Outtake Four- Apprehension
He pulls on the covers.
Then tucks it under him.
A long, deep sigh.
He rolls over.
James has been doing this for the better part of the night. At first I thought he was just restless, but then the mumbling started and never stopped, and I realized he was actually wide awake. Up until now, I've remained quiet, peeking at the numbers on the alarm clock every so often as we creep closer to sunrise, but the lack of a good night's sleep is starting to wear on me.
I pull a fast one on James, yanking the covers back to my side just as he starts his routine, again. I swiftly turn towards him, wishing it were light enough for him to see the scowl on my face.
"Okay, what gives?" I ask with a huff.
"What do you mean, Tori? I'm trying to sleep over here, and I can't fucking get comfortable," he spits back at me, not helping the situation.
I fight against my annoyance, but my response still comes out in clipped tones. "Yeah, I can tell… you can't stop fidgeting."
James turns over once again, bringing us face to face. He scoots closer until we're mere inches apart and lets out a low sigh.
"I'm freaked out about tomorrow, alright? I don't know if I can keep my cool with any little fuckers that mess with my son. I will not be my dad and let shit go unhandled. And yes, I know, I can't do shit to them, but their parents may be a different story."
"Are you talking about kids in Hunter's kindergarten class?" I question, slightly confused where James is going with this and why. We haven't even met them yet.
My question earns me a loud huff and a long pause of silence. I wait patiently while racking my brain to figure out what has my husband so disturbed at this god-awful hour of the early morning.
"Yes," he simply answers, but the feelings behind it don't seem that simple.
"Babe, calm down. You're getting yourself worked up over imaginary bullies." I reach out to James, trying to comfort him with my touch. My plan backfires, and he pulls further away from me.
"Don't fucking make fun of me! I know you don't know how it feels to be picked on."
Guilt instantly races through me as I mull over his words. I now understand where his agitation is coming from. I can't say I'm surprised he's freaking out again; it's been slowly building up as the first day of Kindergarten nears.
He demanded to go school shopping with us, and then insisted Hunter pick out the best of everything. Nothing was overlooked on James' mental checklist. He got the most expensive school supplies, Nike Air Jordan shoes, Under Armor clothes and backpack… pretty much items a five-year-old could care less about.
I bit my tongue each time I swiped our debit card, knowing the reasoning behind the high-end items. He felt by purchasing them, we were insuring that Hunter wouldn't end up being a target for harassment. The insecurities that are imbedded deep within James reappear every now and then. Time, counseling, and love will never be able to fully take away the abuse and neglect he endured as a kid. For that reason alone, I went along with his crazy tactics, but now he's starting to take it a little too far.
"I'm sorry if you thought I was making fun of you, but that's not what I was doing at all. I'm just trying to get you to see that you're getting worked up over a situation that hasn't happened, and, more than likely, won't."
A loud groan interrupts me temporarily, but I don't let it or James' distance stop me from trying to soothe his worries. I scoot to where he has moved and take his tense body in my arms. With a quick kiss as my final attempt to physically comfort him, I continue.
"I swear to you, if Hunter ever gets picked on, we willimmediately handle it and do what it takes to insure it stops. But, you can't turn into the bully yourself, thinking you can scare people away from Hunter; it will get him picked on because his daddy is too overprotective for his own good."
"You know I'm just talking out of my ass. I wouldn't do anything to those little fuckers," he lightly answers, giving away that he's starting to relax some.
"I know you wouldn't because you're smarter than that now."
"Of course I am, I'll just pay a kid to take care of it so I'm in the clear," he retorts, and the grin laced in his voice doesn't go unnoticed even in the pitch-black room.
"You seriously need to get some sleep; you're delirious now."
"Mmhmm," he hums and begins to nuzzle my neck. "Since you're wide awake you can help me work off the tension. Bet I'll fall right to sleep afterwards."
His hands leave my waist and begin to roam, encouraging me to stay awake a little while longer. The heaviness of the night is temporarily forgotten, and I can only hope that it will stay away long enough to get Hunter to school in the morning. As much as a full night's sleep would've been beneficial, this unexpected reminder validates how fiercely protective James is of our son. I can't fault him for putting his family above all else. After all, feeling secure is what I longed for over the years, and I've come to realize he's always provided it, just in his own way.
Thanks for taking the time to read these snippets. I have two other outtake ideas swirling around in my head and hope to get them written out at some point in the near future.