However, as much as he didn’t really know how to interact as an authority figure in the lives of his children, Aaron did know that there were some lines that really shouldn’t be crossed, and it was clear Jessie was in the middle of crossing one of them.
“If it’s the same thing, then why didn’t you marry him?” Aaron was frustrated now. Jessie could be frustrating, but she was actively choosing to make her life harder than it needed to be. If - and it was a large if, painted in the air with a wand’s neon smoke - this ‘arrangement’ she was talking about was all aboveboard and equal, why would she choose to marry a woman? Why would she make the choice that would complicate her life when it would be so easy for her to appear normal?
“Because it just didn’t work out that way,” Jessie shrugged, clearly unconcerned by the potential implications of what she had just done.
“You could have made it work that way.”
There was a long silence, with Jessie looking as unperturbed as she usually did while Aaron worked on getting his temper under control. Jessie was an adult and could make her own decisions, but Aaron didn’t understand why they had to be bad ones. Questionable decisions had always been his daughter’s hallmark, but they were usually questionable in the same way that trying to raise a kelpie in the bath was questionable, not of the make-your-life-difficult-forever variety.
“I just don’t understand why you have to be so irresponsible,” Aaron said, bitterly. If he’d had the choice when he was younger, he’d have chosen to be in a normal relationship over a relationship with another man. Things were more complicated now because he had a family and he loved Garen, but before Garen? Potentially even before Madeleine? It would have been an easy decision.
That seemed to have captured Jessie’s attention, though. “I’m not being irresponsible, Dad,” she said. “That’s just how my relationships work, and honestly it’s not really your business.”
“It is absolutely my business! You decide to marry a woman, and then cheat on her with -”
“It’s not cheating.” Jessie said flatly. “This is nothing like what you did to Garen-Dad.”
Aaron looked hurt. “I fail to see the difference,” he said stiffly.
“Fine.” She was shoving her wand back in the pocket of her jeans. “Let me know when you do.”
And with that, Jessie stormed out of the kitchen. Aaron heard the rattle of the container of Floo Powder, the flare of the fire, and a snapped command before the apartment was quiet again. Too quiet. Aaron stared at the empty place at the kitchen table where his daughter had been sitting, feeling a combination of angry and guilty that he hadn’t felt in a long time. He had never fought with Jessie like that before. Family fights weren’t something that Aaron was good at, unless there were wands involved. He had taken learning to duel seriously, for that reason, and it had served him well. But that wasn’t a problem-solving mechanism he wanted to pass down.
He left Garen a terse note to let him know where Aaron was intending to go, then made his way up to Pearl Street. From Pearl Street, he Apparated into the mountains. Typically when Aaron was upset, he would spend some time in his Animagus form - a border collie. It made him feel better, and Madeleine loved playing the sort of games kids liked to play with dogs. When the kids were younger (and even sometimes now that they were older), Aaron had gone up to Pearl Street with them as a dog specifically to play those games. But when things were really bad, Aaron often spent time in the mountains. After the divorce and Sadi’s death, he’d actually spent several months in the mountains, focusing his attention on becoming an Animagus with intermittent spikes of feelings that were too much to handle.
So he spent the rest of the day sitting on a rocky outcrop overlooking the trail where Muggle families were wandering in small groups, ignoring the chilly mountain air until the sun went down.