He woke me up when the night was still dark and when fall let down its guard and truly began its quiet takeover of the warm summer nights. I was lying on my stomach and my favorite pillow was tucked under my heavy head.
Gabrielle poked my arm and when I simply ignored the poke he poked me again, harder. I turned my head until I was facing the tall shadowy frame of my brother. I rubbed my eyes and sat up on my bed. "Do you have any idea what time it is?"
I heard the rustling of his pajama pants as he walked towards my clock on my desk. "Twelve. It isn't that late."
"Fine," I said while stretching the sleep out of my body. "What's up? This better be good Gab."
"It's about mom and dad."
"About that, why did you say those things to dad earlier?"
He sighed and looked back at me. "Just come with me and you'll see."
"I think you're the only one that hasn't noticed that things have changed." He said before walking out of my room.
I quickly followed him and found him quietly descending the stairs towards the kitchen, which stood towards the back of the house. "Gab!" I whispered, but he quieted me by putting his index finger up to his lips.
He stopped beside the entrance to the kitchen and motioned for me to do the same beside him. The lights were on and I was sure that Gabrielle was just playing a joke on me. I had mentioned that I had a math quiz during our awkward dinner with dad and I maybe Gabrielle wanted to get me back for eavesdropping.
"Just listen." He ordered and I obliged as I heard mom's tired voice, barely above a whisper.
"We can't keep doing this." She said, I could hear ice tinkling and I knew that dad was drinking. "You coming home late, never calling--the kids will begin to suspect that something isn't right."
"I'm not doing anything wrong." Dad said simply, his voice louder than my mom's. "Your jealousy will get the better of you Lucia."
"My jealousy?" Mom's voice became sarcastic, something that I had never known her to possess.
"Yes, your jealousy. I'm out there working day and night and I come home to this--"
"Working? Does that entail getting to know your female clients so in-depth? Leaving your wife and children to eat alone almost every night, except for the ones where you grace us with your presence?"
"Enough!" Dad was nearly yelling now. "Do not speak to me this way when all I have done is supported this family!"
"Family is about more than financial support Jeffrey," mom urged, "it is more than some fancy TV, expensive food, and fast cars--it is about love and trust."
"Which I have gone far and beyond to give."
"No," if I were in the room I was sure that I would have seen mom shaking her head. "You haven't, and I'm tired Jeffrey. I'm so tired of all these sleepless nights."
"Then what do you want from me Lucia? I can't give more than I all ready have!"
"I want my old Jeffrey back! The man that I married, the one who would grab Laurie and Gabrielle and run around with them on his back--the one who would whisper I love you to me at the most unexpected times." I heard dad put down his glass heavily on the kitchen counter, the ice cubes violently tinkling in the now empty glass. "But I know that that man is gone, and there is nothing I can do about that."
"I see," Dad's voice was low now as the realization of mom's words seeped into his thoughts. "I understand."
"Who is this client that you keep staying out late with?"
"What?" Both dad and I said at the same time and Gabrielle nudged me with his elbow.
"I'm not stupid Jeffrey." Mom said. "I know it isn't just any client; who is she?"
I heard dad sigh and he whispered a name. I shivered, what was I doing here? I started to move away from the kitchen and Gabrielle grabbed my arm and pulled me back. "You have to hear this," he mouthed. "Please."
I stood beside my brother as we both heard our dad confess to our mom that he was indeed having an affair. I hadn't heard the woman's name, but my mom's voice sounded surprised.
"Wait," she said. "With who?"
My dad sighed again and I could hear him walking towards the kitchen table where my mom was probably sitting at. "She isn't a client."
"Yes, I figured out that much by now Jeffrey," she said. "But why with her? Have you not thought about Laurie at all?"
Dad's sarcastic laugh made me feel sick. "Look at us! I tell you that I am having an affair with Diana Lair and yet you worry about how our daughter will react instead of worrying about yourself?" His voice was like acid that burned me to the bones.
"Of course! She is our daughter and yet you betray her like this! I all ready knew that we had passed the point in our marriage that was beyond repair, but you know that your daughter's trust in you will forever be changed from this."
"Laurie is smart," dad said while my stomach rumbled in protest. "She will not be able to stay angry with me forever."
Things changed this summer Laurie, I changed. Kelly had sounded so confident that my curiosity had taken over. I had begged her to tell me; to confide in me, but now I knew the answer and it made me sick.
I heard nothing more of the end of my parents' marriage because I quickly ran towards the front door of the house and launched myself into the night.