His brows lowered, and he paused. “Are you guys okay?”
I winced. Like he always managed to do, he found my weak spot—my biggest fear that plagued me, but I tried to brush it off. “Yeah, man, we’re fine.”
“I know it’s weird as hell, but if you need to talk anything through, you know you can. I know the age difference is hard.”
“You and Hanna are almost as far apart as Olivia and me.”
“Yeah, but Hanna has been through a lot. She’s mature. Olivia is…”
“Also, mature,” I defended.
“For the most part, but lately, her immaturity is rearing its head. See previous comment about picking arguments and pushing every damn button I have.”
I hated the direction my thoughts went and tried to fight it. However, the longer she went without talking to me, the more often I fell down the rabbit hole. The truth was that I wasn’t sure we were okay. If we were okay, then why wouldn’t she talk to me? If we were okay, then why was she so unhappy?
“Listen, just cut her some slack,” I diverted.
“Yeah,” he agreed, but his face said he only had so much more slack to give. “So, I’m guessing she is coming?”
“Yeah. She said she would grab an Uber after work, and we’d ride home together.”
“Then why isn’t she here? Carina and Ian got here about ten minutes ago, and she said she was the last to leave work.”
His words landed like a sucker punch to the stomach. I struggled to stay upright and not curl around my collapsing lungs. I’d talked to her ten minutes ago, and she’d said she was still at work.
Ringing vibrated between my ears, and I struggled to stay focused on Daniel.
She never lied. Not to me. Hell, not to anyone. She said life was too short to not be brutally honest. So, why did she lie?
Fuck. I couldn’t do this here.
Blinking, I brought myself back, shaking my head to remove the doubts pulsing through my mind.
“She probably wanted to grab some wine to bring over before heading here, but she’ll be here,” I assured with a forced smile.
Daniel saw right through it.
I held my breath, waiting for him to call me out, but he also saw how shaken I was. So, he did the only thing a best friend could do. He let me get away with it.
“C’mon. Let’s get you a drink. Erik and Alexandra brought a whiskey back from their trip to Scotland, and you look like you could use it.”
“You okay?” I leaned over to whisper in Olivia’s ear, and her already taut shoulders pulled even higher. Ever since she showed up twenty minutes late to dinner—without a bottle of wine to excuse her tardiness—she’d been tense. Throughout dinner, she’d relaxed, but it seemed more like a veneer than actual relaxation.
She turned to me with an overly bright smile. “Yeah, I’m great.”
She said the words. She even finished them off with a quick peck. But everything was off. The kiss was impersonal, and the smile didn’t come close to reaching her eyes.
“I love you.”
Her eyes slid closed as if she was trying to absorb my words. When they opened again, her smile softened and managed to at least flicker a spark in the blue depths. “I love you too.”
I hadn’t realized how much I needed to hear her say it until just then. When I’d called earlier, she’d been short and had hung up the phone before saying I love you. Even if we talked a million times a day, not once had we ever hung up without saying the words. She’d left me dumbfounded, staring at my phone, close to my breaking point.
As the months dragged on, it became harder to not push for answers—her stubbornness be damned. More and more frequently, she swayed between irritation and zoning out, rarely settling into the Olivia I knew. When it first started, I tried looking for easy answers, but as it carried on, the answers I came up with stopped being easy.
While she zoned out, I zoned out with her, coming up with all the reasons my wife wouldn’t talk to me after years of open communication.
Was she unhappy? Did she regret marrying a man almost twice her age? Did the thought of us having kids make her think I was too old—too old to be a father? Did she want someone her age to share that experience with? Did she not want me anymore? Did she want a divorce?
Those reasons were enough to keep me from pushing for answers. If any of that were true, then I’d gladly wait forever for her to come to me.
“Oh, my god,” Ian groaned, pulling our attention back to the table around us. He rubbed his stomach dramatically and leaned back in his chair. “That was amazing, Hanna.”