“Mommy’s dating Zak now.” Apollo said while he was sitting at the kitchen table, drawing.
Jove had to pause for a moment to process what he had heard. Thalassa moved on pretty quickly. He could feel a sort of sinking feeling in his chest. Why it was there, he didn’t really know. Maybe it was because he had wanted to get back with Thalassa… it didn’t make any sense how that would happen, but whenever his brain decided to dream about it, how they got back together was always an omitted detail.
“Hm?” Jove shook his head. He really needed to stop spacing out. “Sorry Pollywog. I was just thinking.”
“Are you mad at Mommy?”
Just a little.
“No, she can do whatever she wants to.”
Even date when we’re not even technically divorced yet.
“How about you? Are you okay with everything?” Jove asked.
Apollo shrugged. “Mommy likes him, so he’s okay.”
Jove missed having that blind trust in his parents. It was so much easier to believe that they weren’t just people like him who made mistakes and didn’t have the answer to everything. Of course, his parents weren’t around for him to blindly trust anyway, so he was thinking about a moot point.
“Daddy, are you sad?” Apollo was looking up at Jove with his big, genuine eyes; his eyes that made it impossible to tell even the smallest of lies.
“Mm hm.” Jove felt two little arms wrap around his torso.
“Don’t be sad! Mommy says she doesn’t hate you.” Apollo mumbled into his father’s sweater.
Jove mustered a short, quick laugh. “Did you ask her for me?”
Why was he not surprised? “Well, thank you. That makes me feel a lot better.”
“Let’s go watch the Steel Samurai! There’s a new episode.” And there went Apollo, master of lightening the mood, out the door and into the living room.
“Alright, you lead the way.”
. . .
“Thalassa’s dating someone new.” Jove had started the next day by gossiping with his band mates about his failed love life. He couldn’t believe he was turning into a washed up, single parent at the ripe age of twenty-four. But if he was being honest, gossiping was more fun than he had anticipated.
“Seriously?” Anna knit her eyebrows together. “You’ve only been separated for like, two seconds.”
Johann rested his chin in his hands. “She was probably cheating on you.”
And now the fun was starting to diminish. “What? No she wasn’t.” Why had Johann even suggested that? “That’s not something Thalassa would do.”
“I thought that about the guys who cheated on me. I’m telling you Jove, no one tries to make it obvious they’re cheating. If they wanted to do that, they’d just immediately dump you once they saw the next hot number across the street.”
“Johann, you know Thalassa. Do you really think she’d cheat on me?” Jove was beginning to feel annoyed. He hadn’t expected such a serious response. All of this was beginning to make him ask questions he hadn’t previously wanted to think of.
“I also didn’t think she’d divorce you, and look where we are now.”
“That’s completely different from cheating on someone!”
Why am I defending her?
It’s not like Thalassa was ever going to know about Jove defending her honor. Even though her cheating on him would explain why she divorced him so suddenly. But… “Thalassa isn’t a deplorable human being.” Jove decided. “Zak’s been around for a few years so they probably just hit it off when she moved back in with her father.”
Johann held up his hands. “I’m just sharing what I’ve learned after dating for a while. I will admit that it’s possible nothing happened, and all of this is just a weird coincidence.”
Jove nodded, but the thought was still nagging at the back of his mind. He and Thalassa had met Zak before Apollo was even born, and he’s been with the Troupe ever since. Jove hadn’t been particularly fond of Zak, but he didn’t seem like a bad person. Definitely not someone who would cheat with someone else’s wife. Hopefully… The idea of being a cuckold didn’t really appeal to Jove.
“How about we get to work?” Nate said. “We need to get our demo finished in time to submit it to the label.”
“Yeah… yeah.” Jove frowned at the ground and picked up his guitar. “Where were we again?”
“Um…” Anna started rifling through a folder full of sheet music. “Ah! Here you go.” She handed a half filled sheet to Jove. “We just have to finish this and then all we have to do is fine tune everything and make sure it sounds amazing.”
Jove started at the music. His mind didn’t seem to want to focus on anything other than what Johann had said.
I could ask Apollo if he knows anything… But I don’t want to put that kind of pressure on him.
“What do you think Jove?” Everyone was looking at Jove.
“I wanted to know what you think about changing the key of this part of the chorus.” Anna repeated. “What do you think about that?”
“Oh, yeah, that’s fine.”
“You’re completely out of it.” Johann said. “Is it because of what I said?”
“No…” No one was buying it. “…Yeah, you caught me. I dunno. Thalassa isn’t the kind of person to cheat, but I just can’t stop toying with the possibility that maybe she did. I mean, I barely know Zak. Maybe he’s an amazing charmer or something…”
“Dude, you’re taking Johann way more seriously than you should.” Anna said. “He just says whatever he thinks of in that small brain of his.”
“I think you’re confusing me for yourself.” Johann shot back.
“My point is, just take it with a grain of salt. If you don’t think Thalassa would do that, then just trust your judgment.” Anna said. “I mean, I don’t know her very well, so I can’t say much, but from the few encounters I’ve had with her, she doesn’t seem like a terrible person.”
Jove rubbed the corner of the sheet music between his two fingers, and nodded slowly. “Yeah… I’ll do that. Thanks, Anna.”
“And just for the record, I am a better advice giver than Johann, right?”
Jove laughed. “I wouldn’t trust your judgment on anything else considering you’ll drink whatever alcohol is put in front of you without a second thought.”
“Oh, now that’s just cold, man. You know I drink the stuff like water.”
“And you all thought I was the one teetering on the edge of alcoholism?”
The group shared a good laugh, then got back to work. Jove’s mind had been calmed at least for a little bit. He had no problem getting back to work now.
. . .
It was the night of prom. Thalassa told me to meet her outside of her house/performance hall.
“How do I look?” She walked down the stairs and smiled.