“Oh my gosh. This, this makes it all worth it .” Squinting his eyes and tilting his head, Nick looked at Ellie oddly. She was sitting on the opposite end of the sofa, what had quickly become her end over the last month, digging into a pint of Ben and Jerry’s double fudge ice cream with M&M’s. Sensing his silence, she looked up, spoon hanging out of her mouth. “What?” He couldn’t hold back the laugh at her mumble.
“Really? This ” he waved his arm up and down her form, “this makes it all worth it?”
“Well… maybe not just this but, well, this and a combination of a lot of things! Jake never liked to just chill out on the couch. We always had to be out doing things and showing off and having fancy dinners. And he never let me keep ice cream in the house. It wasn’t ‘healthy enough.’” Nick laughed at her tone, emphasised by the air quotes used. “It may be childish but, I dunno it was just always something that bothered me, especially when he knew I liked my junk food and accepted, or at least seemed to accept that part of me.” Jamming her spoon in her ice cream she grabbed a big spoonful and shoved it in her mouth, talking around it. “But apparently not. He just wanted me to work and look nice on his arm. But that’s not what I signed up for Nick! I wanted a husband, not a business arrangement!” Eating his ice cream he could only nod along as she rambled. “I mean, when we first met everything was great but as soon as we got married he started complaining about me buying snacks and then eventually just started asking me not to buy them at all and only buy health food. Maybe I’m crazy for thinking sitting with my partner’s couch on a Saturday night indulging in ice cream after a day of paintball is better than being at a fancy gala with my husband but I gotta tell ya Nick, it’s been a while since I’ve had this much fun.” Smiling, Nick thought back to this morning.
After breakfast, Ellie wanted to get out of the house so Nick invited her to go with him and his friends in their monthly paintball tournament. Not wanting to intrude on his time with friends, Ellie initially turned him down but he talked her into it, telling her he would have more fun if she was there. She didn’t believe him at first until one of his friends told her afterwards that they hadn’t seen Nick this happy in a while and she wondered if it really was because she was there, something she never heard from Jake’s friends.
She couldn’t help but think that Jake wouldn’t know the Ellie that showed up today. The one that was running around, shooting paintball guns and getting muddy. The one that she used to be back in Oklahoma with her brothers. The one that disappeared when she moved to DC and met Jake. The thought should have scared her but all she could feel was… happiness.