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L.C. Martin

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Dead Perfect
by P. G. Shriver

Even in love, all is not as it seems...  
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Losing Katie
By L.C. Martin
Saturday, May 05, 2007

Rated "PG13" by the Author.

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When things seem like they'll never turn around...something unexpected happens and gives Scott the hope he needs to go on.



It’s funny how your life can completely change in a matter of days. Mine did. And it really wasn’t funny at all.

It was the time of year my catering business boomed and I welcomed it. My parents had passed a few years back. A car accident took them from me on a deadly stretch of road between Westport and New Haven. Some called it Devil’s Highway. They were heading to Maine to celebrate twenty five years of marriage. Man, do I miss them.

So staying busy, especially around the holidays, keeps me sane. But tonight, I was pretty nervous about not having enough help. Jeff, my assistant, hopefully, would be arriving soon. Otherwise the Madison’s may never have us work another party for them.

And they were my biggest customers.

I popped the canopies in the oven and began marinating the steaks, all the while thinking about Katie. She was coming home for the holidays and we were having dinner with her folk’s on Sunday. I’d never met them, but our relationship had gotten pretty serious and she thought it was time that I did.

“Something smells delish,” Mrs. Madison said, stepping into the kitchen of their spectacular New England manor. Jesus, all she had on was a skimpy sundress that her breasts were spilling out of.

I cleared my throat. “Everything’s under control,” I managed to say, and turned back to what I was doing.

She came up behind me, so close; I could smell the liquor she’d been drinking. “Is there anything I can get you?” I asked her, and drew in a shaky breath.

“You know what I want.” She slid a hand down my back and over my ass.

“Please…Mrs. Madison…I don’t think this is appropriate.” I knew sooner or later this would happen with one of these rich society ladies. But Tina Madison was a knockout and I had a hard time controlling my libido as her hand moved around to the front of my pants.

“Don’t worry, sweetie, my husband’s in the shower.”

Was she wacked out or what? I lifted her hand, turned to face her and pleaded with her to let me do my job.

Her face lit with amusement and she opened her mouth to say something, but luckily the phone rang and she left the room to answer it.

The Madison manor was in Westport, with huge bay windows overlooking the sound. And tonight, the guest list was packed with Connecticut’s high society. I was hoping the party wouldn’t run too late, so I could call Katie. She was flying in tomorrow and I wanted to pick her up at JFK. God, I love that girl. From the very first moment I met her, she’d captured my heart.

She doesn’t know it, but I plan on asking her to marry me.

I kept busy with the preparations, and Jeff finally showed up with some excuse about holiday traffic. The party went off without a hitch, everybody seemed to be having a good time and enjoying the impressive array of food we prepared. The Madisons were more than pleased with my services and I shoved what happened earlier into a back pocket of my brain.

“Want to get something to eat?” Jeff asked as we packed up my van. We never ate at these parties and usually ended up at a club in downtown Stamford eating bar food and pounding a few beers.

“Naw, I gotta pick Katie up tomorrow and don’t want to be hungover.

“I said eat not drink.” He laughed and shook his head. “Don’t tell me she’s got you p-whipped already?”

“No man, but she’s definitely got a hold on me.”

Jeff took off and I went back into the house to get my roasting pan. The guests had already gone and Mr. Madison was on the phone. “Hold on, Scott,” he said, every bit the distinguished lawyer, and I froze.

Did he know what happened earlier? Did he see his wife all over me? He finished his conversation and reached into his pocket. “I want to give you a little something extra for doing such a fine job.”

“That’s not necessary, sir.”

“Yes, it is. Now take it.” He pressed the bill into my palm, which had suddenly turned slick with moisture. “I have to meet a client at the train station. Would you fix my wife a cocktail?”

“Sir, I…don’t er—”

“I’d do it, but she never likes the way I make them. She wants one of those fancy drinks…a Manhattan. You’ll find her on the patio,” he said, gave my arm a friendly pat, then shrugged into his coat and walked out the door.

I sucked in a big breath of air, stepped around the table that had a huge arrangement of flowers sitting in the center, made my way slowly over to the bar, wondering if I should just bolt out now.

But I didn’t. Instead, I fixed her a perfectly blended Manhattan. This wasn’t good.

She sat with her back to me, absorbed by the darkness of the night. A light flurry of snow had started and I could see she was shivering. I put the drink down, took off my jacket, and draped it over her shoulders.

“You’re a good boy, Scott,” she said, rising from her seat.

“Why don’t we go inside?”

“I like it out here…it’s so peaceful.”
I stood next to her for a moment and then she turned to me. My jacket slid off her shoulders and I bent to pick it up, but she placed her hands on my arms, pulled me up and leaned her body into mine.

Heat simmered in her eyes as she looked up at me. “You can keep me warm.” She moistened her lips and her hand shot immediately to my crotch.
Now I’m as hot-blooded as any young man and when a woman as gorgeous as she was has your manhood in her hand, well, it’s kind of hard to say no. But Katie’s image floated through my brain and I mustered up all the strength I had and pulled away.

“You’re turning me down?” She looked incredulous. “That’s a first.”

“Yes.” I zipped up my pants. I was rock hard and needed to get the hell out of there.

She picked up her drink and followed me inside. “Can you stay for a while?” she asked as the corners of her mouth turned up. “My husband won’t be home any time soon…his so-called client will keep him busy and I absolutely hate being alone in this big old house.”

“That’s not a good idea.” The man just gave me an extra fifty bucks and now I’m gonna do his wife? I don’t think so.

“At least light a fire for me.”

“Are you trying to get me killed?”

“Don’t be… silly.” Her words came out slow, and I wondered if she was drunk. “I like you, Scott.”

“Then why are you doing this?”

“Don’t you find me attractive?” She peered at me through a fan of long lashes. I could see the desire in her eyes.

“Of course I do, but—” Goddammit, I couldn’t believe it. She shimmied out of
her dress and stood completely naked in front of me. “Please, Mrs. Madison…you’ve got to—” The rest of the words died in my throat as she touched my cheek.

“Just kiss me, one little kiss, and I’ll let you go.” This was a dangerous game she was playing and I didn’t know how to stop it.

I should’ve bolted while I still had the chance, but I just stood there like an idiot until she was standing just inches away.

She pressed her lips to mine …they were soft, sweet— and God help me, I took her tongue into my mouth. Her taut nipples rubbed against my shirt and I had lost the battle.

My hands had a mind of their own and before I knew it they were on her breasts. Jesus, they were the firmest tits I’ve ever felt. She started to moan and placed my hand between her legs. I lost it.

We sunk to the floor and she wrapped her silky legs around me. My clothes came off, and an hour later, we were still lying on her Persian rug and I felt like shit.

I’m a dead man, I thought as my eyes focused on a tattoo of a tiny red heart just above her right ankle.

She shifted her weight and leaned up on one elbow. The glaze in her eye was gone, but I didn’t like the way she was looking at me. As if I were something she’d just purchased from Saks. I got up, tugged on my pants, and picked up the rest of my clothes as I headed for the door.

“You never did light that fire…at least not in the fireplace.” She sat up and drew her knees into her chest. “Would you do it before you go?”

“I’m out of here,” I said, trying not to look at her.

“I promise I won’t touch you. I’ll even get dressed if that’ll make you feel better.”

“And then I’m leaving.” I stepped over to the massive fireplace while she put on her dress and curled up on the couch. When I got a nice little fire going, I stood up and came face-to-face with a family photograph. It can’t be! A shock of pain went right through my heart.

The room swayed under my feet and I blinked and looked at the photo again. There was Katie sitting in between the Madisons. My, God, why was she—could she… be their daughter? No— she…she couldn’t be. Her last name was different from theirs.

“You sure you want to go?” she purred. “I’m up for another round.”
I nodded numbly, stumbled to the door, and got the hell out of there.
The noise of the engine tore into the night as I drove home, and I swore to God that if I got out of this without Katie finding out, I’d do anything. But how could I trust Tina Madison? She was a lush, there’s no telling what she might do or say when she’s had a few too many.

***

I woke with the sun in my eyes and prayed it was all a bad dream. I pulled the covers over my head, but the phone rang and I rolled over and answered it.
“Hi, lover,” Tina Madison’s breathy voice whispered. “I couldn’t sleep. Just thinking about those strong muscles of yours and the way you—”

“Mrs. Madison, please…this can’t go on.”

“After last night, I think you can call me Tina.”

“Listen, last night…it was a mistake, a big mistake.”

“What are you saying?”

“What I’m saying is that we have to act like last night never happened. You don’t understand…”

“Oh, but I do, Scott.” She hung up and I felt like puking. What have I done? I glanced at the clock and figured I had enough time to shower and get myself together before picking up Katie.

When I got to the airport, Katie’s flight had already landed and I waited for her in the baggage claim area. I hadn’t figured out what to do, but I knew if she found out, it would be the end.

“Hey, you,” Katie said, startling me as she came up beside me. With a river of red curls trailing down her back, wearing an off the shoulder mohair sweater and a pair of brown leather pants, she had tongues wagging and guys tripping over themselves just to get a better look. She was hot all right and she was my girl. That’s if I don’t screw it up.

Guilt blasted through me and I wanted to shoot myself for letting my libido get the best of me. I wouldn’t be able to handle it if I lost her. “Baby, I missed you.” I pulled her close and wished I could rewind my life back to Friday morning.

“Don’t I get a kiss?” I kissed her. Long and hard as if I were drowning and she was the only thing that could save me.

Once we picked up her bags, she asked if I wanted to go to her parent’s house first. We were having dinner with them tomorrow night, but she thought I’d feel more comfortable if I met them beforehand. Nothing would make me feel comfortable ever again. I was a nervous wreck.

“What’s up with you?” Her baby blue’s filled with concern.

“Nothing, I-I just want a little alone time with my gal.”

We went to my place, a small apartment in Stamford near the harbor. Katie kicked off her boots and dropped down on my couch. “You hungry?” I asked, watching her stretch long legs in front of her.

“Just for you.” She tossed me a seductive smile and I struggled to keep from bawling like a baby. My life was about to be ruined and there wasn’t a damn thing I could do about it.

After Katie had fallen asleep, I extracted myself from her warm, slender body, went into the kitchen and fixed myself a large Jack Daniels with ice. It was going to be a long weekend and I needed to fortify myself to face the consequences.

***

The streets were glazed with ice and I prayed for a miracle as we drove to Katie’s parent’s house. What was I going to do?

I took my time driving, postponing the inevitable, and when the iron gates opened and we drove along the tree-lined driveway, I desperately tried to think of an excuse to turn around and go home.

“You coming?” Katie said as I stood with my hands stuck deep into my pockets.
I nodded, revved up my courage, and we trudged up the walkway. But terror sliced through me as the oak door opened with a loud creak and Mrs. Madison stood there, dressed in less revealing attire than the night of the party, and greeted us. Her demeanor was cool and, to my relief, she looked sober.

“Katie, Scott, come on in, it’s good to see you again,” Mr. Madison said as he came up and stood next to his wife.
“Good to see you, too, sir,” I said as we shook hands and he patted me on the back.

“You know my dad?” Katie asked me.

“Uh-huh, catered a party for him and your mom.”

She raised an eyebrow. “Why didn’t you tell me?”

“You know I don’t like to talk about work that much,” I said as we walked inside. “Didn’t realize they were your parents. And why didn’t you tell me you’re rich?”

“Didn’t think it was important,” she said with a glimmer of a smile. “Would you have asked me out if you knew?”
I probably wouldn’t have, but I didn’t cop to it.

“Your last name’s different.”

“My real dad took off just before I turned five,” she said, as her eyes misted. “I’m not sure why I kept his name. Guess it’s a part of who I am.”
At that moment, I realized that we didn’t know each other as well as I thought.

“What can I get you to drink?” Mr. Berkley asked, rubbing his hands together as if he were starting a fire. “Beer? Wine? I have a nice collection of California reds. Go on down to the cellar and choose one.”

“Beer’s fine,” I responded, looking over at Tina—Mrs. Madison— who hadn’t uttered a word and whose eyes tried to find mine. But for the life of me I couldn’t look into them. I was too afraid of what I would see.

I took a big gulp of beer hoping it would give me the strength to get through the evening without running out the door. The last bit of sunlight seeped through the window as we sat around the fireplace and Katie told her parents about school, about her friends in California, and how we met.

I had gone out there for a few days to scope out a couple restaurants when I saw the loveliest creature on earth. She was having dinner with a friend and I think it must’ve been all that California sunshine that gave me the nerve to go over and introduce myself. She looked up at me and I melted.
Believe me, I felt like a dork, but I wasn’t going to let my insecurities getting the way of meeting a girl like her.

So after a nice conversation about God knows what, I bought her and her friend a drink. Then left, but not before she gave me her number and, man, I was surprised it wasn’t a bogus number. Motivated by her beauty and the blood pumping through my veins, I couldn’t wait to get back to my hotel room and give her a call.

She looked so happy now, sitting here and telling her folks how much fun our first date had been. And when she looked over at me, her eyes misted with the love I had prayed for. I couldn’t stand myself another minute, so I got up and went to the john and splashed cold water on my face. I didn’t think Tina would say anything. She’d have to be insane. But when I returned and saw the glass of wine in her hand, I panicked and almost crapped my pants. If she got drunk, there’s no telling what she might say.

Dinner was served in the formal dining room, and it looked pretty good, but I could barely eat and hoped Katie wouldn’t notice. Sitting there, pretending to be social and interested in the conversation was brutal. After the table had been cleared, we went outside for a walk. Just me and Katie. It was so cold, I could see her breath. But the air felt good and cleared my head.

“I think they like you,” she said, turning to me.

“Yeah? How can you tell?”

“Well, for one thing, Dad let you drink his beer, and Mom…well, don’t let her scare you, she has her moods,” she said, as flakes of snow dusted her lashes. “When she’s off her meds, she has episodes.”

“Episodes?”

“She’s manic, Scott. I think that’s why my real father left.” A wave of sadness swept over her and I took her hand as we walked. “I guess I never told you because I wasn’t sure of what you’d think of me.”

“You’re everything to me,” I said. “Don’t you know that?”
We walked in silence until the wind started to sting ours eyes. It was too cold to continue so we huddled together and returned to the house. Tina had gone to bed, and Mr. Madison was sitting in his den, an elegant book-lined room, smoking a fat cigar.

“The wife hates it when I light up in the house, but it’s too damn cold outside,” he said as a cloud of smoke surrounded him. “You kids must be freezing.”

Katie had been hurt by her real father, and had some real issues dealing with her mom, but she wasn’t cynical when it came to men. Most of the girls I’ve been out with were destined for therapy, and looked for a problem when none existed, but Katie had her shit together. And now she trusted me. I felt as if I was falling into a pit of deceit and had to get out of there before she saw something was wrong. I made some excuse about having an early appointment with a potential client in the city.

Katie said she was tired and wanted to leave, too. But I think she wanted to go back to my place and get crazy under the covers. Normally, I’d get hard just thinking about making love to her, but tonight, nothing could make the terror go away, and sex was the last thing on my mind.

Mr. Madison tried to convince us to stay because of the wicked weather. I told him I’d drive carefully and Katie had to promise she’d call when we got to my place.

Sleet pelted the windshield as we snaked along the highway. I could barely see the road so I followed a semi until we reached my exit. It was midnight by the time we got to my place. Katie called her dad, and then hit the shower, while I got in bed and pretended to be asleep.

I was still pretending when she slipped in beside me. Her naked body snuggled against mine while her fingers trailed along my chest and down my torso. “You asleep?” she whispered her words into my ear, while working her way into my boxers.

Swallowing back the thoughts of nailing her mother, I pulled Katie toward me and we kissed. I kissed her like I never did before and I could barley breath as she slid her silky body over mine.

How I managed to get it up, I’ll never know, but I did, and tried not to let Katie see that I was distracted. She fell asleep in my arms and I savored the feeling as I stared at the ceiling until the sun came up.

***
Katie told me since I had an appointment she was going shopping with her mom, and I hate to admit it, but I was relieved not to be spending the day with her. She was leaving tomorrow morning and I wouldn’t be able to breathe until then. This thing with Tina will be hanging over my head for a long, long time. If I could just talk to her—find out where her head was at—maybe I could relax and put the whole thing behind me.

I ended up meeting with a client after all, only it wasn’t in the city. So at least I wasn’t completely lying to Katie. When I got home, I expected her to be there, but the place was dark, and I wondered if I should give her a call.

The temperature was dropping as fast as night was falling and after a couple of hours I started to worry. I called her cell and left a message. It took me a while to get my nerve up to call the Madisons.

The maid said she didn’t know where Katie was and Tina had gone to bed hours ago. I hung up with my gut twisted up in knots and told myself Katie’s probably on her way here. There was no need to panic—at least not yet. But in a distant corner of my mind, I saw flashes of Katie walking out on me.

I spent the next hour looking for courage in a six pack of beer, but it wasn’t working, so I sprinted out the door, not really sure where I was going. There was a riot going on inside me and I couldn’t sit around and just wait for her to return. I found myself heading toward the beach. A place I usually go when I can’t sleep.
Parking the car in a vacant lot and looking out toward the sound, I could barely make out the lights from a passing boat. The darkness embraced me as a shroud of mist covered Long Island.

I thought about the summer I had spent in the Hamptons with my parents. That’s where I got my first taste of the catering business. I had helped out a friend of theirs who catered a wedding, and I realized not only did I have a passion for cooking, but I enjoyed watching people having a good time. My parents saved up for years to be able to take me there that summer. They didn’t have much money, but they were rich with the love they had for each other… and for me.

Jesus. In just a couple of days, my life had gotten really screwed up. I’ve never felt like this before and knew I couldn’t go on. Something had to give.
The sounds of the night came alive with the cry of the wind, the cawing of a gull, and the surf thrashing violently against the jetty. I turned up the heat in the car and considered telling Katie the whole story, pleading temporary insanity. She’d leave me for sure, but living like this, worrying whether Tina was gonna talk, was something I couldn’t deal with.

Pulling out the ring I’d planned on giving Katie and placing it on the dashboard, I stared at it for a long time. It wasn’t all that big, but it had a hell of a sparkle, and I knew she’d love it. It was a pink sapphire surrounded with small diamonds. Last spring while we were walking through the mall, she stopped and gazed at it through the window, and I knew then, I’d be giving it to her before the year was over.

Suddenly, the reality of what I needed to do, hit me in dead the face. I had to talk to Tina. Make her understand she’d be ruining all our lives.

Twenty minutes later, I was standing at the Madison’s front door and rang the doorbell, and when Tina answered, I realized it wasn’t gonna be easy. She’d been drinking.

“I wondered when you were going to show up,” she slurred, as she motioned for me to come inside. “Been thing about you all day.”

“Where’s Katie?”

“She’s gone…”

“Gone where?” My heart stalled.

“She’s gone to California.”

A flash of panic swam through me and I couldn’t find my voice.

“She heard us fighting—”

I stood there not wanting to believe that what I feared most was actually happening. “Fighting?” I finally said. “Who was fighting?”

“My husband and I were having another one of our shouting matches…I didn’t realize Katie was close enough to hear us.”

“You told her about us?”

“Not exactly,” Tina said with a shrug. “She figured it out.” Her expression suggested she didn’t give a damn if her daughter had been hurt by what we’d done.

“How? How did she figure it out?”

“Oh, come on, Scott,” she said with a laugh. “She’s a smart girl. She must’ve known something was wrong last night at dinner.” She looked at me and her eyes turned dark. “Does she do it for you, baby? Is she as good in bed as her mama?”

“How can you say something like that about your own daughter?”

“Contrary to what you think, I love my daughter, but she deserves to know what kind of man she’s involved with.” She shook her head slowly. “She’s much too trusting for her own good.”

She was a hundred pounds of pure evil and I wanted to slap the smile right off her face. “So you told her?”

“Didn’t have to. She heard her father accuse me of having an affair and when I denied it…he walked out, but Katie kept at it and finally figured it out.”

“Couldn’t you have lied? You seem to be good at that.”

“I tried, but she asked me why I looked at you as if I wanted to kill you. And that’s when I started to cry…Scott, can’t you see, we have something special.” She ran her hands over her arms. “We have the kind of heat that people dream about.” I couldn’t believe my ears. This woman was insane!

As I turned to leave, she reached out and grabbed my arm. “Katie can’t give you the passion that I can…there must be some solution. She’ll get over you…but me—”

“Get your slimy hands off me!” I yelled, yanking my arm free as she followed me outside.

Driving blindly back to Stamford, I turned the radio full blast until I stopped at a local pub for a drink. It was a smoky bar with a great jukebox, but I couldn’t hear what was playing because of the blood pounding in my head. I sat in a dark corner and ordered a shot of tequila. The heat rushed down to my belly and I ordered another. Think I had a least six or seven by the time it reached my brain. It wasn’t enough, though. Somehow I had to find a way to stop the pain.

I called Katie and this time she picked up. She told me it was over and the bitterness in her voice tore a hole in my gut the size of the Grand Canyon. I tried to make her understand…but she wouldn’t listen and told me to go to hell.

“Watch where the hell you’re going!” A no-neck bruiser pushed into me as I threw my phone on the floor and headed for the door."

”Screw you,” I said.

I heard a boisterous laugh and then, his fist came crashing into the side of my head, spinning me completely around. As I threw a half-assed punch in his direction, he grabbed the back of my jacket and the next blow hit me in the mouth and I felt the imprint of a ring searing into my flesh. I slid down to the floor, and as blood dripped down my face, I tried to get up.

The beating he gave me eased the ache in my heart and I wanted him to pummel the hell out of me until I couldn’t feel a thing. But instead, he shook his head, spit at me, then called me a loser and walked away. A cocktail waitress tried to help me up, but I pushed her hand away and after a while pulled myself together and left before the cops showed up.

I don’t remember driving back to the beach, but there I was, stumbling toward the water. I sat on the wet sand and wept for the life Katie and I could’ve had. I wept for the only girl I ever loved. And I wept for the grief I caused her.

Anointed from head to toe in my own blood, I stripped off my clothes, and walked into the surf. The cold air drove the breath from my lips and icy water ripped through my flesh, but I welcomed the pain. I was numb by the time it reached my chest.

A foghorn blowing from the lighthouse permeated the air and I turned to look at the beach. Lights from the waterfront homes winked at me— I could a flash of something…I wasn’t sure. Looked like a shadow on the shoreline beckoning to me, calling me to come back.

Was it Katie? Or was it my mind going mad?

Attempting to swim back, my arms felt heavy and hypothermia began to set in. I suddenly realized I didn’t want to die. I can make things right—I know I can! With everything I had, I pushed through the surf and choked on the salty water sloshing down my throat and filling my lungs. My ears started to ring as I surged forward and clung on to the jagged rocks from the jetty.
To keep from being dragged away by the strong current, I dug my fingers into a deep crack in one of the rocks and focused my eyes on the beach, toward the dark figure as it came closer.

“Who are you?” I called out, my voice was thin and disappeared into the mist. Suddenly I felt as if a warm blanket had been wrapped around me and I stopped shivering.

I let go, released back into the water as the shadowy figure held out its arms. “Who are you?” I repeated in a voice that seemed to come from someone else.

A soft melody wafted into my ears and a burst of light illuminated her. She was so…beautiful—dear God—she was my mother.

She smiled at me as the darkness invaded my brain and the world around me grew silent.
I was finally home.
***
“You’re lucky to be alive,” a soft voce said as I blinked through a kaleidoscope of colors. “Can you drink this?” She put a cup of steaming liquid to my lips and I sipped slowly. The room came into focus and I had no idea where I was. “Good thing my shift ended early tonight,” she said, pulling a blanket up to my chin. “Otherwise you would’ve been frozen solid.”

Her name was Tara and she was an angel from heaven. She told me she saw me crawling in from the surf, barely conscious and frozen to the bone. She took me in and called 911. By the time the paramedics came, she had everything under control and they left me in her care. It turned out she was a med student at Yale and saved my life.
I stayed for a couple of days until I was strong enough to make it home. My car was buried under a blanket of snow so I took a cab and came back to pick it up a few days later. I stopped by Tara’s to thank her for everything she’d done for me.

“The coffee’s still warm, if you’d like a cup,” she offered.

My life had been a walking soap opera and I knew I should go, but the truth was, I had nothing to go home to, nothing to live for, the days lay before me, empty, with nothing to do. The kindness of this young woman was something I desperately needed. I not only accepted the coffee, but ended up opening up to her and told her the whole story about Katie and her mother. I haven’t a clue to why I spilled my guts. Guess I figured it didn’t matter, she didn’t know me.

To my surprise she listened with interest, and when I finished, she looked at me for a long moment and finally said, “You know, Scott. Love doesn’t come along that easily—not real love, anyway. So you screwed up. Maybe your girlfriend won’t forgive you, but maybe she will. Go after her. Tell her how much you love her and are willing to fight for her, for what you had.”

I shook my head. “I tried that already. Didn’t work.”

“Try again. After the pain eases and she’s had time to think, maybe she’ll come around and realize it was a momentary weakness.”

I left feeling a little bit lighter and decided to take Tara’s advice after all. I sold my business and almost everything I owned to Jeff, packed up my van and headed to California. Don’t know if Katie will ever forgive me, but it’s worth a try.
***
I showed up at Katie’s three days later, needing a shower and a save. Her roommate told me she was working in a trendy restaurant on the Strip. I took of with my gut ready to spill into my throat and hoped and prayed that she’d take me back.

I froze when I saw her. Talking with some mega muscle dude out front and she seemed happy. Should I turn around and let her live her life without me. She’d be better off.

“Scott,” she said as I moved to cross the street. Her eyes searched mine and I knew it was now or never.

"You want me to stay?” Muscle head asked her.

“I’m okay. Go on inside,” she said, without taking her eyes off mine. “I’ll be only a minute.”

“Katie, please, I’m so sorry,” I said, desperately searching for the words that would make it right. “Please tell me it’s not too late.”

Her eyes watered. “I thought you were different, Scott. I thought you were the one man I could count on…but what I told you about my mother I told you in confidence and you used it to seduce her. How could you!” she turned to go inside, but I grabbed her by the arm.

“No. She seduced me,” I said, knowing how stupid it sounded. “I know I should’ve blown her off, but I swear to God Katie, she came on to me.”

“And you couldn’t keep it in your pants!” She kicked me in the shin, pulled free and ran inside the restaurant, leaving me outside, desperate and in pain.

Everyday for a week, I should up at the restaurant and everyday, Katie would ignore me. Then one afternoon while I was drowning my pain in bottle of Jack, she slid into the seat next to me.

“Look, Scott,” she said, meeting my eyes. “I loved you. I mean really loved you…I thought you were Mr. Right, but I was dead wrong. You have to stop coming here. I’m going to lose my job if you don’t.”

“I don’t want to make your life any more difficult than it is. I know what I’ve done and I don’t expect you to forgive me…but maybe we can start over as friends. We had so much fun together. Don’t throw it away.”

Anger flashed through her eyes. “You should’ve thought about that before you took my mother to bed.”

“Can you just try?” I begged.
“I don’t think so,” she said, sliding off her seat. “But I’ll be at the opening of a new restaurant tomorrow.—I’m not saying it’s a date or anything, but if you can clean yourself up, you can accompany me.”

Fueled by excitement, I nearly fell off the stool. “Thank you baby, thank you!”

“You’ve damaged our relationship, Scott. I don’t think I can go back to where we were, but I miss our talks.” Her eyes misted and I knew I had broken through to her.

“I’ll make it up to you. I promise. On your terms whatever you want.”

“Let’s start with tomorrow.”

The painful reality is that Katie may never forgive me, things may never be the same, but the fact that she’s letting back into her life is a start. Because losing Katie completely would kill me.

All I can say is if you’re happy with your girl don’t be an idiot like me and have one foolish night ruin your life. God’s giving me another chance to make things right and Katie has given me hope.

I still carry the ring around with me, hoping one day, Katie will realize, she’s all I live for and I’ll love her until the day I die. Until then, I’m just happy to be in the same zip code.





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