22.4 Next Move

Oohs and ahhs floated from Robert’s side of the bench into Eliza’s ears like a melodious chorus as she kneaded his tense shoulder blades. In past years, she took him for granted, nit picking about every little thing and likening him to her father. Now, she cherished the time they spent together. What made him stay? Was he a glutton for punishment? Despite how badly she wanted an answer, fear closed her mouth. She had enough personal confrontations that week to last her for the rest of the year. 

“Are you still in the dark about Kaiden?”

“Your guess is as good as mine,” he said in a breathy voice. “Honestly? My theory is the boy finally stepped up.”

“Is that so? How are you certain she didn’t end it?”

“Come on, Lizzie. Why would she throw him away? He had everything she wanted. And, you know how strong she is. She was probably too much for him.”

“Hmm … Perhaps. I do wish she would stop giving Josh such a hard time.”

Robert squinted his eyes. “You really like him?”

“Of course! Why wouldn’t I?”

He eyed her suspiciously. “I dunno. He doesn’t seem like your type.”

Her head flew back in a fit of laughter. “And what is my type, Robert?”

He shrugged. “Round … Chocolate.”

They both laughed.

“I only meant I find him to be a breath of fresh air.”

“Fresh air, huh?”

“He’s adorable! And, funny. A bit strange, but so is she. He has quirks, but when you’re our age, you realize those things aren’t as important as they once were.”

“True. But, she’s not our age, Lizzie.”

“I know. But, I hope she will learn sooner rather than later. We know best of all how well opposites can work.”

She spoke those words with a bit of uncertainty in her heart. They only recently began to work well together. Opposites attract, they say. But, once they’re together, they attack. Robert and Lizzie spent too many years in attack mode and finally reached a healthy place. What if they never found their way back to each other?

“That’s true.”

Eliza reflected on some sore spots in their marriage. Mainly her sharp tongue. Breanne may have been stronger, but there was no question about where her attitude came from. Why did her least flattering parts get passed down? What was Robert ruminating about over there?

“Saturday’s the big day, huh?” he asked.

The change in subject was quite telling.

“It’s too late to change our minds, but are you sure you want to do this, Robert? Moving was something I needed to do for myself, but it’s your decision too. I hope I haven’t overstepped boundaries again.”

“I told you I‘m looking forward to it, Lizzie. Besides, I can’t say no to that kitchen.”

Eliza was so relieved to hear he was on board and not just giving lip service. He was silent for so long about her issues and allowed so much to happen; it upset her sometimes. How many plans had he agreed to without interest? It didn’t matter. Everything was in the past now. The only things that mattered was her family, the new job, a new home, and being a better Eliza.

22.3 Guess Who's Coming to Dinner
22.5 Unbearable

15 thoughts on “22.4 Next Move”

  • Oh my goodness, I actually teared up at the last line. Eliza is not the same person we first met and I’ve waited so long to see this happen for her. And for Bob, too. I love this couple and want every good thing for them in the future! xoxo

  • For some reason the move has me feeling really nervous and sad! Not for the Pancakes … I think it will be good for them. But for the neighborhood! They’re an institution! Who will step up to fill their role ?

    • Oooh! Let’s see …. I would venture to say the neighborhood doesn’t think it needs an Eliza: someone to bring everyone together only to micromanage them and air dirty laundry. At least that is the way they see her now. There hasn’t been an HOA meeting since the last terrible one, so they would say they are doing just fine without her. Asia seems to be the one everyone has always gone to anyway including Eliza. So, they probably think they don’t need the Pancakeses. Whether that is true or not is yet to be determined. Asia, however, recognizes what an institution they are. Eventually, she’ll miss them. Who knows what will happen then.

        • Honestly, I think Asia has always had the role. She naturally filled it but in an unofficial capacity. I think Eliza knew this. It could be what jumpstarted her power grab in the neighborhood in the first place.

      • Dang! I was editing my reply when I accidentally hit the enter rather than the delete! I was editing it to read that Asia is the one with the best understanding of the neighborhood as a system , and that she’ll fill the role in her own unique and nurturing way….

        But I’ve also observed that many systems thrive on having someone to view as an antagonist . … so I’m not sure how the neighborhood will respond to that vacuum . ..l

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