1063: Trouble“It was kind of a weird holiday,” Sebastian said. Finally with Lila, Bowie, and their kids, as well as Ava’s dad gone home, and the kitchen tidied up, after all that, after seemingly weeks of Avalon going a mile a minute, he’d finally convinced his wife to just stop for a minute and sit on the sofa beside him. “I feel like I’ve hardly seen you lately.”
“We work together and we live together. You see me all the time.” She didn’t turn her gaze to him, her eyes held steady on the red and green lights of the Christmas tree.
Sebastian very much wanted to live in ignorance, enjoy a blissful moment with his wife, but he couldn’t shake the feeling he had around Ava lately, ever since Xavier suggested that Sebastian had been scheming against him, which okay, yeah he had, but he’d stopped before Xavier went tattling to Ava.
So technically Sebastian considered himself innocent, unfortunately, Ava didn’t seem to see him the same way. “I might see you,” he said, “but it feels like you’re trying really hard to not see me. I’m half expecting you to spring up out of your seat and tell me you suddenly have some big new year’s event at the store to organize. When was the last time we just… were together like this for more than five minutes? I know it’s an important time of year for the store, I get that.”
Sebastian took a deep breath. He didn’t want to borrow trouble but it felt like it was staring him in the face. “I guess I need to ask. Is this about Xavier? Is he the reason why we seem to have put trying for a baby on hold?”
“Xavier isn’t the reason,” she replied. After an eternity of seemingly running through what she wanted to say in her head, she continued. “If it feels like I’ve been purposely distant, well, I guess, maybe that’s true. I’ve just, I’ve been thinking that maybe I don’t know you as well as I thought, maybe you haven’t changed as much as I thought. The man I married, the man I want to be married to, he wouldn’t have had his mother pay someone to go away.”
“What? If Xavier told you that, he’s lying. My mother didn’t try to pay him off.”
Ava reached into her pocket and held out a folded check.
Lila left Bowie and the boys to the new video game they’d splurged on for Christmas and slipped into the privacy of her bedroom to call Katherine Marques for an update. So far Katherine was being every bit as ineffectual as her son had been. “Is he gone yet?”
“Merry Christmas to you, too, Lila,” Katherine said. “I’ll tell you what I’ve told you everyday. I’m not staking out his home. Thanks to Ava and my son’s poor judgment, Xavier is certainly more in your circle than mine, you’ll likely know he’s gone before I do. All that really matters is that he will be gone. He’s probably just staying for the holidays then he’ll be gone. He may have balked, but he did pocket that check. He’s going.”