“KC! You are home!” the surprise in her voice matched what she felt.
“I am. Have been for hours. Unlike you.”
“I was just …”
“Don’t even. I bet I can guess where you have been. Especially since word on the street has it that Heath may be up for grabs again. Lucky you.”
“KC, like it or not, Heath is my friend and I needed a friend.”
“Bet you did.”
“What is that supposed to mean?”
“Means that I am tired of different rules for each of us. You are all high and mighty about me and women, but I am supposed to just shut up and deal with you sneaking around with Heath. You were gone for quite some time. At best that makes you a hypocrite, at worst, a cheater!”
“Excuse me? I did not cheat! We only …” Evey stopped herself before she accidentally told him about the kiss. Oh gawd, what had she done.
“I have told you before, your poker face sucks. I do not believe you. Not this time. Mostly because you just missed Heather. She wanted to go back and talk to Heath, but guess what she saw through the window?! Ding ding ding – yes, you and her fiance lip locked.”
“KC, I am so sorry.”
“Not as sorry as I am. I am embarrassed on how ridiculously gullible I was. No wonder you were so insanely jealous of every single woman who only as much as smiled in my general direction. Isn’t that what they say, cheaters always assume everybody cheats too?”
“I did not cheat on you! It was one goddamn kiss, KC. One kiss that should not have happened, but did. That is all I am guilty of!”
“Oh well, in that case all is hunky-dory again. Oh wait a minute, I remember a certain kiss …”
“Not THAT old hat again!”
“Yes, THAT old hat again. But good to see that you found the time to put the ring I gave you back on to go kiss another man. An engaged one, with child.”
“I just felt so alone and lonely, I just needed some affection. Heath said some things that just … struck a chord with me.” Evey still got that sting when remembered what Heath had said about her being his soulmate.
“Interesting. When I said some affectionate things to you, you almost acted like I had suggested to rape you!”
“KC, is there any scenario where we could forget about all this and start over?”
“That would be nice and easy, wouldn’t it? Nah, I don’t think we can. Not this time. Maybe not ever, but definitely not before you finally start treating me better than a piece of toilet paper stuck to your shoe! On that note, this toilet paper is going to roll on out of here.”
“KC wait! Please don’t go.”
“I love you!”
“More than Heath? Less? About even?”
“KC, it is not that simple …”
“Wrong answer. Goodbye Evey.”
“Where are you going to go?”
“To hell if I don’t change my ways.”
“When will you be back?”
Without an answer he turned and ran down the long flight of stairs to the front door.
It had been almost a week since the argument. Finally, FINALLY, KC responded to her texts and agreed to meet with her in the little park near their home. He still was staying somewhere else and did not tell her where, she had already grilled nearly her entire family but he was not with any of them.
Her knees got shaky when she saw his tall outline with the broad shoulders walk up the small path from the opposite side where she had come from. Since it was still winter and got dark early, he had insisted they meet close to home – this park was directly across the street from it, to keep her safe, but he refused to set foot into their home.
They met near a bench.
“Hi.” she said.
“Hi.” he replied.
“KC, our home is just over there, few steps away. Let’s go home and …”
“Fine, can we sit?” Evey pointed to the bench, talking while standing around made her feel like it would only be a brief chat, and she felt she needed time to convince him to give her a chance.
They sat silently for a while, Everleigh was hoping he would start, so she could gauge where his head – and moreover his heart – were currently at. When he didn’t, she inhaled and said
“KC look, I am so very sorry for everything. I miss you. Please, PLEASE forgive me and please come back home.”
“Evey … you seem to think that things are so simple. They are not. This is not something I can just shake off. My family has always been cheating on each other and I have seen what it does to people. First you get hurt, then you turn dull and cold. I do not want to become like that. And frankly, I do not think I deserve that.”
“You don’t and you wouldn’t. And I did not cheat, KC, I swear it. It was just a kiss. On my life I swear that was all. Last thing I ever want to do is hurt you.”
KC said nothing, looked at her as if reading in her eyes for answers.
“Been doing a pretty shitty job at avoiding it of late …”
“I know … but for what it’s worth, I felt like I had to help a friend. I didn’t go there to kiss him or something …”
“But you did.” KC remained calm, but visibly tensed up.
“What does it take for you to forgive me?”
“A lot. Not sure you’d be up for it.”
“Lay it on me.”
“If this is supposed to go on, I want some rules. You may not like them, pretty sure you won’t. But that is what it would take for me to give it another shot.”
“Let’s hear those rules.”
“First and foremost, the most obvious one: no more sneaking around with Heath alone. I would never ask you to not see him anymore, but if you do, I want people around you. No more creeping around in secret hiding spots with him or just the two of you at each other’s homes or heck knows where else.”
“I figured that would be coming. Look, KC, Heath does not go to gatherings so I have to go see him and …”
“Goodbye Evey ..”
“Wait! Ok, done! What else?”
“You will spend time with me, quality time. Actual dates. Catch a movie, go out to eat, couple stuff. Frequently. I do not want to hear the work excuse anymore. You are doing fine, your dad is happy, and he and your mom would not want you to have life pass you by staring at drawings 15 hours a day.”
“Mom and dad actually had that talk with me already. Definitely done. Anything else?”
“One more: every once in a while I want to see your cute butt at my performances and/or at the bar. I made a new drink that I named after you. ’bout time you tried it. And I am NOT making it for you at home. You want it, gotta come get it. Just like me.”
“Done – and does that mean you’ll come back home?”
“You really want me to?”
“I want nothing more …”
“There is just this one little problem .. this thing I still have to do … ”
“Ok. So do it.”
KC looked at her, she saw a smile barely contained when he suddenly tickled her, making her squeal and giggle, begging him to stop.
A good sign. Great even.
When he let off her, she kissed him, on the cheek, careful to not overdo it right away.
He smiled, openly, then pulled her up off the park bench, reached into his jacket and pulled out a red rose which he handed to her.
Evey thought she’d cry for relief and happiness as she took it, before they kissed, making a passing cyclist whistle through his teeth before hurling the old phrase at them
“Get a room!”
“I like where that dude’s head is!” KC said, before pulling Evey along to their home, which was just a few steps away across the street.
Earlier that same day Heath was not having such a great time. Usually resting in his coffin downstairs during that time he heard their daughter cry, so he went upstairs and realized Heather was singing in the shower. Evidently she had not heard the baby.
Heath picked up the infant, fed Abigail, then played with her and snuggled her when there was a knock on the door.
Through the small glass inset of the nursery door he saw Heather rush to answer, heard voices, Heather’s and a male one, but could not hear what they were saying, nor see them.
And then suddenly it got quiet, still holding his baby daughter Heath peeked through the glass and saw them kissing.
Not like friends, but like lovers. And then again. Evidently she was unaware he was up.
At first he froze, then carefully placed Abigail into her crib and confronted them.
As he was yelling at them, he realized he had seen the man, a mortal, before on photos Evey had shown him, so he fought his instincts to kill him.
The next day it was New Year’s eve, and instead of celebrating with her family and friends, Evey spend the entire day with only KC, who took her out to dinner.
As it neared the end of the year and the dawning of the next, they watched the countdown at home.
Everleigh’s phone beeped with a message from Heath on the table.
Evey never saw it, as she and KC were too invested in their New Year’s kiss.