Hope you enjoy this week’s installment… we’re on our way out of the timeline jump…! And as always, thanks for reading!
fiction friday 11.
[But first: Blue 1 | Blue 2 | Blue 3 | Blue 4 | Blue 5 | Blue 6 | Blue 7 | Blue 8 | Blue 9 | Blue 10]
Continued from part 10…
Kate stepped into her apartment and closed the door. She leaned back on it and sank to the floor. And she cried. And she thought she’d never stop.
[kate] are you busy right now?
[mish] no. about to leave work.
[kate] could you come by? I really need a friend…
[mish] of course, sweetie. I’m walking out right now. I’ll be there soon.
Somewhere inside, Kate still couldn’t accept what she saw. Des never lied to her. Ever. About anything. He couldn’t and he wouldn’t. Yet her heart pounded and her eyes stung from her tears.
He was so angry with Nat. He said he felt nothing for her. But he looked content with her. Almost happy. And she was touching him. And he was about to hug her. God, maybe even kiss her. I feel sick. He said he was done with her. He never loved her. He wouldn’t lie… would he?
Kate picked herself up from the floor and dragged herself to the sofa. She clutched a pillow in her arms and repeated her own words inside her head. He wouldn’t lie. As she attempted to calm herself down, her phone buzzed on the table near her and made her jump, anxious all over again. Oh God, please tell me Mish is still coming. She took a deep breath and looked at the message that appeared on her phone. It wasn’t Mish.
[des] Hey killer. Where are you? On the train?
Kate’s hands shook so much she almost dropped her phone. She had no idea how to respond… or if she should respond at all. But she knew if she said nothing, he would call. She had to type something because she knew she couldn’t talk to him.
[kate] No… I’m home…
[des] Really? Me too. I would love to see you.
Oh God. I can’t breathe. I want to see him… touch him… hold him… kiss him. But the coffee shop… and Nat… and… oh God. She was too scared to ask him to explain. It pained her to refuse him but she did anyway.
[kate] I can’t. Mish is on her way over.
[des] Oh… so tomorrow afternoon? I’ll call you when I get home?
[kate] I’m not sure.
She hated the words she sent him. And she knew he hated them, too.
[des] Katie, what is going on?
[kate] I wish I knew…
Before Kate could figure out what to type next, she heard Mish’s knock at her door. Oh, thank God.
[kate] I have to go. Mish is here.
The moment Mish saw Kate’s face, she knew something was wrong. “Kate, what is it?” But Kate couldn’t speak. She hugged her friend and cried. “Oh honey, tell me what happened?”
They walked together to the sofa. When Mish rested her bag on the table, she saw Kate’s phone. On the screen, a message from Des read, ‘Katie? Please…’
Mish picked it up and turned to Kate. “What’s this about?”
“I don’t understand what’s happening.” Kate still cried. “Des… I thought he… He was with Nat… I thought… I don’t know…”
“Slow down. It’s okay, Kate.” Mish tried to comfort her. “Now tell me what’s gotten you so upset?”
Kate took a deep breath. “I was supposed to meet Des tomorrow to finally talk. But I got home a couple of hours ago and I didn’t want to wait. I wanted to see him… surprise him. On my way, I stopped for coffee.” Remembering what she saw at that coffee shop brought her tears back but she took another deep breath and continued anyway. “I was about to go in when I saw them.”
“Who?” Mish asked.
“Des and Nat. They were there, Mish. Together. Talking. Holding hands. He looked happy. I don’t understand.”
“Did you go in?”
“No. I panicked. I hid for a minute. Then I looked again but I shouldn’t have. They got up and they were about to hug. I felt like my heart just… shattered. I had to get the hell out of there.”
“Kate.” Mish hugged her again. “It cannot be what you’re thinking. I’m sure there’s an explanation.”
“Yeah. They’re still together and they’re happy. And I was just… a mistake.”
“No. No way. You were not a mistake. That’s just not possible. Listen to me…” Mish rested her hand on Kate’s shoulder. “I know things… from Tom…”
“What are you talking about?”
“He doesn’t tell me everything. I suppose guys are allowed to have a few secrets.” She paused to smile. “But sometimes, he tells me things. And, Kate, while we were out shopping for that gorgeous dress a few days ago, Des broke up with Nat. He dumped her.”
“He did? Then what the hell did I see?” Kate sighed and wiped tears from her cheeks.
“I don’t know but I promise it’s not what you’re worrying about. I know it’s not.” Mish smiled to her. “I think you should talk to him. Ask him what you saw.”
“Oh God, I’m not sure I can.”
“Of course you can. It’s Des. And you. Kid and killer.” Again, Mish smiled.
Kate even cracked a little smile when Mish said that. But it quickly disappeared. “He is the best friend I’ve ever had and I’m really scared it’s ruined. We never should have slept together.”
“You don’t really think that.”
“No. I’m just so scared…” Kate had to take another deep breath. “We were best friends.”
“You still are!”
“Maybe we should have kept it that way.”
“Kate, stop. I know you’re scared but…” Mish picked up Kate’s phone from the table and handed it to her. “Talk to him.”
“I was supposed to talk to him tomorrow.”
“Now is also good.” Mish smiled.
They sat in silence for a few moments. But the quiet ended when Mish’s phone rang. She looked at the screen and answered it.
“Where are you, Mish?”
“I stopped by Kate’s. I’ll be home as soon as I know she’s okay.”
“What does that mean? What’s wrong?”
“We can talk about it later.”
“Is this about Des?” Tom had to know.
“God, why? They were finally right there…”
“I know. It’s okay. I’ll see you soon.”
“Okay. Love you.”
“Love you, too.” Mish slipped her phone back into her bag and turned to Kate. “Are you all right?”
“I guess,” Kate mumbled.
“Not convincing.” Mish smiled.
“You and Tom are so good together,” Kate said. “I want what you have.”
“You’ll have it. Kate, I think you already have it.”
“Oh God… why am I such a mess? Why am I so scared? Is it because somewhere inside me I don’t think this will ever work?”
“No! Kate, stop telling yourself things like that!” Mish shook her head and smiled. “Call Des.” She gestured to Kate’s phone. “I know he wants you to.”
Kate took a deep breath and looked at her phone to see Des’ last message again. And she found new messages. The moment she read them, tears fell from her eyes again.
[des] Talk to me… Please.
[des] God, killer, what’s wrong?
[des] I am coming over there.
“Kate?” Mish worried about her again.
Kate couldn’t speak. She turned her phone so Mish could see the messages.
“Sweetie, he loves you. I think you need to splash some water on your face, take some long slow breaths, and wait for Des to get here. I know you’re scared and I’m sure he is, too. But it’s going to be okay.”
Before Kate could say a word, her phone rang, startling her. She sighed a breath of relief when she saw the screen. “It’s my mom,” Kate mumbled.
“I should go. Talk to your mom. Maybe she can help keep you calm and distracted ‘til Des gets here.”
“Hi Mom,” Kate said, trying not to sound upset. But she knew she was hiding nothing from her mother.
“Hi, sweetheart. How was your trip?”
“It was good.”
“How are you doing otherwise?” Liz asked.
“I’m all right,” Kate said softly.
“You don’t sound all right. Why don’t you come over for dinner? Your father will be home soon and I made your favorite…”
“Oh Mom, you know I can’t turn that down.”
“Do you have time to do some shopping tomorrow? You could stay over,” Liz said.
“That sounds perfect. I’ll be right over.”
Kate hurried to her room. She grabbed her bag and tossed everything from her trip aside. She frantically refilled it with clothes for the morning. She wrapped herself in a jacket and dropped her phone into her bag. As she opened her apartment door to leave, she felt tears running down her cheeks.
Des was on his way over. He was worried and confused and he needed to see her. She never wanted to hurt him. She loved him. Part of her wanted to stay home, wait for Des, and grab him into her arms the moment he arrived. But part of her was so scared that she couldn’t stay. She was running. She knew she was running and she knew it was wrong. But she didn’t know how to see him at that moment… how to talk to him… how to listen to him.
Outside, Kate hurried to the corner and crossed the street. If Des saw her, she would never be able to walk away from him. She flagged a taxi and slipped inside. She wanted to be with her family. But that was precisely the problem. Des was family.
Des knocked on Kate’s door and spoke her name at least a dozen times. But he had to stop. She left. She knew I was on my way over and she ran away. From me. He sighed sadly and slowly walked away from her door with a crushed heart. He pulled out his phone and called her but she didn’t answer. He left her a message but somehow knew she wouldn’t call him back. He texted her again, pleading with her to talk to him. But nothing. Even when he arrived back home, he still hadn’t heard from her.
Des sat with his guitar and tried to play, but he couldn’t. Every few minutes, he grabbed his phone hoping for something – anything – from Kate. But nothing appeared. In his head, he replayed every moment since that night, trying to figure out what he had done to upset her. There had to be something. He had seen her upset before, but never like this and never with him. She was completely detached and painfully distant. Des wanted to call Mish. He wanted to call Liz. He needed to know Kate was okay. But he couldn’t call anyone. He was too afraid, too consumed with fear of losing her. He wasn’t ready to hear anything heartbreaking.
Again, their beautiful night together replayed in his mind. And the nervous morning that followed. And every time they had spoken since that night. It was perfect. Their friendship was fully intact. And they had something more. A sweetness, a closeness beyond what they had before. Something he never dreamt was possible. And he thought Kate wanted what he wanted – for them to be together. But she disappeared.
When morning arrived, Des wanted to block out the sun. Every part of him ached. And although he wanted to stay home in bed and force himself to sleep until Kate came back to him, he dragged himself out to meet Tom and Alex.
After an agonizing interview and a lackluster performance, he returned home and collapsed onto his couch. He tried to reach Kate again. Even if she wouldn’t talk to him, he needed to know she was okay. He was relieved when finally she responded, but her only words came in an emotionless text message.
[kate] I’m okay. I’m out with Mom.
God. I am losing my best friend. And everything else we could have been. What the hell happened? Why won’t she tell me what happened?
He sighed and began searching through his music library for the perfect song. For Katie. If she wouldn’t talk to him, he would sing to her. On live television. He wanted her sitting right there, mere feet away from him in that theater, listening to his heart pour out in song. But he knew she may not even be with him. And he hated thinking that. But at the very least, she would watch at home. She had to.
He found the song. The perfect song. For Katie. He played it and then he played it again… and again after that. It had to be perfect. He had lost count of how many times he ran through her song when his ringing phone interrupted. He took a deep breath and sighed, Katie, as he grabbed his phone.
But it wasn’t her.
“Hey Alex,” Des said.
“Hey D. What’s going on? Busy?”
“Not really. Just working on that cover. I found the right song…”
“Cool. So… I’m heading out for a drink. You should come.”
“I guess,” Des said with uncertainty.
“I know something’s up. It was hard to miss today. But maybe getting out for a while would be good?”
“Okay. Should I meet you somewhere?” Des asked.
“I heard the band tonight at that new place on 14th is good…”
“I know the place… I’ll meet you there.”
Kate sat on her sofa with a cup of coffee. She didn’t care if the caffeine kept her awake all night. She hadn’t been sleeping well anyway. She knew she needed to find out what was really going on with Des and Nat, but she was so scared that she separated herself from it. She disappeared for a while. But she couldn’t hide forever. She missed Des. She missed him so much it hurt.
Dragging herself to the kitchen for a refill, she heard her phone ring. She froze knowing it could be Des… and silently wishing it would be.
But it wasn’t Des.
“Hey Kate. Where have you been?”
“I went to my parents’.”
“Honey, I was worried about you. And Tom said Des was a mess today. What is going on?”
“Oh Mish… I freaked out. I ran away. I know it was wrong… I feel terrible… and God, I miss him.”
“I still think you need to talk to him. I know you’re scared, but you guys are best friends… and lots more. You need to talk. But I called for something else, too.”
“I’m going out for a drink with a few friends from work. I want you to come with us. Put on something sexy and meet us.”
“Oh Mish, please.”
“No… I mean it. It’ll make you feel better. And I will come over there and kidnap you if I have to.”
“Oh, all right. Where do I meet you?”
“Remember that new place on 14th we were going to check out? Meet us there.”
Next week: Back to the start.