1062: Present Without A Bow“You seem kind of different,” Lucy observed as she added a sparkling snowman ornament to her Christmas tree. “It’s like there’s a bounce in your step or something. Did you get a Christmas bonus?”
Xavier wasn’t really a money guy. It seemed a stretch that a few extra dollars in his pocket would have him actually humming while he helped her decorate the tree. Humming wasn’t unusual for him, he was still a musician at heart if not in practice, but this tune was just so much happier than anything that usually came out of him.
“It,” Xavier hesitantly began. “It wasn’t right I guess, no, I know it wasn’t right, but I finally went ahead and did what I’ve been aching to do for a long time.”
Worry raced through Lucy. She took a seat on the sofa. “You’re not saying you fell or, or I suppose, jumped off the wagon? I have connections with my job, I can try to find you somewhere for treatment, there may be a wait, but in the meantime-”
“I’m sober and I have every intention of staying that way. I mean, yeah, what I did tonight might end up testing me, but for right now I feel okay. I feel sort of relieved.”
“I don’t like the sound of your sobriety being tested,” Lucy said. “You had better come talk to me if that happens, the second you start feeling that way. Understood?”
“Absolutely. I promise. Like I said, I have every intention of staying sober.”
“Okay then.” Lucy moved to the sofa cushion and patted the one beside her. “Tell me what happened tonight. What has you relieved now but could test you later?”
Xavier started with how Dr. Marques had tried to pay him off.
“Some people are just so…” Lucy shook her head. “And you think Sebastian put her up to it?”
“I don’t know. It’s definitely a possibility. That’s why I kept the check instead of ripping it up right in front of Dr. Marques. I wanted proof to show Ava. But that wasn’t even why I went to see her tonight. I went because Dr. Marques told me Ava might be pregnant. That they’re-” he winced, “trying.”
“So you saw her, confirmed the news and that was finally enough for you to move on from her, that’s why you’re feeling relieved? That’s what you think is going to hit you somewhere down the road and test you?”
“She’s not pregnant. Not yet. And I, well, I just saw it as my last chance before it’s too late. I know it wasn’t a great move, she’s married, and my actions, they give Sebastian an excuse for why he would scheme to get rid of me. But I just, I didn’t want to regret not trying. So I kissed her and I told her how I still feel about her. It’s not like she said after that she’s getting a divorce. She didn’t say much at all. I probably don’t have much reason to hope, still, it feels good to know I put my cards on the table.”
There were moments where Lucy was attracted to Xavier, moments where she wished he’d stop feeling so much for Ava and feel something for her, but most of the time, with Xavier, what she felt was a deep abiding friendship, and rather than jealousy over Ava in that moment, Lucy was just plain concerned for him, worried it all might go completely wrong for him and that it would lead to relapse.
But at the same time, maybe he was right, if you felt that weight come off your shoulders maybe it was right. Maybe Lucy could feel some relief as well if she finally stopped thinking about things and just plunged in. Maybe that would be a Christmas gift to herself. Or the worst thought ever.