Broken Frames, Torn Pictures Chapter 23

“That is… surprisingly generous of him.” I said. “And he doesn’t have any ulterior motives for any of this?”

Thalassa frowned. “What could he possibly want from us?”

I held up my hands. “I don’t know, but I find it strange that he’s offering to pay for our wedding. Especially since he’s made it clear that he doesn’t think too kindly of me.”

“My father isn’t always out to get you.” Thalassa said.

“Okay, okay, you’re right. I should be glad that he’s helping us out. Sorry.”

We sat in a tense silence for a while until Thalassa murmured, “I don’t want to cut my father out of my life.”

“I-I never suggested that you should.”

“I know. I just… wanted to say it. Everything feels more permanent when I speak it out loud.”

Back to silence.

“…I’m glad your Dad’s paying for the wedding.”I said once the silence bordered on unbearable. “We never would have been able to afford it… so I’m glad he stepped in.”

Thalassa nodded. “I guess we’ll get rings later?”

“Somehow I feel like we will have to buy those on our own.”

“I wonder how you came to that conclusion.” Thalassa twiddled her thumbs. “My father gave me his credit card, so we can get everything we need at some point.”

“Guess when we do it depends on when we want to have the wedding. What do you think?”

“I want to have it as soon as possible.”

“Yeah?”

“Mm hm. I don’t want to wait until after we have the baby, since we won’t have anywhere to keep it during the ceremony, and we’ll end up having to hire a sitter, and I don’t want to wait too long because then I’ll be too pregnant for the wedding.”

I raised an eyebrow. “Didn’t think you cared too much about stuff like that.”

“I don’t. But I also don’t want to have to wear a maternity dress.”

“Fair enough. If we’re going to have our wedding ASAP, we might as well get started on the shopping, right?”

“Yep.”

We left the apartment and started down the street.

“The wedding dress place is the closest, so let’s go there.” Thalassa said. “I chose a second hand store since wedding dresses are so expensive.”

“But… we’re not paying.”

“That doesn’t mean we can take advantage of my father!”

“Yeah, you’re right.”

Thalassa led the way to the store without uttering another word. I tried to think of what to say, but nothing seemed appropriate. Once we stopped in front of the door to the dress shop I finally uttered a simple, “I’m sorry.”

“Hm?” Thalassa cocked her head to the side. “Sorry for what?”

“Upsetting you.”

Thalassa rubbed the back of her neck and attempted to look anywhere that wasn’t at me. “You didn’t upset me.”

I frowned. “You don’t have to hide your feelings. You never let me, so you shouldn’t either.”

She hesitated, and resulted to simply shaking her head. After a few moments she finally said, “lately, I’ve just felt like nothing’s going to get better. You and my father are still going to butt heads forever, and it feels like all of it is my fault.”

“How could any of that be your fault?”

“I feel like I’m forcing you to be a parent. I’m the whole reason we’re in this mess in the first place. If I hadn’t invited you up…”

I placed my hands on Thalassa’s shoulders. “We were going to have to deal with Magnify not liking me regardless of whether you got pregnant or not. What’s happened is no one’s fault, and you’re not forcing me to do anything, okay?”

Thalassa nodded slowly. “Okay.” She sniffled. “Well, let’s go get my dress, huh?”

We walked into the shop where a cheery woman greeted us. “Hello, how may I help you?”

Thalassa wiped her eyes and grinned. “Hi, we’re looking for a wedding dress.” I could still see the sadness in her eyes, but her charade seemed to fool the shopkeeper.

The other woman looked perplexed. “You’re dress shopping with your future husband?”

Thalassa and I exchanged a look.

“Yes?” She said.

“But it’s bad luck!”

“I… don’t really care.

The woman nodded, seemingly perplexed. “I see… Right this way.”

I sat down on a bench while Thalassa and the shop keeper tried on dresses for what felt like forever. Looking at the clock revealed that in reality, it had only been twenty minutes. I thought time was supposed to go by faster as you got older.

“How do I look?” Thalassa emerged from the dressing room wearing a bouncy, backless dress that stopped at her knees.

“It looks like it was made for you!” I sprung out of the bench to admire my future wife. “How could someone give this dress up?”

“I suppose they wanted me to have it.” Thalassa grinned as she swished the skirt around. “I’ll get this one.”

“Great! I’ll ring you up.”

After paying for the dress we were back outside. Thalassa was grinning and chatting up a storm.

“I can’t wait to see you in a tuxedo.”

“Wait. So you’re saying you don’t want me to go to the wedding wearing jeans and a t-shirt?”

Thalassa lightly smacked my arm. “No! I may have told you I didn’t want to needlessly spend money, but that doesn’t mean we’re not going to get you a tux.”

“Darn.” I shook my head. “So, I guess you’re feeling better?”

“A little bit. I’ll feel better when you get a tuxedo, though.”

The rest of the day was spent preparing for our big day. We ate cake, tried on more clothes, and picked out table cloths. Thalassa felt better the more stores we hopped between, and if I’m honest, I found it somewhat therapeutic to flip through countless books filled beautiful food and decor and be able to say, ‘if I really wanted to buy that. I could get that.’

At the end of the day, both of us flopped down on our mattress, the light from our only lamp casting soft shadows on our faces as the sun set.

“Y’know, I feel better after pouring my heart our to you.” Thalassa said while we stared at the ceiling.

“It’s almost as if not bottling up your emotions makes you feel better.”

Thalassa nudged me. “I know! Well… I guess I didn’t.”

“Care to elaborate?”

“I guess I thought you’d think I was unsure about everything if I told you what I was thinking.”

“Being unsure about things is fine.” I reached for Thalassa’s hand. “Personally, I’d think you were an idiot if you were 100% sure about every single thing you did. You’d be an idiot, or just really foolhardy.”

“That’s a bit cynical.”

“My whole life’s built around cynicism, but that’s beyond the point. I’m trying to say that you can talk to me. We’ve ugly-cried on each other’s shoulders, so we’ve already seen the bad parts of each other.”

Thalassa squeezed my hand. “I’m glad I found you.”

“I’m glad you found me too.”

. . .

There was a knock on the front door. Jove had no idea who could possibly want to talk to him so late at night. When he looked through the peephole, he found Zak holding a sleeping Apollo.

Before he could register what he was doing, the door had been thrown open, and Jove was standing face-to-face with his ex-wife’s fiance.

“Long time no see, huh?” Zak said, a grin spreading across his face.

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