perfectworry: it's a good life in the happily ever after last page of the very last chapter (crayola skies)
[personal profile] perfectworry
title: Heavy As a History Book
rating: G
word count: 799
community: [community profile] trope_bingo + [livejournal.com profile] writerverse
prompt: round three: square: coming out of the closet + Phase #09: Challenge #18: Weekly Quick Fic #6 (word vomit)
pairing: Mariel/Tristan (mentioned past Lawrence/Tristan)
summary: While out walking with Mariel, Tristan runs into his ex and has to tell Mariel about his undergrad affair.

When Tristan ran into Lawrence again, they were both out walking with their wives. Tristan introduced them, though Mariel felt him squeezing her hand tightly the entire time. She returned the pressure reassuringly. Although she didn’t understand why her husband was so anxious as he laughed and joked about the good old college days with his friend, she saw his mouth turned down at the corners.

When they parted ways with a friendly doff of their caps, Tristan swept Mariel down a little side street and into a warm embrace. He murmured into her shoulder, and she smoothed his hair back from his forehead and kissed his temple.

“An ex-lover of yours?” she guessed, although she felt no jealousy; after all, she wore Tristan’s wedding ring and took his last name. “She’s very pretty,” she added, and it was true. Mrs. Downing had big blue eyes and soft blond hair like an angel and a cherubic toddler in her arms.

“He was my best friend,” said Tristan, into Mariel’s wool coat. He slipped his hands into her pockets.

Mariel nuzzled him. “I’m sorry.”

“I’m not,” said Tristan, composing himself. “But at home, Mary. There’s something - I have something I should tell you, but we can’t talk about it here.” He was jittery, jumpy. “I should have told you before Mary, I just couldn’t. I was afraid, I -” Mariel frowned at him, but Tristan shook his head. “It’s not like that.” He kissed her temple.

She took him by the hand and lead him out into the street again, onto the sidewalk.
he was still ashen and he kept their fingers twined together, absently brushing his thumb over the back of Mariel’s hand.

He unlocked their front door like that, one handed because he was still holding onto her like a drowning man. As soon as he pushed the door closed behind them, Mariel pushed him against the wall in the hallway, embracing him tightly. He unbuttoned her coat and pushed it back over her shoulders; she returned the favor, nuzzling against his shoulder.

“Something wrong?” she asked, brushing her fingers against the lapel of his blazer.

Tristan kissed her. “No.” He kissed her again. “Not any more.”

He took her by the hand and lead her to the living room, pausing only to shuffle out of his shoes and let Mariel kick aside her little kitten heels. They curled up together on the sofa, Mariel resting her head on Tristan’s shoulder, him with his arms around her waist.

“Something you wanted to tell me?” asked Mariel.

Tristan curled up a little and rested his chin on her head. “Please don’t be angry, Mary.”

“That probably depends on what you have to tell me,” she said, but when Tristan frowned, she kissed him. “It was a long time ago?”

“Very,” he said. “Undergrad. Mary, I didn’t. I hadn’t met you or I wouldn’t. Nothing could have come of it anyway.”

“Dumped?” asked Mariel. She smoothed his hair.

“In a manner of speaking,” said Tristan. His fingers were tense, lips turned down with anxiety. “He proposed to Lynette over Christmas break and in January he wouldn’t look me in the eye.”

“What a cad,” said Mariel. “Her loss.” She kissed him again.

“Lynette?” asked Tristan. Then he laughed, tittering nervously. “Mary, I never met her before the wedding. We - Lawrence and I, we -“ He buried his face in her shoulder.

Her eyes narrowed, then widened. “Oh.”

“Oh, Mary.” Tristan didn’t look up, but kept himself hidden against her. He sounded heartbroken, and very small. “Please don’t be angry. I haven’t, not since then. I promise, Mary.”

Mariel smoothed his hair back again and kissed his temple. “I’m not angry,” she murmured, breath warm against his hair. “I can’t say I understand, but Tristan, I’m not angry.”

“It was a long time ago,” he said quietly.

“I’m not angry, Tristan,” repeated Mariel. “I’m not.” She lay on the sofa next to Tristan, petting his hair. He leaned against her, breathing deeply. “Do you, I mean.”She shifted uncomfortably. “Are you like my uncle?”

That made Tristan laugh and wince at the same time. “A bitter old cad? No, I should hope not.” He kissed her. “No, Mary. It was just- it was a fling, it didn’t mean anything. He stopped talking to me six years ago, anyway. Some schoolboy fumbling that got out of hand. He proposed to Lynette that winter. Christmas Eve.”

“Oh,” said Mariel, again. She kissed his temple. “I can’t say that I’m sorry.”

“Neither can I,” said Tristan. He shifted his weight and kissed her, wrapping his arms around her waist. “I love you, Mary.”

“I love you, Tristan.” Mariel smiled and pecked a kiss on his cheek. “Even if you are a pervert.”

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December 2015

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