To "seal the deal," as it were, for my new relationship with Kitty, I invited him along to the 30th Anniversary that I had been planning for work for Saturday night. It was fair as planner that I got to bring along a guest, and I wanted him to see me in my element. I got to wear a headset to co-ordinate the servers and cooks and bartenders... not that I'm a micromanager by any means, but it was cool to be able to direct traffic. Looking around at the floral arrangements, the catering, the whole thing ticking like clockwork... I was quite pleased with what I had done for my first effort.
"This is all very impressive," Kitty said, observing the venue. I noticed with a bit of disappointment that he his eyes trailed slightly along with the nubile young female relatives of the happy couple... but then, so did I.
"I know," I said, brushing that away, "Thirty years, who would have thought?"
"I can't remember what Chett and I did for our last big anniversary. Dinner, I guess." There was such a note of sadness, or at least distance, in his voice.
It wasn't an ideal memory to call up - we do sometimes bring up our exes around each other, but not usually when we're in good spirits. I don't talk much about my time before the Inn at all, and even try not to refer to Meg very often (we are on what I think are good terms, for us.)
Other than that, the night was largely a success with great food and plenty of booze. We took a long walk in the cold after getting home.
He seemed very distracted, lost in thought, so I thought I would bring him back down to Earth with a kiss. It seemed to wake him up and we headed home quickly so we could engage in our favourite new hobby. He's getting better. We're getting better at it.
Afterwards, naked and sweaty and cuddling, he asked me if I liked Judith's work.
"Sure," I said. "It's pretty involved, lots of moving parts. Rewarding in its own way, when you get to see the end result."
"A-huh," he said. "I just worry, you know. I make plenty of money for both of us, and... well, Chett was a bit of a workaholic."
"Where are you going with this?"
"I don't know. I like things the way they were. You mostly at home, waiting for me when my day was done. I don't want you to slip away and become a... too much of a career gal."
"Excuse me?" I said, rather offended.
"I just don't want this to become your whole life. I mean, we're out of here in the Spring, right? Why upset the status quo if that was working? I just think if more opportunities like this come up, you should think twice before jumping at the opportunity. We've got a good thing."
I was upset by this - hurt and confused - but I'm doing this new thing where I try not to react right away, and instead of getting angry and violent (not as in hitting, just as in yelling and slamming of doors,) I try to be... calm about it. I think estrogen is a good medicine for that (although not a cure-all by any means!)
"I... listen. I wanted to do this. I was getting bored. I'll be bored again. And there are a lot of upsides. Judith encourages me to help her career path along because it's what she wants to be doing... and it helps us put away a bit more money for our own lives, wherever that takes us. It's win-win."
He considered what I had said but only for a second. "We don't need the money."
I was starting to get flustered. "Well, we're not exactly... you know, I would think you were used to having a bit more."
"What I'm more used to is... a man who works, and a wife who takes care of the home."
Sometimes I think Kitty is even older than her 50-some years. Like she's from my Grandmother's generation. But I guess when you're used to having money, your values stay that way a little longer.
My heart sank a bit. I'm trying to be better, understand, compromise on things. So I admitted that while I may have had a knack for Judith's job, and I didn't really see the harm in increasing my presence there... I would consider her perspective. If it's important enough for her to bring it up, you know. There was still a little bit of Tyler inside of me that really didn't like being told what to do, but the "New Me" is trying to, well, overcome that a bit. I can be a wifey. Sure.
So after that, time passes and things get a bit more routine. I'm learning to swallow my pride and be more co-operative where Kitty is concerned, and play along with this "Housewife" routine, and really, it has its perks. It's hard as a man, a proud man, to admit you don't mind being looked after financially, to take pride in playing Suzie Homemaker, but it's tough work and deserves to be admired.
He's pretty appreciative.
By that I mean he wants to screw, like, all the time. He goes for it just about every night. And it's kind of nice to be in the position where it's up to my whim whether we do or not. It's been a strange few years, with my sex drive being cranked up and down... like I'm sorry to say, even though I do enjoy the rush and the new pleasure of finally exploring this aspect of Judith's body, I just don't... need it that badly (I figure this is just a feature of Judith's body, why I was able to go months without even really thinking about it.) Not that I want him begging for it, just... it's a thing. Sometimes I do it even if I'm not feeling like it, and the results are usually "fine, but need we have bothered?"
Anyway. Before you know it, it's Valentine's Day, and... well, this is his first Valentine's Day as a man. And we realized the Saturday before it that we didn't have any plans. So he asks me what I want to do and I say I don't really care, it's midweek so we're usually pretty tired, and there's Dylan to think about and... well, should we even bother?
And he says of course, we're a couple, we love each other don't we? (I'm still grappling with whether I do or not, but... sure, let's say I do.) We should make a big deal, celebrate "us" and how far we've come. And I say okay, whatever he's up for, I'll do my part: sexy dress, lacey underwear, red lipstick, seduction, the whole nine yards (I'm didn't say as much but that was what I implied) if he works out something for us to do that night. And he turns it around on me and says "Why didn't you plan anything?"
So it's like... excuse me, what's my part here? Am I on the hook for everything because I used to be a man and stereotypically that would have been my job? He was the one who wanted to get into a more traditional husband-wife setup. I don't deserve to be "treated"? What's the rule? What does he want from me? And do I want the same things?
It's not that I don't care about V-tine's Day, I can be as romantic as anyone when I'm really head over heels, but... something about our situation already feels so lived-in and old-shoe comfortable that it didn't occur to me. I'd be happy with a night in, but it seems like that wasn't enough.
Again, instead of making it a big thing, I just kind of sat quietly and pouted about it... and so did he. It was a tense few hours, and then we got over ourselves and made some arrangements, and... it was nice, we left Dyl with Sam and went to a French restaurant (my suggestion as we've handled events there and it has a good reputation - so I guess he got me to plan something after all) He was very lovey-dovey, picked me up some roses and a necklace to wear for the night, and got his seduction, and now things are fine. (I also got him some flowers, which he seemed to enjoy more than I enjoyed mine, and a tie.)
But I've just been racking my brain for a few days since, trying to figure it all out. Nothing's been resolved and I feel like this is going to keep being a problem. It's left a bitter taste in my mouth, but I'm trying to hide it a bit and convince myself it's just an awkward growing phase as we try to figure out exactly how things are supposed to work between us.
If we really do love each other, we can get through it... I'm sure...