Always and for them

Submitted by Candy Bimin to Contest #15 in response to: Write about one character’s fundamental misunderstanding of another character’s job.... view prompt

She yelled out in pain, “James please stop..” She pleaded. He chuckled, the kind that come from your gut, that genuine laugh. “Women have the most simplest job in the world! Staying home and cooking in the kitchen!” He teased, struggling to keep his balance. “Need I remind you Lorelei who pays for the bills? Who works for hours and hours with only a ten minute break?” James took ahold of the collar on her shirt, his breath reeking of alcohol. “You’re my woman and you live in my house. You got that?” She nodded her cheeks wet from the tears and some blood. His grip on her shirt faded, as he passed out on the floor. “Stupid drunk.” Lorelei lightly nudged her husband, earning a groan. She left him on the floor and went into the bathroom, looking at her reflection in the mirror. Lorelei would have to go pick her kids up soon, them not knowing what she goes through with their stubborn father. She cleaned her face and went back to her husband, she dragged him over to the couch in their living room, placing a blanket over him. She gave him a quick kiss on his forehead, “I love you James.” Lorelei left a glass of water and a note on the coffee table near her husband. Hours later, James woke up and drank his glass of water disregarding the note she left him. He noticed the blanket that was on him. James immediately felt terrible for hitting Lorelei, he noticed the note. It said, “Dear James, I’m going to pick up the kids and then go to the grocery store. I’ll be back around 6. Love, Lorelei.” His fingers lightly traced his wife’s signature.

Around 6pm, Lorelei and the kids come in the door bringing in the groceries. “Jamey Bug! We’re home!” She exclaimed. There was no response. The family put down their groceries onto the kitchen counter, the kids started to unpack the bags. The kitchen was spotless. She went into the living room, “James?” She called out, still no response. The note, blanket, and glass weren’t there, in fact the living room looked incredibly clean. Lorelei blinked in shock, and saw a trail of rose petals going from the hallway to their bedroom. She opened the door to find a box on their bed. Candles were lit, and she approached the box. When she opened it, it was the dress she had wanted. At the entrance of her bedroom, she heard “I’m sorry Lorelei, I’m no good for you but I sure as heck try to be. I ain’t tryin’ hard enough for you Darlin‘. I didn’t mean to hurt you, and there’s nothing I can say to change what I did.. I just hope you can forgive me. I was waiting for your birthday to give you this dress but-” He was interrupted by Lorelei hugging him. “James, you can be a good husband. I know the workplace is stressful, and I know that your father died recently... I need you, Jamey Bug. We’re a team, and our kids need us.” James squeezed her tight, his misunderstanding of her job in the family had hurt them both, her more. James wanted to make up to her and to his family. James and Lorelei's head turns when they hear their bedroom door creak open, standing in the doorway was Amelia their daughter who was seven and three-fourths. "Mommy, what are we having for dinner?" She said before running up to her parents. "For dinner, I was planning on making Honey Butter Garlic chicken with rice and green beans." Lorelei responded giving her daughter a kiss on the forehead before she skipped out of the room. "I'll make dinner tonight." James said putting his head on his wife's shoulder. "You? Make dinner? I think the last time you made dinner was before we got married. Remember?" He could see the unbelievably huge smile on her face, knowing she was jerking his chain. "I guess that means you don't want my help then." He said turning away from her, pulling off a fake pout. "Are you really pouting? How about you assist me, not that I've ever needed your help doing a 'woman's job'? Isn't that what you said?" Lorelei stuck her tongue out at him when he turned around with flabbergasted expression. "That's it." He said and threw his wife onto the bed, tickling her feet. "James! Stop it!" She exclaimed, gasping between breaths in her laugh. James grabbed her ankles bringing her to the edge of the bed as he planted a kiss on her forehead, wiping off the tears off her cheeks. He held her face in his hand, caressing her cheek. "I guess you can help me make dinner." She grumbled and he threw her over his shoulder, taking her into the kitchen. That night, he had made dinner with his wife. The family ate together at the table, playing board games after. On the weekend, they had gone to an amusement park an hour away, they also binge watched movies. On Monday morning James had left the house at 6am, the usual time he left the house. When he got there, he had made an appointment to see his boss at 7. James knocked on his boss' office door, "Come in.." a gruff voice said. "Hello Boss, I need to spend more time with my family and I'd like to use my vacation week for next week." He said with his hands outside of his pockets and standing in the office. "The week of Thanksgiving? One of our busiest times of the year? James, how long have you worked here?" He leaned forward, his hands interlocked, his fingers barely touching his chin. "I understand, sir. My priorities are here but they are also with my family. I've been working here nineteen years and I have not once taken a vacation since my honeymoon, which was eighteen and a half years ago." James confidently stood his ground, he wanted this, his family needed this. "Alright James you can take your vacation if you move to Seattle. We have an important account there that I'm scared those dummies in Washington will lose. I've watched your work, you do it nicely. Tell me after your lunch break." His boss leaned back into his chair. James left his office, he texted his wife. "Hey flower, shall we go out to lunch today? I have something important to talk to you about." He waited for her text, which he didn't receive until an hour before lunch. "Sounds good, see you soon. xxx" Before he knew it, lunch was over and he had to go tell his boss their decision, his nerves were wrecked. James walked up to his boss' office, the door was open. As James approached, his boss made eye contact with him. "What's your decision?" His boss asked him, curiously. "Saving the important account in Seattle." James said rubbing the back of his head. At the end of the day, James went home. After he walked in the door, he laid on the couch drunk as a skunk. "Jamey Bug? How did it go?" She asked grabbing his hand. "We're moving to Seattle. You... Always do what's good for us.. Always and for them. I think that... We need a family vacation and we can start over in Seattle." His words sluggishly came out. Lorelei hugged him, "Thank you for being the man we've needed you to be." She kissed his forehead, "Oh babe you reek." She giggled at him, while he fell asleep.

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