Chapter 5: Apologies and Acceptances
Lex had been hiding. Not intentionally, he realized, but he had been successfully avoiding Taisan. Every time he saw her he tripped out. He found easy ways to avoid her, excusing himself when he saw her coming and spending most of his time far away from the others, which was characteristic, fortunately. He just needed time to react. No, not to react, but to think about how he needed to react.
“You can’t hide from her forever you know?” Cloe said bringing him a plate of food onto the porch.
He grumbled, taking the plate. “I’m not hiding.”
“What do you call it?” she questioned, giving him a raised brow.
Lex couldn’t answer her, “Okay, so maybe I am hiding, but it’s not because I want to.”
Cloe lowered her brow, smiling, “She loves you Lex. She always knew you were the type to find something in between to pacify your needs and she’s okay with that, because she loves you. You should talk to her, and quit hiding.”
Lex knew Cloe was talking about him being with Siva in Taisan’s absence. He frowned a little at her, uncomfortable with his feelings going mush on him. He managed a half-smirk in the end. “When did you become so wise anyways?”
Cloe shrugged, “I am not a little girl anymore.”
Apparently not, Lex agreed. She had matured in more ways than one in the months she’d been absent of the Mallrats. Gone was the bratty, moody teenager. She was more of a young woman now.
At the window with a good view of Lex, Taisan watched he and Cloe chit chatting away, curious as to what was being said.
“Tai, don’t worry about it. He’ll come around, you’ll see,” Bray tried to reassure Taisan.
She shrugged off Bray’s comforting hand, “Like Amber’s coming around to you?” she snapped then became calm again, “I’m sorry. It’s just, well he’s my husband and I betrayed his trust. I expected that from him, but what’s my excuse?”
“Mega re-programmed you. That’s your excuse. Besides, it’s Lex. I doubt he gave you any bit of loyalty in your absence.”
Taisan knew that to be true, she and Lex always had a push and pull thing. Regardless, she still felt a bit of guilt. “But my feelings for Josh were real, as was Lex’s for Siva. We both shared beds with different people during our marriage, neither of us remaining faithful, and now those people are dead. We can’t just jump back on the bandwagon, not after other hearts were involved. But I loved—still love, Lex. I wouldn’t have married him otherwise or be worrying myself an ulcer if not.” She stared out the window, “I just want him to stop avoiding me.”
“And he will and you’ll stop avoiding him, or letting him avoid you. When you’re both ready, so stop worrying,” Bray gave her shoulder a light squeeze before leaving her alone to watch in silence.
“I’ll try.” Taisan sighed when he was gone. Bray was right, she was avoiding Lex too. Not intentionally, but it was easy to stay away. She didn’t want to make the first move, out of fear, very unlike her. There wasn’t much she feared, but that confrontation gave her a sort of anxiety she wasn’t used to. Time, distance, and circumstances had made she and Lex strangers, how could they ever reconcile?
She turned from the window, drawing in a deep breath. When she exhaled she resolved to fix it at whatever cost.
Gel had found Lex scraping his plate clean and washing it. She hadn’t seen Taisan lurking just outside the kitchen, neither did Lex.
In that very girly, juvenile shrill voice, Gel tapped him, “Lex there you are, I was looking for you.”
“What for, Gel?” Lex tried not to show his distaste through his voice.
“In case you have forgotten you’re my boyfriend, silly.”
Lex sighed, “Gel would you get a grip on reality please? We were never, nor will we ever be a couple.”
Gel crossed her arms and pouted. When Lex continued to ignore her, she left and said, “You’ll be sorry when some other guy snatches me up.”
“Yeah, I doubt that,” he mumbled as she stormed off, nearly barreling into Taisan.
Taisan tried to stifle a laugh as she showed herself to Lex, “Wasn’t that a little harsh?”
Lex turned from the sink to see his wife, “For her? No, way!”
Taisan smiled, same old Lex. “Listen, we’ve both been hiding from one another. I think it’s time we had a talk.”
“I know,” he immediately sank down at a kitchen chair.
Taisan sat across from him, “You weren’t the only one who had someone else.” She’d call it anything but cheating.
“I know, Mega told me you two had a thing. He also told me where to find you, how else do you think we happened upon this island?”
And yet he’d found her and hid from her she shook her head. Taisan didn’t want to stray off of topic, “I think I loved him, Lex. Even after I got my memory back and seen you again. My feelings for him were authentic.”
“And I loved Siva,” he admitted, “but when I saw you again, I got the urge to find you, no matter what.”
“So what do we do about us?” Taisan asked after some silence passed between them. Her eyes were growing glossy from the tears she was withholding.
“We start over; take things slow, because I don’t ever want to lose you again. I may have been unfaithful, but I love you Taisan.” Lex reached across the table and grabbed his wife’s hand.
Taisan squeezed back, “I love you too.”
When no one was watching, Ram would sneak into Ebony’s room and see how she was doing. He felt incredibly guilty, despite his strong dislike of her. Maybe it was the spirit of Siva, an angel to the devil of Java on his shoulders. He wasn’t a kid person, he might even consider the unborn as parasites, but he valued the life inside Ebony, for Slade. The man had given him his life back, it was only fair.
And he would never really kill Ebony after ridiculing her for the death of her sisters, not that he was above being a hypocrite, he was just so angry.
Ebony was as cold-hearted as he had been towards others in the past. He understood why and knew he should cut her some slack, but he hadn’t yet forgiven her for Java. Even if it was self-defense. He could, however, apologize as long as no one was listening. Grabbing her hand, he whispered, “I’m sorry.” Then let it go as quickly as he’d picked it up and took his leave.
Ebony had been awake the whole time Ram was there, but she wanted to hear what he had to say, so she remained eyes shut, body still. She accepted his apology too, but she owed him many. She owed the whole tribe a thousand apologies except maybe Gel, Sammy, and the babies.
Sighing she tried to sit up but her head was pounding. And worse than her head hurting, her stomach and throat were killing her. She was starving and dehydrated. She was glad to see Slade when he came into the room, “Slade!” she exclaimed in a dry whisper.
Slade was more than thrilled to see her awake. He poured her a glass of water, “Welcome back sleeping beauty.”
She drank hastily, “I don’t feel like a beauty, my body aches. How long have I been out?”
“A day and a half and you worried most of us.”
“Yeah, right, everyone was probably praying I would die.”
“Okay, so most of us is like a few of us, but everyone also knows you’re only human and their perspectives too changed when they learned about the baby.”
Ebony grunted, “I am going to kill Jay,” she said then thought about her aching body, “Is It—the baby okay?” she asked, real worry in her voice.
Slade was surprised at the worry written on her face and in her voice. She had once said she hated kids, now she was worried about her own unborn, “Taisan said she gave you some medicine that would feed the baby while you were unable to eat. Does your body hurt?”
“Like hell,” she said.
“Good, that means we’ve got to get you some exercise and food.”
“I don’t know if I can walk,” she started, but it was too late, Slade was at her side, helping her out of the bed and onto her feet.
He looked at Ebony as they walked around the room, “I have to ask,” he couldn’t look at her, “Is it mine?”
Ebony was too weak to pull away from him and knock him unconscious, though she really wanted to. She may be a little selfish, out for her own gain and glory, but she never stepped out while in a relationship. With as much energy as she could muster, she pinched him, “I’m freshly pregnant, you do the math Mister, everybody’s asleep, as long as we’re quiet.”
Slade gave her a sheepish grin. He felt stupid asking her a question like that, but he needed to hear her say it was his child. He knew underneath a hard layer of skin, Ebony wasn’t as cold hearted as she seemed, but after Ruby and the false pregnancy, he liked being reassured.
He helped her back into bed and kissed her forehead, “I’m going to get Taisan, you stay put.”
“Where am I going to go?” Ebony scoffed as he left the room.
The door opened a few moments later and Ruby entered instead of Slade or Taisan, making Ebony grow anxious.
“Oh good you’re awake, and alive,” Ruby started off the conversation.
Ebony rolled her eyes, “We both know you wish I were dead.”
“Well considering you pushed me in front of a moving truck, maybe just a little bit.”
“About that, I am sorry. I was desperate, you wouldn’t let go of Slade, and well you see my current condition.” Ebony shrugged, “I’ve never been very good at sharing.” And she surely hadn’t wanted Slade’s attention divided by four.
“Was that a genuine apology?” Ruby asked.
“As genuine as it’s going to get, sister. Take it or leave it.”
“Well then I guess I can’t suffocate you with your pillow, those had been my intentions at first, so apology accepted,” Ruby smirked. “But I’m not here to seek out an apology or confession now. I just wanted to thank you.”
Ebony lifted a brow,“What for?”
“If you hadn’t of stolen Slade, I might never have given any other man a chance. But I know Jay and I can be happy.”
Ebony didn’t know what to say. She wasn’t one for all this gratitude. It was all new for her, so she said, “I’m glad…though I do have a bone to pick with your new boy-toy.”
Ruby laughed, “Glad the fiery Ebony is still in you otherwise things would just be too boring. I’m also glad the baby is okay,” she said, only with a hint of envy. That could’ve been her, but she and Slade never could’ve worked out, not really.
After Taisan’s diagnosis Ebony was both thrilled and frightened. She was thrilled because she was alive and her child was okay, but she was terrified because after so much denial it was real now, there was a living organism inside of her. She was going to have to learn to be a mother.
“Slade, when I said I hated kids, I didn’t mean it, but I’m not really maternal, so how do you expect me to raise a baby?”
“We should have thought of that months ago,” he smirked.
“This is all your fault,” she pouted and ran a hand over her abdomen.
Slade looked at her with shock, “My fault? You were the one calling all the shots as I remember it.”
She threw a pillow at him, “I hope you are a better father than you are a liar!”
Recovering the pillow from off the floor he returned it to her and gripped her hand. He was just as frightened as she was, though she would never know it. He thought his worries were over with Ruby’s confession that she was never pregnant, but now Ebony was.
“Ebony, we’ll be great parents, no worries,” he said, trying to reassure them both. “You protect what’s yours and that’s a great maternal instinct. And I’m here. We’re a great team.”
To that, there was some truth which eased both their fears a mite. Still, the thought of being parents would give them many restless nights.