Chapter five – Settling in
Exactly one week after the wedding ceremony. It was the day I knew my parents hated the most.
Wyatt and I were moving out.
‘Well, I guess this is it, then,’ Wyatt said uncomfortably. All of us were standing on the road right next to what had been my home for as long as I remembered. Our luggage was in suitcases and there was a taxi waiting just around the corner.
‘Let me give you some advice, my boy,’ dad said to Wyatt. ‘You’re both still young. It’s a big, bad world out there. If you ever need help, financially or with anything else for that matter, you come straight to us. We’ll help you out.’
‘I will. Thank you,’ Wyatt replied with a smile.
‘Don’t rush into anything. You have years ahead of you.’
‘And I’ll throw you into a volcano if you let anything happen to my daughter.’
‘You’ll come visit us many times, won’t you?’ mother asked. I smiled at her.
‘At least twice a week. We’ll call you as soon as we’ve settled in, too.’
‘That’s my girl. Good luck out there, Natalia. I can’t believe both of my children are leaving already… time has gone by so fast.’
I spotted tears in the corners of her eyes and quickly pulled mum into a hug, efficiently hiding mine as well. She felt… so familiar. I’d spent years crying in her arms for dozens of petty reasons, but after today, those arms would be gone. We’d be all on our own.
I hugged mum for another minute and then finally let go, turning to face my brother. Tommy was very silent, the opposite of how he usually acted. He was facing the ground and his eyes were suspiciously red.
‘I’m really going to miss you, Nate…’
‘Hey, don’t cry,’ I sniffed, embracing him as well. ‘You’re supposed to be the cool big brother.’
He grinned. ‘You better come back to see me often. And don’t you dare to skip any of my birthdays.’
‘I won’t, I promise.’
While Tommy and I were crying and laughing at the same time, I saw dad take out something from his pocket.
‘Here,’ he said to Wyatt, ‘take it. This ought to get you through the first few weeks with no trouble.’
‘Thank you, sir,’ Wyatt said, surprised. ‘But that really isn’t necessary-‘
‘I don’t care. Take it.’
After a few more minutes of promises and goodbyes, we finally turned around and walked away. They were seeing us off and waving and yelling:
‘Good luck, you two!’
‘Come back and visit us often!’
‘Bye, Nate! Wyatt! We’ll see you around!’
Then we were in the car and driving out of the street for good. Wyatt was smiling happily, but at the moment I was feeling far from it. Even when we lived in the same town… I was going to miss those three so much. But this was a new start, a new family. Wyatt and mine’s.
‘It’s hard saying goodbye, isn’t it?’
‘…yes. It is.’
Our home was a twenty-minute drive away from my parents. It was a tiny cottage, with wooden walls and white flowers at the doorway.
‘I know it’s a lot smaller than you’re used to,’ Wyatt apologised. ‘But if we work together, we can make it as large as we want.’
I shook my head.
‘I think it’s perfect.’
I saw him smile from the corner of my eye and all of a sudden he swept me up in his arms, lifting me from the ground.
‘Wyatt! What are you doing?!’ I yelled. Wyatt chuckled and put a kiss on my lips.
‘Finishing what we did last week. It’s tradition to carry your bride inside when you marry and move in together, and now is the perfect time for that. Don’t worry, I won’t let you fall.’
I relaxed my muscles and allowed Wyatt to carry me fully.
‘Why do I have such a sweet husband to care for me?’ I whispered.
‘Simple. Because I love you.’
‘I love you too.’
And with that, he carried me inside in his strong arms and closed the door behind us.
The weeks after that went by quickly.
Dad had given us quite the parting gift, and with the money from that, we were able to decorate the house to our content.
Money was still tight, though, and we had to watch our spendings really carefully. But it felt good, slowly exploring my boundaries together with Wyatt. It felt… almost complete.
It wasn’t long until Wyatt found himself a job. A small electrician agency in town hired him for his gift with wires. I cooked him breakfast that morning; baking waffles wasn’t my greatest of skills, but at least they didn’t look burned. Just as I finished putting them on plates, Wyatt walked in.
‘Well, today’s the day. Time to head to work.’
‘I’m sure they’ll like you,’ I smiled to him, handing him a plate. ‘Here, eat this first.’
We ate our breakfast in a content silence, after which we returned to the kitchen. Wyatt wrapped his arms around me and I did the same.
‘Are you sure you’re going to be all right on your own?’ he asked.
‘Of course! Mum is coming over to see how we’re doing, and I was thinking of finding a job myself, too. Oh, and I’ll have dinner for you by the time you’ll get back.’
‘It might be really late before I’m home, though,’ Wyatt said with a frown.
‘That’s alright. I’ll be waiting!’
Wyatt left not long after that. I proceeded to clean the house, put things straight and talk to Robin until I gathered enough courage to go outside and head into town to find a job. The courage didn’t come though, and eventually I decided I’d let the matter rest until another day.
I retreated into the living room and watched some tv. My mind kept going back to Wyatt, and his very first workday. How would he be doing?
‘I’ll be waiting!’
The sun had already set by the time Wyatt came back. I was just in the kitchen when the door opened and he came staggering in.
‘Welcome back!’ I said happily.
‘Yeah… I’m home…’
I heard footsteps, nothing and then a loud THUD on the floor.
He was lying on the floor, face-down, exhausted. I quickly ran to him and pulled him up.
‘It’s nothing,’ he mumbled. ‘Working as a handyman… was tougher than I thought. I’m just not… used to it yet.’
‘Come on, up you go,’ I said, pulling him up. But as soon as he stood on two legs, he began swaying around dangerously much, so I held him tight to make sure he didn’t fall.
‘I’m sorry, Natalia. I didn’t think I was this weak. I just want to work hard to support you…’
‘Don’t apologise, you’re not weak,’ I whispered. ‘I know you’re working really hard. The reason we’re able to live like this is because of you. I’ll work hard from now on, too, don’t worry.’
‘We’ll be a real hardworking family,’ he joked with a smile. I nodded and gave him a small kiss, and then let him go. He was still swaying a bit, but not as much as before.
The weeks started passing by fast after that. Wyatt would go to work every morning, while I took care of the house and Robin. In the afternoon, I would head out to a small bookstore, that was kind enough to give me a part time job. We’d both get back roughly at the same time and then stargaze together until the moon was at its highest. Wyatt was content, and so was I.
And yet, I couldn’t help but feel that there was something missing. Something important.
‘We’re really married, aren’t we?’ I asked one evening. We were both sitting on the bed, ready to tuck in for the night.
‘We are. We’re a real family now,’ Wyatt whispered. Happiness was overflowing in his voice.
‘Hey… Natalia? Are you… happy with me?’
‘Yes,’ I whispered back. ‘I’m glad we got married, Wyatt.’
‘But… we don’t have a lot of money. Our house is small, too, and I can’t buy you many presents…’
‘I wouldn’t want to be with anyone else but you,’ I whispered.
A small silence fell. The words were on my lips, but I was scared to say them out loud.
‘There’s just… one thing…’
‘Is there something you want?’ Wyatt said from behind me. ‘You can ask me anything. Tell me, I’ll buy it for you.’
I hugged my knees a little tighter.