He watched as she rushed through their bedroom and grabbed everything she needed. Her suitcase was lying on the bed they used to share, the bed they used to make love on. Not it was all meaningless. Everything they went through, everything they did, everything they said. Normally he would've gotten angry, but not this time. He didn't grab her arms, he didn't push her against the wall. He did nothing. He was still trying to get a grip on what was happening. But the fact that she was packing her suitcase should've got him pissed.
"Aren't you going to say anything?" she asked, her voice trembling. Maybe she was afraid that he'd hurt her again. But he wouldn't. Not after everything she'd done to him and their girls. She just wasn't worth it. Not anymore. His time was valuable and precious, especially the time he got to spent with his family, considering the fact that he was always away from home. Well, not always, but most of the time. She knew why, everybody did. He served and protected his country, together with his best friends. It didn't even seem to matter that he loved her: that wasn't enough anymore. When he finally answered her question, he spoke softly, his voice didn't even sound like it was his own.
"No." She looked at him and he stared back at her, an empty glare. Meaningless. Their whole relationship was. Everything was falling apart. Life as they knew it was changing and this time it was for good.
"No?" she asked. From the look on her face he could tell she was stunned. So was he. It didn't feel like he was himself.
"I know I can't change your mind," he said, while crossing his arms in front of his chest and walking towards her, "but I wish I could. For the children's sake." She shook her head and continued what she was doing: packing her suitcase. And when she'd be done, she would move to the room of their eldest daughter, to pack her things.
"For the children's sake, Mack? You sure it's not because you can't face your buddies and tell them your wife left you and she filed for a divorce?" She looked up again and this time there was hate in her eyes. Was it that bad? She hated him that bad?
"Because that's what's happening here. I'm leaving and taking the kids with me. We will get divorced, trust me." And that's when he snapped. She was the one who was having an affair and she blamed it all on him. She hated his work and his dedication to it. The t-shirts she had in her hands were yanked out of it by him and he threw them on the floor.
"Stop it, Tiffy!" he yelled at her, after which he grabbed her by the arms and pushed her against the wall. The hate she had in her eyes turned to fear.
"Let me go," she cried while she tried to get out of his firm grip.
"Why?" he screamed at her. "Why do you want to divorce me? So you can be with your new lover? What's his name… Wilson James?" Now she really was crying.
"Mack, please…" she said softly, the tears running down her cheeks. He didn't loosen his grip because she was crying. No, it was all her own fault.
"Did you make love to him on our bed? Did you do that? In my house?" She shook her head and looked away from him. Maybe she was ashamed, but maybe she wasn't. He couldn't tell.
"No, no I didn't," she whispered, "it didn't go that far. I would never do anything to hurt you." He just couldn't believe it. She didn't wanted to hurt him? Yeah, that worked out so well.
"I never slept with him, Mack. I never even kissed him." He stared at her and didn't know what to say. So, eventually, he let go of her.
"But you know what he does? He listens to me, he talks to me and I like it. He doesn't hide what he's doing, he tells me how he feels. What he feels." That's what she wanted. She wanted him to open up to her. To tell her what was going on with him and how his missions went. She wanted him to tell her about his job. But he couldn't tell her, not without risking her life and bringing the Unit in danger. Why did she wanted to know so bad what he was doing? His work life and private life were two very different things and he wanted to keep them separated. He had to. He was forced to. She wasn't allowed to know more than she already did. If she knew more, it would bring the Unit and his family in danger. It would be too dangerous and he didn't want to take that risk.
"So, you have nothing to say anymore?" she asked him and he looked at her.
"You know I can't tell you what I'm doing while I'm away," he told her, his voice was softly again. Now he knew she never actually cheated on him, he felt like a guy who was losing everything he ever cared about.
"Don't worry, Mack. When the divorce is final you'll never have to tell me a damn thing ever again."
"Tiffy…" She shook her head and continued packing.
"No, don't you 'Tiffy' me. This is the right thing to do. I can't take it anymore. The secrets, the job, the anger…" She hold still, closed her eyes and sighed.
"The thought that…" She didn't finish her sentence, but he wanted to know what she had to say. So he walked towards her again and grabbed her arms. Gently, this time. "Look at me," he said, his voice a little demanding. Eventually Tiffy opened her eyes and looked at him.
"What?" he asked her. "The thought of what?" That was the second time she cried during that argument.
"Every time you walk through that door for one of those bloody missions, you might not come back alive. I don't think I can handle it anymore. If you die, Mack…" That was the other reason? She was afraid that he'd die?
"So you want to divorce me because you can't lose me?" That didn't make any sense. If they'd divorce, they wouldn't only lose each other but he'd lose Lissy and Jen as well. And the girls would lose their father.
"Please, Tiffy. Don't go through with this. Divorcing me won't make things better or easier." He almost begged her. They were all he cared about. His wife and daughters. Maybe he should tell them more often that they meant the world to him.
"Believe me. I won't die. I won't. Because I don't want to lose you and the girls." He let go of her and the second he did so, Tiffy put her arms around his waist.
"I love you," she muttered.
"I know," he answered, "I love you too." He put his arms around her as well and pulled her body close to him. And that's when Mack Gerhardt finally held his wife, Tiffy Gerhardt, in his arms again. Once again, their relationship found meaning. They were back on track and it felt good. There were still a lot of wounds that needed to be healed, but they had the time to do so. Yes. This was definitely worth his valuable and precious time. Maybe life as they knew it wasn't changing after all. It just needed some fixing.