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James looked to his mother in law then. [I I wanted to thank you. I’ve not exactly been kind to you and here you are...ready to help me anyway. I was wrong about you and I hope you can forgive me.’] He was honestly shocked that she had taken the time to actually apologize to him and James knew that must have been tough for her. They both were alike in that they were overprotective of a girl that they loved – Lexia.
“It’s quite alright,” he said with a smile. “I forgive you and I apologize too. I know it’s only right that I take some responsibility for my actions. Like Lexia said, we’re family.” James further clarified. They all headed then to the elevators which would take them to their room. James was relieved when they opened the door to their room, there was another door on the opposite side which would lead to her mother’s room and they had their own private bath. All James could focus on though was his hunger and the King Sized bed that looked plush enough to make him fall asleep as soon as his head hit the pillow.
James had placed their bags down, making sure to leave his mother in law’s bag in her own. It was late evening then, about 5 o’ clock going on 6 o’ clock. Lexia had stated that she was fine, he wondered if she just wanted to get in bed to rest and order in delivery.
“So what are we feeling like Takeout and getting some sleep? I know it’s pretty early, but I know I am definitely tuckered out by that ride.” His back was definitely aching much like his neck. He turned toward his wife and mother in law then, hands shoved into his pockets. This definitely wasn’t the type of vacation he had expected with his wife, but they would make the most of it and at least he would have some time away from work to just be with his wife.
He knew Lexia had been working hard on her jewelry company and was starting to expand her clientele. Soon he wouldn’t be surprised seeing her pieces in stores.
Lexia was able to relax quickly with the music on in the background and rather than sleeping she spent most of the time singing along to the radio. She had quite a nice voice, or so James has often told her in the past but she wasn’t singing at the top of her voice, just quietly to herself. Lexia used to be in musicals all throughout high school and even dabbled when she was in college but she rarely had time for that anymore. It didn’t matter all that much though because she was happy with her little business and being James’ wife, she didn’t need any other form of fulfilment.
Before she knew it, the car journey was over and they were pulling into the parking lot of the hotel. She climbed out of the car quickly so that she could stretch her legs, her body thanking her for the relief of standing and she massages her stomach gently to get rid of the cramps that had started to irritate her. [b “I’m okay. Mom?”]
[i “I’m good. Thank you.”]
Lexia went inside to check in and get the keys then. It seemed like a nice little hotel and it didn’t matter to her if it wasn’t the poshest place in the world. She was far from materialistic and the idea of just being away from home for one night with her husband was quite nice regardless of the circumstances.
Lexia’s Mom looked to James outside, helping grab some of the bags. [i “I wanted to thank you. I’ve not exactly been kind to you and here you are...ready to help me anyway. I was wrong about you and I hope you can forgive me.”]
James was always worrying about money. Seeing how he didn’t come from a wealthy home and so he never had the finer things in life. James knew his future would be exactly that. He never wanted his family to go without everything they could want. They’d exited the diner, James made sure to recall the name should they ever come again. Inside the jeep then, he turned on the radio and fiddled with it until it landed on a station both of them could agree listening to. James’ hand reached over to grab his wife’s, looking over briefly at Lexia. It was amazing how big his heart swelled when he looked at her.
The last few hours of the trip seemed to pass so quickly. Thy had finally reached Lexia’s old town, pulling into the parking lot of a hotel. James was more than happy to finally reach the hotel; it had been a while since he drove that long anywhere. He stepped out of the car then, hands on his hips as he stretched a bit. Weather was cool for a late afternoon; not too hot and a soft breeze that passed through.
“You ladies alright?” He asked, popping the trunk to retrieve their bags. James had booked the rooms under his name and Lexia’s there was one bedroom for them and an adjoining one for the mother in law. “Lexia, babe – why don’t you go check in and get the keys, I’ll take care of the luggage he said giving her a kiss. It wasn’t that fancy of a hotel, but with how tired James was he didn’t really care, he just needed a bed and possibly a beer.
James followed after locking up the car, entering the lobby of the hotel. James reflected on the ride and began to think how crazy it was that him and his mother in law hadn’t argued that whole ride. Maybe it was because of the situation, her still grieving over losing her home and seemingly being ignored by your other two children. James didn’t [I hate] Lexia’s mother, so to him he truly felt sorry she was in this situation.
Lexia nodded, letting him know that she would let him know that she needed to stop if she was feeling too unwell. She hadn’t wanted to cause any delays but she also knew that James would much rather make sure she was okay and arrive later, than for her to sit in silence and suffer as she felt sick. She glanced at the waitress as James handed over his credit card and she knew instantly that he would be worrying about money. He always was but the truth was they were doing just fine. Her jewellery business was doing really well and she had taken in quite a lot of new customers lately and she had always saved the money that came in from that because there was no need for them to spend it when the income from the restaurant covered their bills. It was doing really well and sometimes she had to remind James of that.
She had even been saving all the reviews and newspaper articles and framing the important ones and others seemed to go into a scrapbook but she hadn’t given it to him yet because it was supposed to be something he could reflect on. Maybe she would give it to him when she decided to talk to him about one of her ideas. Now was not the time for that though.
When the waitress came back with his card, everyone seemed ready to go and she rose from the table and made her way towards the car. [b “We should get some music on and try to relax a bit.”] She climbed into the passenger side and fastened her seatbelt, ready to get going on the road once more.
James frowned hearing that she was nauseous but trusting Lexia enough to know that she would tell him first thing if she did feel unwell enough. His mother in law clearly felt bad about dragging them into her mess, but as stated by the couple – she was family. Yeah, they may have had their problems, but overall they were meant to be at each other’s side no matter what. It wasn’t her mother’s fault necessarily that the man she married had failed them not only as a husband, but a father also and even now with grown children he still failed them.
Though, some part of his did wish Lexia would confront her siblings about their lack of assistance or even care and James was sometimes a very petty man who tended to hold onto things. There was something inside him that didn’t want her family to have anything to do with their newborn child, though that was selfish to ask of and his child needed a family. Aunts and uncles, reunions and family vacations – this was something he had been denied of and he didn’t want his son to not be able to have it. He wanted his son to have every opportunity that could e provided for him at his hands ready for the taking.
The restaurant was his legacy and though he wouldn’t think of forcing his son into doing what he wanted when it came to a career, running it with his son and eventually signing over ownership to him was a dream. “Well just let me know when you need breaks, it’s no bother.” He sighed out, Lexia of course always trying to put everyone’s feelings before her own. James had finished the burger then, quite full and honestly he felt like he needed a rest. He couldn’t wait for them to get to the hotel. He waited until everyone was finished, asking for the check then. This trip alone would set them back quite a bit, but James didn’t want to think about that as the waitress walked off with the check and his credit card.
Lexia has wondered about helping out more at the restaurant because it was something she wanted to do in order to show her support. The last thing she wanted was for him to feel like she was trying to interfere or take over, especially when she had her own little business to think about. The restaurant was his and she had always tried to maintain that and keep herself separate but if he ever found himself in a situation where he needed her and asked her for help, she would be there instantly, helping in any way that she could.
Their food was brought over and she thanked the waitress as James started to relay the plan that he had formulated for the rest of the day and the time they would spend there before he became distracted by her small lunch. She didn’t want to keep anything from him so she was joe st with him about why she had chosen nothing more than a salad. [b “I feel a bit nauseous and I don’t want to feel too heavy in the car. I promise I will eat more when I get there but I don’t want to eat anything that is going to upset my stomach more and then make us have to stop every thirty minutes so I can throw.”]
[i “Maybe you should try to get some sleep in the car Lexi, it might help get rid of some of that nausea.”] Her mother sighed a little as she took a bit of her food. [i “I shouldn’t have dragged you into this! What was I thinking? You’re sick.”]
[b “Hey, don’t worry about it. I’m doing okay and I promise the minute that I’m not I’ll let you both know but I won’t have either of you feeling guilty about having me coming out here.”]
James had returned to the table a bit on edge, but that all seemed to melt away at the feeling of Lexia taking his hand in her own. He didn’t know if he could see her as a Jessica, knowing that what they all thought was right – it would just be best to wait until his son was born before they even thought of a name. Once they saw those eyes whether they were Lexia’s which he loved or his, which his lovely wife loved about him – they would know the minute the young boy was brought into this world. James could hardly wait for that day, the chance to hold their child in his hand. It was the only thing other than Lexia which could make the man come close to tears. Everyone knew James could be a bit callous and wasn’t the type to evoke much emotion other than anger – or love when it came to Lexia. That’s why he had married her, she was a perfect match for him, always able to ease any tension he had. Even if it was during a fight – she always remained quiet and levelheaded to the point he knew that he was overacting and would lower his voice then.
He leaned into her kiss, his eyes closed but for a brief second. “It’s fine, just a bit of chaos, but they’ll be okay. I cleared up some things with Gianna,” he cleared his throat then, uncomfortable with saying the female’s name since the whole affair had come to light. He was glad when the food came to distract him from those thoughts, James starving and eagerly taking a bite into the burger. His food was a bit more upscale, experimental. However, you could never go wrong with a classic – comfort food would always be the best.
“So I say we have about another two hours to go, I already booked the hotel so we’ll stop there, sleep and maybe have dinner and then start up in the morning toward the house.” He looked over at Lexia’s salad, “Is that really all you’re going to have?” He asked worried, thinking about earlier how she had been dizzy. She needed to keep her energy up as best as possible. He tried to drop the subject though, focusing more on eating. Life was teetering between good and bad lately – the couple just trying their hardest to have what they considered perfect when it came to their marriage and their life.
Lexia looked up at James as he included himself int he conversation, glad that they were all trying to keep the tension and arguments at bay. Her mother seemed very happy to be included too which made her feel quite relaxed in that moment.
[i “Oh! I like Daniel a lot, although I have to agree with you, it’s always best to wait until the baby is born because he will give you his name when you see him. Lexia was called Jessica right up to the moment I laid eyes upon her. I didn’t see her as a Jessica so I changed her name.”] She smiled as the waitress came back over and she placed her order of hunters chicken while Lexia ordered a light salad. She was hungry but also slightly nauseous so she didn’t want to eat anything too heavy, knowing that she had another couple of hours to spend in the car and she didn’t want to cause too much hassle by holding up the journey so she could throw up.
James exited the table to take a phone call then, clearly there was something at the restaurant that needed his attention and she didn’t hold that against him and she sat talking to her mother about anything that could distract them both from what her father had done, instead they talked about the cute nature of the diner and even started to discuss the restaurant with her. She had clearly been impressed and was feeling bad that she hadn’t taken the time to visit the restaurant before now.
When James came back she took hold of his hand and she kissed his cheek. [b “It’s alright babe. Is everything okay?”]
James took hold of the menu, the waitress pouring them glasses of water before taking her leave to give the some time to work on deciding what they wanted to eat. James had a big appetite of course. He looked up from the menu to hear Lexia trying to include her mother into their plans. She was feeling guilt for someone she didn’t need to. Hell for two people she didn’t need to feel guilty for. James sighed out then, telling himself to keep his mouth shut and to let his wife handle this accordingly to her own desires.
“You know, maybe Daniel? I don’t know, I’d love to see how he looks when he comes out. I think he’s going to be a beautiful strawberry blonde – Dustin? Justin?” James was busying himself then by thinking of what to order, settling on a nice burger and fries, a shake to share with his wife sounded even better for dessert, but James knew that would be a bit award with his mother in law being a third wheel. His main concern though was that everyone was happy.
He was distracted then by his phone ringing. James reached into his pocket to find that Gianna was calling him. “I’ll have the burger and fries – I have to take this,” he mentioned as he removed himself from the booth, answering the phone then. James headed toward the outside, not wanting to disturb any other diners, though few, with his phone call. He always found that to be an obnoxious trait. James answered the phone call then.
She was freaking out obviously as it was rare that she ran the restaurant by herself for a whole day. James could sense the tension and a part of him felt a bit bittersweet for her to understand just how this was slightly karma for what she had put him through the last few days. He tried to calm her down, answering her questions and giving her tips. They were running out of liquor which was both their faults – Gianna usually did inventory and James hadn’t even been in the right mind to check – too distracted by his wife and trying to keep the restaurant together. In the end, he managed to get everything settled and promised he would be back in a short time before he headed back inside after ending the phone call. James sighed out, sinking back into the blue leather cushioned seat of the both. “Sorry about that,” he commented. He was stressed, a part of him missed his restaurant. This would only be a test though, once the baby was born he would have to learn to split both worlds and not freak out about it.
Lexia wanted to be everyone’s rock because that was just the kind of person that she was. She didn’t have a bad bone in her body and she wouldn’t wish pain or heartache on anyone, not even Gianna. She looked towards him as he gave her a little bit of a leg squeeze and she smiled towards him knowing that he was just trying to deflect as much stress as possible. [b “I know baby. And I love you for it but she’s my Mom and if the other two can’t even pick up the phone to see if she is okay, then why even bother?”] She sighed a little and glanced back at her mother. [b “I feel so bad for her. She really doesn’t deserve this. I don’t know what she ever saw in my father, he’s a dick.”]
Lexia chuckled a little and when James saw a diner she found herself completely relieved at his suggestion that they should stop. She was feeling restless and she needed to stretch her legs and she was the first one out of the car when he pulled up. She opened the door for her mother who had woken up with the change in pace with the car and the absence of the engine. The three walked towards the diner and James was quick to wrap his arm around her and ask her mother how she was doing.
[i “I feel better for having a little sleep.”] She yawned a little and followed the three into the diner, taking the remaining seat opposite James and Lexia. [i “Have you heard from Rebecca or Andrew?”] She asked as she checked her phone, clearly supervised by the lack of calls or texts.
[b “No...sorry... but let’s not worry about them. We were talking about names last night. Any ideas on names for a little boy?”] She was trying to include her in their life and make he feel better about the lack of attention from her siblings.
James knew that Lexia ultimately would put the weight of all this on herself, choosing not to involve her sister or brother despite the fact that they all equally shred responsibility. They knew the still newlyweds had just had another chance at a baby. Money was good but it wasn’t great and they knew how far away the couple was compared to her siblings when it came to the childhood home.
James sighed out, not wanting to push it and not trying to argue with his wife, especially not in front of her mother despite the fact she was asleep. They could discuss this when they had got to the hotel. “I know this isn’t,” he said softly. “I just don’t want us to be brought down with more stress than necessary.” He said, hand on her thigh to give a soft squeeze. Had he not been driving he would’ve given her a kiss. This would prove tough for the couple, but the affair proved they could get over any obstacle if they tried. While they were a family by marriage, this was Lexia’s family by blood and he wasn’t going to make any decisions for her – she knew what to do and James knew that sometimes he had to try not to control every situation.
They had been driving for over two hours at that point, James finally seeing a cute little diner on the side and knowing how anxious long car rides for Lexia was. “We can stop here, I know I’m definitely in need of something to eat and a stretch.” James said as he pulled into the lot. He had turned the car off, the motion gone from driving arousing Lexia’s mother. James sighed out as he fully turned the car off before getting out and coming to a stretch. It had been a while since he had driven that long and they still had at least two more hours to go.
It had been a while since he had been to another restaurant with his wife since he was always working – a diner in this sense seemed kind of romantic.
James wrapped his arm around Lexia’s waist then, looking over at his mother in law. He knew they bickered a lot and their past wasn’t the best, but James did feel bad for her. Her husband wasn’t the best guy and hadn’t been the best father and had been responsible for a lot of the turmoil in their life. “Doing alright?” He asked his mother in law as they headed toward the entrance, James opening the door for them then. A cheery little blonde, perky wearing a white dress uniform welcomed them, leading the trio to a booth.
It was definitely giving 50’s vibes, the music playing from a different era. James took a seat in the booth, allowing Lexia to choose where she decided to sit.
She was angry with her father, beyond anything she had ever felt in the past. He had betrayed all of them after vowing that he had got better and that he would never find himself in situation where he would ever place a bet again. She didn’t even know what he had been thinking when he had walked into the casino in the first place. He shouldn’t have been anywhere near them, but he had put himself in that situation. Lexia sighed as she looked towards James, knowing that he was just trying to be the sounding board, so she didn’t find herself getting angry at her siblings when she hadn’t even tried talk to them in the first place.
[b “No, I haven’t had time, but it doesn’t make sense for Rebecca or Andrew to not know about this. Neither my brother or sister have tried to call me or my mother either. I don’t know why we have to be the ones to make the first move with everything.”] Of course, she wanted to be there for her mother and they would be but they were having a baby and in five months’ time, they wouldn’t have a spare room and she didn’t want to kick her mother out of the house. This was all such a mess and she had no idea what they were actually going to do.
Lexia had been thinking of a few options since James had mentioned that he wanted to open another restaurant, but she wasn’t about to discuss those ideas without research, and they were not in a position to do so in the car like this. The pregnancy was not cheap and she neither was running a restaurant and a mortgage. Lexia couldn’t bring herself to call her sister so she just shook her head. [b “I don’t want to cause any more problems. We will make this work.”] She said, trying to sound confident as she glanced back to her mother. [b “We are not going to let this bring us down, I promise.”]
James was a sure like anyone who knew Lexia’s parents – getting into their mess could be exhausting. Unfortunately her mother just happened to be with them at the time of hearing the bad news about losing her home. James had kind of taken it upon them to take on the lead in helping. Though his wife was right, it wasn’t nice how they constantly were leaving the majority of the hard work on Lexia. Maybe it was her good heart, but there was no way her sister couldn’t have known what was going on.
“Well have you or your mother had a chance to call her?” He asked a he looked up at the rear view mirror to find his mother in law was still asleep. He didn’t want her to think that she was a burden – though this was taking on a lot. However it just meant someone there who could watch over Lexia when he couldn’t and it wouldn’t be [I forever]. Eventually they were going to turn the spare room into the nursery.
James initially had considered moving, not sure if Lexia would enjoy having to go up and down the stairs once the baby started to sleep on its own. He wasn’t sure if he was speaking for himself or his wife, but the minute that baby was born and on its way home, he wanted the crib in their room at first. James didn’t want to let the baby out of his sight. Their little miracle child. He sighed out then, hoping that things would go right. He hoped that the restaurant would only prosper more and they wouldn’t have to worry about money. Having a child was expensive and there were a lot of tests he made sure were done for Lexia to assure the health of the baby, many things regarding pregnancy weren’t even covered under their insurance.
James’ hands were gripping the steering wheel tight then and he managed to calm down. “If your sister is still living in that small house I doubt she will let your mother stay with her. Besides they’re all – you know they’re not really a big fan of me. This is probably some kind of way to get back at me.” James had managed to weasel somewhat into the family, but still they weren’t really close to them after the wedding – obvious by how it had been a while since they’d visited Lexia’s hometown. Though, that was supposed to change when the baby was there he suspected, everyone hoping for some kind of bridge and the baby was supposed to fill that gap. Though they hadn’t called as far as he knew, no card or text – hell his mother in law was the only one that bothered to check up on her and his mother could when sober at least. Some part of him felt like they were jealous of Lexia. Her she was, finally married and with a child and a beautiful home – a promising career. She had done a really good job of proving those who doubted her wrong.
“Give her a call and see what she can do.”
It was time for them to leave. They could stand around all day talking about how sad they were about the fact that they’ve lost their home but she knew that nothing could change that now and her mother had to accept that too. The only thing that they could do now was go back to their home and pack up everything and move on. Not just from the home, but also from her father who was clearly letting them down at every single hurdle possible. She didn’t have any time for him any more and she hoped that her mother wouldn’t either after being let down by him consistently for the last thirty years of them being in each other’s lives.
Lexia took a brief look around to make sure that she wasn’t forgetting anything and picked up her phone and the charging cables so that James could be contactable if anything went wrong at the restaurant, knowing that he would only start to panic if he was completely unreachable because his battery had died. She made her way out of the house, following her mother and James to the car. She locked up the house like she was asked to and then climbed into the front seat of the Jeep as her mother climbed into the back needing the space to rest. It wasn’t much longer then until they were on their way and she knew that the drive wouldn’t exactly be a short one. While her mother didn’t live a million miles away it was across state and it would take a fair few hours to get to. Being pregnant and sat in one position for more than one hour usually frustrated her, so knowing that she wouldn’t be able to move for the next few hours was making her feel slightly anxious.
Lexia glanced back and saw that her mother had started to rest her head on the window and her eyes began to close. While she clearly hadn’t fallen asleep that fast, it wouldn’t be long until she was falling asleep and she probably would remain that way for the rest of the journey which would make things a lot easier for all of them because it meant they didn’t have to focus on calming her down. Lexia sighed softly as James reached for her hand and she glanced towards him with a gentle smile.
[b “Maybe we can. We’ll just keep an eye out and see what there is to do. God I haven’t been back there for years. It always amazes me though, that we are the ones picking up the pieces when my sister lives five minutes down the road from her. Why isn’t she calling and offering to help?”]
Okay wasn’t exactly the word he was looking for but James knew that Lexia was not going to tell him otherwise. He could only take her word for it and hope that she would tell him when she was feeling too tiered or dizzy or sick. He grabbed the back, watching her delicate hands reach for it as though she acts like he didn’t see how she had to take a breather. He didn’t want to push it though, didn’t want Lexia to think that he was just trying to control her every action.
James followed his wife downstairs where he found his mother in law and wife all set and ready to go. He blushed some, Lexia always talking so well of him. He knew she hated when he said it but he truly did feel like he didn’t deserve her sometime. He made sure to put all the dishes in the dishwasher, figuring they didn’t want to waste any time cleaning. He exited the home, asking his wife to lock up as he began to pack their over car – a Jeep which worked better than the two seater he usually drove. He took a moment to have a smoke, knowing smoking around Lexia bothered her and he wasn’t going to do so in the car. He finished the cigarette before finishing loading the luggage. He placed their duffle in the trunk, helping his mother in law with her suitcase and putting it in the trunk as well. He opened the door for the women, Lexia’s mother opting for the back seat as she looked like she needed to rest her head from the whole ordeal.
Lexia was at the front then, James getting into the driver’s seat. He started the car then, rolling down the windows and making sure everyone was buckled up before he started out of the driveway. He had spoken of a getaway, a vacation and yet this wasn’t really what he had planned – though James hoped there would be something good that could come out of a dark situation. He turned the radio on, one hand reaching over to grab his wife’s hand as a sign of support. He knew it would be a whirlwind of emotions – going back to her childhood home only to pack everything up and say goodbye.
“Hey maybe we can find something fun to do, on the way there you know ? Maybe this bit so depressing. It’s been a while since we’ve been to where you grew up. “
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