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She felt extremely nervous to hand the card over to James, worried about how he might react to the things that she had written on the card but she was also scared to see what he had written in his card, knowing that Jamds wasn't very good at communicating she concerned that there would be some huge problem of her side of things revealed that she never really knew about until now. She swallowed nervously as they exchanged the cards and then she looked up to James when he started to read his aloud. She could see the tears in his eyes and she felt extremely guilty about being the cause of them but, they were herr to fix things and that wasn't going to happen if they held back from each other.
When he was done she breathed in and started to read from his card. She was wracked with guilt about the comment he made with Mason, not realising that she had become possessive in some way. It was just that James worked alot and she had become used to having to do everything and she didn't want James to feel like he couldn't rest when he got home. Apparently that was not how he saw things. The second thing confused her a little but she knew that he needed emotion and he clearly got frustrated that she wasn't pissed off at him for the affair or anything else. She just wasn't like that.
Her lips turned up into a smile a little when she read the third and then she met his gaze, him grasping onto her hand. She teared up a little herself and nodded. [B "Me too."] The rest of the night was quite nice, simply eating and talking to the couple they had been put with for the evening and it barely even felt like a counselling retreat for the rest of the evening. By the time the final course was served, Mason had fallen asleep as she smiled down at him. [B "All he has done today is sleep."] She chuckled a little.
It was time for them to exchange. James nodded toward Lexia and offered a smile, a bit nervous about what was on her list. “Alright guys, now we are going to read the cards aloud to our partners. Now it’s up to you to carry this card with you as a reminder why you are here. By the end of this retreat, you should be able to throw that card into the fire during our bonfire on the last night. This will signify that you’ve made all changes crucial to a healthy relationship.” James looked down at the list and honestly it was a bit embarrassing to see his faults presented to him.
“Wow,” he said, clearing his throat before having a sip of water. “Guess, I’ll go.” He said with a small smile. James kept his eyes trained on the index card and began to read aloud what Lexia wanted him to change. It did make him tear up some, and James had distracted himself by looking to Mason who was happily playing with a little rattle gripped tight in his tiny balled fist.
He waited for Lexia to finish before taking her hand and leaning in to kiss her. “I promise to you I will try my hardest to make these changes for you. He kissed her knuckles then. Their meals were eventually brought out then, and for the most part it felt like a nice dinner. The couple at their table was pretty interesting and fun to talk to. He’d realized then that he and Lexia didn’t hang out with their friends anymore. Everything had kind of become routine in their relationship since the baby came. That didn’t mean that he didn’t love Lexia.
Lexia took a deep breath making sure that she was fair with the things she wrote down on her paper. He didn’t want to upset him but they both had to be honest otherwise they would be a pointless task.
[I 1. Communicate more.]
This was obviously linked to the fact that the restaurant had been failing and he never once told her that, and it was also linked to the fact that he didn’t communicate with her after she had lost their daughter. He completely shut down and he turned to drink instead which had been heart-breaking for her. Which led her to her second point.
[I 2. Drink less.]
It was enough to have caused him to get physical with her the last time he had drank but she did start to notice that lately he had started to drink less. She just didn’t want the drinking to be the reason there was a break down in the marriage after they worked so hard to get things back on track.
[I 3. Put your family first.]
There were times when he did, and she didn’t exactly mean that he didn’t put them first. Sometimes it felt like he cared more about the restaurant or Gianna.
Once she had finished writing them down, she looked up at James and smiled. [b “All finished babe?”]
James looked down at the card. He didn’t know what to write really. Lexia for the most part was great. What could he say that he didn’t like as though she were the one who ruined the marriage when it was him. He chewed on his bottom lip then.
1. Let me take over with Mason
Of course with him working, Lexia had taken on being less parent. There were sometimes though that it felt like Lexia was doing everything. This was especially terrible during his restaurant failing as he was starting to feel more and more useless.
2. Get angry.
It was an odd statement but James felt like a Lexia was too passive and yes his anger was a bit intimidating but sometimes she ran. He wanted her to be more proactive in the issue with Delilah and Gianna – wanted to see the passion in her eyes. He was lost around that time. James wasn’t ready for a second child and it had disrupted the path he had paved out.
James stared at the card then, wondering what would be his third item.
3. I love you.
It was true, James’ list was small and more than likely unnecessary. Lexia was beautiful and kind - could be really ask of her to be out of character if that’s just her personality. Still, he never forgave himself and can’t because he’s not sure that Lexia actually forgives him or is she just moving pass it because it’s too hard to acknowledge. They’d fought and made up about a lot. But how much more can Lexia take? When does she finally put her foot down?
Lexia distracted herself by playing with Mason for a little while. She wondered how long it would be before he had much understanding about the things that were going on around him. He seemed to be growing so fast and he was starting to move around a little more. Soon he would start to interact with them and start to remember things about his life. Would he remember Delilah and would he become confused about how why she wasn’t around all the time?
When James looked to her with that way of his, she blushed. She knew that he was clearly impressed with what he saw. He didn’t say anything though and she understood why in some respects. She nodded and placed Mason into the stroller when James got it out and the three of them went down to dinner as a family. They found their table soon enough and she was glad that they only had one other couple in their group. They spent a little bit of time getting to know them before there was a task for them to do. Once she got her card she looked up at James and chuckled.
[b “Just be honest.”] She said as she started to write down her three things after taking a few minutes to think about it.
James has showered and changed. It was January to get dressed to [I go out]. Then hadn’t been on a date in a while and certainly not alone. That wasn’t to say that he didn’t want Mason with them. He loved his son and wanted to spend as much time with him as he could. With the restaurant and Delilah, splitting his time had been hard. Gianna though was just starting to warm up to Delilah coming over, mostly since the houses were close and she wasn’t staying in that apartment Janes got for her. All Kames could wish for was that both of his children would grow up with no care that they were half siblings. Of course it would always be something difficult to explain should he have to. James has dressed in a white dress shirt and some dark black slacks. His hair was styled pushed back.
Lexia looked beautiful and he tried not to look too incredibly blow away as she was always beautiful but she rarely wore makeup and when she did – she kind of came off as though this whole different person. He walked over to her and smiled, kissing her. He’d been filled with so much love then seeing her, holding Mason. “All set,” he promised as he got the stroller ready. Mason was placed in and soon they were on the elevator heading to the where the dinner was taking place. They were still pretty early, James signing them in before searching for their tables. As expected there was either one or two other couples at your table. They would be your group. Fortunately for James and Lexia, their group would be small, with just one other couple.
The couple looked to be in their mid forties, a blonde wife and a brunette: Kitty and John. They’d been married for twenty years and recently hit a rough patch. The woman from earlier, Karen, introduced herself to the crowd and gave a brief summary of what to expect. Soon waiters were passing around index cards and pens to which they were to write 3 things they felt their partner needed to improve on in order to save their marriage. “Yikes, the hard stuff first,” Janes mumbled. He took a sip of water, staring down at the card.
Lexia hoped that James wouldn’t be too mad about the fact that she wanted Mason with her. She wasn’t using Mason as an excuse not to be alone with him, it was simply because she wanted them to spend some time together as a family unit. Some of her best memories were o them all together, but when he chuckled, she knew that he wasn’t mad at her. She smiled towards him before they arrived at their room and honestly, she was surprised how nice the place was.
It was clear that James had thought about everything, even having a room for Mason separately. Maybe now was a good time to get him to start sleeping in his own room. It made sense. Their room was large and luxurious, and she couldn’t help but wonder how much this cost. It didn’t matter though because this was for their marriage and it was important if they were going to save it. She was confident that they would save it. They had to. She couldn’t bare the thought of going through a divorce and having to worry about co-parenting apart.
[b “Wow is the right word for it. This is more like a self-contained flat than a room. It’s incredible.”] She smiled and followed him to the balcony with a newly awakened Mason. [b “It’s beautiful out here.”] Lexia said as she bounced Mason gently. [b “What do you think little man? Gorgeous right?”] She asked before he babbled as though responding.
She leaned over and kissed James’ cheek. [b “Thank you for this.”] After a little while she got Mason changed and then got herself ready, deciding to get herself dressed up. She hadn’t had a reason to for a while, so she curled her hair and put on some make-up and wore a dress. When she was ready, she picked up Mason and gave him a kiss. [B “You look so handsome.”] She said before looking around for James. [b “Are you ready love?”]
James chuckled, of course Jenny would want to keep Mason at her side. They spent a lot of time together and it was obvious as to why Mason seemed to be more of a mamma’s boy. He didn’t mind though, he missed having family days. In the beginning of their second restaurant it was doing so well, and they had so much time on their hands. Lexia had just had Mason and he slept so peacefully. Things were nice then, were they perfect? Obviously not if they were in this situation, but that wasn’t to say that was a terrible thing. This was maybe just what they needed. They arrived outside of their room, then and James unlocked the door.
He’d requested the luxury package: a queen sized bed, soft white sheets and the bathroom had a very nice white clawfoot tub – stylish against the marble tile floors. He’d made sure they got the room with the nursery right next door, connected by a door in their bedroom. He knew for the longest Mason had been sleeping in their bed, but James wanted him to start getting a bit more comfortable. It was close and they also had monitors in their room. The place was pretty fancy and modern which James liked. He placed their bags in the bedroom. There was even a kitchen, which meant maybe they could have a night of cooking like they used to.
“This place is wow,” James said as he walked over to the balcony, it was a beautiful view. He already was beginning to feel very relaxed. It was nice just not stressing out about everything. Even work, he knew his staff would do well and Gianna had said she was going back. Things were looking up right?
It didn't take long for them to get their food and James pulled around in the parking lot to eat their lunch together before they set off again. It was nice being with him like this and he didn't seem all that worried about his work which was so unlike him. It was showing her that he really was trying when it came to make this work and she wondered how the retreat would pan out. Would he be able to keep this up?
She looked towards him when he spoke of the fact that he might have abused her trust and understanding and she just knew that there would be much discussed and brought to light when they arrived at this place. The one thing she was nervous about, was talking about the loss of their child because she knew that it would come up. After all, it had been the spark that ignited the affair he had with Gianna.
She tried not to think about the things that they would talk about on the retreat for the rest of the journey. The building seemed nice enough and they were greeted by a young woman. Lexia smiled towards her. She seemed to have a bit of a spring in her step and she glanced towards James who got them all signed in. [B "Thank you."] They moved towards the elevator and she nodded.
[B "I know it sounds silly but he's been sleeping pretty much most of the way and I would feel guilty not spending any time with him today. But, we can put him in tomorrow and really get into this."] She smiled and took his hand as the door opened and they stepped inside.
It was true, their last vacation really was their honeymoon. Shortly after that Lexia was pregnant and he was starting his restaurant. They just didn’t have enough time. He knew this was going to be about them having to work on their marriage, but James hoped it was also a nice relaxing getaway and now that Lexia had given birth, it was nice to think that if things worked out then they could go on an actual family holiday. He handed Lexia her food, as he had them parked in the parking lot. He took a sip of his drink. It had been some time since they last just sat and talked with one another and nothing about Mason or work – just them.
“I’m feeling good about it, I am looking forward to it.” He admitted to her as he chewed on a couple of fries. James wiped his hands then, looking toward Lexia, the sunset casting a beautiful glow around her. “I want you to expect that of me Lexia. I don’t know you say it doesn’t matter, but I feel like I’ve kind of abused that.” He didn’t want to say too much, things were nice at the moment and they had a whole week to get into those sort of talks.
They’d arrived at the retreat then, James pulling into an underground parking structure. An attendant already came their way to help be their bags and lead them to check in.
“Ah just in time for dinner,” a woman said. She was about late twenties, honey blonde hair and warm brown skin. She was dressed in a flowy white pantsuit. You must be Lexia and James?” She asked and looked toward the carrier. “Oh and of course Mason? Sign in is to your left, if you want you can get a bit spruced up. There is a daycare if you like to use. But when you’re ready, meet us on the third floor!”
She handed them the keys than went to greet another couple. There were a few people, but he remembered reading most groups would only contain 3 couples max which was nice. “So, did you want to bring Mason along,” he asked as pressed the button for the elevator to head to their room,
The journey was relatively easy. Mason slept most of the time. Be always seemed to like the movement of the car and the sound of the engine always soothed him. Even when they woke him up to get him changed, he went straight back to sleep without any fuss at all. That would just mean he wouldn't sleep very well that night but that was to be expected since they were staying somewhere that wasn't their home.
Later on in the journey they stopped for something to eat and they decided to go through a drive thru so they could eat quickly and get back on the road. [B "I am looking forward to it. It's been quite some time since we have been away together. In fact, I can't remember us taking any time away aside from the odd weekend here and then. It will be nice."]
She smiled towards him and took hold of his hand. [B "How are you feeling about it? I will understand if you need to call the restaurant every so often to check in. I hope you know that I don't expect you to switch off from that entirely."]
He was feeling nervous but he was also feeling good. He knew this was the right thing to do, they had to try everything in their power and maybe counseling was the solution that they needed. He was happy that Lexia was still on board. He grabbed the baby bf and their suitcase. It would be easier for them to share one large one since they still would need to bring Mason’s stroller. Lexia has strapped him in and made sure he was secure. James got into the driver’s seat. They were leaving a bit later than planned but he was sure it would be fine. Once all buckled he looked to Lexia, taking her hand in his and kissing her ring finger. “I’m ready.” He said as he leaned over and kissed Lexia.
He sighed and started the car then, making their way away from their home for a week. A week they were hoping wouldn’t just solve their problems immediately, but give them the tools to use once the retreat was over. Mason was settling well enough and stayed asleep for most of it. They’d only needed one stop for gas and change Mason. James has pulled over to get them something to eat form the drive thru. It was a bit late afternoon. He expected them to get there before sunset though. After placing the order, James smiled, in just under an hour we will be at the retreat! Aren’t you excited ?
That night was the beginning of their relationship being repaired. She knew that they were going to be okay as long as they really allowed themselves to work through their problems. All she wanted was for James to talk to her about things rather than bottle them up. He had an affair and almost hurt her that last two times he bottled up his feelings and she didn't want things to get any worse.
On the morning of the retreat she had Mason lying on the bed and she got him changed whilst James was in the shower. She was already dressed and pretty much ready to go whenever they needed to. She smiled down at Masin who was wriggling around in the bed, almost as though he knew they were about to go on a trip and that he was excited for it. Lexia chuckled to herself before she heard James behind her. She smiled towards him and nodded.
[B "I feel good, how about you?"] She asked as he lowered himself next to her, making Mason laugh which made her do so in turn. She kissed his cheek and watched their little boy together for a little while longer before she got herself ready to go and loaded the car. She strapped Mason into the car seat and got into the passenger seat and looked towards James. [B "You ready?']
“Oh really?” He asked Lexia with a chuckle. He leaned forward, kissing her forehead. He could feel her growing tired and eagerly wrapped his arms around her body. James was happy they had got this figured out and he knew that they could get through another storm. Soon the morning came that they would have to be leaving for the retreat. James was a bit nervous, but he knew this was what they needed. He had just come out of the shower, his towel wrapped around his waist and packing any last minute things. He had dressed in a grey sweater and a pair of loose jeans and sneakers. Daniel had said he was happy to check on the house and bring in their mail when needed.
“How do you feel?” He asked Lexia as he began to comb through his hair. He looked to Mason who was squirming on the bad after a changing, James took a seat next to her and poked his belly button playfully, causing the little boy to laugh then. James kissed his forehead, leaning on the bed and playing with him. The retreat was supposed to be somewhere sunny which was nice, on a big plot of land surrounded by trees. It was kid friendly too which a play area and a pool – this making bringing Mason even easier.
Soon it was time for them to get ready to go. It was only four hours out, which James figured would be a nice drive.
Lexia hadn't expected the swift movement of James bringing her on top of him and before she knew it she was straddling him and he was bringing himself up against her to that she could feel his body. What at caused her to giggle at first was no rousing moans from her. They kissed deeply and passionately for a while, neither of them able to tell just how long until there was some much needed air.
This felt like it was the first time although, their first time in reality had been much slower and had been rather romantic. This was needy and it was on both parts. Lexia allowed her head to fall back as he kissed at her neck and thrusted against her once more. His hands felt hit against her skin and before long he was shedding her clothes and she was pulling at his shorts and their naked bodies lay entwined with each other. Although it was obvious they needed each other, they both took their time. She placed kisses over his body as much as he ran his hands over hers and she couldn't even figure out how long they made love for. All she knew is that it felt right and she was filled with love.
Lexia chuckled after they both reached their climax, together as it always had been. Laying in his arms after with his hands still roaming her body made her feel like she was in some sort of heaven. [B "I don't know how you figure that."] She said with a quiet, sleepy voice. Before long, with his hand in hers, she drifted off into a deep sleep.
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