ink notes #2: the tipping point
Here's my entry for ink notes #2.
This was the music prompt. Go here if you want all the info on how the challege works. If you like writing - poetry, short fiction, whatever - come on in, the water's fine. :) I'm actually a bit late with this one, so here's the link to the current challenge. My entry for that will be along shortly.
The Tipping Point
Gio crept into the house, cursing silently at the huge click as he shut the door. What was the opposite of ‘ninja’? This was the craziest damn plan now that he was putting it into action, but when she had given him that soft, hopeful look in the car it had felt like the only possible course. Just thinking about her now he could feel his heartbeat slowing. She calmed him, that sweet brown-haired girl.
He moved easily down the empty, carpeted hallway. No toys left out from play, no small, haphazard shoes sprawled across Janine’s perfect space. She had no tolerance for such things. God she could be cold. It firmed his resolve, pushed him past her sleeping form in their bed and on to the waiting chest of drawers.
It didn’t take him long to fill the overnight bag. He couldn’t tell in the dark what matched and didn’t, but Bron didn’t care what he wore anyway. He risked another minute of potential discovery sneaking into the en suite for a few toiletries; even managed one of the pillows from his side of the bed. Janine muttered a little in her sleep, but didn’t wake. He left as stealthily as he’d come, but the air tasted like freedom when the door clicked again with him outside and walking away.
Thirty minutes later they were on the Kings Highway heading East with a full tank and way too many snacks. They’d gotten Bron’s gear earlier before the stealth mission to his place. She was singing along with the radio, mostly getting the words wrong but her voice was pretty. Goofy girl. She’d changed everything – everything – and she didn’t even know it. He could see her eyes were heavy with not enough sleep and he reached into the back seat for the pillow.
‘Tuck it between you and the window. I know it’s awkward with your seatbelt on, but if you put the seat back a little you might get comfy enough to sleep.’
As she shifted around, still singing softly, he tried to focus on the road. In the back of his mind the realisation of what had really just happened was building with each extra kilometre he put between himself and Janine. By the time he hit Braidwood he knew for sure that the next time he went back to the house it would be to collect the rest of his things. He’d left his wife tonight. He couldn’t quite take it in, but looking over at his daughter sleeping in the seat next to him, he couldn’t regret it either.
When Bronwyn’s mother had found him, let him know that he had a six year old, Janine had accepted it…but not gracefully. She didn’t want her in their house. He could be a father if he wanted to, as long as it didn’t impact on her orderly life.
Bron stirred, stared out into the darkness still half asleep. ‘Daddy, are there really going to be kangaroos right on the beach?’
He grinned. This was the tale of wonder that had them both begging her mother to let them take off on this crazy midnight run to the coast; the roos that came in droves down to Pebbly Beach in the early morning.
‘There really are. I called ahead and they’re all quite eager to meet you.’
She giggled sleepily. ‘Kangaroos don’t have phones.’
No, he thought, but I have you. The fallout I’ll deal with later.