Divorce is a difficult thing and no couple is without their troubles... so thus, this was a way of me venting out some feelings lately. It's very stream of consciousness. Sorry it's not the happy NatexElena goodness y'all were probably expecting.
"I'm leaving. I think I need some time."
The words resounded through Elena's head long after Nate had half-scuffled, half-carried his meager suitcase full of belongings out the front door of the apartment complex. Ungraceful as always. There had been few words said on her behalf, for Mr. Drake had already packed his things long before speaking to her of the matter, as if he wanted to make the quickest, cleanest exit possible... quite the opposite of how things typically worked out in his life. She couldn't say she was surprised, she never was any more... but the feeling of numbness spreading through her body and stemming from her heart was impossible to ignore.
Elena could do nothing more than watch, solemnly, from the window as he awaited the taxi cab... occasionally checking his wrist cuff watch as if he had somewhere to be. She knew he didn't. Adventure called him, wherever that may be. It could be an Tibet, it could be England or even Mexico... it could be some island in the Philippines. Wherever the next big catch was...
She wondered if she'd ever be the next big catch. At one point in her life, she thought that she was. But lately, not so much.
Before he left, throwing his luggage into the trunk, Nate pivoted slightly and glanced up reverently at the window... and Elena was reminded of when they'd visited Egypt and he'd looked up at the great pyramid of Giza in the same way, casting the sun from his eyes. Somehow, it was as if he knew she'd be there. And he should, by now, because this was the third time that Nathan Drake had walked out of her life. Elena gave a half-hearted wave, more of a salute as he situated himself in the backseat and shut the door. The taxi dragged a trail of dust in its wake, the stifling summer heat creating an optical illusion of colorful ripples through the air, like a desert mirage.
It drove farther, farther, and farther still until it was a mere blip down the street. Nate was gone... again, and she was left alone in a half-furnished apartment and a cheap freezer pizza for two cooking in the oven.
Elena's fingers ran through her blonde hair, loosened from its unkempt ponytail. It didn't hit her until she replayed their last moments spent together in her mind. As his words slammed back into her brain as forcefully as a sledgehammer, Elena sunk to her knees and cried. Tears spilled down her cheeks beyond her control... and she was at least thankful that she'd managed to hold it all in until he'd left. Last time, she hadn't been as strong.
She wasn't sure how long she sat there with her face cradled in her palms, but it was long enough. On shaky knees, dark thoughts surfaced. She wondered why she put herself through such torture month after month. She wondered if and when he'd come back... if he'd find something that caught his fancy more than her, if she was even good enough for the life of treasure hunting... or a life of being Mrs. Drake.
Maybe she just wasn't cut out for it. Maybe he was better off traveling the world with Sully. Again, Nate's words replayed like a broken record.
"I'll be back, okay?"
Elena had stood numbly as Nate lingered in the doorway, her arms crossed and lips quivering. But her stance remained strong and unwavering.
He was halfway through the door when he dropped his bags and closed the distance between them, and the distance had seemed so great, until he tipped her chin and planted a gentle kiss upon her forehead. Elena wanted to cling to him, to tell him to stay with her... to tell him to stop being so damned reckless and to just make up his goddamned mind already. But she was too proud, and Nathan Drake was prouder. Nothing she could say would change his mind. Like a compass, he was set in his ways. He knew which direction he wanted to take... a direction that always seemed to point farther and farther away from her.
As she stood at last, wiping the fresh tears from her cheeks, Elena glanced at her wedding band, gleaming and silver upon her left hand as she toyed with it.
"I love you, Elena."
"I promise, I'll be back."
Of course he would, tomorrow, next month... maybe even next year. Whenever he felt like it. She wondered if love was enough to bring him back to her doorstep this time.
She had her doubts. It was only natural, after all. Only time would tell if he would prove her wrong.
Glancing at the window one last time as beams of sunshine peeked through the curtains, Elena hoped to God that Nate was right this time.