Home > My Everyday Hero

My Everyday Hero
Author: Natalie Ann

Prologue

 

 

“You’re late.”

Colin looked at his wife, Lisa, to see her standing there with her arms crossed and the typical pout on her face. “I stayed late to work with a few kids after practice.”

“That’s your excuse this time,” she said back to him.

He moved past her, sick of having these kinds of conversations. Same song, just different music in his mind. “It’s not an excuse; it’s the truth.”

“And how many mothers were there watching you work with their sons?”

He coached high school football. He was a phys ed teacher full time, but sports had always been his passion. Not just football—the sport he’d thought he’d go pro in—but all sports.

“None,” he said, climbing the stairs now. “Where’s Maggie?”

“She’s in bed. I said you were late.”

“It’s only seven thirty,” he argued.

Their six-year-old daughter did go to bed early, but normally Lisa kept her up so he could say goodnight to her. He’d bet she did this on purpose as a punishment. That was one thing Lisa was good at—finding a way to punish him for crimes he didn’t commit.

“She didn’t feel good,” Lisa said.

“You couldn’t call and tell me that,” he said.

“It’s not like you’d leave early. You never do when I want you to.”

He went into Maggie’s room, Lisa following him. His daughter was his world now. The only thing that was keeping his marriage together. He’d been trying for so long and wasn’t sure how much more he could take of it.

“I’ve got a job,” he said. “But I put my family first and always have. You texting me you are in the mood for sushi and want me to leave work early to get you some isn’t as important as saying our daughter isn’t feeling well.”

“You never put me first,” she whined.

He turned and shot her a look and lowered his voice as he moved closer to his daughter. “Do you have to do this now?” He placed his hand on Maggie’s small forehead, but she wasn’t warm. “What was wrong with her?”

“She said she had a bellyache.”

“What did she eat for dinner?” he asked.

“If you were home I would have cooked. Instead I let her have breakfast for dinner.”

“Okay. So what did she have?” he asked again.

“She wanted Pop-Tarts and Frosted Flakes.”

He got up and moved out of the room, not surprised his daughter had a bellyache after that sugary meal. “And you think that’s an appropriate dinner?”

“There is no reason to cook if you aren’t here.”

He wanted to say she could cook for their child but didn’t. There was no use asking what she had for dinner. He’d seen the empty wine glass on the counter and knew whatever it was, the wine came first.

“Whatever,” he said. “I’m taking a shower.”

She moved closer and sniffed him. “Trying to wipe off the scent of another woman.”

“I’m not sure how many times I’ve got to tell you there isn’t another woman, but you don’t want to believe that. You’ve got it in your head that whenever I leave this house I’m hooking up with someone and I’ve never given you any reason to believe it. Or is it because you haven’t wanted to have sex with me in two months that you think I’m getting it elsewhere?”

Part of her punishment. When she was trying to make life hard, she withheld sex. Like she wanted him to cheat. He never had and he never would. He had a child and was trying to make this marriage work though it seemed like he was the only one putting in any effort.

“It hasn’t been two months,” she said, letting out a snort and curling her lip. Long gone was the high school sweetheart he fell in love with. The one that followed him to UConn and cheered him on at every football game.

“You wouldn’t believe me if I proved it to you,” he said, going into their bathroom and shutting the door in her face.

He needed to shower this day away from him. He needed to try to figure out how the hell his life turned out this way when he thought he had everything going for him.

By the time he got out of the shower feeling somewhat normal, he made his way back to the kitchen to see his wife standing there with a glass of wine in her hand. “How many glasses is that tonight?” he asked.

“It’s only my second,” she said.

He wanted to comment on it being a light night for her but why cause a bigger fight than what she was trying to start? He was sick of trying to counter this too.

He opened the fridge and saw burgers leftover that he’d grilled over the weekend. Normally he did the cooking. Lisa complained she’d cook if he was home, but she still rarely did.

Once he had his burger on his plate he turned to see her staring at him. “What?” he asked. “You’ve got something on your mind, just say it.”

“I’m waiting for you to tell me who you were with tonight.”

He pulled his phone out and tossed it on the table. “Not that I need to explain anything to you, but look through it all you want. And while you’re at it, you’ll see a variety of videos I took of the boys running plays from the time I arrived right after school until I left for home.”

He walked out of the room with his burger and went into his office and slammed the door.

She opened the door a few minutes later and tossed his phone back on his desk. “This doesn’t mean anything.” Which of course meant she went through it because she didn’t trust him. “I had such high hopes for you. For us. It’s all gone. I married a gym teacher.”

“You’re drunk,” he said, knowing she lied about the two glasses. “Get the hell out of here. Take a good look at yourself one day and see who is the one to talk.”

“You’ll never be anything more. That’s why all you do is whore around with other women.”

Lisa stormed out of his office and he put his head down. If it weren’t for Maggie he’d leave. But he didn’t know if he could get custody of her and he refused to leave his daughter in his wife’s care completely.

If he had to suffer for more years, he would. He’d do anything to make sure Maggie was cared for and raised properly. That she wasn’t exposed to so much negativity and hate that Lisa seemed to spew on the world.

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