Horizons Ch. 10: Moving Forward

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If this is your first time coming across an Ellie and Jody story, you’ve got a lot of catching up to do before you read this. There are 12 other parts to their story that come before this. Please catch up, especially if you love a good romance, because at its heart that’s what this is. A love story.

As always favorite the story, me as an author and leave a comment.

I’m not ready to give these two up yet but will be working on the next part of Emma and Nell next.

*****

I dropped the last box on the floor. We had been moving stuff from Jody’s house to the storage unit she rented, and my house, for 2 days. We were finally done. She wrapped her arms around my waist and put her chin on my shoulder. I sighed. Her fingers began to trace the horizontal lettering of the 3-day old tattoo on the underside of my left arm. It simply said ‘silverlinings’ in cursive, with a line going from my wrist to my elbow along my radial artery starting and ending the phrase.

My mind went back to the day after we had watched ‘Silver Linings Playbook’ together for the first time. I woke up to what remains the best text I have ever received.

‘After watching silver linings playbook a bunch of times that was the first time I didn’t cry. Maybe it is because I found my silver lining…you…’

We stood in the middle of my living room like that until Madi and Tim came inside. I was still processing the change, but the kids seemed to be rolling with it, even Kevin. He was in the spare room setting up all his stuff and making it his own space. I had picked Jessie up last night so she could help Madi settle her stuff. I was exhausted from everything.

As Madi and Tim walked into the living room, Jody and I turned around, her arm still around my waist. Another thing to process.

“So. What’s for dinner? I’m starving.” Tim rubbed his stomach for added drama.

“I ordered pizzas.” Jody told him.

“Yes! Second mom for the win!” Madi smacked him and they went into the kitchen looking for drinks.

I just chuckled. Jessie had taken a few hours to go visit some friends but was due back any time. It would be our first dinner together living under the same roof.

Madi and Kevin would only be here tonight, then they were going to Joe’s for the next week. Kevin was a creature of habit and even with turning 18 and starting community college, he still went to his dad’s when Madi did, most of the time. Sometimes I had pangs of jealousy over the co-parenting relationship Jody and Joe had.

I was pulled out of my thoughts by Jessie coming home and yelling the pizza was here. Jody let go of me to go pay for it. I was glued to the floor. I could smell the pizza when Jessie and Jody brought it past me into the kitchen. I was still standing where I had dropped the box. Kevin had come out of his room and joined the happy chaos in the kitchen. I was still in the living-room.

Jody peeked her head out of the kitchen “You coming to eat?”

It took me a minute to respond, to will my feet to move. “Yeah. Yeah I’m coming.” And I joined them.

***

The kids were all settled in their rooms, the rules and expectations had been hammered into Madi and Tim’s heads. Luckily, Jessie was here until tomorrow when I would drive her back. I had gone to shower while Jody sorted a few more boxes. I got out of the shower and was throwing my sweats on when Jody came into my room. Our room.

She watched me for a minute before she came over and wrapped her arms around me. I inhaled her deeply. “You good?” She asked.

“Yeah.” I wasn’t totally convinced of this. I could tell by the way she was acting neither was she.

“I’m gonna shower.” She grabbed some clothes from a box and went into the bathroom. I wanted to wait for her before I crawled under the covers, so I sat on the edge of the bed. I heard the water start and the noise lulled my eyes closed. My bobbing head startled me back awake. My eyes almost immediately started to close again. I stood up to keep myself awake. I walked around the room; her boxes were everywhere. She was going to unpack while I drove Jessie back to school tomorrow.

I heard the shower turn off and sat back down. “El.”

My head snapped up,” huh?”

Jody was standing in front of me. “Lay down. You’re exhausted.”

“I was waiting for you.”

“Okay, I’ll be done in a minute, lay down. I’ll be right there.” And she went back into the bathroom. I heard the blow dryer as I relented and curled up on my pillow. I felt her climb in next to me awhile later. I was half asleep. I tried to wake up. Moved over closer to her. She wrapped her arms around me and pulled me in even closer, our legs intermingled. “Just sleep. I love you.”

I tried to tell her I wanted her, I loved her, but the words didn’t form. Her warmth enveloped me. I drifted into a contented deep sleep.

The sun hit my eyes and I groaned. I tried to pull the blanket over my head, tried to block the light but the blanket wouldn’t budge.

“Morning sleepyhead.” illegal bahis She said as she kissed my head. I was still wrapped up in her arms, her warmth. I cooed with contentment.

I hadn’t meant to sleep through the night. When I was falling asleep so easily, without touching her on our first night living together, I promised myself I would wake up before dawn to do that. It was well past dawn. I could hear the muffled sounds of teenagers in the kitchen. I nuzzled into her more. I didn’t want to move. I wanted to move. I wanted her.

“What time is it?” I still hadn’t unwrapped myself from her.

“8:15”

“Ugh. Why did you let me sleep so late?” I rolled to look at her.

She ran her hand down my cheek. “Because you were exhausted. And overwhelmed.”

I started to say I was fine and she shh’d me with a kiss. “We better get down to the kitchen. That’s a lot of teenagers in one room.” She started to make her way out of the bed. I sat up and reached for her, pulling her back to me. “Ellie.”

This time I shh’d her. She pulled away breathless.

“I’ll be down in a minute.” I told her as she left. I went into the bathroom. I came out and took a deep breath before I headed downstairs.

I was quickly pulled into the chaos. Somehow our 4 kids felt more like 10 in that space. I walked over to start water for coffee. It was already brewed.

“I started it Mom. I figured you would need some before we head out. Are we still leaving at 9?” Jessie said.

Crap, that was right I had to spend the next few hours driving her back to school then myself back home. Before I could answer her Tim started taking.

“So, Joe is coming at 9:30 to get Madi and Kevin and I’m going too. We are gonna go for a ride. We have that big race next weekend. He said he’ll bring me home later.”

Again, I didn’t get a chance to reply when someone else started talking. It was Jody discussing the plans with Kevin and Madi. I took a couple of steps back, bumping into the counter. My hand was on my face, squeezing the skin between my eyes, raking down my face.

The kids started to disperse to get ready for the day. I was rubbing the back of my neck. I welcomed the quiet that now filled the kitchen. Jody came over, “You’re not okay.”

I looked at her. I refused to not be okay. “I’m fine.”

“No, you’re not. I’m coming with you to bring Jessie back to school.”

I started to speak; “You” she wouldn’t let me finish.

“Not asking Ellie, I’m telling you. I’m coming. I’m driving.” She gave me a hug and said she was going to get dressed. I stayed backed up to the counter

Jessie came back in. She poured a cup of coffee in my to-go mug and fixed it the way I liked it, then handed it to me. I smiled at her. “Thanks.”

“Of course.” She stood next to me while I sipped it. “It’s going to take you some time to get used to this, but you will.” She leaned over and kissed my forehead. Sometimes I wondered which one of us was the mom. “I’m going to go finish getting my stuff ready.”

“Put it in the Jeep. Jody’s coming. Is driving apparently.” I sighed as I said it.

She laughed, “that doesn’t surprise you does it, mom? Of course, she is.”

I finished my coffee and headed upstairs to get dressed. Jody was in the bathroom. I grabbed some clothes and started to get changed.

I was pulling on my jeans when she came out of the bathroom. She was dressed. She walked over. I was standing there in just my jeans. She put one hand behind my neck and pulled me in for a kiss, the other one cupped my left breast. “I could get used to seeing you like this every day.” I reached to kiss her more. “I’m not going anywhere Ellie. I’m here now, all the time.”

I sighed as I wrapped both arms around her neck, put my forehead to hers. “I love you.”

“I love you too. As much I love this view, I think maybe you should finish getting dressed before we have to leave.”

I laughed, “probably a good idea.”

We both finished getting ready and headed downstairs. It was just 9. Jessie was in the kitchen waiting for us. “Ready?” She asked.

Jody said, “almost. Just let me go talk to the kids.”

She was back a few minutes later and we headed to the Jeep. Jessie was bringing a few items back with her that she hadn’t brought originally and already had them in the back. Jody started up the Jeep and backed out of the driveway. After she put it in drive she took my hand. I hesitated for a split second because Jessie was with us, then reminded myself this was us now. We get to be a normal couple. I changed the radio to the 80s station, and we sang along loudly and badly for the next few hours.

As we pulled into the parking lot I tensed up. The last time we were all here Evan had made a scene. We parked and they got out. It took me an extra few seconds to follow them. I took a deep breath and got out of the Jeep. I joined them and helped bring stuff to Jessie’s room.

I tried not to think of the scene in the parking lot on move illegal bahis siteleri in day, but my mind wouldn’t obey me. We put her stuff down on her bed. Jody was talking to one of Jessie’s roommates in the front room.

“Mom. Mom.”

I shook myself out of my thoughts. “Yeah?”

“No one has ever said anything to me about it. Don’t worry okay?” She gave me a hug. I returned it and shook my head.

“Are you sure you don’t want to get lunch before we leave?” Jody had come back in.

“Thanks Jody, but I want to get my stuff settled and I have some homework I need to get done before class tomorrow, I’m just going to grab something later.” I was pretty sure Jody slipped her some cash, but I didn’t say anything. We were both grateful Jessie gave up her time to help us. Jessie turned to me and gave me a huge hug. “Love you. I’ll see you for Thanksgiving.”

“Bye Jessie. I love you.” I hugged her back then turned for the door. The emotions that had been overshadowed on her first day were flooding me now. I heard her and Jody say goodbye and then Jody was walking with me to the Jeep.

We climbed inside and as we exited the parking lot the tears started to flow. She took my hand and let me cry in silence. When the tears stopped I closed my eyes and didn’t open them again until I felt the Jeep come to a stop. I stretched and rubbed my eyes, opened them. We were at a Texas Roadhouse. I looked over and Jody and smiled.

“How ya feeling?”

“I’m okay.” She gave me a look. “I promise. Also, hungry.”

She smirked. “Me too. Let’s eat.”

***

I texted Tim from the road. They were done riding and he was going to be home about the same time we were.

We pulled into the driveway a few hours later and sure enough Joe was backing out at the same time. He waved. We waved back. I was grateful yet again for the fact Jody and Joe co-parented and dealt with the changes in each other’s lives so well. Joe was dating someone the kids liked and Jody had said a few times she seemed great.

We walked in the house. The boxes were still where we had left them yesterday. I wasn’t sure why I thought they wouldn’t be.

“I know. It’s lots of clutter. I promise I will get it sorted fast.” She had taken the next two days off of work to deal with the closing and putting everything away. It was no secret I was a neat freak who didn’t like clutter. My need for order and limited items had peaked during the time Jody and I were apart. I was not as obsessed with keeping things perfect anymore. I had better things to put my energy into, most of the time.

“It’s fine. This is your home now too.” I turned to her and smiled. She gave me her best smile back.

“Coffee?”

“Sure.” I followed her into the kitchen and watched as she made us each a cup. Tim joined us a few minutes later.

“What’s for dinner?”

I hadn’t even given dinner a thought.

“There’s leftover pizza. Want me to heat it up?” Jody replied.

“I can do it but thanks.” Tim grabbed the pizza and tossed a few pieces in the microwave then sat down next to me. “Are you two coming to the race next weekend?”

I had already made a hotel reservation a few weeks ago. “I am.” I told him. I didn’t know if Jody was. I wondered for a moment how it was going to work.

She piped in, “so am I.” I smiled.

“Sweet. Madi and I are planning to go with Joe at noon, is that still okay?” I could tell by the tone of his voice he was trying to figure out how our new reality was going to look too.

“It’s fine by me, I’ll dismiss you early.” I was almost finished with my coffee.

“I’m going to go get some of my clothes put away.” Jody said as she put her own empty coffee mug in the dishwasher. She ran her hand over my shoulder as she left the kitchen. I watched her walk out.

“I’m glad they are here mom. That she’s here.”

I looked at Tim. He wasn’t my little boy anymore. It sometimes felt like I blinked, and he grew up, I tried not to think about the year I was all but absent from his life. I sighed and agreed with him.

I walked my mug to the dishwasher, loaded it and the few dishes in the sink inside. There are a few new mugs hanging under my cabinets. Jody and Madi’s. This was really happening. I started the dishwasher then made my way towards my room. Our room.

I could hear the music going from the middle of the stairs. I knew what I’d see before I even made it to the doorway. Jody was dancing around as she emptied boxes of clothes. I loved watching her dance. She loved dancing. I was hit with a lump of sadness. Just then she turned and saw me standing there and smiled. I tried to smile back but that sadness had taken up residence on my chest.

“El. What’s wrong?”

My breathing was getting shallow. No. I hadn’t had any major issues in weeks. Fuck. Fuck fuck fuck. My vision was starting to tunnel and all I could hear was the ocean in my ears.

Jody was next to me, pulled me into the room. Shut the door. I managed to take canlı bahis siteleri a few steps more inside the room before my vision totally blurred. I felt Jody help me sit down. I couldn’t see her, but I could feel her. She was rubbing my back as I cried. I think I was crying, maybe it was her. I was trying so hard not to lose myself. Fuck. I felt my stomach start to roll. I tried to move but my legs wouldn’t cooperate. The hand never stopped rubbing my back.

I felt something get put in my hands and I emptied my stomach into in, praying that’s what it was for. I needed to lay down. I still couldn’t see but I think she was near me. Muffled sounds in the distance, maybe she wasn’t. Don’t leave me please. I’m sorry. I’m so sorry. I felt so heavy. I couldn’t hold myself up anymore. I blink my eyes and I’m laying down. The floor was softer than I expected. Had she put a rug down?

I felt a hand running slowly up and down my arm. I opened my eyes and saw the side of my bed in front of me. I could feel warmth along my back. I started to sit up, realized I was laying on a lap. Her lap. Fuck. My hands went immediately to my face, raking down. When I finally removed them from my face, a water was pressed into them.

“Drink.” The top was already off. I drank. I sat there holding the half drank water, staring into space. The water was gone from my hands.

I felt a kiss on the side of my head. I leaned into it. Let her wrap her arms around me and hold me. Her head was on my shoulder. We sat that way for a while.

I started to talk, “I’m.”

Jody stopped me before I could get more out. “Don’t Ellie. Don’t apologize. You didn’t do anything to say sorry for.”

But I had. She looked at me and I closed my eyes.

“Nope. You’re not going there. We aren’t going there.” She kissed my cheek. “Can you stand up?”

I shook my head yes and stood up. I was a touch unsteady, but she held my arm. Her forehead was on mine. “I’m here Ellie. I love you. And I know you love me. We are good.”

I had a few tears in my eyes. “I love you more.”

She kissed my nose. “Not possible.”

I looked around the room and noticed the door was open. I thought she had closed it when I came in. There were no signs left of me getting sick.

“Tim.”

“Fuck.” I started to shake again.

She wrapped her arms around me. “It’s okay hun. He was great. You don’t have to hide from him. From anyone.” I stood there wrapped up in the best person I had ever known.

“I still wish I knew what I did to deserve you.” I kissed her gently.

“I ask myself the same about you.”

I wrapped my arms around her tighter. I needed to shower and brush my teeth. I broke off from her embrace and gathered some comfy clothes and headed into the bathroom. I started the water, brushed my teeth then turned my speaker on, P!nk started blaring from it. I stripped and climbed into the shower. The hot water stung my skin. As it hit my face my tears started to pour out of me. This was supposed to be a happy weekend. Instead I was messing it up. Again.

I let my tears fall as I showered. I felt a little better when I finished.

“Hungry?” She said to me when I came back out.

I was tired. Emotionally and physically, not hungry, but I knew her. She wasn’t going to let me not eat. “Sure.”

We walked downstairs and she started making eggs. She was a creature of habit not unlike Kevin.

“Are you sure you can’t call into work tomorrow? I think a hike would be better.”

“I wish I could, but I have a bunch of work that’s been piling up.” I would much rather be home with her, but I had already taken more time off since the academic year began not that many weeks ago than I should have.

As she was cooking Tim came down. I heard him and started rubbing my forehead. She looked over at me, “You have the sick time.” I gave her a look and before she could say more Tim was standing next to me.

“Oh eggs. Is there enough for me too Jody?” He asked her eagerly.

She laughed and told him of course there was. He came over to me and gave me a little one-armed squeeze before he went and got plates and silverware for us. “Waters?” He asked us, we both said yes.

Soon all 3 plates were piled with her now famous cheesy eggs. We ate and Tim started chit chatting with both of us. It took me a minute before I was able to join in. I couldn’t help but look at him and smile. He was truly growing into a great human despite the tension of the last year plus of his life. Jody has told me it was in part because of it. That we learn who we truly are when faced with difficult times. I tried not to linger on what that sentiment meant about me.

We finished eating. Tim got up and cleared the plates and put them in the dishwasher. “Night mom I love you. Night Jody.” And he was off.

Jody watched him as he cleaned up, “I really wish I had taught my kids to be like that.”

I sighed. Sometimes I wished my kids relied on me more. I yawned deeply. I was fighting to keep my eyes opened.

“Let’s go to bed. We are both wiped out.” She came over, took my hand and we walked upstairs. At the top I let go of her hand and walked over to Tim’s room. I knocked.

“Come in.” He was sitting on his bed watching TV.

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