chapter 30 the one with the bar-b-que and ketchup
Kailey was so tired, having been answering questions and being almost forced into making decisions about an alleged engagement party that’s supposed to happen in the next month! She doesn’t understand where her mother gets all this energy from.!
Well she did recently return from a much needed vacation with enough pictures to last a lifetime! Her head is swimming!
I don’t know. I’ll see what max likes. Let me ask Max, after all its his wedding too! Those were her answers to almost everything!
She knew everyone was happy for her and made but it was a bit overwhelming! She was married before so she did know what steps to take she wanted to scream at her mother! And Max’s parents were worst!
She pushed open the window stuck her head out and gulps in the fresh air. She coughs a little at the smokey smell. Cigarettes. She covered her nose and mouth with a hand and glanced into the garden at the thinning crowd. Thank God people were starting to leave! She was stuck in the middle upstairs room with two aunts, three cousins and her mother! Her head was getting light and she started seeing black dots. What’s happening?
She was stifling in the over crowded room! She wasn’t panicking...was she? No...She wasn’t! She’s been wanting this since she first laid her little eyes on him! No panic. She’s happy! Isn’t she? She’s suffocating....
Breathe. In ...out. In. Out.
She watches Jeremy with his girlfriend Laney. They were so happy and in love! Her soon to be nephew opens two beers and gives one to his girl who puts the bottle down and pulls him in for a kiss. Ah to be young and in love. Were they allowed to drink ? They weren’t eighteen yet. Parents were around so she guesses it’s okay. She sighs.
Where was Max anyway? She hasn’t seen him in a while. Normally he wouldn’t want her out of his eyesight. Well...She at least thought so anyway. She didn’t really know did she? She can’t tell...of course he’s different to her childish memory of him!
Just then she heard a gasp and then hushed giggles in the room. She doesn’t bother to turn around. She’s too tired. She wants to find Max and leave. Her eyes almost closing now from fatigue.
Someone presses his body into her back. Max! He engulfs her in a hug. Home. She leans back into him and closes her eyes. Finally! He growls and kisses her neck and says,
“Hey, I missed you.”
" Hmm. ” was all she manages to get out. She breathes him in. His smell...heaven.
She feels her tiredness leaving as she gives up on her legs and he balances their combined weight. His fingers entwined with hers as he crosses the hands together over her stomach.
“Ready to leave?” he whispered into her neck she leans into him more. This was always home to her. Max. She doesn’t care about anything else. No wedding even. It just brings back the last one. And unhappy event. Not that her husband last husband was bad but it’s just she’s always had Max on her mind.
Last husband. Oh God. She was terrible.
“Too tired. My room.” she replied.
The last thing she remembers is Max pulling the bed covers over her.
It was almost two months later when Kailey figures out it wasn’t Max. They were having a bar-b-que at his parents, a get together to discuss the coffee business! He just returned from the back shed and was heading towards the backyard when she noticed him using ketchup on his plate.
His chicken, hot dog, fries and burger. At first she thought nothing except that he just had a huge appetite. Until she went to make her own plate of fish and fries and used nothing except pepper-sauce and garlic-sauce that she felt the first nagging at the back of her head. It’s when she took her seat next to him and watched his plate it dawned on her.
Max hated ketchup! They both did!
Her mind whirled! She stood frozen there until he nudged her with his elbow. She turned and watched him. Stared. A ringing sound in her head as she recalled the conversation they had about ketchup!
How long has it been that her Max was gone? Will she never have Max? What cruel joke was being played with her! His eyes! His perfect mouth that kissed her everyday? It wasn’t him?
“Why did you drown your food?” She hoped her voice was steady because she sure as hell felt her world turning upside down! Her eyes huge.
“Babe....It’s the only way to eat.” he joked at her.
This definitely wasn’t her Max! She remembers them both saying they disliked ketchup! This person clearly didn’t know what that meant! Wait...unless it wasn’t him back then? Was that not Max back then?
Who is whom?
It wasn’t Max. How long was it not him? How could she not know?
Yes! They had a safeword! Max made sure of it, he hoped it was Max, for instances like this! “You okay love?” he furrowed his eyebrows and put a hand around her waist. That magical hand!
“What’s the safe word Max?” she blurted out.
" What? ” he removed his hand. And pulled her to face him. Hazel beautiful eyes stared at her.
Please answer correctly. She pleaded in her mind.
“Hey hey hey. It’s me. Rosebud.”
He cupped her face with both hands and pecked her on her lips then her forehead. She closed her eyes and prayed that her body didn’t give her away with its inner tremors!
He knew the safe word?
Kailey felt the split second joy at the thought that it was Max but she knew it wasn’t! She looked at the man she loved knowing that he wasn’t in there. He knows everything about her beloved! So much that nobody could tell the difference...Not even her! She looks at him as he turned and cleared away all his food and walks towards the kitchen.
He knows the safe word!
It was Louis! It’s been Louis for the longest while. Not Max!? It hasn’t been Max for weeks.! Could it have been months? Could have been Louis that came up with the safe word....or did he take it from Max’s mind?
Was it ever Max? WAS it always Louis?
She thinks of all the times she enjoyed his touch!
Max was trapped inside his own mind! Did he know when Louis touched her? Was he aware? Did he feel it ? Did he know what was happening?
Was he watching her?
She was going insane wasn't she? Of course this isn't real. It never was.