Just a quick note this story does show more of Archie's softer side, but I think and hope when you read it you'll understand why
The alarm clock rang; the two bells Archie loathed began to ring loudly. The more he tried to block them out the louder they became. No, it wasn't just the fact that he had to get up, it was the days' plans that he wasn't looking forward to. He groaned deciding to turn it off, but as he reached over another hand beat him to it.
He looked over and followed the arm that lead to his wife. He guessed she too was having second thoughts about today's plans as she did not have her usual good morning smile plastered across her face.
"Hey." he said in almost a whisper
"Hi." she greeted in the same tone before giving him a good morning kiss, which should have lasted only a second or two but instead lasted a bit longer.
Edith relaxed in the embrace and Archie did the same, both wishing they didn't have to get up but knowing at the same time they had to. Edith slowly pulled away from the embrace, "I better get dressed." she said as she gradually climbed out of the bed and walked over to their closet.
"Yeah, Yeah." Archie said while watching her every move wanting to remember it all.
"How about this one?" she asked showing her husband a purple dress.
"One of my favorites." he responded smiling causing Edith to smile too. His smile shrunk though as he got ready to tell her something but instead asked her a question, "What time's your flight?"
"11:45." Edith simply said as she looked through her jewelry box.
Archie nodded, "I better go wake the kid." he said as he got out of bed and put his bathrobe on. It was Edith's turn to nod as she watched him walk out of the room closing the door behind him as he left.
Breakfast was quieter then usual, Stephanie wasn't asking why she had to go to school today, Edith had no family stories to tell, and Archie wasn't telling Edith to hurry so he could leave for the saloon. The only loud noise heard was the clinking of the silverware on the plates. Finally Stephanie couldn't stand the silence any longer.
"Why do you have to go to California Aunt Edith?" she asked, her tears stinging her throat as she tired to hold them back.
This statement shocked the couple, she considered her parents.
Edith looked at her niece, "Stephy we talked about it last night remember?"
"Yeah come on Susie, eat your breakfast heh?" Archie suggested, but Stephanie ignored him.
"Why do you have to leave me and Uncle Archie?" Stephanie questioned tears now forming above her eyelashes, "Why can't we come with you?"
"Oh Stephy," Edith said opening her arms, and the young girl ran into them. "I don't want to, really I don't." she said as she stroked Stephanie's head while Archie simply sat and watched the scene before him. "I would never leave you or your Uncle Archie, because I wanted to, ever." Edith said looking over at her husband as she continued to comfort their niece.
"But Gloria needs me." she explained, "Mike just left her and she's got Joey to take care of and no job. I have to go help her, she's our daughter. And Archie can't go cause he's got the bar to take care of, and you've got to stay here to go school and take care of your Uncle Archie for me." she went on
"But why can't Gloria just come over here?" Stephanie asked looking up at her aunt.
"Oh, well we talked about it…but it'll just be easier for her if she gets her life in order where her life is now." Edith explained, "It's gonna be ok though. I'll call you whenever I can and you can call me. And we'll write too!" Edith went on trying to cheer up her niece.
Stephanie smiled a small smile, "Will we still see you?"
"Oh, of course you will!" she said reassuringly, "I'll come over here to see you as soon as I can. And your Uncle Archie's already planning a trip over there a few months from now."
Stephanie's smile grew, "Ok…but I'm still gonna miss you." she said whipping her tears away.
"I'm gonna miss you too." Edith said hugging her, kissing the top of her head as she did so.
"Why don't you go get your backpack, so we can get going?"
"Ok." Stephanie said smiling before leaving upstairs to get her bag.
Edith looked over at her husband who had been silent during the conversation she had with their niece. She slowly reached over and grabbed his hand; they shared a small smile before Edith got up and picked up the dishes off the table. Archie watched her, her hands full of dishes as she pushed open the swinging door and walked into the kitchen. Even though Edith was just in the other room, only a wall apart, Archie missed her. He knew she had to go, she had to help Gloria, but he was gonna miss her like crazy. And the worst part was he couldn't seem to find the words to tell her.
Today Stephanie would be dropped off at school by Archie and Edith. They had borrowed their neighbor Barney's, car. Archie tried to concentrate on the road as he drove, while his wife sat in the passengers' seat watching both Archie and Stephanie, who was sitting in the back looking out the window.
Finally they pulled up to the school.
"Alright kiddo, youse better get going." said Archie
Stephanie gathered her things and then looked over at Edith. "Stephy, I want you to be a good girl for your Uncle Archie ok?" Edith asked while fighting back tears.
Edith then embraced her in a tight hug. "I'll miss you Stephy." she said while looking at the young girl.
"Love you too."
One more tight hug was shared, before Stephy began to get out of the car.
"Hey and don't forget to wait out here for me after school." Archie reminded her.
"I won't." she responded, "But will you?"
Archie frowned, as his niece closed the car door and walked off into the building, he then looked over at his wife, "Do youse see what you're leaving me with?"
Edith just smiled.
The rest of the drive was still. Last night everything was planned about the future, nothing more about it need to be said. Now the two were just left wondering how well they actually did planned out their future.
Edith sighed as she looked down at her wedding ring. There was no doubt in her mind they could make it through this separation; after all they had been through it before when Archie was in the war. Perhaps that was why this separation was even more heartbreaking to them. When Archie had returned home from the war he had promised her they would never be apart that long ever again. He'd kept the promise until now; with the longest time they had spent apart was a week when he had gone 'missing' six years ago. At the moment though, they were looking at being separated for several months.
Archie looked over at Edith and then back at the road. "You talk to Gloria yet?" he asked her breaking her daze.
"Oh yeah she said she's pick me up there at the airport." Edith told him and he nodded.
That was the only conversation that was had before they reached the airport.
Archie helped Edith with her bags, there weren't too many; Archie would mail her anything else she needed. They walked in silence until they arrived at the area where they had to say their goodbyes.
Archie cleared his throat, "So…" was the only word he managed to say before Edith covered his lips with her own. She held him tightly as he did the same and when the kiss ended the embrace continued. Archie looked at his wife and remembered how she had looked the day they said goodbye the day he left to war. She wore a sky-blue colored dress with a matching burette that held back some of her wavy brown hair, her eyes shinning with tears and that famous smile of hers was no where to be seen.
"Hey," he stared to say as he came back from memory lane, "Promise you'll be careful over there?"
Edith smiled through her tears, "If you promise to write."
Archie gave a small smirk, that was what he had told her years ago when she had asked him to promise he'd be careful.
"Geeze Edith," he then paused and sighed, "I sure am gonna miss youse."
"Oh Archie," Edith cried, "I'm gonna miss you too." and then hugged him tighter.
"I love you." she told him
"I love you too."
Just then Edith's plane was called, but Edith didn't let go right a way, she held on for a few more seconds. Slowly she pulled away and kissed him once more this time quickly but lovingly.
"Goodb…" she stared to tell him but Archie stopped her.
"Hey we didn't even say that when I left for the war. We ain't about to say it now." He explained to her, "Call me when youse get there ok?"
Edith nodded, "Ok." she then picked up her bags and began to walk away.
"Hey Edith," Archie called causing her to stop and turn around. Their eyes met, both pairs had tears in them. Archie took yet another deep breath, "Go take care of our little goil." he told her not only saying it and meaning it, but also reminding them why she had to leave.
Edith smiled a small smile and nodded before walking off. Archie simply stood there and watched her until he couldn't see her anymore, at that point he wiped his eyes quickly, sighed some, and left.
Not wanting to go home to an empty house just yet, Archie decided to head off to Archie's Place. He slowly walked into the bar, usually he walked in with a good mood but since receiving the new about Mike and Gloria it had been the exact opposite.
"Hey Arch." his friends welcomed him, but he just lifted a hand to indicate a wave before taking off his coat.
"Edith get off ok?" Harry his business partner asked.
"Yeah, yeah, just dropped her off." Archie explained as he walked behind the bar.
"I still can't believe it took her this long to leave you." Hank, his friend and former co-worker, commented.
Archie frowned at his friend, "She didn't leave me." he protested "She just went off to take care of our little goil is all."
"And left you behind." Barney, his neighbor added, "Meaning she left you."
"Ah come on youse guys…"
"Think about it Arch," Harry began, "Maybe she didn't plan on leaving you when she left. But you know how California is."
"Guess that's what them Beach Boy were talking about in that song…" Hank pointed out
"I wish they all could be California girls." the three men sang as Archie frowned at them as he got lost in his thoughts.
Later that evening Archie brought Stephanie home. Neither one of them were in a hurry to go to the Hauser home so they killed some time over at the bar. It was five thirty when they left for home, and now fifteen minutes or so later Archie was unlocking the front door. Archie opened the door and the Stephanie walked inside, "Edith we're…" he began to call out of habit.
Stephanie looked up at her uncle and gave him a look that seemed to say, "You miss her." but he ignored the look.
"Don't youse got something to do?" he asked in a somewhat upset tone.
"I'm gonna go finish my homework." she announced before heading upstairs.
Archie watched her, "Well why don't youse work on it down here at the table?" he suggested.
Stephanie looked down while leaning against the railing, "No thanks, I work better when it's quiet." she shared before rushing up the rest of the stairs.
"Well youse sure are gonna get a lotta that 'round here now." Archie said to both himself and his niece.
After releasing a deep breath, Archie walked over to the TV, grabbed the remote and then made his way to his chair. He took a seat turned on the TV and then did another thing out of habit, "Hey Edith how 'bout…" he stopped himself right after he realized what he was doing. "Geeze this is gonna be fun." Archie groaned and then looked over at his right side and sighed for what seemed like the hundredth time today.
It was a bit frightening to see Edith's chair empty. Usually his wife would sit beside him doing something, laundry, knitting or just reading the Readers Digest. Just then the phone rang interrupting Archie from his thoughts.
"That damn phone!" Archie groaned, while getting up from his seat and walking over to the table where phone sat.
"Yeah, hello?" Archie said into the phone
"Oh Archie!" he heard from the other line and instantly a smile appeared on his face.
"Is that you Edith?" he asked for some reason he did after all know very well it was her.
"Yeah Archie it's me. Oh I miss you so much!" she told him
Archie smirked, "Course you do I'm a very missable guy."
Edith smiled on the other line.
"How was your flight?"
"Oh it was terrific!" she said her smile remaining, and though he couldn't see her Archie had a feeling she was smiling.
"That's good." he said, but that was all he managed to say before she went on rambling
"Oh my, it was lonely on the plane though. And then when Gloria picked me up…oh Archie you should see Joey!" she drifted off
"Yeah?" he asked happily, "How's he doing?"
"Oh he's gotten so big!" she told him and Archie couldn't help but smile more.
"He helped me move my bags into my room too. He's such a big helper! He's right here too lemme put him on…"
"Eh Edith, Edith. I'll talk to the kid in a little while."
"Eh why don't youse keep telling me how your trip went." he suggested, "I miss you." he said in almost a whisper and her smile grew.
"Well…" she began as Archie pulled up a chair from the dining room table, took a seat and listened to the voice he had longed to hear since he got home.
Hope you enjoyed, not one of my favorite ideas on how they writers could have kept Edith in the show but I think it's better then having her die. I'm planning on doing a few other stories if you all are interested, in which Edith is over in California but perhaps comes down for a visit.
BTW I'm sure some of you are think I don't Gloria would have wanted Edith to stay there too long, thinking she could take care of herself and Joey, true but my idea (since it wasn't mentioned in the story) is that she's planning on going to college something she once mentioned she wanted to do. And don't worry if I do continue writing a few stories following this plot line it will have a happy ending, I believe in nothing more!
Anywooo Thanks for reading! Hope you liked! Wish me luck on my new school year (I can have more time to write wink) Please review I'd really love to hear from you! Take Care! And Until Next Time, Bye!