It was a crazy rushed morning, as they usually were without Harry, he was the always the calm and collected one, without him it was utter chaos. But he was due home later that evening so it was at least bearable today.
Audrey was rushing all over the house after waking up a bit late, it was a late night skipping Harry for longer than usual (neither one wanting to be the first to hang up), she wanted the house to be spotless for his arrival, but right now it was a disaster, toys making cluttering the floor in every room, laundry piling up in the laundry room and hall leading to it, dirty dishes filling the sink, the dishwasher needing to be run, last nights dinner still out on the table, where she had left it, too excited forces call to get any work done. She missed him like crazy and it was hard to be alone at home. He was such a good father always wanting to help with every little thing, his fame made things hard at times but she knew they could get through anything, having already gone through so much.
The morning started off on the wrong foot, with her alarm blaring as it had been for hours although unheard because it had fallen to the ground along with a few of the pillows from the bed, mulling the shrill call. It was already 11 when she got up, that leaves only 7 hours till Harry was due, it doesn’t seem like she had anything to worry about but with two little kids even the smallest of tasks can take hours to complete. Tyler usually woke at eight and she found him pigging out on the couch watching “Cars” for the billionth time,
“Tyler?!, Bud you know the rules” she pulled the Oreo from his tight grip, he wasn’t supposed to watch tv in the mornings, Harry promised to put a lock on the tv before he left but obviously, didn’t get around to it, “Go get changed” he growled at her his face mirroring that of his fathers as heist his jaw and stormed to his room, slamming the door after himself. Shutting off the tv she went into the kitchen grabbing a cup of water knowing Madelyn is sure to wake up soon.
She did, like clockwork her cries filled the air, Audrey set the cup down pushing off the counter to go retrieve the three month old, she caught a glimpse of Tyler pulling on his favorite shirt, one of Harry’s old button ups that she had accidentally put in the washer, he was pissed when it shrunk Tyler had never smiled as big as he did when Harry passed it on to him. She sighed knowing he was going to throw a fit when she told him he couldn’t wear it to pre-school.
Madelyn gurgled happily as Audrey appeared in the doorway, she was a momma’s girl always wanting to be around Audrey, although she loved her father Audrey was her preferred cuddle on most days. Gathering the baby in her arms Audrey changed her diaper and dressed her for the day, she slept in late meaning that her nap would be short and Audrey’s free time to clean would be cut in half. The tv was turned on again Audrey could hear it as Tyler turned the volume as low as he could groaning she set off downstairs.
I hated mornings like this at four years old it was crazy how much he was able to do, he was quite the troublemaker and loved tantrums, “Baby what did I tell you” I shut off the tv turning to give him a pointed look, he glared right back crossing his arms over his tiny chest,
“But Mum!?” I shook my head,
“No bud go change, you are staying at Nana’s tonight you need to be all ready when she gets here we don’t have time for tv this morning” I cleaned the room while talking to him, Madelyn playing with the necklace that Harry gave me our first Christmas, it was my favorite I tried to always be wearing when he was gone, as a part of him. Tyler let out a frustrated groan telling me I was so mean, I let it slide till he tossed one of Harry’s boots still sitting at the end of the couch wear Tyler had put them a few days ago after trying to convince me that they fit so he could wear them to school,at me. It went whizzing past clipping me in the hip,
“TYLER?!” I was furious as he sprinted up the stairs, Maddy cried out startled at my sudden outburst, I massaged my hip, the heel caught me just right, it was going to bruise for sure, cooing at her, “Sorry baby, s’okay, I’m not mad at you”.
Anne was suppose to be here in a few minutes, setting Maddy in her crib for a minute I left her with the bottle I grabbed before going upstairs, I grabbed a few things from the closet to pack for his overnight bag, letting him play for a minute before calling him into the closet, “Hey T come here a minute” he grumbled before coming in,
“Lets try this shirt today yeah?” I held up a superhero tee shirt that matched the red converse he already had on, “Daddy loves this one”
He shook his head “No I already have a shirt on” I caught his wrist before he could sneak away,
“You can’t wear that shirt today bud, it still doesn’t fit”
He frowned arguing, “Yes”
I smirked trying to make him laugh, pulling it off his shoulders si it looked more like a cold shoulder dress “nope”
He wasn’t amused tugging it back up, “Fits”
I was growing annoyed, “No it’s time to take it off, Nana’s almost here” I was already halfway done with the buttons, pulling the other shirt over his curls before he could protest, he yelled at me informing me that I was a meanie again tugging frustratedly at his shirt while I slipped his overnight bag over his shoulders, calling at him as he stormed out of the room slamming the door after himself, “I love you, don’t forget your backpack by the door! Have fun I’ll miss you”
I heard Anne opening the door and telling me she was in a hurry, I sat in the closet for a moment later hanging up the button shirt near the top of the closet, I felt like an awful mother, I should have just let him wear it, so what it didn’t match, so what I was much to big, he loved it, it wasn’t hurting anyone and Harry would just be so proud telling Ty he looked just like his daddy. I had half a heart to just go bring it to his preschool and let him wear it, it took me almost two hours to get him out the door, and he still wasn’t ready. Sighing I got up going to go find my phone which had just begun to ring from our room down the hall.
She didn’t make it that far, trying the handle one more time she stumbled back from the door, the door Tyler had locked in his tantrum before going downstairs to be picked up by his grandma, with hair not combed, teeth not brushed, and breakfast not eaten. Panicking she looked for her phone, remembering that it was in the other room, “Okay, okay, okay, I’m okay” she mumbled to herself pacing the room chewing her lip.
She has hours till Harry is due home and no way of getting a hold of anyone, Maddy is bound to finish her bottle at any moment, meaning she is going to start crying with no momma there to burp out the little bubble she is going to have sitting uncomfortably in her tummy.
I pressed my forehead against the wall, trying to calm the baby though the thick wall, singing softly as tears rolled down my own cheeks hands spread to the drywall between my chest and the wall, I sunk to my knees as her wailing only grew, I was beyond frustrated.
We cried for hours it felt like, before I pushed myself up and began to try and unscrew the handle or just break it off, not worrying about the noise and I slammed everything I could against the sturdy cast iron handle, crying out in frustration, “Fuck!” I was pulling at my hair, pacing around the room again, before sinking to the ground in the corner feeling completely helpless.
I couldn’t stop crying, trying to remain as quiet as possible Maddy having cried herself to sleep a while ago. I got up after deciding to somehow force out the pins holding the hinges together to free the door that way, I tried everything I could wedging almost every toy T owned under the pin trying to force it out, nothing was working and I had broken off almost every nail on my hands worn them right down to the skin.
Maddy woke up when my phone started ringing again, setting down the toy I was working on I tried talking and gurgling at her through the wall again for a while before beginning to cry again myself when she started to wail again, her sharp cries breaking my heart into a million peices.
The wire hanger I had unwrapped to try was blurring due to the tears clouding my vision, I was putting most of my weight on it trying to push the pid out, it slipped scraping across my arm, leaving a thin cut in its wake, I didn’t feel it as I heard the sound of Harry’s voice calling from the other side of the door.
I called that morning to make sure she would be home when I got there, but she didn’t answer, I figured it was because she had had a late start, I kept her up late last night I was missing her alot, I always missed her but this time I could tell she was having a hard time with how worn out she looked over the skype last night. This was the longest I had ever been away, and I decided to never do it again.
I called her again the second I landed again with no answer which worried me, I went as fast as I could gathering my luggage and telling the driver to step on it. I racked my brain the entire ride home, I knew Ty was staying at my mums tonight and that means Audrey could have gone with them and just forgotten her phone. I saw her car in the driveway when we pulled up, eliminating the possibility she was out with my mother, my heart dropped when I stepped from the car, I could hear Maddy’s pained cries from outside, bursting through the door I threw my bags to the side not saying goodbye to the driver or taking off my coat.
The cries only got louder as I walked in I could hear Audrey’s cries too, pained and frustrated pleading with Maddy to calm down. I took the stairs two at a time, noticing the mess, Audrey always cleaned up when I was coming home from a trip wanting everything perfect. The door to the nursery was wide open, Ty’s door the opposite, realizing my wife was locked in I didn’t hesitate unlocking the door and throwing it open, “Oh, love” she shot from the room, sobbing as she clung to me shaking like a leaf. I walked her to Maddy’s room the poor baby curled in the farthest corner screaming, I wigged an arm free from Audrey’s grip reaching over her to cradle my youngest.
“I’ve got you,” he cooed as he reached over, holding them both close, letting Audrey tug him to the floor to better wrap herself around the two of them.
“What’s happened love?” Harry asked, putting a hand to her forehead and then the side of her jaw, tilting her head up to look at him. She was still crying, she only studied his face hiccuping eventually replacing her cries, a few minutes of rocking them back and forth and whispering calmly to her, rubbing slow circles on her back as she loosened one arm long enough to wipe at her eyes.
There was a small mumble against his shoulder and he shifted so her mouth wasn’t against his coat. “What was that, sweetheart?”
“Ty threw a fit and locked me in” she whimpered and started crying again. The story came flowing out like a river after that on how she had woken up late and the tv and yelling at him, till the shirt and finally how she had been locked in and scraping her arm to get out. Harry ran his hands over her hair as he kept rocking her, leaning to the side to get a look at her arm frowning at the injury, she noticed, ‘Im fine now”.
“I’m here now, s’not going to happen again” He shifted back her around so he could see her face, but she still had an arm around his shoulder, Her face was still wet and red from crying and her eyes were bright, but once he brushed the hair from her cheeks she looked less tortured and more like the young girl he was so deeply in love with. “You know T’s going to get it when he gets home”
She kept her eyes trained on his hand as she rubbed at the cross tattoo, fidgeting a little. Something pricked at Harry’s instinct. He knew his girl, she had no reason to keep fighting, “Love?,” Harry said slowly, wiggling her softly. “Did something else happen?” She shrugged softly but didn’t look up, Harry knew she wasn’t saying something. “Sweetheart, is there something else?”
Very quietly, she muttered, “I’m an awful mother aren’t I?”
Taking a deep breath, she replied, “Maddy could have died.”
Harry was quiet for a few minutes, gathering his thoughts. One of the best lessons he had learned with Audrey was to try to never make things better right away to let her mull over in it for a bit before confronting the problem. “When has she last eaten” he finally asked.
“This morning around noon,” she whispered
Harry sighed inwardly and pressed his lips to her hair. “And you?”
“Let’s go feed my girls huh?” She nodded against his shoulder, but he could tell she was still upset and unsure. Carefully, Harry stood up, taking Audrey by the hand as he carried Madelyn down the stairs and into the kitchen. Once Audrey was settled at the table, he went and started making spaghetti for Audrey as he always did when she was upset, pouring a bottle for the baby in his arms, after filing a pot with water to boil “Will you feel her while I make something for you?” Audrey slowly rose her head from its place on her folded arms, a fresh wave of tears sparking from her cheeks, she took the baby smiling softly at her through the tears, “It’s going to be okay Audrey, Maddy’s going to be just fine” he leaned down crouching at the side of her chair reaching a gentle hand up to wipe away her tears, Audrey nodded at him forcing a smile upon her face, Harry was deeply put off at its appearance, standing he stirpped off his coat, doing the dishes while the pasta boiled.
Her cold fingers were gripped tightly around his arm as he placed the steaming plate in front of her, he could tell she was relaxing, when she released his arm to start tugged the collar of his shirt instead closer pressing her lips to the side of his face, “I missed you”
“I can take her while you eat” he told her as he cleaned off a chair of to sit by her,
She shook her head lightly, setting the now empty bottle on the table, “Just let me hold her a moment longer” He nodded sleepily, feeling his own eyes starting to get heavier, he gave her a good look over, the first since he had gotten home. She was wearing the same outfit as she had been last night, he hair now free from the bun it was in last night looked like she had been tugging at it for hours, which she probably did, the strands knotted and stressed. He had no intention of telling her, but she looked like she hadn’t slept in years.
She ate fast handing Harry the baby for a minute before getting up to wash her plate, Harry noticed the lack of flowers by the sink and vowed to get some first thing in the morning.
“Go take a shower Harry” Audrey’s voice broke him from his thoughts, as she lifted the happily gurgling girl from his lap “then cuddle your girls for a bit”
He still hadn’t been able to kiss his wife. He wasn’t able to make love to her. He wasn’t able to kiss those lips of hers, hold her anything for two months he had missed so much and That drove him mad.
Taking the fastest shower he could manage, he slipped into a pair of boxers and basketball shorts, returning to the bedroom, he shut the door behind him. There, in the king sized bed, was his wife and daughter. The baby clung to her as if she were a koala. Her legs wrapped around her arm as Audrey’s hand sat on her stomach, with a tiny fist wound into Audrey’s hair, his wife having already fallen asleep despite the baby further knotting her hair.
Harry’s heart warmed at the sight of the two of them. These were the two most important girls in his life. After looking them over for a minute, he pulled the other side of the duvet up so he could climb in. Audrey shuffled slightly and opened her eyes a bit, noticing Harry.
Her smile was lazy, but wide. Her free hand grabbing Harry’s cheek, brushing her thumb over the light stubble that hadn’t been shaved. Her leaved into her touch, relishing in the soft touch of her finger tip.
“Hi.” He whispered, cautious of the cooing three month old between them.
She smiled, “I missed you.” Her voice gravelly. Harry could tell she was about to fall asleep again so he leaned over and kissed her pouting lips, taking his time wrapping a hand around her neck and keeping her close.
“I’m so glad to be home.” He sighed. She pecked his lips once more and smiled before Maddy yanked her hair a bit too hard. He unwrapped her tiny fist murmuring a sorry as his wife brushed her hair away from wandering hands, he dramatically gasped a second later as Maddy poked the birds on his chest and leaned down to look at his daughter who was gurgling, adorable giggles falling from her pouty pink lips. He leaned down towards her and tapped the end of her nose she squealed and Harry’s heart warmed, playing with his little girl before she fell asleep him right after.