Broken Frames, Torn Pictures Chapter 21

I relayed what Magnifi had told me while we were alone to Thalassa, who frowned.

“That’s definitely not like him.”

“What part of that isn’t like him?”

Thalassa fumbled for words. “I mean, yes, he’s told me he doesn’t like you, but he’s never actually said something like that…”

What reasons could Magnifi have to do that? I can’t possibly be threatening to him. I’m 5’2” and just barely over 100 pounds. Probably.

“I need to talk to him about this.” Thalassa went to pick up the phone.

“We don’t have to call him now,” I muttered.

“Why not?”

Wait… she’s absolutely right. Why wouldn’t I want Thalassa to talk to her father? She’s the only one that can get through to him. But I can’t just say never mind now. “I don’t know.”

“I won’t call him if you don’t want me to.”

No, that’s not it. “I mean… if you want to.”

Thalassa sighed and placed a hand on her hip. “Do you want me to call or not. I’m not in the mood to play games.”

“I don’t know.” And there I go being an indecisive asshole again.

“Well okay then,” Thalassa put the phone back and sat down next to me. “So.”

“…So?”

“What are we gonna do about us? Y’know, now that we’re having a baby and all.”

“I mean, people who have kids get married, right?”

“I suppose so.” Thalassa replied. “But aren’t weddings expensive?”

That is true. “But we don’t have to have to get married immediately. We can save up, or something.”

Thalassa pressed her knees into her chest. “I never imagined that I’d get married when I was 18.”

“I mean, do you not want to get married? It’s cool if you don’t.”

“No, I didn’t mean that I don’t want to get married, it’s just unexpected is all.”

“Yeah, I never even wanted kids before. But I guess that’s out the window.”

Thalassa stared at the wall ahead of her. “I’ve always wanted kids.” She whispered. “They’re so small, and- and innocent.”

I shrugged. “I guess they’re cool.”

Thalassa looked me in the eyes. “Do we really want to do this? This is a big deal, and I need you to be honest.”

I started to say that I was sure, but a pang of doubt struck me. “I-I don’t know. You’re right; this is a big deal, but what other options do we really have? It seems like you want to have a kid, and what are we supposed to do after that? I can’t just leave the picture. That can’t be good for the kid.” I sighed. “And I want to stay with you, so there’s really only one option.”

Thalassa was silent for a few moments. “Well… we haven’t thought of any names…”

Alright, now we’re moving away from the heavy stuff. I shrugged. “I like Apollo.”

“That was fast.”

It really was. I had never really thought of the name before. Who even names their kid ‘Apollo’? “Have you thought of any names?”

Well if we’re going to go with a gods theme, how about Artemis if we have a girl?”

“That is indeed a good name, but what if we have twins?”

Thalassa raised an eyebrow. “Do you really want to think about having twins?”

“…You’re right. That would be a nightmare.”

“So we’re going for Apollo and Artemis?”

“Mm hm.”

She was giving me a look that said ‘are we seriously making puns out of our kid’?

“Okay, I wasn’t the one who came up with Artemis! You’re the punny one, not me.”

“I didn’t even say anything.”

“But you were giving me a look.”

“I think that’s your guilty conscience talking.”

“I’m not guilty!” I shot back. “You’re guilty.”

“It’s my guilt that’s making you think I’m giving you looks?”

I could feel my face grow warm. “Well when you put it that way, it makes me sound a little ridiculous.”

“I don’t think you needed me to make you sound ridiculous.”

“I cannot believe you just went there.”

Thalassa laughed. It took her a few moments to regain her composure, but when she did, she said, “so we’re 100% sure we want to do this?”

“Yeah,” I said. “I’m cool with it. Are you?”

“Mm hm. I just… don’t want you to be unhappy. It’s not fair to sacrifice your happiness just for my sake.”

“I’m fine, really. Besides, you’ve seen me at my absolute worst. We’re in this for the long haul.”

I figured this was the opportune time to lean in and kiss Thalassa. She wrapped her arms around my torso and laid her head on my shoulder.

“I never figured being an adult would be so difficult.”

“A-Are you okay?” I asked as I rubbed circles into her back.

“I don’t know. After talking to my father, and hearing how he’s talking to you, I’m finding it harder to figure out how I should be feeling about everything.” Her voice faltered. “I’m trying to be optimistic… but nothing seems to be going the way it should be.” Tears streaked Thalassa’s face.

“I know.” I whispered, trying to keep myself from breaking down. “I’m…” My voice cracked. “I’m trying to make sense of it all too.”

“I want to be a kid again.”

“I do to-” Unable to hold back my tears any longer, I broke down crying.

There we were, the two of us sitting in a crumpled heap on a mattress in the middle of our bare apartment, ugly crying on each others shoulder.

“Y’know,” I sniffled. “In all the months I’ve known you, I’ve never seen you cry before today.”

Thalassa pushed her fists into her eyes as she said, “well I don’t like crying in front of people… It-it embarrasses me.” She flopped down on the mattress. “I don’t know why, but it does.”

“You mean you don’t understand why showing your vulnerabilities to complete strangers could possibly be embarrassing?”

Thalassa let out a short laugh. “Okay, point taken. But I should probably be comfortable with crying in front of you.”

“Yeah, probably.”

“Especially since you’ve cried in front of me.”

“Yeah…”

“Multiple ti-“

“Okay, I think you’ve made your point.”

. . .

“Is that the letter from the label?” Anna asked as everyone crowded around Nate who held a white envelope in his hand.

“I think so.”

“Well don’t just stand there, open it!”

With shaking fingers, Nate tugged at the flap, careful to preserve the contents inside. Once the piece of paper was pulled out, he wet his lips and spoke in a nervous voice.

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