She thought I was joking the first time I told her.
“Really, Nathaniel?” Abby asked me with a roll of her eyes. She was in the middle of trying to get the stuck zipper on Henry’s coat to work so he could go play in the snow with his older sister. “That’s not even vaguely funny.”
She gave the zipper a hard tug, and it came unstuck.
“You did it, Mama!” Henry gave a little jump and zipped up his coat the rest of the way. “Can I go now?”
“Yes.” She laughed as he took off running to where Elizabeth stood, already working on a snowman. “I give him ten minutes before he has to pee and we get to do that all over again.”
I agreed with her, as the scenario had repeated itself almost daily.
With a resolved sigh, she turned to walk into the kitchen. “I’m going to get another cup of coffee. Do you want some?”
“I wasn’t kidding,” I placed a hand on her shoulder to keep her from leaving.
“Christmas is in three weeks,” she said, spinning around to look me in the eye. “We can’t take off and fly to Switzerland next week.”
“Why not?” she repeated back to me as if I needed to verify what I’d asked. “Because it’s three weeks until Christmas.”
“And we’ll be back the week before, leaving us plenty of time to get anything last minute done. The kids are out of school, and Linda is overjoyed to have them stay with her.” I laid out my points as logically as possible, but there was no doubt in my mind, we would go to Switzerland before Christmas.
“Are you trying to stress me out?”
“Come here,” I said, taking her hand and leading us both to the kitchen table. I pulled out a chair and indicated for her to sit before I took a place beside her. “In the entire time we’ve been together, have I ever done anything to purposely cause you stress?”
“Then why do you think I’d start now?” I asked. She didn’t have an answer to that question, so I continued. “How long has it been since you and I have gone away together without the kids for more than a night?”
I knew how long it’d been. Too damn long. Or to be more exact, two years, ten months, and twenty-eight days. That trip had been to England for Cole and Sasha’s collaring ceremony.
“A really long time, ”she admitted. “But why now?”
I stopped myself before asking her why not. Doubtless, she’d have a list of reasons for a mile and a half long. “Because,” I said, softly. “I want some alone time with my wife.”
She raised an eyebrow, guessing there was more to my answer.
“And my submissive,” I added.
With the kids as old as they were now, Elizabeth nine and Henry almost six, alone time for Abby and myself was at a premium. We hadn’t hired another nanny after Lynne completed her teaching degree and moved in with Simon. Around that same time, the media company Abby wrote for had been bought out, and the new management didn’t believe her posts and articles on sex and intimacy “embraced the message of their mission statement.”
She resigned shortly thereafter, uninterested in writing the watered down pieces they wanted. I have to admit, I was happy for something to have occurred so she’d slow down. Between the kids, her writing, the group of submissives she mentored, and wanting to help me with Partners, the BDSM club we co-owned and operated, I feared she was spreading herself too thin. In the weeks that followed her resignation, however, she didn’t seem to work any less.
We had learned early in our parenthood journey the importance of ensuring our relationship with each other wasn’t forgotten, and we both worked hard to that end. There were times we came together as Dom and sub, and times we were simply Nathaniel and Abby. But not for anything longer than a night for almost three years.
I knew it’d be difficult to be away so close to Christmas, but I also knew we had a strong support system of friends and relatives who would be more than happy to help make it happen.
We had moved back to our New York estate in late November so we could spend the holidays with family. When I mentioned in passing to my Aunt Linda I was thinking about taking Abby away for a week to our chalet in the Swiss Alps, she jumped at the chance to keep the kids before I could even ask. Elizabeth and Henry adored Linda and never passed up an opportunity to get together with their many cousins in the area.
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