“Where the hell have you been? Why the hell do you smell like pot and why are you naked?” She stood next to the bed with her arms crossed over her chest. “If you so much as inhaled anything, I swear to god Spencer we are done.” Maeve stalked out of the room slamming the door behind her.
“Fuck.” Spencer fell back on the bed as thoughts of Aaron circled around in his head. He knew his lover was going to think the worst. He was tempted to just go back right there and then but he had an angry wife to deal with. Growling out his frustration he got up and made his way into the bathroom to take a long hot shower. He had no idea how to explain this to Maeve. Finally turning off the shower he quickly dried off and changed into a pair of jeans and a t-shirt. He headed down to the kitchen to fix a pot of coffee. While he waited, he leaned against the counter, legs crossed, and head bent. So many thoughts were running through his head he was having trouble sorting it all out. Mainly he was coming to terms with the reality that he was having an affair. He knew intellectually he was, but it solidified after having sex with Aaron for the first time. He knew what he wanted but he also knew he couldn’t leave Maeve in the state she was in. He had to try one last time to try to get her into counseling. He felt like he owed it to her to help her let go and come to terms with their loss. He was deep in his head and didn’t hear her come into the kitchen.
“So, you going to just stand there or are you going to tell me where you went last night?”
“I went to a coffee house up in Arlington. They even had a poetry night.” He looked at her straight on as a challenge to contradict him.
“Did you do drugs? Because I swear Spencer-“ He cut her off with a look as he folded his arms across his chest.
“No. I’ll admit where I was a few patrons had snuck out the back to smoke and I needed some fresh air. They offered I refused.” He admonished himself in his head for yet another lie. He knew he needed to tell her the truth to tell Aaron the truth, but he wasn’t quite ready to do either.
“What the hell is going on with you Spencer? The clothes, going to strange café’s coming home smelling like that? Do you need to go back to Dr. Mansfield?”
“No Maeve I don’t. Just because I’m changing some things about myself, trying new things doesn’t mean that I’m doing drugs again. Maybe, just maybe it means I’m learning to live my life again. Changing the patterns, a little finding new things and new paths. I think, Maeve, that you are the one that needs to go see Dr. Mansfield.”
Maeve glared at him and he saw for the first time the dark pit of despair in her eyes. A part of him wanted to reach out to try to find the girl he had fallen in love with nine years earlier. But, he didn’t. He stood where he was because he was sheltering his heart against her. He knew then that it belonged to someone else. Someone fifty years in the past. The thing now was to try to get Maeve into counseling so she could finally deal with her grief.
“I don’t need Dr. Mansfield. I need you Spencer, I need you.” She took a step forward and he took a step back.
“I can’t Maeve. I don’t know what there is left here for us.” Spencer held himself back from her and tried not to feel the pang of guilt that rose up in him. He just couldn’t let himself be pulled into her cycle of grief when he was in the middle of letting go and living a life again. “I’m packing up some stuff and I’m going to go to Uncle Rob’s. I need space away from here Maeve.”
“You mean away from me don’t you?” There was no heat behind her words and Spencer’s heart broke a little at the resignation he heard in her voice.
“I’m sorry, I truly am but I’m suffocating here Maeve. I’m trying to move on, to live my life again and the constant sadness that permeates this house isn’t helping. You want to pull me into your grief, and I can’t do that. I can’t go there again if I do there will be nothing left of me.”
“Spencer, please, please don’t do this.” Maeve surged forward but Spencer stepped away from her.
“You need to see someone Maeve. A grief counselor, a psychologist, I don’t care but you need to talk to someone outside of us. We’re in this constant state of hurt and pain and I can’t, I just,” he took a deep breath as schooled his expression, “I need to figure out what I want but I need to do it away from here.”
When the tears slipped down her face part of Spencer wanted to engulf her in his arms, but he just couldn’t. If he did, he knew the fragile beginnings of what he was making of himself would be broken. He didn’t want to lose himself again so, with a guilty heart he left her standing there in the kitchen as he went up to his room and packed.
Spencer packed all the new clothes he had bought as well as his toiletries. He went down to his studio and grabbed his larger camera case and packed-up his cameras. He was going to decide which ones to take back with him and which ones to leave. He also grabbed the portfolio he had left and wondered if he was going to keep his appointment with Gabriela. There were a lot of decisions he needed to make but he needed to be away from the house, away from Maeve so he could think clearly.
He headed back upstairs and set his things down and stood there looking around. He had the distinct impression that this was going to be one of the last times that he was going to see this house. He looked to the side to see Maeve standing there her face marred by the tears she had shed.
“Are you coming back?”
“I don’t know Maeve.”
“What happened to us Spencer?” She stood there looking at him with a lost look on her face and it tore a little piece out of him.
“We wrapped ourselves up in James, Maeve. We let him become our whole life and forgot how to be there for each other. In our grief we individually isolated ourselves. But I can’t do that anymore, I can’t live like this anymore and that’s why I’m going to Rob’s. Please Maeve don’t make me sound like a broken record. You need to move on too and you can only do that if you get help.” He didn’t want to hear or see anymore as he turned around, grabbed his things and headed out the door. He ignored Maeve yelling for him, ignored her cries as he packed-up his car and left.
When he got to Rob’s he sat in his car with his head back against the headrest. It wasn’t lost on him that he had been doing this quite often lately. The quiet and solitude of the car let him think, let him look deeply into himself to understand his own truth. What that truth was now he was working to understand. What he knew, what he came to face is that his marriage was over. There was no fixing what was broken. He and Maeve hadn’t been on the same page in a long-time, possibly longer than Spencer wanted to admit. Now, he had something new, yes it was a risky relationship, but he knew or at least hoped it would be worth it. Wiping a hand down his face he settled his emotions as he got out of the car, gathered his things together and went inside his Uncle’s house.
Spencer smiled sadly as his Uncle came up to him and hugged him close.
“I’m sorry Bug, I’m truly sorry.” How Rob knew Spencer would never know. Maybe it was just one of those things that he had a sixth sense about but however Rob knew Spencer was glad that he didn’t have to say it, not yet at least.
“You don’t have to talk about it. Not right away at least.” Rob patted him on the shoulder to show his support. Spencer moved silently through the house after he grabbed his things then went upstairs. He didn’t want to unpack quite yet, he just sat on the edge of the bed and finally he let himself feel the pain that had been building on the drive over. Sliding to the floor he let the tears come and grieved for the people they had once been. He said goodbye to that once bright happy couple that had held so much promise for a bright future.