A/N - This will be my second Reba fic, requested by Allie (dance without sleeping) and so here we are. It's unbeta-ed so all mistakes are mine. I hope you'll enjoy it, especially you Allie!
To make things clear, this takes place before Season 1 and Barbara Jean doesn't appear at all.
Feels Like Home
It was an incredibly hurtful and bitter argument.
The kind which causes a sharp white hot pain in the chest on the moment itself and then cease to become a dull ache but never forgotten. The kind which causes hidden tears that were only to be shed when finally left alone. The kind which shatters relationships and breaks hearts.
Hurtful, venomous words were exchanged in a heated argument, and then it ended with the slam of the door.
That was beginning of the end.
Separation is so much more painful than Reba can ever imagine. The distance between her and Brock pains her now even more than their argument has. Thinking about it now, Reba can hardly remember their original argument. The one at the very beginning. Before the words that were meant to hurt were spoken. No, Reba can hardly remember how it all began.
The heavy leaves from the trees throws generous amounts of shadows along the road and Reba looks through the rear view mirror to see the expressions on her children's faces. Cheyenne doesn't appear to be bothered by anything and is busy fidgeting with her cellphone. Kyra is slightly bobbing her head to the rhythm she listens to on her music player.
Jake, on the other hand, seems very happy and is smiling very sweetly. He looks out the window and seems to be interested at every little thing they pass. Reba can't help but smile along as well. He is her sweet little boy and still so innocent. She is worried about him the most during this time. She is worried that this separation between her and her husband will hurt little Jake more than she can see on the outside.
Other worries start to form in her mind. Will she ever reconcile with Brock? God knows, she loves him so much that even if they never return to each other, she will still love him as much.
Without much hassle, they arrive at Brock's apartment and Reba steps out to see him waiting at the entrance. He smiles at the children as they all embrace him at once and Reba can already feel the awkwardness that permeate the air between them.
He was the one who had walked out after all. Reba isn't sure that if she asks him to come home, he would actually come home to them, to the family.
There are talking points in her mind. As though this is a sale or a debate. Reba isn't surprised if one day, she decides to put them down on yellow cue cards. For now however, Reba ponders on how to talk to him and hopefully resolve the conflict which looms above the subject of them like a large grey cloud, ready to rain heavily on them.
Brock helps Cheyenne and Kyra with the bags from the trunk of the car and little Jake is on tiptoes trying to get a better look at the inside of the car trunk. Reba doesn't bother to even think of what there could be inside that is interesting to her son as she realizes how much she has missed Brock. She longs to embrace him like her children do - so freely and so naturally but she doesn't.
Could she do that without him pushing her away?
Would he push her away? Or does he want her as much as she wants him back?
There is also a little niggling worry at the back of her mind. What if he has fallen out of love with her? She doubts it but she doesn't want to dismiss the idea altogether. Because if she does, and if he indeed does not have any feelings for her anymore and is only waiting for an appropriate time to serve her divorce papers, Reba does not want to break. She cannot afford to break for she has her children to think about and there is no doubt that they would stay with her.
Slowly, she admonishes herself. It has only been three months since the separation and she tries not to think about the nights where she would stay awake simply because she couldn't sleep without his arms around her waist, pulling her tight against him. Reba misses his strength and his warmth so much more than she thought she did. She should not be thinking of divorce no matter how much separation feels like divorce. Brock gets the kids on weekends. In the event of a divorce, however, Reba thinks that it will be the same arrangement.
"Brock?" Her voice is soft and hesitant, but Reba can't help it because she feels as though she is about to be given a verdict. In a way, she is.
"Yeah." He turns to her, still holding the bags.
"Can we talk for a while?" Reba is glad that her voice sounds more steady this time, and also proud of the maturity her voice displays because she is feeling less than mature these days. She wants to throw something against the wall and let is shatter because her marriage seems like it's going to shatter anytime as well.
"Sure." Brock sounds easy and evidently, he also realizes that his wife is trying to talk things out.
"Kids, go on up by yourselves okay?" Reba calls and Cheyenne along with Kyra comes and gets their bags from their father. Jake tags along but he has no bag to carry because his things are stuffed in an extra bag Cheyenne is carrying on her shoulder.
The silence between them is filled with unsaid words, apologies and unshed tears. "How are you?" It is Brock who asks and Reba tries hard to smile convincingly. She has pride after all.
"Hanging on," she says, not wanting to let him know that she yearns for him. Reba also does not want him to feel as though she's moving on because he might take it as a sign that he is not needed anymore which isn't true because one will always need the one they love. It was a necessity. She has to clench her fists to prevent herself from reaching out and leaning into him - kissing him. "I've missed you," she blurts and then regrets it almost immediately when Brock smiles slightly but shows no intention of doing anything about her admission. The constant dull ache in her chest intensifies and Reba feels the familiar burning sensation behind her eyes. She steels herself and crosses her arms.
"How are the kids?" he asks, and Reba knows that he is changing the subject. He is still keeping his gaze on her and Reba hopes that he can't see what little tears that are already forming at the corner of her eyes.
"They're fine," she replies in a clipped tone, keeping her arms crossed. He doesn't miss me, she thinks and the hurt buries itself in her heart. "They miss you," she says, trying to make a point without sounding like a fool. All of a sudden, the talking points in her mind have flown out the window and she is left with her emotions out in the open, for him to pick on. The thought of actually asking him to come home starts to lose its appeal and Reba purses her lips.
"Oh god, I miss them too," he mutters and Reba sees the first signs of sorrow in his clear blue eyes.
Tell me you miss me…Tell me you still want me…
"Then come home, Brock," she finally says, not caring if she sounds desperate. Because she wants him home, to be the father that he is and the husband that he is. "Please come home."
He is silent and runs his fingers through his hair.
"We need you."
Brock looks up and pain flashes in her eyes because he does not react like she wants him to. She wants him to take her into his arms and kiss her. Reba wants him to tell her he needs them too.
Most importantly, she has swallowed her pride and asked him to return to their family. She wants him to want to return home. "You don't want to come home," she states and her voice is quiet and pained. Like she is trying to suppress the rasp of bitterness that has suddenly spread across her soul.
Brock shakes his head. "No, it's not that. I do, but I think that we still need the time apart. To think and figure out where we've gone wrong. I don't want to rush and then have things fall apart worse because we don't know what went wrong the first time," he reasons and Reba can sense that he is speaking the truth about how he feels. Nevertheless, the truth about how he feels does not make her feel better and as much as Reba tries to keep the fear of losing him completely at bay, it is much too strong to ignore.
"You need the time apart," she whispers this time. "I need my husband. The kids need their father."
Brock looks down almost shamefully but is silent.
"What if- what if after you think and figure out where we've gone wrong and then you decide that you're not coming home? What if you decide to make it official?" It tumbles out before she can actually listen to what she is saying.
This time, Brock immediately looks up, horrified. "Divorce is the last thing that is on my mind right now, Reba."
"I don't want to throw this marriage away."
"Then come home," she says, her eyes pleading with him. "Please."
For a moment, she thinks he might agree but then, she realizes that he is still unprepared when regret enters his face. "I'm sorry, Reba," he says in apology. The distance between them could have increased by a hundred miles.
Her expression turns cold and stony. "You know, it's not easy for me to ask you to come home, Brock. I hoped and prayed that you'd return after a week or so when you left. I waited for you. Everyday, I was so afraid to leave the house in case you came back. And now, when I ask you to come home…" Reba trails off as she shakes her head regretfully. Without saying anything else, she gets into the car and starts the engine. She needs to go home where she is alone.
She needs to cry.
"Reba…" Hearing his voice hurts as well.
She turns to look up at Brock through the open window on her side. "Just tell me you don't want me anymore. I'm a big girl. I don't need you making up excuses to not come home so that you won't hurt me… You've already hurt me more than you'll ever know when you walked out." Her words are a rushed whisper and she doesn't wait to see how her words affects him.
She leaves after that. She doesn't make it home in time.
Because at a red light barely a quarter of her journey home, tears slip from her eyes and down her cheeks.
It is very late when the knock on the door sounds through the house. Past midnight. Reba pulls herself out from bed and slips on her robe. She is too emotionally exhausted to even wonder who it is at the door.
She pulls the door open and is greeted by the glorious sight of her daughters, standing beside each other and Brock, who has Jake in his arms. He puts little Jake down and Reba can tell her son is tired. He must have been awoken by his father to take this trip of theirs. Cheyenne and Kyra play dutiful daughters and sisters as they lead their little brother upstairs, understanding the need to leave their parents alone.
Reba is too stunned to speak, so again, it's Brock who breaks the silence.
"I'm sorry for walking out."
Reba nods and pulled the robe tighter around herself. She isn't sure as to what is happening and so she doesn't ask Brock to come in. She stays silent.
"I'm sorry for hurting you."
Reba feels another fresh round of tears forming and sniffles slightly.
"And I love you so much you don't even know. I don't want to lose you," he declares and Reba feels her knees weaken.
The tears come easily now and Reba feels ashamed. She is not one for crying marathons. Before she knows it, she is warm in his hold, his arms safely around her waist and her head resting on his shoulder.
"Are you home for good?" she asks, but her voice is small. Reba doesn't want to feel the pain again and she burrows herself deeper into his embrace, taking a deep breath. She has missed his scent too much.
He holds her tighter. "Yes, Reba. I'm home for good."
A/N - Thanks for taking the time to read. Reviews would be a marvellous gift!