It was as if time stood still when you found the crumpled up paper in his pocket while doing laundry. There was an unknown phone number listed with red lipstick as the signature. The one night that you don't go to the club with him, he pockets a woman's number. Kabal was known to be a player in his earlier days. It was foolish on your behalf to believe that he would stop that behavior since he now had you. Folding the number neatly and tucking it in the pocket of your sweatpants, you finished folding the laundry. Your day off was supposed to be spent tidying up the apartment and resting. Here you are betrayed, frustrated, and fighting off old insecurities.
Maybe it was your FUPA that drove him to entertain another woman. No. On many occasions, he had informed you that he found that part of you ridiculously sexy. Then again, he said the same thing about your thick thighs, large breasts, and round bottom. It might have had nothing to do with your physical appearance. Kabal could be tired of your putting him second. How many times had you denied his advances because you had papers to grade and lesson plans to finish developing? However, he often told you that your dedication to your profession and your love for the children you taught was one of his favorite things about you. He always seemed to be madly in love with you regardless of your looks and busy schedule.
You knew it wasn't healthy to try and drown your emotions in alcohol, but you needed something to take the edge off of the sting of pain you felt. Plus, you were going to need the liquid courage to even confront him. That's how you found yourself sitting on the sofa with Hennessey for company. Knowing that you needed to be responsible, you only took two shots of the amber liquid. You didn't make a move at the sound of the front door opening and closing. Kabal was loud upon entry. His hookswords clinked together as he tossed them on the dining room table, and the unmistakable sound of him tossing his duffle bag into the laundry room echoed throughout your shared apartment. The sound of his respirator didn't bring its usual comfort. For the first time since his accident, it unnerved you.
"Babe! Babe, are you home," he called out for you.
"In the living room," you yelled back to him.
Kabal was excited to see you. This mission he had been on with Erron over the last two days had stressed him beyond belief. Well, maybe it was what he was planning for after the mission that stressed him. The speedster was looking forward to unwinding with you, and hopefully hearing you say yes to his planned proposal. You watched as he collapsed beside you on the sofa and hugged you against him. When you did not reciprocate the affection, he pulled away. This was new. In your three year relationship, you had never rejected his touch. Kabal took notice of the Hennessey on the coffee table. The damp shot glass beside it was proof that you had been drinking.
"What's wrong," Kabal asked, "Why are you drinking?"
"Am I enough," you asked without even looking at him.
Kabal squinted in confusion as he looked at you through the eye placements of his mask. Where was his confident lover? You are more than enough. You are everything!
"What," he asked.
"Am I enough, Kabal," you said as you faced him looking into the red-eye slits of the mask," or do you need someone better?"
"Hold on. Where is all of this coming from," he questioned.
Standing from the sofa and glaring down at the seated man, you reached into your pocket and retrieved the paper with the phone number. He easily caught the tiny sliver of paper when you threw it at him.
"Fuck," he muttered as he looked at the evidence.
"Yeah. FUCK! Since when did you go around collecting numbers," you asked.
"Baby, it's not like that."
"Sure it isn't, Kabal! You planned to use it. Otherwise, you would have thrown it away!"
"Calm down, let me explain," he tried to reason.
You defensively folded your arms and continued to stare at him as he stood up. Kabal reached for you, but you sidestepped him. It would have been his greatest comfort to know that you were willing to let him touch you, still. He never had you pull away from him, and it broke his heart that you did such a thing.
"Don't touch me, Karlos," you said.
"Babe...this number meant nothing. She meant nothing. It was just a joke," he explained.
"Well, I'm not laughing," you told him.
"Look, I was stupid to go through with it. I shouldn't have been drinking, especially not with Kano. For once, I should have listened to Erron."
"Get to the point, Kabal."
He ran his gloved fingers through his well-maintained hair. The respirator sputtered as he took a deep breath.
"Kano bet me that I couldn't pick up a woman at the bar. He said that post-accident I'm a fucked up sight. That...even you wouldn't want me much longer. Like a fucking kid, I took the bait. There was a woman that had been watching me for most of the night. When she caught me checking her out, she approached me. We danced. She bought a round of drinks for me, Kano, and Erron. Then, she offered to suck me off in the restroom," he said.
Kabal could feel the rage and disappointment falling from you in overwhelming waves. You were livid. This type of behavior was expected from Kano...maybe even Erron, but you thought better of Kabal.
"You didn't," you said with wide eyes.
"NO! HELL NO! I may have been drunk, but I would never do that to you. I told her no. She said it was my loss. Her friends dragged her back to the bar, but not before she slipped her number into my pants. I didn't mean to keep it, I forgot that it was there," he said.
"I don't want to see you right now," you told him.
"Babe, come on. It's not that serious," he reasoned as he followed you towards the bedroom.
He banged against the bedroom door after you slammed it in his face and locked him out. Tears wouldn't fall down your cheeks. You had never been one to shed tears over a man, but you felt so betrayed. Kabal was supposed to be different. Sitting on the floor against the door, you listened to his respirator doing its job as he sat on the floor as well. With the door between the two of you, listening was the only option.
"I was wrong, (Y/n). You have to believe me when I say that I wouldn't do anything to hurt you. You're the one good thing that I've got left. It was a mistake," he said.
"Kabal, it hurts."
"I know, Baby. I'm sorry. Don't ever think that you're not enough. I don't say it enough, but you're everything to me. I can't believe I let Kano get into my fucking head. AND...I don't like it when you turn to alcohol for comfort."
"That's pretty hypocritical considering that your drunken charades got us here," you bit back.
"That's not the point. You're better than me in every sense of the phrase. You can't do toxic shit like this. I want what's best for you. You're perfect. Don't let me or anyone else ever make you question that."
The smooth fucker was too good to be true. Even when you were furious with him, he made it his business to make you feel like you were some ethereal being. You wouldn't give in this easily.
"It will never happen again. I promise," he said.
"I want to be alone for a while, Kabal," you said.
"Are you going to leave me over this," he asked.
"Karlos, just give me a little space."
"There's a door separating us. How much space do you need," he tried to joke.
When you didn't laugh or respond at all, he knew this was even more serious. You listened as he got up and gathered his things.
"I'm gonna be at Erron's place. Good night. I love you, (Y/n)," he said aloud.
You didn't respond. Kabal slammed the door shut on his way out. He wasn't angry with you. This was his fault, to begin with. You didn't spend the night wallowing in pity. No. Instead, you treated yourself to a hot soak in the tub and headed out to get a mani and pedi. Takeout was for dinner. Perhaps self-care was the healing you needed. It was a little disheartening to return home with Kabal not being there. Yet, you knew that you both needed time to reflect on the things that transpired.
Waking up to the sound of your alarm didn't even bother you after a night of rest. You got ready for work and carried on with Kabal at the forefront of your mind. As you approached your classroom, the amount of giggling and laughter coming from the room was way louder than normal. Your group of first graders were amongst the best behaved in the school, but they were still children. There was no telling what was waiting for you as you opened the door. To your surprise, the children were all seated and your teaching assistant was watching the scene play out. Kabal was stood at the front of the class marker in hand "trying" to solve the equation of 6+4. Your students screeched in laughter as he wrote 751 as the answer.
"What is going on here," you asked as you smiled at the adorable group of children.
Your TA shrugged with a smile.
"Alright, just like we practiced. 1, 2, 3," Kabal said.
"Good morning Ms. (Y/N)," your class shouted.
"Good morning, my babies," you smiled to them, "Kabal, can I see you in the hall?"
A string of "ohhhhh" and "he's in trouble" came from your class. The TA easily took control of the situation and started them on their morning work while Kabal followed you into the hall.
"What are you doing here," you asked.
"I...I wanted to see you," he said.
You noticed that his respirator was sounding kind of faulty. With experienced hands, you checked the tubing and looked up at him with suspicion.
"Are you okay? Your breathing is off, " you asked.
"I'm fine. I had to see you. I hated the way we ended things last night. Being at Erron's was very enlightening. He threatened to kick my ass if I didn't fix things with you," Kabal said.
Of course, Erron would do such a thing. He was always your favorite out of him and Kano.
"I have to work, Kabal. You can't just show up like this," you said.
"I know. I know. I know. I have a visitor's pass so it's not illegal," he laughed.
"Look! I know we are not on the best of terms right now, but if I wait any longer I'm going to explode," he said.
"What are you talking about?"
You gasped as he got down on one knee and removed his mask.
"Put your mask back on, you'll start having trouble breathing."
"No. Just listen. You've been with me for four years now. One year as an amazing friend. Three years as the greatest girlfriend a man could ask for. You helped me through the healing process after my accident. You support me despite some of the shit I get myself into. I've never had anyone like you in my life before, and I would be a fool to let you go. You are the most beautiful, intelligent, loving, and caring person that I have ever met. (Y/n), will you do me the honor of becoming my wife," he asked as he pulled the velvet box from his pocket and revealed to you the most beautiful diamond ring you had ever laid your eyes on.
For the first time, you shed tears for a man. They were happy tears. The way your heart felt enlarged with love almost killed you. Kabal held your hand waiting for your answer.
"Babe, please. I'm dying here," he said.
"Kabal, YES! Yes! I'll marry you," you told him.
He smiled as he slid the ring onto your finger and stood up to pull you into a kiss. You placed your hands on his chest as you felt his breathing start to become shallow. Hastily, you placed his mask back over his face and turned the respirator on.
"As much as I adore your handsome face, I also adore you breathing," you said.
He groaned as he placed his forehead against yours.
"I'm a damn lucky man. Babe, I promise that nothing like last night will ever.."
You shushed him. Both of you turned to see that the door to your classroom was open and your star student was standing there.
"Did she say yes," the little girl asked Kabal.
"Yup," he high fived her.
"That's cool and all, but who am I going to marry now," she said.
"You're a little young for me," Kabal joked.
"I'm not talking about you! I'm talking about Ms. (Y/n)," she said.
The other students and yourself fell into a fit of laughter. Kabal stared down at the child in mock anger.
"I tell you what pip-squeak, fight me for her," he said.
To his surprise, the little girl kicked him in the knee and went back to her desk after closing the door.
"Kabal, this isn't just because we fought last night is it," you whispered to him.
"Not a chance, Princess," he said, "I planned on asking last night but..ya know."
"I'm sorry about how I acted," you told him.
"No! I deserved it. I...I just want you to know that everything I told you was true. You're everything."
Kabal had managed to get a substitute teacher to fill in for you after the proposal. Erron was waiting in the office when you went to show off your ring.
"What are you doing here, Erron," you asked.
"Mr. Black will be filling in for you today," the administrative secretary informed you, "He comes highly recommend."
Erron winked at you before letting the secretary loop her arm with his and lead him to your classroom. Kabal grabbed you by the waist as you tried to follow them.
"I can't let him watch my kids," you told Kabal.
"Let him watch them. The guy is great with kids. Besides, I thought we could practice making a few of our own," he informed you.
Well, maybe Erron would be okay watching the children for one little day.