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From The Ashes...
Kelley jumped as she heard the front door bang open downstairs. Looking out her bay window to the driveway, she saw Jon's car. She drew a deep breath. Uh-oh. The job interview was today.
She tiptoed down the stairs, trying not to make any noise as she made her way into the kitchen, ready to bestow hugs and kisses on her husband. She saw him in the living room, standing at her piano, glaring at the hand-written music there. She could tell he was trying to think of away to break the news to her.
It was bad news, obviously.
She crept up behind him and slipped her arms around him, remembering when they were younger, and how she'd always felt so terrible when he was this upset. It was the fourth-year anniversary in a week, and those feelings hadn't changed.
He didn't move an inch.
"Sweetheart..." she spoke softly. "Do you want to talk about it?"
"Talk about how much of a failure I am? Of how stupid I could possibly be to think they'd hire a young guy, fresh out of psychiatry school for the job?" He answered, his mouth barely moving as he spoke through his teeth. He turned, taking his wife into his arms. He didn't kiss her, like always. He just lay his cheek against hers. "I'm a failure, Kelley. I can't even keep a steady job to provide for you, and..." Kelley interrupted him, her eyes fierce, her tone reverent.
"You are not a failure. Don't say that. Don't even think it." Kelley placed a kiss on his cheek, trying to melt the tension lines from his brow. She failed, miserably. His only response was a slight wince, as if the kiss had burned him.
"Kelley, you don't understand...they said I didn't have the experience.
"All that time I spent in school...I wasted so much time..."
"...so much energy...so much money..."
"Jonathan!" Kelley turned his face with both her hands, making him look at her. "Stop it. You didn't waste anything, leibe. You studied what you loved, and you're going to do what you love."
"And the money?"
"I don't care about the money! We get by. We have each other. Nothing else matters."
"Kelley, our family...if I don't have a job...we can't have a family. I can hardly support the two of us." Kelleyson bit her lip, looking away from him for a second while she thought of her response.
"A family can wait, Jonathan. You are not giving putting your dream away, just because we need money. I'll write ten stories a week, if I have to."
"I don't get it, Kelley. How can you be supportive after all this time? I've always been failing to meet my goals." Jonathan broke free of her grasp and walked around the living room, gesturing to the tiny gray sofa and the modest television, the rocking chairs, a wedding gift from Kelley's parents, and the few paintings and family photos hanging on the walls.
"Jonathan, I love you. I'm your wife. I'm always going to be supportive of you. I always have been. Nothing is going to change, no matter what happens..." Jonathan shook his head, a fierce light in his eyes that Kelley knew all too well.
"How can you say that? I haven't done a single thing to make our lives better since we got married. Finishing school...that took four years. Four. Now, I can't even get a job. I don't know what to say anymore."
"Jon, you've made me very happy. Nothing in the world could make me happier than knowing that I have you for life." He sat down on the sofa, and she moved quickly to join him, taking his hands in hers as she did so.
"You're too good for me." he murmured. She grimaced, remembering how often he'd used those words in the past. They weren't going down that road again.
"Jonathan, please. You have to know by now that no one else on this green earth could possibly satisfy me the way you do..."
"Maybe you're wrong though..." He swallowed hard, no longer looking at her. The defeated look on his face scared her. He jumped up. "I'm going out." he said, brushing past her as he took his keys from the coffee table. "I'll be back after dinner."
"Jonathan, Lindsey and Adam are coming over tonight. You can't just leave." Kelley suddenly looked terrified, standing, watching him lingering at the door. His gaze was so cold, so empty. She drew a deep breath as his answer flew at her.
He slammed the door shut, rattling the house. Kelley brushed the beginnings of tears from her eyes and charged to the door, flinging it open with a bang herself this time. She was just in time to see Jonathan back out of the drive way at top speed, barely avoiding hitting the mailbox as he did so. Kelley sighed, brushed more tears from her her eyes, and tried to decide what to do next.
God, she loved Jonathan, really loved him....but he could be so hard on himself, sometimes. He let the past rule him. Lately, it seemed he'd been reminding her every day of the numerous times he'd messed up, and how her faith had never wavered, and how she'd always found some way to forgive him, in the end. She knew he felt like he was taking advantage of her love.
However, Kelley knew how much he loved her. Equally as much as she loved him, if not more. They belonged together from the very start...and though it took nearly a decade for them to realize it...Kelley knew it was true. And Jonathan was not going to sway that opinion, no matter what happened.