His head throbbed as he struggled to open his eyes. The sunlight sneaking in through the gaps in the curtains made him cringe. Bits and pieces of the night before seemed to drift through his mind, the faces and sounds jumbled together like they'd been throw into a blender.
Kevin struggled to sit up, swallowing hard as another wave of nausea threatened to overtake him. The taste of alcohol and cigarettes lingered on his tongue.
"Kelly," he called out, his voice hoarse, his mouth so dry he could barely speak. Squinting and bringing a hand to his head, he made his way into the kitchen, half expecting to see her sitting there. This was her usual morning after spot. He'd stumble down the stairs and she'd be in the kitchen-sometimes standing by the window, sometimes sitting at the table, but always with coffee, tomato juice, and aspirin...and always with that look.
The first few times, he'd mistaken it for anger, but now he knew better, now he knew the look was more disappointment mixed with fear and hurt. She was too afraid for him, for Zane, for all of them-too afraid to be angry, too tired to yell, too jaded to try to reason with him. She would slide the glass towards him and walk from the room-silently. And then later, after a few hours had passed, after he had sobered up, she'd come back into the room and start talking again, like nothing had ever happened. This...This was how they lived. This was their life.
But Kelly wasn't in the kitchen. Kevin glanced around the room. There was no coffee, no juice, no aspirin-no sign that anyone had been expecting him home at all. Moving towards the sink, he filled a glass with water, fumbling with the bottle of aspirin and swallowing two. His eyes fell on the view of the driveway from the kitchen window. Her car wasn't there.
He felt his heart beat faster as the water threatened to return to his mouth. He made his way out of the kitchen, climbing the stairs quicker than he thought he could. The breath left his lungs in a deep sigh and he closed his eye in relief as he saw her suitcase still sitting on the floor of the master closet. Part of him was afraid she would leave him, the other part knew she never would, and still another part judged her for staying with someone like him.
She could do better-so much better, and she didn't deserve this-this life, this pain, she didn't deserve the way he treated her. Slowly he slid to the ground, vowing for the hundredth time that last night would be the last time, that this time would be different, that the last drink he'd taken would be his last. At the time, he didn't even believe it himself. Then, the phone rang.