Speaking terms.

By: Tara Fenix

Writing Prompt: Yes

Date: 13th Nov 2021

November 12, 2021

Hartford, CT

9:43 p.m.

 

The plane had landed roughly twenty minutes ago. Tara stepped out from the Dassault Falcon 2000DX, the private jet that she used to get to and from the majority of her shows and allowed her to travel on whim; in her arms was her youngest son who was getting much too large for her to carry, but she had gone years without him so she would carry him the best she could for as long as she could. He was getting to the age that he would be embarrassed to be carried by either one of his parents anyway, but he was already passed out with his head on his mother’s shoulder and already drooling. Tara appeared to be well-rested after taking a few days to vacation in Hawaii with a couple of her friends, and to get her son out of state for the first time with her.

It was surreal… To finally be able to carry my son; to finally be able to take him on a vacation and let him see part of the world. Angel had not been too keen on me taking him out of the state, but I suppose Dean had talked him into it. I’m glad that he did. Unfortunately, it means that I have to give up next week with him. 

Tara let out a long sigh. She walked over to the 2021 Chevy Suburban, where one of the crew members of her crew had already opened the door for her to put Edward into the backseat. The crew was generous with Tara because Tara had not treated any of them ill; she had made enough money throughout her career and proper investments that she was in no way strapped for cash despite two failed marriages and two children. She paid her pilot handsomely so that he was generally always on-call. The crew member that opened the door for her had held his arms out in an effort to take Edward from Tara, but she declined first by raising her hand slightly to wave him off, but then she answered, “I’ve got him.” 

She placed Edward into the child seat; he was not quite tall enough to be without it yet. After placing him in the seat, she brushed his hair back with her hand and just took a moment to admire how much her son had grown.

I’ve missed you… She thought to herself before carefully closing the door behind him. While she did that, another member of the crew had loaded Tara’s and Edward’s suitcases into the back of the SUV finishing just in time as Tara circled to the driver door; she said her farewells to the crew before turning the key in the ignition and driving away.

Inside of the car, Tara had her elbow on the window and using her hand to support her head up; she glanced at the rearview mirror every so often to see Edward. She struggled keeping her focus on the road while she was still awestruck that here she had her youngest son back in her custody… It had only been two months since she acquired partial custody. Tara was suddenly brought back to her senses by her phone’s light illuminating the car; she tried to check the message but ended up dropping her phone by her feet.

Shit… She thought to herself. There was nothing that she could do, so she just continued to drive which went uneventful the rest of the time. It was a twenty minute drive to get to the home belonging to her ex-husband, where she knew that Dean Harper, her stepson, lived with him. She let out an exhausted sigh and couldn’t keep herself from letting out a yawn… The light from her phone illuminated again and she started to reach down for it when a sudden murmur came from behind her.

“Mom…?” Edward groggily asked.

Tara forgot about her phone and turned her head back over to see Edward, struggling to open his eyes; she was certain he would be back asleep, but she answered, “Yes, baby?” She asked. She held herself there for a moment but could hear the gentle snoring coming from Edward again which caused her to chuckle. The phone lit up again… It can wait. She thought, and turned the car off before getting out and moving back around to get Edward from his seat. He was still out of it, and Tara walked up to the front porch before pressing the button for the doorbell… She gently rocked Edward back and forth while waiting for Dean to open the door.

As the door swung open, she was surprised to see Angel standing there. Her ex-husband. She looked a little uneasy by being in front of him, but she forced a smile, “Hi. Sorry it’s so late… I just… Dean said I should drop him off tonight.”

Angel’s eyes lingered on her for a moment before going to his son, and he finally answered, “I told Dean to tell you he could stay with you for the night. Dean is out for the night, so figured we could avoid this.”

“Oh…” Tara said, “I mean… I would love to, but he is already asleep. Maybe he’s better off here for tonight.” Tara answered back to him.

Angel thought about it for just a moment, but knew that she was right, so nodded… She looked ready to hand Edward over, but Angel just stepped aside, “Do you want to come in?”

Come in? Really? I looked at his eyes for a moment to try to see what he may have been plotting… I should’ve checked the messages. But… he offered me to come in, and against my better judgment, I knew that he had let me take Edward to Hawaii… so the least I could do is accept his offer.

“Sure…” Tara answered, “I can come in for a minute.”

I tried to survey the house as quickly as I could. I knew that this was not the place to be especially if neither Dean nor Warren were here, but I trusted he wouldn’t do anything so long as I was holding our son. Angel closed the door behind me and gestured for me to follow as he led the way to Edward’s bedroom; he shut one of the rooms on the way and blurted out, “Don’t worry about that room.” He said. I just nodded and continued to follow as he then held another door open which I could only presume was Edward’s bedroom. I kept an eye on Angel while walking past him but took Edward to his bed and laid him down before finally tucking him in. I give him a kiss on the forehead before walking back for the door, and Angel closes it gently while I walk past.

“How are you?” I managed to ask.

“I’m fine.” He answered. 

“Umm…” I wanted to keep the conversation going. I was more curious why he would invite me inside. He did seem to waltz through his house, and I couldn’t help but follow until he would finally ask me to leave. When we got to the kitchen, I finally couldn’t restrain what I’ve been dying to say to him for years, since he did what he did, “It was bullshit what you put me through.” Angel looked at me and I was certain he could see the anger in my eyes. My voice was much calmer than I thought it would be.

I tried to get an indication of what was running through his mind but he just had a way… he always had… of hiding what he was feeling. Hiding his emotion. His eyes stared right into mine, but what for? Was he looking for something? A weakness?

“I know.” Angel muttered.

I cocked my head to the side as if to examine him… He was difficult to read. More difficult to understand, but I could see that there was something different about him; something that has changed… I didn’t want to say it aloud, but I couldn’t help but see a sense of remorse; a guilt that he felt for doing what he did. 

“I–” I tried to think of what to say to him… It was less than a year since I came back, and I had my heart set on ending him, but along the way, that weight was lifted; I had no desire to break him. I wanted to end our fighting… For Edward’s sake.

“We’re still enemies…” I heard him say under his breath.

I answered by shaking my head at him, “We aren’t.” He seemed confused by my statement, “We’re parents. We have an extraordinary son, and he needs both of us.” I tried to reassure him. I knew that I had raised Sabin primarily by myself while William had thrown himself into the business, and seemed to forget he had a son. I didn’t ever want the father out of my kids’ lives. Neither for Sabin nor Edward.

The silence between us was rather deafening and seemed to last a lifetime, but then just as I was about to suggest that I leave, he blurted out, “Do you want something to drink?” He asked. 

I tried to reach for my phone but realized that I had left it in the car… I had no idea what time it was, but it truly didn’t matter. The question caught me off-guard. Why was he suddenly wanting to spend time with me? There was really nothing to go home to… no one to go home to… Sabin would be fine with taking care of the animals. Against my better judgment, I answered, “Sure. I can stay for a drink.”

He went to one of the cabinets and I watched him take two of the glasses but then I began to walk to the back door; I could hear ice being scooped into each glass before he finally asked, “Anything to mix?”

I looked over my shoulder toward him, “Straight is fine.” I turned back toward the door and peered out through the glass; it was a clear night. I could hear him walking closer to me and saw the glass being handed over before I finally took it, and he gestured for me to follow again… I don’t know why I did, but there was still something different about him. I didn’t want to admit to it because I knew… I knew that it meant Shelly was right. I couldn’t help but cringe at the thought of Shelly being right with all the problems that she was giving me. The problems that I dealt with with Shelly, and the problems that I dealt with Atara; I’m sure Shelly would be screaming if she just saw Angel and I on talking terms again.

He opened the back door leading out to a porch, where they had a wooden swing… I remember when we were married, I always told him that I wanted a swing on the back porch. It was good to see that he had actually had one put in. He sat on one side of it, and by his invitation, I sat on the other end before finally taking a sip of the whiskey he had poured. I savored it for a moment before finally swallowing it.

“It’s a beautiful night…” I told him.

“Yeah.”

He was still uneasy. I could tell that he was a bit uncomfortable with me being here, but it only made me beg the question further: why invite me? I had so many questions that I wanted to have answered. There were so many things that I just wanted to say to him. It all began with one question, and he would answer. Then he would ask me a question, and I would give him my answer. Time didn’t seem to be going as the whiskey in our glasses emptied, until he eventually went inside and brought the bottle out with him, and then the conversation would continue further. We were trying to get everything out that had been on our mind throughout all these years, and especially throughout this last year that saw us going at each other’s throats… What was meant to be a couple of minutes turned into hours, and we just lost track of the time. It was when I finally looked up to see the sun starting to creep out that I realized we had been chatting for hours. There were some laughs. There were some serious subjects. But then he finally said something that caught me off-guard.

“You were always a bit of a ferocious, determined bitch…” 

Ferocious… I couldn’t help but let out a chuckle over the thought, because that’s one thing that I had constantly prided myself with. Ferocity. Whenever I stepped into the ring, no matter what company I went to, I would look to see what I wanted and I would be absolutely ferocious in acquiring what I was determined to acquire. The top of the mountain; the top prize. That was literally all that mattered to me anytime that I stepped in the ring. I knew that there were a lot of people that were rather unfamiliar with me. But I would bring that ferocity, and I would prove my determination to capture everything that I said I would. And if I had to, I would be an absolute bitch to anybody and everybody that tried to get in my way.

I rolled my eyes at him, Bitch? That’s the last thing you’re going to refer to me as?”

He reached up to rub the back of his neck, “Well you did sort of send your boy to break my neck.”

I laughed out loud from his response, and there was no way that I could disagree with that. But things have changed; for him, and for me… I felt apologetic for the fact that I had done it, but felt that maybe… I was wrong about him. Maybe he was wrong about me.

“I’m sorry about that…”

“Don’t be. I would have done the same thing.”

He said while taking another sip. 

“Listen… Umm… I should probably get going.” I finally said while standing up from the swing, and he stood up beside me, “It was great catching up, though, and if you need anything… Just text me.” I said. My eyes lingered on him for a moment, and he just nodded.

“Let me at least get you coffee before you go.”

I could smell the whiskey on my breath, and knew that he was right, but there was another concern that came up for me. “What if Dean comes back?” I couldn’t help but inquire. The last thing I wanted were rumors starting to spread, and he was generally good about keeping his mouth shut, but still… It was for the best to not give him anything to talk about.

“It’s not likely. And even if he does, all we did was talk.”

That’s how it always started. I should’ve just checked the phone.