Broken Frames, Torn Pictures Chapter 20

For some reason, it had never really hit Jove that he was no longer married until he was sitting across from Thalassa, listening to both of their lawyers talk in the ever elusive legalese. Thalassa seemed keen on avoiding eye contact with Jove whenever possible, which was perfectly fine with him. If he was given any reason to look at her for too long, he might start feeling sad again.

I thought you were going to stop thinking about her, Jove.

It turned out that was an idea better said than done. In the time he had made his priorities list, Jove had managed to push Thalassa out of his mind. At least until he saw her again, then the thoughts came flooding back. Thoughts like, “wow, she really is pregnant,” or, “oh look at that ring on her finger.” Anything that made him feel inadequate.

I seem to be really good at self-deprecation. Maybe I should’ve became a professor in that instead of a musician. I definitely would’ve had enough money to hire a better attorney if that were the case.

Why did divorces have to be so expensive in the first place? Jove and Thalassa weren’t even one of those super bitter exes that fought over all the assets just to spite each other. All that should’ve happened was that they’d file the papers, and they’d be separated.

Maybe Thalassa and I should’ve unofficially broken it off. Or at the very least, wait until I actually had the money to afford an attorney.

The past year had practically been Hell on earth for Jove, and probably Apollo, too. He wasn’t too sure about Thalassa since her life seemed to be chugging along, what with her new kid on the way and everything. Her eyes didn’t have dark rings around them from staying up all night trying to figure out how in the world she was going to pay this month’s rent. But maybe she was struggling…

Oh wait, she’s living with Magnifi. Of course she isn’t strapped for cash.

Jove ran a hand through his hair. He needed to stop being resentful of Thalassa. He should be glad his son’s mother has a place to go, and isn’t stuck living out of a motel room. There’s no reason to get mad at Thalassa just because she has her father to fall back on.

And a new partner too.

How could Jove have married Thalassa? Because he loved her? He was too young to know what love meant, let alone say he wanted to spend the rest of his life with someone.

But couples with children were supposed to be married. A kid needed both parents, or they’d grow up to be an ax wielding psychopath or something.

…God I was stupid.

Jove must have looked visibly troubled, because Thalassa looked concerned when he looked up. He gave her the cold shoulder, just like she had done to him. Thalassa looked away.

And then the judge made his ruling, signaling for both parties to leave.

A year of heartache, and hiring attorneys, and the trial was that short? I wasted so much money on this…

Wasted. It was a harsh, but fitting word to use. Jove had the same sinking feeling in the pit of this stomach that he had when his car broke down. But at least at the end of the day, he got to drive a fixed car home. All he got out of the divorce was the privilege of saying his wife broke up with him.

Jove called Johann once he was in his car.

“Hello?”

“Hey, the trial’s over.” Jove said.

“That was fast.” Johann replied.

“That’s what I was thinking. Anyway, I’ll come pick up Apollo. Thanks for taking care of him for me.”

“No problem. All he really asked for was some macaroni and cheese. Other than that, he’s pretty self sufficient.”

“Well, I’ll be there in a few minutes.”

The two exchanged goodbyes and Jove hung up.

As he was driving, Magnifi had somehow entered his mind. How did he feel about Apollo looking exactly like his father- a man Magnifi despised? Clearly it didn’t bother him too much since he doted on Apollo any chance he got, teaching him card tricks, telling stories from the times he traveled the world. Maybe Magnifi wasn’t as shallow as Jove had always believed him to be.

He pushed these thoughts out of his mind. His life was nuanced enough; he didn’t need another internal crises plaguing his thoughts. Right now he needed to focus on the much more important task of driving.

Johann’s house was just around the corner, thankfully, and Jove parked in the driveway. After knocking, he was greeted with a hug from Apollo.

“Hey, Pollywog! How was your day?”

“It was great! Johann made me mac and cheese.”

Jove smiled and picked his son up.”I heard. Well, are you ready to go?”

“C’mon now.” Johann said. “You can’t just up and leave. Sit down and stay a while.” He smirked. “I have some leftover macaroni and cheese.”

“Alright, alright. I’ll bite.”

Jove sat down and looked at the bowl that was in front of him. “You eat the character stuff?”

“It was on sale.” Johann rolled his eyes. “I’m sure you can understand my dilemma.”

“Yeah, you’re right.” Jove ate some of his lunch. He hadn’t realized how hungry he really was until there was some food in his stomach. Now that he thought about it, had he even had breakfast?

…Probably not.

“So you’re single now.” Johann remarked.

“Yep.”

“How’s it feel?”

Jove shrugged. “It’s a feeling, I guess.”

There was silence for a few minutes until Apollo asked, “does everyone stop loving each other?”

Jove frowned. “Hm?”

“You and Mommy don’t love each other any more. Does everyone do that?”

Jove and Johann exchanged glances.

“…No not everyone. Sometimes people think they love each other, but they don’t get to know what the other person’s really like.”

Or you think you know them, but find out you’re sorely mistaken.

“Oh… how long have you known Johann?”

Jove thought for a moment. “Since before you were born.”

“Why don’t you date him, then?”

Jove and Johann burst out laughing.

“What?” Apollo was frowning.

“Your dad’s as straight as an arrow, Apollo.” Johann said after he regained his composure.

“What does that mean?”

“It means I want to date women.” Jove said. “Johann wants to date guys, and neither of us can change that.”

“Oh.” Apollo contemplated this new information. “Okay.” And with a shrug he went back to watching TV.

The room went quiet after a while, and Jove looked up to see that his son was sleeping soundly on the couch. “Geez, I with it was that easy to get him to go to bed normally.” He remarked. “It would make my life a hell of a lot easier.”

“Well now you know what to do. Fill him up on processed dried pasta and sit him in from of a bright LED screen.”

Jove shook his head. “He already spends most of his time watching TV anyway.” He frowned. “I hope all of this divorce junk isn’t messing with his head.”

“He seemed fine to me.” Johann said.

“Yeah, I thought so too until he broke down at school. I dunno, I try to tell him it’s okay to feel sad, but I’m not sure if he’s sad and not telling me, or doing just fine.”

“Well I guess you’ll figure it out when he breaks down again.”

“Wow.”

“I’m kidding. I’m kidding!”

“I expected that from Anna, not you.”

Johann placed his hands over his heart. “Comparing me to Anna is the greatest sin you can commit.” He shook his head and laughed. “But seriously. I’m sure he’s gonna be fine. Just let him do his own thing. He knows you’re there for him and that’s all that matters, right?”

Jove’s gaze fell on Apollo once again. There was a faint smile on the sleeping boy’s face. “Yeah, you’re right.”

. . .

“I feel slightly threatened by your father.” I said once we were back in our apartment.

“How so?” Thalassa asked.

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