Lorelei Hayden~

I watch him storm out of the house for the second night this week. This isn't good especially considering it's only Tuesday. We started out talking normally, like we always do. I was discussing with him the plans I'd made for Rory's birthday; our little girl was turning 17 in just over week.

I think that's what set him off.

I don't think that Christopher's never forgiven me. He's never forgiven me for taking away his childhood and all of the experiences he should have had. I can't count the number of times I wished I hadn't let my parents sway me into marrying him, into forcing us both into a life we'd never wanted. I know he loves our children, but the question is does he still love me?

We got married at 16 when I was 5 months pregnant. He stayed in school and I got tutored. We lived in my parents' house until we moved into our apartment when he went to Yale. I stayed home and took care of Rory. He did the whole graduate school thing after graduating a year early and by this time we were living in a house that had been paid for by his trust fund. We had a second child when we were 22 because we thought Rory needed a sibling after all look how we turned out as only children. We named him Christopher Jr. because I had named Rory after myself.

We moved back to Hartford as soon as he was done with school and we settled into the same lives our parents had led. I don't know when the love left our marriage. I don't know when the resentment that we both had grew to the point where we could barely look at each other. We separated when Rory was 14 and CJ was 8, one day we got in a fight and he stormed out and didn't come back for six months.

He did come home though and we had Tyler Michael Hayden within a year. He was our attempt at saving our marriage and now I fear he's going to grow up the child of a broken home. He's never going to know what's it like to have two parents that love each other. Even I had that, my parents may not have had the marriage I had wanted, but they had loved each other, they still do, they bicker all the time, but they never stopped loving each other. Right now I would do almost anything for just a flicker of hope that he still loved me.

I don't know how this became my life. How I'm only 33 with an almost 17- year-old daughter, an 11-year-old son and a 13-month-old baby and pretty soon no husband. I'm glad my mother talked me into taking college courses when Rory was Tyler's age, it had taken me awhile but I had finally gotten my degree in business during the time that Christopher was away of course it's not like I've done anything with it.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~

I went to this town the other day, it's not far from here, but I'd never been there before. My mother had dragged me after hearing about a small antique shop there. So with Tyler in tow I was forced to spend two hours in crammed little store as my mother haggled with the owner over prices, my mother left satisfied; I however, left feeling emptier then ever. Especially after we stopped to get coffee in a little dinner.

The town was so alive and full of characters, a husband and wife owned the dinner, the wife even broke out her camera to take pictures of Tyler claiming he was the cutest baby ever. She told us how she was expecting and how her husband would bark at her every time she tried to do anything. Their nephew came in and her husband yelled about how he was late, again, she told her husband to calm down and that he just needed more time to adjust. He kissed her and told her she was a softy, but that he loved her for it and it made me ache for the days when Christopher would say that to me. It had been months since he'd said it and I think the last time was because of Tyler, babies make everyone sappy.



~~~~~~~~~~~~

I hear the doorknob turn and I hope it's him coming back. God how have I been reduced to this? How have I become the type of person I hate?

It's not Christopher though; it's our daughter, Rory and her boyfriend, Tristan. I smile as I see them and remember how I put her on birth control within days of their beginning to date when they were just 15 and then lectured her on how she was to always use condoms also. It wasn't my fault, they were just so much like Christopher and I, even looks wise. I wanted her to have every opportunity in life. I watch her kiss him one more time as she shoves him out the door.

"Hey" I call as she starts to walk up the stairs.

"Oh Mom, I didn't see you there. What are you doing sitting with the lights off?" She says flipping them on

"Hey not nice," I say rubbing my eyes, for the first time I notice the time; it's 1:30. "And have you noticed the time Missy?"

"Yes it's 1:30 and it's not like I have school tomorrow." She's so different than I was at her age, wait that's right I was married with a kid okay, she's so different than how I was before I had her. So much more responsible, caring, and she's a good student, she actually studies. I don't know how we didn't manage to mess her up. How two sixteen year olds without the help of a nanny managed to not kill this great kid was truly amazing.

"Why don't.Oh that's right, it's New Years Eve tomorrow."

"You okay Mom?" She says sitting down next to me

"Yea fine"

"Another fight?"

"No of course not."

"Mom" she says giving me that look

"Just a small one."

"About what?"

"I don't know"

"That's not good."

"Nope" I say with a shake of my head, "everything will be fine though. Go to bed, it's late."

"Mom the last time you said that I was 14 and I saw Dad about 10 times in a 6 month period."

"Sweetie really everything's fine, just go to bed."

"Mom"

"Rory, I'm the adult, listen to me, everything will be fine and even if it's not you have a car now, you can see him more often. Now go to bed or gonna collapse before the balls drops."

She stands up annoyed, god she looks just I used to with my mother. God once again I'm reminded of how I hate what I've become and what I'm doing to my children.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

The Next Day~

I went to bed around three; he never came home that night. He didn't show up until this afternoon. I came home from running around with Rory trying to find her new shoes because she decided at the last moment she hated the ones she had gotten for her dress. When we got home he was in the shower, he didn't come downstairs in the hour that we were home before we left to drop CJ off at a sleepover and get our hair done. Rory had a party at one of her friend's houses and we had to go to a party one of his clients was throwing. When we came back about an hour and a half later, he wasn't there. He still wasn't there as I helped Rory get dressed and took a picture of her and Tristan as they left for their dinner reservation around 8.

He came home around 9 and walked into our room, as I was getting ready for the party, it was starting at 9:30; he'd arranged it so we wouldn't have any time to talk. He was wearing slacks and a sweater and I asked where he'd been for the past four hours.

"The office, I had some work to finish." He replied without even looking at me as he entered our closet.

"It's New Year's Eve."

"So I still had work."

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

He barely looked at me, as he got dressed. He barely looked at me as we drove over to his client's house, he just left me really once we got there and he went off and talked business as I was left to mingle and socialize with all of my so called friends. Finally around 11 I couldn't take it anymore and I found myself being grateful my parents were at the party as I asked my father to drive me home. He of course couldn't refuse me as he saw the tears in my eyes.

"Lorelei" he began

"Please Dad, not now, I just want to go home."

"Okay" he said, "Just let me go tell your mother."



I got my wrap and waited for my father by his car, not feeling the cold outside because the cold inside of me at this point was overwhelming. My father opened the door for me and didn't dare speak to me for a good ten minutes.

"Lorelei"

"Dad" my voice was shaky, I couldn't speak, I didn't want to acknowledge what a fuck up I was as a wife as well as a daughter.

"No Lorelei let me speak." When he didn't hear an argument from me, he knew it was safe to continue. "Your mother and I thought we were doing the right thing."

"Huh?"

"When we basically forced you and Christopher to get married, we thought it was best and for awhile it really did seem that way."

"I made my own decisions Dad, I got pregnant, I decided to keep it, I said, "I do," I stayed married, had CJ and Tyler. I could have left him Dad, I just never wanted to. I kept thinking we could survive it, but it's just getting worse and I think it's gonna be over really soon and I'm not ready for it to be." I noticed that we were pulling up to my house and as my father offered to come inside and stay with me, I hopped out and told him it wasn't necessary and that he should go back to Mom before she started to worry. With that I ran out of the car and into the house.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~

My shoes were off within moments of getting inside and I went up to our room, took off the dress and all the binding underwear that went with it, then down came my hair and off went the makeup. I put on a pair of flannel pajama bottoms and a tank top and went to Tyler's room. It's funny the peace you can find while holding a baby.

I curled up in the window seat with him in my arms, he was such a good baby despite the fact his mother is so neurotic. I guess I kind of just zoned out while holding him because I was startled when I heard Christopher's voice "This takes me back about 16 years."

I just turn to him I don't care that my eyes are probably red and puffy and I see him in his tux, the bowtie undone and his hair all ruffled.

"You didn't have to leave the party." I know my voice is cold, this is it, I've given up. Statistics win; two 16 year olds who get married because of a baby don't last, I don't know why I thought we would.

"You wanted me to stay without you?"

"Yea well that was kind of the point since I got my father to drive me home."

"We haven't been apart for New Years in over god, 19 years. 19 years every New Years together. You've been my kiss as that clock struck 12 since we were 14."

"Yea because that just seems to bring you so much joy."

"What?"

"Oh come on Christopher, are you really going to make me say it?" He just continued to look at me. "Okay fine I'm sorry. I'm sorry that my parents talked me into marrying you, I'm sorry that I took you away from the life you should have had. For heaven's sake, we're 33, Tyler's the age most of our friend's kids are. I'm sorry you didn't get to have the final high school years, the college experience, and the whole bachelor kind of thing. I'm sorry I ruined your life.."

He squatted on the floor next to me "You didn't ruin my life, you are my life. I love you. Don't you get that? Where would I be if you hadn't said yes to marrying me? I'd probably be some total screw up because I didn't have you by my side. So what I didn't have that exact existence my parents wanted for me. So what I didn't have a hundred random fucks like the guys I work with. I never wanted it. I wanted you. I didn't realize how much I wanted you until we were married and had our daughter, but the moment I had both of you in my life and in my arms I knew that nothing could every bring me as much joy as the two of you did. I was the one who screwed up your existence. You were the one that was dreaming of college and a career, moving cross-country, kids and a husband weren't in your game plan at least not for a long time. This is the life you hated, the one you swore you'd never have. The boring business functions, the charity events, ugh and Chilton. This is the total opposite of what you wanted."

"I love it though, okay well not the business stuff and Chilton. Charity things actually are going kind of well, pretty good place to get all the gossip and we've actually done some worthwhile, yet fun things."

He laughs at me and says the words I've been missing so much once more "I love you, you dork. I thought you were miserable. I mean you got your degree and I was just so afraid that you'd leave. You're always talking about how Rory isn't going to mess up her life and about college and basically everything you never got to do, all the parties."

"Hey we got in a few parties while you were in school, home was just more fun."

"Yea and it still is." He leans in to kiss me

After only a moment though, I speak and break our kiss "Hey what time is it?"

"Um," he says looking at me and then shakes his head as he goes to look at his watch "11:57"

"Ah get off of me then, take Tyler so I can get up. We've gotta go watch the ball drop."

By the time he puts Tyler back in his crib I'm already off down the stairs. I race into the kitchen and fling open the fridge doors. There's no champagne, but there are beers. One carbonated beverage is as good as another. I grab two champagne flutes and crack open a bottle pouring as I run to the living room, spilling and not caring and I end up dropping the bottle entirely before I even reach the room. He's already got the TV on; the 60-second countdown has just begun.

"Champagne?" he says very confused as I hand him a glass.

"Nope beer."

"Ah" he takes a sip and I see him looking at me as I watch the TV. "How could you think I missed out on anything? I've had the most amazing life and I'm only 33. I could die tomorrow and be happier than a 90 year old because I've actually lived. I've lived and I've loved more than anyone I've ever known"

I'm kissing him as they scream HAPPY NEW YEAR. My first kiss of the New Year was not only the man I was going to be with for that year, but for eternity. I'm glad my parents convince me to get married, he's right we make each other who we are now and I am the person I want to be. It may not be what I thought I'd be, it may be everything I had rejected, but this is me.

~~~~~~~~~~~

Hours later~

We're curled up on the couch with the TV off as we hear Tristan's car pull up. We hear their giggles, hushed whispers and shushes to each other. Her key turns in the lock and then they enter. Not knowing we're watching. He takes her stuff and drops it on the floor, it makes a clud and she once again shushes him. There are more giggles and he turns her and pins her up against the wall. "Let me come up" We hear him whisper.

"No my parents are here."

"They're sleeping, I can be quiet if you can."

"Tris." She's wavering, I know my daughter, she is my daughter and Tristan, well Tristan's as convincing as Christopher was all those years ago. She's about ready to agree, definitely time to make our presence known.

"God this is why you should have a backseat like a normal teenager."

Seriously I have never seen two kids separate so quickly and they both start to stammer and Christopher is just giving the death glare to Tristan. He quickly leaves and Rory runs up stairs. We can't help but laugh

My husband shakes his head "I hate that kid."

"Why because he reminds you so much of yourself?"

"Reminds? That kid could be my clone."

"Yea that's why our daughter's been on the pill since she was fifteen."

He shakes his head again, "They always tell you, you're gonna suffer through what your parents went through when you were a kid, but you always think it's gonna be your kid and not their boyfriend and god damn it if he isn't as in love with her as I was with you, as I still am with you." He says finishing with a smile "I can be quiet, if you can."

"Upstairs now mister." I kiss him on the lips before I start to race up the stairs, then remembering awake daughter still in the house, I slow my pace and he joins me, wrapping his arms around me, we make our way to our room.