For a second time Danny had dropped the ball and mentioned something about Tracey going to pubs while she was absent. It was a slip of the tongue that he mentally reprimanded himself for the first time, especially when Tracey picked it up almost immediately, but doing it a second time he could not believe.
When he’d mentioned the pub for the second time and Tracey picked it up his first response was to take a drink of his coffee and fill his mouth so he couldn’t talk. The coffee was too hot for him to drink, and he had to blow the contents a bit to cool it down, which bought him another few seconds of silence to think of an answer.
Tracey hadn’t repeated the question in the few seconds which Danny took to mean she wasn’t as hung up on getting an answer as she was the first time, that did seem weird to Danny but he decided to run with that thought rather than reveal the real reasons he’d mentioned the pub. It was a pity he was wrong because no sooner had he swallowed his mouthful of coffee was Tracey asking the question again.
“Well Danny? Why do you keep mentioning pubs?” Tracey asked.
Danny swallowed a second mouthful of coffee. “I’ve mentioned them twice in passing.” he said trying not to use too many words.
“But why specifically pubs? You haven’t mention that I went to the shops, or the park.”
“Maybe it’s because alcohol and depression don’t mix.” Danny muttered.
“Well considering you don’t believe in depression and other mental illnesses then it doesn’t matter.”
Tracey knew her comment wasn’t entirely fair, Danny’s opinions about mental illness had been left behind in the previous discussion and didn’t need to be brought up again. “Sorry, I didn’t mean that to come out that way.”
Danny was quick to tell her that the apology was not needed, hoping to divert the conversation but it didn’t work.
“The thing is I’ve never tried to mask my illness with alcohol, sure some experts will say alcohol and mental illness don’t go together but I was never drinking to get drunk. I only ever had a few drinks, both before and after I left and I never drank because I felt I needed too.”
“Well I guess that’s a good thing.” Danny said without much thought.
“Have you got something to tell me Danny?” Tracey said.
There was something in his face, not just the frustration and annoyance of the situation that had been there since before he went for his shower, it was something else. She may not have always been able to read his face and his mannerisms exactly but she could tell when there was something up, something unsettling him. Maybe the blunt approach of suggesting he had something to tell her wasn’t the best way to bring it up but the conversation needed some direction before it stagnated.
“What? No? Why?” Danny replied and although he changed his tone he wasn’t convincing Tracey his mind was not stuck on something.
“Danny I can see something is on your mind, the same thing happened before you went for a shower.” Tracey purposely didn’t mention the word pub. “There is something you aren’t telling me.” Tracey watched Danny’s face change as he tried to hide whatever signs he thought she was seeing, she decided to change the path of her conversation. “Look Danny, I don’t want to upset you again, I don’t want you walking out. I’ve been with you long enough to see there is an issue and I’d be happy to talk to you about it but if you can’t talk to me then I’ll just wait until you are ready.”
It was at that moment that something snapped in Danny’s mind. All the thoughts about how much he still loved Tracey, how much he was saddened by the fact she didn’t think he would be there to support her through such a difficult situation and how he had put the team and his partying first. But most of all the thought that snapped him awake was that he really did owe his wife the truth if he ever wanted to sort things out with her, and he was fairly sure he wanted that.
While he’d made the call to Rick after getting out of the shower and that call had been full of bravado it was the shower filled with guilt that drove him to make that call. He wanted Rick to feel sorry for him, wanted someone to tell him it was about him and not Tracey. He might never be able to tell Tracey about the phone call and other such conversations he’s had with ‘the boys’ but sitting there thinking about what Tracey had said he realised it was time he at least told her the truth and stopped hiding behind the things she did if he wanted any sort of resolve.
“I hired a private investigator to follow you!” Danny said in a low saddened voice.
It was like a weight had been lifted from his shoulders. For a while he’d thought that hiring a PI was no where near as bad as what Tracey had done. Walking out without telling your partner was the biggest mistake someone could make. Hiring a PI was a response to that effort to make sure the person who’d left was not cheating, was not part of another life, it was the sort of thing any clear thinking person would do. Well that’s what Danny had been able to convince himself of at the time. The longer Tracey remained absent the more he thought the PI was overkill and that’s why he couldn’t tell even his closest friends about it but he also couldn’t bring himself to stop having Tracey followed.
It was Tracey’s turn to be silent, Tracey’s turn to sit there and sip at her coffee and just like the years together had allowed Tracey to read Danny’s facial gestures it had allowed Danny the same abilities. It was as he sat there looking at her drink her coffee he realised what he was seeing in her facial gesture.
“You knew?” He asked.
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