“Where’s Sophia?” Seth asked, walking into the bedroom he and Chris shared. Chris was already in bed, reading a book that was pretty dry, if he was honest. “She’s not in her bedroom.”
“She went out with Ethan.”
Seth blinked at him a few times before he actually spoke. “I didn’t know about this.”
Chris rolled his eyes, shoved the bookmark against the page he was on and set it on the end table. “Because you weren’t home to ask.”
Shaking his head, Seth pulled his shirt off and discarded it on the floor. “I still wish you would’ve.” He grumbled almost incoherently. Chris rolled his eyes, dropping it. He could’ve continued the argument, but what would be the sense in it? Both of them would just end up hurt in the end. And the kids were already asleep.
“When is she due home?”
The clock read that it was ten thirty. He had gotten a text from her about half an hour ago that they were watching a movie; only because Chris asked for updates since she was out so late.
“A fifteen-year-old with a midnight curfew!” Seth almost laughed. “That’s almost like asking her to get pregnant!”
“She’s more responsible than that,” Chris whispered, staring down at his hands clasped together in his lap. “I trust her and I think you should, too.” He brought his eyes to meet Seth’s ice blue ones. For a whole second, he thought he saw the fire behind them that had long since burned out. Then, without warning, it had gone. “You know she’s never given us a reason not to.”
And this was what he had told himself when she had asked to go out that late. Well, that and the fact that he had owed her for babysitting so much lately. But he couldn’t tell Seth that, not without having to explain everything else.
“It’s not that I don’t trust her.” Seth sighed, running a hand through his hair and stripping down to his boxers before climbing into bed. “It’s just that she’s with a boy.”
He knew how Seth was feeling. Raising a teenage daughter was difficult. More difficult, he assumed, than raising a teenage son. He knew that her heart was made out of crystal and one wrong move would shatter it. Things could go wrong easily. Boys could hurt her in more ways than one. Other girls could spread nasty rumors. Her life could get messy with things that Seth and Chris didn’t even have a clue about.
Chris knew all too well what a boy’s hand felt like gliding along delicate skin, touching as though he was made out of fine china. He knew how compelling “I love you,” sounded, how someone’s eyes could smolder and hold gentleness at the same time. He knew exactly how quickly it took for a heart to break, for someone to flip the script and suddenly life wasn’t how it was before.
Seth was laying on his back, staring at the ceiling blankly. Chris leaned over him, planted a kiss on his collarbone. “She’ll be fine.” He told him, hearing him exhale.
Taking a chance, Chris slid his hand under the comforter, across Seth’s skin until he touched his waistband. Then, he hesitated, biting his lip before slowly dipping his fingers just past the fabric. It was weird to think he was more nervous about initiating intimacy with his own husband than he was with a complete stranger.
Probably because if a stranger turned him down, it wasn’t as completely devastating.
Seth groaned, pulling away and rolling over so he wasn’t facing Chris. “Not tonight.” He murmured. Shocked, Chris blinked at his bare back. He begged the tears that were pricking the backs of his eyes not to spill over. “I’m tired.”
It was the excuse he always gave, but it didn’t make the sound of those words hurt any less. A question bubbled just behind Chris’s lips. Do you even love me anymore?
And, after that one; Are you having an affair?
He had remembered something his friend, Kelly, told him after her divorce because her husband, Jack, had been having an affair. It had been over coffee at her house, something she got in the settlement, with their kids running around. “I knew something was wrong when we stopped having sex. It just seemed like he wasn’t interested.”
But that didn’t seem to be the same rationale with Chris. He still wanted his husband desperately. Way more than he wanted any of those strangers.
Instead of asking either question, he flipped out the light and rolled over, letting the tears come now. He waited until he heard Seth snoring softly before creeping out from under the comforter and redressing, set to head out.
* * *
“Wait,” Sophia gasped, pushing Ethan’s hands away from her belt. “Not…right yet, okay?”
Ethan sat back on his haunches, his shirt long since off and looked down at her. His parents had gone out for the night which was why they were there in the first place. Sophia swallowed and tried to look everywhere but in his eyes, even though the sound of his voice compelled her to look. “I just thought when you agreed to come over that you wanted to.”
She felt horrible because she knew he wanted to. But she still hadn’t had the birth control talk with her dads yet and she wasn’t even completely sure if she was ready. Immediately, she began to think of excuses of why she couldn’t.
Her period wouldn’t work because she had complained of cramps last week. And it was too early to blame her curfew. When she got right down to it, the only excuse was the truth.
“I’m sorry.” She whispered.
He rolled off his bed, snatching his shirt and pulling it over his head, grabbing his keys. “I’ll take you home, then.” Ethan said. Then, as an afterthought, he added in a murmur, “I just thought you loved me, is all.”
That made Sophia’s heart shatter. She did love him, honestly. She loved him more than she ever thought she could. He made her happy, he made her feel secure and safe. So why shouldn’t he have that part of her? Still, the idea was a little unsettling.
“I do love you, Ethan.”
“Then why won’t you-” he nearly shouted, angry before bringing his fist against his mouth when she flinched. “Never mind.” He spat suddenly, heading for the door.
Making an impulsive decision, Sophia grabbed his hand. “Ethan, don’t.” He stopped, looking down into her eyes. Slowly, she began to unbutton the fly of his jeans. Ethan smiled down at her, his fingertips brushing the side of her face.
And even though she was scared, she pulled him on top of her.
It had hurt, she wasn’t going to lie. And afterwards, she didn’t feel any different than she had beforehand. Just blank nothing. She didn’t want to do it, but she never told him to stop. Thinking about it in retrospect, she wished she had. But in the back of her mind, Sophia wondered if he would’ve stopped if she asked.
When he noticed she had bled some, he kissed her softly. “I’m sorry I hurt you, sweetheart.”
But the thing was, he didn’t sound sorry at all.
He took her home almost immediately after and didn’t even notice her tears or the mascara running down her face. Not even when he kissed her goodnight in her driveway before she took off inside the house.
Sophia was nearly sobbing when she walked into her kitchen to get a glass of water, hoping to calm down. Her father was already sitting on a barstool, drinking vodka straight from the bottle and looking sweaty and disheveled. He had tears slipping down his face as well.
For a second, they both stared at each other, knowing without really knowing. The truth in plain sight that neither of them wanted to believe. A long silence stretched between them.
Sophia closed her eyes, two more warm tears sliding over her cheeks. She numbly stood in the doorway to their kitchen, biting her lip and wondering what she was going to say to her father about the state she was in.
Her and Ethan had a fight? One of her friends had texted her bad news? She got in a fight with someone else? They had watched a dramatic lovey movie where one of them die in the end?
Instead of any of the lies that sprung to her mind, Sophia just muttered, “I think I made a big mistake.” softly.
Chris took another swig from the bottle of vodka, placing it back on the counter with a dull thud and looking away from her. “So did I.”