**This fic had a wee bit of inspiration in real life. Not my life though, thank goodness. So when I told the Admiral of a plot bunny brewing, he decided to make it this week’s challenge. Enjoy!**
Moving day. I had been looking forward to it for weeks. Months. Years if I was honest. Finally out of this tiny one bedroom apartment and into a real house. We’d been looking for a long time, and when the old Bergstrom place on the outskirts of town went up for sale three months ago, we’d snapped it up. It needed work, a lot of updating and renovation, but it was perfect. The farmhouse had good bones, and the three acres it sat on afforded plenty of space to build cages and shelters for the wild animals my veterinarian husband rehabilitated and released. With the more delicate cases being housed on our property, and with plans to move the clinic to the old barn once it was renovated, I had hope of actually seeing him once in a while.
I loved Seamus and I loved his passion for animals. I knew what I was getting into when we started dating ten years ago. I was more than aware of who I was marrying when we said our vows three years ago. But there were weeks when we barely shared a meal together, let alone had any time for us. I respected him and his job, so I didn’t complain. Much. But moving day was finally here, and this was going to change things for the better for us. I was ecstatic.
I knew that the large part of the packing would be up to me. Seamus couldn’t just drop his responsibilities at the clinic, and I worked a regular day job. I packed at night and on the weekends, and Seamus helped when he wasn’t too tired. But still moving day arrived and I only had twelve boxes packed and most of our clothes. Seamus had thought ahead, and, perhaps feeling guilty for his absence, hired packers to come and do the rest while the movers got to work. That left us free to oversee the move.
Of course, I never thought I’d be doing it alone.
An emergency at the clinic had Seamus out of bed at four o’clock in the morning and struggling into a pair of pants.
“Those are mine,” I said sleepily, trying not to be angry. I understood, I really did, but it was moving day. We were supposed to be doing this together.
Seamus chuckled, dropped the pants, and picked up his own from the chair. “Casey, baby, I’m sorry. I am. But I can’t leave an injured cougar unattended.”
“I know,” I said with a resigned sigh. “I wouldn’t love you if you did. Just…try to hurry, okay?”
He tilted his head and studied me for a moment. I knew that look. It meant he didn’t want to lie to me but he wanted to make me happy too. Finally, wisely, he chose not to say anything at all, kissed me soundly, and raced out the door. I flopped back onto the mattress and covered my eyes with my arm. This was just great.
Eventually, I climbed out of bed and put the coffee on. There was no use trying to sleep anymore. I was too riled up and there was too much to do. I started packing the kitchen while it brewed, then sat at our scarred oak table with my cup once it was finished. I tried to tamp down the anger. There was no point in it. I would have to make the best of it, and hope the cougar wasn’t too bad off so my husband could come home to me.
It was nearly nine o’clock at night by the time Seamus finally trudged through the front door to our new home. The move itself had only taken a few hours—we didn’t have that much stuff between us—and I’d managed to unpack most of the boxes. Anger and resentment had fueled me.
“Hey, Case,” he called. He sounded tired. I kind of didn’t care. “I was halfway to our old apartment before I remembered we moved.”
He laughed like it was funny. I didn’t say anything at all, just kept pulling DVDs out of the box at my feet and all but slamming them into the rack. Seamus didn’t seem to notice. He wandered into the bedroom to change. Fucker.
“Casey? My drawers are in the wrong order, baby.” His voice carried down the hall.
“Too damn bad,” I muttered, even though he couldn’t hear me. Where did he get off? I’d done the whole damn thing by myself. So what if I put his t-shirts and jeans in the wrong fucking drawers? If he had been here, he could have done it himself.
A few minutes later he wandered back out. “Did you have a good day?” he asked, and didn’t seem to notice that my reply was nothing more than a grunt. He looked around, taking everything in, then walked toward the couch and proceeded to shove it three feet to the left. “This would look better over here. Did you eat yet?”
I shook my head as I kept stacking DVDs. I’d been too pissed off to eat. I was running on adrenaline and caffeine at the moment. Because I’d had to take care of everything myself, without his help. Because he couldn’t be bothered to even call to tell me that his animal was in bad shape. I had kept expecting him to show up at any minute, and the longer it went on the angrier I got.
“I didn’t eat either. I’ll fix us something.” Seamus headed into the kitchen. Once the swinging door shut between us, I turned fast and flicked him off. With both hands. Feeling slightly better, I returned to my task.
I was just finishing up when I heard the creak of the hinges on the door. I glanced back over my shoulder to see Seamus wearing a confused look. “Baby? Um, what were you thinking when you put away the stuff in the kitchen? Because I’ve got to tell you, none of the places you put things make any sense.”
Last. Fucking. Straw. I whirled around, and the anger in my expression actually caused him to take a step back.
“You don’t like where things are? Then you should have fucking been here to help me!” My voice was loud, echoing in the cavernous room. I was breathing heavy with my rage. And my hurt. He was supposed to have been here helping me. Our first house was supposed to be something important.
Seamus was quiet for a long moment, then he blew out a breath. “You’re right. I’m sorry. I should have been here. It couldn’t be helped, but it’s no excuse. I am sorry.”
I deflated a little because I could see how sincere his apology was. “I know. I just…I fucking missed you today. We were supposed to do this together.” Tears of hurt and anger welled in my eyes, and I blinked hard to keep them at bay. No way was I going to cry over this.
“I know, baby.” His voice was soft, and he crossed the room to stand close to me. He didn’t touch me, which was smart on his part. “I can’t make this up to you, I know that. The only thing I can say is that once we get everything situated here, I won’t have to leave you to do the important things on your own.”
I nodded. That was the point of all of this. Not only so we could have a house, but so that his work could be right there and we wouldn’t be spending so much time apart. I blew out a breath, and when Seamus pulled me into his arms, I melted against him.
“I love you,” he murmured into my hair.
I wrapped my arms around him and held on. “I love you too.”
“It’s only going to get better from here on out.”
I nodded against his shoulder. He was right. And that’s all I could want.