Note: This week’s installment is a bit long for the main blog feed… thanks for reading!
fiction friday 9.
[But first: Blue 1 | Blue 2 | Blue 3 | Blue 4 | Blue 5 | Blue 6 | Blue 7 | Blue 8]
Continued from part 8…
Kate opened her eyes to slivers of sunlight beaming through the blinds. She turned her head from the light to see Des sleeping peacefully beside her. My best friend. Oh God. Her mind raced through every moment of what they shared. And her heart pounded madly.
Cautiously, she slipped out of bed and picked up her clothes from the floor. For a moment, she froze, naked, staring at Des, covering her heart with her hand, wondering if the pounding in her chest was loud enough to wake him. Finally, with a deep breath, she shook herself out of her trance, pulled on her clothes, and quietly slipped out of the room.
Even when she reached the kitchen, she still felt the pounding in her chest. Again, she covered it with her hand and took deep, slow breaths attempting to calm herself. It didn’t work.
I slept with my best friend. Slept. No. Well, yes. We slept. Eventually. That part wasn’t new. We’ve fallen asleep together before. But the not-sleeping part… what was that?! Oh God. What did we do? Is this right? She gasped and closed her eyes, flashbacks flying through her mind again. She remembered exactly how it felt… how Des felt. It definitely felt right. God, it felt amazing. She made herself shiver.
With a sigh, she turned on the coffee maker. Her hands unsteady, she filled it with coffee and water. She closed her eyes and tried to focus. She needed to understand what happened, what it meant, how it would affect their friendship. But she could not get the visions of her tryst with Des out of her head. She could still feel it. All of it. And it still made her tremble.
Feeling sunshine on his face, Des opened his eyes and turned to the pillow beside him. He slowly ran his hand over the empty space where Kate had slept. His head flooded with a full replay of what transpired in that very spot last night. He gasped when it all came rushing back to him. Every sweet, delicious, beautiful moment. Katie. How did this happen? And how did it never happen before? Because it was… amazing. But… she’s my best friend. And we made love. Sweet, beautiful, perfect. Oh God.
Des stood from Kate’s bed and pulled on his clothes. He could smell coffee. She’s out there. Waiting for me. And I’m dying to see her. But… Jesus, why am I shaking? And why didn’t I end it with Nat last night? It’s over. It’s been over. Dammit, that should have ended before the beautiful part of last night happened. Because now I’m a cheater.
Before Des could walk out of Kate’s room, he turned back to her bed. He needed to breathe. Calmly. But he could only remember. Nothing with Nat or with anyone had ever felt as intense, as beautiful, as perfect as what he and Kate shared in her bed last night. No comparison. Not even close. Worlds apart.
Kate’s gaze wandered from the window when she heard footsteps. Her hands had finally stopped trembling and her heart had finally stopped racing. But when she saw Des walking toward her, the trembling and the racing returned, stronger than before. Has he always been so gorgeous? Damn, he’s hot… right out of bed… sexy as hell. God. She held her breath so he wouldn’t hear her gasp.
Des ran a hand through his hair and cracked a smile. “Morning, killer.” What hell is wrong with me? She is… beautiful. She always has been, hasn’t she? God, right out of bed… her hair… all disheveled. I did that. She is irresistibly sexy. I want to touch her.
Kate envied how calm he sounded. “Morning, kid.” She managed a little smile. “Coffee?” She knew he wanted coffee. He always wants coffee. She started to stand but he stopped her.
“I’ll get it, Katie.”
When Des returned and sat beside her with his mug, Kate saw tiny ripples across the surface. His hands were shaking, too. Glad it’s not just me…
“Did you sleep okay?” Kate stared at her coffee when she spoke, unable to look into his eyes.
“Yeah, I did.” Des, too, did not look away from the mug in his hands. “How are you feeling? Your head?”
Is he teasing me? Everyone knows that cures headaches… “Much better.” She was smiling. At her coffee.
“And Michael? How are you feeling about him?”
Kate shook her head. “He’s a jerk… and apparently a huge liar. I wish I’d listened to you from the start. You always knew.”
“I didn’t really know.” Des rested his cup on the table. “But I had kind of a bad feeling.”
“I totally get that now.” She tried to laugh. “Albeit a little late…”
“I’m just as guilty,” he mumbled, staring down into his lap.
“Are you?” She placed her mug on the table by his.
“Yeah. With Nat. Looking for things that were never there. Not listening to everyone else. Fooling myself.” Not cutting her out of my life before last night.
“You know I’m here for you, right?” She tried to look at him but she still struggled.
“I do.” Des took a deep breath and reached for Kate’s hand. The moment he touched her, she thought her heart stopped. And Des felt a shiver run through him. Her hand is shaking. God, mine is, too. Can she feel that?
Kate stared at her fingers clasped with his. She knew his eyes focused on the same thing. And she knew she should speak, but for possibly the first time in her life, she couldn’t find the words. Why can’t I talk? I can always talk to him. Always. I want to say something. And I want to curl up in his arms… like last night… all night. Oh my God, I have to stop. For now. But Kate couldn’t shake that thought.
“Do you need more coffee?” Finally, she spoke words. Insignificant words. But still, words.
“No.” He squeezed her hand in his. “I’m good.” He had to pause and remind himself to breathe before he spoke again. “Katie, I… we…” God, I cannot talk. I have words but I can’t speak. What is happening? With a deep breath, he tried once more. “Are we… okay?” Finally, he looked at her. How can she be so beautiful? So… sweet? God, she’s perfect. How could I have been so blind… for so long?
Kate could feel his eyes on her and she knew she had to meet them. Slowly, she lifted her gaze to meet his. “Yes… Des, of course we’re okay.”
He sighed with relief at her words and he felt her do the same. Still, they knew they had more to say… so much more they needed to talk about. But Des didn’t think he could do it. He barely got his one tiny question out. And Kate could barely breathe.
Des slowly lifted a hand and gently pushed the hair from her face, tucking it behind her ear. When he smiled, it brought the same from her. She inhaled slowly and let out a little sigh. And she knew they couldn’t stare at each other in silence forever. They both knew.
“For?” If she says thank you for what we did last night, I’m going to take her back to bed. Oh hell, I want to take her back to bed no matter what she says.
“For knowing that I was crazy to think I needed to be alone to fall apart last night.” And for staying with me. And kissing me. And showing me what making love really is. Oh God.
She stopped him. “So thank you.”
Des could detect the hint of a smile on her face and it made him smile. “You’re welcome, killer.”
They both knew they were dancing around the giant elephant in the room. But neither of them could manage to come up with the words to talk about it. They both tried but they both failed. When Kate’s ringing phone startled them, they were relieved by the interruption.
Kate reluctantly let go of Des’ hand and took her eyes from his to reach for her phone.
“Hey Kate. How are you, sweetie?”
“Are we meeting for lunch? We need to catch up!”
Before Kate answered Michelle, she felt Des stand from the sofa. “Wait,” she said. I can’t let him leave. I’m not ready for him to go. Des turned to her and Mish was confused.
“Wait for what?” Michelle asked.
“Hold on, Mish?”
Kate pulled the phone away from her face and stood with Des. “You don’t have to go,” she said.
“I know,” he said, “but I do have rehearsal in a couple of hours… for that show next week.”
“Yeah. The rock star awards.”
“Shut up.” He loved that she teased him. Still. “I should probably get home.”
“Hold on,” she said. She lifted her phone to her ear. “Mish? Can I call you back? I just need a few minutes.”
“Sure, Kate. I’ll be here.”
“Thanks, Mish.” Kate hung up and turned back to Des. “Are you okay?” I don’t want him to leave.
“I am,” he said. “I have some stuff I should take care of.” I have to dump my girlfriend. Who I don’t love. Who I never loved. Who I haven’t had a relationship with in months.
“Okay…” I still want him to stay. And he’s not moving. Maybe he wants to stay.
After a moment in silence, Des spoke again. “Do you want to come?”
“To your rehearsal?”
She’s messing with me. “No… to the awards. I’m sure Michelle will be there with Tom.”
Does he really think I need friends there to say yes to him? “I would love to come.”
“Good.” Yeah. Good. I can’t talk again.
Kate smiled to him. “Can I pretend I’m famous, too?”
“Shut up, killer.” God, I adore her. She makes me smile. Just like she always has. Does she even know she always says the perfect thing?
Des took a few steps toward Kate’s door and she followed. He turned to her and smiled. “Thanks for the coffee.” Thanks for way more than coffee.
She smiled. I’m pretty sure he’s not thanking me for coffee. “You’re welcome.”
He lifted a hand to open the door but he couldn’t do it. Instead, he reached for her and slowly pulled her into his arms. She held him and again wondered if he could hear… or feel her pounding heart. But he had his own pounding heart and wondered if she could feel it.
When Des took a long, anxious breath, he could smell her hair. Intoxicating. He turned and kissed her head in that perfect spot along her hairline near her temple. And he breathed her in again before reluctantly letting her go.
“Bye, Katie. I’ll talk to you soon.”
She nodded. “Soon. Bye, kid.”