Saturday, October 29, 2011

   Kathy smiled when they pulled up to Nick’s house, it was rustic but in a modern kind of way. Four or five of his house could have fit inside of hers. He grabbed her suitcases and led her inside.
   “It’s very nice, very you.” Kathy said, looking around. Dark leather sofas and chunky wood furniture gave the house a woodsy, masculine feel. It suited Nick well. It was the kind of furniture he could put his feet up on. He always complained her furniture looked nice but wasn’t made for comfort.
   “What a view,” she exclaimed as she opened the door and went out on to the deck. A gentle breeze sent ripples across the lake and rustled the leaves in the trees above her head.
   “I don’t want you going outside alone, the wildlife here is very wild.” Nick said, from the doorway.
   “What do you mean?” She asked.
   “Bears, wolves and I don’t know what else.” Nick shrugged.
   Kathy hurried inside and closed the door behind her.
   “Come on.” He led her up the stairs. “This one faces the lake. I thought you might like it better.” He set her suitcase down on the bed. “I think this is for the best right now. I hope you understand.” His arms were crossed and he was looking at her over the top of his dark glasses.
   Kathy nodded, too stunned to speak. He wasn’t going to make this easy on her. There’d be no all is forgiven roll in the sack this time. For once in their relationship Nick had taken control. She wasn’t quite sure how she felt about the shift in power.
   “The food’s getting cold, let’s eat,” Nick demanded.
   He opened the bag Angie brought him and took a big whiff, a bacon cheeseburger and fries. Nick’s stomach growled. He had overslept and missed breakfast this morning.
   “I can’t eat that. Is the woman trying to kill you?” Kathy gasped.
   “Death by bacon cheeseburger. What a way to go. I’ve got some fish and salad in the fridge.” Nick knew what she needed. He heated the fish in the microwave and brought her plate to the table.
   “Is it serious?” Kathy asked.
   Nick chewed and swallowed. “My love of bacon cheeseburgers is very serious.” He didn’t want to have the conversation because he wasn’t sure of the answer. As strong as his feelings were for Kathy, this new relationship excited him. He didn’t have to compete for Angie’s attention; she was there, ready and willing to give of herself.
   “You know what I mean,” she said, gently touching Nick’s hand.
   He looked into her eyes and saw fear there. “Could be, I don’t know. You know what I want, Kathy.   I’m not willing to compromise anymore. We’ve been down this road too many times, baby. I’ve loved you since the minute I laid eyes on you but it’s all or nothing no matter what I feel for you. I have to do this for me. We don’t want to end up hating each other later.”
   “I understand. This is too important to get wrong.” She poked at the food on her plate. How could this be happening to them? All she had to do was say ‘yes Nicky, I’ll marry you’ and all would be forgiven. The biggest part of her wanted to say those words but the fear ran too deep. How could you lose what you never had? She’d never have to sit and wonder if one day he would leave her. If one day he would wake up and not love her anymore. Her way had always been safer but now she was paying the price and she would lose him anyway.
   “Please eat. I’ve got to get back to work. We’ll talk later. You keep everything locked up tight. I’ll set the alarm. Don’t go out and don’t let anyone in, and I mean anyone. Do you understand me? I’m leaving you all my numbers. We don’t have a clue who this psycho is.”
    Kathy wished she could make him understand. She let him into her heart and soul. He was the only man who ever stayed, the only man she ever loved.