Thursday, April 18, 2013

Jimmy Phoenix - 12 - Time to Talk

She heard him behind her. Zoe didn't turn around. "Where are the kids?"

"I've sent them to the Dreamers tonight for a sleep-over. Darren and Cassandra are happy to take them." Jimmy shifted uneasily, "We need time to talk  without them worrying."

Zoe stirred the pot. "Are you going to shout at me again?"

"No." Jimmy looked at his TV Dinner . Please Maxis, don't let it burn, he thought. "No. But it's time we were honest to each other and ourselves."

Zoe stirred the pot harder, and flecks of meat and sauce flew out and onto the stove. Jimmy could hear the bitter tinge in her voice. "Yeah. After all this time, lets be honest about how we feel."

"Well. Do you know what you're going to say to Dr Bill tonight?

Zoe dumped out her dinner on a plate and walked away from the stove to the table. Jimmy rushed the oven door open and breathed a sigh of relief.

"Well?" he watched Zoe's food as she shovelled it in.

"You seem to have made up your mind. Sending the kids away now. Getting rid of them so they don't have to watch you kick me out"

"Is that what you're going to tell Dr Bill? That you want to leave?" Jimmy moved his peas to the left.

"Does it really matter what I want? Has it ever mattered what I want?" Zoe skewered the meatball with her fork, and it split in half.

"You're angry with me." Jimmy spooned up some carrot and put it down again. "You want to tell me why? What have I ever done to make you angry with me?"

"You're asking me because you just want another reason to throw me out. Well REAP YOU!

"Is there a need to get nasty? I just asked a question." Jimmy voice was unusually level.

"Why ask a question now?" Zoe pushed her chair so hard it fell backwards. She turned and stalked into the living room.

Jimmy righted her chair and followed her.  "What do you mean?"

"We've had all week to talk. You say nothing for 6 days. And all of a sudden you want to talk, when we've got an hour before we need to be at Dr Bill's."

"Zoe. I haven't talked because I've been thinking. I've had a lot on  my mind."

"And I haven't!" Zoe threw her hands up in the air "I've had questions I've got to answer too. I could have used a bit of feedback from you. But you reaping well spent your time locked in the bedroom."  Zoe bit back. "In the meantime I'm trying to keep the boys in balance - they know something's seriously wrong. You don't talk to them. You don't talk to me. You know Jimmy - I found it hard when you ignored me after the boys were born, but you can NOT ignore the boys. I will not let you."

"What do you mean I ignored you after the boys were born?" Jimmy said, "Are you angry with me because you think I ignored you?"

"I'm not answering anymore of your question Jimmy Phoenix! I'm going to go change and get ready for this appointment. Answer them yourself!"

The drive over was silent - Zoe fidgeted, looking at Jimmy, the dashboard, her hands, out the side mirror. Jimmy thought of nothing but the drive, the traffic and the car.

Dr Bill invited them in. Jimmy walked over to the painting and stared at it, ignoring Dr Bill and Zoe both.

"Well Hi Zoe. So tell me what have you two been talking about this week?"

Zoe shrugged. "Talking? Talking needs two people. The only talking I did was helping the boys with their homework. I'm not sure that Jimmy said two words to anyone the whole week."

Jimmy ignored her and continued to check out the painting.

"I take it you're feeling frustrated Zoe."

"Yes. But how is that different to any other day? Frustrated, angry, depressed. I'm just tired of feeling this way all the time."

"So what are you going to do about it?" Dr Bill focussed on Zoe. Zoe was obviously too strung out to sit down.

"What can I do about it? I don't know? I've tried to fit in. I've tried to play nice." Zoe felt the tears welling up in her eyes.

"And how's that working for you?"

"It's not."

"Well lets talk about the questions that I set you last week." Dr Bill turned to Jimmy. "Care to join us here?"

Jimmy stroked his beard. "Yup. In a minute. You go ahead." He continued to stare at the painting.

Zoe gestured towards Jimmy "Look at that. That's what he's done ever since I had the boys. He ignores me. I'm not a wife to him - I'm a brood mare. He got the sons he wanted and now he has no more use for me." Zoe's tears fell in little paths down her face. She wiped her eyes furiously with her sleeve. "I knew he wanted kids - but I thought he wanted me too."

She turned to Dr Bill, he looked at her but said nothing. Zoe sniffled and dried her eyes a second time. "You asked me  if I love Jimmy."

Jimmy stiffened as he waited for the answer.

She turned away from both men, and her answer came out as a whisper. "yes. Will Wright help me, I do."

Jimmy turned to Dr Bill.

"I'm tired of the silence and fighting. I'm tired of feeling uncomfortable in my own home."

Zoe's shoulders sagged, and she went to say something but Dr Bill's hand came on her shoulder. "It's Jimmy's turn."

She nodded and turned away.

"Have you decided to take part finally?" Dr Bill looked at him hopefully, "Are you going to answer the questions I gave you?"

"You gave me 3 questions - but I think there is just the one answer. Yes."

"What does that mean?" Zoe piped up, before Dr Bill could stop her.

Jimmy concentrated on Dr Bill, "Yes - I do love Zoe. Yes I know why I don't want her to move out - it's because I want her back as my wife. Yes I have thought about why she turned to me that night. Because no matter what else has happened she needs me."

Dr Bill sat down in his big chair. "She needs you? Is that all?"

Jimmy turned and took Zoe's hand. "No. She loves me. My wife loves me."

Zoe felt his reassuring squeeze, and looked up into his eyes.

Jimmy continued. "I didn't know you felt so miserable for so long, Zoe. I got so wrapped up in the boys I forgot to tell you how I felt about you."

"How you felt about me?" Zoe's reply was choked.

"Zoe. One of the things that I did this week was think about what my life would be like without you, if I had never met you. Because I was really wishing that - if it would make the pain go away. But I realised that regardless of whether we'd had the boys or not - the pain would have been there because you wouldn't have been. "

"I think I'm confused."

"Zoe - I love you. If we'd never had the boys, I'd still love you and want you in my life. I love the boys. I love you. I don't love you because you had my boys. I just love you. period. I'm so sorry I've hurt you, I didn't mean to - I didn't mean for you to ever have a moment's sadness."

Dr Bill stood up, they ignored him as they looked at each other. "Well I can see that you two have got a lot to work through. You've got a long way to go. There's still the trust issue to come to grips with. But at least you know where you're starting from."

He put his hand on each of their shoulders. "Don't think about the future, just give yourself time to process this . I'll see you next week."

Zoe broke her gaze from Jimmy.  "Um. yes. See you next week Dr Bill." She walked towards the closet, realised she was heading the wrong way, and headed back to the door. "Um.. Good bye."

Jimmy grinned, "I think I'd better make sure Zoe makes it to the car - I think we've overwhelmed her."

Dr Bill grinned back, "I think you have. You take care of that little girl now. "Y'hear?"

"Yes Sir. I will" Jimmy hurried after Zoe, and directed her to the car. The journey home was silent, but the tension had broken. Zoe looked only at Jimmy.

When they got home, Jimmy walked up the stairs. Zoe stood at the foot and watched him.

"Are you going to change? Come on then." Jimmy called down to her.

"Oh. Ok." Zoe staggered up the stairs, "Is it ok for me to change in the bedroom?"

"Of course" Jimmy went into the bathroom and closed the door, while she put back on the clothes she was comfortable in.

"You know Zoe. You don't have to change for Dr Bill."

"It's polite Jimmy. Besides which... I feel better in my suit when I'm there."

Jimmy chuckled. He opened the bathroom door, and ducked in before she put her shoes on. "I prefer you  wearing this. You're beautiful in that blouse."

Zoe looked at him warily. "Jimmy. What are you doing? I .. I don't know what to do. Please, I .."

Jimmy smiled at her. "You hold out your arms, my love, and accept a hug from your pathetic specimen of a husband."

"You're not pathetic!" Zoe stopped. "You want to hug me?"

Jimmy gathered her to him. "Yes. I want MY wife in MY arms. Where you belong."

He held her close. Jimmy could feel her warm breath on his neck. He rubbed a thumb against her eyes and felt the wetness there.

He pulled back to look at her. Zoe's eyes were closed.

Jimmy brought her back towards him, but this time he laid a feather-light kiss on her lips. It was tentative, waiting for her to accept him.

He stopped and she remained where she was, eyes closed, lips raised.

He kissed each of her eyes then kissed her mouth again, and her arms wrapped around his neck as she returned his kiss.

"Zoe. Zoe. Zoe." He punctuated her name with a kiss down her neck and shoulders.

She pushed him away. "Are you sure? Please don't do this if ..."

"Zoe. I love you. I don't want you anywhere else than with me tonight in our bed."

"Just tonight?"

"Tonight's a good start. Then tomorrow night, and so on. Eventually we'll have to get a new mattress. But lets wear this one out first." Jimmy chuckled and swung Zoe up in his arms and dumped her on the bed.

"But first - I think I'm wrong - I think I prefer you out of that blouse."

He kissed Zoe, and as he did he undressed her down to her lingerie.

Zoe helped him out of his, and it was as he moved onto the bed with her that he noticed the changes.

He stopped, and sat up. "Zoe."

She looked at him, worried. "Yes?"

"You're pregnant."

"Yes." Zoe looked away.

Jimmy chuckled. "Well there's one thing - we know it's mine. There's no way you could be having Dina's child!"

"Jimmy!" Zoe looked shocked. Jimmy put his finger under chin and led her back to where his mouth was waiting for another kiss.

And then talking became irrelevant.

Morning found Zoe wrapped in Jimmy's arms - his hand on her belly, and a smile on her face.

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