her heavenly face. “You and our child are all I need and all I want. I promise not to let you down ever again.”
Lexia shook her head gently. She wished things would be that easy but she jus trident know how they were going to get through this. He was saying all of the right things but she wanted nothing more than for all of this to have been in her imagination. She had noticed so many small things and she had kept telling herself it was all in her head, that James loved her dearly and he would never in a million years have an affair but now she knew. She couldn’t bring herself to talk about it anymore though and she was glad when James suggested that she should get some rest and he would get some food.
Once she was alone she didn’t hesitate to try and get some sleep, not wanting to be awake so that her thoughts found a way to the affair and the state of her marriage. Sleep claimed her quickly, shielding her from the knowledge of Gianna’s presence. There was nothing she could have done about having her here but she didn’t think that she would be able to cope seeing her and the doctor had been very clear that she wasn’t allowed to get stressed and when she was upset, her mind raced a thousand miles a minute and it certainly wouldn’t have helped her.
Lexia was still asleep when James came back with food, a nurse following behind him with a smile. [i “I’m just coming to check her blood pressure for the doctor. What have you got there? It smells amazing.”] She smiled towards him as she started to note things down from the monitor, accidentally knocking the bed on the way round causing Lexia to stir from her sleep. [i “I’m so sorry dear.”] She said as she noticed Lexia beginning to wake up.
Her voice was a little groggy as she pushed herself up into a seated position and shook her head. [b “It’s quite alright. I’m hungry and thirsty anyway.”] She looked towards James and noticed that he was holding some food and she couldn’t deny that she wasn’t relieved she didn’t have to eat hospital food. [b “Is that Chinese?”]
“I know you can’t forget. I just – want to be sure that I won’t lose you. If we work through this together, I know we can put this behind us.” James sighed out. Had he been at work, had he not ended his relationship with Gianna, he could’ve been focused on having sex with her rather than his wife. Though, he wondered if it was at all possible that his ending things with Gianna had caused this in the first place. Whatever was said at the lunch had been the catalyst to the argument.
James wanted to talk to Gianna and he desperately needed a drink. “Why don’t you just focus on resting okay? I’ll go get us some real food.” James sighed out and stood then, leaning over to kiss the woman on her forehead. He’d barely made it out of the door before colliding with his worse fear – Gianna.
“What are you doing here?” He asked, voice high with anger, causing a few looks from staff and patients. James grabbed Gianna’s arm, not really thinking how tight his hold was until he had released his grip – Gianna rubbing her arm.
“Daniel told me you were here. I was concerned.” Gianna said. They stood in front of Lexia’s room, James closing it just barely. If Lexia knew Gianna was there, she would certainly be less than happy.
“Concerned? This is all your fault.” James sighed out, knowing Gianna wasn’t completely at fault for his actions. He had been responsible, just as must for what had been done to Lexia. “You shouldn’t have – why did you tell her?”
“I didn’t. We talked and who knows maybe I said something stupid, but she jumped to her own conclusions. Look – I was drinking, and I wasn’t thinking straight. Happens when you’re just dumped carelessly.” Gianna clearly had been crying; eyes bloodshot and the booze on her breath indicated she had been drinking. He shook his head; he felt conflicted. He hadn’t meant to hurt either of the women and yet that’s exactly what happened. “Why don’t you want to be with me? Is it the child? I can give you a child too.”
“Gianna – you are –“ James paused not thinking the woman would appreciate being called crazy in her state. He sighed out then. “It’s not just that – Lexia is my wife and I love her. That’s final. Look I didn’t want things to happen this way.” James ran his hand through his hair, noticing people were watching them and not wanting the chance Lexia could hear anything. “Let’s go yeah? I need to give my wife something to eat.”
“Your wife,” Gianna said with a chuckle. She had started crying then which was causing a scene. The nurse that noticed them had started for Lexia’s door. “Well, I guess you should get back to your life then. Give Lexia my wishes.”
“Gianna-“ the woman had left then without even turning her head. He cursed under his breath, leaving against the door frame for some type of support. He’d eventually left, returning back to the hospital a bit more at peace thanks to the flask of whiskey. Catering to Lexia’s favorite takeout which he held in his hands as he entered her room.
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