Wrecked: Every Other Weekend

By Elessar

Rating: PG-13

Genres: angst drama

Keywords: marriage

This story has been read by 437 people.
This story has been read 588 times.


Genre: NOVEMBER CHALLENGE
Special Title: Every Other Weekend

Author: John O.
Rating: PG-13 (adult situations)

DISCLAIMER: Enterprise, Trip, and T'Pol belong to CBS/Paramount, not us. If only.
Summary: Even though this is my contribution to the November Word Prompt Challenge, it has a special title because it is also a story that has been in the back of my mind for some time now. It is somewhat inspired by my own experiences when I was little and somewhat inspired by the song Every Other Weekend by Reba McEntire and Kenny Chesney

It is extremely sad, it has its extremely depressing moments, and I’m sorry for that, but it’s something that can happen… just keep in mind these are not quite the people we know. Bad things have happened between them.

I share it not because I want to leave you feeling deflated and defeated with Trip and T’Pol’s romance after reading it, but because it shows us that no matter how many doors you close between those bound of truly extraordinary love, there are always more through which reunion can be forged.

There is no pain too great for love to numb, no wait too long for it to come.

Presented without beta… my apologies, JT.


Still the harbinger of chaos, bedlam and unpredictable mayhem: But at least she was out of diapers. His head ached as he sped out of the bedroom, still zipping his uniform. He needed a shave and a cold shower.

“Sweetheart,” Trip scolded, rushing into the kitchen. Grasping T’Mir’s wobbly legs as she steadied herself quite effectively against the cupboard, Trip leant down and kissed his daughter’s head. “Sweetie, how many times has daddy said you can’t get your own sippy cup?”

He pulled the cup from the shelf and placed it between her chubby little exploring hands.

T’Mir’s glance froze on her father’s as her three year-old eyebrow arched high. Trip’s heart ached as the gesture reminded him of a once-beloved feature of her mother’s. Touching those memories meant reaching through a gaping hole. His head ached. Using the last of the cinnamon on his daughter’s breakfast, he discarded the shaker into the trash bin. It clanged against empty glass.

“Father, I am quite capable of safely getting my own cup,” she declared with a frown. She insisted on calling him “father”, even though Charlie called him “Dad”. Trip laughed despite his best efforts. He couldn’t muster a rebuttal. Too damn much like her mother, Trip thought. “C’mon, munchkin,” he said, lifting her from the counter and setting her on the floor. The moment her feet touched down she was off like a bolt of lightning before Trip could move. The toast beeped… Shit. She’ll be here any minute, Trip thought, glaring at the clock.

“Charlie! It’s time for school!”

The pounding of ten year-old feet down the stairs preceded the emergence of a shock of blonde hair crowning a pair of paternally familiar blue eyes.

“I know, Dad,” he called over the banister. “I’m on with Sarah. Is it ok if I talk one more minute?”

“I guess it doesn’t really matter if I remind you that you’re gonna’ see her in about five minutes?” Trip asked rhetorically. His son didn’t answer. Trip turned his back to Charles IV and pulled the toast from a still-burning microfusion oven, burning his fingers as he dropped them onto a plate. “Your mother’s on her way, son. I’ll give you a minute but…”

“She won’t,” Charles finished, frowning as he tucked his hair behind a pointed ear. Trip nodded without speaking as his son disappeared upstairs.

T’Mir kicked her legs playfully through the holes in her high chair as Trip looked back and saw her scooping the sippy cup high in the air to find some of its liquid. T’Pol kept telling him she was old enough to get out of it but… he was too afraid of her falling. Trip hurriedly took two steps toward his daughter and dropped a plate of cinnamon toast in front of her: her favorite.

“Thank you, father.” Her swirling brown eyes widened as she lifted her toast high in the air to inspect it. She liked the white swirls of sugar stuck in the warm, sticky patterns of cinnamon like he made it.

“You’re welcome, sweetie,” he called as he raced from the kitchen to his own bedroom to finish shaving.

T’Mir sandwiched two big powdery slabs of toast together, crushing them together with her stubby little fingers until the end of the tubular breakfast treat managed to fit in her mouth. She chomped off a hunk and tried vigorously to gnaw the bread into bits small enough to manage. It would have been a sight for her father to have seen had it not in fact been T'Pol, watching her daughter eat with great dismay. Alone. T’Pol stepped into the house and closed the door after her. Without all their pictures, she had almost come to convince herself it wasn’t the same home.

“Charles?” T’Pol called into the home. Their front door led directly toward the stairway. At least, it used to be “their” front door.

“Yes, Mother?” Charles IV answered, appearing at the top of the stairs, backpack slung around his arm.

T’Pol’s eyes narrowed and she glanced at T’Mir who was still gleefully munching. “Where’s your father?” she asked.

“I don’t know,” Charlie shrugged, coming down the stairs to meet his mother. T’Pol blinked, staring down at Trip through his son’s eyes. Losing focus, T’Pol didn’t notice the moments pass as her hand came to rest atop the boy’s head and gave his lengthy blonde hair an affectionate caress.

“T’Pol,” Trip called, appearing from the first floor bedroom, electric razor still whizzing away against his jaw. T’Pol’s eighty year old brow angled downward into a V as she stepped forward.

T’Pol knelt to her son’s height. “Charles, will you help your sister clean up and get her things into the vehicle?” she asked.

“Yes, Mother,” he responded dutifully, as he had grown used to differing customs between mother and father.

Charles moved past his father who took a very small piece of the distance between he and T’Pol while his son saw to T’Mir. The two simply made minor movements and adjustments towards one another, waiting until the children were out of the room. When they were, T’Pol’s glare became icy.

“I have told you not to leave T’Mir alone when she is eating,” T’Pol reprimanded him.

“T’Pol I was gone for five seconds. And you’re the one who—” he already found his voice rising at her. Stepping back, he took a breath. “Why does this always happen?” His voice was tired and not directed at her. T’Pol didn’t answer. “You already said she’s too old to come out of the high chair, but she’s not old enough to be unsupervised for five seconds?” Trip demanded.

T’Pol blinked in exasperation and looked up at him earnestly. “You know why I am upset. She could choke.”

Dammit. She had him and he knew it. Even after two years, she could still flip a switch and get what she wanted. Trip glanced at the back bedroom and saw that T’Mir and Charlie hadn’t exited.

“Dammit, why do you have to do that?” Trip seethed, stepping just inches away from her. T’Pol flinched, her brow twitching as she searched for a place to land her eyes other than Trip’s.

“Do what?”

“Why do you have to…” Trip groaned to himself and took a breath, stepping back to the counter.

“…Be my wife.” As the words left his lips they tasted sour, drowned by bitterness. It hadn’t been what he meant to say. Feelings inside him reverberated against the sides, trying to find an exit, a path somewhere – and finding the bond’s treads to T’Pol overgrown and impassible. They ricocheted about inside him, leaving only tender meat behind. He meant that she could still reach him, somehow, through the darkness of a broken bond, through inexplicable, unimaginable means – SOMEHOW – she could reach him. He just didn’t seem to reach her.

There was something else he desperately wanted to say but didn’t know what it was. That was how the last two years had felt… like something on the tip of the tongue he could almost say. Something that would fix everything, something that would remind them of everything good and forget everything bad. It just never seemed to come out.

“That’s why I’m not your wife anymore,” she shuddered as the words barely eked out of her, carrying sorrow and regret with them. Trip’s ears rang with not your wife too clamorously to hear the guarded plea.

“Yeah,” he muttered. Both Trip and T’Pol stood up straighter as their two children emerged from T’Mir’s bedroom; T’Mir was wrapped in a little pink coat sporting Winnie the Pooh, her brother in denims and a black sweater. Charlie carried T’Mir dutifully.

“It’s kinda’ cold out, you sure you don’t want a coat?” Trip asked his son.

“No, I’ll be alright, Dad.” Walking his little sister towards the front door, past his father, Charlie earned a disapproving glance from his mother.

“I have your coat,” T’Pol placed a hand on her son’s head as he passed by and groaned. Trip chuckled as T’Pol one-upped him. T’Pol looked up just to see him smile, pausing for a moment.

“Mother.” T’Mir requested her mother’s attention as her brother carried her by.

“Yes, tal-kam? ” T’Pol leant down and lifted her into her arms.

“Father does not know how to cut the crusts,” she announced. Trip swallowed a knot in his throat as he realized he’d forgotten to cut the crusts off her toast this morning. It was a minor mistake, sure, but to his daughter it was paramount. Surprisingly upset by T’Mir’s innocent plea, he bit his lip.

“I’m sorry, sweetie. Daddy’ll make you extra tomorrow, alright?” he said, stepping towards them and caressing her cheek. His eyes ran upwards until they met T’Pol’s, not so many inches away.

“I still have her tomorrow,” T’Pol reminded him quietly. Trip grunted quietly to himself over his mistake and pursed his lips, nodding.

“Daddy’ll make you somethin’ extra special next weekend, alright?” His eyes flickered between T’Pol’s and T’Mir’s, seeing a different brand of the same love in each. His daughter’s nose crinkled up and her brows shifted upwards as she frowned.

“But daddy I wanted to play with you today,” T’Mir complained, her voice betraying true disappointment. Trip chuckled as he felt his eyes watering, pushing away a tear with laughter.

“Me too, thyla, me too.” The appellation crossed Trip’s lips effortlessly as he kissed T’Mir’s forehead and tried not to look up at her mom.

“Take your sister to the shuttle, Charles. I will teach your father how to properly cut your coast, thyla,” T’Pol assured her. T’Mir’s wandering fingers wrapped around T’Pol’s thumb and squeezed. The two shared a parent and child’s bonded embrace for an instant before T’Pol set her down and Charles took the toddler’s hand and escorted her out.

For a moment, Trip almost thought they would make it this time without incident, when Charles turned sideways to get his backpack through the door and released T’Mir’s hand briefly. The toddler turned and bolted back into the house, screaming her daddy’s name in Vulcan.

“Daddy! Thyla! Daddy!” he heard her through the bond again.

Trip dropped to a knee instinctively as she thundered across the carpet on inexperienced legs and came to him. T’Pol felt the compulsion to drop to her knees and squeeze T’Mir, share with her the most warming thoughts of how much they loved her… but instead watched the little girl cry and hold her father.

"I don't want to go, daddy! Noooo! I want you and mommy!" she cried, devolving into the phrases and instincts of her emotional human core.

“Shhh, I know sweetheart,” Trip fought bitterly hard to hold back his own tears. He stroked her back as T’Mir wailed into his shoulder, wetting his uniform with her tears. He failed to suppress a sniffle and wiped his cheek.

Charlie wiped his face and stormed through the door, slamming it behind him. T’Pol started out after him.

“No, let him go. It’s the only way he knows how to handle it,” Trip said, looking up at T’Pol from one knee as he held T’Mir. Pausing, T’Pol glared after the young Tucker, fighting her own inward battle. Holding her back from him, Trip stroked T'Mir's tiny shoulders and watched her cheeks shake with tears. “I love you… so much,” he said, forcing a smile.

“I love you too, daddy,” T’Mir sobbed, taking her father’s cheeks in the palms of her hands and planting a kiss on his lips. T'Pol watched as Trip leant forward and pulled T'Mir into his chest, closing his eyes as her tiny body slid aside his head into his shoulder. Charles Anthony Tucker the Third never wanted so badly to transform the imperturbable realities around him as much as in that moment. Not when Elizabeth died, not even when his father passed. Never had it been so hard to pull away from the pain and the misery, to tell someone it's 'ok' when he knew it wasn't. To lie. A grown man of forty-seven, he wanted to bawl like a baby with his little girl's tears streaming down. How did we get here? he thought to himself, looking up at T'Pol. She tilted her jaw, looking away from him as her eyes glistened. The curve of his cheek released a tear and T’Mir sobbed again. T’Pol gave in to temptation knelt next to them, embracing her daughter beside Trip, touching her face.

“Thyla,” she said quietly, melding with her. Her sobs slowed, then she looked up at Trip and buried herself in his chest again, pulling her mother with her into Tucker. They fell back into the nearby base of the island countertop as it rounded the edge of the kitchen. T’Pol’s forehead fell into the crook between Trip’s neck and shoulder. T’Mir cried and cried, eventually sobbing herself to sleep against her daddy’s chest. When she was quiet, T’Pol looked up and found Trip asleep against the counter. She wiped her own eyes of a few defiant drops and pressed her palm flat against Trip’s chest.

“You’re going to be late for work,” she whispered, her head not moving from its crook. He sniffled and shifted to hand off T’Mir, but didn’t speak. T’Pol successfully stood with T’Mir in her arms without waking her, as did Trip.

“I will be right back,” she whispered over T’Mir’s shoulder. Trip nodded, turning away into the kitchen to collect his thoughts.

T’Pol reappeared in the doorway a few minutes later. The latch of the door echoed like the gong of a prizefight or a wedding, both of which Trip could recall facing in the course of he and T’Pol’s courtship. They kept a safe distance from one another, the air palpably thick with something so difficult to challenge, a question so difficult to answer that neither could face it. So many questions, so many mistakes...

Finally, they silently made a common path towards the countertop in front of the toaster.

“Will you… show me how to cut her toast the way she likes it?” Trip asked, his mouth dry.

T’Pol’s gaze hit the floor as she spoke. “You know how to cut her toast.”

“I know,” he said, his voice gravelly and hoarse. Pursing his lips, he turned toward her, pulling her to face him like a magnet. “I know.”

“We cannot do this. It will confuse the children,” T’Pol spat quickly to cool the quickly sizzling air between them. Trip ground his jaw, clearing his throat.

“Confused… is better than cryin’,” he said quietly. His hands cradled her jaw, drawing her closer as her fingers likewise found the small of his back and soon the top of his shoulders. As he grew nearer, T’Pol stopped, and edged backwards, a fire in her eyes.

“Have you been drinking again?” she asked icily. Trip blinked and swore solemnly he wasn’t going to lie to this woman.

“Never around the kids,” he replied truthfully. T’Pol took a swift side step and opened the trash bin. An empty cinnamon shaker and three fifths of bourbon.

“I have,” he said, sighing. “Just had some problems with work, with…” he motioned between them.

Nevertheless, T’Pol turned on a heel and walked out the door.

Trip stood against the counter, stretching his arms out and leaning forward as he tried to clear his head. Instead, a steady trickle pattered against the floor: liquid tender levied against an unending debt.

THE END

….PS: I imagine if I don’t promise a sequel, I will be voted off the island. :)

…PSS: If you’re mad at Trip, I understand. If you’re mad at me because you don’t think he’d do such a thing, well I’m sorry. Nobody’s perfect.


Comments:

Lady Rainbow
Yikes! :s A different take on TnT's relationship. I wonder just how bad it's gotten that they've ended up like this. And Trip an alcoholic? Ouch. Painful. But this story has opened up some interesting dramatic possibilities.
Dinah
I understand what you wanted to explore with this story, but I never thought Trip had an addictive personality. You saw him take a drink with Archer a couple of times on the show, but the went through the grief and stress without resorting to drink. How much worse could life get for him? T'Pol was the one with the addiction issues. We've also seen that Trip has a great deal of self-control when needed. His world revolves around his wife and kids. I can't believe that he wouldn't find the help he needed to quit drinking if he thought he'd lose his children. I can't say I love this story, but it is undeniably thought provoking. T'Pol pushed Trip away so many times. It pains me to think that she'd walk away from him now when he really needed her. But maybe that would be the only thing that would get through to him.
Dee
please, no sequel. i don't want one, not to this story...
krn
you've gone off and made me cry. Can't say you didn't warn me. But let's just say if a sequel isn't forthcoming, I will find where you live and, well... Misery anyone? :p
Asso
Eh eh!!! Your explanations are always so complete, Elessar! But no need to have them. You have done a great job, simply - you have to excuse me - I have the bad habit of thinking with the heart and subsequently (Very subsequently, maybe) with the brain. And yes,[b] Bluetiger[/b], it's a fact that things are not always rosy, unfortunately. But we have to manage things so that they become OK. I'm still thinking that an alcoholic Trip doesn't make much sense, but anyway... Come on,Trip: pick yourself up. And you, T'Pol, do not be too tough. A SEQUEL, A HAPPY SEQUEL, YES!:p
bluetiger
How sad it would be if we didn't get to see all the permutations of the Trip and T'Pol relationship. We realize things are not always rosy. Sometimes life just sucks. Good writing is good writing even if it breaks the heart. Waiting for your sequel.
Alelou
Well, John, clearly the only thing you can do is post the sequel as soon as possible! :)
blacknblue
very successful and believable.
JohnO
I think what I was going for was the drinking was this... Consider it something to sort of explain where their problems could have either originated or maybe become exacerbated. Maybe things got bad and they agreed to give it another chance if he quit drinking and he didn't, or he did but other things got in the way and in any case, the revelation that he's drinking is a very unpleasant throwback to previous problems they've had. I think the way I look at it isn't that T'Pol's disgusted with his addiction in the sense that her own history would be relevant - it's that it is something that once caused such destruction to their relationship that she can't believe he would again, it makes her angry and upset. I'm not sure I'm 100% happy with the way the drinking is flushed out in this story in terms of when, why, etc. Originally, the big "Trip as an alcoholic" dark side came from a prospective story called "One Night in Bombay" in which he had thrown away his relationship with T'Pol and children weren't involved. I sort of tried to mesh them without making Trip look like a total douchebag in a "drinking with the kids" kind of way. Trip's just the kind of guy you'd expect to be a disciplined drunk in the sense that while he was having a problem, he'd do everything a functional drunk could to drink when they weren't around or were asleep and then would just wake up hung over, that kind of thing. But at the core of this story, the biggest thing I was going for in this story was showing how... sometimes even what we all agree is *true love*, Trip and T'Pol's love, can falter if the two people make stupid choices or don't say the right thing when it matters. That something can be meant to be but NOT be.
Aquarius
Very good points about custody issues and alcoholism. Still, T'Pol's had her own experience with addiction. It'll be interesting to see how (or if) that comes into play. Maybe she wants to help but couldn't allow herself to be an enabler? Maybe a condition of her staying was that he quit, and he didn't so she split? I guess I'm not as mad at her as when I first read the story. A girl's gotta do what she's gotta do. Still, I'd like to see what happened, how they ended up there. And I'd like to see how things turn out from here. It seems the children aren't the only ones who are confused. It'd be nice to see them suck it up and fight for what they had. Again, great, thought-provoking work.
Alelou
JT, that's what I mean by the horrible equations. If you know a judge is going to let your kids go there, or if you know you still want your kids to have their dad in their life even though he gets drunk, you might stick around just because the alternative is forces you to leave them alone with him. Very interested to see where it goes.
Escriba
Sorry, that last was me :p
I'm not going to lie and say it isn't painful, because it is, but it's so beautifully written and so [i]real[/i], that I don't mind at all. [i]feelings inside him reverberated against the sides, trying to find an exit, a path somewhere – and finding the bond’s treads to T’Pol overgrown and impassible. They ricocheted about inside him, leaving only tender meat behind. He meant that she could still reach him, somehow, through the darkness of a broken bond, through inexplicable, unimaginable means – SOMEHOW – she could reach him. He just didn’t seem to reach her. [/i] This paragraph... WOW! just WOW, soooo deep and well written, and the next too. I really have no words for them. If my vote counts for something, I want a sequel ;)
Asso
Trip... drinking?:s And ruining everything in this way? And his strength? How? Why? Well done, indubitably. Very well done. But, honestly, I can only say that: very well done (as you, Elessar, always do.) Sorry.:)
justTrip'n
How does T'Pol "let" them go there? The judge lets them go there. Mothers don't necessarily get the final say. Or Fathers. Each parent gets a chance unless they are truly unfit. A little drinking doesn't disqualify you. Sadly, for some children, drug addiction doesn't even disqualify a parent.
Alelou
This is heartfelt and I'm curious to see where it goes. I want to know how Trip came to be in this situation. I don't understand how, if the drinking is the issue, T'Pol lets her kids go there at all unless she has some way to make sure they're safe. :@ Gah. Alcoholism creates these truly depressing personal equations. :@
Vaux
Ouch! Big OUCH! :( I'm hoping and waiting for the sequel. Is it here yet? Now? Please?
justTrip'n
I like the drama over Trip not cutting the edges off the toast. It's true that little tiny things can take on huge significance in the context of an ongoing family problem. I remember the trama when my friend's daughter's father took the daughter out to get her ears pierced ... with out clearing it with my friend. YIKES! I would hate to miss out on those types of precious moments by having to share custody. It's scary to even think about.
Aquarius
Well, I for one couldn't ever be mad at you for a piece of writing this good. What I like about this site is that people take chances and don't feel compelled to always write Trip and T'Pol in some kind of cookie-cutter Happily Ever After. Yeah, we WANT things to turn out okay, and who knows, maybe they will, especially if there's a sequel in the works. ;) The thing I see here is that hope isn't completely lost. I see two people that had something really good once, and they want to have it again, but they just don't know [i]how[/i]. So they repeat a pattern of pushing each other away. And you know, I'm not even mad at Trip here. I get it. Sometimes numb is better. Surprisingly, I was a little at T'Pol. I understand her not wanting Trip all liquored up around the kids, but after her own addiction, she shouldn't talk! Great stuff. I hope the is a sequel.
justTrip'n
"There was something else he desperately wanted to say but didn’t know what it was. That was how the last two years had felt… like something on the tip of the tongue he could almost say. Something that would fix everything, something that would remind them of everything good and forget everything bad. It just never seemed to come out." Boo hoo! Good story. I can feel their pain. Seems real.

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