I heard screaming from across the hall, and for just a second I considered ignoring it. I’d finally started to make some progress on the book I’d been writing for the better part of a year. Ever since Avery decided to go back to work and the girls were in school. I’d needed something to feel productive. The progress had been slow though – there was always something more pressing that needed attention. Laundry, dishes, cooking… Currently it was the girls – screaming bloody murder.
“Girls, why are we screaming?” I asked quietly, poking my head into living room where they were playing, expecting a blood bath. Turns out there was just a monster attacking the castle and the princesses were very scared.
“Sorry Momma, were we being too loud?” My heart softened as Olivia, my oldest, apologized. These girls were the best thing I’d ever done. “Do you wanna play with us? The princesses can’t figure out how to beat the monster!”
I glanced back towards my office longingly, feeling my productivity slip away, and back to the girls. They were already re-engrossed in their princess adventures.
“It’s a good thing Wonderwoman is here to help!” I exclaimed finally, dropping to the floor with one of their action figures. They would only want their mom to play with them for so long. The book could wait.
“Hello? Where are my favourite girls?”
As Isabella squealed and ran to find Avery, I glanced at the clock. “Guess it’s time for dinner Momma.” Olivia laughed, wandering out to him as well. I sighed quietly to myself. Had three hours really passed that quickly? I stood and made my way to the kitchen, intercepting Avery and placing a quick kiss on his cheek.
“Hello, love. What’s for dinner?”
“Haven’t started anything yet – got caught up playing with the girls.” I heard him grumble behind me, and I fought to keep the smile on my face. “They were too cute to pass up, Av. I’ll get dinner going now. How about tilapia? We haven’t had that in a while?”
He collected the bowl Izzy had left sitting on the counter and put in the dishwasher. “Have you done anything productive today?”
“She helped us beat the big, scary monster Daddy! It was really good Daddy you shoulda been there it was so cool! It was ripping up the castle and breaking everything and Wonderwoman came in and bopped him right on the nose and he got so scared!” I smiled, patting Olivia’s head.
“I’m glad you had fun ‘Liv. How about you and your sister go work on your homework before dinner?” She looked at me, then Avery, and back at me again, a pout forming across her lips. “I promise me and Dad will come help in a minute.” Another pout and she scampered off to find Isabella and do their homework. I watched them for just a moment longer than I probably should’ve, feeling my heart swell with happiness before turning back to Avery.
“You’re home all day and you can’t even have dinner ready for me when I get home?” He spat the words at me like acid. “Work is really stressful right now – I have to do twice as much work to prove that I still know what’s going on.” He paused, waiting for my acknowledgement. I turned into the fridge, beginning the preparation for our dinner. “I’m just saying, Ana, it’d be nice to have dinner ready. I’m trying to provide for our family.”
“Providing is more than money, Avery.” The words came out of my mouth before I could stop them. We had both decided he would be the one to go back to work – it wasn’t a selfish decision. Not to mention there’s no way he’d be able to handle all the work that went into maintaining the house every day. “Not to mention that this is my house.” I added quietly, tossing the fish into the frying pan angrily.
“Why do you think it’s so important to me that I contribute?” I rolled my eyes at the fish, mumbling under my breath.
“Probably because you’re trying to overcompensate.”
“Ana…” I felt the change in his tone, but knew no apology would come. He was a wonderful man, and a great father, but he genuinely thought working was more important than being at home. “Just… Working is important to me, but it’s stressful. I’d appreciate if you could respect that.”
“My family is important to me, and sometimes it takes up a lot of time. I’d appreciate if you could respect that.” I answered finally, setting dinner on the counter and leaving the kitchen to get the girls. Conversation over, for now.
A/N: Trouble in paradise! Just in case – the oldest, Olivia, is the one with brown hair, and Isabella is the blonde. Sorry some of the pictures are a little dark, I didn’t realize how poorly lit this house was until I was uploading everything.