This will undoubtedly be the longest six weeks of my life I think as Ethan pushes me out to my truck. We are making a brief stop at my house to pack some things and then my father is picking me up. He’s rented a house on the beach for me. I need some space, I need some time away from everyone to come to terms with what I did, not only to that guy and myself but most of all to Taylor. She doesn’t know it yet but by the time she’s home I’ll be gone. I haven’t talked to her since yesterday, really talked to her, but at this point, I just can’t. I can’t bring myself to hear her voice right now. She will never know what last night did to me if I can’t learn to live with it myself. After voicing my concerns about not knowing what could happen if I snapped like that again Joe and my father decided that maybe a break from life would be good for me. In the end, I agreed. As much as it feels like I’m running away, I’m not. I want to be able to deal with this, not only for myself and my family but for her and the potential future we could have together. I don’t want her living in fear that if something goes wrong I will lash out. I really couldn’t live with myself if she felt that way.
“Dad will be here in about an hour, are you okay if I go, I need a shower,” Ethan says.
“I’m not gonna off myself or anything Ethan, I’ll be fine,” I respond trying to joke.
“Dude, really? I mean c’mon…I didn’t mean it like that. I meant that it’s pretty damn hilarious watching you wheel in circles with that thing,” he points to the cast covering my right hand.
“You’re an ass. You know that?” I ask.
“Yep, but I”m also the ass that saved you last night,” he dishes out.
“I know…payback is a bitch isn’t it?” I say, while really I do have him to thank for smoothing things over.
“I still don’t know how you managed to get him down like that,” he wonders out loud.
“He was drunk, and I was lucky. Plus he probably thought he’d hurt me or something if he fought back…” I answer.
“He was wrong. Honestly, I don’t think you even knew you had it in you,” he says.
“No Ethan, I was wrong. Everything about last night was wrong. That’s not me, you know that” I say solemnly.
He doesn’t say another word after that, I think it scared him a little, what he walked into. Not only me on the floor but the fact that he had to pull me off of the guy. I wouldn’t have stopped if he hadn’t, and that is scarier than me out of my chair. He smacks my shoulder before he goes and then disappears out the door. I look around at the house, the little bits of Taylor scattered here and there, still so new. This wasn’t how I saw the first months of us living together going by any means. I meander through the hallway as best I can and pull out a suitcase from the closet. So many mixed emotions swirling around in my head, not knowing if this is the right thing to do or not. It’s too late now to change my mind, though, I think as I fill the bag. It hits me as I take one last look around the room, my eyes land on the little instant camera that is on the shelf.
I know that I’ve done some things that could rip us apart. I’m not going to make excuses for my actions but I am sorry. Sorry that I put a fear in you that I may never have the chance to get to take away. I hope that one day you can understand that it was never my intention, never in my life would I ever purposely hurt you, never… But I did. I have to fix that. I have to find what it is that made me do those things and work on those. I have to do that now before I gloss over it and hide it away.
I may never be the perfect husband, or partner that you deserve, but I’m damn sure going to try. I want to build a life with you that we can look back on and have loved every minute of it, the good and the bad, not one that we look back on with regret or anger. I want us to have that chance. I want you to want to have that chance with me because I can’t imagine my life without you in it.
I’m going to be gone for about six weeks and when I come back I hope you are still here, god, I hope you will give me the chance to prove to you that I can be the person you deserve…
I planned on doing this last night, though life had other plans.
Will you marry me?
The handwriting is horrible, but I get the thought across. I strategically take a selfie with her instant camera and leave both the note and the picture under the blue box on the kitchen table. While it will kill me not to see her face when she opens that box, I want to leave her with a commitment. I want her to know that I’m in this.
I’ve been lying here for almost an hour now, listening. First, it was Becca cooing at Emerson and then talking with Ethan who had appeared seemingly out of nowhere. Then it was Everett and Helen. Their conversation was much harder to make out, I was only able to pick out certain words. The careful way they avoided getting too loud was beginning to bug me as I stared in to the closed door. I knew though that as soon as I opened it all conversation would stop, I wasn’t meant to be in on this. Something was happening, something big. Finally not being able to take it for another second, I got up and quietly opened the door, peeking out before exiting and going into the bathroom. Just as I was about to shut the door Ethan’s voice boomed through the hall.
“Morning Taylor!” he bellowed.
“Morning Ethan, Becca…” I responded, less than enthusiastically at the way he called attention to me, didn’t he realize I was trying to be stealthy?
“There are donuts downstairs, better hurry though dad will eat all the Boston cremes,” he says.
While I’m splashing water on my face trying to remove the remnants of last nights insanity I can’t help but feel a pit in the bottom of my stomach, why hasn’t he tried to contact me? The fear is gone now, I know he would never lay a hand on me, but that show was something else. His inability to stop was the scariest part. Sure he startled me with his roughness in the bathroom but it wasn’t him, wasn’t his nature to act like that. I know him. I know that even if he has been hiding that anger well, he would never direct it towards me. I saw how quickly he stopped once Ethan arrived, not once going after him or being so disoriented that he didn’t stop then.
Coming to a stop outside the room where Ethan and Becca are I finally muster up the strength to ask, “What’s going on…where is he?”
“I figured you would have asked before now…” Ethan says with a pained look.
“Taylor, can I talk to you, honey?” Helen interrupts him before he can continue.
“I don’t know what is going on, but just tell me if he is okay?” I plea, watching them look between each other.
With a nod, she leads the way downstairs and points for me to sit at the kitchen table. The empty space where a chair should be, only reminds me that he isn’t here. I watch her pour two cups of coffee and brings them over.
“Elliot has broken a few different bones in his right hand and has a nice bruise covering most of the left side of his face with a nice laceration but he is okay physically…” she says, stopping when the realization of what she said hits me and I look up at her.
“You said physically, w-what do you mean by that?” I ask, not sure I really want the answer.
“He is already gone, Taylor, Everett is on his way to get him now, he won’t change his mind…” she states matter of fact.
“Gone, gone where? Helen,” I say, though it sounds strangled somehow.
“Elliot decided last night that he needs a little time away from things to fix what it is that happened last night… he scared himself. It scared him. It terrified him in a way that only losing all control can. I can guarantee you that it was a very hard decision to make for him, probably the hardest decision he will ever have to make. His therapist and Everett went to the hospital last night and discussed what happened with him and at Joe’s insistence they decided that he needs to finally face that anger that he’s been holding down for years,” she says only pausing for a moment before she continues.
“Taylor, I want you to know that I don’t think he made the right decision, I think he should have worked on that here but it isn’t my decision to make. Everett said that he’s going to spend the first three weeks there with him, with Joe coming three times a week…I can’t believe he actually agreed to this…” she trails off, visibly unhappy with the decisions of both her husband and son.
“Three weeks? Who is going to see patients? Where is there?” I ask, unable to stop the rapid fire of my words.
“Dear, he’s going to be gone six weeks total, and I assume they’ve already spoken with Mark and have made arrangements. As far as where they will be, Taylor I have no clue, he wouldn’t tell me…” she says, anger dripping from her voice.
“What do you mean, six weeks… will I be able to talk to him?” I ask, crushed at the prospect of not seeing or talking to him for over a month.
“Elliot has asked that we do not try to contact him until he reaches out to us…I really don’t know what to make of this, I should have gone to that hospital, not Everett…” she seethes.
“I just don’t understand what it is that is going to take him six weeks to deal with,” I say starting to share in her anger, “What makes him, what gives him the right to make that decision without me…” I nearly growl before hearing Emerson cooing behind me.
“He wanted to whisk you away with him, believe me. I’ve spent the last twelve hours listening to nothing but Taylor this and Taylor that… he didn’t choose this without knowing how hard it would be,” Ethan pipes in.
I realize then that this is the most serious I’ve ever seen Ethan, and the pain on his features is disarming. He doesn’t do serious and this person in front of me looks more like Elliot than I’ve ever noticed.
“But he did, he chose to leave, to upheave everyone and everything in his life…” I say, barely able to get the words out through my clenched jaw.
“He chose to try and be a better version of himself, to try and learn how to not let this happen again. Taylor, do you know what he told me last night? He said point blank that he didn’t think he would have stopped, not until someone stopped him. That uncontrollable anger he felt at everything that’s happened to him and yes, to you too, over the last years finally broke the surface and he didn’t know how to turn that off,” he says flatly.
“I still don’t get why he has to disappear, though… I could help him…” I try standing to come face to face with Ethan.
“No, really you couldn’t have, I saw the horror on your face as it was happening, it frightened you and that above all was his deciding factor. He never wants to be the person who could scare you that much…” he says wrapping his arms around me.
I imagine for a minute that this is what it would feel like if it was Elliot standing, comforting me and it only makes me angrier. I push away from Ethan, probably a little too hard.
“Maybe if he would have asked me, asked me what I felt or thought about it…” I spit out.
“Taylor, he knew if he did you would try to make him stay, and he probably would have because he would do anything for you. Anything,” Becca interjects.
I get it, somewhat, but still, it breaks my heart to think that he chose to leave me…
The drive to the beach house is quiet, I can tell by the look on my father’s face that he’s in trouble with my mother. His jaw is set tight and the way his lips purse together every now and then gives him away. I can remember this look and it’s been a long time since I’ve seen it. Now, though, I did this. I added to my list of fuck-ups and have now hurt my mother too. I look out the window so I don’t have to watch him at war with himself and let myself drift off to sleep. Cloudy dreams about when I was a little kid running around after Mark and his friends and then more recently about the last time Taylor and I were in the pool take over the sleep.
“Are you sure?” she asked coyly.
“Cupcake, I’ve been thinking about doing this for months…” I whisper before trailing kisses down her neck.
Moving over to the edge of the pool I fix myself standing and use the ledge to steady myself, as she watches a little unsure. I nod for her to join me where I’m towering over her for once and give her a wink. I’ve thought about doing this for a long damn time, I don’t know how long I’ll be able to keep myself upright but it’s worth a shot. I pull her in close to me quickly before I lose my balance. She looks up at me, the way the moonlight is reflecting off of her eyes drives me wild and her hand on my chest, warm and gentle is enough to make me lose my cool. I guide myself inside of her and her reaction is everything. Her grip tightens as both of her hands are now on my shoulders, god I wish I could feel this. I’m holding her around her midsection as she bounces slightly up and down. I can tell she’s holding back trying not to put too much stress on me, but at the same time, I can see the pure pleasure. This moment lasts just a few more seconds before my legs give out and we are going down. The way she just giggles as we move back to the bench, that means so much more than just a fuck to me.
I’m jolted out of the dream as we come to a hard stop.
“Taylor?” I blurt out before I realize where I am.
“Elliot, we’re here…” my father says flatly as my eyes focus on the big house in front of us.
“Is there…how…” I start seeing the double set of stairs up to the main entrance.
“Elevator, El. I wasn’t carrying your ass up…” he says with a smirk.
So here we are starting this journey. A journey that I don’t know the outcome of and I’m scared.