advent stories XO

Advent Stories #7- Brothers-In-Law

Fitz is just getting in his car when his phone rings. He answers without looking, because he expects it to be Sloane. Hopefully on her way back home.

‘Hello.’

‘Hey there he is. What’s good?’

It is his brothers-in-law. Edward and Gabriel.

‘Hey you two, what’s good?’ Fitz puts the phone on speaker before pulling out of the garage into the evening traffic. This call can only mean more drama with Bella.

‘You’re about to be not so good.’ Edwards says and Gabriel bursts out laughing.

‘I take it you two have heard about Bella’s latest adventure.’

‘We have. Gabe stop being a dick.’

‘I’m sorry man but this shit is funny.’

Fitz laughs. ‘He has a point. I’m just glad it’s my wife’s family not mine.’

That sets Gabriel off for a few more minutes…

‘I hate you so much right now.’ Ed says, he too laughing.

‘Has something more happened?’ Fitz asks.

‘We have some news and you’re not going to like it.’ Gabe has stopped laughing now.

‘What now?’

‘Serena and Beatrix are headed your way.’

‘What!? Why?’

‘They cannot get a hold of Sloane so the next best thing is to show up on her doorstep. It was Bea’s idea.’

‘I’ll admit this isn’t my wife’s finest moment, but she has a bee in her bonnet and home is not exactly ideal right now.’

‘What did you do?’ Gabe asks his brother in law.

‘Wasn’t me, but she overheard my mom talking about her and it was not very nice.’

‘Damn. What did she say?’ Fitz stops at a red light. On a good day Beatrix is dramatic, add in a sister getting married in secret, and whatever her mother in law had to say about her- it is no secret they don’t get along at all- she is bound to be in all kinds of funk about everything and she is headed his way. Sloane has still not returned his call from this morning.

‘She basically said Bea was not her first choice for me to marry and she never liked her because she thought she held me back from taking my business to London.’

‘Fucking hell.’

‘And Bea heard all that?’

‘She did.’

‘What did you say?’ Fitz asks his brother in law. This is not the Bea he wants on his doorstep.

‘I told her not speak about my wife like that. Bea was pissed. She thought I could’ve said more, she basically wanted me to kick my mother out of the house, tell her to never come back.’

‘Fuck.’

‘Tell me about it.’

‘And now she’d headed my way. Is there any way to turn that plane around?’ Fitz says, more for himself.

‘Have you spoken to Sloane, Fitz? What’s the latest?’ Gabe asks, there is no way to avoid the bomb about to explode he just hopes his marriage is not a casualty of that.

‘She hasn’t returned my calls. I know she got there safe, but other than that nothing more.’

‘What do we know about the guy Bella married?’ Edward asks.

‘He checks out fine. He’s not an axe murderer or anything, he’s a pretty solid guy. I had a friend in the FBI do a total work up on him.’ Fitz says, pulling into his underground garage. All he wanted was to spend the last days of the year with his wife. He thought going to the town of her childhood for the holidays, and spending it with her family, would be good for her, despite the friction with her mother. Their life is so hectic in New York, between friends and family, work and their social life…everything gets in the way and they have not been together for two months now. He hoped to make up for lost time as they wound down the year, but so much for that.

‘But why would she just up and marry him, didn’t she break up with someone a few months ago?’ Gabriel wondered.

‘I don’t know, people do crazy things when they are in a bind…its weird. This isn’t like her though.’ Edward knew the girls growing up, the Rhodes family was well known in the Village; wealthy, educated, and very well liked. Their farm pretty much feeds the village because everyone buys their food from them on market days and Dr. Rhodes has done a fine job of carrying on his family legacy. He set up a small surgery as well which everyone in the village attends. Three generations of Rhodes family have lived in the village.

‘No it’s not like her which means something more is going on-’

‘And the only person that knows is not answering her phone.’ Fitz says, he tried Sloane again and no answer. He is starting to get irritated. It is not like her to freeze him out like this.

‘Do you need back up?’ Edwards asks his brother in-law. He would not want to be the receiving party to Bea in the mood she is in. Last night was a mess, she stopped short of telling his mother where to go and now he is in the doghouse for not doing enough. He always knew his mother did not like her, she thinks Bea held him back in the village but it was the opposite; he loves living there, loved growing up there and now raising his family there too. Beatrix can be a lot sometimes, he knew that when he met her, from their first date to the day he married her, but he was and still is stupidly in-love with her. She is an incredible person, a great mother and a wonderful wife, not to mention a talented photographer.  His mother is just going to have to get over that.

‘Nah I’ll be fine. No point in you being in the firing line as well.’

‘Hang tough brother. And I’m sorry in advance for the mess coming your way.’

‘Thanks.’

After settling himself in the house, Fitz calls Gabriel back. Only Gabriel.

‘I knew you’d call.’ Gabe says, he’d been waiting by the phone knowing his brother-in-law would want to check in. Fitz is a close confidant, he pretty much was his only sounding board when he and Serena were going through it, they had grown closer during that time and Gabe will always be indebted to his brother-in-law for saving his marriage.

‘I wanted to see how you guys are doing.’

‘This was meant to be our date night. I parked the kids with my parents, cooked her favourite meal, and it was meant to be just the two of us. I know she’s still smarting from everything. It’ll take a while before Serena lets it go, especially because she thinks I blame her for what happened, but it couldn’t be further from the truth.’

‘She knows you’re trying and that’s what matters. What you went through didn’t just happen to her, it happened to you too.’

‘I know man…I just want things to go back to the way they were. I’m tired of us walking around egg shells when we are together.’

‘You will, just hang in there. Know that if she had a choice date night with you would’ve been her preference not this.’

‘Yeah…’ Gabe laughs a little, ‘I have Bells to thank for that.’

‘I’m sure she has her reasons.’

‘Whatever they are, I hope she’s okay that’s all I care about.’

‘From what I know she’s fine. Her…husband, I guess we’re calling him that now, is a straight up guy.’

‘I’ll take your word for it.’

‘Talk soon.’

‘Good looking out brother.’

Alone, Fitz calls Sloane again, but it goes straight to voicemail again. His sisters-in-law are headed his way and he cannot get a hold of his wife.  Savouring the last moments of peace before the tsunami darkens his door step, he kicks back with a glass of whisky on the rocks. Its about to go all the way down.