Walking Disaster

By: Jamie McGuire

“Does it matter?”

“Are you mad?”

Abby shrugged. “I was a little hurt at first. You have quite a few white lies under your belt.”

I hugged her to me, the papers and envelope still in my hand. “I’m so sorry, Pidge. I’m so, so sorry.” I pulled away. “You haven’t told anyone, have you?”

She shook her head.

“Not even America or Shepley? Not even Dad or the kids?”

She shook her head again. “I’m smart enough to figure it out, Travis. You think I’m not smart enough to keep it to myself? Your safety is at stake.”

I cupped her cheeks in my hand. “What does this mean?”

She smiled. “It means you can stop saying you have yet another convention to go to. Some of your cover stories are downright insulting.”

I kissed her again, tenderly touching my lips to hers. “Now what?”

“Kiss the kids, and then you and I can celebrate eleven years of in-your-face-we-made-it. How about that?”

My mouth stretched into a wide grin, and then looked down at the papers. “Are you going to be okay with this? Helping take down your dad?”

Abby frowned. “He’s said it a million times. I was the end of him. At least I can make him proud about being right. And the kids are safer this way.”

I laid the papers on the end of the entryway table. “We’ll talk about this later.”

I walked down the hall, pulling Abby by the hand behind me. Jessica’s room was the closest, so I ducked in and kissed her cheek, careful not to wake her, and then I crossed the hall to James’s room. He was still awake, lying there quietly.

“Hey, buddy,” I whispered.

“Hey, Dad.”

“I hear you had a rough day. You all right?” He nodded. “You sure?”

“Steven Matese is a douche bag.”

I nodded. “You’re right, but you could probably find a more appropriate way to describe him.”

James pulled his mouth to the side.

“So. You beat Mom at poker today, huh?”

James smiled. “Twice.”

“She didn’t tell me that part,” I said, turning to Abby. Her dark, curvy silhouette graced the lit doorway. “You can give me the play-by-play tomorrow.”

“Yes, sir.”

“I love ya.”

“Love you, too, Dad.”

I kissed my son’s nose and then followed his mom down the hall to our room. The walls were full of family and school portraits, and framed artwork.

Abby stood in the middle of the room, her belly full with our third child, dizzyingly beautiful, and happy to see me, even after she learned what I’d been keeping from her for the better part of our marriage.

I had never been in love before Abby, and no one had even piqued my interest since. My life was the woman standing before me, and the family we’d made together.

Abby opened the box, and looked up at me, tears in her eyes. “You always know just what to get. It’s perfect,” she said, her graceful fingers touching the three birthstones of our children. She slipped it on her right ring finger, holding out her hand to admire her new bauble.

“Not as good as you getting me a promotion. They’re going to know what you did, you know, and it’s going to get complicated.”

“It always seems to with us,” she said, unaffected.

I took a deep breath, and shut the bedroom door behind me. Even though we’d put each other through hell, we’d found heaven. Maybe that was more than a couple of sinners deserved, but I wasn’t going to complain.

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