He didn’t want to be awake, not really. Hell, he had been awake for something over twenty hours now, and it was getting ridiculously boring. Robb looked at the clock; he had to be up and about in three hours so he didn’t miss his lesson, though, what good it would do him, he didn’t know anymore. There was no point to college anymore, there wasn’t a point of even being right now. Ever since Naomi left, he felt like everything had lost its meaning. He hated sleeping – or attempting sleep – in a half empty bed, he hated moving around knowing Naomi was no longer waiting in the other room or walking around the place. Everything in Robb’s life just felt bleak, and the last thing he wanted or needed was to go to college to be reminded that he was in fact, widowed and without the meaning of his completely useless life.
That wasn’t to say that he didn’t mind the fact that if he went into his lessons and half way through thought he couldn’t take much more of Kayleigh banging on about Christianity, he could just get up and walk out, and no one questioned it, because they knew his wife had actually died. It was a genuine free pass to fuck around with the system, granted, and no one actually questioned whether he was just using the fact his wife was dead as a way to get out of shitty lessons or whether he genuinely couldn’t take it anymore. Though, the downside to that was the only way he got those free passes was by attending counselling every single freaking Monday afternoon, and as today was Monday, he had to go in.
He remembered the look on her face, before… she had never looked so vulnerable than she had in that moment. All of their time together, Robb knew the strong, independent Naomi; refusing to ever give in or let the world see her emotions. The only time she would let them show was around him or Mia and Isaac, and even then she would keep her guard up. But the last time he saw her alive, well that had been different. In that moment, she had never been so vulnerable and full of regret, emotion and pure fright. That was the part he hated most, was remembering the last thing she did was tell him ‘no’. She had been telling him she was giving up. That was the worst thing, was that he knew she had given up.
But as Isaac kept telling him for the whole month so far, every day: ‘you can’t change the past, and you have to carry on’. Isaac was right, hell, he usually was, but that still didn’t change the fact that Naomi was gone.
“Morning,” Robb said wearily as he walked into the kitchen to get a mug of coffee. Isaac moved out of the way of the coffee maker while Mia just carried on making toast.
“Morning,” Mia acknowledged, not looking up from her toast. Robb could tell she’d been crying all night just by the fact she refused to look up. Usually she was all smiles and happiness, even in the morning, but today was the total opposite, and he could tell she, like him, was nowhere near over Naomi. Isaac was the glue that was trying to hold them all together, and since the two of them had moved in a week after everything, it had proved hard, and it still was. No glue could hold them together, not until she was back, or until they died themselves.
“Hey,” Isaac smiled, his eyes dry and normal. He wasn’t over it either, Robb knew that, but he had the strong will of his family and refused to let them see his devastation. “Matthew’s coming over tonight, see how we’re getting on. I think he wants to speak to you, man.”
“Nay’s Dad?” Robb clarified and Isaac nodded. “He hasn’t been here for a week. I’ve heard nothing from him, and now he tells you?”
“Robb, I think it’s just as hard for him. Give the guy a break,” Isaac sighed as Robb finished making his coffee in silence for a minute.
“Give him a break? The guy is my Dad as well, by law and he treated me like one, even before we were married, and since… since, he has hardly spoken one word to me, not even at the fucking funeral, and now he suddenly wants to come over and see how we’re doing? It’s not just his daughter that died, but my wife and your best friend. He should be comforting me, and I should be comforting him. It’s not right, Isaac. There is no fucking way I will ever give that man a break,” Robb roared and took his coffee to the dining table.
“Robb, come on,” Mia tried and moved to sit opposite him. She finally looked at him properly and he could see the bags under her eyes, the haunted look about her, and the way she’d lost weight around her cheeks. She was a mess, through and through. But he couldn’t talk about being a mess when he was like that himself.
“Come on, what, Mia?” Robb demanded.
“Just see what he wants. He might have abandoned us, I’m just as pissed off with the guy, I mean, I’ve known him since I can remember, he’s my second Dad after all. But at the end of the day, he’s still Naomi’s Dad. She was his only child, Robb, and she’s gone. After everything that happened, it’s stressful, heart breaking and devastating for all that loved her. Not just the three of us. Think about that and hear him out, Robb.”
He looked at her seriously. Of course, she was right. Matthew was still the man who gave Naomi life, he was still the one who brought her up, and he was the one who walked her down the aisle so they could get married. Yet, he had abandoned the three of them in their shared grief. They should be mourning together, trying to get on with life together, and not abandoning each other.
“Fine, but only for you. And for Nay,” Robb sighed eventually. Mia nodded and gave him the smallest of smiles before leaving to finish off her breakfast.
“How’s your week been, Robb?” the counsellor asked him. She was sat opposite him on the other side of the room, staring right at him for the answer. This is the part he hated the most of it all: the fact people expected him to sob, to break down and cry in front of everyone. But he hadn’t; in fact, the only time he had sobbed was when she left, at her funeral, and in the comfort of his own company. Not once since the funeral had he cried in front of Mia or Isaac, or Matthew, or even his aunt and uncle.
“It’s been okay,” Robb said blandly. His hands were wringing together, and as he watched them, his eyes caught the glint of his silver wedding ring, knowing the words engraved in it underneath as they burned into his finger with every second.
“What do you mean by ‘okay’?” the counsellor asked. His hands stopped wringing and he stared at the ring on his finger and he thought of Naomi. He tried to define ‘okay’ in his mind: every day he thought of Naomi, of the good times, of their wedding day. Then he thought of when she told him the truth about the Devil, when he found out, on their wedding day, that the arsehole had been seducing her, and then he thought of the day she left; the way she had looked at him when she had given up, and then he thought of her lifeless body in his lap. He thought of her funeral, of the way he would visit where her body was buried every weekend without fail. Was that ‘okay’? Was just blundering along with life, tasteless and bland, without much sleep, was that ‘okay’ or was he missing something here? Should he be better than this, or worse?
“I mean that yeah, I’m okay,” Robb said quietly, more to himself than her. After all, he was the one that was playing this game. He was dancing the masquerade, forcing himself from bed every single day, he had to tell himself he could do it. It was him who was still here, still living and he had to carry on. It was him who had to find a way to bring her back, come Hell or high water, and he would do it, he would get Naomi back.
“How often have you had the nightmares this week, Robb?” she asked. He thought about it then: seeing Lucifer, as bright as anything, in his real form, shining, engulfing him and taking him into the nothing, away from everything. He could see her, Naomi, how she was, reaching out for him, but Lucifer took him away before he could even get near to her.
“Whenever I sleep,” he admitted to her, and still he started at the ring glinting proudly still. He could never take his eyes from it as long as he was still it was his anchor in this vast ocean, reminding him of what he had, that it was real.
“How long have you slept, roughly this week?”
“Four hours, over two days,” he admitted. Why should she care anyway, he thought? He didn’t want to sleep. There was no point. In the early days, he decided if he shut his eyes, it felt like nothing changed; he managed to trick himself into thinking she was there and all was okay. But, he didn’t know when, but somehow, it changed. It was now always the same, whether awake or not, she wasn’t there.
“Okay, and the meditation doesn’t help?” she asked. He sighed and shook his head, thinking about the nightmare again. What if he could get her back? He knew he had to, but what if he actually could find a way? Lucifer managed to take her away, but what if he, Isaac and Mia could get Naomi back? After all, that is what they all wanted, and it was certainly something Naomi would want. Hell, he couldn’t even begin to imagine what she must going through down there.
He would get her back, he had vowed to himself enough times now, but he would find a way.