Broken Frames, Torn Pictures Chapter 18

“But we have a demo we need to finish,” Anna protested.

“Which we’re already mostly done with. Look, I just want to spend more time with Apollo. We stay here ’til 6, and then Apollo and I still have to eat dinner. The way everything is, there just ins’t enough time for him and I to spend time together.” Jove said. “You understand, right?”

Everyone else looked at one another.

“I guess that’s okay,” Johann said. “But that means we’ll have to work harder than before.”

“I can do that. Now what do you want to work on next?”

They worked until it was time for Jove to go pick up Apollo. “Hey, Polly wog!”

Apollo threw his backpack into the car and climbed in. “Hi.”

“How was school?”

Apollo just shrugged.

“Did you learn anything?”

Another shrug.

He seems a bit off…

“Is there something going on at school?”

“No.”

Jove realized that he wasn’t going to get anything else out of Apollo, and just focused his attention on driving. It would only be a matter of time before he figured out what was bothering his son.

He pulled up into his apartment complex and parked.

“Why are we home?” Apollo asked.

“I wanted to spend a little more time at home. Is that okay with you? We can play a game or something.”

“Okay.” Apollo climbed out of the car and followed Jove into the house. “What’s for dinner?”

Jove froze. He hadn’t picked anything up.

If I take Apollo to the store while he’s hungry, I’ll spend a fortune at the grocery store.

“Er… how about we go out?”

“Yeah!” Apollo threw down his backpack and ran to the car.

After they had eaten, Jove finally felt safe to bring Apollo to the grocery store. Money was a bit tight, so he ended up buying frozen meals he could throw into the oven and cook for 20 minutes.

“Ooh, can we get chips?” Apollo held up a bag of Doritos.

Curse Walmart and their genius marketing schemes.

Jove tried to calculate how much money he spent on dinner. There was probably enough for a bag of chips. “Sure.”

Apollo grinned and put the chips in the cart. Once they were at the front, the boy held up a candy bar. “Can I get this too?”

I fed you so you for the sole purpose that you wouldn’t clean out my bank account!

“If you put back the chips.” Jove said as he placed items on the conveyor belt.

Apollo looked over at the chips, and then to the candy bar. He seemed in anguish over which one to pick. “Daddy, help me choose.”

“The candy bar.”

Apollo stared at the candy bar. “…I’ll get the chips.”

“Glad to know I helped.”

Apollo put the candy bar back and placed the chips on the conveyor belt.

After everything had been scanned, the final total was displayed. Jove was a few dollars short. Panic seized his mind. He shouldn’t have taken Apollo out to dinner. Maybe then he would have had enough to pay for everything. Why did Thalassa have to leave? If she hadn’t, none of this would be-

“Sir?” The cashier was getting impatient.

I could make Apollo put back the chips. But do I really want him realizing that we’re in such bad shape that I can’t buy a measly bag of chips?

“Can I take this off?” Jove held up a frozen meal.

We can have leftovers one night.

“Uh… sure?” The cashier took it off, and Jove paid for their groceries.

“Why’d you put that back?” Apollo asked as they walked to the car.

“I changed my mind about what to have for dinner.”

“Oh, okay.”

Jove started the car and let out a long sigh. Him and the band needed to hurry up and submit that demo. He wasn’t sure how much longer he could last on child support alone to support himself and Apollo.

When they got home, Apollo pulled out Chutes and Ladders. Jove got himself a glass of water and they started playing. It seemed like all of these games for little kids relied purely on luck to win. Jove seemed to only get chutes, while Apollo was climbing up the ladders. He couldn’t wait until his son was old enough to play Clue. Maybe then they’d be on a level playing ground.

Despite being well ahead of Jove, Apollo seemed to be a bit out of it. Well… as out of it as you can be while playing Chutes and Ladders. Jove would occasionally remind Apollo that it was his turn to spin the spinner, and Apollo would flick the spinner, then go back to spacing out.

“Is something on your mind?” Jove finally asked after getting half way through their second game.

“I guess…” Apollo was avoiding eye contact now.

“Wanna talk about it?” Jove took a sip of water.

“Mommy’s pregnant.”

…And spit it all over his son.

. . .

“I’m a terrible father.” Jove collapsed on the couch in his recording studio.

Anna frowned. “Why do you think that?”

“I did a spit take on my son.”

She held back a laugh.

Jove sat up straight. “It’s not funny!”

Anna gave up on hold back, and broke down into a laughing fit. “It really is, though.” Nate walked by, and Anna caught his attention. “Nate, babe. Wanna hear something funny?”

“I guess.”

“Jove did a spit take on Apollo.”

“Why would you do that?” Nate asked.

Jove sat up. “Apollo said Thalassa’s pregnant.”

“What?” Both Anna and Nate said.

“That was my reaction. But, I just… expressed it in the wrong way.

“Holy shit. How long have you been separated?” Anna asked.

“Five months.”

“Wow. She doesn’t wait, does she?”

Jove collapsed back onto the couch. “Tell me about it.”

“Who’s pregnant?” Johann asked as he entered the studio.

“Thalassa.” Anna said.

“Oh.” Johann eyed Jove. “Is that why you’re sulking on the couch?”

“Yeah.” Jove muttered.

“That’s… rough.” Johann walked over to his drum set. “Why don’t you try to work to get your mind off of everything? Our demo’s almost done, so we should be able to send it in by the end of today. Besides, I’d appreciate getting this done since I’m running low on money.”

So Johann was in the same spot. That was probably true for everyone here. It would be good for Jove to think about something else for a while. “Yeah, sure.”

. . .

Thalassa was frowning. “I was thinking about that too.” She said. “He needs to know.”

I buried my face in my hands. “You’re father’s going to kill me.”

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