CHAPTER FORTY FIVE
Be Done With It
The first thirty minutes went by quickly. I went about my business, tidying the kitchen and washing dirty dishes. I did any monotonous task to make the time pass by. But by the time it got to the hour, I was petrified. They weren't making any noise, I had no idea what was happening.
We didn't make up a plan about what to do when there wasn't any sounds coming from the room...
I went up the stairs nervously, quietly, one step then another then another. As I laid eyes on the wooden door of the study, I stared at it blankly. I was unsure whether I should approach it....they could come out at any moment. But I did, I pressed my ear to the door and heard low murmurs. I couldn't make them out though, but it sounded calm.
As opposed to the last time they had confronted each other it was incredibly calm.
But what of it? What has possessed dad to become civilized all of a sudden?
"I'm glad we could reach an agreement." I hear dad's voice getting louder, indicating the end of the conversation, and quickly slide on the wooden floor back to my room.
In the darkness I open the door just a crack to listen.
Niall's voice reverberates in the hallway as they step out of the study, "Whatever, Harry. Let's be done with it already."
Be done with it?
They head to the stairs, their shoes making the floorboards creak with every step.
"Thank you." I hear dad say as they reach the bottom of the staircase. "For understanding..."
I slip out once more, hiding behind a wall by the staircase.
"You know I would do anything for her." Niall says in a firm voice.
Dad clears his throat, "Yes, well, I can see that."
"Guess you can."
Silence, I could looking awkwardly away from each other.
"Are we done here?" Niall asks, clearly annoyed.
"Yeah...yeah, of course."
As the door slams behind Niall, I felt an uneasy wave pass through my body.
Let's be done with it already.
I could hear his voice repeating the same phrase, accented with anger, over and over. But it didn't make sense to me.Be done with what? What did he want to be done with?
By noon the next day, I began to worry. I had been worried all night, all morning, barely sleeping at all...but when noon hit, I knew something was off.
I had texted Niall twice with no response back yet. He never took this long to reply, he never left me hanging.
"Good morning, Emma."
I look up to see dad cheerfully walking into the kitchen, opening the fridge and taking out a carton of orange juice.
"How are you?" He says grabbing a glass and pouring his fill of the drink.
He nods, capping the carton once more and placing it back in the fridge.
"Is Ollie up?" He asks, sipping on his glass and trying to make eye contact.
I hop off my stool and head towards my room, not bothering to turn back as I reply, "He's not up yet. He should be in a few hours."
Whatever dad was playing at, I did not like it. I did not like it one bit. I preferred the angry, screaming, and emotional dad. At least I knew what was coming. Dad has always been someone who wears his heart on his sleeve, easy to figure out, easy to see through. Dad was as transparent as they came. But this, this I didn't know how to decipher. How could he so suddenly be so utterly calm?
I look at my phone, deciding that if in five minutes Niall doesn't call, text, or make any type of move to inform me that he is indeed alive and well, I was going to use the phone. I hadn't used that phone...since the day Niall had gotten married.
Oh, the old fashioned corded rotary phone.
As I turn to look at it, I feel a pang of pain in my stomach, remembering when Niall had bought it for me. At first I had been amazed by the fact that I had my very own phone, that it was suited for a princess. It was a shade of light pink and most certainly girly. I was astounded by the fact that it had the rotary dial. I was so taken by the very phone, that I didn't realize what the gift had meant.
It was so bloody long ago, I must have been nine or ten at the time, but I remember it so vividly. The box that it had come in, the look on his face as he tried to convince me that the space between us would only be temporary. Even the unevenness of his voice as he tried to convince me that it would be okay, that he would always be there for me.
"Princess, whenever you need me. Day or night, I will answer your call. That I promise you. I love you, Ems, don't forget that."
The first time it was only a year. One year. He had left and come back, he had promised he would never leave again. To a ten year old...that promise means the world. The bloody world.
But he did. He leaves again when I turn thirteen. When he leaves again this time...he doesn't come back.
And I could remember the pieces of my world falling apart around the empty space he had left.
But the only comfort, the only shred of hope he gave me was on the day of his wedding,
"I love you Emma, I promise you, one day I'll make it up to you. One day I'll be back for you. But you know I'm here for you, love. I always will be. Always, princess, always."
It's been ten years since I got the bloody phone, ten. Ten years in which he has picked up the other end without a moment's hesitation.
Whenever I have needed him he has been there.
Mending the broken promises he couldn't fulfill. Reassuring me that the love he had for me would never fade. That he would always be there, even if it was a hundred or a thousand miles away.
I try to repeat this to myself as I go to reach for the phone. The plastic was cold underneath my touch, and I could not seem to refrain from shaking as I used the rotary dial to call the only number this phone has ever reached.
I press the phone to my ear, my heart beating wildly in my chest, my stomach churning in knots. I could feel my head spinning, my head throbbing.
But there was no ring, only an automated voice answered now, mockingly stating, "The number you have dialed has been disconnected."
And then there was silence. I couldn't seem to lower the phone, I could feel my mouth making an 'o' shape.
There was only dead silence on the other line.