He found Christi in the kitchen pacing and fuming. Andrew slipped into the kitchen and gently touched her arm.
Christi spun around and frowned. Quickly wiping her face, she asked, "What do you want?"
Instinctively, Andrew took a step back. "I was just coming to see if you wanted some help but you obviously don't want my help." He frowned and turned to leave.
"What is that supposed to mean?" Christi's hands went to her hips. Andrew spun around and gritted his teeth. He didn't need this right now.
"Nothing, forget about it," He said as calmly as he could.
"I am NOT going to forget about it! I want to know what you mean by that. I don't appreciate you being rude to me like that. I am so glad you're leaving!"
"Me being rude to you? You are the one that snapped when I came in here and tried to offer my help. But, since I am apparently such a jerk, you don't want me in your kitchen. In fact, you don't even want me in your life. And you know what? That's fine with me because I can't believe I thought this could work.”
Christi gritted her teeth and turned to leave. "Oh," she threw over her shoulder, "you better be out of the house before the movies start."
"Fine, but I don't know how Mandy will take it. She'll want me to be there."
"With my parents here, she won't even notice you're gone. When she heads upstairs to get ready for bed, just slip out the back door."
"But I can't leave without saying goodbye, she'll never forgive me!" Andrew tried to keep his voice down, but he couldn't seem to help the fact that both of their voices grew louder with every sentence.
"What? So you can cheat on your wife without a second thought, but you can't walk out of their lives forever without saying 'goodbye'?" Andrew winced and crossed his arms. "That was uncalled for. That is not how it is and you know it."
"That's exactly how it is. You know what, just go. I want you out of my house, now."
"Fine, but you are making a huge mistake!"
"Maybe I am, but I cannot and I will not live with another lying, cheating, and unfaithful man in my house. So get out!"
Andrew sighed and gritted his teeth. He was getting nowhere with her. This was one argument he just wasn't going to win. "Ok, I'll leave. But I don't know if I'll still be waiting for you when you come running back. I made a mistake, I know and I'm really sorry. I thought this marriage could work, I really did. I never planned to cheat on you, it just happened. I'm going to ask you one more time to forgive me. Then I'm leaving because I can't live with someone who can't forgive. Christi, will you forgive me? I made a huge mistake, and I apologize. I also promise it will never happen again."
For a split second, Christi considered forgiving him and letting him stay. Then she thought of the last time she forgave someone and gave them a second chance. It had turned into a disaster. She gritted her teeth, crossing her arms. She had no idea she was going to survive if he left, but he had to go. Marriage never worked out for her, never would. She uncrossed her arms and looked at Andrew.
"No. You cheated on me, Andrew. I thought you were different, that despite your history, you were different. I took a chance on marrying you, thinking it would work, that you would be honest with me. I thought I could trust you. Apparently I was wrong. So please go. It will be best for everyone. I can go on living and Mandy can grow up without having to witness the fights. You can move on and find someone that will make you happy, satisfy you." Christi willed herself not to cry and turned back to the table.
"Ok, I'm leaving. Now." She heard him take a deep breath and practically stomp out of the kitchen and into their bedroom. Pausing, she thought she heard a sniffle and shuffling of feet. Putting the stack of plates on the table, she turned toward the doorway into the hall. Standing there was her parents with Mandy wrapped in her mother's arms. How had she not noticed them standing there? From where she had been standing, they were directly in her line of vision. Before she had a chance to say anything, her mom spoke.
"I think we need to talk, Christi." All she could do was nod. Her mother handed Mandy off to her father and headed toward the living room. Christi swallowed hard and followed her.
Her mother got right to the point. "Why didn't you tell me?"
"Because I knew you wouldn't approve."
"If you know this is wrong, why are you doing it?"
"Mom, he cheated on me! What I am I supposed to do?"
"You could forgive him." Her mother raised an eyebrow and crossed her arms.
"FORGIVE him?? Like that's going to solve everything." Her words were laced in sarcasm.
"It would solve a lot of your problems."
"MY problems? Are you saying this is all my fault?!"
"No, that's not what I'm saying. I said YOUR problems, not his problems. You never forgave Josh, did you?"
"Josh has nothing to do with this, Mother!!" Christi gritted her teeth and barely managed to keep her voice down.
"You're right, he doesn't. Why do you keep bringing him into this, then?"
"I'm not bringing him into this!"
"You're letting what he did to you control the decisions you're making now."
"Mom, if you're trying to talk me out of this, then you might as well just stop because I'm not going to change my mind."
"I'm just trying to make you see what a big mistake you are making. Andrew is your husband, you made a vow- for better or for worse- you need to keep that vow."
"Why should I keep my vows when he didn't even bother to keep his? Tell me one good reason why I should give him another chance, not that it will do any good."
"Because it’s the right thing to do."
"Why do I have to be the one doing the 'right thing'? Isn't the husband supposed to be the leader? He definitely didn't do the 'right thing'."
"You're right, he didn't. But that doesn't mean you shouldn't. Just make sure you are doing what is best for Mandy, not just running."
"I know I'm doing what's best for Mandy."
"Are you sure?"
"Ok, then." Erin stepped forward and wrapped her daughter in her arms. "I love and no matter what decision you make, I will always love you. I may not agree with what you're doing, but I will respect whatever decision you make."
"I love you too, mom." Christi pulled away and tucked her hair behind her ear. "I better get back out there and explain to Mandy."
"You know, she's not going to take it very well."
"I know. I just hope she'll forgive me someday."