Elena looked around the cluttered apartment. Book crowded the shelves covered the walls with large rolled maps and artifacts haphazardly strewn on top of them. Swords and other various things hung on what little wall space was left. The room resonated, it had flow but it was a type of organization she would never understand. Everything about it was just so Nate, scattered, frazzled, unplanned, and you'd probably never be able to find what you were looking for in it.
Sighing she folded another blouse and tucked it inside her suitcase. She been packing all morning and taking her good sweet time about it but the suitcase was already dismayingly close to full. Stalling only worked for so long and she'd promised herself if it was full before he showed up she was going. She wanted him to come back, to give her a reason to stay. Any second he'd walk through the front door with those blue-green eyes and goofy grin and in his adorably awkward way charm her into staying. But the morning continued to drag on and with every hour that passed her hope slowly faded.
Suddenly there was a knocking at the door.
"It's open!" she called folding another shirt.
The door swung open its squeaky hinge grinding painfully. The man standing in the doorway was a little older, a little grayer, and a little more mustached than the one she'd been hoping for.
"That's a dangerous way to answer the door, y'know," he teased coming inside.
"Hey, Sully," she said putting her shirt on top of the other.
He swung the door shut behind him cringing, "You should really get that looked at. Nate around?"
"Where is he?"
"Couldn't tell you," she answered turning towards him. As usual he was chewing in the end of an unlit cigar. She plucked a stray blonde hair out of her eyes. "He's disappeared again."
"I see," he murmured.
He walked further into the room eyes falling on her suitcase for the first time. Worry lines appeared on his forehead as his mustache turned down in a frown.
"You going somewhere?" he asked.
"Haven't decided yet," she answered.
"And this doesn't have anything to do with…"
"This isn't about Nate," she snapped.
Sully blanched back ever so slightly. Elena's hand went to her mouth cheeks flushing.
"Sully, I'm sorry," she blurted.
He held up his hands shaking her off, "It's fine.
Elena ran her fingers across the bridge of her nose. She always seemed to be taking her frustration out on Sully these days and hated herself for it. It wasn't his fault.
"It's just, I got a job offer," she said tossing another pair of pants into her suitcase. "And it's a good offer like career altering good."
"That kinda offer sounds hard to pass up," he said.
"I know," she said. "There's only one problem with it."
"Oh? And what's that?"
"It's a foreign correspondence job."
"To where, exactly?" he asked pointedly.
She ran a hand back through her hair obviously not wanting to say it, "Yemen."
"That's half way around the goddamn planet!"
"Does Nate know about this?"
"No, he hasn't exactly been around so I could tell him," she said falling down into a chair. "I keep waiting for him to come back and give me a reason to stay but I have to face the fact that he's not going to."
She cradled her head in her hands. Suddenly the space right behind her eyes started burning, welling up. Breathing deeply she choked it back, not here, not in front of Sully. It wasn't worth that anymore.
She lifted her head, "I just don't know what to do about him anymore."
Sully frowned talking the end of the cigar out of his mouth. Slowly he took a seat on the couch beside her chair.
"Let me give you some advice," he started.
"Look, I know I'm probably the last person you want relationship advice from but I know Nate better than anyone," he said seriously. "You just have to give him some time. He might take the long way about it but eventually he'll come around."
"Eventually, Sully?" she asked rising. "Eventually I'm going to watch my life go by waiting for him to come around. Don't ask me to do that."
"It's hard, I know," he said. "Believe me, I know. There are some things he just has to work through on his own. He has problems settling, committing, something he unfortunately learned from me."
"Well maybe he should of thought about that before he married me," she said displaying the silver band on her left ring finger.
She turned and violently tossed the rest of her clothes into the suitcase. When she looked down at it now her eyebrows contracted sadly. It was full. Sighing, she slowly lowered the lid.
"I'm going to Yemen," she said not looking up.
"I know," he answered, "and I'm not trying to stop you. I just want to make sure you're doing this for the right reasons, that you're not running away."
"Oh, me run away?" she laughed humorlessly. "That's rich."
Sully pushed himself up off the couch and walked up behind her. He put a comforting hand on her shoulder.
"Sooner or later he's going to realize what he's missing," he said softly.
She looked up at him, "Well when he does you'll know right where to find me."
"I guess I will," he nodded. "And if it's any consolation, I'm certainly going to miss having you around here. You're part of the family now."
She laughed smiling genuinely for the first time since he'd got there, "And what a strange messed up family it turned out to be."
He chuckled showing the smile lines on his well aged face. Sometimes Elena was surprised by just how wrong her first impression of him had been. Over the years the charming scoundrel she'd first met had turned into this warm, almost fatherly man she'd grown to admire, even love. Some days she liked him more than Nate.
"C'mere," he said pulling her into a hug. "You're going to do great in Yemen, I just know it."
She pulled back a smiled tugging at the corners of her mouth, "Thanks, Sully. It means a lot."
"Always," he said.
Stepping back he stuck the cigar back in his mouth adopting his usual, gruffer demeanor. He moved toward the door swinging it open.
"So, I'll see you around?" he asked looking back over his shoulder.
She smiled at him hopefully, "I really hope so."