I haven't seen Kate since this morning. Breakfast was a rush as I had an early meeting, then she didn't come to the office at lunch. I don't think it was because she was avoiding me this time. I know she's working at a cafe, I've known for a while, but she doesn't know that I know. And now I'm finally getting home after a gruelling day and it's close to midnight.
I open the door to our apartment and step inside. It's dark inside, the only light coming from the TV in the living room. I take off my coat and hang it in the closet. I miss being greeted by Kate, but it is late. I loosen my tie as I walk to the lounge room. I see Kate, curled up on the couch, having obviously fallen asleep watching TV. I smile as I take in her sleeping form. She looks so small. Her face is relaxed, all tension gone from her body.
I move towards her like a moth to a flame, crouching down beside her and moving some wayward hair behind her ear. She really is beautiful. I place my arms under her shoulders and knees and scoop her up. Instinctively, she wraps her arms around my neck and nuzzles into my chest. My heart flips at the feel of her in my arms. I walk down the hallway and stop between our two rooms.
I really want to take her to my room. To put her in my bed and snuggle up next to her. But somehow I don't think she'd appreciate that. Reluctantly, I push the door open to her room and place her in her bed.
“Mm Chase.” The soft murmur of my name on her lips makes me light headed. What's she doing to me?
Here I am wanting her in my bed, and I'm not even thinking about sex.
Kate snuggles into her pillow as I pull the blanket over her. I can't help but lean in and press my lips to her forehead. Her flawless skin is soft and smooth under them. I pull away with a sigh and watch her for a moment. Realizing I'm being a complete creep, I leave the room and head to my own.
I slip off my shoes and walk to the bathroom, turning on the shower, I strip out of my clothes and walk under the spray. Closing my eyes I think about Kate. Well more so, what's happening to me where Kate is concerned. I think about calling Ryder because I can usually talk things out with him, make sense of the confusion in my head. But I know what he would say. That I'm "in love" with her. But that's not true.
So what if I want to fall asleep with her in my arms and wake up next to her the next morning? So what if I look forward to coming home to her at the end of the day, or that she invades my thoughts at random moments. So what if I want to know every detail of her life. Or that I live to see her smile. That doesn't mean I'm in love with her. I'm the eternal bachelor. The Hugh Hefner of my generation. I just have a wife, that's all, a wife who happens to have a magic pussy.
Frustrated, I turn off the water and get out of the shower. I dry myself off then walk naked into my walk in wardrobe and pull on a pair of pyjama pants. Walking out to the kitchen, I pour myself a whiskey. As exhausted as I was when I got home, I'm finding myself not tired anymore. And somehow, I don't think sleep will come easy for me tonight.
The next morning I walk out to the kitchen in just my pyjama bottoms. It's Saturday, and while I'd usually go into work, I've decided to take the day off. I want to spend time with Kate, but I also got very little sleep the night before. The scent of whatever it is she's cooking now hits my nose, and it actually smells... good.
I walk around the bench and stand behind her as she turns something that looks strangely like bacon in the fry pan. I press my body against her back and lean over her shoulder to look in the pan. Her faint floral scent wafts over me. I love that smell.
“What are you cooking today dear?” I ask her. My hands move to sit on her hips and I'm happy when she doesn't push me away. She turns her head slightly to look at me.
“Bacon and eggs.” She says with a smile.
“What, no bacon free bacon and egg free eggs?” I ask her. She laughs and shakes her head.
“Not today.” She says with a grin. She slips out of my arms with the fry pan in her hand and dishes the bacon onto a plate. I eye her curiously.
“What are you up to?” I ask. She turns around and looks at me amused.
“Nothing today. This is a thank you for the other night.” She says with a grin. I eye her for a moment, but determining she's telling the truth, I smile.
“Real bacon?!” I ask excitedly. She laughs and nods her head. I can't help but moan at the thought of actual bacon. I walk around to the breakfast bar and I can feel Kate's eyes on me. Yeah, I'm shirtless. It may have been deliberate. I look up and catch her staring at my abs, she licks her lips sending my blood running south. Her eyes flick up to mine, she blushes and quickly turns away, making me chuckle.
“Were you just checking out your husband?” I tease.
“N..No.” She stammers, not looking at me and I laugh.
“Oh I know you were... you can look anytime sweetheart, hell you can touch whenever you want.” I say with a smirk. She's not looking at me so I can't see her face but I know her cheeks are redder, and going by the way she squeezed her thighs together, she's thinking about touching me. My southern buddy jerks to attention.
“So, no work today?” she asks, changing the subject.
“Not today.” I say..
“What time did you get in last night?” Kate asks. She puts a plate of bacon and eggs in front of me then joins me at the breakfast bar.
“Around midnight, you were crashed out on the couch.” I tell her. I take a mouthful of the breakfast, moaning in satisfaction as she blushes.
“Oh, I don't remember going to bed.” She says shyly. I shake my head and take a sip of coffee.
“You barely stirred when I carried you there.” I say with a shrug. Her cheeks get redder and I can't help but smirk.
“Well, thank you.” She says embarrassed.
“Don't mention it.” I say. I lean my body closer to hers, allowing my breath to tickle her neck. “Although if it happens again, you'll be in my bed not yours.” I promise her. She laughs, though I'm dead serious. Last night was torture. I need to get her into my bed. Permanently.
I smile and stuff a piece of bacon into my mouth, watching Kate as she scoffs down her bacon and eggs. She's tortured herself as much as she's tortured me the past few weeks with the horrible food. I can't blame her for devouring it with so much fervour
“So what's your plans for today?” I ask her. Kate shrugs as she swallows her food and grabs her coffee, taking a sip.
“Nothing so far, what about you? You haven't had a day away from the office since I've been here... what do you do on a day off?” she asks me. I think about that. I honestly don't remember my last day off.
“I don't take days off.” I tell her honestly. She furrows her brows. The action makes her nose scrunch slightly. It’s fucking cute.
“Never?” she asks.
“Not in a few years at least.” I shrug.
“Then why the urge today?” she asks. I don't know how to answer that. I know the answer of course, my urge to be near Kate has overridden my need to go to work. But I can't tell her that. I shrug my shoulders in answer.
“I might have a day in, watch some movies, order take out.” I tell her, changing the subject.
“Sounds like a relaxing day.” Kate says.
“Care to join me?” I ask, trying not to sound too eager. She thinks for a moment while I hold my breath, willing her to say yes. If she says no, well, fuck I don't know what I'd do. I'd go insane doing nothing if she wasn't here.
“Sure.” She says with a smile. Relief floods my body but I don't let it show, simply nodding my head. “But I'm picking the movie!” she exclaims. She jumps off her chair and grabs the empty breakfast plates, taking them to the sink. I groan loudly, making Kate laugh.
“Don't worry, I don't feel like torturing you today, you get the day off.” She says with a smirk.
“Thank Christ for that.” I mutter. She grins big and I can't help but smile back.
“But put a shirt on!” she colds. I laugh and shake my head.
“Yeah that's not happening... I see how you look at me, you're one second away from jumping me... no way am I missing that.” I say. She rolls her eyes as I slip off the chair and stalk towards her.
“Keep dreaming.” She says. I pull up just in front of her, leaning down I breath in that delicious soft floral scent that's Kate and put my lips to her ear.
“Every night baby.” I whisper. I nip on her ear lobe and smile when I see how her body shudders and her breathing shallows. I pull back from her and she clears her throat.
“I'm going to put a movie on.” She leaves the kitchen in a rush and I chuckle to myself. It won't be long until she gives in again.
I've spent the entire day with Kate, watching cheesy action movies and laughing at the unrealistic moments. It's been so... easy. Usually when I spend time with a woman... well it's usually just sex and then however long it takes me to get rid of them. Sometimes longer than the act itself. But they are all so high maintenance, all pouty fake lips and seductive looks. Kate's just... well Kate. She doesn't have to try to be sexy, she just is. There's absolutely nothing fake about her and she hasn't spent the entire time trying to stroke my ego. If anything, she's spent the whole day trying to destroy it.
We've just finished some Australian movie and are eating Chinese takeaway. I'm not sure what the movie was about, something about a castle, it seemed to be some kind of comedy, but I didn't understand half the jokes. It didn't stop me from laughing though, more at Kate than anything, she was in hysterics on the floor after falling off the couch, laughing so hard there were tears rolling down her cheeks. I'd watch it a million times over to see her like that again.
“What did you think of the movie?” she asks. I stick my chopsticks in the container and swallow the food in my mouth.
“Didn't understand half of it, but you were entertaining.” I say with a grin.
“Yeah, Aussie humour, you'd have to have lived there to get it.” She laughs. “It makes me miss home.” She says with a sigh. She digs around in her rice, staring at it. My heart sinks. I hadn't given much thought to Kate's life in Australia, only in my life with her here. I know she had a douchebag boyfriend, well ex-boyfriend now, and her brother who’s in the army and a bunch of friends, but what about her family? Her job? I don't even want to entertain the idea of her going back, maybe for a holiday with me by her side... but not permanently. Kate continues to talk
“That family always reminds me of Lucy and Brad, and their parents.” Kate says. I look at Kate, a soft smile on her lips.
“Lucy's your writer friend right?” I ask, remembering that she was the one we could track down in the beginning. She looks up at me in shock, probably thinking I never pay attention. And she's right, I never pay attention unless it directly affects me, and everything about Kate directly affects me. She nods her head. “And you met Brad through Lucy?” I ask, wanting to know more about her and her friends. She grabs her wine off the table and takes a sip, shaking her head.
“No, I met Brad through Sebastian, Seb, he’s the leader of E's team, him and Brad are best mates, have been since they were 5 or something. I didn't meet Lucy until after the boys went MIA. She lived in London for 5 years.” She tells me. I nod, my brows furrowing as I recall everything she's told me about her friends.
“Isn't Lucy married to Seb?” I ask. Kate nods her head. “So Seb made a move on his best friend’s sister?” I ask. Kate laughs and nods again.
“Yep. Knocked her up the night they were deployed.” Kate says with a grin. My eyes widen. I don't have a sister, but even I know that's off limits.
“And Brad didn't kill him?” I ask. Kate giggles and shakes her head
“He had 2 and a half years to get over it, besides, Seb and Lucy were in love since they were kids... I think it would have been different if Seb came back and said he didn't want her.” She says with a shrug. I nod, that seems reasonable I guess. A silence comes over us as we finish our dinner and I ask the question that's on my mind.
“So I know about your brother and friends, what about you parents?” I ask. Kate shrugs, sipping her wine.
“Ethan's basically my parent.” She states. I furrow my brows, wondering what she means, she sighs before continuing. “Our parents aren't good people. They're con artists, always working some scam to extort money out of people... they'd be rich if they didn't waste it on drugs.” She tells me.
“Drugs?” I ask, wondering what kind of childhood Kate had.
“Yeah, high functioning, most people would never know, they are incredibly intelligent people with nasty tempers.” she says. A lump forms in my throat at her last words. I scoot closer to her on the couch.
“Did they hurt you Kate?” I ask, looking over her in concern. She shakes her head but doesn't look at me, continuing to stare at the container in her hand.
“No. E never let them get close to me.... one of my earliest memories is of him hiding me in a closet and telling me we were playing the quiet game.” She says sadly. My heart breaks as she tells me of her childhood, I move even closer and take her hand in mine. “When I got older, he had these loose floorboards under his bed, I don't know if he loosened them or not, but he'd sense that they were coming... he's always had a sixth sense, always been able to read people and situations instantly. E would push me under the house and lock me down there.” She continues. Kate's not emotional when she speaks, more like she's stating facts and I wonder how anyone could do that to their kids. Or how she could be so strong with having grown up like that.
“When E enlisted in the army at 18, he took me with him, bought me a plane ticket to where his basic training was, put me up in a caravan park until he found a local he could trust to take me in. I've followed him ever since.” She says, looking lost in her memories.
“He sounds like an amazing brother.” I say softly, relieved that she had him. She smiles, looking down at our joined hands.
“Yeah, he really is. A little too protective sometimes... but I get it.” She says with a shrug. I can't help but think how different our lives are. Growing up, I didn't know who I could trust, but I was never in danger. I wasn't constantly filled with fear. Yet I turned into an asshole because of my trust issues. Kate didn't, she grew up in hell but she doesn't feel the need to push people away. One things for sure, she deserves a hell of a lot better than me.