“What are you talking about? Kids love juice,” Daniel responded sourly, knocking the package back into the shopping cart. Elle took a deep breath and turned an eye on her husband.
“Daniel, juice has a lot of sugar. If you want Nate to have juice, we can get him the fruit puree, instead. It has fiber.” She picked up the pouches of fruit puree and smiled, showing it to Daniel to examine. He only rolled his eyes.
“What’s the big problem? Let the kid have some real juice. We had real juice when we were kids and we turned out fine, didn’t we? Besides, that puree crap is expensive.” Daniel pointed out the vast difference in the prices of the two, eyebrows cocked. Elle sighed heavily; every week, it seemed, they had these arguments about what to buy.
“Fine,” she finally relented, placing the puree back on the shelf. “Get the juice. When our son has Type-2 Diabetes--God forbid--you can explain that the juice was a few dollars cheaper. Come on, we’ve got a lot left on the list.”
The couple had been married a few months, now, and it didn’t seem to be getting any easier. Dan and Elle were constantly bickering, fighting about the littlest things. No matter how Elle tried to keep the peace, Daniel was always picking fights. Like the juice; like what park to take Nate to; like whether the bathroom door should be left open or closed when not in use. It had been a long seven months.
“Dan!” Daniel and Elle both turned at the sound of a high-pitched, excited voice. “Dan Cole, is that you?” A tall, slim, blonde girl was waving and making her way down the aisle toward the shopping couple.
“Lane!” Dan sounded surprised and…excited? Elle crossed her arms and tapped her foot. Not so subtle, she’d be the first to admit, but when you had a baby, subtlety kind of went out the window.
“Danny!” The blonde threw her arms around Daniel’s shoulders, hugging him intimately. Elle fumed. Not that she was the jealous type, or anything, but…Well, come on!
“Lane, how have you been? It seems like it’s been…forever!” Daniel was all smiles all of a sudden. He held the thinner, taller…prettier girl at arm’s length and drank in her appearance. It was all Elle could do not to snort in disgust.
“Well, I’ve been great! I hear you’ve had quite a busy year, yourself! Got married and had a baby, didn’t you?” Elle smirked; well, at least she knew.
“Yeah,” Daniel muttered, suddenly bashful. He rubbed the back of his neck and began to look around the aisles.
“Daniel,” Elle finally spoke up. “Aren’t you going to introduce me to your friend?”
“Oh!” Daniel seemed to only just notice his wife’s presence. Elle’s lip curled and her eyebrow quirked. “Uh…Lane, this is my…this is Elle. Elle, this is an old…friend. This is Lane.”
“Pleasure,” Elle said--although it was the farthest thing from it--and held out her hand. Lane accepted a quick handshake before both women dropped, simply grinning painfully at one another.
“Likewise, of course!” Lane said with a little too much enthusiasm. “I guess you two are doing some grocery shopping for the baby?”
“Uhh…yeah,” Dan replied. He fiddled with the items in the cart and pushed them around aimlessly. Lane gasped airily when she examined their items.
“Is that…juice! Dan, juice has so much sugar in it! That’s so bad for the baby,” she simpered, shaking her head disappointedly.
“Oh, I know,” Daniel said quickly, shooting a furtive glance his wife’s way, which only caused Elle to cock her head to the side and raise her eyebrow in question. “I tried to tell Elle that, but you know, she wants to spoil him.”
“Oh, you should really rethink that,” Lane told her, nodding with a pitying look on her face. Elle fumed. Her jaw locked and her smile froze in place.
“I’ll try to keep that in mind,” she muttered through clenched teeth. With that, she knocked three more boxes of the apple juice into their shopping cart and threw in a grape juice for good measure, not taking her eyes from Lane’s. Who was this woman--no, girl--to tell her how to feed her child? If she wanted to pack that kid full of processed, sugary drinks, she’d damn well do it! Lane’s face fell, filling Elle with a vindictive sense of satisfaction.
“Well, I’d better get going. I was just picking up some milk for my parents on my way home from school.” With that, the tall, petite blonde was gone, leaving a flowery, powdery scent in her wake and a dazed Daniel.
“What a lovely girl,” Elle remarked, removing the boxes of juice from their shopping cart and not bothering to place them correctly on the shelves.
“Oh, come on, she’s not that bad,” Daniel said distractedly.
“How do you know her?” Elle tried to sound nonchalant, but she was dying to know if her own suspicions were justified.
“Oh, just a…friend.” Daniel still had that dreamy tone to his voice, as though he weren’t all there, which made Elle even more furious and, as a result, even more nerve-quakingly calm.
“Hmm?” The pitch of Daniel’s voice raised a good octave or two, providing Elle with all the proof she needed to confirm her theory.
“A girlfriend? An old girlfriend of yours? That hug lasted a little long, if you ask me.”
“Well…” Daniel rubbed the back of his neck, a large red patch beginning to form there. “Yeah, yeah. We dated for a while.” He was so consumed in his own thoughts that he didn’t notice that Elle had replaced the sugary juice with its healthier alternative. For a few dollars more, the puree was certainly worth being more beneficial to Nate’s health.
“How long is a while?” A box of honey Teddy Grahams went into the basket as they rounded the corner into the next aisle, which Elle promptly returned to the shelf without Daniel’s noticing.
“Oh, you know I don’t really have a memory for that sort of stuff. Maybe…a year…ish…or two…” Daniel had, in fact, noticed the Teddy Graham evacuation and grabbed the box off the shelf once more, this time holding it in his hand instead of tossing it into the basket, which was apparently fair game for his wife to veto.
“Hmm…Longer than we’ve been married. Interesting.” She pulled a box of Triscuits off the shelf, noticing that Daniel was shoving a finger down his throat in an exaggerated manner. “What? Triscuits are healthy and they taste fine with cheese, or something.”
“You’re gonna turn our kid into a calorie-counting weenie,” Daniel whined, actually making Elle laugh. It seemed like it had been a long time since he’d made her laugh. “And why is that interesting?” Elle wondered with a pang in her stomach why Daniel felt the need to keep the subject of Lane alive when she’d given him the opportunity to move past it.
“I don’t know,” she answered flippantly. “It just is. Read me what’s next on the list, will you?” With that, the conversation continued along the lines of what groceries to buy, and the subject of Lane was dropped, though not forgotten--at least, not by Elle.
You see? I told you it would be up shortly. And wow. Five subscribers in a few hours. To me, that's a lot for an original fic. I'm glad you at least like the idea of this story...so far, anyway. So...Yeah. Does this give you a better feel for it? I feel like you won't truly get the whole gist of the story until the next chapter, but I should say it's coming along nicely. Thanks for those who subscribed, and thanks to those who are just joining in and are ready to hit the subscribe button as we speak. Please remember to leave a comment or two on your way out, please and thank you very much. Also, a rate would be nice! OverAndOutxx