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Hearing her voice, Cameron whips around to face her, turning his back to the devastating screen of his laptop.
“Hey baby, what’s up?” his voice hitches at the end, like a question within a question.
“Nothing, just wanted to see what’s up with you.” Elizabeth hovers at the threshold, tracing a finger over the smooth wood of the doorway.
“I was just thinking,” Elizabeth says, taking a few steps into the bedroom and sitting down gingerly on the bed between them, “about how wonderful everything’s been lately.”
“Is that some kind of sarcasm? Or irony? Because you know work hasn’t been going well.”
“No, Cam, gosh, chill,” Elizabeth’s hand floats to her stomach, fits there perfectly like the missing piece of a jigsaw puzzle. Her lips curl into the half-smile she always wears when she is slightly amused, slightly exasperated, the smile that made Cameron’s fingers tingle the first time he saw it. “I mean with us. I thought we were good.’
“Oh, of course we’re good, hon. Sorry. I know we’re good, it’s just that more and more, these problems at work are haunting me at home too. I guess I’m realizing I can’t escape them.”
“There’s just so much that’s more important to our lives than your job, you know? We have our health. And each other. And our future. And maybe,”
“Liz,” Cameron interrupts, “I know. I am grateful for you and for us. But as for the future, I really don’t know what’s coming. But I do know that it’s probably going to get worse before it gets better. The problems….well, let’s just try not to talk about the future, okay? Let’s just wait and see.”
“You’ve been working way too much,” Liz teases, though the quiver in her voice betrays her bruised feelings. “You need a break. How about Vegas this weekend? Just you and me. Take your mind off of everything.”
“Did you not hear anything I just said?” Cameron slams his computer shut, walks away from his desk and around the bed to face her. “The last thing we need right now is a vacation. Why don’t we just throw some more money down the toilet? No alone time, and nothing else, is worth it.”
“Cameron,” Elizabeth barks, standing up so that she is at eye-level with her fiancé. Her voice hardens, the way it always does when she feels more than hurt, when she feels desperate. “Don’t take this out on your family. This is about us, not your damn job or money or anything else. We’re going to need to talk at some point, figure things out.”
“Look around you, Liz, there is no family here. It’s you and me and nobody else. Does that look like a family to you? What things could we possible have to figure out? You have no idea the things I have to figure out myself. Hell, we’re not even married yet.” The moment after the words escape Cameron’s lips he knows they are a mistake.
“Listen,” Liz replies, “I don’t want to hear any more of that marriage bulls***. We made a commitment to each other, for the rest of our lives, and I know we both want to keep it. If you wanted out, you should have told me that before you shoved the ring on my finger.” She glances down fleetingly, at her swollen, ringless index finger and quickly stuffs both fists into her already-snug jeans, making them bulge even more.
Cameran takes a step towards her so that their noses are nearly touching. “Alright, babe, I know.” He places his hands on her shoulders. “I’m sorry. You’re right. It’s not about us. But you have to understand, sometimes it’s going to be hard to separate our lives together from my work. And you know I want to be with you. It’s just that we’re probably the only thing around here these days that’s certain, that’s all.”
Cameron kisses the top of Liz’s forehead, squeezes her shoulders. He walks into the bathroom and closes the door behind him, his head throbbing with the pain he wishes he could express, as Liz sits back down on the bed, suddenly exhausted, her lips pursed against the words she fears she’ll never be able to say.