Hello lovely readers. Welcome to part 12 of a story I never intended to tell in full. Yes, I was originally just going to leave you hanging with only the first post.
fiction friday 12.
[But first: Blue 1 | Blue 2 | Blue 3 | Blue 4 | Blue 5 | Blue 6 | Blue 7 | Blue 8 | Blue 9 | Blue 10 | Blue 11]
Continued from part 11…
The dress Kate wore made her feel beautiful. Blue and gorgeous, hugging her in all the right places. But she truthfully chose it because of Des. Months ago, she had worn it to a birthday party. When Des saw her, he told her she looked far too good to be at someone else’s party. No one can possibly focus on the guest of honor with you standing there in that dress. Modest and embarrassed by his words, Kate told him to stop being ridiculous. But she knew she looked good. And tonight, she needed to feel good.
When she walked into the club, Kate spotted Mish at the bar laughing with her friends. With a deep breath, still trying to relax and clear her head, Kate made her way to Mish.
Mish smiled and hugged her. “You look gorgeous.”
“Thanks, Mish.” Kate tried to smile, but she could not get Des out of her head. She still felt scared and confused. And she missed him. This dress was a bad idea. All I can think of is Des.
Mish took Kate’s arm and turned to her friends. “Hey everyone, this is my friend Kate… you know, the artist.”
“I’m hardly an artist, Mish. I don’t think my latest corporate logo is going to be hanging near a Van Gogh anytime soon.”
“She’s an artist,” Mish repeated with a smile. “Kate, this is Kristen, Amy, and Ben.”
Kate really did try to focus on Mish and her friends and their conversation, but she struggled. Every few moments, she would say something or laugh or nod. But every word they spoke had to compete with the screaming thoughts in her head.
Slowly sipping her second drink, Kate wondered how long it had been since she arrived. Definitely not long enough to slip out. But it felt like hours. She knew her perception of time was skewed. It had been for days. First dying to see Des again, and then afraid she could never face him again at all. She had to keep reminding herself that she was supposed to be distracted by Mish and her friends. She wasn’t supposed to be obsessing about Des.
Lost in her inner dialogue, Kate was almost startled when Mish tapped her on the shoulder.
“I’ll be right back, Kate.” Kate nodded and Mish walked away with Amy. And Kate tried again to pay attention to Mish’s friends.
Mish slipped out of sight and found Alex waiting for her in the same hidden spot.
“Alex…! Is he here?”
“Yeah. He just showed up. I told him I was getting him a drink. What the hell is going on, Mish? Des and Kate never fight.”
“It’s not really a fight… it’s… well, it’s ridiculous! Kind of a long story, but thanks for getting him here. Those two…” Mish shook her head.
“I know. What are they waiting for?” Alex laughed. “So should I find a reason to send Des to the bar? To Kate?”
“Maybe give it a little time first. They may kill us for this. We should probably make it look accidental…”
“Right. I better get some drinks…”
Des sat and stared at the band while waiting for Alex to bring him a drink. He felt like he needed at least a dozen drinks to stop his brain from driving him mad. But for the moment, he’d settle for one. If Alex ever returned with it. Where the hell is he?
Des turned toward the bar. From one end to the other, his eyes wandered looking for his friend. And his drink. No luck. And then his eyes reached the end of the bar. And he couldn’t breathe.
Still failing to get Des out of her head, Kate’s eyes wandered around the room. Maybe she was looking for Mish. Maybe she just couldn’t focus on anything. But when her eyes landed at a table on the other side of the stage, she had no trouble focusing at all. Or she was hallucinating.
Her eyes locked with Des’ for the first time since the morning after their beautiful night together. She clutched her drink and froze, staring at him, unable to find enough oxygen in the air. The entire world went fuzzy and the memory of every touch they shared came rushing through her.
Des stared from where he sat, too far away from her. Waves of memories crashed into his head and his heart, paralyzing him. He could feel her exactly the way he did in her bed holding her beautiful naked body in his arms. Finally, only slightly sensing reality, Des stood. All he needed was to remember how to walk.
When Mish and Amy returned, Kate didn’t even notice. She didn’t notice anything except Des.
“Mish,” Ben said, “I think we broke your friend.”
Mish turned to Kate and followed her eyes to Des, across the room, staring back at her. “Kate? Hon, are you okay?”
Kate didn’t speak. She took a deep breath and began slowly walking to Des. She had no idea how to talk to him, but she had to go to him.
Confused and scared, Des desperately wanted to know what changed for Katie over the last few days. He needed to know. To understand. To fix it. He couldn’t take his eyes off her. That dress she wore… he adored it. She was breathtaking. Almost literally, it seemed, because Des had a bit of trouble remembering how to breathe. But he ignored that. The instant he saw her heading toward him, he began walking to her.
When they met, they stood together in silence for agonizing moments that felt like hours. They were close. Closer than they’d been for days.
Still feeling a bit lost, Kate finally spoke. “Hi Des.”
“Katie. Hi.” He could smell her hair, her perfume. Just… her. And he desperately wanted to be touching her.
“How are you?”
“Okay.” He hated that they were talking like strangers. And he hated that he lied. He wasn’t okay. “How are you, killer?”
Oh God. Hearing Des call her ’killer’ nearly made her melt into his arms. “I’m okay,” she lied.
Des stared intently at her lifting her hand. God, please touch me. His heart raced. But while he thought, or maybe wished, she would touch his face, she reached to her own, pushing a few strands of hair from her eyes. Des didn’t care how many people watched or how loud the band played. He had to know what changed. And he was desperate to touch her.
“Katie…” he began. But she spoke, too.
“I should get back,” she said. “I just thought I should say hello.” She hated her words. It pained her to take her eyes from his, but she finally looked away. Des couldn’t have that.
Her eyes returned to his. She never wanted to take them away in the first place. “Yeah, kid?”
He felt his heart calm slightly. It couldn’t be all bad if she still called him ‘kid’. “Please… can we talk?”
“Not here…” Music blaring, dozens of eyes on them. She knew it wasn’t the right place for them to talk about much of anything.
Des could not go another second without touching her. “Katie…” He gently laid his hand on her arm, near her shoulder. And he lost all ability to form words. The scent of her, the softness of her skin brought him back to that night… in her bed… bodies tangled together… overcome with sweet beautiful emotions. He gasped for air. “We need to talk. About everything. I need to tell you things, killer.”
Katie couldn’t breathe when he touched her. She wanted to be in his arms. Warm and naked and touching and kissing. She hated that she couldn’t give in and talk to him… leave with him… be with him. But her head would not stop flashing that vision of him and Nat at the coffee shop. She parted her lips to speak, but nothing came out. God, he smells good. She took a deep breath, but she still had no words.
“The awards are tomorrow night.” My God, she is beautiful.
“I want you to come, Katie.”
Again, she struggled to speak. She wanted to go to the awards with him. She wanted to wear her gorgeous new dress and sit beside him in the theater. She wanted to watch him perform and win awards. “I want to come,” she finally admitted. “But…” He stopped her, but she had no idea what she was going to say next anyway.
“I want you there, killer. More than you know.”
The sadness in his eyes broke her heart. Somewhere inside her, Kate knew she was crazy. Mish had to be right – he couldn’t be with Nat anymore. She wanted desperately to get back the beautiful feeling she had with him that night… and the next morning… and during every other conversation since then… except this one.
When Kate didn’t say anything, Des tried again. “Please come, Katie.”
Finally she spoke. “I’ll try.” She hoped she would be able to get herself to go. But her emotions were so jumbled she wasn’t sure what she could or couldn’t do. “I should…” her eyes locked on his, “get back… to Mish…”
He felt her sigh. She took a step away from him and his hand fell from her arm. “Okay,” he mumbled, hating to let her walk away and dying to touch her again. “Tomorrow,” he insisted. She nodded and he hoped that meant she would be there. But seeing her walk back to Mish and those people he didn’t know killed him. Especially that guy who had been standing beside her – too close to her. But he had to let her go. For now.
The second Des returned to Alex, he collapsed in his chair. Alex wasn’t sure his and Mish’s little plan worked. They talked but Des came back… alone. “D? What the hell was that?”
“It’s a bit involved,” Des said, not sure he could bear to explain it all to Alex just then. Des picked up his drink and tossed it down his throat. He took Alex up on his offer to get another round. While Alex was gone, Des couldn’t help watching Katie at the bar with Mish… and that guy. He hated how he felt. So separated from her and so… jealous. Des had never been in the same room with Katie and felt so far away from her.
Mish rushed to Kate’s side the moment she returned. “Kate? Are you okay?” Mish was desperate to know what just happened. “Kate?”
“Oh God.” Kate could barely find words. And she was afraid to speak much for fear of bursting into tears. “He’s just…” She took a deep breath. “He’s Des. He looked scared and confused. He still wants to talk.”
“Of course he does!” Mish smiled. Kate even managed to smile back to her.
“He said there are things he needs to tell me.”
Mish still smiled. “See? I told you!”
“But Mish… it might not be…” Again, Kate had to concentrate to breathe. “It could be about Nat.”
“It’s not. Kate… it’s not.” Kate loved that Mish was so sure. And she wondered why she wasn’t.
“I think I need to get out of here.”
“Do you want me to go with you?” Mish asked.
“I’ll be all right, Mish.”
“Okay.” They both turned to Mish’s friends. “Kate has to go,” Mish said.
“It was nice meeting you all.” Kate still had trouble keeping her tears inside.
After saying good night, Ben turned to Kate. “I need to head home, too. We can split a cab.”
Kate nodded to him. After giving Mish a hug, she turned toward the door with Ben. He could see her anxiety and unsteadiness. It was impossible to miss, even for a stranger. He gently laid his hand on her back, but Kate didn’t even notice. She concentrated only on tried to remain composed, at least until she made it outside. But she couldn’t leave without looking back at Des. When she did, she found his eyes already fixed on her.
With a lump in her throat and a hole in her heart, Kate stepped outside. She hated feeling like any part of her friendship with Des was damaged.
Next week… Present Day…
To refresh your memory…
….. Blue part 1 – Des leaves the bar…
………. Blue part 2 – flashes back 20 years…
…………… And Blue part 3 – Kate leaves the bar, goes home, and Des goes home… and…
To be continued…