Christy Aldridge

Lizzie Cleary Had A Bad Day

Elizabeth Cleary woke up in a bad mood. Her husband would have attributed it to PMS, as men so often blamed every foul thing on, but it wasn’t the reason. If anything, he was more responsible for her bad mood than her hormones.

“Do you need to take a shower first?” she asked him. He stared at the ceiling, not speaking to her. Elizabeth looked at him a while longer, waiting for him to answer, but he was clearly still mad at whatever her husband was always mad about, suffering from PMS more than she ever was.

When he still didn’t answer, she got up from the bed, closing her book and lying it on the nightstand. “You know, just because you’re mad doesn’t mean you can’t answer a simple question,” she told him.

He continued staring at the ceiling, refusing to answer her or even look in her direction.

Being a royal prick, as usual.

Elizabeth growled under her breath and left the room. She started to head downstairs when she passed the twin’s room. She noticed the light beneath the door first. Rolling her eyes, she turned the knob. “You both know it’s way past your bedtime!” she yelled.

Sammy was laying on the floor with a toy car in his hand. Elizabeth found herself smiling at her sleeping child. Fallen asleep while playing, it seemed.

“Played yourself out, huh, little man,” she whispered, lifting him up carefully and tucking him into bed. She looked under the blankets of Jack’s bed, but he wasn’t there.

“Jack?” she called, but in a soft voice. “Where are you?”

She looked under his bed, but Jack wasn’t there. Down on her knees, she sighed. Hiding in his closet again, she figured, getting up and heading to the door.

There was a hole that went straight through to the other side of his closet door. She held her temples for a moment, to keep from scolding her children. Once again, they had been poking holes into things they shouldn’t be.

I’ll see if the royal prick will talk to me long enough to get onto the boys tomorrow morning.

She opened the door and her anger melted at the sight of his sleeping form. Slumped against a basket of toys, clutching his blanket, Jack had fallen asleep while hiding. She lifted him as well, carrying him carefully to the bed and tucking him in.

She looked at both of her children. They looked so sweet and innocent now. In the morning, she knew she would wake up and they would be terrors again, but for now, they looked like sleeping angels. It was moments like that that reminded Elizabeth of why she loved her children.

She crept out of the room as quietly as possible, not closing the door all the way in case the boys woke up in the middle of the night. They would be scared of being locked in a dark room, wake up screaming, and she knew her husband wouldn’t get up to calm them down.

Elizabeth walked downstairs to get her clothes from the laundry. Tomorrow she would put them up, along with a load of towels she had in the dryer. Today had been a bad day and folding and hanging clothes had been the last thing on her mind.

All she wanted to do was take a shower. She climbed the stairs again, quiet as possible so she wouldn’t wake the boys, and back into the room. She didn’t look at her husband as she passed by. She ignored him completely.

He was cheating on her. She knew he was. Because she had married a bad guy, because he told her he had cheated on her, because he was still here, despite having told her so.

Maybe I should get a divorce.

Elizabeth stopped in front of the mirror and stared at her face. She once was so beautiful. Men had begged her for her number, and she had decided to marry the first jerk that knocked her up. She had given up all of her dreams to love a man who would cheat on her.

She stepped into the shower and began cleaning herself. She was surprised when she stared at the drain and saw blood mixed in her water. She even laughed a little.

Maybe that idiot was right. I started my period a week early.

She laughed as she finished taking a shower. She was even smiling a bit when she came back into the room and got into bed beside her husband. She looked at him, stared at him for a long time.

Something was missing, an image she knew she needed to see, but couldn’t. She just smiled it away, leaning over and kissing his cheek. “I still love you,” she told him. When he didn’t answer, she turned to her nightstand. “We’ll talk in the morning.”

She looked at the gun on the nightstand, a moment of recognition coming over her. Three bangs, one after another in her mind. She looked at her husband again, felt the truth creeping up her spine, and then shook her head, placing the gun back in the drawer.

“We’ll talk tomorrow,” she told him, turning off the lamp and slipping beneath the blankets.

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