"Hey buddy," she cooed into the reciever, smiling as she kept herself from crying.
"Hi, mom." On the other end, Connor Greene said his words short and quietly, meaning Oliver was somewhere in earshot. "I just wanted to call and say hi," he said, his voice sad, causing Isla's heart to wrench.
The tears prickled her eyes and she moved the phone to take a deep breath in order to keep herself together. "Well hi," she replied, her tone light as she put up a front for her 17 year old son, not wanting him to hear how broken she was following his departure with Oliver. "How are you? How's Seattle?" Her brows furrowed and she sat down at the table while she listened.
"It's okay. It's quiet here. I don't know anybody or have any friends...I miss you and Cyn."
Her eyes shut and there was a sharp intake of air as she controlled herself. Her hand was over her mouth, forcing her lip to stop quivering. "We miss you too, Con." A few tears escaped the corners of her eyes and she rested her forehead against the palm of her hand, eyes still clenched shut. She wanted to ask if he knew when they were coming back. If they were coming back, but the idea of the answer being a solid 'no' stopped her from doing so.
She smiled and pushed on. "I uhm... I saw that girl you liked. She asked how you were doing," she rattled, trying to make small talk despite the palpable tension in the air. "I told her I'd tell you she said hi when I got a chance to talk to you."
On the other end of the line, she heard Connor stifle a quiet laugh. "Tell her I said hey if you see her again."
"Will do, kid."
The line went quiet for a minute and Isla could hear Connor heave a big sigh. "Dad really misses you, you know. I can see it more and more every day." There was silence, followed by another sighe and Isla could tell that Connor was trying to compose himself. "He's such a stubborn ass sometimes. He knows this is wrong, but he won't admit it. Every time I try to bring it up, he just shuts me down."
Isla laughed quietly, realizing that she had to play good cop if Ollie was playing bad cop. "He's a stubborn ass, alright," she cooed, smiling as she thought of what a pill Oliver could be when he was in a mood. "We'll figure it out. If we don't, it doesn't change our relationship, okay? You're my boy. You'll always be my boy, whether or not your dad and I stay together." Isla took a deep breath, the lump in her throat forming as she realized it was her who was staying composed and controlled and not her husband.
"Why can't you guys make it work? What happened?"
Deadpanning, Isla paused and shuttered at his question. He was 17, he didn't need to know the trials of heartache at that age. "I don't know," she said, her voice shaky as it threatened to give way. "We tried," she added.
"No, you didn't. You were both so happy and then the next day, you were gone and dad was talking about moving back to Seattle because he didn't think you loved him anymore."
"Connor...that's not what happened. I love your father very much. I miss him very much. There hasn't been a day that's gone past that I haven't wished things were different. We just...wanted two different things. We couldn't compromise, so we took a break."
"You mean you're getting a divorce."
"What? No. We're not getting a divorce. Neither of us want to get a divorce. Son...your dad and I are just reevaluating what it is we want. Things got a little rocky, but we're going to work on them. But you're in Seattle because he has to work there now. I can't be there. I can't leave my business behind right now, I've got so much going on here."
"If you guys are fine, why don't you talk? Why won't he call you? Why does he act like this is permanent?"
Heaving a sigh, Isla shook her head, as if he could see her. The truth was that she didn't know the answer to any of these questions. She hadn't been lying when she said neither of them wanted to get a divorce, but she hadn't been honest when she said weren't getting one, either. It was the painful truth that they weren't going to be able to make it work, one she wasn't ready to admit yet. "I don't know," she lied her heart heavy as she did so. "He just needs some space."
Something she had known all along, but hadn't taken into consideration was that sometimes, love wasn't enough. They may have been crazy about each other, and he was undoubtedly the biggest, most profound love of her life, but the rift between them had grown to the size of an ocean that neither could cross at that point. "Connor," she spoke, her voice quiet. "Tell your dad I miss him." Her heart was in her stomach and she could feel his breaking from 3,300 miles away. For two people who'd always vowed to keep their children happy and do whatever they could to keep the family together, she knew how it looked from his point of view.
Without a beat, Connor suppressed a growl that Isla could almost hear on the other end. "You two are so stupid! If you love each other so damn much, why aren't you together? If you miss him, why don't you call?"
"Connor..." Isla pleaded, the tears that prickled her lids before falling slowly as she broke. "It's com---"
"No, don't try to tell me it's complicated, because it's not. Why can't you live here with us? Your business started here, you can move it! You can move here and be with us, where you belong, with your goddamned f--"
"Connor, enough." The voice on the other end was booming and Isla's heart leapt into her throat when she heard it. She could hear mumblings, only making out half of the words, her tears silently falling as she listened.
"Hi, Pretty Bird," he said when he had retrieved the phone from his son. In the background, Isla could hear Connor saying something about them both being stubborn assholes. There was a silence before Ollie spoke again. "Isla?"
"I have to go," and she hung up.