Chapter 25 - Not a very good role model

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Both Ella and Joe looked at each other when Caleb announced he was going out. It had been two weeks since his falling out with Gaby.

Joe recovered and yelled, "Home by eleven and no drinking or anything else illegal."

"Yeah, yeah," he replied as he walked out the door.

Ella smiled because a few hours without Caleb sounded good to her. Joe was always shushing her in bed since Caleb's room was on the other side of the wall. She wasn't completely selfish, she was also glad that Caleb wasn't sad. He seemed happier that afternoon. Still, he and Gaby weren't talking in her class.

Joe was more intent on tracking his brother than on Ella's attempts to seduce him.

"He's walking," Joe announced.

"Come on," she cooed.

Joe stopped looking at his phone long enough to kiss her. She felt her body come alive, but the flame died when he went back to his phone.

Sighing loudly she picked her own phone and texted Ava.

Ella: How was your last day?

Ava: Ok. A little sad. I'm packing

Ella: Can't believe you'll be home for good.

Ava had been in Boston since she started college. As a student she came home during the summer and other vacations, but since she'd been working she would only pop home for Saturday night and Sunday.

Ella was scrolling through Snapchat when Joe exclaimed, "He's back at Gaby's house!"

"Good... Now put your phone down, I'm feeling lonely."

Thankfully Joe did just what she asked. She was too comfortable to get up when Caleb came home. Joe had watched him walk back as his post-coital entertainment.

He had asked, "What are you laughing at?"

She hadn't realized she had laughed out loud.

"Joe, our kids aren't going to be able to move if you're this overprotective."

"El, our kids aren't going to almost be arrested and defiant. They are going to feel loved from the moment they are conceived... I think my mother knew her mistake after Leah. I'm not sure she wanted another child with that man..."

"Poor Caleb, she loved him, didn't she?"

"Yeah, but she was too worn down to put any effort into mothering. My family was so opposite yours. We're going to do it right."

"Just don't leave me."

The words slipped out, but they represented her biggest fear and they lingered below the surface. She saw sadness pass over Joe.

"I could never. It would kill me. I hate being away from you a few nights."

She didn't have a gig that weekend, but she had to go welcome Ava home. She would stay the night and return on Sunday night which was her routine. She hated not spending her full weekends with Joe.

She heard Joe attempted to find out about Caleb's night, but the kid told him to go back to his woman. Ella smiled because he usually referred to her as his teacher.

Ella was concerned that things would change with Ava home. Would her sister want to see her on Friday nights? Would she hone in on her dinners with Tony? Ava was quick to remind Ella that she was friends with Tony too, but Ella wanted their dinners to remain special just for her and Tony.

Tony had mentioned that he had to go back to California in a few weeks and Ella had asked if he was bringing his girlfriend.

"No. Why would I do that?" he asked.

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